Snapshot Sunday!

About two weeks ago, we went on our first Homeschool Group field trip.  I… typically avoid people.  Especially women.  Especially women who homeschool.  Especially women that get together and hob-nob as a collective homeschool group.  But let’s be honest:  there’s a *tiny* part of me that wishes I could connect.  And another little part knows my kids would like to connect.  And then there’s the whole, “get out and experience things”… on top of the whole, “when you go as part of a group, it’s more affordable”.  So when I gave the chicken pox to a nearby homeschooler, she hooked me up with a group, and… this was our first trip.

Every year at the Frederik Meijer Gardens, they have ‘Butterflies are Blooming’ – where they fill the arboretum with chrysalis, larvae, caterpillars, and butterflies.  It’s… truly amazing.  They’re everywhere, dozens of varieties in all shapes, sizes and colors.  They fly around us as we walk, land on our coats and in our hair (but mostly on plants that hold still).  But it’s really educational and fun.

And more, this was self-guided.  Meaning that we meet as a group, get the ‘instructions’ from the staff… and then we’re free for the rest of the day to do as we like and go where we choose.  So Brian took the afternoon off work, and came with us (after all, he’s my co-educator!)… and it was something like $4.50 per child/teacher, and $8 for a secondary family facilitator (aka Brian).  That’s an AMAZING price.  And we’ve been two or three times in the past 20 years, but… the kids didn’t remember.  So it was a good trip.  Bonus that my chicken pox lady was the organizer!

We went at a MUCH slower pace than the rest of the group (intentionally – I don’t like groups, and so we made a leisurely restroom stop instead of following the others in).  Moving slower, we got to see a LOT of things that *I* had never seen before.  We found caterpillars among the plants (although there are display boxes with them, if you’re impatient or can’t find the ones that are in the garden).  We found chrysalis.  We even found a caterpillar that was spinning around itself (and tipped off some elderly people, so that they could see, too.  The kids LOVED the butterflies, and Lydia was trying SO hard to get a picture of the elusive (and never-landing) big blue.

The gardens were open until 8pm, so we had a LOT of time… and took advantage by going outside.  It was c-c-c-cold, but we’d never actually walked the sculpture park, so this time we set out to do so.

We all agreed that the ‘art’ was disturbing and horrible, except what’s in the children’s gardens.  But we examined it all, anyhow, looking for shape, form, color, rhythm… and trying not to wince at the sharp things poking eyeballs and such.  I don’t mind art, and I understand that it’s supposed to evoke emotion, but a little joy, humor, beauty, peace, love, and serenity in between the ugly, horrifying, confusing, angry, and frustration would be good, y’know?  Give me a big, happy bear, any day.

There wasn’t much vegetation, but it was still pretty in the gardens.
Did I mention it was C-C-C-COLD?!?!?!

And you don’t go to Meijer Gardens and not stop to see
DaVinci’s horse.  It’s just not done.

Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with hot chocolate in the cafe.
Mmm, was that good!  Good job, everyone!

Added bonus: we got to sip our cocoa under Chihuly flowers!

I don’t think many of the homeschoolers actually made it beyond the butterflies… we saw a few of the kids out in the children’s area after, but NOBODY was in the sculpture park.  But we warmed up mid-walk in the log cabin, and a worker came and showed the kids how to use a ‘trick ball‘ – an old pioneer toy made by retired teachers here in Michigan who are trying to keep the old ways alive.  It was fascinating.  And we had a WONDERFUL time!

So there’s my Snapshot Sunday…
turns out it’s an Adventure Post, too!

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