Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First trip to the zoo with TWO!

Last week we had the fabulous opportunity to go to the Denver Zoo with some good friends.  I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again...  When we first moved to Colorado we took a parenting class with a group of 5 or 6 couples about our same age, and who had kids close in age to our kids (or, "kid," at the time ;-).  We've now been through two class series of Growing Families International with these same couples, and it has honestly been one of the biggest blessings of moving to Colorado.  It is so encouraging to have friends (and for me, other moms) who are pursuing similar goals in raising children, and are going through similar struggles with our various aged kiddos.  We can encourage and commiserate with each other through the good and the...well, the "not so good" times of parenting ;-)

Anyway, it's not very often that all of our schedules align to get all of us together with our kids on an outing, but the zoo last week was one such time!  Tyson has SO much fun with his little friends from this group, and at the end of the day I always feel encouraged in my efforts, and love the comic relief from sharing stories of how we, or our children, have "failed" recently in the whole journey of parenting.  This was also Jersey's first trip to the zoo, so I tried to document as best I could juggling two kids, the camera, the stroller, and all of the "stuff" that I seem to bring when packing to be out for the day! 

A TUNNEL to view animals through!?!  Tyson's idea of heaven.  He's obsessed with tunnels...

One of many many railings to peer over during the trip.

"Mom, look!  A polar bear!"

Highlight of the entire trip: CONSTRUCTION ZONE!  The Denver Zoo is adding a HUUGE safari/African exhibit this winter.  From the map it looks like the new exhibit will be 1/4 of the size of the whole zoo at this point.  Along part of the path there's a section blocks and blocks long of chain link fence which is mostly covered with black mesh, but every so often there is a whole cut out so kids can stop and watch the construction.  Do I even have to explain what a hit this is?  Let's just say it's Tyson's favorite "exhibit" of the whole zoo, and I think he's going to be devastated when it's actually completed and there are animals to see instead of construction machinery working up close.  Here's part of our little group watching the action (which I must admit, was pretty cool to see up close!).

Last kid standing looking at the construction.  He was glued.  The only reason he agreed to keep walking and move along was because we mentioned that it was time for lunch, and he'd been talking about food since we got there.  I think the kid could eat every hour on the hour.  Thank goodness, because otherwise he would not have left the chain link.

Watching the elephants "practicing" getting in and out of their 10,000 lb metal crates, which will be used to transport them to their new safari habitat this winter.  It was pretty neat listening to the trainers talking to the crowd about the process of moving a 10,000 lb animal, in a 10,000 lb crate!  Whew!

Aren't they so CUTE!?  Picnic lunch time.  And this picture doesn't include Jersey or the other two 2-month-old babies in our group :)

Photo opp....aaaand then the zoo train went by, and all attention was lost ;-)

My little Jersey girl, just hangin out with the big kids eating lunch.

...and chewing on the ziploc bag - her favorite "snack," lol.

"MOM, look at this awesome branch I found!"

Just standing up to everything, wishing she was walking.

Attempting a family photo on the train.  Can you tell Jersey wanted to get down?  I promise I didn't drop her, even though it looks like she's sliding right off of my lap.

Happy girl(s) on the train ride.

Highlight #2: his little friend, Kayla, on the right in the pink sweatshirt, brought her wagon to the zoo instead of a stroller.  Ty has been obsessed with pulling and pushing things since he could crawl, and wagons are one of his favorites ;-)  He had a grand old time playing with the girls.

"Mama, I'm getting sleeeepy."  Baby girl was a trooper, missed her morning nap but hung in there for the whole trip!

Here's to hoping the kids will burn some energy running down the zoo paths, and then running back.  Over, and over, and over...  How do 2 and 3 year olds have SO MUCH ENERGY!?!

"Mom!  Gorillas!"

Aren't all of the kids so cute together!?  They're all about the same size and height and they had so much fun together :)

A wonderful, wonderful time was had by all.  And amazingly enough, I was able to keep BOTH kids awake in the car on the 45 minute drive home so they still took their afternoon naps ;-)  That is an accomplishment, because it was already passed nap time and they were so tired from the fun day!  Robin has never been to the zoo with the kids, as we usually go during the week for a playdate of some sort, so our next goal is to make a family trip on a Saturday with the 4 of us.  So fun to see the world of animals through the eyes of a 2-year-old.  It's a lot of working hauling TWO kids around the zoo, with all of our stuff, by myself.  Not quite sure how I'm doing to be able to do it with THREE next year!!!  Guess we'll figure it out along the way :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The extraordinary in my ordinary

Our lives are fairly ordinary.  Our day-to-day isn't anything crazy exciting.  But lately, while watching my kids play together, I have been reminded how extraordinary our ordinary really is.  I get to stay home with my babies, watching them grow and change every day.  I hear every new word they learn.  I see every bump and bruise (well, most of them ;-) and get to "kiss it better."  I watch them try new foods.  I hear them giggle and laugh uncontrollably at each other when the mood strikes.  I see them start to unravel when they get tired right before nap time.  I FEEL like I change a hundred diapers a day, lol.  I see their faces light up when they discover something new.  I answer about a million (sometimes annoying) questions a day from my two-year-old, and then I appreciate that he is so smart and eager to learn and understand.  My ten-month-old crawls over to me every few minutes while we play, just to check in with a pat on my leg.  Of course, in the midst of all this, there are tantrums, fits, unexplained crying episodes, and many opportunities for discipline throughout the day.  But overall, I am so blessed to spend my days with these two, and I am so glad for the reminder that our ordinary is actually quite extraordinary.

