Zippity “Zoo” Da

Living down wind from a zoo has some benefits (and none of the disadvantages), especially when you have a membership to take advantage of the downwinded-ness. This summer that membership paid off with multiple trips to the zoo with friends and family alike. Instead of making a post about each and every single visit, we thought we would be kind and combine all the visits together into one post.

And why not start off the post with some pictures of the cutest creature around?

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Ya, Little Miss pretty much takes the cake when it comes to cuteness. On one of our trips to the zoo we kidnapped invited a grandma and papa along for the adventure.  Unlike her brother, Little Miss has lived most of her life away from her grandparents. Padawan was pretty lucky to have spent most of his early years at one of three grandparents’ house getting spoiled (he of course is still spoiled rotten by them whenever he sees them). But Little Miss still takes a while to warm up to them every once in a while, not that that stops her from soaking up some spoiling loving from her papa.

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And just to prove this cuteness happened at aforementioned, downwinded  (or would it be up winded since we are downwind?) zoo cue animal photo now:

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And Padawan is always happy when papa and grandma come along cause that means he gets to use their smaller camera to take pictures, which mostly ends up being of his baby sister.

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And asking me to take pictures of him being crazy. I have no idea whose kid this is, please let us know if you know where he belongs. Just kidding, he is ours and we claim him (most of the time).

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There were animals to see of course, we are at the zoo remember?

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In all the times we have been to our zoo we were never lucky enough to see these guys awake, until one time this summer:

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It was crazy seeing them walking around! You could actually hear their quills clacking against each other as they walked. Since the time we saw them awake, they have been asleep and/or hiding every single time. At least Little Miss and Padawan (and mama too) got to experience these crazy creatures we call porcupines. Little Miss may not have been as impressed with them as much as I was.  Guess it takes a lot to impress a 16 month old these days.

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One of the other times we rounded up our crew to go to the zoo we also brought along our neighbors kiddos, who Padawan spent most of the summer playing with outside and having movie/dinner nights with (sad to say they moved away before the end of the summer and Padawan misses them like crazy!) The hubster thought it was crazy that it looked like we had 5 kids, something that he says he does not want in real life.

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After looking at that crazy bunch I think I will have to agree with the hubster, 5 is too much crazy for this mama (though I wouldn’t mind one more).

The kids had way too much posing at all the different areas, I didn’t even have to coax them. Well, ok maybe I had to coax them a little bit and threw in a bribe of an elephant ear or two.  But the crazy, that’s all their doing. Crazy is one thing you don’t have to coax out of kids when you put a camera in front of them.

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Little Miss had to show her crazy a couple times too.

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Just look at those teeth! She is finally getting them all in which makes this mama happy since it is a downright pain to go through the horrors that is teething with nothing to show for it.

And here is one more obligatory animal shot since you know we are at the zoo (again).

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That otter had the right idea. It was surprisingly hot this summer which made for nice days to go out and walk the zoo but man did it make you envious of the animals who just laid about in a nice cool pool.

So there it is our zoo adventures of the summer nicely condensed into one neat and tidy post. We sure enjoy being this close to our zoo (I think this is the third blog post about a trip there but whose counting). Is there a place your family frequents during the summer? Is it a water park (man I wish we had one of those) or a museum (my kiddos are too loud for one)?


Tractor Time

On our recent family outing to the Tulip Festival, I went a little snap happy. A whopping 395 pictures, which may be a little more than snap happy. The tulips may have been this mama’s favorite part of the day, but according to the hubster and Padawan the tractors were what made the trip.

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No, I am not talking about that pink tractor again. I am talking about these guys:

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Antique tractors! These guys were pretty awesome and come to find out are fully working! On the weekends the owners come and start them up and actually use them in the tulip fields. Maybe it is a good thing we did not go on a weekend, we would have never pried Padawan away from these guys if they were up and running.

