That was an awesome experience. A seal was found in the Bellport Harbor (Long Island), having died of some unknown cause. It was taken to the aquarium and put in a freezer. It was thawed out for the teens to perform an autopsy on it. After a few kids started cutting open the skin, they measured its blubber layer. Then, using scalpels, they got most of the skin off and broke through the breastbone. The organs looked good. The instructor cut open the heart to see if there was heartworm (which seals can get just like dogs can). Then she spent a few minutes feeling the lungs for any parasites or disease. When she opened the stomach we saw a lot of sand and rocks in there. This is what killed the seal. When seals are stressed they eat things they're not supposed to. It was sad to think the seal was stressed for any reason, but seals really don't belong in Bellport Harbor - or anywhere in Long Island, really. It was so cool for W to experience a bit of what veterinarians and forensic workers do.
W made his Confirmation last week! 11 years of catechism classes and now he's got 4 sacraments under his belt. He started classes at 2 years old since he begged to go - and the third child was free, It's going to be weird not having classes anymore, but he's glad to have reached the end. The ceremony was wonderful. J was his sponsor and went up with him as he got the chrism oil. At his Christening, his father and I answered questions from the priest on what we believe. At Confirmation, W was asked the same questions from the bishop and was able to answer for himself. It's such a beautiful full circle. We all went out for a great lunch afterwards. The next day W turned 14. The years really went by quickly. 8th grade will be over in 3 months and he'll begin his high school years.