Monday, May 16, 2016

School's Out For The Summer

As we carefully unpacked the last of her artwork from her backpack this year, Kyle and I sat back to reflect on another really great year at preschool, especially the past two weeks.

Grace loves playing at preschool!
Last week was the annual St. Louis Zoo field trip, which is always one of our very favorite places.  The preschool charters two buses for families, and the last two years, Kyle and I have both taken the day off work to go with Grace.  Since this year's trip was on a Thursday, Kyle's mom brought our nephew, Quincy, and his brother, Shane along for the trip, and we met them there.

Hanging out with Grandma Kim, Uncle Kyle and Quincy at the zoo.
Daddy and Grace hanging out with the sea lions.
The bus leaves the church at 7:45 a.m., which means an earlier morning than usual for us, but we made it.  I even fed Grace her breakfast on the bus, which worked out very well.  We stuck her stroller under the bus, and looked forward to a fun day in the sun.

We ran into Hazel and her family at the zoo!
Grace and Mommy like Big Cat Country!
Shortly after we arrived at the zoo, we found the rest of Kyle's family, and headed for Kyle's new favorite exhibit, the polar bear!  The only drawback of getting up so early that day, was that Grace was pretty tired by the time we got to the zoo.  She managed to give a few smiles to Uncle Shane, but then she fussed for most of the rest of our morning at the zoo.  

Grace and her friend, Mia at the zoo!
Grace fell asleep on the zoo train!
Since Grace and Quincy both love the train, we opted for a train ride around the park, and within minutes, Grace was asleep on my lap.  She slept for most of the rest of the zoo trip, but we still enjoyed walking around looking at all the animals and sharing lunch with Grandma Kim and Quincy.

Watch out for that shark!!
Got a quick photo with Kenna before we left the zoo!
After leaving the zoo, the preschool classes stopped at a nearby park for a quick picnic lunch, and all too soon, it was time to head for home again.  While we hated that Grace was so tired during the trip, we were glad to share the experience with our preschool families.

Gracie and her friends at our picnic in the park!
Hudson and Cody held Grace for the group photo.
Then, this week, marked the final three days of preschool. Tuesday night was Moving Up ceremony for the morning class. Grace was part of the program last year, and it's always a really great time.

Grace just smiled during the songs for the program.
This year, Grace sat with her aide, Alex, in a rocking chair, and just loved the music.  Although she was more able to participate last year, like trying to sign Jesus Loves Me with her class, this spring, she really enjoyed the music. And absolutely loved sharing the stage with Alex.  The kids sang some of their favorite songs, like "If I Were a Butterfly" and "Wiggle Praise," and they recited their shapes, colors and numbers. 

Grace got her Moving Up sash from Mrs. Brown.
At the conclusion of the program, each child got a Moving Up sash, a Bible and a certificate from her teachers and Pastor Joy. Each student had a chance to talk into the microphone to say what they are thankful for and what they want to be when they grow up.  It was a little bittersweet for me, as her teacher said she thought Grace was thankful for her family and her friends and her teachers, and that she would probably want to keep on being the sweet little girl that she is. 

Grace and her class after the program.
Sometimes, I miss all the cute little kid sayings, and wish Grace could tell me things. However, as the tears welled up in my eyes, I started looking at Grace and watching her smile and her teachers. I know she's right where she needs to be, and I'm so proud of her for all that she accomplishes in her own way.

Hanging out with Grace's fan club after the program.
After the program, there were only two days left of school. I couldn't be there on the very last day, so I stopped by early on the second to last day and watched the kids play in the playroom. It warmed my heart to see how many of her friends stopped to play with Grace. One friend brought her the play phone, while another two had a puppet show for her.  These kids don't see any limitations when they look at Grace. Instead, they see my sweet little girl, who loves when her friends come and talk to her and play with her.  We hope to have some play date get togethers this summer too!

Hudson brought Grace a Minnie Mouse apron and a tiara!
Grace and her friends, Kenna and Dahlia, on the last day of school.
I was worried about sending Grace to school last fall because she was so far behind all her classmates. But these past two years have been some of our best memories, especially the youngsters who call Grace their friend.  I just love hearing the stories from moms about how much their kids love Grace and that they pray for her. We are so grateful for her teachers, her friends and their families for adopting us and being part of our Grace-Filled Journey. We can't wait for next fall!


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