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Thursday, July 3, 2014

saying goodbye to another school year

Somehow, some way, another school year has come and gone.  Third grade and kindergarten have come to a close, leaving me proud, a little teary and wondering why my project list is not full of check marks of completion.   

Ella's end of school party had a "Minute-to-win-it" theme and was so much fun.  The kids had a minute to complete a variety of silly, challenging tasks.  Here, Ella is trying to move an Oreo from her forehead to her mouth using only her facial muscles. 

 There was Fruit Loop stacking on a Popsicle stick.
 And transferring marshmallows from one plate to another using only your nose which had a dollop of Vaseline on it.  The kids looked like a pack of chickens pecking for food.
 Ella and Kendall.

Maya had an amazing first year of school.  She learned how to be more self-contained, how to make friends, how to be a good school citizen.  She learned how to handle home sickness, how to channel her industriousness into helpfulness and how to read and write!  We adored her teacher, Mrs. Welch, in every way and are so grateful for her ability to think outside the box and help Maya in the unique ways she needed.

One of the most important aspects of Maya's year came from directly from Mrs. Welch who identified that Maya's difficulty attending might be due to her still learning how to tune back in to hearing after having spent six years tuning out because of her undiagnosed hearing loss.  Together we came up with a reward system to help Maya become more accountable for her hearing equipment (such as letting people know if it wasn't working instead of just enjoying the muffled quiet) and tuning in when she needed to be paying attention in school.   Working together with Mrs. Welch and Mrs. Fournier, her speech therapist, and Donna Cassavant (her advocate from the Maine Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) as a team dedicated to help Maya succeed at school was the ideal in how parents and educators can combine strengths and perspectives to help a child.  Maya has shown the results of the collaboration with her enormous growth and improvement.  I am so very grateful for these smart, innovative women.
To celebrate the end of school, we took the girls (and the twins visiting stepbrother) for our second annual trip to Dysart's restaurant for an "18 Wheeler" sundae:  18 scoops of ice cream with every imaginable topping.  They cannot even come close to finishing it but boy, does it thrill them.

 Rather than my house being in the state of unprecedented order that I had planned after this year, there has been a sudden and marked influx of paperwork, binders, folders, art projects and all other matter of a year's worth of accumulated school stuff that has found its final resting place in our house.    It is almost as though all my house purging never happened.  It is my solemn vow not leave it in the towering stack on the bench by the door for the entire summer.

But for now we have moved outside to the garden, the patio, to neighborhood games of kickball and clubhouse building, to dirty feet and bug bites, sunscreen and complaints about heat.  I implore the kids to remember the mountainous snowbanks, the endless cold of the past winter and then I give them a Popsicle and tell them to sit in the shade and pipe down.

We are going to have an amazing summer.   I am committed to it.
I will leave you with two shots of Maya's silliness.  

We were taking out summer clothes and Maya had several totes of hand-me-downs that she was ecstatic to go through. It was a fashion feast that made her so delirious, she had no choice but to jump head first into one of the totes. 
And, lastly, Maya is hard to corral at night (okay, she is hard to corral most of the time).  She is so silly and has a hard time settling down and snuggling with her is a full contact sport.  She flips and flops and giggles and blows in your face and sticks her fingers in your arm pit and then suddenly she is asleep.  When Sandi went to check on her the other night, this is what she found.  Yes, she is wearing her pj bottoms on her head. 

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