Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Everybody Sing!

Nessa and I had a frozen pizza for supper last night while Tami and Megan were at yoga class. After supper, as I was doing what little clean-up there was, I was singing "Suppertime, and the cookin' is easy" (a take off on "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess, if that helps any). Suddenly, Nessa starts in with "Sup-per-time! Sup-per-time! Sup-per-time!" The notes weren't right, but she had sustained tonality and was accurately copying the duration of each syllable. My little girl was singing along with me! We've often heard her do something that sounds like singing using "Nessa babble", but this is the first time I've heard her do "real" words.

Then this morning, as we were looking out the window at the snowman we made on Sunday, Nessa sang "Frosty snowman". I sang the next couple of lines, and she chimed in on some of the words as I went along. Apparently, between the singing she hears at home and the singing they do at daycare, she's starting to catch on. Nessa's Grandpa Bob knows all sorts of songs for kids--I expect he'll be teaching her some over the next couple of years.


We continue to watch Signing Time DVDs on a regular basis. Nessa is picking up more and more signs, although it's hard to predict which ones will stick and when she will use them. For example, this morning as we were getting her out of bed I said and signed "Good morning", and she responded by saying and signing "firefighter". (The only connection I could see was that by the end of the sign for Good morning, my hand was close to where it is for the sign for firefighter.)

Lately we've been watching the DVD that teaches the ASL alphabet, and as we spell Nessa's name out loud and in sign language simultaneously, Nessa is learning how to spell her first name. She puts in an extra "s" or two instead of the "a" sometimes, but she's close. We've also been working on teaching her her full name, and she can say the whole thing now. Her fine motor skills aren't good enough for her to spell in ASL yet, but she's trying. You can tell that she can see it in her mind but can't quite get her fingers to co-operate.

A side benefit of all this is that Tami and I are picking up some of the signs and learning the alphabet as well. It's fun to work with Nessa and see the big smile that comes over her face when she does a sign or makes connections. We recommend signing, and Signing Time (http://www.signingtime.com/), to all parents of babies or toddlers.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fun in the snow

Nessa, mom and dad all had fun outside this afternoon building a snowman. Nessa loved helping to build it as she patted bits upon bits of snow on the balls. Then after we were done she wanted to just sit and look at it for a long time while she talked about the snowman, called it Frosty, and pointed out its hat and glasses over and over. :-)

Later Nessa wanted to sled down the hill again as we did yesterday (the little one in front of our house) so we did that for a bit but today the snow started packing down after a few times down and it was hard for me to push her back up and I wasn't going to have her get out and walk around every time because that take forever and we had already been outside nearly and hour and the wet snow was starting to soak through our mittens.

It was snowing again while we were out playing. I don't know what any official totals were for last night yet and it was hard to tell at our house because the wind also drifted it toward the house. So, while we couldn't see our steps at all (I walked to church this morning and getting down the front stairs was a bit tricky), in other places it looked like maybe 6 inches more of snow. I'll be interested to see what the grand total for the weekend storm is tomorrow morning.

With this much snow it's hard for Nessa to even play in it unless we create some paths for her. I think that's why she liked going back by the snow man so much because the area around it was all packed down and she could actually walk. :-)

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Yes, we have ourselves an old-fashioned snow storm! By our estimates we got about a foot of snow here on the south side of La Crosse and the city is pretty much hunkering down waiting for the next foot or so to drop tonight. The party we were planning on for tonight (my work holiday party) was canceled so Shawn built a fire and we're settling in for the day (and catching up a bit on blog posts as you may have noticed).

But that's not really why I'm writing ...

Just before I sat down at the computer I witnessed something I imagined was being played out on country and side roads throughout the region. This little scene was something that convinced us to stay put in our cozy home a little longer.

The snow plow and grader (for the rest of the girls out there: big 6 (8?) wheel yellow thing with the blade underneath in the middle) were finally near our house and working on the intersection nearby as they did the cross streets (street directly in front of the house is still unplowed). And then ... the snow plow was no longer moving ...

Yes, the snow plow was stuck in the snow!!

It was spinning its wheels and totally stuck right on our corner (kitty-corner from us so not almost in our yard but close). Hmmm, and we had actually been thinking of trying to venture out in our little Honda Civic ... I don't think so.

