Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sweet and Sour Night Sky Party

Yesterday afternoon Conner came home with a special homework project. Every night this week he is supposed to go out and look at the night sky - specifically the moon - and then draw what he sees in his journal. Fun, I thought.

And then I realized that when I lay the boys down at 7, it's not dark yet. So I pulled out my trusty iPhone, checked the weather, and quickly learned that the sun was supposed to set at 7:19. So I called my dad (who knows everything about everything outdoors) to ask when he thought it would be dark enough for us to go out. And the response I got? "There's an app for that." :)

He said that it would probably be dark enough around 7:40, and then told me about a cool - amd free! - app that would also help us know what stars and planets we were seeing. So I got that downloaded...and quickly learned that the moon wouldn't even be visible until 9:41 pm. Seriously?!

My initial reaction of "fun" was long gone. Bret's in Oklahoma again this week, so I'm single-momming it here on the homefront. This homework now meant that everyone was going to be going to bed at least an hour late...every night this week. Uggh. Cranky kids...and 4 or more hours of "me time" lost this week. Double ugggh.

But then I saw the lemons on the table that Micah and Joey had talked me into getting while we were at WalMart earlier in the day. And I realized that I had a decision to make. I could waller in my self pity and this week's Night Sky homework could be miserable and ruin our whole week...or I could readjust my attitude and try to make my way back to the initial "fun" reaction. So I decided to, as the the saying goes, "make some lemonade" (and maybe even some lemon cheesecake!) out of my homework lemon.

I had some ready-to-bake sugar cookie dough in the fridge. I threw it in the oven, whipped up some yellow icing, and quickly made some "Night Sky Party" snacks. Use your imagination here - I was short on time and supplies. They're stars, full moons, crescent moons, and the little dots are more smaller stars. :)

I informed the boys of our Night Sky party plans, and I was an instant hero.

So we borrowed some binoculars from our neighbors, and at 7:40 we walked out ready for our party...and realized that we weren't going to be able to see much of the sky. Duh, we're surrounded by very tall pine trees.

So we hopped in the van and drove down the road, moving our party to the elementary school's parking lot.

Our view was much better there. And no, we will not be staying up until 10pm or later each night this week to see the moon. But thanks to my iPhone, we learned that three of the brightest stars that we were seeing were Jupiter, Mars, and Venus. Conner thought that was very cool. I was a hero again. :)Joey is all about the binoculars - and has even decided that he wants a "Night Sky Party" for his birthday party. :)Micah, my eater of the bunch, is all about the cookies.Then we saw an airplane and hoped that it could see us as it flew over us and we waved. ...and then our Night Sky Party was over. All 8 minutes of it. (That's right - all this hype for 8 minutes!) And we went home, helped Conner draw what he saw, and began the long process of settling down to go to sleep. And we did it again tonight...and we'll do it again tomorrow and the next night. And then we'll take some serious naps over the weekend!

It's not over yet, but I think I've successfully turned my homework lemon into some pretty yummy lemon cheesecake. No one in Conner's class saw the moon last night, and he was the only one who knew that some of the stars he saw were planets. We're not yelling and whining and fighting and in sour moods each night this week...instead we're making what I think will be some pretty sweet memories. post signature


Lydia said...

such a good mommy!!!

Bonnie said...

My heart goes pitter-pat for those boys and their mommy. Even though I know it feels like "just surviving" at times, you are (and will be) blessed over and over for the time and effort you're putting in...and the wonderful example of attitude adjustment!!

Heidi said...

Looks like fun!! I hear ya on the missing out on your "me" time...it would be hard for me to have a good attitude about it. WAY TO GO!

Gammie said...

Yaaaay for Sky Party Night(s)!!!!! Sounds and looks like a blast;) If Conner had just gotten this assignment in about 6 weeks it would be dark so much earlier but...just think of all the memories that would not have happened;) Enjoy the moments-they don't last long enough:(