Lessons from the 29th Week

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Lesson #1: getting out in nature is not overrated. After weeks of rain and snow, we were finally able to go hiking with our friends from Wild + Free Great Smoky Mountains. Super nice: the nature, the fresh air, the fellowship, the picnic. It was 46F, which is much better than the 36F we endured during our last hike in January.

Hiking

Looking for a picnic spot

The kids love being out in nature. They run around like lambs, staying on the path, but sometimes going ahead of the adults. We manage to keep an eye on them by sending somebody to run and tell them to slow down.

Face Paint

She loves to paint her face with rocks from the river.

We see the same usual friends, but now and then a family we have not seen in a long time pop into town and they come along. So we get a bit of a variety. This week we hiked the Alum Cave Trail, but only to Arch Rock. It was not a difficult hike up to that point. It gets steeper and harder from then on, but we stopped.

 

Birthday Girl

The other major lesson of the week was that children grow up. (Duh.) Even the baby in our family turned 10 this week. With mixed feelings, we prepared for her birthday party. She invited some friends over, we had pizza and cake, they played for six hours, and great fun was had by all. Sigh. They do grow up fast, don’t they?

Birthday Girl

Unicorn cake – and just like that, she is 10

Where is my baby girl? My kindergartner who could read but could not sit still for five minutes? She is in fourth grade now, participating in middle school events like Science Olympiad, earning a blue belt in taekwondo, playing with the youth symphony on stage at the Tennessee Theater, and giving me so much joy, it hurts.

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Lessons from the Fourth Week

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The fourth week went by smoothly. The children had auditions for Knoxville Youth Symphony Orchestras on Monday. The results came in on Wednesday and, sure enough, they reached their goals. Our daughter wanted to stay in the same orchestra, but move from Second Violin to the First Violin section. She did. She instinctively knew the next orchestra would be too hard. Well, not just instinctively. She also knew from experience.

Mom and Kids at Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome, Observation Tower

Last summer, during string camp, she tried the next orchestra level up. She kept up, but barely. She prefers a more relaxed environment and we respect that. In fact, her violin teacher said this shows a rare form of insight for a nine-year-old, and also recommended we let our daughter go at her own pace. Continue reading »

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