Sunday, September 23, 2007

Croc hunting...

We are now a Croc converted family. And when Shawn made the croc hunting joke while we were out looking for where to buy crocs in La Crosse (there are several places; the website was useful in our hunt), I knew I had to blog it.

I had been considering getting Nessa Crocs for awhile as I had noticed that many toddlers seemed to be able to take them on and off and they were much better for running and playing that many sandals. And the big one for me, they looked like they would be easy to get clean! So, while on Kelleys Island, and after seeing Max wearing his, Nessa became the proud owner of red Crocs complete with a smiley and cat Jibbitz.

Nessa always remembers: "NO Crocs in bed!"

Kelleys Island unfortunately had a limited supply of Crocs that weekend so Nessa was happy with red and Megan (see below) choose yellow, Shawn and I decided to wait and see what we could find back in La Crosse. Shawn decided to go with blue while we were at the last store during our Croc hunting expedition. No Jibbitz for Shawn (yet).

Above Nessa is showing you her Crocs!

Yes, I finally stuck my foot in the picture as well.

Megan has two lady bugs and a butterfly Jibbitz and looks forward to further decorating her happy yellow Crocs. I'm quite happy with my sunflower, but will have fun looking at more Jibbitz too I'm sure.

Megan , Nessa (and Lilliam) on our front hill as I attempt to take some pics to accompany this post. (Nessa cooperated the first time when I took pics of her with Shawn, but not so much today with her and Megan.)

On a serious note -- we bought them because we find them SO comfortable and well as much as I said I would never give into them as I couldn't get over their "odd" look ... in the end it always comes back to comfort for me. So if they're cool, that's just a fun extra. I have to admit the Jibbitz are a pretty cool addition and I'm so glad that stay at home made out well with her idea. So far we've all been wearing our Crocs a lot and are very happy with them. And, yes, they do clean up easily.

Getting her groove down?

Originally uploaded by Tami of BrooksGroth

I thought maybe we could do a headline/title contest on this one. There are so many different ways I could go with it.

I just wanted everyone that doesn't regularly get out to look at the flickr stream to see this one.

Enjoy! :-)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

She'll make a good boss someday ... toddler logic

(Or, Into Every Parent's Life a Two-Year Old Must Fall)

Yes, observing toddlers assert their independence is so amusing sometimes.

If we ask Nessa a question that can have a positive or negative response (I would say yes or no but she rarely simply says "no"), 99% of the time she will respond in the negative, even if it's something we really expect her to want to do (go outside, take a bath, even watching a DVD sometimes gets a negative) ... then I wait and try not to smile when I hear it start. Within seconds she's often telling us that she wants to do exactly what she just declined to do ... only this time it's her idea and on HER timing!

And sometimes this scenario plays out even when we simply invite her to do something with us.

For example:

Mom: "Nessa, let's have a snack together."
Nessa: "No thank you." (yes, she really does say this a lot now!!! :-)
Mom: "OK." And turns as if to go do something else.
Nessa: "Mommy." Pause. "I want a snack now." "Yes that's a good idea" (very much implying that it is HER idea)

I keep in mind that as long as I can creatively make her think it was her idea and it will be fun that she'll be excited and willing to do just about anything. Don't worry, it doesn't always work ... toddlers aren't THAT easy to figure out. Especially our independent, spirited, creative Nessa. :-)

And then there is the one track mind that repeats the same thing, often a request for something she wants, over and over and over and over ... often without pausing to allow us to respond to her. Or, after we get a chance to respond and it's a negative response to her request, she asks again. Sometimes her 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 10th time asking is phrased slightly differently and sometimes it isn't. Often if one of us says no, she'll ask the other one (oh yes, she already does this). Sometimes she'll make a plan that includes what we said we're doing instead AFTER what she wants and then she'll look at us sweetly and say "Okay" or "will that be okay" or "that's a plan" or "okey, dokey" or "right, mom/dad" or, my favorite, "that will be great." All of these are said full of smiles and with great confidence.

And persistence, well that is one lesson she does not have to learn. :-)

Another fun story from this past Thursday night:

Nessa was done eating and excused from the table. I was finishing at the table and wanted to talk to Shawn about just a couple of things. After literally 90 seconds, Nessa comes back towards the table and asks me something. I answer her and tell her I'll be there shortly. I turn to repeat my question to Shawn and before I could finish Nessa returned to tell me something. I smiled and replied to and informed her that I would be there as soon as I was done talking to Daddy. I turn to Shawn and Nessa asks me a question. I answer Nessa and turned back to Shawn.

