Thursday, July 31, 2008

This girl rocks and rolls

Like most cities, Cleveland has its share of museums - art, natural history, a planetarium, historical homes, etc.

This summer Grace and I visited two of the more unique museums in our area. The first was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ( Built in 1995, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located on the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland and is dedicated to recording the history of some the the best known and most influential artists, producers, and music-industry legends. There are permanent exhibits, my favorite being the costumes and memorabilia from famous performers, and temporary exhibits that change to keep visitors coming back. When we visited over July 4th weekend, they were highlighting the Doors, the connection between baseball and music called "Take Me Out: Baseball Rocks", and Pink Floyd's The Wall.

We went to the second museum yesterday. After reading the blog of a friend from Chicago I got the idea that Cleveland must have a Children's Museum, and of course they do! ( We planned a trip up for yesterday which was supposed to be the worst weather day of the week. I figured it wasn't going to be a good day for the pool, so we could explore the museum and work on Grace's walking at the same time. The museum is dedicated to children under 8 years old and you can (and are expected) to touch and play with everything! How cool for kids who are often told not to touch! Basically, the small facility is divided up into four distinct areas:
  • a farm room based on Margaret Wise Brown's book The Big Red Barn with stuffed animals, a silo, lots of toy vegetables that might grow on a farm, wagons, and a hayloft;
  • a magic room which had a lot of everyday science that seems like magic to kids (electricity, gravity, air pressure);
  • a community with houses, an airport, a grocery store, a doctor's office;
  • and a weather/water area where they had raincoats for the kids and they could play at a huge water table or see themselves on TV doing the weather report in front of a map.
The museum was like a giant daycare with different themes and lots of kids running around. It was a great place for gross motor development and pretend play. Grace was still a little young for it since most of the kids were bigger and not very aware of others around them. She got pushed and squeezed out of some places, just because she was so little. But, I think she had fun and I know she was fascinated by all the other kids!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

8 Steps in Safety Village

Our town runs a really cool program for kindergarten students, called Safety Town. Before they go into kindergarten, children can participate in a week-long program sponsored by the city police where they are taught topics such as: fire safety, seat belts, pedestrian safety, bike safety, bus safety, and "stranger danger". As part of this program they Department of Youth Services created a "Safety Village", with replica buildings, traffic signs, traffic lights, and roads. It is mainly used for kids to learn bike safety and pedestrian safety in a real life setting. We always drive by the Safety Village and this week I noticed that the gates are left open during normal city park hours. I thought this might be a good place to take Grace to practice walking. It is surrounded by fences, clean, and has new even, paved "roads". So we went this evening with her favorite push toy, her tricycle (which she is still too little to ride, but I thought we'd try), and my camera and Flip camcorder. And, it really was a success. Grace started out exploring by crawling in this new "bear crawl" she has invented (with her butt in the air) when she is on hard surfaces, moved to walking behind her toy, and eventually took 8 steps! That is the most she has done so far!

Note: I think Nana is completely correct about Grace noticing her shadow (see Comments). That is one of the great things about the video camera. I am too busy trying to capture everything on the camera so I miss what is really happening. It is fascinating to watch Grace and I do it a lot. With the camcorder I am also able to replay what happened over and over which helps me notice things I missed when it happened.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

Another season, still plotting their escape!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

1 and 20 - Another milestone

We reached another milestone this week. On Monday, Grace weighed in at 20 pounds, meeting the legal requirement to turn her car seat to the forward-facing position (you have to be 1 year old and at least 20 pounds to do this). So, last night at about 11:00 when I couldn't fall asleep, I decided to tackle changing the seat position for her. I didn't make this decision lightly because if you have been reading this blog you know how hard the seat was to get securely into the car the first time. (If you don't remember see the post from February 28, 2008 entitled "The hardest thing I have had to do"). I figured it was going to be a long night of battling with the seat. But, it was MUCH easier this time. I unhooked it, cleaned all the crumbs and broken cookies that got caught between the child safety seat and the car cushion, turned the seat around, and reattached it. Over these last months someone advised me to kneel on the seat as I tighten the belts. I did that this time and it feels really secure! Mission accomplished. Now my girl can see where we are going instead of looking at the seat behind her. She can stretch out her legs if she wants to and has room to grow. We will both have to adjust to not having the mirror attached to the headrest, though. Right now I can barely see Grace's adorable face in my rearview mirror, because she is still small. But after our first ride together to the pool this morning she has already figured out that she can see me that way too, if she stretches a little!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tricks for Big Daddy

It is hard to believe that Grace is already 14 months old. She is a delightful little girl and certainly the sunshine of my life. Each day she surprises me with the new things she does and it is fun to look at the world through her innocent eyes that are discovering everything for the first time. I love her smile, the way she laughs more when you laugh with her, and the funny sounds she makes in "conversation". It is amazing to watch her when she is just playing alone and, lately, to see her begin to interact with other children. Sometimes I will show her something once and she will get it right away (pointing to her hair) and other times she will do something (waving) and I am not sure when she picked it up.

