last day of kindergarten

All four of us got to be at school today for Gavin’s last day of Kindergarten.  Lilah was so excited to go that she had to wear her backpack!  Gavin gave her a big hug and told her, “I’m so glad you’re coming to school with me.”  I was a bit sad that our time in that classroom is over, but I know it will be just as much fun next year.

 

There was a brunch for all the kids and parents and the kids put on plays they’ve been working on.  Lilah ate a lot of strawberries and Gavin drank a lot of orange juice.  Gavin was in the Little Red Hen.  He was Chick 1 with a handwritten sign on his chest and a little orange paper beak.  

I think the group bow was my favorite part!

When the kids all mentioned their favorite part of the school year, Gavin said the Halloween party was his favorite.   There were personalized awards for all the kids so Gavin’s says Fastest Race Car.  They have had spotlight words to learn sight words and each kid comes up with a sentence using that word.  Most of Gavin’s sentences involved race cars, fast ones.

 

It has been such a wonderful year and we are so grateful to have so many more years in a community that has a place for Gavin and for us!  Here is a story that Gavin told a month or so ago and then illustrated in class.

Ninja Go

One day the ninjas were about to fight because there’s a Bone Guy and Sane are Ninja Go.  Then they have spears.  They are getting closer and closer.  They have a little fight.

And I pick up a fire pit.  It comes from fire.  Sane built a fire pit.  He fights the bone guy with his fire pit.  Sane wins!   Then the bone guy gets bigger and bigger and fatter because the water makes him fat.  And Sane’s legs change, they stick together because the water makes his legs stick together.

Sane gets bigger because the waves in the water get him bigger and the Bone Guy turns into a square with arms and legs.  Sane gets bigger and bigger and bone guy doesn’t have legs and arms and head.  There’s much more water in Bone Guy.  That’s why he’s changing and doesn’t have arms and legs and a head.

The End

 

The stories the kids came up with in class were so fantastic that we have been asking both kids to tell more stories at home.  Especially since it was Gavin’s favorite part of the Art they did at school this year.  So, here are some new ones:

 

Bill Highway

One time Sane, Kai and two Jays went to Sane Kai Highway.  And then a bad guy whose name is Karma Pill spoke and spoke and spoke until he’s all dizzy.  And then he disappeared.

The End

 

Man On Car

Once upon a time there was a ninja with a man on a car.  And then the ninja pushed the man off the car.  Then the person hit his head his head was warm and disappeared.  The carnival for ninjas about to begin.  And then the ninjas were about to come in.  And then it is time to play in the carnival because it’s nine o clock.  And then they were running on cool rollercoasters to Gurj.  And then the ninjas say “Hi, Gurj.”  And then Gurj say, “Hi, ninjas.”  And then Gurj disappeared.

The End

 

And, one from Lilah:

 

The ninja girl has some special flyer feet.  And then she flew and flew and flew and flew and flew and flew.  And also fights the bad guy and then flew away.

 

And here is a little insight into what Gavin and Lilah will be doing all summer. This creation took several hours and was spectacular. Gavin told me that they were having a birthday party for EVERYONE with a large yellow brick cake.

bugs

We got a new bug “house” a few days ago.  It’s a clear plastic box with a lid shaped like a roof that lets air in.  It has a handle for easy transport of newly made insect friends.  Both Gavin and Lilah were very excited and immediately wanted to catch something in the new bug house, so we went honey bee hunting.  The kids enthusiastically watched, while I maneuvered a bee into the box.  It’s something I spent many hours doing as a kid, so I’m pretty confident and we had a bee in the box in a minute or so.  Gavin was thrilled to hear the buzzing from inside and Lilah was excited enough to pick up the box herself to get a good look.  I wasn’t at all surprised by Gavin’s enthusiasm.  He’s been interested in insects since he was big enough to notice them.  Lilah, on the other hand, developed a bug phobia last spring and still hasn’t gotten entirely past it.

 

We were up in City Creek Canyon last spring on a breezy warm afternoon and there were lots and lots of bugs around, as usual.  Butterflies everywhere, caterpillars, boxelder bugs, wasps, flies and mosquitoes.  She got stung by something.  I’m still not sure what.  She didn’t get a welt or anything, but all of a sudden she was screaming and didn’t stop for twenty minutes.  After that, she was terrified anytime we came across any kind of flying insects with the exception of butterflies.  I tried really hard to help her feel less scared.  I really wanted to be able to hike and camp and also wanted her to understand that most bugs don’t set out to hurt people.  We talked about it.  We read books.  We asked Gavin about bugs.  Nothing worked.  She was somewhere between screaming in terror and whining uncomfortably anytime we went outside and encountered flying insects from that day until the present.

 

So, I am very excited about the bug house too.  I hope Lilah will be able to get more comfortable with being up close to insects and maybe be a little less scared next time there’s a fly near our picnic.  Now, off to catch another specimen to watch.

