Friday, July 27, 2012

Under the umbrella

This photo that Kellie took tonight HAS to be called "Singing in the Rain".  That's what our two crazy girls were doing while we were waiting for the storm to decide if it was going to come or not.  We didn't get to see the ballet in the park like we planned, but we had just as much fun playing in the rain showers!
Singing in the rain

Thursday, July 19, 2012

NYC Horses

Grace still has a love affair with horses every time she sees one.  Not being a "horse person" myself, I haven't pursued lessons, although I don't mind exposing her to the experience of riding when there is an opportunity. Our New York horse experiences were both traditional and unexpected.

On our first day after seeing the movie Brave, Grace didn't want to go back to Nana and Ba's "hotel" so we stayed on the bus and went to Times Square where we saw some of New York's Finest mounted police.
As usual for our visits to the Big Apple, we walk near and in Central Park so that means we see the horse and carriage rides lined up along Central Park South.  

Every time we walk by Grace goes up to each horse and says "Hello" (this time she was saying, "Hello, Mate!").  She took several photos of her favorite ones, too!
Sometimes I think Grace is a horse whisperer.
She and Sophia looked right at each other and then
they both started stomping their feet!

Another traditional "horse" experience took place at Le Carousel in Bryant Park.  It was a small but beautiful carousel and a great way to get out of the heat and direct sun while we were waiting for the Broadway shows to begin.  Grace is never one to turn down a ride on the merry-go-round!

Right after this ride, we returned to our picnic area near the stage.  And a few minutes later.....
Joey came out!  Joey is one of the horses from the War Horse musical at Lincoln Center.  It is a life-size puppet that three men operate.  Two are inside and one walks along as the handler and maneuvers its head.  It was the most interesting and unique thing I have seen in a very long time.  Grace was fascinated because it looked like a horse walking and galloping in the park.  She and my mother followed Joey so she could get a better look and when she came back she explained to me that it is a puppet with people inside.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Is Eloise home?

How many little girls over the years have gone to the Plaza and asked that question?  I suppose it might have been more thrilling back in the day when the Plaza was still a hotel and you could enter the grand lobby and talk to the Concierge who would be able to show you her shoes.  Now, the Plaza is private residences (funny how that worked Eloise really COULD live in an apartment there!) and what is left is a perfectly pinkalicious store on the lower level.  Still cute...just not the same.
Since Eloise wasn't home, Grace went to the tea room to write her a note.  We put it in Eloise's mailbox and they said she would write back when she returns from vacation.
In Eloise's dressing room, Grace sat right down at the piano and started to play "Lizzy's Cat".  That was cool.  She also chose a baseball cap as a souvenir and wore it everywhere we went for the rest of the NYC trip!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

If I can make it here....

Ahhh, New York, New York.  It is home for me even though I haven't lived there in years.  going back is always a homecoming.  There is nothing better than seeing my parents.  But, I also get to share my favorite parts of New York with Grace.   It is incredible to experience the mundane - taxi rides, the bus, and street fairs, and the new - Broadway in Bryant Park and Eloise at the Plaza - with my special girl.  I know she is falling in love with the Big Apple.  She looked out the window of the plane and said "Goodbye New York.  We'll be back soon" and the first thing she told Kyle in the car was "I love New York".  Nana would be happy.
The view from my parents' building. 
For her 5th birthday Grace asked my parents to get her a camera. You would think she is a little young for a "real" camera but she really does a great job with her photos.  So, for this post, I thought I would use some of Grace's best shots to show New York through her eyes.  

Everything from this point forward is from Grace's camera!

