Friday, June 25, 2010

Father's Day @ Phillip's Park Zoo in Aurora

With all the rushing around we did yesterday for presents, grocery shopping, attending a neighbors' birthday party, and how cranky the kids were because of it, I wasn't sure how this Father's Day would turn out. Despite ME being grumpy today, it turned out much better than I'd thought.

The day before I had taken the kids out with me to Borders to buy Steve a book on investing in real estate. It had been a crazy week with the cousins in town. I hate to leave things to the last minute, which added to my stress level. Since I didn't have the exact title I wanted, I felt so rushed to grab the first book that looked halfway decent before the kids started going crazy in the store. Jared wanted to find Batman books, and I said no. I really just wanted to get the shopping over with. Then, I had to use the bathroom, and the kids were stressing me so much in there, with crawling under the other stalls and singing on the top of their lungs. Then when we stopped to pick out cards, they wanted to be in different aisles, buy all the cards that made music, and took forever to pick out a card for Steve. I hate, hate, hate when I rush them. I feel bad, they feel bad, and I can just feel the ulcers forming in my stomach. But when you look at all the things that need to get finished in a day, things that truly seem necessary, it's so hard to remember not to let your stress level get out of control, to breathe, and take time out for the seemingly frivolous things in life.  

We all went to church in the morning, attempted to have the kids go to their Sunday School class, then resigned ourselves to them sitting with us during the service. Surprisingly, they weren't as crazy as I thought they'd be. They're still a bit traumatized from the Sunday School class in Missouri, so they might just be sitting with us for awhile.

We grabbed some hot dogs, headed home, ate, had the kids write something in the cards they bought for Steve yesterday, and wrap up the book and coffee we bought for Steve. The kids love anything to do with presents, and are actually getting better at not giving away what the present is before the person has a chance to open their gift!

A few hours later, we headed to Phillips Park in Aurora, with Steve's parents and younger sister following us, to meet up with my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, brother, parents and grandmother.

Before we could even find a picnic table, the kids were all over the playground equipment. Soon after my parents arrived, I had to get to a bathroom, so Steve and I took the kids on a walk to the main building next to the splash park. Phillips Park is really an incredible place to go with your family. Everything is free there, including a small splash park, loads of playground equipment, acres of gardens and picnic areas, and a small zoo.

Steve and the kids went on to the zoo area while I finished up in the bathroom. When I caught up with them, they were so excited to show me the cougar they spotted.

While it was awesome to literally come nose to nose with the huge animal when he slinked up to the glass, I mostly felt bad he was trapped in such a small space.

Here's some other animals at the park: bald eagles, otters, turkeys, wolves, elk, ducks and geese, and a reptile house.

Before we had to leave to pack for Minnesota the next day, we gave our fathers their gifts. We gave Steve's dad a new pair of sandals....

...and my dad a bag of candy.

Ok, so some of you are probably wondering what my dad did to deserve such a cheap father's day present. All three of us kids pitched in and gave our parents a combined gift on Mother's Day last month- tickets to see the Million Dollar Quartet.

It's been a good few weeks of being with extended family a lot, but Steve and I and the kids are so ready to have time with just our immediate family. Do you have your own limit of just how much time you can spend with others before wanting to get away by yourself?


Nicki said...

I've never been to Philipp's Park Zoo, but it sounds a little like the small zoo in Elgin! I will try to bring the kids there some time this summer... maybe on Friday on our way home from the Firefighter Museum.

Chris said...

Definitely check it out. It's a bit of a hike from where we live, otherwise we would be there more often.