Saturday, May 30, 2015

Summer Bucket List 2015: John Ball Zoo

Our summer bucket list starts off this year with a trip to John Ball Zoo. We have many things listed again on our list from years in the past and some things that we would like try out with the kids for the first time. There are just some places or things you have to do every.single.year to consider it a great summer!

My parents went up to get the cabin ready for the summer and Jason was gone working for the weekend. So I asked around to see if anyone wanted to join us for a morning at the zoo.

We got there just before 9:30 and didn't leave until a tad after 12:30. Needless to say the kids had a great time and we saw every.single.exhibit.

I love that my kiddos have cousins their age to play with at all the family events and that they love to get together with. You know there was no way I was going to get each kid to smile nicely, but the best part is Grace's face. I can imagine she is thinking 'you want me to spend 3 hours at the zoo with these crazy kids!?'

Austin was a little too excited to keep us going. It was probably a good thing because we took 3 hours to see everything including sitting down for an ice cream break, 5 trips to the potty for Ava (ok maybe just 3) AND of course checking out the tourist trap (gift shop).

It's hard to tell Austin to slow down and enjoy the animals and each exhibit but he was a little too anxious to see the Lions and of course ride the Camel. Somehow we finally got to the lions toward the end of the trip and since the only Lion out was sleeping behind a big bush, Austin still admits that did not get to see the lions and we have to go back! Although I am sure we will get back there sometime this summer to go with my parents since the kids were also dissapointed we didn't ride the funicular.

The kids were pretty good in the petting zoo too.

 Especially Gracie. She is a lover of animals. We all knew she would be when she met Lily for the first time and fell in love.
 Ava on the other hand is still a bit skiddish when it comes to animals.

Austin was especially good with watching out for Maxton. The kids were good at making him laugh!
The only way I get to get in on a picture is to threaten the kids with no camel ride unless they smile. Well, this is about as good as it gets with 20 frames. Thanks Kate for trying!!

This particular weekend the zoo was celebrating Earth Day. There were many demonstrators around the zoo to talk about animals. Austin didn't hesitate to partake in all the hands on booths.
Checking out the Big Bear!

Camel Rides!


Austin talks about the camel rides for weeks following our annual trips to the zoo.
My favorite part of the zoo was seeing the tiger exhibit for the first time. Last year when we went, we were there JUST before they opened the tiger exhibit so we missed them. It was crazy seeing them up so close behind the glass. The brothers continued to pace in front of us for a long time and Max was right up against the glass watching in awe.
After the tigers there is a little playground where the kids were enjoying running around in the warm sun. We all actually got pretty hot up there that day. It's a long walk to get up to the tigers but we took the walk back down bribing the kids with snacks and ice cream at the bottom.

And lastly we hit up the indoor reptile exhibit. I was surprised to see Ava jumping in this time since you think this would scare her the most. But I am sure Austin's no fear attitude made it look more appealing to her. Ewww. No wonder Kate brought along her own personal stash of hand sanitizer.
I am sure we will head back for a 2nd visit later this summer with Grandma and Grandpa. We are lucky to have such an amazing zoo right here in GR. The kids had a great time and the adults were exhausted after our 3 hour trip. One more thing crossed off our bucket list. Next up, our trip to the Critter Barn!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

I had been meaning to take the kiddos pics BEFORE Memorial Day so that I could have my magnet board on home central all ready. My mom bought me new and oh-so-adorable magnets from Carol Roeda for the holiday and I can't wait to use them. Life got busy and weather wasn't great, so the pics got done the morning of. And surprisingly I got a few pics even though my kids are the worst when it comes to getting their picture taken. They should be used to it by now....but having a stranger tell them to smile is nothing like having their mom do it. I usually get their tongue sticking out or a weird face...but those pics can be cute too. So I just try to bribe them as best I can! :)
 Bribery came in the form of pinwheels this time

 It was an extra windy day with the weather forecast saying rain. The wind worked in my favor :)

 Favorite one!! It's one that requires being printed in a 5 x 7 for my board. I have to print two because otherwise my Mom would steal it. Would you blame her !?
 Ok, on to the family fun! The kids didn't care the weather was constantly a hit and a miss all at the same time. It was warm enough for them. We had clouds and sunshine and rain but the day turned out better than expected.

 I would rather bundle up and be down on the beach watching those kiddos play than anything else. It's hard not to watch them. Now we have four little ones ages 4 and under and they all stuck around the water/beach ALL day.

 How can I forget about lily? She needs her picture taken too! She hasn't had any problems since Christmas when we were a hair away from putting her down. She was so sick. Somehow, she is our miracle pug. She is doing just fine. Other than an occasional limp that Jason and I blame on her trying to get extra dinner portions. She was sooooo tired after being down on the beach kicking up water to drink and chasing around the kids who were bound to drop snacks at some point.
 We always assign Kate to bring the same things. Guaca-schmole (it's the only way to say it right!?) and ice cream treats. Didn't take the kids long to eat dinner knowing ice cream was following. Just a tad windy as mentioned....

 Grace eats her ice cream the right way. Bottom up! :)  that's of course where the best part is....a nice chunk of chocolate!
 And of course the day was full of fishing. Austin learned how to cast on his own and just as much as we were clapping for a great cast, we were shouting to keep the hook away from others.

 I tried to sneak in a few pics myself. I don't want to be 'missing' from holidays just because I enjoy taking the pictures.
 And the only way to get Ava to remotely smile normal and not like a chipmunk or squinting her eyes.....I have to tickle her.
 And at the last minute before Grandpa Ed was going home, we had to grab a Stouten Family Photo. We are so thankful he can come and spend the day watching the kids play as well. Thankful he also served our country in WWII.
At any given moment, I think many family members could cry during the day if someone mentioned the right thing. We have so much to be thankful for. I don't tell Jason enough how thankful and proud I am that he serves our country. I guess my emotions reside within his deployments and how terrifying it is that he could someday be taken away again. We also remember my Grandpa Don and his service in the Korean War. We also remember Grandma Jackie on holidays and all the things she would have brought to our family party. Things like koosh balls, wiffle balls, Frisbees, flag wrapped tootsie rolls, new toys or new candy that sparked her eye in the grocery store and much more. We are also missing my brother Jarred who is on the right path to a healthy and happy life.

All of the above brings me to tears. But its because I am so grateful. God is good. I am blessed. Amen.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...