Friday, July 20, 2012

MAPS Museum visit- on the fly...

Hubby told me he decided to take an impromptu long weekend this weekend. He asked me what I wanted to do. In my head I said, "You to take care of cleaning the house, making dinner (not take out), take lil man out and just let me have a day to myself- after you've cleaned the house." What I really said was "I don't know."

I decided to take lil man to the library for storytime in the morning and let the hubby sleep in as he was out fishing really late the night before. It helped that lil man woke up extremely cranky and not wanting to listen to a thing I said. I was exhausted an hour into the day. But, let's make the most of it.
We had fun at the library and picked up books on the theme of the week- spiders.

When we came home, hubs was up. He said he wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese. I said he could go without me so I could have time. He didn't really like that idea as he wanted us all to do something. I wanted my time but can appreciate the need and desire for good quality family time. He mentioned going to Cleveland to a museum. My wheels started spinning. It was noon. Museums close at 5. It's a 45 minute drive and someone gets cranky between 2 and 4. Hmm... not a great idea. I started looking at museums near us in the Akron/Canton area.

Google never fails. It gave me a list and I started to go through thinking what would be good. The Fossil museum would be cool, but we have a play date there with friends next week. Something else... Then I stumbled upon the MAPS Museum near the Akron Canton Airport. I was leary at first. Not sure what it held. The pictures shows planes but also displays. Lil man, at 3, would certainly not be into displays. I talked it over with hubs and we headed out to check out the museum with the idea that if the museum is not the best for lil man, we would head to Chuck E Cheese.

This museum, while small, is FANTASTIC! I cannot express enough how much I absolutely loved this place. I think I was more in love with it than either of my boys. It was the coolest thing ever. There were planes all over in the gift shop area hanging from the ceiling (what I want to do in lil man's room). There were all kinds of planes everywhere in the museum... hanging from the ceiling, on the ground, outside (thankfully the weather cleared a little). There were descriptions of everything military plane. It was so cool.

Sitting at the first exhibit- a military gun.... E is rotating the chair, daddy is moving the gun up and down.

Switched spots and focused...

So glad to see the planes.

Super cool glider from the 1920's.

The greatest surprise came to us while at the museum. We saw in the corner the gondola of the Goodyear Blimp. This is a huge thing in our house. Hubby used to work for the blimp (landing crew) and in our dating years, I would visit him at the hanger and sit in the blimp gondola. What was great about it was it was the exact same gondola he worked with- the GZ22. It had crashed a few years after he left (to settle down and be married to moi. Too much travel for him to be newly married and such) and apparently MAPS got the gondola of the blimp that crashed. The very one I sat in and explored (not that there's much to explore, but I looked into the balloon part of the blimp in that gondola and sat in the pilot's chair. Good times. Hubby said many memories came flooding back and he reminisced with one of the gentlemen working/volunteering with MAPS. Needless to say, this was lil man's favorite part of the museum and he had a ton of fun in the blimp. We sat in there for about 20 minutes just letting him play on one of the two trips to this exhibit.

Our blimp... see story below.

Inside our blimp.

The flag hanging from above the cockpit in the blimp.

Thought this sign was interesting. The how to make your own radio handouts were gone though.

Fox radios you can make using the missing handouts.

On the rotor of the blimp

You could climb up the ladder and look inside this fighter jet...

Not a big space... at all....especially when you consider the gear they have to wear.

umm... okay. Didn't think I'd fit anyway... or be able to climb over the gate....

Another favorite for lil man... helicopters.

The fastest plane here.

Yes, that speed says 1,372 MPH. Yowza!

I was in love with this B-25 Bomber It was my favorite.

Love this plane. Love love...
After looking at the planes in the hanger and outside, we headed inside to use the restroom (which was the nicest and cleanest I had ever seen in a museum. I almost took a pic but decided better not) and tour the Heroes Hall.

The Heroes Hall was filled with all kinds of really neat things. There were uniforms of all eras displayed, planes and helicopters, various stories of the heroes from the Akron Canton area who served (which was so cool to read). What I loved best about the Heroes Hall was the handwritten pieces they had. There was a handwritten flight log listing the date, time and mission they were on. There were lots of handwritten notes (my favorite things in the world to pour over) to family and friends from these heroes. It was wonderful and beautiful and reminded me of the book I just finished and can't stop thinking about, The Bungalow. 

Various helmets and piloting/air traffiking equipment.

various military uniforms for women.

Handwritten flight mission log. So cool!

He tried to open every display and play with the planes... There were many.

Interesting note....

Another handwritten note home from a local hero

Hobby to pass time- art- by another local hero.

Rosie the Riveter display.

Cool missles.

I loved this museum and will be back. I think it may become a semi-annual event. It's fantastic. If that's not enough to convince you to visit, the guest book I signed had people who visited from Oklahoma, Florida and other places who said it was a great museum as well. It really is. We saw kids of all ages who enjoyed it and some on guided tours (not something we can do with our lil man yet).

