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End of Summer

End of Summer

If school has started, then that also means that summer break has ended.  (Aren’t you glad I pointed that out?!!)  Since I was busy enjoying summer, I didn’t get all of our fun summer pictures posted, so I’ll use these next few posts to get you caught up.  Besides, if I took pictures of what is going on right now you’d just see me working for hours on the computer in between teaching music lessons, cleaning up messes, and making meals.  Not so exciting.

Anyway, here’s how we celebrated the last night of summer break–dinner out on the patio finished off with S’mores cooked over the grill.  Not nearly as good as a campfire, but it worked in a pinch.

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Don’t they look tasty?

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Goodbye, slow-paced mornings, late nights and too-much-screen-time afternoons.  Hello, uniforms and learning and friends at recess.  Thanks, God, for rhythms and seasons both in the year and in life.

Baylor Music Opens Again

Baylor Music Opens Again

A new school year means a new studio year too!  I welcomed my piano and violin students back this week, happy for lots of familiar faces as well as a few new ones.

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Shameless plug–if you haven’t liked “Baylor Music Studio” on Facebook, do it!  You will see reminders about my studio schedule, but also the occasional fun post of a cool YouTube video, recital pics or music-related trivia.

School Days

School Days

In case you have begun to wonder, yes, my kids are back in school.  I am realizing that some of you may be doubting that fact, since I haven’t posted proof in the form of first-day-photos on Facebook or this blog or anywhere else.  But, even without making it public to the world, it happened anyway.

And yes, I did take a picture (OK, really it was the second day, not the first, but that’s close enough I think!)

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Both kids have adjusted pretty well to the change of schedule (let’s be honest, to the arrival of a schedule after our laid-back summer habits.)  They have good teachers, friends in their classes, and all sorts of good new school supplies (I just love shopping in the pens and paper aisles!!)

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How did I end up with a 1st grader and a 4th grader already?  Who knows what the year ahead will hold, but I am writing this post thankful for the provision of a good school environment where my kids can be challenged to grow not just in academics, but in relating to the world around them.

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Katya Graduates

Katya Graduates

While Than may be right in thinking it is a little funny to “graduate” from kindergarten when there are so many more years of school yet to go, it is hard to argue that this is a precious sight:

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My mom and Than’s mom were able to join us at the graduation ceremony and I was amazed, just like with Nathan (see his graduation pics here), at all the things these kids have learned in their first year.  Memorized answers, rhymes, jingles, songs–so many ways to keep basic knowledge in their heads.

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After the ceremony the kids and parents celebrated with a party at a nearby park.  Not to be left out, Nathan finished off his 3rd grade year with a party of his own.  He has really liked his teacher this year and will miss her a lot when he moves into 4th grade! Here is their picture, although I forgot to ask her permission to post it so I’ve blurred out her face to be respectful of privacy!  Take my word for it, she is beautiful with a firm but gentle manner, affection for her job and students, and a very pleasant teaching voice and attitude.

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After the official end of school we celebrated with lunch out and then a trip to the Botanic Gardens.  Hooray for the beginning of summer!

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Picking Up Where I Left Off…

Picking Up Where I Left Off…

I’m hoping your May was a crowded as mine was.  That way you haven’t had time to notice that I haven’t posted anything for almost a month!  The longer I wait, the harder it is to figure out how to start back up again, so I guess I’m just going to have to plunge in and go for it.  I wouldn’t want you to miss out on all the adventures we might end up having this summer!

So let’s see, what might you want to know about life in the Baylor house lately?

Let’s start with the final weeks of school…

One of the many benefits of having school uniforms is that the privilege of not wearing a uniform is a big deal!  The last week before the end of school is “Spirit Week” with a different dress-up theme each day.  Here are the kids dressed as their favorite book characters:

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(Nathan is a cat named Aldwin from a book called The Familiars, and Katya is Fancy Nancy).  While it is fun for the kids to dress up, by Friday I think we were all ready to go back to the simpler morning routine that comes with knowing what to wear without too much fuss!

