Orelia had her last day of school on June 1st, and unlike on the first day of school she was super thrilled to take photos to commemorate the event.
I guess I should have expected that on a kid's first day of school they are filled with nerves and questions, but on their last day they are so happy to go play with their friends at school one last time before a summer filled with fun.
Here is Orelia sulking on her first day of school.
And here she is cracking jokes on her last day.
She has matured a lot this past year and generally loved every minute of school (save for clean up time)
I love our preschool so much, and our teacher emphasized on the last day that the most important thing they all learned that year was how to make a friend and how to be a friend.
Our school doesn't do "graduation" ceremonies or performances at the end of school. During the final circle time they sang "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold." I teared up a bit knowing we had just said goodbye to some of our closest friends who moved away, and it was the perfect ending to the year.
I loved photographing Orelia's final time raising her hand on this rug (where she has raised her hand about a million times, to make commentary that was almost relevant).
One my last work day earlier that week, the parents hosted Sports Day, and Orelia wore sneakers for the event, as well as a bathing suit for unknown reasons.
This little spitfire brought joy to many kids and adults in our class this year, and we are both lucky to have met everyone.
Bennett got to come to the end of year party at school that night, where he happily played in the sand with a trash truck and loved playing where the big kids play.
He was laughing hysterically here because he was standing in a firetruck and also pooping. Sigh.
Orelia already had her first week of camp and is on to her second week. I wanted to capture her excitement on the first day of camp, so I took these photos.
Now she thinks we have to take photos every day before she goes to camp, which suits me just fine. So far she has worn a bathing suit and skirt every day. This kid is too much.
She absolutely loved her first week of camp (held at a church preschool) and so far is loving her second week run through the city. This kid loves being with her friends and trying new things, so camps are a blast for her. She's been asking for summer for months, and now it's finally here!
Just sitting in a water table with Grandma's reading glasses and Grandma's phone. No big deal.
I love blogging, I really do.
I don't always love the guilt I feel when I'm behind on posting, or the obligation to get it done.
But I am so grateful for this little piece of the internet I have.
And this little piece of the internet is where I can go when I need to look up a memory or find a picture I know I posted.
I'm not sure what other people use it for, but it's there for them if they need to remember Orelia's facial expressions or crazy outfits (as I'm sure they do).
Without a blog, I wouldn't have anywhere to post my photos.
There's only so much posting I can do on Instagram, and I don't really like Facebook for my own personal use (I love reading other people's business there, however).
And without somewhere to share my photos, I know I would take a lot less.
And who would want to miss Orelia's death-defying stunts on the swings.
One day she decided to turn the swings into her own circus act (without ever having seen a circus, mind you), and it was quite the performance.
Some people get my blog posts emailed to them.
And some may check it when they are bored at work.
And some may check it when they are on a 1:00 AM internet rabbit hole.
I'm just glad it's there for me, since I know I won't always have kids giggling in the backyard playing with bubble guns.
A high school friend of mine has a motto - "babies don't keep."
I know that sure is true, since neither of my kids are babies any more, so I sure as hell better make sure I remember and memorialize who my kids are right now.
And right now in Spring 2017, Orelia is living in bathing suits every chance she gets.
She still loves costumes, but is more often choosing ensembles perhaps even flashier and crazier than the costumes in her closet (which I never even thought possible).
She is full of spunk and sass and laughter.
And everywhere she goes people look at me in disbelief and ask, "Does she ever get cold?"
When it suits her mood, no, she's never cold in whatever outfit she chooses to wear.
I might be a lot warmer too if I spent my life springing around like Tigger.
Bennett opts for her signature Diaper Man look instead of a bathing suit most times.
We probably should be potty training him and turning him from Diaper Man to Undies Man, but I just can't be bothered.
He is physically ready but is emotionally/mentally uninterested bordering on refusing to try, so we will wait.
Orelia no longer eats chalk and play doh, like she once did, but here she is drinking water from the sprinkler in her classic act of not-so-sneaky defiance. She's the same as she ever was.
The kids really play together more now than ever before, since Bennett really "gets" what Orelia is trying to play.
He may not have wanted to play "beach" or "boat" or whatever it is that Orelia decided upon, but he will go along with it until he won't. (Just don't stand in his way when he is over the game.)
Orelia still feels the strong urge to constantly touch and hug others, especially her brother. I think she's dialed this back a bit, and Bennett has gotten more forgiving, because there are more moments like this these days.
At least one of Orelia's original baby pools is still floating around our house.
The top half has a hole somewhere and deflates quite easily, but I guess that's better than the bottom half.
The kids seem to mostly like the idea of these baby pools rather than getting in them anymore, so I haven't felt inclined to buy a new one yet.
The most peaceful moments in our house are when both kids want to pretend sleep together and play "cozy time." I hope this game never ends.
Our backyard "roller coaster" is getting more use this year than ever before, but the kids are now starting to think of new uses for it, like riding it backwards (as Orelia is doing here). Hopefully they won't try to use it like a skateboard and ride down standing up, at least until next year.
Bennett still loves food, as he always has, but in the past couple weeks he has been almost too busy playing to sit still and eat. Orelia must be going through a growth spurt lately because she's eating almost double her usual amount (one day last week she had three slices of peanut butter toast for breakfast and two peanut butter sandwiches for dinner - she probably won't eat peanut butter again for two months).
Orelia and her classmates hosted a tea party for the adults who worked in the classroom that year, and she loved giving me this flower arrangement, as she always loves giving away flowers from the garden or art she makes. She gets so much joy out of giving things to people, and it made me realize she and I both like to show our love this way.
I'm really crossing my fingers Orelia will be able to truly swim (safely) by the end of this summer.
Until then we can make use of our two sets of floaties.
I am so grateful Bennett will finally wear a floatie this year, so I don't have to follow six inches behind him anytime we are near a pool.
And knowing his personality, he will be a lot happier with me not following him around too - this kid likes his space and his independence.
Orelia's artwork at school is so different than most of her classmates. While most of them seem to diligently work hard drawing pictures of something specific, she seems content to just draw and experiment for fun. But then this weekend when she wanted to draw a monster and police officer (ha!) for a friend's birthday card, she could draw a face and arms and hands and fingers just fine (but she wanted me to draw the bodies and legs). Who knows what is going on here, but it seems like she "can" draw at least some of the things her peers can draw, she just mostly isn't interested in doing it. I like to say she likes abstract art and isn't into representational art. Time will tell, I guess.
My photography is improving, I think, and I've been getting a lot of compliments from the kids' classmates' parents (since I take photos of the kids at school), which means a lot to me.
Sometimes I have a strange worry that people's smart phones will soon take photos as well as my "real" camera.
But then I realize that even if that happens "soon," my "babies don't keep," so it's a good thing I know how to use my camera now.
While Bennett is often found playing "beach" with Orelia, she can also dabble in the world of cars and trucks with Bennett (like racing the trucks down the slide, above).
My mom knitted this scarf for Orelia maybe a year or two ago, and we had been using it as a belt until recently it became a bikini top. Fashion is the mother of invention?
Bennett can't swing on a swing yet properly, so until he cane I guess the kids can always do this together?
My neighbors have amazing roses in their front yard and I bribed my kids to take a photo with the roses one evening. This was the best photo I got, so I'm glad I used my bribe wisely...
And with that random brain dump, blogging commentary, and random assortment of photos, I am now officially caught up on blogging. Except, of course, I haven't uploaded the photos I've taken from the past 12 hours or so, in which case I guess I'll never be up to date.
I apologize for the scatter-brained post, but it's my little piece of the internet anyway, I suppose, and I can do what I want.