Sunday, July 26, 2015

For you, Dad!

Here are a couple of photos of my new car!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pink lady

Right now, Lydia Ko, a 17-year old from New Zealand, is the number 1 female golfer in the world.

It would be amazing if after today's family golf outing, Grace got inspired and started to really practice golf.  We keep hoping to find the sport that will be something she can participate in during high school and college, and golf is one sport that she can play for a lifetime.

Grace did really well for her first time on a golf course.  She hit some pretty good shots and there were no meltdowns.  I think that was because she saw some of MY really bad shots!

She loved paying with bright "Pink Lady" balls and driving the cart.  But, we know she had fun because she thanked us in the car when we were leaving.  Now, THAT is a victory!

 (all iPhone photos)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My kind of town, Chicago is

Twinsburg and Stow didn't have the same spring breaks this year so we didn't go on a trip.  And, we didn't plan a big summer vacation, either.  But Kyle and I were determined to squeeze some family time into our busy schedules.  We talked about somewhere we could drive within 6 hours like Nashville, Boston, or Washington, DC.  All of those might be in our near future but for this trip we headed to Chicago.  Grace was just excited about going to ANY hotel with a pool but during the car ride she made this vacation "to do" list, which I think is totally adorable.

Luckily, we were able to check a few things off Grace's list and some things she didn't know she wanted to do like:

  • Sit in a limousine 

The first night when we were heading out to eat some deep dish Chicago-style pizza there was a limousine parked in front of our hotel.  Grace peeked in the window and the driver was so sweet and turned on the interior lights and let Grace take a look inside.  She told him she plays piano and that someday she was going to be famous and drive one of these around.
  • Ride a Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier 

It was a windy morning in the Windy City (which, by the way has nothing to do with the wind and everything to do with boastful politicians!) but we were still able to ride the 150-foot Ferris Wheel. We also learned that there were originally supposed to be 5 piers on the Lake Michigan waterfront but only one was ever built. There were great views from the top. It is amazing that the city planners designated the lakefront to be for everyone and there is only one skyscraper built on the lake side of the road.  Everything else is park and walking trails. 

Grace wanted to visit a museum so we headed to Shedd Aquarium first.  But the long line convinced us to purchase the City Pass that offered access to 3 museums and 2 observation decks for a discounted price - and you could avoid the lines!  So, we ended up exploring 
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • the Adler Planetarium, 
  • and the Field (natural history) Museum in one day!  

These three museums are located on one "campus" within walking distance of each other along the lake.

Grace was so cute with her camera.  She took pictures of everything, saying "I am just like Nana." When we saw the horse-drawn carriages she told us they were the same as outside the hotel where Eloise lives and she took a picture of each one.

After a great dinner at a little Mexican restaurant, we went to the Hancock building for their observation deck on the 94th floor for

  •  a 360 degree views of the city as the sun was setting.

And, although we vowed NOT to stop at the American Girl store, Grace and I couldn't resist.  It is so great that the girl of the year is named Grace.  There was a bakery upstairs just like the one in the movie - Grace's Sweet Shop!  It turns out this is where Grace got her Chicago souvenir, a backpack that she designed herself.

By the time we went to bed that night, our FitBits told us that we had walked over 10 miles - even after we

  • rode a pedi-cab back to Navy Pier! 
This tiring day was followed the next day with more walking and...
  • an architectural boat tour of the Chicago River

The docent leading the 90-minute tour explained a lot about Chicago's history, the fire that wiped out over 18,000 buildings, and pointed out the different styles of architecture in some unique buildings.

Grace took my camera a few times (I was holding my breath that she didn't drop it overboard) and took some good photos.  Now she wants her own "big camera".

I still prefer to be behind the camera so I can take photos of my favorite model!

We followed the Riverwalk, crossed a bridge, and ended up at Millennium Park where we 
  • found an orchestra playing at the pavilion

and took photos like every other tourist at
  • the Cloud Gate aka "The Bean"

Notice what a nice job Grace did with my camera, again!

We also needed to 
  • dip our feet in the freezing cold water a the Crown Fountain.  These 50-foot glass block towers are on opposite ends of a reflecting pool.  These fountains project the faces of 1,000 Chicago residents and spit water into the shallow pool.  

Kyle wanted to see a Cub's game so we
  • took the "L" train the Wrigley Field for a night game.  We bought bleacher tickets from someone outside the stadium and went inside to watch some of the game.  Grace decided she wanted to be on the big screen.  Since it didn't happen this time, it is now on her bucket list for the future!

Chicago has many nicknames.  They say the name "Second City" was meant that is is second to New York.  But when you are walking around you feel like you are in NYC.  Even as a New Yorker, I have to admit, Chicago has a lot going for it.  We'll definitely go back!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Cost of Freedom

Our July 4th events included a couple of new thing for us starting with a local parade with other families in nearby Aurora.  Our friends' dad has a house on the main parade route and the easy parking and big lawn makes his home a perfect destination.

Look!  Here they come!

Grace and the other kids lined up on the curb, waved, and collected bags full of candy during the hour-long parade. This was my view for most of the time - backs of kids looking for the next group to come down the street!

The City of Twinsburg hosted a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans' Wall for the long holiday weekend.  The wall and other exhibits come from an organization called American Veterans Traveling Tribute.  Bringing the 80% replica wall (360 feet long and 8 feet tall at the highest point) to Twinsburg was a big undertaking for the local VFW and community.  It is at the high school and all of the schools participated in some way by volunteering and providing art work to go along with the art and photography that travels with the wall.  So, we stopped by to see it and explain a little about this and other American wars.

Grace listened and asked questions but I am not sure she could grasp the magnitude of what a war really is and why they have named this exhibit the "Cost of Freedom". I liked the mobile museum that had memorabilia from the Revolutionary War through Desert Storm all housed inside a big truck that you could walk through.   The veterans seemed very proud to share their knowledge and welcome visitors.

A little exposure and then she can go back to being a kid listening to her iPod in the car.  That's good enough for now.

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.