Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The "perfect" day

Yesterday was one of those days that was just good. Everyone was pleasant and in a good mood. No one threw any tantrums (including me). Folks pitched in, were ready on time, didn't complain. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm. Music was played, homework was done, yummy dinner was eaten.

Really, it was one of those days that will be used as a positive referral for days that are far less sunny. I'll look back on it and realize that for a single day all the stars were aligned, everyone was right where they should be mentally and emotionally.

Ah. Good days.

Katherine get up at 4:30 a.m. for swimming without complaint, even though she wasn't feeling great. Rebecca was out the door with me at 5:45 to pick up breakfast at McDonalds for her sister and drop her at the bus stop before getting off to her own high school.

I went to school with Jonathon to chaperone his field trip to Lake Ridge Park, a park we've never been to. It's in the middle of housing complexes and not all that large but does sport a lake, several trails and lots of picnic shelters. Last year I was with Rebecca's 7th grade trip to Leesylvania State Park and the kids were split into several groups and rotated through stations with various guides. Yesterday's trip was supposed to work the same way but it seemed that either the guides were all new or the entire program was new this year. The guides weren't sure what to say, hemming and hawing their way through the activities, and at one point they didn't know where our group was supposed to be so we were situated in an empty picnic shelter and left there. Groups were split up at times because some of the kids didn't make it to one activity or another. And we still were rushed through a 15 minute lunch during the 3 hours.

11/14/11: More rock cycle.

But the weather was gorgeous and I was in a park with my nature-lover. I picked up some germinated acorn seeds for him to plant at home. We rolled our together eyes at the silly song/rap they forced the kids to sing (that didn't rhyme or make much sense in general... about the rock cycle). I ate some of his lunch. We tromped through lots of leaves.

11/14/11: Pretty clouds.

11/14/11: Tree ring history.

11/14/11: Pretty moss stuff.

11/14/11:  Pretty to look at.

11/14/11: One of our trails.

The best part of the trip was the GPS/geocaching exercise. Jonathon has a new hobby he wants to dive into, and honestly I thought it was fascinating and fun too. What is really attractive is that geocaching is international, even in Jordan. We marched along paths following the compass, then hunted through the leaves to find little boxes of treasure. In our case, erasers in one and candy in the other.

11/14/11:  Checking out the geocache treasure.

Back home, we had homework, dinner, and back out for Monday night music lessons. Rebecca went to Music&Arts for her guitar lesson. Katherine and Nicholas went to Gar-Field for YOPW. On Sunday, Katherine had her first YOPW concert with the Wind Symphony.

11/13/11:  YOPW concert, no photos allowed.

She thoroughly enjoys rehearsing and performing with this group. She's sorely missing her band teacher from last year and the challenging music they performed. YOPW beautifully fills a void that this year's band class doesn't come close to filling. They perform lovely challenging pieces, taught by energetic and wonderful instructors. She's also surrounded by other students who enjoy their instruments and are there because they choose to be (or their parents choose them to be... as is the case with pretty much everything we do: I sign the kids up, they complain, they do it, typically they have a ball).

11/13/11: Post YOPW concert.

Monday night was Nicholas's first time with the Intro to Preparatory group. Nicholas is a tough cookie when it comes to anything outside the house, especially anything outside the house that involves performing with something he's not comfortable with. The cello is far from a love for him. He did it last year in 5th grade strings and was just OK with it. This year, after being registered in strings this spring, he said he didn't want to do cello anymore and would prefer the saxophone. *sigh* Well, tough noogies kid, it's the cello again this year.

But guess what. He didn't want to go last night. Until he did. The first thing out of his mouth at the end of rehearsal #1? "Mom, you were right. It was fun. Except that they talk to us like little kids." Intro to Prep is level one in the YOPW family, for those who are first or second year on their instruments. A large number of students are home-schooled, and like all these groups the age range is huge. In the top tier Youth Orchestra there are middle-elementary kids all the way through seniors in high school. In Intro to Prep, there are even smaller kids all the way through mid-middle school. It's a fabulous experience for him and may just turn the tide on his "I don't like cello" thoughts. Even better? Rehearsal on Mondays counts for 3 practice sessions for his Saunders orchestra class.

So yeah. Everyone had a good day, everyone came home happy. Good work was done. People learned and had fun and I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with my "little guy" at the park.

And to top it all off, we beat the neighbors in the leaf bagging contest they didn't know we were having. We had 16 bags to their 13. Hah!

11/13/11: Winning the leaf bag collection race for the weekend.

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