A Trip to the Zoo and a Nature Center

There was no school today, so I had a day off work. Which meant it was the perfect time for an adventure. Isaiah, my mom, and I loaded up the car (we even remembered to pack a picnic!) and headed off.

First on the agenda was the zoo. We live within reach of a couple and Isaiah had asked to head to this one a few times recently, so it was definitely time for a visit. We saw lots of happy animals while we were there, much to Isaiah’s delight.

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The red panda, enjoying the morning sun

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Curious bushbaby

The zoo’s tree kangaroo has a new baby, but it’s still small enough that it stays hidden away in mom’s pouch. Mom wasn’t much in the mood for pictures, either. Bummer.

The naked mole rats were quite active, causing plenty of excitement. Isaiah loved watching them race between “rooms”, tripping over each other, doing flips, and generally causing complete chaos. They may be ugly little critters, but they’re certainly interesting to watch!

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Observing the naked mole rats

Video of the naked mole rats

Isaiah was pretty interested in the snakes today. A friend recently got a pet snake, so he’s started seeing them in a different light. He’s still not sure he’d want a pet snake, but he likes watching them.

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Checking out the rainbow python

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You can't see it in the picture, but he's looking at a very large iguana

We managed to be in the right part of the zoo to catch a creature encounter show. It was about one of the zoo’s macaws, so the keeper had him out with her and let him show off some tricks. The macaw’s name is Elliot and he’s quite the little attention seeker. Any time his keeper put him down to talk, he’d start going through all his tricks, trying to keep the spotlight on him, instead of his keeper.

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Elliot the macaw

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Demonstrating how he can use his beak for climbing

Elliot showing off

We made sure to get some food so Isaiah could feed the zoo’s goats. The bigger ones are a bit pushy, but, in general, they’re pretty friendly. He had a lot of fun feeding them and trying to make sure everyone got a fair amount of the food.

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Feeding the goat

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Making sure the smaller goats get some, too

Silly goat

When we went into the reptile building, they had a number of animals out so that kids could touch them. Isaiah bounced from one critter to the next, petting them and asking their names. He would have happily stayed there all day, playing with the animals.

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Petting a shy ball python

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Skittles the black and white tegu

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Petting an adorable leopard gecko named Casper

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Twiggy the bearded dragon

Before leaving the zoo, we had to stop and play on their natural playground. Isaiah adores all the things they have to climb on and wanted to do it all before we could go anywhere else. He’s been getting braver and was able to jump from one tree stump to the next, as well as climbing to the highest point on various structures.

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Balancing

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Jump!

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More jumping

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Happy spider

After the zoo, we headed over to a nature center. It was getting late in the day, so we didn’t have time to explore all the buildings and trails, but we got to see the buffalo herd and some geese. We walked down one of the shorter trails, along a lake. We could hear frogs chirping all around us, but any time we came near any, they’d get quiet, so we couldn’t find them. After a while of searching, Isaiah finally spotted one and showed us where to look.

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The buffalo were fairly close to the fence

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Talking about pioneer children and collecting buffalo chips to build fires. He was surprisingly enthusiastic about the concept.

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He really loved this feather

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The frog Isaiah spotted

Isaiah was a little sad when it was finally time to go home, but it was a fun day. He can’t wait until we can go on another adventure.

At the Zoo with DJ and Shiloh

We’ve been wanting to meet up with DJ and Shiloh for a zoo day for a while and it finally worked out that everyone’s schedules allowed for a zoo day at the same time. Yay! Isaiah could barely contain his excitement.

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Snow leopard

I wasn’t able to get very many pictures because Isaiah flew from one exhibit to the next, dragging DJ and Shiloh behind him. He wanted to make sure they saw all his favorite animals. Since he’d never been to the zoo with Shiloh before, he was sure she’d never seen the animals before, which made it extra important that she see everything.

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Riding on Uncle DJ's shoulders

I managed to stop everyone in the jungle for a few pictures, before everyone took off again. Isaiah wasn’t sure he wanted to waste time on it, but did manage to give me a few nice shots.

