Bribery and Beauty

 What a beautiful day today! I can tell the weather is nicer, if not by feeling it for myself, by the way the boys aren’t arguing about staying inside anymore. They want to be out all the time and don’t want to come in unless bribed by necessities such as lunch:)

They got absolutely soaking wet this morning with water guns. They love to play water guns with Mikey but I’ll tell you that it drives me bonkers that they come to the door every 3 minutes asking me to fill them up! I guess it’s worth it for the smiles they had on their faces:)

 It was Ben’s long day today, as he is trying to squeeze in all of his work hours before he leave to go out of town this weekend. So not only is the day long for him but for us as well. After I bribed the boys in for lunch, I also let them pick out a movie to watch. They are allowed to watch something during rest time on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m really trying to stick to that so that tv doesn’t become an easy habit. Which is all too….easy to let happen:)

 My new rule is that they have to agree on whatever they choose or we don’t watch anything. I want them to learn to work together instead of always trying to get their own way and beat each other down to get it. It’s very cute to hear them talk it out and say things like, “Do you agree?” I know I set unrealistic expectations for everyone if I try to make a perfect world where they don’t fight or bicker. Kids fight. Kids bicker. But I want them to have the tools to work through that instead of always running to me. And also to be able to think of another person instead of just themselves.

Seems like a lot of adults could use that lesson too…..

E is just as happy as can be. She adores her newfound skill of crawling! Oh, didn’t I mention that she’s full time now? Oh yes. She started on Sunday really crawling mostly with hands and knees instead of inch-worming and is extremely proud of herself for being able to get around;) Yesterday she worked her way from the living room to the kitchen, through the kitchen and into the dining room, almost in a full circle.

It took her a long time because she’s slow and had to stop and inspect very important things like vents, crumbs and cracks in the floor but she did it and was very proud!

Awhile ago she started waving “buh bye” to her brothers because they say it to her when she leaves to go up to bed. She’s said, “buh buh” a few times and we liked to think that she was trying to say it. Well, she definitely is now! She very clearly says, “Buh bye” and “Buh buh” when waving! And last night, as clear as a bell, she looked straight at Ben and said, “Buh bye, dada.” We looked at each other in shock and started cheering for her which freaked her out.

It was probably a fluke but we’ll just chalk it up to her baby genius-ness, okay? And speaking of the little beauty, don’t forget to vote for her through Sunday!

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Wild Animals

 If you see the title to this post and think I’m talking about my children…..well, you are right. You are also correct if you are guessing that we went to the ZOO!!
The Brookfield Zoo holds such special memories for us. We had a pass for 2 years in a row but haven’t been able to have one for awhile.
Anyways, we used to go to this zoo as a place to get out of the city together as a family. A place to breathe. A place of reprieve from the demands of school. A place of refreshment and a brief time to forget the outside world.
I can’t tell you how many times we came from the hot busy summer days even through the cold, snowy empty days. It will always be a very special place for us!
We got a library pass and coupled that with free kid’s day today. Free is good:)

All the boys wanted were their own maps! So they each got one and used them to help us find our way…

 We went to see the Wild African Dogs that looked like hyenas and then on to the new Great Bear Wilderness. They had an exhibit with Bald Eagles towards the front. I admit, it made both Ben and I sad to see such majestic birds that represent pride for our country, caged and clipped so they couldn’t fly. The female is in the front and the male was behind a big branch. Why is the male bird always the most beautiful?!

Samuel showing us that his arms aren’t quite as big as an Eagle’s wing span:)
 Ben soaked up his Eliana time. He hates to miss time with her especially when he works long days and she’s asleep when he leaves and asleep when he gets home. He was totally unapologetic for hogging her today:)

 This was one of my favorite animals today! This big lumbering bear was sunbathing:)

 Even tipping back his head to soak up the rays. What a life!

 The polar bear put on quite a show for everyone! He dove and splashed, swam back and forth and soaked up the admiration of his public.

 A big splash for his fans! This was Ben and the boys favorite thing we saw today:)

 Am I as tall as a bison yet??

 Almost 4 ft tall now!

 We enjoyed a nice picnic lunch that we brought.

 Eliana was much too busy looking at all the sights and eating Cheerios to bother giving me a moment for the camera…

 Z having a great time! I believe he was savoring his cookie as I took this picture…

 Samuel inhaled his lunch as a growing boy will do:)

 Nope, still too busy….

 The boys watching the giraffes, which are my favorite animal..

So beautiful and graceful!!

It was a really nice day! We came back and rested for a bit (well, Ben worked and we rested;) and then the boys decided to play “zoo.” They brought down as many stuffed animals as they could: elephants, “Wild” dogs, a horse, an alligator, giraffes, etc.

Samuel was the visitor, map in hand, and Zakkai was the very knowledgeable zookeeper. I was listening as I worked in the kitchen as Samuel asked the zookeeper what each animal liked to eat.

According to Zakkai:

Monkeys eat Watermelon and Ice Cream.
Wild Dogs eat the same.
Alligators eat a few bites of Roast Beef. Followed by ice cream:)
Lions eat Corn and a Can of Soup.
Giraffes have Canteloupe.

And there you have it!
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And just in case you didn’t get the email or see the FB link, please vote for Eliana in this week’s parent magazine “Kid of the Year” contest!!
http://photos.parents.com/category/vote/photo/1007687 
Just click on vote and type in the words you see. One vote per computer, per day through 8/14!! The winner receives $250, which would be very welcome right now. Plus it would be fun to see our little princess win a contest! Thanks!