Thursday, March 31, 2016

After school playdate

Third grade has been challenging.  I hear the same from other moms of 3rd graders - suddenly the academics get harder and the kids (especially girls) are trying to figure out the whole "social" aspect of being a bigger kid.

We are happy that Grace has a few friends she can count on at school and in the neighborhood.  And, we try to encourage some new friendships where we can.  Grace tends to be quieter and more reserved when she is unsure of herself.  So, having friends come to our house makes it easier for Grace to relax and be herself.

By the was too cold to be in the lake.  I let them wade in on the "beach" (that is covered in water) but they really wanted to put their bathing suits on! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spy Science

I often wonder what Grace will do for a career when she grows up.  If you ask her, she will say she wants to be a prima ballerina.  Being a pianist is her back-up plan.  I told her what my dad always told me, "Get a good education.  Get a good job.  And you can be anything you want."

We recently discovered some things about Grace's vision that are causing traditional school tasks (like reading and copying from the board) to be more challenging than they might be for other children.  That story is for another post -maybe some day if we can resolve the problem - mostly because some of the theories of "why" this all happened make my blood boil.  If we can fix her visual perception and processing issues, maybe then, I will be able to blog about it as a rational person and not a "mama bear" who is left wondering what happened 8+ years ago in foster care.

One of the things I love about Grace is her curiosity about the world.  She doesn't love to read, but when she does you will find her with an almanac, National Geographic, or Ripley's Believe it or Not. Sometimes, I think it is because reading an entire novel seems overwhelming to her.  But most of the time, I know it is just due to her natural curiosity about how things work.  I think we might have a scientist here....or some career that is related to science like a nurse or marine biologist.

So, when the Easter Bunny brought this science kit, I expected it would be a hit.  It turned out to be a fun morning of drawing treasure maps, testing pH, extracting DNA, and solving a mystery of stolen treasure.

 We learned that every living thing has DNA and we were able to extract DNA fibers from a strawberry.  Can you see them in the test tube?

We are both excited about figuring out the second mystery in the kit...something to do with fingerprints and stolen cookies!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Viaduct Park

Some people go to church on Easter Sunday - we go on a hike.  Pretty sure God is there, too. 

Between 1931-1913 the power of the water from these falls was harnessed for a saw mill, grist mill, and electric power plant.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dashing for Easter eggs

We went to Fred Fuller Park in Kent for an Easter egg "hunt" this afternoon.  After the Easter Bunny arrived on a city fire truck, the children were divided by age to dash out into the fields to gather their eggs.

Grace invited her friend, Jacob, to go with us.  He is in her class and lives in our neighborhood.  They seem to get along and have fun together, and since they are both only children it is nice to have someone to hang out with.

They said they had 5,000 eggs which were divided into different sections based on children's ages. Grace and Jacob are somewhere out there in the group of 7-9 year olds!

Then, they checked to see what treasures they got.

Friday, March 25, 2016

You're 'kiln" me

We spent a girls' day painting pottery at The Kiln in Brecksville.  It was a "good" Friday.

And then we went to eat at a place called Burger Fresh - so we were BFFs - Burger Fresh Friends!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Rainbow eggs

Kyle and Grace bought a new type of Easter egg coloring kit.  You put the egg and dye in a plastic bag and "smoosh" them around.  The colors came out AMAZING!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A little bit of silliness

In a photo booth at the mall!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

"Gotcha" and I am never letting you go

Eight years ago today, Grace was officially ours in Guatemala.  We picked up a 9 1/2 month old baby, moved to a different hotel, and started being a "forever family".

We don't make a big deal of this day other than to remind Grace how much she is loved - by her first family, by her foster family, and by her forever family.  I told her "I gotcha and I am never letting you go" as I hugged her a lot this morning.  The stories of other adoptive families remind me to tread carefully around this day.  I try to see what Grace wants to talk about and let her take the lead.

This morning Grace looked through the album of photos from the first year.  It is full of photos from the adoption agency that kept me going from month to month while we were waiting.  Since Grace can read now, she read some of the entries on the pages aloud to me and asked me questions.  Today, she compared her almost 9-year old hands and feet to the prints my mom and I made when she was 4 months old and I told her the story of how she cried when we painted her feet.  I told her she didn't like it one bit but we did it anyway and now we can remember how tiny she was.

Early March in Northeast Ohio is grey.  Today is a perfect example...yuck!

Today was also Grace's third year participating in the Ohio Music Teachers Association Ribbon Festival.  She memorizes a piece of music - this year it was "Rainbow Song"  - and then plays it for a judge without looking at the music.

Grace has been practicing a lot, so we were not worried about how she would do.  Her piano teacher uses the feedback to plan what areas Grace needs to work on for the coming year.  She was very brave going into a room alone with two judges.  Kyle and I both admitted we couldn't do that when we were eight!

After she played for the judges, Grace found a room at the Steinway dealership where the digital pianos had headphones attached to them.  She was like Goldilocks, moving from piano to piano to try them out!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Girls at the Auto Show

One of Kyle's birthday presents was a visit to the Cleveland Auto Show at the IX Center.  I was really pleased when I found out (after giving him the tickets) that he had never been there before.  It made the gift ever better in my eyes since it was a new experience for all of us.

The first week of March includes my birthday, Kyle's birthday, and Mimi's birthday, so we all went together to celebrate each other.

Grace and I took a ride on the Ferris Wheel while Kyle and his mom used the VIP tickets to look at some classic cars that were going to be auctioned later in the day.

There was a 1950 Harley Davidson motorcycle and about 70 cars planned for the auction.  We didn't stay for the entire auction but the part we saw was very interesting.

The girls kept busy by buying super absorbent chamois cloths (we are all suckers for infomercials!), looking a jewelry, and eating ice cream.  We did look at some cars, too.  Grace seemed to love the Cadillac Escalade the best.  Good taste!  She demonstrated THIS car because it matched her outfit.

Another fun thing was the Jeep course.  It is pretty amazing what those cars can do!

Here is the photo from inside the Jeep!  We were both happy to get to ride the Wrangler.

And Grace got to DRIVE this one...maybe she will get a real one when she is 16!