Saturday, June 22, 2013

Time of Our Lives at the Milwaukee Zoo. Again.

I'm home today. 

For the first time in about 2 months.

And I have resolved to not leave the house for the entire day. 

There is a large list of items sitting on my counter of all the things I have to do today. But I'm sitting here at my computer instead. Because I can. 

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Yesterday, the kids and I made our way back to the Milwaukee Zoo. After our experience last year, we thought it would be a good idea to test our boundaries of sanity and drive a total of three hours to visit the zoo during a thunderstorm. 

Not really. 

But, in the end, that's exactly what happened.

And I think it was mostly due to the fact that sometimes the Lord likes to remind me that He has a sense of humor too. 

After checking the weather in the morning, it looked like the thunder storms were going to be all north of Milwaukee. So we decided to continue on with our plans. 

Halfway there, Tim calls me. 

Apparently, the storm shifted or changed or something because it was going to be raining, the red zone kind of storming, soon after we got to the zoo. 

Clearly, the Milwaukee Zoo and I have a twisted sort of relationship that is of the pushing-me-to-the-edge-of-sanity type. 

We got to the zoo and met up with my sister, Alana, and her sister-in-law, Livia. All together we had 3 moms and 9 kids - 8 of them 5 and under. We were hungry for adventure. 

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We were not disappointed. 

It wasn't raining yet so we thought (though I'm pretty sure I'm taking the fall for this decision, it's my blog so I say it was a "group decision") we would catch a few of the outdoor animals before heading to one of the animal buildings to hang out at during the worst of the rain.  

We didn't make it 2 minutes in the direction of the elephants before it started down pouring, and by down pouring I mean DOWN. POURING. 

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We were a might bit surprised by the sudden down fall and were not real familiar with the zoo. We hid under an overhanging tree to protect us from the rain (Ha Ha) and asked a zoo employee for directions to the nearest building and ran for it. Most of the kids loved it. It should be no surprise that my crazy kids LOVED it. And while I can't speak for her, I'm fairly sure Livia was ready to cry (kidding). 

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We were drenched. 

Wringing our clothes out kind of drenched. 

We stayed in the Big Cat building. for. a. while. 

After the rain slowed down, we made a run back to the entry building to eat lunch.

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Apparently, that was everyone else's plan too. There was no where to sit, it was loud, crowded, wet and muggy - all the ingredients needed to send the faint-of-heart running --- we found a spot on the floor and had ourselves a rainy-day sort of picnic. 

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We ate, played a little ring-a-round-the-rosie until the rain pretty much stopped and we headed out to conquer the zoo.

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Our second attempt was much more successful. 

We made it through most of the zoo, I think. 
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Though part of me wanted to run from the fish and reptile building, I decided to brave it, seeings as how it was one of the warm buildings offering shelter from the wind and rain and because sitting outside curled up into a fetal position reliving the nightmares of last summer just didn't seem like the right thing to do.

And since we were already there, Audrey, Maddy, Titus and I took a special picture at the very spot where everything changed during our last visit to the zoo. If you ever visit the Milwaukee Zoo, you can know that this spot is the very spot that one girl (no names) puked all over her very unsuspecting, pregnant mommy. 

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We saw monkeys, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, snakes, GIANT fish, jellyfish, bears, lions, elk and either a white goose or a swan.

I don't want to spread all the dirty-laundry of the day out there, so I will say it this way. There may or may not have been a little disagreement as of what type of bird was spotted near the pond inside the zoo. It was white, and big, and had a black beak….. it could go either way. 

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And before any of you point fingers and laugh at our lack of animal identification abilities, we all know that without the signs at the zoo most of us don't know the difference between a jaguar or cougar, a moose or elk, a brown bear of black bear. Sad truth is, if any of us yuppy-fied American's were dropped down in the middle of the wilderness, we'd be lucky to identify a squirrel over the chipmunk, and the only reason we could even do that is because of the big tail. 

But I digress. 

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We had a blast. Seriously, we did. And now we can say from experience "rain or shine, the zoo is still fun".

And I don't want to brag or anything but I may have heard a few of the kids say something along the lines of "Wow, my mom is the best mom EVER!" or wait, was it "Wow, this is the best zoo ever!!" the adrenaline rush of the day may have blurred some of the smaller details. 

Either way, I think we would all agree it was a success. 

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(For those of you wondering, this would be Treyton's "Rhino face" - the boy has a small love of Rhinos, in fact when asked if he could be any animal, what would you be, his answer is a Rhino…. yeah, I'm not sure either).

And because I assume everyone thinks elephants are as cool as I think that they are…. I have a few elephant pictures for you!!  

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Different Color Hair

This morning, as I was sitting in my room checking my email, I had sent the kids out of the room to get dressed and start their day, to give myself a few more "alone minutes" before starting my day. 

This is a common ploy that I use, one that they either haven't quite picked up on, or have, but continue to oblige out of fear, either way, I'm okay with it. 

Any who. 

A minute or so later Treyton comes running into my room and says "Alexa's hair is different colors"

Me (only half listening) "Hm…. really?" 

