Wednesday, February 25, 2009

First Day of School Field Trip

We began a new adventure this week with Sissy and Dash starting preschool. Dash went to a different preschool last year, but he brought home so many germs we decided to keep him home this year. I felt like we were sick all the time last year. I think it paid off because somehow, up until a few weeks ago, we managed to escape any big illnesses around here. We thought it would be a good time for them to start going, though, to give me some more time to spend with Tornado, one on one. I think they had a fun day. Dash's teacher did report one "occurrence," and I guess we should feel fortunate there was only one. Sissy's teacher said she did great all day and played really well with the other kids. They have really small classes, and I think it is going to be a good thing for them.

After we picked up the little ones from school, we decided to take a trip to the fairly new Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, which is located downtown. I first need to say - I parallel parked. Yes, I did. I never parallel park. I don't even bother trying because I can never do it and end up embarrassing myself in front of other drivers who are waiting on me to get out of the way. I just fork out the cash for paid parking. Not this time, nope. Big changes might be coming to our lives. After the exciting adventure of my parking job, in which my children congratulated me since I was making such a fuss over myself and my amazing skills, we enjoyed perusing the Clinton Museum Shop. Then we made our way down the path to the nature center.

You know, the kids just love going to museums in general. It probably wouldn't matter how boring or exciting it REALLY ended up being; they just love running (well, as polite of an indoor run as I can muster out of them) from one exhibit to the next - "Look!" "What's this?" etc. They loved watching the Arkansas River native fish in the long aquarium. Sissy tried leaning over the aquarium wall, hiking up one leg, and looking at me expectantly, like "Can I get in there?" We also loved the amazing number of birds outside one window. They had so many bird feeders set up in the bird viewing area that had attracted quite a crowd of feathered friends. Other than that, for me personally, the visit was full of cringe-inducing moments. The facilities are new and nice, and I'm SO all in favor of any progress toward developing the downtown area. They've done a great job; the place just isn't for me. It's like taking a trip to Bass Pro Shop - ugh. All the stuffed animals, the wall of fishing lures, the "trapping" room full of animal skins, and the 13 minute video highlighting dead animals (okay, it was about the history of wildlife conservation in the state - spinning it in a way that shows how positive the commission has been in protecting animals because you can now only KILL and show off your dead animal if you have a license.) I'm clearly biased, and I REALLY DO understand and appreciate the many positive things that wildlife conservationists work hard for in our state (I had even thought about doing that for a career at some points), but "hunting and fishing" is just not my thing.
We went for a long walk outside and along the River for quite a ways. That's the Clinton Presidential Library in the background. The boys ran and ran, stopping and marveling at everything from bugs to trash that seemed like treasure to them. How I love life through their eyes. Sissy ran as fast as her little legs would carry her. It was such a beautiful day outside.

The rivermarket area really is a great place for the kids to stretch their legs and play. They've really done a lot of work in the past year(s). Tornado loved looking at all the tiles in the mural under the overpass. Something funny I remember Tornado saying while we were out and about...I said to them at one point, "I love having three kids!" Tornado said, "And I can say, "Coming up next on...what would I say - Mom...or Jenny and Ryan Plus 3!" (referring to how the kids on that show say, "Coming up next on John and Kate Plus 8." haha.

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