Forgery

I wrote notes to the kids’ teachers this morning informing them that I would picking them up a little early for dental appointments. I just found this gem in the notebook I wrote the kids’ notes on :)

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Go Team!

Clara’s pep squad cheered for the public for the first time tonight. It was kinda surreal being in a high school gym, getting a glimpse into our not to distant future. They got to cheer for a wrestling event at the high school, along with the JH and HS.

Surprise, surprise, she adored every minute. She was beaming the whole time. We got there a few minutes early because I didn’t know where to go so we were one of the first ones to arrive. She met all of her fellow squad members at the door, jumping up and down, pom poms waving as they arrived. Here are a few of them before their big debut.

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Clara was one of the lucky ones and got to stand. They were really cute and they did so well, especially considering they only learned their three cheers at practice on Monday.

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She got her larger top in time to wear tonight. Yeah….. still too short :) She can’t go any bigger though or the arm holes will be way too huge.

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This is such a fun time for Clara. She is just loving life right now and I love watching her shine. She has such a great attitude and so much joy. I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes in the coming years.

Happy Halloween!

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I’ve really been slacking this month. No pumpkin patch, no fall festival, no caramel apples, nothing. I finally bought a pumpkin a few days ago and the kids have been begging to carve it. I relented this afternoon, after I took a nap on this rainy, overcast day. I couldn’t put it off any longer. Clara carved the pumpkin all by herself this year. The innards were making her itchy, so she fashioned some gloves out of sandwich bags and got back to work. Robert wanted nothing to do with the slimy insides.

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I also finished sewing her bat wings on this morning. She’s a rainbow bat. Rainbow because of the laces on her boots. She wanted neon ribbons to match her shoes but I couldn’t find any thin ribbon to add to her tutu. This grosgrain ribbon was too wide and I tried to convince her to do without, but she insisted and added it herself. It’s kinda random, but she loved her costume. Robert could not decide on a costume, so we took a trip to the Halloween store. He spied the ninja section and it was all over. No more indecision.

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It was my idea to have her tape her nose. I’m kind of surprised she did it. Tee hee :)

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We kept losing the ninja because he blended in to his surroundings so well.

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Lost him again at dinner. Do you see him?

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We stopped by our old neighbor’s house to say hi, but they weren’t home :( So we came back to our neighborhood and the kids went around with our neighbor Barrett. He was a pro and said “trick or treat”, remembered to say “thank you” each time and even “you’re welcome” a time or two.

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After about a dozen houses, Robert was ready to go home. He didn’t even want to stop at homes on the route back. You’d think after looking forward to something for weeks, he’d be able to make it longer than twenty minutes. We chatted with the neighbors for a few minutes and then went back home. They went straight upstairs to watch “The Nightmare Before Christmas” while sorting their candy. I overheard Clara saying, “Here’s the peanut candy I can’t have. Here’s the sweet candy you suck on. Here’s the chocolate. Here’s the Chinese candy.” :)

 

Re-Cap

Last week was a hectic one. I worked several shifts at the book fair and was also trying to finish a project for one of our instructional coaches that needed to be done by Friday. We had Donuts with Dad on Tuesday morning and only me and one other person showed up to set up at 6:00 a.m. One more person showed up right as it started, but it was chaotic trying to get everything ready. We went through almost 30 dozen donuts, so we had a huge turnout. At one point it looked like I was going to be the only volunteer there for the last 20 minutes and be responsible for the entire cleanup because of the lack of volunteers. The other ladies ended up staying though and helped even though that made one of them late to an appointment. You like my bulletin board I did? The hole’s a little off center, but the kids were oooohing and aaahhhing when they saw it.

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So on Friday I was trying to finish up the project for that teacher and just happened to be in the library on the computer. They got slammed as they were getting ready to close out the book fair. One of their volunteers hadn’t shown, so I abandoned my project and jumped on the register to help for about an hour. I had to leave to get my hair cut then came back right as they were starting to break it down. Wouldn’t you know it, their two volunteers didn’t show to break down, so I helped the library asst. with that because our librarian is seven months pregnant and can’t be pushing heavy carts or lifting big boxes of books. Why oh why are some people so undependable?