Finally, patience wearing thin after trying to explain several times to Nessa that she really would have to wait I turned back to Shawn and tuned Nessa out as I said: "Why does it take them so long to understand that it will only take longer if they keep interrupting? I mean Megan STILL has a hard time with that too."

Shawn said, "Yeah, managers don't get that either."

In other toddler pleasures, we've also entered the "Are we there yet?" stage. Oh joy, I really thought we could at least get through potty training before having to listen to that question over and over and over again while going on the shortest of trips around town.

And in the "They are ALWAYS listening" category -- Nessa overheard me explaining to Shawn one night that one of the reasons to avoid fluoride toothpaste is because kids like to eat it. Nessa never ate her toothpaste on purpose before and now for the last two weeks she smiles and says "eat it" and then does exactly that whenever she is brushing her teeth. I tried going back to using the adult (strong peppermint) toothpaste instead of strawberry flavored kid's Tom's of Maine (or whatever natural brand we're on this month), and she made a strange face but she still smiled and ate it.

I smile as I write these things. These are not (unless they escalate way up) the reasons Nessa is still quite familiar with the "not so sweet" chair and the "uh-oh" song. No, those are reserved for times she outright disobeys or does things like bite her Dad when he is trying to help brush her teeth. :-( But if I'm honest I would have to say that the chair seems to be needed less and less these days although it certainly varies a lot day to day as well. We haven't even quite made it to 2 and 1/2 yet so this is good. :-)

Oh, and a word about how much easier it is supposed to be when toddlers can communicate. Well as I pointed out to a clerk in the store the other night (as Nessa was on the floor "reading" the floor mat), the problem then is that I can't pretend I don't know what she wants! And being able to talk "like a college student" (a quote from an acquaintance last weekend and certainly not my words but then again I have heard quite the stories about college students "these days") does NOT mean she can reason like one! (Then again there are those stories I just referred to). Nessa speaks quite clearly (and will now ask about words she doesn't know) and still signs too ... but she could be fluent in three languages and it wouldn't change the fact that she is a toddler. :-)

As I almost started saying a couple of paragraphs ago -- No, these are not really naughty things even when they wear my patience past thin. These are mostly just amusing toddler things ... and two-year olds really are as terrific as they are "terrible." When that favorite two-year old trait of having tantrums hits, and it certainly does at our house, I find myself having to try not to hold my breath too. I also pray hard that all of those people that say, "really, three is worse/harder than two" just had kids that were a little behind the curve!

Scrub a dub, dub

The other night we had a nearly tearless bath even with hair washing. The difference was the addition of "baby Katie" (a doll visitors may be familiar with).

Nessa washed baby Katie first and then we washed Nessa. This easily worked with body washing which is not usually the problem with Nessa's bath and sort of worked with hair washing which is always a problem with Nessa's baths (at least since she's had enough hair to wash).

Baby Katie is waterproof, and was procured partly for this reason; however, her insides do not drain, err dry, nearly as quickly as we would like so there is now a rule that baby Katie cannot sleep with Nessa after she takes a bath with Nessa.

Oh, and I'm not sure about Nessa but adding lavender, chamomile, and sandlewood to the bathwater certainly relaxed mom.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This and that in September

It's Friday night and here are a few tidbits ...

