Wednesday, December 19, 2007

just when you thought she couldn't get any cuter...

ELEVEN MONTHS! Miss Maddie is walking more and more these days, taking 7-8 steps at a time, choosing to step out on her own into the wild blue yonder. She is more brave than any baby I've known, never ceasing to amaze (and frighten) me with her courageous exploration of the world around.

Another fun change this month is the explosion of Maddie's language. She uses 7 words regularly (in order of appearance): hi, Mama, Dada, dog, baby, ball, & moo. She knows signs for all done, more, bye, dog, and light. Just yesterday on a walk, from the stroller she pointed toward the sky saying "Ball!" I didn't see a ball anywhere, so I knelt to see from her perspective and realized she was pointing at the moon in the afternoon sky, a white rounded ball. Amazing.

The Christmas tree is a source of great curiosity and creativity, from the shiny presents to the twinkling lights to the (baby safe) ornaments around the bottom third of the tree. She spends a lot of time sitting there, deciding what to play with next. We are thrilled to be celebrating our first Christmas as a family and anxious to see how she handles the new experience of opening gifts! As I type this post, she is playing with the curling ribbon on one of her gifts...good practice for the week ahead.

With eleven months, we have officially started the process of weaning, dropping the afternoon feeding and substituting snack and milk. It was so easy for Maddie, which is not surprising given her amazingly easygoing personality. Not so easy for Mama. Of course we want to have lots more children, but the thought of weaning my firstborn child is much more difficult than I thought (even though I knew it would be hard). With such a busy baby, the few times I get a long, good snuggle are when she nurses. The only other times I'm assured a lap baby is when she falls, which is also happening less and less these days. I'm so glad she is growing and changing, because it is so much fun. But leaving behind the baby of the past year is hard.

Other highlights from this month: more climbing, taking her first steps, riding around the house on a borrowed zebra toy, playing with the "bah-bah" Jesus and the rest of the nativity, eating new foods and trying new drinks (milk was not so welcome at first taste), and trying out Thanksgiving favorites from turkey to potatoes.

One year ago, I was great with child, anticipating the birth not only of my own small one, but filled with the wonder of celebrating Christ's birth over 2000 years earlier. I can only imagine the wonder and joy and fear that Mary experienced, knowing her child was unique and essential for the consolation of all people; and with each passing year, mourning the child that was but celebrating the newness of each new skill, word, and experience, closer than ever to the end of the curse of sin. It is with great joy that we celebrate Christ again this year, as we now have not only our own miracle baby, but we understand with greater clarity the love of a Father who would send his only son in the form of a helpless little baby to be with us at Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

The One

After much deliberation, this is the winning photo for our Christmas cards.

The runners-up:

It's hard to choose when dealing with such extreme cuteness!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

another thing they don't tell you before you have kids

You will come down with every known illness, back to back, starting as soon as the little ones enter the nursery/child care/etc.

We are now entering Round 4 of the Yucky Icky Snotty Sad Sickies. It started Mid-September. You do the math. :(

My friends say that this lasts until their immune system finally catches up, around age 3. It's gonna be a long infancy!

First Steps: 10 months, 1 week, 5 days

Taken just before letting go of piano and walking 3 steps toward Mama.

She did this about 4 times, deliberately took (wobbly) steps on her own! Hooray!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

life as I know it

You know you're a mom when you hear yourself saying, "Please don't eat anything else off the floor. No more floor food."

Go ahead, internet. Pass judgment. YOU try keeping your stone floors clean when it's fall and your dog keeps traipsing in and out, dropping small leaves, branches and whatnot all over. I vacuum every other day. I guess it's not enough. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stop this crazy thing called Time!


How can it be that you are nearly ten months old? I feel like I updated this blog yesterday, when in fact, it was a month ago--so much for regular updates for my 4 faithful readers (Hi Dad!) This month has flown by, which is amazing despite the fact that you and I have spent the better half of it sick. Life really comes to a halt when the cold bugs get you down. I'm finally recovering after 2 weeks of feeling like poo, and you are coughing and congested and tormented. Poor little busy bee.

