Rainy Day at the Zoo

Last weekend, we went on our annual zoo visit with Hollie, her husband and their three girls. Actually, scratch that, we didn’t make it out last year, so maybe almost-annual is more appropriate.

On Friday, we opted to change our plans from Saturday to Sunday in order to avoid the rain (ha ha ha). It barely rained Saturday, but most of Sunday morning it rained. When we arrived, we saw the elephants and lions and then turned around to do the indoor rainforest.

Jameson always likes the rainforest because we let him walk around. Also, his stroller was pretty wet. After the rainforest, it was still raining, so we went to the Winking Lizard for lunch about 15 minutes away. By the time we were finished eating, it was clearing up a bit.

It was around 2, and Jameson skipped his nap like a champ. It probably helped that Brian gave him full, un-watered-down Fruit Punch. Jameson spent lunch being silly, laughing and tapping my arm over and over. He was adorable on what must have been his very first sugar high.

We went back to the zoo, and Jameson loved walking around with the girls, particularly the oldest who read him stories in the car on the way back to the zoo, and he spent a lot of time out of his stroller rather than in wherever possible, until he seemed to get tired. And even then he was asking for more animals!

Since it was nice and cool out, we saw a lot of active animals. We saw the bears tussling each other for food, and the wolves which are usually sight unseen were all roaming their habitat. The beaver swam right by Jameson!

We usually don’t opt for this splurge activity, but we did pay for nectar to feed the birds. We didn’t let Jameson try this time, maybe next!

One of the birds even hopped right on to Hollie’s hand!

Our last and my favorite stop was by the kangaroos. None of them were out, but we went to the kangaroo hop spot where the length of a kangaroo’s leap is represented on the soft, spongy ground. Perfect for jumping! The girls all jumped and Jameson wanted to join in.

Poor kid can’t really jump yet. He doesn’t get both feet of the ground, but he sure did try.

We ended at the gift shop (of course), where Jameson finally had his meltdown. He didn’t understand that it was a store and not for touching or playing with everything. I did pick up a little beanie tiger for him with big wide eyes. He seemed to like the little wide eyed stuffed animals which we also saw at the rainforest, gathering two or three at a time in his arms like he was going to cart them all off.

However, in his upset, he didn’t appreciate the little tiger until we got home. We left just as it began to rain again, and Jameson yelled all the way home. Not crying, just yelling his head off for fun it seemed. He did great for missing his nap and being out all day! We had a blast, and it was great to see our friends again.

Now he likes to get ready to sleep and read in mom or dad’s lap with his new little tiger, his big blanket (since we discontinued the blanket bag), his little lovey blanket, and his little bear all surrounding him.

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Happy Happenstance

Sunday appeared like it was going to be very nice: so nice, that Brian and I talked about going to the zoo almost as soon as we were up in the morning.

In a moment that will probably not occur again for a long time, the neighbors happened to be thinking the same thing, texted us, and about an hour later, we were all on our way to the zoo!

First stops were in the ‘down under’ Australia exhibits and the petting zoo. Jameson didn’t pet the sheep, because it was a little gross, and also, the fair is WAY more fun for animal petting.

(Fair time is so close, I can almost taste it!)

Then we walked up the big hill (the boys pushed the strollers, and I lagged behind with a very pregnant neighbor – as in, three days later she had-a-baby-pregnant).

As usual, we let Jameson out of the stroller to walk around the aquarium and enclosed exhibits. He loves this part!

And then we did the big loop around to the bears and giraffes.

At the end were wild ponies, and I tried to get Jameson to make his new “nnnnnnnayyy” sound, but no such luck. Since then, he has also learned “cluck cluck” for chickens, so all that’s left to prepare for the fair is “oink oink” for piggies!

That’s my champion animal noise maker.

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Alcatraz Island, Day 2

Have any of you watched the new series, The Great Escape on TNT? I confess I haven’t, but I’ve seen so many commercials for it while watching Falling Skies that I feel like I have.

Anyway, the first episodes are set at Alcatraz, which I thought was ironic since we were just there. Surprisingly, no one mentioned the show while we were there just a week or so prior to the premier.

It was really appropriate I think that our visit to Alcatraz was gray and misty. It added an air of heavy history to our visit.

The seagulls followed us there. Or maybe we followed the seagulls there. As it turns out, it’s nesting season for the birds, and there were plenty of the seagulls (and two other bird species) with their chicks on the island.

We were the first tour group to arrive to the island, so after an introduction from a book author and former resident of the island, we headed up to the cell block to try and beat the crowds.

There are 4 cell blocks; Cell Block A, pictured above, was not secure enough for prisoners, and was actually used for storage and supplies. Cell Block D had a few more nicely furnished cells, and then the solitary confinement cells.

Some cells were “faux furnished” with “people”; some were set up as if for new inmates, and a few cells were even open.

I also got a shot of myself doing this same pose. Yes.

There is a self-guided audio tour, which Brian and I didn’t listen much to. Neither of us had much patience for the slow speaking on the tour, but I have since read up a little more about the island.

