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School

Three and Six

It’s official . . . my Princess is now a third grader :-) She’s beyond excited! She got the teacher she wanted (the same one Dude had in 3rd grade) and couldn’t wait to get on the bus this morning. She was up and dressed in her first day outfit way before I thought about going into her room and waking her up. She ate breakfast in record time so she could get into the bathroom and take out her braids to see her “curly” hair – this seems to be a first day of school tradition for her – she always wants me to braid her hair the night before so she can have curly hair the first day.

Dude is now a sixth grader :-) He is way excited as well; however, you’d never know it as an outsider because he is an 11-year old boy afterall! He was up before his alarm went off as well . . . dressed, ate in record time, and had plenty of time to sit on the couch and read before heading to the bus (yes, my Dude reads every single minute he gets a chance).

I can’t wait to see how their first day went . . . and I’m way excited that Princess will come home on the bus and we get an entire hour to chat with her about her day before Dude gets home from Cross Country practice.

Happy first day of school kiddos!

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Cross Country

In the spirit of having a bug up his butt, Dude decided to join the middle school cross country team this fall (middle school – as in NOT elementary school – as in my BAY-BEE is a middle schooler – WHAAAAAAAA!).

Now as much as I LOVE baseball and was more than willing to sign him up for fall baseball in another district, I am ELATED that he chose cross country.

1. It’s after school AT school.
2. I don’t have to drive him many many miles to and from practices and games.
3. It costs only $40 instead of $125.
4. I don’t have to drive him many many miles to and from practices and games.
5. He’ll get to meet some of the new kids that join his k-12 school from their respective elementary feeder schools.
6. I don’t have to drive him many many miles to and from practices and games.
7. He’ll get to do all that running he’s been talking about.
8. I don’t have to drive him many many miles to and from practices and games.
9. Maybe, just maybe, that running will take place of bike rides to school :-)
10. Did I mention that I won’t have to drive him many many miles to and from practices and games?

I was even happier when I read the thing that said “just needs to have had a physical in the past year.” In my mind (and maybe even with my hand in the air), I put a giant checkmark in that box. Then I printed the registration packet and saw that handing in a photocopied form of his physical was not going to cut it, because oh no no no the school district couldn’t make it THAT easy. Nope . . . instead there is a single white sheet of paper that you have to fill out. This white sheet of paper is filled with the following items in Fisher Price-sized font so as not to leave any white space:

Student’s Name__________________________________________
Student’s Grade__________________________________________
I certify I have examined the above named student for the following:
( ) Back/spine
( ) Hearing
( ) Sight
( ) Limbs
The student is allowed to participate in all activies, EXCLUDING the following: ________________________
Physician’s Name__________________________________________
Date____________________________________________________

So, even though I have this wonderfully filled out and detailed Boy Scout physical form that doc just completed along with the exam in April of 2011, I had to go BACK to the doc’s office and ask them to check the appropriate boxes and sign the new piece of paper (which of course will take 5-7 working days).

I felt like I was in middle school (ah ha – and the light goes on!)

Do you think this paper is stupid?
( ) Yes       ( ) No

Do you think the school system could possibly make things any more stupidly difficult for parents?
( ) Yes       ( ) No

Do you like raisins?
( ) Yes       ( ) No

Will you eat lunch with Jennifer?
( ) Yes       ( ) No

Let middle school begin!

Everyone Continues

I’m gonna lay it on the table before I gush over my Dude.

Not every kid who participates in a league/club/event of some sort should get a ribbon/award/trophy.

Kids do not “graduate” from preschool. They simply turn 5.

Kids do not “graduate” from 1st grade. Or 2nd grade. Or 3rd grade. Or 4th grade. Or 5th grade. You simply become a year older.

You graduate from High School – and that is a great thing.

You graduate from College – and that is an even greater thing.

So when I got the invitation to my son’s 5th Grade Continuation Ceremony, I wrinkled my nose. Really? 5th grade? Aren’t you EXPECTED to “graduate” from 5th grade? And where are you going? 6th grade is where you’re going. The beginning of the last 7 years of your beginning education. Some kids who go into 6th grade are simply going into 6th grade. Some kids spend 6th grade in elementary school. Some kids spend 6th grade in middle school. It’s just the next grade.

