Author Archive: TommyK

So Long, 2016

bye-2016

It’s just about time to send 2016 into the books.  And honestly, it has been a long time coming.

For Kaitlyn, 2016 has been a year of ups and downs.

There was the extreme joy in being part of Jen and Ethan’s special day back in February.

Her first experience with math competitions turned out great, too.

Kaitlyn continued to excel in school, making the honor roll each grading period and blowing her reading goals out of the water, too.

April brought Kaitlyn her greatest joy, as Jen and Ethan welcomed their son to the world.  It’s been a tad over 8 months since that day, and there hasn’t been a day that Kaitlyn hasn’t inquired about him and thought about him.  She even included him, along with Jen and Ethan, in a speech she gave for the Tropicana Speech competition in December.

Summer came along, and Kaitlyn turned 10 in style.  After spending some time in Gatlinburg, we made our way to Nashville, and Kailtyn celebrated her birthday at the Grand Ole Opry, and had her name in lights and also her special day announced to the crowd and those listening on the radio.  It was really cool!

5th grade started in August, and Kaitlyn soldiered through a boring first week.

August also brought heartbreak as Kaitlyn’s great grandmother passed away.  She struggled to come to grips with her passing, and still gets down on occasion when she thinks about her; the holidays weren’t exactly easy for her.

We made what is probably going to be our annual trip to Charlotte in November to visit Jen and Ethan, and Kaitlyn hasn’t stopped asking when she can go back and spend more time there.

Kaitlyn and I ran our last Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving; next year we are running the 10k.

Our Christmas Eve tradition continued this year as well.  Kaitlyn just loves going over to spend the evening with the Sinclairs; Amber and I do, too, of course!

Overall, 2016 was just an OK year.  Hopefully 2017 will be so much better, and hopefully I will write a little more, too!

Utterly Devastated

Amber and I found out today that it is never easy delivering bad news.  Today was the first time that we had to break the news to Kaitlyn that a family member had passed away.

I knew something was wrong when Amber called me at 7:23 this morning.  When I saw that she was calling as Kaitlyn and I were walking out the door, I figured/feared that she had gotten into an accident or something.  I was way off.  I could tell by her voice that it was something way worse than an accident.  Amber let me know that her granny, Kaitlyn’s great granny passed away this morning.

We agreed that there was no way that we were going to let Kaitlyn know before school, so I did my best to not let on that there was something wrong.

Unfortunately, Amber had the task of telling Kaitlyn the news.  It was as bad as we feared it would be.  Kaitlyn was crushed.  As I write this, she is still a mess.

Kaitlyn had become very fond of her great granny over the last several years.  She loved going to visit her and staying in her big house on the lake, and just spending time with her.  They would talk about how Kaitlyn was doing in school, what granny was up to, politics, and so much more; it was quite fascinating to sit back and listen to an octogenarian and an elementary school student talk politics as good or better than most “experts” on TV.

Kaitlyn lost a wonderful great granny today, and the world lost a caring, often stubborn, always thoughtful woman today.  There will be a void for Kaitlyn for quite some time, but Amber and I will make sure to ensure that she thinks about of the great times the two of them had together.

Amber and I appreciate the outpouring of support via texts and phone calls, and that one very special delivery of flowers.  As Kaitlyn works through her emotions, we are so grateful that we have so many friends and family we can count on to be there for us.

1,821

1,821 days ago today, Amber and I dropped Kaitlyn off for her first day of kindergarten.  This morning, we dropped her off for her first day of 5th grade.  It seems like just yesterday.

Over the last 4 years, 11 months, and 25 days, Amber and I have had a front row seat to all of Kaitlyn’s tremendous achievements.  We could not be more proud of growth she has shown and the person that she is becoming.

During her time at her elementary school, we have been fortunate that Kaitlyn has had some amazing teachers who pushed her and challenged her to be her best.  We’re excited to work with her fifth grade teacher this year, having already heard great things about her; Kaitlyn is already familiar with her, too, since her teacher was also the Student Council advisor last year.

Amber and I expect Kaitlyn to be challenged this year, and we also expect that she will rise to any challenges that come her way like she has always done.  We look forward to supporting her and pushing her (when necessary), and we know she will have a great school year.

No Real Learning

sun-wearing-sunglassesSummer is just about over.  Kaitlyn had a rather busy summer between going to camp, going on vacation, and spending time in Iowa.  It seems like the last day of school was just yesterday, and now the first day of school is less than a week away.

This past Sunday, Kaitlyn was Skyping with my parents, and the subject of the first day of school came up.  They asked her if she was excited that school starts soon.  Her answer was classic Kaitlyn.

“No, not really,” she said.  That was an odd response given how much Kaitlyn loves school, so the logical follow-up question was posed.  Why?  “There’s no real learning the first week.”  Makes sense.  Kaitlyn went on to explain that, sure, you learn about your new classmates and your teacher, but you don’t really learn too much else.

Kaitlyn is not a real fan of wasting days not learning anything, which is the entire point of going to school in the first place.  Despite the fact that Kaitlyn won’t be learning much (apparently) the first week, she’ll be there every day, paying attention, doing her best to learn about her classmates and teacher, and on any assignments she is given.

It’s hard to believe that fifth grade is right around the corner, but Amber and I are excited about what the year will bring for Kaitlyn.  We know she’ll be challenged and she will grow, and she will work hard and excel.  Most of all, Kaitlyn will continue to do her best, and Amber and I will be with her every step of the way, supporting and encouraging her.

Performance Level 5

“Students who score in Level 5 demonstrate mastery of the Florida Standards for their grade.  They are likely to excel in the next grade.”

While Kaitlyn was up in Iowa, her Florida Standards Assessment scores came in the mail.  Amber and I are not 100% sold that standardized tests such as these are necessarily the best gauge of where students stand, they are here and Kaitlyn has to take them, so we figure we may as well accept it.

As she did last year, Kaitlyn did spectacular on the tests!  She was a Level 5 (out of 5) in both the Math and English/Language Arts tests.

In Math, Kaitlyn was in the top 25% of the school, top 17% of the district, and top 12% of the state.  In the English/Language Arts tests, she was in the top 23% of the school, top 11% of the district, and top 7% of the state.

Each year, Kaitlyn puts a lot of pressure on herself when it comes to taking these tests.  She wants to do her absolute best, and she has done a great job so far.  While Amber and I focus more on her effort and results on a daily basis and for each grading period, it is difficult not to be proud of her when we get results like these.

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