15 December 2009

Holiday Celebration

Our bank brings in real reindeer each Christmas to take children (and their grownups) on sleigh rides. After a fearful meeting with Santa Clause (not pictured) we headed for Chicago to spend Christmas with honorary grandpa Stan (and his family). Willow learned what "presents" are in about 3 minutes (and promptly zeroed in on packages wrapped for her, i.e., the same wrapping paper).

22 November 2009

Our Little Naturalist (more New Mexico)

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (Sandhill Cranes and other waterfowl make their winter home here). Miss W really enjoyed looking at feathers through the microscope. Saw gobs and gobs of Sandhills and Snowgeese during a drive around the refuge.

15 November 2009

More November (Visiting The Stein Men)

Jeremy, our oldest (the third brother), is sitting in the middle. My arm is around Nicholas, and off to the very left is Tyler (Jeremy's boys, i.e., Chris' grandsons--hey, I'm not ready to be a grandmother!). We are sitting outside the visitor center at Saguaro National Park (where Jeremy's step-dad works).

The pictures below were take (of Chris' grandsons) at Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.

13 November 2009

November 2009: Willow's Three Big Brothers

After leaving New Mexico, we brought Willow to Phoenix, Arizona, to meet two of her three big brothers (and her two nephews, i.e., our grandsons). It makes us heartsick to live so far from them all. Matthew is on the left, and Gregory is on the right. They both loved her, and ... vice versa.

11 November 2009

Visiting New Mexico

Pilgrimage to New Mexico (and Arizona, above). The New Mexico trip was to visit my best friend (and her family). Dorothy "Joan" adopted my brother Paul's beloved dog: Hudson (an incorrigible, loving Jack Russell Terrier). Dorothy is a saint: she takes in lost souls of all forms including people who don't have anyone else; the menagerie includes 6 other dogs, two rats, and one horse (Palomino). Dorothy is also my dearest friend from high school and we've maintained our enjoyment of all things immature and tasteless. I am still laughing weeks later :) Her Mom and daughter spent countless hours playing with Willow. Dorothy and her husband also bought Willow her very own horse .... Visited a groovy little Aquarium in Albuquerque, too.

Hudson Goldin

L to R: daughter, Willow, Mom M, and Joan (ha ha ha ... posted in her pajamas!)

02 November 2009

Random Cuteness

Daddy's office.

Poor Gus got a terrible laceration across one of his paw pads. it was a Sunday night, so I grabbed the First Aid box and wrapped it tightly. I was focused on the paw, and realized afterwards that she was putting bandaids all over Gus. Isn't that PRECIOUS !!! P.S. $1,000 for this little mishap: the cut was very deep and the first set of stitches failed (because Gus took off the bandage several times a day, despite wearing a collar).

Willow is sucking the insides out of all the heirloom cherry tomatoes (thank you Sue).

Gently petting a wooly bear.

Playing with Mommy's hair bands on a rainy afternoon.

28 October 2009

Fall in Minnesota

Trails, leaves, bogs, insects, and crisp-sunny days.

30 September 2009

Late Summer

An August afternoon was spent at a nearby petting zoo with our friends Elizabeth (mom), Elanor, and Nadine (and some curious white-tailed deer). What a becoming nose!

Our three kids exploring at river's edge.

Not too much time yet for making things for Willow. I was able to squeeze in some fabric painting onto one of W's shirts: I used her "chops" (from China, carved with her name in Chinese symbols). Love, Mom (one teeny heart next to the symbol for my name).

This many necklaces became a hazard in short order, so they are temporarily put away in the closet.

Goodbye summer.

24 September 2009

County Fair, Butts, and Beauty

County Fair farm animals make us happy

Signing "cow" (sign language). Can you believe how precious W is?

Pure, wholesome delight (for Mom; W isn't too sure).

You'all work with some of these, don't you?

Down the road (great Ginseng habitat, too).

Learning how to dress "monkey." (Am trying to post more pictures, and less text, for the time being. Easier right now).

08 September 2009

Willow and Chloe Hangin' At The River

I took Willow to pick strawberries--she had an orgy, taking one bite out of each one and throwing it on the ground, only to grab another. This is what her shirt looked like when we got home.

20 August 2009

July 2009

At a July 4th Celebration ... Willow got to play with Walter "Fritz" Mondale's granddaughter. To our good fortune, Charlotte and Willow hit it off, as they were the only kids at the party. Turns out they both have the same birthday (literally the exact same age).

Former vice president Mondale lives just up the River (and he is specifically responsible for our Country's Wild and Scenic Rivers Act). He and his family were at our neighbor's brunch (all were getting ready to participate in our town's parade).

Willow and our friend Tod, also watching the parade

The last month has brought forth an explosion of "talking"; Willow-bean has been gearing up for several weeks, for sure (warming up her tongue with delightful sounds like "mama" and "dada"). Now a light has gone on in that darling head. Much of it is still baby-babble, but she is also repeating words when we ask her, and making all the fun farm-animal sounds.

I should also mention that she's been learning words at pre-preschool: "no" + "no way." For example, "Willow, do you want to go inside"? No way. "Willow, lets put on our pajamas"? No way. Of course, her response makes me clue in to the fact that I am not asking the question in the correct format for conversing with a toddler. Here are some photos over the past couple of months....

NPS friends from Omaha camped at a nearby campground: Willow was invited to make her first campfire smores.

Willow (far left ... the gorgeous one with knobby knees) and other members of our local adoption group "Minnesota Red Thread". All gathered to attend the Dragon Boat Festival in the Twin Cities.

Hanging out along the banks of the St. Croix.

On a neighbor's porch, verlooking the St. Croix (just after this photo, two young Bald Eagles landed in a tree about 20 feet from us and were quite boisterous).