On the other hand, by escaping from the rest of the groups, we had an opportunity to get this lonely shot of the recreation yard without a soul in it:

Alcatraz has a lot of history behind it: It served as a prison, then occupied by Indians, then abandoned for years. There were escape attempts and political drama; everything you need for plenty of good stories.

But some of my favorite parts of the island was the gardens contrasted by the old structures:

By the time we left the island, the mist had begun to lift, leaving great views of the city and back toward the island.

While I wasn’t originally planning to enjoy Alcatraz as much as I did, I walked away feeling like we both had an opportunity to see something interesting to each of us. For Brian, the prison and its history was fascinating. For myself, I loved the birds, gardens, and old run down buildings.

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Camel Rides and Ice Cream Fun

Saturday, we went to the zoo with JP, Lisa and Jonathan. The boys had a blast, but the parents even more so!

I was afraid of how hot it was expected to be over the weekend, but Saturday morning was relatively cool. Most of the animals we out and about, and while we didn’t drop by the bears this time, we did stop at the aquarium and playground.

The meercats were back in their habitat by the elephants!

Oh, and this time we had Jonathan and Jameson pose at the head shot photo spot; and Lisa was hilarious and wanted one of us as well. Oh yes we did.

I played around with aperture a lot at the zoo that day; the shaded daylight was perfect for photos.

Does anyone know what this guy is? I don’t remember, but he lived near the giraffe and zebra habitats. The framing in the front with the leaves really attracted me.

We also tried this monkey bench pose again. Can you believe it’s only been a month since we last took that photo? He looks so much older this month. Must be the new hairdo. Or hat.

Jonathan really got into it. He posed right up next to the monkey, laying his head on the statue and hamming it up for the camera!

After seeing all the animals in the central part of the zoo, we went up the long ramp to the aquarium.

Look how classy we are!

Yes, they posed for that on purpose, and yes, I did just post that on my blog. But oh, more embarrassment is to come!!

We spent a little time at the playground, playing on fake animals and Jonathan, of course, loved the slide.

We stopped for lunch, and everyone ate well. Jameson enjoyed his bologna, cheese and fruit and Jonathan had vegetable cream cheese on crackers

Note: this is a great idea which we will have to try to get vegetables and dairy in him at the same time as crackers which are always a hit!

Jonathan also gobbled up a peach, and was upset when it was gone, running over to the trash can to try and get it back.

And then… Lisa and I decided to ride some camels. Yes we did.

We did stand in line with all the kids and ride the camel. Yep.

And back to business, we hit up some more of the indoor exhibits. The monkey in this habitat stared straight at us. It seemed a little sad, but I think it was just feeling left out because two monkeys right past it were play wrestling like maniacs!

Our last stop at the zoo was the rainforest exhibit, which is always fun for Jameson. We put away the stroller and let him walk around.

We found that if he holds both our hands, he’s less apt to run amok. It helped that everything was exciting at the rainforest, and we consistently went the same direction he wanted to go.

After the zoo, we decided to stop for ice cream. Brian has been having weird cravings for pizza rolls and Blizzards, so this ice cream stop was a bit of a compromise.

It was so messy. Jameson had no idea what to do at first.

I am pretty sure that we will need to alternate who gets to have their ice cream and who watches Jameson next time. Up and down on the little benches, wiping ice cream everywhere, dropping his cone and then eating mom’s. Jameson was crazy.

I do think he liked the cone better than the ice cream itself though. He ate almost all of mine.

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Jameson Visits the Zoo

We had a wonderful weekend! Saturday, we relaxed most of the day away. Jameson took a nearly 3-1/2 hour nap, ran errands with dad to Home Depot (they were gone for a lovely hour), and was in such a great mood all day. It was so relaxing and, dare I say it? Easy.

Sunday it was nice out, so we decided to go to the zoo. There was a small chance of rain in the morning, but we opted to go early anyway to try and by pass the crowds that were sure to come. It definitely worked, and many of the animals were out and active!

We saw the elephants first, and then we heard calls out to our right. I didn’t know what animal was making the noise, but as it turns out it was the lion. I don’t think it was a full out ROAR but it was the first time I think that I’ve heard the lions calling out.

We headed up toward the Australian exhibits, and a small kangaroo was right up near us.

Can you see the joey poking out of her belly? The zookeeper standing by pointed it out. His or her little arm or leg is sticking out. I couldn’t believe how close she was to us! We took Jameson out of his stroller so he could get a better look at all the animals near by.

He loved watching the birds and the train going by.

We didn’t stray too much into the Australian exhibit, and turned around to go see the giraffes. The giraffes weren’t out but we saw them inside. Jameson didn’t want to stand forward for this picture, but at least I got him next to the measurement.

The great part about having a pass is not feeling obligated to see the entire zoo in one visit. We picked and chose the best exhibits with big animals that Jameson would appreciate. After seeing a few more birds, reindeer and camels, we came around to the best exhibit of the day!

