Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Summer reading

What is the best place to read in the summer? On your dog.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Live life adventurously

For her birthday celebration this year, Grace chose to try Go Ape! a treetop obstacle course at the Mill Stream Reservation in Strongsville, OH.  It is a high ropes course with a series of rope bridges, Tarzan swings, and ziplines.

You have to be 10 years old and 55 inches tall as the minimum requirement so it was a perfect adventure for her special, double digit birthday.

Due to the price and the need for close adult supervision (1 adult for every 2 kids) Grace was allowed to invite 3 friends to go with us.  She tends to hang out with the boys at school more than the girls. Maybe there is less drama.  Maybe the boys are more active and fun. But whatever the reason, she decided to invite Jacob, Ben, and Noah to join us.

Watching them together and listening to them in the car, I have to admit she made a great decision. They are all really sweet and polite and they supported each other when things got a little difficult and scary on the course. I am happy she has such nice kids to call her friends.

Since there were only a few kids, we were able to buy each one a shirt and fingerless gloves.  They must have liked them since they put them on immediately. They even said the gloves would be used later this summer as "biking gloves"!

When we got to the Go Ape! lodge, Kyle and I signed to take responsibility for two kids each.  At that point we didn't know what we were getting into!  The challenges were just that - CHALLENGING - so there are no photos of us up in the trees!

After putting on our harnesses and about 20 minutes of training and practice on low obstacles, we were set off on our own.

At the beginning of each station you had to climb a wiggly rope ladder to the first platform.  Then, you transfer your safety equipment to the cables, double check, and figure out a way to get across to the next tree.  Transfer again and tackle the next "bridge".

I use the term "bridge" loosely as they looked something like these...

It took about 3 hours, but we all made it.  No injuries and we didn't lose any kids.  That's a victory.

The zipline at the end of each group of obstacles was like a reward for actually making it.  It was hot and humid so flying through the trees was a cool relief!

The kids devoured snacks in the van (Thanks Jill and Kent for lending it to us!) and we went to Dairy Queen for a meal and ice cream.  Kyle and I were reminded why we only have one child.  They were fun and entertaining, but a little crazy together!  We were ready to return them to their parents after a 6-hour birthday celebration.

Back at the house they ate more sugar and Grace opened her presents.

The feedback is that it was a lot of fun and they all want to go again!  As for me...I am going to be sore tomorrow.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

HCB Spring Review

Tonight, Hudson Conservatory of Ballet showcased it dancers for their 3rd Spring Review.  Grace completed her 3rd year dancing with them and her first year in their Level 1 pre-professional conservatory.

After three straight nights of 4-5 hour rehearsals, she was one tired kid.  This is the kind of determined focus she had walking in each day.

Grace was in two dances - a contemporary dance (her favorite!) to the song "Hold On" and a ballet dance called "The Skaters".  She and her friends did great!

Unfortunately, Grace is always hot and hungry after the shows so she doesn't want to pose for photos. She took these and then changed right away to go home.

Here's a look back at the last two years...



She told me on the way home that she loves dance because she can show off her talents!  We are proud of Grace for her growth and accomplishments.

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.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Love and best friends

This girl and her cat really love each other.

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.