Thursday, September 25, 2014

Off to the Zoo with Kaela, Christi, Elsie, and Whitley

By the second week of my kids being in school, I was already getting bored with the hot temps and all of the local parks we'd visited in just the mornings because of that heat.  I was ready for a "field trip" and upon mentioning it to Christi - she was more than game.  So, we made plans for the Thursday of the last week of September and texted Kaela to see if she would be able to join us as the zoo is in Portland.  She could - and she was super eager to see us too. 

It got to be even more of a big deal to see Kaela after getting the phone call the weekend prior that this happened:

YES!!!!! HER AND DREW GOT ENGAGED!  I was actually a little surprised when I saw the phone call coming from her that Saturday morning - knowing she was down with the Robinsons in San Francisco and why would she CALL me (and not text me) while on vacation?....WAIT A MINUTE...I know the only reason she would call me!!!!  And I immediately called her back as it took a moment in my back-to-morning-nap state to register all of this and the phone had already gone to Voicemail.  I'm so happy for them and can't wait to witness them become husband and wife early in 2015!

Needless to say, Christi and I didn't expect conversation to flounder between the three of us as we pulled all of the juicy details about the proposal and plans for the wedding from Kaela.  And, then, of course, were the constant distractions of the girls and animals....(the other major reason for the visit!)

I thought this place might be a good visit for Whitley, but in reality, it was an AWESOME place for her.  She probably spent 80% of the time walking on her own, and was eager to visit and gaze upon every animal there.  During the times she was tired, she was rather content in the stroller - and, at times, even hurried us along.  (Obviously, we were chatty!).

There's a California Condor in that picture.  We landed upon this exhibit just as they threw an animal carcass in for the birds to feast upon.  Christi was seriously grossed out.  

I've gotta say, the "Petting Area" was sorely lacking in comparison to all of the farms we've visited, but it was fun, nonetheless.

I was SO disappointed that the river otters were in their "sleep mode" when we came by.  I'd been hoping to keep Whitley entertained indefinitely by their antics (and they are my favorites because of Brayden).  On the way back through, we noticed they were stirring a bit.  Even in their sleep den, they reminded me of Brayden - one of them rolling over the rest and nipping and playing.....while the rest just wanted peace and quiet!


 Both girls found the turtles interesting.

We were lucky to see the Sea Lion actually moving as this is their shedding season so they usually just sleep on the rock.  But, it roared a bit and Whitley loved that.  However, once it stopped and tried to go back to sleep, Whitley kept yelling, "Wake up! Wake up!"  She actually interacted with a lot of the animals, slapping her hands on her thighs and saying, "C'mere".... SO CUTE!

The sea otter - being semi-inappropriate in its public grooming habits.  (No Christi, its not clutching and licking a little baby....)

See this cute pose where I wrangled Whitley by putting her on my shoulder?  That one move that lasted all of three minutes resulted in 48 hours of pain and headache the next day and all the way through the Saturday of the weekend.  It was devastating to me as I'd planned all sorts of fun for the next day (Friday) - a massage and shopping trip with Mikayla followed by a weekend at Michele's and everything got canceled upon throwing up all over the car that afternoon.  BOO (and DISGUSTING!)!!!!  We did end up driving to Michele's and returning Sunday morning - so at least Mikayla had fun.  I ended up just kind of "existing" through all of it. =(

So, when I look at this picture, somehow, I don't think it's as cute as it really is....

 This one IS cute though!!!

Kaela has a little love affair going with Elsie - she's pretty enamored....

This is where the polar bears were kept - they were also lazy, but at least up close and visible.  Whitley was arguing with that little girl next to her that they were "My polar bears...." Um, honey, I don't think you want to claim that big guy as your very own.....

Checking out the "Swamp" area....

And, saying "Hi" to the orangutang....

These lions were active and fun.  I didn't get pictures of it, but the mom actually rolled away with her "teens" in the was very sweet.

 Checking out the giraffes...

 And the leopard - I love how the glass viewing lets you feel so close.

Whitley and this little boy kept racing back and forth following the big cats to the two different viewing windows. 

This was the only point where we were close to a tantrum as, now that she had a friend and a game to play, she did NOT want to leave.  We had to use the enticement of a return to the sea lion/otter to get her to leave peacefully.


It takes a lot for Whitley to fall asleep in the car seat - but by the time we were 20 minutes away from the zoo, she was sacked out. 

This one, not so much, though - as she'd slept the whole way up.  So, we ended up parking where we'd met up with Kaela and I stayed in the vehicle with Whitley while Kaela, Christi, and Elsie walked around the outdoor mall and retrieved some DELICIOUS burgers for lunch for all of us.  The smell of the food must have woke up Whitley - as that was it of her nap.... 

A final pic with the NOW ENGAGED KAELA before Christi and I hit the road down south.  I don't think we could have asked for more out of the day or adventure.

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