Thursday, April 27, 2017

the trampoline park

Another picture of sleeping cousins. Poor Ella got pushed out of bed by little Lucy more often than not. 
 Tuesday found us heading to Chuck E Cheese. The kids had fun playing the games and picking out junk prizes.

 Even grandma got to play a game or two. :)
 We stopped for some cake on our way home and the kids loved having a tea party when we got home. Maybe I should start serving meals on mini dishes....

On Wednesday we took the kids to the trampoline park. It wasn't too crowded and we had a lot of fun. Declan couldn't coerce the girls into sitting around to watch his "race" and cheer for him and that sent him over the edge. He decided to throw a fit about that for quite some time but did eventually join back in the fun.
 I hope these pictures will illustrate just how awesome of a grandma these kids have. I don't think jumping on a trampoline rates very high in the list of things my mom enjoys doing, or even is just willing to do. But there is very little she won't do for her grandkids. I hope they know how lucky they are.
Mom and I played a little dodgeball against the kids. They didn't really get it and they totally just hoarded the balls at the top of the side trampolines.

 Tatum and Jade worked for quite some time to hang from these hoops. They both eventually got it.

We tried to get a group jumping picture but as it turns out kids are horrible at jumping at the same time. Who woulda thunk? haha. The whole place had horrible lighting but the foam bit was especially bad. And I didn't bring my real camera.

 Love this one of Declan.

 Sweet Lucy.

 The kids even got grandma to race them!
 I love these of all of them lined up for a race. This is a fun group, I'll tell ya what.

 The foam pit was a lot of fun until they all started swimming around in it. Everyone was covered in little pieces of foam. Gross. And annoying.

 So blurry but Lucy isn't blurry and her pose is so stinking cute I couldn't get rid of it.
 I finally got a decent one of Lucy jumping and she covered her eyes. What the heck?! haha
 Playing outside later in the day. You can count on a sassy pose from Jade nearly every time.
 But if you wait a moment she'll give you a nice smile. :)
 Sleeping Emry. This baby is so happy and easy. But man sleep was hard to come by on this trip. She had a cold to start with and then for some reason got in the habit of wanting to be wide awake at 12 am or 3 am or 5 am. Or maybe all three. If I were at home I would have done a little cry it out but I didn't want to wake the kids or ruin sleep for Ben who had to go to work every day. So I was just getting her out every time she woke up. Finally about halfway through the trip Mara convinced me everyone could survive if I let her cry a little. It got so much better after that!
 The women got some gel polish to try Wednesday afternoon so naturally all the girls wanted their nails painted. It was quite the salon we had going. Of course they had to choose a different color for each individual nail!
 Goodbye hugs. Leaving in the early morning has it's perks. Including the fact that the kids give hugs and say goodbye without really realizing what that means. Which means my heart doesn't have to break quite as much.
 Ella was being silly and asked me to take her picture.
 We found Tatum and Ella quite cozy that last night.
 We were up and out of there just a little after 5 in the morning. I'm happy to report that the trip home was quite unadventurous. And about 3 hours shorter!! The most excitement we had was when my mom tried to climb back into the front seat and got herself stuck. That was worth a laugh or two.

What a great week! I'm so glad we were able to visit. I'm grateful that Brennan was supportive of us going and leaving him to a lonely, empty house. And I'm glad my mom could come with us! Mara and Ben were great hosts and we can't wait to go back. I will probably hold out hope that I will one day live near (ish) all my siblings until the day I die. But until then I'm glad to be living a little closer to one. Family is the best.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

dallas zoo

This picture is from Sunday night. I told the kids they had to sleep in their own room for the first two nights of the trip and if they were good and went right to sleep they could earn sleeping with their cousins over the weekend. I'm glad I thought to do this because I think it helped to delay extreme sleep deprivation. However, I never had the heart to make them go back to sleeping in their own room. They stayed up late every night of course, and I often wondered why I on earth I was allowing this. But then I went to check on them Sunday night and I just thought, this is what memories are made of. Yes everyone could have used more sleep but I'm guessing one of their top memories from this trip will be playing and being silly in the bedroom at night. And I guess that's worth having a bunch of tired kids on our hands.
The kids being silly with some random stick.
 Monday was day for the zoo! The forecast was a little iffy but we decided to go for it. I'm so glad we did. Perhaps the iffy weather kept people away but whatever it was it felt like we had the zoo to ourselves.

Moms are chopped liver when there is a grandma around. :)
 She's kind of like a celebrity with her adoring fans.
 The first thing we saw was a parrot who was putting on a little show with a zookeeper. I snapped a few pictures of mom and the kids from the other side of the "exhibit". The first of many serendipitous events of the day was capturing this look on my mom's face. Priceless.
 Next up was a cheetah show.
 It was pretty amazing to watch the cheetah run and see it so close up. It was fascinating to learn about how they house this particular cheetah (their ambassador cheetah) with a labrador retriever to help him feel more comfortable when they take him out in the community for events.

 We went to see the lions next.
  A little picture of Emry just to remember she was there. Just being super chill and hanging out.
 I loved seeing the animals so close.

 This giraffe had a serious tongue issue. It just hangs out of its mouth all the time. Mara said it was like that last time they were there too. So weird.
 Cheese face!
 Hey, I was there too!
 Declan being his usual cooperative self.
 And then we do a silly picture so he flips around and flashes a completely not silly smile.

 Baby elephant!
 Splash pad. For some reason I let Mara convince me to not bring swim suits again. ;) And surprise, surprise everyone ended up soaked.

 We realized too late that we totally did these activities in the wrong order. Get the kids wet and then send them in with the dirty goats? Yeah, real smart.

 It's funny to me how you take your kids to the zoo to see all sorts of exotic animals and the goats are probably their favorite. Could have just gone to a farm. :)

 As soon as we climbed in the van it started to rain. Not even joking, we pretty much patted ourselves on the back for a great day full of impeccable timing. The zoo was empty, we happened to get to exhibits just in time for the keeper talks and shows, we left before the rain, etc etc.

Well folks we spoke too soon.
Mara was merging from one freeway to another when traffic suddenly stopped. She had to slam on her breaks but stopped in plenty of time. There was a small pause and then we got rear ended by a truck. We were all quite shocked and weren't quite sure what happened. There was no real shoulder, lots of traffic, the man who hit us had no insurance, the back window was completely gone and it was raining. Suddenly our luck sure turned, eh? Jade was feeling a little scared. Little Lucy kept saying she wasn't scared. And Declan really wanted to know if we called the cops and wondered when they would get there.
 Declan fell asleep while we were still on the "side" of the road. Apparently he wasn't too traumatized.
 We hung out at a gas station for awhile waiting for Ben to come and help us figure everything out. Grandma bought the girls a soda which they thought was the greatest thing ever.
 Our luck sure took a turn for the worst, but no one was hurt so really in way I guess it didn't. Since Mara is pregnant her OB said she should probably go in to get checked out. Nothing really went according to plan in the hospital and she ended up being there the rest of the day. But gratefully everything with her and the baby was completely fine.

In the mean time, mom and I hung out with the kids. Poor Emry had lots of little piece of glass on her. We showered everyone who had been in the back seat. After the shower I tried to feed Emry but she totally freaked out which is very unlike her. At one point she threw her head back and I could see a piece of glass in her neck! Poor girl. I got it out and all was well. :)

Not exactly the perfect ending to our day. But all in all we were left feeling pretty lucky for a pretty awesome day.