Saying Goodbye to Elementary

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I forgot my username. We’re just going to pretend I haven’t slacked off for half the year.

The kids’ last day of school was today. It’s been a busy, busy couple of weeks around here as the school year has been wrapping up. Anyone that’s read my blog for any length of time knows how much I’ve loathed the end of year celebrations at the kids’ school because no one actually receives an award and it’s such a waste of time. Well, I’m happy to report that fifth graders get an actual, real life awards assembly. I can get behind an end-of-elementary awards assembly. The 5th grade pep squad members performed and the choir came onstage to lead the entire grade in a couple of songs. They also had a performance by the “Cha Cha Roaches” (an elite group of 5 boys in the Orff ensemble that basically put together (and obviously named) their own group, wrote their own music and bugged the crud out of the music teacher all year long by never leaving her room. Ha!) They’ve been featured all spring at various events. The principal is so proper and old fashioned though, that she could never bring herself to introduce them as the “Cha Cha roaches”. A group of four girls wanted in on the attention and convinced the assistant principal to let them sing a quartet as well.

For most of the awards, the kids’ names were called and they just stood at their seat and faced the parents to be recognized. The one award that the kids came up front to receive was the Presidential Award. Six of them received it this year, including Clara. I’m so proud of how hard she works. The rigor definitely ramped up this year as the state has pushed standards down to lower grade levels and she struggled here and there. I’m a wee bit nervous about her keeping up in junior high. She will be in Pre-AP reading, language and math. Pre-AP math does work above grade level so that the kids can take algebra in 8th grade. Good thing she has a live-in math tutor :) The other two subjects cover the same grade level standards as the regular classes, just different reading requirements, instruction and assignments I think. She’ll have no problem keeping up with required reading. She decided against Pre-AP science and social studies, so hopefully that will keep her from burning out. Sorry, got off topic there :)

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Two students from each class were awarded best girl and boy student in art, music and PE. I guess the teachers had a tough time choosing in a few classes, so an extra student or two was named a few times. Clara got the music and art one for her class. I was a bit surprised she got the art one but not at all surprised she didn’t get it for PE :) She got hit in the face with balls and went to the nurses’ office probably a dozen times or more this year, once by the coach during dodge ball. Hey, we all have our strengths. She also had perfect attendance, all S’s for behavior and all As this year. That one surprised me because she brought home a couple of Bs on her report cards this year. Maybe they average the grades for the year? She was also recognized for being in choir, being a Leader in the Library and being one of three students from their school that were in the district-wide elementary honor choir. They still did the call-every-students’-name-to-walk-across-the-stage thing, but I didn’t mind so much this time. It just takes for-ever and people start getting restless and start talking by the fourth or fifth class when their student’s already gone.

At the end, the choir kids came onstage to lead everyone in singing “Possibilities”. Clara was at a microphone front and center with her friends Ivonne and Ivette. They were doing hand movements and I looked around and saw that they were the only ones doing them. I thought they had just made them up and was a little embarrassed that Clara was just doing her own thang up there. I asked her afterwards and she said everyone was supposed to do them. Ha! I love that they had absolutely no qualms about being the only ones. They were smiling at each other, enjoying every minute. After that song, they sang their school song, complete with hand movements. (Everyone joined in on that one.) They were all looking around at all of their friends, smiles plastered across their faces. You guys know me. I’m not normally a sentimental person, but that one hit me in the feels. I may have had a tear in my eye. Their last time to sing their school song together. Sigh.

We had a few minutes to take pictures after the assembly was over. The principal announced her retirement about a month ago after being in education for 45 years. Every time she’s mentioned her retirement in front of a group, she’s gotten choked up. Her final awards assembly was no different and she held back tears as she started the assembly. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the assistant principal on the left, so I was sad to hear last week that she is moving to a different position in another school next year :( There’s going to be lots of changes around here next year.

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Here she is with Ivonne and Ivette. Don’t ask me which is which. They still dress alike and wear their hair the same. Clara says you can tell them apart because one has pink on the inside of her glasses and the other one doesn’t, like it’s that simple. I just call them “Ivonne or Ivette”.

