Saturday, July 25, 2015

Our Graduate

Alright, I hate this picture of me, but don't Molly and Eric look adorable?

Molly graduated from Grade 7 in June. It's a big step in our family, seeing our oldest bird fly out of the elementary school nest. She's enjoyed some tremendous growth over the course of this academic year. That's due in large part to this guy:

Mr. Bartlett has had a huge and very positive impact on Moll. Every once in a while, the right teacher comes into your life at the right time. This is very good luck when it happens. For the first time in a long time, Molly had a teacher she wanted to make happy. Over the course of the year, her desire to please him morphed into a desire to please herself. Her standards for her own work changed. As a parent, this was pretty thrilling to see. There will be more academic bumps on her road (we all have to face them), but this hugely important transitional year was a true success for Molly. Her hard work and Mr. Bartlett's guidance and mentorship combined to create something terrific.

Here's Molly's graduation class:

Their brilliant grad poster:

A lovely shot of Moll:

The kids' school is a very special place. It's small and very family-feeling. Two of the teachers who were important in these kids' lives who have since retired, Mrs. Miles (Grade 2 teacher) and Mrs. Berney (teacher/librarian) returned to celebrate with them.

Molly and Lucie:

Mr. Woo, the principal, delivered a remarkable speech. A combination of words of wisdom and Taylor Swift lyrics, it was right on the mark.

Every student stood up to speak. Their speeches varied in length and tone, but it was amazing to see each kid stand up with a baby picture behind them...and then with poise and confidence, a short speech.

Molly's was just perfect. I was so very proud seeing her there.

Mr. Bartlett offered the kids a beautiful parting lesson and they all sat, rapt and attentive to this final offering.

And there it was, over. Elementary school ended with a couple of handshakes and wise words.

As a parent, we hope to steer our kids through this world with a minimum of pain and heartache and a maximum of moments just like this one. Moments of culmination. Moments to savour achievement and celebrate progress.

I hope we have lots of these to come. But in the meantime, this was just perfect.

And there she goes, into the future.

And with that sweet smile, her natural optimism, her humour and can we not stand in this moment and shake our heads at the time that's passed, the girl that's growing and the woman on the horizon. Bravo, Molly. Bravo.

Kingston to Seattle

Our sweet Lukey loves being on the boat. He doesn't love being on a moving boat quite as much. He's such a great little trooper. Never, ever complaining, when we are underway, he usually sleeps. The majority of the time. 

Here's Lukey on a moving boat:

Good thing being in port is so much fun that it makes up for it!

The Albin gathering was great. Kingston was a lovely surprise. I had never heard of it, but it's a charming little village and the marina was ideally located for wandering through town and checking our the little restaurants and cafes.

We met and re-met some Albin owners and enjoyed some great food (a ciopinno chock full of seafood on the first night and a full pig roast on the second night).

There was this view to enjoy:

Our first morning, we walked up to the little creperie on the main street for coffee (for me) and crepes for this hungry beasts.

These crepes were devoured.

Plus, in being in this adorable little spot, I realized Molly has the same strange issue I have. When somewhere lovely, she feels the need to repeat how much she likes it and how much she wants to come back. Like me, just being there doesn't seem like enough. It's the feeling of wanted to roll around in the beauty.

I get it, too.

The Marina at Kingston was great. They had hot, free showers, free wifi and even these little electric cars to run up to the grocery store. We took one for a joyride. It was awesome.

We had a great lunch on the second day at The Filling Station. True to its name, we were stuffed by the time we walked out of there.

We left lunch in a rush to get to the TINY local movie theatre, just in time to watch the Minion movie. I have never had a theatre experience quite like that.

Below is a picture of the screen. It. Was. Small. The guy at the front gave a little talk at the start that was...informal. It was a bit like watching a movie in a friend's basement. Hilarious. Even the bottom of the movie was cut off by the small screen. Still, at $8 a ticket, I can't complain.

A trip in the electric car to get a pint of truly excellent ice cream: half Lemon Bar and half raspberry sorbet. All delicious.

The brown bag in Molly's lap is full of salt water taffy. I gave the kids $1 each and they could choose 10 taffys.

This caused quite a bit of excitement.

Finny's cotton candy, mid-chew!

And here's a great view of our little boat. She did a great job getting us around safely. As I type this, she is sitting tied up at the Tyee Yacht Club in Seattle, waiting for Dad to pick her up tomorrow morning.

Sunday morning, we had a quick motor across the marina at Shilshole to await Eric. When he arrived,  we transferred his stuff in and Dad and Finny's out. I drove them to the bus terminal in Seattle and then came back to the Marina where Eric and the kids were having a quick visit with Eric's former coach, Bruce Enns, who now lives in Bremerton. Lukey had a memorable, but non-bloggable moment near the fountain in the marina...

...then we drove into Seattle to scope out our next stop and to have a quick swim in a little park on Lake Union.

We met a nice couple and their dog Bambi (who destroyed the frisbee in Lukey's hand).

The next morning, we left Shilshole. The kids and Eric motored up through the lock and made their way to Seward Park to anchor. I drove to meet them.

They were already in the water when I arrived with groceries.

I walked along the shore and they dinghy-ed in to meet me.

It was a boiling day, so within minutes, I was swimming, too.

All around the park, three families of little ducklings made the rounds to visits all the boats for crumbs. Molly was entranced! She fed them so much that they started to swim up regularly and quack for some Molly love.

The never went away empty-beaked.

We barely left the boat for two days.

Our days and evenings were spend like this:

Lots of swimming. Lots of reading.

On our last night, we drove into Seattle to go to the Cheesecake Factory and went to the late show of Jurassic World. At 12:45, we parked at Seward again and took a moonlit, late-night dinghy back to our boat by flashlight. Memorable, to say the least.