“Oh, honey. Look at your fingernails. They’re filthy!” I say some variant of this to Lucy every day. It’s the first thing I said when I saw this picture.

Lucy holds a baby chick

Why? It’s true, her fingernails are filthy and she needs to learn to keep them clean. But why did I say this first and foremost to her? Look at her face, those incredible freckles, her perfectly pink cheeks, that thick hair, the long eyelashes, the gentleness with which she’s holding that precious baby chick. When I showed her the picture, her eyes lit up and her cheeks swelled with a smile. “Aw,” she cooed. “I love those baby chicks!” Then I spoke and she shrunk, her face like the sun being blocked by a cloud. I hate that I did that to her.

Her fingernails are hidden for this picture with the world’s cuddliest cat Mabel.

Lucy and cuddly cat Mabel

Full name: Mabel GET OFF THE TABLE! Mabel’s best quality? No matter what she’s doing, if you pick her up and hold her, she purrs like a motorboat and melts like cheese and she will let you hold her as long as you want. She never gets tired of being held. The worst thing about her are her farts. They’re like Satan’s breath. It amazes me that something so small and sweet could smell so terrible. You take the good, you take the bad. (You take them both and there you have The Facts of Life!)

National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) is coming up in November, which is also NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I’ve thought about doing one or the other this year. I actually have a story idea (or two!) that I love, maybe not novel-worthy, but short story-ish? It might be nice to write them. But then a neighbor stopped by and my house was so messy I was embarrassed to invite them in and I had to stand in the doorway to chat, so maybe I should be cleaning instead of writing. I’d like to be a person who has a house clean enough that a surprise guest doesn’t faze her. I’d also like to write stories. The clean house is the practical goal. The writing is the dream. It would be lovely to do both.

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?

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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