Despite all this, you are as fun as ever. We have our own little secret code, jokes that only you and I get. People in the grocery store who see me hand you the grocery list and squeal in my highest voice "Don't you go eating my list! I need that!" must think I'm crazy. Who gives their baby a piece of paper that they don't want them to eat? Your Mama do, that's who! You are forever making me laugh, and you know it. One time you slapped me on the breast while enjoying your morning nurse and ever since that fateful giggle, it's become a favorite game. Now you will even reel back, lifting your hand as far away as you can before the SLAP! It doesn't hurt, and for the record, it still makes me laugh.

This month you started exploring new heights, making your way up the structures at the playground and finding all sorts of creative uses for the overturned laundry basket. Your world of accessibility has opened up! New and exciting treasures await! Picture frames? You bet! Lamps, light fixtures, and laptops? Why not? Nothing is safe from your inquisitive little self these days...and I'm considering adding a fourth meal to my day just to keep my energy level constant for the dives, slides and saves I'm doing. Boston, looking for a new infielder? I'm your woman!

You are a constant chatterbox, and it amazes us to no end to hear your babbles changing into what resembles real words! You already know the basics of Mama and Dada, and we hear you use hi, baby, and dog regularly and with intention. We love how you "talk" on the phone, even if it's just the remote. You love to point out the baby on your yogurt containers and in books. Our beloved dog is constantly tortured by your curious little fingers with their pokes, prods, tweaks and pulls. But to hear you say, Dah!Dah! is pure joy. I think Hanalei even likes you some of the time (but mostly when you drop food).

You are excited about seeing people you love, from Dada when he gets home (Squeals! Joy! Claps! Laughter! Dada!) to friends who come by to visit (Claps!) to your family (Squeal! Clap! Clap!). A friend told us when you were first born that you were so social, and boy was she right. You love to socialize, and everyone loves a friendly baby.

Joy, laughter and excitement are no stranger to you, delightful child. Every day you are filled with such wonder and amazement at the simplest of things, and it continues to make me the luckiest Mama alive. Thanks for keeping me on my toes!



Sunday, October 14, 2007

Nine Fine Months

Miss Madeleine Noelle,

Today you are nine months old. When I started making a list of the things you've learned to write in your baby book, I quickly ran out of space on my sticky note. You are a learning machine these days, mastering new skills on a daily basis. It would be impossible to pick favorites, but your monkey noise and dance moves always leave me in stitches. That and the fact that you kiss your baby doll as well as the animals and kids in your books.

Every night when your Daddy comes home from work, we're finishing up your bath, and for the next fifteen or twenty minutes you roam around the nursery naked as a jaybird. I can't say for sure, but I think these times will stand out as treasured memories years down the road: just the three of us hunkered down on the floor of your room, watching you explore and discover as you read books, climb "Daddy Mountain," and play with puzzles, all while nudey. I for one can never get enough of your beautiful rounded baby body, and for as long as you'll let me, any square inch of you is free-range smooching territory.

I can hardly believe how big you are. Looking at pictures for your monthly update I realized my baby is starting to resemble a little girl, and I'm hardly ready to let you go. When you are nursing I savor each second because when those precious minutes are over, you are well on your way to another activity, whether it's sleeping or crawling away. This month you said my name for the first time, on an airplane trip to see Grammy and Papa, and you haven't stopped calling me since. If it was hard enough to let you lie in your crib for a while upon waking or before nodding off, it is much harder now that you can penetrate my heart with "Mamaaa!"

If who you are now is any indication of the person you will be, I am so excited to see you grow and develop. Although it may make my life a little more busy, I hope I will continue to foster in you those amazing things I see now: a delightful curiousity and sense of adventure, love for and interest in creatures great and small, affection for your family and friends, joyful personality, and hilarious sense of humor.

We love you baby.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Out for a morning jog

Now that it's Fall, the morning runs require some tweaking, mostly in the form of a blanket and hat. This pink number is a genuine Costa Rican knit hat from some family friends. Cute, pink, with small fuzzy animals--the quintessential baby girl accessory.

