Saturday, May 9, 2009

Field Trip to Camp Chestnut Ridge

We had another awesome field trip day.  I had wondered if it were going to work.  This same field trip was rained out a month ago and this day was looming a little dark and uncertain.  We needed to make the decision by 8:30am - and at that time the skies were grey and  ominous and it had been raining most of the night.  I prayed and asked God to help me make the decision and to make it an easy one.  Well, He didn't make it easy, but He surely helped to make the right one.  We went for it - and it was a gorgeous day!

We spend the day at Camp Chestnut Ridge.  What an awesome facility with wonderful staff!   

 We divided up by ages for this outing as the oldest children were going on a low ropes course.  We had two groups going out - 3rd to 5th graders and 6th grade and up.  They did some team building exercises and games before setting out on the course.  Each of the spots on the course was set up as a story - Indiana Jones or crocodiles in the river.  There was an obstacle and they had to figure out as a group how to overcome it.

They had to all get on top of a small platform, swing from a rope across a "ravine" and all get on a moving plank bridge.  Now I didnt' see any of this and this is the best of my memory working here.  I'll update tomorrow when my children are awake if I can remember.  LOL

One of the up sides of splitting into groups is that we are able to tailor activities for each age group that are challenging and fun.  I know that even my 16yo was looking forward to this trip!  The downside is that I miss seeing what all of my children are doing.  I miss experiencing it with them!  I rely on their stories and the stories of others.  (Thanks Lynn for sharing one in the comments yesterday!)

When the kids came back from the outing, the gal with whom I'd been talking to set up the outing shared with me about her group.  (The middle group of kids.)  She told me that she had one boy in her group that was very quiet.  When the kids were trying to figure something out, he would say the answer but nobody heard him because he was so quiet.  She noted that he was saying the right answer so she asked everyone to be quiet so that they could hear this boy speak.  She then made him a leader which she said he was quite excited about.  She then went on to share how this quiet boy took on this new leadership role and did a great job with it - guiding his team well.  I was curious by now and pointed to my son Joshua, who was across the shelter, and asked if he was the quiet boy.  She confirmed my suspicions not realizing that he was my son.  I loved that I was able to hear this story!  It did my mama's heart good.  She also said that on the return to the shelter that "Captain Joshua" said that he thought he would become "General Joshua" now.  LOL  I'm not thinking it went to his head, but that it was a wonderful opportunity for him to have a chance to lead.

While the older two groups were out, the younger kids had some hands-on and interactive classes.  The first was on bees.  We looked at a variety of types of bees (pictures).  Then they talked about the hives and the special shape in the hive - hexagon.  She asked why this shape was used instead of a circle.  They did an activity to demonstrate why the hexagon is a better use of space by placing together a group of circles and a group of hexagons to see which worked better.  You know the answer. 

Next they each got a piece of beeswax and a wick.  I took a close-up of the beeswax so that you could see the hexagon shape made by the bees.  Isn't it neat?

The children placed the wick on one side of the beeswax and rolled it up into a candle. 

The next class was at the garden.  There are a number of children who come to an after school program here that help to maintain this beautiful garden.  We took a tour and saw the many wonderful plants, some bantam chickens and the composting area. 

TThe children then made some snacks - right from the garden.  First they picked a lettuce leaf.  Isaiah did not want to do this as he informed me that he didn't like lettuce.  I finally convinced him to make it for me.  A really good call!  lol  After rinsing off the leaves, they layed then on a napkin and spread cream cheese on them.  Then they added "nature's sprinkles" - sunflower seeds.  The final step was to roll it up. 

I don't know how this sounds to you but it  tasted yummy!!!  I'll definitely be making this again!

The children also made coleslaw.  Isaiah and Daniel preferred plain veggies - snap peas (Isaiah only) and carrots (both).

My boys chatting with a friend

There was a big dog that liked to hang around and Eliana was thrilled when he came up for a visit.  She really likes dogs.  (No, we don't have one.)  She would cautiously approach him to give him a pet and then back away to look at him. 

This pic just cracked me up as it looks like she is talking to him!

The third and final class for the younger kids was on matter.  They learned about the three stages of matter - solid, liquid and gas.  The gal teaching did a great job bringing it to their level. 


Their first experiement was making flubber.    This was a very easy thing to do and I do recommend it as a fun thing to try with children.  They were excited to see this liquid turn to solid - and it's a fun solid to play with as well!

Here is Isaiah demonstrating the end result.

At this point in the day, Eliana, who had been a little fussy, became a lot fussy!  She was crying and not quiet.  I went to the van to get her lunch thinking that she could eat quietly while the children finished their class.  Well, Daniel came to the car upset because he has lost his seat beside his brother.  I took him back and squeezed him back onto the bench.

He wasn't thrilled with this.  Eliana is still crying.  The children are told to pair up.  He wants to be my partner.  Did I mention that Eliana is still crying?  I told him I can't be his partner and find another child to be his partner.  Well, he doesn't know this little boy and does not want to be his partner. 

The partners are making ice cream in baggies.  Cream, ice and salt.  It's super easy and yummy to boot!  All of the kids loved it - except Daniel.

By this time, I'm frustrated.  I don't handle it well either.  I'm frustrated with Daniel's inability to just deal with the situation.  I'm not patient with him.  Ever solution I come up with is rejected and he just doesn't listen to anything I say.  Then I just dont want to help him either.  Not a pretty mommy moment at all!  A friend tries to help include Daniel, but he only wants me.  Another offers to feed Eliana - but I don't take her up on it as she really likes me to feed her.  Its been this way for most of her life.  I should have let her try though as it might have worked.  Next time I will.  I will admit though that at this point, I didn't want to be with Daniel as he just wasn't listening.  He was trying to hold it together and he had a mom that just totally missed the boat. 

After I dealt with my frustration, I just felt horrible.  I was impatient and mean.  I apologized to my sweet boy and also to my friends.  I wish that I could say that it wouldn't happen again.  I wish that I could just get it right all of the time.  I wish that I wasn't able to hurt those I love so very much.  I'm thankful though that I make mistakes as I need to be humbled and it reminds me how much I need a Saviour.  I hope too that it helps me to be a little more understanding of my children and other stressed out mommies.  What a lesson to get right before Mother's Day, huh?  I learn sooo much from my precious children.  I'm so very thankful for the blessing of being a mother.  I can't imagine doing anything else! 

After the classes, we just hung out and played.  Daniel was fine after spending some time playing with Isaiah.  We ate lunch and the children just ran around and played.  It was a sweet afternoon with friends.

We all learned a lot - some of us more than we thought we would.  Thank you God for leading us gently.  Thank you for your example of love that never tires, never gets frustrated and is always available.  God is good!