Monday, July 4, 2016

Junior Achealogist

On Saturday Avery and her friend, Ava, participated in a Junior Archaeologist dig at Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve. They were able to dig within the walls of the Fort with archaeologists from Washington State University and the National Parks Service. For these two dirt-loving little diggers, they were were complete heaven for two hours. The archaeologists dug holes and buried "treasures" between layers of dirt. The first items discovered were things like number 2 pencils and Legos. The second layer of items they found were older objects like mugs and coins from the 50's, 60's and 70's. The bottom layer included actual artifacts from the Fort that were found in past digs. The kids had to dig up these items, clean them, and then write down their findings while determining the age of the items and whether they belonged to the Fort. It was actually very neat. At the end they had to choose a favorite item and present it to the group, then they all received pins and awards certifying them at Junior Archaeologists.

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The Fort does Kids Dig! events every July, and they are free for children 8 and older (adults pay the $5 park entrance fee). You have to reserve your space ahead of time and it's totally worth it. Such a great experience!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The End of Softball

Tuesday marked the end of softball. Avery really enjoyed it, but I wouldn't exactly say it was her sport. It's not that she wasn't good...in fact I think she could be really good if she had the drive. You could just tell that while she did like it, it wasn't anything she wouldn't give up for something else (like volleyball, or gymnastics, despite the fact that she'll most likely be around 6 feet tall). Anyway, it was definitely fun to watch her play, and of course she loved getting to play with her best friend, Ava. Here are a couple pictures from her last game.

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On Thursday Avery had her end of the year softball party. I came down with some sort of devil stomach virus that put me out of commission for three days, but Erik covered the party and Ava's mom, Karie, covered the picture taking. She sent me this adorable collage including Avery with her trophy and "Outstanding Arm" award. Way to go girls, and way to go TIGERS!

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Last Day of 2nd Grade

Second grade officially ended today and Avery came home with a handful of awards, a big grin, and completely ready to start her summer vacation. We are so incredibly proud of our sweet girl and all of her accomplishments this year. She woke up everyday determined to work hard and be at the top of her class. She received the Perfect Attendance Award, a Year Long Self Manager Award, her class All Around All-Star Award, and was honored at the assembly for her school-wide spelling bee performance. What a way to end 2nd grade! Here she is on her first and last days of school...I sent a baby into 2nd grade and I'm heading into summer with a much older 3rd grader!

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Here she is getting her perfect attendance award from her principal...

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...and her Perfect Attendance Award speech...


Here she is getting called up for her Year Long Self Manager Award...

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...and being honored for the spelling bee.

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Did I mention how proud we are of this girl? Because we are UNBELIEVABLY PROUD, and we are so honored to be her parents.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Spelling Bee

One day as I walked across the playground at school, one of Avery's classmates ran up to me and excitedly started telling me about their class spelling bee. "We all stood in a line, and I came in second!" She said. "And can you guess who won? AVERY!" The first thing that struck me was how happy this little girl was that Avery had beat her, something that would have been hard for my ultra-competitive spelling bee winner to do if someone had beat her. The second thing that struck me was that Avery was going to have to compete in the school-wide spelling bee with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. I walked across the playground, looking for Avery, and found her warming up to do cartwheels with her friends. She nonchalantly told me she had won the spelling bee, shrugged her shoulders about the going up against the older kids, and let me tell her how proud I was before she went back to recess. 

As the big spelling bee approached, it turned out to be the same day as a class performance in music that all the parents were invited to attend. So, either Avery wasn't nervous about the spelling bee, or she was too busy to be nervous. She sang her little heart out as a chrysanthemum (which I thought was totally ironic as chrysanthemum is the word that helps Anne beat Gilbert in the spelling bee in Anne of Green Gables), then she took off her flower crown and headed to the spelling bee.

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And Avery was phenomenal. She was incredible. She lasted SIX rounds, and eventually misspelled ATMOSPHERE from the 8th grade word list! And the best part was the school live streamed the event so our family and friends could watch it from work or home, and they all sent the cutest texts cheering her on while it was happening. She seemed relieved when it was over, and when I walked her back to her classroom her whole class erupted in cheers. She's 7. And she's amazing.

