Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Eyes Have It

One piece of exciting news that we haven't gotten around to posting is that, in early November, Megan graduated from her vision therapy exercises! The six months of hard work have paid off: Megan now finds reading much easier, and thinks it's fun. The headaches from reading are a thing of the past. She jumps into her reading assignments for school. She also reads to Nessa, which Nessa loves. Evenings are less stressful as well, since we no longer have to fit in both Megan's homework and her eye exercises.

We're still deciding exactly how to celebrate this big achievement--we'll do something fun after the holidays. But for now, we say: Way to go, Megan! Congratulations!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

To My Love, My Best Friend, My Wife

On this, our "other" anniversary, I thought I would post a poem Tami found and sent to me a while back:

I Love You

I love you with a permanence
That endures the passing years.
I love you with a joyfulness
That subdues all doubts and fears.
I love you with an honesty
That was born within my heart.
I love you with the calm belief
That we will never part.
I love you with a confidence
No earthly force can sever.
I love you with the certainty
That I'll cherish you forever.
I love you with the humbleness
Of one who has been blessed.
I love you with the reverence
Of all that word suggests.
I love you with a fervor
That time cannot reverse.
I love you with the truest love
That poets put to verse.

- J.E. Deegan -

Tami, thank you for falling in love with me, for marrying me, and for sustaining me. I love you!

Always and forever,

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

You go, girl!

My lovely and talented wife was recently given the best sign of appreciation a job can give: a very nice raise. I knew they would come to value her skill and experience, but it's nice to see it happen. She also made a successful case for being allowed to increase her hours from 20 to 30 per week. This brought some increased responsibility, but she says she finally feels like a part of the team. She is also beginning to apply her experience to help change some of their development processes for the better, so she's making her presence felt in several good ways.

I'm proud of what my sweetie can accomplish when she sets her mind to it, and happy to see others recognizing her worth. Congratulations, my love!

Nessa's New Daycare

Another big change at our house this month is that Nessa is going to a new daycare. Our church opened a daycare in the unused parsonage on November 6th, and Nessa was the first child to attend.

We had been taking Nessa to an in-home day care not too far from our jobs, and while the situation there wasn't bad, there were a few things we weren't happy about. The biggest problem was that Nessa had stopped napping there months ago, forcing Tami to rearrange her work schedule so she could be done in time to take Nessa home to nap every day. This left Tami feeling like a slave to Nessa's schedule, and made it hard for Tami to schedule appointments and such without missing work. So when the church was finally ready to open the new daycare, it wasn't hard for us to decide to make the switch right away, instead of waiting until Nessa turned 2 as we originally thought we might.

Nessa loves the new daycare. She cried for about 10 minutes after we left that first Monday, and then got interested in what the director was doing and has been happy ever since. For now, Nessa is the only full-time child at the daycare, so some days she's the only child there. Thus she's getting plenty of individual attention: she has had her picture taken by both pastors, had the senior pastor read her a story one day, and seen all the church staff at various times. She has everyone in love with her and thinking she's the sweetest child in the world.

When there are other children there, Nessa has been playing well and sharing, something she was having a bit of trouble with at her other daycare. She likes to "help" when there is a baby there, and is thoroughly enjoying all the arts and crafts projects. She naps well there (2 to 2 1/2 hours a day, consistently), eats well, and is both happy to be dropped off in the morning and happy to see us and leave at the end of the day.

The fact that Nessa's so happy makes us happy. Tami has been able to rearrange her schedule to give herself a day where she doesn't work and can schedule appointments and run errands. I love it when Nessa comes running down the hall to give me a hug when we pick her up. Some mornings when Nessa would rather play, we tell her that she has to get dressed so we can go see Jen (the director, who is there in the mornings) and she says "Jen!" with a big smile on her face. It will be interesting to see how Nessa does when she's no longer the center of attention there, but we hope she will adjust nicely. For now, it's enough to have her happy at a place we trust that is only 3 blocks from our house.

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign (or Words Words Words!)

Baby Einstein has been dethroned at our house! The new champion is Signing Time (, a series of DVDs that teach American Sign Language in small packages of related signs with singing, animation, and plenty of pictures of kids doing the signs. Nessa loves these: the most frequent thing we hear out of her these days is "more signs, more signs" which is her way of asking us to play whichever Signing Time DVD we currently have checked out from the library. She is picking up not only some of the signs, but the related words as well. Which ones she actually remembers often come as a surprise, because they aren't always the ones she'll use every day.

This is part of the ongoing language explosion at our house. Nessa uses a new word almost every day, usually when pointing to the object. (Yesterday's word was "slippers", said as she pointed to the ones she was wearing.) Yes, our daughter waited until she could talk to start learning signs--so much for the conventional wisdom that learning signs will help a child communicate before being ready for words. :-) She now uses words and signs somewhat interchangeably, but probably uses words more often.

Nessa can put together sentences as well. We have heard "I touch baby" and "Give me the book" and "I want (insert food item)". She only does this occasionally, but it happens often enough to prove it isn't a fluke.

Nessa can say all of her letters and the numbers from 1-10 if she is repeating them after someone else. She recognizes some letters when she sees them, and recognizes numbers, as she vividly demonstrated in the grocery store the other day, pointing to the big numbers above the checkout lanes and saying them. She's can't yet say her ABC's or count on her own, but we'll give her time. :-)

Nessa can name most of the farm animals in her puzzles and say what sounds they make, usually together: "Cow moo!" "Pig oink!" "Sheep baa!" She knows most of her shapes. Her mouth still has a little trouble with triangle and rectangle, but she can say heart and star and diamond. ("Di-mond!") We're working on colors. She can repeat them, but we're not sure she associates the color with the word just yet.

We're also working on "Please", "Thank you" and "You're welcome". As with any child, these are sporadic, but we know she knows them all and how they're related. When we can get her to say "Thank you" she usually doesn't wait for "You're welcome"--she supplies it herself. "Tank oo I welcome!"

This is an exciting time to be a parent. Watching Nessa learn, do or say something new every day is fun, and seeing her smile when she makes a new connection in her mind is a joy to behold.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween Pictures!

Our cute unicorn...

Our beautiful Miss America....

And here's Nessa as she looks through her bag of candy in order to choose what one she wants to eat. She decided to share some thin mints with mom and dad. :-)

Girls just wanna have fun

OK, so you would think I would post Megan's latest sleepover pics here, but no, just my two silly girls having fun. It was really bed time but I had to go do something and when I came back into the room I managed to catch them in action.