Tag Archives: education

Graduation Day!

Standard

IMG_2585 (2) - Copy

As I joined my classmates for our final Thursday night gathering I found it hard to believe that this stretch of road has come to a close. For the last year my Thursday nights have been spent with this group of people as we have navigated our way through three semesters of schooling. I joined Pathway for the purpose of beginning my journey toward earning my Bachelor’s degree. I knew it was a smart decision and that by choosing this path I would be able to earn a degree in an affordable way that works for my family. I had no idea that this journey would end up being so much more than that.

This past year has been life changing for me as I have experienced exponential growth in a myriad of areas. Much of that growth I attribute to my Pathway experience. It wasn’t an easy journey, especially in the midst of an especially challenging year. Trying to consistently carve out the hours necessary each week to complete the readings and assignments required for the classes I was taking could be challenging, but I was always able to get the work done and I know that it was thanks to Heavenly Father’s hand in this experience. He is the one that called me to it and He is the one who walked me through it.

The prompting to sign up with the Pathway program through Brigham Young University-Idaho began early last summer. At the time we were on a path that seemed to be leading us to add another child to our home…and a 17-year-old boy at that. Anticipating and bracing myself for the challenges that would come with that life change, I was surprised when God started whispering that after 21 years of being a full time wife and momma, it was time to go back to school and get my degree in preparation for the future plans He has for my life. On paper it made no sense to begin this now, when life was so complicated and so full, but the more I questioned the timing the more the Spirit testified of its accuracy. I took a leap of faith and signed up for my first semester of school in two decades. My hope was that my years of homeschooling helped prepare me for this next big challenge and that teaching my children helped keep those concepts fresh that I would need for my own academic success.

In September of last year I showed up at my first Pathway Connect gathering with 15 other students from the Pittsburgh area. At that first gathering we were told that while strangers now, by the end of the year we would be more like family. I had no idea how true that would be. We gathered every Thursday evening for a year, learning together, sharing our lives, teaching one another, learning from each other’s example, laughing and sometimes crying our way through the challenges of the Pathway experience. And as a result of those Thursday nights I gained a second family  whom I’ve came to love dearly.

For this reason I found myself struggling  with a wide mix of emotions on Thursday night. It was our final Pathway Gathering and graduation night, and as much as I’m looking forward to a break from daily schoolwork, studying and assignments, I will miss seeing my Pathway family every Thursday night and the special spirit that accompanied this experience.

This Thursday’s gathering deviated from “typical,” as it was our graduation night. Because of this, we were encouraged to invite our families to come out and celebrate as we crossed the finish line of Pathway. I was blessed to have Toby, Tyler, Molly, Grace, and my soon-to-be son in law, Zach join me. (Rusty and Braden had to work)

IMG_2586 (2) - Copy

The turn out by all those who came out to celebrate this special occasion was touching.

The agenda for the night began with a shortened version of our usual classes. I was the lead teacher this week for our religion class and kicked off the night with a discussion about our final project for class.

IMG_2590 (2) - Copy - Copy - Copy

Then we had a 15 minute discussion to fulfill our Pathway Gathering requirement for English class, before moving on to our graduation ceremony.

We were each presented with our Pathway Connect certificate,

IMG_2608 (2) - Copy - Copy - Copy

And had the opportunity at the end to share some thoughts about our experience with Pathway.

IMG_2597 (2) - Copy - Copy - Copy

It was with tears in our eyes and conviction in our words that my classmates and I shared our testimonies of the divinely inspired and divinely developed Pathway program through Brigham Young University-Idaho.

The night ended with treats and a celebratory party with our friends and family.

IMG_2611 (2) - Copy - Copy - CopyIMG_2616 (2) - Copy - Copy - CopyIMG_2621 (2) - Copy - Copy - Copy

It was an amazing ride with amazing people. I am forever grateful God called me to walk this road at this time. It was life-changing and testimony building. I said “yes” to this path expecting to grow, expecting to learn, expecting to work towards my degree…

But never expected that the greatest change in my life would be the conversion that would occur within.

IMG_2624 (2) - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy

This fall my educational journey will continue as I begin taking degree-specific classes online through BYU-Idaho (the same school Molly will be attending in person this fall). Onto the next phase of this exciting adventure!

Molly’s Graduation Day!!

