Last day of school!

This school year has been a hot mess since day one, but we did it! We survived a year of schooling in a pandemic. Everyone had their bets placed in August on how long we’d keep the building open and I don’t think a single person thought it would be all year! My money was on October. But instead we rocked the house with hand washing, masking, social distancing, and contact tracing. One class had to quarantine for a week because of one student, but otherwise we as a school were Covid-free! It’s hard to believe. And another school year has come and gone. The kids all finished school yesterday (technically today was a remote day for them, but none of them had any work to do) and I finished today. As I walk the hallways on the the last day of school I peek in classrooms and see how empty they look, then return to the library that is as full as ever, plus some as everyone brings their computers, iPads, library books, and Chromebook carts back. Every year it’s discouraging, but I have to remind myself that the library is different from a classroom and doesn’t do the transition that a classroom does each year. It serves a different function. I was happy today that the boss approved an extra paid day to inventory and organize the Chromebook carts, then a little less happy when he said it had to happen next week. So I’ll be back in the building a few times next week, once for a committee I signed up for (paid) and again for the computers. It’s ok though. It won’t be Monday! :)

Don’t worry fish, someone will feed you.

Yesterday was field day at my school and I volunteered, as I always do, to staff the “quiet space” for kids who have lost field day time (for being naughty!) and for kids who just need a break from the heat and excitement of field day. I’m sometimes a tiny bit sad to miss the field day excitement, but always happy to be out of the sun and get a few extra minutes to shelve books! I had 20 kids take advantage of the space yesterday and one non-reader who came in for a break and discovered a graphic novel he LOVES! He spent the remainder of the afternoon reading, then came in a few times today to read when he needed a break from the classroom. That might be my win for the year! 😁

Eve also had field day yesterday. She was remote all year and only went in to the building a few times in the past few weeks to take the required standardized testing. This week they had 8th grade graduation and field day. She didn’t want to do either, but I wanted her to do both. We compromised on one. She was adamant about field day right up until the night before, then she started considering graduation instead. The afternoon of graduation she switched her choice back to field day, so on graduation night we were all home. After the ceremony was over a friend surprised us by stopping by with a her kids (one just graduated from 5th and the other from 8th) and a celebration cake! It was a wonderful surprise! We moms had a nice visit and the kids talked over each other for an hour, anime anime and more anime. It was an awesome celebratory way to end an otherwise quiet day.

My friend offered to take a picture and I first said no, then said wait, yes! This is not at all what I wanted to look like in this photo (or any photo) but I’m trying to focus on the big smiles and the memories of the fun evening, and not focus so much on my width or Eve’s height!

The next morning Eve went to school for field day. My awesome neighbor/carpool partner even drove Eve, despite the fact that it wasn’t a regular school day for our carpool. This year has really emphasized the “it takes a village” philosophy. I reminded Eve a few times to bring sunscreen and water. She came home looking like this:

At least she wore her mask. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Sigh. She said she put sunscreen on in the morning, but insists sunscreen doesn’t work on her skin. I insist she doesn’t do it right. We both hate sunscreen. 🙄 Today she has some blisters on her arms and cheeks. I do what I can as a mother, but I guess we all learn in our own time. She keeps telling me what it feels like and saying “can you imagine…” I say YES, I can, I don’t even need to imagine, I’ve lived it, which is why I told you to wear sunscreen! Sigh.

The boys didn’t get field day or graduation at their school. No graduation, yet. We still have a few short years before that. They both finished all of their school work and projects and had nothing to do today, their final official day of school. I heard no complaints from any of them about that!

The first half of the week had brutal temps. High 90s for days on end. The AC in the library is broken (still!) so I felt a lot like Huxley, moving a bit, then looking for a cool place to sit down. On this particular walk we made it to the end of the street, then he laid down in the shade for a break. :)

While I worked my way through field day, remote academy wrap-up, step-up day, library cleaning, and all the other end-of-year busyness, I also tried to keep in touch with my family, many of whom were in NYC! Joyce successfully underwent a kidney donation surgery, with mom and dad by her side… in a Covid-safe way. It was not the usual scene that they are used to (and a little sad that they are used to a usual kidney transplant scene), but they are all troopers and got through it together. I sent love and good juju whenever I could. 😊💚

Now I have three days of R&R before heading back to school for a day of meetings. Then a day off (with playdates for the kids), then a day on with the computers, then a day off with twice vaccinated kids! Eve and B’Lake get their second dose on Thursday. Lex was also scheduled for that day until we realized his karate BLACK BELT test is on Friday. The unknown of the second vaccination coupled with the stress of the belt test seemed like a bad combo, so I rescheduled his appointment for Saturday. It’s a further drive, but he’s always happy to get driving practice anyway!

