Father's Day always seems to fall during an extremely hectic time for us. In recent years, it has been the kick-off of our Vacation Bible School at church, and since Chris is our VBS director and I'm a teacher, that's really bad timing. Last year, we were getting ready to leave for a 10 day Colorado vacation, so Father's Day got kind of brushed to the side. This year, I was determined that things would be different!
In years past, we have gone to visit my parents for Mother's Day. However, this year, we didn't feel like we were ready for that kind of trip, so we stayed home. By the time that Father's Day rolled around, we felt like a trip to see my parents would be great. With Brianna and Brenson, we traveled much earlier, but having two babies at a time is a whole different ball game! The babies are 4 months old now, and they are the oldest any of our children have been without ever having been out of state.
The drive to my parents' house is a little less than 3 hours long. We left on a Thursday afternoon - hoping that if we drove during nap time the children would sleep - and for the most part the trip was smooth. Brooke did cry quite a bit, but we didn't have any sort of disasters. Chris supports a terminal close to my parents' house, so he worked there on Friday. While he was gone, I sent him these photos of our little beauties bathing in G-Jo's sink.
As a side-note: Our children generally don't sleep well when we're away from home, so I was expecting some very long nights with the twins. However, they did great! I think they actually slept better than they do at home? So thankful!
We love going to the zoo as a family, but had never been to the zoo in Springfield where my parents live. We decided that on Saturday, that would be a fun little outing.
Dickerson Park Zoo
My parents went with us, and we all had a great time. This zoo is neat because it has little themed areas. Welcome to South America.
Anytime we have other people with us, it's a family photo op :-).
Brianna, Chris, Brenson, my Dad
This zoo has a large pond that is home to turtles, fish, and ducks. They allow patrons to feed the animals, so we had a good time with that.
I wasn't sure what to expect out of Brooke and Brecklyn, but they did so well! They were as content as could be to ride along in their stroller.
All smiles, these two :-)
Welcome to Africa.
Another fun and unique thing about this zoo is that you can feed the giraffes. We had done this once before at the zoo in Colorado Springs last summer, but we were definitely up for it again. Giraffes are a family favorite, for sure.
I was surprised that Brenson would actually do this. I think he's starting to outgrow some of his overly cautious nature.
The giraffe you can see in this photo kept trying to lick Brianna's head, ha! Brecklyn was asleep in the stroller, so she missed out on this little activity.
Look at that tongue! Giraffe tongues are so interesting (and BIG, ha!).
As you can see, this guy was trying to lick Brooke. I had to move her away quickly after the photo was taken!
It didn't bother her, though. She thought it was funny :-).
For the most part, we left the babies in the stroller, but we did try to get them out a few times. Brooke was seriously the happiest little thing all day.
It was so nice for Mom and Dad to be keeping track of the Bigs so that Chris and I could concentrate on the babies for a bit. We love our little sweeties.
Welcome to Asia :-).
One thing that's always fun about different zoos is that many of them specialize in animals native to that region. It gives each zoo its own flare.
We got to the zoo not too long after it opened that morning in effort to maximize the babies' best time of day as well as avoid the extreme heat. This zoo is very lush, so there is lots and lots of shade. This made it really nice to visit, even in June! After visiting most of the big exhibits, we ate lunch there in the park. I nursed both of the babies in a small bathroom that was close to the dining area, and we also changed their diapers and clothes. Once everyone finished eating, we saw just a few more things. This zoo isn't large, but we did have to skip a few exhibits. I wanted to be careful to not push the babies too hard (and I wanted the Bigs to get at least a small nap), so we left around 1:00pm. Before leaving, though, we did have to take just a few more pics.
Grampy and G-Jo with Brianna, Brenson, Brooke, and Brecklyn
One of my very favorite family pics so far!
After we got home, I put all the kiddos down for naps. Being outside (and in the heat) had worn everyone out, so they all slept well. After the Bigs got up from nap, they went outside to play in the water hose with Grampy.
They thought this was BIG fun!
We ate in, did baths, and an early bedtime for everyone that evening. We always try to make early bedtime a priority on Saturday nights as it helps our Sundays run much smoother.
On Sunday morning (Father's Day), we made sure to have everyone ready in time to do gifts and pictures. As much as I had wanted this Father's Day to be perfect and special, things didn't work out in the gift department like I had hoped. In fact, Chris ended up with no gifts to open . . . just a card from me and a few pages filled out by the kids in his Father's Day book. He was very understanding about it, but I was disappointed, for sure. Several of his gifts hadn't arrived before we left on Thursday (and let's face it, I don't really have time to do much shopping so I had to order them all online), one gift I had purchased was the wrong thing, and one gift was a large ice chest that he didn't want to haul up to my parents' house only to haul back home. Plus, with all of our children and the gear they require, there wasn't room for it in the van anyway. Sad day :-(.
However, the kids had filled out a little survey about Grampy that he enjoyed reading (and we did have a gift for him), and Chris thought his book and card were special.
Brenson and Grampy
Brecklyn, Grampy, and Brooke . . . I hate that I cut Grampy's head off in this one because it's so cute of the babies!
Brianna and Grampy
I don't love the lighting in these photos, but my Dad is having a ton of trouble with his right eye. He had cataract surgery on it last November but it didn't heal properly. He had surgery on it again this past Spring, but it's still not healed which causes it to be super sensitive to light. Because of this, outside pics with my Dad were a no-go.
It was SO good to spend Father's Day with my Dad. It's been quite a few years since I've been able to do that.
Of course, we were also celebrating this man and the father that he is.
Brianna, Daddy, and Brenson
Chris with our little crew. They are so blessed to have him as their Daddy.
Brecklyn, Daddy, and Brooke
Our family of six
Our trip home turned out to be pretty stressful as the babies both decided to cry for over an hour. When there's nothing you can do but forge ahead while listening to two babies scream, it can definitely raise your blood pressure! However, I'm so glad that we took the plunge and made this trip. It was great to be with my parents and to finally be travelling with the babies!