Saturday, August 31, 2013

Niabi Zoo

Next on our list to do was visit Niabi Zoo. It is a smaller zoo, but quite close and we figured it would be big enough for Tatum.  We were probably there for 2 to 2 and a half hours and I think that was just about perfect. We couldn't have asked for better weather either, so beautiful! 

The first animals we saw were the elephants. I think these guys were the most fascinating for Tatum. We heard that the zoo is actually getting rid of them so we were lucky to get to see them.

You would never guess it was so early in our day at the zoo when you look at Tatum's face in these next two photos. I think she was actually trying to make an elephant noise, not look tired and exasperated. 

There was a little petting/feeding zoo for kids with goats, sheep, llamas, pigs and cows. We paid for a couple handfuls of the  feed and the entertainment was well worth it. Tatum thought it was pretty hilarious when the goats would eat off her hands. But when we stopped by later she wouldn't have anything to do with. I guess during the break she decided it was actually kind of scary.

The birds were not my favorite, although they never really are. Inside, they had parrots that were not in cages with signs that said "caution birds will bite". Um....okay? So why are they not behind glass? They made the most atrociously loud noises and it was altogether unpleasant. Poor Tatum looked quite alarmed the entire time we were in there.

They had a few different types of monkeys and Tatum loved to watch them. They were some of the only animals that were really active and she would just laugh and laugh when they would swing around.
The lion was another hit. I think it was partly because so many other kids were standing there watching him, it made her feel cool. :)
And she loved when daddy helped her climb the fence too.
This bobcat gave us quite the show when he ounces on the fence right in front of us. It scared all of us so I tried to take a video of Tatum afterward to see if she would do her scared "sign". The video is kind of a lot of my annoying voice but at about 25 seconds you can see a quick example of what she does when she is scared.

Why does she do it? So probably about a month ago she set the car alarm off while we were on the garage and it scared me so I sort of gasped and put my hand over my heart, you know what I'm talking about? Well ever since then whenever she is "scared" (aka hears a plane, a train, the garbage truck, a dog, etc) she breathes heavily and pats her chest. So random but so funny.

Checking out her wingspan.
Mesmerized by more monkeys.

I love giraffes! So cool! We found out the next week that one of the giraffes had a baby just a few days after we were there. At first I was so shocked that we didn't know she was pregnant, but then I realized I have no idea what a pregnant giraffe looks like haha. Sadly, the report on the news said the baby only lived a few hours.

My two crazy monkeys.

Checking out the zebras. She is so solemn!
I just thought this picture was funny. I'm not sure why we are both acting like we can't open our eyes.

After the zoo we headed to a park on the river and had a picnic lunch.

The playground had some interesting equipment that we have never seen before which is always fun.

And there was a really nice splash pad there too. It was a little too chilly for a splash pad in my opinion but of course it didn't seem to bother Tatum. 
Once we had her good and worn out from the zoo, the playground and the splash pad we headed for home. And she stayed awake the whole time, go figure. :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

splash pad and bowling

Our fun continued with a trip to Cedar Rapids to run some errands, visit a splash pad (they have 10!) and do some dollar bowling. We didn't know anything about any of the splash pads so we just picked one that was close to other places we had to go and went for it. We had it to ourselves almost the whole time!
I dare you to look at this picture and not smile because of Tatum's face. Priceless.
 Tatum likes splash pads but the park always ends up calling her name so we played on the playground for a bit before we left.
Love those eyes.
 This is one of the cutest things Tatum is doing these days. Whenever she can convince me or Brennan to go down a slide she waits at the bottom in this stance, ready to catch us. Too cute.
And when our child starts climbing a slide do we tell her no, of course not, we take a video of it. Yeah we are awesome parents.

Then it was time to bowl! I lost both games. Surprise, surprise. But in my defense I did have Tatum "helping" me more often than Brennan did and I still managed to do as well as I usually do. So imagine how good I would have been without her help, right?! ;) We don't bowl often but it is always enjoyable. But is it just me or do those bowling balls feel like the dirtiest things on the planet? Yuck.
 Just observing the destruction from her awesome ball, no doubt.
 I guess you could say we are easy to please, because that was a fun day!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


So Brennan's internship ended at the end of the first full week in August and he had two weeks before classes started. He could have continued to work part time during those two weeks, like he will be doing during the semester, but we decided he would be working for the rest of his life so we would just enjoy two mostly carefree weeks! We talked a lot about taking a little trip somewhere but that never ended up happening. I think we still did a good job of finding fun things to do around here.

