Annabelle Ten.9

I can’t believe this is my first post about a middle schooler! In the two months since I’ve posted, she even got braces!
This kid has taken middle school by storm. I don’t know what it is about her, but she seems to have a fantastic group of friends, got almost all A+ grades in her first 6-week marking period, and says some of her work is hard but doesn’t seem stressed about it. Not exactly how we thought the middle school move (especially to a school with REALLY bright kiddos) would be but we’ll take it! The coolest part is how much she has taken control of her own life – a big shift from 5th grade. She has hyper-organized backpacks (has 1 for A days and 1 for B days) and folders, is constantly looking at grades, figuring out when she should stay for office hours, and organizing rides with friends’ parents if/when she stays late. She’s also loving the trombone (let her know if you’re in the mood for “hot cross buns”) and was VERY EXCITED to finally “earn” her own competition bow for archery (it took months of work, but her coach felt she was ready this month).
One update I missed with my lack of August post – Annabelle’s incredible work on “Winston II” (after Winston 1 collapsed)! This horse really did turn out amazing – and it even earned her a spot in an art gallery showing!  We ended up spending a ton of time on it during her “Mama camp” week, paper mache’ing for hours together (along with some fun excursions for indoor skydiving, cookie decorating and even an escape room). She is now putting the finishing touches on a sculpture she’ll be showing this weekend and hopefully even selling… we’ll see!
Annabelle is still that anxious kid deep down (her nighttime routine, while reasonable, is not without concern and she double checks exactly who is bringing and picking her up from school at exactly what time every day) but she is not shy. In fact, there’s something about her unique exterior that is truly magnetic. I think she had 3 different friends that were interested in going in with her on a Halloween costume, and is constantly being invited with freinds’ families to dinners, sporting events, etc. She’s also been sweeter and more welcoming to Clementine lately, which is ALWAYS a good thing. I know the whole middle school attitude will come soon, but we’ll take this version of Annabelle for as long as it’ll last!

Clementine Seven.9

It seems I’ve skipped a month again. Have I mentioned that work and life and the start of school and everything else have been busy? Hooo-weee. But I can’t let too much time slip away between updates, as these girls are forever changing and growing and becoming even more amazing (in my completely unbiased opinion).

Let’s first take a look at this girl, who I recently realized is my puzzle soulmate (lucky since Marc and Annabelle aren’t interested!):

Clem has had a pretty good start to the school year. She has continued her “worry phase,” but we read a book about how to work with it and now she sticks all of her worries “in a box” during the day and opens it up before bed, giving me the rundown on anything that has made her feel anxious, guilty, uncomfortable, embarrassed… It feels a whole lot like what I imagine confession to be, but it seems to be keeping her from dwelling too much on things during the day. Some of Clem’s worries have had to do with school – she was concerned that even though she’s trying to be really good, sometimes she can’t help but talk to a friend, wiggle in line, blurt out an answer, etc. and she was getting the feeling that her teacher was not a fan. Turns out that her teacher is pretty strict, but not at all concerned with Clementine. There’s a lot of “Can someone other than Clementine tell me the answer” though, which brings me to…
We’re considering moving Clem up to 3rd the way we did when Annabelle was in 2nd. There are a few differences that we are looking into, both internal and external, so the process could take some time, but we (and most importantly, Clem) feel it’s worth pushing for. Clementine is not quite as mature as her sister was at this age (she’s very wise and aware beyond her peers but still acts like a 2nd grader). Also, the school has a brand new principal and assistant principal who are pretty focused on following exact protocol and policies, including Clem taking a pretty significant placement test (involving an official proctor, etc.), instead of just “trying out 3rd grade” as the principal had Annabelle do. But Clem is up for that because she wants to be more challenged. So we’ll keep you posted on that front!
Other than that, Clem is her usual crazy, lovable self. She’s decided to be a “unicorn slug” for Halloween (an animal she invented this summer and has been drawing, sculpting, painting, etc. ever since – because even slugs should have the opportunity to be magical!). She is growing out her hair and working extra hard in gymnastics and reading reading reading up a storm. And loving on everyone and everything as usual.