  • Shawn aspires to be "Dad Asparagus." (Veggie Tales) Dad Asparagus is the perfect dad. He is wise, gentle, patient and always knows what to say. And he is also very clear headed.
  • I'm sure we would all be more clear headed if we had a script. Someone else to do my voice would personally be very helpful as well.
  • I'm very disappointed that I didn't get a single recipe or suggestion on what to do with all of the tomatoes! This means one (or more) of the following: a. nobody is reading our blog b. our blog readers don't like tomatoes c. our blog readers make it a rule to NEVER leave comments d. nobody cared to help me out with a little cooking inspiration f. none of the above
  • This week is was Shawn's turn to take tomatoes into work.
  • We had goulash this week.
  • We had lots of tomatoes on salad this week.
  • I've now tried sliced tomatoes with sugar (raw, pure cane) on them. Yummy!
  • We have tons of tomatoes left and I'm not going to be able to eat them before they go bad.
  • We had a brief but harsh storm with hard rain and wind late this afternoon (Friday around 4 p.m.). Many branches are down around our neighborhood. I didn't think there were any loose branches left that would come down. I think this is enough now.
  • Megan is settling into school very well. I even got a positive report from her teacher about how great she is doing in class and how well she seems to be getting along with everyone. From my perspective she isn't showing any "new kid" anxiety at all.
  • Megan recently had a shooting contest for 4H in the Twin Cities. She told me got 13th place (unofficially because she isn't old enough to really compete but they allow younger kids there to practice). And yes, there were more than 13 kids there (considerably more I think but I can't remember how many she said).
  • Last weekend Shawn and I went out Saturday night for dinner and some great comedy at the Pump House (Heart of La Crosse did a fall show this year!).
  • THIS Saturday Shawn and I get to go out again! This it's Mame at the La Crosse Community Theatre.
  • Other things on the agenda for this weekend are not nearly as exciting -- laundry, major cleaning and preparation for the fund raising rummage sale I'm planning to have the next weekend (ready or not), laundry, back to a normal Sunday morning schedule complete with Sunday School and Choir practice, and did I mention laundry.
  • Have you noticed the blog changes -- other than posts that is? I've been trying to update the column on the right side of the blog and will continue to do so regularly, plus much of the content updates automatically so be sure to check it out every time you stop by.
  • Thank goodness I have a way to check who is visiting this site or I would think that nobody is. It's OK to leave comments ... good ones might even make it into a scrapbook someday.
  • We're heading into a busy few weeks ahead so after the next several days posting may be a bit slower (but I'm still determined to catch up before then). The same week of Oktoberfest is also my work conference (the one where I have to dress in business professional and attend things like dinner at the Freight House and the Waterfront and other really rough tasks).
  • I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of this and that ... when I asked Shawn he only said things I could roll my eyes at. I don't think Dad Asparagus would have done that. Then again Dad Asparagus doesn't make me laugh and smile nearly as much as my wonderful husband.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Have any good tomato recipes?

We have an abundance of tomatoes and I'm looking for some creative uses (for fresh or frozen; large tomatoes or grape/plum tomatoes). Please leave ideas or complete recipes in the comments or email them to me. PLEASE, this is a real request ... give us some supper ideas for this week that include tomatoes.

We also have another whole chicken in the freezer from a local hobby farmer that also happens to work with Shawn. So, if you have a recipe that involves tomatoes and a whole chicken that would be awesome.

The chickens (we're having one tonight) and the tomatoes should certainly help me with the Wisconsin Eat Local Food Challenge ( What are you doing to help local communities, farmers, the environment and your health? :-)

While I don't plan to cook with them, we also have pumpkins already (may have noticed them on the front steps if you've been paying attention to the flickr photo stream). Rumour has it that there are more pumpkins to be found at the farm so if you are or will be in the area ... for that matter if you are or will be in the area ... do you want a few tomatoes?

And finally, thanks mom and dad for sharing your fall harvest!

PTO fundraiser

This year you'll have to look elsewhere to get your Girl Scout Cookie fix (Megan is choosing other activities instead), but that doesn't mean we're not selling anything this fall.

Megan is participating in a fundraiser for the La Crescent PTO to help with the cost of field trips and "enhance the educational experience" at La Crescent-Hokah Elementary School. This is a "friends and family" sale only (no door to door), and of course there are incentives ... starting at only 30 items sold there are actually some pretty good incentives so Megan thanks you ahead of time for your consideration as we know there are a lot of fundraisers going on this fall.

So, follow the link and check out what they have for sale. They have a lot of different items, including lots of wrapping paper and other Christmas items. You'll know you're on the right page because I included a picture of Megan (not the best pic but handy this afternoon).

Or, if that doesn't work try the tiny url I made (or try copy/paste as recommended below)


Marcus' Baptism

Those of you paying attention saw a few newborn pictures of Marcus earlier this summer ... he's grown a little in the last couple of months! Isn't he gorgeous?!

We went up to Rochester on Sunday morning for Marcus' baptism at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Rochester, and afterwards were treated to a nice dinner at Olive Garden for the entire clan (Groths and Olsons) that was there. As usual there wasn't enough time to talk to everyone, but it was still nice to see everyone at least briefly. I especially enjoyed seeing the kids as they are all growing and changing so quickly.

I also can't believe that we managed to get a family picture without any screaming kids! And you can't even tell that I'm holding Nessa down to get her to stay there instead of running away!

