Like every family ever, we’ve had a lot going on, even when you take our crazy work schedules out of the equation. There have been all sorts of vet appointments (of course everyone needed vaccines in the same month) and doctor’s appointments (stupid lady parts), a clothing swap with ladies from work, a new screen door for the front (to replace the one Huck destroyed almost exactly a year ago), carpet cleanings, a new couch for the basement, chimney cleanings, a major garage clean-up, a fence staining (we couldn’t find time so ended up paying a guy), a major purge of the office, and soon – soon! – we’re having the rest of the wallpaper eradicated from our home and painting the rest of the rooms. As far as I can tell, this is what people in Minnesota do right before the winter. We’re all getting our houses in order so we can hunker down and survive, like squirrels burying nuts.
As summer turned to fall, we have managed to squeeze in some good stuff.
- First, there was the Renaissance Festival weekend. Claire managed to go on both Saturday and Sunday, once with me and Joel and then with her best friend’s family. I’m telling you, this kid seriously loves anything “old times.” Given her predilection for dressing up like Little House On The Prairie and sweeping the front steps with a straw broom, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that she started asking if we could buy her a costume on the car ride there. Remember how, at the State Fair old-timey photo experience, Claire didn’t want to wear one of the girl costumes and we both ended up being cowboys? At the Ren Fest, she started out wanting to be a Gypsy until she saw the jangling coin belts and gauzy tops. Then she wanted to be a pirate, except at the Ren Fest? Not so many pirates. She decided it would be okay to settle on a peasant girl, which is a cute look for her.
- At some point, as the temperatures and leaves started to drop, we thought it would be a great idea to buy a fire pit for the backyard. I had one in Berkeley…that I left in Berkeley because we only used it a few times and then it sat around collecting water. We had a great time the night we sat the new one up. The dogs were THRILLED to be outside so long at night with their people. We ate s’mores, and I learned Joel doesn’t really like them, and Claire mostly just wants the chocolate. It was a perfect night to be outside, and I wish I could say we were doing it all the time. Except now, of course, the fire pit is sitting in the backyard with three inches of water in it. D’oh!
- Claire has been really into helping me make dinner lately. Or, shall I say, Claire has been really into playing “fancy restaurant chefs” while I make dinner and she serves pretend soufflé and stir fry and wine to two stuffed bears and a pig. I have to give the kid credit – I only participate in the most rudimentary ways as I cook our actual dinner, and Claire keeps up the ruse with gusto. I love that she’s not sitting in the living room face-down in an iPad! And, it has to be said, she’s way better at cleaning up after a stuffed bear’s dinner than she is about our family dinners. Chef/Hostess/Server/Acrobat Sommelier never has to be told twice to take her milk glass into the kitchen.
- Our house is about a block away from the local high school, and for the most part, we don’t hear a peep out of them. Growing up, my family lived the equivalent of about two cities blocks away from my rural high school, and we for sure heard way more noise in that house than we do here. A couple of Saturdays ago, we were setting up a video shoot with our dog walker in the backyard (more on that one day) when a drumline started rehearsing nearby. I love a good drumline! However, a drumline is very bad when you’re trying to record audio. When it became clear they weren’t going away, we shut down the shoot for the day and started investigating. Turns out, the high school homecoming parade was happening in our neighborhood. The Color Guard kicked off the whole thing in the street next to our house. We haven’t done anything community-oriented since we got here, so it was pretty cool to be able to watch the whole parade from our front yard. Claire stood next to the street with a bowl and collected a month’s worth of candy, Joel stood in the lawn with Huck, and I got way more excited than was probably necessary about the hometown event happening right in front of our eyes.
- Last week, Claire and I went to see the So You Think You Can Dance tour. (Look at that schedule. These dancers are going to be completely, totally wiped out by the end of the tour. I’m glad we saw them early!) It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the deep emotional stirrings of fangirling, but I have to admit, I got super excited to see the dancers in person. Goose-bumpy, even. Dancers I barely paid attention to on the show – *cough* Teddy *cough* – were so much better live. I paid an ungodly sum to get floor seats at a reasonable distance from the stage, and it was worth it. Claire still had to sit on my lap to see, but we were near enough that she was totally engaged for the three hours we were in the theater, even toward the end when she was fighting to keep her eyes open. She fed off the energy of the crowd, and learned quickly how to “woo!” and clap and gasp along with everyone else. I would love, love, love to be able to get her close up at a Taylor Swift concert. It would blow her mind. (Just putting this out to the universe, because you never know who knows who.)