I love planning and organizing events. It is something I have loved to do for years and years. I think my love and desire for doing events grew during my Pampered Chef years. (2000-2009) I love promoting events, planning them and preparing for them. Anyhow, luckily some of those skills from doing that back in the day have helped my family with our home educating adventures. Our latest activity was a field trip I scheduled with the Clark Planetarium in SLC, UT. I first contacted the Education Coordinator at clarkplanetarium.org and set the date and finalized the cost, headcount, etc. I then sent out an announcement to several email loops and as I got replies from those interested, made a list. Our original list had 60 kids and 27 adults, including my family. January 10th was to be the big day.
To build anticipation for my own family, we watched 9 different documentaries on different space exploration subjects over the last 2 weeks. We watched everything from solar storms, Mars explorations, the Hubble Telescope, the invention and evolution of telescopes throughout history, famous Astronomers and more. We also painted a model of the Solar System that I picked up at Hobby Lobby for $9 in Logan. We used glow in the dark paint that I got from Michaels Craft Store. We checked out 15 different books at our local library. We have enjoyed using our knock off telescope from Bed Bath and Beyond. We have been studying constellations and using our star charts from Utah Idaho School Supply. I have been having a ball! I got a really awesome workbook that has tons of suggested activities in it from Utah Idaho School Supply too. Those are really fun! I have been having a lot of fun planning our upcoming LOLIPOP Day. The theme for January 16th is Space.
So, the big day came for our Field Trip. The day started out fantastic! We were on time with lunches made. The only thing we had forgotten was the stroller.
We were carpooling down with a friend and her 3 children. We picked them up and headed to SLC. Everything was perfectly smooth, UNTIL we exited on 400 South. As we did so, a small amount of smoke began to rise from our hood and you could hear a HORRIBLE burnt popcorn smell! I parked in the closest available parking metered spot, which was not far from the doors to the Planetarium. We KNEW something was not right with the car, but alas everyone was waiting inside for me! It was now 10:10 am. I had asked people to be there by 10:15 am. We had to leave the car there for now. I grabbed my list and started collecting money and checking off names. Everything was running smoothly. There was only one disgruntled employee who obviously had had negative past experiences with other homeschoolers. She let it be known. I decided that it was okay because you never know what she is dealing with in her own personal life. She looked like a very unhappy person anyhow and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.
The Hansen Dome showing was awesome! We watched "Extreme Planets." I LOVED watching the different images and learning about what astronomers believe about the vast area beyond our atmosphere. I can honestly say that this is an amazing experience! I highly recommend setting up this field trip as it is FREE to homeschooling children and only $5 for adults. You can technically get in one free with every 10 children. It was an awesome experience! I also enjoyed communicating with Laura Smith who was the field trip coordinator. She was very nice and easy to work with.
After only 45 minutes to view exhibits or eat lunch, we then met again at 11:45 to be seated for our next showing which was the 3D version of "The Hubble." This is such an eye opening film! I heard from a friend that she cried and thought of it as a spiritual experience. I have to admit when we were done, I thought of how small my understanding truly is. Our God is so great! He is so amazing. He truly is the Master Scientist. WOW. Totally. Blown. Away. They do have this exact film on Netflix.com but I have to admit, it is nothing like seeing it on an IMAX screen or in 3D.
By this time, it was 1 pm. We are so fortunate to have a very giving and kind homeschooling community of friends. One of those (TINA) and her husband came outside and tried to jump our Excursion. It just wouldn't work. We tried and tried. They stayed around for a considerable amount of time. THANK YOU TO TINA AND HER HUSBAND AND CHILDREN. I appreciated your thoughtfulness so much.
I called my husband, AGAIN. He is a UPS Driver and they don't let you off just because your very pregnant wife and 6 kids are stranded in downtown SLC. However, another driver did agree to do his pick ups for the day and he forfeited his lunch and break and got off early. He picked up an alternator, a new battery, new belts and more at the local Auto Zone and headed down. (We weren't sure what was wrong with it and he wanted to be prepared.)He said he could be there by 6. We called the Police Dept and let them know about our car. They said we were okay to leave it. (So relieved I didn't have to worry about it getting towed.)