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Isaiah with his favorite aunt and uncle

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Silliness with Gram

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Pretending to eat me

We managed to see quite a bit of the zoo in the couple of hours we had together. We made a few new friends, too. Isaiah found a tiny lizard that followed his finger and my mom had a nice conversation with a cougar.

Talking to a cougar

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Isaiah's little friend (Isaiah took off before I could get a picture of him with the lizard)

Isaiah’s 6th Birthday

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My six year old

Isaiah’s Birthday Interview

Name: Isaiah
Age: Six. I’m six!
What are you going to be when you grow up? I’m going to be working at the Bob the Builder and be a magic guy.
What is something that is hard for you? School. When we’re talking about letters.
What is something you’re good at? Legos and puzzles. Helping Gram.
What are you afraid of? The dark. You already knew I was ‘fraid of the dark!
What do you like to do with family? Everything. I like to play.
What do you like to learn? New songs.
Where would you go on vacation? To see Winter [the dolphin] and Big Cat Rescue.
Who is your hero? Everybody who lives in this house.
How old is Mama? Grown up.
How old is Gram? 18.
How old is Grandfather? 59. [He may have had a little help on this one…]
What makes you happy? Going to the park.
What makes you sad? Not getting to go to the park.
What’s the best thing about your birthday? Build this [marble] tower.
Favorite food: Donuts
Favorite subject at school: P.E.
Favorite thing to do: Puzzles
Favorite book: They’re all my favorites!
Favorite animal: Lemur, cheetah, lion, and dino
Favorite color: Yellow, green, red, and blue
Favorite teacher: All of them.
Favorite sport: The ball kind
Favorite birthday gift this year: Star Wars ships
Favorite show: HobbyKidsTV
Favorite movie: Toothless [How to Train Your Dragon]
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Favorite restaurant: Pizza Ranch

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Happy boy

Gifts and Silliness

Isaiah was pretty excited about opening his gifts. He got a few shipped her by a friend and his gifts from family. He got some dinosaur toys, some awesome Star Wars ships, and a marble track.

Isaiah has been asking for a watch off and on for a while. Since all the grown ups in the house have one, he figures they must be super important. Much to his delight, the smallest package he opened today had an awesome Jurassic World watch in it.

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His response to discovering his new watch

Then, for fun, he got an iTunes gift card that was creatively wrapped. He opened a box of spaghetti, that still had noodles in it. He was so excited about the noodles and trying to eat them all as fast as he can (raw noodles are a special treat, in his world) that he almost missed the actual gift. After he’d devoured a noodle and declared it the best gift ever, we managed to convince him to look inside the box to see what else was there. He’s almost as happy about the card as he was about the noodles.

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Eating his noodle with great enthusiasm

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There's more?? Not just yummy noodles?

Family Photos, 2015

We try to get family pictures taken every year or two. This year, pictures were a high priority because our family has grown. DJ got married this summer, bringing Shiloh into our family. Obviously, it’s important to have a family picture that includes her.

So, we got everyone together when DJ and Shiloh came for a belated Thanksgiving celebration and set up a bunch of pictures.

First, we needed to get some individual headshots and “family” shots (my parents, DJ and Shiloh, Isaiah and me). Those took some shuffling around and craziness, but we pulled it off somehow.

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DJ and Shiloh

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My parents

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Isaiah and me

Then, it was time to cram everyone into the small space in front of our Christmas tree for a whole group photo. Of course, the room isn’t quite big enough to back the camera up and get a wide shot. That would be too easy. But, with some serious effort, we managed to get it set up and set the timer. A few photos later, we had our shot.

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The whole crew

Before I could take the camera down, Isaiah had to get a few special shots and my mom and DJ wanted to pose with the cats. Once those were done, it was time to download everything and see what we had. We definitely got some winners!

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Isaiah getting a ride on DJ's shoulders

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Isaiah and his new favorite person

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Isaiah wanted to pose with Gram the way the guys were posing with their wives

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Kisses for Gram

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My mom and Jack

Conversations with Isaiah: Naughty Kitty

I was sitting on my bed with the computer, while Isaiah was happily sitting in a corner with his iPad. Thomas jumped up on my bed, walked up to me, sticking his nose up against mine, and proceeded to meow as loudly as he could.

