Wednesday, June 29, 2011

leash or no leash: part two at the zoo

In response to my recent post leash or no leash?
I did it. I bought two.
I took the boys to the zoo today.  I'll post about the zoo later because that was an experience in itself but I wanted to update all of my loyal readers (what?...I like to pretend) about the leash situation.

I wish I could say....IT IS AWESOME! or....IT IS TERRIBLE! but instead, I say.....IT IS JUST OKAY!!!
Maybe we need more practice.

So at 9:30 am, I marched into the zoo, pushing the boys in our double umbrella stroller.  I had our bag under one seat and the leash backpacks under the other.  I packed a water and cracker pack in each of the boys' backpacks.

First stop, the Children's Zoo! We wheeled up.  I surveyed the area. No, I could not let them be free or I'd lose one of them! It really wasn't that crowded.  I'm just afraid I'll turn to get one kid and the other will take off and disappear!  There was a little, chlorinated, shallow creek and play things all in the middle. How fun and kids were playing in the water and going down slides, etc.  Then all around that were different little exhibits, some indoor, some out.

I wheeled us over to a shaded area by a fence.  I took Carter out and put on his backpack. Nolan watched and thought it looked pretty cool.  As I held on to Carter's leash, I strapped Nolan up. We were ready to go!!


What do I do with the stroller?

Seriously? I did not even think about this.  I brainstormed. Maybe I could have the leashes on my wrists and just push the stroller and along the boys would walk. No way. The leash is only 4 feet long and the stroller is about 4 feet in front of me. We tried it. It was all kinds of awkward. People were starting to stare. 

Okay. The only other option I could see was to grab my bag, keys, cell, etc. and leave the stroller. I could somewhat peek at it here and there but still felt nervous someone might fall in love with it and snatch it! I know it may sound extreme, but I'm trying to make up for my naivety in most of my life.

I left the stroller and finally....we were ready to go!!!

Carter to the left, Nolan to the right.  Nolan almost liked the pull. It was funny. Carter......nope. He was pissed. He yelled. More people stared. 

I found myself smiling and saying things like, "oh man these two are tough!" or "I'm not so sure about these things!  ha ha!" 

Whatever. I've committed.  Let's do this.  We awkwardly walked into the underground creature exhibit. They liked watching the Naked Mole Rat eat its orange slice. Seriously. They really enjoyed that.  Then I think they were ready to go but the little room was circular with a big tree through the middle and of course they choose opposite directions. I couldn't seem to get them to agree so we went around a few times, dropped the leashes a few times.  There was absolutely no one in the room anyway. Why was I still even holding the leashes?  Finally we made it through the door. Let me mention that I'm dripping in sweat at this point and our day has just begun.

On our way out, I was happy to see the stroller still alive and well.  But the boys and their leashes were still terribly awkward.  We got a little twisted here and there or they ended up walking sideways or something. I don't know.  Finally, I just grabbed their hands with the leash straps around my wrists.  The leashes dangled but not enough to hit the ground and trip anyone. I liked this better.

Next we checked out Giant Rabbits. They were shockingly large by the way. The boys loved it!  This is where I started to like the leash. While I held their hands on the journey from one building to the other, I could let go here where they still could have escaped and disappeared.  You know.  I'm kneeling down by Nolan, pointing at the rabbit and watching his sweet face and I know I have Carter with me even though he is trying to move on to the next animal. Could I have just held Carter's hand and gotten the same result? Maybe but you seriously can only hold two hands for so long. Just on our walks to and from sites, our hands were a slippery mess. else am I supposed to get photos?

On to the fish tank, and then up for a little hand splashing in the creek and some pony watching.

Of course, there was a petting area! Yay!  We clumsily made our way through the gate and approached some goats. I liked having the leashes here!  My boys often see us patting our dog, Mallie, pretty hard. They try to do the same but it looks more like they are hitting. We have to keep coaching, "be gentle!"

It was hot. I sat the boys on a rock by the creek and gave them waters from their packs. I looked around and decided I thought they could play in this area with a slide sans leash. So we did it.  I was definitely constantly chasing one to keep him nearby or out of the watery fun (they were wearing tennis shoes, otherwise, I'd definitely let them stomp in the water stream!)

I know it is not a great picture but I really need to explain how I got it and how it is similar to how I get so many others.  I grabbed one kid and put him in the tunnel, stood up and looked for the other kid, found him, put him in the tunnel, the other one already ran out, grabbed him before he took off, put him in the tunnel......and snap the picture! and.....wipe the sweat from by brow! and.....oh....grab the kids again!

Anyway, it was time to move on.  Let's see some serious stuff like Elephants and Giraffes!  I grabbed their hands and headed to the stroller. It was still there but I left my bag and their packs on the rock. Whatever. Let me get them loaded. Carter is great at arching his back when he isn't ready to be strapped in.  I sometimes can fight back quickly but not this time. Nolan took off. I looked at would take him a minute to get completely out of the stroller so I ran to grab Nolan and was back in time to grab Carter's hand. Focus!  This time, I set Nolan in his seat and he actually sat there. Then fought Carter into his and strapped them both in. Whew!  Oh...and my bags over on the rock. Still there. Got 'em.

The rest of the time, we didn't use leashes. It was a lot of walking/pushing. I wheeled them up to see different animals.  I let them out when we were in small contained areas like Tiger watching...

And Giraffe feeding...

And for photo ops!

My leash review is still undecided. Right now, I'm thinking my boys need more practice and a little more age and a little more endurance with walking longer distances. I'm also looking for better listening skills (anyone want to tell me when that'll happen?) and a better ability to cope with the pulling.

