Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays Everyone! I hit a few stores today with post Christmas exchanges. Not many only a few color and size adjustments. The kids were very busy at home with all their new gadgets. Sydney's wish list made the biggest shift this year. Steering away from toys and more towards clothes, electronics and accessories.

Christmas Eve we hosted my side of the family. Eating a ton of appetizers and watching Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Andrew and David worked on a Lego Christmas scene while Sydney tracked Santa's progress on NORAD.

On a rainy Christmas morning Sydney had everyone up by 7:30 AM. Andrew had another all "CARS" Christmas. But, I would guess his favorite gift was a Nintendo DS since he has been attached to it ever since. Sydney got the tennis racket she asked Santa for but she seems more interested in the faux Ugg boots and jewelry.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Without family in town we celebrated Thanksgiving a little differently this year. My parents hosted a traditional thanksgiving meal a couple weeks early and then headed to their Florida home along with Angie & David.

Our friends the Wood's hooked us up with the North Canton Church of Christ who serves roughly 2,700 meals on Thanksgiving. So, Sydney & Matt departed early and spent the morning packing up & delivering thanksgiving dinners to area needy families.

Andrew & I watched the parade while preparing a simple dinner & lots of desserts. Later, we accepted the gracious invitation of our neighbors the Napholz's & Triner's to join them for dessert.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Duck Friends

The proper name is Price Park but we call it Duck Park. North Canton has a little community park where hundreds of mallard ducks congregate. They are a pretty friendly bunch and eager to see what treats you have brought along. As winter draws near they surround your car before you even shift into park. Andrew has always enjoyed taking our old bread down to the park. This time he brought along his stuffed duck to play.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Our Halloween was quite busy this year. Between school, parties and trick or treat we got our money's worth out of the costumes this year. Sydney went as Hermine Granger from the Harry Potter movies and Andrew was a solider.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Aspen Turns 10

Our labrador retriever, turned 10 years old today. Aspen is our first child; we picked him up when we was only a few weeks old. He has endured four moves, 2 kids and Sullivan. All of which is starting to show in this picture. His hearing is fading quickly but overall he is in good health. Happy Birthday Friend!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

As tradition the entire family dressed in pink, hit the trail to celebrate, Mom, a ten year survivor. Once again we had a frigid day to walk the 5K course. For those who still had energy by the end could scale the 108 steps to slide down the McKinley Monument.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Disney Cruise 2009

We have such fond memories of our first Disney Cruise we decided to return. This time we drove down to Port Canaveral for a seven night Western Caribbean sailing. After a speedy check in we boarded Disney's flagship, the Disney Magic.

The kids practically lived in the Oceaneer's Club. An deck devoted entirely to children's programming. The staff was outstanding and with non stop activities, characters, projects and friends they never wanted to leave.

We visited four fantastic ports of call; Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Key West and Disney's private island Castaway Cay. My favorite would have to be Key West. My grandparents lived in the Florida Keys for most of my childhood so it will always have a special place in my heart. A tropical oasis! Where else do you find, such gorgeous scenery, key lime pie, free roaming chickens, and drag queens all in one place.

Andrew's favorite part was the shows. He sat on the edge of his seat each night for the broadway style productions, of course with a Disney touch. Matt says his favorite part was the food. There was definitely no shortage. For Sydney the Oceaneers Club topped her list. As for me, I would say, having someone else doing all the cleaning & cooking.

It was a great week and I highly recommend it to anyone with children or children at heart. As we drove from the pier towards home tears rolled down Sydney's face.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Apple Orchard

Andrew's class took a field trip to Arrowhead Apple Orchard. We got the full tour from growing to picking to packaging. They taught us all how to properly pick an apple from a tree. You twist upwards towards the sky. Pulling downward causes bruising. I think Andrew's favorite part was the "woolly bear" caterpillars that flock to the orchard by the thousands.

When we got home he checked all the apples in our fridge for bruising. He says we have red delicious, yellow delicious and green delicious.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back to preschool

Andrew was very relived to be heading back to preschool this week. He returned to Tiny Tots Preschool three days a week with a new teacher, Mrs Porter. Learning is a passion for Andrew and I have no doubt he will exceed our expectations.

