All Creatures Great and Stuffed

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Having my parents live just down the street instead of on the other side of the country means that we can drop by for a random visit “Just Because,” which is exctly what we did on Saturday night. I offered to make some chicken alfredo for dinner with my folks, and we spent a good couple of hours letting Hannah get some quality time with Grandpa and Grandma Johnson. My dad actually had a giant box of his old toys that he wanted to show her, which included an original plush Smokey the Bear and a working Howdy Doody marionette. He even had a Coon Skin Cap, which Hannah didn’t seem to care much for. Then upstairs he had an assortment of other family treasures, one of which was my grandfather’s old Bulova wristwatch. I was amazed that it still worked, so I’ve been wearing it myself this week as a way to connect to a generation long passed away (and for some retro flair on my wrist).

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As you might have heard, the Polar Vortex has come to visit Middle America once again, but on Sunday it was in the 50s and 60s. The Henry-Doorly Zoo also had free admission for the day, so we took Hannah to spend the afternoon there. This was Hannah’s third trip to the Best Zoo in the World (as ranked by Trip Advisor), and as usual, we could only see a fraction of what the zoo had to offer during our time there.

This time around, we started at the Petting Zoo so Hannah could brush a goat. The Peacocks were out in full feather, so we watched them strutting about as we said hello to a bear or two and also a gaur. We walked through the Gorilla Valley and saw a couple wild cats up above (as well as a free-range photographer). The butterfly pavilion seemed to be one of the more popular exhibits, so we had to drop in to walk through their steamy jungle for a moment. We continued on down to the giraffes and the sensory garden, where Hannah got to spend some quality time with an orangutan. We crossed the river full of koi to see some more monkeys and sea lions. Hannah spent a few minutes on a small playground, and then we saw on cute prairie dogs on our way to the carousel for a quick ride before going home.

In other news, Aaron turned Five Months Old on Tuesday (Veteran’s Day).

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