Saturday, January 31, 2009

Birthday Girl! 'The Big 2 Years'

Well, the day has finally come and already gone before I knew it. My little girl is TWO, yeah two! years old. This past year has had its trials but Michaela has changed so much from last year. She is running, jumping, singing and having conversations with me. When grandma and grandpa call, she actually tells them what is going on with her day, granted she is still very hard to understand and I have to be there to interpret; but to her she is talking clear. She started swim lessons and she is by herself, mom and dad watched from the bleachers as she would wait patiently on the pool steps to be called. How much different our lives our from last. Now we have two beautiful girls and our lives are so much more full then they were before Michaela and Danielle.

Grandpa & Grandma came to visit for the short weekend and are helping us celebrate Michaela's birthday and Michaela has been having so much fun, despite the fact that she got sick tonight and threw up. Poor girl, we think she ate too much...but for those of you who were thinking it, no, she did not have any cake.

This year I tried my hand again and decorating my own cake and though I think I improved on last years, unfortunately I have a long ways to go. Maybe I will take a cake decorating class someday, I have a LOT to learn! Anyway, this year Michaela's favorite kitty was my inspiration and below he is posing as the 'model'.

Happy Birthday Michaela! We love you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


A list of things that have happened in the past week.

1) Another schedule fly back and potential job for Malcolm, in central Wisconsin.
2) Malcolm has sent out more applications in case neither of the fly backs work out.
3) The last of the pictures from our Thanksgiving trip to MN are edited, now on to the Christmas batch.
4) Michaela started swim lessons today and absolutely loved them.
5) Danielle ate solids again, but we are worried that she is having indigestion problems causing her to sleep poorly.
6) Christine has come to the conclusion there is no double stroller which will fit in the trunk of our car besides a double umbrella.
7) We are trying a trial membership at the YMCA, which includes childcare :-)
8) We chased after a greater white fronted goose.
9) Michaela will turn 2 at the end of the week.
10) "But it still could be better. Suppose that I add...No time for more, I'm almost home.", well not actually not home but at least time for bed.

By the way, does anyone know the source for #10? If you don't you should look into it, it is a nice quick read and is one that Michaela would recommend.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

5 Months

So, a couple days late, but Danielle is 5 months old and such a wonderful baby. She continues to practice sitting up and tolerates me taking pictures of it. She is growing up already too fast!

Today, we tried our first solid food, runny rice cereal and she was a champ. I think she probably had 8 small spoons of food, though sometimes it took a few times to get in actually down :) So, anyway here are a couple of photos that were taken a couple days ago and then a couple commemorating her first solid food.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Evil Twist of Fate?

So last night was the first night Malcolm was gone and I had an very interesting experience. Michaela took a little while to go down as usual...we have been having a time getting her to go to sleep. She will get out of bed and start playing or talking to herself etc. The past few days I have been trying hard to keep her actually 'in bed'. After about 9:15 I finally didn't hear her anymore so assumed she was asleep, though who knows. For those of you wives who have slept alone you may have similar experiences as me, but I always tend to be a little more 'jumpy' and hear things as night as I don't have my strong hubby there next to me.

Anyway, last night after I had been sleeping awhile I awake to have the feeling that I heard something...someone in the other end of the apartment (not Michaela's room, it seemed farther away). So I freeze up, straining to hear something, then it comes again. Something is rustling, shuffling or something. Immediately thoughts begin to race... 'do I get up go in and find out what it is, what if it is a burglar, maybe I should stay in bed and pretend to be asleep and he will take what he wants and leave the bedrooms alone... should I go in, what if it is just a mouse? Maybe I should get the phone in case I need to dial 911' All of these thoughts are racing though my mind as I am straining to hear more. Then it comes ... "A, B, C, D, E, F" I hear a musical toy Michaela got for Christmas and I shoot out of bed. THere I find Michaela in the living room playing. 'Man, I thought we had a little while before Michaela could open doors!' For those of you who didn't know, Michaela couldn't open doors until last night. So, how is it that by a twist of fate that Michaela decides to have this milestone come when Malcolm is gone and I have the two girls to myself?

So, who knows what will happen the next few nights and naptimes. I ended up sleeping outside her door for an hour before Danielle woke up to make sure she didn't get out of her room again. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Catching Up

So as it has been a VERY long time since my last post and I haven't kept you all informed of the girl's updates, I thought I would take the time to catch you up on things since we came back from Minnesota.