He was so jealous that Sydney got help from a tutor this summer that we got him one too. Mrs Polen worked with him on grouping letter sounds and reading. And he loved very minute of it. Unfortunately, he had to wait two weeks longer than Sydney to start back to school.

Tomorrow is Bug Day so everyone must bring a bug to school in their decorated plastic containers. Andrew was very pleased with his "rolly pollys".

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Cleveland Air Show

The kids & I joined our neighbors the Napholz's at the Cleveland AirShow yesterday. Unfortunatly, Matt was visiting his grandpa in Florida who is not well so he could not join us.

For as long as I can remember I have always loved military aircraft. Growing up Top Gun was my favorite movie and my room as adorned with several fighter plane models. So I was probably more excited than the kids to see the airshow. The pride, precision & breathtaking formations win me over everytime.

Currently, Andrew wants to be a solider when he grows up. I told him if he ever becomes a pilot he needs to take his mom for a ride. That might be my only chance in marking "ride in a fighter jet" off my bucket list. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2nd Grade

Another school year begins! Last week Sydney was thrilled to receive a letter in the mail from Mrs Burtscher telling her she was assigned to her classroom. Northwood waits until the Friday before school starts to post the class lists so getting the news just one day early was big news in this seven year olds life. She frantically called her two dear friends Kate & Trent hoping they to would receive this letter. Unfortunately for Sydney they had not. The following day we drove over to the school for the posting in hopes she had a few old friends to share the first day with. At precisely 3:00 PM and not a moment sooner up went the lists. Sydney was pleased to see former classmates Peyton, Jacob & Madison. However still a bit sad, I think she was still holding out hope that Kate & Trent just didn't get their letters in time. But, I had no worries. Sydney is very social and will easily have a dozen new friends in various grades by the end of week one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Down On The Farm

The kids & I had a blast at the Miller Dairy Farm this morning. We pet & fed almost every kind of farm animal you can think of; cows, pigs, horse, goat, donkey, chicken, and turkey. We also got to meet some not so typical farm animals; peacocks, squirrels, pheasant, lamas, alpaca, skunks, and deer. Mr Miller even let everyone try their hand at milking.

A three day old calf settled for suckeling my fingers when it discovered I did not have an utter.

For Sydney, no trip would be complete without horses. Our little horse whisperer.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Its not a sunburn

Turns out that bad sunburn I thought Sydney had on her face was Fifth Disease. Ewwww! Instead of fading it got worse and is now spreading down her body. It has a two week incubation period before the rash shows up so we may have infected dozens of kids along the way. Sorry everyone! I am hoping to get a new camera today so I can capture it on film.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July 4, 2009

The Jackson Family came to visit us for the July 4th holiday. We had a very busy weekend starting with the North Canton Community Parade. Matt & Sydney represented Key Bank throwing candy to crowds. Later that evening we helped host a July 4th party at my parents house. The Glenmoor fireworks were once again spectacular and we love sharing them with so many old friends.

Sunday was a busy day with a visit to Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Rinky Dink Mini Golf and the kids first drive in movie!

Unfortunatly Angie face met Sydney's back swing, bringing the afternoon to a close.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Disney Pit Stop

Anyone who knows the Lavelle Family knows our obsession with Disney World. So, no trip to Florida would be complete without a pit stop. With both Grandmas in tow we hit the Magic Kingdom on a sweltering 97 degree day. Yikes! I missed having Matt there to navigate us through the thick crowds. Nevertheless, we had a great time!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tampa Aquarium

Andrew and I flew down to Florida to pick up Sydney after her adventure with Grandma Franny. Unfortunately, since Matt had so recently changed jobs he could not join us. Grandma Pam picked us up at the Tampa airport and drove us down to her home near Bradenton where Mom & Sydney would meet us. Together we all enjoyed dinner at St Armands Circle and some shopping.

The next morning we visited the Tampa Aquarium. The stingray touch tank was a hit with Sydney. I enjoyed the leafy dragons & scorpion fish but the highlight for all was the backstage visit we set up to meet the penguins. We met with the biologist who introduced us to several South African Penguins each with their own personality. They felt extremely soft and were very curious.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sydney's Trip With Grandma

This summer we felt Sydney was ready to make her first trip without Mom & Dad. Grandma Franny planned a road trip to her house in Mount Dora, Florida with a stop in Columbia, SC to visit John & Lyne and Cousin Sydnee who was also staying with her grandparents. Sydney was very excited and packed her suitcase several weeks early. However, on the day of departure she had second thoughts and left us saying "Im not sure I am ready for this". However, we have come to learn that Sydney often times lets her anxiety get the best of her. She calmed down shortly after we left.

