Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Jason Mraz Fan Club for Middle Aged Rockers.

Karl and I took Mary, and her fabulous pal Amna, to see the remarkable Jason Mraz at Riverbend last night.
Jason was in town as a part of his Love is a Four Letter Word tour.
Don't you just LOVE that title?
Mary and Amna in classic concert pose.
The concert was completely
(my own word, believe it or not)
I love a man who can rock the ukulele...
But before I go on about the fabulous Jason of August 2012....
allow me tell you about my relationship with Jason for historical reference.
Ten years ago Karl came home and mentioned that as he was driving home he heard this really cool and funny kid interviewed on NPR... a guy named Jason, with an usual and short last name.
Turns out, I heard the very same interview, and had already bought tickets to see him at the Taft as he was coming to town soon.
Weeks later, we were sitting at the Taft and noticed that we were likely the only grown ups there who were not chaperoning their jr. high daughters to the concert. While maybe we should have been a bit  embarrassed to be the two oldest fans in the house, we didn't care one bit because Jason was awesome and we fell in love with him and his music. 
 And for pictorial + historical reference, here is Mr. A-Z circa 2002.

 His show was a great mix of pop and rap,  with complicated and clever lyrics... the sort of music that really no one should be too mature for and we were no exception.
Jason played his hits from his first and only album at the time, Curbside Prophet and The Remedy... we enjoyed those songs tremendously. After he played his wonderful show, he thanked Karl and I and all of our new junior high pals for being supportive, then jumped off the front of the stage, ran through the crowd and back to the lobby, where he stayed, signing and selling copies of his CD.
"What a charismatic, talented and enterprising young musician!"
Of course I immediately signed up to be a devoted member of the Jason Mraz fan club...
how could I not?

And so when Jason played a sold out show of 20,000 and told the crowd that Cincinnati was his largest show on his tour, we were happy for him and felt kind of cool about our long standing fan club participation.
 And while his early shows were completely charming, the concert that he has put together for his Love is a Four Letter Word is completely outstanding. He now boasts a horn section and a percussionist and...wait for it
... a cool, hipster violinist!
All this made for a high energy, completely fun and unforgettable concert.
Posing in our concert tees with two smart, fun, and very tolerant, teenagers...Amna and Mary.
The other great thing was that Karl and I were no longer the only regular aged people in the audience. There was a big mix in the ages of his fans... from those super cool junior high kids to us middle aged rockers, and then beyond... we all enjoyed every musical moment.      
 Jason and I post show...
One of us oozes musical cool and talent.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Eight is Great!

Our Henry happily welcomed his eighth year with open arms and great expectations for having a super second grade year.
He was recently asked to list the things that he does best.
In no particular order, here are Henry's self proclaimed strengths...
-aiming nerf guns
-building legos
-making friends
-arm wrestling
-burping loudly
-talking to grown ups
As the mom of this arm wrestling, soccer playing, lego building, burp-er,  I have to agree with this list.
Happy birthday to our very own, beloved H-Bomb G.
Our family wouldn't be the same without you!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Farewell Summertime.

 Jamie 4th grade
Henry 2nd grade
Lily 6th grade
The middle kids at the bus stop, 
7:45am, August 22nd 2012
waiting, waiting, waiting...
Rosie desperately clings to her big sister before relinquishing her to middle school.
("I need her more!")
Farewell Summer of 2012...
you were completely terrific, see you in June!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Goat Princess.

"I feel like I'm the princess and they are regular tired goats."
Rosie is coming to terms with her goat fears by fully embracing (with giant goaty hugs), the horn free  and docile fellows at the children's zoo.
Apparently she feels far more brave about this feat by calling and claiming the title of Goat Princess. 
I believe that she was the sole nominee for this particular branch of royalty.

