May 18, 2013

Fun in Nebraska: Part 2

While we had many things planned, we wanted to repeat a favorite Nebraska adventures: the zoo.  A fun bonus was that my twin cousins were home from college and had enough free time to join us at the zoo!  While we did many fun things together as kids, we couldn't remember having ever gone to the zoo together.  We decided you are never too old to spend the day at the zoo with cousins.
We were trying to get a twin picture...
 We discovered that twins are much more photo compliant at 19 than they are at 4...
Talking to the tortoise.
 A rare sighting of a Gigi Butterfly!
 Petting a Bearded Dragon
You may have noticed that Ryan is wearing his uber-favorite iguana shirt - specially chosen for a trip to the zoo where he was hoping to see one of his favorite animals.  He did!  Every time he saw any lizard of any kind, he would push his shirt up against the window and say, "Look!  It's an iguana just like you!  Did you recognize me?"  I was never fast enough to get a video, but it was adorable.  Also adorable was Allie's reaction to her favorite animals. At some point, this past year, the kids learned and became obsessed about nocturnal animals.  Allie's favorites being bats and owls.  She has been desperate to see a bat in real life (google images have sufficed so far), and asks every zoo trip if there might be bats.  This time, in a building we missed last time, we found not one but 3 bat exhibits!  She was in heaven.  From small fruit bats eating out of bananas to giant bats the size of winged groundhogs, she was in love.  In fact, she kept yelling, "Hello, bats!  I love you!  I love you so much!"  She also saw a few owls - which made her zoo trip complete.
The only "spiders" I will ever love.
 Baby "eagles" in an eagle nest.
 The camels are always a favorite because they have a wooden walkway around and over their exhibit.  The kids (especially Ryan) love to walk (run) this as many times as we will allow.  After a few times around, we all decided to sit on the benches and have a little snack/water break.  While there, a zookeeper was changing the camel's water.  He dumped out the water and the, normally slow-moving (somewhat boring) camels suddenly came to life.  They plopped down and rolled in the mud puddle, they splashed and jumped, they skipped and chased each other around the exhibit.   It was a camel experience we have never had before!
One of the funniest (and most popular) things at the zoo is a big pile of dirt.  I think the kids spent the most time running up and down the messy mound.  We managed to get a (somewhat decent) twin picture on top of the "mountain."
The most important part of the zoo visit is the train ride.  About halfway through, Ryan (desperately afraid we might miss the train) decided he didn't care about seeing any more animals.  He just wanted to ride the train.  Nothing could distract him.
So happy to finally be on the train!
The whole gang.
One of our other amazing adventures was completely random.  On the way home from the zoo, mom and dad bought a car.  While buying the car, Dad picked up a newspaper and noticed an ad for helicopter rides this weekend in a nearby town.  Now, if you know anything about Allie you know she is obsessed with all forms of flying transportation - planes, blimps, and especially helicopters.  Dad contacted them to get a little more information, but thought it was just too coincidental to not look into considering Allie's intense love of helicopters.  We did not tell the kids anything about a helicopter ride though.  On the off chance that we got there and didn't feel it was safe or something we didn't want them to be disappointed.

We got there and waited.  We saw the helicopter fly in and land.  They were thrilled to be within viewing distance of a landing helicopter.  We walked up to talk to the guy about a ride.  The next thing we knew, they were being ushered to the plane.  It truly happened so fast.
Walking toward the helicopter.  At this point, I'm pretty sure the twins still don't realize they are going for a ride.
 When they were almost to the helicopter, I was Ryan turn around and notice I wasn't coming with them (2 adults and 2 small children was the limit).  I saw this look cross his face, like he couldn't believe he was experiencing something so epic and mommy wasn't even coming!  I flashed a thumbs up and started clicking away with the camera - hoping my confidence would reassure him.
Loading up.  Allie hopped right in first!
Final seatbelt check before closing the door.  I love seeing little Ryan's face peeking out.
 And, the next thing I knew, they were taking off.  It happened so fast.  I prayed they would have fun, and then spent the time chatting with my dearest friend who joined us to keep me company.
Final glimpses before they flew out of sight.

 Papa and Gigi reported that Ryan stayed pretty stoic, but said he was having fun (totally true to form for him).  They said Allie wouldn't even respond.  She was looking out the window and soaking everything in.
A picture from Papa.
The time went by quickly.  We talked and chatted and suddenly, they were back and coming in for their landing.
 Ryan was lifted out first, and the second he hit the ground he ran full speed to me.  I scooped him into my arms, and he said, "Mommy, I just rode in a helicopter and it was so much fun!"  I could tell that he was trying to process something that had been monumental, and he couldn't wait to share the experience with me.
Running to me.
We went out to eat afterwards, and they behaved worse than I have ever seen them behave in a restaurant before.  I think the adrenaline and excitement pushed them over the edge.  They could not stop moving and acting crazy.

They are so excited and keep saying, "I rode in a helicopter!" in tones of awe and amazement.  Ryan said it tickled a little going up and down, and that he was never afraid (but Gigi was a few times).  Allie said she would see the helicopter again at their next meeting (as if one is already scheduled), and that she loved everything about the ride.  Both said it was their favorite part of the day (week? trip? year?).

Lucas and I realized that neither of us have ever ridden in a helicopter - making this the first thing that the twins have done that one of us hasn't done.

And even THAT was not the end of our adventures.  In the words of Allie, "Oh, our days are full of SO MANY adventures!"

1 comment:

Valerie said...

You guys seriously have the best adventures! How very cool--all of it. I love how the kids get to experience so many of their interests in such meaningful ways. What fun your family has! Love it!