So along comes the grader to help get the snow plow moving again. The Grader started out on the far side pushing the plow towards our house (I got nervous it would start moving and then not be able to stop and would end up in our yard!) but eventually it had to switch to pushing it from behind going out away from our house and that's finally what worked. The plow had momentum moving forward, turned around into the half cleared intersection and turned up the street and away it went (wonder when it will be back to do our street?).

At the same time as the plow incident was playing out there was also a smallish red car stuck directly in front of our house. She was closer to the intersection and I was wondering how in the heck she thought she was going to get through the extra snow left by the plow and grader when they did the cross street but not our street (you know it's even worse than the snow at the end of the driveway after a plow comes through). She waited for awhile (probably watching the plow spinning it's wheels) and then she backed up directly in front of our house and preceded to be totally stuck. Fortunately for her there were a couple of nice boys helping our elderly neighbor shovel her driveway and they helped her get unstuck. And after the snow plow and grader were no longer in the way the boys again helped her get through that intersection and into her own drive way which was just on the other side of the intersection. I wonder where she had to go today that was worth all of that.

Just now as I was typing I heard some exclamations coming from outside. I looked and sure enough another neighbor with a small car was being pushed down our short block to get to the plowed road. I wonder where he has to go.

I'm glad I don't have to go anywhere.

If we go to church tomorrow, I'm thinking we'll walk!!!!

I'm going to go curl up by the fire now and read through my new cookbook for supper ideas while Nessa is napping!


If you hang around our house very long you'll eventually hear Nessa exclaim "HAT!" as she points to the one she sees and then signs hat. This doesn't just mean that she wants us to see the hat, it means that she wants to wear the hat. Nessa LOVES hats. I like to think that she's partial to the hats that Grandma Karen knits for us, but since that's mostly what we have around here it's pretty hard to tell.

This morning (Sat. Feb. 24th) I took a couple of quick pics of Nessa in my hat. You can't tell form these photos that it is, of course, way too big for her and she would be walking along and suddenly wouldn't be able to see anything.

And I kind of caught a smile! I discovered by chance a couple of days ago that Nessa will smile if I ask her to now!!! This should prove useful for future pictures if I can manage to figure out the timing. :-)

Yummy cereal

This seems so everyday now, but it was about Christmas time when Nessa started eating her cereal "like Megan" (by herself with milk and not just as a snack dry, etc.) and now she requests it regularly. I just love the second photo where she's looking at me ... morning hair and all. And yes, that's some sort of sweet stuff on her mouth because for a Christmas treat Megan got to pick out the cereal. :-)

Nessa: "Ride bike with Sam"

Here are a few pictures from January of Nessa riding her bike with Sam (of the twins, Sam and Sally). The photos themselves aren't great but they're very typical Nessa.

Nessa LOVES her dolls! :-)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Yipes, It's Time To Change My Diaper!

Nessa still has trouble pronouncing certain consonants. In particular, "w" often comes out sounding like "y". Nessa also likes to "help" when her diaper is being changed. Combining these two, when she asks for a cloth to help clean herself off, she says "Yipe! Yipe!" It never fails to make me smile.

"If You Had Told Me Five Years Ago"--Annotations

Apparently, not all the items in my "If You Had Told Me Five Years Ago" post are self-explanatory. I offer the following annotations for the confused:

willingly eat food that someone else had chewed on
Nessa often wants what someone else is having to eat, yet won't accept just having a bite broken off. But she usually can't finish a whole piece of toast or whatever. Seems a shame to let all that food go to waste...

think a crying baby was cute
I was uncomfortable around babies and small children before I had one of my own. I especially didn't deal well with crying children. Now that I have Nessa, I've learned that there's crying and then there's crying. Sometimes, that quivering lower lip and perfect pout are just too cute for words, and one can pause briefly to acknowledge that. (If she retains this trait into adulthood, some lucky guy may have to budget for lots of flowers--and maybe jewelry...)

be happy and comfortable talking to two-year-olds
Again, I never knew what to say to young children before I had one. Now I can natter away all day if the circumstances are right.

willingly take a crying child into a grocery store
One day recently, after picking up Nessa from daycare, I had to stop at the grocery store to get something Tami needed to make supper. Nessa was not happy to see only Daddy that day, and when it became obvious we weren't going straight home, she let me know it in no uncetain terms. Not stopping at the grocery store was not an option, so I took her inside hoping that something would distract her and get her to stop crying. I got lucky--it worked. Apparently all that shopping we do together has its advantages.

be grumpy because the kitchen was a mess (and clean it up before doing anything else)
This is my biggest surprise of married life. My bachelor kitchen was rarely filthy, but I often let dishes that had only been rinsed stack up for a day or two (especially before I got the cats). But when Tami and I were first married she had a long commute from La Crosse to Rochester, so I did most of the cooking. Our limited counter space, combined with wanting to have the cooking dishes clean because I would soon need them again (plus, of course, the cats), quickly got me into the habit of cleaning up the dishes immediately after a meal.

