Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Can You Come Out and Play?

Get ready for a big fat long post. No, really. You might want to grab a snack. Consider this my make up for yesterday's type and run. :)

So we went to the zoo. Say what? The Robert Family had a free day? Preposterous!

Oh, but it's true. And not only was it any free day, but it was a TUESDAY. The day of the week that we usually don't see Eric walking through the door until bedtime. I suppose if one begs and pleads for weeks on end, one will eventually get her way. :)

We bonneted the girlies, strapped them in, and set off for The Rivers Edge...a mystical, lush jungle of waterfalls and big wrinkly animals that Evelyn prefers to call "rocks." Like that big guy up there. ^^ Hehe. We always hang a right first thing when we walk into the St. Louis Zoo. Doesn't everybody? And if you simply follow the animal tracks through the winding walkways, you might get lucky enough to spot some of these:

I big time love the elephants, which is highly appropriate, as these are big time sorts of creatures. The St. Louis Zoo has been very lucky to welcome two new babies to the family recently, and apart from being absolutely adorable, they were being as playful as a couple of furry lion cubs yesterday. 

We loved watching the babies splash around in the water. This was probably the best experience I've ever had viewing elephants up close and personal. I knew that this was going to be a great day, indeed. We thought we had seen the best of the show, until we turned the corner and got another view. 

We were ridiculously close to these mammoth beasts. For real. Evelyn loved it! And Gracie...erm...not so much.

Can you blame her? I mean...this guy (or girl) was staring her down:

Yes, that would be a trunk over the barrier wires. Luckily there's about a ten foot uncrossable ditch separating us from them...but still. Grace's utter terror was understandable. 

At the end of The River's Edge is a drippy dark tunnel with a viewing tank of mostly local fish. "Big fishies," as we like to call them.

We know once we've crossed through this green glowing cavern that we've reached the end of the first leg of our journey. It's the same every single time. I'm not a big fan of change when it comes to beloved traditions. And the zoo and I? We're likethis. I think Evelyn is starting to feel quite at home there, too.

Evie's motto: Sit back and enjoy the ride. :) She may have gotten quite a few giggles from passersby for this one. But when is our eldest child NOT vying to be the center of attention?

Next up were the bears! We got some awesome views of the bears frolicking about (it was a great day for animal activity, if I do say so myself) but all that Evelyn was interested in was this:

Forget the bears, she wanted the ball!

Me: Look Evie! Look at the bear!
Evelyn: Ball!
Me: No, the bear.
Evelyn: I see a ball.

Trust me, there were bears, and if they weren't so active and my pictures so blurry I might be able to prove it. :) But another favorite spot was coming up, so we hurried along to our next stop....

On a very hot summer's day there is one place in the STL Zoo that has people lining up around the corner to get inside. All of you lovely locals know exactly which exhibit I'm talking about. And if you don't...get your hiney to the zoo STAT! I am of course talking about the famous penguin exhibit, where those fishy birds hang out in a very cool replica of their natural habitat.

Unfortunately for us, this wasn't a very hot summer's day. It was a mild and muggy Spring day. Yet because the weathermen promised we were going to have record breaking temperatures in the 90's (didn't happen) we were dressed as if it were the Fourth of July. Needless to say, we were freezing our noodles off in that darn penguin house.

I managed to snap a couple of photos, but Grace was NOT having it, so I boogied out of there as fast as possible. Normally this stop on the trail is a welcome reprieve from the St. Louis sunshine...but even I was feeling a bit frost bitten this time around. I was never so happy to walk through the doors and into the "we're-forcing-you-to-walk-right-by-our-merchandise-so-your-kids-will-hollar-for-plush-things-and-you'll-spend-some-cash" penguin gift shop.

This would be a good time to mention for anyone ever visiting St. Louis that our zoo is FREE. Hallelujah! So I guess little ploys to get you to spend money elsewhere isn't so bad. After all, we do LOVE the zoo, and I think I'd have a breakdown if they ever started charging admission. So we didn't feel bad at all when we decided that we were going to buy lunch at the River Camp Cafe.

Ordinarily we pack a picnic lunch when we come to Forest Park, but I'm actually really glad we hadn't anticipated picnicking on this particular day. With light raining sprinkles off and on all morning it just wouldn't have been a very pleasurable experience I'm afraid.

