What an amazing day today was!

I am so incredibly blessed and don’t take for granted for a second all the things in my life that make each day amazingly sweet. Deployments are tough. They test and stretch us to our limits. They bring with them incredible highs and lows. And yet, when I focus on the day to day, the moments that are priceless, my boy that makes my heart sing, my better half… all those things shine compared to the murkiness that is a deployment. It’s my life saver, that round shaped buoy out in the water, keeping my head above water. Smiling comes easy to me, so does laughter… and I think it’s because it comes from a lifetime at looking at the positive and ignoring the negative. Seeing everything through rosy tinted glasses, at least, when it’s possible.

And today was such a sweet, perfect day.

Our homeschool group had coordinated a field trip to Inks Lake Park about an hour away from Fort Hood. The drive is scenic and completely worth it. I was expecting a day on the lake, a hike perhaps, a picnic and then a ride back home. Instead we were treated to a whole day of learning, fun, and pure glee.

The park ranger and our co-op Amazing Person (I’m not quite sure what her title is, but Ms. Melissa ROCKS!) had planned for a full day of activities. They had so many knowledgeable, patient, and kind volunteers on hand to assist with the different stations. Honestly, I was pretty blown away.

The stations included a bird watching/binoculars area where the kiddos learned about the birds that make Inks Lake State Park home, the adaptations that make them the unique predators that they are, their habits, etc. What a treat to learn so much about a few species of bird. I don’t think I’ll ever look at another bird without dissecting every little thing that directly identifies the bird, it’s habits, etc.  The kiddos faces, their rapt attention… was priceless!

The kiddos were also able to take a boat ride, and even that was educational… and fun. Brooks said that the gentlemen guiding the boat pointed out different animal homes along the way. Marilyn was so excited, though rather nervous, and was all grins before and after the fact.

The station we hit next was the Trees and Seeds area. The gentleman running that station was really excited about what he was sharing, which made all the info he shared all the more interesting and memorable. He pointed out different plants and trees native to Inks Lake Park, as well as the habits of some of the birds. One of our favorites was learning about the Tree Sapper Bird, which bores holes into the trunk of the Sycamore tree to attract bugs (which love the sap). They then swoop in and eat the bugs. How cool is that?!

Brooks and I have been covering the Revolutionary War in History. We just had a lesson on the Redcoats, well, red coats. How cool that the gentleman manning the Seeds and Trees area showed us the Cochineal bug sac on the underside of the prickly cactus, and then informed us that for a time in history it was actually worth more than gold in it’s weight AND was used to dye the redcoats of the British soldiers. AMAZING! And this was just a fraction of what we learned, in just that one station.

After we rotated the kiddos were able to make birdfeeders to take home. They used watercolors to paint their recycled milk cartons for backyard bird feeding/watching. My kiddos were so excited to make their own and I was excited to scratch make-a-craft-or-art-project off my to-do list for the day.

The last thing we partook in was fishing off the docks that are found behind the store. It was Marilyn’s favorite thing of all for the whole entire day. Although the kiddos were not able to catch a fish they had a blast casting their lines and waiting to see if they’d snag something.

Inks Lake Park was unbelievable. The staff and volunteers made the experience both enjoyable and memorable. I had felt bad about doing a field trip when we were still playing catch up after my surgery but after all the learning and fun today I was glad I’d signed us up for it.

These are the types of days I’ll miss when Brooks is no longer homeschooled. Thankfully, we can visit the park at our lesisure and enjoy their other programs. It’s on my list of repeat activities for sure.

After our field trip we came home and made pizzas for dinner.

And then we hit the Blora Flashlight Easter Egg hunt, which was loads of fun, as usual. I loved that they had a magician this year.

It was the perfect ending to a perfect day!

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