Thursday, May 31, 2012

May's Days

The end of May is HERE and I would be remiss not to mention a few highlights that were glossed over here on this blog - days and occasions we celebrated, amidst the angst, anger, and frustration of the deceptive and damaging work of the Board of Supervisors.  Without further ado.......

I received an invitation to a Mother's Tea at Leo's school.  The invitation stated that we should "Dress to Impress."  Leo interpreted this to mean.... a bright plaid shirt; cute blue chinos; boat shoes; and.... his favorite tights.  I was definitely impressed.  
Leo graduated from preschool.  I took so many photos this day, but this one was my favorite, because he looks both so ready to head off to kindergarten, and yet so content to stay safely tucked at my side, lovingly embraced.  Like many mothers I know, the day felt bittersweet.  I am proud and happy of this giggly, friendly, mischievous, and incredibly kind-hearted boy - and yet my heart aches when I think of how much my world will change in the fall when the ratio of boys-at-school to boys-at-home shifts in a way that cannot possibly feel balanced for my liking.  Watching Leo walk across the stage to accept his "diploma," I felt more grateful than ever for the one boy still snuggled close on my lap. 
Leo thrived and flourished under the guidance of the beloved Miss Barbara.  She is a wonderful, patient, funny, calm, and experienced teacher who loved my boy.  And I love her because of it. 

Mother's Day was such a lovely day!  No tears, no gnashing of teeth, no wailing, no tantrums from anyone - children or my own - which was quite a relief, given last year's disastrous day.  We celebrated with a picnic lunch at a local vineyard. The food was delish; the company, divine.  My favorite photo from that day - only Aidan stayed in place; the rest of us ran from far away places once the timer on the camera was set.
Aidan had the best school year of his life, under the incredible guidance of his gifted teacher.  Perhaps Mrs. Henning's most amazing attribute as a teacher is her ability to create a cohesive, cooperative community of learners among the diverse group of students in her class.  Her classroom was organized, inviting, friendly, and lush with opportunity for learning.  She holds high expectations of her students, yet she is compassionate and kind.  She is funny and fun, yet knows how to bring order to chaos with a single hand gesture.  She exudes love of children and a passion for teaching, and Aidan flourished in ways I could have only dreamed.  I am filled with gratitude for the gift that Mrs. Henning gave to Aidan - the gift of his second grade year.

To celebrate the beginning of summer, we presented a "Butterfly Kit" to the boys on the last day of school.  Five larvae arrived in our mailbox, complete with instructions on how to care for them as they moved from larvae to chrysalis, and as we're still waiting and observing (in a larger habitat), to Painted Lady Butterflies.  Pax absolutely loved to watch the caterpillars as they ate their way though TONS of food, growing in front of our very eyes!  One morning, we measured them against a penny held to the side of the cup.  In the morning, the larvae just barely reached beyond the edge of the penny.  By afternoon, it was fully sticking out of each end and was noticeably fatter, too!  Very exciting stuff, I tell you!
For many years, as much as I love our house, I've hated the lot it was built upon (that we chose, for the record.)  The front yard is one huge hill going up from our house; the back yard is one huge hill going down.  But in summer, the trees fill in all around, the ground becomes lush with ferns and wild growth, and with birds chirping everywhere, it feels almost like we are in a treehouse sanctuary of sorts.  Recently, I was struck with sudden inspiration to make our "wild" backyard much more accessible and play-worthy.  So the kids and I have set about creating a cool little "clubhouse" in our very own backyard, hauling down scrap lumber, propping up big logs to serve as borders, fashioning seats and tables, organizing an "outdoor mailbox" and deciding who gets to sit on the mossy rock - a place of honor.  Tonight, we packed a picnic dinner and headed down the hill for a lovely little meal amidst the creepy crawlies, next to the creek that feeds the lake just a few hundred feet from where we're sitting, and with the crickets chirping in the background.  This picture does not do it justice, because it was awesome, the first of many more adventures here to come. 

Ah, Summer: the best is yet to come.

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