First Day of High School

Moose started his freshmen year of high school this morning! It’s not the way we had planned, as his campus moved to distance-learning for at least the first few weeks of the school year (only after we had already made the decision for him to learn from home for at least the first semester, though), but he’s still officially a high school student!

Eighth Grade Graduation

Tonight is Moose’s junior high graduation. Since I couldn’t get a cap and gown picture (the school never even made it to the point where they would order them before things shut down), this one outside of his school will have to do!

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K to 8

Today is Moose’s last day of junior high (his virtual graduation is yet to come, on Thursday). Let’s take a look back at every first day of school from kindergarten through 8th grade!

And his last days of school in kindergarten and 8th, kind of. The kindergarten graduation picture was easy, but his “last day” of 8th grade took a little more thought. I didn’t get a picture of his actual last day of classes at the physical school, because at the time, who could have known that would be the last day? So I decided on the day about two weeks ago when we dropped off a few things, and picked up his 8th grade stuff, including a nice sign they had made for our yard.

Up next…high school!

The Last Time

It’s official.

The state of Illinois has ordered schools to remain closed through the end of the school year.

It’s a decision I knew was coming, and one I agree with, but it’s still hard. My heart hurts for Moose, who won’t get to finish his eighth grade year at his junior high, who won’t get to have his final band concert, or walk at his 8th grade graduation. My heart hurts for the teachers, who don’t get to see their students every day, too. And for all of the school district employees who have unexpectedly found themselves without work.

But my heart breaks, most of all, selfishly, for what I’m losing. Our afternoon walks to and from Moose’s school.

Almost since he started early childhood education at the neighboring elementary school at the age of three, we’ve made a habit of walking to pick him up when the weather was nice. Not during the very early days in preschool, I guess, because our subdivision was so new then that it didn’t yet have a stop light. But once they installed a crossing, we would walk in the fall and the spring. Initially, those treks would involve a stroller, as first Ladybug, and then Chickadee, was too small to make the two-mile round-trip on foot. Eventually, though, we ditched the stroller, and all enjoyed walking together.

There were occasional days when interest was low. The rare cold winter morning when, because Ryan needed the car for something, we would have to walk, regardless of the temperature or precipitation. Or a hot spring afternoon, where walking again was a necessity, but not necessarily enjoyable. For the most part, though, we chose our walks when the weather was pleasant, and it was something I looked forward to as the temperature cooled off every fall, and as it warmed up in the spring. We would notice changing leaves, blossoms and flowers, and animals along the way. And we would talk…about everything. Sometimes, the children would recite memory work for catechesis or poems they memorized for school. Or we would talk about current events, or plans for upcoming holidays, or just whatever we were interested in at the time. The topics have changed over the years, but the enthusiasm for discussion remained the same.

I knew this would be the last year, after so many years throughout early childhood, elementary school, and junior high, that these walks would be an option…the high school is not even close to within walking distance. And I intended to make the most of our time. Which I think I did…to a point. To the best of my somewhat limited ability, anyway. We walked many afternoons in the fall, making up for the days in 2018 when I couldn’t do so because of my broken ankle. And I had plans to continue to do so this spring. We did walk a few times in 2020, on the rare nice winter day. But if I had known that March 11 would be the very last time we would make that trip on foot together…I don’t even know. I don’t think I could have enjoyed it more. Maybe I would have attempted to slow the moment down. Maybe I would have tried to make the walk last a little longer. But if I had known then that would be the last time, I hope I would have done something to savor that last opportunity just a little bit more, especially knowing what I know now about what was coming…

Chickadee Thursday

I’ve really relaxed my rules on screen time lately, which I’m sure makes me a horrible mother in the eyes of some, but it makes me happy to see my children enjoying playing games like Minecraft or Animal Crossing: New Horizons together, and let’s face it, there’s not a whole heck of a lot else going on right now!

The Teenage Trio

Moose has been wanting me to take a picture of our family’s “teenage trio” (as he’s been calling himself, Turkey, and Bunny) since…well, since he became a teenager on his birthday a year ago! I finally got around to it today, and it’s a good thing, too, because in less than six months, we’re going to be upgrading to a teenage quartet!

14!

Today is Moose’s 14th birthday! We started the day with gifts (of course!):

He spent most of his day assembling Lego sets and playing the new video game his siblings gave him…it’s the perfect birthday for Moose! He was especially excited to build in front of the Christmas tree, which I made sure was up in time for his birthday…that was really important to him, and it makes the rest of us happy, too!

He wanted a chocolate cake decorated with Star Wars light sabers. I’m not terribly happy with how it turned out, but he liked it, and I guess that’s all that really matters:

This birthday was extra special, because for the first (and only) time, he has a five-day weekend because of the way teacher conferences and Veterans’ Day landed on the school schedule. I’m really enjoying spending his long weekend with him!

A Glimpse of High School

Last Friday, we did the Friday Night Lights thing at the local high school, which, if you know us, might seem out-of-character for our family.

We were there for a specific reason, though…Moose had the opportunity to play with the high school marching band before the game!

I’m really excited that he got to see what it’s like to play with a group that big, and he seemed to enjoy the experience!

I guess if he ends up playing in the marching band next year, football might become a more regular part of my life…I’ll probably survive!