Thursday, March 31, 2011


I want to write a post about our brief but fulfilling trip to Wisconsin this past week. As I was going through the 900+ photos, I found so many beautiful pictures of you and Thisbe, I had to dedicate an entire post to the two of you. You had such a blast hanging out with Thisbe, if only for a couple days at the hotel in LaCrosse. Thisbe was a bit under the weather and jet-lagged from her Florida vacation but that did not stop her from having fun with you. Both of you had such affection and love for the other. You showed Thisbe how much fun splashing around is and she showed you how hilarious a game of keep away can really be!

Thisbe lives in Minnesota and you live in Maryland. We are lucky to see her a few times a year. It's nice to see Thisbe's parents too! Even though you don't see each other that often, there is definitely a bond that exists. You both just gravitate toward each other and find mischief. I am really excited to watch both of you grow up and see what adventures await these little Jothen girls.

I promise to do a real Wisconsin update soon!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Uncle Kevin is the Coolest: Part II The Video!

Here is the birthday shout out from Chica on Sprout! Thanks to Aunt Clare who recorded it and Uncle Kevin who posted it!!!! When we got back from Wisconsin last night (extremely exhausted), we played the video for you on our TV and you began to shout, "Nora! Chica! Nora! Chica! Birthday!!!" I should have taken a video of that. It was priceless and so worth it.

Today you wore your "My Birthday" shirt again to Ms. Patti's daycare. You also brought "cakes" to share. Cupcakes that is. Since mommy was so jet-lagged, we picked up store bought cupcakes with neon colored frosting and plastic rings mushed in the center. I was horrified to send these to daycare. However, Ms. Patti said they were delicious and all the kids loved them. It made me feel better. Nonni's birthday is Friday and we will be celebrating your birthday (again) with him and my family. Then your kid party is April 16th at a play gym. So your birthday seems like its never ending. Though two is an awfully big birthday. It warrants a few parties :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Because Uncle Kevin is the Coolest!

Today you turned 2. I can't believe it but you have been with us for two entire years.
What will it be like in 16 years? Or 30? I will still be so proud of you.

You love a channel called Sprout. You ask for it by name. You especially love Chica (a chicken puppet) on the Sunny Side Up Show: . It just so happens that Uncle Kevin has some connections on the Sunny Side Up Show and was able to get Chica to wish you a happy birthday today on air!!! I mailed a birthday card a couple weeks ago and it was read on TV today!!! How awesome is that?!?!?

However, the farm in Wisconsin does not get cable channels and the hotel we checked into this afternoon has very limited access so we have yet to watch the segment where Chica wishes you a happy birthday but it is something we are dying to see the minute we land back in Maryland. It was recorded by Nonni and Nonna (who confirmed they saw it), and we set two of our TVs to record it.

Cousin Teddy was the one who alerted Aunt Katie and Uncle Kevin that the Sunny Side Up show was on and that they were reading your birthday card! Only a month old and he is already looking out for you!!! I know we haven't seen the segment on TV yet, but I did take pictures of the birthday card before I sent it in.

There is no denying your Uncle Kevin is the absolute coolest for getting your card read by Chica today. It was such an awesome, unique gift that we will always remember!!! Thank you Uncle Kevin!!!! We love you so much!!!!

As for today, it has been rather laid back and relaxed. We had a delicious Culver's lunch where you had a corn dog but you only ate the dog part. You wore your "Birthday Girl" shirt which got lots of compliments and well wishes. Grandma, Grandpa and Great-Grandma ordered you a Barney cake from a local bakery. Tonight we stopped by the rehearsal dinner for the wedding tomorrow and everyone sang happy birthday to you. You blew out the '2' candle and everyone applauded. You grinned from ear to ear today as you would announce "My Happy Day!" and some people would inquire how old you are and you would respond with a resounding "TWO!"

I cannot even begin to describe how you have changed our lives in the last two years. There are no words for when a person so fully and completely changes everything you are and everything that is important to them.

