A bit ago, I blogged about a letter I received from a student I have been working with. My sweet cousin Ellen donated additional funds. I purchased each child a variety of books for their summer reading fun. One student, V is going to learn how to skateboard this summer, so I found a step-by-step skateboarding how-to book that is very aligned with his reading level and has over 350 pictures. His eyes lit up when we read the title and flipped through the pages.
For Z, the student I wrote about previously, I handed his books off to his teacher as he missed our tutoring session. Just as I was finishing up my day, he found me running, with a letter (below he talks about the MAP standardized test):
Dear Ms. Hirabayashi
Thank you very much for the books. I love them. You are the nicest, greatest and best tutoring teacher I've met. Also, that on the map test I've got 225 points. I have taken 2 test and on the read I got 200 only but this time I got 25 points higher. I am so glad have you as my tutoring teacher. I will read all the book you gave me. On my Map test my score will keep on going I promiss you.
Z was a very intrigued, funny, thoughtful student who always brought curious and sometimes unanswerable questions to the table. He was always so illustrative with his story telling. Our last session we tackled several Madlibs and everyone laughed and laughed. It has been a pure delight to be a tutor this last school year!
Ellen, thank you so much for the gift of reading!
I truly loved my time with Kai, Sarah, Reagan, Campbell and my mother. In addition to birthdays and Mother's day celebrations, it was wonderful to take time to play, explore and learn more about the cities.
Reagan is at such a fun, smart, chatty, cute age. Lots of language and he listens to EVERYTHING you say. At one point, Kai said something annoying to me and I said "Kai, shush it up". Immediately, I hear a little voice saying "Yeah, Daddy shush it." That sent my Mom/Grandma into a tizzy and I was sent to a "time out" by sitting on the stairs. I certainly left the room but refused to sit on the stairs. I publicly returned to the room a few moments later to apologize to Kai, in front of Reagan, to set a good "example". Fun.
Here are some pictures, some in random order:
Grandma and Camp at the park. He is so adventurous, fearless and fun. We were mostly keeping up with him... and trying to take pictures!
Camp had so much fun shopping for shoes with Auntie and Grandma.
Kai's sign in the garage. The sign says it all. When Reagan asked Kai "What does that sign mean?" Upon hearing the explanation, he responded with "Aren't we hippies? We use the back door, Daddy." Smart child.
Sweet, sweet baby face. <3 <3 <3
The smiliest two on the carousel! I covet this picture especially because Reagan is so active! I had a hard time capturing him on film. Thanks to Sarah for taking our pic.
Kai in his Senate office. I was very impressed with the security (that may have been bumped up due to Osama's recent death), complete network within his office-post office, yummy looking cafeteria, underground train (!), but I was especially impressed by Kai's Senate parking. So cool in a busy, trafficky city, there's an oasis of parking complete with valets and umbrellas. My tax dollars at work so wonderfully.
In DC, I spent a day wandering around the city. I visited my most favorite church, St. Matthew's. I've visited this church a few times in the past and it's beautiful glory, quiet and calm spirituality is always an emotional and healthy cleanse. I normally don't attend church at home and this visit to God's house always feels so welcoming and so appropriate. I lit candles, prayed and basked in God's glory. Amen!
I spent most of the day at the Newseum. One of the non-Smithsonian museums in town, it's an amazing reflection of journalism in our own home towns and across the world. I was surrounded by waves of blues, greens and reds... t-shirts attached to young students, on school field trips who saw images that overwhelmed them and taught each of them so much. Teenagers: excited, interested, chatty and bored all at once.
Part of the Berlin Wall. This museum has such amazing photos and real life pieces. Behind this wall, several pictures of citizens on both sides of the wall and how their lives were affected.
Wall of front page newspapers the day after 9-11. Each image was rich with horror, sadness, disbelief and anger. The strange piece of metal popping up in the photo is remnants of a broken plane from the tragic event. Additionally, there was dark room with a video montage of journalists who ventured into ground zero on that sad day. So many stories of people jumping from buildings, looking for lost loved ones and just trying to find their sanity in all of this. One journalist who said he never cried or showed emotion when reporting commented on how he cried through out the day as he interviewed others. On the tragic day, everyone was united and held each other in strength. Everyone in the room cried. What a powerful and overwhelming day.
