|Can you guess what Elly's Medieval Times|
souvenir was? (If you guessed baby
Wallaby, you are incorrect)
Sorry for the lack of blogs lately. Sometimes life gets busy, that and we were on vacation and were a little bit roughing it, so there was no WiFi access. Don't worry, there will plenty for you to catch up on because we have had a busy two weeks.
For Riley and Rowan's 9th birthday we took the whole family (and two friends) to Medieval Times Dinner Theatre in Toronto. I was thrilled that the friend's parents trusted us enough to take their children to Toronto. The week before our adventure we got an email from Christopher's sister Shelley. Shelley runs a home daycare in Georgetown, Ontario (Home Away From Home). Every summer she hires Exotic Critter Tales to come to her daycare and bring exotic animals that the kids can touch. I was shocked that Shelley would go to such trouble for her daycare, but really I shouldn't have been if I really thought about it. Shelley also puts on elaborate Christmas concerts for the parents, and really goes above and beyond for her daycare kids, I guess that I should not really have been at all surprised that she would bring exotic animals for them to see. Shelley found out that Christopher was on vacation the same week that she had Exotic Critter Tales coming, and wondered if we wanted to bring the kids up to see them. It was extremely fortunate that it just happened to be the day after we were at Medieval Times. We would ask the kid's friend's parents how they felt about their children not only going to Toronto, but then going on to Acton and sleeping over at Christopher's Mom's house. We were prepared to hear "Oh I am not comfortable with that". Christopher said that if the friends couldn't sleep over we would just drive back up super early the next morning, it was just too great of an opportunity for the kids to miss.
I felt a little badly springing an army on Doreen (Christopher's Mom). For us two extra kids is not really a big deal, to be honest we hardly notice it. Doreen lives alone (Christopher's Dad passed away from ALS just a few years ago). She lives a busy life full of friends and volunteer work, but she lives alone in a quiet house. The only time our house is quiet is when the kids are asleep, and even then some of them talk in their sleep, and a few of them snore. Tenderly Christopher approached the subject "So ahhh, ummm Mom.... we were thinking that we would love to come up and go to Shelley's. We were wondering how you might felt about us all sleeping over". She was really excited. "Did I mention that we will have two extra kids?" The more the merrier. We had passed over the first hurtle rather easily. Next we asked the parents how they felt about a sleep over. They agreed that it was too good of an opportunity to pass up, and we had breezed over the last hurtle.
|I didn't think Riley would relinquish her baby.|
Thursday morning we loaded up the vans and headed over to Georgetown. Ron Woolley was already there. You could feel the excitement like a static electricity before a lighting storm. The kids all sat down on the thick green grass, ready to see what Mr. Woolley had brought with him. They were super excited because he was supposed to be bringing lion cubs with him. That's all the kids could talk about. When we got there, no baby lions. Mr. Woolley explained that unfortunately the lions were now getting too big for petting. They would would see the toddlers as play things and lions play hard and rough. Instead he brought with him animals that the kids could all touch and interact with. The disappointment evaporated quickly when they got their hands on the baby wallaby and the baby kangaroo.
|Rowan was really attached to his crown.|
It was quite amazing to see the kids all milling around Shelley and Todd's backyard, many with pouches full of baby wallaby or kangaroo. Riley was most taken with Fancy the 7 year old dwarf horse. Fancy should only have lived to a year, but with lots of veterinary care she lived so much longer. Riley crouched down, almost in a trance just stroking the silky small horse. She was in love.
Gracie fell in love with the 14 year old tortoise (my guys renamed him Spike) that would live to 100 years old. Ron told the kids the difference between turtles and tortoise. A turtle wears it's sell almost like a protective jacket, where as the tortoise his shell is actually attached to his body. That particular tortoise would not only live to 100 or more, but would grow to the size of a small VW Bug car.
|Gracie made a new friend.|
It was neat to stand back and watch the kids interacting with these animals. It instantly hit me how much animals have to teach children about compassion and gentleness. I watched my children's face's softening as they interacted with the animals, it was amazing.
|Ron Woolley and his son from Exotic Critter Tales|
|Ron Woolley holding a baby Capybara|
|The wallaby exploring the lawn|
|Julian the Ring Tale Lemur was a huge hit.|
Julian the Ring Tale Lemur (named for King Julian from Madagascar the movie) was a rescue animal who is relatively new. He was well loved, but was purchased as a pet by apartment dwellers. They soon discovered that an apartment is not an ideal setting for a ring tale lemur. Exotic Critter Tales has had Julian for the last four months and he is settling in nicely to his new home.
It was funny to see all of these exotic animals meandering around the suburban back yard. Most funny was the kangaroo just bouncing around, completely oblivious to the kids, sometimes stopping to allow himself to be pet.
The time came when Ron announced that he had to pack the animals up and take them home. There was a collective sigh and "awwwwwwww". My niece Karyssa (who's 19) was plotting ways to hide the baby kangaroo. Rowan announced that he was asking Santa to bring him a kangaroo for Christmas (that's not happening). The kids had an amazing morning... thank you Shelley for inviting us.
If you are in the Georgetown area and are looking for an amazing daycare for your children, Shelley does have a few openings this fall (kids are leaving her for all day everyday kindergarten). Shelley Goring operates "Home Away From Home", and you can contact her at 905-873-9543, or look her up at daycarebear.ca.
Ron Woolley takes his critters all across Canada, I asked (I'm always on the look out for something awesome to bring to the school). You can contact him at 519-362-1295 or see his website exoticcrittertales.com