Evelyn was seriously having a blast. Eric and I were so glad that we were able to have this day as a family, if only for the look of pure joy on Evelyn's face every time we turned around. I told Evelyn that she looked so happy, to which she replied "Happy Meal!" The girl knew it was time to eat! :)

I love her. She was so well was fantastic. After a yummy lunch and some quick diaper changes we continued to roam around. Grace was getting pretty fussy and totally over being pinned down in the stroller, so I  held her for the rest of the day. I was completely fine with that, but that was the end of all the picture taking. :)

I can't wrap up the zoo portion of this post without first giving a warning to all moms and dads with side-by-side strollers like ours. The zoo is not super accommodating for us parents of two, I'm afraid. At least not on the day we were there. There is only ONE way into the zoo through the main North entrance if you have a double stroller, and that is by going into the elevator, down to the lower level, and through the gift shop. It's seriously the only door wide enough to fit a side-by-side. Then once you're in the zoo, there are several indoor exhibits that definitely require two people to hold open doors and push babies through. Not a single handicap entrance was working properly while we were there, or this wouldn't have been an issue. You'd think at a family friendly place doorways would fit standard size double strollers...but alas...they do not. It's a totally doable situation, but I wouldn't try it by myself. :)

The girls were completely wiped out, but our family fun day was far from over. Eric has been dying to take his daughters to work for ages, so we decided to take a little trip downtown to Stifel Nicolaus to say hello to all of daddy's coworkers. I was terrified that after a long morning out and about the girls would be super crabby...but it just wasn't so. They were as good as could be. :)

The girls loved riding in the mirrored elevators up to daddy's office!

Evelyn hammed it up the entire time we were there, of course. I had a really great time meeting some new friends and saying hello to familiar faces. I hadn't seen many of them since Eric's colleagues through us a baby shower for Evelyn two years ago. Things have definitely changed a bit since the last time I was here, and I have to say I was really glad to take a trip to see where Eric comes every day. It's easy to forget sometimes how hard our spouses work...this was a great reminder for me. I definitely left with a renewed appreciation for what Eric does.

Eric shares his desk space with Ronald Reagan. Baha, that statue cracks me up every time I see it. 

Our day wasn't over yet. Guess what we picked up at the plastic store on the way home?

A mailbox door!

Woot! No more ghetto mailbox!

So we can go ahead and check that off of the list of things that drive me crazy about our house. It's amazing the random things that get done when Eric has a rare day off. There is no such thing as the weekend at our house, unfortunately. (But that will change once our debts are paid! That day can't come soon enough.)

And our day STILL wasn't over. We packed up the girls for the bagillionth time and went to Eric's parent's house for a barbecue that evening. Eric's older brother Denny was in from Phoenix, AZ to visit for a couple of days, so we wanted to make sure we got some time to spend with him.

Amazingly, the girls were still in good spirits.

Evelyn loves Eric's old dog Tiki. :)

We left after dinner and walked a few miles around town...because that's how we roll. The girls took a little snooze while Eric and I gushed to each other about how much we love our family and asked "won't it be nice when we can have days like these more often?" We finally walked into our home for good around 9:00pm. To say that I am pooped is an understatement. 

I am p-double o-p-e-d, pooped! But I love it. :) It's the best kind of tired I can possibly be. It's the kind of tired that makes life so much fun...unlike any other kind of tired which pretty much sucks. (Do parents of babies ever receive a "get out of groggy" card? No? Didn't think so.)

I wouldn't trade family time for anything this world can offer. I am so thankful for the many ways that we are blessed. It's really late, and I can barely keep my eyelids up, yet all I want to do is find my inner remote control and press rewind. I'd do it all again right now. Thank you, Eric for taking the day off. Wasn't it fun? Don't you want to do that all the time? Haha. 

I hope you all have a great Wednesday. I'm expecting a really fun package in the mail today. Woohoo! Can't wait to share the goodies with all of you! :)


Heather Rahn said...

Awwww...what a fun day! But seriously, I'm exhausted just from reading it! How did you not pass the crap out as soon as you got home?

Cassie said...

Awwww, melts my heart! You are such a good Mommy!!

And I'm with Heather, 9:00, girl I am in bed sawing logs by 9:00. lol.

Adrien said...

Haha, I honestly don't know how I was still up...but I'm not exaggerating when I say I was falling asleep at the computer!

Anonymous said...

Wow what a long, long blog you made LOL, but I loved to read it, I was laughing about the bear, I did also see a ball and I didn't saw any bear hahaha.

Love your new mailbox it looks fantastic by your house.
And how sweet your husbands office all those pictures from his children that is so sweet.

Well I go post the photo's from my house FINALY

The Pettijohn's said...

What a fun filled day!! Evelyn is getting so big! Thanks for sharing.


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