This week has been another full one thus far. Chris has been fighting an illness for a few weeks now. He got steroids right before our camping trip after being told it looked like he had gotten over strep on his own but could use a little help finishing fighting it off. A week and a half later though and he was still feeling terrible. He’s come home from work early several days and stayed home on a couple of days. He went to the clinic on Monday and it turns out he had really bad sinus and ear infections. So after a month of feeling puny, he’s finally on the mend. The p.a. thinks the only reason it hadn’t moved to his lungs was because of the steroids they had put him on earlier. So thankful it wasn’t any worse.

I’ve taken a little control over my volunteerism this week and have felt much less stress because of it. I did my normal library time, a few hours in the workroom, and I also started week one of a five week commitment to do Junior Achievement for Robert’s class. I wasn’t familiar with JA before coming here, but this district is really big on it for all grades. JA uses community volunteers to teach lessons on financial literacy. Chris did it last year for Clara’s class (because I volunteered him when her teacher asked if I would be interested and I told her, “that sounds terrifying, but I know someone”). His company partners with JA, so he’s done it at the high school level as well. The older grades do a full day of instruction, but the younger grades are split into 5 lessons, one per week. Thank goodness because I could not have escaped with my sanity after a full day in that classroom. God bless teachers.

It wasn’t too bad. I just read a story and then do an activity with them. Those kindergartners do like to raise their hands and talk about completely unrelated stuff though. And they had just gotten back from listening to an author who was visiting the school that day so they were very good considering how long they had been sitting. The teacher had mercy on me and had them get their wiggles out before I started. There was one boy who rides the bus with Robert and who had his hand up to answer a question. I called on him and he proceeded to ask me if Robert could come over and play today :) One boy was sitting on the rug messing with a thread on his sock during the story. At one point I looked over and he had shoved it up his nose and was slowly pulling it back out again. Gotta admit, that one derailed me a bit. But we got through it and Robert told me I did great and that I was the best teacher he ever had :) Chris is threatening to volunteer to be a W.A.T.C.H. Dog on one of my days so he can be in the classroom while I’m teaching. Robert thinks that’s a splendid idea.

Here are their storybook pumpkins for school. They could decorate one and fill out a page about the book to earn a dog tag from the library. Clara’s character is a griffin named Scorp from a new series she just started reading called “The Menagerie”. She has fallen in love with this book. I grabbed it from the used book store and gave it to her as we left for our Livingston camping trip. She devoured it on the drive there and read it a second time that weekend and she’s read it two or three more times since then! She completed this project all on her own save for a little bit of stapling and hot gluing. Ahhh, it’s nice to finally have a kid coordinated enough to do their own school projects.

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And Robert’s is the aardvark from “It’s an Orange Aardvark!” This book is on the Texas 2×2 list that his school is working through, so it’s a fairly new title. His aardvark is wearing blue pajamas, holding ketchup and grape soda, riding in a bulldozer with a gecko and has an ant in his mouth. He was able to do some of it, but regular glue wasn’t cutting it, so again I had to break out the hot glue. He painted his pumpkin and did all the drawing and I helped him cut out the pieces.

 

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This is also drug awareness week, so they’ve had themed days all week. They’ve gotten to wear hats and crazy socks and Tuesday they wore pajamas. Clara was already at school early for choir on pajama day.

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Today they will have a pep rally and the pep squad will perform for the first time. Clara just got her pom poms yesterday and is very excited about today. Her top was too small, so she’s having to wear her school spirit shirt until she gets a bigger size.