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Can you believe how nervous they all looked in that first picture? And here is the video of the spelling bee...man, it was intense! And, I mean, Avery is barely 8 years old. And she was AMAZING.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

And Then She Turned 8

Dear Avery,

Today you are 8. And what a crazy, exciting time in your life! Tomorrow you will compete in the school spelling bee; you have been accepted into the Highly Capable Program through the school district; you are in the middle of your first softball season, and man, you are pretty darn good for your first time on the field. You have a softball tournament and your 8th birthday party this weekend, the end of school is a week away, and you might just get that perfect attendance award you've always wanted. You are incredible, do you know that?

You've grown so tall, and look so much older all of a sudden. You are intelligent, competitive, hard-working and driven. When you set your mind to something, you will do it, and you work to be the best. You take pride in never missing a spelling word, scoring the highest on math tests, winning the class spelling bee, and working hard on special projects. These were never things we asked of you...you just set high standards for yourself and work hard to achieve your goals. I don't think we really understood how your mind worked, or just how smart you were until this past year. The clarity of your gifts and abilities has given us a new appreciation for what you can achieve. I want you to know that Dad and I don't take lightly the responsibility of raising a gifted child like you...and even if we make the wrong decisions, they were made after long discussions and out of a complete and unconditional love for you.

You were a gift from the day you were born...from the first moments after I found out I was pregnant. Dad and I wanted you more than you will ever know...a little girl with Dad's eyes and my smile. We got those things and so much more. We got you, beautiful, smart, tall, strong, independent, opinionated, and curious. We got the perfect, infuriating, wonderful mix of the both of us, and we couldn't be more honored to be your parents.

Happy birthday to our sweet girl...here's to watching you grow. I hope you feel wholly loved today and always.

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

PTA

I'm in the PTA. Like, I don't just attend the occasional meeting and help out where I can...I'm on the board of the PTA. I'm the PTA Secretary at our school, finishing up my second term, and I'm the newly elected Vice President. My younger self would be appalled, but I actually really enjoy it. It has it's ups and downs, and can be crazy hectic at time, but I have made the best friends through the PTA. So, when I was given the Outstanding Website award from the Washington State PTA, I was able to go the State Convention with some really awesome women...our newsletter chair, Brianna (who also won an award for her newsletter), and my partners-in-crime, co-treasurers Karie and Teddy. Considering we had to wake up at 3 am (the day after the PTA Carnival) and drive 4 hours to Yakima (Yakima?! YAKIMA?!) it was a pretty great weekend! We didn't know what awards we were getting until the awards ceremony that night, but we ended up taking home the silver level Award of Excellence for the newsletter, and the gold level Award of Excellence for the website! So much fun!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Let's Go Tigers! (In Which Avery Plays Softball)

I grew up playing softball. I played on a tournament team until middle school, when I decided that soccer was more up my alley. It wasn't, but my friends were playing soccer and softball was at a traumatically competitive level (in 5th grade we finished 3rd in Washington State, and won every other tournament we played in). I left the life of softball behind and had a great time playing mediocre soccer. Plus I was a good track athlete and a decent basketball player, so I had those to carry me into high school.

Avery was never interested in softball, until this year. She desperately wanted to play, and I tried everything to talk her out of it. "Are you SURE?" I asked about four hundred times before filling out the paperwork and paying the fees. I knew what softball was like and didn't necessarily like the idea of throwing Avery into the lion's den of parent coaches and intense, high pressure tournaments. But she desperately wanted to play, and she is...on the same fields where I use to play. She's pretty happy with it. It's still intense, although the real intensity starts in the U10 league. Avery can move up with her team next year, or continue to play down in U8 since she's still 7. Who knows what she'll decide by them. (Mostly she just wants to be a gymnast. She'd probably be the best 6-foot-tall gymnast ever by the time she got to high school.)

Anyway, here she is walking to her first game, which was immediately rained out. And a couple snaps from a game where she hit the ball straight to center field.

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Here is her very first hit:



And her very first (RBI!) double:


And an Instagram snap from her very first practice. I love watching this kid play ball.

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