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Here she is with her ELA teacher. She had tears streaming down her face at the end of the assembly, sad to see her students moving on. She is so sweet and has been wonderful. She has lived all over the world and brings so much passion into the classroom. Clara’s writing assignments would come home with long critiques about ways to improve her writing, but she also included a great deal of positive feedback. She’s convinced Clara that she should publish a book someday and the students have been excitedly working together on puppet shows the last couple of months, performing them for the younger grades. She really does try her best to work around all of the constraints that have been placed on her due to standardized testing.

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This is one of her best friends, Kaneeze. She’s from Pakistan and is very sweet and reserved. They became close last year when they were in class together.

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And this is Phi. He was in Clara’s class and was also in the honor choir. He’s a cutie and so is his mom. They’re Vietnamese and his mom is not very fluent in English, but she wanted to get a picture of them together. They look so awkward. I love it :)

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This is her homeroom/math and science teacher.

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Here she is with Lauren and their friend Emily. They made up half of the quartet that sang during the assembly. Clara and Lauren have become really good friends since her family lives right around the corner from us. But not for long. They’re moving :( I really want Clara to have strong friendships with kind, confident girls in junior high, and Lauren is a sweetheart, so I’m sad to see her go.

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It’s hard to believe I have a kid in junior high! I can already tell I’m going to be a mess at high school graduation here in a few years. How did this happen so quickly? Wasn’t the first day of kindergarten just yesterday? I want my babies back!

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P.O.D. Drama

Robert’s teacher explained to the class about the POD awards earlier in the school year in preparation for their first POD awards assembly.  POD stands for Practicing Outstanding Determination and is awarded to one student in each class at the end of each grading period. A pod is a group of young alligators in case you’re wondering why on Earth it’s called that :) All of the kids in grades 1-5 come to the gym for the assembly in two different groups of either 2 or 3 grades.

It’s kind of a big deal. The kids are surprised and they get to hear their teacher say really nice things about them in front of their peers and parents. Robert was so excited for his first POD awards. His teacher talked to the class about disappointment, being happy for our friends and to remember that only one person would be receiving it but there would be lots more chances to earn it in the years to come. I reiterated all of those things, especially when I got the call from Clara’s teacher that she would be getting it but I hadn’t heard from Robert’s.

The morning came and when I went to wake Robert, who is not normally very chipper in the morning, he shot out of bed with a huge smile and said, “Today’s the day!” Uh-oh. I asked what was special about the day and he said it was the POD awards. I reminded him about our conversations and he said, “I know, I’ll be happy if one of my friends gets it.” I asked him if he thought he might get it and he smiled shyly and said “maybe”. I could tell he thought he had it in the bag and I know how badly he handles disappointment. He’s so hard on himself. If he’s not perfect or the best at everything he does, in his mind he’s stupid and a bad person. (We’re working on it.)

So I debated in my mind for about three seconds before I told him that he wouldn’t be getting it. He was heartbroken and it broke my heart to see him like that. There were lots of tears. I know he needs to learn to deal with disappointment, so I appreciate these kinds of situations that allow him to work through those feelings. I didn’t want him to be going through it at school without me there to help him process it though. I told him that I wouldn’t tell him any other time and that if he asked in the future, I would just say “I don’t know.” I also decided not to inform him that his sister would be getting it that day :)

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Grandma was in attendance because that was the morning she was coming to pick Clara up for their roadtrip to San Antonio. She just got to town a little early to surprise Clara. And that meant we could prolong telling Robert because Clara and her award would be long gone when he got home from school. Win-win!

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The second POD awards came around right before the holiday break and look who is the now a proud POD member :)

 

 

 

Clara was so funny. Robert hadn’t even mentioned the awards and I set out a bit nicer shirt for him to wear hoping it wouldn’t raise suspicions. I had also been combing his hair all week which is unusual. I’m an awesome mom. Couldn’t let him receive an award and have his picture taken for the wall with bed head :) He was eating breakfast as I saw Clara come downstairs in her school spirit shirt. I shooed her back upstairs and told her to change so I could get Robert to school in his nice shirt and told her why. She was so excited. A minute later, she waltzed downstairs with a new shirt and her award dangling from her neck. (Each assembly thereafter, the kids get to wear their award if they want.) I caught her and told her to put it in her backpack until she got to school. As she sat eating her breakfast, I looked over and she was smiling down sweetly at her unsuspecting brother. It was really cute, but I was just like, “Dude! Play it cool!” Ha! Normally they’re fighting like cats and dogs in the morning. Then I ran into her teacher before the awards and Clara had told her he was getting it. During the assembly, I could see her talking to her friends and pointing him out and clapping a little extra when he got it. She was so proud of him :)

