Lex

There is a lot going on in Lex’s world these days. I thought I’d share a little of it. Last week he had another belt test and was promoted to second level brown belt, which means he now has a brown belt with a black stripe, worn on the inside. Next time he tests he’ll be able to switch the stripe to the outside, then the following time he’ll test for a full black belt. I said he’s dabbing his toes in black belt range now. :)

Brown belt, black stripe

Videos:

  • https://youtu.be/Ulj_wrK9_VQ
  • https://youtu.be/H9jxHBnoZWo
  • https://youtu.be/XVJ6TnDMGPo

He also auditioned for high school jazz band last week. Unfortunately there were four kids auditioning and the band director said two is ideal and three is a stretch. She called me Friday afternoon to tell me that she did not accept Lex, but that it was a super hard decision and he’s really good and please keep playing and he’ll surely get in next year when this year’s senior graduates. He was sad when I told him, but he admitted that he knew she wouldn’t take all four of them and he’s the youngest, so it made sense. He’s still doing band and pep band, so he’ll get a fair amount of drumming this year anyway, plus he’ll audition for district band and district jazz band, both of which are single weekend events later this fall and winter.

Lex has also joined the First Robotics Club, and will be doing tech crew for the high school musical AND the Trumbull Hall Troupe production of Newsies. He’s starting to wonder if he’s over-committing himself this fall. Not being in jazz band will give him an extra study hall, which is probably a good thing.

Last weekend, at family meeting, Lex brought up the topic of a cell phone. It’s the first time he’s asked for one! Alan and I both agree he’s ready, and that it would be helpful given all he’s doing these days, so we agreed to get him one. We agreed that he would buy the phone and we would pay for the service. Today Alan took him cell phone shopping. They ended up ordering one, which we’ll pick up later this week. I think they had fun shopping together. :)

This afternoon we went to the fair and Lex ran into two friends who invited him to hang out with them. He was eager to go with them. They wandered around, got food, watched the animals, and had fun. It was weird to see him go, but nice to see two friends who wanted him to go along with them. He’s definitely growing up!

<3

Weekend Update

Happy three day weekend! We made it through the first week of school and we were all ready for a break! Friday night we went to high school football game. I think my first ever! Lex has joined the pep band this year and they play at all the home football games. We were the family taking pictures of the band, not the field. :)

Do you see him there, way in the back? Nope? Me neither.

There he is!

Ok, maybe a few pictures of the field as well. :)

The t-shirt orders for pep band hadn’t come in yet, so Lex picked his most school-colors related shirt.  Apparently he needs some blue shirts. :)  At the game they had a concessions stand where we bought lots of junky food, and an apparel stand (for lack of the appropriate word) where we bought two Hurricane t-shirts for Lex.

The game was good.  The home team won.  It was really a massacre, which meant no overtime and minimal delays, so I was happy. :)

On Saturday I was up bright and early for WW, exercise, and errands. I got home at noon, just in time to unload groceries, grab the family, and head out to the karate dojo’s 25th anniversary celebration at Storr’s Pond.  Lex was kind of on the fence about going, but decided at the last minute that he wanted to.  It ended up being a lot of fun.  My phone battery died (it sucks these days) so I didn’t get many pictures, just one of these cool cupcakes!

Cupcakes! I didn’t have one, but I think my kids had more than our families fair share. :)

Karate has been so amazing for Lex. They are kind and supportive and patient. It was wonderful being at this event with so many families (many I knew, many more I did not) all celebrating Sensei Ken and all the hard work he and everyone else there does for our kiddos.

We were all exhausted when we got home Saturday afternoon.  Actually, I was exhausted FRIDAY afternoon and just stayed that way until Sunday. :)  We got home from the picnic and Eve went right to bed. She slept from 4pm-8pm.  Alan went up to take a nap at 5:30 and ended up sleeping until 8:30.  It was a weird afternoon.  The landscape folks working next door worked until 8pm.  Lex and I were very disoriented!  Once Alan and Eve were both awake again we had a late dinner and watched some TV.  It was 10:15pm and I realized we were all up watching TV.  Crazy.  Lex and I went to bed shortly after and left the other two to fend for themselves.

I woke up Sunday and found the kids both reading. I  asked where Alan was and Lex said, “I think he went to the beach.”  NOT what I was expecting to hear!  He has a friend who has a beach house in Maine and there had been talking about going up there for the weekend, but it never worked out.  I guess Alan decided Sunday morning to head up on his own.  He had a great day there, while the kids and I had a relaxing day at home.  I made some healthy food, we played a few rounds of Clue, watched a cool documentary, and generally enjoyed our down time.

