This past weekend, we drove to Falls Church, VA to stay with my godfather and his wife (Charlie and Denise). My sister and her family met us there, too. After a treacherous trip (Friday PM traffic in DC and storms), we all arrived later than anticipated, around 7:00. The kids were wired for another good 1 1/2 hours as we unpacked and figured out where everyone was going to sleep.
Saturday morning started at 6:00 a.m. and was no calmer as we juggled everyone through breakfast, sun screen, lunch-packing, general impatient excitement... Sarah finally asked if Jim and I could please take Caroline with us, as Colin was still napping 15 minutes after our intended departure time of 8:30. Of course we agreed, shuffled car seats, buckled everyone in and headed out. 20 minutes later my phones rang... It was Denise asking if perhaps Sarah's car keys were next to Caroline's car seat. In fact they were. Sigh...
"Why are we turning around? Are we going home? I don't want to go home. We want to go to the zoo. Why are we turning around... (ad nauseum for 20 minutes)"
Then back we went again, this time following Sarah and Mike (and Colin, who had awakened mere moments after we pulled out the first time!). So we got a bit of a later start than we had planned, but all was good.
Right off the bat, we saw some rather active Orang utans, a sleeping tiger, and a rowdy lion. The lion was quite impressive to watch! Ben seemed to exhibit more of an attention span than last year, as I recall. However, after a few minutes of watching the lion, he began announcing to our group (in a rather loud voice), "Vamanos! Vamanos!" Ahhh. Thank you, Dora and Diego! :-) Of course, his Spanish outburst garnered lots of chuckles, so that phrase was reused numerous times throughout the day.
We marched on to see countless other animals before seeking out our traditional shaded picnic lunch spot next to the Gibbons cage. After a quick bite, we headed back to the trail to see how many more animals we could visit before it was obvious that we needed to call it a day.
I didn't get as many awesome pictures as I did last year, but there are a few... I love this one below of Ben and Ellie's hands on the glass as they watch the tortoise getting a drink of water. Ellie kept saying over and over, "Now that's a turtle, alright!" :-)
And what would a trip with Benjamin be to ...well, anywhere without "special treatment" by whatever construction workers are in the vicinity? The zoo is constructing an Elephant Trail, much to Ben's excitement! One of the workers noticed Ben with his face plastered to the crack between the gates, so he opened it nice and wide for Benjamin to see all of the equipment on the move. Nice, huh? I'm serious...anywhere we go!!!!
After visiting the elephants and the construction, we were on a mission to find the giraffes - Ben's one requested animal. I finally got fed up and asked an employee at a souvenir stand. "Excuse me. Can you tell me where to find the giraffes, please?"
"They're in Miami for two more years. ...because of the construction. But they have some in Baltimore..."
Uh huh. A lotta good that's gonna' do me in DC!!!!! Luckily Ben took the news well. We finished with a quick sweep through the panda exhibit and headed downhill toward the parking lot. Everyone was wiped out and ready to head for home.
On the way back to the cars, I called out over my shoulder to Sarah and Mike, "When we get to a good spot, we're going to stop so I can take a picture of your family."
My family loves it when I get all bossy about picture-taking, especially when everyone is tired. This is what we call, Nazi Photography. :-) And ta-da! With only two shots, I actually got a decent one of the Secrist Family!!! BOTH kids are looking at the camera and smiling. Can you believe it?!?
And here's a picture of the Snowcone Brigade. They looked really pretty, and Sarah and I thought they would be good "treats" for the kids. Turns out, they taste pretty darn bad! What did we expect for a mere $1.95 at the zoo? We'll have to remember that for next year.
The girls slept almost the entire way back to Charlie and Denise's. Ben sang. To Disney songs. Mary Poppins in perfect falsetto. Can you hear it now????
We spent the rest of Saturday visiting with Charlie and Denise at the house and running around with the kids. We had a wonderful visit and can't wait to see them in a few more weeks at the beach!
And here's one last shot I just had to include of Caroline. Another good one! I'm on a roll with her! I love the crooked smile. :-)