Friday, November 11, 2011

"Jesus Made It!"

At the moment, my little sixth graders are in the throes of learning about economy. It's been going amazingly smooth so far... especially since I know very little about economy myself. I scrapped by with a low B in high school, made a 1 on the AP test (or did I even take it?), and completely avoided it in college. But here I am teaching kids about exporting and importing, goods and services, and a whole bunch of other complicated economic terms.

The one lesson that was probably the hardest (and which I'm still not sure if the kids really understand) is Factors of Production. You know... land, labor and capital. Except we called them "human resources," "capital resources," and "natural resources."

Somehow they don't seem to equate human to literally mean human (I'm still getting kids who think a car is a human resource since it's made by humans--that by the way, would make it a capital resource). And then let's not even get started on natural resources...

"Is paper a natural resource?"
"No."
"But it's made from trees..."
"Exactly, the tree is the natural resource... you don't just naturally pick paper off a tree."
"Huh?"

In one particular class, a student got stumped over the idea of animals being natural resources... because, animals don't just come out of the ground. And they don't grow on trees, either. So I got the question, "Where do they come from?" I honestly had no clue what to say to this... I mean, they are born. Did this kid know about reproduction yet? Was I supposed to explain that to him? So, I took the somewhat easy way out...

Me: What do you mean 'where do they come from?' Where do you come from?
Kid: I mean, what made them? How do they exist?
Me: (blank stare)
Kid: I mean, they don't grow naturally like plants do...
Me: (bigger blank stare)

Then, out of no where, another kid yells out, "JESUS MADE THEM!" Which prompted another kid to yell out, "Hallelujah!" and another, "Amen!" and the whole class basically erupts into a weird, warped praise service over where animals come from. A part of me was proud... a part of me was horrified... but mostly, I was just laughing my butt off.

For some reason, that seemed to settle things. The first kid seemed pretty satisfied and we got back to learning. And it made me think one thing: If only we could all be just like kids. And let Jesus be the correct answer to every question we have, and every conundrum we face.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Things I hate Most about Moving...

1. Finding a new church
2. Making new friends

Who would have thought two things would be so hard to find in a new place. But man, is it hard.

The church thing isn't too horrible... it's just more the desire to find a place and getting to know people and feeling a part of the congregation. That just takes a while. I mean, I will admit that I can be kind of picky about churches--I can be critical of the worship (it can't be too solemn, can't be too rock-n-roll, I appreciate some old time hymns thrown in here and there), critical of the sermon (my Bible needs to be opened at least once, and I like flipping through it and seeing connections between scripture), critical of the people (which is horrible, since I'm not perfect. But I guess in a church setting, I don't like people who are too spiritual, or people who seem to just be there for a good time). Usually, you have to give and take a bit, which I do. But no matter what, I want a church to feel like home. I've been to a few since I've moved to Houston, and there are two that I think I like. But I don't know... might still be looking for a while.

The friends thing... I don't know. One of the things that made taking a job in Houston and packing up my life in Dallas is that I know people here. People who I see (or maybe I should say, saw) as friends. Except, I feel so lonely here. It's going back to my year in Oklahoma, my year in Chicago, my first six months in Dallas... . I thought knowing people here--people who I actually used to hang out with and talk to a lot and even considered very good friends--would make this transition relatively seamless. I was wrong about that.

I've had people try to placate me by saying it's part of growing up, and maintaining friendships is an art, and blah, blah, blah...

In my opinion, friends are friends. Either you're one or you're not.

But it is what it is. All I know is that I HATE moving.

Monday, September 19, 2011

NIW, Part 2

So remember in Jaunary when I spent a week trying to be really green?

Yeah, well... I'm doing it again. And this time, I got the smart idea of trying to involve the entire school. So far I haven't honestly been that successful (only 7 people offically signed up for the group). But... people are asking me about it, and today I got rid of the trash can in my class which completely shocked the kids. It was awesome! (Although, it's also for my own happiness because at least for this week I don't have to feel horrified as I watch my notes and handouts make their way into that grey plastic bucket versus the student's binders.)

Tomorrow's focus is on Transportation... so, since I will NOT be taking the bus or any public transportation in Houston (that sounds more terrifying than it did in Dallas), I need to go bug some co-workers into letting me carpool with them for the rest of this week.