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This guy had to be my favorite but that is probably because its name is both my kiddos initials backwards which has special meaning to us. Yes, my kids each have 3 names and yes, they are the same initials; it is a cool little tradition we started accidentally with Padawan and wanted to keep going with Little Miss which took quite a bit of planning.

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“Mom, get a photo of the knobs and firebox and stuff.” I heard a lot of these phrases shouted out to me as we made the way down the line. If it was up to Padawan the 395 pictures I took would have been just of the tractors. You have to love a kids enthusiasm though.

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They were pretty amazing I will have to admit. The historical archaeologist in me was pretty impressed with them and would have loved to have spent more time looking them over but when there are tulips to be had the pretty little things trump over the heavy metal wonders of yester-year. How about you, would you have spent more time frolicking among the tulips or would you have been drooling over heavy machinery with my boys?

Where The Wild Things Party

And the party keeps on going! After all the hustle and bustle of a smashing good first birthday for Little Miss we were not in the mood to laze around the house surrounded by the leftovers of said party (and this mama was in no mood to get to cleaning just yet). So what to do to hide from the mess celebrate a first birthday some more? Why go to the zoo of course!!

We had not been in a while (sad when we leave just down the way from it) and the lure of new baby animals had us bundled up and out the door.

Birthday Zoo 001Got to love that little face!! I know this picture is over exposed but just look at that face, it’s so cute I could spend all day kissin’ and squishin’ those cheeks. Heck, some days I do! And just for clarification I am talking about Little Miss’ face not the hubsters.

Our first order of business was checking out one of Little Miss’ favorite animals: the elephants. And just our luck there is now a new baby elephant at our zoo (the second one in recent history at our zoo!)

Birthday Zoo 002Little Miss could have spent all day looking and watching that baby elephant. She used to make the noise for an elephant when asked “What do elephants say?” but lately every creature out there makes a noise like her Samwise according to her. Which is totally fine with me cause her meow is the cutest meow on the block.

With the weather being somewhat nippy and due to our late start, we knew we would not see everything at the zoo on this particular visit. It was all about the new animals and the babies, with a few pit stops along the way like these guys, who would have been invited to our Polka-dot Afro Circus if they were house broken:

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And this guy, who Padawan kept asking me to get a picture of, and most definitely would not be invited into my house EVER. Birthday Zoo 004

Those two little pit stops led to this new flock on the block:

Birthday Zoo 005Our zoo now has flamingos! Woohoo, although their red eyes kind of creep me a out a bit. After seeing them I found the documentary about flamingos on Netflix that I thought I would watch to prescreen for the Padawan. I am so happy that I did cause it was more intense than I thought it would be! It made me cringe at parts so I could not imagine what it would be like for my kiddos. On a happier note and completely random note this mama then discovered Doctor Who (one word: addicted!)

I know, I know back to the zoo and cute kid pictures like this one:

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And how about this one:

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Agh, she is too adorable for words! So on to more pictures then!! How about some of Little Miss’ other favorite animals: BIG Sams.

Birthday Zoo 008She sure does love kitties and crawling around the house meowing like a kitty. I think she will be the next big cat trainer cause she already has her Sam pretty well trained. She meows and pats the floor next to her and he comes a runnin’. Her favorite book right now is a book on cats and you can always make her smile by singing “Soft Kitty” (soft kitty, warm kitty little ball of fur. happy kitty, sleepy kitty purr purr purr).  Ya, we are defintately cat people.

So on her official first birthday Little Miss spent it with wild things other than her brother for a change. And I slowly got adjusted to answering “how old is she” with the appropriate response of “one.” It was a good day spent with my favorite people in the whole universe and I didn’t have to clean my house which was just icing on the cake. I will leave you with one of favorite pictures of the day, which really reflects our every day life; she loves her big brother and always has to keep an eye on him. Never mind the bear walking around in the enclosure right in front of her, she has to see what he is doing.

Birthday Zoo 009My two favorite little wild things, oh how I love them. So there it is the end of our birthday celebrations which leaves us only 4 months to rest and recoup before the next two birthdays in the family: the hubsters and our own jungle cat Mr. Samwise Gamgee. We are not the only ones that celebrate their cat’s birthday are we?

