Lucy started school yesterday. Yep, still in July, and on I think the 24th day in a row where the desert has hit 110 degrees or higher. (It was 115 yesterday, I think 117 predicted today, yikes!) But hey, I digress because this post is all about how we’re back at it for a “positive” school year. Not a complaining one. Ha!

We got back from Bear Lake and Murphy’s baby blessing just in time to have one day to whip some things together to get this girl ready for her JUNIOR year.

Lucy and Bo on the first day of school

Oh how I love this girl…and her dog.

Our one school-prep day

With our one day of prep, we sweet-talked the people at the school to let us in so she could explore how to get to her new classes. Lucy is one, like lots of kids I’m sure, who needs to get used to things. It took her a while to get used to this new schedule idea. She texted everyone and their dog to see who had what, wishing and hoping she had good teachers but more importantly people she knows in her classes. I know all kids swap and compare schedules like nobody’s business, but Lucy takes it to another level. First of all she is so social and knows this may be her only time to see many friends. But second, she just wants to know what’s in store. Uncertainty is really tricky when you can’t see very well.

We lucked out with the nicest helpers at the school who let her in to walk to each class before the sea of kids would be joining her there the next day.

We wrote her classes all big so she could see them (really tough to see screens), and walked those giant, empty hallways.

She came out confident and ready…

Lucy confident and ready after touring the school

…and even asked if she could get a new shirt (!!). This is crazy-talk since Lu doesn’t like new things.

We took a sunset walk, the three musketeers back in the swing of life in the hot and muggy desert.

And Dave gave Lucy a special beginning-of-school Father’s Blessing:

Dave and Lucy after her Father's blessing

She was ready to go!

Until that night when she checked one more time and her schedule had randomly been changed.

Lucy trying to figure out her schedule on her laptop

Oh no! This was a little bit alarming, but you know what? Lu was ok. She was quite concerned, but as she thought through it and we emailed a few people to try to figure it out, she knew she’d be ok. There’s something in all that she learned this summer that made her realize she can do this! Maybe more than anything her grit helped her know she could do it.

The first day of school

And she did.

The next morning we of course had our traditional rainbow pancakes:

Then, armed with the confidence she gained from so many experiences this summer, and just a good dose of growing up, she headed out that door for her first day of school. She even asked for her hair to be crimped and down instead of braided. Who is this??

Oh there were some hiccups for sure. She and I both worked together to sort out the schedule issues…still working on those!

But she made it!

And got home ready to talk at our first day “cookie chat,” making sure Claire was included in London:

(See Claire on the phone there? Yep, one of Lucy’s biggest fans and wanted to know all the details.)

Setting up for a positive school year — Our new family theme this year

So what’s the “positive” business in this post title you might ask?

Well, at dinner last night we retired our “school-year theme” for last school year. It was “Build.”

Our old school year theme "Build"

We talked about all the things we have built this year, from confidence to try new things to some new products for Dave, to new friendships to our foundations of faith to this new blog design here on 71 toes 🙂 Isn’t the word “build” just so beautiful?

Dave came up with the one for this year:

Shawni, Dave and Lu holding up the new "positive" school-year theme on our letter-board

Positive is a pretty beautiful word too.

Dave told the story of the parable of the man who had so many bad things come his way (I wish I could find it to share, I’ll work on that). This man took it all with a grain of salt and in the long-run he was able to see all the places he grew through all the rough things in his path.

Hoping this little reminder sitting on our counter will help us remember a positive attitude can work wonders in life.

Then we re-instigated our “Tuesday Night Swim-Club”…at least for one night, in our luke-warm desert-heated pool under the sunset.

It was a good day.

Today is trickier. But it’s going to all work out. Because this girl’s got some pluck.

Here’s to Junior Year!

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  1. Yes, Lucy!! Fingers and toes crossed for a good year!!

    Shawni, Love that idea of a themed focus for the school year. We’ve had a couple of hard years and bad attitudes about it around here. Maybe we need to choose a plucky theme as well 🙂

    1. You should give it a try! I sometimes wonder if just a theme written up on the counter can really make a difference. But I do think it can if it’s a reminder to work it into conversations and actions. I have noticed if I’m aware and trying, my family will follow suit. Good luck and sending you love and best wishes after a couple hard years.

  2. Hi Shawni – I’ve heard about LDS kids having seminary during the school week, which is not something I ever encountered growing up. How does that work in the middle of the day?

    1. Good question. In areas where there’s not such a high population of members of the church they do early-morning seminary and meet at someone’s house to study the scriptures together before school. But in areas where it works, there is “released time” for one period of the day in school. During that class hour you walk over to the seminary building and have class there as one of your classes. It is an elective. Hope that makes sense!

  3. Yow! A month above 110?! What’s the temp at night? Do they cancel all outside school activities? How are you all so beautiful in your pics and not melting? Best wishes to Lucy for her 11th grade school year. I’m sure she’ll kill it.

    1. Thank you PS! They do cancel outside activities when there’s a heat advisory (this week included). A couple local junior highs had A/C problems so there was no school on the second day. It’s crazy-town around here going to school in July I tell you! The low at night tonight will be 89 degrees. I think my brother said the low a few nights ago was 95. Yikes.

  4. Wow, in July?! Is there a reason for that? Seems insanely early.
    Sounds like this summer program lucy did was really wonderful! It must feel so good for her as well as you to see her growth and independence, and hopefully feel more confident about this school year.
    Is college on the horizon yet or does she still have a year to go? Best of luck to her!

    1. I think they’re going to year-round school. They have two weeks for Fall Break and another two for Spring Break.

      It is wonderful to see her growth and independence and we are so grateful for that program. There is still lots to work on, of course. It’s not all butterflies and rainbows over here that’s for sure. Lucy’s vision has pretty rapidly deteriorated even more over the last few months so there’s a lot of emotion involved it that. But she sure is working hard to maneuver with even less vision.

      It’s so difficult to think about college and how that works, but she definitely wants to make that happen. Looking into different possibilities this year. Thank you for your best wishes. We’ll take all we can get!

      1. Thank you for your response! Haven’t heard of year round school but it sounds like an interesting system, and definitely has the benefit of keeping things fresh rather than having a 3 month break. I’m sorry to hear that there’s been a significant decline recently and can’t imagine what that brings up for any of you, but I appreciate you sharing the highs and lows with us and you’ll absolutely be in our thoughts. She seems very determined though so I’m sure she’ll figure something out! She’s also got no shortage of support which is a true gift. Best of luck to you all this year!

  5. “We lucked out with the nicest helpers at the school who let her in to walk to each class before the sea of kids would be joining her there the next day.”

    My gosh, I would hope you wouldn’t have to depend on luck to make this happen, but it should be a *given* for a student with vision impairment!

    1. Well since we were out of town on the day they let most of the kids walk their classes they were a little worried about this, didn’t want to bother the teachers. But we promised we wouldn’t talk to anyone and they were so nice about it. Especially once they knew it was Lucy and that she really needed this.

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