A very busy couple of weeks. I thought I was alone in trying to cram 857 activities into the finals days of summer break, but it sounds like that’s par for the course for the modern parent. Glad I was not alone.

We hit approximately 83 different parks over the final two weeks of summer. Parks we had been to before this year, parks we had not been to in years, and parks we had never visited before.

We went to the big city water park one afternoon. It was kind of nice to be able to just turn M. and C. (and C.’s friend) loose and tell them to check back in every half hour or so. The only bummer of the day was that L. was about two inches too short to do any of the really fun stuff. The “plunger,” the water slides, the surfing pool, etc. The lifeguards were letting kids who were right on the borderline through, but she was noticeably shorter than the little “You Must Be This Tall…” signs. So we went through the lazy river about 30 times and she sucked it up and played on the kiddie slides for, likely, the final time in her life.

The girls and I took a four-mile bike ride one evening last week. It was, by far, the longest ride of any of their lives. They all did well, although there was one extended, steady climb that pushed L. pretty hard. Fortunately she still falls for the “We’re almost there! Just a little farther!” line from me and powered through.

We also took a long hike through the nature trails at Holliday Park. At first the girls just wanted to play on the awesome playground and were complaining about the hike. When they saw we could hike down to the river and then up the sides of some very steep hills, they decided the hike was awesome.



While it came after school began, we took the girls to an Indianapolis Indians game yesterday. It was Kids Eat Free day, so they were excited about getting a hot dog, water, and chips without having to pay. M. sat by me and paid the most attention to the game. We were fortunate to be in the shade the entire day. We left after the seventh inning and there’s no way they would have lasted that long had we been in the sun the entire time. The only negative on the day was there was a meltdown just as we were leaving, so I wasn’t able to get a picture of them lined up against the outfield fence on our way out.

It was also pretty fun to wear one of my Royals jerseys to a game when I was supporting a first-place team, not just showing my hometown some love like the last time we went to an Indians game a few years back.

We also squeezed in a quick, one-day visit to Bloomington with some friends who have a lake condo. We went to dinner in town, and it just happened to be August 1. I laughed at all the random, old furniture that had been tossed out of apartments as college students moved out before their leases expired on July 31. I bet I have a few pieces of furniture still floating around somewhere that were discarded in the same manner.

My final lake weekend of summer break was a week ago, when three friends from KC flew in for a guys’ weekend. We had a fantastic time lounging in the water, drinking many beers, and listening to my ancient cassette tape collection, which I just realized I still had a few weeks earlier. Our lake radio actually has a cassette player, so we were able to play several of them. However, between the age of the tapes and what I’m pretty sure is a slightly defective player, most of them sounded pretty terrible. That didn’t stop us from enjoying them, though.

The first (short) week of school went just fine. The girls all like their teachers, two of whom are new to us. L. has the same first grade teacher both of her sisters had.

The two older sisters have started practice for their fall sports. Both are doing different things than we planned last spring.

As I shared already, M. took one short run with me and decided cross country was not for her, so she’s back in kickball. She’ll be playing against both fifth and sixth graders this year, so she’s going to have to step up her game. She’s kicking better, but the coaches have also been teaching them how to bunt effectively. L. got to practice with the team a couple times when girls were still gone on vacations or at camps, and loved every second of it.

C. was supposed to play softball again. The league she plays in does not normally have a fall league, but decided to try one this year. They didn’t get enough girls to sign up, though, and ended up canceling. When we found out one of her closest buddies from school was running cross country, C. decided she wanted to as well. So we signed her up. Apparently her first practice was really rough, as was to be expected. So I went with to her second and third practices with her. The second practice was all track work, which she did great at. One of the coaches, not knowing she was my daughter, even said, “Who is that? She is fast!” to me when she raced by in a relay. The next night she had time trials and I ran with her. She really struggled in the warm-up mile, but did much better in her timed mile, knocking it out in 9:30. I figured out her problem was she was trying to keep up with her buddy at the start. That buddy ran a 7:30 mile (!!!) in her time trial, so I told C. just to let E. go and she would be fine.

L.’s soccer team is still a week or so away from starting practice. She’s up to U8 this year, and should have most of her spring team back with her. She’s excited to get to play on a bigger field, with goalies, and against bigger kids. She’s always been the best kid on the field in her three seasons. I’m excited to see how she reacts when that’s not the case anymore.

While I was at the lake, the girls did their fall school shoe shopping. M. got some bright pink New Balances. C. got some bright blue Asics with pink accents for cross country and black Chuck Taylor low tops for school. L. got gray Chuck Taylor high tops. She had designed a pair online that were in school colors (purple and gold), and they looked a lot like 1980s-era Converse Weapons, which I loved. I showed her pics of the old Weapons and she thought they were awesome. The customized Chucks were $70 and wouldn’t be here for three weeks, so she was fine with getting some single-color ones at the store.

Now for the first full week of school. Maybe I can finally get the house completely cleaned for the first time since May!