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

Happy Birthday Eve!!

What started out as a trip to check out the First Robotics Competition in Shrewsbury, MA, ended up being an awesome birthday weekend for Eve in Boston!

Lex will be joining the local FRC team next year and I thought it would be fun to check out a competition.  Unfortunately I was a little slow with the planning and missed the two closer ones (day trips) and leaving just one in MA and one (championship, I think) in Washington, DC!  It just so happens the MA event was this weekend and just outside of Boston, so I suggested a birthday trip for Eve.  She hadn’t asked for any other birthday events or parties, and she jumped at the idea of going to the Boston Aquarium!  Yay!

So we drove down to Shrewsbury, MA yesterday, arriving mid-afternoon.  The event was big and loud and we lasted about 20 minutes. LOL!  After about 10 minutes Eve was ready to go, and Lex was ready shortly thereafter.  We stuck around to watch our local team compete in one match and then took off.  Lex says he’s still excited to join, but thinks it will be much more fun next year when he’s part of it and knows what’s going on.  I can’t argue with that!

As soon as we left this mansion of a high school, Eve found a hill she wanted to climb.

Since we were out sooner than expect, I asked Eve what she wanted to do next.  I suggested a movie, or bowling, or shopping.  She suggested a nature hike.  She’s so smart!  We found a local nature reserve and took a beautiful hike through the dry spring forest.  We heard lots of frogs and saw some signs of busy beavers.  We also decided to have family meeting in the woods.  :)

After that we headed to the hotel for check in, then out to dinner at the Olive Garden. Her permanent birthday request. :)

This morning we drove into Boston to check out the Aquarium.  I love parts of that museum and feel totally overwhelmed with other parts.  I think we all felt about the same way. :)  The fun starts before you even get inside, with a seal exhibit containing fat playful seals who do flips and swim upside down.  They were so silly.

Inside, we had a great time watching the penguins and checking out the enormous tank in the middle!

This turtle is over 95 years old and weighs 535lbs!  Her name is Myrtle and she’s a Green Sea Turtle.  They have two other turtles, called Loggerhead Turtles, that are a bit smaller and younger, but they were napping in the tunnel below so we couldn’t see them.  I remember them from years ago though. One is blind and feels his way around the tank.  Both are rescues that the Aquarium took in.

We headed to Quincy Market for a late lunch, then home.  We got out of town just before the driving rain started!  Poor Alan had to drive in it. :/

Back home we  opened presents, ate cake, and measured Eve on the wall.  I had to reach UP to write her height!  She’s a pretty amazing girl.  She was in a good mood all weekend and we had fun laughing and being silly together as a family.  It was wonderful and heartwarming. <3

Tomorrow it’s back to reality with work and school and meetings and play practice and dentist appointments.  But for now, we relax and enjoy the the rest of the evening together with our amazing 12yr old!  Happy Birthday (not so) little girl!

If you want to see all the pictures from this weekend, check out the Google Album.

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!

The little things

When I look at my children, especially around the holidays, I feel like their childhood is going by way too fast!  There are wonderful parts to their growing up, but it leaves me in a weird, somewhat lost position.  I try to notice the little things and appreciate the way they are growing into kind, capable human beings.

  • Lex took care of a bug all on his own the other day.  It was a little winged thing.  Eve shrieked (she’s dramatic), but Lex grabbed a tissue.  When he saw it, he decided to take it outside instead of squishing it.  He got a cup and a stiff paper and took care of the bug.  It took him two tries, but he didn’t stop, didn’t ask for help, and didn’t even think twice about doing the job.
  • Eve went to her first school dance.  I think she was a little nervous, but she wouldn’t admit it.  It was a Halloween dance and costumes got you a discount at the door, so she put her on her Luna Lovegood outfit.  We picked up a few of her friends along the way and they all had a great time.
  • Picking up her friends last night was the first time I’ve had passengers in the back seat of my car in a long time!  It surprised me to think about.  The kids can now stay home alone, so I rarely have both of them with me at the same time.  Usually I’m alone in the car or I have one kid with me in the front seat and the other kid home.  When we go out as a family we always take Alan’s car.  I’ve gone from giant carseats to a largely unused back seat. Weird.
  • Lex’s voice has dropped and Eve had acne and a developing body.
  • Eve is planning a Halloween party on her own (with my $$, of course) and carved a Jack-O-Lantern today, all on her own.
  • They are both basically the same height as me.  The other day Alan was convinced that Lex was taller than me and wanted us to stand back-to-back.  Lex took some convincing.  I don’t think he wants to be taller, or to acknowledge it anyway.  When I talk to them I’m looking straight ahead, and when they hug me we do the “dance” of arms, who goes over, who goes under.

The list goes on.  What happened to these adorable little things?

We used to take walks together, splash in puddles, do craft projects, go everywhere together, read stories, snuggle, make presents for teachers and cookies for classmates, and smile for photos.  We were like the three amigos.  Now it’s like four adults living in one house together.  Not exactly, of course, because they ARE still kids, but they are so independent and self-sufficient and into their own activities.  Eve will spend hours up in her room, sewing or crafting.  Lex will spend hours on Minecraft, then want to talk about it when he turns the computer off. He’s rocking his drums these days.  I can’t wait to see him perform with the jazz band.  She likes to draw and bake. She’s got the holiday enthusiasm that I so adore, but always wants to do things on her own schedule.  She decorated for Halloween this year, all on her own, at 5am on a Saturday morning!

I think the point of this post is that I have amazing children who are all too quickly outgrowing their childhood.  I feel more like an observer and less like one of the team these days.  I guess I need to get my own hobbies now. :/

Or maybe I’ll just lose myself in the blog for awhile, and drag you along too. :)

 
July, 2009

Baby faces.

