Beware: a lot happened the last two weeks of school…
I’m trying to get to writing about Grace’s graduation but it just seems wrong to wrap that up before the lead-up to that big day:
Grace had her “senior assembly” which included the “senior slideshow” at school:

I think this is actually a “setting up senior assembly” deal picture below:

(with other student council members)

The kids are really into “senior pranks” here in the desert.  That wasn’t a “thing” when I was in high school.

Is it because I’m too old?

Or is it just something they only do in this area?

I don’t know, but kids think they have to do something crazy at the end of school.  One of the senior pranks got some kids into pretty big trouble this year, so let’s concentrate on the little one that created no dramatic ripples:  Pet Day:

Yep, these girls took Bo with them to school…along with all their friends who took their pets too.

Doesn’t that dog of ours look pleased as punch about that?

HA!  Poor girl.

But she was a good sport.  They kicked all the animals out after first period so that was short-lived but the girls came home with glowing reports.

Lu and I walked and walked and walked to school…this time the storm clouds were so low and gray that we decided to turn around and drive mid-way since we didn’t have time to get drenched:

I’m gonna miss our walking.

Walking that turned more into tandem bike riding by the end since we ran out of time after trying to squeeze too much into our mornings.

Powderpuff football All-Stars game:

(more about that back HERE)

Our church congregation did such a nice little graduation dinner for all the graduating seniors, complete with a little schpeal about each of them.  Here’s Natalie talking about fresh-from-powderpuff Grace:

We didn’t get a pic together there so here’s one from home.

Oh wait, here are our more accurate faces since she is leaving…

…not a smiling matter!

Lucy decided she wasn’t really overly enthralled to be in the evening talent show that she had been over-the-moon excited to make after sitting through the upper grade and lower grade assembly performances earlier that day.  We decided to do our talent show celebration before the talent show rather than after to see if that would help:

It did.

Here she is running to her spot to get ready for talent-show-round-3:

An excited sister to watch:

I got a little melancholy sitting in that cafeteria-turned-auditorium for one of the very last times.

Gosh I have sat through a whole slew of talent shows and performances in that place.  Talent shows featuring my kids in so many different stages and ways, flips and dances, violins and cellos scratching impressively, a flute played by Grace, handbells played by most of them.  
It’s strange to wrap all that up.
But there we were, Lucy plunking out her last piano tune for the last time:
From there we headed to the high school for the semi-finals volleyball game…Claire with friends squished up on the bleachers:

…and then Claire with her parents when it got too hot in the student section:

We had a HEARTBREAK loss in the semi-finals.

Dave and I were so sad for all our favorite seniors who play, all mixed in with melancholy-ness missing that big boy Max of ours out there on that court, also mixed in with so much gratitude that it wasn’t him out there.  Man alive it is tough to watch your own kid out there…SO many strong emotions rolling around.

(I even made a special “deal” with God during Max’s last round of semi-finals…I could have sworn I wrote about but maybe not…I talked all about volleyball back HERE)

Fun that we were playing against the school our cousins attend:

Nana and Papa took Lu out to a special 6th Grade Graduation date:

We steamed out Grace’s graduation gown and rounded up Elle’s old graduation cap:

(And Grace looked at me like that whenever we both realized how serious this whole deal was getting…)

We went and took grad pics at the football stadium:

(The rest of those pics are back HERE.)

I coordinated a little dinner with Grace’s two best friends and their moms (It’s become a tradition to take our graduating kids and their friends out to a special pre-graduation dinner…usually it’s me and Dave but this time it was me and the moms).

It was quite comical how excited Grace was for that little thing.  She had wanted us moms to hang out all year and I had never met one of the moms (the other is a good friend).  We had the best dinner, just the six of us in a little round booth at Oreganos, all talking a mile a minute:

So grateful for those girls and the good friends they’ve been to Grace.

Best friends are gems.

Meanwhile Dave was in China with this crew for their company launch:

…and Lucy and I headed back to Wisconsin…

…yes, AGAIN.
We have that trip down to a science by now.
We are both listening to our books in that picture up there, but we have a good time together me and her.  I’ve taught her the joys of Taco Bell and she has asked me 587 questions by now…all about how we will get places, how many minutes it will take, which terminal and car rental place…you name it. 

I love my good little conversationalist.

A few Activity Day girls beat us to our house en route back from the airpot (we had a big Activity Day swim party there to finish off the school year), us foggy from our travel and rush hour traffic, them fresh and ready to swim.  
We combined with the neighboring ward (congregation) and our pool filled up to the brim with 25 girls climbing and jumping, yelling for us leaders to jump in with them (which we did)…
(although it looks like we’re the only ones jumping up there 👆 …Ha!)
But they sure did some jumping too:

We celebrated summer birthdays:

…and had a pretty grand time out there on the strangely first hot day of the year.

