Zoo Boo 2010

This afternoon the family and I went to Como Zoo for their annual Zoo Boo fundraiser. Emma had a good time walking through the zoo trick-or-treating. In past two years we attended Zoo Boo, none of the animals were out, but this year was different. We were able to see an ostrich, a bison, and the polar bears. Emma enjoyed seeing the animals.

While we roamed through the zoo, I kept trying to get Emma to pose for a photo with some of the costumed characters around the zoo, but she refused to do so. She seemed to be afraid of many of them. She wouldn't even pose with the Star Wars characters toward the end of the route through the zoo. The only character Emma posed with for a photo was Petey P Cup. After taking her picture, we got one of the whole family with Petey.


Nine Months Old

Maximus turned nine months old today. I can not believe that it has already been three-fourths of a year since he was born. In no time at all, he will be one year old.

Today we took Max to Sears to have his photo taken. As usual, they did an awesome job. Max once again cooperated for the photo shoot. The hardest part of the whole thing was deciding which photos to get prints of. Fortunately we have them all on CD so we can make more prints later if we decide to.

After getting the photos ordered, we walked around the Mall of America a bit. We had to get Max some new long-sleeved T-shirts as most of the ones we have for him are too small. All of his 12-month shirts have now been put away to be replaced by 18-month and 2T size shirts. Max is one big boy!


The Pumpkin Farm

We spent this afternoon at Lendt's Pumpkin Patch in Wyoming, Minnesota, hunting for some pumpkins just right for turning into jack-o-lanterns. We had a great time there. We had the option of picking pumpkins from ones already picked or picking our own. We decided to do the latter. We managed to find four suitable pumpkins without much trouble.

After paying for our pumpkins, we put them in the car and went back to enjoy the rest of what the pumpkin patch had to offer. Emma got her face painted. She chose to have a spider in its web painted on her cheek. We enjoyed some snacks--mini doughnuts for Mel, cotton candy for Emma, and a bratwurst for me. We then looked around at the displays that had been set up. We had a fun time, even though it was a bit of a drive from home to get there.


Maximus Stands

Today for the first time, Maximus pulled himself up to a standing position using a stationary object. For a few weeks now he has pulled himself to standing by grabbing onto my fingers, but this is the first time he has done it without any help. At first I didn't even notice that he was standing. I had been talking on the phone and I turned around to see what Max was up to. I saw him by the gate I had put up to keep him out of the kitchen. I was about to turn back around when it occurred to me that Max wasn't sitting at the gate, but was standing instead! Now if Max just works on his balance, he will be walking in no time.


Helmet Adjustment

Friday afternoon we noticed that Max's helmet had been rubbing quite a bit. In fact, he even started grabbing at it, making us think that it had become less comfortable. We kept the helmet off of him all weekend until I had a chance to take him in today to have adjustments made to his helmet. We were actually thinking that his head had maybe grown to the maximum size of the helmet, but the measurements indicated no change in the size of his head. The orthotist shaved out some parts of the helmet, and we put it back on Max. In three weeks we'll be back to have measurements taken again.


The Kids and Me at the Zoo

Yesterday afternoon Mel was getting a tattoo, so I decided to take the kids to the zoo. Emma originally wanted to go to the Mall of America so she could ride the merry-go-round, but she changed her mind and told me that she wanted to go to the zoo, specifically Como Zoo since they have giraffes. Maximus, Emma, and I had a good time walking around the zoo, looking at all the animals. Emma was quite inquisitive, asking me what the various signs said about the animals. She even asked me where the bison and the lions go potty.


Burning Down the House

Okay, I didn't really burn down the house, and the photo shown with this blog posting is simply for dramatic purposes, but I did manage to start a fire in the house yesterday.

While listening to a training session for work during lunch yesterday, I started cooking chicken breasts that we were going to use for dinner. I had started by heating a little bit of olive oil in a pan. Once the oil was hot, I added a couple of chicken breasts. These were chicken breasts that had been individually frozen with an ice glaze, and not all the ice had melted. Now I should have known from my years of experience working at Hardee's that putting ice in hot oil was a very bad idea, but I did it anyway.

At first there was a little bubbling of the oil as it melted the ice, but then the bubbling and splattering of the oil got much more vigorous. So next came my second big mistake, removing the pan from the burner. It sounded like a good idea, removing the pan from the heat would cause the oil to cool down, reducing the splattering. And while that happened, I hadn't considered the oil splattering out of the pan onto the hot surface of the stove.

As soon as I had moved the pan away, a ring of fire sprang up from where the heating element was under the flat top of the stove's hot burner. Now the oil that had splattered onto the stove burned up very quickly, extinguishing the fire, but it was a bit frightening. In reality, the fire probably lasted no longer than one second, but it seemed much longer as I stood, watching it on the stove.


Early Childhood Screening

On Tuesday, we took Emma in for the early childhood screening that the state of Minnesota requires of all three- and four-year-olds before they can begin kindergarten. Naturally, I felt that Emma would do really well even before we got there. I was impressed though that she actually answered when the person who greeted us upon our arrival when asked how she was. Emma is often very quiet when people she doesn't know talk to her initially.

Emma had her hearing, vision, height, and weight checked. All were fine. She then went off to administered an early childhood screening assessment. Coincidentally, the company I work for publishes the assessment that they used. Anyway, afterwards, the teacher who assessed Emma spoke with Mel and me, going over each of the tasks Emma was asked to complete. Emma got the maximum number of points on most of the tasks, earning a score of 24, which was higher than the 16 points that would be the minimum they would want to see from a child of her age. Her score was even higher than the minimum they would want from the next age group as well.

We still have a bit of a wait until Emma can start kindergarten; she won't be able to start until Fall 2012. I do worry though that Emma may not be challenged sufficiently when she does start school. We mentioned this concern to the teacher administering the assessment, and were told that Emma's kindergarten teacher should differentiate instruction to take each students' needs into account. This sounds good, but I know that in practice, it can be difficult to actually accomplish.


I'm Christine O'Donnell, and I'm Not a Witch

Is Christine O'Donnell implying that there is something wrong with being a witch? And what if I am a witch, then how is Christine O'Donnell me? Incidentally, another thing that Christine O'Donnell isn't is a grammarian. Otherwise she would know that "None of us are perfect" is incorrect. She should have said, "None of us is perfect."

Cuteness of the Day

I'm not sure why someone put two bunnies in paper cups, but they sure are cute.