Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Double digits

On May 23 at 7:10pm a chubby baby was born in Mixco, Guatemala.  I had not idea then that she would turn out to be such a sweet, kind, funny and creative girl.  Grace brings sunshine and excitement to our lives. She reminds me not to take things too seriously. She lives and loves fiercely with her whole heart. Grace is brave - continually tackling her fears head on and doing things I would never have tried at her age. I love how curious and thoughtful she is about the world while still maintaining her innocence.

Grace, my baby, I love you....more.  And, yes, it IS possible.

Happy 10th birthday, sweet girl!

Monday, May 15, 2017

4th grade farewell

I know every parent feels this way, but I am really not sure where the time has gone.  How is it that the little baby we waited for, met in Guatemala, and brought home on a snowy day in March is now about to be 10 years old and is almost done with 4th grade?  It seems like it all happened so quickly. Those 9+ years are a series of snapshots, isolated memories and events that string together among our ordinary days.

Grace has been in the same school, with most of the same 75 students since kindergarten.  After 5 years together...the day the entire 4th grade looks forward to - 4th grade farewell - a day-long celebration at a park.  From the photos it looked like Woodstock or Lollapalooza with 4th graders playing games like tug-o-war, singing 'Sweet Caroline" at the top of their lungs, and throwing water balloons.

The 4th grade teachers (and some brave parent chaperones) cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill for these hungry kids.

As you can see, the Class of 2025 photo frame was a big hit.

It seemed like a really fun (wet, muddy) day and a great way to add memories to an already memorable school year.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Living history

Hale Farm and Village is a working farm that depicts what life might have been like in the 1800s in Northeast Ohio.  They have sheep, oxen, pigs, and chickens as well as historical buildings and people demonstrating things like glass blowing, candle making, pottery, and spinning wool.

In 4th grade, students learn about Ohio history, dating back to the Native American tribes that lived here and eventually lost their land to the early settlers.  Grace's class took a field trip to Hale Farm today.

It was a cold, wet day for May but the weather in Northeast Ohio is unpredictable in spring.  These kids (Ava, Nick, Grace, and Kylie) were smart and dressed for the weather!

Grace said the best part of the trip was when they got to see the ox, how wool is made, and glass blowing.  She learned that the glass needs to be really hot ("like lava") and it is on a really long stick.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

And the craziness continues...

I really don't get what crazy hair day has to do with school spirit.  Or crazy sock day.  Or favorite sports day unless your favorite team is from your school.  But every year, at every school, the kids get into Spirit Week.

The night before Crazy Hair Day, Grace and I searched Pinterest for something different to do with her hair.  We agreed that a bird's nest was something we could handle, as I am not the greatest hair stylist.  This is what it looked like:

But, Grace was worried that is might be TOO crazy.  So we took it out and she went with this style. Still cute and she went off to school a much happier little girl!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

4th grade selfie

Spirit Week continued with a "sports day selfie".

Monday, April 24, 2017

Silly socks

This is how 4th graders do silly sock day at school!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The elusive Unicorn

In a marketing miracle, Starbucks created a Unicorn Frappuccino that was only available for a week.  Of course, we needed to get on the bandwagon with everyone else and go check it out.  Yes, it was a sweet and syrupy as it looks!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Cuyahoga River lunch

Spring weather in Ohio is unpredictable.  It can be cold and cloudy one minute and 80 and sunny the next.  Which is how today has been.  We took a chance, though, and sat outside for lunch at a restaurant on the Cuyahoga River where we were treated to a great view of water rushing over the rocks below.

It was a nice opportunity to have Easter lunch with Mimi!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Fishcreek's got talent

Next Friday, April 21 the 4th graders at Grace's school have the opportunity to participate in auditions for the school's talent show.  According to Grace, the three 4th grade teachers are going to be the judges and they have a gong if they don't like the performance.  Hmmmmm....

So, some of the 4th graders (okay, probably most of them since they all think they are STARS) signed up for the audition.  Grace said she and Charlie are going to do a piano duet of the song "Tooth Fairy" so Charlie came over  this morning to give them a chance to practice outside of school.  I was really impressed how they worked together to come up with a plan.

Later, Grace and her friend, Kylie, dyed Easter eggs together.  Kylie took hers home so now we only need to eat 6 hard boiled eggs instead of 12!  Win!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Easter egg hunting

This year we realized that most of the church and community Easter egg hunts were for children up to 8 or 9.  It was difficult to find any that welcomed bigger kids yet Grace and her friend, Jacob, still wanted to look for eggs.  So, Jacob's mom, Jill, and I organized a little hunt for some of the neighborhood kids.

