School is out!

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“No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks.”

School is done…officially!

For the last two weeks the kids have been completing their work and finishing school one by one.

Two weeks ago, on Tuesday, Rusty and Tyler completed their last assignment. The next day Molly finished up school and Gracie turned in her last study skills assignment on Friday.

The following week Ozzie still had school, although there was little actual work done. It was mainly field trips, class parties and movies. I used Ozzie’s last week of school to get some home projects done and some spring cleaning tackled before our summer schedule began. (More on that in my next post)

Friday was Ozzie’s final day of 3rd grade. He only had school for one hour. As crazy as it was sending him to school for one hour of movie watching I did it because it was important to him to say goodbye to his teacher and friends. I used the hour he was gone to finish my plans for the day. I wanted to do something fun to celebrate a successful year. The kids all worked so hard.

It was quite a year. With the 2013/2014 school year came some new challenges:

Gracie completed her first year of high school and earned a 4.0. Go Gracie!

We all had the challenging adjustment of a new family member moving in halfway through the school year.

Adding Ozzie and his schedule of court mandated appointments required a new level of independent study for Molly and Rusty. They stepped up to the challenge in a most impressive way.

We had the new life experience of juggling public school requirements with home school commitments. That added many new challenges to our schedule.

But, we did it! We endured to the end and finished with flying colors!

On Friday at 10:15 we picked up Ozzie from school to begin our “Last day of School” celebration. I had a fun day planned and we couldn’t wait to get started.

Our first stop was Living Treasures Animal Park. Last year for Tyler’s adoption gift my parents gave us a family membership to Living Treasures. (Living Treasures is a local petting zoo.) Friday was the first opportunity we had to go.

When we arrived we purchase pellets and carrots to feed to the animals. Ozzie, who had never been there before, was especially eager to start walking around.

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The giraffes were the biggest hit of the day!

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Rusty loved the baby camel…

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…Until he was slimmed by it 🙂

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After we were done at Living Treasures we headed south for surprise #2. Our next stop was Baldingers, a penny candy store that I often took the big kids to when they were young. They have memories of being given a quarter to spend and a basket to fill and thinking they were the luckiest kids on Earth. Ozzie and Tyler had never been there before so they didn’t understand the big kids’ squeals of delight when we pulled into the parking lot until they stepped through the front door and saw the tables filled with penny candy. They each received $1.00 to spend (inflation and larger appetites have driven up the cost of this treat. )  😉

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Ozzie shopping with his $1.00

Ozzie shopping with his $1.00

After we were done candy shopping we headed to our final stop. I had a gift card I received at Christmas time for Barnes and Noble bookstore and decided to let each of the kids pick a summer reading book. I remember what a special treat it was as a kid when my parents would take us to the bookstore and allow us to pick a new book as a reward. It was equally as fun being on the other side, as a parent, watching them get excited over the prospect of a new book. Some of them knew exactly what they wanted and headed to their chosen book right away while others hemmed and hawed and wandered until I gave them the 10 minute warning. In the end everyone was pleased with their purchases and I was thrilled to have a car full of quiet, book-loving readers on the ride home.

The final purchases

The final purchases

With the change of seasons comes mixed feelings. There is such excitement over the months of freedom stretching ahead of us but also a bit of sadness as another year passes and the kids move up another grade. Nobody felt those mixed emotions more that Ozzie who cried himself to sleep that night. “I am just going to miss school so much. I am never going to be a third grader again,” he shared with tears streaming.

As much as I found the thought of a little boy crying over the start of summer break humorous, I got it. The excitement, the relief, the saying good-bye and moving on, the passing of time and the lost moments…It can be overwhelming. Sometimes the mix of emotions that come with change can be too much to contain and the feelings pour out in the form of tears.

I get it.

Change is hard but with it comes tomorrow…

And tomorrow is a wonderful thing to look forward to. 🙂

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