Sunday, July 30, 2006

Home sweet home!

I really love travelling -- really, I do. But, coming home is ever so nice too.

We had a wonderful week (but a tad too busy -- our own fault for planning so many things) and we have many great stories and a few good pictures that I hope to get posted soon. Some of the great stories are the ones we'll be able to tell Nessa over and over again as she gets older. Just like my parents reminded me quite often about the terrible tantrums I had while at Disney World as a 4 year old (I think), we now have the start of stories to let Nessa know that she wasn't always a pleasant traveler. For starters, she really hated the tour mobile in Washington D.C. so we did a lot more walking than we planned on while we were there (which would have been more pleasant if it were about 20 degrees cooler and we had a few more hours). Then just to prove her mother wrong (well it's my theory anyway) Nessa slept all the way on the way to the Baltimore airport and then slept again from the La Crosse airport to home but did not sleep at all on either of the two flights! Fortunately she didn't have any prolonged tantrums or crying episodes either so she merely managed to exhaust her parents and not annoy too many other passengers. :-)

Before I go wade through my unread email, I need to send a huge THANK YOU out to all of our Brooks family members -- Kevin and Jo were so very welcoming and gracious to let us stay in their home for the week, Max shared his toys with Nessa and they played together impressively well, and Grandma Jan and Grandpa Bob were grand babysitters! We appreciate all of that and so much more!

More soon -- Tami

Friday, July 21, 2006

Off on a grand adventure

At least that's what we're telling Nessa -- tomorrow will be the start of a grand adventure...

I had hoped to get some more blog posts done this week but it's been crazy busy with Shawn working late while the rest of us go to swimming lessons AND trying to get ready for our trip.

We'll be flying from La Crosse to MPLS to Baltimore, renting a car, staying in Annapolis with Kevin, Jo and Max, going on day trips to Philadelphia, Hershey and Washington D.C, visiting a few friends, and spending lots of quality time with the Brooks family!

We live bright and early Saturday morning and will be gone for an entire week and then plan to recover for a day or two -- so expect some great updates around my birthday (August 2nd for anyone that doesn't know or remember!)

Until then be sure to include us in your daily prayers -- for starters prayers not only for safe travels, but also for both our own sanity and the sanity (and kindness!) of our fellow travelers! (flying with a toddler, yikes!)

Be well --

Monday, July 17, 2006

Megan took pictures of Nessa walking outside

Megan took pictures of Nessa walking outside with her squeaky shoes on ...

Happy Birthday Megan!!!

Yes, my wonderfully silly beautiful young lady of a girl had a birthday yesterday. I think I resisted posting this yesterday because I just can never believe how old she's getting -- those birthdays just keep coming. It seem like just yesterday I was telling her she couldn't turn 5 and now yesterday she became a 9 year old!!! I wonder if it's this hard with all children or just the oldest child.

Megan and I went out for our traditional birthday lunch (Mexican, mmmm) and then in the afternoon we celebrated with an icecream cake from Cold Stone Creamery (Megan's favorite). Megan also had a friend stay overnight (that's her hand ;-) and her friend's name is Megan so at least that's easy to remember. I took both of them to ChuckECheese for pizza and games for a couple of hours and then they watched a movie and did other fun girl sleepover stuff. I think they had a good time and they don't even seem TOO tired this morning. :-)

Megan -- may you have another wonderful year full of happy surprises and beautiful blessings.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Happy Birthday Jake!!!!

It was Jake's first birthday today and we celebrated with him at his very own park! :-) (And the best part is that his park will move with them when they move soon!)

Here are a few of the best pictures of Jake that I managed to take today when I wasn't preoccupied with a very tired Nessa. I'll post more photos and news from our busy weekend soon.

Have a great 2nd year Jake -- we love you!!! :-)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another Great Thing About Being A Dad

Shawn here. Now that Nessa's walking, I've discovered a couple of new Things I Like About Being A Dad:

-- Nessa bringing me a book to read to her (even if it means interrupting my own reading).

-- Nessa walking over to me and giving me a hug, or lifting her arms for me to pick her up. I cannot yet describe the feeling that comes over me when that happens--it's too powerful, too immediate and too overwhelming for me to put it into words just yet.

