Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Special Adventure

So with Jeff being gone for training right now, it was just me and the kids for Mother's Day. We woke up, enjoyed our biscuits with honey and jam, then headed out for the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It was really important to me to make this day more special than just a regular day at home with the kids, and the weather just couldn't be beat. In fact, I dressed the kids in a t-shirt and jeans, and brought sweatshirts just in case it got cold, but we would have been fine dressed in our summer clothes. I've been looking forward to today for about a week and it was more than I ever could have hoped for.

Couple things, first, I forgot the camera and by the time I had two kids buckled in, and the house alarm set, I wasn't going back in. So, I decided that my iPhone would be just fine, and it turned out I just had one less thing to carry in the stroller, the phone did great. These first three pictures I took with the regular camera then played with them a little bit with an app called Tilt Shift Generator. I was really happy with how they looked on my phone, but when they're a little bigger, I might have overdone it, but I still really enjoy this app. My only complaint about the iPhone camera is that there's no zoom (except the good, old fashioned, walk your a$$ up to the subject kind).

One of the things that CMZ is known for is their abundant population of giraffes, if I remember right from the last time we were there at Halloween, they have more than any other zoo in the world, and they have a TON. Today we got to see two baby giraffes that were about 4 months old. SO cute. We got crackers to feed them, Haley wasn't even remotely interested (despite the fact that she loves to give Atlas and Bella treats). Kale, loved it! The first one he threw right into their paddock, the next ones I showed him how to make them reach for it so that their long black tongue would reach out to us, and he thought that was pretty cool. But, since it was just the three of us, no pictures of actual giraffes, or us feeding.
The kids, at the very beginning, ready for a fun day at the zoo, shades and all.

When we went for Boo at the Zoo, neither kid was going anywhere near the train, today, they had so much fun. They smiled a ton and Kale kept saying "whooooa" as it went around the corner.

We also went into the Budgie Buddies display. It had a ton of parakeets of all different colors in there and you could feed them a tiny bit of bird seed on a stick. I thought there was no way in a million years Haley would touch this with a ten foot pole...

I was wrong! She thought it was so neat that the little birdies would come right up to her and let her feed them. She was also pretty enthralled with the waterfall they had in there for a birdie bath. On any other day she would have climbed right in there, but she must have known that it was a special day and kept out.

Poor Kale, had a difficult time with his cast. I would set him up to look at the critters (the oldest breed of cat in the world - acted just like a typical house cat), but when it was time to turn and look at the camera (phone), he had a really difficult time turning around, so a lot of pictures have just one kid looking at the camera (phone).

This was at the bear display... we called the fishies "bear food". A lot of the animals were really up and at 'em today. We saw the bear wake up from his nap, then take a 5 minute pee. We also saw one of the elephants poop. I'm pretty sure the fact that elephants and bears "listen to their potty" was the #1 highlight of the day for Haley.

Yup, see, they trade off.

They have a really fun place for the kids to really get out of their stroller, crawl around and even a mini petting zoo. These are my little hatchlings. I enjoy that Kale is pointing at Haley like she needs to do more hatching.

I suckered a poor lady (who I'm pretty sure had never seen an iPhone in her life) into trying to take our picture. She was really good about it and took a couple for us. The kids are less than cooperative at taking group photos, so this was the best we got. At least I have proof that I was there with them on Mother's Day.

Still in the petting zoo exhibit, there were some chickens near by. Parakeets are okay, chickens are not apparently, as you can tell by her clenched fists. She's ready to sock them if they come any closer. I admit it would have been a little entertaining to see her knock a chicken out for coming too close.

She seems concerned that she's sitting on a giant frog.

Kale waited all day to see a turtle (or tortoise), we saw three of them. I guess they glue a washer on top of them because they like to burrow under the ground and when they do that they use a metal detector to find them. At least that's what the sign said.

Growing up with my mom she was always really into snakes and reptiles in general. I loved this because she showed me that there was nothing to be afraid of when it comes to snakes and other things like that. I try really hard to be like that with my kids now. On the way in to the reptile house they had a Desert King Snake to pet. Haley was NOT interested, but I showed her how I did it and it was okay. On the way out she reconsidered, she pet it twice. I was so proud of her bravery.

And in the final, and probably the most ironic picture of the day... Kale, on a "Cycle' with his "Cycle" shirt that says "I do my own stunts" and his cast. He thought it was pretty cool to sit up there.
So, a really great Mother's Day. I'm proud of myself for getting out and making the day special on my own - I reclaimed a bit of my independence today (something I'd been lacking with two sick and broken kids). I won't call it perfect, we definitely missed Daddy, but it was as close as it could get. Two really well behaved kids, and a very "special adventure".

A Very Important Date

So a while back, Jeff and Kale were playing and Haley wanted to join in, but didn't play nice. She was uninvited to play and was told it was a "Boys Club". Thus started her obsession with "Girls Club" and "Boys Club" to denote who will be attending or playing. At our gym they hosted an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party, so Haley and I dressed up and the "Girl Club" went to a tea party.

They had the entire kids gym decorated with all kinds of activities for the kids to do, and tables all set up for tea and snacks.

Haley had a lovely time sipping her "tea" (the Kool-Aid bottle labeled "Drink Me"). And, of course when one attends tea, she must wear her best white gloves.

Haley, with Alice, and her magic wand, she loved that stick with a heart on top! The characters were played by the people who work in the childcare area of the gym, and they really did a fantastic job. Haley sees these people nearly everyday, but had no idea they were anyone other than the characters.

With one of her favorite ladies. She's just enthralled to be there.

She found the White Rabbit!

From the very beginning of spring, Haley has been asking to play croquet, I'm not entirely sure where she first heard of this, but when I told her they were going to be playing it at the tea party, she couldn't quit talking about how excited she was to play "Croka", then when we got there and found out she would be using "Mingos" as clubs, I'm not sure life really got any better than that. This was the first activity she went for after snacks.

With Miss Jenny, the Queen of Hearts, but she was a nice Queen. There was no "Off with her heading".

Next up was the craft table where she was able to decorate a caterpillar, and make a Mad Hatter hat.

All of the kids and the characters. Haley is down in the front row, three in from the right.

Playing Connect Four, or "Just put all the pieces in the contraption" with either Tweedle Dee or Dum.

Wearing her Mad Hatter hat.

Playing Ring Around the Rosy with Alice and some other little girls.

Next up... Musical chairs!

She should have been out a few rounds before she actually was, but she had some help from the characters.

Someone did an amazing job hand painting this backdrop.

The table of teas.

On the way home, I think she had a good time.

And once we got home, I realized that we didn't get a picture of the two of us, sooo... A picture of the two of us.
She had so much fun with this, I just might make it a theme for one of her birthdays. Regardless, when this event comes around again next year, they can count the "Girl Club" in again!