And of course, no trip in the stroller would be complete without Turtle and his friends the plastic rings. Because a jog outside with the beautiful weather and even more beautiful scenery might just not be exciting enough.

First Haircut

Miss Maddie's hair was getting a little crazy...all different lengths on top; wispy, horizontal hair with sometimes curls to the sides; dark at the ends, light at the I took the plunge and trimmed away. It was hard to do, because let's face it, her baby hair was so sweet. But now it will hopefully grow out more evenly and get in her face less.



Sunday, September 16, 2007

maybe the last

8 months is a lot of fun! You are so playful these days, always ready to engage in a game of peekaboo, give high fives or kisses, or crawl after us, giggling with delight. In one month you've started crawling, pulling up to a stand, cruising the furniture, and trying to stand on your own. We barely have time to recover from one major physical developmental step before you're off doing another thing. The world is your playground--full coffee cups, newspapers, pens, dog fur, sharp hearth edges, cords, computers, cell phones, CDs, magazines and more! Nothing is safe from your curiousity.

We cannot imagine a more delighful child. You are always cracking us up with who you are and what you do, from blowing raspberries while you play to singing along with our silly songs to the way you go after our cell phones and sunglasses with that mischevious little grunt. Almost every night after putting you to sleep we marvel at how lucky we are to have you. You are an incredible little person, and we can't wait to see who you'll become.

more pictures

Crawling after the camera

Posing in my new outfit from Great Grandma Dorothy

posting pictures, just because I can

All dressed up for church...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

seven months

Dearest One,

You are now seven months. It is so unreal, as my little baby has become a big baby and is over halfway to one year. This week a new friend joined our world, little Nicole Grace, and to hold her 7 pound body I was overwhelmed with how large you have become since your newborn days. You've doubled in weight, as a matter of fact.

You love to play on the floor, sitting up tall with your drum or blocks, and you creep all over the floor now, pulling with your arms and pushing with your toes. You are sooo close to crawling, I can feel it. Before long, I'll be plugging all the outlets, putting up gates, and giving up my comfortable place on my booty to chase after you on hands and knees. (As much as that sounds like a complaint, I really can't wait!)

You've become quite the traveler, putting in another flight this month, this time to the sunny tropics of Kauai. The ride there was a little tough, as it was during bedtime and you had difficulty getting comfortable. But on the way home not a soul would even know you were on the plane. Quiet as a mouse, all snuggled against your Mama, just like the good old days when I could hold you while you slept.

In Kauai, you amazed us with your adaptability in so many ways: time change of 3 hours, naps on the beach, long rides in the ergo carrier on hikes, I could go on and on. Vacation is definitely different as a parent, not quite so relaxing, but to see everything through your eyes and your experiences was so much fun! You were overjoyed at so many new experiences, and so delightful considering all the changes.

Many people have commented on your eyes lately, at how big they are. And we agree. You are constantly taking things in, wide-eyed, as if to close your eyes even just a bit would deny you the full effect of your surroundings. It is those eyes that look up at me in bed after nursing in the morning, those eyes that peek up through the stroller sunroof to play peekaboo on walks, those eyes that scan the room for your dada or the doggy, that have me under your spell. I live for those smiling eyes, whether open wide in amazement or wrinkled up into smiling half-moons.

The other day your dada kissed us goodbye (you were nursing) and was headed out the door when you immediately stopped what you were doing, looked in his direction and yelled "aye da da!" He immediately returned to my side and covered you in more kisses, delighted to start his day with such a loving goodbye from his best girl.

When we think back to this stage of life, all will pale in comparison to the joy you have brought us. The addition of your fun, joyful, loving, inquisitive and delightful spirit to our lives is more than we ever could have hoped for. I love you, and I love being your mama.

Friday, July 13, 2007

one half of a year

As of tomorrow, July 14th, my baby girl will be SIX months old.