Each family filled about 40-50 eggs and the moms hid them in the backyards for the kids to find. They had a great time scooping up the easy ones and looking high and low for the more difficult eggs.

They found a lot of eggs, but I bet there are still some out there that will be discovered in the next weeks and months!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A bed for a "tween"

A "tween" or a Queen...is there a difference?

We called The Loft Monkey back in January.  He came to meet Grace and designed this loft be for her based on things she said she wanted.  Then, he built and painted it in his garage/workshop and came back to our house to assemble it in the room.  What a cool early 10th birthday present!

The ballet barre and mirror are fun additions that make the bed unique to Grace.  It is just big enough for her to stretch and do a little barre work when she isn't at the dance studio.

Buddy is not sure what he thinks about the bed yet.  He always sleeps with Grace so this is going to be an adjustment if he wants to continue to do that.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Girls night in

This is what we did last night -- face masks and a movie!  I loved being silly with my girl.  We both think the cucumbers were cold and wet which didn't make them feel good.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cat Nap

Buddy has the right idea!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Let the magic begin!

The excitement started when our Magic Bands arrived in the mail for our spring break trip to Disney.

They didn't have Magic Bands the last time we visited four years ago, so the ability to link our hotel, transportation,  event tickets, purchases, and Fast Passes was a pretty cool new addition to the Disney experience!

Grace jumped right into "relaxation mode" when we arrived at the Caribbean Beach Resort by trying out a hammock on the beach closest to our hotel room.  There is something about a hammock in the shade that just says "vacation".

This huge resort has several clusters of buildings surrounding water.  Each group of buildings is named for a different country in the Caribbean.  We were staying in Trinidad North which was conveniently located next to a small pool,  the 1.2-mile walkway, and the main pool and dining area.

We spent a lot of time during this trip at the pools, which was good since it was close to 90 degrees most of the days.  The pool had a zero entry area, water slides, and games and activities every day.

We also rented a 4-person "bicycle" one morning to explore the resort.

At Disney Springs (which used to be Downtown Disney) we did some shopping and ate a delicious steak dinner at "STK".  This evening Grace reminded me that she is a "tween" now.  She sure looks like one!

Jacob and his parents were also in Orlando this week. Since our vacations overlapped a couple of days they came to our hotel for a pool day.  This was great because the moms got "mom time", the dads got "dad time" and the kids had someone else to play with all day.  Grace and Jacob made Mickey tie dye shirts at the pool to wear the first day they go back to school.

Disney's 25,000 acres include a lot of water.  And, since it is Florida, there is a lot of wildlife in and around the water.  We saw signs like this everywhere reminding us of who as living right below the surface.

We also found out that Disney has the 3rd largest bus fleet in Florida with 300 buses.  Only the cities of Miami and Jacksonville have more.  Their transportation was amazing and we took full advantage of it riding buses and boats several times.  On the night we went to the Boardwalk we were lucky to be in a boat watching fireworks from three different amusement parks at the same time!

But, after that, we left the Hollywood Studios area at the same time as everyone else and we got stuck waiting in the bus line.  Rookie mistake!

I know some people go crazy at the Disney parks - visiting a different park each day of their vacation. It sounds like a great idea until you remember how much walking and how exhausting the Florida heat and sun can be.  For this trip we chose to visit Epcot during their Flower and Garden Show. And, we ended up walking over 8 miles that day!

In addition to the fun rides and the countries of the World Showcase, Epcot was dressed up for visitors with character topiaries everywhere.  A couple of times I had to peek below the flowers to figure out how they created these floral masterpieces.

We met up with Jacob and his parents again on this day so the kids could design a car at Test Track together.  That was a great ride! Their car came out grade and beat Kyle's care in a few of the tests.

Jacob's family are Disney Vacation Club members so they took us the the vacation club lounge for drinks and a snack before they left for their flight home.

 It is good that we have Grace around to do family selfies or we wouldn't have any photos of all of us together!

Our final night in Disney included the Hoop-de-do Revue dinner show at the Fort Wilderness Lodge.

It was a funny, loud music and comedy show with a western theme complete with buckets of "cowboy" food like fried chicken, corn and beans.

Laughing, clapping, and singing together was a great way to end our "magical" vacation!