Our "play room" (aka office/workout/guest room) is where a lot of our ordinary takes place.  The three of us play in here around 8:30 every morning, and I finally took some pictures of this "ordinary" time one day, just to remind myself how extraordinary it is that I get to spend this time with my kids every day, watching them learn to enjoy each other's company more and more.  Such sweet time! 

Jersey hangs out in her jumper in the laundry room doorway for a while while, jumping and spinning around while watching Tyson play trains.

Caught her in mid-jump action!

Jersey LOVES pulling up to the train table and "playing" trains (aka chewing on them).  Tyson is learning to share this play space which used to only be occupied by him ;-)

The train set and table was Tyson's birthday gift from Grandmommy and Pappy last year, and he has literally, no joke, played with it EVERY SINGLE DAY since he got it.  Sometimes multiple times a day.  I look forward to our kids playing with it together more and more.

Jersey is a crazy adventuresome crawler.  Her latest activity of choice is trying to climb up the slide.

So of course, Tyson, being a boy, thinks is great fun to slide down in to her while she is on the slide.  Usually she thinks it's pretty hilarious, unless she takes a good tumble.

Oh, and Ty LOVES to have her go down with him.  It requires a little help from me, but they are so cute sitting together!!!

And the other main attractions in this room is "turtle."  Ty got turtle as a riding toy for his first birthday and LOVES flying around on the tile floor in the play room.  And stashing "treasures" in the seat, of course.  And whatever Tyson likes, Jersey decides she must conquer, too.  She's taken a few spills trying to play with turtle, but it doesn't stop her.

Well there you have it.  A glimpse into our ordinary days, which are filled with extraordinary moments where my kids love and play with each other, and I have the blessing of watching it all unfold.  I have a new favorite quote which is now framed right next to my kitchen sink.  It sums up how it sometimes feels to be a stay-at-home mom, and I love reading it when I forget how extraordinary my ordinary is.

"If you seek some special life outside of daily activities, that is like brushing aside waves to look for water."  - Wu-Chun

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Biker Babes

Sorry to keep bringing up the weather, but this is another "take advantage of the warm weather" post :)  A couple of weeks ago Grandmommy (aka, Robin's mom, Kathleen ;-) bought Tyson the next size up helmet so that we could use the infant size for Jersey.  Finally both kids could go in the bike trailer!  It was supposed to be a family affair, but after tuning up the bikes Robin figured out that one of the tubes on my bike had to be replaced.  Usually he can patch it up and we're good to go, but no such luck this time.  So, unfortunately, I had to stay home, but my three favorite people went on a little adventure together.

Ready for take off!

Jersey may have fallen asleep towards the end of the ride, lol...
Back from the ride, Mr. Protective big brother.
Here Jersey, I'll help you get out!
I just love them.  Aren't they so cute!?  (And by them, I'm including my husband ;-)  Hopefully next time I can go on the ride, too!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Picnic Perfection

We have had the most amazing weather the last few weeks. Pretty sure this is not "normal" for Colorado, but hey, what do I know? It's been in the mid 80's - low 90's for all of September and we're still in the 80's now in October! If I'm being honest, I'm kind of ready for the cooler weather as it's confusing to be wearing summer clothes in the fall, but I'm not going to complain ;-) The other nice part about these temperatures is that it's much more "mild" than the middle of summer, so it's easy to play outside during lunch time without Jersey being too hot without any shade. Tyson's latest and greatest discovery is the art of the "picnic." He thinks it's the best thing EVER. So we decided to go on a crazy picnic our front yard. He's still talking about it. Amazing how such a small thing can be such a great joy for a toddler :) It really was the perfect day...


Ty eating his lunch on our "picnic blanket" towel in the front yard...with Jersey eyeing his food from behind!

Baby girl had a cold, so pardon the runny nose, but she LOVED being outside for lunch :)

Livin the dream...with peanut butter all over his face.

I think Ty has the cutest little feet :) Couldn't resist!

Juuust waiting for someone to let me out of this exersaucer so I can crawl all over the picnic set up...

Finally we let her loose! Jersey and Tyson are playing and interacting so much more all of a sudden. It makes me smile every single day. He makes her laugh more than anyone else! Of course he isn't that happy when she interrupts whatever toy he's playing with, but he gets over it, and she's pretty much content to just sit near him and drool on a matchbox car or something.

His favorite special treat: squeezable pureed fruit! We had some left over from our airplane travels, and since they're expiring soon I knew he would enjoy having one and it would make his lunch seem even more special (doesn't take much!).

Ty sharing his veggie straws with Jersey.

Pretty little lady...who did NOT like having her sun hat on :)

So she took it off and ate Ty's veggies straws while she was at it.

My leading lady.

Just playin on the picnic blanket.

She really will eat anything she can get her hands on. I think this was some grass...I think. Kind of funny how much the second kid gets to do that you were too paranoid to let your first kid do!

And the biggest toddler/crawler attraction in our yard: the zero scape rocks next to our front door. Jersey make a beeline for them as soon as she's on the ground. I finally gave up and let her chew on one - she's teething, she doesn't care! Besides, they are way too big to choke on ;-)

Good times and great memories made. I love being home with my babies. How else would I be able to have spontaneous picnics in the front yard!? These are the days that make not having a second paycheck totally worth it :)