Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mama and Norah at Effigy Mounds

Late Summer 2008024, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Time to head back to the car!

Late Summer 2008053, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Norah got to ride on our shoulders for much of the hike back.

Effigy Mounds 9

Late Summer 2008042, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

I just love this overlook. You feel so small compared to the river and the bluffs on either side!

Effigy Mounds 8

Late Summer 2008047, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Norah and James enjoying the view

Effigy Mounds 7

Late Summer 2008040, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Here we are at Fire Point. There is a series of mounds that ancient American Indians made to this point overlooking the river. The mounds were ceremonial in nature, often in honor of the dead, but not always. They are called "effigy" mounds because many are in the shape of bears or birds.

Effigy Mounds 6

Late Summer 2008038, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Norah can *almost* run. Here she is trying to run from James!

Effigy Mounds 5

Late Summer 2008036, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Aren't the trees and the forest just beautiful?

Effigy Mounds 4

Late Summer 2008034, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

It took Norah a while to get over the fact that she could pick up any one of the millions of leaves on the ground. Needless to say, it took us a while to hike the trail!

Effigy Mounds 3

Late Summer 2008028, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Which way should we go next, Norah?

Effigy Mounds 2

Late Summer 2008026, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Here we are at the top at Eagle Point. I hate when other people take crappy photos of the three of us, but this is all we have. I told James that I am going to be more discriminating about who I choose to ask from now on--there were some photo enthusiasts there with massive cameras and tripods. I should have asked one of them.

Anyway, you can see the Mighty Mississippi in the background.

Effigy Mounds 1

Late Summer 2008020, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

We decided to go to Effigy Mounds National Monument to see the fall colors over the Mississippi River. It was a beautiful sunny day, and all the maples were a bright yellow. It was really neat. We didn't have a baby carrier for Norah so we just took turns carrying her up this massive bluff so we could see the view. Here is James taking a breather after one leg of the journey!

Have you seen my tomatoes, by any chance?

Late Summer 2008068, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Norah doesn't do a good job of hiding the fact that she's eaten some tomatoes from the garden. They usually squirt all over her shirt!

Norah and "Nano"

Late Summer 2008069, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Norah calls Nonna "Nano"--it is really cute. Once she warmed up to Nonna, they were two peas in a pod! She STILL asks for Nano sometimes, when we are outside, or just randomly when she is listing off the people she knows.

The Giggles!

Late Summer 2008082, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Norah and Ethan would just feed off each other's giggling. Here they have both worked themselves into a fit of laughter!

Feeling Better!

Late Summer 2008084, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Ethan started to feel better on Friday, and here he is playing in Norah's crib.


Late Summer 2008105, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Norah LOVES firetrucks (for that matter, any truck really gets her going!!!!), so we posed in front of the Iowa City FD.

Alessia and Ethan at the parade!

Late Summer 2008095, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Ethan was a bit overwhelmed--especially since he was just starting to feel better after being sick most of the time. But I think he still liked looking at all the people.

At the homecoming parade

Late Summer 2008102, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

We went to the UI homecoming parade. It was a good time--except we positioned ourselves at the end and the UI marching band never came by! Norah still got a kick out of the other participants.

There she is!

Late Summer 2008110, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

She reveals herself!

Where's Norah?

Late Summer 2008111, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

This game is fun until she runs into a wall (which always happens).

Babushka Norah

Late Summer 2008113, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Nonna, Aunt Alessia, and Ethan came to visit for 4 days in late September. They thought it was funny to put Norah's scarves on her like a babushka. Norah got a kick out of it too. We did it to Ethan too--which was hilarious! Check out Alessia's blog to see that: jimandalessia.blogspot.com


Late Summer 2008121, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Norah likes to go for little walks around the cul-de-sac. She sometimes holds our hands--of course we insist when crossing the street. Here she is with James on his lunch break on a particularly beautiful day.

Our little girl

Late Summer 2008123, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

I think Norah looks like a little girl in this photo, not a baby! She is growing up so fast!

Chasing Bubbles 2

Late Summer 2008139, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Almost got it!!!! Just a little further!

Chasing Bubbles!

Late Summer 2008134, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Here's Norah on the patio chasing elusive bubbles! She could do this all day and all night long, if we didn't somehow distract her and hide them.

Cottage Cheese!

Late Summer 2008144, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

We have been experimenting with utensils lately (notice the spoon), but Norah seems to just hold the spoon in one hand while she uses the other hand to pick up the food (in this case, cottage cheese and pears). It is quite a mess, but she's learning.

Messy girl!

Late Summer 2008149, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Here's my messy girl with her creation! Luckily, when I say, "Okay, let's put these away", she will help me out.

Norah's favorite activity

Late Summer 2008145, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Norah loves to empty out my cupboards, particularly right after I have put everything away. She really did a number on this day--she even got the big griddle pan out! She was quite impressed with herself.

Ethan was here, too!

Late Summer 2008158, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Of course, if Alessia and JIm came, so did Ethan. Here he is trying out some pears, I think.

Iowa vs Maine Football game V

Late Summer 2008166, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

All the others, none of whom are looking at the camera!

Iowa vs Maine Football game IV

Late Summer 2008167, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Alessia and Jim at the start of the game.

Iowa vs Maine Football game III

Late Summer 2008170, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

There goes Herky, our mascot!