Standard

Saturday marked the end of one journey and the start of the next one.

It was the day Miss Molly walked on stage, dressed in a cap and gown, and graduated high school.

I’m not sure how it is that we arrived at this day so quickly. It is as if I closed my eyes for a moment and my wild child had grown from a “character,” who would smuggle dead chipmunks home in her Dora the Explorer backpack and climb onto the roof in the middle of the night, into a woman of great character. There were a few years there that I didn’t think I would survive Molly’s pre-school years; certain she would be behind bars by age seven. She was my feral child, content to live in the woods, build fairy houses, and fill her pockets with frogs. There was no rule she wouldn’t break and no boundary she wouldn’t test. Her passion for life and her impulsive nature kept life interesting. Our life revolved around coming up with a security system that would keep her safely contained in her room while we tried to sleep at night. She was the child who had to be walked on a leash in public and who charmed the socks off everyone she met by her ever-absent filter and unique perspective on life.

She was our quirky little bird, with a bigger than life personality and a heart that stretched to each corner of the globe.

Over the years the impulsivity waned and her willingness to obey improved, but her sunny disposition, fierce determination, love for nature and animals, and her heart for others and God only grew. She is now ready to leave the nest. She can finally be trusted to leave my sight without walking into traffic.

Well, sort-of …

And Saturday was the big send-off.

After years of parenting, redirecting, teaching, loving, redirecting, supporting, guiding, and redirecting. Our sweet Miss Molly did it…

What a blessed day it was!

It was an action-packed day that began at 10:30 am and stretched to 3:00 pm, packed full of graduation day activities.

Unlike a local high school that might spread graduation preparation over a week’s time, 21st Century has to make it all happen in one day. Many of their families have traveled far distances to be there and are only there for the day, so all the activities that lead up to graduation day for seniors must fit into one five-hour period.

But they orchestrated what could have been pure chaos, beautifully.

We woke early Saturday morning and went down to the lobby of the hotel to meet friends for breakfast.

Then it was off to the local high school where our charter school was holding the commencement ceremony.

We arrived to find what can only be described as a “well-oiled machine.”

We were greeted and welcomed at the door by teachers and directed where to go. Molly was sent to get in line to receive her senior gift bag which contained a complimentary yearbook and a 21CCCS alumni t-shirt.

IMG_1374 (2) - CopyIMG_1454 (2) - Copy

While the seniors were off preparing for graduation, the families waited in the cafeteria where the school had catered a lunch for the families to enjoy while they waited for the graduation ceremony to begin.

IMG_1417 (2) - CopyIMG_1458 (2) - Copy

While we were eating and visiting, Molly, Tatum, Caleigh, Annaliese, Irvin and the other graduating seniors were kept busy behind the scenes.

IMG_1401

IMG_1399 (2) - Copy

First, they got fitted for their caps and gowns.

IMG_1396 (2) - CopyIMG_1382 (2) - Copy

IMG_1445IMG_1446

After hugs and a few tears,

IMG_1402 (2) - CopyIMG_1413 (2) - CopyIMG_1421 (2) - CopyIMG_1423 (2) - CopyIMG_1424 (2) - CopyIMG_1427 (2) - CopyIMG_1429 (2) - Copy

We let them move on to their next station, “graduation photos,” where they had a professional photographer taking graduation portraits of each senior in their cap and gown.

IMG_1437 (2) - Copy

Once each senior moved through the line, it was time for the graduating class to do a few practice runs before the actual ceremony began.

received_452140888914570

While we waited in the cafeteria, the other kids kept busy enjoying the delicious spread of food that was provided and playing card games that I had packed in my purse.

IMG_1420 (2) - Copy

It was soon time to head to the auditorium for the commencement exercises. Rusty was asked (as a member of National Honor Society) to stand at the door and hand out programs.

IMG_1465 (2) - Copy

We picked up our programs and waited for the ceremony to begin.

The students walked in and the tears began.

Our girls looked so grown up and pretty.

The students were seated on stage and the school principal stood up to welcome the families and introduce the speakers. Molly was one of four students who were chosen to speak at graduation.

And this Momma and Papa could not have been prouder. Our baby may be all grown up, but what a beautiful young lady she has grown up to be.

IMG_1492 (2) - Copy

Next it was time for the presentation of scholarships.

