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August 29, 2006

À La Table


Recently, Adelaide began mimicking our mastication during our mealtime. She’d purposefully open and close her mouth in rapid-fire succession while watching a spoonful of green peas or a forkful of cheesecake move from the plate to our mouths. Her “chewing” would become even more passionate as we chewed. We decided that interesting behavior ought to be rewarded, and thus Adelaide was invited to join us at the table.

Perhaps it’s because my formative years (before age three) were spent mostly in the company of adults, but I don’t believe in relegating the youngest to a card table in the kitchen while elders sip, smack, and slurp in a more formal atmosphere. Just like learning a particular language, table manners and dining room politics are an important part of our socio-cultural quirks. Don’t you remember taking French in high school and learning the names of the plate (L'assiette), the fork (la fourchette), and the napkins (les serviettes) AND learning how to set the service à la française? So, I think it best to introduce Adelaide to these idiosyncrasies and civilizing patterns early on in her life.

We’d been generously endowed with a modular high chair by a birth-day benefactor, so little preparation was required – other than removing the seat from its box and strapping it securely to one of our kitchen chairs. In lieu of actual foodstuffs – which Adelaide won’t be invited to try until she solves the mystery of the whole hand-to-mouth thing with her pacifier – she plays with her board books, beads, or Goldbug during mealtimes. Often she adds to the conversation, inserting her opinion on the evening’s agenda, offering her tips on childcare, or relating the excitement of a backward roll across the living room floor from earlier in the day.

And this chair travels, so watch out! Soon Adelaide may be found at a supper table near you!

August 28, 2006

A Gathering of Mirons

Sunday, our family from Florida, northern Minnesota, and South Dakota gathered at Mar's, perched on a hilltop in Nebraska, for an afternoon of croqueting, crossword puzzling, and cradling.


Fierce croquet competitors do battle on the diveted green of Mar's back lawn.

Nearly Everyone

Who's missing from this post-croquet tourney photo? Ah! The Croquet Champion, of course ... Me! (and Doug & Taffy who opted not to compete, but to take an extended hike through the Willa Cather-eque countryside.)


Snuggling with Grandma Molly was how Adelaide enjoyed the day best.

Motley Grouping

A classic family photo, everyone looking pleasant, but a bit askew or akimbo.


Whhaaa ... Facing forwards!?!? Each day, even at family functions, affords a us new perspective.

August 27, 2006


No amount of comforting ...

There are some memories altogether too painful for our little minds to preserve from infancy into adulthood. For Adelaide, cutting teeth will certainly be an event that she’ll be happy to blissfully forget someday.

Since we arrived home from K&C’s wedding, our girl has been a little less smiley, a little less chuckley, and a little less cheerful. Instead she has replaced her wide smiles, her deep chuckles, and her cheerful disposition with an ever-present scowl. We’d also noticed that she seemed to be always playing with her lower lip.

New technique

On Saturday evening, we decided to investigate her gumline with a little probing and discovered a jagged little white dot poking up on her lower gum. I see now why tooth growing is often described with words like “cutting” and “eruption.” The volcanic metaphor of “erupting” teeth is not lost on me. In addition to the little white speck, the gum surrounding the sharp, minute newcomer was red, swollen, and hot. Beneath a benign, rolling island of soft, pink mucosa, a terrible shifting and writhing of Adelaide’s lower plate caused an eruption, and now the landscape of her mouth will be forever altered.

August 24, 2006

Wedding Day Poses & Candids

K&C's wedding day was beautiful and tearful, droll and charming, fun and exciting ... In lieu, however, of offering a detailed synposis (isn't that a contradiction in terms?), I'll let the photos tell the story of The Big Day.

With Adelaide around telling jokes all day, the Bride made it through the afternoon with many beautiful smiles!

Adelaide charmed many a relation and friend from near and far on the wedding day with her newfound clever babble-style conversation.

Joel orated at K&C's wedding ... It took a lot of mental focus and deep concentration.

Joel orated from Song of Songs (You know, the bit about the gazelles leaping?) at K&C's wedding. It took a lot of mental focus and deep concentration. We caught him preparing.


So many people have commented on the photograph Joel snapped of Erin and Adelaide on Roadrip: St. Cloud Wedding Shower that I was compelled to include another of this adorable duo.

All Smiles

The wedding offered Joel, Adelaide, and I an opportunity to pose for a rare family photo ...

Isn't it grand to be a Grand?

And offered my parents an opportunity to snag Adelaide for their own family photo.

Doin' what they do best ...

Here is a classic from the big day ... Adelaide just being herself, my parents looking on lovingly, and Joel showing her off proudly.

Thanks Mom, for making these photos possible!

August 21, 2006

Decorating & Rehearsing

I Knew the Bride ...

Weddings often require a lot of planning and preparation. My sister's wedding was no exception to this time-honored tradition. And it would seem that no matter how much foresight and organization a Bride might possess, the day before her wedding day is traditionally, even cermoniously, fraught with activity of a last-minute kind.

The morning of Wedding Eve found me alone, playing with Adelaide and wondering what Joel was up to (Aside: Joel took off around five o' clock that morning for a ten hour day of frolicking fun at the University of Minnesota, sizing up a program for his post-medical school residency). I sat, enjoying my third cup of coffee, awaiting further instruction from the Bride and Mother-of-the-Bride ...

