Aug 6, 2009

Wild animals

When I started looking at the pictures Garry took on Monday, I lamented that I'd never be able to choose just a few to post for this trip-day recap. Garry's response: "Well, I guess I did my job!" He did it very well, indeed - and he only photographed two of Monday's three main events!

Before Monday's adventures began, we checked out of the Super 8 (single tear). Once again, we marveled at the mass of belongings we had to pack in the van. Garry managed a Tetris-type arrangement that would allow us to pull the stroller in and out all day long.

We met my parents, Holly, and my brother, David, and his family at Hogle Zoo. We mused over David's horrific house-rental experience (probably even worse than the Super 8!) At 10:00 a.m. it was very apparent that this would be a very hot day. It was also apparent that I was firmly entrenched in a grumpy funk, but we'll gloss over this bit of information and pretend that I was really Mother of the Year. Our party included six adults, seven children under seven, and one teenager. We set off to see the animals.

Every time I go to the zoo with friends, I remember that my family is ill-equipped to enjoy the zoo with friends. My children experience life at a neck-breaking pace. They literally RUN from exhibit to exhibit, from animal to animal. They do not stop to read information plaques. They do not pause to consider the nuances between monkey species. They do not pass "go," and they do not collect $200, although they do whine incessantly about not getting $200 in t-shirts and animal visors and souvenir Slurpee cups. Mostly they just RUN. Other people walk, and explore, and ponder, and appreciate, so finding a compromise between groups can be exhausting (as if keeping up with the running isn't exhausting enough).

In spite of this, we did enjoy some of the wild creatures and activities at the zoo. My personal favorite was the four-day-old giraffe that had just discovered its tongue. We also saw the oldest elephant in North America (age 49 years) and a very pregnant elephant whose baby was due any day. (Is it weird that I had deep compassion for her very large belly?) We rode the train
and the carousel. (Thanks, Gramps!) Many of the group enjoyed the bird show, and we all took a long snack break in the shade.

Post-zoo, the entire group adjourned to Room 208 at the Hampton Inn. The men took the non-baby children swimming downstairs. The women and babies basked in the peace and quiet of the upstairs. (No pictures!) Reading and talking and the checking of email restored my sanity. Ahhh....

Post-swimming, we all went to Liberty Park in downtown Salt Lake. Gavin fell asleep during the car ride over and miraculously survived a transfer to his reclined stroller seat. The cousins played in the water and on the toys. Garry was the responsible parent of the party, performing both supervisory and photographic tasks. Thanks, babe! Grandma and Grandpa Dent joined us for a Pizza Hut dinner in the park.

What a wonderful evening! When all fun was exhausted (and the boys followed suit), we said our good-byes. We packed into the van again, popped in
Home Alone 2 for the kids, and drove south to Provo. It didn't take long to get settled at Garry's parents' condo (Phase Two of our trip), but while I hurriedly set up beds and got out pajamas and toothbrushes, Gavin made sure to give this set of grandparents a taste of his craziness. We spent the rest of the evening talking about the pace of our insane family life and at some point stumbled into bed.

I just got really tired reading this. Having fun is rather exhausting!
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