Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I am very excited about a 2nd annual event coming up in a couple of weeks.

3 girlfriends.  A cabin.  Nature.  No solid plans.  Anything can happen!

Last year, we...

Drank wine
Built a fire
Sang around that fire
Watched movies
Ate biscuits and gravy
Discovered Story, IN
Laughed.  A lot.
Spent time with God

This year, we will be staying in the same cabin.  There have been updates - new paint outside, new hot tub, new fire pit.  We've each been stocking up on wine from local wineries and treats that are especially good with a fire.  We've been pinning recipes and things to do.

But most of all... it's just about the escape.  And the connection.  The down time. And the laughter.

The spiritual experience.  The worship and praise and prayer.

Time with a couple of girlfriends in God.  Few better ways to spend a weekend.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fishers Farmer's Market Opening Day - May 3

I am very excited - our Farmer's Market will be opening in a week!

We are big fans of our local market and go as many Saturdays as we can over the season.  When we visit other cities or towns, we like to discover new markets.  And our area offers markets that I would love to visit more often.

This year's vendors have some new offerings that I'm excited about.  I am going to have to make sure that I either bike or walk to the market so that I don't end up gaining 20 lb this summer!

Artistic Landscaping - hosta, perennials
Artisano's Oils & Spices - vinegars and oils
Artisano's Iced Teas - flavored teas
Bags of Wags - all natural gourmet dog treats
Bliss Haven Farms - fresh cut flowers
**Broad Ripple Chip Co. - homemade chips, butters, spreads
Boyd's Fudge - gourmet fudge
Castaway Compost - worm compost
Cate's Cottage - produce, fresh cut flowers
Chocolate for the Spirit - gourmet chocolate creations
Cornerstone Bread Co. - artisan breads, rolls
Earthly Delights - produce
**Edward's Homemade Mixes - dry mixes for desserts
Gallagher Farms - produce
Grandpa's Beef Jerky - beef jerky
Guacamole! - fresh guacamole made on site
Harvest Coffee Roasters - coffee beans, fresh roasted coffee
**Hoosier Tacos - pork tacos, sliders
**Indy Morsel - take and bake meals
Lisa's Pie Shop - pies, cookies, cinnamon rolls, punch
Mathoo's Eggrolls - eggrolls cooked on site
Mary's Confectionery - cake balls
My Dad's Sweet Corn - sweet corn in season
Our Garden Soaps - hand made soaps
Pat's Philly Pretzels - soft pretzels
**Perogies In A Pinch - potato, cheese perogies
Pete's Pastries - Danish style pastry
Phil Foster Fruit Farm - produce, plants
Royer Farm Fresh Meats - beef, lamb, pork and more
Sandy's Homestyle - fruit spreads, salsa, bbq sauce, pickles
Skillington Farms - breakfast sandwiches prepared on site
Spencer Farm - produce, jam, jellies
The Measuring Cup - gluten free baked goods
The Walking Waffle Company - waffles prepared on site
**Vom Fass - dried spices
Wildflower Ridge Honey - honey, beeswax, bee pollen
Wilson Farms - produce, kettle korn
Your Family Pasta - assorted bulk dried pasta
**Zogurts - all natural frozen yogurt

Tacos! Take and bake meals! Pierogies!  Walking waffles, breakfast sandwiches from Skillington Farm, Grandpa's Beef Jerkey, Mathoo's Egg Rolls, Wildflower Ridge Honey and all the produce vendors are every-week stops for us.

Other area markets that will be opening soon include:

Noblesville - opens May 17
Broad Ripple - opens May 3
Carmel - opens May 3

Share your favorite thing about your local market!!  If you're in the Indy area, recommend your market so I can try to come and check it out!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's Your Blog: Tim (How Not To Handle Grief)

This one moves me... Tim and his kids are very much part of my church family now.  You may recall me sharing about the passing of Tim's wife several years ago.

