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Archive for the tag “Thomas the Tank Engine”

Weekend Recap: A trip to the zoo

This weekend I headed south into Jersey to spend time with my sister and my nephew. It was a preplanned trip- Sharyn had called me a few weeks ago and asked if I would accompany her, Little Man, and a friend’s daughter to the zoo while she ran a table of information for her job. I was definitely not passing up the chance for some time with them, and for one of Little Man’s first trips to the zoo.

Arriving at the Turtle Back Zoo early so Sharyn could set up for the event, we had the chance to look around and semi-plot our course of action. First up was a train ride: Little Man is a huge Thomas the Tank Engine fan, so we knew there would be multiple train rides throughout the day, but we decided to start while the line was short. The train ride runs through the reserve adjacent to the zoo, along the water. It was a beautiful ride and a fun start to the day.

Then we started through the exhibits. Little Man’s favorite exhibit, without question, was the monkeys and the gibbons. They were high up and moving around quite a bit each time we passed by, and he would watch and squeal each time. He did a pretty good monkey call- he got the attention of all the monkeys with one squeal. Being the climber that he is, I was not at all surprised that the monkeys were his favorite.  What surprised me is that it was my favorite exhibit of the day as well. It made me laugh- you looked up and saw the moneys up high, and then looking down, there was a huge tortise at the bottom. How did he get in there?

Turtle Back Zoo has a fantastic play area, with ducks and frogs to climb on, a spider web, a nest, and a big sliding board. Kids can also see the prairie dogs at their level, with plastic bubbles for the kids to put their heads up through. Little Man ran from the duck to the frog, and climbed in and out of the nest a few times before starting to slow down just a bit.

The zoo has a small stage and a grassy area beside it, and because there was an event, they had a live band. We enjoyed our lunch on the grass and danced to the band.

After the event ended, we rejoined my sister for a stroll around the zoo with Little Man…who proceeded to fall soundly asleep, exhausted from all the playing and exploring he had done. He stayed asleep right up until dinner at a great Tex-Mex/Cajun restaurant in Fairfield. But he was definitely awake enough to steal some of his aunty’s pumpkin milkshake when we stopped at an ice cream a little later.

It was a fantastic day, and I am really kicking myself for not having a camera- this one was totally a pictures worthy experience. It was relaxing to just meander around the zoo and enjoy what a beautiful fall Saturday it was, even if I was meandering with an active 15 month old boy. I highly recommend the Turtle Back Zoo for those who are local and looking for a fairly inexpensive way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

The weekend recap: Family, flowers, birthdays, books, and belly laughs.

This past weekend was wonderful. Although I can’t say it was particularly literary, I had the chance to spend loads of time with family, as my parents visited and we attended my nephew’s first birthday party. My mom and stepfather brought flowers for the pots that sit in the window boxes outside the house, which my stepfather planted Saturday evening. I love it- the house looks so much prettier as you are walking up the steps with that small addition. đŸ™‚

Little Man (my nickname for my nephew) turned one this week, and we celebrated in grand style on Saturday with a Thomas the Tank engine themed party. There was a ton of food (I am pretty sure my stepsisters only know how to cook in massive quantities) and a huge Thomas cake, as well as a little marshmallow fondant Thomas cake just for Little Man. He entertained us all as he showed off his new walking skills, pushing a chair all over the clubhouse, and just being cute and giggly. How can anyone resist a smiling little boy with blond curls and bright blue eyes (which look exactly like my stepsister and my stepdad’s eyes, for the record)?

Sunday we went out to lunch with my stepsister and nephew, having a chance to visit them without all the others. Little Man entertained us with deep belly laughs and lots of playfulness. My stepdad fed him vanilla ice-cream, proudly sporting his Super Granddad t-shirt. I love seeing him and Little Man interact. Its clear they enjoy each others company.

Well…now that we’ve chatted about my weekend, down to business. About the books. I went to the library late Friday afternoon and had the chance to pick up a few books that were being held on reserve for me:

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

I found a review of Arranged http://www.5minutesformom.com/57195/arranged/  and found myself intrigued enough to queue up for it at the local library. I started this one Sunday night, and so far, I am hooked.

The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris

I was intrigued by the concept. I will probably skim, and fully read only vignettes. Mind you, I don’t think its something I can, or want to attempt to pull off.
The Calligrapher’s Daughterby Eugenia Kim

I seem to be slightly obsessed with Asian literature, and I found this book on a list of must reads. Its about a daughter caught between life in Korea before and after the Japanese occupation.

I also received my copy of Walt Whitman: Poetry & Prose for my Summer Reading Challenge (www.thenerdreports.wordpress.com). Although I am accustomed to my used books being filled with strange notes and markings, the math equations scattered throughout the title pages threw me. Math equations and Whitman….really? It’s a much larger volume, including the entire canon of Whitman’s published work, than I was originally anticipating, so I think I am going to have to plan my reading a bit more strategically. Since I will be participating in the Anna Karenina Read-Along in July, I think my plan is to read Whitman in August.

Sunday, after my parents departure I had some much needed downtime, so I had the chance to finish AJ Jacobs Drop Dead Healthy (see my review tomorrow) and plan out my reading schedule for Anna Karenina. The weekend was full of fun and family…but don’t worry. There’s always time for books. đŸ™‚

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