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)?


A Trip In The Fun-Vee

Happy Tuesday everyone!! Hope your weekends were full of adventure or relaxation. Ours was full of anniversary celebrations we will fill you all in shortly but first let’s revisit our recent trip to Disneyland.  If you remember in one of my posts we mentioned that we saw a pretty awesome exhibit in Tomorrowland that deserved its own post, well wait no longer this is that post!

We may be a house divided on what word to use when ordering our favorite carbonated beverage (I say “pop” and hubster says “soda”) but we are not a house divided on which super hero reigns supreme unlike our friends who disagree whether it’s Superman or Batman (sorry, Steven between those two it is Batman hands down every time). Who is this reigning super hero: IRON MAN.

Who we were lucky enough to see in the flesh metal.

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Not only did they have this one suit, they had ALL of them! Needless to say I went a little click happy which was spurred on by the hubster constantly asking “Did you get a picture of this one?!?! How about this one?!?! Don’t forget that one!!” Don’t worry I didn’t miss a single suit.

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Seeing all these suits up close and personal, through pexiglass of courser was insanely awesome. Did I just cement my nerd status by saying that?!?! Awe who cares, you would have all pegged me as a dork sooner or later. My personal fav is the one on the right, do you think it would come in my size? Or at least in the hubster’s size?

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And just went it could not get any better, they had displays of some of the pieces from some of suits. Don’t you just love authentic battle damage?

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I may have asked hubster if I could have this painted in our future garage, I think Barney would approve.

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Funnily looking back at the last picture, the hubster and I think that the man in the Mickey Ears looks a lot like my dad. Way to photobomb the awesome Iron Man mural, dad. And while we are at it, why didn’t you tell us you were at Disneyland when we were?

Anyways, I hope you all agree that this exhibit deserved its own post (if you don’t then you must clearly not like Iron Man which kind of makes me sad). If you could see any superhero who would it be? Better yet, if you could BE any superhero who would you want to be?


Sand, Surf, and Sun

Disneyland was not the only adventure we want on this summer, the rest of them though were within our beloved state. One of the places we enjoy visiting the most is the coast. Where we are from it is not called the beach, it is the coast; the beach has warm water and sand and you don’t need a wet suit to go into the water.

Despite the chilly water and the lack of bathing suit beaches, we love our coastline! The hubster and I have recently talked about planning a camping trip that takes us all along our coastline one of these summers. But back to this coast trip: like most of our trips it was pretty spur of the moment and motivated by one kind of food or another. This time it was clam chowder. And who would want to turn down the best clam chowder this side of the Mississippi especially when it come with a view like this one:

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This seems to be our stand-by go-to location when we are in much need of some ocean therapy. Are we the only ones who feel rejuvenated after spending the day gazing out at the waves? If you haven’t tried it, you are missing out. Not only do you get to enjoy the sound of the waves and the smell of the salty sea air  but you also get to watch all the crazy wildlife, like these guys (I think we counted 8 at one point)

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And this rare little bird in sparkly sneakers. This was Little Miss’ first time to the ocean where she could actually enjoy it (her first official visit happened when she was only 2 months old).

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She was all down for the freedom of letting her roam around while we waited for a table to open up at our chowder spot.

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And she was all for playing the sand, more like letting us bury her legs in it or throwing it at me which is one of the reasons I am glad I didn’t take Ansel down to the shore with us except for these few shots.

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We had hoped to add to our sea glass collection that we have been working on, but sadly we were unable to due to the fact that high tide happened right when we arrived and would not go back down til after dark (cue sad mama face here). Since our glass hunting was put on hold til our next trip over we had to find something else to occupy our time at the sea. Again, being food driven our caravan (my mom and stepdad meet us over there for chowder time) made its trek to another of our favorite seasides spots for another sea staple: salt water taffy.

The only problem with saltwater taffy is remembering what flavors you got in your bag or are currently left over in your R2-D2 candy stash. Any ideas on what flavors we still have??

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The weekend that we went seaside was the first time that Little Miss got to ride in her “big girl” car seat.  I think it is safe to say that she enjoyed it.

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With a tuckered out kiddo and a hungry hubster, we hopped on over the bridge for a spot of tea beer. One of the local breweries we enjoy is based out of our go-to seaside destination and we *GASP* had never ventured over there for bite to eat.  Which is even crazier when we consider the fact that when the hubster and I started dating he had applied for a job in the accounting department at this brewery.

