It's really a trick question, because the answer is all of them. Here are ten, to illustrate the point:
1. The Clara Barton Project
Maddie's huge Clara Barton project was due two days after we returned from Florida, and while it was mostly done, it was not completely done, and anyone with a fourth-grader knows that the parts remanining until completion are the hardest. And in this case, required a lot of grown-up assistance (i.e. asking huge favors of friends to open up costume closets, plunking down cash for the presentation board and corn husks and first aid supplies to demonstrate Civil War bandaging techniques vs. modern techniques, printing photographs, etc.). Bottom line: it would have been awesome to have had this project 100% complete before we left for Hogwarts, but sadly, fires are prioritized in this house and only the ones that are burning hottest get handled.
The blog version of some of the photos Maddie selected to use in her presentation about the life of Clara Barton : )
2. Preschool Graduation
We've been with the same preschool for the last three years, and it is hard to express how wonderful it's been for all three girls (though Maddie never went as a student, she has been made to feel very welcome as the big sister and occasional volunteer). The big performance and graduation festivities were the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend; Bridget could not WAIT to be on stage performing all the songs they learned. That child is the hammiest ham we have. She remembers the lyrics to just about every song she's ever heard—she even taught her teachers one of the songs they performed, which was actually one Maddie learned at her school—and she was definitely the... strongest singer of the bunch. Gracie couldn't make it through one song at her preschool graduation before she dissolved into inconsolable tears because she had to leave Ms. Kay and Ms. Deb. Bridget is equally sad to be leaving her beloved teachers but on performance day, the show had to go on. There were songs to be sung! Loudly!
3. Crawfish Boil
Shortly after graduation, our neighbors held a huge crawfish boil. The crawfish were flown in from Louisiana and expertly prepared by native Mississippians. Zydeco music filled the air as the bride (not associated with the crawfish boil) at the old chapel came out post-wedding wearing a gold Phantom of the Opera mask. Weird. Ohioans, avert your eyes or else you'll see Maddie expertly sucking the heads of crawfish to get the last drops of juice out, just like a pro.
4. Graduation Party for our Beloved Babysitter
We hotfooted it from the crawfish boil to the graduation party circuit to wish our loyal and brave babysitter of three years a happy graduation. Because you really have to be loyal and brave to continue babysitting Dillow monkeys for three years. We are hiring her as a part-time nanny (more on that later) in July, and after she leaves for college in August we don't know what we'll do.
5. Myringotomy, Tympanostomy, Adenoidectomy, a.k.a. If It's May, There Must Be a Dillow at the Audiologist and ENT
Bridget had surgery last Thursday to repair a problem with one of her ear tubes, restore her conductive hearing, and remove her adenoids. These are all common procedures, but I wouldn't wish general anesthesia on any child, ever. It is pretty awful : ( We have an excellent ENT, though, and are hoping this will mark the end of four long years of ear problems for Bridget. We joke that Maddie and Bridget might invite both our ENT and audiologist to their weddings, and Gracie won't have any idea who they are because she's never once seen them. Because Gracie can hear within a 100 mile radius, we're pretty sure.
6. Harry Potter Birthday Party at the Cheyenne Country Club Swimming Pool
Maddie's friend O, of Christmastime Gingerbread House Party fame, also throws a great birthday party the first weekend of June (I missed it last year because I was teaching at GASC in Texas). This year the party was Harry Potter themed; they dove for golden snitches at the bottom of the pool, swam with baselisks, and toasted with dragon milk among other things. The party was cut a little short by the official kick off of June weather in Wyoming; I had to split time between this party and the one across the street at the Children's Village for Bridget's little bestie C while Matt and Grandpa were at Work Day at Frontier Park. Because if there's one thing Dillows do well, it's overlapping activities!
7. The Elizabeth Stampede
So, it's hard to even explain how in the world the following happened, but Matt is now the stand-in Military Committee Chair for Cheyenne Frontier Days. There are a lot of responsibilities (and by a lot I mean kind of akin to a full-time job) for him in this gig, and for me? Well, there's a whole lot, too. When we first moved to Cheyenne we really didn't have even the tiniest bit of idea how huge CFD is, and now, especially after two years of Lead experience, we have a completely different perspective on the whole thing. We flew Grandpa in last week to help Grandpananny for a few things, including taking care of the girls from 7:30 am - 10:00 pm on Sunday while Matt and I attended The Elizabeth Stampede in Elizabeth, CO with the rest of the CFD General Committee.
I know. The Elizabeth Stampede. Hee hee hee. How fitting that it should be the first weekend after May, when all I've been doing is stampeding around for the past month.
The general committee chairman and his wife have been extremely welcoming to us, and want to ensure we have a great time with this unexpected change of events; Col Hottle made sure to get me down to the fence by the chute so I could take pictures to my heart's content. He also promised me to get me down to the pit during one of the days of competition at CFD (!!!!) and I might even rent a giant lens to celebrate. If you had asked me twenty years ago how many rodeos I would have photographed before I turned 40 the answer would have been zero. Funny how things turn out. : ) I have been told no less than four times by four separate people that hiring a nanny for the month of July is a really good idea. (!!!!) There has been a lot of that (the !!!!! stuff) going on here in the last two weeks.
8. Acquiring a Rental French Horn
After attending the school district's music open house night last week, Maddie settled on French horn as her instrument of choice. So, French horn it is! There's nothing more disparate than rodeo and French horn.
9. The Transit of Venus
On Wednesday we called up our friends and invited them to drive down to Fort Collins to check out the transit of Venus on the ginormous telescopes the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society had set up for the few hours of viewing available. We luckily arrived at the right time, because shortly after we got there the clouds rolled in and the sun disappeared. It was very cool, though. I happened to catch the last few minutes of the live webcast on Wednesday night when the astronomers narrating it were a little sniffly about the historical significance, thereby making me a little sniffly, too. And I'm not even an astronomer. Good grief.
10. A Little Summer Storm-Chasing
Last night Maddie and I jumped in the car about 8:30 pm to do a little wholesome mother-daughter storm-chasing. June weather is both erratic and dramatic around here, and we didn't have to go far to see some very impressive and angry storm clouds off in the distance to take some pictures of. Our favorite:
Bonus: Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines
In between all the other disparate activities I've been squeezing in as much time as possible (which in the last week, hasn't been nearly enough) to meet this summer's crafty deadlines: a new class at Big Picture (Photo Challenges, registration opens in a few weeks!) and a new eBook from Ella Publishing Co., on sale mid-August! I'm very excited about both. I am also excited about the nap I'm going to take in August.