28 August 2010

More Zoo Days

We have spent a lot of time at the Zoo this summer. It is pretty close to our house, everyone we know has a pass, and it is a great place for the kids to run around - and you might even see some animals while you are there! I put together some of my favorite zoo pics from the last month for this post.

This is one of Oliver's new favorite spots. There is a little island where the pelicans, storks, and cranes live. He loves to look at the "Big Birdies", and it takes quite a bit of coaxing to get him to go see anything else!

There is a fun water playground that the kids love to play at. It was not a particularly hot day, as you can see from the sweatshirt (once again, this has been the hottest and coldest summer I have ever experienced in my life!), so I was following the kids around trying to keep them from walking or sitting in the water!

Elora playing at the water playground with a stick. She finds sticks wherever we go and insists on carrying them around with her. She is also wearing her "zoo shirt". It has zebras on it, and she tries to wear it every time we come to the zoo because she thinks the zebras will like it. So cute.

And the ever popular Ford Tractor ride! I didn't actually put money in it, but Ollie was still in heaven because he got to ride a tractor. Funny kid. Apparently the move back to rural Utah will not be such a culture shock after all!

There is this huge elephant that the kids love to climb. I think I have tried to get a picture of both the kids at the top every time I come to the zoo, but this is probably the best one to date... Elora being cute, and if you look close you can tell that Oliver is there too.

The last time we went to the zoo we saw the lemurs. I have never seen them here before, I wonder if this is a new exhibit. There are about ten of them and they kept running along this log. The kids loved in and stayed to watch for a long time. But the best part was the school class that was also there looking at the lemurs suddenly started singing (twenty kids all together), "I like to move it, move it! I like to move it, move it!" How funny that the kids over here in Austria also know and love that movie...

There was a baby elephant born just a few weeks ago. We have tried to see it before with no luck, but today I saw huge crowds with cameras perched up on the hill and decided to rush over there... and success! There is the sweet baby elephant. The kids were very excited to see it. The mama is very protective though, and mostly kept the baby underneath her so that people couldn't see it. When the baby tried to run out on its own, the mama made a loud noise in protest!

We tried to see the owls, and most of them were hiding... but then I noticed this little owl head poking out. I told Elora I thought it was asleep and she said, "No! Its eyes are open!" I took a pic, and she is definately right, the eyes are open and look sort of evil with the reflection from my camera flash... creepy owl... Funny side note: In German this type of owl is called an Uhu. I love that, it sounds like the noise an owl makes (instead of hoo hoo, it is uuu huu).

There is a spot with big beehives outside, and this little glass case inside with bees inside. Oliver absolutely adores bees, and Elora was so pleased to show it to him.

We met our friends up by the farmhouse section of the zoo, and found this awesome slice of a tree. We were told that this tree was growing near the Schonbrunn palace, but had to be cut down a couple years ago because the center was rotting out. It is huge! Think how long that tree must have been there!

I somehow don't have any pics of the kids playing with their friend Luke, which is funny because the kids all sat around playing with dirt, rocks, and sticks for about two hours. We never even got around to seeing any animals because the kids were so happy with the sticks. But here is Oliver trying to make baby Audrey happy. So cute. Oliver loves babies, and he was so excited to make her smile.

There is also a brand new baby panda, but they are not letting the public see it yet. It was just born this week. The panda house is closed, but luckily one of the pandas was outside today. Elora was so disappointed when she found out she could not go see the new baby that I was happy she got to at least see a big panda bear.

We went to the zoo another day this week (spoiled kids, I know) but it was very special because Daddy came with us. He did not buy a zoo pass this year, so usually I go with friends. We stopped by the big fountain to watch the ducks while waiting for some friends to join us. Ollie loves ducks, here he is telling me all about them.

Our friends couldn't meet up with us, so we headed inside and ran into a pack of turkeys. I have never seen turkeys running around the zoo, and the kids were way excited. There was a mother and her babies. Here is Ollie pointing with his stick just before he started following the turkeys around. It was fun to watch them because sometimes to mom would turn and the babies would keep walking. She would squawk at them really loud and then all the babies would start cheeping and turning around trying to figure out where mommy had gone. It is kind of like how I feel when I am herding the kids around the zoo...

