Saturday, July 28, 2012

Good Music

 I'm pretty sure our week ended how it did for billions of other people-- watching the Opening Ceremonies. This post isn't about the Olympics, but I will say that I thought the Ceremonies were well done and I especially loved that they recognized all of the isles as well as Great Britain's contributions to children's literature (hello, dozens of Mary Poppins, be still my Poppins-lovin' heart). And I will also say that Miss C was fascinated by the Opening Ceremonies and by the idea of London itself. Luckily, I had a children's book, The Story of London, that I picked up when I visited the city six years ago. Between the book and the countless brochures, postcards, maps, and other items I picked up there, my girl is in heaven watching the games and learning about London. She keeps asking when we will go there. I keep telling her, we'll go when we know she'll remember it.

Anyway...this is post is really about how our week began: with good music. Despite being a little tired from last Saturday's reunion, on Sunday we found out that one of our favorite bands, Over the Rhine, was giving a free concert in the neighborhood from which they take their name. So we headed down to Washington Park, and this time we brought swimsuits.
 We also brought some snacks. A late lunch meant nobody wanted dinner. So graham crackers, yogurt, chips and salsa, cheese, fruits, and veggies (and a little wine for Mommy and Daddy) filled our picnic basket.
 A few hundred other people joined us. :-) As the sun began to set behind Music Hall, the band took the stage.

 The kids hung in there for about an hour before they were bored and tired and ready to go home. We changed them into their jammies and headed for the car, happy that we at least got to hear them play one of our favorite songs, Ohio.

On Monday night, a gracious friend stayed with C and B, so that One Ordinary Dad and I could go see Joshua Radin. I love small venue concerts, with only a couple hundred people, where you can be about 20 feet from the stage and not feel claustrophobic. He put on a good show and we're excited for his new album to drop on Tuesday, 7/31. If you haven't listened to him, he's kind of indie-pop, a little mellow at times. In concert, he is amazing (and a terrific storyteller to boot). 
And sandwiched in between the beginning of the week's good tunes and the end of the week's Opening Ceremonies was lots of fun just hangin' around and soakin' up the summer.

Anyone else seen any good live shows recently?

~One Ordinary Mom

Monday, July 23, 2012

Full Bellies and Hearts

Saturday was the annual family reunion on my mom's side of the family. My great-aunt is a graceful 90, and her gorgeous home in the mountains of Kentucky usually serves as our gathering place. However, to take some of the pressure off of her (and because a different location had a pool), we headed my mom's cousin's home in Hazard (yes, like "The Dukes of Hazard") instead.

We did a lot of swimming.

We did a lot of eating.

We did a lot of new-cousin-meeting.

And there are just plain a lot of us!
We've been having these reunions ever since I can remember. I always looked forward to them as a kid and still look forward to them as an adult. We've only missed a year here or there. As I get older and as we sadly lose family members, I see the value in these gatherings even more. I want my kids to experience the fun of a multi-generational day of eating, story-telling, and photo-album browsing as often as possible.

When the kids get sleepy...

...we know it's time to head home with full bellies and even fuller hearts.

Hazard isn't too bad of a drive from where we live (we can go roundtrip from our door to theirs on one tank), so we headed home. My parents had to come from farther north, so they stayed overnight in a hotel. Miss C desperately did not want to leave the reunion, so my parents offered to take her with them for the night and drive through our city en route to their home. C loved staying in the hotel with Nanny and Poppy. One Ordinary Dad and I enjoyed sleeping in (C is our early riser, but B likes to sleep in).

What about you? Do your families get together often?

