Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Optimism & Turkey

I believe I've mentioned on the blog before that Kennedy goes to a charter school and more specifically she goes to a character charter school. Basically, they emphasize a core set of character values and it's taught in all that they do and encouraged in every way possible. Well, the kids and staff are able to be named at regularly occurring assemblies as exemplifying the character trait that they are currently learning about and working on. In Kindergarten, the teachers voted but from 1st grade up the students are voted on and chosen by their peers. In February, Kennedy was chosen from her 2nd grade class as showing Optimism. Optimism is defined as follows: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. 

We are proud of Kennedy all the time, but when you get a call from the school saying she's been chosen by her peers as exemplifying any of her school's character traits - it takes the proud factor up a notch, you know? 
 These assemblies are so fun because the school notifies you ahead of time, but the student has no idea. They read this little letter that has things the winners peers said about them,  supporting why they thought he/she should be chosen for that character trait and then they say their name and you bust out from behind a curtain. It's just really cool.  
 It's a huge amount of fan fair for my wee introvert to take in but she did pretty good. Look how sweet her class was when they all returned to the room - she got bum rushed for a congratulatory hug. The best!
 Oh her first grade teachers. We miss them so. They were the perfect blend of structure and tenderness. I could tell they were just as pleased for my girl as I was. Love that. 
 Nana and Pawpaw were able to be there for the big surprise which was so nice. Now that they've moved here, they'll be there for any more of these in the future! 
 Here is what her teacher read aloud before calling her name. 
It reads:
"She always has a smile on her face."
"She has a good attitude in school."
"She believes in her friends". 

Let me just tell you that when you're the parent and you're hiding behind that black curtain and the whole place is silent and you're hearing those words spoken about your precious's just too much. Both last year and this year I felt like I deserved a medallion for not ugly crying when I came through the curtain to congratulate her. I mean, honestly. It's just precious. 

Thanksgiving 2015 was an interesting one. My sisters and I strategically alternate holidays with our in-laws and our immediate family so that when one of us is at our in-laws, we are all at our in-laws...meaning that when it's "our family's turn" we are all together. So far that schedule has worked really well for us and thus it continues. 

Well, now that the Taylor's are living in NC full time they will likely join my family for some portion of the holiday events. We'll be figuring that out over the next few holidays. It was not to be figured out for this particular holiday though because it was their "turn" to have us for Thanksgiving but they had a wedding to attend in WV the weekend prior and since they were half way to my Mother In-laws parents in IN they went ahead and made the full trip after ensuring that our feelings wouldn't be hurt if they did so. 

So: since my Mom was to be flying solo since my sisters and I were all to be with our in-laws, she and I coordinated a Thanksgiving meal to be had at our house and we were planning to go and get Grandma from the nursing home to join us as well. Well, my Mom's husband Jim got sick a few days before so we were down one major eating contributor :). He (very considerately) bowed out of the Turkey Day Dinner as to not infect Grandma (thinking she likely couldn't handle a sickness). Well, come Thanksgiving morning Tim was on his way to pick Grandma when she calls him and tells him not to come because she's sick. Moral of the story: we had TONS of food, very few adults eating and several picky children. Awesome! Oh well. Leftover city - here we came. The ironic thing is, I made a very specific menu with Grandma in mind because she can only eat certain types of foods. We had lots of leftovers that Grandma would love. No worries though - we managed to eat them all. 

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, the kids and I made our annual tradition turkey cookies. These are so easy and the kids have so much fun making them. 

 I just stuck this picture in here to keep it real. Allowing kids to help = a hot mess kitchen and it's all good. 

 Good of Ave, not of Grey.
 Not good of Ave, good of Grey. 
What are you gonna do? 
Put both pics in the post and call it a day!
 And now for Turkey Day pics. I really didn't get tons of pics of the food/table, but I did manage to get a few pictures and that's impressive in and of itself really. 
 I kept it simple this year. I provided macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, sweet tea, cranberry relish and pecan pie. All three of my sides I prepped in crock pots so it was easy peasy. 

 I flipped Micah's birthday pumpkins backwards and re-purposed them for holding pictures of Thanksgivings past. So fun!

 It was really neat looking at how much had changed over the years. I would love to re-create this somehow every year. It was neat. 
 Pumpkin 2009 was ready to be done with it's position on the mantle. Ew. 
 This beautiful thing was the most challenging piece of my Thanksgiving contribution. Who knew pie crusts and pecan pies could be so difficult. The pie was delicious in the end but it did evoke a certain about of frenzy and stress in the preparatory process. 
 The decision to make pecan pie - it was totally because Grandma said it was her favorite. Ha! We took her several slices and she personally called me a few days later to tell me how delicious it was. Score! 
Another Thanksgiving in the books!

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