We celebrated the year end with sushi and a new show (Loki). Alan came over to play Minecraft with the kids. I got a bottle of wine, then dropped it in the garage, then while I cleaned that up Alan ran to the store and got me another one. He’s a good man.

I am so ready for vacation!! Happy summer!! 🌞

Vax #1

They kids got their first Covid vaccines this afternoon. Yay! We saw lots of friends there. It was a popular place to be. 😄

The kids got hard candies, lollipops, and stickers!

Then we went for ice cream. 😁

Sixteen!

Here it is. The big day. Sixteen years ago right now I was holding an hour old baby. Now I’m looking at a handsome teenager. We had a low-key day, just school, presents, pizza, and ice cream cake.

Happy birthday kiddo. I’m so glad to know you.

A Birthday in Burlington

Baby Zig is turning 16 this week! It’s hard to believe how fast the years have flown by. Per usual, he doesn’t want a party and he mostly just wants Legos and books. One different thing he did want this year is some extra driving practice time, so we decided to take a day trip to Burlington. A random idea turned into an awesome day with family in an adorable city. We walked Church street, ate delicious bagels in the park, Lake Champlain chocolate ice cream and macrons, opened birthday presents, visited the science museum and the Earth Clock, spent about a minute and a half at the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet, and finished the day with dinner at the Olive Garden. Yum!

You’ve come a long way baby!

Whales Tails along the side of the high way. I love Vermont.

13ft tall, African black granite, pretty cool.

All three kids had fun with this exhibit. Feeling strong. 💪🏻

Eek! He let me take an “almost 16” picture. I’m such a lucky momma! 🤗🤗

The Burlington Earth Clock. Probably would have been a little more effective if the sun were out.

It took some work to figure it all out.

This is a fun picture. :)

One of the stones had a heart hole in it. 🖤

The World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet, apparently a VT tourist attraction. Who knew?! I guess we can check that off the bucket list now. 😂

We had a beautiful drive home, with Lex behind the wheel.

Sunday morning Legos. Happiness is.

Done! A double decker London bus, complete with gum under a seat.

After a year of Covid and quarantine it was nice to get out and sample a little bit of normal again. I’m looking forward to a lot more of that as the summer comes.

Saturday

While B’Lake was at a track meet and Lex was at his black belt prep karate class, Eve and I took a lovely walk on the rail trail. She makes my heart happy.

He’s training with the black belts now! He’ll be testing for his own black belt this summer!

Just a little creepy taking pictures through the trees. :)

Water makes me happy.

She makes me even happier. 💛

Nature is cool.

After Lex drove us to karate and back, I left them at home and headed to the local indepedent book store to do some shopping. :) They haven’t let people in the store since last March, though I’ve done plenty of curb side pickup with them. Today is national Independent Bookstore Day (or something like that) and they had a reopening celebration. They had a celebration and I had a purchase order to spend! Happiness!

So many good books! I might read them all this weekend. :)

They had stickers! 🤗

Spring Break!

Woohoo, party on man, it’s spring break!!!

J/K. That’s not the way we roll in Covid times (or any other times, I suppose). 😄 Even better than all that…. we had company!!  Mema and G’Tom and Joyce came to visit from far away not-Vermont.  It was awesome to see people and hug people!!  They brought some more birthday presents for Miss Eve, we took a walk on the rail trail, and we all had a nice time just hanging out.

Opening presents with Laurens.

I love this silly person.

Personalized M&Ms! Thanks Mema!

Laurens, caught doing plank pose. I think Joyce must be around here somewhere.

Waiting for Aunt Katie for a walk on the rail trail.

They left just before the April snowstorm hit! Good timing. Today we are under a “winter storm warning” which is exactly what you don’t want to hear in April (but, I remind myself, always do at least once each year).

Poor magnolias, trying their hardest to bloom.

This is not a hosta, BTW. We planted hostas in this spot, but seem to be getting tulips instead. Never a dull moment when Eve and I are in charge of the gardening.

While the snow came down Lex and I brought Huxley to the groomers for a long overdue haircut. While Huxley was pampered, Lex and I drove around so he could get some practice driving in. The roads varied from wet to completely snow covered so you couldn’t even see the road. Needless to say I was ready to be home after that!

We just finished another episode of Sherlock (a favorite in this house!) and are all lamenting how fast this vacation went by. I think we need just one more week.  Please, pretty please?

Musical Theater

Lex’s script binder and the program.

