|Helping make pancakes for Pancake Friday|
|We love to go out in the cooler evenings and read on the hammock|
|Caught in the act! We were busy melting butter and chocolate for my birthday brownies and she had to sneak a few before they got too hot. :)|
|One of the enduring images from her toddlerhood, I'm sure. :)|
|We celebrated the end of kindergarten with a concert, and 3 of her grandparents and one uncle. :)|
|Love this one of Nana and LuluBelle!|
|A really good one of Oma and Opa (my silly boy!)|
|She's looking forward to a summer of swimming!|
|We got a blast of cool air a few weeks ago and we had to dig out pants and sweaters! Not complaining at all... :)|
|Movie night last Friday!|
|So big. :)|
|Very proud of the tomato sauce she sneaked while I was making lasagna. :)|
|She likes pointing and counting, just like the big kids do.|
The end of the school year has been looming for awhile, and we've been busy preparing- parties, gifts, projects.
And still, it felt anti-climatic.
I'm sure it's just my propensity to be overly sentimental, but it felt like, "That's it? Kindergarten's over?"
But it is, and she's now a "grader" (her term, cutie girl!)
I began the year somewhat tentative, unsure of lots of things.
Now I see how truly good school has been for her.
Her school itself is wonderful.
It's diverse (racially, religiously, and especially socio-economically), high-achieving and, most importantly, welcoming.
Her teacher was so special and perfect for Claire- high expectations yet nurturing.
The best part was because of the extended school day (8:30-1:45), her awesome teacher was able to really slow down and explore things the kids had questions about, whereas with the shorter school day from the year before (8:30-11:30) she would have to move on to the next activity.
So when they read stories, sometimes someone would ask an in-depth question and as a class, they would explore it together.
I love this, because this is very much what I do with them at home.
We are always playing, learning but it all comes about very naturally based on what they are interested in at the moment.
I feel like for our family, this is the best of both worlds.
I love and am happiest when we have unscheduled play time every single day. Usually Alexander goes straight for his trains, determined to come up with a new and complicated design, and Lucy goes to the play kitchen where she cooks up delicious mixed-up meals and loves to have me taste them and compliment their flavors, and Claire goes to her markers and blank books, ready to fill them up with new (pink, mostly) designs and stories.
Anyway, this got off topic, but I never want our lives to be so scheduled that we can't do that most days.
But also, I see (where I feared I wouldn't) many great benefits of a structured school setting, where a routine is followed, adults different from Mama and Daddy are teaching and setting positive examples, and where sometimes, you have to figure out how to pleasantly interact with kids you don't get along with too well.
And now, we've got a restful summer with lots of Daddy time (he's not teaching summer school and is only coaching for four hours in the morning), and just the right amount of routine so that we can really soak up the playful days. :)