We walked up a path we have never ventured on before, and discovered a new play area. The big hit of the day was the rock climbing wall. Oliver loved it! So glad daddy came today, I am pretty sure pregnant mama could not have helped the kids climb so high.

Here is mommy and Oliver hanging out on the wooden lizard instead. I love all the animal carvings that are around the zoo, and usually the kids like them better than even the real animals...

Elora had a hard time at first and gave up, but she came back later and conquered the rock wall! She looks so proud of herself.

One of Elora's favorite spots is the cave where live bats can fly all around you. I have to expend a great amount of self control to not squeal when one brushes my hair. Here you can see an actual bat off to the right. There are tons of them in there! Very cool, but also creepy.

When you enter and leave the cave you have to go through hanging vinyl curtains that are meant to keep the bats in. But the bats love to hang out here and fly around your head as you enter and leave. So here I am ducking to avoid the bats and check out the bat flying above me! If you look on the ceiling you can see a whole bunch more...

We also discovered a spot where you can pet goats! Totally a hit with the kids. I am excited to have found so many fun new spots at the zoo this week.

Oliver was so pleased to get close to the goats. He told me that he was going to touch them soft, and even gave one a soft hug. He is such a sweet little boy.

We went to the playground for a little while, but I am pretty sure that is where everyone else at the zoo was too! So after some gentle persuasion, we convinced the kids to head off to see more animals.

Elora spotted a butterfly on the ground, and started trying to put out her hand for it to walk on her. I really did not think it would work, but surprisingly the butterfly jumped on her hand and hung out with her for a little while. She was so excited!

There has been an area of the zoo under construction for awhile, and it is finally done. There is a llama/anteater/ostrich exhibit, and another little play area where the cute kids hung out for awhile.

Oliver loves trains and buses as we have mentioned, but what is funny is that he started calling the U-Bahn the "B-bahn" instead of choo choo. We could not figure out where the "B" came from, until one time he said "Blue-Bahn". He was seeing the Blue sign with a U on it, and thought we were calling it the "Blue-bahn". So now it has been officially dubbed, the B-bahn. He is also learning his letters right now though, and whenever he sees the letter "U" he says, "B-bahn!" and we try to correct him, saying, "It is a U" and then he says, "U-bahn!" He is so proud of himself for knowing that the letter U is a U-bahn, that it is hard to want to correct him...

27 August 2010

Aquarium

We are still a bit behind with the blog, so we will probably be putting up new posts every day for awhile. This summer has been a busy one for us. A few weeks ago we went to the Aquarium with our friend Jessica. She has been wanting to see it for quite some time, and Elora was so happy to show her around. And mom, if you are reading, a snake appears in this post a couple pictures down. Just so you know.

Here are the fish you can pet. It kind of creeps me out because they suck on your fingers, but Elora thinks it is fantastic. Oliver got all ready to pet one and then chickened out at the last minute. He is not such a fan of being approached by animals.

Instead he went to hang out by the lizards. He loves these ones, I think because their habitat is right at his level! They are often moving around too, and he loves it when they move! "It's Moving!!!!"

Check out the huge yawning snake. I have never seen a snake do that before, kind of makes you feel like it wants to eat you.

We found these little turtles which we have never seen before, and they were fighting! The little scrappy one kept chasing the big one and actually pushed it off the log into the water. Then the little guy jumped in the water too, and we watched them fight for awhile. The kids were fascinated by this, but Oliver got upset when he figured out the little turtle was being kind of mean.

A favorite part of the aquarium is the leaf cutter ants. There is a tube that runs around an entire floor of the aquarium that is filled with these ants.

Elora loves to watch the ants crawl, and she followed the tube back to the ant habitat - and found more ants! She was very happy.

Oliver was excited to try and reach up for the ant tube that was high on the wall. And if you look closely at the pics hanging on the wall next to Oliver, you can see what happens to people who get bit by a variety of poisonous snakes. Elora likes to study this and ask us lots of questions about it.

