Zoo Boo ’22

Yesterday was the perfect fall day, although chilly. We have a membership to the Children’s Zoo and knew that around Halloween they did Zoo Boo. Originally, we had planned to take the kids up one weekend. However, with all that’s gone on in the past week, and with the colder temperatures, Sam suggested just taking Ella for some one-on-one time. It was going to be too cold for me to take Andrew.

I packed up the stroller and put it in the car. Packed a bag for her and I, and we took the short trip up I 75 to the zoo. The colder temperatures kept some of the animals indoors and not out on exhibit, but that didn’t seem to matter. The zoo was bustling with all kinds of parents and children- some in costume and some not.

All along the walkways of the zoo are little areas that people can decorate for various seasons and such. There were so many wonderful little Halloween displays. There were many pumpkins, ghosts, mums, sunflowers, all dressed up in Fall colors.

When we walked in, Ella was handed a trick or treat bag for a lot of the various stops and games throughout the zoo that day. We were only a few feet into the zoo and she heard the trains whistle and took off because she wanted to go and ride the train.

The train was already out riding along the tracks, and the line for the next train ride had already started to form. Very close to the train depot was a little traveling coffee truck. I decided to go over and get a coffee to warm me up, and Ella asked for some lemonade.

After our train ride, LOL wanted to go and play on the little playground. She wanted to go down the slide, and wanted me to as well! I joked and said that I didn’t think that my butt would fit on the slide. (Earlier last week we had stopped at a park, and Sam got on a swing and Ella had told her she was proud that her butt fit into the swing!) When I slid down she was at the bottom of the slide to greet me saying, “Yay, daddy! Your butt fitted the slide!” Then she asked to go down again!!

After visiting the prairie dogs, the otters, the wolves, and the alligator, Ella wanted to ride the carousel. She was talking about in on the ride there. She was going to ride on the bunny (there are actually 2 of them, thank goodness). As soon as the opened the gate for us to get on the ride, she was looking for the bunny. No other kid was on it yet, so she claimed it for her ow.

After riding the carousel twice, she asked to go home. On my way out, she said, “I wanna see the animals again.” Thankfully, we hadn’t walked out yet. We walked back through and she played a few games that were set up along the way and in one of the tents. She won some stuffed pumpkin looking guy and a lamb, which she loves.

After walking through again, I was glad she didn’t fight me when I said it was time to go home and warm up. As we walked outside, we once again passed by two bear sculptures that were donated to the zoo. They are pretty awesome. The won awards at ArtPrize. You can read about them here:

https://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw-bay-city/2022/10/1000-pound-artprize-bear-sculptures-donated-to-saginaw-childrens-zoo.html

Ella wanted to stand by the big brown bear and she started roaring like a bear! It was so cute!

There has been so much going on in our lives that getting away for a bit to share some fun with Ella was nice. I missed having the rest of the family there, though.

I hope to get the whole family out together for an outing before fall gives way to winter.

It only took like 26 different pictures to get one where we were both looking at the camera!

A Weekend of Ups and Downs

This weekend certainly was one that left me emotionally drained. It also left me knowing that there are things that I need to do as well as some priorities that need shifting. Some things are just too important and changes need to be made. I have every intention of doing what needs to be done. That is all I really want to say about that.

Monday

The weather was perfect to be outside. I decided that I was going to take the kids to the zoo. We are members, so it was a free day for us. I packed a lunch and we got there when it opened at 10am. Both Sam and I thought it would be quiet for a Monday, but there were a few childcare places doing field trips there.

We didn’t let that spoil our fun. I think I sometimes go a bit crazy with picture taking, but I love to look back at them. I was so happy that both Ella and AJ sat still at the opening photo op of t he zoo.

We saw the penguins, the otter (who was extra busy that day), the monkeys, kangaroos, and a huge emu. We also saw a wolf, chickens, an owl, alpacas, and a bunch of crazy prairie dogs. One of the first things Ella wants to do is ride the train. We’re members, so we can ride as many times as we want. I think we rode the train five times Monday! During on of those ride, I was able to grab my favorite picture of the day:

Look at the joy on their faces! What a wonderful picture!!

I realize that at 52 years of age, when people see me with my kids, they may assume that I am grandpa. So I chose to go to the zoo with my Bandit from Bluey “Dad” shirt on. I’m sure when I left the house, my wife probably thought I looked ridiculous, but that’s ok. When we got off of one of the train rides, a mom came over and said she loved my shirt.

Mines black – not grey

About 11:30, we found some tables by the carousel, which we were going to ride next. Mom packed a PBJ sandwich for Ella, a PB sandwich for AJ, some goldfish crackers, bananas, apple sauce pouches, and something to drink. It was fun to just sit and eat with the kids. AJ was in my lap and I think I wound up wearing more of his lunch than he actually ate! There were also plenty of crackers on the ground for the birds to eat after he was done.

A couple rides on the carousel, another train ride, back to the carousel and we were getting close to nap time. I told Ella we had to pack up to get ready to go. She wanted to go to the store. Sam and I had already said that we were not going to buy anything day, as we really hadn’t budgeted for it.

As we are walking through the gift shop, Ella picks up a small stuff wolf and says, “My wolf! Look Daddy, it’s my wolfie!” I told her that we’d have to get it next time and the melt down began. Urgh! I hate making her cry. I told her she could carry it for a bit and then it would have to be put back.