I'll never forget the Sunday that first fall that I was cleaning up a few things in the kitchen even though the football games had already started. I realized I was doing it because I wouldn't be happy if I just left the dirty dishes in the sink. It then hit me, like a 2x4 upside the head, that, in spite of all of my efforts and best intentions, I had become a grown-up.

actively dispense baby product information and advice
Like Tami, I am happy to proselytize for our favorite baby products, and I take the opportunity to do so with co-workers who are expecting, or who have children younger than Nessa. Some days you'd swear I actually know what I'm talking about...

intentionally purchase rutabagas, turnips, bak choy, and kale
I am not a vegetarian. I have little use for most vegetables, and actively despise many of them--much to the despair of first my mother and now my wife. But, for various reasons, I do most of the grocery shopping. (I actually enjoy it. Sometimes I'm so damn domestic I think I've been possessed.) So when Tami needed various esoteric vegetables for some soups she wanted to make for herself, I procured them in the course of one of my regular grocery trips. Thank goodness the produce department was well-labeled: I didn't know a turnip from a parsnip, nor bak choy from nunchucks, when I walked in.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nessa helping with dishes

These days as soon as Nessa hears the dishwasher open she comes running in yelling "I help with dishes ... Nessa help with dishes..."

Here are some photos of her helping last week.

She can put a few of them away herself, but most of the time she hands the dish to Shawn to put in the cupboard/drawer. She also tells Shawn who the dish belongs to as they put it away: "mommy's spoon, Megan's bowl (all the bowls are Megan's apparently), and so on except that none of the dishes belong to Daddy which is really a pity since he's the only one that really takes care of them! :-)

It's all pretty cute to watch and listen to AND it keeps Nessa occupied for a few minutes! :-)

When she's "all done" she claps!

If You'd Have Told Me Five Years Ago

If you'd have told me 5 years ago that I would ever...

willingly eat food that someone else had chewed on

think a crying baby was cute

be happy and comfortable talking to two-year-olds

willingly take a crying child into a grocery store

be grumpy because the kitchen was a mess (and clean it up before doing anything else)

actively dispense baby product information and advice

intentionally purchase rutabagas, turnips, bak choy, and kale

…I would have looked at you like you had three heads.

How life changes!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Quick update

No, we really aren't hibernating ... I just feel like it! :-)

Although the fact that La Crosse is hitting 50 degrees today (nothing official yet, but I was out at lunch) sure helps in the feel good department! Just last Friday we were still struggling to get above zero here ... wow what a difference in a few days!

Otherwise, none of us have been really sick, but at the same time there seems to be a constant bug just about to hit us ... and with our darling toddler waking up more at night now than she ever did as a baby ... lack of sleep doesn't help. When I'm smart I just go to bed as soon as she does because staying up a couple hours (or more) later and still waking up 4 times a night (OK that was only once) and getting up an hour before her only adds up to trouble. The awful night was the night before last and it was made worse by my having a headache to begin with and so at one point in the middle of the night I finally was going to give in and take some Tylenol but then I couldn't get it open so I just took some advil instead (why or why) so then in the morning I still had a bit of a headache AND my stomach hurt ... not to mention being WAY too short on sleep. I ended up coming home from work early in order to nap and determine if I was really sick or just really tired. I still didn't feel better when I woke up at 5, but after Megan saved the night by making supper and being a huge help while Shawn was at a church meeting, I collapsed again in bed at 8 after carefully filling my tummy, taking tylenol and using some wonderful essential oils ... by the time Nessa woke me up again early in the morning I was starting to feel human again! Whew.

Nessa is in fact getting her eye teeth (one in and one about to poke through) and the way she is nearly chewing her hand off I wouldn't be surprised if molars are on the way as well. We're also wondering if she's having some nightmare or even night terrors lately because sometimes she'll scream and scream and when we get in there she's sleeping as peacefully as can be ... but we're not anymore.

The only other news that fits into a brief update is that Megan now has an email address and loves to get email, so if anyone wants to make her day by sending her email, please let me know and I'll pass on her address.