I will say what I'm most excited about doing No Impact Week this time around is that our Student Council is participating in it. Unfortunately, Amy, their advisor's, blurb didn't make it into my first blog post for yes! magazine (so cool that my school shares the same name as the magazine!), so I figured I'd post it here...
After introducing the No Impact Project to my High School Student Council class, I got mixed feelings. Most of the students at YES Prep come from lower income families and therefore it is hard to focus on eating food that only comes from farmers markets when you are not necessarily sure your next meal will come at all. Although I don’t think any of the kids in my class are starving, when responding to the question, how environmentally conscious are you, what I heard was, “my community does not recycle or anything so naturally I don’t think about it much.” My follow up thought was “yea, I guess you have bigger problems.” However, after processing this through the weekend, I have decided that my goal for this week will be to get them to think about it. At least a little if not much. Even if that means they don’t make huge changes beyond this week at least they will know what they could do. And that is half the battle.  Ultimately, this issue is not just for those with money or those with time, but it’s for all of us!
Our first challenge was to collect trash on Sunday and bring it to school Monday. They were so shocked that I asked them to bring their trash to school! So I am excited to see how this week pans out! Little do they know….



Can I just say they are already doing a better job than I am, because I refused to collect my trash and carry it around in a bag. I figured hiding the trash can under my desk for the week would be enough.

Anyway, stay tuned for yet another crazy green adventure. I promised my kids (and Amy) that I'd aggregate the experiences of any students involved in the project into a blog, so if I can't fit them into my posts for YES, they will definitely go here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

To Dallas, With Love

Dear Dallas,

For the past two years, you have been home.

At first, I wasn't sure if I would like you. After all, I was born and raised in Fort Worth. All my best memories revolved around that city--exploring the seminary on bikes, falling in love with education at Hubbard Heights Elementary, and even that one day my sisters, cousins and I were scared off the crackhead (or was it a pothead?) at Rosemont Middle School. And then, after returning from Nigeria, I came back to Fort Worth, becoming one of the first Scorpions at South Hills High School before migrating to Arlington to become a Bowie Volunteer. But Dallas...? You were always that far off place. The city that was part of my beloved metroplex (and which I often told people I was "from"), but that I never really felt a part of.

Until these last two year...

I came to you, six months out of getting my master's degree to work at the Dallas Morning News. It was a great summer, which officially kicked off my journey to be a grown-up, to be a professional. That summer ended with the real beginning of it all... my first real job as the editorial assistant for CURE magazine. My first real job. Yup, Dallas, you were my beginning. And for that, you will always be near and dear to my heart.

But you didn't just give me my beginning. You also gave me roots, again. Something I felt I had been missing since my senior year of high school. Something I felt like I had lost between going to Missouri my freshman year of college, then finishing off at A&M, then spending a year in Oklahoma, then 6 months in Houston, then a year in Chicago, and then six months in Houston... and then two years in Dallas. Before I got to you, I had kind of resigned myself to always being a nomad. Never being anywhere long enough to find a good church, make good friends, have a real life.

But these last two years have been amazing. I found a fabulous church in Fellowship Bible Church Dallas (and White Rock!). I made amazing girlfriends through Bible study. Made even more amazing friends through a weekly prayer meeting with a crazy bunch of Nigerians. Of everything I could be indebted to you for, the relationships I have made in this city are up at the top.

Within the good, Dallas also brought some bad. Losing my job, and spending the past year struggling each month to survive was tough. But that's where all those relationships became even better. Without the friendships that were forged here, I'm not so sure if I would have made it.

One great year, one not so great year... and now it's over. Now, I have to bid you goodbye.

Excited to be at YES!
While I am super excited about my new job, and this new beginning, as they say, "parting is such sweet sorrow."
It's empty!
I've been down in Houston for the last 3-4 weeks, but this is the weekend that Dallas offically can no longer be called home.

The U-Haul is all loaded up, the apartment is empty and cleaned out. And I can no longer pretend that this isn't happening.
Ready to Roll!


Dallas, you're no longer "home." But... they also say, "Home is where the heart is." And no matter where I go in this world, you will always have a special place in my heart. You will always be somewhere I call home. Thank you for everything.

With Love,

B :)



Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

Last week I was offered a job.

Which, considering the fact I have been unemployed for nearly a year, I gladly accepted. Not to say I took the job JUST because I needed one... I'm actually very excited about the opportunity, and it's at such a great school (you're looking at the newest 6th grade social studies teacher!), and I'm already friends with one of my future co-workers. But even though I said yes, and promptly began celebrating, the reality of what this all means only began settling in today when....

