Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A garden for a fairy

Fairy gardens have become pretty popular with 8- and 9-year olds in our neighborhood.  At the garden store yesterday, Grace chose some things to make one in a big planter we had at home.  It turned out really cute and is a fun addition to our coffee table.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Es nuestro momento

"Es nuestro momento" means "It is our time" which was the theme of the 23rd Mi Pueblo Culture Camp this summer.  It was Grace's first time attending this camp for children who were adopted from Latin American countries.

She was excited each day to be with other children, teenagers, and young adults who are "just like her" and learn about Hispanic culture.  Each day there were art, music, dance, Spanish, and culture lessons as well as traditional summer camp sports, but with a Spanish theme.

On the final day, the campers (grouped by grade in school) performed a dance and song.  The 3rd grade group did a Cumbia courtship dance from Colombia.  Grace said that the boys tried to "win the girls' hearts" during the dance.  The boys offered their hats to the girls...first they refused but in the end they accepted the hats.  Cute!

Grace looked beautiful in her costume.  I have to give the sewing volunteers credit - they sewed 140 costumes in one week for the Friday fiesta!

Here are some of the children from Grace's class.  There were 18 total.  I love how they got so close in such a short amount of time.  They were very silly with each other and would not pose for a photo!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Parade the Circle

For 25 years, the Cleveland Museum of Art has been sponsoring this fun event at Wade Oval - right near Case Western Reserve University, University Hospital and Cleveland Clinic, and many of the premier Cleveland museums.

It is a really pretty and culturally diverse area of the city that we enjoy visiting, but this was our first time attending this parade.

The parade includes artists, families, schools, and community groups in a moving display of costumes, giant puppets, stilt dancers, handmade masks, and colorful floats.  Anyone can participate in the parade but all the entries must be handmade by the paraders.

We got lucky with a good parking space and a viewing place right on the curb and then Grace and I went to explore the vendor tents at Circle Village.  We spent a lot of time creating our own art work which we both mailed to President Obama.  They even displayed a letter from the White House in response to the art and postcards they received after last year's parade!

We also got to see some of the costumes and floats in the staging area before the parade began.

I'd say about half of the parade entires were really unique and creative art.

This group was bowling pins.  Cute!

Remember...all the costumes are hand-made.

Some of the groups handed things to the crowd, others came up for "high-fives", and some invited the kids to jump rope or go under their parachute. Grace was happy to run out there as much as possible!

After the parade, when we were walking to Little Italy for a late lunch, Grace commented that she was "inspired" by the bulls.  She meant this costume. They were very cool and Grace watched carefully to see how the people inside were operating them.

With all the music and drums in the parade, their theme - BEAT: to beat, to breathe, to create - was appropriate today.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Let the summer fun begin

We are only two days into Grace's summer vacation and she has been to see "The Avengers" and she took a friend to the pool with us all day.

Usually I don't love how fast Grace is growing up.  But today I LOVED 8 years old! At eight, an adult only needs to be present at the waterpark (as opposed to within arm's reach, in the water).  Since Grace and McKenna are both strong swimmers - and they promised to stay together and check in with me - I let them do their thing and I got to actually READ A BOOK!  

I have a feeling we will be inviting friends to join us many times this summer!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Compared to August

Here is Grace on the first....

...and last day of 2nd grade.  

She is getting SO big.  I can't handle it!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bravo, ballerina

We were so pleased that the Hudson Conservatory of Ballet opened right near our house this September.  It was perfect timing since Grace had asked to start ballet classes.  She learned so much from her instructors by attending two classes each week.  Last night, all Grace's hard work paid off when she performed in her first dance recital.

They had very strict rules about photography and video during the dress rehearsal and performance so I only snapped these few photos outside before Grace went to the dressing room for her group.  She looked beautiful in her costume and did a great job on the dance!

Hudson Conservatory of Ballet hired a professional photographer.  Here are some he took:

This one is of all the dancers at the finale.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


This cool, creative, fun-loving, curious kid was born in Guatemala 8 years ago today.  

Like every year, I silently thank Consuelo for having a plan for Grace that ended up allowing me to be her mom. She challenges me but she also reminds me that I have the capacity to love another person more than anything in the world.  

Grace has been SO excited all week about her birthday.  Yesterday, I was able to bring cupcakes and goodie bags to her 2nd grade class and today we planned an art party.  The day started out with Grace jumping into bed to remind me that she is officially eight!  She opened presents from family, which included a recorder, some fun items from Montana, Hello Kitty earrings and a bracelet, handmade doll clothes, and the American Girl doll of the year, who also happens to be named "Grace".  I think Grace liked her recorder best, but I did catch these cute photos of her with the Grace doll when she thought I wasn't looking. 

Before we left for 4Cats Art Studio in Kent, Grace indulged me with a few photos on the deck.  What a gorgeous day for a birthday!  I told Grace today that I wish my birthday was at the end of May instead of the beginning of March when it is always freezing and grey.  She didn't have much sympathy for me!
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4Cats is a franchise art studio out of Canada that opened in our area a couple of years ago.  I am so glad it has managed to stay in business.  What at great atmosphere and I was very impressed with the way they ran the party today.

Grace chose a clay project and since most of the kids coming were from her elementary school, they made a raccoon bowl, in honor of the schools' mascot.  The teacher/owner had a sample for them and then she gave them step-by-step instructions as she demonstrated.

left to right: Morgan, Paige, Madeline, Haley, and Grace

left to right:  Carson, Mariska, Justin, Makenna, Zach
Mariska and Carson 

I liked how there was teaching involved - explaining why they have to let the clay dry before they put it in the kiln, what clay is made of, what the glaze looks like after it is painted, etc.

After about an hour of art and time to clean up (at one point almost all of the 10 kids were in the same small restroom!) I go them to sit for this picture, which will probably become the thank you card.

But they wanted to do this "crazy" one too!

I tried to maintain the colorful "art" theme for the table and was lucky to find the artist palette plates.

Grace's guests went home with paint and a colorful swirl lollipop.  The note says, "Thank you for making my party a masterpiece."

Grace told me in the middle of the party that it was a great party and she was having a really good time.  That is priceless.