He was obviously proud of himself and we got some pretty cute smiles when he spied us sitting among all the parents. But then he got home and told us he didn’t want it anymore :( He said that a boy in his class, who has been causing him a bit of trouble lately I might add, cried and cried because he didn’t win it. This boy has acted pretty terribly toward Robert and others and Robert has made me so proud by forgiving him and remaining his friend. I’m pretty sure there is some jealousy involved since Robert does well in school and being “good” just comes naturally for him. I just don’t think things are as easy for the other boy and he is continually in trouble. This boy has hit and tripped Robert, among other things, and yet my child still felt bad that his good fortune caused sadness for someone else. I’m tearing up as I type this. I am so lucky to have such compassionate kids. Both of them have dealt with meanness directed toward them this school year and both have taken the high road. They really seem to grasp the concept that these classmates are struggling. They can see them struggling both academically and behaviorally and I’ve reminded them that that’s just what they can see. We have no idea what their homes and families are like and so we need to have compassion for them. I try to help them understand some of the issues of poverty, divorce and abuse that many of their friends may be dealing with and how that might affect how a person behaves, but it’s hard for a kid who is safe, fed and loved to grasp that not everyone feels the same way. It has certainly opened up plenty of conversations about what we believe and how as Christians we are to do all things in love.

Chris had a long conversation with him, and I think he’s decided to proudly accept his distinguished award.

Eleven!

Well, almost. Officially on Thursday, but Clara had some friends over for her birthday this past weekend. She had an owl party, of course :) I found a cute little pinecone snowy owl craft online for the girls to make, but  I sorely underestimated the amount of time it would take a group of giggly tweens to complete their owls.  Everyone chatted and snacked while they made their owls. Some chatted a bit much. Clara’s looked a lot like a penguin by the time she was through with it.

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A couple of friends got there really late, so I had to rush them and the other slow pokes a bit. As they were starting to finish up, they played Beanboozled, the game where you spin and take a Jelly Belly jellybean and you don’t know if you got the good one or the nasty tasting one until you bite into it. Most of the girls had played it before. Robert went first. He thought he had lime at first but then ate it up and said, “nope, it was lawn clippings.” Later that night I noticed all the lime green ones were gone. Turns out Robert likes lawn clipping flavored jelly beans :)

They moved on to the photo booth and STILL there were a couple of girls who weren’t done with their owls. I had Clara take individual pictures with each of her friends and she insisted on switching out props each time.

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By this time there was less than 30 minutes left and we hadn’t done cake or presents. Chris had taken Robert to get a late lunch so I was scrambling to clean the glue, pinecone droppings and feathers off the table before I could bring out the cake. I cut myself some slack and decided not to make her cake this year. I love making their cakes and there are some really cute owl ones out there, but I had such a busy week last week that I just couldn’t add it to my to-do list. Instead, I took her to HEB and let her choose her cake. She chose chocolate with cookies and cream icing. And the girls got to build their own sundaes too.

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Clara had three church friends and three school friends plus Abby who is a year older at her party. All of the girls are so sweet and polite and are lovely friends. Junior high will be here before we know it, and I pray she continues to surround herself with kind, positive girls that can help each other stand strong rather than tear each other down.

I decided we needed to take a few pictures of us and our owl creations before I took all the decorations down.

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Two parties down, which means no party planning for me for another 2-3 years. Woohoo!

Meet the Teacher

The kids’ school grew so much in enrollment last year that every grade except 3rd added an extra teacher this year. It’s so nice to have their class size go down a bit. Between those 5 new teachers, about 5 who switched jobs to non-classroom positions still at the school and about 7 who left the school, there are lots of new faces in the hallways. Both kids got “new to us” teachers. This is Ms. C.

