Thursday, October 10, 2013

IL CP Gathering Day Three

One of the group a million photos

Today we went to the St. Louis Zoo - or brought the zoo to St. Louis, depending on your perspective. Woke up to more goats and hay and wonderful people. The sunrise was hazy and blurred, so that all you could see was colour and bright and no ball-planet-thing. I like it that way. Coffee and raspberries and putting my food in the fridge after a 72-hour stint without cold. Oh, and we were going to the zoo. Yeah, it was promising to be a lovely lovely day. 
We ate a breakfast of yogurt and cereal bars and baked, cheesified eggs with green flecks of broccoli in it (just for prettiness), and then did the whole dispersing-to-get-ready thing. When I was done dispersing, I made my way out to the living room and found a sweet-looking little thing in white sitting on a chair. Keegan? It was Keegan! Jenn was very excited to meet her, and I soon found it was with good reason. The shrimp is a gem, to be sure.
 Well. A tussle to pack lunches. A hustle for the coolers. Where are the water bottles? We have chips!?? And soon the lunch was packed, and we were on our way. 36 points to Austen for successfully backing a fifteen-passenger van out of his driveway, and a few more points for driving all of us crazy kids to the zoo safely. Mr. Weber sat at the very front and provided good conversation with more than a few laughs thrown in, so we had an all in all crazy good but sane drive to the zoo.

Once we had taken a million and one photos at the zoo entrance, we walked along “River’s Edge” to see such animals as anteaters and hippos. Keegan oohed and ahed over everything. And in case you ever wondered, R.O.U.S.s exist. The River’s Edge exhibit thoroughly explored, we went back to the van for lunch and then walked back to the zoo for more animals. The sea lion feeding was first up, and they were really cute performing their tricks and munching on nondescript fish. It was even cuter seeing Master Jacob’s face droop when he discovered he could not feed the sea lions himself, and then droop even more when he realised that sea lions are not wet lions at all, but gigantic otters with whiskers! After a few tricks and hearing them “roar,” however, Master Jacob was completely sold on sea lions. Lemurs and these mini-chinchilla monkeys are cute. Otherwise, you can keep monkeys and apes all for you. 
But instead of telling you about the zoo, I may as well show it to you in pictures. Because I have pictures!!! Thank you, my photographer friends: Emily and Kaitlyn! 

Master Jacob's preferred mode of transportation ~ Andrew McKee got him for most of the trip.

Because we all love elephants!

Lunch with the Fab Four, give or take a few.

An acceptable monkey. One of the few. 

Performing Sea Lions for their food.

All aboard? Yeah, we were a full train, and the conductor said: Oh, please don't tell me you are all homeschoolers!
One thing that is not in the photos, however, was a brief but sincere scare we had with losing Sara Beth. Sometime near the gorillas, our little munchkin separated from the group and found herself wandering amongst the apes et al, while the rest of us sauntered through the avery and up to the big cats. Poor Sara Beth! It was only at the groovy hipster zebras that we noticed she was gone! Austin went back to search for her and placed Drew in charge of the group so we could still travel through the zoo. We spent most of this time in the bird exhibit, partially enjoying the toucans and kookaburras while asking around for Sara Beth. Finally we got the call that she had been found with a bunch of zoo rangers. Poor girl. But she was brave and rejoined our group full of smiles for the rest of the day. 

After a train ride around the park, we piled into our vans for home. Essie played the Getty’s Christmas CD and the Piano Guys, so Josh and I sang at the top of our lungs all the way home (don’t worry, we were sitting in the way way back of the van!). It was a great drive, and so much fun to see half sleepy heads perk up as soon as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” came on over the speakers. 

We eventually found home and food ~ yummy food, indeed ~ and then watched another very good Bill Jack talk. The discussion is prompted proved to be worthy and helpful, and I think we all have a better idea of what we are going to be thinking while we interview people on Friday. 

Before sleeping, all of us played the Character Game, which was a favourite from the VA gathering, and, boy, was it a blast. Anything that combines taboo and charades and insanity has to be fun, no? After valiantly staying up late (so worth it!), we early birds went to bed (or crashed onto various piles of sheets and blankets). Everybody else decided to play the Character Game again! Suffice it to say that the people who played a second hand of it are not yet awake, so I cannot tell you how it went. 

Today we are off to St. Louis! See the arch, go nuts at the city museum, and eat at the famed Spaghetti Factory before coming back home. P.S. The Cards won Game Five!!! Praise God, because I for one was not looking forward to a grumpy St. Louis today. :D

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