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She is having so much fun in all of her extra-curriculars this year. She’s just made to be involved and be right in the middle of everything and I love to see her enjoying school and friends so much. The pep squad gets to perform at a HS wrestling function one night next week, so that will be fun to watch. She is one of a group of several students that are being narrowed down to sing a solo in choir. The choir will be doing a tour to assisted living facilities and hospitals again in December and will perform during the HS winter program and the elementary program. Hopefully she stays well this year and doesn’t have to miss both performances. She was just selected to participate in a new lego robotics group within the STEM Club this year. The sponsor said Clara is the perfect student for the group because she’s so enthusiastic and just ready to learn. I’m sure having a science fair project made out of legos didn’t hurt her chances either 😉

As we were placing her pep squad order, I asked if she wanted a cheer bag, which was optional. She told me, “That’s ok; I don’t have to have it.” She said the same thing about $2 socks and a turtleneck for the winter. I asked her if she wanted it and she said “Yes, but you’re already spending a lot of money, so I don’t need it.” All the optional stuff was less than $15 total so I let her splurge :) She was very grateful, which made me very happy. I’m just happy to not be shelling out money every month for one or more non-school activities. I don’t mind a small up front fee one bit. And come on, you gotta have the megaphone socks.

She did the same thing at the book fair last week. She chose one book for herself and one from her teacher’s wishlist and I asked her if that’s all she wanted. She said she didn’t want me to have to spend too much. I told her that when we spend more, the school gets more money for library books, so I didn’t mind. She very happily went and chose a couple more. I think I love the book fair more than my kids do :)

I mentioned a while back that we had a roofer that was going to bat for us with our insurance. Well, it worked and he’s got the job! Our insurance company is agreeing to replace the entire roof instead of repairing 28 shingles like they initially said. So now we just have to pay our $5500 deductible instead of the full 10k for a roof. We’re very relieved about that. Hopefully we’ll be getting our new roof next week or the week after.

I won’t be going with Chris to Rio after all. He is having to alter his plans to include a few days in Uruguay, so it won’t work for me to go with him. Maybe next time.

I should get off the computer and get busy finishing the kids’ Halloween costumes. I’ve procrastinated for about as long as I can :)

 

 

Matilda

I had been planning to take Clara to see Matilda the Musical since I found out it was coming to town months ago. We invited her friend Cianna to join us as a gift for her birthday. She had never been to a live performance, so it was a real treat for her. We had dinner at Chili’s with Chris and Robert before we headed downtown.

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I gave myself ample time to get to the theater. By my calculations, we should have been arriving 45 minutes prior to the start of the show. As it turns out, we sat down with about 1.5 minutes to spare! I’m not real familiar with downtown, but I can get to the theater which is right off of the interstate. As luck would have it, my exit ramp was closed so it added several minutes to get turned around. No biggie, still doing ok on time. At this point I was slightly turned around, but was pretty sure the direction I needed to go. I got going the right way and saw streets blocked off near the theater. ALL THE STREETS are blocked off! They were breaking down a festival of some sorts that was very near the theater and had so many streets blocked off. So I’d go a block and see an entrance to a parking garage, but it would be on a one way street and I couldn’t get to it. So I figured I’d go up a block and come back around. Only to find the next street blocked off! I was soooo mad! I circled around those few blocks for 30 minutes. I couldn’t tell where I could park on the street and was afraid of getting towed. I eventually found a parking garage and got parked up on the 8th floor and started walking. I eventually called Chris to give me directions to the theater. We were like 6 blocks away! We had to walk through the closed off streets where they were packing up the festival. The sidewalk all around the theater is also torn up due to construction so we had figure out how to get to the door. When we got up to our seats I asked if we had time to use the restroom. She said if we hurried. Thank goodness because I couldn’t have made it until intermission. We got sat down and the lights went down. Oh man, I was a mess. I couldn’t even enjoy the show because of how stressed out I was. I’m guessing we weren’t the only ones completely blindsided by the downtown mess. They were allowing people to be seated for the first few minutes after the show started.

