If this girl looks excited - there was good reason. We were just moments away from pulling off a very big surprise. This picture was taken when we were about to walk in to La Creole Middle School - where Michele works - without her having a clue. In fact, just as I was taking this pic, Michele was texting me telling me how her morning planning period had been filled with a period long sub assignment, and she was working "SO HARD" ;) supervising the drama students as they watched "Elf" in the auditorium. It was the last day of school before Christmas Break there, so the whole day was filled with "loosey goosey" activities - the perfect day to throw a two year old in to the mix.
Can I just point out how adorable this cutie is! I put some boot cuffs on her that were WAY TOO BIG, but it just had her looking priceless.
We were directed to the auditorium when we checked in at the front office. Because the lights were off in there (as they watched the movie), Michele was able to see an adult and a little kid walk in, but had no idea who we were until we were right in front of her. Whitley ran to her in a hug - and BINGO, Michele's already festive day was made that much more fun.
Lest you think that was my only motive, there was some selfishness with this plan. With only one more day after this one to keep Whitley occupied - and the weather being cold and gross, and the holidays putting an extra edge to keeping the house somewhat contained and messes at a minimum, when I considered visiting Michele on this day, I felt like it was a stroke of genius! Sure, it's three hours in a car for her (there and back combined) - but its also all day of her being occupied and loved on by people, being the center of attention, and giving her a good opportunity to nap on the way home. Plus, with a DVD player in the car, nobody really feels that sorry for her having to stay contained for a bit. SO - WIN, WIN!!!!
We came in just as that class period was supposed to end, so it was perfect timing. Michele still had some prep time left before her own students joined her and then Ellie (who attends that school as a sixth grader) - who had just started her lunch break. We moved on to Michele's classroom - and then Michele paraded us all over the school introducing us to practically every member of the staff (and a lot of students too).
Whitley was loving every minute of it.... =)
We then retreated back to the classroom where Whitley got a kick out of Michele's swivel chair and the Chip and Dale cartoons able to be put on the big screen for her benefit...
And, then, Mrs. Schilling introduced her newest student to the class that arrived.
"Stop the applause, guys....I'll sign autographs later"....
Her class was certainly respectful (all of her kids are - such a great school!), but obviously very wound up with the upcoming party, gift exchange, the fact that it was the last day of 2014, and then there's this cute little two year old, and person that looks a whole lot like their beloved teacher....Yup, we kind of made a scene and only added to the hyperness!
Her class ended up moving to a different classroom to join the other leadership teacher's class for a party. Whitley was thrilled with the food offerings and helped herself (before the kids had even been given a green-light) to pizza and Cheetos. Oh yeah, that kid's no dummy! She then took some downtime from all the attention to color with me in the corner.
Back to the classroom before Michele's final class stopped in and we opted to depart. This expression looks like she was "caught in the act" - "Yes, Mrs. Schilling - what was it that you said?!"
Michele's house is literally within view of the school she works (if not for all of the school bags and cruddy weather, Michele would easily walk each day). So, prior to arriving at the school, I let myself in and changed her - and then, after leaving the school - we stopped back by. I took Whitley upstairs to Traig's room and we successfully pulled off a nap together (YAY! And, helpful for me to as I laid down with a minor headache and woke up without one). We then played with Baxter and waited for Traig and Nati to show up from high school. She was SO DELIGHTED to see them - particularly Traig. She wanted to point out Traig's mounted elk head hung upstairs (affectionately named "Henry") that she was kind of scared of.
Then, we were off to head back home and drop her off at just about the same time as her parents got done with work. PERFECT!!! For being such a spontaneous decision, it went off without a hitch! I love days like that!