Saturday, December 31, 2005

Brooks Christmas

After a week in the great north of Walker, MN we thought we better share a few photos with all of you ... so here's more than a few to tide you over until we decide on our favorite family photos. As you'll see from these photos and the ones posted earlier, we are very blessed to have such wonderful families.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Photos from Groth Christmas

I'm way behind in my final prep before we leave to go up to Walker, MN for Christmas, but I wanted to get a few photos out here yet this week. Here are a few photos from when we were together with Tami's family this past Sunday. Keep an eye out for the great sweaters Grandma Karen made!

Believe it or not this is only a fraction of the photos ...

Friday, December 16, 2005

Moving forward ... Christmas tree is in the Great Room this year

Moving forward ... Christmas tree is in the Great Room this year

Below are some photos of the girls in front of the tree. This year the tree is in the Great Room instead of in the Living room because we knew it wouldn't be long before Nessa would help herself to the tree if it was in the area she's been learning to crawl in.

And now she is indeed one step closer to actually crawling as she's moving forward now. Some may even call it an army crawl but she's mostly still using her arms to pull herself forward. The good news is that the more she can get to where she wants to be the less frustrated she gets. She's not always able to get to what she wants yet though so we still hear a bit of that frustrated, "help me" cry. We sit there and cheer her on and then later wonder where in the world we're going to put things now! :-)

It's beginning to look

a lot like Christmas ... and here's a few photos to show it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ford is Evil...

We don't like to use this space much for ranting, but...

The Ford Motor Company is evil for taking the Peanuts theme song (actual title: "Linus and Lucy") and using it as background music in their most recent set of ads. That song represents childhood, and innocence, and (although it has been used in other Peanuts specials shown throughout the year) the Christmas season, and to hear it during a car commercial makes me want to scream. I know that other beloved songs have been turned into commercial soundtracks over the years, and I have been duly annoyed each time it has happened, but this is beyond the pale. We need to let Ford know how egregious their behavior is. I am hereby calling for a boycott of all Ford products until Ford removes the offending commercials from the air and takes out a full page ad apologizing for them in every daily newspaper in the country. (Having once owned a Ford vehicle, I know that their products aren't that good anyway, so it's not like this is a major sacrifice or anything.) Let our voice be heard!

Friday, December 02, 2005

8 months

of smiles and snuggles ...

Nessa is 8 months old today. Our lives are so much richer today than they were before Nessa Rose Brooks joined our family. We love watching her grow and express herself more each day.

I'll keep the updates short this month and simply say that Nessa has simply done more of the stuff she started last month and since practice makes perfect she's getting pretty good at it. :-)

Nessa roles and pivots all over the living room. She usually manages every direction except straight forward when she tries to move though so we're still waiting for actual crawling -- and that's okay with us.

She continues to eat more table food and is fond of her Os as well as chicken, pears, frozen bananas, and pumpkin pie.

Nessa is continually curious and more than a little cautious around other people so she often appears more sober when we're with others. Her smiles still light up our home and brighten our days frequently though.

Nessa , we love you!!!

Remembering Quinn

Usually this blog is reserved for events and photos specifically about our family but this week my heart has been heavy with the news of another mom loosing her baby and today I've found others remembering her son, the mighty Quinn, online and decided I wanted to do the same. Quinn was a 15 month old special baby with special needs and special joys. Today is Quinn's funeral.

Nothing I could say could say it better than his family has said it. You can view his dad's blog at: and see his funeral notice and guestbook at:

Green diapers

Environmentally safe that is (or safer anyway).

You all know that I love having soft cloth diapers on Nessa, but I also want to do my bit to support anyone trying to get poop where it belongs (not in our landfills) so for those of you who want to check out the new FLUSHABLE diapers go to and read all about it. I've emailed back and forth with the owner and he seems great and the product really is innovative. We may even be ordering some to use while traveling in the future.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Rotary Lights and Santa

Megan and Nessa went to see Santa at Rotary Lights in La Crosse's Riverside Park on Sunday night. Megan officially told Santa to surprise her (!?!) and Nessa watched curiously without crying because she stayed in mom's arms the entire time. :-)

Santa pinning on Nessa's "I saw Santa at Rotary Lights" button.

After visiting Santa, we walked around and looked at all of the light displays and decorated trees. It was a nice night and we were all thankful that it was much warmer than the night we went last year!

Tami, Shawn with Nessa, and Megan.

Grandma Jan with Nessa, Grandpa Bob and Megan.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving photos

We spent Thanksgiving with much of Tami's extended family.

The first photo is all of the babies (and parent), the second photo is all of the Breyer grand and great-grandchildren that were there on Thanksgiving (if we keep trying we might actually get a decent photo someday), and the last photo is of all of the "Groth" girl cousins -- Rebecca, Megan holding Nessa, Ahnika, and Charlotte.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Nessa meets Santa

We went to the Holiday Fair in La Crosse Friday afternoon and while we were there Nessa met Santa. She was prepared for a picture with her Christmas jammies on too. :-)

Nessa checked Santa out with her natural curiosity.

Nessa looked back at Mommy. And then the photo we didn't get before Mommy "rescued" Nessa was of her lower lip quivering as she started crying.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A great way to start the day

Nessa isn't often up by the time I leave in the morning, but she was this morning because Tami drove me to work. When Tami brought her out to the kitchen after getting her out of bed, to "say Hi to Daddy", Nessa gave me a big smile. What a great way to start the day! That's a perfect example of a wonderful thing about parenthood that you can't understand until you've experienced it.

