Sunday, May 24, 2009
My life is a zoo? No we WENT to the zoo!
Sometimes you just have to throw good old fashioned frugality to the wind and do something fun with your kids. You know? And this past Memorial Day weekend, we did just that.
Friday morning I was chatting online with Skippy. This isn't unusual - we ping back and forth throughout the day. What was somewhat out of the ordinary was that he was pinging me from Atlanta. He had been there throughout the week doing whatever Googly things he does, and the kids and I had been holding down the fort at home. I for one, was holding it by the skin of my teeth. It had been a l-o-n-g week. Between softball games, preschool graduation, and the first round of ninety degree temperatures, I was done flying solo and ready for my husband to be back in the same time zone.
So imagine my delight when we agreed to wing things a bit. I booked a hotel near PDX for Friday night, tossed a handful of clean little girl undies, diapers, and swim suits into an overnight bag, buckled in three wound up kidlets, and hit the road to Portland. Skippy's flight was due to arrive somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 that night and that left us plenty of time to hit the golden arches, conquer the play place, check into our hotel, exclaim over the itty bitty bottles of shampoo, flip through all fourteen TV channels three times, contemplate the meaning behind the door that joined us to another room, change into swim suits, and paddle around in the pool for an hour.
When we returned dripping wet to our room around 9:30, the girls enjoyed the novelty of HBO and a queen size sofa sleeper (Mom!! There is a BED in the COUCH! SWEET!). We went on a safari-style hunt for the ice machine, made microwave popcorn, changed into jammies, and had ourselves a regular old slumber party. Finally, they all passed out - Chunk sprawled in his pack and play, Kbear wrapped snugly in her blanket on the sofa sleeper, and Banana ....."camping out" under the hotel desk. Skippy snuck in around 12:30 amidst three snoring kiddos and promptly crashed in an effort to sleep off a full day of travelling.
Now at this point, I must say a quick word about hotel drapes. They are wonderful and amazing and I totally want to rig up some sort of high tech pulley system that will allow me to cover my whole house with them this summer. Why, you may ask? Because those beautiful light-blocking pieces of heavenly fabric kept the room so dark that my children slept until after eight o'clock Saturday morning.
Be still my heart.
Then we three girls decided to let my two favorite boys sleep in for a little while longer and we trooped down to the buffet room for our complimentary breakfast. We put down cereal, waffles, bananas, and in Bree's case, a whole half of a grapefruit before we made our way back to our room loaded down with biscuits and gravy for Daddy, and half of a peanut butter sandwich and fruit for Chunk. While the boys ate and watched TV in their underwear in the big hotel bed, I took the girls for one last dunk in the pool. We requested a late checkout, relaxed, packed up, and finally headed for the zoo around one o'clock.
The zoo was....well it was a zoo. For one thing, the weather was absolutely spectacular with cloudless blue skies and sunny seventy degree temperatures. And it was a Saturday. And Memorial Day Weekend. And families were out in droves. But we scored a great parking spot, wrestled Chunk into his stroller, and went in search of our first exhibit, Samundra the baby elephant - affectionately referred to as Sam by many Oregonians. It was by far the busiest exhibit, but totally worth the wait. Skippy (being as tall as he is) got some awesome pictures:
And after that we just had more fun. We saw the bats, penguins, sea lions, zebras, giraffes, ducks, eagles, sun bears, polar bears, birds, meerkats, and who knows what else. And although the baby elephant definitely stole the day, we also say my favorite, the black bears (who were sleeping in a big old furry pile) and Skippy's favorite, the otters. By the time we finally wandered towards the gate it was coming up on five o'clock so we treated ourselves to dinner out and then finally drove our separate vehicles back through the Gorge, until we were home sweet home to a slightly stuffy house and two very happy dogs.
And what did I learn from our mini-weekend trip? Sometimes, you just gotta let it all go and have some fun.