... I got and signed my contract, all my hiring paperwork, and all the welcome e-mails and notifications that announced my status as an official employee!

... I went to get some boxes from a friend, and realized that I've already packed up most of my apartment and don't really need to box up too much more. :(

... I went in to my last day of tutoring at Huntington.

That's the one that probably hit me the most: Saying goodbye to the Huntington "family." I began working their in October, and loved every second of it. Even though I had been gone since May, I looked forward to coming back this week to work. And then... I got offered this job. And I realized I wouldn't be going back at all.

They worked me like mad this week, and I loved it! I didn't realize how much I missed building relationships with the kids. Helping them reach their learning goals. And just working with the staff there. And so, saying goodbye was tough, because I realized that unlike when I went to Nigeria for three weeks, and unlike when I thought I'd just be gone for six weeks while I worked for Teach for America.... I wouldn't be coming back.

They all gave me such a sweet farewell of hugs and Facebook friend requests and a sweet card, too!

I nearly cried reading this!

The fact that I'd be leaving Dallas didn't really hit home until that moment. Man, am I going to miss this city!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Canon Imagination

Canon Imagination, a group on Flickr.


So I ran across this randomly while playing around online and got pretty excited. I love my Canon! And what greater way to see all I can do with it by checking out other people's photos!

Also, I saw something about inspiring a Ron Howard production with photographs. Which got me really excited. I thought, 'Hey, maybe I could enter..." But after reading a bit more, it turns out I've missed the deadline. And there's already some semi-finalists and stuff. Winners will be announced in July.

So while my briefly lifted hopes were quickly deflated, it still got me thinking about how I should get out there and take more pictures. And suddenly... I'm feeling a bit more inspired.

We'll see what comes out of me over the next few weeks or so!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sunshine After The Rain

Yesterday was a rough day. And I won't lie and pretend that things are alright now. I'm still a little down, but regardless of all the jerks out there, I have to admit that I have some really awesome friends. And they are constantly my sunshine after the any thunderstorm that comes blowing through  my life.

And it's kind of like they all knew I had such a crappy day yesterday, because I was showered with love today. I got a text from one of my girls in Dallas proclaiming how much she missed me. And then one of my other besties gave me a call and we chatted for like an hour, which was nice.

I needed those bits of love. Reminders that somewhere out there, people think of me. And care about me.

Definitely brightened my mood.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sweet Love


Goodness, I love weddings!

Over Memorial Day Weekend, I went to my fourth (or is it fifth) this year. It was a sweet, little event in San Antonio. Goregous weather, even with the blazing heat. The breeze was just enough to keep you cool.

My favorite part was when the bride began walking down the aisle. The groom instantly got teary-eyed. The bride keep craning her neck over the guest to catch a glimpse of her love. You knew the moment their eyes met--her face broke out into a bright smile. And as they drew closer together, she mouths, "I love you."

The whole ceremony was like a glimpse into their intimate world. As they held hands, shared secret smiles, whispered sweet nothings to each other, said their vows. If there were pictures in the dictonary, all this would have been captured by the word "love."

I know the groom better than the bride, and I know how long he prayed and waited on God to bring him his Eve. And from the short time I've been blessed to know the bride, I know how patiently she waited for her Adam.

This was one of those weddings when you know that God immensely blesses those who choose to wait on His plan.

It was that perfect.

And it made me not mind waiting so much :)


(Check out my Flickr page to see pictures of the couple and their lovely day!)
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 11, 2011

#alicebucketlist

"Hope Floats"


So, I was on Twitter the other day and noticed that #alicebucketlist was trending. I was curious, so I clicked on it, and found this blog.

Alice is a 15-year-old cancer patient. She recently learned it was terminal and began her blog to track what's left of her life. Do as much as she can on her bucket list (and dream about the ones she can no longer achieve), and let the world share each step of the journey with her. One of the items on Alice's bucket list is to get everyone to be a bone marrow donor (I became one last year; wrote a blog about it for CURE). Another was to be trend on twitter (hence the #alicebucketlist).

The concept is kind of sad. But it's also inspiring. And... kind of hopeful.