Baby appetizers

I was feeding Nessa last night and I think I coined a new word/phrase. Tami had placed some O's on Nessa's tray (as always) and had also given her tiny slivers of cooked chicken. I noticed that the chicken slivers were about as long as an O is wide, so I put one on top of an O and popped it into Nessa's mouth, saying "Here, have an O-derve". Tami was most amused by my new appetizer name, so I'm releasing it to the general public.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My cute winter wonder baby

3 times a charm ... that's how many times I've tried to upload these photos ... now Nessa is awake so there won't be much commentary, but I've been waiting to take these photos since we found this sweater and hat set at a rummage sale this summer. Today, with the first snow on the ground since Nessa was born I figured I better put her sweater on her before it was too small. She didn't mind the hat at all either which was nice.

Rosy cheeks and an adorable hat

We had our first snow last night!
It's not like I was ready to order snow or anything, but we do live in WI and when I say I love the four seasons, I do include Winter. I'll set a disclaimer now that by February I'll be ready for Spring, but right now it is time to say goodbye to our glorious Fall days and welcome winter (I believe the rest of the household merely tolerates it by the way).

Megan had to take treats to school today and I wanted them to make it into the classroom safely so Nessa and I accompanied Megan to school this morning. Nessa was actually a little fussy when I first bundled her up and plopped her on my front in the Ergo carrier (my new favorite carrier but I'll post more about that later) as she prefers to be carried on the back and NOT be be bundled. When we went outside though she stopped fussing and looked around. The ground was covered in just a thin layer of sparkling white wet snow. Our block certainly looked brighter than it had the day before even though it was quite overcast this morning.

Nessa also had a chance to wear her adorable kitty hat that our friend Heather gave her! Below Nessa poses for me after we returned from school this morning -- rosy cheeks and all!

Ginger seems to like the hat as well!

It must be winter

For the third day in a row, all three cats were found cuddled together on the bed in Nessa's room. I think Spats finds the blue quilt a comfy nap spot (they aren't allowed in there at night) and then the others join him for some sleepy snuggles. Before this week I hadn't noticed all three of them together since ... hmmm, I can't remember, maybe last winter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

3 cats and a baby on a bed.

Nessa always gets excited to see any of our cats so she was delighted when we paused before naptime to say hello to all three of them as they were cuddled up on the bed in Nessa's room. William responds to Nessa the most and also lets her pet him the most, but all of them are gentle with her.

However, we have reached the point where we have to carefully watch Nessa as she apparently loves the taste of fur in her mouth. Often the cats actively walk away from Nessa after a very short time, and other times, like here, they take the "maybe she'll go away if we just ignore her" attitude.

Broken engagement

Well, the wedding is off. PitneyBowes is not buying Firstlogic after all. The FTC asked for a second round of review, meaning they were concerned that a monopoly could be formed (specifically, in software for the commercial mailing industry, which is part, but not all, of what we do at Firstlogic). With the prospect of 4-6 more months and millions of dollars being spent--with no certainty of the outcome--the agreement for PB to buy 1L is being allowed to expire.

For once, I was semi-prophetic. At the company meeting announcing the acquisition agreement, during the question period I asked why they thought the agreement would just sail through the FTC, given that we are the two biggest players in the commercial mail market. Nobody had a good answer to that. I'm not thrilled to have seen this coming, but it's interesting in its novelty.

In any case, for the foreseeable future I will remain an employee of "Firstlogic, a wholly owned subsidiary of no one". I'm sure other companies will express interest in purchasing us, so we'll probably go through all of this again at some point, but for now we're still a privately held company based in La Crosse, WI.

The more things change, the more they stay insane...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

In case you've ever said to yourself...

..."I wonder what a stack of 352 boxes of Girl Scout cookies looks like?"--well, now you know. (Not pictured: 28 boxes of cookies purchased for soldiers in Iraq.)

At a rough guess, Megan sold 3-4 times her own volume in cookies, and at least twice her own weight. I would also guess that the 29 cases pictured represent at least double the number of points the Vikings will score against the Giants tomorrow while I'm separating the cookies into individual orders.

When Megan realized how far she was past her original goal of 225 boxes, she set a new goal of 375 boxes and was able to beat that too. She sold a total of 380 boxes of cookies. She'll be getting some neat prizes, and overnight Girl Scout camp looks like a real possibility next summer. Thank you to everyone who ordered cookies!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy Birthday, Emily

We went to visit Emily today. It was a beautiful sunny day, a little windy but not too cold. We took her some dark pink roses and a heart-shaped helium balloon with X's and O's on it--pretty things that we knew a little girl would like.

We carefully and lovingly removed the pine needles and bits of grass from the beautiful design on Emily's stone, as we always do. The roses and the sun made the gray stone look almost warm. We wished Emily "Happy Birthday" and told her how much we love and miss her.

We also introduced Nessa to Emily. Nessa liked touching the stone and the flowers. Someday we'll tell Nessa all about Emily, and how because of Emily, Nessa means even more to Tami--and me--than she would have anyway. For now, it was enough to see Nessa smile, to let that smile be a ray of hope in our hearts, and to feel that, though we will always miss Emily very much, things will be OK in time.

Happy Birthday, Emily.