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Saturday, October 29, 2011

FiElD tRiP!!!!

Ah, field trips!  A day we dedicate to the kids from dusk until dawn just to have a little break from the normal classroom humdrum and trick them into learning :)

Today was our annual field trip to our Louisiana State Capitol and the Louisiana Art and Science Museum.  Our trip began bright and early at 6:45 am when we loaded two chartered buses and traveled east for 2 hours.  For the teachers, this meant 2 hours of work talk about how to figure schedules, how to help our struggling students, and reviewing options for the upcoming Advent celebration at school.  For the kids, this meant loading up on early morning junk food brought from home, chatting on the DSi, playing ipod touches, or simply reading a book.

The museum was a bit rushed, but the activities were enjoyable.  We were having fun learning.  Who needs a bathroom break anyway?  Our kids learned the science behind why we cannot touch art due to the oils in our skin and the damage it does over time.  They also learned how to build a series electrical circuit, a parallel circuit, and how to make a light bulb work with a D battery.

The Capitol was the best, though  Thank God I teach Social Studies.  I love history.  In addition to being a grammar nerd, I get abnormally excited to learn about history.   I'm pretty sure my students do, too (wink, wink). 

I have a student in my class who has struggled all of his life in the classroom.  Of course, he's not the only one.  This kid, however, has a shy personality and lacks confidence in the classroom.  It is obvious to me, and, unfortunately, it is obvious to his peers.  He requires help that others don't.  Well, yesterday was his day to shine.  His dad is a former Senator,  former Louisiana Representative, and currently holds an office in our state government.  I was hoping he would just be able to meet his son at the capitol and enjoy the tour, since this child's parents don't live in the same city.  The second his foot hit the ground off of the bus, he turned to me, and said, "Mrs. Adrienne, I don't see my dad."  Well, there is a bit of the walk up to the capitol, so I told him to wait until we get there.

As we approached, there his dad was, waiting for our arrival.  He came to me and said he had arranged to do the tour himself with the help of another tour guide.  He arranged to have us tour the House, the Senate (these are the norm), and he would take us into the Governor's office, too!  He swore in all 75 of the students as Honorary United States Senators, called them all Senators as we toured, gave them Senate pins, let them run their fingers along the bullet holes still in the wall from Huey Long's assassination, showed us the pencil that remains in the Senate ceiling after a bomb exploded there long ago, and escorted our whole loud crew into the Governor's office.  His son beamed as he stood beside his dad as he told us some history behind the items that hang there.  He had that "I'm trying not to smile so I can remain cool but I really can't help it" smile.  His dad introduced himself to all of us with the offices he has held, currently holds, "but, most importantly" as his son's dad.  He ended the tour by taking all of the kids to the top of the capitol from the 4th floor of the Governor's office.  What a treat!

Finally, as my half of the group roamed the top of the the nation's tallest capitol building overlooking the Mighty Mississippi, I got a call.  Our time was up.  It was 3:00, and the other half of the group had not been able to come to the top.  I just couldn't imagine telling the 40 kids in GROUP B, half of the group, that they could not come up.  So, I made a quick decision and told my team teacher to let only the kids up with one parent per group, leaving lots of parents on the ground floor.  It was the only way to lessen the amount of people.  The elevators are small and take a long time to get up there.  I probably made a few parents unhappy, but the fied trip would not have been complete without those kids coming up, and they NEVER would have forgotten that they didn't get to come up.  They came up.  It took a long time.  We left 45 minutes late.  I worried about that decision all the way home since I had heard that some parents were not thrilled with it.

My son is in my class this year and calls this the best field trip he's ever had.  After we were home, I asked, "What was your favorite part of the entire day?"  "Going to the top, "he said.  He was in GROUP B.  So, I've decided I'll take the blame if any.  It was worth it.

I can't wait to get to school Monday and start working on thank you notes for these men who made our day so special....and of course tricking them again into writing a friendly letter.

Lesson:  Kids remember heartbreak longer than they remember a good time.  I'm glad there were none today.


Zac at the top overlooking the Mississippi.

Over 100 of us crammed into the Governor's office.

The Senate

The kids being sworn in as Honorary Senators

Father and son.  Look at that sweet smile!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Times Three

This is my life...this thought....times three.

When you have 3 kids, everything happens in threes.  Not just bedtime, bathtime, dinnertime, morning time, and snacktime.  Tuition to that sweet private school.  New winter shoes.  New winter coats. New winter wardrobes.  New booksacks.  New school supplies.  New sporting gear.  Christmas.  Easter.  In my case, birthdays since their birthdays fall in July, August, and September.  Halloween.

Halloween...have you been to a costume store?  Are they insane?  I guess there are some people out there who pay $40 for a costume to wear one single night.  That's not me.  In fact, we have been blessed to have hand me down costumes most years.  This year, we're on our own though.  I was able to talk Catie into wearing her "beautiful princess dress" in her closet.  I bought a cheap tiara and robe to complete the ensemble.  Zac will be a zombie like every other 10-yr-old this year.  Abby is difficult.  She is not girly at all.  She would wear the dracula costume if I allowed it.  She finally decided on a lady vampire and only if blood can drip from the corner of her mouth.

So, tonight, after dancing, we decided to make the trip to the dreaded costume shop.  It is important to know that no mother toting more than 1 child in the history of the world has ever left a store feeling like a successful parent.  We either leave utterly embarrased that these whiny children are following us out the door, starving and crabby because this trip was taken too close to dinner time, or like a total loser that we did not buy the 2,345 things that our kids asked us to buy THAT day.  We get into filthy minivans and SUVs (noticing the mess again when opening the back door), fuss at the kids to get in already, drop a teddy bear and a DVD on the ground, throw it back in, and calmly back up while trying to see around our 45 blind spots that our cool SUVs have brought to our lives.  We eventually calm down before the return home and all is well with the world again.

Anyway, the shopping trip.  Just as expected, this entire scenario happened once again.  Abby was a perfect angel and found a costume that did not cost $500.  It was a dress :(  but I told her she could put black leggings with it, so she's cool.  Catie asked for eyeballs, a princess mask, clown hair, a bloody arm, a crawling zombie, spiders, a bloody ax, the dry ice machine, a pirate costume, fishnet stockings, and a zombie baby.  The horrid zombie baby was $60 and she cried into the next store about that one.  "I WANT THE ZOMBIE BABY!!!"  {{{Who is this kid following me out the door?}}}

Next we had to go to Wal Mart for fangs to complete the ensemble (of course, the Halloween store was all out of fangs).  Here, Catie asked for cantaloupe, donuts, a "cute" T-shirt, SLIPPERS!!!!, pumpkin lights, pumpkin candies, pumpkin napkins, pumpkin pretzels, a pumpkin, fangs, spiders, a hoola hoop, a basketball, some jeans, pajama bottoms, a purse, and cookies.  She got the pajama bottoms since they were on clearance anyway.  That was not sufficient.  As usual, I left with an unhappy child whom I clearly do nothing for.....ehem....for whom I clearly do nothing.    [[[[[don't end sentences in prepositions]]]]]

She has now nibbled on the few morsels of food that were lucky enough to grace her palate, she has fussed at me for not getting her some ice cream, and she has faked throwing up 3 times.  It is time for the princess to lay that pretty head down.

Lesson:  Leave the kids at home when shopping!