~One Ordinary Mom

** With apologies to my dad's side of the family. I know you had a reunion this year, but flying to Colorado, renting a car, finagling car seats through all of the traveling, etc., with two young children just wasn't realistic for us this year.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

These Days

These days-- it's been either really hot and muggy or stormy. So indoor picnics make dinner more fun when we can't eat outside.
These days-- we've discovered the fun of dancing in fountains with your clothes on. To be fair, when we went to the newly renovated Washington Park on Saturday, we didn't know this fountain existed (or that C and B would love it so much). Next time, we'll bring swimsuits, or at least a change of clothes.
These days-- the Playmobil people have been having a lot of swim parties. Sometimes with real water because we're fun like that. ;-)
These days-- Miss C is doing awesome in her swim lessons. She was TERRIFIED of the water last year and this year, only halfway through the session so far, she will jump in, go under, back float, and generally not freak out. This is progress, my friends. I've also met some awesome moms at the pool during lessons-- some work, some don't, but our daughters are all relatively the same age, so hopefully some play dates are in our future. I really don't know a lot of moms in our neighborhood as most of my mom friends are from church or school, so it's been good to meet some that live so close.
These days-- I've been reading The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. It's about a college baseball player (fictional). I love baseball. I'm really loving this book. I played softball in middle school, high school, on an intramural team in college, and on a church team one summer. One Ordinary Dad and I played a lot of catch when we were dating and first married. We busted out our gloves and a ball at the park the other night. B latched onto a baseball and wouldn't put it down. I think tee-ball may be in our future.
These days-- I've been painting my toenails and trying out new colors. I loved Essie's "Bikini So Teeny" so much, that I painted my fingernails too (something I rarely do because they normally chip, but since I first painted them last Friday I've only had to redo two due to chipping).
These days-- I've been trying to establish a home yoga practice. So far, so good. 20 minutes of yoga upon waking up does a body good.

These days-- story time before bed is happening a little later and on the couch. C has been going to Vacation Bible School at the church where she attends preschool. It's quiet with just B at home at home for a couple of hours. B usually is in bed by the time C gets home at 8:30, so instead of reading in bed with her like normal, we read out on the couch (C and B share a room). 

These days-- are flying by. Target already has school supplies out. What?

These days-- well tonight, actually, I'm attending a canning how-to class at Whole Foods. I know how to freezer can but am excited to learn how to really can (like with a water bath) so we can save some of our summer farmer's market spoils and our home spoils as well (we've got some green peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes growin'). 

What are you up to these days?

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer in the City

We are lucky enough to live in an area where just about anything is accessible within a ten-minute drive, including downtown, where we spent quite a bit of time this week. Monday night was spent on Fountain Square. We ate ice cream (using up some of my Graeter's gift cards that I got at the end of the school year), danced to the live music (they have live music every night), and generally enjoyed ourselves. B loved the fountain.
C loved finding one of the Taft Museum's Art for All pieces. The Art for All campaign is an effort to lure people into the Taft Museum of Art, where they can see the originals plus a ton of other artwork. Replicas of various pieces housed at The Taft are "hidden" all over the city. I also saw one on the bike trail with a friend a few weeks ago. It's kind of cool to see where all of the pieces are popping up.
On Tuesday, One Ordinary Dad and I celebrated 8 years of wedded bliss.  We are blessed! Technically, we celebrated on Saturday night when we went out to dinner and C slept over at her Grandma's house, but we had to celebrate the actual day a little too. We went to the Museum Center and B went crazy for the train display. The little guy hasn't been there since he could walk and he walked all over that museum. "Choo-Choo" is one of his favorite words. He also had a blast in the ball pit seeing as how if it doesn't have wheels, it better be a ball to capture his attention.
As part of an anniversary present to One Ordinary Dad, I got him a one-day flex pass to the World Choir Games, which are in town until tomorrow. My husband is a music geek. I have to say I was quite proud of myself that when I picked the day for him, I did pretty well. After I'd already purchased his ticket, the local paper did a full spread about the Games and said that if you only had one day to spend downtown at the Games, to do it on the 12th. So yesterday morning, the kids and I dropped Daddy off downtown for a day of show choirs, quartets, sacred music, and more. We headed to one of our favorite parks after we dropped him off (I figured he would enjoy himself more without the kids tagging along).
 B drove every steering wheel at the park.
This park is situated under a freeway bridge, so it's always shady. C climbed on everything. I think we may need to take her to the climbing wall soon.
Don't you love C's Harry Potter wound on her forehead?
I have no idea what face he is making here.

We picked a tired Daddy up after dinner and headed home. Tomorrow is the City Flea in Washington Park, so we'll be down there for that-- the kids and Daddy to play and Mommy to help a friend out at her booth. Stop by and see us from 2-4. :-)

We love our city and the song really is true, "things will be great when you're downtown."

