Every summer we pack the car and try our best to avoid the heat. In reality, once a year, I make the journey back home to Idaho – a place I couldn’t wait to leave when I was younger – and now I look forward to returning each and every year.
And Steve is the best supporter. It’s not ideal for us to leave while he stays back but he knows what it means to me to be back with my family so he rearranges his work and church life to travel back and forth when he can.
Steve and Bennett had a little overnight camping adventure coupled with a scuba dive.
A guy in our neighborhood is a scuba instructor so almost all the youth in our neighborhood are certified or are working on their certification. Steve and Bennett are certified and Hallie and Hunter finish their training in a week – they’ve got big plans for some tropical adventures.
But for now, they’re practicing in nearby lakes.
They camped out the night before and then spent the day in and on the lake diving and tubing.
The found a 5 foot catfish while diving. Bennett got no sleep. And forgot to wear sunscreen. And came home and slept for hours! But he had a blast. He loved that Steve was able to join him and Steve was more than happy to oblige.
It’s not every day you get to brag about a child…but today is that day for Hunter.
We got a letter in the mail shortly before school was out that Hunter would be receiving an award and invited us to attend the evening award ceremony at his school. It’s a mass letter and doesn’t inform you what they will be receiving. (He got the same letter last year where he received an academic award as well as a CTE award).
A couple days before the ceremony, the principal pulled him aside in the hallway asking if he would be attending. This was rather unusual and he came home from school that afternoon and shared he may be getting a bigger award than the previous year.
This was confirmed again when on the day of the ceremony they pulled him from his last hour class to learn how to properly pronounce his name.
Steve and I attended the ceremony and it was funny to see Hunter a little disappointed to learn they overlooked him for the first award which was awarded to all 4.0 students – which he is. A little later, he received an “Outstanding Student Award” (which is an amazing honor and leans heavy to girl recipients) and totally butchered saying his last name.
The very last award – MASA, Mesa Association of School Administrators – is the highest individual honor at the school and is presented to one 8th grade student every year (out of more than 400+ students). We know Hunter to be such a strong student leader and athlete so it was only slightly surprising when they announced Hunter’s name as the recipient of the award. (Which is why he didn’t get the first academic award they presented…and Hunter’s pronunciation help didn’t make much of a difference).
They had teachers/coaches/administrators share why they chose him as the recipient and here’s a few snippets:
“Hunter is a young man that exemplifies what it means to be a leader. His mind is always working and processing what the teacher is teaching and constantly demonstrates high motivation to do his personal best. He is one of the most responsible students, he is always on top of his assignments which means he’s ready to discuss, write or turn in projects on time. While some leaders are loud and make others bend to their will, that is not Hunter. He has a quiet way of leading. He possesses a fountain of knowledge and expertise well beyond his years. He waits for others to seek his knowledge and peers crowd around him to learn and ask questions. He always goes out of his way to help others and to bring light to our days and he always has a smile on his face. His contributions to thoughtful class discussions will be missed. Keep leading Hunter.”
I couldn’t agree more. As a 4.0 student – in all honors classes as well as three high school credits completed – he manages his school work without any intervention or complaints. On top of heavy academic studies, he’s also a determined athlete and has proven his dedication over and over again. He’s a force for good and I’m happy to get out of his way as he forges new paths into high school.
We like to end the school year in style – with a large neighborhood water fight in our front yard the minute the kids step foot off the bus.
The kids have grown to expect it but every year we play dumb and pretend this is the year we just can’t get it to work. I usually have to arrange it with the bus driver ahead of time and the kids didn’t see me talk to him this year so they were worried walking out the door on the last day of school that they bus driver wouldn’t know what was going on. Jokes on them!
I think every year the amount of water balloons grows – thank heavens for quick fill balloons (zuru bunch o balloons). Our neighborhood group message is great at letting everyone know when they go on sale at Sams Club or Costco and it seems like all the families show up with a box or two. We probably had over 7000 balloons – and you’d think the fight would last longer than it does, but the kids approach it as a rapid fire as opposed to precision. 🙂
As of today, summer vacation has officially started!
And as such – here are our traditional first and last day of school photos. We just had haircuts last week or else these kids would have been unrecognizable with their long mops of hair. I think Hunter wins the award for the biggest change this school year and Hallie wins the award for no change – including wearing the same shirt from the first day of school.
There are so many field trips I would jump at the chance to chaperone but the Phoenix zoo is not one of them! We have been to so many beautiful zoos throughout the United States, but desert zoos just don’t carry the same beauty as so many other zoos we’ve visited. Not to mention, I’m not a huge animal fan regardless if it’s a pet or caged for viewers.
Fortunately for me as a chaperone, there were plenty of parents who did love the zoo and we had a 2:1 student/parent ratio. I only had to keep track of my kid and one other student which made my chaperone life a piece of cake.
Cannon was adamant that we fill out his animal log so we ran around and made sure to cross off as many animals as we could. And we lucked out because our cloudy/slightly rainy day made for the perfect weather for our morning at the zoo.
Cannon was so happy I joined him at the zoo – it was all he could talk about for days before and days after. His love language is time and I filled his bucket that day.