Monday, September 29, 2008

Off to the Apple Orchard

Sunday started out cloudy and rainy, but by noon it had turned out to be a nice, crisp fall day...a perfect day to visit the Apple Orchard. Minnetonka Orchards is probably about ten miles from our house, and it's a nice place to spend a few hours. You can pick your own apples, go on hayrides, walk through a corn maze, listen to music, and, of course, indulge in a caramel apple. Below are a few pictures of our afternoon at the Orchard.

A Maze through the Maize

Soooooo Big!

Our Little Pumpkin

Driving the Tractor

I am tired and crabby and ready to go home

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Visit to Columbus

This past weekend, Richard, Isabel, and I made the trip to Wisconsin to visit family. I had not seen my parents since they moved to the nursing home this summer, so I was not only anxious to see them, but curious to see their accommodations and how they are faring. A nursing home isn't the happiest of places, that's for sure, and it is very difficult to see my parents there, but it is a relief to know that they are not only safe but also being well cared for. My dad would much rather be at home, and he talks about going home often, but the reality is that just isn't feasible anymore. My mom seems more content. She gets out of the room more often and has been taking part in some of the activities. For example, she plays Bingo every Wednesday and Friday. My sister Patti usually plays with her, and apparently the two of them have had quite a run of luck, winning multiple times each session. I was able to join in the fun on Friday afternoon, and I upheld the family tradition by winning three times. There is also a big glass case in the lobby filled with songbirds. My mom, an avid bird watcher her whole life, often wheels herself out to watch the birds. Isabel was fascinated by them as well as you can see in the picture below of her and Grandma.

Up until this weekend, Isabel has been walking a few steps, maybe taking up to ten or twelve, but has been much more comfortable holding on to a hand or a piece of furniture. No longer. This weekend she just turned a corner and started walking, walking, walking...even skipping a little and yes, running. I don't know what brought it on. I guess she just made up her mind. I do know that she had loads of fun walking from one end to the other of the big lobby at the nursing home. My parents delighted in watching her have so much fun, and she brought a smile to a lot of other residents' faces, too.

We also made a visit to one of the parks in town, so Isabel could swing. As you can see, she enjoys swinging very much. I did as a kid, too. It was one of my favorite things to do. There is also a deer pen in the park which currently houses twelve deer, two of which are fawns. They are so tame, they come right up to the fence. We fed them, and Isabel got to touch the nose of one of the babies.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Paddling on the Mississippi

On Friday night, we had the opportunity to cruise up the Mississippi River on the Padelford Riverboat. It was a beautiful evening to be out on the river. We were accompanied by several RJS Software employees and their families. The scenery on the way out of St. Paul was spectacular as we cruised along the lush riverbanks. On the way back to port after dark, the lights of St. Paul sparkled. Even the buffet was very good. It was a very enjoyable evening. Isabel had a great time taking in all the sights. She especially enjoyed going under all the bridges. She would point up and smile as we went under each one, captivated by their height and mass. Here are just a couple pictures of our evening.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Why Pick Up?

She'll just take them all out again. What's a little mess anyhow when the one making it is so darn cute!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Isabel and Norah

Recently, Richard, Isabel, and I made a visit to our friends' Jordan and Jenn's house. Their little girl Norah is one day older than Isabel. It was so fun to see the two little ones interact. At dinner, they intently studied one another. When it came time for fun, they played independently but NEAR each other. Eventually, they warmed up to each other and began to engage. Norah has a cute little playhouse tent. As you can see from the pictures below, the girls spent some time goofing around together in the tent. I think there is a playhouse of some kind in our future.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Itsy Bitsy Spider

In recent weeks, it seems as if a switch has gone on in Isabel's head, and she is beginning to make sense of some of the rhymes and songs that we repeat over and over. In the picture below, you will see her gesturing along to "Itsy Bitsy Spider." She can do the motions for the spider, the rain, and the sun, but she does them at warp speed, so Mommy has to sing the ditty quite fast to keep up. There is a song that we learned at our Community Ed class which Isabel really likes. She is now trying to sing some of the words to it. The song goes, "If your name is Isabel, you can pop right up. If your name is Mommy, you can pop right up. If your name is Daddy, you can pop right up. Now everybody pop right up. Wooh!" She has been doing the "wooh" part for quite awhile, but now she likes to sing, "Bop bop bop bop bop. Wooh!" One of her favorite books is a Sandra Boynton book entitled What's Wrong Little Pookie? The basic gist is that Pookie, the baby pig, is upset, and when Mommy asks why, he won't say, so Mommy asks a bunch of questions to find out the source of Pookie's consternation. Pookie answers "no" to all of Mommy's questions, which get sillier and sillier, and in the end, Pookie can't remember why he was upset in the first place. So we say to Isabel, "What's wrong little Pookie? Are you tired?" She shakes her head no. "Are you hungry?" She shakes her head no. Are you cold? She shakes her head no again. It's really quite adorable. We sing the ABC song several times each day. She just loves the ABC song. How long do you think it will be before she can recite all 26 letters?