When we set it down, she started to cry again. As we walked to the door, a nice older lady stopped us and handed Ella the wolf, saying that she couldn’t stand to see her cry. I told her that we couldn’t take it, but she insisted. It was a nice way to end our trip to the zoo.

Weigh In Day

Before I go on, let me say that since I started posting about my weight loss journey, I have been followed by just about every keto diet page, healthy living page, eat better workout more page and such. This urks me for some reason. I post my stuff here to keep myself accountable. On the weeks I gain weight I will post that, too. This is my journey – if you are here to cheer my on, fine. If you are just here to sell your products, you may unfollow me at any time. I don’t plan on following you back.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I am happy to say that the scale showed a 3 pound loss this week. After 8 weeks, I am down 27 pound thanks to Weight Watchers. I am very happy about that. It is nice to be under 300 pounds! I can’t wait to keep reaching milestones.

Eating right and getting a walk in every day has been helping. The heat made it a bit rough this week, and so did the rain. Getting in a mile or two every day is something I have come to enjoy a lot. I love being out with the kids in the stroller.

The last time I saw my doctor, I was supposed to have lost 10 pounds. I hadn’t and she kind of gave me a lecture about that. I was supposed to have joined Weight Watchers and because money was tight, I chose to wait. When I left that appointment, she told me to see her again and the 10 pounds had better be gone – or she’d yell at me again! I see her this week and can’t wait to show her the progress.

Maybe next week – I can hit the 30 pound mark?! We’ll see ….

Celebrating 52

Today is the 13th anniversary of my 39th birthday. Jack Benny said he was 39 for years and got away with it. For some reason, today I realized just how silly that is. I will certainly continue to lie about my being 39, as a homage to Jack, but I know I’m not fooling anyone.

Because Sam had to work tonight, we sort of celebrated yesterday. I came home from work, caught a couple hours sleep and we went to the Saginaw Children’s Zoo. We met Sam’s sister and my nephew there.

It was quite hot out, so we took Andrew’s helmet off for the visit. Ella and I got a kick out of watching the otters, who were extra active yesterday. The were enjoying swimming around and she loved that one kept swimming by the glass window. It was too hot for the penguins to be outside, so we missed them. The wolves were also curled up in their den where we couldn’t see them either. We had fun anyway.

We always have to ride the train when we go. We bought a membership, so train rides are free. It’s a short ride, but the kids love it.

The kids love to ride the carousel too. Andrew was so hot by the time we got there, we figured we’d just keep him in the shade. Ella, of course, had to ride it like three times. Each time she rode a different horse/bunny. She loves it! It was great to watch her from the sidewalk and take pictures as she rode past me. Poor Sam, though. She was ready to throw up by the end of the third ride!

When we left to go home, Sam asked what I wanted to do for dinner. I told her I would be happy with something simple. I hadn’t used my grill yet this year, so I told her to pick up some hot dogs or brats and we’d grill them up.

We stopped at Meijer and Ella went in with Sam while I drove around with Andrew, who was napping. When they were done shopping Ella was extra excited. She helped pick out a birthday cake. I guess Sam told her my birthday was coming up and she kept asking about birthday cake. They stopped at the bakery and Sam asked if they could write “Happy Birthday” on it. Ella said it needed to say, “Happy Birthday, Daddy,” so that is what was on it.

After dinner, Sam put some candles on the cake and Ella not only sang, “Happy Birthday” to me, she helped blow out the candles!

This morning, I woke up feeling no different than yesterday. I don’t feel older, but I am. I received calls today from my dad, my brother, my oldest son, and my best friend. There are hundreds of Facebook wishes from friends. Some are long and heartfelt, others short and sweet. I have messages from Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram with birthday wishes, and many text messages, too. There is no way I’ll be able to respond to them all!

I certainly felt special the past couple days. I’m one very blessed man!

Tune Tuesday – Don’t Let Go

When I first started working in radio, it was at an oldies station.  My dad, who was my biggest musical influence, took advantage of the fact that we had an extensive library and asked me to throw some of his favorites on a cassette for him.  This was how I was introduced to the music of Roy Hamilton.

ROY HAM4

Roy Hamilton would have been 90 today.  He started singing in his church choir and eventually landed a record deal at Columbia Records, which quickly sent him to their new subsidiary label, Epic.  He recorded You’ll Never Walk Alone from the musical Carousel, Ebb Tide, and an amazing version of Unchained Melody (which reached number 1 on the R&B charts).

In mid-1956, he developed a lung condition which forced him to announce that he was retiring from the music business.  When was well enough, he got back into show business, but there had been quite a change in music – rock and roll music was big and the standards he was recording before his retirement were on the way out.  In 1957, Epic Records coaxed him into recording “Don’t Let Go”.  The song was produced by Otis Blackwell, who had just produced “Don’t Be Cruel” and “All Shook Up” for Elvis Presley.  It became a top 15 record for him and the song is said to be the first Top 40 record recorded in stereo.

He was Epic’s first major star and they treated him very well.  He released 16 albums for them.  He was a big influence to singers like Sam Cooke and Elvis.  In 1969, while at home, he suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage.  He spent a week in a coma before his family took him off life support.  He passed away at the young age of 40.

Working at WHND Honey Radio, we played music exclusively from the first decade of Rock and Roll.  I got to play quite a bit of Roy Hamilton’s music.  You Can Have Her and Don’t Let Go still sound fresh and fun today.  His voice is powerful and even though it shined on ballads, I am partial to his uptempo stuff.  In honor of his 90th, birthday, here’s Don’t Let Go….

ROY HAM