What the girls said this week
Zelda is consistently saying "Ellie" now. It sounds like "Ehyee."
Ellie, washing her hands: "Mom, look, I made lather!" (Where did she learn that word?)
Ellie: "Mom, guess what is my feeling? Happy."
Ellie, after we were listening (at her insistence) to the same piano song for the 147th time in a row: "I want this song to ever, ever end."
What we did this week
We went to Ohio! This week is Jason's spring break, so last Friday we packed up and drove up to Ohio to see our friends Jill and Tommy. They live in Cincinnati, and we haven't seen them in person since Ellie was like four months old. It was so fun! We loved getting to visit them, and had tons of fun the whole weekend. (You can read Jill's blog about it too, here: The Montoya Family: The Thomas Family Visits!)
Our drive on Friday took us up through Virginia and then West Virginia and finally to Ohio. We laughed at the slogans on the state welcome signs - Virginia's slogan was "Open for business!" and West Virginia's was "Wild and Wonderful." By the time we were driving through the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia it was night time, so pretty much all I can tell you about what it looked like was dark and the roads were windy. We took a couple detours off the main freeway (to avoid tolls), and the side roads and little towns we went through were really, really snowy. And they still had Christmas decorations up! Jason kept pointing out all the of the Christmas trees lit up in the house windows.
We got in past midnight on Friday night so (after talking for like an hour) we forced ourselves to go to sleep. When we all woke up the next morning Ellie and Bradley met each other, and they hit it off. When they were having breakfast they were playing this silly game they made up, where Ellie said "Rawr moo! Rawr moo!" And then Bradley would say, "Huh?" They did it over and over and over, ahind laughed each time.
After breakfast we went to this awesome place called Jump & Jacks. It was this big indoor playground; I can't adequately describe it, but it had huge slides and lots of padded ramps and ladders and obstacles and ropes and just all sorts of things for kids to climb and play on. I wish we had something like it by us. It was such a perfect place for kids to have fun and get their energy out. Ellie loved it. Zelda got a little bit tired of the big playground after a while, so we took her to the "toddler room" that was quiet and had carpet and baby-friendly toys and slides, and she was very happy in there.
While we were playing on the big jungle gym, I overheard a conversation between two little boys. One said, "I'm six. Are you six too?" And the other one answered, "Yeah! We'll be grown-ups on the same day!"
When we got home, Jason and Tommy went to Jungle Jim's (a huge, awesome grocery store that Jason loved) while Jill and I looked at all of each other's photobooks and talked and talked and talked.
That afternoon we went to Jill and Tommy's ward (chuch congregation)'s emergency preparedness fair. It was really good and really well put together. They had a bunch of different classes you could go to. To entertain Zelda while Jill and I were listening to the finance lesson, I let her play with my camera. Here's some of the silly pictures we took together:
Meanwhile, Ellie fell asleep with Jason in the legal documents class:
We went home and had dinner afterwards, then went to an ice cream place called Graeter's that was so good. I got chocolate peanut butter ice cream and Jason got chocolate chip cookie dough, but the very best ice cream of all was their black raspberry chocolate chip (Jill and Tommy let us try theirs). It was amazing. It is now one of my top three favorite ice creams of all time.
|The lights were shaped like ice cream cones.|
That night (and every night we were there) after the kids went to bed we played games. Jason and I learned two new ones while we were there - 5 Second Rule and Saving Mr. Lucky - and also played ones we've played before (Rummikub, 5 Crowns, Settlers of Catan.) We love playing games with Jill and Tommy.
Ellie ended up sleeping in our room every night we were there. She and Zelda had a room to themselves, but she was too nervous to sleep in it. The first night we switched her to our room after she was still awake for a couple hours after bedtime, and each night after that we just put her to sleep in our room.
The next morning was Sunday and so we were all getting ready for church (and were almost ready to go - Jason already had the car running) when we found out that church was canceled due to snow. So instead, Jason and Tommy played with Ellie and Bradley outside and Jill and I did photo book/blog book/blog design stuff. It was great!