Robert has had a rough start to his school year. He seemed to settle in a bit in week three. He has a hard time with change and misses his kindergarten teacher and friends. They’ve added a second recess to the day for K and 1st students, which has me so excited! I really hope it helps the kids stay more focused.

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Clara’s getting a little too old for pictures with her teachers, so I spared her the embarrassment :) She has three this year and loves them all. Her homeroom/science/social studies teacher is a male and is very enthusiastic and energetic and was at our principal’s old school several years ago. I think it’s going to be a great year for Clara. She’s decided not to continue doing orff ensemble and pep squad but I’m sure she’ll want to replace them with something. She really wants to do dance class, but I’m not sure I want to pay for dance class. And I’m fairly certain she’s going to want to be on student council. She was made for student leadership :)

I really liked what I heard at Clara’s orientation last week. Science is about 50% hands on experiments along with keeping a science journal and they still have their trip to the science lab every other week. Math is still doing timed multiplication/division quizzes to keep those times tables fresh in their minds. Reading and writing will be going back to doing some spelling practice, cursive instruction, in class book clubs in small groups with aides reading three different books on varying reading levels, and they will be writing and performing puppet shows. It sounds very engaging. There seems to be a lot of new things they are trying and I love it!

First Day of School!

Hmmmm, seems like I’m forgetting something……  Oh yeah, the last three months!! Hopefully I’ll get a summer re-cap up, but I’m not making any promises :) If I do, I’ll probably backdate them so they stay in order.

So, just like that, summer is over and it’s time to hit the books. Robert went to fill out a form at Meet the Teacher last week and couldn’t remember how to write his numbers. Oopsie. We worked on literacy activities that were sent home for the summer, so there’s been lots of reading and a small amount of writing done, but math kinda slipped off the radar. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

You’ll notice someone has on a superhero shirt.  I found it (and his shorts) at the resale shop and he actually liked it! I guess he’s decided to lift the ban on superheroes. Neither of them needed too many clothes, so I just picked up a few t-shirts and shorts at the resale shop to replace ones they’ve outgrown. I think Clara’s had a growth spurt this summer. I did splurge on a new first day of school dress for her. She doesn’t wear dresses to school much anymore, but she loved this one that’s covered in owls, so I relented. About half of her wardrobe is covered in owls now.

Much to their chagrin, both of their backpacks and lunchboxes were still good, so we didn’t have to go out and replace them. I bought them LL Bean backpacks to hopefully last, and they have held up really well. Clara got hers at the beginning of 2nd grade and it still looks new. I told her she could choose a new one for junior high next year. I will probably let Robert upgrade sooner though. I’m not sure I can convince him to keep his dinosaur bones one through 5th grade :)

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They both got back to school haircuts and Robert went with a shorter ‘do than usual. I’ve always hesitated because of his cowlicks, but I finally just said “what the heck” and had the girl go short. I think it’s cute. He likes spiking it up in the front with gel and was a bit obsessed with it and didn’t want it to get messed up those first few days.

They both said they wanted to ride the bus this morning, so I didn’t argue. I was going back and forth about driving them myself. I wasn’t too worried about getting him to his new class; I really just wanted to chat with my friends and some of the office and library staff and maybe meet some new parents. I really didn’t want to mess with the nightmarish traffic and parking at the school though, so I just sent them on their merry little way.

And now I can go run errands without bringing along whining, fidgety, pestering kids! Woohooo! Freedom!

January

The year is in full swing and as usual, I’m having a hard time getting a handle on everything :) We’ve had a busy month so far but not much has been “blog-worthy” and I’ve taken zero pictures so I’ll just do a little re-cap.

The day after Christmas, Chris slipped in mud and was able to catch himself before falling. In doing so, he twisted his knee and was in a lot of pain for a couple of weeks. When the pain didn’t subside, he got into his doctor who also specializes in sports medicine. He thinks it’s a really bad sprain, but he did mention that his quadriceps are really weak, probably because of genetics, and that causes the knee cap to continually be pulled to the side, causing a lot of wear. He will probably need surgery on that knee as well. We’re now wondering if that contributed to the wear on his other knee that he had surgery on. It’s doing better now and he has exercises to do to try and strengthen his quadriceps so hopefully surgery is far, far away.