Today in the tropical section of the aquarium the little monkeys were running around everywhere, so we spent some time following them around.

And Elora found this cool bird that we have never seen before.

Oliver enjoyed climbing stairs. He was getting bored of animals by this point, but he absolutely loves stairs.

We showed Jessica the big tank with the sharks in it, and Elora talked to us all about sharks and how they can bite.

This was also a new exhibit with Gila Monsters in it. They were sleeping in this tiny crevice between the rock and the glass, with their toes poking out under the glass. Elora and Oliver liked petting the Gila Monster's toes.

We headed out into the cold August air to enjoy the view from the top of the tower. Yes, that is right. Cold and August. This has been the weirdest summer.

Here was the hit exhibit of the day. We didn't even have to put money in, Oliver just liked standing near it and talking about it.

Jessica and the kids posed outside the big flak tower for a photo.

And Jessica helped Oliver climb up this pole that is supporting the tree. My kids love Jessica, she is so much fun. And she has a tiny little dog named Bijou, so whenever Oliver sees her he asks about Bijou! Very funny to hear a two year old try to pronounce it. We had a great time showing Jessica around and next we will help her tour the zoo!

26 August 2010

Sweaty Kids

These pics are old, but so worth posting. In July we had a few weeks of the hottest weather most Viennese people have ever experienced, with no rain to break it up like we usually get. There is no air conditioning here, unless you go hang out in the freezer section of the grocery store, and even that isn't really cold... Plus they don't believe in ice or cold drinks here, so there is very little you can do to find relief from the super hot weather.

One night at dinner the kids were especially sweaty so we took some pics. Oliver's hair gets curly when he is hot and sweaty, it is so cute and funny!

Poor sweaty Elora. We started to eat in the living room because it is super hot in the kitchen after cooking... To the kids credit, they did not seem to mind the heat as much as we adults did, they just requested ice cream and popsicles a lot more often.

More cute Ollie hair. When we stop living somewhere with humidity I will have to finally cut his hair since it won't be curly anymore, but as long as it keeps curling I don't want to chop off his cute curly locks!

Chris had some fun messing up Oliver's hair on the way to church. It's pretty amusing to see what hairstyles you can give him when he is sweaty.

We made popsicles for the kids out of chocolate pudding using some little popsicle makers we got at the store. This was a very popular treat during the heat wave... except for our random little boy Oliver who chose to eat plain yogurt and left his popsicle on the table. Only when the yogurt was gone did he move on to the yummy frozen chocolate goodness, strange child.


Elora with brain freeze!


When Oliver does eat popsicles, he says, "COLD!" and does this awesome little brain freeze dance. So funny.

And another of Oliver's little quarks. He stopped eating apples awhile back, and I finally figured out it was because he didn't like the skin... so I did what I swore I never would and started peeling his apples because at least then he would eat some fruit! Today I had a container of apples, half peeled for Oliver, half not peeled for Elora. Oliver pulled out one with skin and said, "No skin." (I don't want skin). So I told him to get a different one. Instead he ate off the skin and then proudly held up the apple and announced, "No skin!"

25 August 2010

Elora's New Dress

I have been wanting to make Elora a Dirndl (traditional Austrian dress) for awhile now. She had one when she was a baby, but I thought it would be fun to make one for her now that she actually lives in Austria! I chose a less traditional fabric because she loves pink and my mom sent some cute pink fabrics to me.

Me working at my awesome super ancient Husqvarna that I got for free. It still works...

And here she is! Matching little head scarf and all. I think it turned out really nice and I already have plans to make another one with some other cute fabric I have.

Here is Elora dancing around with her friend Jewel on the train.

Here is Oliver proudly showing off his Austrian clothing - cute little lederhosen! I don't think there is anything cuter than a little boy with lederhosen. Oliver knows we think he is cute when he wears them too, and loves to put them on.

Elora and Dirty Teddy ready to head off to church.

And for those who are interested, here is a pic of me at 6 months pregnant. Sporting my super cute borrowed maternity clothes, gotta love that! I am a bit bigger now since I am 7 months, but haven't had any photo shoots lately...