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July 25, 2006

Bathing Beauty

Complaints

Please, dear friends, make a mental note: If you decide to go with Adelaide on a cruise to warmer waters, remember that when she wants a pina colada, she wants the pina colada now! Thankyouverymuch!

R&R

July 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, Joel!

Go, Joel, It's your birthday!

This weekend we celebrated Joel's 29th, in a rather subdued fashion as Adelaide was sleeping [Shhhhh! We're trying to woo her into a new bedtime routine] ... Still, there was cake (my own Filched-from Martha-and-Byerly's Cheesecupcakes), and there were candles, and there were presents (many, many dress shirts and ties for Joel's new lot in life: Not-quite-a-doctor, but-has-to-dress-like-one).

Happy birthday, Dearest!

July 21, 2006

Suddenly Petite

At Adelaide’s four-month well baby visit yesterday, we learned that her height is 23 ¾ inches and weight is 13 pounds. Both measurements put Adelaide into the 25th percentile on the growth chart, well within normal limits for her age, but our string bean has become decidedly elfin in these past weeks.

After calculating the measurements, our family practitioner looked from Adelaide to me and back to Adelaide before smiling and saying, “Well, she comes from small people … Small people with big personalities.”

July 20, 2006

Subtlety of Infant Style

All arms and legs

Changing from daytime to nighttime apparel leaves some of us befuddled …

J: Here we go, Adelaide. Let’s put you in this onesie, which is a lot like what you were just wearing!

A: What is?

J: This onesie! (Points to nearby daytime outfit in a heap on the bedroom floor.)

A: That’s not a onesie. It’s a romper!

For those of you who wish to analyze this scene further, you might ask why Adelaide wore a onesie to bed, instead of the customary p.j.s ... Last night, the heat index was measured at 107° F - It was just too darn hot.

July 19, 2006

AM Beatbox

Boom-whika-whika-whika-Za

This morning, we have captured an elusive scene: Joel skooling Adelaide in the Art of Beatboxing. These two enjoy a rare, early morning human orchestration session on the living room floor before Joel heads off to his final orientation day in Yankton.

Word.

July 18, 2006

Goldbug

May we introduce the latest of Adelaide's favorites ... Goldbug!

During the aforementioned trip to Wisconsin, Adelaide charmed one of our dear friends into letting her borrow a funny new toy for a few months. The toy, on loan while our friend works on her own baby-related project, is a charming, multi-colored vibrating spider whose plush face is frozen in a perpetual look of surprise. We have dubbed the creature “Goldbug,” in honor of the benefactor (and to help us remind ourselves that the toy is a loaner). Goldbug has quickly discovered his place in our family by helping Adelaide to show the world some of her latest hand-eye coordination tricks; namely, she grasps Goldbug by the legs in her tiny hands and brilliantly shoves his head, eyes, or appendages into her mouth.

If I ... could just ... just get him a bit closer ...

July 17, 2006

Roadtrip: Brooke & Joel

A handmade parting gift from the bride and groom to commemorate the weekend.

This summer, much of our travel will be due to wedding-related events. In all, we hope to attend five ceremonies during these sweltering dog days of July, August, and September around the upper Midwest.

This weekend, Joel, Adelaide, and I had the pleasure of gathering together with friends at the wedding celebrations of two Luther chums, Brooke and Joel.

Friday afternoon, following a tediously informative day of student orientation at the hospital for our young hero, we loaded up our family sedan with our Sunday Best, a cooler full of Limonata and hard-boiled eggs, and our raspberry-proficient little girl, and were off on the first five-hour leg of our weekend trip that took us to a Holiday Inn in Rochester, Minnesota.

The next morning, refreshed from a goodnight’s sleep, we marched out of our hotel room at around 9AM, and continued our hike, crossing Wisconsin, using I-90. Somewhere near the attractive waterslides and riverboats of the Wisconsin Dells (nearly four hours later), the Taurus began to ever so gently complain about the temperature and humidity by subtly pointing out that the engine heat was rising. To soothe the car’s under-hood heat, I cranked up the heater – yes, the heater – and we rolled along with all four windows down under the scorching midday sun. Around that same time, I asked Joel – who was riding in the backseat with Adelaide and keeping our spirits afloat with some trashy historical fiction – “Honey, what time does the invitation say we need to be at the wedding?” After some shuffling around, Joel announced, “Three thirty.” The dashboard clock read 12:41, and we were still sweaty two hours away from our destination.