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Part of the reason I couldn’t shake my distraction was because I was worried about getting back to the parking garage. The way we had walked it was just getting dark and we didn’t pass anyone except one security guard until we got to the festival area. The parking garage was vacant and was reserved below the 8th floor, so I knew I would be uneasy going back by ourselves after 10:00 p.m. I talked to Chris during intermission and he gave me directions to get back to the garage quicker (it was actually only a couple of blocks away; we had just taken the scenic route), so that eased my fears a little and allowed me to enjoy the second half more. I kept telling him, “That’s it; I’m getting a smart phone!” He knows me though and knew I didn’t mean it. He just needed to talk me down :) And buy me a map to downtown Houston.

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So our walk back was much quicker. There were still several police officers at street corners because there was a little festival cleanup still going on, so their presence was a big relief for me. The garage wasn’t too bad either and we just quickly made our way to the car. There was a sigh of relief when the car came into view. Then I had to call Chris again to get me back on the interstate because there were so many detours due to construction and I was so turned around. Oy. Let me tell you, I was so glad when I finally got on that ramp. For the first time all evening, I could finally relax.

As for the show, it was okay. I guess I may have enjoyed it more if I had been in a different state of mind. The kids spoke with such heavy English accents that it was tough to understand them. There were a couple of fun parts, but there just wasn’t anything too memorable about the show. The songs were just so-so and I could’ve done without Matilda’s mom’s competitive dance partner Rudolpho and all the innuendo surrounding that. I’m pretty sure that character wasn’t even in the book or movie. The only saving grace was Miss Trunchbull. She was played by a man and he was outstanding. All in all though, I don’t think I would recommend it. I had high hopes for it given the fact that it’s been touted as the best musical since The Lion King. Oh well, they can’t all be amazing.

But, the girls enjoyed it, we made it to the theater in time and I successfully managed to get us all home safely, so I’m gonna call it a win.

Easing Into Routine

School is going well. Already two weeks down! It’s been a bit of an adjustment for Robert, but he’s doing very well. He kept melting into a puddle of tears yesterday after school because I wouldn’t let him have cookies, so I’m thinking he’s pretty worn out and is ready for a three day weekend. He’s having a hard time getting up in the morning, so I think we’ll be getting to bed earlier to try and remedy that. We’ve been doing the bedwetting alarm all summer and it hasn’t helped much, so we’ll be putting it away until next summer. Sigh. I was really hoping for quick success like I had with Clara. It took about six weeks with her and not an accident since. Unfortunately, Robert is still waking up to the alarm twice a night most nights, crying and wet, so that’s probably affecting his mood in the morning.

I am so, so thankful for his teacher. She is an answered prayer for sure. Robert was pretty set on hating school but after the first week he said he loved it and he loves his teacher. We had a small issue with him needing to use the restroom frequently last week and he ended up having a small accident last Friday when his art teacher wouldn’t let him go. Apparently the teacher asked at the beginning of class if everyone had gone to avoid a constant stream of kids in and out of the room. Robert was also just about knocking kids over trying to get off the bus and to the house before wetting himself every day last week. He doesn’t realize he needs to go until it’s an emergency and he has a water bottle at school that probably isn’t helping matters. After talking with his teacher about it, we’ve made some adjustments so this week has been much better for him.

I was volunteering in the library yesterday and it got really busy at one point in the hallways on either side of the library. They were doing a fundraiser pep rally and so classes were in line going both directions in both hallways. It was controlled chaos; probably several hundred kids at one time in the halls. I love their school; most of the kids are so polite and respectful and listen so well and it wasn’t even too loud. I looked up and saw Robert’s teacher leading his class behind another class. She bent over and told a few kids who weren’t paying attention and were getting left by their teacher, “Follow your teacher, my lovelies” in the sweetest, most patient voice and it literally made me tear up with gratitude for such a wonderful, caring soul to teach Robert.

