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.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Flowers and cake to remember Emily

Emily Lin's birthday is tomorrow, Thursday, November 10th. I suspect one of us will write about the day later this week. Today, I want to ask you all to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we remember Emily.

This year Megan is grieving as an 8 year old (she was 4 when Emily was born/died) and I have been struggling with how to best assist her in expressing and releasing that grief. Megan becomes sad several times throughout the day that she tells me about and I've been encouraging her to write and draw about what she feels when she isn't able to talk to me or someone else. When you talk to Megan and if it feels right, please go ahead and talk to her about Emily. I think it helps Megan to know that it's okay to talk about Emily and to know that her feelings are normal. One thing that has helped me to understand a bit of what Megan is going through now, four years after Emily died, is that children usually need to continue to process and grieve at each developmental stage until they reach adulthood and can grieve with the understanding of an adult and reach some type of resolution.

The flowers in the photo are the flowers that we had at church this Sunday in remembrance of Emily. It was especially nice since it was All Saints Sunday.

The cake is a cake that Megan and I made for Emily's birthday. Some of you may remember that Megan made a birthday cake for "the baby" with my midwife (Katy) at our home the morning I first went into labor with Emily (two days before Emily's birth and death). We didn't eat any of that cake that year, but I wanted to start a tradition of making an angel food cake as part of remembering Emily each year. This year that was especially important as Megan was again able to be a part of making and decorating the cake. Megan chose a confetti angel food cake mix, pink frosting (of course), various sprinkles and some food coloring markers to decorate the cake. I let her decorate it however she wanted to on Monday night and we lit the candles and ate it on Tuesday night.

Megan included many meaningful symbols on the cake including hearts, flowers, Xs and Os for kisses and hugs, and her thought to Emily, "Emily, I love you."

The rest of us are echoing the same sentiment this week -- Emily, we love you and miss you.

2 of our furry children cuddling on the couch

Friday, November 04, 2005

And now Dad's favorite 7 month photos

As you must realize by now Nessa had quite the photo experience the other day (I love having a digital camera). It was all in a quest to get a photo to copy to use as Nessa's "7 month photo", but it's always interesting to catch all of her different looks too. I asked Shawn to choose his favorites and I wasn't surprised when he chose primarily different photos than I did when I posted a few yesterday. So this is a look at some of his favorites photos of Nessa at 7 months.

The scoop on Nessa at 7 months old

I thought I would quickly fill in a few details to go with all the photos.

We don't have an official weight or length update, but I'm guessing around 20 pounds and over 27 inches. She continues to grow out of clothes and we recently were able to move the exersaucer to the new setting so now she can take advantage of making it rock back and forth.

Oh, Nessa's hair is growing too! In fact, you can even tell she has hair from a distance now! (I need to point out though that her hair does not look as red in person as it does in photos so we're not actually sure that she'll be a red head yet ... I'm betting on something close to strawberry blond though.)

Nessa has also been growing teeth and I hope you're able to notice them in a few of the photos now. It's just priceless when she flashes that incredible toothy grin at us. In fact, it's such a cute grin that it makes me a little less sad that the days of the gummy smile are gone. Now that her two bottom teeth are in, I seem to check constantly to see if any more are making an appearance, but I know she could be working on them quite awhile before they actually make an appearance.

With all of the growing she's doing it's a good thing Nessa is getting pretty good at eating as well. She still nurses about as often as she did a month ago, but I think she's learning that other foods can fill her tummy and quench her thirst as well because when I'm busy trying to make supper I can often (but by no means always!) distract her with something yummy in her high chair. She is definitely developing favorites in both taste and texture and we're starting to catch on to what they are while looking forward to when she can actually tell us.

Nessa is also burning some of those new food calories with her own little baby workout regiment. Her baby crunches (head and legs up) are still a favorite along with the addition of rolling, squirming, pivoting, and slithering herself into a corner that she can't get out of. We've even seen more than a little knee action which frankly worries us as we're hoping that the real crawling holds off until after Thanksgiving when we have a chance to really rearrange the family room (getting rid of some more furniture in order to do it). I feel somewhat comforted in the fact that she likes to make these transitions somewhat slowly whether it's learning new things or giving up old things (like her pacifier which hasn't been used for about a month now).

Nessa continues to delight us in so many ways and we love watching her many moods and curious nature as she explores the world around her.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Playing with my new toy is fun

Nessa played with this toy at a friend's house a few weeks ago and then the next weekend Shawn and I found one at a rummage sale.

Nessa has enjoyed it in the "kick and play" position for awhile now and today I moved it to the "sit and play" position for the first time.

Nessa enjoyed watching the balls spin around and then catching a ball as it went down the chute. When she couldn't grab a ball in her hands or dropped them then she would get frustrated so that wasn't too fun, but she's learning every day so it's all good.

Try commenting if you feel the urge ...

I tried to make it easier (without totally giving up security). Let us know if you have problems. Also a general reminder to you all that we love to hear from you. :-)

Weekend in Cumberland photos

Swinging by the lake ...

Tami and Shawn with Nessa recovering from the fall leaves photo

We spent the last weekend in Oct. relaxing with Grandma and Grandpa Groth in Cumberland, WI. Megan and Grandma spent much time in the sewing room(s) while the rest of us mostly just relaxed. It was nice.

Grandpa Groth holding Nessa

What's better than one grandma-made sweater?

Two, of course.

I don't think you can tell in this photo but Nessa is wearing the yellow pullover (seen above) with the pink cardigan with the hood on top to be snuggly warm in the cool fall air.

Why does mommy think a photo of me in the leaves is a good idea?

A mystic witch

Megan loved her costume as a mystic witch and played it up all night while we were out trick-or-treating. Of course she got WAY too much candy and each year it's harder and harder to convince her to share. :-)