Spirit Weeks ends with Field Day.  This is the first year our school has had a field, so it was nice to have Field Day right on our own playground!  I spent the morning bouncing between the third graders and the kindergartners, watching all sorts of fun events led by teams of 8th graders.

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There was also an end-of-the year book fair, buy-one-get-one-free, so how could this book-loving mom resist that offer?  I was rewarded by this sight when we got home from school that day:

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Nathan, giving science lessons to Katya’s doll, Emma, in a delightful sibling moment on the back porch swing.  I am loving the ongoing blossoming of the relationship between my two kids.

Tune in next time for a look at kindergarten graduation!

Writers

Writers

Nathan brought this poem home one day from school…

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My camera can take

Pictures by the lake

It could also take

A picture of a bush

Or even a bowl of mush

Maybe even a cupcake

Meanwhile, Katya is also learning to write.  I has been fascinating to watch the differences in how my two kids have approached literacy.  Nathan was a reader first, and a writer much later.  Katya seems to be working on both at once, sometimes even using the work of writing to support her understanding of how to read.  Here are a few things she has written lately…

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I’m so sorry for fighting with my brother.  Love, Katya Baylor.

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If I had $100 I would get a pet puppy.

I am thankful for different ways to see inside my kids’ thoughts.

Catching Up-Christmas Performances

Catching Up-Christmas Performances

Trying to avoid being a star-struck mommy who posts full-length videos of every performance my kids ever do, but there were some nice stage moments over the Christmas season.

Katya’s kindergarten class puts on a cute little holiday show–incidentally, the first performance on our new school’s stage!

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Nathan participated in the annual Baylor Music Studio play-in, performing Silent Night and participating enthusiastically in all the silly game-events that go with that evening:)

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The kids’ gingerbread house provided a nice centerpiece for our play-in refreshment table.

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Not quite a public performance, but Katya created this block “picture” on the floor and begged me to send the picture to her grandmas, so I will put it here in fulfillment of that request.

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Finally, my favorite performance by far, the annual children’s Christmas Pageant at church.

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Nathan played his Silent Night again as part of the prelude, and one of my violin students also performed her piece.

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Katya worked and worked to proudly say her line loud and clear: “And Mary knew these things were precious and pondered them in her heart.”

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Nathan said, “And Mary went up to the hill country to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was also with child.  And when Elizabeth saw her, the baby inside Elizabeth leaped for joy.  And in a loud voice, Elizabeth said…”  He also sang a verse of “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night.”

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Than, of course, did his usual stellar job of being behind the scenes, directing lights and tech crew and all kinds of moving parts.  The story is always worth watching, familiar as it is, and we were honored to have so many great-grandparents able to attend, as well as grandparents and aunts.  Thanks, supportive family!

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All About Katya

All About Katya

As student of the week, Katya got to make this poster to hang up in her classroom.  Want to know a little more about Katya?

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The poster says:

I am 5 years old.  My favorite color is pink.  My favorite animal is a dog.  My favorite food is pizza.  Here is what I look like.  Here is my family.  Houston is my favorite place.  When I grow up, I want to be a princess.  My favorite thing to do is color and read.  If I had one wish, I would wish for a puppy.

There you have it–All About Katya!

Field Trip

Field Trip

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Than was able to join Katya on her very first field trip.  She’s been to the zoo before, but never on a bus with all of her friends!  She’s no longer in the baby “first step–first word–first bath–first solid food” phase but there are still plenty of “first times” left for her.

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(And no, I didn’t blur the photos to make her look like the star of the day, I just was trying to keep other kids from showing up without their parents’ permission!)

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A Peek Into the Past

A Peek Into the Past

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School project time!  Crafts and homework came together when Nathan had to create a diorama to illustrate the Anasazi Cliff Dwellers.  With a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a lot of discussion, here is what he came up with…

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The instructions were very clear that he was to do the work himself (oh, so hard, for mom to keep her fingers off!), so even Katya wasn’t allowed to put anything in the box for him.  Not to be left out, she grabbed an extra shoe box and made her own diorama!

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I’m sure there will be many more of these in our future!