Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2nd Grade Field Trip!

I don't volunteer at Emily's school a lot because I never know how I'm going to be feeling from day to day. But Emily really wanted me to volunteer for the 2nd grade field trip to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, so I did.

I took Emily to school. The other parents and I helped out in the classroom until it was time to go. I actually carpooled with some friends of mine which made the trip a lot more enjoyable.

Once we got there and everyone was unloaded, we hiked up to a small amphitheater. We were led in acting out one of Carl Sandburg's poems, which was cheesy but fun, by one of the park rangers. Then the classes split up and went to different activities. I had four kids I was in charge of, including my own and one of Emily's friends.

Our first stop was the goats. They divided the class in half and some went to pet the goats. We stayed and the kids got to try milking a fake goat and then they did a milk bottle craft. They learned about the different kinds of goats Mrs. Sandburg raised.

Finally it was our turn to pet the goats. All the adult goats in the section we went to were female. And there was also a bunch of baby goats, two that were only a week old! They were super cute and Emily loved petting them. She was very gentle with them too, which made me happy.

Once our time was up, we went to our next activity which was hiking around the lake. It wasn't a hard hike and the kids kept looking for snakes. They were sad they didn't see any, but they did get to see a cool waterfall.

The last stop was to learn about butterflies. They watched a short video and then did a few activities about the life cycle of butterflies. There was a craft there too, but we were running out of time so they only got to color their butterflies. Emily's teacher said they would finish it at school.

The kids went on the bus and the grown-ups piled into their cars and we went to a nearby park for lunch. After everyone ate, the kids got the chance to play on this really cool playground. I was starting to feel wiped so I just watched to make sure no-one got hurt.

After getting back to school, I took Emily because there was only a half hour left of school. It was fun, though we did quite a bit of walking that made me sore. But Emily was very glad I could come which makes me glad I did it!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Girl Scout Day at Chimney Rock

I try to do just about every Girl Scout activity that is offered through our troop because I know that Emily would enjoy it. So when Girl Scout Day at Chimney Rock was announced, I signed us up for the day activities and the camp out in the evening.

It was tent camping and I haven't tent camped since I was a teenager. I wasn't looking very forward to it but I loaded up our car and headed off.

We got there about 9 am and some of our troop was already there. Even though it was morning, it was already starting to get really hot. I had a small cooler in my car for our lunches and the chocolate for smores. I left it in there because we were going to do activities first.

There were a bunch of other troops. The event had been limited to 200 girls, I think, plus parents and siblings. We had a decent amount of people with our troop so Emily had a lot of friends to play with.

The first part of the day was doing different stations. We started at the "craft" which all the parents agreed was the lamest craft ever. Apparently ever year, Chimney Rock has a special animal they showcase. This year, the animal was the spider. So the craft was to make a spider web necklace.

But all it was, was that all the girls were given a piece of metal (about as thick as a small paperclip) and they were suppose to bend it to make it look like a spider web. Needless to say, nobodies looked like a spider web. Sadly the person leading the craft didn't give a whole lot of instructions.

Once we were done there, we went to the next station which was all about things animals leave behind. Tracks, poop, etc. This one was more interesting, though I missed some of it by going to the
restroom. But there was a fun activity at the end where they girls had to try and guess what an animal was by looking at its fake poop, tracks and then the skull. We had some form of plant eater.

Our next station was the snake station. The guy leading it was very into snakes, and told the girls about different venomous and non-venomous snakes. He had several of the non-venomous to show the girls, one of which that bit him! But at the end, he let the girls pet one of his snakes. Emily didn't though, she wasn't very into that.

Lastly was another station about animals. I honestly was starting to lose spoons as this point in the day so I didn't pay a ton of attention. But the ranger in charge had a tame possum that everyone could pet. Emily decided that she now wants a possum as a pet!

By this time, it was super hot out and it was lunch time. My car was like a hot box, but our lunches were still cool. Our troop had set up our chairs under some shade and we all ate. I didn't really want to get up after sitting in my comfy chair but next was the Jr. Ranger program.

All the girls who came to the event got a patch, but those who wanted to become Jr. Rangers got a 2nd patch and a certificate. Emily wanted to do that so we headed back to the main pavilion. They split the troops in two groups. Ours learned about trees first and how important they are for their oxygen but also for all the things we use that are made of wood.

Each troop then got to plant two seedling trees into cups that we were able to bring home with us. I'm not sure where our troop decided to plant our trees but it was a pretty neat thing that we were given those.

After that, we switched and the girls were given a talk about what it means to be a ranger. They were given their patches and certificates and got a picture with the ranger. Our troop leader took the patches so they can be awarded at our next awards ceremony.

Emily had wanted to try the climbing wall so we headed there next, along with one of her friends.
While the girls waited in the long time, I chatted with the troop leader who is a friend of mine. We stood in the shade because it was still so very hot.

Some of our troop hadn't done the Jr. Ranger program or the climbing wall and had gone up to the peak of Chimney Rock which apparently involves walking up 500 stairs. I'm glad that I hadn't done that for a variety of reasons.

After the climbing wall, we went back to where we were going to set up camp to relax. As we were sitting there, the sound of sirens filled the air. We never got the whole story beyond someone had gotten hurt on one of the waterfall trails. Our folks had to hike all the way down, because the shuttles weren't running but they made it back to camp.

Everyone who wasn't camping headed out and the rest of us set up our tents. Once the tents were set up, the girls moved from tent to tent as they played. While unpacking I realized that the marshmallows I had brought for smores had melted into one huge marshmallow. I hadn't even thought about them melting so they had just been in my car.

We lamented the marshmallow melting but also the fact that we didn't have a campfire. The parks had set up rings around the meadow where we were camping but there wasn't enough for each troop to have one. One wasn't near us so we went ahead and had dinner while trying to think of what we could do get a fire.

In the end, one of our moms went and asked the park ranger in charge if we could make our own fire ring. The ranger said 'sure', gave her big rocks to make the ring plus some fire wood. The girls got twigs and fallen branches to start the fire and soon we had our own roaring camp fire!

Thankfully another parent had brought marshmallows that weren't melted so we got to make smores. The girls were thrilled. As it got to be dusk, another troop invited ours over for a dance party. They
were playing music from their car and had glow necklaces they gave out. Emily had a great time getting her groove on!

It got darker and finally it was time to head to bed. Emily fell asleep right away but I got maybe two hours because I was extremely uncomfortable. In the middle of the night it started pouring, but thankfully we had borrowed a very good tent so we stayed dry.

In the morning, it was still raining on and off. I was exhausted and had a monster migraine. We packed up the car quickly, mostly because I had put everything we weren't sleeping with in the car the night before. We got home around 7 am and I took a shower and passed out.

While I didn't have a ton of fun, Emily did! She loved playing with her friends and petting a possum. Next year, we may do it again but we may not camp. We'll see!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rough Holiday

Yesterday was Mother's Day, which is always bittersweet. But usually it's not too hard. My mom has been gone for 15 years and I am the mom of a sweet little girl. But yesterday was rough. I think it was partly due to that time of the month compounded with perimenopause.

Todd and Emily were very sweet to me. I got presents and ice cream. We had also gone out for Japanese food on Saturday, to avoid the Mother's Day rush. But as the day waned on, the sadder I got.

But I know I wasn't the only one having a rough time yesterday. Lots of friends have lost their moms due to death or toxic relationships. As people age, holidays morph and change. Mother's Day was fun when I was a kid, but I didn't experience a lot of loss until I was grown up.

If you had a rough day yesterday, be gentle with yourself today!