Dave took the girls to the Daddy-Daughter Dance.
I took Jack to the movies.
Dave turned 44 over the weekend. Jack is turning 4 in March. (Dave looked absolutely horrified when I pointed this out.) Those are both even numbers. The girls and I are all turning odd numbers this year. Our piano teacher told us it sounded like the set up for a word problem. Somehow the situation gives me a satisfying sense of all-is-right-with-the-worldness. I’ll take that anywhere I can get it right now, because the world? Yeesh.
We spent most of Dave’s birthday playing the board games he got for Christmas and his birthday. (I recommend Splendor and Forbidden Island. They are lots of fun!) Later, Dave and I went out BY OURSELVES for dinner. I had an alcoholic beverage! We had tickets for a show that had to be rescheduled, so we ended up bowling. Dave outscored me every game. I got a number of strikes while he only got one, but he got tons of spares while I didn’t get any. THAT sounds like the start of a word problem.
And now, a birthday haiku for Dave.
We had our first substantial snow of the season yesterday. It was a bit of a surprise. The kids were dismissed from school an hour early. I was already there helping with the Santa Shop and I had no idea it was snowing at all until they announced school was closing. The kids were tha-rilled. Once we got home, they didn’t even bother with boots or hats, they just jumped out of the van* and went straight to snowball fighting and snowmaning.
*I have a new van. Dave hit a deer on his way to work one night in November. Neither the car nor the deer survived.
So for a few days my van pulled double duty, getting Dave to work and kids to school and it was just too much for Vanessa. Her engine was already on its last legs. I’d been babying her in hopes that she’d hang on until spring. She didn’t. We lived with a rental car – a brand new 2017 Dodge Caravan we named The Super Mega Ultra Ninja Go Machine – for two weeks while we looked to replace two vehicles for less than $8,000. Dave and I are still congratulating each other on that accomplishment. He found himself a Ford Focus and I now have a white Pontiac Montana I call Joe.
Today, the kids have a snow day. Tomorrow it’s back to school for two days and then, CHRISTMAS VACATION BEGINS. I’m just a little bit excited about it.
Dipper is the most adorable kitten in the entire world.
He is happiest when he is touching another living thing, so if we aren’t actively holding or petting him, he will scale the most accessible pant leg and find a place to get cozy and nap.
He doesn’t mind if you’ve got stuff to do. He’ll go along.
And because he owns our hearts, we will walk around bent at a 90 degree angle to let him. In fact, he is perched on my left boob as I type to you.
It’s December and we’ve been doing Christmas things. Julia, Phoebe and Jack danced in our dance studio Christmas show, or shows. There were three. Julia was in all of them. Bee was in one and Jack was in a different one. The girls were snowmen.
Jack was a Nutracker bon bon and I would love to show you video of that, but they asked us not to take video of the show and though I did it anyway (like at least six other people sitting in front of me), I figure I probably shouldn’t post it if we weren’t supposed to be doing it, even though you know someone probably put theirs on Facebook. What I can show you is the requisite after show shot.
(I love Julia’s hair like that. She normally wears bangs that nearly cover her eyes and the only reason she isn’t wearing them like that here is because this was the required hairstyle for her performance. I love seeing her face and asked her if she might like to wear her hair like that more often. She said NO.)
We’re already a third of the way through our Christmas countdown. This year, it looks like this (with a cute guy standing by).
Each box contains a candy treat for each kid, a slip of paper with an activity to do, and an envelope with instructions and Lego pieces to add to the scene we’re creating. (You can see the Lego scene over the cute guy’s shoulder.) The Santa sack is packed with wrapped Christmas books – we open and read one each day. And finally, there’s the Santa beard cotton ball countdown. So far, our activities have included hanging candy canes on the Christmas tree, drinking hot cocoa while wearing whipped cream Santa beards, a trip to the Festival of Lights at Oglebay –
Sidebar: Look! Thanks to the kindness of a stranger, we actually got a family picture while at Oglebay! And I am sharing it even though I am fat! What!?!
Now, back to the list.
– making paper snowflakes, making red and green paper chains, opening a surprise snowball, visiting the Christmas store and choosing a family ornament, enjoying warm sugar cookies and eggnog, and tonight, we will be going to see a live Nativity scene.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
We carved some of our surprise pumpkins today.
