Trick or Treat

Earlier this evening, Mel and I took Emma out trick-or-treating. I took her down the street and back last year, but as she was just one and a half years old at the time, I don't think she quite understood it. This year was different however. After stopping at the first few houses, Emma got the hang of saying "trick or treat" when someone answered the door. She even did pretty well with her thank-yous after receiving her treats. There didn't seem to be quite as many houses giving out treats on our street as I remembered from last year, but maybe that is because we went out fairly early. So instead of just walking down the street and back, we went around the block. Emma had a blast trick-or-treating. It was fun to see her having such a good time.

When we got back from trick-or-treating, we turned on our house light and got ready to hand out candy ourselves. I thought things started out a bit slowly, but we ended up giving candy to thirty-eight kids this year. I think that may be slightly fewer than last year, but my numbers for last year are only an estimate, so I can not be sure. While we only had ten trick-or-treaters come in the first half hour that we were giving out candy, we had eighteen kids, nearly half of our total number, come within the first fifteen minutes of the seven o'clock hour. Emma liked watching the other kids come up to our door to get candy almost as much as she liked getting candy herself. We have quite a bit of candy left over. But know that I recorded the number of trick-or-treaters we had this year, I think I can plan better for next Halloween.


Pumpkin Carving

Wednesday night, Emma and I carved a jack-o'-lantern. She told me that she wanted a smiling face. I had her draw a picture on paper, and I would carve it on the pumpkin. While Emma was drawing her design, I started removing the guts of the pumpkin. I tried to her Emma to help me with this task, but she thought it was yucky, and didn't want to help. It didn't take long to empty the pumpkin.

As Emma is only 2 years old, her drawing didn't look much like a face, smiling or not. So I drew a design on the pumpkin and carved it. She then drew some more on the pumpkin with markers. After carving the smiling face, Emma told me that she also wanted a sad face. So I carved a smaller sad face in the side of the pumpkin. Emma seemed to be very pleased with her jack-o'-lantern.


An Early Start to Halloween

We started our celebration of Halloween early this weekend by going to the Cottage Grove Halloween Parade. Since Emma and I were stationed toward the end of the parade route, things started out slowly as far as receiving candy went. The first few groups in the parade did not hold back enough candy to make it to the end of the street. But that was quite alright as Emma still managed to acquire a significant amount of candy. It was definitely more candy than a two-year-old needs.

Then in the afternoon, Emma and I made out way to ZooBoo at Como Park Zoo. Mel was not able to make it with us to the zoo as she was home sick. Nevertheless, Emma and I still managed to have a good time trick-or-treating at the zoo. It took me a while to get Emma to let me take her picture at the zoo, but toward the end she warmed up to having her picture taken. In this first photo of her at ZooBoo, she, in her ladybug costume, is standing next to a ladybug decoration.

I tried to get Emma to stand with the people dressed in Star Wars costumes so I could take her picture with them, but she shied away from them. Instead, I managed to get a photo of her giving HealthPartners' Petey P Cup a kiss. I do not think I would want to kiss a specimen cup, but Emma had no problems with doing so.

As a child, I loved Halloween. I liked getting and eating all the candy. It was also fun to dress up in costumes. As a parent, my feelings regarding the holiday are a bit more mixed. It's been fun to see Emma dressed up in her Halloween costumes. She was a really cute pirate for her first Halloween. Last year she dressed up as Elmo. And This year she is a pretty ladybug. But the candy can be a bit much. This morning Emma woke up at 5:00. She wasn't up ten minutes before she started begging for a sucker. When I wouldn't give her one, she started screaming. I eventually calmed her down by turning on the TV. Mel and I will eat much of her other candy, so once the suckers are gone, we shouldn't have a problem.

This afternoon, our Halloween-themed weekend continued by going to the Minnesota Zoo where they were giving out treats and having other activities for HallZOOween. We got to the zoo just ten minuted before they were finishing with passing out the treats, but we managed to make to all the treat stations before they closed. We then checked walked around much of the zoo, checking out the animals, including the grizzly bears. One of the grizzly bears was enjoying the remains of a pumpkin that was in his enclosure.


Greeting Card Conundrum

If you read my blog regularly, you know that my birthday was on Tuesday. On Thursday, a greeting card came in the mail. It was not addressed to me however. It was instead addressed to someone named Jami with the same last name as me. I do not know anyone named Jami who shares my last name, and I didn't recognize the return address in Ohio or the sender's name. I decided that maybe this was some junk mail for which the sender wrote the wrong first name, and I opened it. It was not junk mail. Instead, it was a birthday card for Jami from her grandparents. It included a nice letter about how they won't be able to see her for Christmas since they will be arriving in California after she leaves, but they would try to see her the next time they are in Minneapolis.

