We are blessed to have many neighborhood children with whom my children pass many an hour. I love it! I do. I am glad my kids have these great friends right here to run around with all day. These children run around my yard and come in my house all day long (although I did make the rule that no friends can be in the house prior to 9:00 a.m.).
But sometimes I want my kids to myself. I like them.
Sometimes I just want my children to play with each other, which they generally do well. (Except when one of them has a friend over and starts to excludes the others.)
Occasionally, I will get my kids and make them hunker down in the basement with me (away from the front door and big windows upstairs) to play a game or just have mommy/sibling time. Since the neighborhood kids can see my van out front, the doorbell rings incessantly during these times. It actually works better to take a little field trip.
With the beginning of the new school year upon us, I was really having feelings of wanting my children around me. I call that a "Mother Hen Day"--named after the scriptures in the New Testament where it describes Christ saying how he often tried to gather his covenant people together "as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings." I've always loved that image of a mother hen lifting her wings, collecting her babies beneath them and keeping them next to her heart.
So, I was having my mother hen-type feelings and decided to take my kids to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.
We had a great day visiting the animals and enjoying each other. Highlights of the day include:
* This mother hen gathering her children together
* My children demanding I take their photo while sticking their heads through approximately 276 wooden pict-o-signs--my made-up term for one of these:
* Teensy really enjoying her ice cream treat as evidenced by her face here:
* Buddy trying to ride a tractor that is made for a child half his size
* Kenna happily squatting down to brush a goat
* Maia desperately trying to fit in the turtle shells
* All the children feeding a 16.5' tall giraffe
* A rare acquisition indeed: a photo of Mommy with her kids (thanks to the camera's self-timer and a well-placed fence)