Sunday, July 31, 2011

Under the stars

We were happy to end a busy week (back to school and back to work) with an outdoor movie night that Kellie hosted at her house. Dawson and Grace had a great time playing on the jungle gym as the sun went down.
eventually settled down for the movie Rio, side-by-side in their matching sleeping bags.
The weather was perfect for an evening outdoors. Unfortunately, the mosquitos thought so too so we had to move the party inside for the last hour of movie-watching. No one seemed to mind, though!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

End of vacation

Although according to the calendar there is still a lot of summer left, for us summer vacation is almost over. I have been telling (preparing) Grace for the last few days by reminding her that on Monday she will be going back to school every day. The other night she told me, "I like vacation better." Yeah, I am pretty sure everyone feels that way.
I read an article the other day about a woman who makes a "summer jar" sometime in the spring. She fills the jar with ideas of things to do on those lazy summer days when her kids declare that they are bored. They choose something from the jar in the morning and set out on an adventure that day based on what the card says - visit a new park, play miniature golf, take a nature walk...

I can honestly say, our summer has been full and I don't think there was a day any of us felt bored. We all wish we had more lazy summer days to do whatever we want without worrying about work, alarm clocks, meeting deadlines, answering calls and email....

So far this summer we:
  • explored San Francisco for 5 days,
  • swam in the pool too many times to count,
  • participated in 3 weeks of swimming lessons where Grace learned to float, flutter kick, and use her arms in a front crawl,
  • saw the elephants at the Cleveland Zoo,
  • rode the train and the carousel at the Akron Zoo,
  • saw Cars 2 and Winnie the Pooh movies,
  • listened to the orchestra at an outdoor concert,
  • watched fireworks,
  • went to an Indians game,
  • rode our bikes on the bike and hike trail,
  • went to birthday parties for Dawson and Elijah,
  • learned cheers at gymnastics camp,
  • touched an alligator, snake, and chinchilla with Jungle Terry,
  • played in the pool and playhouse on our deck,
  • cooked dinner outside on the grill,
  • made smoothies with fresh fruit from the farmers' market, and a bunch of other things I can't remember right now.
It has been a lot of fun but we are not done yet.....we may be going back to school and work, but we are going to squeeze every bit of warm sunshine out of this summer because this kind of weather is just around the corner!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Live, learn, and move on

This blog has been a labor of love from Day 1. I can't just let it go. So, I decided to try to stay current with our lives AND try to go back and recreate at least the photos for 2011. That is 87 posts with photos. I have no idea how long it will take me, but I figure I can find time to do a few each week, maybe even one per day.

In the "moving on" category....We had a fun playdate with my friend Carla and her son, Ryan, who is 2 1/2 months older than Grace. Grace and Ryan got along really well and did a fantastic job walking all day in the hot summer sun. (Carla and I refused to pick them up so it was "walk or we go home!").
We went to the Cleveland Zoo to see their new African elephant exhibit, which has been getting great reviews. It was really well done and, unlike some of my friends who have gone recently and only saw one elephant, we saw five!
Ryan was a master with the zoo map. He can't read yet but the little photo icons helped him point out which animals we needed to see next. His sense of direction was amazing. A few times he corrected the adults about where a certain animal was and at the end he informed us (correctly!) that we missed three animals!
Grace tried reading the map, too!
I photographed some of my favorites....giraffes and the polar bear.
But this little "wild thing" will always be my number 1!
Before we left, Grace and Ryan rode a camel. She said it was a bumpy ride and their smiles and giggles as the camel walked around were priceless

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I made a huge mistake

Grace trying out some kangaroo ears at the Cleveland Zoo.
If you are here looking for pictures of Grace and updates on our lives, you will probably not see any for a while. I made a huge mistake. In an effort to "clean house" and close out everything associated with my old job as I transition to the new one, I closed a Google account. I had been using that account as my sign-in for Blogger. Before I closed the account I established a new one and changed my Blogger login to that account. BUT.....and here is the mistake.....I didn't know Blogger stores all the photos on the blog in a Picasa account associated with Google. When I closed the Google account I lost all the photos in this blog. 609 entires and probably thousands of photos. They are not really "lost". I have everything backed up on disk and all the 2011 photos are stored in my computer. They are just lost to the blog. The Google account is not recoverable. I checked and there are a lot of people out there who did the same thing and lost it all too. The only thing I can do is go back to each entry and reload the photos ONE BY ONE. I just can't imagine the enormity of doing that and I am not sure if I should. At the end of every year, I had a book printed for that year of the blog (thank goodness I did that!). I am at the point right now of trying to decide if I am going to close the blog or go back and upload just the photos for the 7 months of 2011. Even that seems overwhelming. My goal would be to do that so I can have the 2011 book made and then in January 2012 maybe close this blog permanently.

