Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The first Tuesday of fall break

I came up with a calendar of events for every day of fall break.  I need to have things planned in advance otherwise we just mope around the house and watch too much TV and go shopping for things we don't need just to have something to do.

I worked yesterday.  It was finally the make-up day for when I took my birthday off.  I tried to do it the very next Monday, but that is when we were hit by the hurricane and school was cancelled.  While I was gone  Michael took the kids to the mall.  They went to the rock store and bought some rocks for Spencer's rock collection.  Then they went to Phoenix Children's for Spencer's weekly appointment with dermatology.  We have 5 appointments left.

Today's events included going to the IDEA art museum in Mesa, going out to lunch, going to the candy store to buy candy fish and making jello aquariums.

It was lovely and cool outside when we arrived so we actually spent a good amount of time playing with the outside musical instruments.  And yes, I picked similar outfits for them so all I had to do was scan the room for red shorts and dark tops (Elliott's was black, Spencer's is actually very dark grey).

We bought a groupon for a 1 year membership so we'll be going here a lot until October, 2015.

There is a new camping room since the last time we were there, about 6 weeks ago.  It was really cool, both literally and figuratively.  I used the flash for some of these pictures but it was as dark as night in there.  It was also cold and breezy, as if you were actually in the woods camping.  

There were dress up clothes before you went in.

Without the flash.

With the flash.  They were fishing for glow in the dark fish.
Elliott was very concerned about the fire.  He kept saying for us to not touch it because it was too hot.  He never did believe us that it was pretend.  He also freaked out when Spencer sat on the fake logs (that were actually soft pillows) and pretended to roast a marshmallow and eat it.  Elliott was screaming and crying that it was his turn to eat a marshmallow.  We had to show him our hands and inside our mouths to convince him that we were just pretending and that there were no marshmallows and he was not actually getting cheated out of anything.  Jeesh!

This was post meltdown when he demanded that his play clothes be removed.

Inside the train.  The screen that normally shows a movie of scenery as if you were on a train was broken.

They spent a lot of time rolling each other in this tube.  A lot of time.  Oh so much time.  Thank goodness for the pinterest app.

Once we were done we headed to my favorite breakfast place.  We would eat there way more if it wasn't in Mesa.

On the way home we stopped at the candy store to buy candy fish.  In my mind I thought we would just buy a box of swedish fish, but they actually had a variety of bulk aquatic creatures made out of sugar and gelatin.  We got sharks, dolphins and both big and small fish.

After Elliott's failed nap we made the jello aquariums.

Then we dropped Spencer off at his aikido class and Elliott and I went to Kohl's.  I had a $5 Kohl's cash that expired today and I hate when I lose those to an expiration.  It's like throwing a $5 bill away.  I also had a $25 gift card that Cathy gave me for being a part of her wedding in August.  I was somewhat looking for shoes for my bridesmaid duties for Monica's wedding and a dress for the rehearsal, but I didn't find anything I loved.  Well, I found some awesome shoes for a ridiculously low price, but a size 8 I am not (even though I almost convinced myself I could make them work).

So in the end Cathy ended up buying me this cute little pumpkin candle holder (I put the candy corn votive from the Yankee Candle factory in there), 

and this black top.  
I needed neither of them, but sometimes that's the best kind of stuff to buy with a gift.  I had to use $1.97 of my own money.  Not bad.  Thanks Cathy!

After dinner the kids had their jello aquariums for dessert.  It was a sticky, messy affair.

Up tomorrow.  Two doctor's appointments and a new splash pad.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Out of Africa (and a bit of other stuff)

The plan all along was that we were going to drive up to Camp Verde to go to the Out of Africa Wild Animal Park on the first Saturday of fall break.  But then the forecast called for an 80% chance of rain and severe flooding for Saturday and clear, sunny skies on Sunday.  Not wanting to be caught in a hurricane we changed our plans to go one day later.  It was still essential that we go in September and not another weekend, because you get in free for your birthday month.  Spencer and I were free because of our birthdays, Elliott was free because he is not yet three and I bought a groupon for Michael.  All four of us ended up going for $19.  Not bad.

But first Michael and I had to watch Frozen so we would be able to follow the story line on Once Upon a Time this season.

We were disappointed that we weren't doing our original plans on Saturday, but we made the best of the day.

We went to the mall and the kids had free cookies at story time.

We rode all the elevators and escalators.

We saw the puppies and kitties at the pet store.

We watched the big screen TV at the Disney Store.

