Every Halloween Riverbanks Zoo in nearby Columbia, South Carolina does Boo at the Zoo throughout the month of October. The zoo is all decorated for Halloween with lights and stations set up for the kids to trick-or-treat. The kids really enjoy it as do Chris and I and sadly we’ve missed the past two years. Last year, we bought our house on Halloween so we were in the midst of packing and moving. The year before that it sold out before we had a chance to purchase tickets. We arrived at the zoo to a big SOLD OUT sign. With that in mind we purchased our tickets ahead of time this year. Chris’ mom, Sunny, even decided to come along for the ride which made me extremely happy. We are very close and I consider her one of my best friends.
So yesterday started with dropping the big boys off at school and Jensen and I were off to run errands in preparation for the afternoon activities. We even had a chance to sneak in nap. We picked the big boys up from school, made a quick grocery store run and headed home to pack up for our trip. Chris planned to get off at 3 which would put him home around 3:20 but he was late as usual and the domino effect set in. As I was packing the cooler with drinks and snacks, Jensen, my 2 year old, pulled down a 12 pack of can drinks off the counter,They went everywhere. Our German Shepherd, Sasha, was barking every breath as the big boys and the neighbors kid ran up and down the fence provoking her. Jensen was crying nonstop since I wouldn’t let him eat the ice out of the cooler. By this time I was ready for a stiff drink. Chris finally arrives at the house and we pack the car with everything but the kitchen sink it felt like. We drove the 2 miles to pick his mom up and trade cars and off we were. We got to the end of the driveway and Jensen asked for his sippy cup which we realized we had not packed. Chris runs back in get to grab one and we are on our way. We get to the end of the road and as I go to fill the cup with juice I had packed in the cooler, I noticed the valve was missing from the spout. By this time I was ready to call it quits but I am not quitter so on we must go. The kids were surprisingly good on the ride there. We popped Monsters University in the DVD player and they were quite content.
We arrived shortly before the festivities were set to begin, dressed the kids and away we went. This year is the first year I let Carson, my 8 year old, pick his own costume out. Of course he picked the Scream killer with a mask that when you squeezed an artificial heart that was connected to it, blood ran over the mask. So naturally Jensen was afraid and did not want to participate in a family picture but we did manage to snap a few. Jensen quickly got the hang of trick-or-treating and the big boys were having a blast too. We were able to see some animals before night fall and we were all excited about that until we walked by the monkey who was playing with his genitalia. I mean there are only so many stories I can make up to my kids about that one. After about an hour of walking around to the different stations we ended up at the carousal which was dimly lit for a spooky effect. We all took a ride and the kids faces beamed with excitement. We made one last stop at the beloved gift shop for a purchase of new zoo babies. The older boys have been carrying their zoo babies from their first trip to the zoo which was 6 years ago. They sleep with theses animals every night and they have become part of our family. We thought it was time to invest in new ones for the big boys and get Jensen his very own. Carson picked out a hienna who was quickly named Jace. Quinn and Jensen both got white Tigers, JJ and Tigey.
We grabbed a quick bite to eat at Chic-fil-a and on the road again we were. The big boys were knocked out in no time and Jensen followed soon after. Chris plugged his ears with his i-Tunes and MiMi and I caught up on some good ole gossip. All in all, the rocky start was no comparison to the amount of joy and happiness I saw in my childrens eyes. One thing parenthood has taught me is that sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. I mean how much fun would things be if they were always perfect anyway?