Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Last Day Of School

I have so many emotions and thoughts about today. I don't even know where to start.

In September 2012,  Evelyn began a whole new chapter in her little life.

First Day of Kindergarten

The past six years have honestly flown by,  and just like that... she's done with elementary school and will be a (gasp!) middle schooler in the fall. I have watched her grow and thrive and struggle and be brave and make mistakes and succeed and do her best and be a leader and be a friend... every year. 

So. Grown. Up. Goodness, I love her!

When Evelyn won the Gold Presidential Academic Achievement Award in kindergarten, she told me that she wanted to do her best and win the same award every year. Well.. she DID!! She won it one last time today at the awards assembly and I wasn't surprised and couldn't be more proud of our girl!! It was funny watching her and her good friend Chaye waiting for the names to be announced. You could totally tell they were so nervous. Both of them breathed a very visible sigh of relief when their names were called (only 2 kids in each class can be nominated to win). A sweet moment indeed. 

My photos are few and not so great as I was trying to be in the moment and also was so excited and emotional and crying that I couldn't keep my hands steady. Sheesh...  So proud of my hardworking, bright girl!

The kids have always had hot lunch on the last day. Well, with Evelyn's new dietary restrictions that wasn't possible for her today. So I surprised her with bringing her Chipotle for lunch. She was pretty happy about that! 

Every year the 5th graders do a final run down the halls of Fir Grove and the rest of the school lines the halls and gives them high fives. I have been to several of these and knew Evelyn's day would come.. and that I would be very emotional. And that is exactly what happened...haha!

The only shot I got of my girl... they ran so fast! :) 

When the final bell rang and the 5th graders walked out the doors, I tried really hard to keep it together. These kids are so special to me, and my baby girl is among them. The kids were a mix of excitement and emotional and happy and melancholy, but they all were happy that school was out for summer!

YAY!! We're done!!

We couldn't have asked for a better teacher for Evelyn this year. Mrs. Wilson loved, encouraged and challenged our girl well, and I know she is a better student because of that. You can tell by the tears in her eyes how much she is going to miss Evelyn. It was pretty sweet!

She made me take another one that didn't show her tears...haha!! We will always be grateful for her influence on Evelyn. 

She never admitted it to them, but these two were her favorite students EVER! :) Thankful for Chaye and the friend she is to Evelyn. And that Mrs. Wilson saw how special these two are!

Where it all began... 2013

 Mrs. Pearson was Evelyn's kindergarten teacher and will always hold a special place in her heart..and in all of our hearts. I still help in her class every year. We love her! :) 

Our beloved Mrs. Beltran. Evelyn (and Ellie's) favorite teacher at Fir Grove hands down. They had her for both 1st and 2nd grade and formed a very special relationship. They plan to keep in touch for sure!

Phew!! What a day! But wait! I haven't even got to talk about Matthew's last day. Boy, was it just as great!!

My boy. He has had such a great year. He continues to grow in knowledge, confidence, maturity and (of course) height! :) He has had the best year. As he said to me this morning, "Every year is always better than the last.. and the last was really great!". So thankful he loves school so much. He also loves being at home, tho, and was excited that today was the last day of school!

So... I got an email from his teacher last week saying Matthew was getting an award at the assembly on the last day of school! I always go to the last day of school assembly because Evelyn (as I said above) has always won an award. Matthew has never won a Presidential Award. He has handled that with grace and excitement for his sister and has never been sad for not winning. I love that about him.

There are two kinds of Presidential Academic Awards: Gold and Silver. Gold is for academic excellence. Silver is for academic achievement, for working hard and improving. Both have strict guidelines and qualifications.

Matthew has worked so hard this year to improve his reading skills. I thought he was going to receive the Silver Award.

Boy was I wrong!!

When they started announcing the silver awards I got out of my seat to take photos of my boy. I was so excited for him and looked forward to seeing his face when he heard his name (he didn't know he had won). They called the second grade names... but Matthew's name wasn't called.

I lost it. My boy. My hardworking, thoughtful, smart boy. He won GOLD!!!

I went back to my seat, which actually was right next to Mrs. Hausman, Matthew's teacher. I was in tears and whispered to her, "I thought he was getting the silver!" She said, "Stephanie.. he is one of my best students. He is a very high achiever and I am so proud of him!".

Cue more tears from this mom. I know he is smart... and we always encourage him to be his best and not to compare himself to anyone. He just quietly rocks his studies and doesn't need attention for it. So much love for my boy.

