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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

GratiTuesday - Going All Out

We have a crazy family saying:  "Where to now?"

It seems that we never make a trip simple, and part of that is for a good reason.  With high gas prices and a home in a rural area, there's a cost to getting anywhere.  We always try to combine trips.

When we leave town as a family, though, it's extra special.  Whoever wonders about homeschool socialization needs to check out a real homeschool family's calendar, because we spend lots of time with other people, and our crazy schedule proves it.  That makes our whole-family outings even more memorable.

And Saturday's field trip was definitely memorable.

We're studying zoology this year, and so our co-op group planned to travel to Mooresville, NC, to visit the Lazy 5 Animal Ranch.  Mooresville is nearly 2.5 hours away, so this was a big deal - and it was a wonderful experience.

Our fearless science leader arranged for us to ride in a Percheron-pulled wagon through the property, and we were able to feed a wide range of animals.

My husband really enjoyed the giraffes - or maybe they really enjoyed him!  Either way, the skies were a beautiful blue, the sunshine was warm, and the company wonderful.  It was one of my favorite field trips.

Our day didn't end there, of course.  Though my camera battery died just as we were leaving the ranch, we kept going.  We found an apple orchard down the street and hopped out of the car to go pick apples.  My husband and Big Helper had never done that before, so it was quite the experience.

Next we stumbled into the downtown area and found an art show being set up in an old train depot.  Although it wasn't really ready for viewing, the gallery people politely and warmly let us in and showed us around.  There were some very interesting pieces.

Then a gallery owner gave us directions to the Nascar race shops of Mooresville, so we checked them out, which led us to Kohls' and new church shoes.  

A clerk at Kohls' gave us directions to a big chili cook-off festival that we saw advertised downtown, so we found a parking place and headed in to choose the best chili.  The live music was fun, the sun still warm, and the chili was ... interesting.  Although quite different from what I make, my Little Man discovered that he loves the dish and enjoyed sampling from all over the festival.

By the time we left the chili cook-off, it was getting late. We decided to head towards home - or a construction store to look for parts for a big project my husband's doing.  By the time we hit our dinner destination it was past bedtime, but the kids were still going strong and everyone was hungry again.

After eating, we stashed a CD into the player and started listening to a book on tape on our way home.  We stumbled in the door just before midnight, tired, stinky, and with sore throats all around, but happy nonetheless.

It was a big day, even by our standards, but it was a great one.  I'll never forget when my husband decided to feed the giraffes by putting the bucket on his head instead of in his hands.  Or when My Big Helper decided that it would be easier to pick the apples if she climbed the tree first, or the way that my Little Man's face lit up when he tasted his first cup of chili.

My husband likes to say that we really know how to pack it in.  I suppose we do, but there are lots of blessings in that.  Our kids are patient and full of endurance.  We like to look for the unexpected blessings, like the orchard, gallery, and chili cook-off.  We got to witness God's creativity and creation firsthand.  We enjoyed a fun wagon ride and picnic with friends.  We were together and outside on a beautiful fall day.

It was a really great day.

So, where to now?

For more GratiTuesday, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

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