Friday, January 23, 2015

field trip fun

In the past two weeks I was able to go on field trips with my 2nd grader and my 5th grader. While I've tried to make to at least a few class parties these past two years, nursing school made it difficult to do much else with the kid's school. I was so thankful I could make my work schedule to accommodate these trips. It makes me so happy that my kids WANT me to come on these trips with them. Especially the 5th grader. You never know when kids decide they don't want you around. My philosophy is to be as present as possible when they actively want me, trusting that will build bridges for the years when parents aren't so cool.

First up was a 2nd grade trip to the zoo! One of the benefits of living in San Diego is their educational trips are someone's summer vacation. I'm thankful these locations value education too--as an extra parent I was able to participate for just $11.

Gracie was being goofy and insisting I hold her like this for a photo. All the kids had some sort of identifying name tag with their school info on it. Gracie's class decorated these visors with animal stickers and the info was written on the underside. Cute and creative!

We took a bus tour first. Almost all the kids and the "official chaperones" sat on the top deck. As extras, several other parents and I sacrificed and sat on the bottom. And by sacrificed I mean we got to chat about life as well as what we were seeing and not be overwhelmed by loud clamoring kids. It pays to be an extra sometimes!

Here was our group of four koalas, I mean kiddos, and there were three parents along too. So we were pretty set!

Of course the zoo is always looking to make another buck, and so you can take a photo in front of a green screen and they photoshop baby pandas in. I may have gotten in trouble for snapping this photo of the computer screen. But we were under strict orders to buy nothing at the zoo, so I was just following directions. It was too cute not to have record of.

One of my favorite exhibits at the Zoo is always the monkeys and gorillas and Gracie loved them too. In fact her second birthday was a monkey theme because she loved monkeys.  It almost looks like she's right next to this orangutang, but in fact there is glass between them. The orangutangs were really active and seemed to interact with the kids. Gracie took about a bazillion photos on my phone at this exhibit.  I wouldn't be surprised if her future career involves animals somehow.

 And this week was a 5th grade trip to Sea World. The parent-child ratio in our group was much larger and wow I never realized how excitable and loud 5th graders are! Our little gang with a penguin friend.

We started off in on a simulation ride and it was mostly filled with screaming 5th graders. I felt sorry for the mom and her 5 year old son who ended up with us. She turned around at one point to tell me and another mom "I can't hear any of the narration." Sorry about that!

We've had Sea World passes for many years now and I always try to spend $0 when we go because it's usually just for a few hours and I bring snacks and drinks. But I acquiesced--because 5th grade field trip--and let Miss Rose feed the bat rays. She shared her fish with friends. Her face was priceless after the bat ray sucked up the fish with it's mouth which is on the bottom of its body.

There was an educational Shamu show for all the schools in attendance that day. Our school had a special post-show photo session and Q&A with a trainer thanks to a dad who works there. First, check out the one month old baby killer whale swimming the pool after the show.

It was a bummer the kids didn't actually see this whale up close behind them, but what an awesome photo! They had the whale come up just for the photo. I hope these kids know how lucky they are to spend the day at Sea World! (and my parent ticket was just $6!)

I am so happy I was able to share this experience with my first baby girl, who is turning 11 next week. She's just a few inches from being taller than me. I love seeing her interact with her friends and be a kid.

This is a blessed life. In spite of challenges and struggles and trying to make it all work, I love this life God had given me.