Thursday, July 6, 2017

MOJO Marimba Band

AnnMarie was a proud member of Cottonwood Elementary's MOJO Marimba Band this past school year. The music teacher there, Mr. Doug Edwards, begins teaching students the marimba at an early age. As the students mature and develop their skills, he invites a certain amount of them to participate in the 4th grade MOJO marimba band which rehearses twice a week before school starts. The literal meaning of MOJO is magic spell. These kids were phenomenal -- and I don't use that word lightly! Mr. Edwards arranges and composes most of their music which is an inspiration in and of itself. He truly had an impact on our daughter, and we are so grateful for the opportunity she had to be a part of this group.

Performances included a Christmas Concert, The Leprechaun Dash (a 1-mile kid's run along the river side prior to St. Patrick's Day), the End-of-School-Year Carnival, a Community Mallet Festival, a tour performing at several elementary schools throughout the Spokane Valley, and a Final Concert.

We'd tease AnnMarie about "getting her marimba on" because she really knew how to rock it! The tour was especially rewarding to be able to go on as a family and see the looks on all the kids' faces when the band started playing! It was amazing -- and quite touching, actually. Way to go, Badgers! We were so happy to see AnnMarie shine through this experience.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Joy School 2016-2017

Last summer when we were trying to decide on the best pre-school option for Gabe, a friend contacted me about joining the Joy School group she was putting together for her son and a few other kids. I had heard about Joy School before through one of my favorite websites (Values Parenting), and I remember a childhood friend raving about how her mom did it when she was little, but I wasn't really sure what it was all about -- or if I'd even have the energy to host and teach some of the units with everything else I had going on in my life!

Lo and behold, it turned out to be a wonderful fit for me and Gabe! The units are based on the book, Teaching Your Children Joy. The whole idea is to give kids a social and emotional head start in life, as opposed to an academic one. I was able to teach the units "The Joy of the Body," "The Joy of Wonder," and "The Joy of Family." Each unit ended with a special gathering or field trip involving us moms.

It was so fun to see the boys feel completely safe being silly, experience the joy in serving others, and discover the possibilities of imagination. All-in-all, I loved how special Gabe felt every time he'd come home from Joy School, and I especially enjoyed overhearing him sing the songs he'd learned!

Earlier this spring when I was encouraging the kids to get ready for Carlie's softball game, I heard a few grumbles...and then Gabe started singing, "I cheer for sister, she cheers for me... Because we are a FAMILY!!" I went into the living room to see Gabe getting his shoes on so he could go and support his sister. It certainly taught him some important life lessons.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Gabe is 5

I need to take a moment and gush over Gabe for a minute. He turned 5 years old last week, and I can't seem to get over that little fact.

Honestly, I tend to worry about this one...because he worries so much (hmmm...I wonder where he gets that from), but he is such an articulate little boy, and I've really enjoyed learning from him this past year. I often marvel that I get to be his mom. He's doing better more all the time with sharing his toys and finding joy in helping. He has a hearty laugh that seems to get attention wherever we go.

AND the fact that his eyelashes are longer than any fake eyelash extensions I've ever seen -- naturally makes him a wonder, I say.

I love you, son.