John & Lyne arranged a visit to a great children's museam in Columbia. Looking at the pictures it appears they had a great time!

After two days Sydney & Grandma headed on to Mt Dora. Rest stop picnics, crafts, playgrounds, swimming, and putt putt golf.

New Job

We are pleased to announce that Matt took a job with Key Bank. He will be managing the North Canton branch, a two mile drive from our house. Which is great on the gas bill and the kids love having him home for lunch. Congratulations Matt!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Beast in the Bushes

As I pulled in my driveway this morning I thought who put that rock in my yard? Upon closer inspection I discovered that rock was a huge turtle. I ran my groceries inside and when I came out it was gone. I poked around in my bushes and found it underneath the same bush our other wildlife visitor, the mallard duck had her nest. It must have been eating the abandon eggs because it stunk. I got some gloves and a crate and figured I could take it up to the pond. I reached in and grabbed the back of her shell near the tail when, SNAP! This was no big pond turtle this prehistoric looking beast was a snapping turtle. Thankfully, my neighbor Eric was home and came over to help. With a shovel and trash can lid as a shield he got it into a wheelbarrow. Wish I had taken a picture of that!

The kids & adults alike got a big kick out of the whole event. The turtle on the other hand was not happy. The beast was quite aggressive and continually rocked back on its hind legs and launched forward snapping at us, even snapped a stick in two.

But after a short wheelbarrow ride it was back where it belonged. Lets hope it didn't leave any eggs behind!

Trail Ride

Sydney was tickled pink to find out our mini vacation ended with horseback riding. Like most girls she dreams of having her own horse. Unfortunately, most riding stables in our area do not let kids under nine ride alone. We found Drafty Acres Stable online and they would accept Sydney at age seven and let Andrew ride double with an adult. Hooray!

Sydney climbed aboard Cisco, Matt on Ido and Andrew and I brought up the rear on Frenchy which Andrew pronounced Crunchy. For an hour long trail ride up and down the hills of Southern Ohio. Sydney was in heaven!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Wilds

On our second day of our mini vacation we visited The Wilds. A 10,000 acre wildlife conservation area home to many endangered species. As a big animal lover I have visited a lot of zoos and some have made efforts to stimulate the animals & keep their body and mind healthy. But if your looking for a more true wildlife experience, The Wilds has one. It was probably the best display of captive animals I have seen, and closest to my experience in Africa.

For anyone thinking of going, we chose the open air safari and glad we did. We got up close to a gorgeous Asian Rhino, Persian Onager and many others. I was really impressed with their natural open habitats and hands off approach to caring for these animals.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Columbus Zoo

To celebrate the last day of school we took a mini vacation to Columbus. First stop, the Columbus Zoo. Their newest addition three month old Beco an Asian elephant was adorable but Matt & I loved the chimpanzees the best. Over and over a toddler chimp took great pleasure in annoying his parents till they were forced to pursue him. Even chimp parents put their kids in time out!

Thankfully, our little chimps were on their best behavior today making the day even more delightful.

Sydney's made friends with one of the animal educators who went backstage and brought out the two animals she requested. Myrtle the turtle and Lucky the bunny. How very exotic!

To my surprise, the kids also got daring and willing touched many animals they would have normally shyed away from: starfish, urchins, cockroaches, snakes, armadillo. Sydney even pet a bird, her most feared animal!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Reading To Logan

For Sydney school does not come easy. She works very hard to keep up with her classmates in reading and math. Looking back on my own school years I empathize with her situation. This year we were blessed with a fantastic group of teachers and aides who took a lot of extra time to work one on one with her. Thank you!

The North Canton Library has a program called Reading with Logan. Logan, a 10 year old golden retriever is a certified therapy dog. Parents can schedule a time slot for their child to read one on one with Logan. When I heard of it I knew right away it would be perfect for Sydney.

Just as I suspected... the child who dislikes reading happily read two books to her new friend and when the event was over read one more. She even packed a few treats in her bag which Logan greatly appreciated.