She also pointed out to me that the "regular" goats smile at you if you squintch down in front of them.
 Turns out she was right...
And so here is documented photographic evidence of that smiling goat truth.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dog Park Photographer

If you take a kid to the dog park, chances are he will ask you for your camera...
And you will later discover some terrific new perspective photos on that camera.
Like an EXTREMELY happy faced little sister...
A brother playing ball with a bulldoggie...
And maybe that kid will choose to focus on something that is important to him, like this big headed fellow instead of yet another picture of his sister.
And then that kid will catch moments in time that he thinks are absolutely hilarious... like this big dog smelling the butt of a little dog. 
He will also take some up close and personal shots of some and very attentive faces.
 And some more funny things... such as this little beagle trying desperately to make himself just a Smidgey.
 Hours later you will ask for your camera back not even realizing all of the great photos that that kid took during his visit to the dog park.
An unexpected and happy surprise from Jamie,
my favorite

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Prize Winner!!!

Big News!

Wait for it...

Lilly Won!!!
What did she win?
The most coveted prize in Cincinnati! 
What's that you ask?
 A fabulous, and soon to be delicious, 
It's true... our girl did it. 
She won the monthly random raffle drawing for the whole beef tenderloin from Hyde Park Meats. 
Here she is happily collecting her prize. 
I appreciate that she cradled her five pounds of awesome like a beautiful bouquet of roses.
(future training for the Miss America of beef, perhaps?)
It's official!
As noted by the cute signage that sits on the deli counter for the month of August.... Lilly is famous!

Hyde Park Meats is a wonderful little grocery store in our neighborhood. 
It's our favorite place to is a recent review from Yelp.

"I don't buy a lot of meat, but when I do, I get it from Hyde Park Meats.  This is the type of family owned, local business that makes a neighborhood more than just a bunch of people living in the same place.
There is absolutely nothing pretentious about this place.  They sell quality food and treat their product with care and attention.  In addition to top-notch beef, pork, and deli meat, they also have all kinds of salads, spreads, sauces, and (sometimes) soups.  They also have a decent selection of other kitchen staples like bread, canned goods, milk, eggs, produce, beer, and wine."

Hyde Park Meats. 3645 Paxton Ave. (btwn Minto&Victoria),
Cincinnati, OH 45208. 
 (513) 321-4328.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cooperative for Education Enrichment Tour

Last week, Mary and I had an opportunity to travel to Guatemala as a part of the Enrichment Tour for Cooperative for Education.  We were members of a volunteer delegation of fifteen women and their teenage daughters. The trip was the perfect blend of service and vacation... we worked the mornings at Pachali Elementary school in Sacatepequetz, not far from the city of Antigua. In the afternoon we did fun touristy things... visited the sights, shopped the markets and even had a chance to zip a zipline if you were feeling up to it.
(I was not)
I did however, get to participate in a very fun Guatemalan cooking class and also a salsa class.
(the hippy dance kind of salsa- not the stuff you eat with chips)
It was a lot like summer camp for grown ups, (minus the lanyard) and we all loved it.
However the best part of this grown up camp was doing something good for a small pocket of kids who absolutely deserve to have something good done for them. 
Mary and I got to work with a wonderful class of spunky second graders.
We helped give the classroom a "mini makeover" with new shelves and paint.
While it would have been more efficient and less challenging to paint without the kids involved, our fearless leaders thought the kids would take ownership of the projects more if they participated in their renovation. So while it seemed counterproductive to give 10 kids loaded paintbrushes at once... we did it anyway. And somehow it all worked out and the kids were indeed very proud of their painting skills.
The kids were very eager and industrious in their work, but every now and then we took a break to blow bubbles... just because it seemed like a good idea.
 And then our fun loving work team happily painted the walls of their second grade classroom.
 With plenty of time leftover for some rockin' party games in the courtyard.
Here is the second grade class upon completion.
The kids had a little open house and we all admired their freshly painted walls and new materials.
Each classroom also received a brand new map of Guatemala which everyone thought was terrific.
I can't imagine what my life would be like had we not adopted Jamie and Henry.

One of the side benefits from having a couple of Guatemalan born boys is that because of them, ten years ago we were introduced to the people of Cooperative for Education and have since been fortunate enough to call them friends.

The school kids in the Co-Ed programs are extremely limited in their resources but abundant in their eagerness to learn. Rebecca, Johanna and their husbands, Joe and Jeff are committed to serving a population of kids who may not be near, but will always be dear and important to us.

They are doing great things in Guatemala with understanding and grace. 
Please check them out.