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Both the hubster and the step-dad sampled the beers, i just enjoyed the fish tacos and watching Little Miss enjoy the view of the marina and her crayons.

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I did enjoy a nice HOT caramel macchiato though on the drive home which was such a welcome after spending the day on the cool side of the ocean. I am soooo ready to have my coffees be hot again. Funny how I can’t wait for the weather to turn to enjoy iced ones again but then around August I am ready for the warmth and coziness of a hot cup again (too bad the weather is not cooperating around here for that!)  How about you, do you wait for the weather to change for your coffee order to change as well? Are your trips as food oriented as ours (at least Disneyland wasn’t hahaha)? How about your coastline, is it warm and perfect for shorts and swimming? Or is it like ours where you dress in layers and have plenty of opportunities for a cup of hot joe?

Going Downtown

So here we are at the last leg of our trip. Our third and final day in Disneyland was full of packing (that was me) and work engagements (that was the hubster). I told the kids if they behaved and helped mama pack everything back up along with our souvenirs (how come things never fit back into the suitcases at the end of the trip??) we could go down to Downtown Disney and get a couple more souvenirs and have some more fun.

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All Padawan wanted to see was the Lego store, which was pretty awesome. I mean, look at that awesome dragon built out of LEGOS!! A big internet high five and a princess crown if you can name the movie this scene is from.

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You all better know where these guys are from! “To infinity and beyond!”

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If you thought the outside sculptures (is that what you would call them?) were amazing the ones inside were pretty awesomely amazing as well! Padawan had to have his picture taken with the Hulk. Personally, I would have liked to see Iron Man (but that’s another story).

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Then they had this thing hanging from the ceiling!! Crazy I tell you, crazy!! Do you think they glued all those pieces together so it would be safer to hang?? I don’t even want to think of how big of an ouch that would be if it fell on you, stepping on Legos is a pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy so I can only imagine how big a whollop that many Legos would cause.

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“Get a picture of the dragon mom!” “Mom, get a picture of the wizard for dad!” Check and check.

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After the Lego store, I had a promise to fulfill: a cotton candy promise. We had left the parks without getting Padawan the one food treat he wanted so we stopped at the cutest little candy store to get him some where I could not leave without taking a photo of these adorable candy apples! I almost swallowed the sticker shock and got them but knew they would just sit in my fridge forever like a prom corsage cause they were too cute for me to EVER eat!

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We ended our trip at the end of the Downtown Disney district next to the Disney hotel where we found spectuarlly Disney toparies and accomplished one of my goals for the day: find an adorable stuffed Sulley doll for Little Miss. It just happened to be the last gift shop we went into but it didn’t matter, I found one and was super stoked to find it! Every little girl needs at least one special doll from Disneyland.

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While we were away soaking up every little last drop of Disney goodness, the hubster got to hang out with these two guys:

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He was kind enough to take a couple shots of our favorite Monsters (that aren’t are own) that was in the lobby of the hotel he had a work function in (thanks again sweetie!) With our Sulley and cotton candy plunder in our sweaty little hands, we packed up our car and headed back towards the airport to make the trek home. We survived our first family trip (except my feet) and pulled off the surprise of our kiddos lives so ya, I would call it a success!

Going through all these photos makes me want to go back again to have more wonder and magic (and to get another Dole whip float!) I can’t wait to plan another trip back to Disneyland or maybe someday Disneyworld, now that definitely would be an awesome trip! If you could relive one family trip where would it be to? Or where would your dream family trip be? Need a break from the kiddos, where would you take your break at? Me it would be Scotland or the trip we wanted for our honeymoon (a train ride through Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Glacier National Park).

In case you missed the big revealour character experiencethe magic beginningthe continuation of the magic, our California dreams, or our found adventure just follow the links to the previous posts.

Raise Your Glass

And get to the nitty gritty! Wait, what that’s not how that song goes? Oh well, it goes that way in my head so that’s how I will keep on singing it.

In honor of the looming holiday this Sunday, Mother’s Day (consider this a reminder men, its only 2 days away!), I thought I would write up a little post just for all you underdogs moms out there. Now before I begin is it just me or is it a little unnerving that mom’s only get one day a year while administrative assistants get a whole week? I think we should form some sort of protest, anyone with me on a laundry strike?

