For the past two years we have spent Mother's Day at the Milwaukee County Zoo. It has worked out perfectly because our nephew's birthday party is on Saturday, we stay at a hotel where the boys get to jump on the beds and swim in the pool Saturday night, and on Sunday all mother's get in free at the zoo.
I never bloggged about our trip last year because I forgot my camera at home and it took awhile for my mom to get a copy of her pictures to me. This year we remembered the camera. And we remembered the charger. But we didn't remember to put the camera battery ON the charger. And so we were camera-less again. Thankfully we had my phone, but we kind of forgot to actually take it out and use it, so our pictures are few.
The kids fell asleep on the 5 minute drive from the hotel to the zoo parking lot but with the lines it took us a good 40 minutes to get in so in the end that worked out well. Once we finally got the stroller out, sunscreen on, bags packed and everyone in their stroller seat I was exhausted and moody but we trudged on and headed in to first see the flamingos and then to the sea lions/seals. We got there just in time for their noon show and decided to get tickets and take the kids to watch. Keaton sat quietly through the show, taking it all in. You could tell that he had just woken up. Hutt gave a little holler at the first sea lion but spent the rest of the time playing with a straw from Mimi's drink. And then getting mad at Mama when I accidentally knocked it out of his hand.
It was only a 20 minute show but I learned the difference between sea lions and seals so I was happy with the time spent. Sea lions: 1) have external ears 2) have bigger front flippers and 3) can walk on all four flippers. Seals: 1) do not have external ears/have holes in side of head 2) have smaller front flippers and 3) do more of an inch-worm maneuver to get around. (PS these are all in technical terms, of course.)
After the sea lions we went to see the monkeys/apes. These were one of Hutt's favorite animals - he also liked the sea otters and fish - and he giggled and laughed as they swooped through the air with their long arms and came to sit right in front of the window to eat. He kept looking at the monkeys and then looking at me like, are you seeing this Mom?? Those guys are funny!
I guess if I had to pick I'd say seeing the giraffes was the neatest. We hit the exhibit right at feeding time and got to get pretty close to them. Although what stood out the most to be was the ape house, where I read again (I remember reading it last year, too) about palm oil plantations and how they are destroying the amazon and what we can do to help. I think what's hardest about taking small kids to the zoo is that they really just want to see the animals, I like to read and learn about the animals. I was trying to figure out what felt off about this trip and I think that's it, I didn't read enough.
Keaton loved having Mimi and Pa Grizz (Pa Drr, as he says it) to himself. He loved the fish exhibit, which made his Grandpa very, very happy. Last year his favorite animal was the peacock. This year when we asked him he said the "big deer" - I think he meant either the caribou or the elk. His favorite part of the day though came right at the end, when we took a ride on the choo choo.
Before we left we let the boys each pick out one souvenir. I showed Hutt a monkey and he was all smiles. It now resides in the upper left corner of his crib. Keaton wanted a choo choo. No, a tractor. No, a truck with animal print cars. It's a cheap plastic semi and three small cars that will likely be broken within a week, but he hasn't put it down in two days.
Spending a sunny afternoon with my boys (all three of them) and my parents was the most perfect Mother's Day gift I could have asked for. When we got home Collin surprised me not with a gift, but with his idea - two bushes or a bird house/bird feeder that I can see from my office window so that when I look out I'm reminded of my kiddos.
Unrelated to our zoo trip, tomorrow I have my first of 3 follow-up paps after the Leep procedure. I have to go every six months and once I have 3 normals in a row I can go back to yearly exams. I especially need this one to come back normal because I was recently denied life insurance because of my history. If I can show proof of a normal result they will grant the policy. Any prayers, thoughts, or good vibes would be greatly appreciated.