Last month, our girl turned nine. We’d just gotten home from our Museum-cation out East, so we had a family day with a trip to the movie theater, her favorite pizza and chocolate cake. Once school started (three days after her birthday-ack!) we had a friend day at SkyZone and stopped for frozen yogurt. This year she didn’t have anything too pressing on her birthday wish list, so instead of buying gifts for her for the relatives who generously send checks, we gave her the cash.

You want to make a nine year old happy? Put her in charge of her spending. She’s designated some for the bank, and the rest I think she will spend in spurts.

I thnk her “summer of 9” was a good one. She’s experienced Girl Scout day camp. She’s been to a slumber party. She’s seen the long-awaited Statue of Liberty. We’ve had some chats (at her request) about things she wonders about. She’s getting new glasses soon, and has grown taller than some of the grownups in her life. She suddenly knows the songs on the radio, and has her favorites. She’s very into the audiobook of The Secret Garden right now, and is picking up other novels for pleasure reading. She’s on her third session of gymnastics, and is dedicated to practicing the skills she needs to learn to advance. Nine is all at once rather grown up, yet still playful. I’ll take it.

This week was back to school night, and at her desk was a “Selfie” poem. I think it sums her up nicely.

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and then she turned EIGHT

For the past week, we’ve been celebrating MaM’s 8th birthday.


Being eight means you have fun at your birthday party with your friends, and you really only need me to supply the cake and the credit card.

Being eight means you go off on your own with your cousins at the water park, leaving me in the kiddie pool.

Being eight means at the State Fair, you ride ridiculous rides, like the Mega Drop, without blinking an eye.

It means your iPod becomes an appendage, and you use it for things like an alarm clock, not just for playing Candy Crush.

It means you’ve decided you want to grow your hair long so you can donate it to Locks of Love.

It means you’re heading to third grade, which is much further away from the front office of the school.

It means you really want, really need Skechers for school shoes.

it means you sometimes crave chocolate like a grown up lady. And that you’re obsessed with Oreos (she has good taste).

It means you’ll still play with toys, but don’t always admit to it.

Eight. So far, it’s off to a very good start.


Trying New Things : Indy WordLab

Last week Two weeks ago, Heather, Julie and I tried something new. We trekked downtown (which isn’t seeming so far away for Heather these days, she’s there a lot) and we attended September’s Indy WordLab. It’s true. I spend my day looking at words, and for fun, in the evening, I went to an event about words.

It was so much more than that.

For starters, I finally got to see Indy Reads Books for myself. It’s a real used bookstore, located right on Mass Ave. It operates as part of Indy Reads, Indianapolis’ Adult Literacy education¬†initiative.

So. WordLab.

There’s a speaker (usually a writer) who leads the group in some kind of writing exercise.

Our group was lead by Indy WordLab organizer and author of Nothing New: An Irreverant History of Storytelling and Social Media, Ryan Brock. He led us in an exercise that started with 30 minutes of writing, then a shorter amount of time (6 minutes?) and then finally, 90 seconds. The only requirement was that we include the phrase “autumn leaves”.

So what did I write?

I wrote about my kid, of course. Here is my 30 minute product. It kind of sums up what’s been going on around here the last few weeks. It was inspired by the fact that she learned to ride a two-wheeler on my birthday. It’s not a gift I’ll soon forget.

The end of summer is a new beginning. New shoes because her feet have grown. New backpack and lunchbox because her tastes have changed.

She’s asking for phone numbers and posting on My Big Campus. She guards passwords and tracks her allowance. The training wheels have come off as the neighborhood pool closed, and she’s taken off down the street.

Her birthstone earrings have been returend to her jewelery box, and she’s raided mine for a pair of hook earrings.

Autumn leaves turn as she leaves one place and surges head first into the next.


After we wrote, we shared in small groups. It was like a college writing class, except it was free, it was for fun, and there was no grade.

And we’ll be going back in October. Are you interested in joining us?