Saturday, March 31, 2007

Megan's poem

Here's is Megan's poem she wrote in school and just brought home on Friday:

Two toucans are screechign way up high in the rain forest trees
Over and around
Under the trees looking for a luscious lunch
Crackle goes the crispy crunchy seeds in the toucans mouth "caaa"
Aaahh! A jaguar! But
No lunch for him as the toucan escapes to a tree from that pesky proud jaguar

--- Megan Powell, March 30, 2007

Also -- NEWS FLASH ... Megan's painting from art class is on display at the South Side La Crosse Library right now ... if you're in the area, stop by and look at it. I think it will be there for about a month but I'll post the details soon. I haven't even seen it yet, but we're planning to go look ASAP!

Nessa riding one of her "bikes" outside

Nessa certainly enjoyed being able to get outside more last weekend!

Megan's new slippers

When my parents were here a few weeks ago, my mom brought a surprise for Megan -- hand knit slippers! Grandpa decided to be silly and told her they didn't quite turn out (see how big they are?)

Above, Megan holds her new slippers as she poses with her mom and Grandma Karen.

Below, are the finished slippers!

See, they fit after all!

I'm not sure if you can tell from the photos, but the slippers were designed to be felted. That means that they are knit with shrinkage in mind. Megan and Grandma felted the slippers together that night and now they fit Megan perfectly!!! Megan loves her new red slippers. Thank you Grandma!

That's what you get mom!

So, the other night after supper Nessa went and found a hat and two gloves and said she was ready to go as she started riding her little bike...

I quickly tried to take pictures .... but every time I would try to get a picture she would stop smiling, turn the other way, turn around, or all of the above ... And when I sighed and said this to Shawn he said in his teasing voice, "yep, that's what you get Mom" and then from the other room (she had ridden into the Great Room at that point) we hear a voice that I cannot describe adequately here come back and say: "That's what you get mom!" I started laughing absolutely hysterically.

Well, these are the pictures I did get. :-)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Something Like Spring

Something Like Spring …

Anyone in the area knows what wonderful weather we’ve been having lately … I was all ready to post a glorious Spring post at the end of last week … and then the last few days have been way above normal high temperatures (“mom, can I wear shorts today?”) … today and the rest of the week it is supposed to return to more normal temperatures and there is a chance of showers for the next several days … and by the weekend it could be downright cold again … ah yes, it is indeed something like Spring here. :-)

I love it. In fact I think spring has become my favorite time of the year. I didn’t want to admit it before this year because I just felt like I was betraying the fall. And while Autumn still has its own glory, especially in an area full of fall color, it is a time of dying and coming darkness and cold … while Spring is a time of life and rebirth …

Friday night we were blessed with the company of a good friend and her new husband. ;-) It was a wonderful night of catching up and getting to know … and Nessa showed us that, like most kids, she knew how to go into prime “show off” mode when someone new comes to visit. It was quite hilarious watching her as she did everything but sit still.

Saturday I spent the afternoon in Red Wing with my sisters and even though that day was much cooler than we had expected, it was still a glorious day complete with a slow lazy lunch and much shopping as we wandered through the small river town. Even the drive was wonderful as the rain held off and I was able to listen to whatever I wanted (much NPR and a Maggie’s Farm CD). That night Shawn and I went to LCT’s production of “You Can’t Take it With You.” It was a full and wonderful day.

Sunday surprised us with glorious sun and record-breaking temps (83 in La Crosse I believe) so I felt a bit guilty as I had to nap a bit when Nessa did to recover from my (food) indulgences the previous day. After we were fully rested we hit the school play ground with the girls and had lots of fun as Nessa followed Megan around wanting to do everything she did and nothing else. We managed to trick Nessa into walking home without the pouting of previous park outings this year by first walking on the sidewalk away from our usual route to and from the playground (mom: “Nessa, where do you think this sidewalk goes? Let’s find out.”) and before we knew it we had gone on an adventure around the school, over a block, and down the street back home. :-)

Yesterday after my Monday appointments and getting a little work in, we decided that having a second day of record breaking temps in a row (I kept checking the calendar to be sure it was really March), deserved a nice long walk down by Riverside Park. Megan and I picked up Nessa as early as we could and headed down to Riverside where Shawn met us after work. We all walked along the river and then Shawn went to find us some food for a picnic supper while Megan, Nessa and I walked a mile or so down the trail. Nessa was actually very happy to be in the stroller and she kept pointing out all of the runners, bikers and others using the trail too. We almost lost the only sun hat the fits Nessa right now while Megan and I were chatting and reading a trail sign, but luckily we found it on our way back. (I’m sure this is similar to how Nessa lost her first blanket.) When we returned from the trail Nessa ran around the International Friendship Garden area a bit and demonstrated her new climbing skills as she went up and down the benches. And then it was time to eat and head back home.

