Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Beginning of the Lasts: Campus

This sounds silly, but part of my goodbye to this campus involved some pictures. I snagged my beautiful girls and took their picture in what used to be their "romper room." When we first opened, I taught Kindergarten. These girls were 2 and 3, so Nana babysat them in this room in the mornings while I taught. This sweet Georgian Southern woman taught them to save their bottle caps and pretend they were "biscuit cuttas." And a piece of candy could aways be found in Dr. Bob's pocket. I'm not sure I would have made it that first year without this couple loving my family and pouring into us.

And here's where I taught Firstborn Kindergarten, all those years ago.

This guy ate his first piece of birthday cake sitting right there.

And this darling was the pseudo-secretary of the school when she was a toddler. She sat right there, eating Turkish olives, and charming everyone who walked in. I would give money to the security guard (who she called her best friend) to get her a snack next door, reminding him something healthy would be good. She always came back with chocolate, and he always sheepishly admitted he couldn't help himself.

And so it was our last time to work at this school. God has been so good to us!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Beginning of the Lasts: Friends

This was the hard part. Saying goodbye to a campus is hard. Saying goodbye to a neighborhood is hard. But saying goodbye to friends is the hardest.

This sweet friend from Poland is moving on. His mom cried as she hugged me, saying that they had enrolled him in a school like ours in his new city. She said this school had for the first time brought God into their home.

These twins from Jordan cried on the last day, begging dad that they not move away. (On dress up days, one was always a superhero, one was always a princess. You can guess which one Big Ben played with the most!)

Middle School goodbyes are rough, too. These girls go deep with each other quickly.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Beginning of the Lasts: Mixed List

We began the days of closing out school, and closing out the campus that had become home for 13 years. Big Ben represented the United States in International Day. He made sure he had a cowboy and an indian on his poster. (I know, it's Native American. I was born in 1972! It's hard to not say "cowboys and indians" when I grew up playing it every day of of my life!)

He also played the part of the wolf in the "real story" of the three little pigs. In his story, the wolf really gets a bad rap and is not nearly so bad.

This good reader also was a narrator! :)

We celebrated our sports and drama kids with an end of the year banquet. The girls received multiple certificates for their extra curricular activities this year.

We also had a music concert to close out the year. Sweet Cheeks' class performed the song, "Let There Be Peace on Earth" with sign language. It was my favorite!

I love this little (big) 1st grader in my Bible class. It was my last days with my classes, and God did some amazing things.

...And my final day with my middle school Bible class.

And, heaven help me, my daughter found a dead (not roadkill) hedgehog, wrapped him,  put him in my freezer with promises to bleach my freezer later, took him to school proud as punch, gutted him, identified all his parts, and stuffed him like a professional taxidermist. This ended up being her final exam in Anatomy and Physiology. She got a 98. She's just like that. The hedgehog maintained his odd smile throughout. We aren't quite sure how.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Little Princess: Miss Amelia

Firstborn played a key role in "A Little Princess" also. She was the thoughtful and prim teacher/sister Miss Amelia.

She went along with the thoughtless and harsh actions of the main school marm all throughout the play, then finally had enough. She told her sister off on behalf of the whole audience! We all applauded her!

Great cast. Great play. In the new auditorium on the new campus! Well done, Amelia and Ermingard!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Little Princess: Ermingard

Two of my teen girls tried out for the play "A Little Princess." They practiced weekly and performed in May. Here are the highlights from Miss Middler, who played Ermingard, a sweet and naive schoolgirl.

She opened the play writing her spelling from rote, and misspelling "polite" over and over!

This girl has more talent in one finger than I have in my whole body! Art, music, theater, sports. And she's so stinkin' cute and sweet. Want to see what a non-dramatic, sweet teen looks like? Here she is!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Piano Performances 2016

My 3 piano girls once again made me proud! They worked hard in spite of school work and sports teams to prepare for the recital. Here are some snapshots of a beautiful night! It was our last concert in the atrium of the old campus. That thought was present in my mind as I listened.

The instructor organized a group performance with piano and flute. One very special teacher and friend played along with them. She asked me to take a picture for her mama. Some things never change. Am I right?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Soccer Tournament 2016: First Time First Place/Back to Blogging/Favorite Spring Memory

I haven't blogged in 2 months! This morning I awoke at 5AM, feeling like getting up at 5 was preferable to going back into a deep sleep from 5-6 (anybody agree?), so I brewed some coffee with the call to prayer as my audio backdrop. And then I thought I'd blog. And I found 4 precious (non-spam) notes telling me someone was praying for me, telling me my blog was missed. And it made my day. I'd like to catch up. The end of school, our campus move, summer was a blur. It was a wonderful mind-dazzling blur, but I just couldn't stop to blog. Now I'm back. I don't want to give this up. My main reasons for blogging are to keep a family record and to give myself an outlet to write and take photos. If you've stayed with me, thank you. I'm back.

Let's get back to my favorite memory of Spring:

Our girls practiced and trained hard for several months leading up to our soccer tournament in April. The back story is that we don't have our own field. So, for years now, they hike through the neighborhood and practice on an abandoned half-sized field. This year, even that field was in the process of being demolished. It involved crawling through a hole in a fence to get inside. We play against teams with their own available regulation-sized fields with lush green grass and all the sponsors and boosters clubs backing them. So, sometimes we feel like we are going up against Goliath. Still, we are grateful to get to play after all the practice.

By a miracle, the Friday games for the girls were scheduled during blocks when I was not teaching. I sat as the lone soccer mom, coffee in hand, screaming my head off. All of my 3 girls got to start the game. There was no place I'd rather be!

After a few games in the two days, we had miraculously worked our way up to the spot to play for 1st or 2nd place.

As we went into the final game, we all stated that, though it seemed a win would elude us, we were so very proud of them for making it this far. The team we were to play against was undefeated. In fact, no one had scored on them the entire tournament. Our game began, and at the half, they were up 2-0.

We comforted ourselves that the girls had worked hard and 2nd place was guaranteed. But then shortly after the 2nd half began, Twinkle kicked a ball that rolled right up to the goal. The opposing goalie had not been scored on the entire tournament. A sweet but fiesty teammate ran right up and tapped the ball in. We had scored. We roared!

Here's the awesome goalie. Here's my girl giving her a run for her money! And then the unthinkable happened. Twinkle kicked a ball to the top right corner of the goal. Just minutes before the end, we had tied it up. The opposing team was mad. The goalie was flustered. We were ecstatic.

The refs put us in a shoot out. Each team got 5 kicks. CC went over to the girls and gave this advice, "We are proud of you no matter what. She may catch it; she may not. Don't try anything fancy. Just kick it between the poles." Our girls lined up. They lined up. One by one we kicked. We got to the end, and I realized Firstborn would be our last kicker. How could the coach do this to me? She plays defense! And then my little baby, who I held for the first time in 1999, who somehow grew up in what seems like a matter of days, kicked that ball right in the goal. And we all froze. Then the boys jumped out of the bleachers and stormed the field.

I realized I was the only one who could click a picture, so I started snapping. We had won the soccer tournament for the first time in our school's 12 year history!

I wish I could say everyone was a good sport after that, but in reality, the other team were very sore losers. They fell on the ground. The parents grew angry and demanded yet another penalty shoot out kick. They initially refused to receive the 2nd place trophy. They said they were the true winners because they were undefeated until this game. It went on and on. Meanwhile, we hugged, cried, and cheered our brave girls.

I'll be telling this story to my grandchildren. It was my favorite memory of the year!

I'm a proud mama!

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