Her Tutu described her lately as "delightful," a word that her daddy has used on more than one occassion. And that is what she is, a true delight. This month she started log rolling, fast and furious, across the living room floor. The large quilt we have been using for floor playtime no longer is big enough for her adventures. The tile floor, tile hearth, and leather couches have all been in on the rolling action, a few times with ouchy consequences. But, as her Grammy said, she will get bruises, there is only so much I can do.

Maddie continues to like singing and music of any kind. Just today I purchased her first musical toy, a drum that makes different noises depending on what you drop inside (instrument noises, animal noises, and a lot of songs). So far, she loves it. Her eyes grow wide with excitement upon hearing a new noise. "Old MacDonald" is still our Ace in the Hole, a song that makes the tears stop and the smiling/singing start. Maddie loves to hum along to almost any song, but especially that farmyard favorite (props to my country raisin'.)

Maddie must have inherited her parents' love for sleep, as she is the Queen of Sleeping! For fear of losing all friends, I have stopped telling my friends just how much she sleeps at night. But between you and me, internet, she is up to 12 hours + at night. It is mah-ve-lous! Naps are short and sweet, but are starting to consolidate into longer times, especially with all the rolling that's been going on. (Just this afternoon, she's working on over two hours as I type this! Hooray!)

Laughing is abundant in our home these days due to Maddie's ever-increasing antics and her ability to make the funniest faces, sounds, and movements. Tutu taught her to raspberry, and it is one of her most favorite activities. She will blow raspberries at just about anyone in an attempt to get them to play with her, or just to admire her general cuteness and amazing noise-making skills. Just the other night I nursed her to sleep and when I placed her in the crib, she woke up for just a second, blew a raspberry, and then laid her head down to sleep. I cracked up all the way down the stairs on my way to tell her dad.

Maddie is amazing. She is a gift. She is more fun, more loveable, more kissable and more delightful than we ever could have imagined. Happy half-year birthday, my sweet girl. I'm so proud to be your Mama.

Friday, June 29, 2007

too dang fast

Shortly after M turned five months old, I was nursing her to sleep upstairs in the nursery when I realized just. how. BIG. she. is. Her wavy-haired head was nestled in the crook of my arm and her daddy long legs dangled precariously between the rungs beneath the armrest on the other side. She was literally spilling off my lap, a relaxed pile of milk-drunk limbs. For the first time since Madeleine's birth, I cried about her growth, the changing that is happening so fast.

Everyone tells you this, "it will go by so fast," as you enter parenthood, along with a barrage of other negative comments such as "oh, this one's a good sleeper? just wait for the next!" or, "you think that's bad?! Let me tell you a REAL infant horror story!" or, my personal favorite, "don't get used to it!," like my lovely baby will turn evil any moment.

There seems to exist among parents a bad news club, or this need to negate positive experiences and sweet moments with some sort of whacked-out backwards parent karma: what seems good now will one day be bad. Why is that? Out of many, many women who I spoke to about labor and delivery, only a select few told me positive stories about their own, and only one told me what was the absolute truth (in my own experience): your labor can be a wonderful time.

As I sat in the rocker with tears in my eyes, I grieved for the moment that would never again be. My child, still so much a baby, was changing by the minute into a bigger, smarter, more independent person.

With each new day, a new development. With each milestone, a celebration. Each morning I love her more and more, and it is true, what parents say (positively, I might add): each stage is your favorite. But she's my child; of course every stage is my favorite because she is absolutely my most favorite thing in the world.

I am in awe of who she already is and find myself wondering at the little girl, teenager, grown woman she will one day be. But these flash-forwards are fleeting, because there are far too many in-the-moment times where I celebrate who she is at that very second, even if the celebration involves tears at the infant she is leaving behind.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Picture Updates

At 5 months, 1 1/2 weeks, Maddie continues to be a whole lot of fun. She started babbling about a few weeks back, her favorite vocalizations involving some combination of the sounds ba, da, la, and ya. She laughs at almost anything, especially the dog, being tickled, and funny noises or faces. In addition, she's a breeze to take on errands, finally accustomed to being in a carseat or stroller and spending the time looking all around.