This is the video we made today right after her nap. She is always so happy when she first wakes up. We did several "takes" but the first one was the best. To keep us both entertained, Grace goes through her "tricks" in the back seat of the car as I watch her in the mirror. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm sure you have heard of "Dances with Wolves"

Well, maybe Grace's movie title should be "Sleeps with Dogs". Lately she has shown a fascination with all things Daisy. She has a special song for Daisy - a high-pitched singsong monologue that she only uses for the dog. She follows Daisy around the house (not always pleasant for Daisy who often moves to a new spot). I have seen Grace go into Daisy's toy basket and pull out all the dog toys, sometimes playing with those instead of her own. Months ago, when Grace first started to crawl she would crawl up to a ball and pick it up in her mouth. That is when I first started to think she was spending too much time with the dog! In the last week or so, Grace has been sitting and laying on Daisy's dog bed, which Daisy hasn't used in months since she is too big for it now. And she has been curious about Daisy's crate, which sits in our kitchen/breakfast nook area. She had been opening the door and looking in, sometimes when Daisy was there and sometimes when she was not.

Well, yesterday, Daisy had an encounter with a dead mole and smelled awful. She got her teeth brushed and a bath and I took the cushion out of her crate to wash it. Everything got sprayed with antibacterial cleaner and it was all smelling fresh and clean. It wasn't too appealing to Daisy who apparently didn't like that I cleaned away all that good camouflage scent. But it must have been the incentive Grace needed because she climbed right in. Oh, and she was so pleased with herself when she was in there. Laughing and opening and closing the door from the inside! I took pictures and then thought this wasn't something I really wanted to advertise on the blog to the whole world, so I deleted them. Then, later that evening she went in again when Daisy was already inside! Again, I took some shots of the two of them, but Grace was having such a good time that she wouldn't sit still, so again, I deleted them.

She was in there again this morning...and here is the result. I suppose there are worse things she could do....Right?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Flower Power

I got this chair as part of a three-piece set (two chairs and a table) when the furniture for Grace's bedroom was taking much longer than the store promised. One day a week or two past the day they promised we would have the furniture in our house, I was in the store and and saw the set on sale. I asked if they would throw in for free. I was surprised when the owner agreed and wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do with it. The table is in her room and she has just discovered that she can get into and out of the chair. She is clearly pointing to the flowers on the seat and arm and babbling about something in baby talk. Grace goes on and on in her own language about just about anything, pretty much all day long when we are alone together. I often catch her talking to herself or the dog in the same way. I can't wait to see what she will say when she actually can formulate words I can understand!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Little swimsuit model

Next to shopping for jeans, choosing a bathing suit is probably the hardest purchase to make. Unless you are a supermodel (or a 1-year old) it is usually not much fun to try on swimsuits. That could be the reason why I have one that I like. I need to go on a bathing suit shopping spree, but going into those fitting rooms with unforgiving mirrors and florescent lights is not top on my "to do" list. So, I will keep suffering with my one bathing suit and you can enjoy our little swimsuit model in her extensive collection of 2008 pool fashion for toddlers.

Florida sunshine and splashing in your own pool are always fun in an
aqua, yellow and pink swimsuit with embroidered flowers

Here Grace models a Baby Gap brown animal print suit with a matching
hat at the Geneva-on-the-Lake sprinkler park

Watch out Dorothy....Without a cloud in the sky, Grace shows off her
Janie and Jack
blue and white check with coordinating sun hat

Taking time to smell the flowers, Grace models her
green and white striped
swimsuit on the deck by the lake

Even at 9 months old, Grace chooses to sunbath in style wearing a
yellow and pink skirted two-piece
poolside at the Westin Hotel

Innocent and classic in her preppy pink, green and white Izod swimsuit.
She'll add a coordinating coverup later at the pool.

It's love at first sight for Grace in her multicolor hearts one-piece

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Poor Daisy

Daisy turned 1-year old on July 10th. She is such an awesome dog...she is loving with Grace, gets so excited when she meets new people that she wags her whole body (and tinkles, oops!), and loves to run and play. Unfortunately, though, some of that wild running, jumping, and playing may have caused the ailment we identified at the vet today. For a couple of weeks now we have noticed that Daisy has been hesitating to put weight on one of her back legs. It is not all the time, but enough for me to take her to see the vet. And, poor Daisy, the vet diagnosed medially luxating patellas. What that means is that both of her knee caps (who knew dogs had knee caps?) are moving out of alignment causing knee instability. In fact, when they did her X-rays, her left knee cap was completely out of its socket. Clever Daisy, has found a way to "pop" it back in, though, by stretching her back legs. It is amazing how she has learned to cope with this disability. She also has a little bit of arthritis which is hard to believe because she is so young. I fear what it will be like when she is an old dog!