Iowa vs Maine Football game II

Late Summer 2008172, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

Whenever Iowa gets a touchdown, the cheerleaders come out with big I-O-W-A flags (one for each corner of the stadium). We were the O's and we chanted "O!!!" when our flag was lifted. It is quite stirring to hear all the people shout in unison. Can you see the cheerleading guy flipping in the photo?

Also, there was one guy who held a cheerleader on ONE arm for about 5 minutes straight while she led a cheer!

Iowa vs Maine Football game

Late Summer 2008173, originally uploaded by James Hemsley.

We went to this football game on August 30 with Alessia and Jim, Nick and Sunny, and Francesca and Jarrod. It was a good time, but a little bit HOT in the sun all day. Iowa killed Maine, so we left after the third quarter (we couldn't take the sun anymore!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

it's dead

Well, we heard the devastating news today: our hard drive is DEAD. The company that we sent the drive to said that it had been mechanically destroyed by the reader needle, which must have gotten off balance somehow. As James described it, it is as if someone took a CD, scratched it all over with a screwdriver, and then tried to play it. Not a possibility.

We have lost:
1) All digital photos from 6 years ago to today
2) most of our digital videos from vacations
3) all of our music (though we can recover most from our iPod)

So, we have a commission to our faithful readers: If you have digital photos of trips or events that James and I (and Norah or Samuel) were there for, could you burn them to a CD and send them to us in the mail? We will try to piece our photo collection back together with your help. We will have lost some really great shots (particularly from our trip to the Grand Canyon, and another trip out West), but we hope we can get some of the more important occasions back.

We will buy a new hard drive soon, and put some more recent photos (still in our camera) on the blog soon.

Oh, and a note to those of you who are thinking: "I should get an external hard drive and back up all my data ASAP so this doesn't happen to me!": the company we sent our drive to discourages that since most of the drives they try to recover data from ARE external drives--they tend to fail a lot. So, we will probably be using an online back-up system from now on. Lesson learned. The hard way.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


This morning, I was pulled out of sleep as I heard Norah making noise over the monitor. I looked at the alarm clock and saw that it was only 5:15 a.m. She was saying 'Mama' over and over again--not in a particularly distressed voice, but a persistent one. Then there was a long pause, and then she said 'Nano' (for Nonna) a few times, and then 'Dada' a few times. It seemed like she was trying to get our attention. I waited a bit longer (I didn't want to get out of bed), but then felt guilty, thinking, "What if she is all wet or can't find her pacifier or something?". So, I dragged myself out of bed and crept toward Norah's room.

There she was, sitting in her crib, happy as can be, looking through her photo album in the dim light of the nightlight. She was saying the names people she knew!!! Once she saw me, though, I had to pick her up. We cuddled for a while, and then I put her back to bed.

James thought I should post this so I can remember it.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Twilight Zone

Norah and I go to the library on a regular basis to listen to storytime and play with the trains (choo choo!).

We were there yesterday playing with the trains, and another little girl and her dad came to the area we were in. Norah and the other girl were playing, and I saw Norah take a train from the girl, so I said, "Norah, are you sharing nicely?" in my disciplinary tone. The other girl's dad looked at me strangely; here is the conversation that follows:

Girl's Dad (named Randy): What is your daughter's name?
Me: Norah
Randy: That's my daughter's name too!
Me: Oh! I hope she didn't think I was just telling her to share! Do you spell her name with an 'h' or no 'h'?
Randy: With an 'h'. I wanted no 'h', and my wife wanted the 'h', so we went with the 'h' at the last minute.
Me: That's so funny! Our Norah has an 'h' too, and it took us until the last minute to decide whether we wanted it that way or not!
Randy: Wow! I can't believe they have the same name. That is strange. You don't hear that many Norah's running around.
Me: What is your Norah's middle name?
Randy: Claire, what's your Norah's middle name?
Me: Claire!!!! I can't believe it!

Then he went on to explain how they had come to name her Norah Claire, and I did too. Finally,

Randy: I hope we don't have the same LAST name, or we have entered the twilight zone!
Me: Your last name isn't Hemsley, is it?
Randy: Nope. Phew!

I just thought it was so funny that these two girls, born about 6 months apart in the same city, have the exact same name and were in the library at the same time playing with the same train set (and having trouble sharing it!). Bizarre!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Norah's new tricks

Nonna and Alessia and Ethan came last week to visit, and we had a lot of fun with them. We went to the library for story time, and to the University Homecoming Parade. Nonna spent a lot of time talking with Norah, and taught her to say Mama! I came home from work, and Nonna said, "Norah, who is that?" and Norah said, "Mama!" Imagine my delight and surprise! Norah also says Nanno for Nonna, and that was the first word out of her mouth a couple mornings in a row. So, Norah is talking a little more. She also approximates "dump truck" whenever she sees one by saying, "Duh Tuh!" And baby is "beh beh"--always with the two syllables. It's a lot of fun hearing her try to talk.

She also made up her own sign for when she wants to drink out of our cups--we are very impressed that she has the imagination to do that! I am so glad we did baby signs--they really show you that there is a lot going on inside a 16-month-old's brain--a lot more than they can tell you with spoken words anyway.

Progress on the hard drive: it has been sent to a firm in Madison, WI, where they will try to recover all of our precious photos and videos, and then charge us an arm and a leg (which we will pay!) to get the data back. A lesson to all: back up your hard drives from time to time!!!!

More photos ASAP!

Chiara, James and Norah