Happy Birthday to Brandon!
Well this past weekend was Brandon’s birthday, and we decided to celebrate by heading out of town for the weekend – just a weekend, a quick getaway just for the four of us. We went to Syracuse. Why Syracuse? Well, it’s not that far away, first of all. We can get there in a few hours. And our requirements were pretty much that we wanted a hotel with a pool (check), and a DSW shoe store (Brandon wanted dress shoes for his birthday). Syracuse it is!
Do you know what else Syracuse has that made our trip awesome?? A ZOO. The Rosamund Gifford zoo, to be precise, which is all kinds of great.
It’s not as big as the Toronto zoo, and not as interactive (no camel rides, pony rides, arctic exhibit or giant splash parks), but it’s also nowhere near as expensive, and they have a GREAT selection of animals. We got gorgeous weather and had an absolute blast.
We saw elephants (so many elephants! So awesome!).
They were my favourites. And there was a little elephant statue that Ani and Sam climbed on.
And of course, Sam, Brandon, and Anika made “elephant noises” pretty much every time we saw one. (“HARROOOOO!” with arm up in the air. Obviously.).
Well, the elephants were *my* particular favourite, but Anika was totally captivated by the penguins.
She loved them, ever so much. Can’t imagine why.
Sam thought they were pretty neat too. He was mostly just happy that I let him out of the stroller though.
Do you know what Sam was obsessed with from the moment we discussed the possibility of “zoo” with him? Lions. Or rather, “YIYAN!” So even though he looks very delighted and happy to be seeing other “aymals” in these pictures, really? In every single one of them he is saying “Yiyan??”
Fortunately for Sam, there were in fact “yiyans.”
Unfortunately for us, they were at the very end of our walk through the zoo.
He was beyond delighted. In case it’s not clear in the following picture he is explaining to the nice people standing beside us that they are looking at YIYANS and they should be a little more impressed.
Sam. Down with yiyans. Good to know.
Now, speaking of yiyans, do you know what else Syracuse has? A mall, with a Disney store. This is notable because where we live there is no Disney store, something I am eternally thankful for.
We took the kids there later on Saturday afternoon and their heads promptly blew clean off their bodies. Anika spent a lot of time walking around going “I WANT THAT! I WANT THAT!” Of course she did, she’s five, but still. Sam was just happy to have things to look at – until he discovered the gigantic pile of stuffed animals at the back of the store. He carried around mickey, and minnie, and daisy, and buzz lightyear, and pretty much anyone he could find…until he spotted a stuffed Simba from – you guessed it – the Lion King. YIYAN!!! He carried yiyan around for awhile.
We told the kids that we weren’t buying anything (we are mean!) but that we would come back the next day and they could each choose one thing. We figured that Anika could use a little calming down period before making her choice, and that we’d rather they be a bit more calm and focused about the whole thing. Sam said a tearful goodbye to yiyan and we went back to the hotel.
The next day we went back to the mall and Brandon took them to the Disney store. I wasn’t there (what? There was a Victoria Secret RIGHT THERE!) but Brandon tells me that Sam did not miss a beat – he marched straight to the back of the store, and as he approached the pile of stuffed toys, a lion near the top tumbled clean down the pile and into Sam’s waiting arms.
So yes. Yiyan lives with us now and so far goes everywhere we go. We do not have bottles at naptime – we give a bottle to yiyan and THEN Sam will drink it. When we get ready to go in the car, Yiyan needs to have shoes on and a hat. Yesterday, Sam insisted on rain boots and a frog hat for yiyan.
It seemed rude to say no.
In case you are keeping score at home, this is what Sam does when you ask him to smile now. It’s pretty hilarious.
Also, since it was Brandon’s birthday I made him a piece of subway art following Cheri’s suggestions and using some inspiration from things I found on Pinterest. We had a chat one night as a family about what things were important to us, and then I tried to capture them in this print. I like how it turned out and am looking forward to hanging it.
Mostly I’m just happy to be married to such a great guy. Happy Birthday B!!