And now, thanks to Labor Day, we have another whole day to not labor!  Yay!  Elizabeth came up for a visit and Alan took Alistair and Lex out for some joyriding in the Tesla (the real reason for their visit!) while Elizabeth and I enjoyed some hot tea (it’s cold and rainy today!) and conversation. When they left, Eve and I went to pick up our CSA share and check out a new candy store in town. I figure the two balance each other out.  I also made super delicious zucchini bread yesterday, so we’ve been enjoying that with tea on this rainy Monday.

Tomorrow we are back to school.  I feel almost ready.  I have a handle on the to-do list, most of the tech stuff is done, and I even have proper lesson plans for the week!

Our plans this week include a contentious Select Board meeting (I’ll be watching from home!) and a visit to a new humane society to check out a dog Eve found online.  She’s really working this dog search!  I’m glad it’s her this time, not me. :)

Happy September!

First day of school

There is so much I want to blog about these days, but never seem to find the time. I can’t miss a first day of school post though! I started my 4th year (longest career I’ve ever had, not counting parenting), Eve started 7th, and Lex started 9th — in high school! Eeek!

Eve has been dreading school and asking regularly if she can be homeschooled. She was in tears several times this week just thinking about going back to school. Somehow she woke up with a positive attitude though, and even smiled for a picture!!

She had a little fun with Lex’s picture too. Do you see her?

We all laughed, then told her to go away. :)

Alan brought them both to school. Eve at the middle school and Lex at the high school. Lex has a different start time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but he wasn’t sure what to expect on the first day, so he opted for the earlier start time, just in case. He ended up finding a friend and wandering the halls for 20 minutes. I think it was a really great way for him to start school.

My day was long and busy. As my job evolves to include more and more tech, I’m finding less and less time to do library work. I had a chat with my principal about it on Friday and we will make some changes to the start of school next year. For this year it will be what it will be. I spent the day doing tech support, cleaning the library (there was a conference over the weekend and they left a mess!!) and teaching a few classes. It was fun to see everyone again, smiling kids, a few crying kids, lots of new faces, all eager for a new year.

At the end of the day I headed home to find my kiddos having snack. Eve immediately broke down into tears and told me her day was awful, too many people, doesn’t like this, that is dumb, etc. I think middle school is tough for her. Lots of struggles to find her place. I know she’ll find it, eventually, but these past few years have been tough. After a good cry, a snack, and some alone time in her room, she rebounded and had a nice evening with us.

Lex had a great day. He was happy with all of his classes, gave me a play-by-play of his day (which classes he went to, anyway) then pulled out a huge packet of paperwork for me to sign! There’s always first day of school homework for the parents! Most of the paperwork was band related. I’m so happy that he has found band. It’s done wonders for him. His friends are all band friends, he joined jazz band last year, he joined Pep Band this year, which means he’ll be playing at all of the home football games, and he’s going to audition for two district events this year. Band has given him a level of confidence, a peer group, and an area to excel. It makes us all happy.

Honors and Graduation

The end of the school year is always busy, but it’s a little extra busy with Lex graduating from middle school this year.  Earlier this week was Honor’s Night and tonight was their graduation ceremony.  Lex made Honor Roll for the past two years and High Honors in 6th grade.  Before Honors Night he was asked to give the Student Speech for his team, but he said a hearty “thanks, but no thanks!”

Shaking hands with the principal.

Check out the cool clothes!

 

Tonight we went to 8th grade graduation, which was a lovely ceremony in the field beside the school.  The weather ended up being perfect, despite days of thunderstorm warnings.

I dragged Eve along to both nights, despite her best efforts to be miserable.

This year they asked the students to answer a short questionnaire and then used their answers to say a few things about each student at graduation. I missed his name being called (but they called him Alexander, so whatever) but caught his comments.  Watch his team teachers try to give him a hug in the background.  :)

He’s so handsome. :)

Lex and his band teacher. This guy was an instrumental part of his middle school success!

Not sure how two such dorky parents ended up with such an awesome son!

I feel like I should post something deep and meaningful, but I don’t have it right now.  It was neat to see all the parents of kids he went to elementary school, and even preschool, with!  Everyone’s looking as old as I am. LOL!  I have special fondness for his DBS class and was proud of each and every one of them.  So cool to see them all growing up.  Lex is happy and confident and ready for high school!  But first, summer vacation!

All about this guy!

I asked for a picture of us together for his birthday. We remembered at the end of the day and got this dark, tired picture. Maybe he’ll let me try again on a sunny summer day. 

He had a birthday recently.  14 years old!  Finishing up middle school and preparing for high school!  He’s excited and feels ready.

Morning presents

Books! Surprise!! :) :)

Aunt Rosy got him grown up books!!

He didn’t want a cake or a party this year, but he did request macaroons. Yum! Lex and Alan even dipped half of them in chocolate!