Here is the amazing thing - I see God all over the place in Tim's story.  It began, for many of us, as Michele's story.  Michele was who I had known through the Indy Moms online community.  But God brought a community together.  And it became clear that God was leading me towards supporting Tim and the kids- back before anyone in my church knew Tim, the same Worship Team that he now sings with was praying for him and his kids. One of my personal biggest God moments came when I got the clear nudge from above to go to the hospital and pray in the chapel... and to invite other moms to join me there.  I even remember standing and looking at the sky and wondering why God would ask me to do something that, at the time, was so outside of my comfort zone.

And God's hand continued to work through Tim's life.  And he wants to share that with all of you - which I think is pretty awesome.


How Not To Handle Grief

My wife Michele passed away on 07/02/09, leaving me to raise our 4 kids by myself.

I was very angry with God.  I wondered how He could let her die. Why did He do this to my kids and myself?  I stopped going to church and felt very sorry for myself.

I decided not to let my kids see me cry because I wanted to be strong for them.  I was angry because I stepped down from a management position at work so I could be home as much as possible for my kids.  There were times that I yelled at my kids, and shouldn't have.

It took a couple years, but with nudging from my family, friends, and especially my kids, we started going back to church.

I realize now that God was there for us the whole time, if I would have just acknowledged Him.  He sent many people to help my family, some of them I have become good friends with.  He also blessed me by having people that knew Michele send letters telling me what a wonderful person she was and how she affected their lives.  God blessed me by giving me understanding bosses at work, because I've had to leave manyt imes to go get a sick kid from school.

Most of all, I've been blessed with 4 great, healthy kids.

I just wish I had embraced God at the beginning of this journey, when He first started knocking at my door.

My wife passed away from breast cancer, and I would like to remind all of you women out there to please get yourself checked on a regular basis.  I don't want any family to have to go through what we've been through.

If anyone is experiencing the loss of a loved one, please feel free to contact me through Liz. I would gladly listen to you and share my experience with you.  I feel that God wants me to help others through their grief.

God bless!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Your Blog: Angelic

Hi, I'm Angelic and I'm a single mom. I'm not here to talk to you about the trials of being a 29 year old working, single mom. I'm here to talk about lyrics from one of my favorite songs and how they get me through when I'm feeling down. 

This is a song that most people probably haven't heard as I have a different love of music than most people. The song is "The One You Feed" by Crown The Empire and the lyrics that are the topic of this post are "The only way to shine your light is in the dark. Never let life kill your spark." 

I have tried followling this little saying long before I actually heard the lyrics. My twenties have been far from easy and have come with a lot of ups and downs. I've tried to hold on to what light I can and find the positives even when it seems there isn't anything.

You see, I'm a single mom because 5 years ago I had to walk away from a marriage that just wasn't very good. I'll spare you the details, but it left me in a very dark place and I struggled with liking myself. It was a battle for me to keep going. I suffered for quite awhile with self injury. I had to take away the emotional pain by causing myself some physical pain. Shortly after my divorce I started a relationship with yet another guy that ended poorly after two years and in that time I also had to go through two surgeries for Cervical Cancer. I pushed my way through it all though. Even while still suffering through self injury, I would work to find little things to cheer myself up and to be a bright spot.

For the last almost 2 1/2 years I went on a journey to find myself. One of my biggest bright spots has been music. It makes my inner "spark" brighter and shines when I feel like I'm in a dark place. It is a huge part of who I am and I was finally able to find that out. I've even stopped with harming myself. Yes the urge is there still sometimes but instead of injuring myself I will pick up my guitar and play or turn on my music and just listen. Going through those dark spots in life helped me shine my light brighter. I struggled but I didn't let it kill me though it tried many of times.

Remember that you have to go through some bad and rough moments to find the good. Even the smallest things can get you through those rough spots. Never let the darkness snuff out your fire! Don't let life kill your spark!

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Share Your Story!