Because I’m not a total troll, I went to Dude’s Continuation ceremony . . . a continutation ceremony complete with Graduation Cakes. To my horror, his said “Class of 2018” on it. Wow . . . the class of 2018. That seems oh so far away . . . and I may or may not be a little sensitive to it because I got a terrible awful email today – inviting me to my 20 YEAR CLASS REUNION this July. Ack! Anyhoo . . . enough about me . . . here’s the cake :-)

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If you look closely, you can see that one kid is quite out of place. Which one of these kids is doin’ his own thing? Which one of these kids is kinda the same? Can you guess which kid is doin’ his own thing?

Um ya – that would be MY kid . . . sitting out front all alone by himself not in line with any of the other kids in his class.

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So it’s official . . . not only is my Dude the kid who wouldn’t sit in the nice empty space in the top row, he was also the 2nd youngest (by 3 days) and he’s the shortest kid in his class, as evidenced by this partial photo of the 5th grade.

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Dude is the one with the white shirt and tie in the front row . . . lookin’ pretty smart if you ask me :-)

All of that kidding aside, I am SUPER proud of my Dude. He got only one B this year – in science the first quarter. It nearly KILLED him. He did every single extra credit available all year, in every subject, to make up for it. I’d see him doing extra credit work and and say “Hey Dude. Whatchya doin’? Do you really need to invent a medical device, diagram it, and write a paper on it?” He’d say “Well, I DID get that B in science!” (Have I mentioned that I love my Dude?) As a result . . . he was one of 12 kids out of 137 in his grade to receive the President’s Award for outstanding academic achievement. I’m quite certain President Obama personally signed Dude’s letter 😉

Dude also received an award for demonstrating kindness and compassion above and beyond during the school year. So proud of him!

My Dude had a wonderful 5th grade year. I give 50% credit to him for just being a wonderful person, but I give the other 50% credit for his super fabulous awesome 5th grade year to his amazing teacher, Ms. Wintory (who would be proud of all the cupcake words I’m using, I’m sure!).

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This amazing person knows all of her students so well. She has an AWESOME personality. She is fun and exciting and inspires the kids so they WANT to learn. She gets to know each and every one of her students inside and out. She knew Dude so well that she gave him the only seat in the room with a view out the ginormous window so he could look at Pikes Peak all day every day, which made him the happiest boy in the class. He of course didn’t abuse that privilege, so he got to keep it all year.

I am so bummed that she is leaving our school and Princess won’t get to experience her awesomeness; however, I am so glad Dude had the most perfect teacher for him ever.

He worked so hard this year, made a bunch of new friends, and absolutely enjoyed school.

He has officially “continued” to Middle School.

I am happy.

I am sad.

Most of all, I am proud.

First Day of School – 2010

Hubby and I took the kiddos to the bus stop this a.m. to send them off to their first day of school. Princess is starting 2nd grade and is SO excited to have Mr. Krich, the same teacher Dude had when he was in 2nd grade. Dude is starting “his last year of elementary school” as he puts it . . . and he better stop saying that or I’m going to hold him back a year! Anyhoo – he’s way excited about his teacher and the kids that are in his class as well.

Princess of course thought it completely necessary to get a new outfit for the first day of school. She gently reminded me last Thursday as we were leaving for camping that “Mommy! Oh no! We forgot to get a first day of school outfit for me!” I reminded her that she has tons of clothes and that I hadn’t forgotten . . . I just didn’t suggest it. She was OK with it. But of course I planned on getting her a new outfit . . . so when we got back from camping I said “We’ll need to get showered and ready so you and I can go pick out a new outfit for the first day of school.”

You would have thought I’d just told her she could buy every stuffed animal ever made!

So here they are . . . Princess in her new duds and Dude in an “outfit” he’s had for 3 years now :-)

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No, they’re not waving and giving a peace sign . . . they are indicating the grade they are in . . . much easier for me to figure it all out many years down the road if I have them flash cryptic messages in the photos.

Here they are last year on the first day of school. They haven’t changed a lot in pictures, but they sure have grown up a lot in person!

Did I Seriously Do That?

