Thursday, August 15, 2013

Museum day

This morning we got a text from my friend Emily (we taught English in Russia together) asking if we'd like to meet her at The Museum of Life and Science. At that moment, Benjamin was naked in his high chair and Miriam was still sporting her pyjamas so I asked her how long they'd be there. She said that she'd packed a lunch so would still be there for a few more hours. I hurried the kids along and got out the door in record time.

The museum was fairly busy but I managed to find a parking spot in the overflow parking lot and get this: I parked the car, by myself, beside another car. Miriam told me I did a good job.

We had a fun time playing with Emily's kids—at the butterfly house and the dinosaur dig—and stayed a little longer after they left (since we'd arrived quite a bit after they did). Emily and I counted up all the kids our "Russia girls" have brought into this world since we were there ten years ago: Staci (5), Me (3), Esther (2), Emily (2), Tiffany (2), Stephanie (2), Natalie (1), Michelle (0). Esther and Natalie are both expecting as well. That'll be nineteen kids in ten years between eight of us. Pretty crazy!

Miriam wanted to see the lemurs, which meant we had to walk through the entire "Into the Wild" exhibit. I love that walk though—with winding boardwalks over a somewhat natural wetland (it used to be a quarry but has since gone feral, which most things out here will do if you turn your back on them). It's beautiful!

We stopped by to see the bears and actually saw one. Usually they're too far away to find without the camera, but today this one came to see us.

We spent some time on the observation deck and spotted a great blue heron and a whole bunch of turtles.

There were some fun water tables set up to play with, one about erosion and the others about the way tadpoles and ducks propel themselves through the water. 

Here's Miriam listening to the different calls of the local wildlife.

When she got to the cicada she said, "Well, we know what sound that makes, but it's not a wild thing. It's just a cicada."

On our way out of "Into the Wild" we spotted a crazy web on a tree branch. We've noticed these while driving around town, too, and have wondered what sort of hideous/humongous spider was going around building such webs and what they planning on catching with webs that size—hawks?

Turns out that spiders aren't the architects, caterpillars are—fall webworms, to be precise. They live inside their webs which act as protection against birds and other would-be predators.

How happy am I that spiders aren't behind these webs? Very.

Miriam was so eager to get to the lemurs (they're her favourite) that she took over the stroller and bypassed the wolves. "Carry on!" she said. That's her favourite saying to pull out when she thinks we're taking too long somewhere.

She enjoyed watching the lemurs for a few minutes before "going. But not to home, just to the next thing."

"Come on, Mom!" she called back to me on the path.

Even though the weather's been abnormally nice lately (75°F today!?) and we didn't even break a sweat today, Miriam insisted on going through the mist gardens to "cool off."

We also got a turn with the boats, finally. I don't think we've ever managed to get a turn with the sailboats! The first station Miriam tried was missing its boat but she had fun pretending to steer.

She was able to grab a functioning boat after waiting for a few minutes. The white-and-blue sailed boat is hers. She took it for a zig-zagging ride across the pond.

We also made a quick stop at the small boat pond.

We arrived at the farm just in time to watch the animals get a special treat: watermelon. The cow ran out of his stall to get it, slurped it down, turned around, and ran back into his stall, leaving the rind behind him.

Benjamin said, "Moo!" though his moo often sounds more like voo or boo.

Benjamin loved watching the pigs and grunted at them a little bit. The pigs weren't as picky about their watermelon as the cow was; they ate the rind, too.

Here's Benjamin watching those pigs with verifiable interest:

Next up on Miriam's agenda was the music station. Both kids enjoyed playing the steel drums.

Truthfully, they enjoyed banging on all the instruments:

Our last stop outside was the playground.

Benjamin found a pinecone on the ground that he was very proud of. He picked it up and started bouncing up and down, scrunching up his nose, and making rude noises with his mouth. Silly guy.

When he fell down he took the opportunity to examine his pinecone a little closer.

He and Miriam enjoyed playing on the slide/ramp together. It's not a very slippery slide if it's supposed to be a slide...

And here's Miriam pretending to be Rapunzel:

We went inside to change Benjamin's diaper and to nurse him one more time while Miriam played with the blocks. He was pretty exhausted and I figured he'd fall asleep so I wanted to make sure he was fresh and full before his nap. He, of course, wanted to play with the blocks before settling down to eat.

Eventually I coaxed him over to the corner and we sat together in a nice, cushy chair while he had his fill and Miriam constructed a beautiful castle.

Benjamin fell asleep before we even made it onto Duke Street and on the way home Miriam asked if we could go to the museum again tomorrow (both sure signs of a perfect trip to the museum).

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