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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Midnight Field Trip

One of our favorite songs from TMBG

This past Sunday evening we did something we haven't done before. I'm actually surprised J and I thought this was a good idea. I blame the copious amounts of wine we must have imbibed before this idea was hatched.

Sunday was the Perseid Meteor shower, one of the coolest natural light shows of the year, and we decided that with the weather behaving, the boys were finally old enough for a midnight field trip. Even on a school night. We were such cool parents that we told the kids they could sleep in if they wanted to and I'd take them into school late. I figure it was educational enough to give the thumbs up. Score on extra brownie points!
Come evening we put the kids to bed normal, hung out until 11PM, then after playing tooth fairy to Xavier while he was still comatose, we woke the kids up.Well we tried to wake the kids up. It was like peeling a melted sticker off a silk blouse after going through the dryer. Almost impossible and with a lot of mental cussing. Xavier kept sitting straight up, eyes wide, and he'd nod at us when we told him it was time. Five minutes later we'd go in to check on his progress and he'd be out cold, sleeping upside down.

Ashe was so out of it that we sat there for 15 minutes trying everything but dashing cold water on his head. I finally had to grab his hand and gently tug him to follow me as we stumbled around the room. That kid had to have been sleep walking because he passed out on the kitchen table while I grabbed everyone a quick midnight snack.

The only one to get up without a hitch was Soren. It took him a groggy few to put his head into the game, but once he got there he was golden.

After prodding two of the boys, and one almost toppling out of his chair, we threw them and blankets inot the van and took off to find a dark area with a good view of the night sky.

Unfortunately we live in the burbs, and our area, while beautifully taken care of with manicured trees and streetlights every 50 paces, had beautifully manicured trees blocking our view, and streetlights every 50 paces that dimmed our eyes to the stars. This meant that it was a pain in the ass to find a decent spot to watch the shooting stars

After trying the schoolgrounds (no luck due to the 50 odd street lamps lighting up the area like the fourth of July on crack) we found ourselves driving around an area filled with business buildings. Fortuntaely we found one dark building with NO streetlamps a big enough view of the stars. So we sat up on the grass near the parking lot, hoping the cops wouldn't stop by and ask us what the hell we were doing on most likely private grounds, and looked up.

Into a partly cloudy sky that of course, was cloudy right where Perseus is. Of all the ironic shit that could have happened......

But instead of bitching, we kept our eyes peeled. Well the boys and I did. J took out his phone and started putzing on all sorts of compass and sky map apps, trying to figure out where to look, and learning the names of all the constellations out.

We hung out for a good hour. It wasn't as spectacular as we had hoped, but the boys each got to see at least one meteor. We saw one really decent one, and about 6 other fainter ones. I tried taking photos but it was a lost cause.  I think I got off one photo of pure black missing a meteor by half a second. The rest of the time I was too busy snuggling with the boys, answering questions, pointing out constellations, and listening to J recite all of the cool new info he learned about the constellation Cassiopia.

After everyone had their fill and Soren fell soundly asleep on the grass, we booked it back home, put the kids in bed, and passed out. Even with the kids sleeping in I was still able to get them to school on time.

We may have to try this again. The boys really rocked it, and are now hooked on shooting stars.

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