We’d done our trick or treating on Friday, right after Lucy had her first day of crossing guard duty at school.
She was so proud and excited to do it!
Our town offers trick or treat twice – once for businesses and once for residents to give out candy. We went for business trick or treat since we’d be missing the residential trick or treat for state marching band finals (where our band earned a superior rating – the best you can get!).
Lucy dressed as a butterfly.
Phoebe was a dragon.
Julia was a Hogwart’s student. (She made her own wand.)
And Jackson was Spiderman.
(He was really into the posing.)
I’ve had a cold for more than two weeks, but let’s not let it ruin anything.
Lucy and Phoebe participated in a cheer clinic and were able to cheer with the high school cheerleaders at the game last night. Julia performed with the band.
My guys watched from our reserved seats in the stands.
My parents were there, too, but they haven’t let me photograph them together in eight years, so there is no photo. I wonder what they’ll say when I tell them what I really want for Christmas is a family portrait?
It seems summer vacation went by and I completely left my blog out of it! I need to catch up. I’m not so great at recording things if I’m not doing it here and I’m turning out to be pretty forgetful. Here are ten things I don’t want to forget.
1. The dance recital.
It was the first year all of the kids were in the show, so there was no one fidgeting in my lap or screaming or crawling under the seat of the person in front of us and, therefore, no reason for Dave to take someone to the lobby and miss the show. We watched the whole thing – together! I was so proud of our kids. I haven’t logged in to Facebook in more than two years, but I almost did that night just to post a picture.
2. The birthdays.
I turned 40 (see the lovely banner the kids made me up there?) and Julia turned 12.
We celebrated with cakes in the morning.
And cake in the night.
3. Dave just being a dad.
The girls played ball at Ridgewood this year. Dave helped out where he could, but he was not the coach for any of their teams. He actually watched some games with me! And there were plenty (35!). But not so many pictures. I took, like, almost zero. Here is one of Bee, waiting to pick Julia up from performing arts camp (you can see her through the door window) so we can go to the game.
4. The performing arts camps.
Julia played percussion at the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Performing Arts Band Camp.
Lucy sang at the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Performing Arts Chorus Camp.
After each of their camp weeks, their group gave a performance. Julia’s songs included the Star Wars theme and Lucy learned twelve songs, five of which were in foreign languages.
Phoebe and Jack attended predance camp at our usual dance studio, but there’s no photographic evidence, so you’ll have take my word for it.
5. The summer reading program.
The first month was a sports themed program and the second was called “Brain Gym.”
The kids even got to try a little Tai Chi.
6. Phoebe starting piano, again.
The timing is right this go round. And Jack has started lessons, too.
7. The daily checklists.
I saw this chore chart tutorial at My Name Is Snickerdoodle and adapted it for daily summer to-do lists for each kid. It just may be the reason Jack is now potty trained because the flap that is “done” in the picture up there was the Use the Potty flap. He was so happy to flip that up every day and now I don’t have to buy diapers anymore.
8. The usual summer fun.
9. This toothless grin.
Lucy lost both her front teeth.
10. The trip to Kennywood.
This was the only picture I got of everyone together.
Dave took the girls to a Daddy Daughter dance at Lucy’s school on Friday night.
They wore their favorite dresses and lipstick and twirled and proclaimed they were princesses on the way out the door. They came home happily exhausted, so it must have been a good night.
Saturday was all softball and Sunday we celebrated my mom on Mother’s Day by giving her lift-the-flap flowers the kids made for her.
Under each petal were words they’d written that described her. Kind. Lovely. Pretty. Silly. Shiny. Beautiful. Generous. Cool.
We attached each of them to lotions and body spray and they decorated our table at breakfast.
After a lazy morning, we all went geocaching in the afternoon.
The trail near our house now has a geocache every two tenths of a mile. We found four before Jack fell asleep in the wagon and Julia wrecked her bike and we decided to head back home. Later, we planted our sunflowers (the petunias didn’t make it) and four o’clocks.
I’d purchased those seeds two years ago to send to someone I love but don’t often see. I was going to enclose a note asking her to plant them and when they bloomed each day at four o’clock to think of me. I would plant my own and think of her, too. I wrote and re-wrote the note, but it seemed too silly and sentimental. I never sent them. But now they are planted, and when they bloom, I will remind myself to do one of the myriad things I’ve said I was going to do, but was afraid to.