At orientation last night, she said that they would be bringing home a small amount of homework. She made sure we knew that we weren’t to spend hours trying to get them to complete it if they’re not ready. Do it in small spurts. Make it fun. She doesn’t want them to hate school. Same thing with learning their sight words. She said not to kill and drill. She also told me how she’s fought to keep play in the school day and that she understands how important play is for children so I’m pretty sure the kids get plenty of movement and fun during the day in her class. I think we’ll get along nicely :)

Clara’s doing well also, at least I assume so :) At her orientation, the teachers talked about how much harder fourth grade math is now since they’ve pushed the standards down from 5th and 6th grade. A lot of students struggle, but hopefully she won’t have too hard of a time. Fourth grade means a lot more independence around here. I’m not going to remind her about homework or her reading log all week. She gets it all on Friday and a portion is due on each day the following week. If she doesn’t get it done, she’ll suffer the consequences. She makes her breakfast and helps Robert with his and also makes her lunch if she wants to take it. I’ve noticed a big step in maturity this year for her. She’s taking more initiative to take care of things herself and doesn’t seem to need as much direction. I was talking to one of the assistant principals yesterday and she said Clara has taken such good care of Robert in the mornings when they get off the bus. She walked him to class the 2nd and 3rd day and she still makes sure he gets to the right place before going about her morning. I think I’m about to let them try walking to the bus stop without me, but I’m not quite sure Robert is ready to stay safely back and not run through people’s yards while he waits :)

With all of this growing up going on around here, it looks like I’ll be out of a job before I know it. I guess that’s the whole point though, isn’t it?

 

First Day of School

It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! I’m officially the mother of grade schoolers! I can’t believe this guy is starting kindergarten! He was a little slow moving this morning, but not too bad. He’s been acting a little nervous, but seemed to be a little more comfortable after meeting his teacher last week. I wanted him to wear a little bit nicer shirt for pictures on the first day, but he was set on the chameleon t-shirt that he says is his favorite shirt now. We double knotted his shoes, so hopefully they stay put because shoe-tying 101 has not gone so well.

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And this one, who is going into 4th, has been raring to go for weeks now. She couldn’t wait to see her friends and has been busy making bracelets for all of them. Last week she asked me to make sure she got in bed on time every night so she could practice waking up to her alarm every morning. And then she said, “Maybe I should go to bed an hour early all week.” How, pray tell, did I get so lucky :) She has been an amazing big sister these last few weeks, talking up school like it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

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Clara went on her way to her class without much more than a “see ya later”. Her homeroom teacher just had a baby a few weeks ago, so she’s on maternity leave until November. I was a little bummed, especially since her 2nd grade teacher had a baby the year she had her, but I’ve heard that her long term sub is phenomenal. She’s a retired principal with her superintendent certification and she was the sub for this same teacher two years ago when she had her first.

They did first day drop off differently this year and had everyone go to the gym first where the kids lined up with their grade. It was kinda weird and no one knew quite what they were supposed to be doing. Us parents just kind of moved off to the side out of the way. I got to chatting with a new mom and it turned out her son was in Robert’s class. We looked up and all the kinders had started walking out, as well as parents in a mass exodus. Most kids were walking with their parents, but we didn’t see ours, so we assumed they were with a teacher being led to their classroom. We got to the classroom and they weren’t in there. There was a moment of panic as we were in the crowded hallway filled with kids and parents, but then I spotted them together down the hall just kinda wandering around by themselves. Whew! They didn’t seem too bothered, but I felt really bad that I distracted him mom. Ha! I even recruited her to volunteer. Yay!

This is Mrs. W and I hear she is wonderful. She is the most experienced teacher we’ve had to date, so I can’t wait to see how he does in her class. She seems very sweet.

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One of the teachers at school has a son, her only child, in Robert’s class. I invited them over to play yesterday so that the boys would have a familiar face today thinking maybe it would help with drop off. Robert did amazing and went right in, zero hesitation. The other boy……. not so much. Poor guy was not having a good morning. He wouldn’t even look at Robert as he was trying to convince him to come in and play with play doh. He eventually had to be peeled off of his mama. My kids go so easy on me :)

I headed to the library to meet new parents and sell t-shirts and even recruited a few new volunteers. I’m hoping to be a common fixture up there now and am excited to see all the things I’ll be able to help out with. For starters, I’ve volunteered to update the PTA bulletin board each month, so we’ll see how long it takes for me to get behind on that :)

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I just love their school and am so excited to see what this new year has in store for them. I can’t wait to hear about all the fun, the new friends and the new experiences they’ve had today!