When his name was called he got up calmly and humbly, and high fived his classmates as he walked up to get his award. 

He was pretty proud and excited. He asked if we could frame it and put it on his wall. Tonight! ;) 

Mrs. Hausman. What an amazing teacher. I always have prayed for the kids to have the teachers that would be the best fit for each of them. God has been gracious in providing that for both of them. Mrs. Hausman challenged and encouraged Matthew well, and he learned SO much this year and had SO much fun! We will miss her for sure!

My two GOLD award winners!! This was there last day of attending the same school together until they both are in high school. A bittersweet moment for this mom for sure. Evelyn has loved her brother well at Fir Grove especially when he was struggling in kindy (She would go check on him often. Sweet girl.) It will be a whole new experience with then attending different schools next year. I know Matthew will miss his sister. 

Love them both so much!!

It's tradition for us to have the Stenehjem kids over after school on the last day. Ellie and Sam are such great friends and we all love this tradition. 

Schooooool's. Out. For summa!! :)

In the past we have gone to Menchie's for froyo. Last year the crowd was huge and the lines were long, and the kids wanted to try something different this year. So we went to a new place, a mexican ice cream place called Ome Calli. It did not disappoint! So yummy!

So thankful for good friends!

The kids got home and had a fun time in the pool!
And the boys ended their time together playing a little hoop. 

Cheers to the end of a very good day!

While I am a little sad this amazing (and crazy busy) year has come to an end, I am super excited for summer!!

Bring on the sun! Yay!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Fifth Grade Send Off

Phew! It's over! And it went great!!

Every year there is a party for the outgoing 5th graders at Fir Grove. Since Evelyn is (sigh) a fifth grader, I was a big part of this year's celebration. It has been a labor of love for the past almost 6 months, with many roadblocks and frustrations along the way. I was a bottle of nerves this morning as I prayed for the Lord to calm my heart and trust him with the day.

I was fortunate enough to work with 4 other moms on this big party, and I could not have done it without them!

Stacey... my dear friend and partner in crime. How I love this lady!! She is funny and kind and knows me well. She bought both of us rainbow fanny packs and filled them with supplies (tissue, purell, band aids, candy) to get thru the day. The kids thought they were awesome! Truly... today would NOT have gone nearly as well without her. 

One of the (few) downsides of being in charge is that I honestly had NO time to spend with Evelyn and NO time to take photos. Being the sentimental blogger that I am, this pained me a great deal. Thankfully, one of the dad's was there with a nice camera and he was willing to be the photographer for the day. :) Then, he sent me all the photos on CD!! I am forever indebted to Rob for doing this. It was so fun to see all of the kids (who mean so much to me!) having a good time. 

Below are some of the pics that had Evelyn in them. 

The day started off with a promotion ceremony, where the kids got certificates and all of their teachers spoke. I didn't get to see this since I was setting up for the rest of the day, but I did make it for the end.

We served the kids donuts right after the ceremony and they got to sign each other's t shirts (we got each of them one for they day)

The activities we had were well received. Bouncy race house, belly  bumpers, a photo booth, a game room and a craft room for them to choose from. I never saw a kid who was bored or not smiling. Yay!

We catered in an amazing mexican lunch for the kids. I really wanted to do something special for them, and thru friend I was able to have the MAYOR of our fine city come and talk to the kids and eat with them! The kids were in awe and were just so excited. Many kids told me this was the best part of the day! Mayor Doyle was great. He gave some encouraging words to the kids and hung around the rest of the day, talking to kids and signing their tshirts. I was so impressed with him and how he was so present and engaging. It was so great!

The food was AMAZING!!
Ev's teacher, Mrs Wilson. We love her!

Hanging out with her peeps! :) 

I also managed to get the Superintendent of the Beaverton School District to come talk to the kids too!! He also was great and gave them a good encouraging word. 

Every year there is a slide show recapping the kids' time at Fir Grove. Ellie's dad Andrew put it together for us this year, and it was so awesome! And made many cry! :) 

The teachers wanted to end the day with a kickball game. It was a fun way to end the day, even if some kids just watched.. like mine! :)

I am so grateful that today went as well as it did. So many kids came up and hugged me and told me it was the best day ever. That was our goal.. and I am glad it was achieved! 

I am exhausted more than words can say, as the past few weeks of final prep have been stressful and busy. But I have absolutely no regrets. None. I would do it again in a heartbeat for these kids who I love dearly. 

One more day of elementary school for Evelyn and her fellow 5th graders. Sigh....