Saturday, January 23, 2016

Peterson Family Reunion 2015: Zoo Day!

I was really excited for what we had planned for day 2 of the reunion: THE ZOO! The last time my family went to the zoo Bud was in a stroller, so none of the kids really remember it. Pen stayed back to work on college applications (and she's against zoos), but the rest of us were super excited.

I loved watching the kids as they saw animals in person that they'd only read about. And I loved seeing the animals, too. So cool.

Seeing the snakes up close was fascinating and I could have looked at them for ages-- a little easier and less stressful to do with glass separating us. :)

I admit to having mixed feelings about zoos, too, especially when the animals are housed in less than ideal conditions. But then I think of the role zoos play in animal conservation, and I feel better. And then I see this and I gasp in awe and delight:

Seriously! Look at all of that space! I didn't feel bad about this at all. It was beautiful. 

I could have stood there for hours. The funniest part was when this one giraffe just stood there looking at Big for a really long time and Big said, "That giraffe just keeps staring at me. It must be because I'm so good-looking." I'm sure that's it. Ha!

There were just so many neat things to see. We spent quite a while watching the dik-dik chew its cud. When it swallowed you could see this big lump travel down its skinny neck, and then, a moment later, the lump would travel back UP! Then it would chew for a minute and the process would repeat. Fascinating!

The horn on the rhinoceros was ginormous! 

Remember all of that reading Big and I used to do on alligators and crocodiles? Well, needless to say, he was pretty darn excited to see these.

Edith and Big fell more than just a little bit in love with the magnificent lions that were there. I loved watching the two of them as they watched the lions. We even got to hear a little snarly roar out of the male lion when the female nipped at him in annoyance after he woke her up. Way cool.

We finally convinced a tired Edith to take a turn in the stroller. She was embarrassed, thinking she was way too old, but I think we were all glad she did. I mean, we were walking the zoo all day the day after a 4 mile hike, tag, and bowling. I think we ALL wanted to ride in the stroller. 

As we were leaving, my family stopped in the zoo gift shop so the kids could get a souvenir of the trip with some money they received from Grandma and Grandpa Gorilla for Christmas. I had to forbid Big from purchasing a souvenir on the way to Arizona at the gas station convenience stores. They're full of so many treasures, I know, but I told him that the zoo was the only place he was allowed to spend his money. I think he's so glad he waited. I know I am. I got a really cool giraffe mug to remember my favorite exhibit by. What a fabulous time we all had at the zoo! We're already talking about when we can go back.

I think it ended up being a really good reunion activity, too. We got to interact a little, spread out a little...Ginger told me how much she loves the zoo (over and over again) and how it's the best reunion we've ever had...Big got a chance to tell some other people in the family all the stuff he knows about animals... perfect. 

We were all pretty exhausted so we just chilled out that evening. 

A great end to a really great day. What could possibly be next?

Peterson Family Reunion 2015

Two days after Christmas we headed to Arizona for a family reunion. Yeah, the quiet Christmas was definitely going to be over. My brother, Rib, and I were in charge of planning the reunion this time around, so if it didn't end up being any fun I only had myself (and Rib!) to blame. And everyone else could blame us, too! Yikes!

We started the drive a just little later than we intended, but it was hard to get motivated to go outside to get in the car when it was -9 degrees outside. Thanks for making so many trips out in the cold to get the car loaded, Rophone! Brrrrr! With all of his hard work we were still pretty much on schedule (on schedule = just getting light). 

The kids are all finally getting to an age where long drives in the car are a little more relaxed. Everything went really smoothly and we had a lot of fun. Putting Edith in the far back with Big was the greatest idea of the century thus far-- they entertained each other the whole drive (Yessssss!). 

On the way, we met up with a friend of mine from high school to have lunch (no picture, believe it or not!). It was a lot of fun and helped break up the long day in the car a little better than just our normal stop for food would do. I ordered a taco salad that I swear came in a family sized serving bowl. It was hilarious to eat out of.  

We spent the night at Rib's (thanks!) and hung out there on the Monday, gearing up for the reunion to start the next day. 

Day 1 of the reunion was pretty packed with activities. We started the day with a fun group hike. It was super bright, but perfectly cool so we could make the climb without getting too hot.

A few family members were unable to make it to the top due to poor footwear, bad knees, etc., so of course we had to yodel down to them. Of course we did. Ha!

That afternoon was set aside for some family photos. Piece of cake with a group this size, right?

I snapped a bunch of pictures of the cousins playing tag while we waited for pizza to arrive for dinner. It was fun to see them enjoying being together so much. I mean, that's the whole point, isn't it? I love the memories I have of doing things with my cousins.

After dinner, we headed to see Christmas lights at the Mesa LDS Temple and then went bowling. Sometimes I forget how much fun it is to bowl. I had to stick with the group at my lane so I could help my niece, Emily, but I managed to snap a few photos. My score of 143 ended up being 3rd highest. Cool. It really was a ton of fun.

Some of us played games that night, and I thought it might be kind of fun to try and take a panoramic shot of all of us around Rib's big round table. I didn't tell anyone to hold still...

The bulge on the side of my mom's face! Rib's head! It gave us such a good laugh. Then I tried a few more, with everyone doing purposeful movements to see how it looked.

So, so funny! Then I took a final shot with everyone posed. I really love how it turned out. One of these days I think I'll get it framed. I especially love how creepy my mom looks-- I told her to just look directly in the camera, but I didn't realize that the effect would be quite that unsettling. 

My sister, Soup, took a photo of me and my older brother because she thinks we look like twins. Related?

What a fun first day! The next day was an activity I was super excited about-- a visit to the zoo! I took a lot of photos, so I think it's best if it has its own post...