Monday, March 24, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

new flowers to pick!

sunlit beauties



my sweet ride: the tricycle that launched a thousand Madventures

squatting pixie

the doggy stole my bling!

pimp my ride: toddler/doggy edition

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

and another thing...

Last Sunday we took you to the city to hear some live music: a little bit of soul, a little bit of funk, and a whole lotta gospel flavor. The vibe was smooth, fun, funky and pretty much too cool for the likes of your suburbanite parents. Nevertheless, we hate to pass up a good gig and when else can we take in live music but between the hours of 3-5?!

Of all the people packed into that small Cuban cafe, you knew the two of us, Boppa, Aunties Nee-Nee and Eskedar, and two of the musicians (because you are one hep cat, little momma). Wiatt let you touch his well-loved tenor saxophones and Justin shared a story about his nephew your age. But friendly faces or not, you were right at ease. Your Daddy and I watched in awe as you worked the room, dancing right in front of the band, boldly approaching loud speakers and navigating electrical cords, visiting strangers in their seats, and returning to us now and again for a snack to fuel your adventures.

For two hours you explored the cafe, wandered the sidewalks with Boppa or Nee-Nee or anyone else who would hold your hand as you navigated the threshold between inside and out. You even kissed the lead singer of the band, a handsome, dreadlocked Tongan for Jesus who any girl in the room would have loved to talk to.

Later that night, your dad said you made him such a "proud papa" as we watched you so confidently move about the room, unafraid to explore and engage and endear yourself to so many people. You were the sunshine that lit up the small cafe that day, and it is our sincere prayer that you never lose your adventurous, courageous spirit that touches not only us, but a room full of people worlds away, in the city, on a Spring afternoon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fourteen Months

My Sweet, Darling Girl,

If one word could capture this past month, it would have to be "Wassat?" From the moment you wake up, often starting in the middle of our morning snuggle and nurse, until the last bits of chatter in the monitor at the end of the day, you are talking. You can say many words with absolute clarity and precision, but lately you have taken to babbling incomprehensible strains of words, often with great gusto. Because you are my child and so teachable and mold-able and open to learning, I taught you to lift your hand in the air, fingertips pressed together toward the ceiling, when saying "more! more!"--much like an exuberant Italian basso profundo ordering another round of pasta with-a meat-a balls-a. If you're going to be silly, might as well take it all the way.

Another fun thing about the past month is how much your hair has grown. It is really starting to fit your little personality. As soon as you are out of the bath, it starts to curl up in these wisps away from your face and into a point in the back. I keep trying to get the perfect photo of it, but it's nearly impossible to capture it just so. We skipped your bath last night due to sheer exhaustion, and after a long hard nap this afternoon your curls were absolutely out of this world. One curl above your left ear was almost a perfect, loose spiral laying alongside the curve of your head.

You've really taken to storytime, which delights us to no end. Your favorites this week are the ones about a firefly, pirates who aren't the best babysitters, and Skippyjon Jones. You love it when our hero, moonlighting as El Skippito Friskito, the swordfighting chihuahua, thrusts his sword into the air, bringing an end to El Buzzito, El Blimpo Bumblebeeto Bandito. You know what is coming, and it fills you with such joy that you giggle, tip your head down, grin ear to ear and then proceed to use your whole body to say "POP!" What I love most about this book, besides the fact that you love it, is that Skippyjon isn't afraid to be exactly who he is: a precocious, hyperactive, imaginative little cat who gets himself into all sorts of trouble. 

Hmm...sound familiar? With toddlerhood, you've become more independent, strong-willed, vocal (mentioned earlier), and determined than ever. It can be exhausting at times. Like when we go to the park and I'm on snack patrol, protecting the other kids' juice boxes and goldfish crackers from your lightning quick grab. Or before bathtime, when you want to keep playing with the food on your tray but I can't possibly stand one more squished seed stuck in your hair and you just want to squeeze one.more.fistful. Or even when I'm making dinner and you decide that the one minute and thirty seconds of prep time needed is just WAY too long and take dinner into your own hands:

Amidst all this busyness, it's a good thing we have our "MAMA!" You've been saying my name for months now, but I've noticed in the past few weeks that you are really enunciating it, emphatically declaring me as your very own with those two simple syllables. Any time I go away for a bit, whether it's while you play in the nursery at church, or hang out with your dad, or even when you are down for a nap, at the moment that we are reunited you say my name with such love and tenderness and joy and excitement that I feel like I'm on stage, accepting an Oscar for "Best Mother/Entertainer of the Year." (Because let's face it, if the world's a stage, well I am definitely your stooge). 
And I wouldn't have it any other way. Sleep well, my big, fourteen month-old girl. Tomorrow's another day, and you're going to need all that slumber in order to be La Chica Busy-ta mas Sweet-a. 
your MAMA!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


When Ben and I were dating, he gave me a copy of Eric Carle's "The Very Quiet Cricket." It is a sweet little tale about a cricket who tries to find his chirp as he greets all types of insects. He doesn't actually make a sound until the very end of the book, when he meets a female cricket, and lucky for him she happens to think it's the most beautiful sound she's ever heard. Inside my copy was a small handwritten note that said, "It's when I'm with you that I find myself chirping."

I loved the book for two reasons: first of all, it reminded me of growing up on a farm, where I fell asleep to the sound of crickets every summer night. Also the simplicity and tenderness of the story, coupled with Ben's sweet note, cheered me to my core.

A few months ago they were selling board book copies at Costco and I picked one up for Maddie, complete with the "chirping" page at the very end. For the past few days, Maddie has wanted to take her cricket book to bed with her at naptimes. She must read it until she falls asleep, because long after her little chatter fades away, there is the sound of smitten crickets chirping through the monitor. To this day, the sound fills me with complete joy and my heart swells with love at this greatest of gifts: family.

Monday, March 10, 2008

independence, thy name is hunger

Tonight as I fixed Maddie dinner, she decided that in order to get fed, she was just going to have to take matters into her own hands. She climbed in the refrigerator, opened the fruit drawer, reached in and pulled out an apple. 
choosing where to bite next


reclining and dining

what'chou talkin' about, Willis?

back to the apple, and yeah, I am saving that
noodle for later, thank you very much!

okay, Mama, seriously, enough with the 
photo dinnermentary!

she's my brown-eyed girl

cracking up at herself

splash, splash


that deserves a four-tooth salute!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

helping Daddy in the backyard

Hmmm...what should I do first??

Do some digging with the shovel?

Eat a little soil?

As long as it involves dirt, I'm in!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

at the park

It was about 72 degrees at noon that day. Maddie squealed with excitement when she saw so many kids at the park. She even went down the slide a number of times all by herself. She is getting to be such a big girl!