~One Ordinary Mom
P.S. Speaking of music, One Ordinary Dad and I treated ourselves to both Joshua Radin tickets and Mumford and Sons tickets as sort of anniversary presents to ourselves. Looks like we'll be hearing more great music in the coming weeks.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Little Firecrackers

 Last week we packed our bags and took our little firecrackers to Northeast Ohio for a visit with my parents. The "lake effect" weather that keeps them colder in the winter clearly doesn't do anything when the entire Midwest is having a heatwave. I'm not complaining-- yes, it's hot, but it could be worse.
 My parents' town has a fireworks show that they put on every year. It's pretty good. And it's also about 1/4 mile away from my parents' house. One Ordinary Dad stayed back at the house with B, who fell asleep a good hour before the fireworks show was to start. He could watch most of the show from the comfort of my parents' screened-in-porch. C and I headed with my parents, sister, and a few family friends up to the show about 15 minutes before start time. As soon as the fireworks started, C eagerly exclaimed, "This is amazing! I can't believe my life!" You would have thought the girl had never seen fireworks before.
 As the grand finale started going off, it started to POUR down rain. My football-playing cousin carried Miss C back home while we all ran. Once in the dryness of my parents' house, C commented that this was "the wettest I've been ever." It sure was. We were wringing out our clothes.

We spent the rest of our time hanging out, reading (I'm almost finished with The Great Bridge by David McCullough and it's been pretty fascinating-- we'll be in NYC for a wedding in August, so I'm excited to see the bridge again now that I know so much more of the history), grilling, lighting sparklers, blowing bubbles, and just trying to relax (mission accomplished on that one).

Our trip ended with a visit to the local ER. C was getting out of bed Friday morning and either fell or tripped on a Hogwarts Castle toy that belonged to my sister. She didn't yell or cry and her curly hair covered the gash on her forehead, which didn't bleed much at all. About an hour later, she brushed back her hair and my dad noticed the gash. It was fairly wide, so we went to get it checked out. Instead of stitches, they used glue to close the gash. Does anyone else see the irony in that C will have a jagged, lightning-bolt shaped scar just left of center on her forehead? I think she'll appreciate it when she's old enough to read Harry Potter.

Happy Belated 4th to you all!
~One Ordinary Mom

Monday, July 2, 2012

Stricker's Grove

Over the weekend we discovered a nice little gem not too far from our home. It was literally in the middle of a cornfield (ahh...the Midwest). I shot the picture below from the train ride.
Stricker's Grove is only open to the public a few days each summer. Mostly, they are a small for-rent facility popular for company picnics. Luckily, One Ordinary Dad's stepdad's company was having their annual picnic there.
There were only a few rides there that the kids could do, but it was enough to keep them entertained. C started off with a boat ride.
Next, she took a spin with Daddy on the elephants. She said they weren't as good as the Dumbo ones in Disneyworld, but she still liked them. I hate to break it to her, but pretty much every amusement park she ever goes to for the rest of her life will pale in comparison to Disney.
It was a hot day-- in the triple digits hot. Luckily, they had free soft-serve (and sno-cones, popcorn, drinks, burgers, etc.).
C fell in love with the Ferris Wheel at another local amusement park last year, so of course we had to ride the one here.
I love my girl!
B was able to ride a little rocket-ride with Sissy. He smiled the entire time!
The company put out buckets of squirt guns to help stay cool as well. My boys enjoyed showing off their guns. Welcome to the gun show!
A train took you around the field, and my "choo-choo" lovin' little man had a blast riding it.
No one was brave enough to tackle the wooden roller-coaster. Even on smooth, metal coasters, I need to take a Dramamine to avoid losing my lunch, and One Ordinary Dad didn't want to ride solo. So we just watched. I'm sure the day is coming when my kids will be fearless and ready to ride everything.
Just before we got so hot we couldn't stand it, we decided to head out of the cornfield and back home. All in all though, it wasn't too bad of a way to spend some time on a summer Saturday.

~One Ordinary Mom