Friday, November 20, 2015

Green Polka Dot Spectacles

A few months ago we started to have some concerns about Ari's vision. Occasionally one eye would appear crossed and as the weeks passed he started to complain of double vision. After several visits with a pediatric ophthalmologist, he was prescribed glasses for farsightedness.

Isn't he handsome in his chocolaty frames with green polka dots?

It wasn't easy to get him to wear the glasses at first. Left to his own devices he would choose to wear a stick-on eye patch instead. Now he willingly wears them most of the time which I hope means that they are helping!

On the way to a recent check-up appointment with the ophthalmologist we were chatting about the glasses and if they were working for him and if he liked wearing them. This is what he said, nearly verbatim.
One: They protect your eyes from the sun.
Two: You can see things inside of bodies.
Three: You can see inside of wood.
Four: You can see inside of the grass.
Five: You can see inside of houses without looking.
Six: When you're scared, the glasses make you invisible and you can see everything with the glasses on and do everything.
Seven: You can see in every direction at once. 
I think I'll get myself a pair of those green polka dot spectacles!

Take on the world my dear boy and don't let anything stop you!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Summer Fun

Returning now to that series of catch-up posts promised some weeks ago to share a collection of summer photos.

Riker expertly demonstrates the concept of leverage.

A bucket of chalk in the grandparents driveway provides hours of fun!

I find Ari having a sensory experience with the butter. Better to grab the camera than to get mad!

Love my little biker boy!

Lemonade stand with the cousins.

Stoked to find a splash park a short drive away and with free entry to boot!

Screen time outside.

Grandpa Carl runs the risk of being overtaken by forts!

Seeing the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Hill with Maria.

Love this funny and very social little boy!

Ari gets a wee bit closer to the terrific fireworks display on daddy's shoulders.

Stopping to appreciate a butterfly at historic Hale Farm and Village.

The boys play at Hale Farm while the parents sample wines on a rainy afternoon.

Ari and I visited Memphis Kiddie Park with a mother's group and had a great time!

Safe screen time.

We don't have a TV in our home and the boys are so much more likely now to choose activity books, crafts or imaginative play. Yay!

Tree climbers.

Poking around in the woods as children should.

Building a fort in the woods with neighborhood friends.

This summer was definitely more work than play for Brian and I and it's hard to believe it's so far behind us already! We're so glad the kids get to spend quality time with their cousins and that they frequently choose to built forts or poke around in the woods!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Five Hundred Posts and a Ten Year Anniversary

Dear readers, this is my five hundredth post!

Just as remarkable is the fact that last month marked my blog's tenth anniversary! That's some pretty serious seniority in blog land! 

It seems like a lifetime ago that I wrote that first post describing preparations for our departure to Australia for my time as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. And what a gloriously profound decade it has been! It would take, oh, I don't know, approximately five hundred entries to even begin to describe all that has happened since then! 

Lots of change has been chronicled in these pages and now that we've been back in the US for over a year, I've been pondering the future of this blog and the fate of its title in particular. Adventures Down Under is in its tween years and given recent hemispheric changes, the title no longer describes the current content. That said, while the blog might have outgrown its name, I just don't have the heart to change it. I've amassed a pretty impressive list of contenders for a new title but with a history and personality of its own, it doesn't seem right to change it mid life cycle. I'd also be concerned that changing the title would negatively impact search results, accessibility and how posts are retrieved from archives. And those of you who were kind enough to weigh in on my deliberations agreed that there was no good reason to divorce myself from the title for strictly geographical reasons. Then of course there's also the fact that a portion of my heart continues to reside down under!

So, I think I'll go with the suggestion of my very dear friend, Beth. Keep the name and give it a subtitle.

Adventures Down Under: There and back again

Nothing like honoring the past while leaving the future open to more adventures! And as Beth so wisely points out, a LOTR reference might boost search results :)

So while I plan to just keep on blogging under a slightly revised title, this seems a good time to say thanks to my readers. Some of you have been with me since day one and others have been collected along the way from far flung corner of the earth. Whether far or near, I appreciate all of you - your friendship, support, love and encouragement (and pageviews). This wouldn't be nearly so much fun without you. Let the Adventures continue - here, there and everywhere.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Fawn Season

We were so thrilled to look out the window one spring morning and see a doe and her fawn in the woods behind the house. Then we realized she had twins! Brian tiptoed out to catch a few shots of the fawns, still with wobbly legs.

We watched them happily all summer, grazing 'round the neighborhood and often bedding down in the woods at night.