Reading through Alice's blog reminded me of Alicia Parlette (who I also wrote a blog about for CURE). A lot of the same thoughts and emotions swirled through me, so I thought I'd share a little bit of it here (to read the whole thing, click on the link above):

I've spent the last couple of days reading "Alicia's Story" online, subtitled "Cancer. Despair. Hope. Faith," and through her honest vulnerability, I found myself feeling like I was in her shoes and oscillating between despair, hope, and faith. ...  
... throughout the series, Parlette often made references to God and her faith. Faith in the belief, which she and her friends and family held on to, that she was a miracle--even if she didn't live. Faith that provided a constant uplifting through the prayers being said for her. Faith to lean on God, and somehow understand why this was happening to her; how it didn't feel right for her to pray that she would be healed--even though that was what she really wanted. Faith that broke through as Parlette, emerging from a dark tunnel on a BART ride, thought about how trials are "uncomfortable and scary and dark and overwhelming--but then they're through and things go back to (almost) normal, and God's showing himself on the other side." 
And these are just a smattering of examples of Parlette's despair, hope, and faith expressed in her story.  
If I'm going to be honest, reading "Alicia's Story" mostly struck a lot of fear in me. I'm 24, and while I don't have cancer, it was really hard for me to think about Parlette being diagnosed at 23 and dying at 28. It was also scary to think about her misdiagnosis at 16,and how, at 17, I had a procedure to rule out the possibility of cancer ... and what if that was wrong, too? 
At one point, Parlette's therapist told her something that really stood out to me: While most people focus on the outcome, it's more important to focus on the process. None of us know where our lives will lead us, or what will happen in them. But it's in noticing the moments in between that help hope and faith keep from being overrun by despair.

Even though their stories make me sad and a little bit scared, Alice and Alicia both remind me of one thing:

We really do only have one life... so why not live it the best we can?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Car Woes

One of the few things I didn't like about Nigeria was not being able to drive. 

Besides not holding a driver's license (although my dad was all for my brother and I getting one), the roads are also way too narrow for my liking, and finally, drivers in Nigeria are a bit crazy. Their hands seem to be permanently glued to their horns, and there's a lot of speeding, abrupt stopping, and driving on whatever side of the road suits you at the moment (after all, you gotta avoid those pot holes!). 

While I am known to be a bit of a fast driver, I am NOT an aggressive one. And aggression is one trait you need to survive the roads back home. Thank God for drivers! 

But while I was absolutely grateful to have Mr. Tunde and Mr. Remi at my disposal, I kind of missed getting in my car and going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And since they were really my parents' drivers, it's not like they were honestly at my disposal. And then there is the guilt factor. Once, Mr. Tunde took me to Lagos and I felt so bad leaving him in the car while I went about with my friends. 

Anyway, I was pretty excited to come home and get into my sweet old Honda Accord. Although, it was a bit weird at first. Even though I had only been gone for about three weeks, driving felt very weird at first. It's almost like I had forgotten what to do on these clean, wide, pothole-less roads! 

But even with the first few days of oddness, I LOVED having my car back. I loved driving myself places. I loved being ... free.

Well... guess what? I'm car-less again.

My transmission is failing... yet again. Not sure what to do about it. It'll cost about half of my summer salary to fix. But also, I bought the car in January '09, fixed the transmission once already in November '09, and now it's failing again?!?! Not cool! I'd rather buy a new one than throw money into this car if it's just going to try dying on me in another year and a half.

But... without a full-time job, a new car is kind of not in financial reaches for me. 

Story of my life. 


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spring Ends, Summer Begins

For the summer, I'm working for Teach for America at it's Houston Institute.

For those of you who don't know, Teach for America is a non-profit that recruits recent college grads to teach in urban and rural school districts. Their goal is to decrease the achievement gap of low-income kids. Kind of ironic that I just got my teaching certification, I'm working for a teaching organization, but as of right now I will not be teaching in a school in the Fall, huh? Well... I mean, it could still happen. But I'm still on the job hunt.

So far, it's been a pretty interesting experience. It's awesome to see so many people passionate about ensuring that every child in the U.S. has the opportunity to a great education. Yesterday was the Welcoming Ceremonies, and it was pretty much a bunch of speeches from Teach for America leaders, alum, and corps members about why they joined the corps, how they were inspired by their students, and just a general challenge to the 2011 corps members.



Being here makes me kind of regret never applying for Teach for America. But, while I believe whole-heartedly in their mission, and I loved teaching my kids this past Spring... sometimes I still doubt if the classroom is the right place for me. As much as everyone says I'm "such a natural," and as much as I enjoy empowering kids, and arming them with the knowledge they need to pursue their dreams, sometimes the thought of being a teacher is terrifying to me.

