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Jaynefest (and Jeff-fest)

Sooooo, last month in another wild, optimistic lurch toward life fulfillment, I drove myself to Charlottesville to tour Monticello. I paid extra for the long, behind the scenes tour, and friends, it lasted two hours and we saw the very rafters. It was worth every penny.

Not all famous houses feel lived in, but this one, oddly, really does.

It’s a private foundation, and some of the art in the house is on loan, so you’re not allowed to take photos, except from the dome, which is unfurnished.

The view was amazing.

And then I turned older!

Jeff took me kayaking at Waller Mill, which was lovely.

Then we went to lunch at Food For Thought in Williamsburg, and I had a margarita at noon.

Today it was Jeff’s turn to get older. Jeff’s birthday is always a tricky proposition because it tends to fall on the last day of the kids’ school, or on a day we’re traveling, or like today, on a day when the kids are home for the summer, which limits our abilities to party hard.

We did manage a lunch date, though, at a biker bar called Hoss’s (recommend!), and as we were wrapping up, he told me he wanted to go to the SPCA to feed the budgies, so we did. It was so fun!

There were also super cute bunnies!

Every trip to the SPCA in which we don’t come home with another pet is a success!

He is currently up in Richmond at a pinball bar (apparently this is a thing now since my generation has gotten old). Seriously, we both have had much worse birthdays.

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End of Another Year

The Boy’s school had their end of the year awards ceremony today. The way it works is that the eight graders get their middle school certificates and all the other kids get fun awards (See last year.) This year, he got “Most likely to go to space.” I could see it.

Holding the flag for the pledge of allegiance.
Accepting his award
Miss Kelly asked if he wanted to say a few words and so help me he he said, “I want a Mazda RX8!” Good to know, buddy!
Back to the classroom for cake.
Then Gameboys with classmates!

The month of July is sort of summer school but if we call it camp it goes much better. Same teacher, most of the same friends, shorter day. He’s looking forward to it, of course!

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Broken Maria

She broke her arm at recess today. Apparently she was going on the zip line and told her friend to push her “as hard as you can” and the friend did, and here we are.

At the urgent care, where it suddenly was obvious she also hit her head.
Later at home with her splint. Cast comes later.
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In Which We Travel To NoVA So The Kiddos Can Make Themselves Dizzy

I took gymnastics for one horrifying month many years ago. I think I felt like the only kid on the whole planet who couldn’t do a cartwheel and I was hoping gymnastics would fix that. (That I imagined Modesto was somehow representative of “the planet” was the mother of all cognitive distortions.) Anyway, I have always hated being upside down. Gymnastics was not going to fix that, so here I am decades later, never having figured out cartwheels or ever having started astronaut training.

But my kids love gymnastics! They have been doing a Sunday night Special Olympics class for years, gently guided by enthusiastic college students. Whether Maria would by now be able to deal with a neurotypical class is not the point, although I have fretted about it on this blog before. (And if I thought her destiny lay in that direction, we would make different decisions, but, I can assure you, it does not not.)

Anyway, the meet was yesterday up in the ‘burbs of D.C., so off we went. Maria did great, as always, and she will not hesitate to tell you that.

And Tom also did great, but that’s an understatement.

Not part of the competition, but the boy is a very good flipper.

There was a lot of goofing off and snuggling with friends (Maria) and Daddy (Tom).

Sometimes I get mad at Jeff for being “Fun Daddy,” but when I really, really need him to be fun, he always comes though.

The hugeness of Tom’s participation in this competition cannot be overstated. Last year, in the thick of his crises, he had to drop out of the practices because he got so upset, over and over. That he not only finished this year but also did the whole competition (minus the awards, and seriously, it lasted HOURS), despite being visibly nervous and clingy (I have not been so snuggled in years. It was kind of nice!), is proof that he came back in spades. It was a big, great day for him.

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Some Lies Are Sweeter Than Others

Maria has lost two teeth in two weeks, so there has been renewed interest in the Tooth Fairy. Maria is in a hazy area of childhood where she doesn’t really believe but does very much like all the benefits that come with believing. In preparation for TF, she made a “Tooth Fairy Rest Area” in her room, because, hey, collecting teeth is work.

This is a lounge area for the Tooth Fairy.

To compound all the drama that goes with tooth losing, she lost her second tooth at school and then LOST the tooth AT SCHOOL, which resulted in many tears. Her teacher sent home a note, attesting that no, she really did lose a tooth, and there were many witnesses!

However, friends were worried, so this appeared for her at school:

Maria: “Why would my friends lie about being the Tooth Fairy?”

Me: “Is it possible that they were worried about you and wanted to make sure you were ok?”

Maria has an Absolute Truth At All Times policy, which can be very, very problematic, and we are working on that.

Case in point, yesterday her brother was upset and I reassured him that we all love him, and Maria said, “Yeah. But sometimes I kinda hate him, too.”