Five plus three

 

Gavin and Lilah at home

 

Gavin is weeks away from the end of Kindergarten!  He has made incredible progress this year, keeping up with his class and gaining his voice.  He is reading!  Before this year I wondered how far away reading was for him, and one day in winter I realized he was already there.    The letters play tricks on him, shifting around and tripping him up, and if the words are more than about five letters long, he’s lost the first letters by the time he sounds out the end of the word and ends up with jabberwocky but he tries and tries harder and it’s getting ever so slightly easier each day.  I am so proud of him and so excited about how much reading will open up his world!  He just aches to know everything about everything.  And now he can ask!  It wasn’t so long ago (a year and a half) that all he could do was point and say “What?”  Now he can ask me why Mars is far away and why Earth is a good place to live and why it’s bedtime and what is making that noise.   I do my best at answering.  I used to have to just guess and guess and guess again what direction his mind was going, fumbling to figure out what he wanted to know and how I could answer in a way he might be able to grasp.  We are both so grateful for the tearing down of the language barrier.

 

He never stops asking questions and trying to figure out the mysteries of the universe and the mysteries of scheduling.  He still has so many struggles ahead of him, but mostly these days I am able to believe that he will be just fine and will tackle whatever life throws his way.  Every single time I hear a new word from him, I celebrate.  It’s a big, big gain.  Every single word.  This morning:  vampire.  Yesterday:  annoyed!  Remembering how hard words and concepts that don’t have a visual representation were just a year ago, this is astounding!  And, he’s got a way with numbers.  It makes me smile to see how naturally the language of math comes to him… no tricks, no alternative rule sets.   If we ask him what five plus three is, he might count it out, or he might just answer, no hesitation.

 

He’s making friends.  I absolutely love watching him play with his friends, making up games to explore faraway galaxies with Mario and Luigi, having loud altercations between Green Lantern  and Iron Man, hours of silence while building Lego starwars ships.  He and Lilah spend most of their afternoons together, alternating between giggles and screaming.  I am so glad they have each others company.

 

Lilah isn’t sure whether she wants to be a princess or a superhero.  I hope she goes for superhero.  I don’t want her to choose royalty as a career path, but I do want her to make her own decisions.  I want her to know how to get dirty, and not always have her way, and be strong.  She’s learning a lot of that from her best friend, her big brother.   She’s ready and waiting for preschool to start next fall.  She can’t wait to have her own class just like Gavin.  She told me the other day that she will be the teacher!  She’s at that age where she has terrible tantrums, falling to the floor dramatically when she can’t have graham crackers for dinner.    She loves animals, stuffed animals, all of Gavin’s friends, and spinning around in circles.  Both of them still love that, actually.

 

She pulled out our I Like It When… book the other night and I was reminded of when that was Gavin’s favorite.  We read that book every single night at least twice for months if not years.  Now he requests the Magic Treehouse series, the Commander Toad in Space books and any book about Iron Man, Green Lantern or Ninjas he can get his hands on.  We all still love anything by Mo Willems or Mem Fox though.

little bits

Gavin starts school next week!!  He is so excited!  We got to meet his very nice teacher and see his classroom and we got to take a trip to find him a backpack.  Wow!  I know he is going to love it!  He’s got quite a good start on ABC’s and 123’s already but he didn’t want to show off for his teacher when we met her.

Lilah is talking a lot!  And she loves to sing too.  She makes a pretty good attempt at Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Happy Birthday to You.   She says “Hi, Ga..in” every time she gets up from a nap.  And thanks to Gavin, she also loves flying airplanes with sound effects (whoooosh!) and building anything with legos.

Gavin’s favorite thing at bedtime is reading Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever which coming from him sounds like “Best Work Book Eber”.

in California

There was Gavin’s birthday, there was lots of fun with family, there was the kids’ first camping overnight (aside from sleeping in Gma and Gpa McC’s backyard once), there was fun at the beach, a trip to the Exploratorium.  Most of it is undocumented, except in our memories, but we did capture a few moments from our trip.

Here Gavin and Mama are looking at a new book at Gavin’s birthday party.  Gavin was very excited about seeing Button dog, blowing out candles and helping Daddy put together some really fun toys!  He had such a fun time seeing his Grandma and Grandpa Reynolds!

Lilah is celebrating her brother’s birthday.  She enjoyed watching her brother and eating lots of whole strawberries!

Here is a picture of elephant seals we had good close looks at near San Simeon.  They were absolutely huge, made noise of the loudest, strangest kind and very fascinating.

We spent more time at the beach this year, enough for Gavin to fall in love with playing in the water, Lilah to knock over many many sand towers, Chris and I to take a swim… and we all loved it.

Gavin and his Daddy spent quite a bit of time throwing, kicking and chasing the ball into the water and out.

They had so much fun!

Lilah spent most of her time watching and digging in the sand.

Lilah and Grandma looking at the water together.

Gavin enjoying the water with Grandpa.

Gavin is getting a warm-up hug from Grandpa.

Here comes the water! Wheeeeeee!

Gavin digging in the sand on our way back to the trail up.  He really didn’t want to leave the water.

What enthusiasm!

Tired but happy beach pals: Gavin and Grandpa.