Today is the last day that Julie will be 14! I'm posting this now rather than on her actual birthday, which happens to fall on Yom Kippur. The most recent photo I have of her is from last June's middle school graduation ceremony:
Since then, Julie has entered high school! She joined the freshman volleyball team and was quickly bumped (see what I did there?) up to Junior Varsity. It is a very different game from when I played back in high school (Briefly! Remember, Kate?), and she's loving it. I suspect she will go farther than I ever dreamed of, partly because she's already 5'8" (I never quite hit 5'3") and partly because she's a million times more coordinated than I am.
I don't know if I ever mentioned here that Julie taught herself American Sign Language in middle school. Just by herself, using online resources. So when she got to high school, she enrolled in ASL 1. A week or so into the class, her teacher, who is deaf, told her (signed to her!) that she really belongs in ASL 2 because she is clearly way beyond a beginner. He was really surprised to learn that she's self-taught—he thought she'd taken classes elsewhere or perhaps had a deaf relative or friend. Unfortunately, the ASL 2 class doesn't fit into her schedule, so she's planning to take it next year. But she is also taking an art class called Mixed Media and a Graphic Design class, all in addition to her core courses, so she'll be busy enough.
Last year Julie took a sculpting class every Saturday at the Museum of Fine Arts, but she's taking a break from it now because she has volleyball (practice or a game) every weekday and relishes her free weekends. I think she'll start up again once the season ends. In the meantime, she continues to produce all manner of wonderful things in the kitchen—both edibles (mostly treats!) and skincare products like bath bombs, lotion bars, lip balm, body scrub, and so on. She amazes me with her thirst for knowledge and the way she'll just decide she wants to know how to do something and then figure out how to teach herself. She has an Instagram for her artwork, if you're interested: @_wiseart
The only other thing I have to say is: Happy Birthday to my baby!