Sunday, March 30, 2008

Megan's assignment

Megan's assignment was to write about somebody that she admires (her teacher said the broader interpretation of "somebody was OK). I did correct a couple of spelling mistakes while typing it in, but otherwise left it unedited. --Tami

March 25, 2008

I admire The Little House Books. The books on Martha, Charlotte, Caroline, Laura, and Rose. I relate to a lot of things in the books. I want to be a school teacher like Caroline. I love school too. I also want to read every single book. I want to grow up to be like the girls in the Little House book girls. I want to be like them because, in a way, I think of them as role models. I really look up to them/the books. I really believe in them. Without the books I don't think I would think the same.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone ...

You can see many more attempts at Easter morning pictures on flickr:

A little bit that went on at our house this morning:

Tami: Is that snow?
Shawn? Yes, it is. It's just enough to snow to say "Happy Easter ... wear your boots."

Then as Tami was trying to get out the door with the girls, Nessa stepped out the door and a chunk of ice melting off the roof promptly fell on her head!

Then ...

We were in church, up toward the very front as usual, when Nessa looked at me and said, "I don't know how to be quiet." I tried very hard not to laugh (I had prepared her for great things happening if she made it through church since there isn't a staffed nursery on Easter, but apparently I left out the part about HOW to do it.) So, I looked at Megan in desperation and then Nessa looked at Megan and said, "Please take me out now." We hesitated so she repeated it again and again, and ... Thankfully Megan took her out. We hadn't even made it through any of the snacks or fun quiet toys so I'm pretty sure our girl is just too smart for her pants and knew the gig and played it well. I'm not sure how we're going to handle it in the summer.

Wait until you hear about how she ate her marshmallow peep this morning...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Look very closely

OK, to me the absolute funniest thing about these photos is that Nessa had NO IDEA why I wanted to take her picture.

Look closely ...

... very closely

It's not merely that she dressed herself ... and I forgot about this when I first posted these to flickr.

Look at this second picture ... she obviously wasn't wearing her pants backwards all day long.

No, this is how she was dressed when we picked her up from daycare. This is not the first time this has happened. It makes me wonder if we are helping her more than we think in the morning because it doesn't happen very often at home ... at least not with jeans (sweats and pajamas are a bit more common).

When we picked her up she also had her crocs on the wrong feet ... Shawn wondered if may her head was merely on backwards. Sadly it took her a couple of hours to let me take her picture as the first request was met With shouting and stomping as she screamed "no." Later, as you see here, she was a happily showing off her Easter goodies from their party at daycare.

Did you say something?

Did you say something?
Originally uploaded by Tami of BrooksGroth

Apparently she can't hear me with those ear plugs in.

Yes, this is Megan with her new MP3 player (hope it was worth the 3 hours of research and about 3 allowances plus a couple hours of watching Nessa).

Overheard: Nessa

This morning in the hallway, Nessa: "I'm going to sit here and pout for awhile."

Various times throughout the day:


"If you like me, I like you."


"Daddy said..."


"I love you."

"but I don't like you."

"Can I please watch a dvd please?" (these days it's often specific to Dragon Tales but we still get the general one too ... including just now before I sat down to start this)

"Mommy said..."


"If you like me, I like you."

"But, Jen said ..."

"I don't like that anymore."


"Well, sure!"

"You know, *well* you *know* I don't like that."

"I'll tell you later, kay."

"I need something to help me sleep."


"That won't help me sleep." (said about whatever stuffed animal helped her sleep last time ... they rarely work two nights in a row)

"because there are monsters"


"If you like me, I like you."

"Well, ... [insert 2 paragraphs of toddler reasoning] I don't think so."

"Daddy, sing the monsters away .... PLEASE."

Looking at the food she asked for earlier and clearly upset about it: "Can you give me something I like!"


"I love you too, Mommy/Daddy/Megan"

Divide and conquer

No, this isn't a parenting post.

No this is a quick update about all of the research taking up our free time.

Since Shawn concentrates on researching all things that go Whirr, he is researching new washing machines. While he's at it, he's looking at new dryers, but it's only our washing machine that doesn't work right so that is the priority right now because this is the last weekend I want to take Nessa's bedding to the laundry mat. (We can only wash very small loads of laundry in our washing machine right now.)

Because Tami is a bit obsessive about it anyway, Tami concentrates on the medical research. It started with allergy research for Nessa (we won't even tough the years of research into her own various hard-to-describe maladies although there may be a connection with Nessa's diagnosis in the end), and now has expanded into the very core and depths of gluten -free research -- Celiac Disease. When we found out a week ago we just walked around with our jaw open with a shocked feeling -- wow!

I hope to get around to a detailed post about what we know, what we don't know, and the frustration of finding it all out and getting help from the medical community (I've decided celiac is a disease looking for a doctor, especially in the pediatric area ... frustrating when it's so under diagnosed.) Until then -- Nessa went in for allergy testing and based on symptoms they also ran a gluten panel and it came back positive (and very apparently) while her food allergy tests were all negative. We have yet to see a pediatric GI specialist. You can read more about it here:

Oh, and since I just can't help it I've been researching new cell phones as well as carriers and data options ... and a couple of weeks ago I spent way too much time on the computer reading MP3 player reviews with Megan, and the result was ordering one off of Amazon for her (her allowance money -- go girl) so when you see her with headphones in... Shawn and Tami are both thinking of following with their own players soon too.

(Do phones and MP3 players go Whirr? I didn't think so either. Maybe we need new research definitions.)

So, if you all have any feedback, info or resources, please send them our way --- comments, emails, phone calls, carrier pigeons ... we have so much to learn!

What keeps me going sometimes...

This was one of the photos that kept me going when I was tired and overwhelmed while in Portland for my work conference this past week. These are my sweet girls!

