Month: June 2015 (page 1 of 2)

Old Timey Baseball

Dave crossed an item off his bucket list at the Cy Young Days Festival last weekend when he got to play in a vintage base ball game.

Dave plays Old Timey Baseball

Mr. Grimmett, up to bat.

The local youth recreation league coaches teamed up to play the Ohio Village Muffins.


They played using a lemon peel ball.

Lemon peel ball

And according to the rules of 1860 base ball.

Old Timey Baseball Customs

It was pretty fun to watch.

Bubbles on her Birthday

We are great fans of bubbles. The bigger, the better. So, Julia was given a new giant bubble-making toy for her birthday.

Haylee makes a giant bubble

(That’s Julia’s BFF Haylee.)

Julia makes a giant bubble

We are also great fans of slow motion videos.

I cannot believe it took us so long to put them together.

Sugar + Milk + Egg + Wheat

Today is Julia’s eleventh birthday. Since she’s all about Minecraft, I decided to make her a Minecraft cake, like the one you can make on the game.

Julia's Minecraft Cake for her 11th birthday

Nice and simple. It’s a block! Easy. And it might have been if I’d followed my usual method: make the fondant and bake and frost the cakes the day before, assemble and decorate them after the kids go to bed that night. But I didn’t do it this way. Instead, I set out to baking after the kids went to bed. After two trips to the store for forgotten items, I actually began around 1 a.m. I ended up trying to assemble and decorate after breakfast (and very little sleep) this morning with a whole lot of help from Jack. The truth is, when it comes to cakes, something “simple,” like a block, is actually pretty damn hard to get just right. Also, Jack’s help is best suited for a moon cake. He makes crazy good craters with his pokey fingers.

But, I got it done – along with cupcakes for Julia share at her softball game tonight.

Minecraft cupcakes

The cool kids will know what they are.


Find the Creeper

We’ve been playing this game for weeks.

Find the Creeper

Today, I found him in the refrigerator.


There is something about the word HUMANS that seems to carry more weight than any of its synonyms. The word PEOPLE, for example, seems a bit gentler. HUMANS? It is sharp and clinical. Most of the time when I hear someone use it, they’ve chosen it to emphasize what the word is NOT. For example, if you say “a human child,” it is sort of natural to think about the distinction the word human is implying. A human is not an alien, an amphibian, or a potato. And if the word is being used to qualify that characteristic, there is usually a reason. For example, there may have been doubt that the child being discussed was actually human.

Bee on the big rock

Phoebe uses the word HUMAN a lot. I know exactly when I noticed it.

“You are the worst human EVER!”

She’d told me this. It seemed so severe – much worse than being the worst mother, the worst person, or even a simple and open-ended “the worst.” I was the worst HUMAN. Ever.

I took it less personally when I began to realize this was simply her term for folks.

“There are a lot of humans at this playground, Mom.”

“I like all the humans in my dance class!”

“Is this for humans?”

Ironically, the more she uses the term HUMAN, the less she appears to be so. She’s like a little Spock or Starman commenting on how us humans do life. And I enjoy it greatly.

Enchanting. These books are enchanting!*

I read aloud to the kids every day. We always read shorter books that we can complete all at once. And now and then through the year – especially in the summer – we choose a longer book – preferably a series – to read together. Last summer, we read and fell in love with The Penderwicks. We enjoyed those books so very much that we didn’t choose another one to read for a while. How could another book measure up? It couldn’t. So, we waited. We grieved. Julia articulated our mournful mood well when she said, “Sure, we can read it again, but we can never read it for the first time again.”

Sometimes a book isn’t really done until you’ve lived with it a while.

Julia recently finished The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima – her favorite book series to date. She’d started The The Hunger Games Trilogy right after and those poor books never stood a chance. She wasn’t ready to move on. We all felt that way about The Penderwicks.

This summer, we’d hoped to find another set of books we could give our hearts to for a season. Our choice? The Betsy-Tacy Treasury by Maud Hart Lovelace.

Our summer read aloud book

We’ve only just begun to read Betsy-Tacy, but already we are charmed by it. The older sister is called Julia. She plays the piano! There’s a phoebe bird calling, “Phoebe! Phoebe!” And if Lucy or Jack pops up somewhere, I think it will be so sweet I’ll just eat it. It’s delightful. Phoebe is especially enthralled. The stories are semi-autobiographical and if you loved The Little House Books, you’d probably like these, too.

*Kathleen Kelly actually recommends the books to Joe Fox’s little aunt in You’ve Got Mail, so really, how can you go wrong with these books? Also, there are a ton – or maybe just six – Amazon Affiliate Links in this post! Geez.

What are you reading this summer?

I think this is how summer is supposed to feel.

Fun, free, and over too soon.

Morning and Evening


My morning cup of tea


End of the day

Great Time, Great Friends

We’ve started a family gratitude journal that we all scribble in after dinner. And day after day, the names that accompany these faces…

Our crew

…are written, over and again.

I need to post more than once a week. I’m leaving too much out that I want to remember!

There are twelve weeks of summer vacation. Display that on a giant calendar beside a list of all the stuff you want to cram on it and it doesn’t seem like a very long time. Week one is already gone! We spent it making cookies, planting flowers, building tents, and playing in the yard at home, at ball fields, playgrounds, and Tuscora Park with our best friends. Also, there were fireworks.

Teeter Totter


Riding the rides at Tuscora Park

Kelsey and Jack

All of us on the train

Jack makes a friend


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