Every week-end during the lockdown, we've spent as a family at our house. But today, we were so happy to be able to go somewhere!
I first started bringing Tyler and Caleb to this zoo in 1994, before Claire was born! While it's seen huge improvements over the years, you can always count on the flamingos being the first stop as you enter the zoo.
|The sign says "Adhere to the 2 meter distance". Good thing we're family!|
Just around the corner from the entrance is an old mining train for the kids to climb up on.
A few weeks ago I was looking through old photos and found one of Tyler standing in this same spot, at about the same age as Judah!
I wish I'd kept it out to scan and put in here for comparison!
The zoo was at one of its finest moments in the year today, with all the flowers blooming, and the spring green out on the trees.
It felt so good to walk the paths, even though we still had to have our masks on. Hoping that regulations eases soon.
|I love this photo...it's Charlie with Aunt Lara!|
One of the special parts of this quarantine lockdown has been watching the three little boy cousins really get to know each other. There is a whole different level of love, trust and enjoyment between them now.
|Judah taking cousin Charlie to see another animal!|
And the boys have become so comfortable with their aunts and uncles too.
|Tyler holding hands with nephew, Charlie, and son, Judah!|
And what is a zoo day if it doesn't include snacks?! So glad some of the stands are open, and that you're allowed to pull your mask off to eat or drink, as long as you're socially distant from strangers!
Oh these three little boys! What good memories they've been making over these past months since Caleb and Haley first came from Albania in December.
When they arrived at that time, Haley was still pregnant and we didn't know who was inside her. But now we do! And I'm so glad Jenna was at the zoo with us today as well!
I think Claire's first time here was at around 6 months old, so not that much older than Jenna is today!
I'm pretty sure I could also find a photo of Dave with our boys, looking at a similar display years ago. I love that Judah enjoys looking at those with his Papa in these days!
There have been so many additions to the zoo over the past 25 years; it's sure special getting to see it now with our grandkids!
The zoo is on a slope that starts high at the entrance and slopes down as you walk through it; you don't really notice it until it's time to walk back up after you've reached the end! We took a little break before turning the corner and heading up the other side.
And took another break at the bear exhibit to get a sweet family photo of Caleb, Haley, Charlie and Jenna!
With a few different routes to walk back up to the entrance, we took a less traveled one where I captured our kids and grandkids mid-stream. It's crazy to look at that picture and remember that my kids walked these paths when they were the ages of our grandkids!
From the zoo, we headed over to Tyler and Lara's house, where they prepared dinner for us - a Pakistani feast!
During quarantine as we've spent these week-ends together, we've tried to do food from different countries just to stretch our cooking skills. It's been so fun to "visit" places like Pakistan, Israel, Italy and Cuba through food that originated in those places.
After dinner, Aunt Claire was the favorite, reading books to the boys!
While the rest of us enjoyed more conversation with each other...Jenna included!
Though Charlie wasn't going to spend the night with Judah and Asher, they still had bath time together, which always includes a special song from Papa and Nonnie that we made up a year and a half ago!
I have no idea how I came up with the tune and lyrics - it literally just happened one night when they were all at our house for Christmas 2018. Dave came in that night and added a "beat box" to it, and the song was complete...forever etched into their memories! It's fun to make those kinds of memories.
I'll have to add Jenna into it - or give her a new song someday!
The evening ended with lots of hugs and "high fives" between cousins, aunts and uncles.
As we walked out into Ostrava's main square on our way to the car, I felt like my heart would burst! I am so full of thankfulness to the Lord for each week-end we have had together, and the bonds that are being formed during them.
We don't know how many more we will have, so I'm treasuring each moment.