Monday, July 29, 2013

Oakland Zoo with great friends

With our move coming up in a little over a week, I've been trying desperately to pack in as much fun with the people I love as possible.  Every week we've tried to go on a big group outing and a couple weeks ago, we decided to go to the Oakland Zoo.  It's been such a blessing to be surrounded by such incredible friends.  I know I'm going to miss this large community of amazing women so much when we move.  I don't talk about that, though, when I'm with them...gotta hold back the emotions for another week at least.  But what an honor it's been to have them all in my life!
The whole group in front of the Oakland Zoo entrance:
(LtoR) Annie and Jane, Daxton and I, Alana, Ava, and Sienna, Rachel and Avery, Michelle, Brooks, and Hadley, and Sarah, Jac, and Skylee.
What a fun group!

Our first stop were the sun bears.
They were both in perfect sight for the kids to watch.

Daxton was a little annoyed that I wasn't letting him out of the stroller, but I knew once he was out, he would not want to get back in, so I waited until we got to the bottom of the hill to let him free. We all decided that the large green pasture was the perfect spot for a picnic lunch.

Daxton and his women...
Daxton, Jane, Hadley, and Sienna
Little Skylee is just small enough at three months to not sit up yet.  The other babies were quite interested in her.

We tried desperately to get a good picture of all the kids together, but with that many under the age of four it was quite difficult!  The picture below was the best we could get...

After our picnic lunch, we decided to head to the Children's area of the Oakland zoo.  We figured some of the little ones would be needing afternoon naps, so this would be a fun place to start while they were all awake.

You can't go to the Oakland Zoo without playing on their huge frog statues!  The kids had a blast climbing, sliding, and jumping off of them.

Brooks, Ava, and Jac

Daxton taking his turn.

Little Jane was quite confused by the whole experience and didn't mind the fun photo bombing going on behind her.
Such funny kids!
And so fun to see Daxton interacting with them all.

I spent most of the remainder of my day with this view...
A little man very excited to be walking on his own and in no way wanting to be told where to go!

Daxton was really interested in the alligators.  I guess that was good considering we will be moving to alligator central in a week! I think he also just love following Ava around, though.

Watching the alligator swim by with Ava.

Creepy how the alligator looked at my little man and swam over to him...I'm sure he looks quite tasty with those chubby cheeks!

After the alligators, we made our way to the Oakland Zoo's petting zoo.  It is perfect!  There are options for inside and outside viewing of the animals, mostly goats and sheep.  There is a large area for the goats to naturally wander and interact with the children.  Children are also able to use animal brushes to comb the fur of willing goats and sheep walking by.
Little Avery was super sweet and got an extra brush for Daxton to use.  Daxton wanted to brush the ground at first, but Ava was there to show him how it was done.
Such great little friends

After the petting zoo, Sienna and Hadley snuggled down for a nap in their strollers.

After the Children's Zoo section, we made our way through the different enclosures of the Oakland Zoo.

First we came to the Giraffes...

Then the male and female lions.

Michelle's favorite, the snakes...

And finished with the ferocious tiger and large tortuous.  Brooks and Michelle gave their best tiger faces!

After we finished up at the zoo, we headed to the outside section where there are several rides for the children to choose.  Most of us decided to ride the train which took us through the Australian area of the zoo where we saw kangaroo and emus.
Riding the train!
It was such a fun day with amazing friends!
I couldn't ask for anything more.

Devon's Surprise 30th Birthday

I mentioned in previous posts how much we adore the Dimond family.  It's funny to think that we've only known them for this past year when they moved into our little Virginia Hills community.  They've become great friends over the course of this year and we are grateful for their friendship!  

A couple weeks ago Liz planned a surprise birthday party for Devon to celebrate his 30th birthday.  Unfortunately I was sick with a bad cold at the time, so Daxton and I slept while the big celebration was going on out back.  Dallas was sweet enough to document the evening and I must admit that he is becoming quite the photographer!
Here are some of the events from that night...

The happy birthday boy with his gorgeous wife.

Walking into his surprise...

Some of the fun decorations and yummy cake...

Singing to the birthday boy...

Wonderful friends in attendance...

The Cook Family

The Moore Family, Missionaries, DeMary family, and Lisa, Jorge, and Julian.
Everyone looked like they had a blast!
I wish I could have been there, but I'm so glad Dallas was able to document it all, so it felt like I was :)
Happy Birthday, Devon!
We hope it was a wonderful day and we sure are grateful for your and Liz's friendship!

Dinner with the Millars

Since we were down in the Pleasanton area, we decided to surprise our friends Lisa, Luke, and Maddie!  They were great to meet up with us for dinner and of course Daxton and Maddie LOVED hanging out as usual...
I love their little bond!
Daxton and I have loved our almost weekly get together's with Lisa and Maddie throughout this past year.  It's been so much fun to see little Maddie grow and watch her sweet personality shine.
It's crazy to think that Lisa and I have know each other for over a decade now.  I have cherished her friendship, starting with being an amazing roommate in New Zealand, to now having play dates and family get togethers in the bay area.  I love her and will miss her dearly.
What a beautiful happy family!
Love the Millar family!

Alameda County Fair

After Greg's birthday celebration, we drove down to Pleasanton to the Alameda County Fair.  We have lived here for five years and have never been.  Lots of our friends go each year and have said wonderful things about it, so we decided to check it out before we moved.  It was the last Saturday that it was open and VERY packed, but Daxton had a blast checking out all the different animals.

We found some cute little goats that Daxton immediately fell in love with.  He kept reaching his little hand through to grab their tails and ears.  He also loved that he was able to walk now!
Checking out all the livestock...

He also learned some new things from some of the passing people...

Watching the sheep...

We had to watch him closely with the chickens.  He kept trying to pock his little finger through the hole of the chicken coop.

We then made our way to the "petting zoo."  I have to admit that I've been spoiled with other petting zoos.  The Oakland zoo has a great little petting zoo for little ones and the Tilden Park little farm is also a great place to visit, so I was not impressed with their petting zoo at the fair.  It was one big room with free wandering goats, deer, etc, but there was WAY too many people.  They didn't have a limit and kept letting people in.  I could tell the animals were getting very anxious and so was I.  We only let Daxton down if Dallas was blocking the other animals and people.  It was much too chaotic for us and the animals as well, I'm sure.

Daxton did like leaning over the side to look at the baby deer.  It was much more calm than the other animals (probably because it was behind a protective barrier.)

Overall it was a good experience.  Fairs aren't generally my thing, but it was fun to watch Daxton's expression while being introduced to all the different animals.  I can't turn an opportunity down to expose our little man to more learning!

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