The kids enjoy their presence as well and we've loved to watch them grow!

The fawns have now lost their spots and are looking rather grown up. They still stick close to their mama though and the other day we even saw them nursing! So sweet. I almost ran to grab the camera but am glad I didn't because she rather unceremoniously booted them off after not too long!

One of the twins in the neighbor's front lawn. Notice how the ears are alert in two directions.

After not seeing the trio for some time, I grabbed my camera and headed down into the ravines to see if I could find them. Crunchy autumn leaves underfoot are not a photographers friend but I did manage to catch one moderately decent image of the family from a distance before I saw white tails bolting off through the woods.

Since the deer were being elusive, I decided to turn my lens on some other forest friends like this cheeky squirrel sitting way up on the treetops.

I hope we keep seeing this family of deer all winter. Come to think of it, we may see them more than many of our human friends who tend to go into hibernation over the long, cold winter!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

On the Record: Riker at Six

Several years ago I started a tradition of interviewing the kids on their birthdays. Riker has just turned six and this is his third birthday interview.

By asking the children the same questions every year, we'll be able to see how their personalities and interests change (or stay the same).

What are you going to be when you grow up?
I don't really know. Something about trains maybe.

What’s that going to be like?

What are your favorite toys?
Wall-e (robot) and the new pencil I got that has a pencil under the eraser. Legos, too.

What is your favorite food?
Watermelon and pizza. I can't say popsicles because they are not food.

Who are your best friends?
Gavin and Edward. Those are my cousins. My friends are Marko and Christian and Gabby. Mario too. Charlie and Carly and Lexi too.

What makes you happy?
When you love me.

What makes you sad?
When Ari pulls me on my shirt.

When you dream at night, what do you dream about?
3DS and Wall-e.

What do you like to do with Daddy?
Go and ride my bike.

What do you like to do with Mama?
That's a hard one cuz I like to do a lot of things with  you. Go to the bus stop.

What’s your favorite color?
Red and green.

What’s your favorite book?
The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

What does Daddy do during the day?
Work on a project.

What does Mama do during the day?
I don't know. Usually you go in the car a lot.

What do you do during the day?
Play at school and read at school and learn.

What do you want to learn or do before you turn seven?
I want to do a lot of crafts. I want to learn how to spell and read.

(At this point in the interview, Riker decided he wasn't finished answering questions even though I'd finished the series. He and I came up with the following list of additional questions for him to answer.)

What do you do at school?

Where would you like to go in the world?

What do you make at school?
A lot of crafts.

How would your friends describe you?

What is your favorite thing about your new room?
That I have a new rainbow painting.

Do you breathe in and out?
No. (Laughs.) Tricked you, yes.

What is something about you that makes you special?
Riker is so important.


You can read Riker's interviews from previous years here:
On the Record: Riker at Five
On the Record: Riker at Four
On the Record: Riker at Three

I've shamelessly pilfered the interview idea and the questions from my friend Lauren over at Sparkling Adventures, You can read the birthday interviews of her four darling daughters here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Russell and Rosanne

Last month I had the great privilege of photographing the wedding of Russell and Rosanne. This was my first ever attempt at wedding photography and I was pleased to be able to lend my skills to this lovely couple.

 Gavin and Edward pose with their late grandfather's tribute.

Russell and Fredrick

 Twin brothers

 Bella shines in her role as flower girl.

 The ceremony in the Brecksville Town Square.

Let's make it official! 


 The kiss.

Kathy, Kevin and Bella

 Shiny happy people!

 Rosanne and Russell, September 19, 2015

 Liz and Kathy uphold a family tradition!


 A twin and a bestie.

 The wedding party.

 The happy couple, grateful that the rain held off through the ceremony!

 Annie, the junior bridesmaid.

 The bride's daughter Alex and her beau.

Bella cuteness.

 The ladies.

 Dragon love adorns the head table.

 Steampunk Bella

  Take that world! Russell is a married man!

 Russell and Fredrick

 Aaron and Heather

 The rain lets up for a few impromptu outdoor photos.

 Love the look on her face!

 The rings to prove it!

 The groom.


 The first dance.

 Rosanne's moving dance with her father.

 Russell and Penny

 Dawn and Fredrick

 Edward and Liz

The bride's brother Dan and fiance Heather.

 And finally, me behind the lens (from which I only emerged to tell people what to do!) Thanks Fredrick for thinking to snap a few of the photographer!

Russell and Rosanne, I'm so happy you've found each other and I wish you a lifetime of happiness!