Theater Camp and Father’s Day

The kids and I just got back from a week long trip to Pecos a few hours ago. Before I post pics from our trip, I figured I should do a little catch up. Dan and Linda came for a couple of days last week and we left for Pecos early on Saturday as they were leaving for home. Linda was having some technical difficulties with her camera and so she’s been patiently waiting for me to post pictures of their stay.

Since Linda had knee replacement surgery in April, she’s only recently been up for traveling, so this was their first trip to our new house. They decided to time their trip to attend a play that Clara was in last Thursday. She attended a two week long theater camp that was put on by the theater students at the high school as a fundraiser. They had 90 elementary aged kids and they all had at least one line. Most parts were very small. Clara was the Spring Fairy and she had two lines. Each group also performed a song and dance. Clara’s group was made up of 16 fairies- one for each month and season. They had to get creative to give everyone a part :)

She did well and loved every minute of camp and the performance. The play was a little hard to sit through but there were some hilarious moments. I’m convinced that it would’ve gone better had they had their one more day of practice that got cancelled because of weather 😉 It couldn’t have hurt at least. I asked Clara before the play where she would be positioned during her dance and for once was in a good spot for pictures.

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She loved camp and can’t wait to do it next year. Robert was all gung ho about joining her next year. Until he had to sit through the play. He’s pretty much convinced he’s no thespian now. Ha!

Robert attended VBS that week and it was science themed. He finished up VBS on Friday morning and then Grandma and Grandpa joined us on a trip to the library for audio books for our trip and then we enjoyed some yummy sno balls.

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We had an early Father’s Day dinner at Texas Land and Cattle that night.

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Daddy and Grandpa got to open their Father’s Day gifts early. The kids and I made this for Chris. It’s a wooden “J” with legos hot glued on. It turned out really cute and I plan to hang it in the game room. I’m searching for cute, fun things to decorate the room with. We also got him a new Wii U game. We just got one a few weeks ago.

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And the kids both painted pictures for Grandpa that I put in frames. Grandpa loves F1 racing and these are paintings of his favorite race car drivers’ car.

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“Awards” Assembly

Just one more day til summer!

Things are starting to settle down finally as school wraps up. Since I’ve helped out with so many things this year, I’ve been given a reprieve and told not to worry about helping out with the 5th grade end of year celebration :) We had our PTA election yesterday and I’m going to be secretary again. Several people tried to convince me to be president but I know myself and it’s just not something I can handle without putting a TON of stress on my family. Thankfully someone else stepped up and I can just stick to taking notes.

Clara’s end of year awards was last week and yet not one single student was given an award by name this year. At least last year the kids with perfect attendance were announced and all As and Bs were asked to stand and be recognized. Each student got to walk across the stage and receive their “award” from the principal. Last year it was a packet with their individual certificates. This year since it was a week early and grades weren’t in, it was just a sheet of paper that each kid colored I think. Really? So lame. I mean, what exactly is the point? Some parents brought balloons and gifts and flowers for their kids. Some kids had 7 or 8 people there and there wasn’t a single award given. There was so much fanfare for just moving to the next grade. I’d love to tell Clara that her “awards” assembly is stupid and meaningless but then I’d be a terrible mother, so I go and suffer through it and smile :)

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These are two of her best friends this year, Kaitlyn and Elena. There’s a third girl missing named Kaneeze who just moved here from Pakistan. They’re founding members of the K.E.C.K. club that meets during recess :)

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2nd Place

Since there were fewer entries this year- around 20 instead of the 60 or so last year- they didn’t award 1st-3rd to each grade level. Instead they awarded one 1st prize and two 2nd and 3rds.  And Clara won 2nd place! Her first ribbon! She was so excited and she got to be on their morning video announcements.

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I’m so proud of my little scientist. She loves this stuff and can’t wait to get started on next year’s project. She’s also decided she wants to be a scientist when she grows up :)