About 3 pm, we headed for the Natural History Museum on the East Bench in SLC. FREE DAY WAS TODAY! (Well, according to their website.) It is all the way by the University Medical Center. We paid the tickets for Trax and my friend, Louisa and I packed the 9 children, ages 1 to 13 into the first cart. (Neither of us had ever been on Trax.) We took it all the way to the end of the red line. We waited for a shuttle. Did I mention my 3 year old was with us? He is my whirlwind of energy. I kid you not. This kid doesn't stop. Ever. Or, at least it seemed like it. I am 34 weeks pregnant and my body is not in the best shape. I have been border line anemic. This was not the brightest thing for me to do right now. We made all the connections and FINALLY got to the Museum. We were all so relieved to finally be there. Then when we got to the desk, we were informed that they had already given out the amount of tickets they were allowed to give for free day. They would not let us in. I just smiled and really ... just laughed. How on earth did I have a good attitude at this point? Not sure. I am grateful Louisa was there. She was so kind and patient with my kids and I. I am thoroughly impressed with her. I kid you not. This woman is AMAZING. I told her I was physically not able to go on. I HAD to sit down and rest. Then, my 3 year old disappeared. Are you kidding me? NO. We found him after a quick 5 minute adrenal rush for the already overly exhausted mama.
Louisa and her kids went to ask again if they could pretty please walk quickly through. It was 4:30 and they close at 5. I went to the cafe with my kids and got a muffin, a bag of almonds, some juices and waters. I tried not to cry. A spilled drink. I did good. No tears. My daughter was too embarrassed to ask for a towel to wipe it up. I got my resting body up again. I didn't cry still. I got a bunch of looks. I must have looked tired. One lady could not take her eyes off of me. I told myself on the inside I was not going to let her get to me. I almost said something to her. Good thing my kids were with me. We met up with Louisa again and we were off to the shuttle once more. The journey back on the Trax line was different. I had got over worrying about what people were thinking of me at this point. (Thanks to the staring lady in the cafe.)
I started asking people why they weren't smiling. I used to live in NYC. No one EVER, EVER smiled on the subways. I hated that. I used to smile and be friendly but eventually became one of the monotone crowd til I moved back to UT. BUT, THIS WAS UTAH! People should be friendly!! LOL Okay, this is hard to let you understand what kind of a day I have already had to this point. Tired, body aching and wanting to go home. I was so grateful Louisa had noticed my older daughters were done chasing the boys and I was struggling to juggle my patience and my boys at the same time. She grabbed my 3 year old and entertained him. I will never know how she did it. What a great woman. I am so grateful she was with me. Our kids were worn out and so was I, but she never acted like she was even tired!
To simplify the ending of the story, Louisa's husband got there about 9 to pick them up. They were so gracious and kind and took my 1 and 3 year old boys with them along with my 13 year old so she could watch them at home til we could get there. We were still working on the Excursion. We would occasionally go into the Planetarium to get warmed up and use the restroom.
We left at 10:10 and we got home at 11:25 pm. What a day.
Now, I have to tell you ....
I learned I have the ABSOLUTE BEST Homeschooling Community of Friends in the world!
I am so happy I don't live in a big city.
I am so grateful for my soft, warm bed.
I am grateful for a God in Heaven who lives and loves me. He cares about me. He really does LOVE ME. I am so happy to know that.
I am one blessed woman to be married to the man I am married to. He is such a super man. I am happy he is frugal, patient and good with fixing vehicles. He ended up rigging the connector from the 2 batteries to the starter and replaced the fried starter.
I am so glad I home educate my kids. I am so grateful to be a sahm to them.
I am so happy to be home. I almost kissed the ground as I walked in.
I told my kids I am grateful for this day because it will help me to appreciate the days when I am at home working my heart out. It will help me to quit feeling sorry for myself on those certain days when I can't go to a "big city." There is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!
WHAT A DAY!