But on the flip side... I really do want to teach in the Fall. I'm kind of keeping my fingers crossed for a position at the school I student taught at. It'd be awesome to move up with my kids and get to work with them and impact them for one more year.

My last day was a few days before I went to Nigeria, and they were soo sweet and I got a huge bucket of cards.  Most of them simply said stuff like, "We'll miss you!" and "We hope you'll be our teacher in 5th grade" and stuff like that. Two of the biggest troublemakers of the three classes made me these paper hearts. And one of them gave me this bracelet made out of heart-shaped beads. And they kept hugging me and just wanting to be close to me the whole day. There was just so much love, and I couldn't help but promise that I'd be back after I came back from Nigeria (a promise I fulfilled by showing up TWICE even though I was still ridiculously jet-lagged and had to drive down to Houston one of those days).

I felt like a major celebrity when I walked back into that school. I was walking down the hallway, and one of the girls spots me and screams, "Miss Ishola!!!"  And before you know it, I was bombarded by a stampede of 4th graders.

I miss them so much. And it's in these moments that I think, "Yes, I really want to be a teacher." And moments when I go back through all their little notes to me. My favorite letter was from a girl named Bianey. If she was seeking to make tears fall from my eyes, she succeeded!




And here are a few other notes from some of my kids!





If those aren't enough to tempt me to stick with teaching, I don't know what will be.... 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm Back!

I've been absent. 

From the blog, but also from the country. 

In general, things got really busy with student teaching and life that I wasn't being very consistent with my posts. And then, I went to Nigeria for two and a half weeks, and had hoped to blog there. But, honestly, I was having way too much fun catching up with family and friends that, while not forgotten, my friends here took a backseat. Sorry! :/

In my defense, though, internet speed for where I was in Nigeria wasn't the greatest, and was online only enough to...

... get a job for the summer! 

That's right! I'm employed again! Well... for at least the next six weeks. I'll be working with Teach for America. It's a communications gig. It'll be in Houston, which I'm pretty excited about. I have quite a few good friends down there, plus there's my precious nephew :) 

There's so much to do, and so little time, so I'm off!

Just wanted to say that while taking a break was fabulous, and while I enjoyed the time I had to rest and relax and have a different pace of life, it's good to be back. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Shoe Books

Familiar with this scene? :


A woman browsing, stops a sales person.

       WOMAN SHOPPER

 Do you have the "Shoe" books?

       SALESPERSON

 The "Shoe" books?  Who's the author?

       WOMAN SHOPPER

 I don't know.  My friend told me my

 daughter has to read the "Shoe" books,

 so here I am.

       KATHLEEN

 Noel Streatfeild.  Noel Streatfeild wrote

 Ballet Shoes and Skating Shoes and

 Theater Shoes and Movie Shoes...

  (she starts crying as she tells

   her)

 I'd start with Skating Shoes, it's my

 favorite, although Ballet Shoes is

 completely wonderful.


       SALESPERSON

 Streatfeild.  How do you spell that?


       KATHLEEN

 S-T-R-E-A-T-F-E-I-L-D.





It's from one of my favorite movies, "You've Got Mail."

There's something about that movie that always gets me hooked. If it comes on TV, I have to stop and watch it, no matter what scene it's in. I often imagine myself being like Kathleen, an expert on great children's books,possibly owning my own bookstore.

Every time I hear this scene, I'm always curious about the "Shoe" books... I had never heard of them before. In fact, I was under the impression that they were picture books until I saw a pretty beat up library copy in a friend's car in Chicago (her daughter had spilled milk all of it, and so I refrained from picking it up to avoid the stickiness). It was obviously a rather thick chapter book series.

Well, while student teaching, I found a copy of "Theatre Shoes" in the school's resource library. I checked it out and finally became acquainted with the infamous "Shoe" books. I've now read, "Ballet Shoes," "Dancing Shoes," "Movie Shoes," I'm working on "New Shoes," and have a copy of Kathleen's favorite, "Skating Shoes" to tackle last. There's also "Circus Shoes," "Family Shoes," "Tennis Shoes," "Party Shoes," and possibly one or two more in the "Shoe" book series... but these are pretty old books, and that's all I could scrounge up from the public library.

Three of the books so far have been kind of connected: Ballet Shoes, Movie Shoes, and Theatre Shoes. And today, as I finished Movie Shoes and began New Shoes, I thought, "I wonder why these haven't been made into movies yet..."

