Wednesday, August 31, 2005

End of summer Trolley ride

Megan in front of the trolley (at Riverside park in La Crosse)

Yesterday was the last day of summer we had to just hang out so we decided it was time to ride the trolley as we had been talking about it for weeks.

After meeting Shawn for lunch downtown we had some ice cream at the Pearl and browsed some stores before catching the trolley downtown (it took us awhile to be at the right place at the right time due to some misinformation from MTU and me forgetting our trolley brochure at home). Then we had a great ride around historic La Crosse. We ended our ride at Riverside park and relaxed a bit while Nessa nursed and then enjoyed some time hanging out in the fresh air.

It was a nice end to the summer. We're both excited for school to start and sad that the summer went so fast. Megan starts school Thursday (tomorrow!), but I won't be there for the first time. :-( as she'll be with her dad Thursday morning. So, we'll have to change our first day of school photo tradition a bit.

We met Megan's teacher and other new school teachers and specialists last night at the open house at school. Everyone seems just as wonderful as we expected. Megan is a bit sad that her best friends, "the twins" are not in her class this year and is also a bit worried about having more homework in 2nd grade, but is otherwise happy with school. I expect this year to go even better than last year.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Monday, Monday

Nessa modeling her newest bib!

Since Shawn was posting last night I thought I would wait until today. I certainly had more energy last night though! Nessa has decided to go to bed earlier and earlier these days -- I have not ... this also means she gets up earlier and earlier ... Ugh. Mondays can be rough even when we're not in a rush to get somewhere.

This past week was a good week in general even with all of the business. Shawn had a Thursday at noon deadline to meet so he worked some long hours the first half of the week. We're certainly glad that doesn't happen too often but we survived and were able to make up for it and relax more at the end of the week. This weekend was also a very relaxing and casual weekend. While Shawn was working long hours I was getting things organized and sold on ebay. There is still a lot to do, but we're making progress. We also managed to get out for a few outings to enjoy the outdoors and see some friends and family. We have an end of summer outing planned for tomorrow so watch for photos.

Megan starts school this Thursday and gets to meet her teacher Tuesday at the open house. I'm a little more ready for school to start than she is. :-)

Watch for photos and a five month update on Nessa later this week (Sept. 2nd is 5 months already!!!).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

They're Called Finger"nail" Clippers For A Reason...

Note: click on picture to see larger version.

Hello, Shawn here. We had our first "parentally inflicted" traumatic moment with Nessa Friday evening. While out running some errands, I called Tami from the video store to see if she might be interested in a particular movie. She explained that she was a bit distracted: she had been trimming Nessa's fingernails (a job that seems to need doing about every 6 hours), and with only one nail left to go Nessa was getting fussy, so Tami clipped it quickly to be done. Only after Nessa screamed did Tami realize she'd cut too far and accidentally clipped Nessa's skin. When I called Nessa had calmed down, but Tami was still trying to stop the bleeding.

When I got home a bit later, Tami was still trying to stop the bleeding. She had tried putting a bandage on Nessa's thumb, but the thumb immediately went into Nessa's mouth and the bandage came off--not good. Not sure what else to do, Tami was holding a cloth wipe to Nessa's thumb to apply pressure and try to stop the blood. The cloth had blood spots all over it. There were also spots on one of Nessa's bibs and on one of her teddy bear's clothes--which made me realize we had a real problem.

After a quick discussion, I went and got two more bandages. One went over Nessa's thumb with the pad by the cut, and the other went around her thumb to hold the first bandage in place. By the time I had the second bandage on, the pad of the first one was mostly red. Now I was getting worried--how much blood does one little baby have? How much can she afford to lose? We had given her oral vitamin K in her first week of life to help her clotting, but didn't the midwife say that she would still be a bit vulnerable from 4 1/2 to 6 months? (Nessa will be 5 months old this week.)