Someone out there has a story to share.  It doesn't have to be a big story, an important story, a life changing story.  It can be anything.

I've got the urge to share this blog space!

So please contact me - I would love to share this blog with you!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Week, Easter, and Loving My Church

This is a reprint from 2012.  I wanted to share why the recognition of Holy Week at my church means so much to me - and I also invite you to come and experience our Holy Week services.


I love Easter.  On the church calendar, it is my favorite holiday.  Chances are that you know the basics of the Easter story- Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, died, was buried in a tomb, and rose from the dead on the 3rd day.  We celebrate that day as Easter Sunday.

It carries a lot of reasons to celebrate and be joyful!

However, there is a church service, a recognition that happens prior to Easter.  Holy Week is filled with recognition of things that happened in that last week of Christ's life.  Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.

I haven't attended Maundy Thursday or Good Friday services in several years.  I don't have anything against them.

It's too emotional for me.

As a teen, when I really began to understand the events that lead up to and the crucifixion of Jesus, it became a very emotional story for me.  Learning about the whipping, the struggle of carrying the cross, the hatred of the people, the cruelty of crucifixion as a death sentence... the darkness of all of it has been hard for me to think about.

In 2004, I attended a Good Friday service at my church (The Promise United Methodist Church).  It was my first time visiting the church but I went because a friend was singing at the service and I wanted to support him.

5 days later, I miscarried my first pregnancy.

Somehow, all of the emotion of Good Friday tied in with that miscarriage experience and I have avoided Good Friday ever since.

Until this year.

Over the past year or so, I've been blessed to find myself in some leadership roles in my church.  I have given the sermon, I'm leading a ministry, I teach Sunday School, I'm helping to lead worship on our Praise Team, and more.  If there is something I really can't do, I say no.  Most of the time, I feel like a quick prayer lets me know if this is an important opportunity that God is bringing to me.

Early last week, our Associate Pastor (and my friend) called to ask if I would participate in the Scripture readings in the Good Friday Tenebrae service.  *gulp*

It's a beautiful service.  We sing "Were You There," our pastor gives a meditation/message, and then 4 of us read parts of Scripture that told the story of Good Friday.  There is a brief singing response after each reading as a candle on the alter is extinguished.

My last reading was the second to last passage to be read.  It is after Jesus has died and the soldiers come to break the legs of those hanging in order to speed up their death.  When it is discovered that he is already dead, they pierce his side.

I was nervous about reading this passage.  It's pretty emotional.  That's some crazy brutality, you know?  They aren't dying fast enough as they slowly suffocate on a cross where they are hanging by their hands and feet so let's break their legs so they die faster.  Oh- he's already dead so let's put a gash in his side so that he bleeds.

I stepped up to read.  And I cried as I read it.

When service was over, I left quickly.

I wasn't embarrassed.  But I wanted to be alone in that grief.  Selfishly, I wanted privacy in the pain I felt as I looked back on the incredible sacrifice made for me.

As I drove home, I contemplated my emotional display.  My hope is that the honesty of what I feel on Good Friday will come through to someone in a different way.  Perhaps they hadn't thought of the humanity of the story.  Perhaps it had always been just a story.

But what I took from it was that God called on me to do something outside of my comfort zone, to step outside of my self.  I know it seems like I'm great at talking in front of people, being confident, willing to do anything.  But the things I do for and with my church family are very serious to me.  This was a big step- to take something I've held as very intimate and personal, something that has been my own private mourning and grief- and share it with my church family.  I was nervous.  But there was a reason that I was asked and a reason why the emotion poured out.  I may not know the reason- maybe it was for me, maybe it was for someone else.

And Sunday?  When Jesus conquered death and returned to life?  My celebration, my joy was easy to share!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I like to joke about being egotistical.  I do like and love myself.  I no longer struggle with tons of self doubt, sel loathing, and a total lack of self confidence.  Such a weight off my entire being.