We will be using the leashes again in two the airport! Yikes!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


My first day home for summer break, I made a list and did a little research of things to do with little ones.  I was super excited for all of our adventures to come but then started thinking about logistics.

Double stroller: great for on the move things ....mostly things that I need to get done where the koalas just have to tag along.

Child Leash: still haven't used them but this is great for outings where they need some freedom but not too much.

Well, first on my list was the splash ground. It is like a small playground at a public park but it is just a lot of little water features for splashing.   They have to be completely free to enjoy this activity.  I wasn't quite sure how it would work. How could I keep track of both of them?  I want them to be free but don't want them to get hurt or get taken!!!!

I just about nixed the idea. I was too scared to take both of them by myself. I felt trapped and at a loss.  What are we going to do all summer?  But just as we were about to head out the door, I grabbed the swim diapers, a towel and sunblock. I figured I'd drive by and scope it out first.

Upon arrival, I parked, sat in the van, and watched for a couple of minutes. The boys watched, too. They saw all the fun being had. It was small, not crowded at all and somewhat (just somewhat) contained. I felt like I could do it.  So we changed into swim diapers. I completely forgot actual swim trunks. Oh well. I lathered them up in sunblock, put on the hats and sunglasses and off we went.
They were pretty timid at first but soon got some courage after watching the other kids. Nolan seriously took off and ran circles for a straight 20 minutes.

Carter was pretty calm about it and focused on one little spout at a time. 

But eventually, Nolan completely exhausted himself and just stood completely still, watching all the kids play.  About that time, Carter started getting a little crazy with the splashing.

Most parents were sitting at the picnic tables and just watching from a slight distance but I stayed somewhat near the boys the whole time and  kept encouraging them to go by the other one.  I was still nervous.   They teased me with running off into the grass but never really did. It was too much fun splashing!

My phone pictures don't do it justice, but they were both wild!

We will definitely do it again!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

night out

My friend and sorority sister, Lindsay, was married last weekend in downtown Dallas.

It was an absolutely beautiful wedding!  We had such a fun time!

Brad's mom was in town and said she'd keep the boys overnight if we wanted to stay at the wedding hotel.
It was our first time ever sleeping away from the boys!  Pathetic, I know!

lots of sorority sisters:
Brad and I, dressed up for a change:
Another sorority sister of mine, Meghan, who blogs here, also has twins just a few months older than mine. She and I were out the latest of the bunch.....believe it or not!!!  I guess we needed to get out!

Friday, June 24, 2011

outdoor music

Mom was in town for the baptisms...


I used to play clarinet with the Richardson Community Band...


that Sunday evening, they were having one of their outdoor concerts.  I thought it would be perfect for us to attend with the boys!

It was perfectly exhausting.  But I do think they had fun!  The band members were happy to see us and since it was their "Family Night" performance, they had all the kids in the audience come up to the front and help conduct the band with a straw! So cute!

We tried to get the boys to sit down and eat a decent picnic dinner but they were much more interested in roaming the open area and would just come back to graze once in a while. Like I said......exhausting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

a special day

Saturday, June 11, the boys were baptized.  It was a very meaningful day as it has been on our minds for a long time.

Every parent wants to pass down traditions and beliefs to their children. Every parent wants to give their child a foundation on which to build their own lives. Those traditions, beliefs and foundations are different for every parent and this is the one we chose.  I hope to raise children who know and love the Lord. I want my boys to be loving and have open hearts and open minds. I want them to pray and have faith in a higher power.  I want them to appreciate and respect choices of others.

To me, their baptisms symbolized the beginning of a faith journey.  It is our responsibility to instill the values and beliefs that we know so that our children have a solid base on which to build their own faiths.

On a lighter, MUCH lighter note.  This is Nolan's face the morning of the baptism:
We had been hoping and hoping for no forehead bruises (Nolan does the perfect run, trip, fall, whiplash, and head bang on the ground type of falls).  I thought we were in the clear. Oh well. His eye was more and more swollen as the day progressed and looked pretty bad by the Saturday, 6pm baptism time.  After the initial sadness of this happening on a day of lots of photos, I was able to let that part of it go completely.  I was, however, worried about him!  He always gets pretty big welts on his extremities from bug bites but when I saw the one by his eye before bed, I didn't think much of it.  The on-call nurse made me feel better and Nolan was not too bothered by it and sure enough, it was completely gone by Monday.

As for the baptism, we were lucky to have Matt (Brad's long time friend) and Jen fly in from the D.C. area to be Carter's Godparents. It was a very fun couple of days with them!

My very good friend, Stephanie, who blogs at This Casita and her husband, "the U" were Nolan's Godparents.  They have a sweet baby boy who was an angel the whole time!
We appreciate everyone who was able to come!  I'm so happy Brad's mom, Brad's dad and my mom all were able to fly in for it, too!

The boys were pretty much ready to go home when we took these pictures, if you can't tell!

Here are some pictures before the ceremony (our church makes changing into the white outfit part of the ceremony):

During the ceremony:

After the ceremony:

We especially appreciate that the Jones family could be there. Sullivan literally just came home from the hospital after round two of chemo. I was so surprised and happy to see him there!
After the ceremony, we had a sweet celebration at our home where everyone enjoyed Fuzzy's Tacos, tasty beverages and delicious desserts from Central Market.

yes...Brad was eating in both of those. he he. =)

It was truly a beautiful day and event and it made me so full of joy and love!

Of course, I had to take a few more pics of the boys once Nolan's eye was better: