Sunday, June 30, 2013

But it's a dry heat

Everyone knows that Arizona is famous for its warm temperatures.  Some people thought we were crazy for visiting Scottsdale and Sedona at the end of June, but when you work in education you travel when you have vacation from school.  We don't mind the heat so much, but the truth is....it was VERY HOT.  Maybe the lack of humidity helped to some degree, but we were still sweating when we went for hikes and you couldn't walk on the tile around the pool without shoes.  I am pretty sure we could have cooked an egg on the pavement!
The view from our casita.
 Kyle and Grace were even featured on the local news channel when a reporter interviewed them about how they were handling the record-braking heat of 115 degrees!  After the interview, Kyle commented that they should have talked to a construction worker instead of a guest at a nice hotel sitting by the pool and sipping a cool drink.
We stayed at the Four Seasons and both agreed it was the nicest hotel we have ever been to.  We chose it for the 5-star rating but also for the kids amenities and the fact that the style of the hotel seemed to "fit" with the desert.  All the rooms are called "casitas" and are within three-story buildings.  I liked that the door to each room was on a different level so you didn't share an entry or balcony with anyone else.  Ours had mountain and city views, a fireplace, and was close to the pool, restaurants, and lobby - all helpful in the heat!
Many of the hotels in Scottsdale have kids' clubs but we liked the one at the Four Seasons because the Kids For all Seasons activities were included in the price of the room.  So we felt comfortable if Grace wanted to go over for a craft or a movie and not stay all day.  It turned out she liked it so much that she asked us to bring her back!   The Four Seasons also makes kids feel welcome by bringing them surprises on the first day.  Grace received this cute S'mores tray and in invitation to the club right after we arrived.  And later that night she got a juice box and trail mix as a snack before bed.  Each day there were free smoothies and snacks at the pool, too!
I'm going to prepare you now....I took over 100 photos in the five days we were in Arizona. At one point, Grace said, "Mom, I wish you didn't even have a camera".  We had a talk then about how someday she will want to see the photos of when she was six, but I was careful to take scenery and not overload on Grace photos.  Arizona is very different from Ohio, so there was a lot to photograph.

And, Grace, when you read this someday....mom is here, just behind the camera - not in front of it!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I think I am creating a monster

Grace got her first pedicure and manicure today to get ready for our vacation.  I love how this nail salon has special pedicure chairs for little girls.  The word must be out because there were a lot of moms and daughters there today.  And they are open on Sunday!
Grace chose blue sparkly polish for her toes and light pink sparkly polish for her nails.  I have to laugh at how she is sitting there with her strawberry smoothie and the iPad.  But, really, she isn't spoiled!

It was fun sharing this "girl time" with my girl!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tennis anyone?

Tennis lessons started this week.  Grace seems to like it.  She wants to practice every evening.  We love this cute Nike tennis dress our friends gave her!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Honey, I shrunk the dress

I remember Shrinky Dinks from when I was a kid but I haven't seen them in stores.  When Grace received this Shrinky Dink set as a present at her birthday party only the little girl who gave it to her knew anything about them.  She was very excited about giving it as a gift, so I figured it would be a cool project to do one day.
In the box were cardboard dolls, a fashion boutique display, colored pencils and about 50 assorted plastic pieces to color and then bake.  We had fun coloring them together and talking about all the fashions.  This was a great activity for Grace since coloring has not been "her thing".  But she really got into it and we colored many of the dresses, hats, shoes, etc.

Then it was time to bake them in a 350 degree oven for a couple of minutes.  We left the light on and watched the magic happen.  It was amazing to see everything come out about 1/3 of the size they were when they went into the oven!
Ever the performer, Grace made the boutique into a girl band performing on stage.  She loved this present.  I think I am going to find it online and buy a few as presents for upcoming parties.  It was a huge hit!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Alligator breath

On the first official day of (Grace's) summer break, Grace planned a puppet show called "The Island of Bad People".  She used her puppets and stuffed animals for several acts of this play that she said were different "versions" of the same story.


It turns out, only the alligator was a bad character.  The pirate kept looking for him and he kept chasing the other people.

Then Grace got a toothbrush and brused the alligator's teeth.  She said, "His breath is so bad, it'll kill you!"

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Daisy petals

Juliette Gordon Low, who was nicknamed "Daisy" started Girl Scouts in 1912.  Since then, millions of girls have participated in some form of Brownies, Girl Scouts, or Daisies (Daisy Scouts started in the 1980s for kindergarten and first grade girls).  Grace joined Daisy Scouts this January when an energetic group of four mothers from her school decided to take it on and introduce the entire year's curriculum in about 10 weeks!
Each time her troop met, we had a Petal Project to do for homework.  They were about respect, making friends, following rules, taking care of other people, caring for the environment, etc. When you completed a Petal Project you earned a colorful petal to be ironed on your shirt.  Grace also learned the Girl Scout Pledge and some of the "old" songs I remember from my days as a Brownie and Girl Scout.  "Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other is gold. "
With Kendall who lives on our street.
They were looking at the note on the present all the girls received.  
All the kindergarten girls who will still be Daisies for another year.

Today the parents were invited to the end of year party and the "bridging ceremony" where the first graders become Brownies. 


All the girls received certificates, little vases with (what else?) Daisies in them, and pins for their shirts.  This troop decided to make blue T-shirts with the Daisy petals on them instead of buying uniforms or vests.  They turned out cute!

These are the Daisy Scouts from Mrs. Peterson's kindergarten class:  Vasilia, Brooklyn, Makenna, and Grace. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

First and last

Here is Grace on the first day of kindergarten this school year - just about 9 months ago.
And here she is today, with only 3 days of kindergarten left to go.

I don't know...can you see much of a difference?  She really has grown so much this school year in height, but she is also more mature.  Grace has a incredible vocabulary for a 6-year old, a natural curiosity about the world, her reading has taken off, and she will declare over and over that math is her favorite subject in school.  Our babysitter, who is a first grade teacher, told us last night that she is ready for first grade.  Grace may be....but I am not sure I am!


Lately, my sweet little girl is into "big kid"things like Monster High, the Voice, cheerleading, the movie High School Musical...all of which are accessible since she has figured out how to use the THREE remote controls to turn the TV on and choose the channel and program she wants.
Here she is playing around in the backyard this evening.







Grace had an entire singing, dance, and acrobatic routine for me to watch and she kept asking if I was videotaping it.  Which I wasn't....but I was photographing every move!