Happy 2nd Birthday Nora Verna Jothen.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How Loved You Are

Your 2nd birthday is Friday. How did that happen?!?! We will be in Wisconsin for a wedding. You will get to spend your birthday with our mid-west family! Hooray! Our flight is tomorrow and I am getting overwhelmed with travel things.
But this post is not about my stress it's about how loved you are!

First, the next door neighbors wanted to make sure you opened their birthday outfit. An aunt of theirs owns a children's boutique in Rhode Island. They got this outfit for you from there! The tunic comes with aqua shorts which are just adorable! You will be in high style this summer!

Then we got a package from Aunt Katie, Uncle Kevin and cousin Teddy. We Skyped with them last night as they watched you open their awesome gift! The Melissa and Doug Pizza set with 75 pieces! You did such a good job keeping track of your cookie set, that they got you the "more advanced" wooden play set. Uncle Kevin and Teddy also send their favorite book, "Rainbow Fish" and we are going to read it very soon. It comes highly recommended, so I am sure we will enjoy it!

Finally, today you opened a birthday gift from Aunt Kaarn and Uncle Cliff and their brood! It was quite a delight and the most perfect gift! I was going to buy it myself for your birthday! Aunt Kaarn and Uncle Cliff sure know what you like! We took two videos: the first is opening their gift and the second is us playing with the new birthday gift! I think I am going to have trouble wrangling you away from this toy when we leave the house!!!

Nora, there is no doubt, you are one loved little girl. It's not even your birthday yet and you have already been showered with gifts!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring is Here!

Today is the first day of spring! The official start was just after 7pm tonight. The weather has been gorgeous lately, in the 60s and 70s, blue skies. What better way to celebrate the entrance of spring than with a trip to the park with friends and an ice cream cone?!

Your birthday is on Friday, making you an early spring baby. I always loved how your birth was the perfect metaphor for spring: the beginning of new life and growth. Each year I am reminded again how blessed we are to watch you grow into this incredible person.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bathtime ABCs

Today is the Ides of March. Did you know I took 3 years of Latin in high school? That class is why I fell in love with Rome and would lead to your father and I traveling there in December of 2006, where we would get engaged.

When we went to Rome, we spent alot of time at the Roman forum where Julius Caesar was killed and buried. I love all the stories that encompass the Eternal City and the empire that ruled the world. Latin class was also one of the reason I wanted to major in History in college. I was always intrigued with how world history is all connected and really one big chain of cause and effect events.

My hope for you is that one day a class or subject will inspire you learn and explore your world just as Latin did for me.

But for now, we have to work on those ABCs of yours.

Friday, March 11, 2011

No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

Most nights after dinner you help Daddy feed the dogs. I thought you just dump their kibble in bowls and give them bones. Apparently Daddy has been allowing you to feed Brandy her special dog food. Brandy has lost alot of the weight in last 3 months so the vet put her on high calorie - protein rich diet of soft dog food. She loves the stuff but the soft dog food comes in a can.

What parent would give their toddler an open serrated can of death? Your father would! Repeatedly, for weeks. If I had known he was doing this I would have stopped it. But as fate would have it, last night I come running into the kitchen after hearing your blood curdling screams. I knew something was wrong. There you were standing in the sink, Daddy forcing your hand under the running faucet, blood everywhere. Your blood.

"What happened?!?!" I scream over your screaming.
Daddy answers, "I think she cut her hand on the dog food can!"
At this point I am not in the frame of mind to question your father about why you had an opened can and what he meant by 'I think.'

The bleeding wouldn't stop and I am getting increasingly agitated that we need to take you to the hospital. There was blood everywhere and every time we took pressure off the finger, more would gush out. We went next door to see Ms. Trish who is a nurse at our local hospital. She was at a meeting but Mr. Kevin was home. He is a wood shop teacher and has seen his share of cut fingers. But your finger is so small and with the cut bleeding, it was hard to tell how deep it was.

After much panicking on our parts and probably freaking you out too much, the bleeding finally stopped with a tightly taped over band aid. Ms. Trish came over after her meeting to look at it and re-bandage it correctly.

