Field trips

Music in the Parks

Posted in Field trips, Molly, Music on June 19th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s middle school sent 8 busses worth of kids to Hershey, Pennsylvania for Music in the Parks. While the 6th grade groups did not make the trip, Molly got to go with Symphony Orchestra, which has kids from all grades and meets before school at 6:50 to practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I chaperoned the trip. Molly and I had to be at her school at 4:30am to organize ourselves, our stuff, and load into the busses for the trip. We arrived in Hershey a little after 7 and split up to go to 3 different local schools where the different groups would perform. Then the kids performed all morning.

Music in the Parks

After performing in the morning, the kids changed clothes and headed to Hershey Park for some fun. Here’s our group of 6th grade girls.

Hershey Park

They played around in the water park, rode a couple coasters, ate some food, and had a great time. I think their favorite ride was Tidal Force.

Prepare for splash


A bit wet

After the fun at the park, we headed into the arena for the awards ceremony. Molly’s group took 1st place in their division, as did several other groups from her school.

1st place

We then boarded the busses and headed home. We got back to our house a bit before 9pm, exhausted and ready for bed.

Tennessee Thanksgiving

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Field trips on December 9th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For Thanksgiving, we went to visit G’Mom and Grampa, who live outside of Memphis, Tennessee. This is usually a flying trip for us, but I wanted to try driving it. I really hate flying, and Thanksgiving crowds make it all the worse. Since Jen got a nice new car last year, road trips have become much more comfortable. So, I managed to convince Jen to give driving a shot.

It’s too far to do in one day, so we stayed at a hotel in Abingdon, Virginia. We ended up with between 8 and 9 hours driving each day. We left Monday after school and got in Tuesday before dinner. I thought the driving was great. My family members were less enthusiastic, but they admitted it wasn’t that awful.

Wednesday afternoon, Emmie, JJ, Aunt ‘Chelle, and Uncle J arrived. Tennessee was having a cold snap (meaning it was about normal for us Marylanders), so the kids all had some hot cocoa.

Tennessee Cocoa

Thanksgiving was super special this year. G’Mom’s birthday fell on Thanksgiving day this year, which meant we got to celebrate with her.

Happy birthday G'Mom

Lots of music happened while we were in Tennessee. Molly and Leah even got introduced to JJ’s drum set. They teamed up to try them out, accompanying Emmie.

Drumming pair

Before our Thanksgiving meal, the kids helped Grampa set up the manger scene outside.

Manger setup

The girls decided they needed to ride the manger animals.

Riding the animals

Here’s the finished scene (with Grampa hiding in the background).

Finished scene

There was of course much eating on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving meal

After eating, we took some family pictures (which you won’t find here) in front of the manger scene. Then we decided to take part in the scene, with everyone playing the part of one of the characters in the scene. Looks like the best live nativity I’ve ever seen.

Acting the part

These kids do have fun together.

Fun together

We finished Thanksgiving day with a concert including a violin/viola duet (which they practiced only a couple times briefly before performing), piano, violin, viola, and the Long family trio.

There was one more bit of excitement on Thanksgiving day. The kitchen sink decided to stop draining, meaning we couldn’t wash the dishes from Thanksgiving dinner. We ended up disconnecting the pipes, draining into a bucket, and washing by hand (occasionally emptying the bucket in a nearby bathroom). Thanksgiving plumbing problems are fun!

Friday morning, we decided to head to IHOP for breakfast instead of creating dishes. The girls thought it was amazing (they split red velvet pancakes).

IHOP breakfast

Thankfully, the plumber came out that morning and cleared the clog, so the kitchen resumed operation.

Friday afternoon Emmie, JJ, Uncle J, and Aunt ‘Chelle headed back to Alabama. Afterward, Grampa and I picked up a Christmas tree. The girls enjoyed helping decorate it.

Tree decorating

Tree decorating

I don’t think Leah is sure about the placement of this ornament.

Up high

The girls liked these ornaments so much, G’Mom and Grampa said they could keep them.

Ornaments for the road

Saturday we got up and hit the road for the drive back. Sadly, that meant we could not watch the Iron Bowl (where Auburn defeated #1 Alabama to win the SEC West), but we did enjoy listening to the broadcast in the car on our drive to our hotel. The drive home had a bit of traffic, but was mostly uneventful and took us almost the exact amount of time that it took to drive down.

