Monday, April 23, 2007

Single Dad, Part III

Nessa had a lot of fun with her Grandpa and Grandma Brooks this weekend, and I was finally able to get some of it on film. Sunday evening after supper, things started with Grandma reading to Nessa.

But then Nessa wanted something to drink, and the tickle fingers started.

Pretty soon it was an all-out tickle fest, with Nessa squealing in delight!

Nessa kept trying to get away from Grandpa, but Grandma was doing just as much tickling (albeit with a few hugs mixed in). This went on for several minutes, giving me plenty of time to get some pictures, before Nessa had enough. She really enjoyed spending time with Grandma and Grandpa, and they with her.

Now Grandma and Grandpa are back at home, and so is Mommy! Nessa was very excited to see Tami when we got to daycare this afternoon. Tami was happy to see Nessa, and the rest of us, as well. Tami's still under the weather and very tired, but is feeling better than a couple of days ago. We're glad to have her back--we missed her!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Single Dad, Part II

As mentioned, my Mom and Dad are here for the weekend to get some quality time with their granddaughter and help me out while Tami is in NY. They're just in time, too. Nessa has a nasty cough which woke her up a couple of times Thursday night and once last night, so I'm short on sleep. I was almost dozing at my desk Friday afternoon. It's nice to have someone else here to watch/play with her since I'm not at my best at the moment. Thank goodness for grandparents. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

We went to the Children's Museum this morning, but my brain wasn't functioning fully, so I forgot to take a camera. Nessa had a good time, and Mom and Dad were really impressed by the museum. They have a great new toddler space that Nessa loves. Nessa was also enjoying the pin art, and kept pressing her face and arms into the one side and then running around to the other side to see what it looked like. She would then take the paddles, push the pins back, and start the process over again. Top it off with pizza for lunch, and it was a pretty good morning.

Unfortunately, Tami reports that she is not feeling well out in NY. We don't know if she caught something on one of the planes, or if she caught the same thing Nessa has before leaving, but she is not having nearly as much fun as she had hoped. Her friends are all doing what they can to help her feel better, but it only goes so far. I think she'll be glad to get home.

Big Girl Swing

Nessa and I were in the back yard playing last Monday, and for the first time she got on the big girl swing. Tami and Megan were surprised when they got home, and we got some great pictures.

Nessa can also climb up to the platform at the top of the slide by herself now. Pretty soon there will be no stopping her!

Megan's Art

As promised here are some photos of Megan's school art project that was displayed at the public library. Great job, Megan!


We've been so busy that we haven't had a chance to post any of the pictures we took Easter Sunday. (These were taken in the morning, before things turned into a sit-com.) Here's Nessa with the new hat that was in her Easter basket.

Here are some family photos with Grandpa and Grandma Brooks.

Happy Birthday, Nessa (Part II)

Nessa kept getting birthday presents for a week after her birthday, as her grandparents came to visit. Here's Nessa with her very own Baby Polly doll from Grandpa and Grandma Groth. (Megan's should be safe now.)

Grandpa and Grandma Groth also gave Nessa some clothes.

Grandpa and Grandma Brooks gave Nessa several things as well, including these letters and numbers for the bath tub. Nessa loves identifying the letters and numbers as she sticks them to the side of the tub!

Uncle Kevin and Aunt Jo gave Nessa a Saxoflute, a musical toy where you build your own instrument. She opened it on her birthday, but we didn't get a good picture of her playing with it until later.

Thank you everyone for all the wonderful birthday presents!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Single Dad (That's Mr. Mom To You)

I'm flying solo for a few days, as Tami is in Syracuse, NY, for the ICAN conference. She left yesterday afternoon and will be back on Monday.

All is fine so far. Nessa and I had some practice runs for Tami-less bedtimes last week when Tami had to attend evening events for work, and I'm usually the one who gets Nessa up and dressed in the morning anyway. Nessa did wake up in the wee smalls last night, which is very unusual these days. But when I picked her up she snuggled into my shoulder and let me sing her back to sleep.

(Is there any better feeling in the world than having your child snuggle into you for comfort? Especially if they are trying to fall asleep? Every time it happens I am almost overwhelmed by the amount of trust and love implicit in such a simple act.)

My Mom is coming tomorrow to give her granddaughter some much needed spoiling. Dad may be along as well. Having a relief pitcher will allow me to do things like get out and mow the lawn (Yikes--it's only the middle of April!), but we also plan to have plenty of family fun time as well.