At 21st Century Cyber Charter School the teachers have a long-standing tradition of presenting five students from the graduating class with scholarships from the school. These scholarships are not funded with school budget money, but rather are funded solely by teacher donations. Throughout the year they will have events at the school for staff, like special breakfasts during in-service days, which they will use to raise money to help fund these scholarships. This year they raised $5,000, enough for 5 students to each be awarded a thousand-dollar scholarship.

The teachers of this school are incredible and are at the heart of why this school shines brighter than the rest. Each of my children have been blessed with incredible learning coaches who have been a perfect fit for that child to grow and find success through this cyber school model. I feel like over the last 6 years so many of the staff at 21CCCS have become more like family friends through their interactions with our family.

 

These relationships that develop over four years of working side by side as student, parent, and learning coach, are what make graduation days bittersweet. Molly was blessed with a very special learning coach in Mr. Winterode.

IMG_1526 (2)

His patient reassurance and constant encouragement was just what Molly needed to overcome her own insecurities about her learning disabilities and finally see how capable and able she is.

IMG_1525 (2)

She blossomed under his care and his homeroom soon became the envy of the school with its fun banter and great group of students that called themselves “Coach’s Doghouse.”

IMG_1549

I could share stories like this about all the teachers we have gotten to know through our time in the school. 21st Century Cyber Charter School is unique in the experience it offers and I have tried to put my finger on the exact formula that sets them apart from other cyber schools. I think it comes down to this: Their standards are high. They know and appreciate the worth of a good teacher, a good staff member, and a good cyber schooling family. They hire the best and then treat them like the best. The teachers love what they do. They feel appreciated. Because those at the top treat their most valuable asset with respect and appreciation, the entire vibe of the school is uplifting and supportive and positive. The joy and enthusiasm of those teachers then trickle down to the students and families under their care, making everyone excited to be part of something so uniquely special in the world of cyber schooling options.

IMG_1563 (2)IMG_1567 (2) - Copy

How blessed we feel to have been led to this educational gem six years ago.

Next, we watched as they handed out the scholarships for greatest academic excellence to the student with the highest GPA, the Eagle service award for the student most service minded, and the leadership award. Then it was time for the scholarship awarded to the student that shows the most exemplary character, as voted on by the teachers of the school, and we heard them announce Molly’s name!

IMG_1500 (2) - Copy

We had no idea that she would be a recipient of one of these scholarships, and for me that was the acknowledgement that we, as her parents, have done something right these last 19 years. I remember being a young mom and praying over that little bundle in my arms and saying to God, “It matters little to me that this child grows up to be exceptionally pretty, or smart, talented, or gifted in the areas of music, art, or athletics…as nice as those traits might be. What matters most to me is that I raise a child who is known for her kindness, her selflessness, and her goodness. Help me to raise a woman of character.”

God has been merciful.

This is the same scholarship that Gracie was gifted with her senior year. Once again we were moved by the honor they bestowed on Molly when she was chosen by the teachers at 21st Century Cyber Charter School as the second McCleery to receive this special scholarship.

IMG_1583 (2)

Then it was time for the diplomas to be handed out. The students were called to the front of the stage one by one.

Once everyone had received their diploma it was time for the traditional turning of the tassels, signifying the transition from high school to life beyond.

13 years of hard work, sleepless nights, advocating for her needs, teaching and reteaching tough concepts again and again, endless fieldtrips, dyslexia tutoring, IEP meetings, 3 schools, and the culmination of a decade of my life’s work came together in that moment as we watched our baby girl walk down the aisle with diploma in hand.

It was time to celebrate!

IMG_1519 (2) - CopyIMG_1524 (2)

IMG_1535

IMG_1562 (2)

It was a joy to see how happy Braden was for Molly on her special day. ❤

IMG_1571 (2)

Sweet friendships created at 21st Century Cyber Charter School.

IMG_1577

Molly did it!

IMG_1510 (2) - Copy

Tatum did it.

IMG_1506 (2) - Copy

IMG_1555 (2)

Annaliese did it.

IMG_1514 (2) - Copy

Caleigh did it.

IMG_1518 (2)

We did it!

IMG_1528 (2)

Congratulations, ladies. We are so proud of you!

IMG_1542 (2)

What a beautiful journey it has been!

graduation

A recreation photo of Grace and Olivia’s graduation day.

