Sunday, October 21, 2012

Heroing Up for Halloween

After weeks of anticipation, the big event finally took place yesterday!  Friends from our son's Pre-K class - many of whom have been together since they were less than a year old at the same daycare - had their first reunion since graduation this past June.  All geared up for Halloween, the new Kindergartners - all members of the Class of 2025 - gathered together, celebrated their friendship and had a preview of the Trick-or-Treating fun to come.  It was a great day!

Of course, the best part of any Halloween party is the dressing up!  And, of course, Lil' Man had a plan for all three of us.  I have to admit that usually his plans are pretty creative and I am always on board for trying different things he suggests.  I only live once, and he's 5.  How bad could it be?  So when our son said he knew what we were going to be for Halloween, I was all ears.

"Avengers!"  He shouted this inspired idea with such excitement and certainty that I instantly bought in.  My husband was thrilled to oblige as the world of superheroes has been a bond between my two favorite guys since our son could talk...or actually just point to pictures of Captain America or Iron Man.

"Great!  Who are we going to be?"  I am not as well-versed in all things Marvel as my kid or my husband.

"Well, I'm going to be Hulk!  Daddy can be lots of guys."  From here, he started naming hero after hero - many of whom I had never even heard of before.  My husband smiled and nodded enthusiastically to each suggestion.  I could just tell this was going to be great!

"Awesome!  And who can I be?"

"'ve got Black Widow.  She is the only girl Avenger."  I looked at my husband and he was in agreement.

"Oh.  OK.  That makes my choice easy, I guess.  Let's do it!"  Lil' Man was absolutely thrilled and he and his daddy began pouring over costume websites.  We had a plan.  And, it was a good plan.  It was a good plan until...I saw what I would have to wear.

It's not that I'm opposed to black leather.  I rather like my boots, gloves and a purse or two that I own.  But, I also have locked in my memory an interview that was done many years ago with Halle Berry as she was speaking about the preparation for her role as Catwoman.  She was insecure about her appearance in the famous black catsuit.

Huh.  Really.  Newsflash...I'm no Halle Berry.  And with weapons strapped to waist and look and my husband knew what I was thinking.  It was instantly clear to both of us that Black Widow was not going to make an appearance at this Halloween party...something for more of a Fifty Shades of Grey theme, maybe, but not for the 5 year old crowd.

So, I started looking at other costumes for female superheroes.  I looked...I laughed...I decided to just order the Hulk at that point and I would figure something out later.  I hadn't fit in costumes that tiny since I was prepubescent, for heaven's sake!  I wonder why male superheroes are all covered up from head-to-toe when saving the world, but the few female superheroes that have been created seem to need to be half-naked to use their superpowers.  I'm pretty sure this has something to do with Stan Lee being a guy.  I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Anyway, the Hulk arrived, and after Lil' Man got over the fear of the mask (He's always disliked full masks on other people and actually spent the first few times wearing his costume trying to avoid his own reflection.  Not even kidding.  Hilarious!), he was all about the three of us embracing the Hulk theme.

Again...easy for my hubby!  He could be Dr. Bruce Banner in the middle of his transformation into the raging green monster.  And so he was...and it was fabulous!

 "Great!  What can I be?" I asked, this time with a little less enthusiasm.  Oh...silly Mama.  Of course Lil' Man had a plan!

"You can be what makes Bruce Banner angry."  Seriously?  That's it?  Yup.  Pretty much.

In all honesty, I did entertain wearing jeans and a shirt and sporting a sandwich board style sign that simply read, "I make Bruce Banner angry."   It was so easy, but I kinda felt like that was giving up.  Why couldn't I could be a superhero?  I am a mother.  I am a teacher.  I have faced challenges bigger than this. I could be a hero...wait a second.  I'm a mother!  Don't I do super things all of the time for my family...or at least try, anyway?

And this, my friends, is how a new superhero was born.  Out of the desperate flames of despair, much like a phoenix (albeit, with REALLY pink feathers) arose the amazingly powerful and, might I add incredibly heroic, Supermama!

Carrying all of the necessities for a mama to be super, this hero joined the ranks of the mighty least for a few hours.  Thankfully, my guys were pretty happy with my choice.  Lil' Man was happy because I fit into his original thematic plan...sort of.  My husband was happy because my other thought was that we could be Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Suess and he REALLY didn't want to wear the blue wig I bought him.