The next day we visited Bammel for church and to see old friends. It was fun catching up with a few people. We had lunch with the DeCarlos and got to meet their newest little one, Ryan.

Clara had her oral surgery at the end of December. She was the perfect patient as always and went right in without a bit of hesitation. She looked a little nervous this time since she knew what to expect but she put on a brave face. The surgery went really well and thankfully there was no damage done to her permanent teeth and he was able to extract the ankylosed tooth without taking out her molar. I’m really glad because she would have been left with only one molar to chew with on that side for the next few years :) She recovered very quickly and only needed pain meds for the first two days. Much different from her surgery last year where she was still needing it a week later.

We headed up to The Woodlands on New Years Day to hang out with the Couringtons. It was a relaxing afternoon of chatting, games and pizza and was way over due.

We re-entered reality the next week when the kids went back to school and Chris to work. It’s so sad when Christmas break ends. Later that week, Danielle and the kids came to hang out for the day. Justin had an appointment near us, so I watched a couple of the kids during his appointments and then they had lunch with us and played until the kids got home from school. They stayed through dinner so they could avoid rush hour traffic. If the state of the upstairs at the end of the night was any indication, the kids had a grand time playing all afternoon.

Clara’s extra-curriculars started back up the week after. She had extra choir practice and auditions for a special performance that took place last week. Their choir was invited to perform during the school board meeting and because of limited space, only 25 could go. They learned two new songs just for this performance.

They rode together on the bus to the meeting but parents could attend as well. Oh my goodness the place was packed! They had another elementary choir performing too. The public portion of the meeting was supposed to start at 6:30, but the closed portion went long so it didn’t start until 7:30! It was 8:00 before they performed and then we all skedaddled out of there as fast as we could. We couldn’t just take them from the meeting though; we had to meet the bus back at the school. I picked up a friends’ kids too because her hubby was running late and her four other kids were asleep so by the time we got home it was close to 9:00. Clara had been at the school since 7:25 am. She had choir before school and then Read Deed Run right after school, so I brought her choir clothes to change into and a quick dinner to eat on the playground before she was off to the school board meeting. So glad those kind of days are few and far between.

And then on Thursday she had a pep squad performance at the high school. It was a town pep rally where they introduced all of the spring sports. It was kinda fun. The junior high cheerleaders were there, along with mascots from all three schools, the high school cheerleaders and dancers and Clara was enthralled with every bit of it. She was in her element. Their routine was a little rough though. Because of the MLK holiday, they only had one practice where they learned their routine. I guess they didn’t do too bad considering.

Robert was supposed to appear on the school’s video announcements today. The assistant principal is awarding a dog tag to him. When kindergarteners learn their 100 sight words, they make a big deal about it and take their picture to put on the wall. He’s known them for several months now so I guess they just now tested them. He said he’s the first kindergartner this year to learn them all. Proud mommy over here :)

I just started reading Magic Tree House books to him. He really fought me on it at first for some reason, but after only a couple of chapters of book one, he was hooked. I’ve read the first three to him and when we have to stop, he begs and pleads for me to keep reading. I told him that if he practices his reading that he’ll be able to read them at his own pace very soon, so hopefully that lights a fire under him. I don’t think he will be quite as big of a bookworm as Clara, but he is most definitely interested. I just hope his interest doesn’t wane.

I was in the work room a couple of weeks ago and Robert’s teacher came in to make some copies. I told her that that morning Robert had asked me which half of the world we lived in. I told him that we lived in the northern hemisphere. He said, “That’s the good half, right?” I told him I wasn’t sure what he meant and that there wasn’t a good or bad one. He said, “No, it’s the good one because the people on the bottom half have to be upside down.” :)

She got a kick out that and made a mental note to clear some things up in class. She said that they had just been discussing numbers in class and the conversation moved to the kids debating which number was the biggest. Several kids said it was infinity and then Robert said, “No, it’s a googol.” I guess they went back and forth for a while with one boy in particular not willing to give in. Sure enough, his teacher went and googled it and was shocked to see that the biggest named number is a googol. Ha! She was just amazed at this conversation taking place in her kindergarten class. (It’s actually a googolplex but mathematical stuff makes my head hurt, so I won’t try to explain.)