Anyway, for now, we are trying anti-inflammatory medication and glucosamine with rest and moderate exercise for a couple of weeks. Our hope is that she will be able to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the knee and we won't have to consider surgical options.

It sounds like running is not going to be an option for Daisy now or in the future. That really stinks because she is FAST and loves to run. And, I was hoping that someday I would be able to have her as a running companion like Summer was a few years ago. But running puts too much stress on her joints so it is going to be walks and swimming for our Daisy from now on.

It could be a lot I am grateful that we can manage this issue and keep her comfortable.

This is Daisy in her bed when we first brought her home. She was only about 15 pounds. Today she weighed in at 51.2 pounds!

Note: (Friday at 2:00 PM) - Grace went for a nap so I decided to let Daisy swim in our lake. She was so excited but it really didn't work. She had too much trouble entering and exiting the lake and I could see her knees lock as she was trying to swim. At one point she sat down in the water at a shallow spot in the lake and just looked at me with these said eyes. I really thought I was going to have to go get her. There is a dog park nearby with a sandy bottom to the lake, so I might try to take her there. The problem is she will probably push herself too much playing with the other dogs. I think for now, it is going to be just walks for Daisy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Friends

I met Kellie back in January when I decided to get serious about turning my home office into a bedroom for Grace. I was shopping at World Market and Kellie was ahead of me in line. I heard her mention to the cashier that she was adopting a baby from Guatemala. We talked briefly and learned that our daughters were a month apart in age. Fast forward 7 months and here we are. Kellie and I met again today - this time with our girls. Dawson just turned one, walks beautifully, and is absolutely adorable. If you want to see more pictures of Dawson go to

Before going to lunch we attended a class together at The Little Gym. Basically, it is a pre-gymnastics class for children under 18 months old. The 13 children who were there are all at different stages of walking, but the instructor was able to get everyone involved. We even did some tumbling (well, thankfully, the parents only spotted the kids...we didn't have to tumble!). The floor of the room was covered in mats and there were many different types of gymnastics equipment - beams, parallel bars, a trampoline and spring board, etc. At first, I think Grace was a little overwhelmed. I don't think she has been anywhere with this many children tumbling, ringing bells, and chasing after balls. But she eventually warmed up and seemed to enjoy exploring the different equipment (with Mommy's help, of course!) - a great way to develop gross motor coordination and social skills.

Dawson shows Grace how to maneuver the parallel bars

Grace is so proud of herself. I need one of these in our house!
(Thanks, Kellie, for helping to get her to smile!)

Look at that balance!

All smiles!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Coming and Going

Thanks to a gift from Nana's co-workers, we bought a Flip video camera ( today to record and share lots of Grace cuteness. Here is the first attempt...Grace coming and going.

She has been doing great with her balance and stability. Just in the last few days, we have seen her stand up on her own and walk with this toy all over the first floor. Grace will walk holding my hand, but is still afraid to let go completely to take that first step alone. I hope when she does she is walking toward me instead of away from me.

By the way...Notice Nana and Big Daddy in the background.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

Today's theme is "Fun in the Sun". Our favorite fotos this week are from WaterWorks park with Nana, Big Daddy, and Kyle. It has been a LONG time since anyone saw Big Daddy in a bathing suit...the things he will do for a smile from Grace!
Nana loved the Lazy River, as you can see!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Roll Call

I am always so pleased when I talk to our friends and family who tell me they are reading our blog. Many of you also mention that you have shared it with your friends and co-workers. I love reading the comments a few people leave about individual posts and I am really curious to know who's out there, I am asking for a roll call. If you are reading this now, please click at the bottom and leave us a comment.

And, just for your viewing pleasure (because I know this is why you REALLY look at this blog), here is a picture of Grace. This one is from one of our last days at Kindermusik.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Finger Lickin' Good

I turned my back for just a second and this is what I found....
Impatient Grace found a way to serve herself the rest of her yogurt.

You can see how much she enjoyed it.

I think if she could have climbed into the container she would have!

But there was enough on her T-shirt to make me think she had!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

Grace spent her first 4th of July as a United States citizen with us and some good friends at (of all things!) a Jimmy Buffet tribute band (called Fins to the Left) concert! It actually was pretty fun. We ended the night with a few fireworks over our lake. Just enough to mark the occasion without scaring her too much with the noise.