One year!

Hard to believe, but it’s been one whole year since we bought our house!  Yay!  We celebrated by having a dinner party with our neighbors.  It was fun to get to know them a little better.  I still love our house and every day I’m thankful for this amazing place.  Here’s to many, many more years in this great house!

The weather all day was really weird, but at one point we got a big sun shower that make a triple rainbow!

Pictures never do rainbows justice. The bottom rainbow was a double, then there was another on top. All arching beautifully over the dumpster!

Back to school!

Hey all! First day of school. It went super well! Yay! The kids woke up early and happy. They got themselves ready and out the door early! They both smiled for photos. Yay! :)

Eve deployed masterful delay tactics last night, asking for braids, extra cuddles, lots of love. :)

6th — first year in middle school!

8th — last year in middle school!

All the photos were silly. I had a hard time choosing just one. LOL!

Alan took them to school, even though he was working from home today.  Flooring installers came again, but that story is for another day!  The kids were both happy (or at least willing!) to smile for him in front of the school.

They’re good to their photo lovin’ momma! 

My day started with a weezy run and moved on to a super sweaty library. I spent the morning running around (in a lovely dress and high heels! silly me!) doing tech support, getting the new Spanish teacher up and running, and trying to get the library in order.  I had one class at the very end of the day.  First grade.  We were all hot and tired!  LOL!  Luckily they knew the routine!

My kiddos took the bus to DBS after school and I was happy to see them both happy!  Whew!  Eve had art and got to have lunch with her buddy Jonah.  Lex will be doing some advanced math and hoping, hoping, hoping to be in jazz band.  Both were happy and we were all eager to get home to our air conditioned house!

Only 174 more days to go!

5th grade graduation

Eve had her elementary school graduation today and now it’s official — we have two middle schoolers in the house!

Shaking hands with the principal.

Shaking hands with her classroom teacher.

Looking at Facebook just now and seeing all the pictures parents took of their kids, and their kids friends, and all the flowers and smiles, I’m feeling a little lame about our graduation efforts.  However, Eve isn’t making it easy. She has been surly and grumpy and pulling away from people for awhile now, and it just occurred to me while I watched her at graduation, that I think she has a lot more feelings about leaving DBS then she’s letting on.  I think maybe it’s a little bit of denial at work.  Also, she hasn’t been feeling well all week.  She has been super tired, she’s dealing with poison ivy on her feet and a sunburn on her face, and she has the sniffles.  I think she’s ready for a break.  Maybe I’ll get a smiling picture when she starts middle school. For now, I got this.

Go away, mom!

I hope Eve finds herself again this summer so she can start middle school with a more positive attitude.

I got a little teary-eyed during the ceremony today.  I’m going to miss this class.  They aren’t perfect, but they sure are awesome!  I’ve known so many of them since kindergarten (even some from preschool!).  We have been around for birthday parties and playdates and sleepovers.  They are a small, tight-knit group, and I think it’s going to be hard for them to be so separated next year.  It’s going to be hard for me too… but this post isn’t about me.  It was wonderful that for so many of them I was able to say “see ya later” instead of “good-bye” because I know I’ll see them around.

A little celebratory dancing.

For now, while others are having parties, we are celebrating with books and blogs and Minecraft.  Lame, maybe, but it works for us.  :)

Happy 13th Lex!

I can hardly believe it, but my baby boy is a teenager today! At what age does it become believable? At what age do you forget their actual birth day, forget what they are like as tiny babies, forget the sweet baby head and tiny fingers? I hope never! I love the growing boy I have now just as much. He’s kind and funny and smart and silly and still loves his momma! Always happy for a hug and still says “I love you” when we part.

He didn’t want much for his birthday this year. Just the usual books and Legos. I offered him a party or a weekend trip, but he said no thanks. He did take me up on my offer of a piano! :) That’s really a present for all of us though. We ordered it several weeks ago and it’s on back order. I hope it comes soon. I’m excited for that one.

I can’t have a birthday without presents on the table (and he sweetly reminded me of the tradition and asked if he would still get little presents even though the piano was expensive), so I got 13 presents, wrapped them all in the same paper, and numbered them. Just for fun.

We also got 13 balloons, wrote sweet notes on them, and left them in the family room for him to see when he woke up this morning. My original plan was to put them in his room, but reconsidered when I realized the fan would blow them around and it would probably be scary.

He said it was wonderful walking into a room full of compliments. :)

We had breakfast and presents, then it was off to school and work — for them! I got to skip work on this beautiful day and take Arlo for a visit to a dog trainer. It was a very nice experience and a lovely place. More on that later. Now, presents!

Back home I decorated the cake and then we headed out to friend’s house for a visit. Eve and her son are both auditioning for Matilda next month and wanted to rehearse together. Really it was an hour of bouncing on their trampoline and five minutes of rehearsing (while still on the trampoline). Lex and her daughter are chess pals and were happy to fit in a few games. He won one and lost one. He said they’ll have a play-off match at school on Tuesday. :)

By this point it was dinner time and if you know this family at all you know that Lex’s preferred place for birthday dinner (and any dinner) is Panera Bread! Alan met us over there and proceeded to be so silly he had both kids in tears. Dads are good at that. :) Then home for cake and more presents!

Now it’s 9pm and the boys are happily Minecrafting. Eve is in bed waiting for me to turn off her light. I am full of cake and love and peace. Tomorrow we will go see the new Star Wars movie (the boys are excited and the girls are along for the ride) and get dinner at the Olive Garden. Sunday we have an invite to a BBQ, but I’m secretly hoping it rains so I have an excuse to stay home and read the paper and drink tea all day. :)

PS. I measured him on the wall this evening.  62 1/4″.  He still has Eve beat by an inch and I still have them both beat!  For now.