Sunday, June 27, 2010

Animals, Animals, and More Animals


Let me tell you, it's a good thing my kids like animals, well at least from a distance.  Because we spent a lot of time while on our vacation talking about them, looking at them, reading about them, pointing at them, feeding them, smelling them, eating amonst them, trying to keep them from eating our hands off, and even having them attempt to join us in our air-conditioned vehicle.  It was quite an adventure....our first "real" vacation as a family of six.  And we had a blast!

We left on Monday (well, I should say "a" Monday, because it has been almost two weeks now).  Got to my sister, Rachel's house in Fort Worth, and started our week out by going to downtown Fort Worth.  We ate lunch down there and then proceeded to take our kids to what has become a very special place to Lou and I, The Fort Worth Water Gardens.  Now to most, it may just seem like a bunch of water fountains, shallow pools, and waterfalls.  But to us, it's where many special memories have been made as a couple.  So we thought it would be fun to take the kids and share with them.  They absolutely loved it!  It was so hot, we almost melted...but it was worth it to see their excitement as our memories there have now expanded to ones we can share as a family.  Lou, also, had the opportunity to share a bit of his unwavering and never-ending compassion to a homeless man we encountered.  You can read his story here

After spending much of the afternoon in the hot sun, we ended the day at Rachel's pool and with some awesome fajitas.

Tuesday, which had to be mine and Madilyn's favorite day, was spent at a waterpark.  We were really nervous about how the two of "US" were going to handle the four of "THEM".  Of course, Rachel, Jeremy, and Pacey (my 2-yr old niece) came with us.  But I was SHOCKED at how easy the kids were to keep track of.  I was just positive that Noah was going to be running all over the place and we were going to be taking turns chasing him.  But, as it turns out, Noah is terrified of the water.  And while he wasn't screaming when we got him in it, you couldn't have pried his hands from around my neck with the jaws of life.  He hung on for dear life.  So as long as he was holding on and could put his head on mine or Lou's shoulder, he was ok.  He didn't want to walk around the kiddie pools....didn't want to slide.  Just wanted Mommy or Daddy. 

As for the other three, Benjamin was the only one tall enough to ride a couple of the slides (besides the ones in the kid area), so him and I were able to sneak away a couple of times to do that.  The rest of the day we spent at the kiddie pools with all the water slides they could do, the wave pool, or the lazy river.  Benjamin and Madilyn were even able to be life-jacket-free for everything but the wave pool (even though they can't swim yet).  Finally, about 45 minutes before we left, Noah started walking around in the water and even splashing!!!  He spent over 6 hours attached to one of us and 45 minutes actually playing.  Before we knew it, it was 5 pm and we decided to head back to Rachel's for pizza, baths, and bedtime.

Wednesday was spent at the zoo...which is always fun.  Jacob and Noah hadn't been to the Fort Worth Zoo yet, so it was a fun "first" for the two of them.  It was extremely hot and humid (no surprise)...and I couldn't help but wish I was back at the waterpark almost the entire time we were at the zoo.  Of course, Benjamin was in heaven.  He loves anything animal, especially Wild Cats.  And a "first" for him was getting to see cheetahs "in real life". 

After a few hours of looking at all the animals (and trust me, Benjamin would not let us skip a single one) and our picnic lunch, we headed to Josh and Dianna's (my cousin and his wife, who happens to be one of my closest friends) house for the remaining two days.  It was so fun to let our kids play...they're always so excited to see their cousins.  In fact, when we asked Jacob before leaving on our vacation what part he was looking forward to the most, he would answer "Going to Brady's house."  Maybe we should have just dropped him off there on Monday.

Thursday ended up being full of shopping and we even managed to get some relaxing in there, as well.  Lou got his first IKEA experience (which he LOVED) well as his first Grapevine Mills experience.  It's a good thing I didn't take him to the American Girl store, too, like I had originally planned.  I think he might have been so overwhelmed, we might have had to call for some sort of intervention.  But he's a great sport, and really is not one of those husbands who can't stand to shop and you have to drag along.  He's pretty patient and even got to enjoy shopping for his own Father's Day gifts (new shorts, slacks, and a couple of shorts).  We ended Thursday at Rainforest Cafe...a "first" for all of us Ellerbrooks.  While the food was definitely lacking, the atmosphere was NOT.  The kids, of course, LOVED it!!!  I had forgotten my camera and tried to take some on my IPhone but it was so dark in there they didn't turn out.

On Friday, we got up, said our goodbyes to the Palmers, and headed to our last destination before heading home.  We took the kids to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose.  This ended up being the boys' favorite thing we did.  It's a "drive-thru" safari where you get to experience, feed, pet, and come in very close contact with all sorts of wildlife (mainly wildlife you'd find in Africa).  The trail is about 9.5 miles long and it took us about 4 hours to go through with a lunch break half-way through at the Cafe that is up on a hill overlooking the Wildlife Reserve.  It was so incredible.  We definitely can't wait to go back!

Are your retinas bleeding, yet? can't say I didn't warn ya, though.  I know there is a lot in this post, but I use this blog to help document things the kids say or do or things we do as a family...for my sake.  So I wanted to make sure I got it all down before I forgot something.  I have many pictures from the zoo and Fossil Rim that I promise to post soon.  But seeing as it is 2 a.m. and I am suppose to teach Sunday School for our Elementary kids in the morning, I better get some sleep.  I promise to get pictures posted ASAP, though.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Conversation with my 4 year old after watching a documentary on Big Cats in Africa:

Me:  Jacob, are you my lion cub?

J:  No.

Me:  Are you my tiger cub?

J:  No.

Me:  Are you my cheetah cub?

J:  No, Mommy.  I'm human.

Me:  Oh, I see.  So you're my leopard cub, right?

J:  Nooooooo........I'm your Ja-CUB.

Where does he come up with this stuff?!!!? 

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