Princess’ first conference for 1st grade was partially student-led; she sat with us and the teachers and showed us some of her work and read some stuff to us. One thing I love about her teachers is that even in first grade, the kids have to do a LOT of writing, and they are expected to capitalize and punctuate properly and work really hard at spelling. I just love reading their stories that they bring home . . . the English language should be changed so that all words are spelled how a typical 6-8 year old would spell them :-)

Princess starting reading her “What my family likes to do together” paper to us . . . it started out . . .

“I like to spend time with mi family.”

She got to “mi” and threw her hands over her head and said “Did I SERIOUSLY spell my with an ‘i’? I can’t believe I did that!”

HA! I love to see Dude and Princess grow in their academics :-) I think it’s great that at 6 she’s realizing that just because she’s a good reader doesn’t mean she’s a good speller, but she’s getting it and figuring it out. And I’m sure she’ll never spell my with an ‘i’ again :-)

Things I Learned in 1st Grade – Just Yesterday

The plague has finally left my body, so I got to go to Princess’ classroom yesterday for a couple hours to pick up some extra germs from the petri dish that is otherwise known as a First Grade classroom. Things I learned . . .

  1. First grade is not for learning to read, do basic math, and write your letters really nicely.
  2. First grade IS for learning to read really big words, do some pretty advanced math, and write complete sentences with proper spacing, capitalization, punctuation, and expanded thoughts with compound sentences.
  3. Even the most anti-learning 6 year old will do their work if it’s someone else’s mom helping them instead of a teacher.
  4. Tanner has an iguana.
  5. Being able to type without even looking at the computer – AT ALL – is a very cool skill.
  6. Leaving the classroom to walk to the printer with an adult is the next best thing to recess.
  7. Paris has sunglasses that clip on to her glasses.
  8. Half the kids are called by names other than their given name.
  9. Doing your homework in pen is a very very bad thing.
  10. James loses his glasses every 5 minutes.
  11. Parents have gotten way too creative trying to spell their kids’ names. Bob is not spelled BAULQUB.
  12. Andris loves to eat at Pei Wei with his Grandpa.
  13. It will always take Ella at LEAST 2 minutes to ask a question – no matter what that question is.
  14. Princess gets to kiss her brain every day in class.
  15. 1st grade teachers are STILL some of the most patient people I have ever met!
  16. Our kids ARE learning! I have no idea who these people are that are saying our kids do not learn enough in school. I think they’ve all forgotten what kids are all about. After spending hours in each of my kids’ classrooms volunteering the past few years, I’m stunned at the level of learning they’re doing for their respective grades.

THANK YOU TEACHERS!!!

I Won The Back-to-school Clothes Lottery!

OK – so I didn’t actually win anything . . . but, my kiddos did try on all their existing clothing, and I don’t have to buy ANYTHING! I know! They have enough pants and shirts and shoes to last at least until December . . . right about the time they’ll each have another growth spurt. Of course Princess has gotten a couple new outfits, because you just have to, but Dude could care less if he ever stepped foot inside a clothing store.

So while I didn’t really win anything, any mom knows that getting to skip out on back-to-school clothes shopping ROCKS!

Any of you get that lucky?

Week 1 is Done

Because of literacy testing today and tomorrow, Dude and Princess only had 3 days of school this week. They have today off, then have a half day tomorrow morning for testing, then the rest of the day off.

Princess reports that she had a wonderful first week! She likes being able to choose what she wants at lunch (they get like 3 choices for an entree), yet she took her lunch 2 of the days 😉 Mostly I think she wanted to use her new lunch box, but partly after only 1 day of standing in the lunch line, she realized that if you take your own lunch, you get more time to eat. But then she wanted chocolate milk yesterday, so she stood in the line anyway to get that, so taking her lunch didn’t give her much of an advantage. Ahhhhhh . . . Princess’ little brain at work! She made a new friend already, and I’m sure I’ll be hearing more and more about Aspen every day. I’m expecting requests for a play date in the very near future. Princess loves her teachers and had a great time going to different classes like PE and French and Music. I’m surprised she’s doing so well right away – not because of her personality, but because the adjustment from Montessori to a traditional classroom is difficult. You go from having a free moving environment to having to sit in a desk and do what everyone else is doing, and doing it quietly. I give her another week before I might get a note home 😉 But, I’m so happy she likes it and is making friends and is doing well.