To keep the bandages out of Nessa's mouth, I had also gotten two of her socks and put both of them over her hand. Given that Nessa produces approximately a gallon of drool per hour, we were still worried that she would put her hand in her mouth, soak through the socks, and the bandages would come loose. So Tami went and got two small mittens and put them both over the socks on Nessa's hand. Since the mittens were thicker than the socks, we figured it would take a lot of drool to soak all the way through. Meanwhile, Nessa was looking at us like we were crazy. (To be fair, we were a bit--with worry.)

Actually, the drool never had a chance. That many layers meant that Nessa could no longer get her hand in her mouth, so the bandages were safe. As you can see, Nessa was less than thrilled at losing the use of one hand, but Tami and I could put up with that.

Nessa slept Friday night with her hand covered. By Saturday morning, the cut had clotted and we could remove everything. Nessa was thrilled to be able once again to soak both hands equally through judicious application of saliva.

Tami felt (and still feels) terrible over this. I have been told that I have been assigned to Nessa fingernail clipping duty on a temporarily permanent basis. Nessa seems not to have been too psychologically scarred--I don't think this will be worth more than a month, at most, of therapy when she's an adult, maybe only a couple of weeks. She has seemed a little more tired this weekend, which naturally prompts thoughts of anemia and such, but she could just be having a growth spurt as well. (She gets these growth spurts every few weeks. I assume her brooks spurts will happen after she begins to talk...) In any case, we all came through the ordeal more or less OK, and life goes on.

Our Furry Children

NOTE: Click on picture to see larger version.

Hello, Shawn here. Athough Nessa and Megan are going to get most of the attention in this space, we do have three other "children"--our cats Spats, William, and Ginger, as seen from left to right in the photo. We refer to them as our "furry" children, as opposed to our bald children (which in Nessa's case is still mostly true).

William (full name William the Orange, details of obscure historical pun available on request), is a male orange tiger that I adopted in May, 2002. He is the classic curious cat: he never met a door he didn't want to see what was on the other side, which means he's gotten shut into a closet by accident on several occasions. I swear William is part Labrador Retriever. He loves people, and is very sociable. He has to lay down right where he'll be underfoot. He comes running whenever he hears sounds that might be people food (cellophane especially). And he hides in the basement whenever there's a thunderstorm. William always has an eye out for the main chance--you don't leave food open when William's about.

I adopted Spats--named for his white feet, of course--in November of 2002. For a while he was the classic scaredy cat, but he has gotten less timid as he has gotten older. He is also good with people, but he's basically a one-person cat. If my lap is free, Spats is likely to be on it. He has a bad habit of nipping at your elbow or toes if he thinks he deserves attention. Spats is a high cat; he loves the top of our armoire, and used to get up on top of the cupboards in my last house.

We adopted Ginger, a calico female, last January to be Megan's kitty. Ginger is also often very friendly and sociable, but is otherwise content to go her own way. When she wants something, usually attention, she lets you know, loudly and persistently. Less than a year old (though she is as big as Spats), Ginger is still very much a kitten most of the time, and is frequently tearing around the house to work off some energy.

As with any family, they don't always get along. Spats and William have been good buds from the get go, and Spats will often let William use him as a pillow. William and Ginger have become friends, and can often be found cuddled up together. Ginger likes Spats, and is more than willling to play with him. Spats...tolerates...Ginger. It's rare to see Spats and Ginger lying together, and if all three cats are cuddled up, William is usually in the middle (partly because William tends to plop himself right in the middle--he's not shy, that boy).

All of the furry children have taken Nessa's arrival in stride, and don't seem to care one way or the other. They all exhibit occasional curiosity, but mostly they ignore her. Spats is unhappy that he doesn't get nearly as much lap time as before, but that's the only real fallout. In fact, as Nessa grows more able to interact with her surroundings, the cats are becoming friendlier. William allows Nessa to grab his fur and tug without reacting at all. This afternoon Nessa was lying on the bed, waving one of her rattles around, and Spats was chasing the other end of it. Spats would grab the rattle, Nessa would tug, and Spats would tug back.

We hope that all three kitties will put up with Nessa as she goes through her toddler years, so that by the time she is old enough to appreciate having a purring cat on her lap they'll all be fast friends. I only dread the day when Nessa says she wants a kitty of her own...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Enjoying the beautiful weather

Note: click on photos to enlarge.