Me: *laughing* Hi, Thomas.
Isaiah: *running to “save” me* Thomas! No. No putting your face in Mama’s face. It mean. Don’t put your face in Mama’s face.
Me: *laughing*
*Isaiah released his grip on the cat, who came right back to me and started chirping in my face again*
Isaiah: No! No, Thomas! I told you not to do that!
Me: Chirping and rubbing on me is how he says “I love you”. It’s ok.
Isaiah: Oh? Ok…

My boys

Isaiah and Thomas

Art Works

We’re within a reasonable drive of a couple of art museums. Today, we decided to check out the Joslyn because we haven’t been there in Isaiah’s life time. I’d been there a few times as a teen, but didn’t have much reason to bring a little kid because it’s a pretty serious art gallery. They recently added a special kids’ section, though, so that it’s more inviting to the younger crowd.

Isaiah started with a tower in the middle of the room that has pieces that can be hooked together to create a giant piece of art. He carefully attached brightly colored shapes, stopping to bounce and wave his hands with joy after each piece was placed. When he was done, he stepped back to admire his work, looking quite proud of himself.

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Building

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So proud

Next up was a window with dry erase markers. There were chairs on each side, so that kids could draw “on” someone else’s face. Isaiah started by just drawing a fun picture, then allowed me to draw funny things on his face. He was delighted by the silly mustache and hat I gave him.

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Carefully starting to draw

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A finished drawing

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My drawings on Isaiah

In one corner, there’s a big touch screen built into the floor for painting. There are brushes, scrapers, and a bucket that interact with the screen, allowing children to “paint” all sorts of designs. Before starting to paint, we got to choose the type of canvas and thickness of the “paint” we wanted to use. We ended up experimenting with different options, to see what we liked best. Isaiah liked the really wet paint because it was easy to splash around. I preferred the thicker paint that could actually be controlled to create an image.

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Painting

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The cool touch screen ''canvas''

Joslyn Art

This is what the canvas looked like with wet paint

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And again, with thicker paint

One wall has a bin full of rings and metal posts lined up that the rings fit over. Isaiah, my mom and I really enjoyed creating different patterns with it. Some got pretty complicated, while others were very simple.

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Isaiah's pattern

Isaiah really enjoyed drawing on the Greek vases that have been finished with a coating that allows kids to draw on them with dry erase markers. There are pictures of real vases on the table, so kids can try to imitate the real pieces or make up their own designs. Isaiah drew a raptor on his.

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Drawing happily

By the time we left, Isaiah had played with just about everything in the room and was determined to go back as often as possible. It’s a good thing it’s not too far away and entry to the museum is free!

4th of July, 2015

Our 4th of July this year was pretty laid back. We didn’t go anywhere or do anything fancy. My dad and Isaiah had fun setting off some fireworks in the backyard, catching butterflies, and playing.

Isaiah was excited because he got to help set off some of the fireworks. My dad stayed close to help him and taught him to run away from the firework as soon as it was lit. Isaiah caught onto the running part before he got the “wait until it’s lit” part, so he’d jump up and start to run away before the fireworks were actually lit. He finally got the hang of it and had tons of fun.

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Setting off fireworks with my dad

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Stopping to observe and show off his parachutes

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Oops... Guess we won't be collecting that parachute.

After the fireworks were done, we headed inside, to the air conditioning, for some food. Isaiah stripped down to his underwear and settled in with a movie and a sandwich. He seemed pretty content with just chilling out and having a fun time at home.

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Food!

Glasses

In case you missed the post about a need for glasses, click here.

Isaiah’s glasses arrived today and he is very, very happy. When I told him that the glasses were ready to be picked up, he started bouncing and shrieking. We headed over to pick them up. He’s spent the rest of his day trying to come up with excuses to have them on.

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Glasses!

Portraits of Isaiah

I got a new lens and absolutely couldn’t wait to try it out, so I set up a light in the living room and convinced Isaiah to let me take some pictures of him. He was surprisingly cooperative!

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My cutie

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Just being sweet

Happy boy

Big smile!

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Sweetheart