Monday, June 13, 2016

Finally!

Yes, we finally had a photo-worthy weekend!  It's nearly mid-June and I feel like we're usually so much deeper into the fun summer to-dos already, but this year with the weather and some different schedules, that just hasn't been the case.  Or maybe we're all just too tired.  Either way, it had gone on that way long enough and we finally had a weekend with some substance!

We were unceremoniously woken up around 6am on Saturday morning by a thunderstorm.  The thunderstorm was enough to cancel baseball that day, but we weren't planning on going anyway because it was Jacob's last lacrosse game of the season.  Fortunately the rain moved along pretty quickly, and by gametime at 11am, it was just super steamy.  The sun was trying to come out, which made the humidity almost unbearable despite cooler temperatures.  But the temps rose quite quickly and the sun came out, and fortunately, a breeze picked up which made things a bit more tolerable!  The game was good.  No points for Jacob and more time than he'd like on defense, but it was a hard-fought game despite the heat...



On our side of the field, we were managing the heat the best we could.  Carter was having fun making his cup spit out water.  By the end of the game he and Jacob got into a bit of a water war (Carter grabbed cooler ice, Jacob used his water bottle like a squirt gun), but anything to stay cool, I guess!


Here's Carter and Daddy having their fun...

...and here's Carter trying to avoid having me take his picture!

That night the weather shaped up beautifully for Little League Night at the Red Wings game.  We've done this before, but it's always fun to walk on the field and watch the game with Jacob's team.

Jacob is in the bright orange shorts, with his glove in the air.  He and his teammates were jumping against the outfield wall catching pretend pop flies!

I always take a pic of him on the field, and he gave me a great smile yet again!

Another picture in front of the dugout!
Back in the seats, we ate our dinner and got some cool refreshment! 
Carter shared his Icee with me :)

All my boys!
We were lucky enough to hit Zooperstars night again, and this time there was a new character--Kevin Duranteater!  Get it?!  Here he his trying to resuscitate Monkey Mantle, his deflated dancing buddy...

Later in the game we wandered over to the batting and pitching inflatables with a couple of Jacob's teammates and their brothers.  The boys all took their turn, including Carter...
He needs to work on his form a bit, and I don't think we'll be rushing into t-ball next year, but he will get there!
The boys all wanted to watch the game from the first baseline grassy area in hopes of getting a ball from an outfielder, which was probably a different view for Carter...

Have I mentioned that I love that Jacob smiles for the camera more now that he knows this blog exists?  And yes, he does pop on and scan it now and then.  I don't know how much he actually reads, but it's funny having him know this is all here...

We stayed for the fireworks, so it was a pretty late night, but aside from the normal craziness it wasn't too bad of a night.  The boys went down quickly, and good thing--we had another busy day ahead!

Back in February, a Groupon caught my eye.  It was a very discounted family pack to the Buffalo Zoo.  We hadn't been there in ages, so I thought we were overdue!  When a sale on local deals came up, I grabbed it.  And of course, despite my best efforts to find a decent weekend to go use it, we came down to the last few weeks before it expired and I decided this had to be the one!  My parents offered to meet us there, which was nice since they will be visiting my brother's family next weekend for Father's Day, so I got a little bonus time with my dad this weekend instead.

The weather was significantly cooler, but pleasant despite the stiff breeze.  One of the things I love about the Buffalo Zoo is that I spent my childhood going there, so I have many memories of that zoo and its spaces.  Some of the buildings are very old, and while much has changed around them and in them, those older buildings bring back memories.  I love the outside of the elephant house...
Note the elephant head above the arch!
We saw the sea lion exhibit, then moved along to the otters.  Our otters in Rochester are often in hiding or not that active, but the ones in Buffalo have been amazing every time we've seen them.  They play and swim and run, and they're so darn cute.  They played with a ball, swam through a floating log, dove to dig among rocks, and played with each other!

Oh, look at that face!
We aw an elephant, then caught a glimpse of a polar bear...

...and because the kids wouldn't stop chasing each other long enough to pose with the cute statue, Craig did it for me!

We loved watching the giraffes, with their long necks and long tongues.  They had a milk jug with a hole cut in it hanging just out of their reach with food in it, and they had to use their tongues to get it!  The size difference between all of them was amazing to see--some very tall, some smaller.  Their features are just so odd, but they are really amazing-looking creatures.  We agreed it definitely shows God's sense of humor!

