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.