Saturday, July 4, 2009

Holiday Weekend

This cold has really gotten the best of us. Not one to enjoy hanging out at my house day after day after day, I have been getting antsy since Sunday evening of this week, being stuck at home with a house full of very sick children.....ALL of them, including myself, and Bob too. Runny noses like leaky faucets, headaches, sore backs and necks, sore throats, and disappearing voices. Ooooooohhhhh...and the crabbiness around here? Yikes!

By Friday, I was just waiting to bust out of here. I think the kids were, too. Though we were still just about as sick and just about as tired as we had been since the second day, it was time to get out. Being the lovely day that it was on Friday, we packed up our things and headed out for a day at the Minnesota Zoo with Grandma and Grandpa.

We spent over 7 hours enjoying the zoo, and the beauty of a complete day outdoors (and out of our house). We thoroughly enjoyed the new exhibits completed since I had been there last year with the kids. The new Russian exhibit was beautiful and detailed, even all the way down to some small scale working volcanoes, geysers, and boiling mudpits. The grizzly bears were mighty impressive to see....both from a far away distance and also from close up, just along the other side of the protective glass barrier. The kids spent the most time watching the otters swim back and forth, doing back floats and flips along the way. The little caves also provided some interest for the kids to explore.

We strolled leisurely through Africa, watched the prairie dogs play, and had Dippin' Dots snacks at the park while Bethany took time out for a snack of her own. We rode the wagon to the farm, where Tubby befriended a couple of cows, poked a baby chick, and brushed a goat. Laura, who is deathly afraid of animals in any shape or size, walked about like a tortured individual much of the day. But her smiles returned as she and Tubby changed into their swimsuits to bound about in the new splashpad located in the center of the zoo. The cool water was a welcome addition to the humidity of the day, and the long hours we had been walking through the exhibits. Though quite timid at first, she quickly adjusted once finally wet, and ran about to each splashpad point for at least an hour while us adults had a late lunch...rather an early dinner.
A ride on the monorail, followed by another ice cream treat rounded out the wonderful day at the zoo.
Bethany wasn't very happy during her 7th week photo op

On Saturday, we took advantage of yet another beautiful day, and walked through the Arboretum with my parents before our Fourth of July dinner. Many of the flowers were in full bloom, making for a beautiful backdrop for a lazy stroll through the park. We explored the Waterosity exhibit, and learned some ways to conserve our water supply (basically, don't use it!). Grandpa and the boys went on a mini-adventure, finding each display listed, and walked along a bog trail. Us ladies remained on top of the hill where handling a stroller was much less taxing, and admired the lily pads and water lilies floating about the fountain pool. The rose garden was one of our favorite spots as we spent the most time there studying the countless variety of blooms, and sampling the various scents along the garden path. And I am loving my old camera I dug up from the electronic graveyard after giving my newer camera to Alex to take with him to Tennessee. Though the battery hardly lasts one day, and the memory card only holds a fraction of the one in my other camera, it has been taking gorgeous shots from near and even keeps purple, purple! After 121 pictures at the zoo yesterday, and even more than that today, I am hooked. I just might let Alex keep my other one!

We arrived home just in time, as a summer storm rolled over our city, drenching it with some much needed rain. It gave us an opportunity to reunite with Crispy and Melissa who had been away at camp all week with Grandma and Lyle, and to view the pictures they had taken, and to hear some stories about the many things they had done at camp. We also got to see Crispy's nearly two foot long dogfish he had caught, before Michael bravely tossed the frozen creature out into the wetlands. Melissa was excited to show us her "stained glass" creations, and tell us about the parade they had been in the day before. Those two kids are such a nice combo pair together.....they are at such a nice age to take places, try out new things, and they play quite well together. They really enjoyed their week, and I think both of them wished it had lasted just a little bit longer.

Daddy was busy grilling hot dogs, brats, corn, and hamburgers, in and out of the rain, even though he didn't eat any of it! He is still on his low calorie plan, with more self-restraint than anything I could even hope to muster up in one day. The rest of us thoroughly stuffed our guts, and then shoved in a little bit more. The burgers with cheddar-chipolte cheese, bacon, and guacamole were YUMMY! We never even made it to the desserts......the world's best apply pie from Byerly's and strawberry shortcake with ice cream.

Bethany slept through the day much like she sleeps through all other events. Her whole life is passing before her closed little eyelids! She was spoiled rotten today with so many extra hands to hold her. What a lucky baby.

We played with sparklers and fireworks in the yard, the bigger boys old enough to light some on their own. And unlike the boys who live up the road( who burned down the neighbors boat last year, and set the farm field at the end of our block on fire the year before), our kids did NOT set anything else on fire. Daddy obliged to Laura's wishes and stoked a bonfire in the fire pit, and we had lots of ooey gooey s'mores, while watching some bigger fireworks Daddy would light next to the fire. It was a perfect evening for hanging out in the yard, with no bugs despite the wet grass from the earlier rains.
After breaking into the glowsticks, and finishing off the sparkler pretzels (both 4th of July traditions), we gathered the troops into the cars to head over to our friends' who live on the main street through town. Poor Tubby was nearly left behind, as he was found looking teary-eyed through the front window, his little green glow-stick peeking through the darkness, helplessly calling out, "Mom!", and probably "wait!" as he had been locked inside the house and left in all the excitement. May the records show that it was his mother who noticed he was missing first, and went about looking for him! Poor little dude!

All ended well, as we enjoyed a fantastic show of fireworks from the third story window, along with some good company and laughter. After saying good-bye to Grandma and Grandpa, we headed home ourselves, and the kids all quickly tucked themselves into bed just before 11pm. I think we did well for getting out and about, and having some fun this weekend! I wonder what Sunday will bring for us?

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