Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cutie Pie Update

Nora turned 27 months old (2 years, 3 months) a couple of weeks ago...and with this past month has come a CASCADE of words and communication from her.

Today's demands, in no particular order were typical of the past few days:






She helps me put toys and books away when I ask her. She causes total chaos.

And if you leave her alone with crayons within reach and a book with white pages, this is what you see when you get back.

A "What to Expect, The Toddler Years" parental advice book, covered in crayon.


Christmas Break

What a great holiday weekend we had!

Brian and I are both doing some traveling in January, so we took it easy on ourselves for under the tree presents...we limited ourselves to a waffle maker and a very inexpensive BluRay player, and only the waffle maker made it under the tree.

Miss Nora, on the other hand, had several gifts -- mostly from us and Bestema, who spoiled her with a play stove and cooking tools. We got her a set of food items to go with it, and a few things for her train set and Sesame Street friends collection.

Christmas Day we went over to Jeff & Judy's house, where all available family gathered. It was SO neat -- a very relaxing day -- and a very low key Christmas in terms of presents.

It's amazing to me how there can be so MANY presents under a tree (which is all but inevitable when you have 27 people gathering for Christmas), but this year we had "only" 15 people, and many of us only got a present for the kids, still others like Peter chose to write us each a personal note about what makes us special (nothing quite gives you a good lump in your throat like that!) and Jeremy & Stephanie gave money in our names to a charitable organization that helps people around the world become self-sufficient.

We took Nora our for a walk, joining other family on a walk in the countryside near the railroad tracks, where Nora announced "CHOO CHOO!"

All in all, it was amazing day.

The rest of this Christmas Break has been spent doing lots of practical and fun things around the house...I have been painting the bathroom from what was supposed to be a spa-like mango color (which turned out more like ORANGE ORANGE) to a good, old-fashioned elementary school boy's bathroom blue color, which strangely enough, seems MUCH more relaxing...

I have managed in the last couple of nights, to saw the moulding after Nora went down, then put it up this afternoon while I let TV babysit her (shoot me now, or just hand me that dang Mother of The Year Award), and tonight after she went to bed, I painted it.

I have a lot more to do this break, but dang, this was a BIG project, and one I am especially proud of...High Five!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nora got a great surprise this week!

While we were at Freddies for the fourth time this week, looking for birthday presents and food and a few replacement towels, I went down the aisle looking for some tape and found some water colors instead.
The last time I tried introducing Nora to anything messy, I got a "AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" and a demand that I clean her hands RIGHT NOW.

Since we've made great strides in the Not Freaking Out When We Get Dirty department, namely, her being willing and able to freely play in any sandbox, I figured it was time to try again.

As it turns out, she's seen enough Elmo and his episode about drawing and art, that she knew EXACTLY what to do when the water colors and water came out, along with a blank canvas.She followed my instructions to get the paint wet first, and off she went. I tried to quit after she'd done about 8 pages, but she came in the kitchen and said "paint. paint." So I brought them out again.

By the time she was done, she was very obviously comfortable doing her work and she was bringing finished ones over to me with a look of pride that was just TOO precious! There's nothing quite like that "look what I did, Mommy!" when it's something they've made themselves.

I put a bunch of them up on the back of the front door, and she studied them, and
when she got tired of standing there, she laid down in front of the door and studied them some more!

Later, we brought out the FINGER PAINTS, and she got into those too!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The FIRST haircut!

Wow, it was a crazy day around here!

I worked on a leak in the roof today (in the driving rain), and finished painting the bathroom (more to come on that), and TODAY I cut Miss Nora's mullet off!

This first picture if you click on it is a good "Before", and the rest are a bunch of "after" pictures.
Yesterday I got a few M&Ms at Freddies, and Nora, who calls them "Ms" asked for them after lunch.

I give her VERY few sweets since I know once we turn on THAT spigot, there's no end in sight, and I'd like her baby teeth to make it til she turns 5 or 6, or we have dental insurance, whichever comes first...
And this afternoon as she was sitting there eating a few of her beloved "Ms", I thought "Hey, she's still...and Brian and I DID talk about getting her a haircut..."

So I went ahead and got a comb and a pair of scissors, and without too much fuss, just went ahead and wacked a few inches off the back of her head of baby fine hair.
The amazing thing was, she sat pretty still for the whole thing, and by the time I was done, I had trimmed her bangs a bit so they wouldn't get in her eyes anymore, AND,
even though she looks OLDER which is hard as heck, it looks SO much thicker and cuter.

So at 28 months of age, Nora got her first haircut!

And I LOVED watching her at a birthday party, sitting there eating dinner with a bunch of other kids, looking like she does this every day.

When people say "they grow so fast..." it's truly the understatement of the millenium.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Let's Just Call It a Break...

Brian came home this weekend and it's my first real weekend with no school to study for, and he has LOTS to study for with a test for work that sounds about as impossible as scaling Mt. Everest on a day hike.

Suffice to say, he has a big fat text book; not a lot of time to study; and he's missing a degree in Calculus...but he spent the bulk of his time this weekend studying, when he wasn't trying to squeeze in a few moments with his girls!