Naps continue to be anyone's guess, as she'll take 3 long naps one day, and barely sleep an hour during the day the next! However, she almost always sleeps 10-11 hours at night, going to bed earlier and earlier these days. Some mornings start pretty early, but after a little experiement this morning, we found ourselves getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep when Maddie went back to sleep after 10 or so minutes of babbling.

The world is Maddie's playground now. She wants anything that her Daddy or I have in our hands, especially food and drinks. She loves to drink out of Mama's glass and is enjoying her bites of cereal 1-2 times a day. We'll start fruits and vegetables before long, and look forward to the funny faces! In this picture she is exploring one of Daddy's beautiful planter boxes, and we managed to get a picture taken before too many flowers met their untimely death at her chubby, grabby hands.

The hair continues to fall out slowly, leaving telltale shed on Maddie's crib sheet and shirt collars. It's mostly in a mohawk and thick along the base of her head, but there's still enough to enjoy barrettes, ponytails, and ribbons!

Papa and Grammy are visiting this weekend, so Maddie has lots of grandparent love to look forward to! We'll be celebrating our anniversaries together with an overnight wine tasting trip to Sonoma. Mom and Dad are toasting 35 years of marriage, Ben and I are on number 7. Lots of fun to be had!

Only 3 1/2 weeks until our Kauai vacation! That means only 3 1/2 more weeks to work on my base color, lose a few more baby pounds, and only a few more busy work weeks for Ben before relaxed family time. Hooray!

Friday, June 08, 2007

vacation tales

If you ever want to remember why you married your husband, take him on vacation. Upon leaving work for an extended period of time, my husband becomes the fun, loving, affectionate, laidback guy I fell in love with (10!) years ago. Not that he's lame the other 46-48 weeks a year, but there is something about vacation that brings out the best in us all. Time away from the demands of home and office make life almost carefree. That, and two weeks of fishing two amazing trout rivers made him boy-like, giddy and talkative.

This was my first vacation post-Maddie. I wasn't really prepared for the fact that vacation doesn't, really, exactly mean vacation for the Mama. Not that I'm asking for your pity, because any mom reading this post had me figured out at the title, most likely. When you are a mom, your job goes with you on vacation. And she doesn't get less demanding.

Things got especially interesting when my poor sweet child spiked a 102 fever on Memorial Day, followed by a week and a half of diarrhea. When your child is sick, you don't really want to be on vacation. One night the two of us walked the halls until 1:30am when she finally had the bowel movement we'd been waiting for most of the night, enduring screams followed by body writhing and tears. In moments like these the beautiful log cabin with moose and reindeer decorations, large jacuzzi tub, and gleeful husband don't seem quite so magical. You kind of wish for the comforts of home: your own couch, the baby's own bed, freezer stocked with pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough chunks.

The whole vacation wasn't a bust. Maddie was mostly herself despite the ouchy tummy. My hubby was a delight to be around. The cabin was warm and cozy and almost like home. We had a great time with family before Memorial Day, pre-fever.

But it's interesting to know that vacations are hereby different. Not bad, different, because I absolutely love being a mom. And I'd much rather have my husband home and still be "working" myself then be at home while he's gone all day.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


