Tuesday, May 24, 2016

End-of-school-year awards and recognitions

Can I just say that I'm a few billion percent proud of these boys?

Please indulge me. It's the end of the school year, the season for award and recognition. So this proud mother is going to capture some of the awards, recognitions, and all-around good things happening for William and Andrew this spring.

William received the award for the top reader in the entire fourth grade at his recent fourth grade graduation. This is the kid who also rereads parts of his favorite books on a regular basis, and yet he still managed to amass the most Accelerated Reader points in the grade (of approximately 140 kids). I love that he loves to read. Love love love it.

They also announced that he qualified for the Duke University TIP (Talent Identification Program) for gifted kids, which surprised me a little bit since I didn't know the school even was aware of that.

But what really surprised us was William's perfect attendance record for fourth grade. David and I looked at each other with a "Whaaaaa?" expression. "That can't be right," David said dubiously. But when we reflected back, we realized that it was Andrew who was sick a lot this year. I guess we were conflating that and last year's pneumonia.

At any rate, I may have cheered and hollered a little--okay, a lot--when they were announcing his name and awards. He works hard, and I'm glad to see him get some recognition for it.

I'm also proud of him for his dedication to the Blair Children's Chorus. Some parents would have to fight or bribe or at the very least cajole their kid into attending a choir rehearsal every week. And William's not just attending one rehearsal per week but two. William happily trots off to both church choir rehearsal and Blair rehearsal every single week--along with handbells practice and piano lessons--with no complaints. (Regular snacks are helpful, however.)

Photo of William and his proud mama at the chorus' recent spring concert:

Then there's Andrew. This sweet little guy is doing second-grade level math as a kindergartener. Not too shabby, I'd say. He catches on to concepts so quickly that it sometimes takes me off guard.

We call him our little engineer because he likes to tinker with things, experimenting to see what works and what doesn't. He's always so pleased with his final results, and you can't help but be pleased along with him. Check him out with the birdhouse that he made at the Bellevue Community Picnic last weekend:

Andrew also carries around these little pencil top erasers that are shaped like kitties. He calls one Blueberry, and the other one is Leaf. He's built them little houses--he calls them "lairs"--out of cardboard boxes and sheets of paper that he's cut and taped together. They are hilarious and makeshift and absolutely wonderful. I hope he never gets tired of creating things to make himself happy. 

Andrew's reading far better than we realized, too. He adores the "Pete the Cat" series of books, which he can read with no help. He can tear through books like "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" too. Truthfully, I think he could read even harder books if he wanted to.

Here's a photo of David and me with Andrew at his class kindergarten awards day last week.

He received the Skor Award (complete with Skor candy bar) for Being a Star Athlete with a Winning Attitude. His teacher wanted to recognize him for being the Fastest Boy in Kindergarten, since he's so proud of winning the kindergarten boys' sprint race back in the fall.

Yes, David and I were both wearing blue checked shirts. Great minds think alike, yo.

And here's the fourth grade graduate, shortly after the graduation service ended.

I'm still finding it a little hard to believe that William is finished with elementary school. I mean, that's crazytown. Wasn't he just finishing kindergarten himself? And now middle school is on the horizon. But I won't think about that now. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Friday, May 06, 2016

One decade

It's freaking me out a little bit, but I have been the mother of a person who is AN ENTIRE DECADE OLD for two weeks now. That's right. William turned ten years old two weeks ago.



Which means there's another big piece of news. This blog that you're reading--the story of our lives--is now ten years old, too. My very first post that launched this blog was dated May 6, 2006. I had no idea what I was doing, either. I emailed a couple of friends who had blogs, asked them a few questions, and then got online and just...well, started writing. (That's what you do when you're a professional writer. You don't dither around. You just start typing and figure that you can come back and pretty things up later.)

And here we are, a decade later.

I sometimes marvel at my ten-year-old son. He's about as tall as my chin. He's wearing a size 5 shoe. He continues reading his way through countless books, including J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Two Towers." He can play "Fur Elise" and "The Entertainer" on the piano--okay, and the "Star Wars" theme, too. He can ride a bike, swim the length of the pool, play soccer, write essays, do a load of laundry, and all sorts of other things. He'll start middle school in just a few more months.

Ten years ago, however, I was looking at my two-week-old baby and thinking, "Oh my God, I love him so much. But what have we done?" David and I were sleep-deprived, still a little in shock. I was post-partum and sometimes a little hysterical from it all. I adored my new baby boy, but I didn't really know what I was doing, and it seemed like I was often just improvising as I went along. It did get easier when William started sleeping through the night. I felt better, steadier, when I was finally able to get more sleep, too. Even if I didn't always know exactly what I was doing, I didn't feel as desperate from the lack of sleep.

Fortunately, it all turned out okay. Not that I haven't made mistakes along the way, but overall, so far, so good.

Here are a few photos from the birthday boy's birthday dinner!

Notice that William has a big old grin AND a few smears of barbecue sauce on his face. He asked for his own ribs from Jim 'n' Nick's for his birthday dinner. He's definitely his daddy's boy, that's for sure!