And so, this family heroed-up, piled their superselves into the car and set off on the Halloween celebration adventure of the year!  Truly, the best part of the day was that these kiddos (some of whom haven't seen each other since their Pre-K graduation) all played and danced and ran (There was LOTS of running!) together as though they had never been apart.  A great deal of thanks goes out to the hosts of this "spooktacular" event - it was fantastic!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Pumpkin Patch

The following was my Facebook post this morning as Lil' Man and I prepared for the adventure of the day:

(to the tune of "On a Jet Plane")

Our lunches are packed.
We're ready to go.
Awfully glad there is no snow!
We are so excited - my, oh my!

The Pumpkin Patch
Until after 1.
Stories and hayrides -
Gonna have some fun

With the Class of 2025!

We're leavin' on a big bus -
Sure hope they're ready for us!
We're leavin' on a big bus -
Sure hope they're ready for us! :)

Well, they were!  They were ready for all forty-six kids plus parents, too.  The first big field trip of this school year for our Kindergarten class was a success, and we had sleepy little nappers on the bus ride home to prove it! 

Before I share a bit about our day, I feel that it is more important to share how this trip came to fruition.  As I learned from speaking with one of the kindergarten teachers this morning, this trip has been a long standing tradition for our elementary building.  Yet, like in many school districts across the country, trips such as this have been cut from school programs due to budget issues.  At a time when teachers jobs are being lost and schools are being closed, it's difficult to justify the expense that extras like field trips incur.  It was because of the generosity of a family very close to our school community - a man whose legacy was to create a fund to provide the necessary monies for this trip, in particular, as an experience to be given to each incoming kindergarten class - that my child and his new friends were able to enjoy what is sure to become a treasured memory.  This gift is truly appreciated!

So, with everything paid for and attendance taken, a school bus filled with 4 and 5 year old kiddos made the forty-five minute trip to The Pumpkin Patch.  Once there, the children were able to explore around the farm a bit while we waited for story time.  The kids had fun playing with water pumps and looking at pumpkins and scarecrows that were decorated in nursery rhyme themes.  Then, everyone was eventually called together to hear about the Iroquois, who were native to our area of New York.  The children learned about the roles of women and men in the tribes, how food was hunted and harvested, and how families lived long ago on the very land on which we were walking.

One of my favorite parts of the day was during this story time when our presenter was explaining how the Iroquois women would plant and work the fields.  She then shared that the men also had an important role  in providing food for their tribe and showed the kids a photograph of wolves and deer.  She asked, "Can anyone tell us what the men had to do?"  One little voice confidently answered, "Take the pictures."  I love Kindergarten!

After stories, it was time to walk through the barn (That's my guy being a rooster.), check out a hay maze and then go on a wagon ride through the fields.

(View from the wagon as we traveled down to the pumpkin fields to explore and do some gathering of our own.  Each child was able to take a pumpkin, an ear of field corn and an ear of Indian corn home as souvenirs.)

Just before lunch and heading back to school, the kids witnessed what was perhaps the best part of the day, or at least the most attention-grabbing...


With that, and a little playtime in the farm's tree house/club house, the day ended with a bang!

It was so much fun to tag along on this adventure and learn along with my son.  He and his friends enjoyed every second, and though our fingers and noses may have been a little cold, our hearts were warm and happy today!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Let's Walk to School Today!

In recognition of International Walk to School Day, our son's elementary school - as well as the other elementary buildings in our school district- met at the various local parks in our area for a community breakfast, followed by a short stroll to their respective school buildings before starting the day.  The purpose of the event was to encourage the children to see the value in physical activity.  Parents were invited to participate in the walk, and as was immediately clear upon arrival, the kids were really excited!

Despite the gloomy weather, everyone enjoyed the adventure.  Many of the kids, including Little Man, were very impressed by the police escort we had leading us, controlling traffic and keeping us safe all the way to school.  Tonight at dinner the memory of congratulatory high-fives from a policeman as we reached the end of our journey was the biggest take-away from the day.  "You know, he's a hero, Mama, and he was with us.  It was the "awesomest" part.  Oh, and also his car."  I love that! :)

I saw on the news that many schools across the country did similar things. Did your family take part in a similar event?  If so, please consider sharing your experience today in the comments below.  

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