We had a nice day.  Pizza and a movie for dinner.  He didn’t want a cake, but did want macaroons.  I guess he’s a birthday cookie guy, like his dad.  He’s 5′ 6″ and didn’t even gloat that he’s taller than me, and he started shaving!  Eeek!

He is a rock star in karate and a rock star in band.  The middle school held their spring concert this week and Lex once again stole the show, in my opinion anyway!  After the jazz band songs, the director even called out the percussion crew by name, just Lex and his buddy.

Lex on the drum set

For March of the Armed Forces, the band director asked people in the audience to stand when their anthem is played.  It was neat seeing how many (if any) people stood for each one.

He’s rocking his school work as well.  Not only will he be on the honor roll again this year, but he was asked to give the 8th grade speech at Honors Night!!  He said “thanks, but no thanks!”

A sci-fi version of Don Quixote, all in Spanish. He has a 105% average in Spanish!

He is such an amazing, smart, funny (and punny!), handsome fellow.  He’s content with life, happy at home and at school, and moving forward as a competent and confident human being.  I’m so lucky he’s part of my world. <3

High School!!

I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but Lex is prepping for high school!  The 8th grade class went on a tour there yesterday, and tonight was “8th grade family night” at the high school.  We met the principal and assistant principal, met some teachers, got some questions answered.  All very crazy.  And yet, we all feel ready.  He is excited for it and I’m not nervous, which is a HUGE change from the elementary-to-middle school transition a few short years ago.  He’s come a long way.  At the tour yesterday they got a course catalog and a form to fill out to select their first semester classes.  He’s hoping to take a 3D printing class and I’m hoping he tests out of Algebra I. Have I mentioned that math debacle this year?  It was frustrating, but I think it will all turn out ok.  I’ve been emailing with the high school math director and she has been super helpful.  It was nice to put a face to the name tonight and for her to meet Lex.  He also chatted with the high school band director and came away from that all excited to join pep band!  He already does (and will continue doing) concert band and jazz band, now he’s excited for pep band too! Pep band plays at the home football games!  That will bring a new element to our lives.  :)  I’m not thrilled with the way they handle the language program, but that’s a small concern.  Lex is excited and that’s AMAZING!  Before I know it my little guy will be in high school!  (He’s not so little any more!)

Spring Concert

The HMMS Spring Concert this year was great.  Mostly Lex, of course. :)  I love watching him on the drum.  He’s such a neat kid.

Ready on the timpanis!

Volume up. Enjoy!

I don’t remember any of the song names and he’s in bed now, so you’ll have to just guess.  :)

ELA projects

The project for last weekend was a book report project.  All year they’ve had to do “book talks” each month about a book they were reading.  This month the teacher decided to mix it up and gave out a variety of options.  Lex decided to do a book trailer about a Minecraft book.  Eve chose the option of making a playlist of songs to describe the first Artemis Fowl book.  She had a great video project started with images from the internet that resemble the characterless, but when she started looking for music she got frustrated with the difficulty in finding the songs she wanted in good quality, not remixed, and, of course, for free.  Alan and I had a good laugh.  We remember those days of downloading free music!  She ended up just doing a poster for a different book.

Lex, on the other hand, perservered and made a really amazing book trailer!  Alan helped by recording Lex playing the scenes in Minecraft, then Lex used WeVideo to put it all together, with sounds and voice overs.  It came out great!

Lex’s science project

Round two of the science project update.  :)  Lex decided to make his 3D model Earth with a more traditional styrofoam.  He wanted to make it nesting spheres, but after an extended visit to the craft store where they didn’t have exactly what he wanted and everything was very expensive, he decided on the standard cut-out.

He glued two halves together, cut out an eighth of it and slathered the whole thing in a putty that sealed the styrofoam.

Our beautiful blue world!

The continents are a little small, but that’s ok.

All nicely labeled.

I think it’s the epitome of a traditional middle school project, and it looked similar to many others that were presented that day, but he put a lot of work into it and was satisfied with the results.  :)

 

District Band: Winter Music Festival

Lex’s school participates in a District Band event where selected students from 25 different schools come together for two days of musical fun.  This year Lex auditioned and was selected to attend.  He was thrilled!  The event was all day yesterday (he got to miss school!) and today, with a final performance for family and friends this afternoon.  It was a long drive (apparently a big district!) but we had fun and definitely enjoyed the music!

The high school band performed first and they were fantastic!!  I didn’t record much of their performance, but I loved these golden bongo drums and wanted to share.

Then the middle school band was up. Lex played the bass drum for the first song, the symbols in the second and third songs, and the castanets in the fourth song.

We had to stop and charge the car on the way home, so we invited Macy to join us for dinner. Macy was also in the band. She plays trombone! We had a loud and silly ride home, with a stop to recharge us (pizza) and the car (electricity) on the way.