Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me, Boon Cha Cha Cha!

It's no secret to our family and friends that we LOVE birthdays. Birthdays are perfect reasons to celebrate how much we love someone by honoring him or her on a special day. Nicholas has certainly gotten into the birthday groove! Following on the heels of his big baba's 12th birthday, he anticipated his own second birthday for weeks.

He regularly regales us with his own version of the Happy Birthday song, interspersed with "Boon Cha Cha Cha" (modeled after his brothers' version with "Boom, Cha Cha Cha" between stanzas). I've never seen a two-year-old so thoroughly understand the concept of birthdays and enjoy one so much. And he loves the cards as much as the presents.

I took the day of his actual birthday off, and after I took Kieran to meet with his kindergarten teacher for a preview meeting, we went off to the zoo. Nicholas is THE animal lover in our family. I had to drag him away from each animal exhibit to the next one, in contrast to the other boys' racing through the zoo scarcely looking at the animals. (Chris was in school and missed the fun.)

Here he assesses the orangutan, who looked a bit depressed:

We also waited in line for an hour to see the new baby elephant, which had just been introduced to the public. I feel ambivalent about the Oregon Zoo's elephant business...because the elephants clearly do not have the freedom to roam or habitat that they need. Jonathan Nicholas wrote an op ed piece in the Oregonian the other day, chastising the zoo for their elephant caretaking. I definitely see his perspective, but what about the benefits of protecting animals whose habitat is shrinking, or who are poached? What about instilling love in our children, the future generation, for animals so that they will want to protect them in the future? As with most things, I see the issue from many angles.

But for last Thursday, we oohed and aahed and admired how cute a baby elephant can be. Kieran is very excited about the naming contest. (Vote before September 11.) (My pick was Samudra.)

Here is a snapshot of the VERY long line waiting to get a glimpse of the elephant. We timed our visit well, because after waiting all that time in line, the people not too far behind us got to see him napping!
After getting our glimpse and being hurried on through (by the zoo staff), we went to the elephant museum. After recently reading the wonderful Water for Elephants, I was interested in reading about elephant history in the U.S.
The boys posing on an elephant tricycle used in a circus

Kieran in the African rain forest exhibit with his new elephant hat

With the giraffes in Africa

Playing on the old jeep in Africa--always a popular feature!

We had a small BBQ last weekend with a few close friends to celebrate the presence of Nicholas in our lives for the past two years. It's unimaginable to consider life without him...to think that we almost never knew him. He has added so much joy and wonder to our lives!
The cake I made for our fire truck loving boy!
Not easy to get that frosting so red...and the engine cab was more than a bit lopsided...but I knew my two-year-old wouldn't care! He loved it!

We celebrate you, our precious Pickle!

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