I LOVE fall weather so I am NOT one of the people sad or upset to have the weather a bit cooler these days. I think we've finally had some gorgeous weather. :-) But even I was a bit surprised when we all had to grab jackets before going on a walk Monday night. Above is Nessa in her Pooh jacket (one of the wonderful finds in the hand-me-down box from her cousins). I realized after putting it on her that it might be the ONLY time she wears it since the hood doesn't really fit her head anymore ... so of course it was picture time.

Nessa and Megan Tuesday afternoon after a nice walk.

It was warm and sunny Tuesday afternoon when we took a nice walk to run an errand. I realized I hadn't taken a photo of Nessa in the stroller since we changed it from the bassinet to the stroller seat. She's really enjoying her stroller rides these days.

After our walk Tuesday we spent some time in the backyard and I took pictures of Nessa in the swing. We started putting her in the baby swing on our playset a couple of weeks ago and she loves it. In the first picture she was constantly looking down at something so I decided to capture that curious look she has at times. Below, she's just contently swinging while chewing on her hand.

Today, Nessa and I left shortly before noon to walk to a nearby (well, a 30 minute walk) restaurant to meet a friend for lunch. It was a gorgeous day for a walk and we had a great outing. When we got home I couldn't resist taking this picture of Nessa sleeping peacefully in the stroller. I'm hoping we can get out again tonight for another walk.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The weekend and Nessa while we cleaned

When I posted the week in review I wanted to make sure I thought of stuff from earlier in the week and then forgot all about the weekend ...

We had company both Saturday and Sunday which was great both because it was great seeing everyone and because it gave us a reason to clean up the house. So now that we can see the dining room table again and walk through Nessa's room again (remember those clothes that were too small? -- those and my maternity clothes were in piles in her room until Sunday afternoon), I have a moment to post some photos about what Nessa was doing while the rest of us were cleaning.

Some days I think I'll have to figure out how to clean with Nessa in one of the baby carriers I use, but this weekend she was pretty content to watch baby Einstein videos (as seen with her reclining on the boppy pillow), play in her exer-saucer, and wit near me in the bouncy chair between eating and napping. It worked out well and we took time out to play breaks together too. I think Nessa had a break from the teething irritation this weekend too so that helped a lot.

Sadly I didn't take any photos when our company was here, but we did enjoy our time together.

Saturday Nessa was able to get a glimpse of what life should be like in six months or so -- as a mobile baby (as did mom and dad!). My friend Rachel and her family stopped over and her son, Ben, is an adorable, on-the-go- 10 1/2 month old.

Then Sunday evening Grandpa Bob and Grandma Jan stopped over for the night on their way to Annapolis. We had a nice supper, walked to the park, and watched Nessa swing in the baby swing in the back yard.

Sunday I also caught Ginger relaxing in a basket I had recently emptied while cleaning. Sometimes we still rush to take photos of the fury kids too. :-)

Sunday night -- week in review

I hope to make posting a week in review a regular part of my weekend -- although I hope to usually be doing it a bit earlier in the evening. After the girls are asleep thought I can get started on things and it can get late fast.

Tonight I turned on the computer to finish some transcription work, but in addition to finishing that I had to check on how the items I'm selling on ebay are doing and, of course, check my email. :-)

The new table
At the beginning of this week we started using our new kitchen table. This may not seem like big news to you, but we've been searching for a new kitchen table since we moved into this house and we *finally* have one! The built-in seating in our kitchen required a small pedestal table in order for us to use the space well and be comfortable. My pedestal table was much to large and Shawn's small table had legs.

We used the small table with legs for the last year, but were always bumping our legs agains the table's legs so we continued to search for a small pedestal table -- and discovered they're very hard to find (outside of restaurants that is). We searched, considered having one made, and searched some more ... And then got distracted by this delightful baby and hadn't actually actively searched for awhile, but rather just grumbled about the situation whenever we bumped our legs trying to sit at the table.

