Saturday, July 28, 2018

wrappin' up the school year

Once Spring rolls around we look for any reason to be outdoors. So when the zoo opens we dash there for our first visit. It's usually still pretty chilly, but that can often be the best time to walk around the zoo. The animals are excited to be out and they are often pretty active this time of year. For us the zoo is a nice family activity that we have enjoyed for years. We usually run into people we know and on this trip Cecilia ran into her buddy, Cameron. It was the first of many zoo trips for us this season, I'm sure!

Every Spring Olivia and her soccer team participate in the Shoot for the Cure tournament to raise money for breast cancer. The weather is usually pretty questionable this time of year and last year most of the tournament was cancelled due to rain. Not this year! The girls played great and even won their division. It was a lot of fun!

Cecilia's school was holding their annual fundraiser in April and this year they decided to tie it into one of our favorite annual events...International Night. This is by far one of the best events Peace holds each year and this year was better than ever! Each classroom features a country. The kids prepare by studying that country and making projects highlighting that country. The best part is the food. With the help of the parents each classroom features food from their country. You spend the evening going from room to room sampling delicious food and learning fascinating things about many different countries.

The kids get their own passport and get a stamp as they visit each classroom. Cecilia's class studied Iceland. She enjoyed learning about the country and their culture. She came home everyday sharing the things she was learning. She was proud of the projects she completed and couldn't wait to share everything with us. It was a fun evening and one that makes us feel grateful that we are a part of this wonderful school.

A few weeks later I was able to spend some special time with Cece at school for Muffins with Mom. This is something they do each year around Mother's Day. I look forward to it because it gives me a glimpse into what she does each day at school. She is a hard worker and so proud of what she accomplishes at school. This has been a very successful year for her and it shows as her confidence continues to grow. 

Cecilia's a busy girl.When not busy working hard to school her favorite things to do include dance and gymnastics. In May she was able to show off her latest gymnastics skills in her annual showcase. This past year was tough for Cece as she worked through her ankle injury. That took her out of gymnastics for over 3 months. Once she was able to return she quickly got back into the groove of things. She worked hard and even moved up a level. At her showcase she and her class worked their way around the gym showing off their skills in different areas like the balance beam, vault, bars and floor. I think she was proud of her performance and I was impressed with how well she has recovered from her injury this year.

Although Cecilia enjoys gymnastics, her dance classes are probably what she loves most. Two nights a week she is at the dance studio and takes 5 classes. She loves to dance and it shows. She performed some of her routines at a couple of local nursing homes this Spring. Our studio tries to do this a few times each year. It is nice service to provide to the residents of the homes, and it is good practice for the kids.

In late Spring we wrapped up another soccer season. The girls played their final games and prepared to say goodbye to one of their teammates, Maddy. Olivia grew particularly close to her this season and was crushed when she learned she was moving to Chicago as soon as the season was over. Goodbyes are tough, but memories last forever! 

Olivia was also busy at school wrapping up some end of the year projects. One of the biggest ones was her Social Studies project on the Constitution called, We The People. Throughout the entire semester they not only studied the constitution but had to argue it's points in front of various audiences. One of the biggest audiences was at the State House in Indianapolis. This was a big deal for these kids. They worked for weeks to perfect their speeches and as they were dressed in their fancy clothes they gave a formal presentation for people from various occupations. It was such a great learning experience for Olivia and one she took a great deal of pride in as well.

As we moved our way through Spring we blinked and suddenly it was Cecilia's last day of school. I can hardly believe my words when I say that she has ended her 1st grade year. The second to last day her entire class headed to the park for a picnic lunch and to enjoy the splash pad. After a year of hard work it was time for some fun! 

Cece developed a special bond with her teacher this year, Ms. Amanda. She took a very special interest in Cecilia's progress and made sure to keep me in the loop every step of the way. A strong teacher and great classmates helped to make for one heck of a school year!

The actual last day of school was pretty low key. She sported her "1st Grade Rocks!" shirt to show just how much she has enjoyed school this year. It's always a little sad to say goodbye to friends and teachers for the summer, but knowing they will all be back together again in a few short months helps. My girl grew leaps and bounds this year and I couldn't be more proud!

A few days later we were celebrating Olivia's last day of 5th grade. Her first year in the Middle School at Canterbury was super successful. She maintained an A average in all of her classes and received glowing reviews from all of her teachers. I failed to get a last day of school pic in all of the chaos of the day, but one of the moms was kind enough to share a few pictures with me. After a noon dismissal a bunch of the girls headed to a pool party to celebrate the start of summer. It was a banner year for both girls in school, but they are beyond excited to start enjoying their summer!