The bears were out and they were actually playing! I don’t believe I’ve ever seen them moving like this before, so I had to take video evidence as well.


Jameson loved it. Brian would say “Can you say bear?” and Jameson would say “Beh”.

Next door, the polar bear was out. He was calmly surveying the scene.

So calm was he that we decided he’d be a perfect backdrop for a few photos.

This one cracks me up, it looks like Jameson is a little concerned about the polar bear behind him.

Our last stop at the zoo was the monkeys, and we plopped Jameson next to one statuesque monkey on a bench. Jameson wasn’t so impressed.

Before we headed over the rainforest just outside the main zoo, we stopped for some lunch. Jameson had his very first happy meal, and insisted on eating his chicken nuggets whole rather than cut up. He loved the apples, but wasn’t too fond of the fries.

The rainforest wasn’t too crowded, so we let Jameson walk around a bit. He held Brian’s hand really well and walked from exhibit to exhibit.

I hadn’t realized before, but most of the glass is set low, low enough for Jameson to see.

We really tired him out that morning, but he only really napped for 45 minutes in the car on the way home. He was up and at ’em again after that, ready to play outside for the rest of the day!

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Family Fair Fun, Food, Fabulous-ness

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I know I did. Friday, Brian and I took off and went to the fair with Jameson and my parents and sister (hence no blog post!)

It was a blast. We were there for almost 5 hours and Jameson didn’t complain at all, despite the heat wave and stroller sitting. He’s even giving us a (random, not on purpose) thumbs up! (P.S., do you see that hat? His head must have grown tremendously this month; it barely fits now)

We’ve always gone to this fair on the weekend since I was little, but going on a Friday was perfect with Jameson. It wasn’t crowded, and we even got shots of him with the traditional pumpkin. (No lines made it so much easier to take pictures with Jameson)

And, non traditional pumpkins.

Of course, it’s not a fair without seeing a few animals.

And, the men waiting for us women in the craft building.

Jameson started holding his own bottle consistently this week, and he was great about drinking it in the stroller. Meanwhile, Brian and I had fries, funnel cake, and I had Italian sausage. New this year is pulled pork on baked potato or nachos, so Brian and my parents tried that concoction. I wasn’t impressed with the BBQ sauce though.

By the end of the day, Jameson finally gave in to sleep. Those rosey cheeks are from the heat! We left soon after, and he napped the way home and after. What a champ!

After a fabulous Friday and Saturday, Jameson is having napping trouble today and yesterday after we went to the zoo, poor thing. What did you do this Labor Day weekend?

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Sun Babies

The weather was so wonderfully perfect this past weekend that we pretty much spent the entire time outdoors. It seems to happen so rare, we just had to take advantage of the clear blue sky. Jameson loved it! The kid is already taking after his dad. At the end of the weekend Brian told me I no longer look like “Casper the Mom”. I said, you mean “Casper the Friendly Mom”. No, no, that’s not what he said. Apparently friendly didn’t qualify at that time. Sheesh, thanks Brian.

Can I take a moment? I would like to talk a bit about sunscreen.

Despite the teasing, I would like to note that Jameson was protected all weekend with sunscreen and a hat or shade most of the time. Though I will also mention that the sunscreen we are currently using is not what I would prefer.

Having done some research on sunscreens, Jameson’s baby sunscreen has one of the two listed “bad” ingredients. It has Vitamin A, which recent research has shown may speed the development of cancer when exposed to sunlight (ironic). I believe some sunscreen is better than none, but I do plan on finding him a new sunscreen soon.

Yesterday I purchased Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Sunblock (a good deal going on, details here) – the stick for his face, not the regular sunscreen. The stick is rated a 1 by the EWG. I also plan on getting the new ThinkBaby sunscreen, also rated a 1.

Saturday, while Jameson and I were at his very first baby sign language class (more on that soon!), Brian went to the farmers market. He surprised me by coming home with wildflowers. One of the many reasons why I love him!

Jameson and I spent some time outside on a blanket later while Brian moved things into the shed now that it has a ramp. One step closer to parking in the garage again. Good thing, because it definitely mid summer now, it hit 90 on Sunday.

We also picked up a new “friend” for Jameson. The neighborhood garage sales were going on and we came home with a bopping penguin for Jameson to bat at for just $3. Jameson is not too sure about Mr. Penguin just yet! (Hmmm… It appears that most of the children in our neighborhood are girls. All the clothes we saw were pink!)

Sunday we went to the zoo, despite the heat. The nice thing about having a pass is not worrying about how much you see while you’re there. This time we visited the aquarium, monkeys, as well as the giraffes and elephants. Jameson enjoyed watching the fish move at the aquarium, but he seemed to enjoy people-watching even more.

Of course, we completely exhausted the little guy and he went to bed around 6:45 on Sunday. He’s definitely been a bit more cranky recently, probably because of the teeth we’re waiting on. It’s been nice to just pop outside and swing with him to calm him down. I hope this beautiful weather lasts, though today it’s not looking so good.

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