Meanwhile Claire worked her tail off for finals…

…and Grace worked her tail off having as much fun as she possibly could before her senior year came to a close 🙂

Her big goal last month was to finish off high school with no regrets…

…which I think she did, although she may look back some day and wish she had learned a little more those last few weeks.

Or maybe not.

Either way she sure had fun.

We hosted my brother Josh’s annual end-of-school swim party here (like we do every year) but this time I got into a random “nesting” trimming all the vines on the back of our house in preparation:

I’m sorry but those measly piles cannot do it justice…I was out there buried in those trees for HOURS I tell you!

In the dark of the evening, after talking with Claire and her friends in the kitchen and still feeling leaves and probably bugs on me from all those vines I jumped in the pool with all my clothes on. 
I think that might have been some kind of a cardinal sin to do that thing by myself in the dark: something that would have lit my kids eyes up like nobody’s business.

That next afternoon our pool filled up again, this time with all those kids who look at my brother Josh with their eyes shining…kinda like how my girls would have looked at me had I done the pool-clothes jump with them in tow…

I’m pretty sure if there were an award for the best and most adored third grade teacher known to man Josh would win it hands down.

At the end of the year they always have baby ducks that accompany all the kids to the party:

(It’s at the end of their study when the ducklings actually hatch there in class.)

One of the dads took this picture of Josh:

Let’s get a closer look:

He said “Mr. Eyre can walk on water.”

And I think in those kids’ eyes, he’s exactly right.

Makes me tear up to think about all the kids he’s had such a positive influence on.

At the end of the party he always presents a slideshow of all the things they’ve done that year.  The kids laugh and cry and are delighted to watch that thing.  This time around a mom I was standing by in the back leaned over to me and said, “Mr. Eyre is magic.  There’s no other way to describe it.”

And I think she’s exactly right.

Meanwhile Dave met up with Max and Abby in China and took them to our favorite restaurant from when we lived there:

Oh those good old days!!

We timed it perfectly to get our yellow fever shots done and get the girls back to school in time for finals:

(wrote about that HERE)

They had a really awesome “launch” in China:

Yep, that’s my brother there in front…it’s his company Dave is involved in and it’s pretty awesome.

One more senior picture dealio at the school, this time my friend took a bunch of kids:

Grocery shopping back in China:

Lucy’s piano recital:

Her sweetheart teacher we love so much:

And older sisters praising her performance:

The Sunday before school got out was full of graduation festivities, and we were all SO happy to get Dave back late on Saturday night to be there for all of it. 
Grace’s first friend (my friend’s son) had his mission farewell and it was swarmed with so many friends and the air was heavy with excitement.  It was one of the best farewell talks I’ve heard.  Love that all these boys sang together…it was so good!

Then it was baccalaureate which made me tear up with that beautiful music as usual, and also because Lucy came with only minimal fussing.

(I always love the pictures of the paparazzi parents…Claire took this one:)

Then Seminary Graduation was that night, once again filled with so many families and kids we love, kids Grace has grown up with and leaders who have influenced her in so many ways.

(pictures of Baccalaureate and seminary graduation back HERE.)

Planning the last couple days of senior year:

We held a cousin grad celebration at our house to celebrate our senior.

That senior of ours wasn’t overjoyed about that idea or all the pictures of her growing up that I plastered all over the place (ha!) but she was a good sport and I think even she loved the slideshow I had whipped up and the trivia game Dave monitored.

And plus, we invited her two best friends and served crepes for dessert so all was well in the world.

Film class folders were revealed:

(all of my kids so far have taken Film in high school and they all adore it like nobody’s business)

It was the annual end-of-the-year grand “Paper Drop” where everyone empties their finished papers and tests and assignments over the balconies:

…and hopefully help clean up!

Lu and I had our last mother/daughter take-out-of-elementary-school lunch date:

Gotta love the way she insisted on posing…at least she’d take a picture!

Grace invited a whole slew of seniors over for a day-before-the-last-day swim/volleyball party just like Max and Elle did in the past.

The weather has been so strange here so instead of it being hot as blazes, it was cloudy and cool, and the kids hopped from the hot tub to play volleyball and back over and over again.  
(That picture was after most of the hoopla was over…I wish I had gone out earlier…)

Lucy wrote nice notes to all her teachers.  This one was for the school maintenance guy who helps her cross the street to and from school every day:

We love him SO MUCH!

And what about Claire those last days you may ask?  Sandwiched between two graduating sisters?

Well, here she is when I dropped her off on that last day:

…and after school:

Those kids are pretty darn excited to move up in the rankings to sophomores next year!
Lu was off to her last annual last-day-of-school-donut breakfast:

All about that and the “6th Grade walk-out” back HERE.

All these cute girls were just bawling at the end of the line…the end of their elementary school careers:

Then off to get ready for the high school graduation with my mom who had just arrived:
All about that grand evening coming up tomorrow.


  1. End of the school year sure has intensified since I was a kid…or a teacher, with so many activities. Glad everyone had fun. Beautiful photos!

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