Ahhh, August! It’s our last chance to lick up those last tasty morsels of summer…that’s what I thought when I discovered our cover art for this month’s issue of Leesburg Lifestyle in a show by painter Laurien Dowdy. Laurien lovingly depicts “rescues” who revel in life as they give us a full measure of joy. You can see more of her work in “Rough Hewn Rescues,” and at Loudoun Cares Charity Art Auction Sept. 13 in the Village of Leesburg.

In the same vein, we celebrate kids and pets, the two most likely beings to share our lazy, hazy days outside. Whether we’re pulling up a rocker to provide a kid a lap for story time (“Literary Linebacker”), doing a “walk along” with Woofie’s or getting a little bit dirty in a flower bed, we can all derive inspiration from both children and animals. (I have to widen the circle beyond cats and dogs, because if you haven’t caught the publisher’s litter of piglets on our Facebook page…well, you’re missing a good giggle!)

On the slightly more serious side, Susan Morgan helps us remember how to play with our kids as a way of helping them better communicate (“Let’s Play!”), and even has some tips for dealing with picky eaters. Hannah Serota, our “College Whisperer” introduces us to a couple of the area’s accomplished high school grads and reminds us not to stress too much about schools of higher learning because the “right fit” is out there.

And finally, we offer a glimpse of a playground for kids, pets and adults in Hedgeland Manor’s entertainment barn in Waterford and a snapshot of two great kids who wouldn’t be caught dead whining that they’re bored.

As our publisher, Hann, takes off for a Boy Scout camping trip with his son, we leave you to explore…on the porch. With a glass of cold…something—and your favorite bit of reading.