The kids spent the weekend dancing in their studio’s Christmas shows. There were four – two on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Julia, Phoebe, and Jack performed on Saturday.
On Sunday, Julia and Phoebe performed again, along with Lucy.
I did the girls’ hair and make up. Even after all these years in dance, I’m not great at those things, so it was A Big Deal for me to do them. Phoebe’s hair isn’t even long enough to get it all up in a bun, so what you see happening on her head is an actual miracle, or at least the illusion of a miracle as it all started to fall apart after the first show each day.
Hair glue is a miracle for no more than two hours.
Thankfully, we had a break between shows and she was patient with me while I worked at it. I think they looked fine and that’s as good as it gets when it comes to me and hair and make up.
Now, here are just a whole bunch of performance photos because who even reads words when there are pictures?
According to what I wrote last year, we’d been doing the Thankful Tree for seven years, so this year makes eight!
We kicked it up a notch by adding lights. (We’re so freaking fancy.)
This is the first year Jack could write the things he was thankful for by himself.
What’s that dripping? Oh! Oh, that’s my heart melting.
As hard as it can be to avoid the ugly in the world these days, the truth is, earth is a pretty great place. There are people loving each other everywhere. That’s what it’s all about, folks. Let’s keep doing that.
One month and one day ago, Phoebe and her fellow first graders took a field trip to a farm. They each came back with a pumpkin. Phoebe demanded to carve hers as soon as we returned home from school. Any why not?
She did most of it herself, including the clean up. She even prepped the seeds for roasting. And then we took pictures because she was so proud of her Jackie-O-Lantern. (It is a girl.)
It didn’t last until Halloween since she carved it a little early, but she enjoyed it thoroughly.
One week ago today, Julia and her marching band took the field at the OMEA State Marching Band Finals and earned an overall Superior rating, as well as Superior ratings in every category.
It marked the end of a glorious marching band season. And then pep band began on Monday.
I have been writing here for eleven years. There are times when it has been my journal – intensely personal and for the purpose of working through thoughts or gaining perspective, which is mostly about being honest and vulnerable. Sometimes I was here trying to be “a real writer” and focusing on craft and caring whether it was right and good. Other times, I was just really looking to connect with other people and that was mostly about sharing what was relatable. But always, it has been my treasure house of family memories. And it has mostly been that the past few years. The most important thing about that is timeliness. Capturing the moment before it passes. And here I am, late again.
But look, we carved pumpkins!
Mine was an owl.
We went Trick or Treating.
Julia and Lucy dressed as Hogwart’s students – a Ravenclaw and a Gryffindor, respectively. Phoebe was a skeleton. Jack was a dog, so “I can eat Phoebe’s bones,” he said. Haylee was a nerd. And did I mention that Haylee has moved back home? She has! And she’s in band, too. Our last football game of the season was against her school, so we got to see their field show, which was great!
The following Wednesday was Jack’s Fall party at preschool.
I got to be a helper and provide the craft. I bought craft kits from Oriental Trading Company which were adorable and fun, but I felt guilty because it was so easy. Why is this? If another parent had provided that craft, I would have genuinely found it delightful, but I kept kicking myself for not aspiring to a better craft. We had some extra time at the party. (Maybe because my substandard craft didn’t take enough time?) I ended up pulling out Dave’s old Halloween Mad Lib from Julia’s preschool Halloween party, which I loved. So did the kids. They were literally rolling on the floor laughing when they heard their names and word choices. It was so fun to revisit it. But it also made me realize I’ve lost some of my energy and optimism since the first go round. Where did it go and how do I get it back?
Tuesday was Field Trip Day for Jack at preschool. Grandma took the day off so she could come along, too. Here we are on the wagon ride to the corn maze.
The maze had an Under the Sea theme.
Jackson was happy to lead our little expedition crew. He kept yelling over his shoulder, “Come on, guys. Follow me. Follow me, guys. I’ll be the leader.”
He decided which way we’d go and he was better at finding the right path on instinct than I was using a map.
There are two paths within the maze that go under the bridge Jack is standing on in the picture above. You pass under it at the beginning and again at the end. We met another family when we were going under it at the end. They were on the path near the beginning and decided to sneak under the ribbon designating the path and join us on our way out. Jack was appalled. “Hey, you guys cheated! That’s cheating! There are rules in the maze, guys. We just did the whole thing and you guys just cheated!” I told him it was okay, we were just having fun, but he assured me that there is nothing fun about breaking the rules.
Oh, look at this great picture I took of Jack and my mom.
There was the usual pumpkin patch and corn maze hullabaloo to do.
The place was the perfect size for preschool because once we’d done it all, Jack was tired enough to be okay with leaving. Here he is waiting for the return wagon and looking very serious about pumpkins.
It was a great day.
Lucy: “Oh, Jack. You have a bad cough.”
Phoebe: “Jack doesn’t have a bad cough. I have a bad cough.”
*coughs for emphasis*
Lucy: “Yes, but Jack’s sounds terrible.”
Phoebe: “Mine is worse. And I had mine first.”
Lucy: “No, Jack has been coughing a lot longer than you have, Phoebe.”
Me: “Are you guys really making this a contest?”
Jack: “No, Mom. It’s a cough-test.”
If she looks tired in that picture (and she does) it is because we did a whole lot of celebrating. We spent the day at COSI.
They just opened a new Thomas the Train exhibit.
Phoebe and Jack loved it!
Julia rode the High-Wire Unicycle!
We thought COSI would be a fun way to spend Phoebe’s day, especially since we were already going to Columbus for Julia’s marching band competition on Saturday.
They won second place in their class and were awarded Outstanding Percussion, too.
We were happy to be there to support them!
But before we left for Columbus, we got to celebrate another friend’s birthday at their party at the park. Jack was crazy about her balloons and kept running around with them. He was having so much fun, I wanted to get a picture and we accidentally reenacted the It trailer.
It was a great weekend. We used it all up, every bit.
My mom is 60 today. I’d gone searching for a baby picture of her to show the kids. They can’t wrap their heads around the idea that she was once a baby. I haven’t found the picture I was looking for yet, but I did find my favorite photo of my mom and me.
I also found my mom’s birth announcement. (That’s my grandma’s handwriting. Sixty years later, it still looks the same.)
And I found an awesome newspaper clipping from when my mom was 13.
She’s still a horror movie fan. Here we are getting ready to watch It at the movie theater last weekend.
My mom is just about the best person I know. I am grateful that I get to see her every day. And I’m glad to have her genes. She doesn’t look 60 by a long shot.
I’ve been doing this thing called Postcrossing where you send and receive postcards from random people around the world. It’s really fun! I’ve gotten cards from places in the United States, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ukraine, France, Russia – I got a card from Siberia!
I’ve sent cards to Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Poland, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, and to some folks in the United States. Here’s how it works: First, you request an address and send a card. When that person receives it and registers it, another random person will receive your address and send you a postcard.
I thought getting the postcards would be cool and that the kids would really enjoy seeing them, too. And it is and they do. Lucy even set up her own account. But I think sending them may be my favorite part! I love shopping for postcards and finding the right one to send. I’ve come across the best postcards at KatieAbeyDesign. The motivational cards. The Freddie Mercury puns. The cat legends! I am awaiting that very special someone to send Purrince to!
So far, I’ve sent 11 postcards that have been registered (there are 4 or 5 more in transit out there somewhere) and I’ve received 11 postcards. There are people out there who have been doing this for years and have sent and received thousands! It’s incredible! This little postcard project has been an easy way to make a connection and share a little happiness. We can always use more of those things.