At 17 months Nora is into:
  • broccoli (tees!)
  • clinking glasses (salut!)
  • doing it herself
  • chasing after Gatsby(Ats-ee) the papillon carrying around a large tupperware tray filled with sippy cups
  • her lovey, Booboo (tiny fleece blanket with a lamb/hippo/rabbit head depending on which one is clean) 
  • her stuffed turtle (Tuh-tle) from "Uncle Brandon"
  • being done with dinner when she she is done with dinner
  • tea
Why am I giving a 17 month update?  Because we had 17 month photos taken and I feel the need to write something and not just post photos.  The timing is slightly less random than you might think. Basically, I wanted 18 month photos/holiday photos taken but our wonderful photography Tanya of Precious Moments Photography is due with her second child in early December and wasn't going to be available closer to the time Nora hits 18 months. So we went with 17 months.  I'm keeping the holiday photos under wraps (pun totally intended) until a more appropriate time. I refuse to give into the holiday spirit until Thanksgiving has passed. 

Finally! A schedule-free Sunday with no Packer game. Thank you Monday Night Football.  It's not that I'm anti-football or anything. It's just when the Badgers take up a chunk of every Saturday and the Packers overwhelm Sundays and the Brewers were in the playoff for far too long, weekends tend to get kind of crowded.  That's way more sports than this barely casual fan can handle.

Plus, we were running out of food.  And though the local Piggly Wiggly manages to keep us stocked with staples, getting real groceries requires an hour and a half roundtrip drive to Dubuque.  Since there was no game to get home for, we used the opportunity to visit the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.  Mike and I had been before, mainly through Girl Scout trips when I was in grad school and working for GSUSA.  As the admission price is borderline outrageous (I would prefer Smithsonian affliates charge what the Smithsonian nothing) I made an executive decision that we should probably go before we have to start paying for Nora, and it gave us an excuse to see the new addition in the old Diamond Jo Casino.  I hope Nora appreciated the trip - because we're now broke and future trips to an aquarium will probably involve the fish section at PetSmart.

Loving the toddler accessible fishies.

Giant Channel Cat (I know this guy has a name) coming in for a smooch.

Puckering up.

Can you feel the love?

He (she?) has many secrets. Some of which Nora now knows.

Checking out the giant Gar in the recessed window that almost led to an injury.

Petting the badger pelt.  Daddy basically skipped all the other animals and went straight to Bucky.

I love Halloween. Mainly for the chocolate. Not so much for the Whoppers (which, as far as I am concerned, are as much a waste of sugar as Sweet Tarts, Smarties, and anything made with white "chocolate").  I also love Halloween because, unless you take yourself a little too seriously and you're out protesting in the streets (and to be honest, if it weren't for you, I'm pretty sure NOBODY would remember Halloween's evil, horrendous, scary "pagan" roots), it is the one holiday that really is just about collecting and consuming enormous amounts of sugary goodness.  I don't have to feel thankful for anything (except that last Reeses Peanut Butter Cup I discovered after thinking I eaten all of them), be annoyed by people reminding me "the reason for the season" (yes, got it, thank you), or hurt my brain by attempting to figure out the whole bunny/resurrection link (how come nobody goes door to door on Easter complaining?) not to mention having to avoid Cadbury Cream Eggs...gross.

I trick or treated a bit longer than most kids (I was short and got away with it), had quite the time in Madison during and after college (before the whole riot thing started), but frankly, having a kid at Halloween is definitely a parental perk. Especially if said child is too young to really eat much of the candy but looks absolutely adorable in costume. And what kid doesn't. 

This year, Mike announced in August that he and Nora were going as Mario and Luigi. He is, after all, a plumber.  Seriously the easiest costume ever.  Two inexpensive felt hats off Etsy, a pair of overalls for Mike from the bargain bin at Farm and Fleet, and a little eyeliner for moustaches and we were set.  Babies come equipped with red onesies and overalls. Wisconsinites come equipped with green Packer shirts.  I think they turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself.