When things calmed back down Daddy explained that you were helping feed the dogs like you do every night (holding an opened can!?!) when all of sudden you say "Ow! Pinch me!" You hand the can back to Daddy and go back to get the bones without another word. When you return with the bones there is blood all over you. This is where Daddy freaked out, picked you up and put you in the sink to rinse off your bleeding finger. It wasn't until this point that you finally started crying, alerting me.

I know your father and I were more traumatized. By bed time you had completely forgotten the night's events while I was still berating your father for allowing you to handle open cans of dog food! You were fine. We were all fine.

We ended our evening with a rousing rendition of No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Please note the bandaged finger and the bloody pants.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Daddy's Shoes

Here is the video of you walking around in Daddy's shoes last night. You are such a typical silly toddler. I love it. After the drama tonight where you cut your finger on a dog food can and an almost trip to the hospital (we got the bleeding to stop after 1/2 hr), I am exhausted.

I prefer evening entertainment where you trot around in Daddy's shoes rather than cleaning blood off all our clothes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ashes to Ashes

Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.
—Genesis 3:19

Today is Ash Wednesday and by Catholic standards this is a very mournful day where we are reminded of our mortality and the sinfulness. It's kinda depressing. Lent is depressing, reminding ourselves of the scorn and nastiness that plagues the human condition. But then we are rewarded with Easter and chocolate and hunts!!! But not before we are really shamed by reenacting the gruesome death of Jesus on Good Friday.

We take you to Ash Wednesday service at 5pm. I was suppose to pick you up from Ms. Patti's at 4:30pm but there was an enormous 10 car accident on my way home. We make it into church by the time the priest is processing in. Daddy met us there. I luckily had a snack baggie of Frosted Mini Wheats in my purse that kept you happy. During the entire mass you would not stop bossing us around. You would shout out "Stop singing Mommmy!" or "time to sit down" or "time to stand up!" Most of the patrons sitting in the last three rows understand that bossy loud toddlers are part of that chosen area. You were met with patient smiles. However besides the rampant bossiness, you had so many questions circling around why are we here and what's going on? Usually you go to nursery during mass. I am trying to retell the story of Lent and Jesus and pointing out the rather large crucifix at the front of the church. "Do you see Jesus up on the cross?" You look hard trying to see and then you question "Baby up there?"
Oh dear.
I tried my best to explain.
Yes, Jesus was a baby (a couple weeks ago) but he grew up over many years and had to die for our sins. We nailed him to a cross and he died (see crucifix at the front of the church). But don't worry he came back to life and now he lives in Heaven with his dad and mom!
You simply listen and nod your head.
Religion is a bit tricky with a curious two year old!

My absolute favorite part of mass was when you "sang" along to one of the many somber songs and turned to me and said "crying." I didn't understand at first, there was no one crying around us (it happened often during the hour that one of the babies would cry). But then I figured out you were talking about the song! "Yes, this is a sad song!" I affirmed. My lessons on tone are working!!!
I'm amazed at what you pick up on.
Like how you have started to set the table for dinner. Your father and I have no idea where you learned how to do this or if you only figured it out from watching. I put out the dishes and utensils in one big pile in the center of the dining room table and go back to cooking in the kitchen. When I come out a few minutes later, the table is set! At first I thought your father was doing it. I've actually never seen you set the table, it's just always been done when I come back in. I'm amazed you pitch in and help without being asked. Just like how you have started to say please and thank you without prompting. I think you do it because you know it's a "good thing to do."
I hope this second kid is as easy as you have been. I don't do anything! You just absorb it and start using the skill!!!

Anyway, we had to rush home for a quick frozen Chinese (shrimp) meal since your bedtime rituals start at 7pm. I thought I would be exhausted but instead we were all energized and ended up having quite a jovial evening together. It started with you excusing yourself from the table (you ask to leave by saying, "done, please?" That has to be a Ms. Patti thing. This gave your father and I time to talk and enjoy some adult conversation. We found you in the living room on the couch surrounded by a pile of books reading to yourself.