A couple of weeks ago I was home alone and "stuck" on the couch with a sleeping Nessa with no book or magazine within reach, but eventually I did manage to reach the basket of catalogs on the floor and began looking through the odd catalogs that we had received (the ones you wonder how you got on the mailing list). That is when I found our wonderful, new *small* pedestal table.

So, now we no longer bump our legs, but our cat William is still trying to figure out how to get off of the pass through above the table without running into that pedestal that we love so much. Proof, once again, that there's no pleasing everyone.

The search for better diapers
Another thing occupying my time, and way too much of my brain power, is the search for a better diaper for Nessa. Don't get me wrong, I love cloth diapers in general (and a few hours of Nessa in disposables reminds me just how much), but I never had these kind of challenges way back when I was diapering Megan. The problem is that Nessa has skinny legs for her weight -- who knew! We're having a hard time getting a good fit on diapers and covers which means we were having leaks -- something I don't tolerate. To further complicate this there are WAY too many new options out there in cloth diapering. Sigh. I think I'm on my way to finding some solutions, but I won't know until they arrive and I try the various new diapers and covers on Nessa -- it's a slow process since I'm selling off the diapers we don't like on ebay and slowly trying one cover and/or diaper before buying a dozen and then not liking them as was the case with the ones I'm selling. So, while I could go on that's probably more than most of you want to know. I'll update you when I find some I'm thrilled with though.

Growing out of WAY too many clothes
Sniff, sniff. We love to see our Nessa grow, but it's so sad when I go through her drawers and remove all of the clothes that no longer fit her. Today I removed two large clothes baskets full!

Still no rolling over from back to tummy
So, Nessa has been rolling from tummy to back easily since July 4th, and STILL she hasn't (won't?) go the other way. We even put her on the waterproof pad on her back and surrounded her by toys that were just out of her reach while cheering her on earlier this week. She laughed at our efforts and went as far as her side, but never all the way over (her arm seems to be in the way and she hasn't figured this out). Thinking back it seems a bit cruel to taunt her with toys just out of reach, but we're really just trying to encourage her full potential (she says trying to convince self)... yikes we're pushy parents already!

In the other accomplishments department, Nessa has been increasingly reaching for, picking up, and holding her toys and teethers. It's been a lot of fun watching her start to actually play with her toys. Okay, mostly she just slobbers all over them as she gumms them, but it's still been fun. She also enjoys hearing the various noises that her toys make as she moves them around on the way to her mouth.

Megan attended VBS (and Brownie day camp last week)
This week Megan attended Vacation Bible School each evening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at our church. It was another time that I was grateful that our church is within walking distance. On Thursday Shawn, Nessa and I watched the program the kids put on as they sang songs and told us about the week. Since she looked forward to it each day I think she had a good time.

Last week Megan went to Brownie day camp in the afternoons. She wasn't sure about this whole "day camp" thing before she went on Monday but she ended up having a great time and earning several patches that I now have to iron on her Brownie sash (thank goodness they don't have to be sewn on!). She also made goo which is something really neat made out of glue, water and borax that I've agreed to let her make at home this week.

Well, those are the highlights that come to mind. I hope you all had a good week as well. -- Tami

Saturday, August 20, 2005

More family photos

I'm experimenting with posting smaller photos, so bear with me...

Tami, with Nessa in the pouch (1 month old) and Shawn in San Diego when Tami was attending the ICAN coference.

June 2005
(Tami, Grandma Jan Brooks holding Nessa, Grandpa Bob Brooks, Shawn, and Megan )

June 2005 - on the lake at Grandpa & Grandma Groth's
(Megan, Grandma Karen Groth holding Nessa, and Ahnika Trotman)

July 2005 - in our home
(Grandpa Don Groth holding Nessa, Megan, and Grandma Karen Groth)

Family photo

Shawn holding Nessa, Tami and Megan -- July 2005

First blog entry

This entry is just to get something out on the new blog. This blog is to help us keep all of our families updated on our family... and maybe give us a forum for a few topics once in awhile. I'll use this space to caution everyone that I'll likely blog the way I email -- so don't expect topics to be edited prior to publication. :-)