Monday, April 22, 2013

Once upon a time

Marla has been getting more imaginative lately. She has most of her books memorized and recites them almost word for word, but when she picks up a non-children's book, she makes up a story and "reads" it. I don't know if her renditions are precisely what Russo and Garcia Marquez intended for their books, but I think it's engaging nonetheless. (Also note her fetching outfit, featuring a swimsuit top pulled over her hoodie.)

Marla had a little lamb

A couple of weeks ago, I took Marla to the Govin's Lambing Barn in Menomonie. It was a great time and I think we'll make it a yearly spring tradition. My only complaint was that Jeff was busy and I could have used an extra set of hands to take more and better pictures.

Marla's favorite part of the excursion was riding a horse-drawn wagon to the barn.

Mama sheep, looking for a handout.

I was so looking forward to getting a picture of Marla holding a lamb, but it turns out she liked looking at the animals a lot more than actually touching them. She was a little freaked out when this guy started to squirm in her arms. Also, I was later informed that this was actually a baby goat, not lamb. Oh well.

A farm worker went and found the runt of the litter so Marla could pet a pig that was more her size. :)

This made me a little nervous. Easy, Lennie.

The other major highlight was a pony ride! She LOVED it and threw a tantrum when it was over. Loving the farm!



We made a one-night getaway to Wisconsin Dells over Jeff's spring break. It wasn't Marla's first time at a waterpark, but it was the first time the water wasn't freezing cold and she truly enjoyed herself. I didn't get any pictures of the first day, which I will eternally regret, as I missed a major photo op following Marla's eating a blueberry ice cream cone and getting her face almost completely blue. But here are a few shots of our second day.

Enjoying a donut for breakfast.

We went to Chula Vista, and there's an underground tunnel leading from the hotel to the waterpark. The walk was a little long, so Marla took advantage of this willing pack mule.

She is officially in love with her new swimsuit and matching sandals.

I was so impressed by how she handled the waterslides in the kiddie area. She went down by herself at least 30 times.


I can't believe this was Marla's third Easter already. Crazy! I'm not big on encouraging obsession with holiday mascots, but I have to admit it was fun to see Marla *sort of* comprehend the idea of the Easter Bunny. We started talking about him about a week before Easter and she somehow got it in her mind that the Bunny was going to be involved in our little getaway to the Dells a couple days before Easter Sunday. No such luck, but of course he visited our house on the actual day.

Checking out her basket.

Is there anything more endearing than a little girl in an Easter dress? 
Walking to the car with Dad following church. Isn't the snow lovely? (gagging noise)

This velvet coat was a hand-me-down from Jeff's brother's little girl. I remember receiving it when Marla was a baby and thinking she'd never fit into such a big piece of clothing, and here we are already. Funny how that works, huh?

Family picture at Jeff's sister's house after church.

Smearing her Easter cupcake all over her face. The cute ensemble was bound to be destroyed at some point, I guess.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

This beginning

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my grandma's passing. I write for a living, but I've had trouble talking or writing about her death, mostly because it still feels impossible to live in a world where she doesn't exist. This is a darker place without her presence. I struggle to find words that would come close to honoring who she was and what she meant to me.

Georgia Terwilliger was a truly special person, and I don't say that because she was my grandmother, but because it's true. She was kind, compassionate, accepting, curious, intelligent, artistic, and giving. In junior high, when we had to write an essay about our hero, most of my classmates wrote about historical or political figures. I wrote about Grandma. I can honestly say that in the 31 years I knew her, I can't ever recall her being angry or upset. She had a serenity and inner peace that I admired greatly.

Though she was eternally optimistic, she was also remarkably deep and thoughtful. She was an artist, a writer, and an avid reader. She was inquisitive and always wanted to learn more than she already knew. When she retired, the school district she worked for named a library after her. She loved to travel, sail, volunteer, and be part of nature. She collected hummingbirds. She was married to my grandpa, her true love, for over 60 years. At family gatherings, she used to watch her three children, ten grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren and remark with satisfaction, "Look at what we did!"

Grandma was my mother's mother, and something about this makes her life and death very poignant for me. She suffered dementia in her final years, but time seemed not to matter when she was around Marla. When she held her, she was the same proud grandmother I'd always known. She didn't always know or remember us, but she always remembered how to love.

I miss my grandma terribly, but I'm grateful she left such a robust legacy behind her. Poetry was one of her many interests, and reading her own poems helps me to feel her presence and hear her voice again. A couple of my favorites are below. Grandma, you have left a mark on this world that can never be erased. I love you.
This Beginning
slow awakening
in the glow
of a new day
and the fading
wisp of a dream.
I look up
from dreaming
to life.
I Give to You
Take my poem
in your mind
make it yours.
Take the words
toss them high
hear them talk.
Take my thoughts
mix with yours
sing that song.
Take my dreams
add your dreams
fly with them.
-Georgia Terwilliger  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A few firsts

I'm still trying to catch up on the last few months of blogging, so this post will be long. Just a few of Marla's latest "firsts" that I wanted to share.
First donut with sprinkles.
First visit to the Minnesota Zoo. Trying to join the penguins in their tank. 

Checking out the tropics with Auntie Alisa and Grandma.

It was one of the many below-zero days around here, so the semi-outdoor Minnesota Trail exhibit was chilly. Actually, it was only chilly for those of us not bundled up in a down jacket and being pushed around in a stroller.

This actually wasn't Marla's first time at Mediterranean Cruise Cafe to watch my sister bellydance, but it was the first time it really made an impression.

She now talks about Auntie Alisa's dancing and pretty dress almost daily.

First bubble bath!

First time making and decorating cut-out cookies for Valentine's Day.

First Valentine exchange at daycare.

First time helping clean up after she emptied an entire box of tissues all over her room.
First time finger painting at home. Might be the last...

First Oreo cookie. She needed no prompting to break apart the halves and eat the cream out of the center. That's my girl!


This is old news now, but I wanted to make sure I documented it all the same. We all know Marla is somewhat accident prone. Fortunately, most of her bumps and bruises have been pretty minor. In December, however, we got a call from daycare in the middle of the day. She had tripped and hit her head on a chair, then had trouble staying awake afterwards. I was out of town for a meeting, so Jeff raced over to daycare to bring her to the ER.
This was a rite of passage I could have done without, but I guess it wasn't really a surprise. Here's her first ER hospital bracelet.  
The doctor determined she didn't need a CT scan and prescribed close monitoring for a couple of days. These pictures don't really do it justice, but she was sporting a giant bump and bruise for a few days.

Well, that's that. Hope we don't need to do that again any time soon. Oh wait...
Exactly a month (to the day!) after her first trip to the ER, Marla was jumping on the couch and cracked her head on the corner of a wall. This time there wasn't a huge bump or any concussion symptoms, but she got a gaping gash on her forehead which bled a lot. Best part was, it was in the exact same spot as her previous head injury. I swear, this child is going to make me go prematurely gray.

Back to the ER we went for another two-hour visit. Bracelet number two!

The doctor didn't think she'd sit still enough for stitches, so she used Dermabond to glue the cut shut. Marla requested a puppy bandaid, but Tweetie Bird was the best they could do.
As you can see from the below photo (taken that same night), she was real broken up about the whole ordeal. It's amazing what a bandaid can do for toddler pain management. She still has a scar and probably will forever, but it's been over a month and we haven't been back to the ER, so we'll take what we can get!