Saturday, November 28, 2015

Allyson's Blessed Year

I have a few moments tonight, so I thought I'd share some long overdue Allyson stories. Here we are starting the Christmas season, and I realize I never even posted her first-day-of-school pictures.

This year we tried something new for school clothes shopping: we visited a couple of resale shops. Allyson was a little reluctant at first, but I told her our budget was a little limited this year due to all my medical bills over the spring and summer. This way we could get a lot more for our money. When we got to the first one, she was like a kid in a candy shop. She couldn't stop exclaiming over all the bargains. We each walked out with a giant armload of clothes--all the brands she loves--for under a hundred dollars. Ka-ching! During our bedtime prayers that night, Allyson sweetly thanked God for blessing us with all these clothes.

For the first day of school, she put together several of her "new" pieces, including some super cute boots that we got from the teen resale shop. (Like me, Allyson has been blessed with giant clodhoppers and has already grown into women's shoe sizes.)

I was a little nervous about the long sequined tank with the short jean vest, but Allyson was perfectly confident in her ability to accessorize. Good thing, because she's not going to get much help from me in that department. Same with hair styling, I'm afraid. Not to worry, Allyson finds all the help she needs on YouTube.

On the big morning, everything came together beautifully, as you can see. Allyson even had time to put her hair in a high bun, following a step-by-step tutorial she found online.

Can you believe how grown up she is? 

Allyson and sweet Ellie

Allyson and her friends Jacob and Morgan,
enjoying First Day Ice Cream loaded down with tons of toppings.
Her bun was still up after a long day. 

Entrepreneurial Skills
Allyson has become quite the entrepreneur, which sometimes means a lot of work for me. All through the summer, she kept begging to set up a lemonade stand, but it was way too hot for that. She finally wore me down at the end of September. She wanted to raise money to rent a GoPro helmet camera for our upcoming 25-mile bike event, the Pineywoods Purgatory, but she ended up spending the money on something else.

She and Ellie made chocolate cookies from scratch the night before. Helping them get those ooey-gooey cookies wrapped up securely was torment for me. I couldn't even lick my fingers afterward because chocolate is one of my most intense food sensitivities. I could have cried, they smelled so good. But I'm learning to enjoy just smelling good food sometimes. I tell myself, It's okay. I can eat some later (way later). 

The lemonade stand was a big success. The only problem was that we ran out of lemonade before we ran out of customers, so we had to turn a few people away. Early on, a police officer on a bicycle gave us a scare when he rode up to check out our setup. Allyson and I both figured he was going to shut us down for not having a permit. Instead, he chatted with us about the best place to train for riding uphill and then bought four cookies and some lemonade, which he awkwardly carried away on his bike.

Little Anchorwoman
As an upperclassman--a fourth grader--Allyson was finally eligible to shoot for her dream: to be on the news team that delivers the daily announcements. When she auditioned, she was very nervous but even more excited. On the night before the tryouts, she prayed that God would help her do her best and that He would help her to accept the outcome no matter how it went. "But I'd really love to do this!" she added. She also prayed that God would comfort all the kids who tried out and didn't make it.

I can't remember how many kids tried out for the 12 slots, but I think over 50. I was so proud of my girl when she got selected! For the entire year, her team of four will present the announcements every third week. On the team, they take turns manning the camera, running the computer, and presenting the news with a co-anchor.

Here she is on the morning of her debut, three long weeks into the school year.

 Allyson has been a busy girl this year. In addition to her morning news team duty, she has to get to school very early twice a week for the Tfadzwa marimba ensemble. She was excited to be chosen for this group, which was what sparked Ethan's interest in percussion and gave him the skills to be such a success in marching band. I have yet to hear Allyson play, but she assures me she's doing well.

Allyson is also in art club after school each week and will be starting Tech Ninjas in the spring semester. This after-school club learns computer programming and also serves as I.T. support for the teachers. I think it's funny that kids are so much more savvy than their teachers in this area. I certainly can use both of my kids' help when it comes to technology, especially with cell phones.

Soccer keeps her busiest of all, with two practices a week, Sunday games, and occasional tournaments that last all weekend. This semester she's had to drop gymnastics, which makes her sad, but she couldn't continue to do both.

Grandparents' Day
Every year, Allyson looks forward to Grandparents' Day. My mom spends the night with us, and they walk to school together for breakfast. Afterward, Mom walks her to class.