I'll try to get some recent pictures posted in Tami's absence, but if I don't, it's because I'm busy being a Dad!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New car

We are officially a two-car family again. Monday evening we took possession of a 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan. It has most of the bells and whistles, including a DVD player. In theory it's Tami's car (but you know who'll be driving it on any trip longer than 30 minutes or outside of the greater La Crosse area).

It's a metallic blue color. We were willing to settle for almost anything that wasn't red (except for that awful gold/pewter color--yuck!) so that we can tell Nessa "the red car" or "the blue car". I really like the color, and Tami says it's growing on her as well.

Megan rode in it for the first time today, and gave it her approval. Nessa got to climb around in it while we were at the dealership, but probably won't get to ride in it until the second car seat arrives in a day or two.

We're happy to have this car for many reasons. Tami feels more independent when she always has a car at her disposal. I'm looking forward to being able to get to work earlier some days, since Tami and I can now travel separately if we wish. I'm also looking forward to not having to break my back just to put Nessa into her car seat, and to not having her pushing against the back of my seat when she's bored. Hopefully the tinted windows will help Nessa when the sun is at the wrong angle, since she refuses to keep sunglasses on her head no matter how bright it is. And the DVD player should make long trips much easier on everyone.

Now we just need to get one of our girls to start playing soccer... :-)

Sit-com Easter

Easter Sunday was a nice relaxing day--until about 5:00 PM. At that point, as I was making our Easter supper, the kitchen sink backed up. Knowing full well that it would mean calling the plumber in the morning, I started applying my not-quite-right-for-the-job tools to the task of removing the trap so I could at least get the water to drain. In the middle of this, my brother called. I had to hand him off to Dad so I could get the sink cleared before the ham was done.

I got the drain somewhat unclogged, and a bucket and towels placed under the sink to deal with the leaks left over from reattaching the trap, and we made it through supper. After supper, while Tami was out with Megan, I called my brother back. After we had talked for maybe 10 minutes I heard Nessa start to cry (that "I just got hurt" cry that any parent knows so well)--she had bumped her head on the end table when she looked down to see something she had dropped. I once again handed my brother off to Dad, took Nessa from Mom, and launched into the following sequence:

1) I got Nessa calmed down and gave her something to make her feel better.
2) I told her it was jammie time, took her clothes off, and took her in to go potty.
3) After not doing much of anything Nessa said she was done on the potty, so we went out to put on a new diaper.
4) Nessa was kicking and not staying still, keeping me from putting her diaper on, so she had to sit on the "not being sweet" chair.
5) Nessa peed on the chair.
6) I took Nessa back into the bathroom to sit on the potty again.
7) While Nessa was sitting on the potty, I came back out to quickly clean up the chair. (At this point I told Mom, who had taken the phone from Dad, to tell my brother I wasn't going to have time to talk to him.)
8) I went back to the bathroom to find that Nessa had unrolled 3-4 yards of toilet paper. She looked at me a bit abashed and said "Too much toilet paper."
9) After I got Nessa wiped off, she went to get her stool so she could wash her hands. As she was trying to turn with it, she tripped over her own feet and whacked her head (ear first) into the door frame (her second head whack in 15-20 minutes).
10) I calmed Nessa down again, and we washed her hands.
11) I finally got her into a diaper and got her jammies on. Just then Tami returned and got to waltz in and be the hero, snuggling Nessa to soothe away all her troubles.

This is really the first sit-com parenting night I can remember, but I'm sure it won't be the last.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Happy Birthday Nessa!

Here are a few quick photos of Nessa on her birthday! She really enjoyed it whenever anyone sang Happy Birthday to her! :-)

Megan made her the beautiful pink cake!

Below is Nessa with her Blues Clues balloon that Megan got for her. Nessa loves Blues Clues from reading the books and also from watching a couple of videos that we still had from when Megan loved Blues Clues!

Nessa loves to "cook" so you can imagine that she loves her presents of play food -- Below you can see her "cutting" her wooden food (connected by velcro). It will take some practice before she gets the cutting motion down, but she certainly loves trying. (And boy that velcro makes a satisfying crunch sound when you cut it with the wooden knife!)

In the afternoon we stopped by our wonderful daycare for a small celebration with Nessa's friends. We had cookies and gave a gift to the daycare in celebration of Nessa's birthday. Below is Nessa in her birthday crown as we're singing to her before she opens the present. And below that is her playing with the wooden pizza and utensil that was inside!