As always, I was in no way, shape or form compensated for this post. I simply loved this museum and can't wait to go back. It really is a gem.

Tomorrow, we hit our next annual event... The hotair balloon festival for the Football Hall of Fame Inauguration. It's our 3rd year attending. It's something we wouldn't pass up.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stealing from Hamlet...

"To be or not to be: that is the question"

There are many things going on in our house. Trying to find a new sitter or a part-time sitter, possible new job for the hubs at his current employer (not getting our hopes up, but it would be cool for him- granted we couldn't ask for a better company for him to work at regardless- thank you, cousin). I hope to return to school in the fall to do an endorsement or master's. Lots of things to think about and move forward with.

I, of course, like to add more to the plate. For a while (say a year or so), have been debating whether or not we should move. Since more homes seem to be selling in our neighborhood, I'm getting that inclination more. It's not that I don't love my home or where I live, I just want more land. Shoot, if I could have a triple lot where I am, I would take it in a minute and not move at all. I brought this idea up to the hubs who was taken back by my repeat presentation of said idea. We decided we are going to do our research and see what we can find in a price range we thing feasible.

Now, we have not started really looking or doing anything major. It's just something I'm kicking around in my head. Let me share with you my thoughts....

1. I love my house. Yes, I would like more room and a more open feel to the place, but it's a home that was built in 1918. It has weathered many families and probably at one point had 10 or more people living in it (let's face it, back in the day, families were large). I would also like a new kitchen- like tomorrow... actually a year ago, but that's okay. I'm being patient.

2. I love the town I live in. Where else can you go that there are 5-6 parks with FREE wading pools. yes, Free pools that are 1-2 feet deep for little ones- big playgrounds and lots of sand.  The parks and recreation department is unmatchable, offering classes for adults, children, seniors, and anything from baseball to pottery to knitting and photography- as well as growing your own garden or chickens. I would love chickens, but where I am, I can't. :(  We have free movies down on the river for kids in the summer. Free music concerts in the summer.

3. I love the proximity to everything. It doesn't matter where I need to go, essentially everything is within 20-25 minutes (talking bigger cities- well, aside from Cleveland). I bike alot of places, pulling little man behind me in his trailer to any place that allows us to avoid busier roads). I have a local expressway half a mile from my house- both entrances to the expressway (north and south). I am also not far from national parks or county parks and great museums and such.

4. I love, I mean LOVE, my neighbors. They are like extended family. If we were to move, I'd have to take them with me or constantly visit. Not only that, I think they love us and I know they love the lil man. They are truly great people and we are blessed to be their neighbors.

5. I'm close to family. Doesn't matter who it is, I'm pretty doggone close to all of them. Hubs' family doesn't count. Some of them are in other states and further south of us, but on my side, we're within a few minutes of them (10-15 depending on traffic).

What I don't love:
1. my kitchen.
2. my small yard.
3. the houses so close together.
4. lack of storage space/closet space (in our "master" bedroom, there is one very small closet that houses my hubby's clothes. I have mine tucked into a closet that will be for our next baby. At that point, I guess I'm living out of.... I don't know yet.... :)
5. 1 bathroom (not that that's unmanagable). Great for bathroom cleaning day as there is only 1 to do!

I don't even mind that we share a driveway. That doesn't bother me a bit- probably because I have the coolest neighbors anyone could ask for.

So really, I don't know that I need to move. I would if I could find something I love for a great price, but for the time being, I think I'm set. Whew, one thing to cross off the list.... maybe....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Button Love...

I've had a great few weeks. Some of my projects that were on my list of things to do are getting done. Not many, but a few. Really, truth be told, I'm just enjoying my time with lil man. He's so fun- sometimes out of control, but you'll have that with 3 year old little boys. I wouldn't have it any other way.

One of the projects on my list was the button bracelet I started at the May Craft Day... yes, I still hadn't finished. I can honestly say, I want to add about 4 more little buttons (when I find some I like in the huge stash of buttons lying around my home). I hadn't been feeling creative until the past 2 weeks. Now I'm in a groove and getting things done. One day when I had finished an amazing book (I'll blog about it soon), I needed to just process things in it and get myself back to reality. In order to do so, Hubs and I turned on Season 1 of Game of Thrones (which I actually liked and now want to read the books- I never want to do that after watching something in a movie/tv). I grabbed my needle, thread, band, and buttons and began working away. In 2 episodes, I had completed my bracelet (save the 4 small buttons that I need to find.

I totally love it! I put a Mickey Mouse button on there for my son who loves Mickey. Other than that, the buttons are just ones that I liked and in a variety of colors. I can wear this with almost everything! Love those types of pieces.

Next up, maybe a necklace, some canvas work with initials and symbols relevant to us to be used as artwork. I love it!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Teaching 'im young...