You can see the rest in the flickr set:

So, you would think I would be happy when she's doing what I told her to do

Yes, Megan is trying very hard to clean her VERY messy room. And she's even listening to me and getting rid of LOTS of clothes that don't really fit well or that she doesn't wear for whatever reason (and no, I'm not saving it ALL for Nessa ... watch for rummage sale at our place soon ... I hope). But instead of only be thrilled that she's actually doing it, even if it is at a pace makes me wonder if there has been movement between my hourly checks, I find myself biting my tongue repeatedly. Yes, it becomes very clear to me why I struggle with clutter as I have to keep myself from saying, "you're getting rid of that?"

I hope I can take a lesson from her and be brutal as I try to declutter this house. I would say it's a fall project, but more realistically it's a life project. :-)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Megan at the Houston County Fair recap

Megan loves her goat Floppy!!!

I just realized that while I uploaded the photos to Flickr I never actually blogged about it which is bad, bad, bad because I should have been brag, brag, bragging about how great Megan did!!

Megan got not one but TWO Grand Champion ribbons for showing her goat at the fair! One for Showmanship and one for Market Goat. Megan also got a blue ribbon and honorable mention for the bird house she made in teh crafts catagory. Megan worked very hard creating her bird house and writing about how she did the project so I'm so glad that was noticed by the judges (and I wish I had a photo to share with you). And of course Megan works hard caring for all of her goats (three of them at her Dad's house) all of the time. Megan also had to teach Floppy how to walk on a leash and do some other special things to prepare him for the fair. Megan also has learned a lot about the goats and this paid off when the judge asked her lots of questions.

I asked Megan what the best thing about the fair was and the first things she said was, "It was fun!." Then she did say it was a good learning experience too. She says that next year she wants to enter more goats and do more things.

Megan and her friends had fun earlier in the week at the fair, but Shawn, Nessa and I didn't get to go until the Saturday of the fair -- the day the rain started (probably why I forgot to blog about it the next day) ... So, we all have our rain ponchos on in the pictures. We spend a fun but very wet couple of hours there seeing not only Floppy but many of the other animals and projects (and eating of course).

Nessa's favorite part of the fair was being allowed to go in and pet "Megan's goat."

To see all of Megan's photos from the fair, look at the set in Flickr:

Ahnika's first horse show

I want to share these pictures of my niece Ahnika's first horse show with all of you. Those of you that haven't seen her for awhile won't hardly believe it's her (yes, that is make you see ... it's part of the horse show I guess). As far as I understand she won't be in another one until next year, but she's already looking forward to it.

Ahnika loves to spend time with her aunt (in the photo with her) and the horses ...

She won 3rd place!!!

Almost ready ...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Just uploaded lots of new photos to Flickr --

I plan to blog about many of them and add descriptions lather this week (or next) but those of you that were at the events don't need descriptions anyway ... and the rest of you just may be antsy for pictures. :-)

We had a beautiful but busy weekend. Below Nessa shows how we all felt by this (Sunday) evening.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Greater Wisconsin Memory Walk 2007

Beat the rush and go donate or sign up to walk now! That is before you get a personal email from me begging, er encouraging, you to support Alzheimer's disease research with your donation.

On Saturday, September 22, some of my friends will be participating in the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk, raising money for Alzheimer's disease research. They are walking for everyone affected by Alzheimer's disease. Please join them in increasing awareness and fundraising to support research and improve the lives those living with this disease.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

There and back again

That's the current message on my Gmail status line (next to the little dot that tells you if I'm online or not and if I am online whether I'm busy or not (and there are times I set it to available when online, really there are)). It will likely stay the current message for awhile as now that we're back there is a lot to do to finish unpacking and settle into our fall routine.

We had a WONDERFUL time over Labor Day weekend while spending time on Kelleys Island with Kevin, Jo and Max. As Shawn said repeatedly it was so much fun to watch Nessa and Max play together, and that alone was worth the trip. In addition to enjoying the visit together we also enjoyed visiting Kelley's Island (a return trip for Shawn and the first time for me and Megan). Great place. Great weather. Great Trip.

More details and a few photos should be posted later this week.

We returned just in time for Megan to get to bed because it was a "school night." We took her to her dad's house because this year Megan is attending La Crescent schools (more on this soon). She is in 4th grade this year and her teacher seems great so far. I hope she has a fun and exciting year.

Happy fall!