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?
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.
We took the requisite picture in the usual spot.
It was dark and rainy, but he was bright. Just before this, he’d been sitting on the stairs wearing his backpack and waiting patiently for his sisters to be ready to go. We dropped Julia off first, then Phoebe, Lucy, and finally, it was his turn. He did not hesitate. He marched right in and got straight to work. He didn’t give me a second glance and I’ve finally learned that no one gains anything from me hovering around, so I left. I thought I’d cry. I didn’t, really. He was ready to go to school. I was ready, too. There’s a part of me that believes I should feel guilty for feeling that way. That part of me is silly. My kids aren’t babies anymore. I don’t need to grieve it as though it’s a loss to prove to myself that it was special. I cherished the baby years. I’ll cherish the school years, too.
My mom had the day off and went along to take Jack to school and pick him up and she took some pictures. I AM IN THEM. I’m not in many photos with the kids because I am usually the one taking them. Also, I’ve hated my body and did not want to be photographed. Still! Here I am with Jack after his first day of school.
He’s looking at his very first Scholastic book flyer. Look at his happy face! He’s going to have a great year.
We went to a meet and greet at Jack’s preschool yesterday.
(He picked the shirt he wore.)
We went for lunch after.
He loves to make me laugh. He’s good at it, too.
We were having a great time until a couple sat down near us and the man suddenly stood up and started yelling down at the woman. “I told you! I TOLD YOU! I TOLD YOU!!!” It scared me. It lasted less than a minute, but I noticed the way the woman moved her hand to shield her face and looked down as the man glowered over her. It made me so sad and uncomfortable and angry. I hate that my son saw it, that now he knows this is a way people can choose to behave.
We took our desserts to go. On the way out, Jack held the door open and said, “After you, Mommy!” It was such a contrast from what we had just seen. I felt so grateful for that sweet, gentle boy. I will do all I can to help him stay that way.
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.
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!
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.
And there are cool activities if you come early.
His seats were in the family deck.
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.
He took me to a game, too.
We all enjoyed it so much. I hope we can make it a tradition to do this every year.
So, the piano recital wasn’t officially a summer thing. It was on May 20th. But school was nearly out and in my mind, I was already on summer vacation, so I’m including it here, too. Julia, Lucy, and Phoebe performed. I made a highlight video.
It was the first time for us that the recital wasn’t on a Sunday, which was fine, but weird. The girls were great and Jack fell asleep.
The dance recital happened after school was out on June 6.
All four kids were in it for a total of eight performances and I made a highlight video of that, too.
Julia received her ten year award. That’s TEN YEARS of dance! (Remember the first one?)
She got to take a limo to the recital and at the end, she received a trophy.
That’s a whole lot to be proud of.
I didn’t write here over the summer. I wish I had, so I’m going to play a little catch-up in the form of some lateblogs. (I’m not sure that’s a real word, but you know what I mean.)
Phoebe played tee ball this year. While softball starts in the spring and goes through the end of June, tee ball doesn’t begin until school is out. She was more than ready to play when the time came. I love these pictures of her playing catch with her dad before her first game.
Next year, she’ll play coach pitch softball and Jack will be the tee ball player.
Jack and Phoebe both took dance over the summer. Jack did a six week predance session and Phoebe did ballet twice a week all summer, which she loved.
Phoebe also went to College for Kids at Kent State at Tuscarawas for a week.
She took a Super Scientists class where she learned this cool trick.
And she took care of her doll Camille in a Teddy Bear ER class.
She had so much fun. She can’t wait to “go back to college.”