When I left I was panicked that I didn't have good recent photo prints to take with me ... but of course I had my laptop. Every time my screen saver started I saw my girls and their beautiful smiles. Sometimes it made me more homesick, but mostly it just made me smile.

I didn't have time to see a lot of Portland, but when I did see I loved ... and the weather wins hands down even with rain every day I was there! Of course coming home to a snow storm didn't help! Yes everything is covered with a fresh layer of snow today and yesterday we dealt with wet snow continually covering everything all day long. Happy Spring!
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Nessa writes her name

Can you tell which one Tami wrote and which one Nessa wrote? (Tami was steadying the pen when Nessa wrote it, but I think Tami needed someone to do the same!)

Nessa brought home a beautiful Easter card from daycare yesterday and she had written her name inside of it by "herself" (meaning the teacher held the pen too but claimed to only be holding it steady). This is not something we've ever tried with Nessa before, but I was intrigued. This morning on PBS between cartoons (yes, we do the Saturday morning cartoon thing now ... have to crate those memories you know), they had a "commercial" about writing your name and Nessa said she wanted to write her name. I decided to try on my new tablet PC laptop ... with the excuse that it would be easier to keep and share the evidence (OK, so it's still a fun toy too).

Now, I have not practiced much using the pen on my tablet PC and it's quite different than a regular pen and paper. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) So I was quite appalled when I saw the results of my writing an example for Nessa. However Nessa was not going to wait for me to do it again before having her turn. If you haven't guessed by now Nessa's is the 2nd one. I swear I didn't move the pen but rather just held it steady while she guided it although it's very hard to tell if that's really all I did or not. She does understands the basic movements though. We do often trace letters in our books, but had never tried writing them on paper (I'm telling you the truth, we don't push her at all academically so when you hear stuff, it's all her and then we just pick up on it and play with it because it is fun.) Her pen grip isn't perfect but considering how her motor skills lag behind the curve behind her other developmental skills, I'm not concerned at all. And I can't imagine that I had a clue how to write my name when I was 2, and I did okay ... well, then again ...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Take One...

The new laptop came with a webcam ... we're still figuring this out, but thought Grandparents and such would enjoy ... Shawn told me NOT to edit it so you can get a chuckle too ... Nessa is almost back to her old self although you will notice the hanky in her hand that she is rarely without these days (security hanky?).

Back to work now ... more later this week. I promise as Megan hasn't had fun with it yet.

OK, we're so new to this that I didn't think to look at the file size before uploading it...2 minutes didn't seem like that long when we were shooting the video!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Quick update

So, do you think a month is too long to go between posts (my last one was on Feb 7th)? I do, and I'm hoping it won't happen again ... or at least not for a LONG, long time.

Speaking of long, I think I'm going to start referring to this as The Long Winter. So the update on the weather is that it is STILL cold most days (had a few snow melting days but for the most part the snow hills on the corners are still making seeing at intersections challenging), and there is no end to it in the current weather forecast.

If you caught the Little House or your child (or mine if she's on your gift-giving list) might appreciate knowing about the one site that I finally found that carries all of the extended Little House series: The rest of you didn't know there was an extended series, did you? Yes, the wonderful gentleman at even informed me that there are nearly 100 books in said series and Megan informed me that she wants to OWN each and every one of them. Yes, Megan still loves everything that has to do with the Little House books and we will be distributing a wish list for birthdays and holidays until Megan has read all she can about all of Laura's ancestors and descendants.

After a busy but low-key January recovering from holidays, we had a busy February that seems to have disappeared into oblivion now. Most recently, we've been fighting off illnesses and trying to increase our immunity when we are not actually sick.

Megan is on her second round of antibiotics for Strep as she tested positive for it again just a couple of days after finishing her first round of antibiotics. I'm thinking this is sounding sadly familiar. (I remember the same thing happening to me as a kid ... they finally took my tonsils out when I was 16.)

Nessa was doing so great this winter ... until just over a week ago, and at this bleary-eyed moment I wonder if she'll ever be back to her smiley self. Nessa seems to have a virus making the rounds that lingers and lingers and lingers -- fever, sleepy, lethargic at times, and simply not very happy when awake. The most frustrating thing is that the fever comes and goes and at times she has looked on her way to being herself only to have it all come back again. We did take her to the doctor on Wednesday but no strep and nothing else that the family doc could see. I was a little concerned the day she slept 20 hours out of 24 though in spite of the reassurance that it was just a virus going around.

Work is consuming more and more of my time this month -- it is deadline time and there is A LOT of work today before that April release. But the really big news at work is that Friday I met with my boss as well as one of the Vice Presidents in town and I now have a full time position there (there, now being referred to as ECi La Crosse).

This was a challenging transition for me to make personally, but should make for a much less frustrated me at work and since I'm keeping my flexiblity in where and when I work, it should work well on a personal level as well. And really while the salary move should be nice (it's not in the bank yet though ... HR paperwork, yadda, yadda), by far the best part is that I now will have lots of room for professional development. This is what I have really wanted, and I didn't even realize how much I wanted it until I was given the opportunity to go to a conference at the last minute -- I'm now registered for the WritersUA Conference in Portland March 16-20th ( . As soon as I actually get into the office to use the corporate credit card I will also again be an STC member (, and my boss has already brought up the idea of my attending the STC conference in June in Philly. There will also be a couple of trips a year to the Dallas/Fort Worth area (ECi headquarters). It seems that there will also be plenty of room for innovative ideas, and that I'm excited about. Of course there is just lots of work to be done in general to get there too. :-)

If you can't wait for me to post new photos here you can always check out the flickr feed as I try to update that more frequently (February photos uploaded) or the Google photos if you prefer.

Think Spring!!!