Monday, June 30, 2014

Max's Birthday Weekend

We have had quite the weekend: a birthday celebration for Max with grandparents, an 11 hour road trip on Saturday, and all day fun at Adventureland on Sunday. We had an excellent weekend, full of fun, very few breakdowns (for real people!!), and more fun.

Max got to open his birthday presents and eat cake the night before his birthday since we were out of town on his actual birthday. Grandparents came over for present opening and Ninja Turtle cake eating. Max got the game Hungry Hungry Hippo and wanted to play right away.

Even Elizabeth got into playing the game. Looks like we have a new favorite on game nights.
Max's Ninja Turtle cake that Matt decorated.

Harrison and Elizabeth were just as anxious for the candles as Max was!
Saturday morning we slept in (and by we, I mean just Elizabeth because the boy were up by 6:45 and by slept in I mean until 8:45 a.m.) and then hit the interstate for our 3 hour drive to the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, IL. The kids did great on the ride and kept themselves entertained with dvd's and the magnadoodles.
Max wanted to "go on a trip" for his birthday. Originally we had planned to go to Minneapolis, but a super busy June made me exhausted. The last thing I wanted to do was pack, take a trip, live on even less sleep an I already do, and everything else that goes with traveling with young kids. So I handed Max our Summer To Do List and he picked an adventure from our list. We were all happy with his new choice, despite being gone for 11 hours.
Hubs forgot his sunglasses and had to borrow a pair of mine for the road. Lucky for him it was mostly cloudy skies so he only had to wear them on and off.
The kids needed to burn off some energy at a rest area.
Two potty breaks, a stop for lunch, and we made it to the zoo! I really liked this zoo--it seemed perfect for young children. Not a lot of walking and not too much to see that it's overwhelming for them.


Feeding the fish. This was a really pretty area at the zoo and the perfect shelter when it started to rain briefly.


We got to see the giraffes up close.

Max held open the "door" for everyone walking through and greeted everyone. Love my little six year old!


We felt like we could almost touch the lions. As soon as we walked away from the cage, this lion started roaring. The roars could be heard all over the zoo!
The snow leopards. All of the cats were quite active despite it being hot and humid.
Getting cooled down (and taking drinks) from the elephant fountain.

Elizabeth was adamant she wanted a drink from the elephant....until I lifted her up and it got in her face.
Getting cooled off by the misting fan and a little drama to go with it. While the boys ran through the mist, Elizabeth stood next to Matt and I because she doesn't like water in her face. We were taking pictures of the boys and looked down at Elizabeth only to find her running away from me and onto the zoo train tracks. I yelled her name and ran after her, which caused all of us to run after her. I was scared (but managed to hide my fear as I picked her up, hugged her, and told her she couldn't never run away like that), Max was scared and almost cried, Matt was mad and threatened to take her to the van, and Harrison laughed because "Elizabeth almost got hit by the train! Hahahaha!" And Elizabeth, well, she was confined to her stroller the rest of the zoo visit!
The kids loved seeing the zebras. Elizabeth tried to call them over to her so she could pet one (she also tried to climb the fence despite being buckled into her stroller).
Waiting for our train ride.
Sweaty kids on the train.


10 minutes after leaving the zoo and Max was the first one asleep. The other 2 shortly followed making it for a very quiet and easy drive to Amana.

A storm was hitting Des Moines so we stopped in Amana to fill up on gas, get something to eat, and check the weather. We ate at a Maid Rite/Godfather's Express. Quite the combination, but it was perfect since some of us wanted pizza and some of us wanted sandwiches. Great small town cafe with friendly staff. We loved chatting with the employees and the kids were dotted on.
After eating we made a stop into the Amana Village Shop and let the kids play on the playground.

Elizabeth spotted a new purse in the Village Shop. This girl already has a collection of purses! 
The wooden playground was a great energy waster for a bit longer than usual drive home due to weather.


We had to drive in the storm for the remainder of the drive home. We had to pull over for 15 minutes or so while the rain was so heavy we couldn't even see. We also almost got caught up in some flash flooding, but drove to higher ground. The storm wasn't too bad, just periods of heavy rainfall. We were really proud of the kids and how well they behaved in the car. I somewhat jokingly told Matt we needed to travel in thunderstorms more often!
After leaving at 9 a.m. that morning, we finally made it home just after 8 p.m. The kids instantly stated "why are we home so soon??!!?" Oh my little adventurers.
A busy Saturday didn't stop us from heading to Adventureland on Sunday for another day long adventure! This was the kid's first time and they loved it! There were a couple of periods of rain (one while we were riding the roller coaster!), but it was a great day to go. Cloudy, cool, and breezy made for the perfect day.

Our first ride was the ferris wheel. We loved looking down from the very top.


The tea cups. Elizabeth looked like she was going to throw up on half of the rides we went on, which made me think she hated them. Yet as soon as it was time to get off, she started to cry and wanted to "stay on."
The boys said the balloon ride was the most relaxing ride. Harrison was excitedly waving at Daddy and Elizabeth from the balloon every time we passed by. Of the 3 minis, Harrison loved the rides the most and was extremely disappointed he wasn't big enough for the roller coaster. He informed me he's going to do a good job growing so he can go on them next year.
Max rode his first roller coaster ever: The Tornado. It's one of my favorite roller coasters and for the first time I rode it in a torrential downpour--I loved it! Max on the other hand, well, he won't be going on roller coasters for a while (if ever again!). His exact words as we got off the ride "I don't want to ride that again! I hate that thing!"
The Lady Bugs were a favorite for Elizabeth. The two youngest would wave every time they went by.


The boys liked flying the airplanes too.
This was Harrison and Elizabeth's favorite ride, but I call it the drama ride (because what adventure of our's isn't complete without a little drama??!!?). Elizabeth wasn't tall enough to ride by herself so she needed to sit with one of her brother's inside the cab. Since this Adventureland trip was for Harrison's birthday, I settled it that Harrison would be the one to ride in the cab with her. That left Max pissed off for the whole ride, while H and E were in heaven "driving" the truck.


But then Max got to "drive" the firetruck and the semi trucks were quickly forgotten.

Waiting for the log ride. While the boys went on their first water ride, Elizabeth and I grabbed lunch. Afterwards, we were greeted by 3 wet boys. Matt managed to grab this picture from Adventureland's camera (which we later learned we were not suppose to do--oops!). The boys said they loved this ride, but their faces look worried and scared going down!

After riding the Tornado and getting caught in the downpour, our next few rides were pretty tame. The Chuck Wagons were a favorite for the kids.
We then headed to Adventure Bay for swimming and playing. It was quite cool and breezy out and the water was freezing, but Max was dying to go to the water park. Even though it was chilly, it was a blast! The wave pool was a family favorite.




We ended our visit with a ride on the train and carousel. 

At least one of my children attempted to look out the side on every ride we went on. The boys said they needed to "see how this ride works."

We ended our busy day and weekend with pizza, sun kissed faces, and tired babies. It was a great weekend, but I'm more than happy to have Monday off for a little relaxing.

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