Last day of school 2024…

We have had a whirlwind couple of weeks and in that whirlwind was the last day of school.

And because we had Hallie’s graduation that night, I contemplated asking someone else to host the annual water ballon fight. But in the end all the kids got off the bus at our house just like they have for years and they were welcomed with a barrage of water balloons. Thousands and thousands of water balloons – this tradition seems to get larger with every year that passes. I’ve only got two kids left in elementary school but luckily Hallie was also home from school and Briggs was determined to not let her stay dry.

We are ready for summer!

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Graduation announcement…

Tomorrow is the big day. She’s turned in her last assignment and taken her last test. It’s been a week long party and tomorrow she tosses her cap up in the air and bids farewell to a high school that has been so good to her.

Its been an emotional week all around – on her part and ours. There’s so much excitement and anticipation and with that comes the sadness of a beautiful book coming to an end. I can’t even begin to describe the roller coaster of emotions. I saw a meme, “Check on your friends with seniors, they are not okay.” Agreed. They are struggling.

Just the other day someone asked how we were hanging in there with our oldest graduating. Just earlier that same day Steve had walked in my office and said, “I feel like we’re just going through the motions, are we really taking this all in?”

The best way I could describe it was, “We are having a Father-of-the-Bride moment.” In the movie “Father-of-the-Bride” a father is helping his daughter pull off a beautiful wedding – and he spares no expense both time and money. The wedding arrives and it turns out just as beautiful as they had hoped despite some inevitable hiccups. But through the wedding, dinner and reception, the dad was so busy trying to make sure every thing was perfect and fixing problems, he wasn’t really present. And as the daughter is preparing to drive away with her new husband she was looking for her dad to say goodbye but she couldn’t find him – he missed the moment. He was too late to say goodbye.

I have thought about this so many times. We’re doing all the things – celebrating her in all the ways, but there’s a part of me wondering if we’re missing the moment. There’s just so much going on. The end of school is crazy even without a graduation. Throw a graduation in the mix and it’s a lot to take in. But this is such a special time. This is her moment.

I want to remember how this feels – the good and the bad.

For 18 years we’ve carefully and deliberately raised a family under one roof. And we’re moving to a stage of life where we’ll be raising kids under multiple roofs and that hurts my heart to think about. When I say we’re experiencing all the emotions…I mean ALL the emotions.

But tomorrow we are in celebration mode – happy day!

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Senior pictures…Hallie Edition…

I have taken plenty of senior pictures over the years. Call me biased but none of them were nearly this cute. 🙂

I’ve taken so many pictures of this girl over the years, I think the “senior picture” experience may have been slightly anti-climatic. I even asked her if we should hire someone else so it could be a new experience for her. But in the end, she just wanted me to take them. While my mom was in town a couple weeks ago we spent a Sunday evening in a local rose garden with the most beautiful blooms.

She is beautiful. She is confident. She is kind. She radiates light. And she graduates in two days…

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Baccalaureate 2024…

Our school participates in a traditional baccalaureate – a faith based graduation ceremony – typically held the Sunday before graduation. As luck would have it one of Hallie’s best friends was asked to speak at it. Even better, the student council president in charge also asked Steve to be the main speaker.

I was looking forward to this ceremony and it did not disappoint. Steve shared a beautiful talk he prepared and related a scary scuba diving experience he had and the need to be still in waters of commotion. Totally relatable for these graduates as they enter the decade of decisions.

Its fun to think 24 years ago Steve sat in this same auditorium as a senior himself. Full circle.

In addition to the ceremony, graduates use this evening to shoot their graduation pictures with friends since we graduate at 8pm to avoid the heat and it’s too dark for any good photos.

We sat in that courtyard for a while shooting everybody and anybody who wanted a photo. This group and that group and add three people here and these two by themselves…they’re all just hanging on to this moment.

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Butterfly wonderland…

In the midst of all the attention on Hallie – I was able to spend the morning with Briggs on a school field trip to the butterfly museum. History has shown his class has more parents willing to chaperone than spots available and every field trip ends up with a “chaperone lottery” to see who gets to go. As luck would have it I won the lottery on quite possibly one of the busiest weeks of the year!

Honestly, it was probably what I needed most. Aside from the bus ride, where my legs were physically too long to fit in between the seats, it was really enjoyable experience. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon (says every parent in May with multiple children!) and Hallie’s upcoming graduation has obviously added a lot of that. So to go to a butterfly conservatory with second graders was a much needed change of pace.

I sat and watched kids try and catch butterflies. It was a very “stop to smell the roses” kind of moment. It was funny to watch some kids attract butterfly, after butterfly to land on them or to crawl on to their hand. And other kids didn’t seem to have the same magic touch. We stayed in the conservatory for over an hour and the kids were so content chasing butterflies – I was actually impressed with how long this kept their attention. It really was such a peaceful environment even with a bunch of rambunctious 2 graders running around.

There was so much simple excitement.

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