And had free samples at Sees Candy and Teavana.

That night I made olive oil mayo.  Everyone should do this.  It is excellent.
Oh, and the kids had roasted marshmallows, per Spencer's request, for dessert.  Don't mind topless Michael in the background.


We left the house at 8:30 and made it to Camp Verde at 10:00, just 30 minutes after the park opened.

The first thing we did was take the safari tram ride.  And the first animal we saw was a very hungry giraffe.  They gave everyone a piece of celery to feed him.  Elliott chickened out at the last second.

Onto the zebras

This baby is about 3 months old.

Did you know that baby zebras are brown?

Zebra butts
Then another hungry giraffe assaulted the passengers and guide.  Not really, he was actually very friendly.  Just big.

I don't remember what these are.


Camel.  They said he is very, very lazy.

She did a demonstration to show how ostriches will bite at anything that is put in front of them.  They can't help it, it's a reflex.


After the safari ride we had our picture taken with this very fake and very safe rhino.
We got complemented on our wardrobe choices by lots of people in the park.  The lady at the ticket booth said we were the best dressed family she had ever seen.

Then we set off on foot to check out some animals.  

This bear just sat down at a picnic table to have lunch.  It was just about the funniest thing I have ever seen.

Then we went to our first show.  It was a meet the creatures show.  This was a totally disgusting lizard, but I cannot remember what the actual breed is.  Sorry I'm not a very good blogger.

A disgusting snake.  I believe it was a python.

Elliott was more concerned with his snacks.


Then we hoofed it back to the car for a picnic lunch since food is not allowed to be brought into the park.

After lunch it was time for the Tiger show.

It was a tigers as mermaids show.

I captured some sweet, sweet jumps.

Sweet, sweet jump!

That was a stuffed animal Simba.  He didn't last long.

A cayman

It was the closest thing to a crocodile for Elliott's shirt, so he had his picture taken with him.

Michael found his tiger.

So you see this tiger?  Right after I took this picture it jumped up at the fence, locked eyes with me and gave me a ferocious roar.  The 4 of us were the only people there.  Scared the bejesus out of me.

We think this was some kind of marsupial, but we never did see the sign identifying it.
By this point in the afternoon (it was like 2:00) the kids needed a snack.  We got them a Hawaiian shaved ice (Spencer) and a smoothie (Elliott) and headed to the Disgusting Large Snake Show.  That might not have been the actual name of the show, but it should be.

It took about 10 people (although most of them were kids) to lift it.
Right after this picture the snake pooped and peed all over the place and they had to bring in beach towels and a clean up crew.


Uck.  Disgusting.  See the whitish stuff?  Left- over snake poop.
The kids were brave.  And actually, so was I.  I did give it a pet.  He was cool and clammy and soft and disgusting.

Michael helped carry him back to the sun.  He was, apparently, getting too cold.

Then it was time for the last "show" of the day.  The last "show" of the day involves everyone in the park following the employees as they drive a truck pulling a bin full of 300 pounds of raw meat and throw it to all the animals.  And in case you are curious, this was horse meat.  Complete with fur and hooves.  The circle of life.

Some chunks were so big and heavy that it took them several attempts to clear the fence.


The bear got fruits and vegetables and fish.

Right after this guy heaved that meat he told me I had a really cool shirt.  Um, OK, meat thrower.  Thanks.
After the feeding frenzy we walked around looking at the rest of the animals.

Unfortunately, the disgusting snake house was up first.

I think this is the same guy from the Disgusting Large Snake Show.

We saw some equally disgusting lizards.
These were some type of dragon monitors.  Apparently a close up of their face can be seen in the movie Jurassic Park, standing in for a raptor.

They were eating whole quails.
The javelinas were eating romaine lettuce, avocado, apples and sweet potatoes.  It looked good.  I kind of wanted them to share.

Adorable prairie dogs

This guy was hungry.  They were also having salad.

It's hard to tell, but this was a huge 18 pound rabbit.  And he's only half grown.  I want one of these guys.

Macaws.  They were very squawky. 

On our way out we stopped by the zebras again so I could get a picture with my shirt animal.

And Spencer got one more picture with a giraffe.
Then, tired and dirty, we drove back to Phoenix and headed straight to the airport to pick up my dad.  The plan had been to go to dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, to fit with the theme, but, unbelievably, they close at 6:00 on Sunday.  So we went to a steak place.  I guess the 300 pounds of raw meat made us hungry for a little sirloin.