Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Visiting Angela, part 1

When I moved across the country from my family, the very first person to make me feel at home as my friend Joann. She and her twin boys left balloons on our door. The very next friend I made was the wife of John's boss (at the time), Emily. She has triplet boys. We hit it right off. But within the first couple weeks of living here, Emily introduced me to Angela and her girl/girl/boy triplets. (She's also mom to three teenagers!) That first summer, I felt right at home with all my new Moms of Multiples friends. Then Emily had to move away to Arizona. Not too much after that Angela and her family moved up north to Pullyap, WA. I was sad to see all of them move. But Ang, invited us to spend a couple nights at her house this last spring and we had such a great time catching up! 

 Isaac, Makena, Maddie, Izzie and Mikayla. We went to this really cool place called Northwest Trek. They had a "nature" playground for the kids to explore and a safari ride. The safari ride was fun, until the wind kicked up and made almost everyone in our groups allergies flare up. There was something in the air that made everyone have red puffy eyes.

 Izzie and Maddie

 Maddie at the Nature Education center next to a stuffed wolf.

 The kids and Angela playing a survival game.

 Buffalo we saw on the safari ride.

 Later that afternoon, Ang and I were sitting around the kitchen table and we realized it had gotten quiet. Really, really quiet. When there are five 7&8 year olds and two teens in the house with NO noise, you go and check. I guess the morning wore them out! All the kids were quietly reading books. It was seriously the sweetest thing ever.

 But being still only lasts so long, so outside for bike riding!

Maddie on her bike. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sword Fight at Homeschool Group

 Homeschool Park day the kids brought Nerf Swords and daggers and had an epic battle. There may have been tears involved. One girl thought it was getting too serious and while we were trying to reassure her that everyone who was playing really was having fun and that anyone could leave the game at any time, she really thought it was scary. At that point some of the sword play really did get out of hand so we had to calm everyone down. A few minutes later everyone was happy again and the swords got brought back out. I'm sure lots of playground lessons were learned that day!

 Maddie showing her battle stance.

 Adorable Ilan going after Maddie. He was right at gut level and got some good strikes in!

 This probably should have gone on the last post but this is two of the mud masterpieces that the girls made.

 Foxglove growing in our backyard.

 Firepit night.

 Izzie reading near the fireplace while I grilled up some chicken.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Friend's Houses!

 Maddie and Izzie at their friend Treya's house. She has a beautiful two acre spread. We love going over there and enjoying the Japanese style gardens they have.


 Pictures from around Treya's property.

 Maddie on the big swing.

 The next day we went to Esperanza's house for gardening class. The girls were checking out how their peas were growing with Hanukkah.

 Back at home they went to make mud pies in the backyard. I was in the other room and I hear, "Mom, I'm going to leave my jeans in the laundry room, they got a little muddy!" A little muddy indeed! Yikes! Luckily, amazingly, they washed out and I'm glad she had such a great time playing. Getting muddy is what childhood is all about!

 Bunny hopping across our street.

 Handsome Jake!

Cuddle Jake.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Portland Zoo Snooze and Troop 45078

The girls of troop 45078 decided to use some of their cookie money to attend Zoo Snooze. This is a behind the scenes tour and overnight field trip. The forecast had been clear right up until the day of our trip. Then that morning it POURED. I was really worried, but thankfully it cleared up most of the way, with just a few sprinkles on us during the tour.

 The rain worked with us and it would rain harder during our indoor activities! Here the zookeepers brought out some unusual animals for a close up animal encounter.

 We got to see the new elephant exhibit. The elephants did come out, but apparently I didn't take any photos of them. Go figure.

 This was a decoration and the troop wanted to see if they could wrap themselves all the way around, which they did!

 The lions were loving the weather and were particularly frisky.

 I was wearing my Carmen San Diego Hat.

 At one point one of the lion cubs came up to the window and started pawing up and down on it. Thank goodness for safety class!!! He was really going at it!

 Bethany stayed calm, but it eventually even made her squirm.

 In the classroom we learned how Zookeepers train their animals and why. They need the animals to do certain things for when they need medicine, xrays or even teeth cleanings! If they don't train them while they are healthy, well, you ask an elephant to show you their hurt tooth.

 Since animals don't speak English, the zookeepers asked for a nonsense word. So for instance if she wanted Taylor to tap her head to the stick, she'd say, "garbage" which to Taylor does NOT mean, "tap your head to a stick." But she'd show Taylor the stick say the word and if Taylor moved towards the stick she got a cheese cracker reward and a click from the reward clicker. She did this over and over until Taylor knew that if the zookeeper said, "Garbage" it meant "touch head to stick.

 Izzie got up and was an animal volunteer too!  The kids learned behaviors similar to what was expected of the animals like, put your paw out, turn around, back up, move over, etc.

 We also got to tour the Vet Clinic and got to see some xrays of different animals. And we toured the kitchens, which the girls were surprised to see had no stoves or ovens... because animals don't cook their food! I was surprised to hear that they have several MONTHS of food in storage in case of a disaster. Their emergency plan is pretty rock solid. Some of those animals require a highly specialized diet! After a short video on animal enrichment it was time to get ready for bed. '

 The next morning after breakfast, they set up an Lion enrichment for us to watch, then we got to tour the zoo on our own time with the crowds of the day.

 They add things to an exhibit that are a bit out of place to make the animals ponder and explore. Lions are not used to encountering snow for instance! They really had fun checking it out and seeing what it was all about. The zookeepers also put bits of meat around the exhibit for the lions to find. A baby version of hunting if you will.

 Yum, meat on a window. Lick!

 We got to the crocodiles right at feeding time. And we saw the zookeeper using the training stick before he fed the croc. Pretty cool to see it in action!

 Giraffes! and Maddie!

 This is Conrad. He's was an elderly polar bear. He was still feeling well when we were there to visit in May, but typing this up in October (I am SOOO behind!) He has since passed away. He was old and had lived a pretty happy life.

As for the Troop? They were a great bunch of kids. I'm glad I got to be one of their chaperones! GO TROOP! I highly recommend the Zoo Snooze event at the Portland Zoo, it was a blast!