Remember the cool scarf I made at the Parks and Recreation department? Well, I saw they offered classes for little ones too. One of them was called Mudpies. It's a clay class for kids 3-5. For $15, you could enroll your child in the class 1 day a week for 3 weeks and 45 minutes each day to teach them how to work with clay. Well, I was all over that! How cool would it be to get some gifts for father's day made and possibly for other holidays as well?

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I must admit, this was so much fun and lil man looked forward to it every Thursday. Miss Amy, our instructor, taught us how to use the pottery wheel, join clay together, make finger pots, leaf rubbings and other fun things. It was so much fun. There were 4 other kids in the class who seemed to love it as well.

My son most enjoyed getting to roll the clay with what we called the "steamroller". I don't know the real name for it. It was a table with wires and a roller and handle. By rotating the handle, the roller moved over the clay to smash it down flat. So fun for little boys and girls who love steamrollers... or smashing things.
Playing the role of the steam roller

First time using a pottery wheel.

soaking up the extra water in the bowl with a sponge... he didn't like doing that.

Where to place the paint.... hmm...

Right there....

The first week, we made pinch pots, handprint plaques, leaf imprints and whatever else "came into our head". The second week, we made frogs and more of whatever else while making bowls on the pottery wheel. The third week we spent painting and glazing. In all, we ended up with 7 items my some made. It was so much fun for both him and me. We will definitely do it again!

Gifts: one for Daddy and one for Grandma

First bowl - week 1

second bowl... week 2

handprint and frog...

An owl for mommy.

adding texture to the handprint.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review: The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers.... what a wonderful tale is spun in this book. It's really a challenging book to sum up without giving away some of what happens, but I will try.

Victoria has lived her life in and out of foster care. She has made some choices that of course do not promote her adoption. At the age of 18, Victoria is emancipated and thrust into life on her own. She is homeless, cashless, and essentially has little skills in relationships or work. She must learn how to make it on her own as she has burned many bridges in her past.
She stumbles upon a floral shop and seeks to find a position there; however, the owner is not hiring, especially someone with no experience. Saying Victoria has not experience with flowers is not true. She has experience and can easily match a flower to what someone is going through and help them through it. It's a gift. She's good at it and touches many people's lives. She ends up in a mess of her own and struggling with how to manage learning to live with and get along with others as well as how to give and receive unconditional love. It's a really beautiful and amazing tale.

According to the book jacket, Vanessa Diffenbaugh called upon her experience as a foster mother to write this novel. It certainly showed through.

Victoria is a character you will not soon forget. She embodies and shows the struggle we all go through in developing and maintaining relationships. It's not easy. It's uncomfortable and definitely a lot of work. The emotions and feeling she displays upon some of the choices she makes make her so real. She was a character I could totally identify with. The anger, making of poor choices just because you can then realizing it was the wrong thing and trying to mend it.

This book is a book about unconditional love, helping others when you can't seem to help yourself, and ultimately forgiveness. An AMAZING novel. Now, let me go see what flowers I can get that bring peace and calm to a house! :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I'm Batik!... I mean, back!

Back in April, I took a class on how to make a Batik scarf. Oh, you didn't know this? That's because I forgot to tell you. I haven't been in a blogging mood lately. Nor have I had motivation or a creative bone in my body. I don't know what happened, but the end of the school year through now has just had me in a funk. I feel I might be getting my groove back, but we'll see.

One of the great things about where I live is the Parks and Recreation Department. It's truly amazing what all they offer. We have 6 parks in the area with playgrounds, wading pools, and sand boxes. They offer classes for all ages ranging from sports, to cards to dance to crafts. As I said, in April, I took a class on how to make a Batik scarf. The course fee was $15 and the registration fee was $2. So for $17 I was going to make a scarf. It's about what you would pay for a scarf at the store (unless you hit up Burlington which has amazing prices on great scarves). But the best thing, I design it and create it myself.

This was the first craft class I had taken. Walking into it I had some anxiety. What if I was the oldest person in there? What if I was totally crappy at this? What if my scarf didn't turn out and I ended up making a mess out of something so beautiful and wasting my $17? Calmed by dear friends and the hubby, I set out to the class. I was 2 minutes late... oops.

I was not the oldest... I was the youngest.

I was not crappy at it... I had more compliments that any and an offer to buy my scarf.

My scarf did turn out. I did not waste $17.

Most importantly, I had FUN!

I sat in the class with a bunch of retired women (a few school teachers) and we talked about whatever. We helped each other. It was so great. I realized how much I love talking with women who are wiser than me. I realized how much I love to make things in fabric. I realized I loved being me.

I used a favorite Zentange design. :) The dark green is supposed to be white, but I had to dye my scarf a few times to make it not as flourescent as it initially was. So that lead to dye leakage.

Love it!
It was a great time. It was cheap fun. I immediately asked when the next class would be so I could sign up to make another scarf. It was great!