View from the top of the museum
One of the exhibits was about moving pictures from the year. This photo nearly brought me to my knees. A US soldier holding his child, possibly for the last time, as he embarks on an Afghanistan tour. His tears and utter sadness seep through the photo. His wife, clutching him with eyes closed, looks as if she's trying to remember his touch and scent, as if it's for the last time. I stared at this picture for so, so long.
Man throwing a tire on a burning jeep in Bangkok. This protest documented reminded me of the burning I saw in Nepal. The Maoist party also burned tires, stopped traffic and created all city protests. While isn't not the most environmentally friendly way to protest, a point is made.
A boy standing amidst burning manure piles in Somalia. The expression on the boy's face is so telling. How can these people rise out of poverty, depression and war? Will this boy be saved?
Aung San Suu Kyi. Peace Activist. Former Burmese prisoner. Legend. Fighter.
Devastation in Haiti
On Mother's Day, we went to "Thomas' Day Out", which was a very well organized and fun train event at the Baltimore train museum. Of course, there were trains and other fun elements like bouncy houses, bubbles, ink-free tattoos, animals to pet and much more! Here Camp charms some lovely ladies.
Kai and Reagan in front of Thomas train
Reagan with one of the longest hot dogs I've ever seen.
Reagan with Mr. Toppenhat (I think), he was so brave and didn't turn back when it was his turn. He clearly LOVES Thomas and all of his friends.
On the Capitol steps with the boys. Clearly, Reagan is trying to escape my grips. Camp just doesn't know any better.. yet!
With Sarah and the boys. <3
Visited the Japanese American exhibit one sunny afternoon. Several panels showed how many Japanese people were at each Internment camp during WW2. My grandparents found each other, on a blind date, in Minidoka. The exhibit took my breath away as the quantity of people became so evident. Over 20,000 people were spread out over many camps.
Japanese cranes, symbols of peace, wrapped in barb wire.
Thanks, DC for an amazing trip. Big thanks and huge love to Kai and his family. I'll be back!
Happy Birthday, Reagan! He celebrated a week's worth of birthday goodness. At his school, everyone enjoyed a pizza and cupcake lunch with all of his friends. I cherish these times as they are quite rare in my life. As a side note, I met a woman who said she visits her nephews 4-6 times a year! I was secretly very envious.
"Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you..." Reagan was a little embarrassed when we sang.
Camp enjoyed the lunch, too. Mmmmm.... frosting!
Sarah did an AMAZING job organizing Reagan's Saturday party at a cool, vast park with playgrounds and a fun train for all to ride. Pizza, chicken nuggets, fruit, veggies and more! Notice all of the food name tags.
Coconut AND Butterscotch cupcakes with little tags.
Train whistles as party favors- fun for all parents and car rides.
Sarah made these gorgeous, customized cookies. Emilia and I tied the ribbons.
Reagan opening presents- car wash!
Danielle, Camp's babysitter and good family friend with her niece and big helper, Leila. Gorgeous gals!
Sarah and Mom- balloon fun!
Emilia, Lizzie and Kai... cousins!
Such a sweet boy! Here in motion, playing with Emilia.
Emilia is so much fun! Twirling Reagan!
Last but not least, sad face after a very close encounter with the sidewalk. On my watch! Auntie Mari!
Traveling to Maryland for my annual Auntie trip to see my beloveds- Reagan and Camp, is always, always a highlight of the year! Last year, when I visited, Camp was just a bitty baby and Reagan was still in his toddler stage. What a difference a year makes!
Camp snacking and shopping at Whole Foods
Camp and Grandma at the park
There are so many cool parks in Maryland. We rode the carousel while waiting for a little train ride. Reagan quickly chose the zebra to ride.
Fun at the park- Camp is such a joy! I am one proud Auntie!