we didn’t technically observe march break. at least we didn’t stop doing school for the week just because the rest of north america did. the week that we went to great wolf lodge ended up being a no-school week, as well as the several weeks after that where one or the other of the kids were sick. i’m not starting to feel stressed out about the school schedule yet, but definitely “aware” that if we take any more time off then we’ll be doing school into the summer. we did however take monday off for a “field trip” , which is a homeschooler’s term for “something better than school came along.”
every year desiree, mom and myself (with our kids) head out to the sugar bush at white meadow farms in vineland. this year derek came along with us, which i was really grateful for because i still wasn’t 100% better from being sick the days before, and i had major insomnia the night before i would have been making the 2+ hour drive. also because he was with us we were able to take our time coming home, knowing that nobody was waiting for their family to return to them.
the sugar bush was even more fun than last year, even though the horse-drawn carriage was absent and the weather was absolutely freezing. each year my kids are a little bit bigger, another year older, have become more independent, and actually enjoy learning from each demonstration on our path to the pancake house. i don’t have to hold their hands or take rocks out of their mouths or ask them not to pick their nose while i’m trying to take a picture. they put up their hands to ask a question after the demonstrations, and patiently wait in line for their turns at making maple syrup. plus the added bonus that when it’s cold outside like it was this year, i don’t have to keep pulling their hats down over their ears or their mittens back over their hands. as much as i lament not having babies anymore, i really do appreciate having older kids, especially when we do fun stuff like going to the sugar bush.
some highlights of the trip for me were watching the kids have a blast during a spontaneous square dance in the middle of the woods (you can see the fiddler behind the kids in the pics), going through the tap-line maze in the woods, watching elliot read every informative billboard, each moment that we stood in front of a campfire and our clothes absorbed the campfire smell, watching derek correct one of the “pioneers” when she incorrectly used the word “diameter” instead of “circumference”, thawing our fingers in the pancake house and eating fresh maple syrup, and meeting the 5-day old baby goat at the petting zoo.
after we said goodbye to dez & my mom, and on our way to meet a new little baby and see some old friends, derek and i drove past the most surprising and beautiful gorge, made even more magnificent because it was so unexpected. we turned around and parked, and then took the kids and the camera closer to appreciate the beauty of the water gushing down the side of the escarpment.
we didn’t have the equipment, and the sun was against us, so we weren’t able to fully-capture the height and power of the waterfall, but enough of a picture to help us preserve the memory, and i thoroughly enjoyed the spontaneous photoshoot.
and as if we needed any further reminder of how beautifully God creates;
after the sugar bush, and the gorge, we stopped at our friends’ place to meet their sweet little daughter, charlotte. we had a great visit catching up with the grants. elliot showed lyndsay how to work a DS, lynday’s mom read books to all the kids, and we drank hot chocolate and yacked it up until the midgets started to feel a little too comfortable in that home and started running around like monkeys. we packed the kids into the van and made our way back home, stopping in at ikea for some supper and browsing (and to let the energetic kids loose in the playroom) while we waited for traffic to clear. it was a great and full day, and since we’d packed so much into it, we were free to finish up a solid week of school with the rest of the days of march break. i’m sure that as the weather gets nicer there will be many more spontaneous “field trips” before the year is up, but hopefully i can be disciplined enough to get our work done before the public schools are out for the summer!