Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Field Trippin'

The temperatures may still be frigid, but with the sun shining and with cabin fever at it's peak, the boys and I decided to head out to Kensington Metro Park to meet our friends, the Stevens. When we arrived, the thermometer said it was a whopping 28 degrees F, but we were fortunate enough that by the time we left (around 2pm) it hit a high of 38! Ha ha! We bundled up as best we could, but the wind still cut right through us so we spent much of our time investigating the smallest and most intimate details of the Nature and the Farm Centers.

Ethan, Thomas, Kaden and James take a break from our chilly hike

All photos courtesy of my handy-dandy camera phone!

The highlight of our time out was having the opportunity to hand feed the chickadees and the small woodpeckers on the nature trail outside of the Nature Center. The boys loved the experience, although Kaden was a little unsure once one of the chickadees actually landed in his hand. Elijah had the best luck since he stood the most still and exhibited the most patience. The chickadees were so hungry that they even followed us out of the woods and into the parking lot looking for more sunflower seeds!

Eli was so excited and the birds were very brave!

How many birds can you count? (There were at least 7 around Eli at this moment!)

After the Nature Center we took a break for a picnic lunch and then went to the Farm Center and petting area. We really enjoyed looking at all of the new baby animals that had been recently born at the farm. There were about a dozen piglets, 7 new lambs and a baby goat that the boys had the opportunity to observe and pet. The pigs were the most fascinating because when we arrived they were all snoring in a corner, but soon the mama sow called them to eat. It was a very noisy piggy frenzy as all the little pink porkers rushed over to mommy and pushed, shoved, squeezed and trampled each other for the best milk spout. It certainly made me glad that God decided to create me as a human mother and not a fine swine!

From the baby animals we traveled to the second story of the barn to where they had various farming displays set up and there was a hands-on children's activity center. The boys had a fun time playing with all of the equipment and tools, and my friend Alyssa and I had a good time talking and enjoying a little "mom time." It was nice to have a bit of a respite while the boys entertained themselves with educational toys. Not to mention it gave us the opportunity to warm ourselves back up!

After a quick tour of the remaining petting farm animals, we headed back up to our cars to head home. The day was a lot of fun and it was so nice to be outside enjoying the sunshine. Can I say again how glad I am that we have the opportunity to homeschool! There was a school group at the park the entire time we were there and I had to count my blessings that we are able to pack up and "do" school at the park anytime we want. The traditionally-schooled children only have the opportunity to get out of the classroom every once in a while. This real-life, day-to-day education is so much fun and a wonderful, relationship-building, memory-making experience.

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