I'm known to crack jokes about how awesome I am.  I do so in the company of people who know me well enough to know that I'm kidding around.

Confidence is something that just kind of happens for me.  Doesn't mean I don't get nervous.  I certainly do.  But my faith and my general outlook on life help keep nerves in check.  I simply do the things I am called to do with the best purpose and intention behind them.

I say all of that to say that I think I could list a lot of my strengths pretty easily.

But my weaknesses?  That's a little more challenging.

I could easily list my food weaknesses.  My affection for cool ranch doritos, brownie mix, nutella, and more are almost legendary - at least in my mind.

I sometimes feel like I'm lazy.  Some people who know me scoff when I say that.  But I am lazy when it comes to housework.  When it comes to exercise.

I sometimes struggle with gossip.  Sometimes I do talk about people with love and concern.  But sometimes it's just to talk.

What about weaknesses that aren't character based?

If my husband were to pop a piece of Big Red gum in his mouth and then grab me and kiss me... I wouldn't be able to resist.

When my son looks at me with his Big Brown Eyes... I completely melt.

When my daughter shows that she is more independent and responsible... my heart flutters in my chest.

I don't think that weakness has to be a bad thing.  We tend to hear that word and immediately go to character flaws, problems, lack of something.

There is an exercise mantra that says, "Pain is weakness leaving the body."  And I suppose that's true.  In a physiological sense, as the muscle is worked it tears slightly in order to build up.  Pain creates strength.  Strength being the opposite of weak.

But then I think about my husband's kiss, my son's eyes, my daughter's heart.  And if something dreadful were to happen to one of them... when they struggle or face hard times... I feel pain.  It takes on a different meaning.

What are your weaknesses?

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Confidence and Colors

We've had an interesting learning experience with Zach in the past few weeks.

His kindergarten class uses a color system for behavior.  You start on green.  You can go up to purple.  Or you can go down - to blue, then yellow, then orange, then red.  It takes many warnings and continued bad choices to move down the scale.  Green is ideal, blue is fine.  Purple is impressive.

My son has been putting a lot of pressure on himself and this color system has fed it.

Through our choices and his perceptions... anything lower than green was, in his mind, unacceptable.  Disappointing.  Not good enough.

But because he was putting all this pressure on himself over these colors... he was acting out in the classroom more.  Calling out answers instead of waiting to be called on.  Rough housing with a friend.  That sort of thing.

We started to become concerned when we were consistently seeing blue on his chart instead of green.  A blue day here and there is understandable.  But it was 3-4 out of 5 days.  He would be fine when he cam ehome but when we would check his folder to see his chart... or once we got to bedtime... he would have an angry meltdown and didn't want anyone to sit with him, touch him, or talk to him.  So we were giving him his space.

But one night... I'd had it.  And he started into his angry fit at bedtime and I decided that I wasn't going to give him his space and time.  We were going to figure it out and force our way through it together.

And eventually some very important words came from him.

"I don't even deserve blue! I should be on yellow!"

Whatever was going on with him... he'd entered into this cycle on this behavior stuff.  And he knew he wasn't doing his best but he was deciding to not care while he was at school and then all that bottled up feelings of making bad choices and trying to act like he was fine with it... would explode at night at home.

I told him that from that point forward, we didn't care if he had a purple or green or blue day.  That how his day goes at school based on a color isn't how we determine that we love him.  To us, he is all the time shiny and sparkly gold.  That our expectation isn't that he has a green day - our expectation is that he is kind to others and he tries his best.  We all have off days, bad days, awesome days, normal days.  A color doesn't decide that you're a good person or not.  In our house, you simply are good.  Loved.  Nurtured.

That was just over a week ago.  And his behavior at school has turned around.  He's on green most days and has even landed on purple twice.  And we don't pay attention to it unless he shares it with us.  We see his chart because it's there in his folder but we don't talk about it unless we're giving a high five for getting that purple day (it is hard to accomplish).

But I remind him that he is always shiny gold to us.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Then, By Golly, I...

