Saturday, June 29, 2013

Finley's Birthday Party

Today we took Finley to the American Girl Store in Boston to have lunch and get her birthday present.  When Arlington turned 7, she asked to go to the American Girl store and a doll, and Finley asked to do the same.

Finley already has a couple of American Girl dolls because she is truly a doll girl.  Her grandmother bought her the first one the year we found out Finley was losing her sight.  She treasurers those dolls, and yes I know they are ridiculously expensive, but she plays with them and loves them. 

Finley decided that she wanted to go to the Boston store - instead of NYC - because she wanted to bring some friends.  So she was able to invite two friends.  She invited her two besties - who both have the same first name. 

We had lunch at the cafe in the American Girl Store, and the girls had a great time.  They each brought a doll with them and the dolls got a chair and a tea cup to use while we were at the table.  The lunch was delicious - and not outrageous in price - and there was something on the menu for everyone.

After Lunch, the girls explored the store, and Finley picked her doll.  She wanted a doll named Saige - who is the "Girl of the Year".  She looks like Finley a bit - brown hair, blue eyes.  But what attracted  Finley to her was the doll "characters" likes: art and horses.  Two of Finley's favorites.  Finley also picked out the seeing eye dog that American Girl came out with this past spring.  Last fall I wrote a letter to American Girl saying that it would be nice to see something for blind girls.  They have wheelchairs, and hearing aides, etc. but nothing that represents a blind child.  I got a letter back thanking me for my inquiry and that they would definitely talk to their design team about it.  Thinking it was just a brush off form letter, I was surprised to see a seeing eye dog show up in their next catalog!  I guess I wasn't the only one asking, and I was glad to see that American Girl listened.

After lunch at American Girl, we left and went on a search for ice cream.  We were near a large mall, and thought for sure we would find something sweet, but the girls spotted a candy store before we got far on our search.  We gave them the choice and they chose the candy store, so off we went.  They had a great time filling a little bag each with some sweet treats, then trying to eat all of it on the car ride home.

It was a fun few hours for Finley and I am so glad she got to do it with a few of her friends.  These little girls are great with Finley and very caring and very "like her".  They have similar personalities and interest, and I hope that they stay life long friends.  Finley is going to need girls who have her back, and I know I can count on these two.

Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Last day of school 2013

Yesterday was the last day of school for our 2012-2013 school year.  For those of you who are in normal states - yes, we are still in school and it is almost July.  Yes we hate it.

We had 10 snow days to make up. Plus, New England likes their breaks, so we have a week long winter break and spring break AND the school year doesn't begin until after Labor Day.  So the school year goes on forever.  End ever.

But the end has come.  Arlington is now a rising 5th grader (here that is still elementary school), Finley a rising 2nd grader, and Cainan a rising first grader.

Arlington had an awesome report card.  She got all A's and even brought up some of her A- to As.  Very proud of her.  She also got the results of her state test exams and she was in the top 4% for the state in both reading and math.  So.....that just proves that Suzie Q can do the work when she wants to. never. 

Arlington's teacher next year was "To Be Announced" until this evening.  We found out the name of the new teacher and from what we read, she sounds amazing.  Arlington will be excited to hear about her in the morning.  We don't know her, but we are all for getting to know her!  They work in teams in the 5th grade, so she will have 3 teachers in total.  This helps get them  a little ready for middle school.  (Middle School!!!)

Finley also had a great report card.  She brought up a lot of her "Progressing" grades to "Mastery" in reading, math and writing.  She still continues to be shy and need encouragement, but she held her own this year.  Her state exams she did very well on - following right in the middle of the road.  Very pleased since this was her first state exam (goodness knows why 1st graders have to be tortured with this stuff) and we are still learning how she needs to take exams to best suit her ever changing vision.
Finley's teacher next year was who we were expecting.  I have heard from a lot of parents that she is wonderful and very academic, so maybe she will push Finley a bit.  I just hope we can find a balance of pushing Finley and not pushing her too far to where she goes back inside her shy self and we get worried.  I think if the teacher and I have good communication and we stay on top of Finley in the class about how she feels things are going, we will be fine.

Cainan also had a great report card.  He has mastered almost all of the skills that were listed on his report card and has become an excellent reader.  He is the only one of the three children that actually LIKES to read for fun.  And it shows.  Cainan's problems still lie in his ability to concentrate and not be distracted.  He seems to be able to do the work, but being distractable is going to catch up with him and then we are going to have trouble.  Was it worth him doing transitional this year instead of 1st grade?  Mat and I will give you different answers on that.  I think what Cainan gained is that he is now a year older.  I hope that will help us when trying to get him settled into routine of a busy classroom.  Mat will tell you that missing first grade actually didn't do him any good and he hasn't gotten any less distracted.  So....we will see.
Cainan didn't have to take state test, so nothing to report there!  His teacher next year we are giddy about.  She sounds fabulous.  He didn't get the same teacher Finley had, but the entire first grade team has an amazing reputation, so I am not worried at all.  It pays to be in the #1 state for public education.

So another end to another school year.  In a blink we will be getting backpacks loaded and heading back to school.  We have very few plans this summer and plan on relaxing and enjoying the yard and our friends.  We are glad that we are done with the early mornings for awhile and the kids can take a breather.

Enjoy some pictures I took of Finley and Cainan at the bus stop yesterday morning!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last catch up post

Okay - this should do it!  I think.

What is happening here:

The first graders had a "parent visit" day where we got to see what they have been up to in class and then eat lunch with our kids.  It was a lot of fun.  My dumbo camera is got one foot out the door, so the picture is bad.  This is Finley and her bestie "L":

Arlington helped me put name labels on over 200 race packets.  Was she thrilled?  No she was not.

Arlington had her chorus concert the week of Finley's race.  My parents were in, so they had a chance to go, which was great:

Finley bridged from being a crazy Daisy in Scout to being a sweet Brownie.  She was so excited:


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Back post catch up #3

We are getting there - almost caught up.

Next - I went on a field trip with Cainan's class.  We had a great time.  It was a trip into Boston - the kids have been learning about Boston for a few months, and they took us all into the Boston Common, the State House, and downtown, and we had a great day.  I was glad I got to go with him.

They follow a story called "Make Way for Ducklings" - which takes place in Boston.  It is a really cute story, and a great way for the kids to learn a little about historical sites in Boston.

Enjoy the pictures:

Cainan on the bridge in the Boston Common
 This area was blocked off because a mama swan was on a nest!
 Statue of Washington

 This plaque is at the 9/11 memorial in Boston Common.  It says: 
  "Time touches all more gently here.  Here where man has said No:  trees and grass, and flowers will remain, where the first born somestimes sees his father's father's eyes reflected in the shallow pool; feels an ancient heart beat in the palm of his hand pressed against a willow; and seeking comfort, seeking shade lies beneath the golden leaf elm watching swanboats glide in season."
 This is the Massachusetts 9/11 memorial.  We always think of New York City when we remember 9/11, but a lot of the people on the planes that crashed into the towers were from Massachusetts.  One was a neighbor of our school's principal.
 The children all brought a flower and placed it on the memorial.
 Cainan found this strange tree:

 The State House
 Freedom Trail:
 Cainan's class outside the State House
 Cainan and his buddy, "J"

 Inside the State House:

 The kids all were told to lie down and look at the ceiling (where they saw what was in the picture above)

 We ended our tour down on the dedication to "Make Way to Ducklings"

 Cainan's Saint of a teacher:
 Cainan and his buddy "L" on the Swan boat:
 Swan boats: