Black Belt – Shodan-ho

Lex got his first black belt today! He had a two hour test with an hour of demonstrations afterwards. Parents were invited to the demonstrations and award ceremony. He did AWESOME! I am so proud that he was brave enough on the very first day to put on the gi, and persistent enough to continue going even when it got hard, and committed enough to do a year of karate lessons on Zoom just because he knew the pandemic would end eventually and he wanted to get back to in person lessons.

Well, for a few months they have been in-person at a local park and recently they reopened the dojo as well. Tonight his bravery, persistence, commitment, and hard work paid off – black belt!

Karate in the park.

Running through the basics.

Nai han chi

The board breaking isn’t part of the test, it was just for fun. Lex kicked the middle right out of the board, splitting it into three pieces!

Kudos from Sensei

New belt!

Ari gato gozaimasu (thank you very much)

Look at this amazing person!! 🖤

Then and now

This is the probationary black belt, which is the normal process. They stay at this black belt for one year, then test again for the final belt with their name embroidered on it. Lex will be rocking that belt next summer. Dad, save the date! :)

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!! 🌞