Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reedy Creek Nature Center

Have I ever mentioned how much I love North Carolina? Because I do. A whole, whole lot. There are more family-fun things to do than there is time to do them, and there is more free stuff to do than you can imagine. (And, unrelated to my story, but important nonetheless, I'm aware that the size of Annalyse's bow is going to give her neck a crimp. But, a sweet friend gifted her with the headband and it was actually the one Annalyse hand-picked this morning!)
And, have I mentioned how well homeschooling has fit our family goals and lifestyle? Because it does. Really, really well.
Combine the fantastic (and often free) NC resources and flexible (and usually fun) nature of homeschooling and the result is a win-win.
Today we spent three hours exploring Reedy Creek Nature Center and barely tip-toed on all the hiking trails available. Since the trails aren't stroller conducive and since I didn't have my backpack child carrier, we were limited to what we could explore in the woods.
Annalyse was a waddling trooper, though, and made a nearly 3/4 mile trudge through the woods and around a pond. She was willing to walk, I think, because she had her snack cup in one hand and her brothers running up ahead of her, whom she desperately wanted to be with.
My camera battery was dead (how come I never remember to charge that thing?!) so the only pics I snapped were from my phone, which aren't the best. (So sorry, Mom!) Grady Lee even commented, "Mom, how come you're not taking very many pictures of us today? You usually have your camera out the whole time." It's true: my camera is just a normal extension of my hand.
The nature center had some fun hands-on exhibits to play with, while learning, and several small animals for the kids to see and touch. Annalyse had one of the volunteers in hysterics because she made a loud and non-stop hissing sound when she discovered a caged snake. I admit, it was sort of cute.
The weather today was beautiful! Cool and sunny and perfect for being outdoors. The boys enjoyed "playing secret mission spies" in a tree house play area for a long while, and when a yellow bus pulled into the parking lot Micah announced, "Well, I bet it's going to get loud and crowded soon, huh?" He was right: 20ish elementary kids stormed the playground and we threw a white flag and surrendered our position. Majority won.
No problem - it was time for lunch anyway. Annalyse managed to spill her entire baggie of grapes; Micah managed to eat next to nothing because he was too busy talking; and Grady Lee managed to lick his entire lunch (and some of mine) clean before the rest of us were even close to being done. Now I know why some couples don't talk when they're out to eat: they are simply relishing the quiet and peace.
The boys pounded on this nature-inspired xylophone and Grady Lee told me, "I'm playing a praise song to thank Jesus for the woods he created for us to play in." Look at that - home school music and Bible and science and PE happening simultaneously. Sort of. Come on, the kid is five.
The boys found a group of logs and set about making a fort "with the logs as the strong base so that the wind won't knock it over." Annalyse did her part to help, as well, and brought a few twigs and sticks to help their effort.
While enjoying some swings, a park ranger greeted us and asked if we had any questions about the park and the facilities. That, friends, is southern hospitality. He had an official-looking uniform on and Micah candidly asked, "How come you don't have a gun on your belt next to your flashlight?" Mr. Park Ranger gave a polite chuckle, I said we were having a great morning out, and thank you very much for checking in. Micah, still wanting an answer, said, "Do you put bad guys in the back of your truck?" I was my turn to chuckle politely, and then gather my kids and scadaddle away.
When we called it a day and arrived home in the early afternoon, I was tired. I wanted a nap. And I wanted some alone time. The boys lounged on their beds while listening to Tom Sawyer, Annalyse napped, and I tackled a few house chores. But then I decided that a half hour on my bed with my eyes closed was much more appealing.
In typical fashion, no sooner did I get comfortable on my pillow and I heard a sweet lil voice mumbling, "Momma. Momma! Ah dun! Momma, ah dun!" Translation: Mom, I'm all done sleeping! I let Annalyse talk for a few minutes until I heard footsteps come into my room and Micah ask for a snack "while I listen to the CD that you're making me hear." I was aghast - making you hear?! This is Tom Sawyer don't you know.
With nap time and quiet time over, it was back to the rigomoram of keeping kids alive and the house standing while getting dinner made. Just another regular-ole-kind-of-day. You know the kind.


  1. North Carolina does sounds like a perfect fit for your love-God's-creation and super active children (and I mean that in a good way). I give you so much credit, though, for finding and utilizing all of those resources!

    Oh, and you are super brave to attempt a nap. I have yet to be able to do that without wondering what the state of things would be when I got up.

  2. Love this place! We spent all morning here awhile back and really want to bring Daddy back to "help" us enjoy it! :-) Annalyse is absolutely adorable! Love the pics!