May 28, 2013

Fourth Grade: Check

Tyler finished up fourth grade with flair.

He applied to be on the school's news crew and was selected to be the anchor for their weekly broadcasts in the fall.

He earned a bunch of ribbons at Field Day (1st-4th place over six events).

He learned to play the simplified version of "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" on the piano.

He scored so high on math and reading tests in April that his teachers will have quite a job keeping him challenged next year.

He brought home tons of fun writing and art work, both from school and from weekly lessons near home.

He developed an English accent that is perfectly hilarious.  I want to capture some video of him using his accent.

I just love this boy and all of his amazing talents.  Tyler is one terrific kid, and we are so proud of what he accomplished during fourth grade.

May 26, 2013

The Rainbow Birthday

Lexi Lou turned four on May 16.  She had been anticipating her big day for months.  It finally came, and birthday #4 unfolded beautifully.

Lexi received two dress-up gowns and the Cinderella movie from Mom and Dad, plus crayons and a coloring pad and a toy broom from siblings.  Grandma and Grandpa Bartle gave her Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid on DVD (can you believe she has never seen these classics?).  And Granny and Gramps gave her a doll with an extensive wardrobe, all made by Granny herself.  Lexi was absolutely thrilled with everything.  The night of her birthday she blew out the candles placed in pudding cups after a dinner of her favorite chicken pillows.

Garry made this great video:

Two days later, the same Saturday as a massive youth garage sale at our church, we threw a rainbow-themed birthday party for our little four-year-old.  It was her first "friend party," and she invited a couple of girls each from church, school, and ballet.  The girls had a grand time with a bunch of simple activities. I was pretty stressed out from the garage sale, running Tyler around town for a different birthday party, and another medication reaction that left me dizzy and exhausted.  Fortunately the girls didn't need an energetic hostess.  They danced and played and ate cake and ice cream with great enthusiasm.

Another video from Garry:

Since then, Lexi has played happily with her new things.  She has also worn her orange dress-up gown all around town and at all times of the day.  Apparently it's her favorite thing ever. That's a successful birthday!


The last couple of months have been very FULL of young women activities at church. One was a huge camp fundraiser on May 18.  Over the course of several weeks, many people donated items for a community garage sale.  I only had a small part in preparing for the event and just that was exhausting.  I extend my kudos to the leaders who spent countless hours collecting and sorting and pricing items, advertising throughout the community, and setting up and executing the sale itself.

The night before the garage sale, many of our youth met at the church to sort and organize the donated items.  There was SO MUCH STUFF.  I mainly worked on sorting and folding clothing.  What a lot of work!  As I worked alongside the youth, several of them dressed up in the treasures we found.  Their antics were definitely funny.  We made some great memories.


We worked from about 4:00 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday night.  Just as we were leaving, the church's lawn sprinklers turned on and threatened to drench the items we had laid out on the grass.  It was hilarious to see the young men dive to cover the sprinklers and roll up the tarps on the ground.  Somehow my brand-new coat made it into the sale pile, so I had to return to the church around 11:00 to retrieve it.

The next morning we arrived early.  Shoppers showed up 30 minutes before the start time of 7:00!  The youth scattered to help where they were needed.  Some sold baked goods and cotton candy.  Others simply offered their muscles to haul the big items.  I was assigned to the cashier table.  I didn't like the haggling, but it was definitely fun to talk to everyone and to see what treasures they had found at the sale.  I picked up a few items myself: the  novel "Heidi," a few clothes for the kids, a suit for Zach (hopefully for this fall), and props for our senior night photo booth the following week.

In the end, the fundraising event was hugely successful.  The young men and young women earned what they needed for camp and then some.  I was glad to check one more thing off my list and move onto the next.  We are inching closer to July, when I might be able to take a breath.


A few minutes ago, Lexi, who was picnicking in the back yard with her siblings, came inside and said that someone was in our front yard.  I went through the front door to greet this someone.  The man, whose grandkids live in our culdesac, said he found Kate walking by herself on the street around the corner.  (For the locals, she was on Contrails Drive!)  She was just in a diaper--no shoes, no clothes--and pigtails as she ran along the street.  Since he recognized Kate, the grandpa slowed down and parked his car, then picked her up and brought her home.  The silly girl had no idea she was in danger, of course.  When Kate got home, she returned to her spot at the picnic table and started eating watermelon like nothing had happened.

It's official: we are parents of the year.

Graduating Gavin

It's pretty amazing to realize that Gavin has completed two years at Briargate Preschool.  Remember when I was at my wit's end (which time was that again?) and finally got the help we all needed?  Gavin's occupational therapy and admittance to this unique preschool was surely a miracle, and he has had such a great experience.  Gavin has made incredible progress.  Two years ago he couldn't "cross the midline" to make a T or an X.  Now he's sounding out words and writing them down.  We couldn't be happier.

I attended a couple of year-end events in Gavin's class this month.  He was charming and hilarious and so eager to show me his class work and Mother's Day surprise.  

(Surveys like this aren't very funny when all the answers are mostly accurate.)

And no preschool experience would be complete without Malcolm, his BFF.

Here are some of Gavin's fun school creations.

Ms. Donna was such a great teacher for Gavin this year.  She was kind but firm and loved Gavin to pieces.  She had a little catch in her throat as she talked to Gavin at the end of their last class together.  She told him to keep working hard, and that he would do great things when he grew up.

Gavin is a good boy, and we know that Ms. Donna's prediction is bound to come true.

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