Sunday, June 26, 2011

Zoo Trip

So we went to the zoo on Friday.  It is about an hour away in the quad cities in Illinois.  My visiting teacher invited us with her and even let us use the free passes that came with her season pass.  Hooray for cool new friends.  She has two kids that are almost the exact same ages as mine.  Seriously, Ben and Charlotte are 3 days apart and Penny and Eleanor are a couple weeks apart.

The weather was great and the Zoo was awesome.  It was just the right size.  Not so big you could never see all of it, but just big enough to have all of the best animals.  Ben kept wanting to see the dinosaurs.  I tried to tell him there are no dinosaurs at zoos.  Luckily, they did have some dinosaur sculptures and skeletons.  He and his new friend Charlotte took advantage.

This picture is cute, but the lighting is all funny.


We also saw a pond that had ducks and geese and fish.  Both kids got a kick out of this.  Although Penny was still in the backpack carrier when we were near the water.  She loves water and is just a bit too fearless.


We moved onto the petting zoo, and I set Penny loose.  She got a major kick out of the chickens.


In this picture, she was a little bit bugged that I kept trying to pull her attention away from the chickens.  Both kids loved the goats and each tried to feed them.  Ben was funny because he would drop the food and shriek and laugh as soon as the goat touched his hand.


They had this cool little enclosure where you could walk in with all the birds.  Ben was excited, but also a bit freaked.  I got him to stand by the birds but he kept thinking they were going to land on him.  You can tell in the picture.


I love that picture.  We saw lions and giraffes and ate some lunch and played on the playground.  It’s hard to tell in these pictures, but both kids liked climbing on the killer whale statue.


The little boy with Penny was following her around and helping her climb stuff.  He even caught her when she went down the slide.  It was pretty cute, but I have no idea who the kid was.


And last, we went on a train ride.  Both kids loved this and waved and said hi to all the animals as we passed them.  Penny says “choo choo” now, and it was pretty adorable.


And last, one quick family photo before we left for the day.



OK, so a lot has happened since my last post, which is bad since I am already woefully behind on posting.  Namely, I STILL haven’t posted about Christmas, or Penny’s birthday.  So, to throw a bone before moving onto more recent things, here are some pictures of Penny’s birthday.  It was pretty low key, we had a family from our ward over and ate dinner and had some personal sized cheesecakes (made in cupcake tins) and opened some presents.  Penny was pleased as punch.

I’m in the process of putting together a “best of” photo album of the last several months for everyone to see.  The videos are still a long way off.  It just takes so long to sort through them and edit them and post them.

Still, prepare for a synopsis of the last couple of months.  I can’t promise that it will be brief, there is a lot to cover.  Firstly, Ben turned three.  Sadly, we didn’t do anything too big.  We were halfway packed and the house was a mess, and Ben was so excited about presents and cake, it didn’t seem necessary to have a big party.  We had a friend over for dinner and had cake and opened presents.  Apparently I didn’t even take any pictures.  Yipes.  I did take some videos, so I’ll get to it.  Just let it be noted that Ben is now three. 

He is so fun and sweet.  He is much better with Penny and tries so hard to be patient with her.  Conversely, she tries very hard to test his patience.  She is constantly taking his toys, biting him, pinching him, pulling his hair, and generally being very difficult.  He knows all of his letters and the numbers 1-10.  He can count with varied success.  Sometimes he’ll just count to ten perfectly, but other times he is all over the place.  I don’t think he totally gets the concept that the numbers are always supposed to go in the same sequence when you count.  He likes to sing songs and dance.  The best thing is how fun his little imagination is these days.  He can entertain himself really well.  Yesterday, he was playing with his friend “bike” and they were fighting monsters.  Admittedly, most of his imaginary games involve monsters.

He chatters pretty much all day long.  The other day, he was just finishing lunch and I was cleaning up the kitchen.  He was just talking.  It was so funny, I had to write it down on an envelope.  It’s probably not as funny if you aren’t hearing him say it in his “big boy” deep voice.  Anyway, this was the gist, as I wrote it down: “Fire trucks shoot the monsters, not sharks.  Sharks live in the ocean, not in houses.  Houses are great things.  Sharks are in the ocean, they eat fish.  Fish are my favorite food.  I eat it all the time”.  It should be noted that Ben does not eat fish.  It turns out he has a loose definition of the word “favorite”. 

Anyway, onto the next event.  Jon graduated from Medical School.  Yay!  It was very exciting.  I only have the one picture of my family because most of those were on my mom’s camera.  My mom also got great pictures at the graduation.  The kids had a great time with grandparents and aunts and uncles.  As you can see, they got tossed around quite a bit, and loved it.

It was a momentous occasion, and I am so proud of Jon for making it.  He is now officially Dr. R. Jonathan Willes, or R. Jonathan Willes, MD.  It’s pretty cool.

The next big event was my family reunion in St. George.  My little big brother was running the Ironman Triathlon there.  For those of you uninitiated, the Ironman is a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride topped off with a marathon, which is 26.2 miles.  It is insane.  I got worn out just from going around to all the spots to watch him all day.  It was an amazing feat, and I was very impressed with him, even if I do think he is insane.  He did pretty well.  He finished in about 14.5 hours, which is pretty good for a first-timer.  Especially in St. George.  It’s a very difficult course with the altitude and crazy hills on the bike.  Plus, the bike was into the wind a lot and it was really hot.

Here is Brad with the family at the end of the ordeal.  I was actually impressed with how together he was at the end.  He wasn’t falling apart like some people were.  I was ready to have to scrape him off the pavement.  As you can see, we were all wearing matching shirts for Brad to spot us.  My sister designed and ordered them.  They were awesome.

Ironman and family reunion May 2011 448

We couldn’t get them in the right sizes for all the grandkids, so my mom just ordered some blank pink shirts to match and I ironed on the logo.  They turned out pretty well.  The sizes weren’t small enough for Penny, so I cut it up and made a little dress.  I was pretty pleased with myself.  Here is the only real picture I got of it before Penny knocked the camera out of my hands and broke it (RIP).  I may be able to get it fixed, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.  Of course, the protection plan I had on it had expired about 2 months before this happened.


After the reunion, I went back up to Salt Lake for a couple of days.  My mom, my sister and I took the kids to Kangaroo Zoo.  It was a blast.  Mostly the day was a success because we got this picture:

Kangaroo Zoo May 10, 2011 075

I mean, seriously, those boys are so stinking adorable.  Ben had such a good time with his cousins.

As a result of the Pennyfied camera, I have very few pictures after the Ironman.  I didn’t take any pictures of our empty house or the moving truck (although that was such a fiasco I’m not sure I want pictures of it), or the new house.  However, on Friday, I finally found my old camera from college and the battery and the charger.  It was miraculous.  As a result, I got to take some pictures of our latest adventure, which was a trip to the zoo in the quad cities in Illinois.  I think I’ll do a separate post about it. 

So there you go.  I’ll keep working on the videos.  Also, stay tuned for a video tour of our new home and the story of our move.  Also, look for some cute pictures of the kids in our new favorite mode of transport, the bike trailer (thanks grandma).