During those two weeks we:
-went camping
-painted our bedroom
-went to the zoo
-went bowling
-went to the pool
-painted our dresser
-toured the hospital
-visited several splash pads
-went to a Kernels game
-went to the apple orchard

And probably some other things I am forgetting, but I'd say that's not too shabby for a staycation in the middle of Iowa. :)

Our camping trip was a huge success, I'd say. We went to a park about 45 minutes from home that we had never been to before. The weather was pretty much perfect (I would have been happy for it to not get quite as warm during the day, but I am a pansy about the heat these days.) and the park was great. My mom and dad came with us and the Eskelsens came up for dinner, but couldn't spend the night. After we set up the tent we headed down the beach. I'm not huge on lake swimming but I definitely regretted not bringing my suit. Tatum LOVED the water and the beach.

She was in heaven. :)

Showing Grandma the shell she found.

For their wedding anniversary, mom got dad an inflatable kayak so after the beach we decided to take that out. It was a blast! And mom was even able to get a little kids life jacket for Tatum so she got to try it out too.
 Brennan and Dad taking it out for its maiden voyage.
Tatum wasn't too sure what she thought of it, so her trip was a short one.

Now I'm making this picture extra big, because this, my friends, is a miracle. We got mom in the kayak! She is not a fan of water but we couldn't believe she wasn't even going to try out her anniversary gift to dad on the eve of their anniversary! That's right, she gave him his gift early so we would be able to try it out on this camping trip and she wasn't even going to join him. I'm pretty sure it wasn't until she was convinced that Brennan would, in fact, carry her to the boat that she finally decided to go on her own. And I daresay she even enjoyed it! :)

And there's the happy couple riding into the sunset. Okay, so maybe the sun wasn't quite setting, but it sounds better that way. Forty years these two crazies have been married! Holy moly that's a long time. I tried to glean some wisdom from them around the fire that night, but they always try to say they have none.
After we all had our turn on the boat we headed back to our campsite to get dinner started. Foil dinners are the best and these ones did not disappoint.

Tatum loved playing in the tent. When I heard her squealing and giggling I looked in the window and found this. Silly goose.
 After dinner we took the boat out with the Eskelsens, then went back to camp for Brennan's dutch oven peach cobbler, banana boats, and smores. That's a lot of dessert!

Tatum did surprisingly well around the fire. We didn't have any problems with her getting too close or being too interested in it, thank goodness. And Grandma, miracle worker that she is, got her to fall asleep on her lap before it got too late.

All zonked out in the tent.
 We didn't bring the pack n play for Tatum, she just slept by us and she did fine. I slept horribly and my tossing and turning woke her up, unfortunately. She was awake, but happy, for awhile but eventually she fell back asleep. I, however, will not be camping again until we buy some mats. My parents were sleeping on mats and when my mom got up I rolled over on hers and it felt a million times better! I've never been bothered by it before but then again I've never been camping when I was this pregnant before either.

We had some yummy breakfast burritos in the morning, made by Brennan. Next time we will definitely make them in advance, wrap them in tin foil and just heat them up over the fire. Making everything with one pan just took far too long. But they were still delicious. We played several games of Kubb, and Brennan and I creamed the anniversary couple. 40 years?! Psssh, they got nothin' on us. :) Then we cleaned up camp and headed to the beach and to take the boat out again.

Tatum was a bit of a grump in the morning, but nothing a little whispering from Grandma couldn't cure.
Stealing the king pin.
Back at the beach. Her grumpiness greatly subsided at this point. When were at the campsite she was just so anxious to go, go go, she insisted on sitting in the van and yelling to us "iwannago".
Just hanging out while Grandma and Papa took the boat out.
So funny story about taking the boat out that second day. Brennan and I took it out first with Tatum. It was short and sweet again as she gets antsy quickly. After we turned around I felt my bum start to get wet so I said something to Tatum about how daddy splashed me (the oars really do splash a lot) but Brennan said "I don't think so. You should see how much water I'm sitting in back here." So when we handed Tatum off to my dad I asked him if he thought there could be a hole or something. He was sure the water was just from Brennan splashing with the oar. So we headed back out. We are in the middle of the lake and Brennan starts chuckling and says "There has to be a hole, I mean look at this!" I didn't look and I didn't think it was funny. (I'm not quite as afraid of water as my mom is but it does make me nervous.) I told him to take me back and he said he was sure we would be fine. But I insisted that he steer us back to the dock. He did and I got out and let him and dad figure it out. Turns out the boat was taking on water, someone had pulled the rain plug or something like that which was letting on water. Once that was all sorted out I did go back out and so did mom. Then we packed up the boat and headed home.

Someone was asleep before we left the campground. :)
And that night we found a sliver in Tatum's toe. She must have gotten it on the beach, I forgot to bring her water shoes. We were able to get one out but the other one was a bit more difficult. After we felt like we had sufficiently traumatized Tatum we gave up. The next day we borrowed some epsom salt from my dad and put a paste of epsom salt and water on it every day with a bandaid, it came out after a few days.

Here's Tatum insisting on trying to do it herself. The next morning when we asked her if we could look at her toe she immediately went in the bathroom and found the tweezers, it was kind of cute.