School on Thursday consisted of an all-day field trip to the Milwaukee County Zoo...but it was no less educational a day than those with "bookwork" so, of course, it still "counts" - just as it does when kids who attend traditional schools go on such outings.
Rachel was most intrigued by the bats, of all things. And Abigail fell in love with a little fennec fox. All those critters live in the bat house where we weren't allowed to take photos so I don't have any visuals. But my favorites were these lions:
Can you believe these shots, especially of the male? Both cats came very near the glass and gazed with deep interest at all of us on the other side. And at one point the female sprawled out right next to the window and Rachel crouched down to look her directly in the eye...for a very long time. I couldn't get a picture because all the other kids - and many adults - crowded around, marveling at the scene. It was quite a sight.
In all honesty, though, our motivation for the trip was not initially school-related; the fact that all of life can be educational was a nice perk. But we went primarily because of the "exciting event" to which I alluded in last week's Weekly Wrap-Up: my reunion with, Rose, my very best friend from elementary school, whom I hadn't seen since we were 11 years old. You can read more about that here.
Two other noteworthy events both occurred today: First, when I was out grocery shopping this morning, I bumped into Elias, a former student from East High. He introduced me to his fiancee, and we all had a delightful conversation. Elias was the first - and still only - member of his family to graduate from high school, an accomplishment of which he's still rightfully proud nine years later. He's held a good job at a local company for the past eight years and plans to attend technical college after his fiancee graduates from the university and gets a teaching job.
I've been privileged to re-connect with a number of my former students - some, similarly, at the grocery or drugstore (of all places!) and others via Facebook or when they've given me a call. All of my students faced the challenge of learning English as their second language - a truly mighty task when one considers the complexity of the language, not to mention the kids' personal situations as first-generation immigrants. And so it brings me great joy to see how well these young adults are functioning now.
Second, this afternoon I took the girls to see Toy Story 3 while Jeff attended a reunion of sorts of some former work colleagues. Obviously, this is not an earth-shaking event, but it's an excellent movie I highly recommend to young and old. I actually love all of Pixar's movies and appreciate so much the fact that they produce quality, truly kid-friendly movies devoid of potty humor and sexual innuendo. The girls loved it - they are already hoping we can get the complete Toy Story trilogy for Christmas. And I - uh - cried at its sweetness. But I feel no shame in that and - if you're a parent - I dare you to watch without shedding a tear!
In terms of writing this week:
- Tuesday - my latest Celebrate Kids column, "Giving Credit Where It's Due," was published in our email newletter;
- Wednesday - I blogged about the girls' "Extreme Home Makeover: Barbie Edition;"
- Friday - I wrote about Rose in "To Always Be Her Friend."
I still need to write about my Bellin Run experience on June 12! I'm not avoiding the topic - just too busy to get at it. But I will move that to the agenda for this week. In addition, I'll be doing something tomorrow that is a new, stretching experience for me...but, as with last week's big news, you'll have sit on pins and needles until next week's edition of the Weekly Wrap-Up to learn just what I'm talking about!