IMG_1539 (2)

We can’t wait to see where God takes you next!

FB_IMG_1560088700784

 

Little Rock Central High School

Standard

IMG_0524 (2)

On Tuesday morning we woke up in Little Rock, Arkansas with plans to drive past Little Rock Central High School, site of a major test in 1957 of the Civil Rights act where nine (the Little Rock Nine) African-American students integrated the all-white school.

We didn’t realize that our “drive by” would turn into a much more profound, educating and moving experience until we pulled up to the site and discovered that it was more than just a high school with a historical plaque. It was a National Parks historic site.

Little Rock Central High School is the only functioning high school to be located within the boundaries of a national historic site. Across the street sat a National Parks Visitor Center that depicted the struggle through exhibits and photos.

IMG_0505 (2)

We began at the Visitor Center. The story of the Little Rock Nine is one we have all read about in our high school history books, but the story of those nine brave high school students and the effect their stand had on the course of history really came to life as we walked around the Visitor Center.

IMG_0506 (2)

In a key event of the American Civil Rights Movement, nine black students enrolled at formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1957, testing a landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The court had mandated that all public schools in the country be integrated “with all deliberate speed” in its decision related to the groundbreaking case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. On September 4, 1957, the first day of classes at Central High, Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas called in the state National Guard to bar the black students’ entry into the school. Later in the month, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the “Little Rock Nine” into the school, and they started their first full day of classes on September 25.

IMG_0510 (2)

We were moved by the photos of that day,

IMG_0522 (2)

As we read the words of those who were there,

IMG_0516 (2)

And as we listened to the actual first hand accounts of those involved.

IMG_0523

As we walked through the Visitor Center the reality of a world that now seems so foreign to my generation and my children’s generation, became real.

IMG_0513

We listened as a park ranger walked visitors through the events of those days. His deep, melodic voice painting a picture of what happened on this site, a picture far more impactful than the watered down version we read about in our history books.

The concept of segregation and such intense hate over the idea of integration is so foreign to me. It is so far removed from the reality of the world I was raised in decades later, and unrecognizable to the world my children live in today, that I find it surreal that this event was only 60 years ago.

IMG_0507 (2)

If your remembrance of that historic event was as cloudy as mine was prior to visiting this site here is some background on this historical encounter as taken from the History Channel’s website:

Despite the opposition, nine students registered to be the first African Americans to attend Central High School, which opened in 1927 and was originally called Little Rock Senior High School. Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Patillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas and Carlotta Walls had been recruited by Daisy Gaston Bates, president of the Arkansas NAACP. Daisy Bates and others from the Arkansas NAACP carefully vetted the group of students and determined they all possessed the strength and determination to face the resistance they would encounter. In the weeks prior to the start of the new school year, the students participated in intensive counseling sessions guiding them on what to expect once classes began and how to respond to anticipated hostile situations. The group came to be known as the Little Rock Nine.

On September 2, 1957, Governor Orval Faubus announced that he would call in the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the African-American students’ entry to Central High, claiming this action was for the students’ own protection. In a televised address, Faubus insisted that violence and bloodshed might break out if black students were allowed to enter the school. The following day, the Mother’s League held a sunrise service at the school as a protest against integration. That same day, federal judge Richard Davies issued a ruling that desegregation would continue as planned the next day.

The Little Rock Nine arrived for the first day of school at Central High on September 4, 1957. Eight arrived together, driven by Bates. Eckford’s family, however, did not have a telephone, and Bates could not reach her to let her know of the carpool plans. Therefore, Eckford arrived alone. The Arkansas National Guard ultimately prevented any of the Little Rock Nine from entering Central High. One of the most enduring images from this day is a photograph of Eckford, notebook in hand, stoically approaching the school as a crowd of hostile and screaming white students and adults surround her. Eckford later recalled that one of the women spat on her. The image was printed and broadcast widely, bringing the Little Rock controversy to national and international attention.

IMG_0519 (2)

In the following weeks, Judge Davies began legal proceedings against Governor Faubus, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower attempted to persuade Faubus toremove the National Guard and let the Little Rock Nine enter the school. Davies ordered the Guard removed on September 20, and the Little Rock Police Department took over to maintain order. The police escorted the nine African-American students into the school on September 23, through an angry mob of some 1,000 white protesters gathered outside. Amidst ensuing rioting, the police removed the nine students. On September 24, President Eisenhower sent in 1,200 members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and placed them in charge of the 10,000 National Guardsmen on duty. Escorted by the troops, the Little Rock Nine attended their first full day of classes on September 25.