Even at home we couldn’t quite let the day go so at about 7 p.m. we were all sitting in the front yard eating ice cream (or something like ice cream in my case). Nessa kept finishing what I gave her and wanting more. :-) Then Megan rolled down the hill over and over and Nessa watched and played on her own while only occasionally seeming like she was going to try to roll down the hill … by the time summer arrives I’m sure she’ll become and expert at it.

While Megan wasted no time finding her shorts and wearing them to school on Monday … Nessa has had a bit harder time transitioning. At first the spring “watermelon” coat was interesting enough to be exciting to wear, but apparently the novelty has worn off and today she insisted on wearing her PINK coat (i.e. her winter coat AND hat) … yesterday it was challenging to convince her to not wear sweatpants as well and she insisted on wearing that spring coat while we were out walking even though it was sunny and 80! Toddlers are so much fun! :-)

I promise there will be lots of pictures posted before the end of March!

Until then, enjoy a bit of Spring poetry:

Spring is like a perhaps hand by E. E. Cummings

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything

Friday, March 23, 2007

Big News this morning!

In Nessa's words: "went pee on the potty."

YES!!! :-) We heard that wonderful, wonderful tinkle for the very fist time this morning. I fully realize that this does not mean she's anywhere near "potty trained" but learning has indeed commenced!

We bought a small seat to fit on top of our toilet a few weeks ago because Nessa had been asking for a number of weeks to sit on the potty but would get scared when I just tried to sit her on the "big potty." So the last few weeks sometimes she asks and we put her on the potty, but nothing has ever happened. I figured the first thing that needs to happen is that she has to recognize what's happening when she pees so basically we were waiting for an accident -- either she would accidentally go in the potty or she would possibly go at another time while her diaper was off (she did this several months ago and had a brief glimmer of recognition).

This morning she was virtually dry when I took off her diaper so I thought it would be the perfect time for an accident and asked her if she wanted to sit on the potty ... when I first heard it I looked at her and smiled and she smiled and when I asked her if she could pee some more (she stopped after just a tiny bit), she did! I so wish I could have captured her HUGE smile. It was adorable. She was so excited. :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Happy Spring! -- general update

I’ve been meaning to send a general update for a week or so … seems like the first day of spring is a good day to do it! We’ve certainly been enjoying the spring weather! Last week we even had an incredible day over 60 degrees that absolutely required a post-dinner trip to the park! As you can imagine, Frosty is no more and there is actually very little snow left at all in our yard (!) … but it is rather wet in some spots!

Here are a few more random updates of all sorts:

• I’m in denial that Nessa is almost 2, but in less than 2 weeks you’ll be able to see her 2 year birthday pictures here! We don’t have anything major planned (even though it is her golden birthday … I know how she feels since mind was when I was two also), but will have a little celebration with her daycare friends in the afternoon, cake and presents here after dinner … and then Grandma and Grandpa Brooks should arrive in the great north sometime before Easter Sunday and we’ll celebrate then too … we don’t have any definite plans yet with the Groth side but the rumor is she’ll be receiving some pretty special gifts.

• Nessa has started correcting us if she thinks we’re signing something incorrectly. Note that I did not say that we are actually signing it incorrectly OR that she’s signing it correctly (she still has a ways to go before her fine motor skills will match what is required for many ASL signs … but she gets it close enough to count for a toddler) … but apparently what she sees in her head doesn’t match what we’re doing so she tells us “NO, like this.”

• Megan joined 4H in Houston with her dad and while she’s only been to one meeting, she’s very excited. She plans to take a goat to the Houston County fair so I’m sure there will be some updates on how that project is coming along this summer!

