Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The End of Middle School

So my first born has had a lot of firsts (and lasts) lately and if I don't write about it, did it ever really happen?  Deep thoughts, I know.  So here we go...

John-Paul got hired for a job a while ago, but just started working at the ice cream shop last week.  He has one 4 hour shift a week, which seems to be all he can handle at one time.  Oh how his feet ached and his hands were prunes after washing 100 buckets that first day!  (I couldn't help but giggle over his first taste of hard work...what would you farm families think?!?)  We all couldn't help but giggle over the size XXXL shirt they gave him:

A smaller one should come in next month.  Heehee!

Those wrinkles ain't nothin' to be scared of
They're just a product of time and true love
Some are gonna come and go
Some are gonna come and stay
Son, you're still young, you're gonna be ok.

Love me some old school Diamond Rio :)

Anyway, the job came just in time as his retainer saga continues.  Did I mention that he lost his retainer two weeks after he got it?  I called to make an appointment for a new one and they said it would cost $400 and I was so upset, even though JP was going to take his life savings to pay for it.  When we got the replacement retainer, they charged $100.  What a relief, but still, lesson learned, right?


A week later, he accidentally tossed his retainer out with his lunch remnants in the trash can.  He picked through the trash with a friend and the Assistant Principal and they found it.  So embarrassing!   He wrote the Asst. Principal a Thank You note.   Lesson definitely learned, right?

Wrong again.

The very next day, he lost it again.

I can't even because what are the odds?

(I'm pretty proud of that math joke right up there)

Anyway, he never found it, even though it caused a major spring cleaning of our house (bonus) and some much anticipated friend time was taken away.  He just had the appointment today to get the new retainer, and so all his graduation money went towards that.  Lesson finally learned?

We shall see.

The irony of the whole thing is that he wants to be an orthodontist when he grows up!

But back to the weekend's festivities.  Friday was their big field trip to Lake Compounce.  Phil went with him and captured this video.  Looks like a scary fun time?!?!

On Saturday, I left Phil home with a sick Andrew, the last of the children to get the stomach bug that had been passed around through the week, and took Maggie with me to decorate the elementary school gym for the 8th Grade Celebration that night.

Don't fly away!!

The theme was Seasons, and the parents put in so many hours of meetings, shopping, crafting, and decorating to make magic happen.  The place looked amazing.  This was to be a semi formal dinner dance for the eighth graders...their first and last dance of middle school.  They were psyched.  JP even got a new outfit.  (tie pants shirt)  Side note, I'm so happy to have mostly boys when it comes to things like this.  The girls looked beautiful, but so much more time and planning went into their dresses, shoes, hair appointments, makeup, nails, jewelry.  JP took a shower and shaved.  Badaboom.

Then they changed into caps and gowns for their Baccalaureate Mass.

My Dad told him to stop looking so serious!

JP read the First Reading, and did great, complete with his signature smirk at the end.  I did great too, not one tear made its way down my cheek :)

They changed out of their caps and gowns and walked down to the school to see the surprise celebration waiting for them.  First up was a slide show, then everybody was forced out so just the 8th graders could enjoy their dinner and dance in peace.  

I asked JP if he danced with any girls and he said "Yeah, lots."  I asked whom he asked to dance, and he said "Nobody, they asked me".  D'oh.  Gotta teach that boy some dance manners!  To be fair this is a great friendly class, and they all just seem to have fun together.

Side note #2, I had prayed to God all day on Friday, while I was at home with two sick kids, that He wouldn't allow me to have the stomach bug until after the Baccalaureate Mass so I wouldn't miss any events.  Guess who had to leave right at the end of Mass to go home and start making good on God's answered prayers?  This girl.

Darn, I should have asked for Him to spare me the bug completely!!  What was I thinking?  I didn't know how powerful my prayers were!  God is good.  All the time. (Say it back to me...I'll wait).

Sunday came and went, and we all basically stayed in bed and/or pajamas.  Then Monday night was the actual Graduation!