Treyton "Yeah, you got to see" 

Me "Mm, hm." 

Treyton runs and goes gets Alexa set her on her knees in front of me and says "Now look, you got caramel, brown and then a little bit of dark brown here." 

Me "Caramel?" 

Treyton "Yeah, right here, you see?" 

Me (leaning over looking at Alexa's hair, not really interested in the shades of color in her hair, but the fact that my almost 8 year old son knows that caramel is not just used to identify the delicious sugary-treat, but is also a color, and the fact that he used it to identify hair color just blows my mind!) "Hm, interesting" I say

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Overheard: Alamo

The kids are running around playing with their cork guns:

Treyton: Let's play the Alamo

Alexa: Yeah!! 

Treyton: You can be Mexico, I'll be Texas

Alexa: No, I'll be Texas

Treyton: If you're Mexico then you'll win. 

Alexa: Yeah, but Texas is better. 

(Reason #3427 why I love homeschooling!!) 


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

First Camping Trip of the Year

This past weekend we took our first camping trip of the year. We headed to Bear Lake Campground in Manawa. 

There weren't too many other campers, other than the seasonal campers because school isn't out yet. It was nice being so quiet and a little more secluded. 

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If you ask any of our kids what their favorite thing about camping is, you'll hear one of two things - smores or swimming. 

This week before our camping trip Treyton and I found GIANT marshmallows at the grocery store. We have actually had larger marshmallows before, but these were the biggest marshmallows I have ever seen - at least three times the size of a normal marshmallow. 

Treyton has become a master smore maker, and I'm not even exaggerating. His smores are perfectly golden and melted all the way through (even the giant ones!!) 

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The campground had a play ground that the girls really enjoyed. Anytime there is this amount of sand Audrey's happy!! 

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They also had a beach there (on Bear Lake, obviously). The older kids and Tim went swimming on Saturday while Titus took a nap - it was a little chilly and they saw a snake, but other than that (and maybe a little because of that), the kids loved it. 

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On Sunday, after church I let the kids dip there feet in the water, it was a little colder on Sunday, so the kids weren't very interested in actually swimming, but the beach was really peaceful, so we hung out there for a while. 


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Titus is finally starting to get the hang of sitting on his own. Here he is living life large in his own grassy spot. 

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I love his smile!! And his one little dimple!! 

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This might be one of my favorite family pictures, and we took it ourselves! 

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All in all it was a great camping trip. It was a little different camping with a baby, a little bit tougher, there's always learning curve but I think we will get the hang of it. :) 

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Texas Part 7: St. Louis

This is the last and final post of our vacation series, hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into our vacation, we certainly enjoyed living it!!  

Tuesday, May 12th - St. Louis Zoo

On the way home we stopped in St. Louis for a little more fun. 

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First stop was the St. Louis Zoo. 

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This zoo is free! It was a very good, the best in fact, free zoo I have ever been to. 

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They have certain areas or activities that cost extra (like touching the sting rays) but if you get there before 10am they are free. We took full advantage. 

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There was a fun area for the kids to play in the children's area of the park (also a free before 10am perk).

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Audrey and I looked beyond just the animals for our fun - and rocked some pretty cool hats. 

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Truth be told, this was the worst day for the kids for taking pictures. I think they were a little tired of the camera - it was tough to get all of them smiling or even looking in the same direction. 

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We had a great vacation, but next time I think I would shorten it on one end or the other. 

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We hung out at the zoo until about 12:30 and then went to Steak and Shake for lunch. After that we headed to The Magic House. 

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Tuesday, May 12th - The Magic House

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We were between the Magic House and the City Museum, but what pushed us toward the Magic House was the Magic School Bus temporary exhibit. 

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 Our kids LOVE the Magic School Bus! The topic was weather. They had a cute section where the kids could video there own weather man/woman segment. 

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Alexa, was most fond of this exhibit and I would have to say, I agree with her. It was very well done, I wish they had this at our children's museum, all the time. 

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One of Audrey's favorite exhibits was an alphabet wall where you lifted up a sliding door to see an object that starts with that letter. It would be completely unreasonable but I kind of wish we had this at our house. :) 

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One of the most unique exhibits was the Oval Office Exhibit. It was a replication of the oval office, with two doors going off the side, one into a court room. It was so cool!! 

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They also had a construction site - extremely thorough. They had outdoor items, pipes, tire changing, digging, tools, tile laying, etc. 

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Check out our man-child, changing a tire! 

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There was also a three story beanstalk the kids could climb to each of the floors. 

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Treyton and Audrey LOVED it (though Audrey needed a little help on direction). 

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Alexa, on the other hand…. not so much. She is afraid of heights, but she tries to deny it. 

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They also had crime solving section for the older kids. Audrey helped Treyton and I collect all the evidence and clues. 

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I love this picture because it reminds me how awesome my husband is (not that I need reminding). 

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This is one of my favorite pictures of Audrey right now, I think she looks just like Autumn (my sister) when she was a little girl. 

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This was an AMAZING children's museum it is HIGHLY recommended by the Schoessow family. We loved it, and will definitely visit it again sometime when we are in St. Louis.