I didn't have to wait too long. After a morning of little errands and chores (e.g., pick up Erin from Volleyball practice, accept a delivery of hand-made oak bookshelves) at one o' clock, I drove with my sister to the reception location, and helped to string lights, decorate tables, determine seating arrangements, offer advice, and generally keep everyone smiling and laughing, while Erin, Grandma and Mame tended to Adelaide back at the ranch.

D & Uncle Denny do battle with white Christmas lights on the balcony at Blackberry.

Mom, Kelli, and Auntie Judi decide who should be cut from the reception after discovering that not all the place cards fit neatly on the provided table.

After two hours of decorating fun, I returned home to shower and dress for the evening's rehearsal and Groom's Dinner. After a very efficient rehearsal that was officiated by Deacon Steve, a friend of Kelli and Charles, we caravaned to a lovely Groom's Dinner, and enjoyed good food, wine and champagne. Joel, after a long day in Minneapolis, joined us at the Dinner, simply ebulliant from his day's activites (which I'm hoping that he'll share here for Toadsland someday in the near future).

It was a day just like that, Adelaide. Whew!

August 20, 2006

Catching Up Post-Nups

Joel & Adelaide tour the subdivision on the morning of K&C's wedding day to fend off pre-wedding jitters!

Cheers to K&C on their fantastic wedding! A wonderful time was had by all! ... Devoted Readers, more stories and photos of the momentous occasion are forthcoming!

August 12, 2006

Roadtrip: St. Cloud Wedding Shower

Last weekend, we piled into the Taurus for yet one more road trip … This time, we headed north on I-29 and then veered East to the home of my family in St. Cloud, Minnesota to celebrate my sister Kelli’s forthcoming nuptials with a bridal shower. We arrived late, late, late on Friday night, after Joel put in a full day’s labor in Yankton, and were up early, early on Saturday morning: As Joel worked on his golf swing (and managed to con my dad into giving him an extra set of clubs to take home) and my grandmothers, my mom and I prepared a “light” and ever-so slightly elaborate luncheon for Kell’s shower, Adelaide had some quality time last weekend hanging on her Godmother Erin’s hip … shoulder … knee. Whatever. The result was certain: Adelaide and Erin – thirteen years apart, almost to the day – seem to be developing a very comfortable relationship.


August 10, 2006


A couple nights ago, Adelaide and I enjoyed an evening of Girl Time while Joel fulfilled some overnight on-call hours at the hospital’s emergency room.

Okay, well, Adelaide turned in at around seven o’clock and I baked some chocolate peanut butter cookies and settled down to watch the recent film adaptation of the Broadway musical Rent. Adelaide snoozed peacefully through the two-hour flick, and so I decided to push my luck and view the feature-length documentary that accompanied the film … Note the words, “feature-length”. I finally went to bed, head full of rock harmonies and belly full of 1% and too many cookies to count, at around midnight.

The alarm clock read 12:16 AM when Adelaide awoke with a whimpery moan. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just give her a little something to eat, and we’ll both be asleep in no time.” Her moans quickly became baleful and angry as the clock ticked from twelve to one.

One became two.

Two became three.

Three was fuzzy.

Four rolled around. I began saying to Adelaide (in a calm, controlled voice), “I’m really tired, and you’re beginning to make me feel frustrated with all the tossing and fussing.” It seemed to help because the next thing I remember was visiting an island community that had a pet shark named Marcie the Beautiful (I know I must have been dreaming because it would take an Act of God to get me to an island whose inhabitants had a pet shark). And then, it was 7:50, and Adelaide began her morning in-bed calisthenics routine, signaling the start of a new day.

Yesterday, we figured it out (with our suspicions and symptoms validated by the Sears Library). We think she’s struggling to push a few teeth through. So, last night at around bedtime, we gave her a healthy (and accurately measured) dose of acetaminophen and let her chew on a cold wet washcloth until she was ready to nod off … And it seemed to do the trick. I slept without dreaming.

August 8, 2006

Shopping Spree

For those who are curious, Adelaide isn't sitting up on her own yet as this photo might lead you to believe ... She's just propped in the corner of the laundry basket enjoying her new romper!

Adelaide is pretty much set for attire for the next six months having received bags, boxes, and carloads of infant clothing from family and friends. Yesterday and today, we sifted through all of our fabric largesse for favorites and laundered everything with care. As you can see, sorting through and washing all of those baby sleepers, hats, winter coats, jumpers, overalls, dresses, socks, and t-shirts was quite a job, but now I think that we’ve ended up on the best side of this deal with our closet full of clean, new (to-us) duds for the remainder of summer and the coming winter months.

Thanks to all of Adelaide’s fashion benefactors, but specifically we’d like to send a shout-out to our Great-Auntie Connie, our friend Sara from Takoma Park, and our neighborhood chums Abby and Ben!

August 3, 2006

Phalanges Fun

Grabbing Game

It's been so terribly hot around here that we can do little else besides sit around in our recliner, sporting minimal attire, and grab our toes in listless response to the temperature.