 Because it wasn't until 7 and we have three kids who go to bed at 7, we ate an early dinner of pizza and subs (JP's choice) and he opened some gifts...

He loved that bag ;)

He loved what was inside it even more, hence the must-be-documented-hug-from-the-teenager.

Brendan was jealous.  

Our niece came over to babysit the littles, and we headed out for his very last elementary school event...

He won "Best Eyes" in the 8th Grade Superlatives.

Two of his close girl friends (side note #3: girl SPACE friends - no girlfriends until he has a job and a car...that's the rule).  Oh shoot, he already has the job...

He led the Pledge of Allegiance, as the Class Treasurer (my accountant heart was so proud) with the Class Secretary.

JP was recognized for placing in the Top Ten on his high school entrance exam, for being in the National Junior Honor Society for three years, got a Scholar award for earning his spot in all Honors classes in high school next year, and was one of the recipients of the Pastors Award for service in the parish.  Did you know intelligence comes from your mother?  Hmmm?

We were very proud of him, but even more than for his brains, just for being the kind, funny, holy, genuinely sweet kid he is.  He sort of flies under the radar, which is exactly where he wants to be.  He is a loyal friend, faithful servant, and obedient (if not forgetful) son.  His brains are a borrowed gift from God, but how he acts every day is much more important.  God sent us a great one to lead our pack.

Phil and I wrote letters to him for his retreat day, and maybe one day Phil will let me share what he wrote to his son, because it was just beautiful and a great reminder about what is important in life.  

His Principal, pictured above, gave an awesome speech as well, one of the best I've ever heard, and included this poem from Mother Theresa:

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

 ( I admit, I did shed some tears during her speech).

More photos!

Our newest neighbors, my parents!


With his only sis.

His funniest friend, Callie!
Monsignor was definitely whispering something to make him crack up.

And one of the whole class:

And just like that, in the blink of a parenting eye, he is headed to high school.  I can remember when he was just starting pre-school!!  At least he has the whole summer to drive us crazy and make us pray for 9th grade to start already ;)  We love you John-Paul Martin and are lucky to know you.


  1. Oh I hope he remembers the retainer now! In middle school, the same thing happened to my friend and there were about 8 of us digging through big bags of lunch trash. She was so upset and crying nearly the whole time but we found it.

  2. Oh goodness, I have been reading your blog for like 7 years now so I am having a really really hard time believing he is going to high school. How proud you must be of those accomplishments! (aside from the retainer...) Congratulations to him and you as parents!

  3. Congratulations to JP!!!!! What a wonderful son you and Phil are raising. And the retainer thing is killing me. I remember helping out in the cafeteria a couple of years ago and an 8th grader came racing back in and literally put her whole body into this very large trash can and started digging through all the trash until she finally found her retainer. She said, "My parents are going to kill me if I lose this thing again!" I can only imagine how many retainers get thrown away in cafeterias across the country on a daily basis!

  4. What a crazy busy, but memorable weekend you had! Time sure is flying, isn't it? You and Phil are doing an amazing job raising some pretty awesome kids. So many things going on for J-P...a job?! Lily's been itching for one, but not this summer since she chose a 6 week theater program instead. The retainer thing, that boy! Having had a retainer 3x in my life I know well that they are like gold. I protected mine like a hawk. There was no way I was gonna lose that thing. I guess boys are different. lol. And he's going to be an orthodontist? That's a hoot! He'll have lots of stories to tell his patients about his braces/retainer days.
    That grad gift was pretty SWEET. Well done, J-P.

    I hope everyone is recovered and that stomach bug was the last of the ickiness for a good long time.

    Congrats to J-P! I cannot wait to keep watching him grow up even more and see what great things lie ahead.

    ps...the Mother Teresa poem...*tears* so beautiful.

  5. Congratulations!! This was a lovely post. Y'all are probably the proudest parents and for good reason. And I love that poem so much!

  6. Way to go on such awesome-ness! And hold onto your hats, the next four are going to F.L.Y by!


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