Sunday, May 26, 2013

One more about school stuff

If you don't like hearing people brag about their kids, then this is not the post for you. In fact, this is probably not the blog for you.

Along with all of the end of the year activities came some awards.

Emma was inducted in the National Junior Honor Society. You have to have good grades, leadership experience and plenty of service to be a member. They had a nice (extremely long, pretty boring, but still...nice) ceremony at the school that ended with candle lighting.

Then, for the second year in a row, she got the citizenship award. One girl and one boy in each grade are chosen by the teachers...and they chose Emma. Sad I didn't get any photos. Last year her homeroom teacher called to tell me about it (it's a surprise for the students) so I could make sure and be there. This year no one called so I assumed she didn't get any awards this time and didn't go to the assembly. Silly me, should've known. Love our Emma.

For third grade they hand out certificates for perfect attendance and honor roll (for being on it the whole school year). Josh got both. He was proud and surprised about the perfect attendance one. He brought the certificates over to me and laughed in a this-is-so-crazy-i-just-can't-believe-it laugh and said, "I was absent two times!" Ha! Love him.

For fifth grade they have a big fancy deal type of night since it's their last year at Rocky Hill and all that. (Incidentally, there's no awards or anything for first grade, so nothing to report on Lydia this time.) They had a long slide show first, followed by the fifth grade musical, where Ben played a knight, but was the understudy for the lead, King Arthur. (In the days leading up I kept asking how that other kid was feeling. Sick? Losing his voice? Broken knees? Anything? No? oh well.) Turns out Ben was in the spotlight plenty later in the evening so it was probably good not to be the star of the play too.

After the play it was time for awards and there were many. First, three of the special area teachers (art, music, and gym) chose one girl and one boy from the entire grade to award for outstanding achievement. Guess what? All three chose Ben as their boy. It was almost surreal to hear his name again and again. Bonus: I heard two different moms around us whisper to their husbands how much they love Ben, such a nice boy, he's my favorite, so humble, etc, and one of them leaned over to me and repeated her praise. Then the librarian gave awards to the three students with the most AR points. Lucky for us she took the top three and not just one or two, because Ben had the third most AR points in the school so another medal/certificate combo for that. Then. Each of the homeroom teachers gave out awards for who they considered their top students in each subject. Ben's teacher chose him for science. (He later said he was glad he got that one, it's his favorite.) About this time one of the teachers called Ben out on winning so much and started calling him Michael Phelps (most of the awards came with medals too). Then he got certificates for being on honor roll all year and another one for being in the Continental Mathematics League. Finally, just to round out the evening, he got the Presidential Scholar Award. He was the most decorated fifth grader by far. When we walked out to the car at the end of it all, he couldn't make it two steps without being high-fived by his friends or congratulated by their parents. Best part: he really was humble about all this. He was genuinely surprised, the only awards he knew about ahead of time were the honor roll and presidential one. He just wore a shy smile and said thanks to everyone. Love.that.kid.

Friday, May 24, 2013

School stuff

I remembered something about the end of the school year. It is busy.

B U S Y.

Last year we left on our ridiculous road trip the day after the last day of school. That was a mistake. An unavoidable one, to be sure--we were working around the reunion--but man it was killer. So much to do, plan, clean, pack, map, and on and on...and so many field trips, field days, ceremonies, concerts, recitals, and on and on going on all in the month of May.

This year we are happily staying put until July so there was no big trip to plan for, but the full schedule was still tangible. (This year Scott and I are training for a triathlon though, and the busyness has proven to make training difficult.)

So anyway, maybe next year I'll remember the lesson: don't plan on trying to do anything at all for the entire month of May. You will be at school. Maybe even start keeping a change of clothes and some deodorant there, because who knows when you'll be able to leave.

Afton had her last day of preschool party early in the month.

The boys had their spring piano recital (and I've already mentioned Emma's concert).

Josh had a field trip to the Smoky Mountain Heritage Center.