My mom and I heard the kids in the other room...

Left, left!
Left, right, left!

We looked at each other and smiled and said...

First they hired me!
Then they fired me!
Then by golly I...
Left! Left!
Left, right, left!

Then a wonderful thing happened.

My mom taught the little rhyme to my kids.  Teagan had a short struggle to understand what it meant but was having fun saying it.  And then came the gem...

Grandma, who taught you that?

My mom!

My grandma taught it to my mom.  My mom taught it to me.  And now it's been taught to my kids, too.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Menu Plan: April 14

Monday - pot roast.  I plan to make it with a can of tomato soup and a packet of onion soup mix.  We do our veggies in a foil pouch on top of the meat or just cook them separately (so easy to zap a bag of peas and boil some small potatoes).

Tuesday - Chicken Nachos.  I have a meeting Tuesday evening so a quick and easy favorite dinner will be a hit.  This is a staple - and rotisserie chicken is on sale at our local store this week.  We cut up the chicken, put a layer of chips on a foil lined cookie sheet, put chicken on each chip, sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 until the cheese melts.

Weds - Normally we would have church but this is Holy Week and the church isn't having our weekly gathering.  My group is still meeting so we can walk, though!  So we might just grab a pizza for dinner that night.  We have a coupon for Hot Box and I am a fan of this pizza with pesto and artichokes and broccoli!

Thursday - Chicken nuggets and ranch roasted potatoes.  This was a big hit with the kids last time.

Friday - BBQ Chicken sandwiches, fries.  We found a BBQ sauce that isn't too spicy and has decent ingredients.  And we use King's Hawaiian Rolls for the bread.  And I'll do some homemade fries - cut up potatoes and pan fry them, I think.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014


Some parenting wisdom that I've heard over the years is that when you let your child do a task, let them do it and then be done.  If you come along behind them and "fix it," they will see that as their way not being good enough.  It's an undermining type of move.

Sometimes life hands you a wonderful example of those bits of wisdom.

Teagan rarely lets me brush her hair.  She's not girly about hair at all.  She wants to brush it, pull it into a ponytail and be done.  She likes growing her hair longer because of the convenience of that ponytail.  On rare occassions, she will let me blow it dry, style it, or maybe use a curling iron or something.

One morning this week, she asked if she could brush my hair for me.

I couldn't say no.  And I enjoyed her hands working through my hair, the brush finding the tangles and pulling through.  It was a sweet moment.

And then she asked if she could do my hair for me.


I had to go to work that day.  It's not like we were just hanging around the house.  I had no idea what she was going to do.  I'm not really particular about my hair.  But I do have some guidelines I like to follow.

Do it.  That parenting voice in my gut said... Do it.

And she gave me her signature hairdo - loose ponytail and a headband.

More than the loose ponytail, she gave me special moments together.  She gave me gentleness and compassion and care.  And I gave her confidence and control and responsibility.

Seems like a fair trade, right?

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Whale of a Sale - Presale GIVEAWAY!

The spring Whale of a Sale children’s consignment event will take place May 2 & 3 once again at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Ag/Hort Building. More than 500 consignors will bring 55,000 items and six football fields worth of children’s clothing in the 48,000 square-foot building! New and gently-used upscale children’s and maternity items are offered at a fraction of retail cost.

Started in 2009, Whale of a Sale takes place each spring and fall. Due to the increased popularity and tremendous turnout over the years, the event moved from Carmel to Indianapolis last year, doubling its size. Two public shopping days and two private pre-sale days accommodate thousands of customers.

The event features popular brands such as Gymboree, Gap, Ralph Lauren, Janie and Jack, Peg Perego, Graco, Fisher Price, Pottery Barn Kids and many more. Shoppers can expect to find upscale spring and summer clothing, toys, furniture, bedding, accessories, bikes, outdoor toys, maternity and a variety of area vendors.

