We made it!
Bob had a conference in the big city, and suggested that we meet him there Friday evening after I picked Little Elvis up from school. The boys were thrilled, and Little Elvis kept calling it his vah-CA-shun. It was one night in a hotel.
Our poor children. The night of their vacation included eating out at Costco and shopping at Target. The sleeping situation wasn't great, and Little Elvis did get in trouble. They are pretty good sleepers at home, where we have a routine and can shut them into their rooms. In a hotel, we have no schedule, and we couldn't shut any doors. And we have the fear that they are being way too loud for our poor neighbors.
But it worked out. They got to eat fancy hotel breakfast the next morning, and then I bundled us up as best I could and we headed for the zoo.
I thought I'd have to wrestle poor Cheese Puff into the stroller, because he's decided he's too big for them. But he went in pretty willingly.
We headed in and went straight for the Herpetarium. Little Elvis is still interested in snakes, and I wanted the warmth.
We were able to make our stroll around the zoo work out so that we were able to enter a warm building every so often. In one of them, I let Cheese Puff run free for a while. Getting him back into the stroller wasn't too bad, but keeping a hat and mittens on him was impossible. I gave up on the mittens, and would stick a snack in front of him whenever I wanted to put his hat back on.
We roamed a lot, and even got to see a place of the zoo that we'd never seen before. Baby Plum got to see his beloved flamingoes! That boy loves flamingoes. I so hated that I didn't have my camera for that. They were "swimming" with some ducks, and I swear they made quack like noises. We got to see how their wings are kind of orange-y pink with black on the bottom. When they tuck their wings in, you can't see those brighter colors.
We also saw a polar bear moonwalking in some water. He did exercises the entire time we played in the inside viewing area. The boys weren't interested in him though. They liked the sea lions swimming on the other side.
On a bathroom break, we saw that the zoo was going to have a Marvel Avengers skit. So, we decided to play in the play area for a bit, then visit the aquarium and tropical birds (both inside!) before going back to watch the skit.
Little Elvis was mad that we weren't up front, and knew he wouldn't be able to see, but he did. I broke out my magic weapon at that time, because it was past lunch and naptime. The boys ate their fruit snacks. But Cheese Puff wouldn't let me help him get his out of the pouch. This led to tears. I let him out of the stroller, but a whole day stuck in a cold stroller looking at fences finally got to him. He laid down on the ground and cried for 15 minutes. I let him. I know people probably thought we were nuts, but we were outside and the Avengers skit was loud enough to drown him out. He would have just screamed in my ear if I'd forced him to let me hold him. Once he was done, he let me hold him and give him kisses to swipe.
Once the Avengers skit was over, we headed back to our car and found our way to a McDonald's near Bob. He was still in meetings, but we were fine. We enjoyed a very leisurely meal where some man asked if Cheese Puff was a boy and if all three were indeed mine, and finally met Bob at Bass Pro shops.
Little Elvis knew Bass Pro Shops would have a Santa Wonderland. The older boys met Santa and made ornaments. Cheese Puff refused to get near that jolly old fellow. They played with remote control cars and watched fish. And then some woman tried to sell me on going to some sort of time share somewhere. I couldn't get her to understand that we don't really take vacations. We just don't. Our trips to the big city are fine for the boys and for us. Vacations are work. Vacations are expensive. She didn't understand. It was a mess. I felt bad for wasting her time, but I never showed any interest. I swear.
So, there you go. We survived a day in the big city, just the four of us. I'm fine with the four of us at home, but was very nervous about the big city. I'm proud of us. Little Elvis and Baby Plum did a good job being big brothers. I shouldn't have forgotten the camera. We needed proof of our big accomplishment.