This weekend on Facebook, I listed a few of the things I'm doing this Christmas break, and an old friend of mine said something REALLY funny, which was to suggest I REST during Christmas break.

As you can see, I have PLANS for this Christmas "break". It's to paint the bathroom from the hideous orange which my sister Jill, the effervescent diplomat we have in the family, referred to it as "peach".

So I have already taped up and painted the first coat of what will be SEVERAL to cover the "peach" and convert it to a much less spa-color to more of a boys bathroom at an elementary school, but nonetheless more pleasing to the eye for me.

Meanwhile, Nora got a few minutes in with Daddy -- one to play with markers and draw draw draw to her hearts content, and

to spend a little time on SesameStreet.org, where the girl has discovered letters, colors, numbers and even a few shapes.

Our verbal girl has even said "Thank you" for the first time today, AND with Daddy on the phone, she said "Wuv you" while he was on speaker.

Next week we'll see Oma and Opa, (Nora calls them "Eema and Eepa", but we're working on it), and will have a trek through Seattle to see a few other friends along the way.

Hopefully she won't clam up and will talk their ears off as much as she has mine this week.

She is my kid after all, so I guess there isn't TOO much chance of that.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Woo Ho Ho Ho! On to Christmas

I finished my final exams yesterday -- my LAST Anatomy & Physiology class. YAY!!!

Now on to taking a MUCH more fun microbiology class and being able to apply for nursing school.
As a celebration, Mom came over last night and spent the night here, and this morning we took Miss Nora to the mall to see Santa Claus. I LOVE this mall Santa. He wears shirts with fun things like Thomas & Friends (Nora liked that), and he looks so nice and real, and he's super kind and loves his job.
Nora walked up to him and said hi, then wandered off. It took some coaxing to get her to check out the book he had, then I finally sat down next to him because she was NOT going to do it on her own.

Overall though, a great time...and we checked out a four-piece brass band on the way out that played Christmas carols. Nora wasn't too sure about them at first, but once she realized it was good dancing music, she did a little dancing!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A December Zoo Day

There really isn't a whole lot better than asking your kid at 8 in the morning if she'd like to go to the zoo, and she says "ZOOO!"

"Are you sure, Nora? Would you rather go to OMSI?"

"No Mommy. ZOO!"
Ah, the beginnings of a real conversation with my little girl!

Of course in 6 months I'll wonder if I can ever get her to shut up, but for now, every little verbal interaction is a wonderful thing!

Nora and I packed up and headed up to the Portland zoo today, and even though it never cracked 45 degrees today, it was blazingly beautiful with a blue sky and lots of sunshine, so it more than made up for it.
We walked among the lions, saw all of "Africa" including the giraffe being up in the window and coming RIGHT to us as if he wanted to be petted.

And this time, we made it through Stellar Cove where the sea lions Gus and Julian are, and Nora discovered the sand box under the bridge nearby, and stopped to play in it for more than half an hour.

Mommy had her coffee, it was in the sunshine. All was good.

And Miss Nora fell asleep in the back seat on the way home.

A perfect day.

I have to say, the people in Portland who are willing to brave the Portland chilliness and other foul weather are friendlier than the fair weather crowd.

We're cooler. There. I said it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving With Ben & Jerry

Brian took Nora out shopping on Black Friday today while I stayed behind to study, and it included a stop at Ben & Jerry's where our nephew John works (pictured, on the left).
The picture of Brian with her is also too cute not to post too.
So today Brian went to the store and got her a pair of shoes (size 9, GASP) and a Nemo book, and some cards for Mommy and a movie...but the piece of resistance was Nora coming home with a Buzz Lightyear action figure: She calls him "BUTH", which in and of itself is hilarious, but when you say "To infinity!" she raises her arms and responds "and EON!"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Feel Like The Worst Blogger Ever

But that will pass, SOON. I promise!

Nora, Brian and I all drove up to my sister's for the week as Brian works and Nora and I hang out. Mom came with us and between her and the Branhams, Nora's had lots of company! She said "Hi Non" to John as he came in the door today. She sure loves her uncle John!

Then when Brian came home from work tonight, he asked her who she saw today and she said "Non" and "Eh-eck" for "Erik".

Nora and I went to see a friend in Auburn today too -- Cindy and I went to high school together, and her youngest is Nora's age, so we had a good time watching the Mine-fest as they played with trains together (they actually did quite well, with only a couple of outbursts) and her oldest wanted to play with ME as much as she could squeeze between Cindy's and my conversations! She was so sweet.

My final in one class is next week, my other final the week after that, so I've gotten some studying done this week too.

Nora's doing great -- talking more and more -- and when Brian walked in tonight she said "Daddy's Home!" which is really her first full intentional sentence that I can think of.

I had a cold, which turned into a secondary sinus infection with a barky cough I thought would shake the house loose. I had to pony up a few bucks to see a doctor here in my sister's neighborhood and get some drugs, and I'm doing better now.

I also went to a seminar this past week on the nursing school program at one of the schools I'm applying to. I'm very excited about getting my application filled out during Christmas Break. Amazing to think I'm less than a year away from nursing school!

