Sunday, April 28, 2013

Raccoon run

The major fundraiser of Grace's school PTA is a 5K race and and 1-mile Fun Run.  We ventured out early this morning - just girls - to check it out and for Grace to participate in the Fun Run.

This was what Grace looked like before the race. For the Fun Run the kids were encouraged to choose their own bib number and to decorate it any way they wanted. Grace chose a rainbow and raccoon paw stamps.
Rocky the Raccoon was there to cheer everyone on!

Right before the start of the 1-mile Fun Run it started to rain and get a little chilly....but that didn't stop the kids.  On your mark, get set....GO!
At the half-way mark Grace was running strong!  She told me she ran the entire way.  (I wasn't allowed to run with her.  She wanted to run with her friends from school.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


This is how Grace likes to do her homework - ON the dining room table!
Whatever works!  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

International composition festival

The end of February marked one year that Grace has been taking music lessons. Her teacher, Ms. Nancy, is a former elementary music teacher who now is one of the few teachers in Ohio that participate in Music For Young Children.   MYC currently has more than 24,000 students annually, 900 teachers, and is taught on 3 continents.  Their curriculum is very structured and comprehensive, exposing children to singing, listening, rhythm ensembles, keyboard instruction, reading music, conducting, and composition.  In the 1-hour class each week, Ms. Nancy changes activities every few minutes to keep her four students (all 5-6 years old) engaged and interested.
In March, all of Ms. Nancy's MYC students (she teaches several MYC classes of different levels as well as private piano students) were invited (okay, told) to compose a song to be submitted to the MYC International Composition Festival.  This was DIFFICULT.  Kyle and I have no music background so what we know has come from going to music class with Grace.  He goes with her every Saturday and I just fill in when he has something else going on.  So, we didn't have any experience to draw on to help Grace with this task.
One day in the car, Grace and I came up with the rainbow after the rain idea and some basic words to a song, and then Kyle took it from there.  This is what her song looked like when it was submitted to the contest. 
Her song was sent to MYC in Canada where she competed with other students from the United States in her level class (called Sunshine II).  Overall, 9,500 students from 8 countries submitted pieces.  They were put into groups based on regions and the level of students.  The regional 1st place winner for each group was then judged internationally.  The judges spent weeks playing the music submitted by children from around the globe.

We were AMAZED to find out that Grace's piece won 4th place in her level and region!  She (and Kyle) did a fantastic job together.  (I looked up the international winners for Grace's class level and her song wasn't that different. Mostly they were longer and a little more complicated.)

A friend who is a music teacher posted this on Facebook a few weeks ago:
The same can be said for why children should study music.  Admittedly, some days it is a struggle to get her to practice, but, overall, I know Grace is getting so much out of it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dance the night away

Grace school called tonight's father-daughter dance a "Red Carpet Gala".

Those  of us who were not invited - aka "the moms" - are sitting at home wondering what is going on at the dance.  Well, okay, I am sitting at home....I am sure there are other moms who are shopping, getting their nails done, or out for a Friday evening cocktail!

Grace was extremely excited to get dressed up to go to the dance with Kyle.  She asked for a little makeup, a special bracelet, and some perfume.  Cute!

Grace was in such a good mood that she even chose to pose for photos! I tried to keep her busy while she waited for her "date to get ready" by interviewing her about things that interested her.  In the photo below she was telling me about alligators!
And, we played a little bit of "Tag".
The house is quiet with them gone and I can't wait to hear all about their special evening when they get back!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

An evening of fine art

We attended the fine arts show at Grace's school this evening.  It was interesting to see the differences in the artwork from kindergarten to fourth grade, but to be honest, all I cared about was seeing the three pieces Grace had on display.
Pointing to her rainbow made from crayon and watercolor paint.

Grace's school creates portfolios of students' math, writing, and art which are sent home on the last day of school.  So, we haven't seen ANY of her work from this school year....until tonight!
This is supposed to be a bird.  To me it looks like a lion inside a cornucopia!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Short sleeves and roller skates

Forget spring cleaning and yard work.  We went to the park and played outside instead!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Back in 1759 a 12-year old girl named Mary Campbell was kidnapped from her home in western Pennsylvania by Native Americans who took her to Ohio.  She lived with them in an area near our house for about 5 years until she was eventually returned to her family in 1764.
We took a walk this afternoon along the gorge trail to Mary Campbell Cave.  It is hard to imagine how she lived in this spot for 5 years, but at the same time, you can understand why the Native Americans settled here.  There are fish in the river, other animals to hunt (back in those days), and a good vantage spot to see if anyone was coming.  

Mary Campbell Cave is more like a rocky overhang than a true cave.  But it probably provided the shelter they needed to sleep and cook.  It overlooks the river and could provide a good hiding place when the trees are full of leaves.  

One of the great parts of this trail is the man-made waterfall that used to provide power to the local area.  Kyle said that, like many of the dams and waterfalls on the Cuyahoga River, there are plans to take this down and restore this part of the river to its original state.  I suppose that is best for the environment, but  the waterfall brings a lot of visitors to this walking path.  There were tons of people - and dogs- out today!

The signs say that the trails are "primitive" in some areas that we walked. Grace kept asking about that but the tree roots and rocks sticking up were enough evidence that you need to be very careful as you walk - or run!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Jumping for joy!

There are a lot of reasons to "jump for joy" about our spring break trip to Florida.  We got to see family, the weather was perfect, and Grace boogie boarded at the beach and swam in the pool at every opportunity!
Our trip included Easter dinner at Nana and Ba's house followed the next day by a trip to the Palm Beach Zoo.
Grace and Nana pointed the way and checked their map to make sure we saw the all coolest animals and didn't miss the animal show.
We learned all about porcupines, guinea fowl, alligators, and many other animals that are not native to Ohio.  Grace was so brave and even touched a snake!

For years we have been saying we were going to the shark feeding at the Sandoway House.  Built in 1936, the Sandoway House is now a nature center dedicated to educating visitors about Florida's fragile marine and freshwater environments.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places and houses a world-class shell exhibit on the second floor.  We finally got to see them feed the three nurse sharks and were startled at the funny sucking noise they make when they come to the surface to eat the fish and shrimp offered by the Sandoway worker. Once again, my Grace was very brave and asked if she could feed them! Aunt Phyllis knew all about the fish in the tank and on display inside.
Del Ray beach is just north of where my parents have their condo but compared to their beach, it is worlds away.  Del Ray has a lot more action and was a great place to play in the sand and surf.
 Grace started out a little hesitant since she is not a big fan of salt water.  But the fun of jumping, playing, and boogie boarding in the waves soon won her over.  The entire trip home she kept saying the ocean was her favorite part of the trip!

 I don't have any boogie boarding photos since I was in the ocean helping Grace catch the waves!