Big Events and Finishing Strong

It’s going to be 100 degrees today. It was almost that yesterday. I can’t think of a clearer signal that summer approacheth. Around here though, the weather is a little ahead of the game—there’s still lots to be done before we can officially say Team Hokama is on summer break.

The kids have 13 days of school left, but they’re not really into “the countdown” yet in this stage of their schooling, though I know they’re ready for a long break. As usual, we don’t exactly have our summer planned out, but I’m sure it will all come together. The only definitive is our friend Adam is getting married in Medford, OR at the end of June, so we’ll be trekking up there for that. And we’ll be camping—somewhere, sometime—so that’s the “plan” so far.

Some big things have been happening though. On the downside, we all got a gnarly cold/virus thing that knocked us all out (except Maia!) for a couple weeks. Aliya missed two weeks of school, Keana missed a couple days, I missed a couple days of work, and Sarah was definitely out for a couple days too. It’s always rough to get sick at the end of the school year, especially when the weather is nice (at that point it wasn’t hellishly hot).

Keana with Mrs. Garduno
Keana, the Caldecott Winner, with teacher Mrs. Garduno.
Maia with Ms. Van Dun
Maia with her teacher, Ms. Van Dun.
Keana the White Tiger.
Keana the White Tiger.

We soldiered on though, and Maia, Keana, and I enjoyed Authors Night on May 8, which is a yearly event at their school where they read the books they’ve written and illustrated. Each student creates a hardcover book and the kids spend a substantial amount of time in class planning, writing, revising, illustrating, and finalizing their masterpieces. Maia’s book was titled, A Day in the Arctic, and Keana’s was titled, Persephone’s Adventure which won the Caldecott Award for her class. Unfortunately, Sarah had to stay home with a sick Aliya, but they read their books for her when they got home. Not related—but also a big event that happened that day—Keana lost two teeth in the same day! One in the morning and another one right before we went to Authors Night. Definitely a first for Team Hokama.

Last Thursday Keana had her end-of-the-year performance with the theme, “Not Waitin’ on the World to Change.” They dressed up as endangered animals, entered the auditorium a la “Lion King” style complete with song, and several students shared their poems about endangered animals. Keana was featured reading her poem about the White Tiger called, “Save Me.”

Which brings me to the most recent event: Maia got her ears pierced! She’s been talking about it for a while but had been pretty tentative, until last Wednesday when she declared she was ready and really wanted to do it. So we headed to the mall on Saturday and got it done. With Keana we searched for a place that would pierce her ears with a needle since we thought it would be cleaner, but after calling around this year for Maia, apparently no one will pierce a kid’s ear the old fashioned way. So the standard “stand in the mall” it was. And it went really well. I thought for a second that Maia might hyperventilate, and Keana buried her face in my arm because she couldn’t watch, but we all got through it. See for yourself:

Aliya won't be hugging that dog again.
Aliya won’t be hugging that dog again.

Aliya was definitely excited to be back at school last week and is really enjoying her Montessori learning experience. She was particularly excited about their new “butterfly project” where they set up little homes for caterpillars that will turn into butterflies that they release at the end of the unit. At bedtime that night she said in a very excited whisper, “I bet the caterpillars are turning into butterflies right now!” And Aliya’s most recent “big event” was last night at her cousin’s house, the dog snapped at her face after she tried to give the dog a hug. She gave the dog one hug just fine, then went for another and without warning got struck in the face. She spun back quickly and fell to the ground, which was actually a good thing, because it limited the damage to the face. Just a couple scrapes/welts around the eye from the dog’s teeth and a bruised knee from hitting the ground. She’s a little jumpy today but hopefully she’ll get over it without too much residual trauma. I’m thinking she’s young enough she won’t remember it very well—we’ll see.

As I finish typing this, Maia’s finishing up her first research project on pollution. Her topic is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and even though she waited till the last minute to do it, she’s done a great job sorting through the information, focusing her content and writing, and getting it done. And I guess that’s pretty much what our last couple weeks of the school year will be here at Team Hokama: figuring out what needs to get done, focusing, and finishing strong.

See you on the other side.