Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Vino VanGogh

While in Florida we had a "girl painting party" with Nana at a place called Vino Van Gogh.

These paint studios seem to be opening all over.  When we arrived, we looked at all the painting samples on the walls and then chose our spots close to the instructor.

The tables had white butcher paper and a blank canvas for each person.  We were directed to the back where the paint colors were set out and we pumped the colors we would need onto our palette.  Then it was time to start creating our own version of Van Gogh's "Water Lilies".
The instructor told us which brush to use, how to mix our colors (we did this right on the paper on the tables), and what to do for each step starting with the background.

There were about 10 people in the class and it was interesting to see how everyone's painting was a little different.
Our three paintings ended up looking like this:
Can you guess which painting belongs to each of us?

If not, this will help:

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sand or snow?

Given the choice, I will choose the sand every time!  Luckily, we get to spend part of our Christmas break here:

...with Nana and Ba!

But all good things must come to an end.  We are back in Ohio now where it is 21 degrees!  Brrrrr....  I prefer to think warm thoughts....
...and remember how my toes felt in the sand just a few hours ago.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Three things for Christmas

We open our Christmas presents on Christmas Eve morning, spend Christmas Eve with Kyle's family, and then visit the Brennan/Marino clan on Christmas Day.  This year Christmas ended up being about three things that define Grace in 2013 - music, art, and dolls.
My favorite photo from this morning!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sledding fun

When you live on a hill there is no need to go somewhere for sledding.  But you do need a helper (in this case Daddy!) to stand at the bottom so no one goes into the lake!
Our friend, Dawson, came over on Sunday to play. The girls had a great time just being girls together.  And, they were brave enough to go out in the snow for a little winter fun.  I, on the other hand, stayed out there long enough to snap a handful of photos.  Then, I got the hot chocolate ready for the two snow bunnies!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The eagle came back!

I hope this becomes a regular occurrence!  It must be looking for food. Unfortunately, I didn't see it catch a fish.  Kyle wants to put fish on our deck to lure it back.  My answer to that is "no way".  We would end up attracting raccoons and cats instead!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Building bicycles

For the last few years, Kyle's soccer team has been volunteering for an organization called "Elves and More".  This non-profit group builds bicycles of all shapes and sizes and then on a weekend before Christmas, they drive a truck to an underprivileged neighborhood to donate them to children in need.  When you read their website, you find out that a lot of research goes into choosing the neighborhood who will receive the donations, like there needs to be a YMCA or community center that children can ride their new bikes to for classes, outreach, and adult support.  This year, Kyle and I thought Grace was old enough to go so we made this a family outing to volunteer our time.
We all woke up early, threw clothes on, and drove to a warehouse in Akron. The organization keeps all the details of the bike build and distribution a secret. You receive an email a few days before with the location and time to show up.  They sign you in, give you a free T-shirt, and you choose a table to do your building.
Kyle did all the building and Grace and I busied ourselves by unpacking the bikes from their boxes and collecting caps to put back on the tires once they were inflated.

Once the 350 helpers started completing bikes they needed help moving the bikes to Quality Control (where they inspect them to make sure they are safe), adding tags, and then putting them in the storage area where the bikes were lined up to be loaded on the trucks.  Kyle and I were both pleased that Grace kept busy and worked most of 4 hours we were there.
Counting bikes

We were happy to be a part of building 1,300 bikes that will be delivered to two Akron neighborhoods simultaneously next weekend.

I think we have a new Christmas tradition!