Wow! What a year! Jaxon's kindergarten year started and ended so quickly I barely was able to stay on top of life enough to enjoy the middle of it :) To say the least, we had a GREAT year! I was really blown away with how great the transition went. I don't know what my expectations were exactly, but in the end they were far exceeded...whatever they were. We love our little neighborhood school. I have so many great things I want to remember about this year...
1. From the beginning the principal and our teacher were so open to our non-traditional way of doing the first year in the public school. Keeping Jaxon home on Wednesday's was something we really believed was best for him. I had prepared myself to have to really stand my ground with the staff in this area. From day 1 they were nothing but positive, encouraging, helpful, flexible, and supportive. I was impressed with the professionalism and respect as the parent that they showed us. First impressions have a big influence on people... I was already loving who we had to work with!!
2. First day of kindergarten... not nearly as emotional as I planned for. Something about spending the year before praying for Jaxon, the school, his teachers, and the transition for me made the first day of school a celebration. I can not explain to you my heart that day. While I was sad a chapter was closing for having my son home with me so much, I knew this was right. I could feel it and felt so much peace about this day. He was ready and we had made the right decision to send him. I walked away feeling a little proud myself. As a mom I often feel like I don't do enough. The first day of school I really felt like we had done something right by being with him the few years before school began to really tune into him and prepare him for this day. He was ready and without knowing it, so was I.
3. Jaxon's teacher. I can not say enough. Love her! Jaxon, as you know, is FULL of energy! I knew it would take a fun and light hearted person to embrace Jaxon as a student. Not that he would clash with other type people, but he would love school more with someone who just rolled with him a bit. He loved his teacher, his classmates, and his principal. Mrs. Eller not only was a great teacher, but I really respect her as mom too. Knowing our boy was with her over 6 hours each day made me feel safe, joyful, and reassured that he was in very good hands. She was fun, yet structured. She made the class environment feel happy, bright, fun, and comfortable. If you ask me, she made the year for us in so many ways!!! Thank goodness for answered prayers!!!
4. Jaxon did so many firsts this year... even little things like walking up to the building in the morning by himself. I won't lie. It felt weird to just let him out of the van to head up by himself, but he didn't need me. At least not right by his side. I usually sat in the van and waited until I saw him get in line or find some buddies to play with before school. I tried to use this time to send an extra prayer his way, for the school, and for his day. It felt weird to not know how he spent every minute, but I felt confidant he was doing just fine without me...most the time :)
5. Jaxon became a reader this year! whoo-hoo! I can not believe how he has just taken off in this area. I love to read and I really hope my kids embrace the same hobby. Jaxon is reading like a champ and we are already having fun cruising through Junie B. books and new books from the library.
6. Jaxon made some new friends. How fun! His class was a really great group of kids and we enjoyed getting to know some of the parents and seeing some new faces at our house. It is so wonderful to see your kids making friends, being a friend, and naturally just connecting with peers. What a healthy and great way to begin relationships.
7. Of course, we've had some laughs this year as well... I mean it is the Hansen household here! I will never forget Jaxon getting the Character Counts: Responsibility award and 1 week later bringing home fruit snacks he'd stolen with another boy from the teacher! Dave & I still chuckle over that one. In all fairness, Jaxon was a little clueless to the nature of the whole thing... but he quickly learned. Good times, good times.
8. I finally gave in to Jaxon wearing non-matching socks. For someone who can not even sleep without matching pajama top & bottoms this was huge! Like his dad, Jaxon has developed the trait of grabbing non-matching socks. Drives me crazy, but what the heck. By 2nd semester Jaxon wore non-matching socks everyday. Then spring came, which brought shorts season. I tried and tried again, but he didn't seem to care. So if you are reading this Jaxon does have a mother. She just chooses her battles and matching socks on my kids isn't one of them anymore, I guess.
9. Volunteering! Being able to volunteer in the classroom a bit was awesome for me. I loved seeing Jaxon in his class. I loved getting to know the other students. I loved getting familiar with the building. I loved watching Jaxon's teacher in action. I loved doing some "school work" again. (kind of made me miss the classroom a bit :) It was important to me that Jaxon's teacher felt supported by our family and volunteering was a great way to pass on that we care about her, her classroom, and the school our kid attends. It also gave me many opportunities to get plugged into my son's "school life".
10. I was a little overwhelmed with the whole school experience thing on the parent level in some ways... PTA, lunch accounts, gym shoes, library books, where to pick up, when to call in, early out plans, and everything in between. I decided before school started to just get my feet wet in the parent area and then maybe try some new things out. PTA bumper stickers on my van are still a few years out for me yet I think :)
11. I am that mom who loves to bake cookies and have them ready on the table for after school. I will admit it. Go ahead, make fun of me. I love it though!
12. Jaxon's first walk to school experience was with his Great Aunt Janelle. What a treat. It was so fun to watch her walk Jaxon to school on a crisp spring morning. So big.
13. One thing I intentionally really wanted to do was be the last one to see Jaxon off in the morning and the first one that greeted him. This proved to be so important. Turns out, Jaxon is the most honest about how he is feeling right before you get to school in the van. Many honest emotions came right before school on a variety of days. I'm so thankful I am the one who got to drive him there and hear this and talk through these things with him. Also, I learned that Jaxon is MOST descriptive about his day right after school on the way home. Being able to pick him up and talk through his day is priceless. I can never create that time again and doing whatever it took to get my other kids in the van to pick him up for that 6 minute window of sharing each day was SO worth it. I'd do it all over again, freezing temps or scorching heat.
14. Hot school lunches. Thought I'd be a cold lunch mom everyday. Nope. Jaxon developed a taste for school lunches. Wow. It's all I can say. (say, when is the school district going to adopt NU High's school menu!?!? :-) Wishful thinking, right :)
15. A few of Jaxon's fave's this year... PE, basketball at recess, math, reading groups, cupcake snacks, seeing Jenny at school, Eli, Cooper, Gabe, Gabe, and JT, Mrs Eller, field trips, not getting his clothes pin moved, being VIP, special meals after conferences, Mr. Bartlett, Christmas break, and Fun Fair.
16. I know this is getting long, but I just have to end with... I now have a 1st grader. We've been having fun reading Junie B books and one is titled "A 1st Grader, At Last". If you've been around Jaxon lately you know he says this with as much enthusiasm and proudness as Junie B herself. Congrats Jaxon. You made it!
Kindergarten was awesome!! We are so thankful for the great experience with our school, staff, and parents. 1st grade...here we come!!!
Would love to have you all join us for the Ben Ricketts Memorial Fund Benefit Event! See details below ::
(Ben is the little chipmunk in green!)
This is a family friendly, all-ages event.
Bring the kids! There will be food available for purchase.
Cost: $5/person or $15/family donation
There will be live music provided by local musicians including some from Heartland Vineyard Church. More details on the music coming soon...
Join us at The HuB in Cedar Falls (Main St area) on Saturday, June 12 from 2-7pm for a time of joyous fellowship. We will be raising money for the Ben Ricketts Memorial Fund. Ben was 23 months old when he passed away last month. He helped inspire thousands of people. Prayers for him and his family came from across the nation. Visit his story here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/benjaminricketts
For those that cannot be there on Saturday but would like to donate to Ben's Memorial Fund here is the information:
Veridian Credit Union
1827 Ansborough Ave
Waterloo, IA 50701
Checks Payable to: Ben Ricketts Memorial