Back to business then. As moms we work hard to prepare ourselves for that glorious day when we get to meet the little peanut that has been playing soccer with our spleen for the last 9 months. We read books, scour the web, take advice from perfect strangers (solicited or not), research EVERYTHING from what diapers to use, food to feed them, whether to breastfeed or not, even what wipes will touch our precious peanut’s tushy is not overlooked. But some how in the midst of all the research and all that advice there are some things that people, even other moms, fail to mention to us, and in my case, forget between babies. I don’t blame them at all for failing to warn me about some of this stuff, heck I try to forget some of it myself and if I had been told about it before hand I may have reconsidered kids altogether (not really, I just added that for dramatization). What are these scary facts no one tells us moms? The cold, dirty, nitty gritty details even the lamaze teachers sugar coat and our  own mothers keep to themselves all the while thinking “If I can endure it, she can so there is no need to warn her.”

The Nitty-Gritty

1. I am sure you all have/will prepare yourselves for the pain of child birth, and have heard just how much fun those contractions can be. But what everybody fails to tell you, to warn you about is what happens after the you have that cute little bundle of fresh baby in your arms and all that water they made you drink has to come out: cue the pee from hell. There is no gentle way to sugar coat this, that first pee will hurt like no other. And if you are lucky like me, your nurse will stand in the bathroom while you attempt to relieve yourself while you try to keep your lady bits from feel like they are being washed in acid. As if they did not get a good enough look earlier, they now watch you fight throw the pain (and wouldn’t you know it the pain meds have worn off just in time for this experience). My advice: use the dang water bottle they give you!!

2. Breastfeeding your little ones is amazing. Not only is it super beneficial for them and a great way to bond, it is good for us mamas too. But what no breastfeeding book tells you (maybe I read all the wrong ones) and the La Leache League fails to state is that you will smell like sour milk more frequently than you want to. Everyone loves that new baby smell (yum, baby) and in my honest opinion it evolved to hide the smell of leaked milk and sweat (cause you sweat so much those first couple weeks) of the mama holding onto that sweet smellin’ baby. Ya, now you know why new moms are so reluctant to let people hold their baby.

3. Do you remember how everything made you cry while you were pregnant? Those TV commercials, your son’s cartoons, walking around Target aimlessly cause you forgot why you went there to begin with. Ya, you thought that was said and done with now that you are no longer sporting that belly. Think again, think again. In all the doctors visits and post-partum discussion it seems they always highlight post-partum depression (which they should) but they seem to forget to say that you will cry at everything every once in a while and that is normal. After all hormones were playing Yahtzee with your body for 9 months, and they don’t exactly want to end that barrel of fun. But don’t worry you will return to your normal self soon, just be sure to keep some tissues handy….cloth diapers work in a pinch too.

4. You will never worry about another human being’s bodily functions as much as you will your babies. There will be whole conversations with just about everyone, not just your pediatrician, about the contents, the color, the frequency, the smell, and all the awful gory details you would have been sickened by only a few months prior. And there will be days were you are covered in those pesky functions you make charts and diagrams about; I am talking about blowouts of epic mythological proportions will occur and no one will be safe from them. Not even your children’s future spouses will be safe cause those are sometimes the best stories to tell (Padawan has a pretty good one).

5.Remember the first thing we talked about and how you get a nurse to witness the pee from hell, I swear they document it on a secret blog somewhere and have a good laugh about it. Well that was preparing you for the this point: YOU WILL NEVER PEE ALONE AGAIN! I am dead serious. The only time I get to use a restroom by myself is when we are all out as a family and I can sneak off to the public restrooms (which is rare cause I hate using them). Sometimes I stay a little longer than necessary just to remind myself what it is like to not have someone banging on the door or sitting on the bathroom rug watching me; it helps my sanity in some weird way.  Then your kids grow up and think its funny to find you in the bathroom, “Mom, what are you doing in there?” and it is then the perfect opportunity to start a conversation with you “So I was wondering…”  Even my cat no longer leaves me alone.

Nothing can prepare you for becoming a mom. Not all the advice in the world or the shared experiences from other moms will give you the grand picture of motherhood. It’s like Ripley’s Believe It or Not, you have to see it to believe it. Maybe that is why no one fills you in on the scary little details, they know you will never believe it till it happens to you. You won’t believe for a second despite peeing in gut clenching pain, smelling like milk, being covered in poop, pee and everything in between, and not being able to even sit on the toilet without an audience that you will love that little peanut and how your life has changed because of them; changed for the better.

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So we raise our glass and wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms in my life, thanks for sharing your experiences with me and keeping me sane. And Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there who have earned you battle scars and badges, and all you moms-to-be out there who are joining these hallowed ranks.