With no small amount of embarrassment and a hefty dose of shame, I begin this blog post by saying, “We’re setting the worst example for your kids.” And as well, “I’d apologize but I’m pretty sure it could happen again….”. Also, “We’ll pay back the money we owe your kids when we get paid in September!”
And finally, “IT’S ALL THEIR FAULT!”
(Eyes downcast, big sigh!)
The whole shebunckle started innocently enough when I texted my sister last night to ask which mall we could meet at for lunch (after the Zoo). She stated we should probably head to Cross Iron Mills Mall as it’s enroute to Drumheller.
Cross. Iron. Mills.
Oh my goodness, I really, really like that mall (even more than West Edmonton Mall) and have already played drop-a-grand there in my travels to Calgary (psst….don’t tell Ron!). 🙂
It’s a great mall and I highly recommend you checking it out if you’re in Alberta – they’ve got a huge Bass Pro Shop (which I care absolutely zero for!) and loads of outlets of actual great stores! It’s huge (109 000 square metres) and has 206 shops. Something for everyone!
Anyway, like I said, it did start innocently enough with GOOD INTENTIONS to head to the food court and feed the kids. All of a sudden, Jen and Sandy (our bus driver who could out-shop Jen!) had extended our 20 minute lunch break to a 2 hour “Mall Exploration of Modern Day Architecture” study. Kids were VERY HAPPY (Randolf told me, “There’s !3! stores here I want to shop at! Can you believe it?”). I would have set some limits on them, but I was busy clicking my heels in glee and checking if I had any more room left on my VISA!
With the kids settled in to lunch and shopping, Ms. From, my sister Melissa and I went into a fevered shopping frenzy (think 29 kids heading in to a souvenir shop in any Alberta location on this trip!)! We were rushing into stores, grabbing 10 to 3000 items off the rack, quickly trying items on, throwing discards at unsuspecting retail workers and whipping our Visas at the cashiers (“Charge it!”). It wasn’t pretty AT ALL. When my Visa was refused, I grabbed random GLC kids, turned them upside down and shook them until the change poured out of their pockets….Frustrating, really, because they’ve got so little money left – I mostly got nickels from them. A few unlucky kids gave up twenties cuz their parents just e-transferred them more money (thanks Mel for my new shoes and thanks Darlene for the cute top and sweater you just bought for Jen!).
With some chagrin (as much as I could muster with two heavily-laden arms weighed down by shopping bags!), I tried to redeem myself with the kids (and with my own conscience). I wanted to feel sorry for my actions, I really, really did!
But. Then. I saw your kids…..
THEY STILL HAD MORE STUFF THAN ME!
(Some of you must be in SO MUCH DEBT BY NOW!). 🙂 They had shopped and shopped again! And you know what, they’re getting to be such savvy shoppers too! One of them told me, “You know what, the stores are having so many sales! It’s like they knew we were coming….” (sigh)
Apparently they NEEDED penny boards (a type of skateboard where you pay the same price as a full skateboard – but you only get a half of a board for your money..). “We got such a good deal on these Mrs. Parrish!”
After a quick hug with my sister and Pyvie (my super-cute niece who just turned 4 on Monday, we were back on the bus and enroute to Drumheller. I took on HERO STATUS (yet again….) when the kids realized that it was only an hour to Drumheller rather than the three hours I had told them it would be (I somehow managed to turn this around into a “I wanted to surprise you guys….” which is why they were showing the love (rather than exhibiting their typical disdain).
When we got to Drumheller, we decided to blitz the three excursions (Royal Tyrrell Museum, hoodoos and suspension bridge) because (a) I’m exhausted and (b) I’m really exhausted!
The museum was fabulous (as you know if you’ve been there) and amazing (because SO ARE DINOSAURS!). It’s a combination of Science and Art with the majestic displays that pull you right into Earth’s history. Aubrey was very intuitive when she told me that “it makes me kind of sad…” and Sabrina and Ruby were pulled (kicking and screaming!) from the museum (LIKE ABOUT 45 MINUTES AFTER EVERYONE ELSE WAS DONE!). Sabrina even told me, “I like dinosaurs now….”. (She was previously devoted to her first Science love, “Space, all things Space”. 🙂
Many of the kids chose the audio recordings to guide them through the museum (17 of them in fact!). Ms. From had told me that a number of them had appreciated the audio devices at the SkyWalk and so we gave them two options in Drumheller – the homework sheet or the audio devices. No wonder SO MANY hands went up when the choice was offered. Heaven knows they wouldn’t want to do any more homework on this trip then they typically want to do during the school year!
Except Kristy of course who likes homework like Taylor Swift likes writing about her breakups….
The hoodoos were their typical terrifying self. This is Ms. From’s most dreaded part of the trip (mine is getting on the bus in Balmertown….)! We didn’t have to worry a bit though! Once we realized our terror had been fed by our last trip’s chaperones (ahemm…Ron, Chris and Darrin) AND that none of the kids would RUN LIKE CRAZY, RISKING THEIR VERY LIVES if these guys weren’t there issuing challenges like., ‘Hey! Let’s all run down and risk our lives…” everything was A-OK. Kids stayed safe and had a good time.
Randolf took a minute to consider the intricacies of our world – a great thing to do when we’re herding 28 kids on to the bus! All of a sudden, EVERYONE wants to sit and stare at the sky (“If Randy’s allowed, why can’t I….”).
Matthew and Connor were dressed alike on the way to the suspension bridge (“Take a picture of us, MP! Take a picture of us, MP! Take a picture of us, MP!” ….. “MATTHEW! Seriously! I will in a minute!”) Bradford and Matthew were also matching but I missed that photo opportunity (because Matthew only asked me ONCE!).
Suspension bridge was okay, highlights here were Sabrina’s mid-bridge cartwheel and Shayne’s handstand. Both were commendable in my eyes because it’s just metal grating underneath us (and a RIVER!). I was busy holding on to my phone because I was pretty sure with my jumpy nerves and general clumsiness it could end up in the river faster than I can say, “Whose pillow is this on the floor?” or “Who left their phone on the back of this toilet?”.
Supper credits go to Ms. From who ordered pizza, wings and chicken fingers from a great place in Drumheller. The kids ate in the breakfast room and then swam until 9:30. Once confined to their rooms, we found them peacefully watching TV and writing in their journals. Speaking of watching TV, they’re so diverse with their TV watching habits (which kind of surprises me because they mostly behave with a herd-kind-of-mob-mentality!). Shayne, Landon, and Kayli have been watching cooking shows (the Food Network) – as have Emma, Emily, Brooklyn and Allyssa; Riley, Matthew, Seth and Connor have thrown a couple of movies on; Zac, Quinn and Jamie have watched “Yukon Trappers” and “Border Security” (yawn, big yawn….); James, Jakob, Lukas and Randy have watched baseball and other sports (kids are putting me to sleep here…);
Bradford, Will and Sidney have opted out of tv for music (dance party anyone?) and Jade, Jinelle, Taylor and Sabrina turned on their TV and watched the “continuous circuit of movie previews that was on when we turned the TV on….” (sigh)
Chaperones were in bed early (just after 11, I think) and kids were smart enough to talk quietly so we couldn’t hear them through their doors (they’re so savvy!).
Saskatchewan for Day 9 AND getting to see my sweet little hometown and the best spot of land in the world – my family farm. Kids are super-lucky because I’m gonna regale them with hours of stories of my childhood. Who else gets these kind of chances in life, I ask you?