Callaway comes to an end

Posted in Family visits, Field trips, Trip on August 1st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Our time at Callaway was fantastic, but all good things must come to an end. The younger kids have an awards ceremony at the end of the last day (Molly’s now in a group that is too old for this). Leah was named Future President (which Leah’s talked about as far back as preschool, though she is not currently planning for a term in the White House).

Future President

Emmie was given the Natural Leader award, so I guess we’ve got some leaders in the family.


Leah, Emmie, and three of their circus performing counselors.

End of camp

That evening was the final circus, and they held the awards ceremony shortly beforehand. I won the tennis tournament (as I had done the last time we were at Callaway), and got another t-shirt (though this one was in a smaller size for Leah).

Tennis champion

The kids again paraded around the tent.

Closing parade

And then the held the final circus. Afterwards, Leah and Emmie had to get a final hug from their counselor, Jess.

Final hug

Circus counselor

Molly got a picture with her counselor, Brooke, after a very busy circus performance including the Spanish Web, the Triple Trapeze, the Bicycle Built for Five, and serving as Ring Master.

Talented counselor

Camp at Callaway was again incredibly awesome. I used to think Jen’s family was crazy for going to the same place every summer for ten years. I now totally get it. We wish we could go every year (and if any of you have a plan that might entail us going every year, I’m all ears).

Giant chair

Nature center field trip

Posted in Field trips, Molly, School on May 23rd, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

I got to chaperone Molly’s class field trip to the Robinson Nature Center. Thankfully, we had a beautiful day. Nature’s much more fun when it’s not cold and rainy, as it was the day before we went.

Robinson Nature Center

Our group first walked through the exhibits, including a large forest exhibit. Part of it was even a nocturnal forest. Then we went into a classroom to learn a bit. During our classroom session, we learned about the different types of vertebrates, including amphibians like these American Toad tadpoles.


After the class time, we ate lunch outside. Then we went on a nature walk through the woods, learning along the way.

Nature walk

Our final activity was a fun show in the NatureSphere planetarium about the Earth, Moon, and Sun.

Planetarium show

The trip was lots of fun for everyone. The Robinson Nature Center is a great place, and now I know they put on a great field trip.

Exploring aquatic treasures

Posted in Field trips, Leah, School on March 1st, 2015 by jen – 1 Comment

Leah's class has been learning about the rainforest, so to reinforce their lessons we headed to the National Aquarium on Wednesday. Leah was super excited that I was coming along and riding on the bus to get there was an exciting start to the day!

Field trip fun

As the kids arrived, they examined a turtle shell up close. They were then tasked with the mission of counting how many turtles they could find at the aquarium.

Turtle shell

After seeing lots of little fish, this big guy was quite a surprise.

Big fish

Leah and Norah loved eating lunch together while being entertained by the dolphins and trainers.

Lunch buddies

Who knew dolphins love Jell-O? The trainers played a little Jell-O baseball to give the dolphins a treat.

Jell-O baseball

I was chaperone to three of the girls, so I paired up with the chaperone of the other three girls and we all explored the Aquarium together. Looks like these girls had a great day!

All the girls

Farm field trip

Posted in Field trips, Molly, School on October 9th, 2014 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s class took their first field trip of second grade to the Howard County Antique Farm Machinery Club’s Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum. It’s a non-functioning farm that they use to teach about what it was like on a farm before electricity. I went along.

It was an action-packed day with 10 groups and 10 stations. Each station got 8 minutes to present what they wanted to show, so there was no time for goofing off. Fortunately, large groups of second graders never goof off...

Our first stop was the blacksmith, who made a mini horseshoe for us.

Farm Field Trip

We then processed corn stalks, learned about grains, checked out where they milked cows, learned about making brooms, made some rope, and learned about bees (sorry, no pictures).

Next, Molly used the corn sheller to remove all the kernels from this ear of corn, leaving her with only a cob.

Corn sheller

She took those kernels and put them in the grain mill to make cornmeal.

After that, we headed into the farmhouse to see how they did laundry, cooked, and lived without electricity.

The kids had a good time and learned a good bit, but it was an exhausting pace. I think all the parents breathed a sigh of relief when the kids got back on the bus to head back to school.

Zoo field trip

Posted in Field trips, Leah on April 9th, 2014 by c-had – 1 Comment

The big field trip for the year in Leah's preschool class is the trip to the zoo. You may remember that I chaperoned this very trip three years ago when Molly went on it. Leah decided that I needed a repeat performance, so I got to chaperone the trip for Leah's class.

