Tag Archives: my girls

summer girls, summer parties

Party 1

As I work my way backwards through our very full summer, I thought I’d highlight the birthday celebrations the girls planned this year. You might remember some of the more elaborate birthday parties when the girls were younger. I loved planning and throwing parties for them both, and we did this consistently for their first six birthdays, culminating in a shared party when they were six and twelve. But after #6, the parties got smaller, simpler, and sometimes were just celebrated with family or with a friend or two. And as the girls have grown, we’ve also let them take a bigger role in the party planning.

Since we didn’t have friend parties last year, we encouraged both girls to plan a group event for their friends. E and M looked around at several laser tag / arcade / go-kart places before settling on a new one out in the suburbs. E put together an agenda for the party, and the kids (and dad and granddads) did a couple of races and a couple rounds of laser tag. Since F was too little for the racing, she tackled the ropes course WAY up high in the space.

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E had a blast. She said a lot of her friends thought she was a little crazy to host a party like this, and they weren’t certain that they were going to enjoy it. But E loves these kind of adventures, and is really competitive and brave, and it meant a lot to her that all of her friends showed up for her and tackled some of their fears to help her celebrate. The special things they brought with them were equally amazing. It was fun for me to see her really enjoying her time with friends, and how much they all adore her.

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My summer girls, eight and fourteen.

When we were on vacation for Spring Break, F saw a preview for the movie Despicable Me 3 that was opening just a few days before her July birthday. She announced that she’d be hosting a DM3 party for a few of her friends, and she never wavered from that idea.

As the time drew closer, we put her plan into action. She found some old minion goggles from the original movie when we did the big cleanout of the third floor. She also found her minion stuffed friend, and started picking out clothes to match her theme. She wore the glasses all summer long.


I picked up some black and white striped tissue paper and treat bags, and F decorated large round labels to look like Minion eyes for the bags. We filled the bags with small little movie themed trinkets, a big bag of banana shaped candy, and some minion tic-tacs. They were a big hit.

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F invited five friends to the show, and the kids sat in their own row with booster seats (apparently those are cool!) and little snack packs and lemonades. They giggled and laughed throughout the whole movie, and afterwards her friends presented F with homemade cards and letters – one friend even wrote and performed her a song. It was all very lovely, and sweet, and funny, and just exactly what she wanted.

We talked about the parties we might throw in two years time again – a big summer of birthdays – TEN and SIXTEEN! Yikes. Just like summertime, the years are flying by. I’m glad we took some time out to celebrate this new year in the way that we did.

wednesday morning in the garden

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It’s hot this week, and we’re starting to feel it in the early mornings too. I considered skipping this week’s visit after the late night at the Muny the night before, but it’s hard to break a habit once it’s formed. The girls were drowsy, but in good spirits. I promised we’d walk straight to the jumping fountains, and this morning they were all in. It was that warm.

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The oranges and yellows and pinks are in full force, but in the shade there are magical things happening. We shadow hopped our way through the place and tried to stay cool.

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I’m seeing so many of the flowers that we’ll see in a few weeks when we’re on vacation. It makes me think of the things that I need to do before said vacation, but I try to force those thoughts to the rear for the rest of the walk.

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Instead I look for the weirdly beautiful things, buds unfurling, seed pods twirling, leaves that seemed to have been painted by garden fairies in the night. A cardinal plays in the fountains with the girls, hopping one pad in front of them each time. I finally catch him in the frame.

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I’m glad we started this longest day of the year here. The garden at its peak is not to be missed.

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random photos from the blur that was may

Grad 16

I thought I’d post some completely random photos that have been hanging out in the media library of this blog for a month or more. It was such a busy spring, and it took until this past weekend before I felt like I could take a final deep breath and recenter myself on summer. I’m not going to lie, it feels great.

I love these photos of E and family after her 8th grade promotion. We were lucky to have BOTH sets of grandparents come to the Wednesday night event, which made it extra special.

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F participated in her spring concert at school – this marks year nine at this school between the two girls, and I think that this was my favorite concert of all. I love this shot M got of her just before they started to play.

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M started working on the summer front installation in our bedroom over Mother’s Day weekend. He’s had to do a few repairs to the piece – including fixing the frame which has broken several times, plus cleaning and painting it. Now it just needs some trim, and we can call this project done.

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M and I took the day off one Monday in May to help chaperone an 8th grade trip to Camp Manitowa in Illinois with 95 students. It was such a treat to get to hang out with them all – they really are a great group of kids. E is such a lucky kid to have had such a great middle school experience. I disliked my middle school years so much, and I assumed that was a relatively universal feeling. But E seemed to love every minute of it. If I had to go back in time and do middle school again, I wish I could do hers.


Girls’ Soccer was a bit of a bust this year. The season is so short in the spring, and we had so much rain in April that they only managed to get one game in, which is really too bad because they are so much fun to watch. E’s been fortunate enough to have been able to play league soccer since kindergarten, but watching her play for her school is a different level of fun. The game we did get to attend was on the Sumner High School field, an amazing historic school in our city. Sumner was the first African-American high school west of the Mississippi, and its alumni roster is extremely impressive. It was our first time hanging out on its campus.

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F wrapped up her second grade year. It was a good one, but challenging in many ways. Learning how to navigate peer relationships has been a big focus for F this year. We saw tremendous growth in her, and her reading skills have really taken off. I catch her with a book under her arm quite a bit now – sometimes she’ll ask me to turn off NPR in the car so that she can concentrate on her reading. This summer she’s getting to do some new bigger kid camp experiences which will be great for her. She’ll be joining her big sister (in E’s final year) at College for Kids on one of our local community college campuses – the one where I used to teach. The students sign up for four classes a day – eight classes total over two weeks – and they move from class to class and building to building, taking science and art and theater and math and computer courses in college classrooms and labs.

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As soon as school was out, the girls headed to KY to hang out for a week with their grandparents and cousins. M and I had a chance to catch up on a lot of work, watch a movie or two, run in the cooler morning temps, and meet up with friends for drinks and dinner. It was nice to have Memorial Day in that week, maybe one of the only days in the last 13 years when we’ve had a day off of work and no children in the house. We slept in, read books, went on a sixteen mile bike ride, and even went to the grocery store TOGETHER. It was nothing short of magical. We’ve got another one in July, when the girls head up to the other side of the family. Grandparent Camp rocks!


Cruising along through June now, deadlines behind me, a stack of books in front of me, and vacation on the horizon. I’ll take it.