Thursday, July 07, 2016

hello, spring!

Spring is in the air! With Spring comes outdoor soccer. Every year in April the girls play in the Shoot for a Cure tournament to support cancer. This was one of the first times the girls played outdoors after a long winter of indoor soccer. The girls were a little rusty on the grass fields, but they played hard and had a great time!

Something we have been wanting to do for awhile is take the girsl to visit their Nana Cleo in Michigan. My Grandmother has been living in a nursing home for quite awhile now and is dealing with dementia. Her memory comes and goes, but she does seem to still remember the girls and I. They were super excited to see her and having them around just put a big smile on her face. Not to mention the girls just loved running around nursing home. The old folks were thrilled to see some little ones in the halls for a few days.

The zoo opened in April and couldn't wait for our first visit of the season. My Aunt still gets us the zoo pass for Christmas each year and it's the perfect gift. We love popping over to the zoo on the weekends to visit the animals, and have the flexibility to stay for a half hour or two hours. I'm sure we'll be back many times this summer.

Each Spring our dance studio attends a regional dance competition. This year Olivia competed 6 dances during the competition in Detroit, Michigan. Last year she only competed two, so this was quite a change. I have been very impressed with the changes in her stage presence as well as her technique. She really seems to enjoy being on stage, and of course I am so proud seeing her up there!

This summer our dance studio will be attending a national competition in Orlando. We will be leaving for that trip in less than two weeks. She will get to compete all of her dances again, but in a much bigger venue and for national awards. I am excited for her because of how excited she is about it all. She loves to dance and it shows!

Cecilia enjoys her dancing as well, but she is not at a competing age quite yet. So when she is not dancing she is still taking her gymnastics classes. Each season they hold a showcase so the kids can show off the things they have been learning. I usually do not get to see Cece in her gymnastics class because I am teaching at the gym during that time, but the showcase was later in the morning that day so I was able to attend. It was sweet to she her trying her hardest while I watched. I was proud of her.

With the weather warming up the girls were excited to be able to play outside more. Beasley was excited to join them. One night we busted out the bubble maker and found out that Beasley LOVES bubbles! They had a great time running around with him trying to pop them. Beasley would actually jump up as high as he could to catch them. It was so funny!

The girls were both close to wrapping up the school year at their respective schools. Lots of end of the year activities taking place. Next year Cece will be going into kindergarten so she had a special ceremony to acknowledge her last year of preschool. We will be sending Cecilia back to Peace Montessori next year so this was her only year at Maple Ridge Academy. It was a good year for her though. She learned a great deal and made some very sweet little friends. 

As the final days of school approached Olivia knew saying good bye to her friends was going to be rough. We decided that this was going to be Olivia's final year at Peace Montessori. This is the only school she has attended since she was 18 months old. It has been her home away from home and has brought her so much happiness. She has made some wonderful friends and knowing that she was not going to be seeing them on a regular basis was really starting to weigh on her. Some of her friends were going to be missing the final week of school due to a educational competition they were attending. These friends she had to say goodbye to extra early. 

One of the little boys, Sami has been in class with Olivia since they were babies. They have remained close all of these years and they continue to have lots in common. Not to mention, they are both super cute and I think they should one day get married! Olivia just rolls her eyes at me whenever I mention that. She would never admit it, but I know she is going to miss him terribly.

A few days later Olivia had to say goodbye to her friend Lisa, who was leaving school a few days early for a family trip to Germany. This little girl has been by Olivia's side for the past few years and they have grown very close. There were some tears on Lisa's last day. I know that saying goodbye to close friends and a school that has been your home for 8 years is not easy, but I know that Olivia will thrive at her next school. 

For a few weeks I was dreading the last day of school. Not so much for Cecilia, but for Olivia. I knew this would be a hard day for her, but I had no idea how much it would affect me as well. Peace Montessori has been an important part of our lives for so many years. With Olivia moving on, we decided that we wanted Cecilia to go back there next year for Kindergarten and lower elementary. As we started what was sure to be an emotional day for all of us, I took a moment to reflect on how proud I am of these two.

I made a point of being able to drop off and pick the girls up from their last days. First up, was Olivia. Walking her in on her last day was very bittersweet. I had to fight back the tears big time. The hugs with her teacher and the directors of the school started immediately. I left her knowing that she would have an amazing last day.

Since Cece only goes half days she was done with school first. As I arrived to pick her up she was waiting for me with a huge smile on her face. Cece came so far this year. She worked hard and learned to enjoy going to school. I thank her teachers for that. It was a good year for her!

Now for the past few months Cece has done nothing but talk about her "boyfriend", Ehab. She attached herself to this little boy out of the blue, and suddenly he was all she could talk about. I was determined to get a picture of the two of them together on the last day of school. With some persuading I was able to convince her to stand next to him without being too embarrassed. I mean, how cute are they?

I was not looking forward to picking Olivia up at the end of the day, as I knew it would be the last time Olivia walked out of that school as a student. I spent most of the afternoon questioning whether we made the right decision by deciding to move onto another school for 4th grade. I knew that emotion was taking over and that everything was going to be fine, but that did not make it any easier. 

She was a little emotional when I first showed up, but we dried those tears and made her final moments in her school a happy time. When I look at how far this girl has come since starting in the toddler room, I am simply amazed. 

I have nothing but gratitude for the teachers and staff that have been a part of Olivia's Montessori experience. It is because of these people that Olivia developed such a strong love of learning. They have guided her, pushed her and embraced her every step of the way. It is safe to say that she has had an almost perfect Montessori journey. Thank you, Peace Montessori...from the bottom of my heart!

Lots of changes coming our way in the Fall. But for now it is time to enjoy our summer! We have lots of fun things planned. Time to enjoy some fun in the sun!