Before boarding the bus, while the parents were preparing, Ms. Lorrie led the kids in some of their morning routine. When Leah noticed that Ms. Lorrie was just picking people (rather than going by daily assignments), Leah crept close to her. When Luca finished with the calendar, Leah jumped up and told Ms. Lorrie she wanted to be the meteorologist for the day.


One of the highlights of the trip was getting to ride a school bus for the first time.

Bus ride

Sam joined Leah and me to form our little group for the trip. I really like chaperoning preschool trips, as the adult/child ratio is so low. It makes keeping track of the kids easy.

Leah and Sam

When we arrived at the zoo, we were surprised to find it almost empty. I guess the snow and cold from the previous couple days scared everyone away. Our bus was the only bus there (when I went with Molly, there were at least a dozen) and there were very few other visitors.

There were perfect head-size openings in the fence to view the rhinos through.

Watching rhinos

Sam’s happy with the rhinos, but Leah is confused about something.


Some smiling lions. Well, maybe they're not all smiling, but Leah certainly is.

Smiling lions

If the giraffe is being standoffish, a friendly wave can help them feel at ease.

Hi giraffe

The giraffe walked over to the front of the giraffe house near us, and used the metal beam across the front of it to scratch its head.

Head scratcher

The other giraffes were inside the giraffe house, and apparently they were doing some very shocking things.


The kids figured out the best way to view the elephants - leaning over the railing.

Leaning over

Lots of preschoolers, all lined up.

Lined up

It’s sometimes hard to get a picture with kids and animals in the same frame. Note the elephant off to the left, getting a drink of water.

Hello elephant

We got to see the first public feeding of the new lion cubs. We actually arrived to see it, waited for a few minutes, then left and came back as the zookeepers were having some difficulties getting them out to eat.

Lion cub feeding
On the prowl

Watching lions with Ms. Carol.

Watching lions

The lions brought out the serious side of Leah.

Watching lions

Sam was willing to get a little closer to this bearded dragon than Leah was.

Bearded dragon

We sat down and ate lunch on the path next to the chimpanzees. Under normal crowds, this would not have been possible. However, since we had the place largely to ourselves, we could eat wherever we liked.


Back at the front of the zoo, ready to head back to the bus. Just have to pose for a quick picture next to the lion statue.

Less active lion

We had a great time. Leah said her favorite animal was the giraffe, especially the tall female one named Angel. I'm sure we'll be back to visit her again before too long.

Another farm field trip

Posted in Field trips, Leah, Playdates on November 1st, 2012 by jen – Be the first to comment

It was Leah's turn to take a trip to the farm. Our playgroup headed out to Gaver Farm for a morning of Fall fun.

Another farm field trip

The farm had so many things for the girls to do, with at least 6 different mazes.

First of many mazes

The corn crib was a big hit. Fun like a sandbox, but without all the sand all over!

Corn crib

Leah and Rachel had a great time test driving the tractors.

Farmers in training

Leah loved this slide! She probably went down it 15 times, and insisted on doing it all by herself. It is made of ridged tubes, so she'd bump down and laugh all the way.

Leah's favorite part

Field trip to the farm

Posted in Field trips, Molly on October 29th, 2012 by jen – Be the first to comment

Chad chaperoned Molly's class to a nearby farm with a pumpkin patch. Before leaving, Ms. Colella talked about the animals they'd see and read a story about pumpkins.

Field trip to the farm

It was a tight squeeze on the bus, so Chad shared a seat with Molly and her friend Catherine.

Riding the bus with Catherine

After a talk about the farm, it was time for a hay ride on a beautiful day. It's hard to believe it's late October with 80 degree days.

So much fun

They even rode through a stream. The kids had to get a peak at the approaching water. Molly was a bit worried that they might sink.

Into the water

She picked corn, cotton, and a pumpkin, though she doesn't seem too sure of her choice in this picture.

We have a winner?

Molly was even brave enough to feed this goat some corn out of her hand.

Feed the goats

On the way home, several kids took a little snooze after a busy day. Molly snuggled up and closed her eyes, though she never actually fell asleep.

Sleeping on the bus

Sampling cool treats

Posted in Field trips, Leah on September 24th, 2012 by jen – 1 Comment

I set up a tour of Rita's Italian Ice on Friday morning for some friends. Miss Dora taught the kids all about how the ice and custard are made.

Touring Rita's

After learning how to make the cool treats, the kids played a "Guess the Flavor" game with samples of the Italian ice. They tried banana, mango, oatmeal raisin cookie, and Sour Patch Kids.

Sampling the flavors

Leah was kind enough to share her samples with me. "Want some, Mommy?"

Want some Mommy?