What else have we had? A leaky roof that I fixed alone since Brian was out of town, he's working a lot, and Nora's growing like a weed. Still. She's obsessed with Monsters Inc. (thinks the big blue Sully character is a dinosaur so she calls him "Dino", and says "BUTH!" for Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. I wish they made a plush doll of Buzz, but I haven't found one!

That's about it from here for now! In December I'll try and post more since we'll have more time!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Monster Moppet

Nora's pediatrician saw her today for her 2 year appointment.

Dr. A. is a seasoned pediatrician, so I like his wisdom and his "don't panic" attitude towards most things.

But today he was a little surprised when he came in and said "She's grown 3 inches in 6 months. Again."

She's still off the charts!

Nora, unfortunately, wasn't very impressed.

She isn't a fan of being naked, or other people being without their clothes either. She frequently points that out to me as I'm getting dressed in the morning, and says "Uh oh, Mommy" when she points at my legs before I've gotten a chance to get my jeans on.

Brian went with us this time -- he hasn't had the opportunity to come for many appointments, so we got to go together this time. I figured if nothing else, I could point to Brian, towering over our 5'8" pediatrician and say "THIS is why she's off the charts, as you can see..."

But he read stories to her (while I took pictures, obviously!) and helped hold her while she got her shot and helped divert her attention to the wise choice we made to bring a few M&M's along for afterwards...

And she got over the whole thing rather quickly.

The good news is too, our medical center had some H1N1 shots and mists available, so Nora got to get a dose before we left for free. It's the mist too, so it's not a live virus, and doesn't have the small amount of mercury I just DON'T want to expose her to, so we took care of that too.

So our nearly 2 year, 2 month old daughter is 38 inches tall, 28 pounds, and the only healthy kid our doctor got to see today!

After hearing that, I had her wash hands on the way out!


Monday, November 09, 2009

Nora's Coup -- The Zoo

Miss Nora has gotten to the zoo (and a few other places) quite a bit this week, in large part because I have a major exam in Anatomy & Physiology every TWO weeks this quarter, and Brian has a big test for a licensing thing for work in about 6 weeks.

That translated into a lot of "Mommy Time" or "Daddy Time" on the weekends, so Brian would take her for the better part of the day, then I'd take her.

With a zoo pass and some breaks in the weather the last couple of weekends, that meant at least one trip per parent to the zoo!

It's cute to watch Nora see the elephants and make their noises. She says "BEAR" now for a bear. And can say a host of other words to go with animals and other things she sees.

We're still working on "please"...

The weather has been iffy because well, this is Oregon. But on the rainy days even if we go to the zoo, it's a great day because it's fairly empty AND different animals are out that might not usually be.

This picture is one of the Hat of Many Colors Bestema made her...

And Miss Nora loves to dance, so the drums at the Africa / Predator Ridge exhibit are just the ticket to get the girl moving!

What's really funny is this is Nora's "CHANGE MY DIAPER PLEASE!" stance. She'll lay down in the middle of anywhere, including pavement.

This is a cute one of her playing with her "baby". She feeds it, and rolls it around. It would have been even better if the baby weren't so huge, but I didn't see the size of the stroller/crib/stuff set Aunt Kathy bought, and instead got a bigger doll who you think is going to break its legs getting in and out of there.

I have been scrapbooking Nora's life a bit, and she LOVES here Baby book. All family members are in there, and she loves naming them. She says "Dette!" for Odette...

And when I showed her the page with Joel on it, I said "that's Joel." and Nora said "JOEL! HI JOEL!"

Monday, November 02, 2009


This picture is of Nora's very first hit on her very first Trick-or-Treating expedition.

Several neighbors asked if she'd be out Saturday night. I guess the figure what we all do -- and that the littlest Trick or Treaters are just some of the most fun.

We couldn't get the kid into the bee costume to save our lives this year...

But Aunt Judy sent over a few things for Nora that Hannah used to wear, and the t-shirt gave me an idea when Hannah said she was going as a nerd.

The t-shirt was one that I gave Hannah when she was little, and it says "Cute, Cute Cute, But Nobody Says Anything About My BRAINS."

So along with some plaid shorts, socks under sandals and a very poorly coordinated outfit, we sent Nora out as Hannah's shadow this year for Halloween!
It didn't take long for Nora to "get" the concept of door-knocking in exchange for candy. She thought she was going over to people's houses at first though, and made it into the living room of a total stranger's house down the street, and everyone laughed and she looked around like "WHAT? What'd I do?"

The best part of Halloween was that Nora got her OWN PERSONAL "Wump" -- Nora as you know loves ANYTHING in a large furry costume, so when Hannah's best friend Ana showed up with her boyfriend and Mom, dressed in this original idea of a "Wump" -- Well, Nora just thought that was pretty cool.

I wish the "Hugging the Wump" picture was clearer, but this will have to do...She just loved it though!

We made it all the way around the block pretty much...By the time we got home it was just dark enough the other kids were out and we got to answer the door a few times. It was pretty fun!


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