Robert was pretty proud when I asked him about it and it was nice to talk to him about the fact that even adults learn new things all the time. You never stop learning and even kids have valuable things to teach others. Chris was pretty proud too. The math and science stuff is all him. I told him I knew how he felt. He was probably feeling about like I did when Clara took the AR test for Little Women in K or 1st and only missed one question. My little bookworm.

Speaking of bookworm, their school does a reading program to promote the Texas Bluebonnet award nominees. There are 20 nominees and if the kids read at least five, they are invited to a popcorn party with a special guest (last year it was a magician) and they get to vote on their favorite. Well, I mentioned to Clara that it would be cool to read all 20. She took it and ran and set the goal to read all 20. About half of them were shorter picture books, poetry or graphic novels, but the rest were chapter books. The deadline was last Friday and she wasn’t going to finish because the school and public libraries both didn’t have the books in that she needed. I had put them on hold and they weren’t available a week later. She was so set on reaching her goal that we went to the bookstore and purchased the final two. Come Thursday she wasn’t finished with the last one so I asked the library asst. if she could go ahead and turn in the paper saying she read them all and then finish it this weekend.

She knows Clara so she said yes and said that Clara was the only one to read all of them this year. It wasn’t easy; it really forced her out of her regular genre (which is why I threw the suggestion out there). There was a sci-fi and a couple of scary ones but she’s discovered new authors and loved almost every fiction book she read and plans to read the entire series of most of them. There is one problem. The one she didn’t finish? She still hasn’t finished it. She is terrified to read it :) The book is The Night Gardener. She showed me one page and the main character is asleep in her room having a nightmare. She wakes, feeling uneasy and sees a muddy footprint on the floor by her bed and feels a leaf in her hair and more leaves on the floor from an open window. Yikes! I told her not to read it right before bed. Ha! I may end up having to finish reading it with her. During daylight hours of course.

Well, I guess that really wasn’t a “short” re-cap, now was it? I hope everyone’s new year is going great!

Winter Wonderland

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been saying that we just need to get through Sunday without anyone getting sick. I knew last week would be a hectic one but that after Sunday things would slow down considerably.

I forgot to mention that Clara had a choir performance last Monday night at the high school. The elementary choir performed one song with the 6th grade choir. We were sitting pretty far back, so I didn’t take any photos of their performance. I’m trying to learn to be ok with not taking pictures of everything. I usually can’t get very good ones of things like this anyway, so I’d prefer to just sit back and enjoy the show rather than get worked up about not getting the perfect shot. So I took one of her in front of the Christmas tree in the Performing Arts Center on the way out. Seeing the junior high girls in their long black dresses and performing with them only confirmed that she wants to continue in choir once she gets to junior high.

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On Wednesday night, Linda had set up a dinner date for all of us with some of their old friends that live about 20 minutes away from us. They were neighbors in Salem, Oregon and Chris and their son Chad were best friends during elementary school. They hadn’t seen each other in about 30 years, so it was a fun dinner and they all enjoyed catching up.

The kids’ Winter Wonderland event took place on Thursday night. I spent the afternoon helping set up for the event and Dan and Linda were nice enough to meet the kids at home after school so I could continue to help without dealing with picking them up and figuring out how to get them ready and back up to school. I helped during the whole event, but I did pull myself away and watched each of the four performances that the kids were in. Clara performed with the pep squad, choir and 4th and 5th grade and Robert performed with the kindergartners.

I left my camera in my purse and was running around so much that I kept forgetting to bring it in to the gym with me. Linda got all of these pictures, which was a feat. She, unlike most everyone else, tried hard not to be disruptive and stand in the way of others to get a few shots. Others weren’t quite so considerate.

They all sang so well. Clara was part of a quartet chosen to sing the first verse of one of their songs in choir. Initially it was supposed to be a solo, but I think the choir director was afraid to narrow it down any further in case of illness :)

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She changed into her pretty holiday dress for her grade level performance. I mainly wanted her to change so she wouldn’t be in her choir shirt for a picture with Santa, but she decided she didn’t need to sit in Santa’s lap this year :( Several of the kids played the bells and recorders to accompany the singers and the Orff ensemble also performed with them. I can’t get over how good all the kids sounded. Our music teacher does an outstanding job.