Being the nice person that I am, I decided to see what I could do to get the card to its intended recipient. I did a Google search for the name of the person to whom the card was addresses. The first search result was Jami's Facebook page. She is in the Minneapolis/St. Paul network, but of course I couldn't see her profile. I considered sending her a message through Facebook to let her know that I had her birthday card. I even considered scanning the card and sending an image of it to her through Facebook. Both of these options seemed to be a bit creepy to me though. So I ended up putting the card in a new envelope and mailing it back to its sender in Ohio, with a note explaining that they had the wrong address. Hopefully they will be able to find out their granddaughter's correct address and get it sent to her.



I had an early start to my birthday this morning. Around 3:30 I awoke to hear Emma calling out through the baby monitor. Is it even right to call it a baby monitor still since she's no longer a baby? Anyway, I checked on her and she was still sleeping. I guess she was dreaming or something. So with Emma sleeping still, I went back to bed, but for some reason, I was unable to get back to sleep. Since I was not falling back asleep, at 4:00 I got back out of bed. After checking a few things on Twitter and Facebook, I decided to go back to bed once again. However, I was still unable to get back to sleep.

I have a few plans for my birthday, but not much. In my email this morning was a message from the Speedy Rewards program giving me 200 Birthday Bonus Points, so I might stop by SuperAmerica today to apply those to my account. Since we are unable to go out to dinner tonight for my birthday, I may treat myself to lunch today. I am thinking about picking up a couple of Black Jack Tacos from Taco Bell. I had one a little over a week ago, and it was good. Besides, it can't be too unhealthy, can it? (Ok, after writing that last question, I decided I would check to see if nutritional information for the Black Jack Taco was available. Each one has 210 calories and 17 grams of fat. Each of the tacos has a Weight Watchers Points value of 5.) Since Mel has a doctor appointment this afternoon, I will be cooking dinner, but afterward we will be having some birthday cake that Mel baked last night. It looks very yummy. Hopefully my sister will be able to make it over to join us for dinner, cake, and ice cream. Oh, and I do have a couple of presents to open at some point. It looks like I should be able to have a nice, relaxing birthday.


Coughing Correctly

Emma has a cold right now. Fortunately she's been getting better at proper coughing etiquette. Lately she has been coughing into the sleeve of her shirt instead of using her hand to cover mouth or not covering it at all. I have mentioned to her that she should do this when she coughs, and maybe they are teaching it at daycare as well. A couple of days ago she even told Mommy to cough into her sleeve.

This is really good, but it did cause a problem this morning. Since it was supposed to be relatively warm today, I thought Emma could wear a short-sleeved T-shirt. She picked one out of her drawer and put it on. She then tried to cough. However, because the shirt had short sleeves, she tried to pull the sleeve down her arm to a point where she could reach it when she coughed. The sleeves were too short though, and I didn't want her to stretch out the shirt. We then tried another T-shirt that had slightly longer sleeves. The sleeves were still too short though, so I resorted to dressing her in a long-sleeved T-shirt. It wasn't going to be so warm that she would be uncomfortable after all.

Hospital Tour and a Sick Kid

We had big plans for this weekend, only some of which came to fruition. On Saturday, Mel and I toured the maternity care center at the hospital where we plan on having the baby in a few months. This is the only hospital that Mel's doctor practices at that the baby can be born at. The maternity center was nice. They are currently in the process of remodeling it. We got to see one of the older, non-remodeled rooms, but not any of the newer rooms as all those were in use. It will be a fine place to have the baby, but I really think that St. Luke's Hospital's birth center in Cedar Rapids was nicer. But as we live about 300 miles from there, having the baby at St. Luke's isn't really an option.

We had planned on going to church yesterday morning and then going to ZooBoo at Como Zoo in the afternoon, but at around midnight Saturday night, Emma woke up vomiting. I got everything cleaned up and Emma seemed to be doing a little better then, but we decided that it would probably be better to just stay at home. In the event that Emma was actually sick, we didn't want to infect people at church or all the kids who had come out for a good time at the zoo. Mel is going out of town for the weekend, so unless I want to take Emma to ZooBoo by myself, it looks like she will miss out on that this year.



flickr Badges
Originally uploaded by poolie
My past few blog entries have included photos that I found on flickr. I have decided that by adding images to my blog entries, as available, I am making my blog more visually appealing. I am only using photos that have Creative Commons licenses indicating that their use is allowed. After all, I wouldn't want to violate anyone's rights. Of course, if I have photos of my own, I will most likely use them.

Accident Free

The Happy Potty
Originally uploaded by BenSpark
We have been working for a while with Emma on using the potty. She has been doing pretty good about peeing on the potty, but until recently we had been having problems with her pooping on the potty.

When Emma began using the potty, we would give her one M&M each time she peed on the potty and two for pooping on the potty. A couple of weeks ago, we stopped giving the M&Ms for peeing since she was doing very well with that. After that, we still had some issues getting her to poop on the potty, but she seems to have figured it out. Emma has not had an accident in her underwear, neither pooping not peeing, in over a week now. I'd like to think that we have finished Emma's potty training, but I fully expect another accident or two.

Once Emma is completely potty trained, she will be ready to move to the preschool class at daycare.