Another year of musical theater has come and gone. This year it involved outdoor rehearsals, unknown locations, prerecorded singing, clear masks, limited audiences, livestreaming, and day of quarantine concerns. Lex designed and ran the lights again. B’Lake was on the tech committee, but due to an unfortunate Covid exposure he had to quarantine this week and miss the play. He gave us some good inside info while we watched the livestream last night. Tonight I got to attend in person! They were allowed to have 20 people in the audience, but for some reason limited it to district teachers only. No complaints here! The show was fantastic, the audience enthusiastic, and my view of the stage was primo!

Friday night, watching from home. Live theater from the comfort of my couch.

Next year Lex will do lights again, B’Lake wants to do crew again, and Eve wants to (maybe) be in the show!

Easter ’21

Easter is a holiday I struggle with a bit. Seeing as we aren’t religious there’s really no good reason for it, and now that the kids have outgrown cute little toys in baskets, it’s mostly just a candy buffet on the piano. However, they always want to do Easter and color eggs and we always have fun. As I was scrolling through social media the other day I came across a lovely quote about Easter being the time when the Earth is awakening after a long winter, a time when we celebrate new life and a fresh start. I connected with that quote and felt a little more inspired to celebrate the holiday.

We decorated the house last week, decorated eggs on Sunday morning, ate way to much candy, reminisced about the time both kids threw up at Grandma Pat’s house because she fed them too much chocolate (why can’t I find that blog post?!) and hid/found/rehid/refound eggs. It was a nice day all around.

Easter morning candy buffet.

They did play with the bubbles too. Inside, which wasn’t my goal, but oh well.

They still like a good egg hunt! No construction vehicles or large dumpsters to hide the eggs on this year.

Huxley found the first one!! I had to keep him on a tighter lead after that. 😂 He didn’t eat it, don’t worry.

Among Us eggs, because why not.

We are still missing one….. No one used the cute baskets to find eggs this year. They remained on the candy buffet while bowls, egg crates, and pockets were used to gather eggs.

Happy Easter, regardless of exactly what you are celebrating! I tried to find that inspirational quote again, but couldn’t, so I settled for this one instead. :)

HBDE

Today we celebrated this beautiful spirit and her 14th trip around the sun.

It was a normal school day, so Eve work up to presents on the table, but had to wait until after school before digging in.

All morning I thought about 14 years ago, at 7am when we were going to the hospital, at 10am when they broke my water, at 10:45 when that beautiful baby girl was on her way. They were nice memories. She is an amazing human being. Alan came over to celebrate with us so we were all together to open presents after school.

This was the year of wigs. This lovely purple one is for an Entrapta cosplay.

Percy Jackson is always welcome too.

We can’t remember what this wig is for. Pure silliness, maybe.

Did someone say silly? She’s wearing a red beret hooked over the purple pony tail.

I love this wild child more than anything!

Guess what was in the big box from Aunt Mandy? A sword! It works well for cutting ribbon, among other things.

This looks safe, right?

How is she so tall?!? I think she must be wearing huge high heels. Yep, that must be it. At least she’s smiling for the camera. :)

14

So many smiles for mommy today!

Just when we thought it was done, UPS came with a big box from Aunt Rosy!

Eevee of many looks.

We ordered take-out sushi for dinner (Eve’s favorite) and watched Pirates of the Caribbean (Eve’s choice). A good night was had by all.

Eve is a pretty amazing child. Full of laughter, creativity, imagination, and chatter. She makes me laugh, she makes me crazy, and she makes me happy. The other day I came home from school totally exhausted and stressed. The boys were at musical rehearsal so Eve put on a good show and we snuggled and laughed on the couch for awhile. It was awesome. I felt so much better afterwards. Another day I came home and found her outside, in her woodland fairy whatever whatever costume, reading a book. It was such a lovely sight and she even let me take a few birthday photos. She’s so good to me. 💙💙

This amazing child has changed my world and I am thankful every day for her presence in my world.

 

A tiny pandemic birthday party

Eve’s birthday is coming right up so we had a tiny little birthday party. It has been so long since we’ve had company. It was a beautiful day so I set up the tables outside and the kids had a great time running around, laughing, painting, chatting, giggling, and talking about teenage stuff. It was awesome! My heart was very happy.

Outdoors and masked. As safe as can be.

Even Tsu came to the party.

This huge birthday cake looks small in his hands. These kids are all getting so big!

She promised me she was smiling behind the mask. :)

Blue ombre cake. Yum!

Pinterest worthy, for sure.

We are all so well trained from schooling in a pandemic. LOL. Space out at least six feet before removing the masks to eat.

Sarah bought Jasmine a hat. Jasmine was not amused.

Huxley wasn’t either. He looks more angry and aggressive than he was. Really he was just annoyed.

Back to work creating art, following the sun.

Even Laurens joined the party!

Artists at work

I love these kids. ♥♥♥