 

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During one of the breaks between performances, Robert got to sit in Santa’s lap. He asked for legos. Nothing specific this year, just legos. He actually wanted to ask for a Ninjago set that he saw in a catalog. I told him that Santa probably wasn’t too keen on gifting him with a $200 set that’s for ages 14 and up, so he begrudgingly decided on just plain ‘ol legos.

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Robert did fantastic. He sang his little heart out and did all the movements. Look at all of those 5 and 6 year olds doing (basically) the same thing at the same time. She’s a master educator I tell you. Robert kept checking out his neighbor’s moves the entire time. I don’t know if he wanted to make sure she was doing what she was supposed to or make sure he was doing the right thing, but he just stood there smiling at her the bulk of the time :) He loved being in front of the crowd just like his big ‘sis.

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The pep squad was the first performance of the night at 6:00 and 4th and 5th grade was the last, so it was 8:00 before they were done. There was only a few minutes between all the performances before one of them had to go line up for their next one, so it didn’t leave much time for getting food. Chris took everyone to Smash Burger and then picked up a to-go order and brought it back up to the school for me as I was helping finish up around 9:00 :) Meanwhile, Dan and Linda went home and made sure the kids got straight to bed. So it may have been a chaotic, tiring day, but I’m just thrilled that both kids stayed well this year and could attend their Christmas program. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without a kid performance or two thrown somewhere in the mix.

Clara’s Birthday

Clara’s in double digits! Somehow I blinked and ten years have passed. This year Clara chose to have her birthday dinner at Rainforest Cafe again. Grandma and Grandpa arrived while they was at school and we got the show on the road with opening gifts as soon as the kids got home. Chris had to leave on a late flight to Corpus for an overnight trip for work so we had to do our celebrating early.

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Clara has gained an affinity for owls as of late, so this huge owl Beanie Boo from G&G was a the tip top of her Christmas/Birthday list. My kids have one combined master wishlist :) The turquoise watch she’s sporting in these pictures was her gift from us. Plus the owl shirt she’s wearing and some owl pjs. It’s the year of the owl around here.

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She chose to ride these mechanical ride on animals at the mall for her birthday. Chris gave me a really hard time for not riding one :) I was perfectly happy riding with someone but did not want to ride solo. Chris on the other hand, proudly strutted through the entire mall, caring not what other, rational adults thought. I tried to ride with Robert for a while, but I slowed him down, so he kept reaching back hitting me, instructing me to get off whatever the heck it was he was riding. Koala maybe?

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Chris took some flowers and a balloon to the restaurant before we arrived. A long time ago, he bought Clara flowers from the grocery store (which was very much appreciated). Unfortunately, when we went to put them in water, all the stems were completely covered in mold and we had to throw them out. This made for a very sad girl. Chris told her he would get her some more and then just forgot. And kept forgetting. Occasionally I’d hear her reminisce about the moldy flowers that her daddy gave her and that alas, someday he would get her some un-moldy ones. So finally that day came and she received her mold-free flowers.

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Clara got these cute corgi pjs from Bia and Pawpaw.

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One last surprise for Clara was the shelves I mounted above her window to display her Beanie Boos. The top of her blinds had a seam of ugly, yellowed glue that wouldn’t come off and since I don’t want dusty curtains right by where she’s sleeping, I just added a strip of owl duct tape to the top of her blinds. I’m thinking the shelves need a coat of bright paint to liven them up a bit.

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More Surgery

Clara had her oral surgery consult to remove her ankylosed tooth today. The surgeon said that this procedure will be more difficult than wisdom teeth extraction. He’s going to have to pull the baby canine and possibly the tooth on the other side of it, which is a baby molar. It’s just in a really bad spot that’s going to make it difficult to get out. He also said that it has begun to migrate up and is starting to fuse with the jawbone :( We were trying to monitor it so that we could get it out before it came to that, but I guess we weren’t quick enough. He doesn’t think it will be a problem but there is a slight chance that he will do damage to the permanent teeth all around it while extracting it. He won’t know exactly what he’s dealing with though until he gets in there. So surgery is scheduled for the week after Christmas. I just couldn’t bring myself to schedule it among all of the holiday/birthday hullabaloo and this way she won’t have to miss any school.