Thursday, May 27, 2010

A fieldtrip . . . FINALLY!!!

Today I was able to go on my first field trip! In the two years that my child/ren have been attending Elementary School, I have not been able to go on a field trip due to work. This time it actually worked out! It was so fun!! Lydia and Emily's Pre-K class took a trip to Natural Chimneys in Mt. Sidney. Last Thursday Mike was able to go on a field trip with Ryan to the Shenandoah National Park so we were able to close out the school year going on field trips with our kids. When we arrived, we took the children to the bathrooms to wash hands before having snack and starting our adventure.

The Chimneys
Walking in the chimneys

Before taking our hike, the kids found the 1970's (or possibly older) built stage and began running and dancing around. :)
Our hike to the overlook begins.
Our beautiful destination

Class picture at the overlook.
I had to post this picture. As we were walking up the trail we walked over lots and lots of exposed tree roots. They were good for helping us climb since the trail was straight up. As we were climbing, Lydia said "Mommy, look at all of these dinosaur bones!" Hahahaha.
Each child was given a clipboard with pictures of things they were to find. A tree, moss, deer, rock, etc. After completing their worksheet, we enjoyed a hot dog cookout lunch with dishes that the chaperoning parents provided. Very yummy!!
After lunch, the kids were given time to play and run around. They blew bubbles, played baseball and then went to the playground at the Natural Chimneys campground.

After playing, Ms. Warner and Ms. Wilder helped the children make s'mores with their roasted marshmallows. With the 92 degree weather, it made the marshmallow roasting a little sweaty, but they loved it!!

Ms. Warner and Emily

Ms. Warner with Lydia

Ms. Wilder putting Lydia's s'more together

What a big day!!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Uno, Dos, Tres

Inspired by a friend, Mike decided to introduce the children to the game of Uno. We each played as kids, but had not played since. The kids LOVE it!! I did not think they would "get it," but they do. Their little hands have a hard time holding the cards so we play with the cards laying on the table. We need to make some kind of scrabble game "card holding bracket" for them.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our Town (Washington)

This weekend we took the kids to Washington DC. We told them that we were taking them to the Smithsonian where they would see dinosaurs and where Barack Obama lives. They were very excited about this and about the fact that they were going to get to ride a train (the Metro)! Riding the escalators and waiting for and seeing the Metro was, off the charts, exciting for them! Mike and I decided that if we went home at that moment, their day would still have been fantastic. We parked in East Falls Church and rode the Metro into the Downtown Mall.

Riding on the Metro was another adventure for them! They loved that they could see the cars going by until it went underground. They were a little puzzled by the fact that it was dark all of a sudden, but once they grasped the whole underground thing, their excitement continued.

Once off the Metro, our first stop was the visitors center at the Smithsonian. We got a map to plan out our day, and sat under a tree on the Mall and ate our packed picnic lunch. It was such a perfect, beautiful day! We were able to enjoy the weather as well as the historic scenery of the Mall.
Our plan was to see the Museum of Natural History as well as the Air and Space Museum and then see what kind of time we had and what else we wanted to do. In addition, we wanted to walk to the Washington Monument and to see "Barack Obama's house," but with all the walking we did not know what would be possible. This picture is of Mike and the kids walking up the steps of the Museum of Natural History.
The architecture is so beautiful!
This is Lydia and Emily in front of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I was not able to get far enough away from them to get everything in the picture.

We went all through this Museum of Natural History and saw so many neat things. The evolution of various sea animals was my favorite part. Measuring ourselves against an elephant's leg bone, and seeing how much shorter we were than just their leg!

Ryan did this too, but moved before I could get the picture.
We saw lots of insects. Ants, beetles, bees . . . the kids loved the Insect Zoo. Funny thing . . . it was sponsored by Orkin--the pest control people :) .
I have a picture of myself, when I was a kid, touching the tooth of this Tyrannosaurs Rex. I thought it would be cool for each of the kids to do the same thing . . . even though you are not supposed to touch the display :).

Mike and the kids sitting on the steps outside the museum after our hour and 30 minute walk through.
All of the "visiting the Smithsonian with children" literature I read recommended taking small breaks with your kids so they would continue to stay interested in the exhibits. This was a good suggestion. In between the Museum of Natural History and the Air and Space Museum, we stopped to see the Carousel on the Mall. The kids asked if they could ride it so we walked around to pay what we thought would be a dollar per child to ride . . . it was $2.50 per child. CRAZY!! But . . . yes . . . we let them ride anyway. They loved it!

This was a waterfall that we saw on our way to the Air and Space Museum. It was in front of another museum. The waterfall would go way up high and then come back down lower. They had so much fun just playing in the water.

In the Air and Space Museum there were several planes that were set up that you can walk through and see how planes have changed over the years. This is the kids going into one of them. This museum was pretty crowded. It was hard to get to the exhibits and the kids lost interest a lot faster. They did enjoy seeing all of the planes and rockets, but that ended quickly and we were only in this museum for about 40 minutes.

"Test Driving" the planes.
On our way to the Washington Monument we stopped under our same lunch picnic tree to rest our much walked feet and have some juice and snack. While there Ryan and Mike walked to a bathroom. Lydia and Emily decided to pose as statues and for some pictures. It was so cute!
Emily and the Monument behind her
We walked around the Monument, but did not go inside this trip. I enjoyed telling Ryan the story my mother told me years ago that my Great-Great-Grandfather (Ryan's Great-Great-Great-Grandfather) helped build the Washington Monument and he carved his initials somewhere near one of the windows. Ryan seemed pretty impressed with this bit of information!
In telling the kids that we would be going to Barack Obama's house, we thought we would be able to see more of it from the Washington Monument. Unfortunately, the trees blocked a lot of it, but they were able to see this much of it. They had asked earlier if we were going to see President Obama since we were going to his house. We are going to someone's house and not going to see them? :)

Since everyone was pretty tired of walking, we viewed the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Monument. Strange though . . . the reflecting pool did not have any water in it. This was the first time I had ever seen the reflecting pool without a reflection.

"There it is!" "I see it!" Our last look at DC was the "M" sign to show us the Metro station. Down the "sescalators" and on to a very crowded train. All 5 of us had to stand at first, but then two people moved and the kids shared the two seats. Emily stayed on the floor--it was easier for her than trying to hold on. Ryan sat in the seat in front of them. Lydia passed out before we even hit our stop :).

Off the train and down to the van. This was, hands down, Emily's favorite thing!! She kept calling the "sescalators" or "the moving stairs." We stopped at an Olive Garden for dinner on the way out of NOVa and headed home. Everyone asleep the whole way. We could not have ordered a better day!! Everyone had a great time and I can't wait to go back!!