Monday, October 20, 2014

Fort Lewis, Fourth Graders, Travel To Washington, DC.

Ever since it was announced, at "Back-To-School" night, we have been anticipating the field trip to Washington, DC.  I had no idea what to expect, but it NEVER dawned on me that departing, from the school at 7 am, meant departing your home at 6:30 am. OUCH!!!!! I was able to get the twins to bed, the night before, at normal time (7:30 pm), but Darren and Ty were out late due to a pre-scheduled football game. I think those two were in bed by 10:00 pm and of course I stayed up until 12:30 am, trying to get everything together.  
We arrived at the school, on time, even after stopping at Starbucks and Hardees for some caffeine.  We spotted our buses right away!  This really sealed the deal.  We were told that buses would NOT wait on late comers.
The first hour, the teachers made a rule that the over head televisions and lights were NOT permitted to be used.  THANK YOU STAFF for thinking of us grown-ups.  The students were allowed to rest, read, or play any electronics that they brought from home.  Ty was punished, the first hour, from electronics, but as soon as that hour was up, he wasted NO time using his iPod to entertain himself.  I thought I would blog or read, but I wound up sitting next to one of Ty's classmate's moms, Joanna Smith, and we chatted non-stop and laughed the entire way there.  It made our bus ride short and fun.  Joanna is ALSO a neighbor of mine, so it was like going on a road trip with a friend.  
The below: Another shot of the "crazies" I had to chaperone during this field trip (minus Kaiden).  Can you tell Ty was, already, OVER me taking pictures?  LOL! Dream on buddy!!!
During our travels, we stopped ONCE to allow the children to stretch their legs and use the bathroom.  If they needed to use the bathroom, any other time, the bus had a porta potty!
I bribed Brendan and Ty, with a "rest area ahead" surprise, if they would allow me to take a serious/smiling photo of the two of them together.  I think it worked!!! Don't you?
As soon as we arrived, we gathered all of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders together, for a group photo, in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Then we ate lunch.
The boys posed for a photo in front of, but very far from, the Washington Monument. Can you tell who the comedian of the group is (far right)?
I love my little man when he smiles!!!
We spotted a police officer "texting and horsing" around! Tough job! Hehe.
After lunch, the boys wanted to run up all 58 steps to see Abraham Lincoln.  Of course everything to a 9 year old is a race.  I can't recall who won.  LOL! I am sure if you ask them they would remember.  
I believe MUCH laughter ensued, in the photo below, because JAY dropped his dessert beyond the chain and sign which read, "Do not go beyond this point!" Leave it to 5 boys to accidentally NOT follow the rules.
After the Lincoln Memorial, we allowed the boys to tour the Washington War Memorial.  Sadly, I don't think these boys' maturity level was fully prepared to walk this area. They were just being really goofy and loud in this section. Both Tonya, the other chaperone, and I tried to remind them that they are there representing Fort Lewis Elementary School.  At times, that seemed to help them regroup, but it slipped their minds very quickly. Some were worse than others, but anytime 5 boys get together it's almost a hopeless cause. LOL! We were definitely out numbered and they had so much energy after being stuck on a bus for 4 hours. Regardless of their interest, I always enjoy touring this section though. It's an amazing reminder of exactly how many people have died while fighting for our Country!
Getting closer and closer to the Washington Monument.
Eventually, we walked a tad closer to the Washington Monument and I was able to capture a great photo of it, using my long lens.
Once we made it to the Washington Monument, I tried my best to capture the boys' pretending to pick it up with their "strong" muscles.  See Jay below?
 Then, off to the World War II Memorial!
There's Mr. Comedian again holding on to New York really tight! What a hoot!
We didn't tour the U.S. Capitol Building or the outside of the White House, although we gave the boys the option to. We took a "vote" and it was unanimous. They chose to tour the museums instead.  I still made certain to take a photo of the Capitol Building.  It appears to be under construction. The White House's roof was visible to our eyes, but in order to see it up close and personal, we would have had to walk a lot further.  
The boys chose to tour the National Museum of American History. They toured this museum rather quickly.  Their appreciation for Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers, Mohammed Ali's Boxing Gloves, and the First Apple Computer didn't seem to impress them. One of the boys even said, "So what...Ruby Red Slippers!" Sigh... The museum shows America's triumphs and tragedies and most importantly, this museum shows everyone, What makes America, America!!!! Real stories, real stuff!
The only photos I took, in this museum, were of electronics and how they have improved over the years.  The staff was REALLLY strict on what you could take pictures of and what you could NOT take pictures of! The boys were really wild in this museum, so I had to focus on keeping up with them! 
The next museum the boys chose to visit was the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. This museum showcases over 275 animals. I wish I had had more time to tour this Museum. It was incredible!!  The boys were more  concerned with finding a souvenir, to bring home, that their true appreciation for this museum was not there.  This was our LAST exhibit before heading back home!!!
 The only photos I took, in this museum, were of the owls because I love owls!!!
For the fourth graders, this was quite an eventful trip!  We got a ton accomplished in a small time period (3 hours).  Overall, I think it was a wonderful experience.  I do think that this trip MIGHT have been better saved and rewarded to an older group of children, such as middle or high schoolers. I just do not think boys, especially at this age, are mature enough to appreciate the history of the United States.

Our dinner venue was the Golden Corral.  As I always say, there is a FIRST time for everything. The kids LOVED this place, but if I have a say so, there will NOT be a second time, in my life, that I will eat here. Haha.  
Be on the look tomorrow, for video footage, of the students, on the bus, on the way back! They were all sooooo punchy! They entertained all of the grown-ups by serenading us during their viewing of the movie Frozen! I will do my best to document/post Lilah and Jaxon's trip to the zoo, with their daddy, maybe tomorrow.  

Needless to say, the day after the fieldtrip, I felt like I had been hit by a mack truck. LOL!  I was so happy to send my kids to school and enjoy some peace and quiet. Mrs. Klimaitis, their principal, was very generous by allow the children to come to school at their leisure. No one was counted tardy, no matter how late they arrived.  My children arrived by 9:30 am!

There are still several photos, captured by my cell phone, which I have yet to upload, but for now, feel free to view ALL of the photos I captured, with my camera, below, by double clicking on the Picasa photo album! ENJOY!