The Banana Incident

Just a Banana
Originally uploaded by wabberjocky
This afternoon when Emma got home from daycare, she wanted a banana as a snack. I had no problem with that, so I peeled a banana for her, and the two of us cut it up into pieces together. When she finished with the banana, she asked for another one. I grabbed the last banana in the house, peeled it, and we cut it up as well. Emma ate most of the second banana, but when there were four slices of banana left she told me she was done. Not wanting to waste the remaining banana, I told Emma that if she was finished with it, I was going to eat what was left. She said that she wanted to dump it out into the trash, but I replied that I wasn't going to waste it and that I'd eat it if she didn't want it. She was quite emphatic about dumping the remaining banana into the trash. However, I ate it. Emma got very upset then, and she began to scream.

A few minutes later, I realized that I had forgotten Emma's eye medicine at daycare, so the two of us got back into the car to retrieve her medicine. When we were in the car she kept insisting that she wanted more banana. To get her to calm down, I told her that we would go to the grocery store to buy some more. So after picking up her medicine, we went to Cub and bought two bananas before returning home. Of course, once we got home she didn't ask to eat the banana. At least we have one available in case she wants one for breakfast in the morning.


Pink Eye

Eye : Pink
Originally uploaded by W3 Studio
Monday afternoon, when we got Emma home from daycare, we noticed that her eyes looked red and she had some gunk coming from the corners of her eyes. Concerned that she may have pink eye (although not the kind pictured here), we took her to the urgent care center after dinner to discover that she did indeed have conjunctivitis. Because it is contagious, we had to keep her home from daycare yesterday until she had been on her medication for a day.

Even though I work from home, it is not really possible for me to get much work done if Emma is not at daycare, so since I am out of sick days, I used one of my remaining vacation days to watch her. Spending all day with Emma by myself, I really wonder how stay-at-home parents do it. I love Emma, but watching a two-year-old all day can be exhausting. When Emma went down for her nap after lunch, I considered getting some work done for my job, but I decided to just relax instead. I am guessing that when she is older, it might be a little easier to get work done if she is home sick, but for now watching Emma when she is at home is a full-time job.


TV Shopping

I spent a good deal of time yesterday afternoon shopping for a new TV. Unfortunately, it was not a TV for me. Rather, my sister asked me if we would help her get a new TV. We went to Best Buy and looked at some of the TVs. Before my sister could really make a decision though, the DIRECTV salesman cornered her, trying for about half an hour to get her to make the switch from Comcast cable to DIRECTV satellite service. Eventually she thought she ditched him and she ended up picking out a TV.

It took a while for them to find the TV in the back of the store, and once she declined to have them calibrate it, they finally got around to ringing up her purchase. However, the price that came up was higher than the price on the TV's price tag. Apparently they had brought out the wrong model. They went back to find the correct model of TV, but the only unit they had in that model was an open box model. They would have given her a ten percent discount on that, but we all thought that for something like a new TV, it would probably be better to get one from a sealed box. They located the model that she wanted at their Maplewood location, so we were going to go there to get it.

It was while they were ringing up the purchase from the other location, that my sister finally got an explanation about the difference between the model she had wanted and the model that they had brought out. From what she was told, she realized that the model that they had brought out was the model she really wanted, so they rang that one up instead.

We had spent about two and a half hours at Best Buy at this point and were about ready to leave with my sister's new TV, but the Minnesota Twins were on the myriad of TVs in the home theater section of the store. There was out remaining in the top of the ninth inning, so we stayed to see if the Twins would win, which they did. It was while we were watching the end of the game that the DIRECTV salesman came back and started putting the pressure back on my sister. She eventually walked away from him without signing up for the service. We then tried to load the TV into our Saturn VUE, however with Emma, Mel, Rebecca, and me in the car, it wouldn't fit. So we ended up taking the TV back inside to have them hold it until we could come back with Mel's truck to take it back to Rebecca's house.

By now it was pretty late, so we headed to Don Pablo's in Roseville for dinner. The food was good, as it usually is, but we did have a couple of problems. First of all, the entrée they brought out for Mel was the wrong one. They did get the correct meal for her eventually, which meant we had an extra meal to bring home as a leftover. The second problem we had was that while Emma and I were in the restroom for what had to be the tenth time since our arrival, our server took away Emma's meal before Mel and Rebecca had a chance to react. There was just one small piece of corndog remaining on her plate, but she still had quite a bit of rice. Emma was not happy to see her food was gone when she returned. We tried to offer her some of the leftover rice from either of Mel's meals, but she wouldn't eat them.

Today we joined Rebecca for church and then returned to Best Buy to pick up her TV. We returned with the TV and ordered pizza from Broadway Pizza. They have such good pizza. Anyway, once we were done eating, I got to work at connecting Rebecca's cable box and DVD player to the TV. We got it all hooked up just in time for the Twins game this afternoon. Her TV looked pretty good once we found the game in the HD range of the dial instead of the regular definition broadcast. At first my sister thought the TV looked too big for her living room, but I think she decided it was just the right size by the time we left.