Nana kept telling Grace to look up.  So she has a lot of
photos of the tall NYC skyscrapers!
The Empire State Building taken from Bryant Park.
Grace is like the Horse Whisperer.
She LOVES the horse and carriage ride and
talked to all the horses along Central Park South.
Grace loves looking at the street fair booths. 
Do you know who lives at the Plaza?  Eloise!
We went to see her "apartment".
(This was taken from the moving horse and carriage!)
Sophia the horse who took us on a ride.
Notice Ba in the background.
Nana and Ba.  They are laughing because
Grace posed them and then told them to say
"monkey butt" instead of "cheese". 
Spiderman was everywhere because of the new 
movie and the Broadway play.
Posing Mommy and Nana. 
I love the perspective of a typical NYC street. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Busy with bugs

We opened our second Kiwi Crate yesterday (a birthday gift from Aunt Nancy and Uncle Chris) and the theme was "Busy with Bugs". Inside we found two fun activities about insects.  We chose to do the bug paintings and leave the glowing firefly on a zipline (How cool does that sound?) for another day.
Before painting, Grace and I looked at the enclosed cards that had illustrations of common insects like bees, ladybugs, caterpillars, and butterflies with interesting facts about each one.  Most important was how many segments and legs each had in their body and special color markings that helped us make our sponge painting creations.
Grace liked how the flat boards turned into sponges
when we dropped them in water.  Then we looked at
each shape to decide how we could use it as part of insect art.
The kit came with red, yellow, blue, and black paint so we mixed those colors to create more variety and ended up with green, purple, and orange to go along with the original four.  Then Grace decided on a plan and set out to work.   Shhh....don't tell Aunt Nancy but this is going to become her birthday card!

They give you plenty of supplies to make three pieces of art, but Grace got even more creative and painted her car!
The funny thing is that she asked first and made sure that if she painted it we would be able to wash the paint off to make the car red again. I think it is great that she wanted to experiment to see what would happen!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A relaxing ride

This week we accomplished Summer Fun Jar activities #13:  Go to the library and #14: Take a boat ride.  My plan for today was to visit a nearby metro park where you can rent canoes but then Grace's friend Camryn came by this morning and asked if she could go on their new pedal boat on our lake.   They surprised me when they came by our house and started throwing bread to the geese!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Beating the heat

Record-breaking heat means we have spent a lot of time at the pool the last two days!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ahhhh summer!

No other words needed....
Okay, maybe a few more words....When you are playing with 5 boys and the sprinkler turns into a machine gun, you need some eye protection.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


At lunch yesterday I asked Grace if she knew whose birthday we were going to celebrate on July 4th.  We then talked about how it is America's birthday.  The conversation went something like this:

It is America's birthday.
So, we are celebrating America.
Well, a long time ago another country called England owned America.  It made the rules for the people who lived here.  But they wanted to make their own rules so they had a big fight - a war - and they won.  We call it Independence Day.
What is "independence"?
It is when you can make decisions for yourself.  You can make your own rules.
Yeah, I want that!
Then Kyle jumped in....

Before you can have independence you need a job.  What kind of job can you do?
I clean the toilets.
(Me) You do?  When do you do that?
Oh, wait a minute.  I don't clean anything.
 Full manual mode.  It was dark but
experimenting with shutter speed and aperture
helped me take these two photos. 
This goes along perfectly with what she said the other night....Grace was playing outside on her bike and rode up to us.  With her magic wand she said, "Magic, magic make my parents disappear."  We asked her what she would do if we disappear.  Her answer?  Make my own rules. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My favorite Japanese word

My favorite word in Japanese is "hanabi", the word for "fireworks".  Literally, it means "fire flower", which, if you think about it, is a great description of what fireworks look like.
Playing with the manual setting 
on my camera without a tripod.

Fireworks define summer for me.  They are just like watermelon.  And peaches.  And skin that is just a little too warm from a long day in the sun.  Without them, summer wouldn't be the same. 
I especially love when you are driving somewhere and suddenly you see fireworks in the distance.  Those unplanned fireworks displays are like a little unexpected present that just makes you pause to enjoy the moment.  But, since you can't count on those moments, I always try to plan at least one time to see summer fireworks.  

Tonight we took Grace to the Akron Aeros baseball game (SFJ #11) because they had a fireworks display afterward (SFJ #12).  
It was a very long game, but they had many things to occupy our time like an inflatable slide, and artist doing portraits, Orbit the mascot, and Spiderman!

We had a really fun night and Grace stayed up well past her bedtime...but that is what summer vacation is for!