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.

Growing Up

I’m exhausted from this working nonsense.  I worked a whole day today, plus karate!  Luckily there were no drum lessons this week.  LOL!  Before bed I wanted to write a quick post about some growing-up observations I had with Lex this afternoon.

In the car on the way to karate I asked if he had any homework today.  He said, “Well, kind of.”  Apparently his ELA teacher gave them an assignment, due Monday, to write three things they want to accomplish this year.  “Basically goals, without calling them goals,” he tells me.  Goal setting is one of his least favorite things.  Right up there with vaccinations and trying new foods. All have left him on the floor, under chairs, in tears.  As I mentally prepared myself for a weekend of goal setting with Lex, he said, “I’m just going to write three down and then forget them.”  Um… ok.  Not really the intended goal, but certainly a suggestion I’ve made in the past in an effort to get him off the floor.  He then went on to tell me the goals he decided to set!  The first one is to get all of his grades up to an A, the second one he couldn’t remember, and the third was to keep his assigned 40-book challenge sheet up to date.  All good goals, I assume.  Then he tells me that he had a B+ in science, but when he checked it today his teacher had a put in a few more grades and he was up to an A again.  Check that goal off the list!  He also told me that he’s sure he’s read at least 40 books already (they are allowed to count books they read over the summer, so yeah, he’s read at least 40!), so he’s going to just write down a bunch of books he knows he’s read and be done with the challenge.  LOL!  Check that goal off the list!  Now he just needs to remember what Goal #2 was.

I realize this is not the intent of goal setting, and I will also confess that I am TERRIBLE at goal setting, but I did notice several points of growth in this conversation, and I shared them with him.  First, he didn’t cry over this assignment!  It didn’t even stop him in his tracks.  Instead of getting hung up on whether or not he could do the goals, he just wrote something down.  He’s a very honest person and in the past the idea of committing to something he didn’t know if he could accomplish really got him stuck.  Today he was able to write them down and move on!  Second, I remember (not so fondly) the days of elementary school when he was assigned to read for 20 minutes a day.  After reading for hours he would then fall apart because he didn’t “do his homework” because he didn’t time himself reading for exactly 20 minutes.  When I tried to tell him that he just read for an hour, he struggled to fill out the stupid form with a start and stop time because it wasn’t, in his mind, an “official” reading for 20 minutes.  Today he has the flexibility to say, “yeah, I read those books in the past, that counts!” and move on!  Awesome!!  Again, maybe not entirely the intent of the assignment, but boy these are big milestones for him!

The icing on the cake came at karate today.  As he’s walking into the dojo he notices that most of the other kids have these red sparring gloves on.  He turns to me and says, “Oh, I forgot, we are going to start doing sparring on Wednesday and I think I need gloves today.”  Umm… ok?!  But guess what, he went in anyway, without the gloves and all was fine.  They offer sparring classes on Friday and Lex hasn’t had any interest at all, though he told me later tonight that he’s kind of interested in sparring, but just doesn’t want to go to karate on Fridays.  :)  So anyway, I was watching the class today and they are wearing these big gloves and mouth guards and I’m thinking this might be the end of karate for Lex.  After class I asked him if he wanted to stop at the office and see about buying the gear.  He said yes!! YES!  He wants to wear those gloves AND is willing to wear a mouth guard.  A MOUTH GUARD!?  Can you believe it?  (He hasn’t actually put it in yet, so we’ll see how that goes.)  He’s even willing to wear the rest of the sparring gear when the class gets to that point.

Of course that means we have to buy all that extra gear, but hey, if he’s willing (and excited!) to wear it, I’ll buy it!

It’s amazing to think back to how stuck he used to get over seemingly the smallest things and how far he has come.  It really gives me faith in his future!  He is a pretty amazing guy!

Karate

Lex had a belt test this week.  He’s now a brown belt!  That’s just one level below black belt!  (However, they way they do it there’s actually a variety of brown/black combinations to get through before you get to the true black belt.)  Sensei is sick so Shidoin Paul ran the test.  He said the nicest things about Lex at the end.  Then he went home and told his wife (whom I work with) how proud he is of Lex.  <3

And because I’m feeling nostalgic these days, check out Lex’s first time in a karate gi and his first belt test.  Eve too, of course.  Oh how I wish she would rejoin!