Maybe I'll start a new one then. Who knows? Right now I just want to cry.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer shower splash

What a fun way to spend a summer evening - splashing in the puddles during a rain shower.
Lately, Grace has preferred to hang around the house in just her underwear. So when the rain started she grabbed her raincoat (now more of a rain jacket!), her boots, and this little golf club umbrella that Kyle had and went right out to the deck for a little mid-summer splash!
I stayed where it was dry taking pictures! But it DID look like fun.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A little house cleaning

Several weeks ago, Grace got stung by a wasp who was making a nest in her playhouse. We had a service come out - twice - to spray for bees and wasps (we also had a carpenter bee situation in the deck) but she has been afraid to play in the house. Today, we got out the hose, sponges, scrub brushes, and soap and cleaned the house from top to bottom.
Grace seems really happy to play in her house again. And I actually think I might be able to lay on the lounge chair and read a magazine while she plays

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Go fly a kite!

You have seen our photos from San Francisco so you know the wind was a constant part of the atmosphere. On the last day we bought a kite from a shop right at the pier and took it to a small beach to fly it.
Wouldn't you know, the one place we chose was sheltered from the wind so flying the "easy fly" kite was more of a challenge than it should have been! But Kyle has experience flying kites as a kid and he was determined to make it fly for Grace.
Grace also noticed the people (in wet suits!) swimming laps in the water, so she took off her shoes, pulled up her leggings, and rolled up her sleeves so she could get a little time in the water too. The swimmers said the water temperature was about 55 degrees but it didn't seem to bother Grace one bit!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What do you want to do today, Grace?

First, let me say "Happy Birthday" to my dad. We love you, Ba!

The one thing Grace kept asking to do in San Fransisco was to go on a boat ride. That seemed like a great choice for a place that has water everywhere! And, finally on Thursday the weather was perfect for a boat excursion to Sausalito.

The 30 minute ferry ride took us into the bay, past Alcatraz on one side and the Golden Gate bridge on the other.
Grace led us up to the very top of the ferry (are you noticing a pattern here?) where the sun kissed our cheeks and the wind blew our hair.
Our first close-up views of Sausalito again reminded me of southern Italy with the houses tucked into the side of the hill. I am guessing the real estate here is about as expensive as that on the Amalfi Coast and the owners are in good shape from carrying groceries up to their homes, just like in Capri.
Grace and I watched the sailing school (you can see the little sailboats in the foreground of this photo) taking place in the harbor as our ferry docked. All along the "bridgeway" there were cute shops, cafes, and galleries that were perfect for window shopping.
We walked along the rocks looking for crabs that were sunning themselves. They scurried to hide in the crevices when we approached. Some of the bigger ones were more bold and remained in view so we could watch them scrape moss from the rock surface and eat it! Cool!
On the ride back we were all tired from another busy day so we relaxed inside for most of the ride. Those cushioned benches were great for a short nap as we approached the city once again.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cable cars

One of the traditional ways to get around San Francisco is on its cable cars. They are the best way to navigate the hills as the cars are pulled along the hilly tracks by an underground cable. We waited in the long line near Fisherman's Wharf to board the famous Powell-Hyde line that takes you past Lombard Street and over Nob Hill to Union Square.
As you can imagine, the cable car was crowded with tourists and locals but our seats at the back allowed for some nice views of the bay as we climbed the hill.
Grace watched some girls hanging from the side of the car so when it stopped she wanted to try that too!
I found out that there was a zip-line at the end of Market Street - a promotion by British Airways to entice people to fly to their tropical destinations where you can zip-line in the rainforest. This is one of the things on my bucket list so I was really excited to try it. But when we got there they were just training workers and said it wasn't opening until Saturday. The woman was NOT moved when I pleaded with her to let me ride since we were leaving on Friday.

You can see the orange zip-line sign in this photo.
One fun part of the day was meeting up with my cousin Greg for dinner and a visit to Washington Park. He works in San Francisco at a company called Drop Box. It was nice to see him after such a long time!