Sunday, April 26, 2009

Abundant life

What a fun day. No, really. WHAT A FUN DAY!

We got up bright and early and I packed two coolers and a large tote bag of diapers and snacks, two strollers, a couple of books, a Veggie Tales movie, my camera, two kids and a husband, and off we went to the National Zoo in DC.

We got there early and actually got parking. It was tricky pushing the strollers up the mountainous wooden trail with occasional steps, but we did it. I sounded more worse for wear ... panting heavily. Shane couldn't even understand me as I'm talking to him. I guess that's what emphysema does, because otherwise, I felt in tip-top shape.

The first stop was to see reptiles. Erin marveled at them. She got really close to the glass to see them. One creature got nose to nose with her. She thought that was cool. I could tell. I asked her what she thought another lizard was and she said, "Dinosaur!"

All the turtles were fun to watch. Any that moved, Erin explained they were looking for their mama. She told one turtle, "Go outside, turtle! It's a sunny day!"

We ate lunch there and Shane was impressed that I whipped it all together so fast this morning.

"You packed like we'd be stranded here for days," he said. Everything was enjoyed by all of us. I especially appreciated the cold bottles of water I packed. Hot day. 90s.

We saw reptiles, elephants, monkeys, zebras, cheetahs and other things I can't remember. Oh, and the PANDA! What fun! A woman, apparently a zoo regular, commented that the panda rarely has been out for that long, that close to the public. Thanks, God. Shane and I enjoyed seeing it eat bamboo. The kids, at that point, were tired, hot and over the trip.

"I can see the panda in my mind," Lanie tells me from her seat in the stroller amid the crowd.

"But if you get up and look, you can see him for real! He's eating!"

"I see him eating in my mind," she says. I LOVE HER.

We headed out after about three hours. Loved the mist machines.

"If we're not getting a pool," I ventured, "Could you at least install a few mist machines in our yard?" They felt like little ice shards and were surprisingly cooling. Erin shivered and screeched as we walked through them. I had a smile a mile wide.

On the way home, we stopped off for ice cream cones. At home the kids changed into bathing suits for a run through the sprinkler. I made iced tea with sliced lemon. And then I baked some chocolate chip cookies, because they're good. (I licked the mixers while the kids were outside playing--and no one knew.)

I always wondered what Jesus meant by abundant life. And while I don't know if he had today in mind as what abundant life could be, I could cry at how alive and happy I feel. I know I've had a lot of great days, but this day was so good that I wish it was Saturday so I could do it all over again tomorrow.

Thank you, God.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you and the family made it to the zoo this year. Visiting the zoo with kids is one of life's pleasures. Each time the kids will remember more of it.

Coming soon when the kids are a bit older... the paddle boats and Jefferson Memorial free band concerts at dusk. Special to D.C., and mostly free, too!

Chocolate, Vanilla and Caramel said...

How awesome!! :) I definitely think Jesus had your day in mind when he talked about "abundant life"!

Toni said...

I am ALL about not missing the blessings that are right under our nose. I could COMPLETELY relate to this post. It is absolutely filled with unobstructed vision. You saw it. All of it. And you were able to express it and share it with others. A gift. The blessings are a gift. Your ability to SEE them and SHARE them is a gift. Great post. Great day.