Legal challenges to integration continued throughout the year, and Faubus publicly expressed his wish on numerous occasions that the Little Rock Nine be removed from Central High. Although several of the black students had positive experiences on their first day of school, according to a September 25, 1957, report in The New York Times, they experienced routine harassment and even violence throughout the rest of the year. Patillo, for instance, was kicked, beaten and had acid thrown in her face, and at one point white students burned an African-American effigy in a vacant lot across from the school. Ray was pushed down a flight of stairs, and the Little Rock Nine were barred from participating in extracurricular activities. Brown was expelled from Central High in February 1958 for retaliating against the attacks. And it was not only the students who faced harassment: Ray’s mother was fired from her job with the State of Arkansas when she refused to remove her daughter from the school. The 101st Airborne and the National Guard remained at Central High for the duration of the year.

On May 25, 1958, Green, the only senior among the Little Rock Nine, became the first African-American graduate of Central High.

In September 1958, one year after Central High was integrated, Governor Faubus closed Little Rock’s high schools for the entire year, pending a public vote, to prevent African-American attendance. Little Rock citizens voted 19,470 to 7,561 against integration and the schools remained closed. Other than Green, the rest of the Little Rock Nine completed their high school careers via correspondence or at other high schools across the country. Eckford joined the Army and later earned her General Education Equivalency diploma. Little Rock’s high schools reopened in August 1959.

Several of the Little Rock Nine went on to distinguished careers. Green served as assistant secretary of the federal Department of Labor under President Jimmy Carter (1924-). Brown worked as deputy assistant secretary for work force diversity in the Department of the Interior under President Bill Clinton. Patillo worked as a reporter for NBC. The group has been widely recognized for their significant role in civil rights history. In 1999, President Clinton awarded each member of the group the Congressional Gold Medal. The nine also all received personal invitations to attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

Jefferson Thomas became the first of the Little Rock Nine to die when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 67 on September 5, 2010. After graduating from Central High, Thomas served in the Army in Vietnam, earned a business degree and worked as an accountant for private companies and the Department of Defense.

We then walked across the street to Little Rock Central High School, the scene for this historical event. It is still a functioning school so access is only allowed with a park ranger led tour.

IMG_0525 (2)

The school is stunningly beautiful. As we stood outside I thought of all the photos I saw at the Visitor Center and could imagine the chaos that reigned on these school grounds during that period of American History. It was sobering.

We ended our visit with a film at the Visitor Center. It was awesome and I highly recommend if you are able to visit this site that you make time to watch the 30 minute video presentation. In it the men and women who were the Little Rock Nine are interviewed and asked questions about their choice to volunteer. They speak of what life was like that year in high school, the choice they made to not retaliate, but rather be peaceful in their resistance. They spoke of how being one of the Little Rock Nine changed the course of their lives and the history of a nation. It was powerful to watch the interviews of these men and women who are now in their 70’s speak about the impact we can each have as human beings when we stand up for what we believe.

The video then transitioned to three stories of youth today who are making an impact on their communities. One story spoke of youth in Baltimore who are fighting legislation to allocate funds for a new juvenile prison in their community, funds that they are asking be put towards education and other preventive programs. Another story spoke of youth on a Native American Reservation who are using social media to change the world’s perception of life on reservations. And the third story was about youth in New Mexico who have engaged in a battle against a big coal corporation to pass emission laws to protect their air quality.

The thread that connected the stories of the youth today with the interviews with the Little Rock Nine was the powerful message that we have the power to better our communities. We can take a stand and say, “This is not acceptable.” We can demand better of our leaders and of our nation. It was a powerful message, especially for my teens, that we can ALL have an impact for good if we are courageous and persistent in our beliefs.

IMG_0512 (2)

It was an ideal message to end our experience with…

An experience none of us will soon forget.

Storybook Day with Gracie

Standard

“The more that you read,

the more things you will know.

The more that you learn,

the more places you’ll go”  – Dr. Seuss

Today was a smashing success!