Dude had a good first week as well. He reports that he can’t believe he had homework the first day of school, that he doesn’t know the names of half the kids in his class, that he really likes his teacher, that he and Keawe play every day at recess with a couple other kids, that he still thinks they need to get more time to eat lunch, that one of the new kids fainted right out of his chair yesterday and had to go to the principal’s office, and that maybe he actually DOES need a haircut. Typical 9 year old boy report.

All is good in elementary school land! I must say that it’s great to be in a groove with at least some kind of a routine :-)

First Day

Today, my baby starts first grade. Yup – Ms. Princess is a FIRST GRADER! And Dude – he’s going into the 4th grade. 20 minutes until we leave for the bus. The kids? They are SOOOOO excited – and that makes me way happy.

Princess asked if she could get a new outfit for the first day of school – who was I to tell her no! She picked out a cute cupcake and polka dot dress . . . if you can see the socks, notice that they are also polka dot and match quite nicely :-) And the hair – she wanted curly hair for her first day of school, so I put lots of braids in it yesterday. I “blame” all of this need to “get ready” on my mom . . . clearly that gene missed a generation :-) Here Princess is in all her cuteness for her first day of first grade!

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And then there’s Dude, who is clearly too cool to get new clothes for school – and also still doesn’t believe me that yes, he does need a haircut and no, not all camo matches 😉 He was so sweet to Princess this morning . . . I had the hugest smile on my face watching them walk down to the bus stop together this a.m. with their backpacks on.

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I have to giggle at Princess’ luck . . . one of her first grade teachers is named Mrs. Drake – I had a 1st grade teacher named Mrs. Drake! Her other teacher (tag-teaming this year – woo hoo!) is Mrs. Studen . . . a total no-nonsense loving teacher – will be PERFECT for Princess. And Princess’ room number? 111! How easy is THAT for her to remember on her 1st day of 1st grade. And her Thunder Time teacher’s name? Mr. Smiley :-) That’s a good way to start the day!

Dude has no clue about his teacher . . . all the 4th grade teachers are new this year! But he did get lucky and have a teacher who let them choose their desk – and one of his really good buddies is in his class, so they’re sitting next to each other. So far so good – we’ll see what it’s all like after school actually starts.

Tears in my eyes as we get ready to head to the bus . . . how about you – cool, calm, and collected sending the kiddos off to school? Or openly weapy and happy/sad?

Goodbyes Are Tough

6 years ago, Dude started preschool at Hope Montessori. It was a tough day to not have him going to his regular daycare at Ms. Kathie’s house anymore – he’d been at her house since he was 10 weeks old! It was also tough because Princess was still going to Ms. Kathie’s, and having them apart during the day was tugging at my heart strings.

3 1/2 years ago, Princess started preschool at Hope Montessori. I was so excited to have them both at the same place. Tough tough tough to leave Ms. Kathie’s house for the last time – I mean, she’d spent the past 5 1/2 years helping me raise my kids into the wonderful people thay are!

After years of driving them to school, picking them up, dealing with the building of a new school and change of management, dealing with not the greatest communicators on the planet, going to wonderful school programs and field trips, watching my kids learn a ton and grow taller as well as wiser, and writing many many many checks . . . we have to say goodbye.

Today, Dude and Princess are Hope Montessori for one of the 6 summer camp days there this summer. Today is also their last day at Hope Montessori since Princess will be joining Dude at Public School for 1st grade in a couple weeks. I thought I’d be happy as a clam to be done there – not because we didn’t like the school, we LOVED it, as did the kids. But I certainly was looking forward to not writing that big check each year and not having to drive them to school every day.

To my surprise, I got teary eyed when I walked in today and talked to Anna about it being our last day and telling her how much we enjoyed it and appreciate all they’ve done for our kids! Seriously couldn’t believe it.

That was probably the last time I’ll step foot in that school . . . I’m happy and sad all at the same time. I’m probably mostly sad because it means BOTH my kiddos are growing up and branching out. It happens all too soon if you ask me 😉