• Busy time for the Brooks Groth household coming up: In April, in addition to Nessa’s birthday and Easter, Tami has a work conference the week after Easter (in town but I’ll be gone at night a lot) and will be attending the ICAN conference ( later in the month. (Including travel days I’ll be gone Wednesday April 18th thru Monday after April 23rd.) Then right away Tuesday April 24th our local ICAN chapter is planning a larger CAM (Cesarean Awareness Month) event at Winona State. Whew! Then in May Shawn will be in San Jose for work for two weeks (expect this to be somewhat of a reoccurring event). I actually suggested that Shawn volunteer to go in May since it’s better than most other months for us for awhile … I didn’t think about the fact that he’ll now be gone for Mother’s day … oh well, I’m sure us girls will manage a special weekend.

• This elimination diet thing really sucks! Testing found a lot of my food sensitivities but not all of them and the only way to find them is basically trial and error with eliminating them which is frustrating. Then I’ve now reached the point with avoiding the ones that were found in testing (little things like gluten, corn, dairy, soy, garlic and chocolate) that I’ve avoided them enough to get my body detoxing (I even have some days with near normal energy levels) but that also seems to mean that when I slip up and eat something that contains one of these, especially corn, I feel awful … literally drugged tired, headache, digestive issues … blech. So, after a miserable weekend, I’m totally paranoid about what I eat this week. :-(

• I need to brag more about Megan as she is growing up (I’m not ready to call her a young woman though yet!) and while she still has her moments (don’t we all?) she is maturing so much in so many ways. She is responsible about getting her homework done (except art for some reason) before spending too much time playing. Megan seems to be doing so well in school now too (I’ll know more after parent-teacher conferences Thursday) and I just love seeing those 100% on her spelling tests … that is SO huge after everything we’ve been through with reading and recognizing words! Her class is working on multiplication and division and after just a little bump in the road when they started, Megan is now very much into it. And knowing her multiplication really comes in handy when she’s baking or cooking for me and I ask her to double or triple the recipe (she’s a great cook/baker!). I love my big girl!

• One of my very favorite things to watch these days is my girls playing together. Megan has always been great with Nessa, but now it’s so fun to watch them actually play together. They do many different things, but most often they play “kitchen and babies” as they have to make food and feed the numerous baby dolls that inhabit our living room.

• Nessa is very clear way too often these days about what she thinks is okay and what is positively not acceptable to her … sometimes she thinks that Shawn having his arm around me is NOT okay and she’ll come over and push him away from me … of course we don’t think that’s OK ;-) but I think sometimes we take just a bit too much pleasure at testing her reaction.

• Nessa thinks she can do pretty much everything herself these days and she’s right a surprising number of times!

• One good thing (there are a few) about this whole food allergy diet thing is that most of my clothes are at least loose if not outright too big now. Now when I get the energy back and make time for real workouts I won’t be able to put off shopping any longer. :-)

I’m sure I’ll think of a few things I forgot just about as soon as I send this … but at least it’s an update for now … more photos should be coming soon too. :-)

P.S. Sorry if the formatting looks like crap on this post ... I wrote it between throughout the day while waiting for my project to compile at work and apparently Outlook and blogger don't get along well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Little Princess

Some days Nessa is the only girl at daycare (there are still only 6 kids). Yesterday, her sheet had this note under "Today's Activities":

"Nessa had lots of fun cooking with the boys. She was so funny. She sat in her chair (like a princess) and waited for the boys to bring her food. It was adorable!"

God help the boys in 15 years! :-)

Monday, March 12, 2007

friend, play, water, boat

OK, I copied that adorable picture from my friend Rachel's site (, and you can see more of the great photos she took while she and Ben joined us at the Children's Museum in La Crosse on her flicker site:

You can see a few pictures I took below but none of them are as good as hers are (she is a better photographer, has a better camera, and takes time to do better editing afterwards ... so yes, they are a lot better!)

We met Rachel and Ben at the Children's museum Saturday afternoon. I told Nessa that after her nap we would go and play (used the sign) with a friend (used the sign) in addition to telling her we were going to the museum (she wouldn't remember it) to meet Rachel and Ben. So Nessa kept signing friend and play all morning and I kept telling her that we would go after her nap. The problem is that she didn't take a nap (the price we paid for her sleeping in Sat. morning) ... luckily she stayed in a good mood most of the time at the museum and didn't start melting until she didn't wan to leave Pizza Doctors afterwards and the good thing is that she fell fast asleep when we got her home and into her pajamas!