We made good time despite our crankiness, the heat, and our troubled Taurus to Beloit, Wisconsin – a charming river town on the border between Wisconsin and Illinois – at two o’ clock, promptly fed Adelaide, showered, and dressed and arrived at the church twenty minutes before the start of the ceremony. Our interstate stress was quickly replaced by a bout of stage anxiety, as Joel and I were scheduled to perform a dramatic recitation from A.S. Byatt’s Possession. Several friends greeted our arrival at the church with, “Did you bring your script?” Before leaving Vermillion an odd moment of foresight prompted me to grab a copy of the novel and throw it in the car, so we came prepared. Whew!

The wedding was beautiful. Adelaide charmed many of our college friends with her clever toes and bright eyes. We toasted and danced and laughed and cheered before we three turned into pumpkins at eleven o’ clock and stretched out in the massive king-sized bed in our air-conditioned hotel room.

The next morning (yesterday), we were back on the road toward hearth and home. After ten long hours of driving – with frequent stops to feed Adelaide and the engine with their own preferred forms of coolant – we rolled into Vermillion. The trip was over in the blink of an eye, but all in all, it’s good to be home again.

July 10, 2006

Just Chillin’

Three Months! Wow! I've officially been in progress for one whole year!

At three months and three weeks, Adelaide is showing great progress in many areas.

She easily flails all four limbs at once - Hey now, you try and keep up that kind of movement for more than 30 seconds! Go on, we dare you!

She does a lot of babbling and cooing now, responding with great enthusiasm to the Vowel Song, which goes like this, “A, e, i, o, u …" hold out the “u” on a note your own choosing for a long time, and then very quickly blurt out: "and sometimes y!" Our made-up songs often elicit her very droll and charming laugh, which might be characterized as a lower-register guttural honk, if you can imagine. Similarly, we’re tromping our way through the Hundred Acre Wood reading Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh aloud to Adelaide, who listens patiently, until there’s a pause (for emphasis or a breath) when she inserts a quick critique of the work [Already, she’s beginning to understand that Pooh, while funny and cute, is indeed a bear of very little brain].

She most likely weighs more than she did last month as calculated by our aching backs as we Björn her around from place-to-place. It’s likely too that she’s longer, as many of her three-month outfits no longer fit, especially the items with closed feet.

Speaking of Björning her around, we almost always march out of the house in the evening for a walk around our sleepy summer town, and during this walks, Adelaide likes to commune with the trees, gently cooing to the elms, oaks, and maples of our neighborhood in soft wondrous tones. We think that when she grows up she’ll be a nature-lover. Or an ent-wife.

As to our hours of sleep, Adelaide has found an amiable new daytime napping place: her hand-me-down swing. The rhythmic rocking, coupled with the melodious tones of our indispensable white noise generator “Restful Rain,” often lulls her into a deep sleep. But, when that automated rocker fails, we found that if we simply take her to our local movie theatre, an intricate, but unresolved plot will soothe and relax her, too.

In short, all’s well.


July 9, 2006

A Visit

Mom01.jpg

What we suspected was true was proven a couple of weeks ago, in late June, when my mom, Mary, trekked down to Vermillion for a visit. You see, we thought that we might finally plant those annuals in pots and bolster our tomato garden with a few marigolds, nasturtiums, cosmos, and herbs with Mom's help.

And now, the garden is all a-bloom with newly-sprouted plants, burgeoning bushes, and ripening romas and heirloom varieties.

Mom02.jpg

We thought we might finally string that length of clothesline from one backyard tree to another and sport clothing that smells of sunshine and summer with Mom's help.

And now, the clothesline is used daily ... We especially love the fresh, line-dried bedsheets.

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We thought we might have a chance to sneak downtown for the better part of an hour to have our hair coiffed and curled in the name of theatre with Mom's help.

And now, with the summer musical behind us, we're enjoying langorous evening meals and the fireflies' nightly firework displays.

Mom04.jpg

We thought that our Adelaide might learn some new tricks, and become even more social with Mom's help.

And now, everytime Adelaide takes a bath, she furiously blows bubbles in mimicry of the raspberries Mom performed for her delight.

Mom05.jpg

We thought we would enjoy her visit, but we really didn't know how much we'd love having her around.

And now, we'd like to say: Thanks, Mom!

July 5, 2006

Toot Your Own Horn!

