Saturday, April 7, 2012

Thursday - The Big Adventure

"Boys, get dressed.  We're going on an adventure."
I guess it's been too long since we spontaneously packed up and headed out for the day.  Makes me kind of sad that it's not the norm anymore.  I think maybe it should be.  We're all a lot happier when we're out adventuring.  Well, Lucas doesn't always like the release of control, but it's good for him.
First stop was the Point Defiance Zoo.  I wanted the coupon that comes on the back of our tickets for later (we are members here, so we get in for free), but most of all we NEEDED to see the new baby clouded leopards.  We are so lucky to be near a zoo that is the breeding ground for these guys - they are so stinking cute!!!  And now that we know that once they are a bit bigger they get shipped off, all the more reason to go  NOW.  When we got there (we opened the zoo), they were still sleeping, so we oohed and ahhed and then went off to the other Asia exhibits.  I have to say that I love that zoos teach a bit of geography - very cool.
The new tiger was out in force - pacing very close to where we were standing - no nerves at all....
The Siamangs were swinging away - we realized that on a grey, cloudy morning is the best time to see them all out and about and active.
The elephants were throwing a fit - banging on the gates and tickling each other.  Pretty funny but LOUD.  Ethan was transfixed and Lucas was troubled.
So then it was back to the clouded leopards for feeding time.  The boys were still pretty quiet - they hadn't quite woken up yet, but they were getting there.  The excitement was building - these boys love baby animals....  but who doesn't?
The babies were appropriately adorable.
The kids always get the best view and everyone gets a bit snippy if you try to get in front of them.  So back I stayed....  Ethan was very concerned that I get a good picture of the boy and of the girl.  I think he needs his own camera.  He's gotten awful bossy with mine.
I don't know why I have an obsession with this huge fish - don't even know what it's called.  Maybe because it used to seem gigantic when the boys were small, but now they're quickly outgrowing it.
There were all sorts of volunteers out to answer questions and talk to the kids...
The shark guy kind of creeped me out as he explained what a shark would do if it took a bite of you.
But the boys certainly liked it.
The man explained the difference between the two tanks - warm water vs. cold water and how the skin was different because of that.  The other kid there asked something silly about it - obviously wasn't listening and I looked at Ethan and he totally rolled his eyes.
The coolest part was that we got to see the red wolves in full force - they were out and pacing.  We never see them - maybe once we've seen one, but today I think we saw 3 or 4.  So pretty!
It was about lunch time by this point, so we headed on out of the zoo and ran the drive thru at McD's.  All week I kept asking Ethan what he wanted to do and he kept saying McD's.  So I gave in as we started our journey to destination #2.
"Better call Daddy - I think you're lost."  We only made one u-turn and turns out I was right the first time.  By the time Brian (whom we called) had found where we were, I had figured it out.  We were headed out to Northwest Trek (BOGO on the back of our zoo tickets- woohoo!) and it's kind of way out there....
Lucas slept the last 5 minutes of the drive (of course), but we finally got there and checked in.  We had an hour before our train ride, so we headed off to the exhibits - the favorite being the Research Cabin where we got to spy on the wolves.  They had a whole spy game thing going on, shouting back and forth at each other while they controlled the video camera and all.
This was the only thing we fought over all day.  They were determined to use them.  I fought it at first, but then I realized it was almost time for our tram ride and I better just let them.  Lucas loved it.  Ethan started screaming "It stinks in here, I can't use this!"  I made him.  Maybe next time he won't have to mysterioulsly-all-of-a-sudden have to use the bathroom when we pass one.
Lucas loves alternative forms of transportation, so the tram was super exciting for him.  They didn't like waiting in line for the 10 minutes, but they (and I) survived.
Lucas didn't really care about the animals - he sang Wheels on the Bus the whole trip, which I'm sure the young, snuggling couple in front of us enjoyed thoroughly. Didn't feel too bad since I was forced to watch the snuggling.
Ethan and another kid sitting behind him were all about spotting the animals and one-upping each other.  Battle of the big boys...  They found a lot- I think we saw everything they claim they have!
My favorite was the billy goat.  Something endearing about that guy....
The whole day was cloudy and a bit drizzly, but we had our umbrellas and we were dressed for the weather.  The boys never complained once, but I was cold after our tram ride, so we headed in for a snack by the fire...
As we headed back out to see the rest of the animals, I was fully entertained by Ethan giving out random animal facts to people.  He'd base them in fact (for instance, if it was an egg-laying animal, he'd state how many eggs it laid and add some random info about how a certain number don't make it, or with many different mammals he'd tell us all how fast they run and how far they can jump - which never matched what the signs said).  What was surprising was how many people just totally believed him even when the correct info was close at hand.
The porcupine keeper talk was super interesting.  Ereth Dorsatum (literary reference to Poppy - a must read!) was just hilarious.
Ethan had awesome questions (and a lot of them) and even great answers to the keeper's questions.  I kept trying to keep him from putting his hand up until I (and the keeper) realized he actually knew his stuff.  Impressive!  Go Wild Kratts (a tv reference to an awesome PBS show).
Once we'd seen pretty much everything, they picked out a "pet" from the store - a wolf for Lucas and a camouflaged otter for Ethan, and we were on our way.
I tried to be sneaky and get us to some cool restaurant for dinner.  This resulted in me getting lost not once, but twice - driving through Gig Harbor to end up in Olalla, and driving through Port Orchard to end up near Belfair.  Oops.
Me:  It's not an adventure unless you get a little lost!
E:  Mom, you're just lost.  Are we going to run out of gas?
We ended up at the boys' favorite hangout - The Airport Diner.  The boys took turns hiding a knife or a fork in one hand and having the other person guess which hand.  Lucas got tired of holding the fork, dropped it, and then asked Ethan, "Which hand do I have nuffing in Eflan?"
I love the Airport Diner because we get to watch planes take off and land and there are cool decorations to look at.  The boys love the Mac and Cheese.  They rave about it to people and every time we go there they insist that I really should have that.  It's generic Kraft.  Not even a real blue box.  They love it.
Lucas got the PB&J this time, and ate a bite or two.
But, they had fun and returned back home with all sorts of stories to tell Daddy about their day.  It was definitely an adventure.  And I wasn't even exhausted.  Seems with them getting a little older, the adventures get a little easier on Mom.  Well, in theory.


Anonymous said...

You are so brave taking both boys out by yourself! I try and mine are a handful and most of the time do not cooperate! I envy you!

katieanne said...

Oh there are moments, believe me! There have been many outings where most of us are in tears, but then when I look back over the whole "event", there's enough good to outweigh the bad moments. Just go for it and take lots of pictures so you remember the good moments too!