Luigi & Mario. Mario obviously needs to find a mushroom or a fireflower stat.
The best part of Nora's night (and this includes eating candy) was spending most of the evening on Daddy's shoulders.
What? You don't have a small mustachioed Pebbles Flintstone in your bathtub?

 As it was a spectacularly beautiful October day, we took a short drive out of town to the Vesperman Farms Pumpkin Patch right outside of Lancaster. While we skipped the corn maze...

Nora had a delightful time sitting on giant pumpkins.

And sliding down giant pumpkins.
And trying to haul away very large pumpkins.

Until she found a pumpkin just her size.

And then another.

She was amazed by the pumpkin trebuchet.

And literally went up to it and applauded after it did its thing.

 And just for fun...our little pumpkin at the patch one year ago (on what turned out to be a 90 degree day...ick!)

With apologies for the poor photo quality

Stand in it. 

Sit in it. 

Place it on furniture. 

Place it on your head.

Cousins gotta hug!

Nora (14 months) and her third cousin Paige (17 months) at Mike's cousin's wedding this past weekend. 

I am not afraid of any of the following:
  • Bats (They eat mosquitoes. They are my friends.)
  • Snakes (I took a 6 foot bullsnake to kindergarten for show and tell)
  • Spiders (See bats)
  • Heights
  • Etc.
I would rather the following not come into my house, but as long as they're outside, I will not react:
  • Silverfish
  • Millipedes
  • Mice
  • Ticks
Unfortunately, the following will cause a major freakout and I MAY allow my child to be bitten by a turtle during said freakout:
  • Dead frogs
It all started innocently enough. A midmorning Sunday hike before the mercury rose too far, so off to the Avoca Prairie Mike, Lambeau, Nora and I went.  We left Gatsby at the cabin as apparently he is some sort of tick delicacy (we pulled more than 30 off him one evening a few weeks ago). 

Lambeau found a turtle crossing the path.
Nora went to check it out. As I am in the process of moving her away from said turtle because it is getting orny and she is getting a little rough, I notice that the trail is literally COATED in the bodies of dead frogs.  COATED.
There are live frogs hopping everywhere merrily. Presumably their dead brethren have been smushed by trucks driving down the trail toward the Wisconsin River or overheated in the recent heatwave.  At this point I literally start choking and hyperventilating at the same time.  And forget that Nora is trying to "pet" an orny turtle.  Her yell brings me back to reality long enough to assist Mike in calming her down and checking out her finger. It really does resemble a tasty little morsel.  Mr. Turtle probably thought it was his lucky day - being hassled by a mutant five-pronged earthworm.  Then I go back into "there are dead frogs everywhere mode." 

Once assured that Nora was still mostly in one piece we continued the hike.  Honestly, had I been barefoot I'm pretty certain I'd have confessed to both the JFK and Lincoln assassinations and admitted that I am, in fact, from another planet.  And whatever else you need from me.  I just. didn't. look. down.

Approximately halfway down the trail a sign indicates that it is closed to motor vehicles to the river, so I am able to hike in relative non-hyperventilating comfort.  Until we head back and I realize that I have walk BACK THROUGH THE FROGS.  And we did. I stared at the trees and kept muttering something to Mike about how brave I was being.

So yep, that's it folks. I'm pretty much a neglectful parent. And terrified of dead amphibians. So I'm an embarrassing neglectful parent. Awesome.

Nora, my mom ("Mimmi"), and I spent a lovely weekend in Madison last weekend.  We poked around the shops on State Street and Hilldale, dined at some lovely restaurants, stayed at a great boutique hotel (Dahlman Campus Inn on Langdon and Francis), and explored the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.  We especially enjoyed finding the butterflies hidden amongst the exotic plants in the 'Blooming Butterflies' exhibit.