Since Saturday Nessa talks about and signs about playing with a friend with water and boats. Yes, Nessa loved the river display the best of all and could have played with the boats in the water the entire two hours if I had let her. She also enjoyed many other parts of the museum, including the Kwik Trip store and the new Wiggles and Giggles toddler area. Nessa didn't really care for the fire truck though ... well, except she liked wearing the fire hat! :-)

We should have called her Hattie!

Saying Nessa loves to play with Hats (and mittens and gloves to some extent) is an understatement! Nessa LOVES hats (who needs dress up clothes when you have a big sister's old hats not to mention mom and dad's hats!) and here are a few pictures we've captured of her and "her hats."

That basket you can see in the upper left of the above picture is a basket of hats that Megan and I wore last year but hadn't taken out to use this year -- it was like finding buried treasure for Nessa to discover it while she was downstairs with me one day while I was doing laundry! Nessa has been bringing one hat upstairs at a time to wear and play with ... she even insisted on wearing the hat in the first two pictures below outside and to daycare more than a few times. :-)

Nessa was wearing the hat and then decided that Sam needed to wear it. She was also waiting for someone to come and give her a push (she loves riding in the clothes baskets!).

There will be more "Nessa in hat" pictures to come I'm sure as we still haven't captured her usual of putting on a hat and at least one mitten or glove (not hers of course) and then pushing her shopping cart around and saying "ready to go!" :-)

Playing Night, NIght

Nessa loves playing "Night, Night" and we snap a few pictures of her once in awhile. She'll lay down and play it almost anywhere (in the bathroom the other day!) but her favorite is when she can find pillows and blankets to use in her play. And of course having someone to play with is always preferable. Then there is someone to cover her up and playfully say "night night" and "wake up."

Here she is recently playing in the great room with Daddy and one of her baby dolls. She recently discovered the basket of blankets and pillows in the great room so it's a new favorite place for her to play.

J is for jump or B is for bounce

Nessa has always loved to jump and whenever we've read her Pooh ABC book and got to the J for Jump page she ALWAYS had to go and try to jump (she's getting much better). Recently I got a quality rebounder for exercise and health and all of us girls are enjoying it ... sometimes I merely bounce (it's good for the lymph system) so Nessa hears me refer to it as bouncing at well. At first Nessa only bounced along with me or with Megan but now we trust her to get on and bounce by herself. She loves taking a few minutes out here or there to jump or bounce! And these pictures were too cute to keep to myself.

Megan's music concert

Megan had her annual school music concert this past Thursday. Even though we got there as early as possible it was still hard to get good photos. Here's a couple that I managed to crop most other people (and heads) out of the way.


I would never have tried it myself ... never thought Nessa had enough hair for pigtails but this Sunday Megan proved me wrong as she put pigtails in Nessa's hair (and Nessa sat still for it!).

Sitting still for a photos was an entirely different matter!

OK, I just have to say "Isn't she totally adorable???"

And, mom, am I dreaming or does that look a lot like my 2 year old birthday picture? I'll have to dig those pictures out!

Nessa loved her pig tails and kept them in most of the day Sunday and wanted Megan to put them in again today (Monday) so at least this morning she had them in again! I wish she would leave barrettes in the same way. :-)

Mom and Nessa

This was supposed to be a photo to show everyone my new (short) hair cut! But the one of just me was with my eyes closed (some things never change) and this one doesn't really show the haircut well (and I don't have time to try to enhance it digitally for better light/color).

It's still a good picture though that Shawn snapped quickly before work last Thursday (?). We love catching those Nessa smiles!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Turn, Turn, Turn

Nessa has been learning about sharing, both at home and at daycare, and is pretty good about it most of the time. Whenever she's sharing something, she'll say "Megan's turn" (or Mommy's or Daddy's) then "Nessa's turn," back and forth until the food item is gone or it's time to play with something else.

Now "turn" has another use. This morning, Megan offered to help Nessa pick out her clothes, and Nessa said "Daddy's turn!" Whoever she wants to help her, it's their 'turn.' You gotta love toddler logic! :-)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Weekend with Grandma and Grandpa Groth

Here are a few quick pictures from this weekend.

It was wonderful for the girls to see Grandma Karen and Grandpa Don, and it was also nice for Shawn and I to get out late in the afternoon for an early movie and dinner out.

By the way everything you see in the photos that was knit (sweaters, hats, socks) were all made by Grandma Karen! :-)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

More special features!

Ahh the sign of a modern toddler!