Jason and Tommy decided to build a tunnel. They worked on it for quite a while; the kids came inside while they were making it because they were cold and wanted hot chocolate. (Also, if you're wondering why the snow is yellow in some pictures, it's because the kids were "painting" the snow with colored water in spray bottles. Not...other reasons.)
|Jill and I were laughing so hard when they were clearing out the tunnel like this.|
|Thank you Jill for this picture!|
All ready for action:
We all took turns sliding through the tunnel. It was so funny. The tunnel was just the size of one medium adult person, so we all barely cleared the edges.
We relaxed and just played the rest of the day.
The next day, Monday, we went to the zoo.
Since we went to the zoo on a cold, snowy Monday, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Seriously, I think I saw maybe fifteen other patrons the whole time we were there. It was great.
One of the first things we got to do when we went inside was join the "Penguin Walk." The penguins came out of the bird house and walked to their outdoor exhibit in the children's area, and we got to walk right next to them. All the kids thought it was awesome. All the adults did too, haha. Even all the construction workers who were working on the zoo train stopped and were taking pictures.
After that, we did a big loop around the zoo, starting with the reptile house. Apparently this is the oldest zoo building in North America.
After that we went to the night animal house and the insect house. Both were really cool! I loved the insect house. The night animal house was really stinky and Ellie kept saying there was a skunk in it somewhere. (The cool animals made up for the smell.)
After that we stopped to eat lunch and take a break in the manatee house.
When we were all rested, we circled round and saw the monkeys and apes, polar bears, giraffes, and elephants. Jill said the bonobos are one of her favorite animals at the zoo, and I totally agree. I would have watched them for a lot longer, if Ellie and Zelda had let me. The giraffes were the animals Ellie wanted to see the most; she was asking for them the moment we walked into the zoo and was finally satisfied when we saw them.
|Ellie insisted on wearing her panda baseball cap because "it's her zoo hat."|
|This peacock let us get right up to it. Ellie touched its tail.|
By mid-afternoon we'd made our way around the zoo so we headed home. Jason was hungry so we stopped by a place called the "Steak and Shake" (who can resist that name?) and picked up some burgers on the way home. (They were really good, if you were wondering.)
We played at the house for the rest of the day. Ellie got really into Hungry Hungry Hippos (she called them "Henry Hippos") and so did I. That was one of my favorite games as a kid. Later Jill and I went back to Graeter's and grabbed another half gallon of the black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream (Jason and I were realllly happy about that. We ate almost the entire thing by the time we left the next day.).
After we put the kids to bed Tommy had to take a work call for a couple hours, so while he did that Jason, Jill, and I took the "Color Code" test to see what color our personalities are. Jill and I did this back at BYU together, and Jason and I did it in high school, so it was really fun to see how our "colors" have changed over the years. When Tommy was done with his phone call we played a really fun round of Settlers of Catan.
We all brushed our teeth together before we went to bed. Tommy works for P&G, so Jill and Tommy have lots of different kinds of their products at their house. While we were there I tried vanilla toothpaste (good), mint chocolate chip toothpaste (not so good), and this fancy two-step toothpaste that all of us are using in the picture (awesome).
|(Thanks to Jill for this picture!)|
The next morning Tommy had to go back to work, but the rest of us went to free pancake day at IHOP.
After our yummy pancakes we came home, packed up, and headed out. We drove a different way home, going through Kentucky (which was really pretty) this time.
We had so much fun with Jill and Tommy! Thank you guys so much for letting us come and for being such great hosts!!! (Also, if you haven't already, look in the mailbox in the upstairs bedroom.)
Since we've been home we've been doing a lot of house stuff. I repainted the mailbox post and the railings leading up to our front door, and I've started repainting all the trim in our house. Jason's been getting our new computer up and running (the new operating system finally came so he could install it).
Annnnd that was our week! It was a great one!