It was a nice day and Nessa seems very happy to be 2 even if she didn't smile on cue for the pictures! :-)

To My Daughter On Her 2nd Birthday

Nessa Rose, my sweet girl:

You're two years old today! Do you feel any different? You're very different to me. You're walking and talking, running and jumping, signing and singing. You can spell your name and say your prayers before bed. You can communicate with us now, and that's so exciting!

Your world has expanded. You have your friends at daycare and at church. You know that there are parks and playgrounds and other fun places to visit. You've discovered Blue's Clues and Veggie Tales and Eric Carle books. You're out of your high chair and into a booster seat, and you're starting to use big girl cups. You can almost go up and down stairs by yourself. It seems like every day you show us something new that you've learned to do.

You've changed me too, little girl, in all sorts of ways. You've taught me how to be at ease with children. You've taught me how to play with you, comfort you, talk to you, and teach you things. You've changed all my priorities. I would much rather buy something fun for you than for myself. I love to take you places and show you things and see the wonder and delight in your eyes.

The love you give me is palpable. When you come running up to hug me at daycare, or squeal "Daddy!" when I come through the door at home, or snuggle into my shoulder when I sing to you, that love washes over me and soothes whatever is aching. When you reach up your arms for me to pick you up, or giggle when I'm tickling you, my heart sings a song it never used to know.

You are my greatest treasure, my sweet girl. You and your mommy fill my world with love and joy. Thank you for everything you give me. I'm looking forward to watching you grow and explore the world more and more. Don't be afraid to see what's out there. I'll be right here waiting for you to come back and tell me all about it.

Happy birthday, Nessa Rose!


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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Easter Egg Hunt and Nessa's "pretties"

Saturday was the Easter Egg hunt at church. The rain meant it was indoors. Luckily they also had crafts for the kids to do (and a movie later). These events are great ... and we hope someday Nessa will actually show that she's having fun.

Shawn took the girls over to church while I got some work done ... Nessa said she was having fun, but apparently she never actually looked like she was having fun. I think she still doesn't feel comfortable around lots of other people and noise and unfamiliar situations (even though the church itself is very familiar to Nessa).

Above Megan is working on her art project and Nessa is just kind of looking at hers. Later at home Megan helped Nessa with her project.

This morning (Sunday April 1) Megan had time to put "pretties" in Nessa's hair. Nessa was so proud of her clips and pony tail so she was showing us and we took pictures.

Nessa's "Cheese" in the picture below reminds me SO MUCH of Megan's cheesy look at the same age when we took pictures.

Nessa loved the fact that she had bunnies on her dress today and was hopping around all the time.

Nessa will now also say she's going to be 2 on her birthday. This is great as when we first started talking about it, she insisted she was going to be 3 ("NO, THREE!").

Both of our girls continue to amaze and delight us!

Rainy weekend and bunny cakes and more

As unexpectedly beautiful as last weekend was, this weekend has been damp, cold (in the sense of Spring coldness) and rainy ... rain, rain go away rain ... although when the sun comes out again we should see lots of green grass! Megan said it's the rain that makes it feel like Spring to her. :-)

The rain made it the perfect Saturday for Megan to spend a few hours baking. :-)

After Yoga Saturday morning we heard that there was a need for more items for the bake sale at church on Sunday. I looked at Megan and she immediately agreed that she could make some things. During lunch we talked about what to make. I didn't want it to get too complicated ...

Megan made chocolate chip cookies and then she found a recipe in a kid's cookbook for bunny cakes where the bunny face is made out of marshmallows and I thought it looked easy enough. We actually followed the recipe and made a 9 by 13 cake and cut it into pieces and decorated each piece with a bunny face but if/when I/Megan do it again I will do it as cup cakes instead (or suggest that to Megan). I think they would look much cuter as cupcakes and would be easier as well.

Below is a picture of the bunny cakes in case anyone wants to make some (just make and frost whatever kind of cake you want to use (we used chocolate) and then cut a marshmallow in half and use half for the face and cut the other half in half again to use for ears, and finally draw the face with a toothpick dipped into food coloring).

Here is Megan proudly holding some of the pieces of cake before she took them over to the church!

Megan also spent a lot of time Saturday playing with Nessa and helping around the house! We're so proud of Megan!!! :-)