Playing an old-timey game involving trying to quietly take one of the
sticks without the blindfolded opponent hearing you. 
Lunch with buddies.

Ben had two field trips four days apart. Oy vey. One was very cool though, they went to a local pantry for the needy and helped distribute food. Nice job for fifth-graders going on a service field trip.

The other was was to the Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend. Also cool.

All three elementary schoolers had field days and class parties. For kindergarten and first graders field day is just a big fun run-around-and-do-whichever-activities-you-want day. This was great because Afton could join in and do them all along with Lydia and her friends. This made me smile: the fifth graders help this day by manning the activity stations, and almost every single one of them knew Lydia. "Lydia! Come do this one!" "Hi Lydia!" "Oh Lydia, is this your little sister?" And the two or three that didn't know her already would look at her a minute then go, "Are you Ben Cruze's little sister?"



Who can jump rope the longest?

That's right. Ben can.
And finally, the last Monday of the school year, all the fifth graders got to go to a big, fancy pool on campus and have a pizza party and jump off the high dives all night (no, not the really high dives, just the small one, but they weren't complaining).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Emma getting music-y...

This post is mostly for grandparents who had to miss one thing or another...or whoever might like to hear the songs that Emma sang with the youth choir a few weeks ago...

And the other one (Nearer My God to Thee) isn't downloading for some reason, but I put it on the youth fb page here.

Then, it was time for the orchestra concert. I am so glad Emma learned to play the violin. She is awesome, and I am jealous. You know who else is pretty cool? Her conductor, because he taught them a nice healthy balance of classical and classic rock. The clip below is super long, but if you put it right to 7:08, you can check out my favorite song of the evening.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The zoo

We took our little friend-preschoolers to the zoo last week. Perfect weather, plenty of animals out and about. Good day.

Look. A lion. Just like her t-shirt.

I haven't been to the zoo in some time. I'd never seen the brush-the-goat area before. The goats were sleepy, but Afton was sure to brush every single one. She did it with a very business-like, duty-filled air. Like, "Brush the goats. Okay, got it. If that's what I'm supposed to do, that's what I'll do."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I love Sundays like this...

The boys had borrowed a things-to-do book from their cousins, and an afternoon was spent with stamp pads, needle and thread, markers and making. That's my favorite.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

And so went April...instagram version

If you know me on instagram this is all old news. If not, here we go...

We have a stray cat that comes by every week or so. It's great. The kids get all excited when we see him, we feed him some ham, pet him plenty, invite him to take a nap in our garage, then off he goes to see his next family. The kids named him Sally Gracie Feathertail. Then changed it to Moe. I like calling him Sally best.

Scott's brother Eldon generously gave Emma a guitar he never used anymore. She's been practicing everyday--building up nice calluses and learning lots of songs she likes. On a day home sick from school, she went through a whole set of lessons on the ipad. (go ahead and ignore the nasty couch back there. it's the first one we ever bought as newlyweds. now it's the bonus room couch the kids have full permission to jump/climb/destroy...and they do)

Afton is really good at playing like this. She can spend all morning sometimes all by herself lining up little toys, making them visit each other, inventing their relationships, taking them throughout their days, evolving their stories as she goes. That's how I liked to play at her age. It's my favorite.

Lydia and Afton spent a couple of afternoons doing this. Back and forth in the side yard, over and over. I got a report that Afton rode on her own for about three feet. Not sure I buy that she was really "riding," but maybe some good coasting.

Our dogwood trees bloomed extra big blooms this year!

Emma sang with our stake young women choir at a Knoxville Interfaith Network concert at a Catholic church downtown. They sounded beautiful!

Here's a fun mystery. In one of our garden boxes this year we mixed in the compost we've been brewing since last summer. There was a little bit of yard waste in there, but mostly kitchen scraps. Almost immediately these little plants started popping up all over the place. We have no idea what they are but there are over twenty of them now. Brittany said they look like her zucchini plants. That will be funny if that's what they are. Scott was against planting zucchini because it takes up so much space. Ha!