I love being a Dad!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July -- and misc. notes

How exactly did it get to be the 4th of July already? Well, I don't think I'll ever get a handle on how fast the days go by, but most of them have been quite enjoyable so that's a good thing. :-) I only wish we could see all of our friends and family more often. On to what we've been up to ...

We hope everyone had an enjoyable 4th of July. We enjoyed staying home for the extended weekend (well, Tami worked on Monday) and having fun around home. Over the weekend we had friends over for dinner both Saturday and Sunday evening which was wonderful because it's been a long time since we've done that and also because then we HAD TO clean up the dining room so we could actually use the table. We also used the grill for the first (and second!) time this summer.

Saturday Tami got to sleep in as Shawn and Nessa went off adventuring (that's what the note said!). Nessa and Daddy have been practically making it a habit to go to rummage sales every Saturday morning so Mommy wasn't too surprised that they went this weekend too. Daddy is getting very good at finding great clothes and fun toys at the rummage sales and Mom likes imagining everyone smiling at "the Daddy and daughter." Tuesday was Shawn's turn to sleep in, but after being up with Nessa twice during the night, Mommy didn't go out adventuring, but rather hung out in the living room and kitchen.

Daddy also got some "extra" one-on-one time with Nessa on Friday night while I was visiting my doula client for a postpartum visit. It was great to see my client doing so well (as was the baby and father), but I missed spending the night with my own family. And although it was an honor to be a part of this family's special event I don't think I'll be going back into doula work or going back to school in order to do birth work any time soon. Being on call was rather stressful for us as a family and I realized that I'm much happier working as a passionate birth advocate through ICAN and other organizations (our local ICAN chapter is up and going -- meeting the first Thursday of the month!

OK, back to our long weekend...

Monday I went in to work for most of the day because I didn't want to lose hours with being off today (the 4th) and also because I was sick one day last week and I wanted to make up those hours. So Shawn took the girls to the library in the morning and then after lunch and nap time they went to the swimming pool for the afternoon. After I was done with work it was time for a super quick supper and then it was off to another La Crosse pool for swimming lessons. Megan is in level 3 swimming lessons this year and Nessa is in a parent/toddler swimming lesson. Both Megan and Nessa are loving the water this year (we promise to bring the camera to lessons at some point). Nessa even went down the water slide -- it was the short tunnel slide that drops into the deep end, but the teacher caught her -- I think mom was more scared to let Nessa go down the slide than Nessa was -- she smiled all the way down, but wasn't quite so sure at the bottom when it was someone other than mom holding her.

Tuesday was (or should I say is) a relaxed day for the most part. We spent a few hours at Riverfest (see previous post), but Nessa wanted to run around more than anything else, including eating and napping in the stroller so we didn't get to do as much as we might otherwise have done while there.

Nessa and Megan were both dressed in red, white and blue for the 4th so I wanted to be sure to get at least one photo of them together today -- and these photos at Riverside are the best I think I'm going to get.

This year is La Crosse's 150th birthday -- and here's the sand cake on display at Riverside (it also advertises the sand building contest that is there in early August).

I'm sure there's many things I'm forgetting, but that (and the previous 5 posts!) should catch you all up on what has been going on with us! If you read closely, you read that Nessa is indeed walking now -- sometimes almost running! And I think she's had a few growth spurts too as she's reaching all kinds of things she never used to be able to reach! Yes, we're living with a real toddler now ...

Riverfest Fun!!!

Fourth of July in La Crosse means Riverfest! We braved a tired toddler (I swear she woke up tired -- there wouldn't have been a better time today) and went down to Riverside Park for lunch and Riverfest and then at least a little bit of festing.

After taking turns eating and watching/running after Nessa, we headed towards he entertainment area. Shawn took Nessa on her first official rides as she rode the train and airplane ride (all by herself!). As seems to usually be the case, Nessa took it all in stride. She didn't break out in grins but she didn't cry or even fuss at all either.

Megan and I went over to the large inflatables so she could go down the slide a few times.

We also watched a magician while we were there and indulged in some dessert before deciding Nessa really needed to get home to her bed in order to nap as she wasn't falling asleep in the stroller as we had hoped (should have brought the ergo as well).

