Hayley is done with middle school! Thursday evening Hayley was promoted from 8th grade into Thornton Academy at a ceremony held in the Thornton Academy gymnasium. There was a dance following at the Saco Parks & Recreation facility.
I took Hayley to see Cassie Shaw to get her very long hair trimmed Wednesday afternoon. Cassie is amazing, and it was fun for Hayley to get her hair shampooed, combed, blow dried, and straightened. I enjoyed being with her and talking to Cassie. Being an active dad is my favorite role!
We had a small promotion celebration at the loft before taking Hayley to the ceremony. Tonya and the girls prepared chicken salads and got balloons to decorate Hayley’s chair. Skye put together a creative scavenger hunt that Hayley enjoyed.
After dinner Tonya gave Hayley some nice Thornton Academy swag.
The entire ceremony lasted about an hour. We had good seats near the aisle where the promotees walked after the ceremony. Tonya gave Hayley a high-five as she passed.
Hayley reported having a fun time at the dance. She spent the night at a friend’s house after.
I’m excited to have Hayley move on to high school, where she will flourish. She’s excited to be out of middle school and all its myriad frustrations. I’m glad her school will be closer and that she’ll go with Jenna. My children are all growing up and moving on; I’m excited to witness and be part of their individual journeys.
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Hayley and I pondered, discussed, and researched what we might do for our Festibond date for some time. Nothing seemed worthy of the occasion. I knew she liked art and thought, perhaps, there was something we could do around that. Perhaps a visit to the Portland Museum of Art or the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. But Hayley seems to like doing art more than merely appreciating it. When I was a kid my mom got me private painting lessons and took me to a wood carving class. Of these and other experiences I have fond memories, and thought Hayley and I could do something similar. We should take one of these painting classes that have become so popular and that Kirsten did with a few of her friends from work. Of course! Hayley loved the idea, so we picked a night and I made the reservations.
Friday evening we drove to Portland and parked on the street between Zapoteca, where we had 17:30 dinner reservations, and Muse Paintbar. Perfect. We were seated immediately at a small table in the dining room. I ordered a margarita and a flight of Patron tequilas, which were very tasty. Hayley ordered a mocktail that was too sweet, so she drank water.
We also ordered bacon guacamole, which we’d had on a previous visit but is not on the menu. The kitchen agreed to make it for us, and we were both grateful they did. It’s very tasty. For our entrées Hayley ordered the Sopa Azteca and I got the Carne Asada con Mole Negro. My steak was so good that if I described it you wouldn’t believe me. It, and I know this is so cliché, melted in my mouth. The fat in the meat was cooked so that it added this wonderful buttery flavor. I digress.
My Festibond date with Hayley was December 22nd. We went ice skating and then to dinner. It was a great time. Hayley is a terrific conversationalist, and I enjoyed getting to know her better.
Because we would be skating at the Family Ice Center in Falmouth, which is close to Freeport, we visited L.L. Bean ahead of skating so we could get Hayley a new pair of gloves.
Skating was fun. We held hands and talked as we made laps around the rink. Hayley remarked that there was a sign hanging up for “Greely Girls Hockey” and another for just “Greely Hockey.” She recognized the inequality and preference for the boys team, for which I was proud. After a while, both our feet were hurting from the awful rental skates, so we stopped for a rest, then decided we were done skating.
On Sunday the 29th of December our family celebrated our seventh Festibond. This is a tradition we started as a way to celebrate and strengthen our bonds with each other every year. We love this tradition, and I hope the girls continue it after they grow up and move away.
Within the week prior to Festibond, Brent and I each take each of the girls out individually for a date. The girls get to choose what they want to do. We still seem to come up with new ideas every year. We have each written a post on our blog about the dates. I love having that special one-on-one time with each of my wonderful daughters. They all change a little every year (obviously), each one unique in their own way. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of my dates!
Hayley and I had our Festibond date planned for several weeks. She and I were going to make a gingerbread house together. She was very excited about it. We also planned on going to a movie afterward. The day before our date, we went shopping for candy. It was fun to plan our our house ahead of time, and then find the plethora of candy necessary to achieve our creation. We found a good gingerbread recipe and used stencils I’d printed out from a website.
We baked the gingerbread pieces the day before our date as well, because I learned that it would make the gingerbread more dried-out and sturdy. Skye kindly volunteered to take pictures, so most of the photos I give credit to her. Thank you, Skye!
On July 11, 2011, a holiday called ‘Siblings day’ was invented by Jenna, Hayley, and Skye Danler. Every year since, we celebrated our relationship by bonding more than usual. Sounds cheesy, but to us, Siblings day is a day to cherish.
This year, our big sister Skye created a very sweet slideshow! It included pictures of all three of us through the years. It also included my new favorite song, ‘My Sister’ by Reba McEntire. I was on the verge of tears. :)
I also got some card stock so that my sisters and I could try this fun activity that I thought up! We all made a board game from scratch. Both my sisters went above and beyond on them, being so creative. :)
My board game was called ‘Are you a Mainer?’. Hayley’s was ‘Adventure on a Board’ and Skye’s was ‘Truth or Dare’. It was super-duper fun to try them all out after lunch.
My sisters always cheer me up on down times. I know, sometimes they can be annoying :( but we always make up after a fight and laugh about it later like in the song ‘My Sister’. Skye was a big help in planning it! So kudos to her for being so helpful… :)
We also had a pillow fight. Hayley got hurt, so we moved on to a different game that I made up. We had to make each other laugh, and if we laughed, we loose. I lost so many times!
On Tuesday afternoon I went on a Festibond date with my dad. Festibond is a holiday my family celebrates every year in December. We spend a lot of time together, write each other loving letters, play games, give hugs, and my sisters and I each individually have a date with my mom and a date with my dad.
When we were driving to the restaurant, we had many conversations that ranged from the raindrops on the front window to school to talking about how you get from one conversation to another. When dad was driving, he went past the restaurant and when he noticed he did so, he went back and parked.
On Saturday afternoon I went on a Festibond date with my mom. Festibond is a holiday my family celebrates every year in December. We spend a lot of time together, write each other loving letters, play games, give hugs, and my sisters and I each individually have a date with my mom and a date with my dad. Continue reading Festibond 2012 – My Date With Mom→
Hayley did not stop talking the entire duration of our recent Festibond date, which I loved. At one point she admitted, “I don’t know how I got from [that subject] to this.” When I suggested to her it was a bit like natural selection and geologic time, she quickly picked up on it and explained to me the analogy. “When parents have a baby, it looks much like them. But after many generations, the babies look nothing like the original parents.” Booya! That’s my girl.