For The Birds

This past weekend we were tipped off by one’s of the hubster’s coworkers about an art show benefitting the local Audubon Society. Though I have no real artistic skills besides my crafty-ness, I still appreciate other’s abilities to create beauty out of nothing; maybe even more so since I lack that skill. And add in that it has been non-stop rain since last week, we were ready to do something that got us up and out of the house.

There were booths and booths of amazing artists and artisans showing off their skills. It is times like these you wish you had an unlimited amount of cash to spend. I did not take photos of any of the artwork since I felt it would be wrong to do so, I personally would not want someone taking photos of my hard work and blasting it all over the internet sphere so I try to respect others by not doing the same. But man I wish you could have seen some of the things that were exhibited, makes me wish I had some basic artistic skills besides drawing stick figures and my infamous cartoon cat I drew for a comic strip in my jr. high newspaper (big dork alert there if there ever was one). An even bigger dork alert is that I was in love with the giant bird mobile that was part of the display. Anyone have any ideas on how to convince the hubster we need one in our home?

Isn’t it just plain awesome?!?

If you could not tell from the previous photos there was one of those old glass elevators that we had hoped to take to the top floor (it was only 9 but that is still cool for a 7 year old Padawan) but sadly they had the elevators locked and no rides were to be had. Between you and me I think the hubsters was equally disappointed.

Their disappointment was destroyed though when we found these guys:

These birds were pretty much the bomb diggity, I mean just get a load of that owl she was beautiful (she was a Great Horned owl and the itty bitty guy was an American kestral for those interested). All the birds that were featured were birds that had been rehabilitated (from an injury or taken away from someone who was keeping them as a pet) and unable to be let back into the wild. Getting to see these guys up close and personal totally made the admission price worth it. Not to mention that Little Miss thought they were great and did some great arm flapping bird impressions, you know for a 7 month old they were pretty spot on.

All in all, it was an excellant family outing; the birds totally made the trip. Padawan said his favorite bird was the Great Horned owl which I have to agree was pretty gorgeous

Columbus Discovers Ikea

I don’t think that when Columbus set out to discover a new world he had envisioned giant Swedish stores full of furniture and home goods taking over said new world, must have been a sad world he envisioned without an Ikea in it. For some strange reason, Columbus Day is a day that hubster’s office observes and we had an extra person in the house on a weekday and we figured what better way to spend the afternoon than exploring the new world that is Ikea. This impromptu trip was spurred by a visit from my family and the zoo being too close to closing time to make much of a trip out of it. But this mama isn’t complaining none!

Especially when I get to visit my dream family room. I can never get enough of those built-in look shelves. Just look at all that storage, a mom’s dream come true.

And where else can one randomly play on furniture, in storage bins and what not. It’s like a grown-up play ground. The Ikea commercial makes me crack up every time I see it cause I too would want to live there.

Whoever gave the Padawan the remote to the bed was clearly not thinking. DayDay was lucky it  was a display model and probably not up to full power capabilities.

We probably could have the two of them there for the rest of the night and they probably would have been perfectly content. Well, that is if DayDay’s phone is fully charged.

After a meandering walk through the showroom we stopped at the restaurant (a first for us) and we were mildly impressed. Wonder if Columbus and his men would be jealous of our Swedish apple pie and veggie wrap we devoured after our exploration of a new world?

Little Miss was not entirely impressed with the menu.

But she was impressed with the slide in the children’s area.

And with this crate of weird stretchy blankets, that would be really fun for a “big girls” room for her someday down the road.

Just when you think she could not get any cuter low and behold she does!

After all this Columbus Day full of discovering and shopping (we only walked away with a cutting board and cookie cutters that look like woodland animals), all we had left to do was fill our bellies with warm soy caramel macchiatos and enjoy some crochet time with a new show we found via Netflix. Ya, be jealous Columbus!