In a word (or, in this case, one and a contraction) … I’m done. Well, sort of done.

My nursing school project began approximately five years ago, when Joel dared me to take an Anatomy and Physiology class with him in preparation for his battle with the MCAT. I signed up for the class, attended lectures with Joel every Monday night, and wondered about things I’d never wondered before, like “How is it that all these little, itsy-bitsy parts of my own body exist and I didn’t know about them?” or “Phospholipid bi-layer? So, that’s what keeps me from being a pile of goo and water!”

And so, it began: a change, a renaissance, an experiment that evolved over several months wherein I took a class here and a class there, adding up to all the prerequisites necessary to apply to a nationally-accredited nursing program. It wasn’t always easy, but it wasn’t always too difficult either [Case in point, the cost of all of the courses that I took in Portland were subsidized by my employer … Not so bad!]. I approached some of those wonderful moments squandered in high school or my undergraduate anew as I re-learned the magic of covalent and ionic bonding and how to manufacture sauerkraut in five easy steps.

When we moved to South Dakota and I began the nursing program here, the days whizzed by, and in a flurry I gained nursing lore and knowledge. Like anything else, there were good times and bad times. There were days that inspired me and days that discouraged me. I feel about my program like somebody once said about the French Revolution, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …” It seems, though, that before I could blink an eye, I found myself standing on a podium, wearing lots of red, and shaking the hand of the president of the university.

But, still, even on that graduation day, something loomed ahead … Before I could truly congratulate myself on a job well done, I had a project to finish: NCLEX-RN, the national nursing examination that all student nurses are required to pass in order to obtain their licensure. Pass or fail, this was The Bar, and I would either sail over it in one brilliant track-star leap or smack right into it and crumple before its towering height.

Just this past Friday morning, I made my way to a sterile testing center, and sat before a computer, clicking this answer or that, with a certain crazed glee … All my eggs in one basket, I was determined to enjoy this challenge, despite the fact that each question cost me $4. In the end, the computer asked me only the minimum number of questions before deciding whether or not I met the basic eligibility standard of safety. Seventy-five questions and then, the screen went blank and I was on my way home.

It was only a matter of hours before the South Dakota State Board of Nursing’s website posted my examination results in the form of these words:

License Status: Active

So, I’ve deduced that I passed the NCLEX! Hooray! I can now legally practice nursing all by myself!

But, a nurse’s work is never done … As my professors preached, a person’s nursing education is never quite finished - my license requires continuing education credits, future employers require orientation to unique, complex systems of patient care, and of course, there’s always the puzzling world of managed care and health insurance to decipher. But, all of that can wait for a more motivated day …

For today, I plan to walk broadly in the summer sunshine with my newly-found professional mantle carried high on my shoulders, and be proud to be the nurse of just one.

Hooray for Fun!

July 2, 2006

VBS

Two weeks ago, Aimee and I finished our first, and perhaps last, tour of duty of Vacation Bible School. In a fit of thoughtless generosity, we volunteered to be Shepherds at our church’s week long VBS extravaganza. It sounded like a good idea at the time, and the first 30 minutes or so were good fun with lots of singing and dancing. Then it came time for us to Shepherd our various groups (Aimee had 12 4th and 5th graders, I had 19 2nd and 3rd graders) to various activities.

What this really amounted to, however, was a near-constant exercise in discipline. Shooshing, stern remonstrance, and sometimes even physical restraint became our daily routine as we tried to keep the more disruptive kids from Ruining It For Everyone. My group’s boys were especially tiresome; constantly talking out of turn, getting into things (that phrase never meant much to me until that week), and hitting each other with sticks. I carried Adelaide in our (beloved) Baby Bjorn (thanks Pam and Mac!) the whole time, which I think was something of an advantage, as it kept me more physically rooted and less likely to commit assault upon my charges. Similarly, the little hoodlums seemed to agree that while Adelaide was strapped to my chest, my physical person was off-limits.

Captured here was my second-favorite moment of VBS, in which the kids were able to play with some very tame chickens and brand-new miniature goats. Predictably, shortly after this photo was taken, two of my boys had to be banished from the activity for making two of the baby goats butt heads.

JAandchicks.JPG

My favorite part of VBS was, of course, the end. All the boys solemnly shook my hand, and several thanked me enthusiastically for showing them such a good time. All the girls hugged me. Then we sang “What a Wonderful World” and it was over.