Admission is FREE. (Fairgrounds parking is $5.) Public sale hours are Friday, May 2 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many items are half price on Saturday. 


Are you a bargain hunter?  Love a good consignment shop or sale?  Then you don't want to miss the Whale of a Sale at the Indiana State Fairgrounds May 2-3!!

With the coupon above, you can shop on Thursday, May 1.

And if you enter my giveaway, you could win 2 presale passes to shop the event on Weds, April 30 from 5:00-8:00!  (Parking is $5)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be selected on Monday, April 14.  This is a sponsored post.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I was recently back home visiting my parents with my kids.  We had taken an afternoon trip to run a couple of errands and drove past a bowling alley.  It sparked a memory -

"Hey! I've been bowling there before!  It was... a date, I think.  With a group of people."

Teagan asked who I was on that date with.

And I couldn't remember.  I don't remember any of the people that were there.

I was suddenly flooded with this strong desire to somehow express to my nine year old daughter that she's going to have the same thing happen.  There will be boys and girls and romances and friendships that come and go, ebb and flow.  There will be experiences that will be permanently imprinted on her brain.  And there will be things that feel like life and death in that moment but are actually just... a fleeting passing of time.

I don't know that it is possible for any child or teenager to understand that idea.

I recently discovered The Liturgists and enjoyed a nice 30 minute meditation on my living room floor to their first offering - Vapor.  And it talks about how, in the giant grand true scheme of life, difficult moments are just passing bits of vapor.  It might feel as though our world is crumbling around us, that life is over, that there is no way to continue on.  But even the hardest things are simply... vapor.  A fleeting passing moment of something difficult.

But even the positive things are vapor.  We talk about how time is so fleeting.  The kids are growing so fast, don't blink or they will be gone.  We have to savor and hold on to the positive things because they also pass and dissipate like vapor.

That guy I was on a date with at that bowling alley?  Vapor.

I have found that there are times that thinking about difficult things as vapor has been very comforting.  Recent job changes in my workplace... vapor.  A feeling that I don't trust someone... vapor.  A child having a hard time listening... vapor.  A cranky moment between me and my husband... vapor.

My hope is that my children will be able to grow up and let go of things.  To recognize that some things are minor, some things are hurts you just have to survive through, to know that they have people who will love them through all of it.  I know I can't protect them from the hard things in life.  But I also hope that teaching them how to handle the disappointments and frustrations and heartaches will strengthen them when they face those inevitable hard times.

Because truly... it is all just vapor.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Grandma Wisdom

I know not everyone is blessed to have a good relationship with their mother.  But I do count my mom as one of my many blessings - especially in the way she blesses my kids.

On a recent visit, the kids were in the kitchen helping Grandma make pancakes.  The from scratch kind.  I strolled in to find them all on the floor, working on the kid friendly cooking surface of the dishwasher opened up.  And apparently I had just missed what is a common interaction these days - Teagan tried to be in control and tell Zach all the ways he was doing things wrong.

As a mom, this is one of those areas where I want to do better.  Handling sibling rivalry as well as helping to guide my leading lady to be an effective, enthusiastic, and encouraging leader.

Good thing Grandma was there to show me the way.

She stopped what they were doing.  And she explained that they each have different abilities because of their age.  And that she was enjoying this activity they were doing together until Teagan decided to try to show that she was the best, smartest, and so on.  She told them that Teagan is going to often be better at things simply because she is older.  She told them that Zach has to not act like he can't do things just because he's younger.  And in the end - she explained that she is the one with years of experience and wisdom and if they let her be the teacher, they can each do special jobs and have a nice time together.


The words that stuck with me...

Let me be the teacher.

She was talking to them.  But she was really teaching me.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cincinnati Zoo

It was a last minute decision.  We were heading to the museum center since the day was going to be gray and wet.  But the kids wanted to go to the Zoo.  So we did!  And it ended up being a great day.  Less crowded due to the weather and we didn't really get rained on.