Michaela is definately starting to assert her independence already and I see her getting frustrated when either she isn't able to do what she wants or we don't understand her. Most of the times she is wonderfully patient and will show us what she is thinking which is very helpful. We had her speech evaluated this last week and much to our dismay, but expectation she was behind. She does not finish words and tends to mostly only overenunciate and repeat the main vowel sound. So, Fish is 'ee' and Cracker is 'gra gra' and Giraffe is 'ga' and so on. Makes it tough for most people to understand but I have learned to understand most of it if I have the context to go with it. Also, Michaela has been quite stubborn on the fact that she will not let me take her picture and anytime I bring out the camera for her I am met with furrowed eyebrows and a no,no,no,no! So, alas I have basically no pictures of her for you, right now. Danielle on the other hand is very cooperative! ...

Danielle is 5 months in two days, but as I did not do a 4 month post, partly because we were unable to get her Dr. appt in before we left for Minnesota and partly because I am just lazy, you haven't heard about her progress. Last week was her 4 month Dr. appointment and she was 14lbs 15oz and just over 24". She is doing really well and seems to be a much more laid back baby than Michaela. She definately does not need to be held as often as Michaela (though she enjoys it) and sleeps more on her own than Michaela as well.

Today was a milestone for Danielle and luckily Malcolm got to see it before he left for Texas for 3 days. Danielle is sitting up...not for a real long time but she can make it as long as a minute or so; though she does tend to lean more and more forward as the time goes on. So, anyway, a proud mama moment and I captured a couple pics for all of you as well! So, now there is proof :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

I realize that often I feel busier and more overwhelmed than I really am by failing to take the time to step back, appreciate the situation, and reassess what I am feeling. Tonight after reading a Grimm's fairy tale to Michaela I tried to do just that, I have tried to take a step back and appreciate the situation.

Danielle is sleeping on Christine, while Christine is able to watch a CSI Miami episode. Michaela is not likely in her bed, but at least is sleeping. And I am alone to do whatever I feel like, and rather than work I am on the computer looking at pictures.

We take allot of digital pictures, with the vast majority taken in the past two years since buying a D80 around Michaela's birth. I quick check on our computer reveals that we have over 22k pictures on our computer, the largest portion of which 6k are of people and most often of Michaela and Danielle. I continually fall behind in editing and deleting pictures from trips in which we get to visit family and all the pictures of our girls with them. Just tonight finally finished pictures from a Halloween get together at Wisconsin Dells.

Perhaps not surprising considering our latest craze and addiction to birding, is that we have almost nearly as many bird pictures on our computer, 5K. Many of these pictures are not "keepers" but rather pictures which served a documentation purpose. It is much easier studying a stationary picture of a bird and comparing it to bird books after the fact, rather than trying to recall things such as the tail shape and/or the color of the a certain part. As a result of feeling busy I often do not take the time to deleting these pictures, instead only editing the best of what we have at the time.

Case and point, our latest bird that we were able to watch white-winged crossbills. On Sunday all of us went to a local cemetery and found a flock of them feeding in the pine trees. The girls were not very cooperative, but then again neither were the birds. It was fun seeing them and watching them eat, and unfortunately this the best picture we got.

So even though the picture is not a keeper and one that we will print in either a calendar nor note-card, it is the best we have right now. As such I went through deleted twenty pictures and kept a handful. It is so much easier deleting bird pictures than it is deleting pictures of your daughters and/or family.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Job Status: First Fly Back

Just in case you missed the story/update over the holidays, I am finally finishing school. I will still be enrolled next semester at University of Wisconsin, but plan on defending my dissertation after the spring semester. Part of the finishing process is being on the job market your last year.

I sent out many applications in October and November. I had 19 interviews to date with most of them taking place at the American Economist Association annual meetings which were held in San Francisco this year. Universities, Colleges, Government Agencies, and Private Institutions were all there and interviewing. It was a wonderful experience to meet so many like minded people, and so nice to have such a coordinated job search process for both future employers and employees. I still have one more phone interview next Monday, but otherwise I am mostly done with the first round of interviews.

I have heard back on four of these first round interviews, with three negatives and one positive. The next round of interviewing includes a fly back to the campus/institution and having a more complete interview. On an academic fly back I will make a research presentation, meet the entire faculty rather than just the search/interviewing committee, possibly teach part of a class, and possibly meet the provost/dean/or other school administrators. The fly back is important to both the future employer as well as future employee, as it allows for each side to determine whether the other is the best fit for the future.

Hopefully I will hear more positive news in the near future, but for the time being Christine and I are just so excited to have one fly back!!!