Some catch up on general summer notes.

Monday was our annual trip to the 4H fair where the girls’ cousin shows pigs every year. As usual, they had fun walking through the buildings and viewing the pigs, cows, goats, sheep, and rabbits. No poultry this year because of the avian flu thing and the horses were not shown on Monday, so it wasn’t quite as comprehensive a view of farm animals as in the past. We laughed because we clearly look like city people. As we walked through the stalls, kids would come over to our girls and ask, “Do you want to pet them?” and open the gate to their pen so the girls could get right in with the animals.

M. also had her annual visit with Megan the goat, who we first saw as a baby four years ago and is now a momma goat.

Their cousin earned first and third place ribbons before we got there, and when we saw him in the Showmanship part of the day, he advanced to the finals.

The girls also got their picture taken with the Fair Queen. A girl my sister-in-law watches who hung out with the girls went running over to the Queen because “I know her!” When the Queen had a break in her ribbon handing out activities, she posed for a picture with the girls. M. and C. were kind of starstruck, not because she was a “queen,” but rather because she was really pretty and had very distinctive, pale blue eyes. “Did you see her eyes? They were so pretty!” L. wasn’t as awed but just thought it was cool the Queen took time to say hi to them.

Our last swim meet was two weeks ago, but the season officially wrapped up last week with the awards banquet. We nearly skipped it, as that was the night of our backyard campout. We were glad we went, though. After final ribbons and team pictures were handed out, there were a few awards for each age group. M. won Most Improved Swimmer for the girls 9–10 group. She was pretty proud, as was I. She really worked hard this summer, which I hope is a good thing. She isn’t always one to rise to an athletic challenge[1] but certainly did so this summer. One of my highlights of the break was seeing her win an individual heat back in June.

The girls came up with their first grand plan of the summer over the weekend.

They were playing with the neighbors when a dog from a block away wandered into our yard. The group grabbed a leash and walked it back home. By the time they had returned, the five of them had cooked up quite a plan: they were going to start a dog walking business and donate the proceeds to charity. Not just that, though. In order to raise funds for the supplies they would need to walk dogs, they were going to set up a lemonade stand.

Neighbor dad and I opened another beer and began peppering them with questions. How much did they need to earn to start the dog walking service? How much would lemonade supplies cost? How much would they sell the lemonade for? What charity would they donate the money to? How long would each dog walk last? Who were their potential clients? And so on.

None of the questions phased the girls. Rather, they just got more excited. By the end of the evening they had found ways to trim their opening capital needs and ditched the idea of financing it through a lemonade stand. They had printed up a flyer, come up with a name for their business (which has already changed twice), and decided their charity would be the local Humane Society.

We’ve been in a holding pattern since then. So we’ll see.

M. assumed the role of treasurer and brought home a box of change they all contributed to the cause. She counts the money twice a day and records it on a ledger, just to make sure it’s all there.

Finally, perhaps my favorite moment of the summer so far. There’s a cool park in our general vicinity we hit a few times each break. It has a small splash park, a decent-sized playground, football fields, a long trail, and a Frisbee golf course. It’s a great spot to go without plans and see what the girls want to do.

Anyway, last month we were there and I noticed a boy was throwing the football around with his mom. Not something you see everyday, but alone not worth mentioning. As I was keeping an eye on my girls, I thought I saw something odd, though, from the mom. So I kept my eyes on her. Sure enough, every few throws, she’d lick her fingers before she threw another ball, just like Dan Marino. And she had a pretty good arm too. Each throw was a perfect spiral with some heat on it.

I just thought the finger-licking thing was great. You don’t see many dads licking their fingers before each throw when they’re just tossing the ball around with their kids. I loved that there was a mom who wasn’t satisfied with just lobbing easy balls for her eight-year-old to catch. She needed some grip so she could fire that sucker!

Along those lines, after going on one, short run through the neighborhood with me last week, she decided she had no interest in cross country this fall. So we signed her up for kickball for the fall.  ↩