Yesterday was Zack's birthday party, at the Brookside Nature Center. (I think our days of having it at the house are over.) My lack of organization these past few months paid off in that we had a fabulous day for a nature party. First, the naturalist (who is AWESOME! Seriously, she is so very good with the kids and clearly loves doing this.) talked to them about reptiles and amphibians, and they got to check out a real turtle, look for similarities and differences between a frog and a toad, and then, for the piece de resistance, got to check out a snake. As the birthday boy, Zack was the only one who got to hold the snake---I love his look of anticipation in the picture above! Then they went outside on a hike. The naturalist said there might be signs of wood frogs coming out and heading to the ponds--I'm not sure if she was telling the truth or a white lie, but the kids love the idea. On the way, we stopped to talk to the man making maple syrup over a fire outside (40 gallons of sap are needed for one gallon of syrup--liquid gold!), they got a few wiggles out of their system, but no frogs. No one seemed to mind, really. Then we went back inside, decorated party hats, had some frog cupcakes and goldfish crackers, and everyone went home happy!
I really think this might have been the best party yet. It was low key, but all the kids seemed to have fun. There were no tears. And this is such a funny, fun age---they're not afraid to show off what they know, they make a lot of astute observations, but they pretty much have no filter on what they say. So we got the whole story about how one boy's dad stepped on a turtle and its shell cracked and it was bloody. And Kelsey (Zack's best bud, in the purple next to him) suddenly observed, "Zack, you have very long eyelashes for a boy!" They were all just really adorable and really good. He seems to have found a set of really good kids.
Oh, and the coolest part of the day for Zack? After all the kids had left and we were cleaning up, the naturalist gave him a bag with a molted snake skin in it. He thought that was just fabulous!