We went to the Houston Zoo as a family yesterday with my son, wife, and her parents. The zoo here is full of those old penny press machines. I'm sure most of us in the US will be familiar with them but I don't know if they're common outside the United States.
For those unfamiliar with the concept: You feed the machine $0.51 (2 quarters and 1 penny) and turn a press-wheel. The quarters go to pay the machine / the company that owns it. The penny... gets smashed. The machine presses / rolls the penny and reshapes it into a thin oval with a new pattern / design on it. I think the Houston zoo has 4-6 of these machines, each one having four different designs that you can press into the penny, so if you wanted to you could make quite a set of zoo / animal themed novelty pressed-pennies.
While we were in the reptile house my son saw one of the machines and got really excited about it. There have been a few times when he was younger where he wanted to play with the machine and just spazzed out about spinning the wheel round and round - not really understanding the purpose of the machine. This time we decided to let him press a penny. When the penny got to the point where it was going through the press it got too hard for him to do on his own and I provided a little extra torque.
I have joked with my wife about the possibility of coming to the zoo with a roll of uncirculated, shiny new pennies when he is closer to 5 and making a day of collecting a full set of the designs from all the machines. My wife countered with possibly starting a tradition of having him do one penny every time we come and building a set over time with each visit.
In other news, my wife has been trolling my photographic efforts recently.
I had set up the camera and tripod and made a little area for trying to image some things. My wife decided that she wanted to get a picture of the cake she had just made (the very pink cake she had just made). She walks up, says, "well, since you've got this set up so nice already," drops her piece of cake right in the middle of my set-up and takes a picture of it with her phone. She is smirking the entire time. I'm just looking at her like, "Are you for real right now?" And she just laughs. At the end of this post I include photographic evidence of her misdeeds!
I'll cap off a family-centric post with an update on the pregnancy:
As of yesterday, we're 27 weeks in with it expected that we'll have the baby by C-section at 34-35 weeks. The main thing at this point is that she must take things easy and watch for bleeding. If she bleeds or starts having early contractions it could force the doctors to take the baby out earlier - maybe immediately. I am told that these cases deliver prior to 34 weeks about 40% of the time.
28 weeks into the pregnancy is a major milestone. At that point, the start of the third trimester, the baby can be born with minimal, if any, long-term health problems. That's only 6 days away. 30 weeks and 32 weeks are also great milestones with survival virtually guaranteed at that point. At 34 weeks, the baby might only stay in the NICU for one week.
One week ago, on the 21st, we went out and took some maternity shots. I took the photos and retouched them myself and I've attached one of my favorites below. My camera skills were definitely part of the deal when she married me.