So, by now you have the idea that we watch Signing Time DVDs, um quite a lot (it's been every day this week I think). I console myself with the fact that Nessa doesn't watch any other TV/cartoons (the fact that we only have the most basic cable helps us resist that one!). So, Nessa is very used to DVDs.

Last night Nessa was watching Signing Time with Daddy (volume 5 I believe "My Day") and afterwards they watched all of the special features. And Daddy must have called them special features. This morning Nessa was again watching Signing Time, but this time with Mommy (Daddy's day to sleep in ... it was about 6 a.m.). Afterwards I wanted the special feature that showed additional signs and then the one that just went through all of the songs so I could practice. When those were done, I started turning it off and telling Nessa it was "all done." She looked at me and said "more special features?"

And there was much laughter! :-)

But there were no more special features as it was time to move on to less exciting things like folding clothes. :-)

Pizza Rose Brooks

Last night we had pizza for supper (in Tami's case, something resembling pizza). Nessa loves pizza. We were talking about the sign for pizza (technically you have to finger spell it but some shorten it to a two fingered Z), and Nessa started finger spelling and saying letters. Since started doing this while Shawn, Megan and I were all talking in a rather animated way, I only caught the end as she said and signed "a." I got Shawn's attention and said "she just spelled pizza!" I was so excited as she started smiled and started to do it again. Very carefully she signed and spelled: N E S S A and exclaimed "Pizza!"

And much laughter was heard.

We've been doing a lot of ASL finger spelling, especially of names. And we have been so proud the last few days when Nessa could correctly spell (say and sign) her name. Nessa has also been signing along and spelling along when we say and finger spell each of our names as well as some of her friend's names. She often asks us to do this. It's been great fun. And of course we were so proud of our smart little girl ... last night's funny proves what a normal funny toddler she is! :-)

Of course we still think she's brilliant and beautiful, and ... and has parents that are just a wee bit biased! ;-)

Friday, March 02, 2007

TWO snow days in ONE week!

Yes, folks La Crosse must no longer be considered one of the last schools to cancel. I suppose we can blame the bus company for Monday's lack of school since the buses were literally snowed in due to a broken snow plow (, but still it was interesting how many kids made it to the mall or mount La Crosse for skiing that day!

Today, on the other hand, was just one of those winter storm days that was hard to call so, like most schools today, La Crosse I'm sure was just being cautious. This second storm has been very unpredictable but in the end pretty kind to us. We got a little bit of freezing rain and ice yesterday but not nearly as much as predicted and the snow today hasn't been too bad. We had about 3.5 inches overnight and another inch or so this morning.

This time around the real blizzard weather went north and west of us ... I haven't had a chance to check on details in all the cities/towns that way but I hear it was pretty bad (if you're reading from that area, drop a comment and update everyone).

Last weekend is now being referred to as the Blizzard of 2007 around here. I hope that means there won't be another one this year. :-) I believe our official snow totals for that blizzard here on the south side of La Crosse was 22 inches. The most I heard was the Winona, MN area with 29.5 inches!! (I don't know how much they've received in this most recent storm but likely more than we have.)

Megan is making me proud as she is out helping the neighbor (elderly lady) shovel her driveway! :-)

Megan also said that later this weekend she would help Nessa make a friend for our snowman (I think he needs a little help first between a little melting, freezing rain and now snow covering his hat, etc., but then a friend would be good.)

I'm working from home today and right now I'm waiting forever for an import as I evaluate a new documentation tool that I need to write up an ROI for by Monday...

Hope all of you are warm, safe and well.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

If You Hum A Few Bars I Can Fake It

I sing a lullaby to Nessa most nights before she goes to bed (a song called "River of Sleep" that I found on a CD years ago). I also sing to her at other times if she is upset and crying, in an attempt to calm her down. In those situations I'll sing anything that comes to mind for which I know the lyrics. Well almost anything--I know the theory that "anything sung softly enough is a lullaby", but so far I haven't been brave enough to stress test it. Perennial favorites include "Frere Jacques", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and/or "The Alphabet Song", "Do Re Mi" from The Sound of Music and "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)" and other Christmas carols.

If it's working, Nessa normally just snuggles in and relaxes. Lately, however, she's begun making requests. A few nights ago I finished one song and Nessa raised her head and said "ABCs ABCs!". Last night she wanted "Twinkle Twinkle". How long before she starts asking for "Freebird?"