We then said the same thing about the rhinos, because their armor-like skin is fascinating in its own right.  You can see some of it below, but their backsides were even more intricate.  I just liked this picture because this guy's horn was so much bigger than the stumps most of them had, and he was drinking out of a water fountain in that rock, which was cute.

When we got to the hyenas, they had both just been given giant bones to chew on.  They were still bloody, mostly stripped but with bits here and there for them to gnaw off.  It's more of an enrichment exercise than a feeding one, based on what I know from our zoo's blog and newsletter articles I've read over the years.  It was pretty gross, and a good reminder of why the get a bad rap in The Lion King and more recently The Lion Guard.  Ewww.

We saw zebras, bison, and other four-legged animals, along with lots of smaller monkeys.  Inside one of the buildings there was a little outback-style camping setup, and Jacob couldn't resist the cot...

I couldn't resist the coloring on these two birds in one of the exhibits across from it!


Further into the building was the gorilla habitat.  We were excited to see that the baby was out and active, and in fact hopped right up on the window ledge and paraded around with its hands in the air!  Of course, Carter chose that moment to freak out about wanting to find Daddy and Jacob, so I was unable to get out the camera and capture that moment without him running off and no doubt somehow ending up in the gorilla habitat (Sorry, perhaps that was in bad taste.  I'm kidding.  This habitat is pretty secure, I think, unlike the one in Cincinnati where a kid got in a couple weeks ago.  However, it is a bit ironic that THAT was the spot where I had to make the conscious decision to not get distracted at the risk of losing him.).  Anyway, this is all I got of the baby.  You can just see a larger one below, next to the rope and tarp. 

At one point one of the adults pounded the wall and they all scampered close to the door for a bit.  Big excitement!  For the record, last time we were here we brought Jacob's stuffed gorilla, and the baby then got all excited and was pointing to it!

On the way out of that building I snapped one of my favorite pictures of the day, almost an afterthought shot that I took because I noticed these fish were so perfectly lined up while hiding in their tank.  Their setup just cracked me up!

We headed over to the reptiles and Jacob and Carter posed on the turtle statues outside.  Carter didn't really smile (and there are already so many pictures!) so I'm skipping his here, but it makes me happy when Jacob smiles for me, so his is here.
Not shown: The crazy face he gave me first!
I'm not a big fan of the reptiles.  Not only are they just not my thing, but it's often hard to find them in the displays!  I did, however, capture this stunning picture of an iguana, through glass in a dark building, zoomed....and yet with stunning detail.  My dad was marveling at how his skin looked almost metallic, which is hard to see here, but the details are amazing.

We moved along to the rainforest, and I couldn't help but share one of these birds because their color is so gorgeous and so vivid!
 
 
We saw bats and little crocodile-type animals, some large rodent-ish animals swimming in the water that runs through the building, and eventually came around to the animal who was making his presence known.  The howler monkey was being obnoxious, and I was smart enough to capture this video...



You may have been able to hear some screeching in the background.  I decided later that the monkey was just telling this bird to be quiet!

As my mom and I checked out a second-story lookout, I realized that the anteater was awake.  He'd been sleeping when we first came through, and after seeing the Zooperstars' anteater last night, I really wanted to see this one!  I dragged Craig and the kids back in to see it, and we watched it pace through his pool...
This is through the crack in the protective netting.  It's hard to see because he was constantly moving, but his snout is closest to me, and his long skinny tail is near the top of the photo.
The boys both wanted to do the fossil dig, and actually worked together for a bit!

We wandered through the barn area and saw some farm animals.  Carter wanted to sit on this pig...

We were running out of time as we needed to finish up and meet my parents back at their house. but I couldn't resist letting Carter play on this pretend boat, which I remember Jacob playing on last time!
Steering the ship!
On the way out, Carter and I went through an enclosure with a wallaby and one of these ducks...

Again, God had some fun with this one!  The colors and feather types are so pretty and perfect.  I was never really a bird person, but I find myself marveling at some of the birds I see at zoos.  They're just so cool.

After Jacob had a tantrum because he really wanted to go in the store and buy something, we went back to my parents' for a quick dinner and then headed home.  Carter fell asleep on the way home, and it was lights out pretty quickly once we got home.  Carter came home from daycare tonight with a low fever, so I have no idea what this week has in store, but it was nice to finally get a weekend full of memories to get the summer rolling!

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