Well, what do you know? Ballet Shoes was already made into a movie bythe BBC. And Emma Watson played one of the main characters. I'm super excited to rent and watch it now... but also a bit disappointed. I had already been formulating the beginning of the script in my head.

But I guess that just means great minds think alike, huh? And maybe I could have a career in purchasing movie rights for great books?

Anyway, just like Kathleen from "You've Got Mail," I would highly recommend the "Shoe" books. I haven't read "Skating Shoes" yet, but "Ballet Shoes" is completely wonderful.

Side Note:  Noel Streatfeild, by the way, is a woman. Seems obvious enough, but for some reason, only hearing her name made me think of a male. I guess it's how my kids all thought Shel Silverstein (who's a man) was a woman.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reaching the Finish Line

April 29th. That will be my last day student teaching.

A part of me is really sad. And part of me is beyond excited.

I'm excited that I no longer have to divide my time and feel pulled in a million different directions. I'm excited that I don't have to spend eight hours a day teaching kids who are at times beyond unappreciative--especially with no pay. I'm excited to sleep in again, and catch up on all the shows I've been missing out on.

But on the flip side... I'll kind of miss all the teachers and the kids. I'll miss trying to think of creative ways of teaching things. I'll miss having something productive to do each day. I'll miss feeling like I mattered, and that I was contributing something to the world. I'll miss waking up knowing that there's a plan for each day and that this is what my life has been dedicated to.

Because on April 29th, it's back to the job hunt. It's back to be unsure of what's next, or my future... it's back to worrying.

Not that I haven't worried over the last three months of student teaching, but I was kept SO busy (which I'm sure you picked up on by my lack of posts) and have been so wiped out that I haven't really had time to worry too much. Plus, I had a "plan" for the three months and that was comforting enough.

Now I'm back to not knowing if I'll be teaching, writing, or homeless. Haha.

It's a whole new adventure on the horizon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Give me more, give me more!

Right now there are two things I want badly: more time with my curly hair, and more time at the Dallas Arboretum.

I got my hair did over Spring Break (it was MUCH overdue) and the lady who did it gave me some gorgeous curls. Now, I've gotten curls before, and I enjoy the way I look with them. But, in a way it never felt natural. And it was also generally a long, tedious process to go through. So, I don't get curls often. Usually I save it for special occasions (or when I feel like paying the extra bucks to get it done). Well, these curls makes me want to have them everyday.
Probably not the best view,
but you get the idea..
Slightly better glimpse.

And she did it all with a flat iron. No curling iron, no roller, no straws... just a flat iron.

I need to learn this skill because, sadly, the curls are beginning to fall. They still look great--they've taken on this sweet waviness--but I'm not sure how much longer they'll last. Plus, I'm trying to dedicate to washing my hair every week (sometimes it stretches quite a bit further than that), so even if they don't fall on their own, they will get washed out this weekend.

And I have no clue how to recreate the look. I need to learn. Because, honestly, I kind of want it to be my permanent "look." That's how much I loved it.

I also fell in love with the Dallas Arboretum this week. The 4th grade went on a field trip today, and that was our destination. We learned about the Texas Pioneers and the types of lives they lived over the years. I took a lot of picture of the kids exploring the teepee, covered wagon, sod house... and they got to play with old-school farming plows, and pick and smell different plants.

After lunch, we took them back out through the park to just walk through the trees and flowers. Right now, the arboretum has these "fairytale castles" set up throughout. And you know how I am about fairytales... :)

I got the kids (or really, just the girls) to read the story synopsis in front of each castle. I thought they wouldn't be into it, but there were two castles I almost forgot to begin reading at, and they were quick to remind me! The stories were the original versions, so it was cute to see how confused they got when, for instance, in "The Little Mermaid," she doesn't get the guy, but "returns" to the sea with a broken heart. (In reality, she dies, but I think they were trying to keep it as light as possible without Disney-fying it.)


It was such a beautiful and peaceful place--even with the tons of people there. And there were cute cafes, and such soft green grass to go barefoot in (I forewent going barefoot, but the kids and my co-teacher went for it!). My co-teacher and I couldn't help but comment on how romantic it all was. Perfect place for a date. Or even just a "play day" for the family, whenever we each eventually have our own.

And when we got on the bus to head back to school, we discovered there was a lot more of the arboretum that we totally didn't even get to see!

Totally going back... and hopefully very soon!

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