Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Day at the Zoo

Sometimes with four small children I feel like I live in a zoo--loud noises, lots of messes, and children whose climbing and shenanigan-creating skills would put the average monkey to shame. 

Sometimes I feel like when I go places I should carry a banner that says, "The circus has just gotten to town." (Other times I realize that my advertisement is unnecessary--like on a recent restaurant trip when we were given a table in the back corner of the "family room". When I saw the mess we left on the floor, I decided they gave us the right table.)

Some days my delightful little rays of sunshine produce frightful thunderstorms. 

Other days life is sunshine and spring and I gather the strength for the days ahead. We recently had one of those days and it was, paradoxically, at the zoo. 

It was a Friday, the weather was warm (for the winter), and my dad and his wife had given our family a zoo membership for Christmas, so we went and had a ball for the day. 

Emma is finally doing OK outside now, and it was heart warming to watch her putter around on her little toddler legs taking it all in. (Such a big difference from when I took the girls to the free day at the zoo a year ago and Emma buried her head in her stroller and wouldn't open her eyes the whole time.)
Emma and Grace pose for a picture

Grace with the big gorilla statue
Since we didn't pay for admission, we splurged on some carousel rides. I loved seeing the kids' big grins.

Thank goodness for this little peacock seat that didn't move so I could ride the carousel with Grace and Emma.

When we got to the bird and reptile house, Emma loved walking around looking at everything. It was probably nice for her to be in out of the sunshine for a change.
Emma making herself at home on the walkway of the bird and reptile house. 
We recently finished a unit study on animals. The kids chose all kinds of animals they wanted to learn about, and we slowly (over the course of a few months) moved from mammals to birds, reptiles, amphibians, bugs, and fish. Wow did we learn a lot of amazing things. And it felt really good to hear Abby sharing occasional knowledge with Cameron (like the fact that sharks are made of cartilage just like our noses) and to have the kids oohing and aahing over a centipede they found outside "just like the one in James and the Giant Peach". So it was fun to see so many of these animals up close and talk about the things we had learned and remembered. Jake was on a personal mission to take a picture of every animal we saw. He got a few nice shots.
A volunteer brought this owl out for the kids to see.

Love how Jake caught Emma looking in at this little guy

It was one of those beautiful days that come from time to time in motherhood. The sun was shining, the kids were smiling, and I was oh so grateful to have my four kiddos all with me.

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