Ten.5

Do you know what this is?

It’s a middle schooler. GULP. Well, technically it’s a girl on her very last day of elementary school. While it’s hard to believe her time at Travis Heights Elementary is over, we are 100% sure she is ready. She ruled that school this year, and the graduation awards ceremony was almost comical with how many times she was called on stage and recognized (she swears it was only 10) – for academics, art, music, PE, tech crew, photojournalism, student council… or and did we mention that (after a steep competition and a school-wide vote) she and her friend Adeline won the t-shirt contest, and their design will be the official 2018-2019 shirt?

In other words, Annabelle is ready for anything… or more appropriately, everything. Lately she’s decided to become a contortionist. Along with an olympic archer, fashion designer, architect, inventor and entrepreneur (I’m sure I’m missing some). She’s also constantly baking, reading, dog training, drawing…. basically, always doing SOMETHING, and leaving a mess in her wake. She is messy, occasionally aloof, and still not always aware of those around her (in this way she is the opposite of her little sis), but this doesn’t seem to deter her giant group of super-close girl friends, whom she loves to pieces.

These girls are amazing – 8 of them, and I’ve never once heard of fights between them or rifts among them. Only one of them (her buddy Roisin) will be joining her at Kealing Middle School next year, but they’ve all made a pact to stay close with monthly get-togethers. Luckily they almost all live within walking distance of our house, and a bunch of them will join Annabelle in some of her camps this summer.

It really feels like there’s nothing this girl can’t do if she sets her mind to it… which means we can’t wait to see what she ends up setting her mind to in the coming years as she goes from tween to teen and young adult. It feels so far away right now but if her elementary school experience is telling, it’s going to fly by in a flash! Ready… aim…. here we go!

Seven.5

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s … Clementine!
(yes that’s her – fearlessly leaping through the air in a challenge that had her sister trembling in her boots)
I apologize for skipping an update, but these past couple months have flown by! As of 3PM yesterday, Clementine is officially a rising second grader, having finished her 1st grade year with awards in math (she’s now well into 4th grade math) and writing (you should have seen her report on water buffalo… in Spanish!) and a gaggle of friends (Hudson, Micah & Stella below are probably her favorites):

Clementine has grown academically this year, but she still continues to blow us away even more in her emotional intelligence and awareness. The other day when she experienced something scary, she asked to draw what happened so she could better deal with her emotions. And when she watched her best bud Charlie almost get hurt, she told me she felt the “grandmother feeling” – when grandmothers say to kids, “I just don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.” She surprises us with her wisdom almost daily, but she has a good explanation for it. She recently told us, “I think the reason I know more than so many kids my age is because when people die, they are born again. And I’ve probably been born 5 or 6 times, but most of my friends are only on their first or second time.” I’m not a firm believer in reincarnation, but if anyone has been there… it’s this girl. I’ll never forget when she came out of me and instead of crying, just looked around. The nurse exclaimed, “it’s like she’s done this before.” She may be a few years behind her sister, but she is an old soul, to say the least.

Clementine is following in her sister’s footsteps in so many ways. She has been reading voraciously (hours every night to the detriment of her sleep – we had to employ some of Annabelle’s old “relaxation techniques” after she told us that she thinks she “just wasn’t meant to sleep”) and mispronouncing her new vocabulary adorably in conversation the way Annabelle used to. Yesterday she told me about someone who was ho-style (how she reads hostile), for example. She is also getting frustrated with her peers and getting along better with kids a little older than she is (we are wondering if grade skipping is in her future – we’ll keep an eye out in 2nd since that’s when we skipped A).

There’s one big way she is different from Annabelle though – her comfort with performing!

While Clementine really likes all music (she has always loved classical and now has a newfound LOVE of show tunes, with the Sound of Music being the latest obsession), she recently realized that pop songs are where it’s at when it comes to piano. Out of nowhere, she signed up to sing “Havana” at the elementary school talent show, rocked it, and is now working on “On Top of the World,” understanding that with a few chords and a strong voice, you can belt out a pop song… far more fun than those boring tunes in her “Piano for Beginners” book!

We’re not sure if we’ll be able to continue to fit in piano lessons over the summer, but we’re working on it. Clementine will be busy going to horse camp (first time she’s old enough!), nature camp, art camp, maker camp, waterpark camp… and the one I’m looking forward to the most, “Mama Camp.” Which means in a couple weeks (while Annabelle is at art camp) we’ll be spending our days together (I’ll catch up on work in the evenings), taking on dozens of activities, projects and visits she has requested (or I’ve wanted to show her) for months. I can’t wait, and she is CLEARLY ready.

Go Clem Go!