Saturday, December 31, 2011


Grace's Godparents, Aunt Nancy and Uncle Chris, played with us in an awesome playground at Sugar Sand Park near their house.  It was an enormous tri-level wooden structure with all the slides, swings, and hideouts you could imagine...all with a science theme to go along with the hands-on science museum adjacent to it.  We didn't go into the museum this time, but it is a good idea for a rainy day on another trip!

Nana and Ba

We loved hanging out with Nana and Ba all week!

Playing at the beach...
...swimming in the pool....
...watching TV...
(Ba didn't know he would get to see "Shark Boy and Lava Girl"!)
...and a lot of other things we didn't take pictures of!
What do you think of Nana's lime green and gold Christmas tree?  

Beach Baby

The warmest day we were in Florida was also the cloudiest.  But that didn't stop us from enjoying the ocean at Del Rey Beach.
Fully zoomed with my new camera lens.  
At first, Grace wasn't too sure about the salt water and kept her mouth closed and her cheeks puffed out.
But it didn't take long before she was running, jumping, and playing in the the waves!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Please change the weather

We arrived home tonight after spending 5 days in Florida.  Kyle and I both commented that the 40-something temperatures and rain were not bad for the end of December in Ohio. I was certainly expecting to find snow and ice instead of rain.  But, the first thing Grace said in the back seat was, "Please change the weather."  After a little chuckle, we asked her what she wanted instead and she said "sun". I guess our bathing beauty prefers the warm Florida sunshine to cold, rainy Ohio!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mom, Santa came!

Well, the big guy in red arrived and brought some awesome toys for the good little girl in our house.  I think "he" did a great job this year. Sometimes, you just don't know what will be a hit with a 4-year old. But, Grace seemed to like everything and when I asked her (a few different times this morning) what her favorite present is the answer kept changing.  I think she just can't decide!
The dollhouse is taller than Grace and it has an elevator!
She has been telling me and Santa that she wanted a "shopping cart like giant Eagle". The first thing she did was get her baby and put all the food from her other cart into this one. Then she told me we should "yard sale it to kids who don't have one".  I didn't know yard sale was a verb.
Notice Rock Star Mickey in the background.  
This was top on the list, too.  
Kyle's parents gave it to Grace last night 
and the look on her face was priceless!

Friday, December 23, 2011

'Twas the night before...

Grace is in bed and Santa is on his way.  We baked peanut butter cookies and sprinkled reindeer food on the grass behind our house (we figure Santa will probably fly over the lake and land on our deck since we don't have a chimney).  It is a day early, but we leave for Florida on Sunday, so Santa knows to come tonight....
See you in the morning!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shaving cream snowman

One of the advantages of working in a preK-1 building is that I get to see a lot of the projects the teachers work on with their students. This week, I walked in on a class making snowmen from shaving cream mixed with glue.  It was just the messy kind of fun we needed this week!  The teacher was so sweet and provided me with all the "fixings" so with the shaving cream and glue we had in the house, we were all set for this fun project!
First get your shaving cream and glue.
Mix it up for a few minutes. 
Spread the mixture with a spoon or your fingers and add 
accessories and glitter to make your snowman shine.
Soon you wil have a finished snowman.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Throwing snowballs

There was a lot more snow in Cleveland yesterday than there is here today.  The little bit that remains was on our deck so Grace got all bundled up (I remembered to ask if she had to use the bathroom before zipping her into her snowpants) and went out to play for a little while.  

She and Kyle were throwing snowballs into the lake.  But Grace's didn't reach so he walked her to the edge so hers would actually make it into the water!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tiny Trekkers

Kellie and I took Grace and Dawson to the Natural History Museum today for a preschool class about animals.  The theme was animals that are active, migrate, and hibernate during winter.  The instructor was a former early childhood educator and she had a lot of fun, interactive things for the children to do.  We ate lunch at the museum, went to the planetarium for a show about the night sky, and when we came outside we were greeted with this beautiful snow!  It was the perfect light, fluffy snow typical of an early winter day in our area.  Grace and Dawson LOVED it.  Their smiles were ear-to-ear as they ran, climbed, twirled, and tried to catch snowflakes on their tongues!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pre-kindergarten elves

For the annual holiday show at Grace's school, her pre-kindergarten class recited a poem about Santa's elves who were overworked and ready for a beach vacation.  Grace was a little "out of it" because she wasn't feeling well, but she rallied for her solo part when she told the elves, "Everyone get back to work!"  

Some of the pre-K elves waiting their turn and watching the other classes. 
 Getting ready to perform.
They put their elf hats on by themselves...can you tell?
 My sick little elf.  
Grace's teacher told me that she didn't seem like herself this morning so she took her temperature.  I agreed and decided to take her home to rest.  But on the way home I got called with a crisis at work so Grace went with me.  She was very patient while I talked to students and parents about a fight.  But at one point she said, "Mommy, are you still thinking about taking me to the doctor?"  When I said I was thinking about it she pointed out that we have a doctor here.  I told her that was the school nurse and she said, "Well, maybe I can go see her and she can make me feel better."  Poor baby. But she did. Grace left my office, walked through the main office, a back office, and into the clinic on her own.  When I found her a few minutes later she was talking to the nurse about her runny nose and that her whole body hurts.  We went home to rest after that!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On the shelf...or in the basement?

Last year, Grace did not like our Elf on the Shelf, Christopher Pop-in-Kins. I think the whole idea of one of Santa's elves sneaking around, watching her, and reporting back to Santa was just a little too freaky. Plus, she wasn't allowed to touch him or he would lose his magic. This year, we are doing things a little differently. He is a bit more naughty and some nights will do something "bad" like pull all the toilet paper off the roll, make snow angels in flour spread on the counter, and have a snowball fight with her doll using mini marshmallows. Grace can touch him, play with him, and move him around. The only rule is that he is on the steps at night "so he can get back to the North Pole to check in with Santa". Really, it is just so I don't have to hunt for him when she goes to bed! I think the whole thing is teaching her some good lessons. One morning she told me she was going to tell Santa that Chris did something naughty but when I reminded her that would be tattling and asked if she wanted Chris to tell Santa on her, she changed her mind!

So, when a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer came to read the Elf on a Shelf story to her class and interviewed the kids, the whole concept was familiar to Grace. In this article (click to read it)she is quoted (near the end) along with some of her classmates. I have to laugh that they call her "a quiet girl with brown hair". She might be a little quiet at school, but she is NOT quiet at home!

Overall, I think Grace is a little skeptical of the elf. She asked me if he lives in the North Pole. Instead of answering her, I said, "is that where you think he lives?" She said, "I think maybe he lives in our basement." That stinker must have seen him in one of the boxes down there with the Christmas decorations!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Third time's a charm

I finally smartened up. For the third year we made a gingerbread house for Christmas, but this is the first time I bought the house already assembled. The first year, I didn't know you could buy them that way. I was just happy to get a kit so I didn't actually have to bake the walls. The second year, I couldn't find a pre-assembled house until after the holidays. But this year, I was ready. I knew where to go to get one and I was thrilled not to have to mix icing and prop walls up while they dry. It was much more fun to be able to concentrate on the fun part...decorating! Oh, yeah, and eating too much candy in the process!
Carefully making a pattern.
She loved squeezing the icing.
Almost finished.
Grace decided to add the snowman she
made at Dawon's house last night.
What a great finishing touch!