5:40am Daddy's alarm goes off; Daddy pushes snooze
5:52am Maddie wakes up, talking in her crib
5:53am Daddy gets in the shower
5:55am Pick her up, change her diaper while she dramatizes (fake cries)
5:58am Nurse on right side in bed
6:16am Daddy kisses us goodbye
6:26am Stop dozing, switch to left side
7:48am Maddie wakes up, looks me in the eyes and smiles wide
7:55am Start coffee pot, put Maddie on tiny love play gym
8:14am Take dog outside while drinking first cup of coffee, wipe off exersaucer
8:21am Put Maddie in exersaucer, drink second cup of coffee
8:41am Maddie starts to get bored, set cup down to pick her up
8:52am Take Maddie upstairs, change diaper, rock, nurse, rock, put down in crib asleep
10:22am Maddie wakes up smiling
10:23am Change Maddie's diaper, change out of pajamas into dress, socks, and headband
10:42am Leave to run an errand to Babies 'R' Us for supplies
11:45am Maddie falls asleep briefly in sling in store! Oh no! Sleeps only about 8 minutes.
11:55am Drive home, Maddie crying in back seat, text Daddy to ask him to pick up sushi for lunch
12:05pm Nurse Maddie, rock, walk through hall, turn on fan, place in crib, take out of crib, nurse again, put in sling, talk to Daddy while he starts eating lunch, finally place awake, crying baby in crib at 1:17
1:18-1:33pm Scarf down California rolls, try to make conversation while listening to baby cry
1:33pm Walk around upstairs outside nursery trying to decide whether to go in
1:43pm Take baby out of crib, lay down in bed and nurse, fall asleep when baby stops nursing about 2:30
3:08pm Maddie wakes up, try to soothe back to sleep, no success, get up
3:12pm Place baby in swing, hoping to eke out another 45 minutes of naptime, she falls asleep for about five minutes but wakes back up, nap not a success
3:42pm Get tennis shoes on, put baby in stroller, dog on leash and head out for a walk
4:42pm Return home, nurse baby, who falls asleep nursing for about 10 minutes and then jerks self awake, try to get back to sleep, no success
5:33pm Decide to eat dinner b/c it looks like a long night of getting overtired baby to sleep ahead. Dinner is turkey sandwich, sugar snap peas, pita chips and Crystal Light
5:59pm Take Maddie upstairs, change diaper, put in jammies
6:05-6:30pm Nurse Maddie
6:30pm Maddie falls asleep nursing, continue rocking for 15 minutes to make sure she's out
6:44pm Move Maddie's limp legs and arms to ensure depth of sleep, rise from rocker, move toward crib
6:45pm Place Maddie in crib, Maddie startles awake and starts making rapid gasping noises when realizes she's being put down to sleep
6:45 and 33 seconds Lift baby up and try to soothe back to sleep
6:51pm Baby awake, Mama exhausted. Place awake baby in crib. Take long, hot shower. Decide to try first night of Weissbluth's letting baby self-soothe as long as necessary.
7:02pm Long, hot shower actually only 11 minutes in duration, baby still crying.
7:03-7:06pm Towel off, enter baby's room to peek in crib. Baby wide awake, eyes Mama and makes big gummy smiles to entice Mama to take her out of crib.
7:08pm Mama returns to master bedroom, picks up Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" and turns to section about bedtime to get courage to not return to baby's side.
7:14pm Baby stops crying. Mama breathes HUGE sigh of relief and goes downstairs.
7:42pm Baby wakes up crying, Mama inhales sharply and feels heart start beating rapidly. Maddie moves around in crib, settles back to sleep after just 2 minutes. Mama sighs deeply.
7:42-9:00 Mama picks up house, starts dryer to refluff clothes left from yesterday, cleans dinner dish, drinks a large glass of chocolate milk, checks favorite blogs, finishes daily crossword and types up blog entry.
9:18pm Blog entry completed. Baby still sleeping. American Idol a big upset.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

life is rich

My Dear Little One,

Tonight as I cuddled you in my arms before putting bed I was overwhelmed with love and gratitude and contentment. This week marks one year since finding out you were on the way. The joy we felt in that moment of seeing the positive pregnancy test is nothing compared to the joy we feel with you in our lives now.

The relief I feel when you finally fall asleep at night is nothing like the longing, my arms suddenly light and strangely empty upon placing you in your crib. It is so nice to have some adult time but we can't wait for the morning and your bright, smiling face to join us in bed for your morning snack, hair wild and crazy with sweat and hard sleep.

These days when you nurse you regularly pause to gaze up into my eyes and communicate your love in small phrases such as "ah-goo," "mmaaa" or "yayaya." I swear today while playing you looked up at me and said "Hi!" As your daddy prepared his sermon today, talking out loud you watched intently, commenting every few minutes as if giving advice on what to say.

You were and are a miracle. God is so gracious to have given you to us, with your gummy smiles, adorable laughter, chubby wrists, cheesy thighs, yummy snuggles and cheery disposition. We are crazy about you and we love you so much!