Monday, April 27, 2009

The Land Run

My, my things have been busy around here. I think that the last two months of school are more busy than the holidays.

The big deal in the third grade at our school is the reenactment of the Oklahoma Land Run. The kids in the classes are divided into "family groups" of four or five kids each, and then their family is responsible for getting ready to stake their claim. This is no small feat - they have to have costumes, a covered wagon, a decorated family stake to stake their claim - there's a lot of prep work involved.

For the parents, this also involved a big meeting where we all met and volunteered for committees. I helped head up the "Games" committee with Carolyn, a good friend of mine who has lots of parenting experience. There was also a photo committee, land office committee, finance committee, snack committee and a few others I've already forgotten. Of course, there was a head committee person to make sure all of us committee chairs had our ducks in a row. Whew! I'm exhausted just typing about it. Anyway, what seemed like a simple task was all-consuming for the last couple of weeks.

I started out with the best of intentions to make Maggie a pioneer costume. We went to Hancock's Fabrics one Saturday and picked out a pattern and material for a dress. I got the material washed and ironed, and the pattern ironed, but then things took a turn for the worse. I looked at the directions, and what I thought was an elastic waistband and sleeves turned out to be ribbon ties with casings that had buttonholes at each end. I've never made a buttonhole before, so this was going to require some time getting reacquainted with my sewing machine's owner's manual. Only problem was that Monday's schedule looked like this: Dr. Appointment, Oil Change, Land Run Meeting, Build a Wagon with Maggie's Family, Dinner, Homework, Bedtime. Tuesday's was similar: BSF, Library Volunteering, Girl Scouts, Dinner, Homework, Bedtime. When was I supposed to make this costume? After practically having a panic attack on Monday night I came to my senses and started calling everyone I knew with a fourth or fifth grader to borrow a land run costume. We found two, and Maggie chose which one she wanted - a more grown-up looking dress that was several inches too long. I hemmed it up so she wouldn't trip on it, and did make her an apron to wear with it. The rest of the dress will be finished at a later date. (We'll still need it for Gracie in a couple of years!)

At the last meeting there were several parents talking about wearing costumes as well. Carolyn said she had a dress she thought might fit me and dropped it by. I felt flattered that she thought I was that thin - I could hardly get more than one thigh in that dress! I still managed to dress up though with the apron from the dress, a long skirt and the bonnet from the other land run costume we borrowed. Although I ended up being one of only a few adults in costume, it had its benefits. Everyone else got sunburned, but my long sleeves and skirt kept me lily-white, except for my face. The bonnet kept blowing off in the Oklahoma wind.

Finally the day of the land run was here! Maggie woke up extra early, she was so excited. We got all dressed up and headed to the bus stop. We got a few looks as we walked through the neighborhood, but Maggie loved it. As soon as the bus left I headed to the land run site and started setting up the games. The kids got there and we had an hour of games, the land run re-enactment at noon, lunch, and another hour of games. They played tug-of-war, had a stick pull, sack races, three-legged races and a clothesline relay.

The head organizer had also contacted the museum and they provided a chuck wagon with several educational displays for us at no charge.

Of course, the highlight of the day was the actual run, which took very little time. The kids got their wagons and lined up at the start.

Everyone was hootin' and a hollerin' for the gun to go off. All of the sudden five "sooners" (aka "cheaters") made a break for it! There were several volunteer dad "sheriffs" waiting for them though, and after a few minutes they were all hauled off to jail for a very short incarceration. Once they rejoined their families we counted down to noon, when the gun went off and they all took out.

Maggie's family pulled out a stake, put their family stake in its place and ran to the land office to file their claim. The we set out a blanket and had a picnic lunch on their new property.

After a full day the kids headed back to school for cobbler and a hootenanny while the volunteers cleaned up the site. I went home and changed out of my hot costume and made it to the school in time to see the kids do the Virginia Reel.

It was a good day, but one I'm glad to get out of the way.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Visit to the Hundred Acre Woods

The time has come this year for the first graders to visit the Hundred Acre Woods. For those of you who might have forgotten, that is where Winnie-the-Pooh lives with all his friends. Each grade level at our elementary school has a program each year, and the first graders always do a play that revolves around Pooh, which is the theme for the entire first grade at our school. This year it was raining in the Hundred Acre Woods, so the adventure was imagined to be under the sea. Pooh and his friends hopped on a yellow submarine and explored the underwater world. Gracie's class all donned their swimsuits and goggles and scuba gear and swam around. Here's our little scuba divers:

Gracie is first on the second row, in the red and blue outfit.

This year Gracie was very into her program, excited about all her songs, playing her instrument, and describing her dance to me in advance of her program. Here she is singing her heart out (second row, next to the penguins):

Next up was the dance. She held a hoop the first part of the dance, and then they made a circle and did a little dance. You can see her "scuba" gear in this shot:

Lastly, she had her instrument part. They played hand chimes - a group of them would have the chimes to make a chord, and they would play their cord when the director held up their number. As a handbell player, I was impressed with Gracie's focus on her director!

They did a great job! We ordered a video of the performance, and I'm sure you'll have an opportunity to see it soon!