Category: David (page 1 of 24)

Summer Lateblog #5: The Billy Joel Concert

Dave and I rented a Ford Mustang and went on a road trip after we got married. We drove from Ohio to southern West Virginia to Niagara Falls, Canada and back to Ohio again. We listened to a lot of Billy Joel on that trip. His was one of a few CDs I’d brought along that Dave actually liked. Not liked. No. LOVED. Dave loves Billy Joel. (If you haven’t seen him sing along to The Downeaster Alexa, you haven’t seen passion and joy in its truest form. It is the tune of his heart.) Since Billy Joel provided our honeymoon soundtrack, I thought it was very romantic when Dave got us tickets to his concert in Cleveland in July at Progressive Field.

Dave and me...and in about an hour, Billy Joel!!!

We didn’t have the best view of the stage or even the screens. Our seats were along the cutoff line where they stopped selling tickets due to the obstructed view, so we were right on the fringe of the crowd with no one to our right at all. We couldn’t see the action on stage so well, but we had plenty of room to move and have fun. And we did!

Billy Joel concert in Cleveland 7/14/17

This was my favorite moment. The crowd singing along to Piano Man (and a sneak peek of Dave).

We spent the night at a fancy hotel downtown, which was lovely except for the creepy clown art in the bathroom. (I should have taken a picture of it to show you. Imagine jumping out of the shower and seeing It stare at you from the across the room.) There was construction going on in front of the hotel and we had to wait half an hour the next day for the valet to bring our car. A valet! For our bird poop covered car with the broken glove box duct taped shut! I told Dave that he should look at them and shout, “What happened?!?” when they drove it up. (He did not do it.) We meandered home the next day, stopping to see The Big Sick in a theater near Akron and for dinner in Canton. We even drove by the old house we’d lived in when we got married. It was such a great trip. Man, I love that guy.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Dave loves sports and baseball is his absolute favorite. He watches it. He plays it. He has a secret blog where he writes an alternate version of baseball history, recreating old seasons with some kind of twist. For example, what if Thurman Munson hadn’t died in 1979? Baseball is his thing and the Cleveland Indians are his team. We’re just far enough from Cleveland that heading up there feels like a big deal. So, for Christmas I bought him two tickets to six different Indians games this summer.

Dave's Christmas present! Six pack of Indian's tickets.

I thought he might like to take each of the kids to a game, get some one-on-one time with them, make some memories, and maybe pass on his passion for baseball. This may have been the best Christmas present I ever gave him. He had so much fun!

At the Indians game

At the Indians game

At the Indians game

All the games were on Sundays, which are Kids Fun Days at Progressive Field. The kids get to run the bases at the end of the game.

Lucy runs the bases at Progressive Field

And there are cool activities if you come early.

At the Indians game

Dave and Bee at the Indian's game

At the Indians game

His seats were in the family deck.

Indians Game!

That’s also where the Kid’s Clubhouse is. It includes a play area with a two story slide and all kinds of interactive games to try.

At the Indians game

Jack runs the Tribe Tracker at Progressive Field

He took me to a game, too.

At the Indian's game

We all enjoyed it so much. I hope we can make it a tradition to do this every year.

We went on a date.

Dave took the girls to the Daddy-Daughter Dance.

Daddy-Daughter Dance ??

I took Jack to the movies.

Movie date with my guy.

I have been his wife nearly 30% of his life.

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.

a night of bowling
you were trying hard to score
just like our first date

Use props to take fun Christmas pictures.

Ho Ho Ho Dave

Julia with a moustache

Santa Lucy

Candy Cane Cutie Phoebe

Distinguished Jack

Christmas prop picture

Dipper the red--nosed reinderr

Kids Without Hats (The Opposite of Safety Dance)

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.

The kids and their snowman

Lucy puts a nose on the snowman


*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.

Dave's car met a deer

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.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

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.

Dave and Dipper

He doesn’t mind if you’ve got stuff to do. He’ll go along.

The cat on his shoulder

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.

Phoebe and Julia after their Christmas show

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.

Jack and Julia after their Christmas Show

(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).

Christmas Countdown 2016

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!?!

At Oglebay's Festival of Lights

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.

It’s Halloween!

We carved some of our surprise pumpkins today.

Our pumpkins

We’d done our trick or treating on Friday, right after Lucy had her first day of crossing guard duty at school.

Lucy's Day as a Crossing Guard

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!).

The kids in their costumes, take two

Lucy dressed as a butterfly.

Lucy the Butterfly

Lucy's colorful wings

Phoebe was a dragon.

Phoebe the Dragon

Julia was a Hogwart’s student. (She made her own wand.)

Julia the Ravenclaw

And Jackson was Spiderman.



(He was really into the posing.)

Does whatever a spider can

I’ve had a cold for more than two weeks, but let’s not let it ruin anything.

Friday Night Football

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.

Biddy Cheer and Band

My guys watched from our reserved seats in the stands.

My favorite guys

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?

Filling the Blank Space Where Summer Should Be

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.

Ready for the 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.

Happy 40th Birthday!

I turned 40 (see the lovely banner the kids made me up there?) and Julia turned 12.

Julia is 12!

We celebrated with cakes in the morning.

Julia's 12 birthday breakfast

And cake in the night.

Happy 12th Birthday, Julia!

3. Dave just being a dad.

Dave with me WATCHING A GAME!

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.

Tee Ball Bee waits for Julia at Performing Arts camp

4. The performing arts camps.

Julia after her performing arts camp performance

Julia played percussion at the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Performing Arts Band Camp.

Lucy and Mrs. Hinkle after her performing arts camp performance

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.

Summer Reading

The first month was a sports themed program and the second was called “Brain Gym.”

Brain Gym at the library

Trying some Tai Chi

The kids even got to try a little Tai Chi.

6. Phoebe starting piano, again.

Lucy and Bee on the way to piano

The timing is right this go round. And Jack has started lessons, too.

7. The daily checklists.

Summer Daily Checklist

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 her two front teeth!

Lucy lost both her front teeth.

10. The trip to Kennywood.

The whole family at Kennywood

This was the only picture I got of everyone together.

All of us at Kennywood

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