I think this was 2014. Dad came too, that time.
(Those purple spots are beet stains.)
Best Surprise Ever
This year, Grandma was scheduled for surgery on the week of Grandparents' Day, and Allyson was bitterly disappointed that she couldn't be there. Like her mama, she is very attached to traditions. "But we always go to Grandparents' Day together," she lamented.  "We've never missed a year since Kindergarten."

"I know, baby," I soothed. "But it can't be helped. Grandma can't reschedule the surgery."

A couple of weeks before the sad day, Bill informed me that Allyson's Nana was coming down from Canada to surprise Allyson for Grandparents' Day. She'd be arriving the night before, and they would come knock on our door that morning.

Oh, it was hard to keep that wonderful secret for two weeks, but I wouldn't have spoiled it for the world. Allyson sighed several more times over not having a grandparent at Grandparents' Day, and each time I had to turn my head to hide the grin I could not suppress.

On the special morning, I faced a big challenge. I had to motivate my very blue girl to move quickly so she'd be ready 30 minutes early when Daddy and Nana came. And I had to do this without letting Allyson know that we were early.

I managed to get her up early without too much difficulty, but it was nearly impossible to make her hurry. I just kept prodding and prodding. "You don't want to be late," I said honestly. Luckily, she was too dazed to glance at a clock.

She was ready in the nick of time. At 7:15 on the nose, a knock sounded at the door.

"Who could that be?" Allyson wondered. "Maybe Ellie?"

I grinned. "Let's open it and see."

Oh, I wish you could've seen her shock, and my smile. My eyes filled with tears, and I think Nana's eyes were wet, too.

I gave Nana a quick hug and a kiss, and they were off. I skulked along a block behind and tried to get a decent picture with my crappy cell phone camera.

Fortunately, a professional took a picture at the breakfast.

On the day Allyson brought the picture home from school, I phoned Nana and told her this is the most beautiful picture I've ever seen of her. "It's love," I said. "Love makes you beautiful."

"Yes, it does," she agreed.

I know they will both remember that sweet surprise always.

Dr. Who Halloween
I was not at all surprised this year when Allyson chose Cyberman, a Dr. Who character, for her Halloween costume. She has been hooked on that show ever since the summer. When she told me her elaborate plans for a costume, I advised her to talk to Daddy about that since he is a Dr. Who fan, too.

Daddy definitely came through for her. It took them a couple of weeks to get everything they needed, but they had it all together with a couple of weeks to spare. They bought a retro-looking mask, a silver lame body suit that only a nine-year-old could get by wearing, and some hightops that they found at Goodwill and spray painted. Daddy drew the emblem on the front with a Sharpie marker.

To make it legal for Storybook Character Day at school, Allyson had to bring a book along. She found the perfect comic book featuring Cyberman.

She wore the costume three times altogether, and perhaps three people recognized her character. She was tickled to find the true Dr. Who fans out there, both young and old. And all of the uninformed thought that her "robot" costume was pretty cool.

Veteran's Day Parade
This year, Allyson's school planned a Veteran's Day parade for parents, grandparents, and loved ones. We were thrilled that Dad was able to come. He came over the afternoon before, and we had a daddy-daughter date night. I took him out for steak, and I got to eat some too. Yay!!

We had a great talk, and we brought back over half of the food to enjoy for lunch the next day.

Bill brought Allyson over early the next morning, dressed in red, white, and blue and carrying a flag. She took Grandpa's hand and walked to school with him.

The veterans paraded through all the halls, and when they got to Allyson's homeroom, she got to join Grandpa for the rest of the procession into the cafeteria. They had snacks together and posed for a picture.
This makes my heart so glad!
Grandpa walked her back to class and then walked back home. On his way back, a couple of drivers stopped to thank him for his service. I could see that he felt very, very honored. He said that he was the oldest veteran, but there was another Korean War vet there, and they had enjoyed visiting.

Last week, Allyson's counselor stopped me in the crosswalk after school to tell me how impressed she'd been with the way she looked after her Grandpa. Mrs. C. said that Allyson made sure he was served before herself, and that she took away his tray and threw away his trash for him. "She is the sweetest girl," she concluded.

"Yes, she is," I agreed. "I want to be like her when I grow up."

So now you're caught up on Allyson's school year. Hasn't it been a blessed one?


Paul Safyan said...

A wonderful recap of the school year so far. Who, but you, could make all of these events important and prized in this way!

Sarah said...

Thank you, Paul!


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