KinderGARDEN Graduation with VEGASMAMA Kathryn Smith
Kindergarten graduation is a big deal. A HUGE deal. It's saying goodbye to your baby-faced little one and saying hello to a child growing into kidhood; they begin to lose their chubby cheeks, confidently articulate themselves and usually prefer their friends over the company of their MAMA (remember when it was the opposite?!). We received a beautiful invitation to our eldest's "Class of 2017" KinderGARDEN Promotion:
"Come watch our Kinder-GARDENERS bloom into 1st grade!"
A wonderfully in-tune pun, a theme that resonated as a perfectly in-tune site-specific project: the playground has eight raised, fully flourishing gardening beds, kids eat from said garden and painted flowers & suns & earthly delights cover the otherwise boring concrete walls, there were crocheted flowers everywhere with lots of large trees for shade. It was perfect. I had no idea how perfect it was until we arrived for Kindergarten promotion that morning.
Which brings me to a VEGASMAMA, one I'd seen dutifully toting her four kids in&around her fold-up wagon from WalMart during the school year; her kids were always content playing with one-another, kept a watchful eye on each other, made sure their MAMA was insight and always responded when she called. Cool kids = Cool MAMA. I admired her across our kinder-yard. I wasn't surprised to find this Super VEGASMAMA, Kathryn Smith, was the mastermind behind our KinderGARDEN Graduation experience.
Married to Matthew and a Southern California native, Kathryn and her husband lived in Arizona & Utah before moving to Vegas when her eldest, now 8, was ten days old. Yes, not months, DAYS old. Along with Ezra (8), there's also Jonah (6), Isla (4) and Eden (2); needless to say this stay-at-home-MAMA is kept wonderfully busy. How on earth did she plan & execute this epic graduation?!
- the yellow storage house I never even noticed until Kathryn turned it into a beautifully curated, before & after photo exhibition
- the stage was set up as 5 tiered steps of papered-green grass foreground
- the children wore handmade, mod-podged flower faces!
- another perfect photo booth alfresco moment, the entire fence was adorned with a flowered-up "KinderGarden 2017" sign complete with event name/year (imperative)
- the teachers coordinated multiple songs for the kids to sing & dance which were delightful and so impressively choreographed!
- individual distribution of rolled kindergarten (floral themed) promotion scrolls
- children were encouraged to wear springtime pastels (our graduate rocked turquoise shorts with mini-pineapples, a white linen button-down & marbled Natives); I just love Kathryn's son Jonah's chambray shorts outfit with floral tie (on right)
- hot dogs & cupcakes with obligatory chips/veggies/juices (thanks to the parents), our teacher's husband was the grill-master (woot woot!)
- special thanks to Jeremiah's MAMA who gifted my two sons their first-ever homemade candy lei
The ceremony was in celebration of two classes and, although I didn't know the other group, it certainly felt like family (even for the on-holiday British cousin!); the KinderGARDEN GRADUATION made it extra special for us all. Thank you to this VEGASMAMA...
Kathryn's gifted the Pinterest world with "kindergarten graduation" inspo for years to come...
Goodbye Kinder GARDEN, hello big kids' playground!
Special acknowledgments from Kathryn: "I also must give a shout out to my friend Cheri for her help and to Jill Sotelo for coming to my rescue in the early morning of graduation day, when I discovered the wind had torn my decorations apart. She helped me piece it back together and was my decorating angel!"
A Learning Lesson: "My sister worked as an event planner for a company based in CA for many years until her recent move to Australia, but had great advice about never working with paper decor outside in the future! (Advice I should have seeked before planning to use all paper decor outside and trying to decorate in a windstorm!) She also recommends balloon bouquets for a festive touch to any kids' event, but I just didn't have time to grab some!"
from VEGASMAMAS: a big thank you to our wonderful Kindergarten teachers (and our school), if it wasn't for you all this wouldn't have been possible.
VEGASMAMA Kathryn Smith
VEGASMAMAS asked Kathryn all about her favorite Las Vegas destinations...and beyond. We call this feature The VEGASMAMAS 11:11, eleven questions about life with your child and eleven questions just about you. enjoy!
KIDCENTRIC (all about your child)
VEGASMAMAS (now this is all about you)
1. outdoor park?
2. indoor play/jump/etc house?
3. when-it’s-hot-outside kids' destination?
4. when-it’s-freezing-outside kids' destination?
Home, snuggled on the couch watching a movie.
5. restaurant w kids?
6. kids’ clothing shop and/or shopping destination?
7. grocery store?
8. season in Vegas w kids and why?
Spring and Fall when the weather is perfect and we can play outside everyday! We especially love to hike at Red Rock during these seasons (VEGASMAMAS tip: buy an annual pass, support your local national park and go every weekend!).
9. VEGAS Strip or Downtown destination?
10. your must-see Vegas destination for your visiting loved ones?
We keep it local. A hike through Red Rock Canyon!
11. “I’ve been meaning to take my family here..." Vegas destination?
I've honestly never had a staycation here! When I was single it was Mandalay Bay (love their pool and spa), now I'll take a staycation anywhere!
on the patio of Vintner Grill!
4. exercise spot?
embarrassed to say I don't exercise regularly - ok, at all! (although VEGASMAMAS considers running after four kids and toting them in your pull-wagon legit exercise)
5. refreshing treat & where?
"bear" acai bowls at Bowlology
6. date spot?
7. spa or mani/pedi spot?
I'd be happy going to ANY spa or mani/pedi place!
8. out with your fellow VEGASMAMAS spot?
Lotus of Siam (this is a treat for VEGASMAMAS, we've never been to this restaurant on E. Sahara but the James Beard Award winning owner/chef SAIPIN CHUTIMA 's dishes look absolutely delicious...it's now on our list. Thx, Kathryn! Let's go!)
9. chill-out spot?
late night kid-free strolls around Target.
10. movie/song about (or) show in Vegas?
National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation
11. your must-see Vegas destination for your adult-only visitors?
A Cirque du Soleil show.
photos courtesy of Kathryn Smith, Amy Farris Garrs, Lori Mac Tekce & VEGASMAMAS.