Building blocks

You may not be able to tell from the look on her face here, but Nessa really does love her Mega Blocks. Nessa has enjoyed her blocks more and more these last few months and in the last few weeks she has started really playing with them by herself. If the blocks are put away she'll ask for them or her face will light up when I get them and dump them out for her to start building something.

Nessa was a bit tired this morning and I needed to distract her from pulling Ginger's hair so I went and got her blocks. Her face did indeed light up (briefly obviously!) and I decided I better get some photos so I wouldn't forget to tell you all about how well Nessa can build with her blocks already. I made sure there were NO blocks already stuck together when I emptied them and before long Nessa had quite the tower built!

Nessa loves crafts!

When I look at these photos I can't help but think how big my little girl is getting! Our day care provider has done a few craft projects with Nessa and said she really enjoyed coloring and putting (pre-sticky / glue) paper on other paper to make things such as a Father's day card. When I told Megan this she was excited to do a craft project with Nessa. Megan got everything ready and brought it up to Nessa and indeed Nessa did love creating her own masterpiece with the paper, stickers and crayons that Megan gave her (one at a time). However, when Megan was asked to go outside and play with a friend Nessa continued to play with her art, but instead started taking the pieces off one by one! Still pretty impressive to this mom. :-)

Books, books, books!!!

Nessa has enjoyed pulling her books off of her shelf for a few months now. She would look through them by herself or one of us would sit beside her and read. Or, one of us would gather some books and try to read to her while we sat in the rocking chair -- the important word there was try as she often wouldn't sit still long enough to actually read the book but would rather insist on quickly turning the pages for us.

Then in the last few weeks something special happened. At least we think it's pretty special. Nessa started bringing us book after book after book. Nessa brings over a book (or 2 or 3 -- I think her cousin Ahnika gave her some inspiration on that one) and hands it to us with that look that says: "please read it to me." And of course we're thrilled to read it to her and even more thrilled when she listens and looks at the picture not just the first time through but sometimes two or three times through the story (or sometimes we read the first time and just look at pictures and point after that).

Nessa still spends a lot of time reading her books by herself too (and she does "read" aloud if you're wondering), but if any of us are sitting in the living room while she's in there playing (and especially if we're reading to ourselves!) she eventually starts bringing us books to read. While her interest in having us read to her started to grow before she was able to walk well on her own, it certainly became easier for her to bring us books after she could carry them while walking.

Now that she likes to listen to us read her favorite books over and over I'm gaining hope for being able to entertain her during our travels later this month.

"fun" games

The photos didn't turn out very well in the dark living room, but you get the idea ...

Nessa loves playing with her animals from her farm and Noah's ark toys. She sometimes plays with them with the farm and ark, but mostly she takes them out of the farm and ark and lines them up somewhere like the window sill, couch, floor, OR lately on the edge of the rocking chair. When she lines up her animals on the edge of the rocking chair she then rocks the chair or sometimes decides to be efficient and simply pushes the animals to the back of the chair ... and then she whines until somebody helps her reach the animals! Yep, it's a really fun game. In fact it ranks right up there with throwing her animals, books, sippy cups and other items over the gate into the kitchen and then expecting whoever is in the kitchen to pick it up and give it back to her. Oh, and we can't forget about the game of dropping everything we give her when she's in the car seat. Yes, Nessa is learning cause and effect rather well.

Happy Birthday on Fathers Day!

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Daddy! :-)

Nessa was feeling much better by Sunday so that we could all go out to eat for an early supper at Outback for Shawn's birthday and then enjoy some yummy (chocolate!) cake at home.

Sleepy girl

Since I'm not in the mood to do any of the "2 million" other things I have to do, I thought it was about time to catch up a bit on our blog posting.

Here are a few photos from June 17/18 when Nessa wasn't feeling well. We were snuggling when I had to put her down (sitting) to go answer the phone and then write something down and when I turned back around she was asleep on the floor like this so I had to take a picture before putting her to bed.

The next morning Nessa was still not quite her smiley self. She was still adorable in her natural wool diaper cover and t-shirt though. (She's hanging on to pooh bear.)