Then you entertained us all by walking around in Daddy's shoes and squealing in delight. Don't worry, there's also a video coming!

Finally after a bath, you decided instead of book time, you wanted to "jump bed" where you climb up onto our bed and jump around. We sang a song about some monkeys who liked to jump on the bed and we snuggled together before your bedtime.

Ash Wednesday is a very somber day but for some reason this year, you put a different spin on it for me. Yes, we are sinners, yes Jesus died for those sins and just as God gave us life from ashes, we will return to ash one day. However you teach me to embrace and appreciate the wonder and joy that is so uniquely human especially during small insignificant moments like today because far too soon, to dust we shall return.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No, Not!

In a few weeks you will be two. There is alot going on around your birthday and the weeks following. We have two weddings to attend within three weeks. One in Wisconsin (hello, plane ride!) and one on the border of North / South Carolina (hello, 8hr road trip!). We will be in Wisconsin on your actual birthday, March 25th. Because of our hectic travel schedule we have booked a co-birthday party at "My Gym" with Ashley on April 16th. She will turn two the first week in May. It works out so well since 1. it's half the price 2. we don't have the time to plan a birthday party with activities for two-year olds.

My favorite part of you lately has been your increased communication with the world. You love to speak your mind and tell us all about your day.

At 23 months you have become obsessed with a few sayings:

  • my favorite is "NO! NOT!" which you use in place of just the word no. I guess you want to make sure I really understand that you don't want to do something. "Hey Nora, do you want to take a bath?" NO, NOT!
  • "Right?" you put the word right at the end of almost everything you say. "Nora go get your coat." and you repeat what I say, "Get coat, right?" Your father and I are affirming almost everything you see. "BUS! right?" Yes Nora that huge yellow vehicle was another school bus, the 75th of the day. "Stan naughty, right?" "Dinner, right?" Sometimes you talk for a few seconds and we have no idea what you said but then you say, "Right?!" and we just shrug and say "RIGHT!"
  • You describe foods as either "TASTY!" meaning you like it. Or "SPICY" (you don't like it). You also use words like hot / cold but we have no idea where you discovered the words tasty vs. spicy. Tonight's Fat Tuesday dinner of blueberry pancakes and sausage (hotdogs to you) was TASTY!
  • And if you like something you say "LIKE IT!" and if you don't like something you say "LIKE IT" but with a scrunched up nose and a disgusted look on your face. I have tried to prompt you with "don't like it" or even "not like it" but so far you stick with the same saying. I have a found it a good lesson on tone. "Nora by listening to the tone of your voice, I can tell that you don't like the spinach ravioli. I also see that you don't look happy." You usually just look at me and nod, like "Duh, mother, who would like this!"
  • You are a pronoun champ. You can use almost all the pronouns correctly. "You do it!" "Where are they?" The one exception is I. You insist on using me instead of I or referring to yourself in the third person. "Me do it!" or "Nora get shoes!"
  • You count to 10 with perfection and the alphabet is good until the L-M-N-O part. You are regularly working on lessons with Ms. Patti and have a homework packet each week. Last week's theme was circles and the color red. You know Sunday-Monday but then get foggy with Tuesday and beyond. You love the months and know that your birthday is in March. I don't think you grasp the concept of days / months but the repetitiveness is what you remember.
    • Finally over the weekend we went to the local community college that was hosting a Random House book fair (there is a R.H. distribution center right outside of town). Nonni and Nonna came up for the event. It was a grand affair.

      You perused the many children's books with Nonni and Nonna.

      You met and fell in love with Butch Cassidy a labradoodle who was accompanying an author's book signing who wrote a book about a dog like Butch.

      You attended the Kid's Activity Center which was space themed where you colored, fished for letters, threw bags full of beans through a board decorated with planets and stars. You even got a temporary tattoo.

      After the book fair we went to lunch with Nonni and Nonna where you scared everyone with your "scary face" that you must have picked up at Ms. Patti's. You and Nonni played together while we waited for a our food to arrive. It was such a relaxing afternoon. And who doesn't love some good quality time with Nonni and Nonna?