After much planning Gracie completed her National Honor Society service project requirement for her upcoming junior year. To keep her membership in the National Honor Society active she is required to log a required number of service hours each year, a required number of tutoring hours, and one large service project in which she displays the character attributes of service and of leadership as she leads her peers in the service project she has planned.

When pondering what to do for her big service project she considered many possibilities but decided that she wanted to do something that tied into her future career goal in the area of education. Grace has a passion for teaching, and a passion for books. As a child who struggled with learning to read before being diagnosed with Dyslexia, she knows the joy that comes from finally breaking through the wall of illiteracy and discovering the joy of reading.

She is now a book lover, and although she still struggles with Dyslexia she has learned how her brain learns. She hopes to take that personal experience into her future workplace as a special education teacher.

She is a firm believer in the quote by Frank Serafini:

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read. There are only children who have not found the right book.”

IMG_9020 (2)

So when considering what to do for her National Honor Society project she decided to combine her love of children and children’s literature and plan a “Storybook Day.” She wanted to share with the children from church some of her favorite books!

Offering some of the other young women at church the opportunity to complete one of their personal progress 10 hour projects, she organized the girls into teams of two to plan a craft or activity that corresponded to a favorite children’s book. Two of her co-op buddies also came to help out for the day.

After putting out sign-up sheets at church she ended up with 13 kids at her Storybook Day, not as many as she had originally hoped for but what ended up being a perfect number.

On Friday Grace spent the day preparing for the activity. She went shopping for the food needed for lunch. She stopped at the Dollar Tree to buy treats for the goody bags that she was sending home with each child. The items in the goody bags corresponded with each of the books they were reading to the kids.

IMG_8995 (2)

She made name tags and a sign-in sheet.

She set up the stations for the different activities and decorated the chalkboard in honor of the activity.

IMG_8992 (2)

By the time the sun set she was ready for the day ahead. She even had time to paint her nails to match her story for lunch the next day:

IMG_9015 (2)

The other young women arrived by nine the next morning to help finish setting up and then the children began arriving at 9:30.

The kids played on the McDonald’s Play Place while the girls waited for all the kids to arrive. At 10:00 they began the day with their first book:

th6DS6QMK5

The kids sat on a quilt in the yard to listen to the story and then did an apple or tree craft that tied into the story.

IMG_9022 (2)

IMG_9046 (2)

IMG_9026 (2)

The next story they listened to was:

rainbow fish

Following this story they made rainbow scales like the fish in the story by decorating clear plastic cups with Sharpie markers and melting them in the oven until they became a “fish scale.”

IMG_9039 (2)

The next story was:

harold

Molly helped plan the activity that followed this story. Using purple yarn she created a “Harold and the Purple Crayon” drawing around the yard. The kids each grabbed hold of a paperclip attached to the yarn that they pulled through the maze of twists and turns to reach the end.

IMG_9065 (2)

IMG_9064 (2)

This story was followed by:

curiousgeorgepartybags

IMG_9078 (2)

This book ends with Curious George and his red balloon so it only made sense that the activity that followed included water balloons! The kids loved participating in the water balloon games which quickly evolved into an old-fashioned water balloon fight.

IMG_9088 (2)

IMG_9093 (2)

IMG_9099 (2)

Then it was time for lunch. Gracie took charge of this part of the day with great plans in mind. The book she planned for lunch was:

thE7BF258T

Lunch was a plate of some of the foods featured in the book. To add to the authenticity she used a straw to cut caterpillar holes in the watermelon and strawberries. The swiss cheese came pre-poked. 🙂

IMG_9007 (2)

IMG_9067 (2)

While the kids ate lunch Grace read the book.

IMG_9113 (2)

Lunch was followed by dessert, of course!

IMG_9118 (2)

For dessert the kids enjoyed chocolate chip cookies while listening to this book:

if you guve a mouse

At the end of the day the kids had about 30 minutes before parents were due to return so after packing everyone’s goody bags with their completed crafts the young women organized the kids into games. It was a perfect end to an already “booked” event.

IMG_9000 (2)

IMG_9129 (2)

IMG_9134 (2)

IMG_9125 (2)

A lot of work went into this very special day and I think the whole family felt a bit of relief when it went off without a hitch and ended successfully. Grace was grateful to all the girls who came to help and for the many hands that made her load lighter.

After a long day it is now time to say goodnight…

thF44QWAMS

“Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.” – Goodnight Moon