Last month we took a field trip to the Saint Louis Zoo. The zoo had many precautions in place to keep everyone safe.
Safety Precautions– To limit the number of guests on the zoo grounds they required everyone to make free reservations online and show up within their reservation window. Upon entering, each group had to show their reservation. Masks or face coverings were required for children and adults over the age of nine. While we were there I saw zoo employees enforcing this requirement. Hand sanitizer stations were placed throughout the grounds and extra measures were taken for keeping surfaces clean.
The Train– My daughter loves the train so we rode it around the zoo twice! Plexiglass panels have been installed between each seat to help social distance. At every stop the train announcer reminded everyone to keep their masks on.
The Carousel– One row of animals was marked with red tape and the other row was marked with green tape. They switched colors on each ride so every other animal was being used and an attempt at social distancing could be made.
Although the children’s zoo was closed, along with the indoor animal houses and theatre, there were plenty of animals to see and I appreciated the attempts being made to keep everyone safe. We defiantly enjoyed this socially distanced field trip to our famous zoo!
On Thursday we took a much needed field trip to the World Bird Sanctuary, a bird habitat about thirty minutes from home. The World Bird Sanctuary is an organization that protects and preserves the avian species of the world, while inspiring others to do the same. The COVID-19 pandemic has closed their education center as well as their outreach programs. A few weeks ago they began a free Drive-Thru Safari Experience, where you can see and learn about birds, safely from the comfort of your own car! This educational opportunity made us “flutter” with excitement!
The birds and their handlers were safely distanced around the perimeter of the sanctuary’s outdoor learning space and we slowly drove from bird to bird where we observed, asked questions and learned new things! The most important question on my five year old’s mind was finding out the name of each bird and discovering what each one ate for dinner!
Meet the Birds
The first bird we met was Patriot, the Bald Eagle. We learned her favorite food was fish but that Bald Eagles are known to eat other small birds and decaying prey from other animals as well. Patriot is 35 years old and was part of the opening ceremonies for the St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball division title in 2004.
Then we met Mia, a Spectacled Owl. She was beautiful but was being bothered by bugs that her handler kept swatting away from her face. My daughter already knew that owls come out at night and that they are nocturnal animals. We found our Mia eat mice and rats but enjoys watching the snakes in the nature center.
We see a lot of Red Tailed Hawks visit the pond in our backyard for a quick snack so we immediately recognized Willard. We learned that Willard’s favorite treats are fish, small mammals and rodents.
Oliver is an Eastern Screech Owl and he was much smaller than Mia. We learned that Oliver eats mice, rats and lizards!
Jet is an American Kestrel Falcon and I recognized him from an outreach program the Wild Bird Sanctuary presented at our local library last year. We learned that the black markings around Jet’s eyes protect his eyes from the sun. Athletes who wear dark tape under their eyes got the idea to do so from Jet! Jet eats insects, small rodents and small birds.￼
Lone Elk Park– After our visit with the birds we drove a few feet to Lone Elk Park and enjoyed a little more of nature. My daughter requested a photo with her stuffed Owl, Owliscious, so we pulled over for a photo op in front of the lake.
As we drove through Lone Elk Park we saw bison in the distance, spotted a raccoon and got a close up visit with some of the many elk who call this beautiful park home.
Even though this was a socially distanced field trip, it felt wonderful to get out of the neighborhood, enjoy some new surroundings and marvel at the beauties of nature.
I never imagined a time where we would have to social distance from one another to stay safe and well. A time when my extended family would find ourselves unable to gather around the dining room table to enjoy good food, fellowship and hugs! This Mother’s Day weekend looked a bit different, but it was filled with love and happy surprises and I can’t think of anything better than that!
I am blessed to have the sweetest, most supportive mother in the world! She taught me the faith, loves me and has never tried to change me. She continues to be my biggest cheerleader!
Visiting Maw Maw on Mother’s Day and delivering her an afternoon tea.
I want to remember all of the mothers in my life, past and present, who helped raise and nurture me, who inspire me, teach me and support me. The women who make me a better person and through their unconditional love, have taught me how to be a good mother to my daughter.￼
I also want to recognize all the mOTHERS in our lives. Women who are not mothers in the traditional sense but are strong, beautiful role models for me and for my daughter. My daughter is blessed to have two amazing women she lovingly calls “aunt” and “auntie” and although they are not part of our family tree, they are our family and we love them so very much!
I know Mother’s Day isn’t a joyous day for everyone. For some there is great sorrow and loss. Others feel an emptiness as they yearn to become a mother and many are fighting a battle with infertility. I understand, I have been there and have experienced the pain.
Mother’s Day TeaCups– When I taught kindergarten I had my students cut and color this paper tea cup for their mothers. A single tea bag was placed inside. My daughter created some special tea cups for her grandmothers.
Mother’s Day S’mores– We enjoyed a s’mores bar at our outdoor Mother’s Day picnic for my mother. My husband built a fire (he is an Eagle Scout) and we roasted marshmallows! Look at the variety of menu choices!
Mother’s Day Tea– A local tea shop, The London Tea Room, offered a special carry out Mother’s Day Tea, for two, with sweet and savory goodies to make for a proper afternoon tea. Complete with Laura Ashley tea cups, plates, tea pot and cloth napkins, we knew this would be a wonderful gift for my mother-in-law! As an avid tea lover, she is responsible for my love of tea parties. My in-laws have enjoyed several trips to London and planned to return this summer. Unfortunately, COVID 19 cancelled their trip. A huge thank you to The London Tea Room for bringing a taste of London to Missouri!
Tea for Two– My daughter and I enjoyed a mother/daughter tea after a virtual church service filled with beautiful Easter hymns. Our table was set with my butterfly meadow tea set and a variety of delectable delights. My little one discovered a new found love for scones and lemon curd. While we dined and talked of future tea parties after the virus, my mini me explained, “This is delightful!” This Noteworthy Mommy couldn’t agree more!
Living Generously- Beyond problem solving and learning Foundational Skills my hope for my daughter is that she is a caring and generous person who gives unto others authentically. One of the things that first attracted me to my husband was his huge, unselfish heart. Without wavering he immediately offers assistance to those in need. He never seeks acknowledgement for his good deeds, preferring to stay invisible. Like her parents, our daughter is growing up in a Christian home where these values are instilled but more importantly modeled and put into practice. During this time of isolation we are living generously by surprising loved ones and friends with care packages and parades. Reaching out to others we haven’t talked to in awhile and thanking God every single day for the many blessings He has given us.
Virtual Happy Hour- This is the fourth Friday I have participated in a virtual happy hour with a few of my girlfriends. With wine in hand, we gather around our screens and talk. We begin with airing our weekly frustrations from facilitating virtual learning (for those with children) to working from home (for those who work) to social distancing, sharing recipes and finally securing some much needed toilet paper! But then the conversation turns to talking about the past, reliving cherished memories of when we were young and care free. As we laugh until we cry, the unconditional love from my girlfriends is just the support I need to get me through another week.￼
Pat’s Socially Distant Coffee Hour– My sister in law began a weekly Zoom chat and opened it up to any female on her Facebook list who was interested in joining in. During our first meeting we met each other, a group of eclectic women across multiple states who didn’t have anything in common except having some sort of connection with our host. Pat asked each of us to share a favorite coffee mug and the history behind the mug. Another week we shared something that was helping get us through the quarantine. This week we are sharing a favorite picture. Through the sharing we are connecting, learning about each other, processing our new reality and supporting each other. I look forward to our weekly chats and through my sister in law’s socially distant coffee hour chats, I have met some amazing Christian women who I no longer call strangers but now proudly name as friends.