These are actually pictures from the car ride on Day 1. Shhh. Don't tell.
Our hotel room was a suite, which meant that Abe and I had a separate room and the kids got to camp out on the couch bed in the front room. This would have been fabulous-- had the kids stayed in their own bed all night. Let's just say we ended up doing a lot of bed hopping throughout the late and wee hours both nights. On the first morning, the boys woke me up at five-thirty, so I found some Spongebob Squarepants on TV for them and snuggled back in with Abe, hoping to sleep for another hour or so. The children, however, got bored after about fifteen minutes and decided to climb into bed with us. This would have been all well and good had they not decided to start hitting each other over my head. At first I was all, mumble-style, "Boys. Knock it off." Then, whinily, "Boys! Stop it!" But after someone missed and hit ME on the head, I lurched up and screeched, "DO YOU WANT ME TO BEAT YOU?", then huffed off to take a shower. Thus began Day Two of our family vacation.
This is Soren feeling sorry for himself after I yelled at him.
After making peace, we got ready and headed down to the Hogle Zoo.
The day, in a list:
1. The zoo was hot. Very, very hot.
2. And crowded.
3. Soren would latch onto the idea of seeing one animal and refuse to look at anything else until he had seen it.
4. It went like this: "Soren, look! An alligator!" "Where are the elephants?" "We'll get to those in a little while, but look! A tiger!" "Where are the elephants?" "Soren, you've never seen an ape before! Look! A grown-up ape!" "Where are the elephants?"
5. I saw a man with an argyle sock tattooed on his right leg.
6. I saw a lot of tattoos, period. Tattoos are The Things these days, apparently.
7. Soren refused to hold his own damn carousel ticket while we were standing in line.
8. I may or may not have crunched the ticket into his hand and clasped my hand around his, forcing him to hold it.
9. Then, on the carousel, he was too scared to ride on an actual animal.
10. Instead he sat on a the bench and clung fearfully to the side of the seat, as though the centrifugal force created by the carousel's breakneck speeds might fling him out across the crowds and into the bison cage.
11. I was mired in shame because our children were the only children in the whole zoo over the age of 2 riding around in strollers.
12. The children loved the animal-themed playground area.
13. Liam was mesmerized by the snakes.
14. Soren could have spent all day in the prairie dog tunnels.
15. The children were terrified of the giant elephant sculpture that made noise and spontaneously blew water out of its trunk.
Soren is plugging his ears because those electronic elephant noises are just too darn loud.
Liam hated even getting near the thing.
This is what my sister-in-law Amanda calls Liam's "Gus Gus" belly.
Soren holding on for dear life in the peacock seat on the carousel.
Soren and Daddy on the zoo train.
Soren the turtle.
Liam the bird embryo.
Cutest darn bird embryo I ever did see.
Better than the zoo were our lower-key activities for the day: returning to the hotel and swimming in the hotel pool, then eating dinner at Carl's Jr, where the kids were able to climb around in the play area. We bought the boys an Oreo ice cream sandwich to split and Soren was in seventh heaven. Sugar is like crack for him. Afterward he talked manically about making a cake using ice-cream filled Oreos.
On Day 3 we were even more tired. Soren woke up at 4:00 AM and never did go back to sleep. And those of you who know Soren will also know that if Soren ain't sleeping, ain't Mommy sleeping. When Abe and Liam awoke at a reasonable hour, we drove back into the city and dragged the kids through the Utah Museum of Natural History. The museum is fabulous but we were all too worn down to truly savor the experience. Plus, of course, Soren latched on to the idea of seeing dinosaurs and wouldn't look at anything until we got to the dinosaur section. Then as soon as we'd seen the dinosaurs he was all, "I'm hungry" and preceded to focus on getting food, rather than interacting at the museum.
The best part was the kid's room, where Mommy and Daddy could sit very still while the boys were able to scoop plastic fish out of a pond with a net, dress up like a housefly (Soren) and a butterfly (Liam), and climb through a cave. We took pictures but the camera didn't save them.
All in all, however, despite some fatigue and some frustration, it was a good vacation. We'll definitely take another one next year.