Not a real rhino.  Just in case you were worried.

Elephants were the first stop and Teagan was especially fascinated.

Macaw.  I could have stayed and watched him longer! Very entertaining!

Sloth. Teagan is obsessed with Kristen Bell. And Kristen Bell loves sloths. It all comes full circle.

Zach's close encounter with a giraffe.

Teagan's close encounter with a giraffe.

A special find with some flamingos and 2 keepers.  The keepers spent a lot of time talking with us about the flamingos. And we were so close to them!

One of the highlights of the day was seeing this young female cheetah - with her black labrador companion! Savannah and Max.
 We learned a lot of cool stuff about the cheetah and her dog.  Cheetahs must be born in litters of 2 or more.  If a single cheetah is born, the mother cat's milk will dry up and the single kitten will die.  Savannah the cheetah was a single.  She's been hand raised at the zoo but needed a litter mate so they adopted a black lab puppy from the humane society.  They've grown up together and are attached to each other.  But the attachment doesn't last.  Female cheetahs are loners.  Where male cheetah brothers form a tight bond and stay together forever, females are the opposite.  So Savannah is soon going to be done with Max and he will be adopted by a zoo employee and have a forever home on a farm.  And she can then live her solitary life that she wants.

The free roaming peacocks at the zoo have always been a treat - and eevn more special to see one displaying his gorgeous tail feathers!

Ducks. On a log.

Train ride!

Toot toot!

Mural in the Peace Garden

Mexican Wolves

This was in an open aviary and these fruit bats were all sound asleep.  Until this guy decided to wake up and stretch his wings!  So awesome to see - Zach was totally freaked out, though.

Who doesn't love the polar bears?

Trying to swing like gibbons

Orangutan - 2 of them.  Another place I could have stayed and watched for a while.

Climbing like bonobos.

The manatee.  We came in and her tail was f acing us.  As she slowly turned and we get sight of her face, Zach proclaims, "It doesn't even have any EYEBROWS!"

Bonobos.  There was an adult female, an adult male, this little baby, and another youngster.  This is another place I could have sat and watched for an hour.  Especially this mom with her little one.

A rare moment.

W weren't sure if he was real at first!

But the kids were quite taken with that owl.

But some of the most fun we had was down a bamboo forest path with this plain old squirrel.  

Gibbon Island
Gibbon Island is one of those places that will always hold a special place in my heart.  When I was a kid and my parents would take me to the Cincinnati Zoo and when we used to go as a family with my brothers, my dad loved the gibbons.  He would stand on the walkway and do their gibbon whoops, hoping to get them riled up and whooping and swinging.  Then he would just laugh and watch and smile.  It was a side to him I didn't see as often as his serious side!  The kids and I did our best to whoop at the gibbons but I think the weather had them feeling down.

It was a grey and damp day.  And the cost of admission is high at the Zoo (we did the unlimited rides package so the kids could ride the train and carousel over and over and over).  For parking, 2 kids and 1 adult for admission and rides (excluding the 4D movie thing) it was $67.  A family membership is $199 so if you plan to go 3 times in a year, the membership is worth it. Or if you visit multiple zoos - the Cincinnati Zoo is part of a Reciprocal Zoos program.  So if I was a member at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo ($109 for a family membership), I would have received a 50% discount on our admission at the Cincinnati Zoo.  Had I planned ahead, I would have done this because we love the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.  And it turns out there are 2 other Indiana zoos (one in South Bend and one in Evansville) that participate - would have made for a fun family adventure to go to these other zoos in our state this summer!  The Louisville Zoo also participates and is just across the river from Indiana.  Reciprocal Zoos are a cool thing!

I do have to say that the food at Base Camp Cafe was some of the best I'd had for this type of entertainment location.  And we found that all the employees at the Zoo were wonderful - friendly and helpful and knowledgable.

I'd love to go back when spring has spring a bit more.  But all in all, it was a great day!

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