Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Everything is a wonder these days, from the little bugs to the petals of this poppy, from puddles to popsicle sticks, from kitties to birdies. The world is Madeleine's playground, and she makes the most of every opportunity to learn, create and explore. 

I don't think a day has gone by in the past few weeks that I haven't thanked God aloud for the wonder that is my little Maddie. She is so snuggly and sweet and delightfully conversational, wanting to include me in all her thoughts and adventures and musings. I find myself praying that we always have a close relationship characterized by shared words, inside jokes, and a knowing glance. 

When I found out I was having a girl I was so excited to know that I would be able to do the fun things with Maddie that I enjoyed with my mom growing up: shopping dates, talks in the kitchen, a love for the beach, chocolate for special treats. When Ben asked me the other day my idea of a perfect Mother's Day, I didn't really know what to say. Every day feels like such a gift, and I mean this most seriously, even those days when I am burned out and tired and just ready for 7:00. For so long we waited for Madeleine Noelle, and for so long I cried out to my Lord to hear my prayers and grant my desire for a child. Only his perfect timing, his perfect ways could grant such a perfect child. 

So it is with my own wonder that I wait upon the Lord now: what does my future hold? Another child, created with the best of God's imaginative power? I can only hope for such a blessing twice in this life. My perfect Mother's Day? Getting to watch my baby explore her world. Sharing a special treat. Seeing Maddie twirl around in one of her sundresses. Spending time with my family. 

Saturday, April 26, 2008

images from our week

Playing in the park at Ella's party

Oooh...the kite is so high! Clap! Clap! Clap!

The wild animal stalks her prey in the tall grasses

 My first puddle of the season!

Mashed cheese and carrots makes wicked hair gel. Who knew?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

new interests

The girl is obsessed with wearing our shoes right now. If she sees a pair of adult-sized loafers, slippers or flip-flops she is all about putting them on and walking around. Even to her extreme detriment, as grown-up flip-flops and itty bitty toes don't really work so well. And she gets frustrated with said shoes when they don't do as she wishes (aka stay on her feet for more than two steps). Oh, the screams.

Fine motor skills: the busy bee herself will sit still for ten or fifteen minutes at a time working on a new fine motor skill such as placing the cap back on a pen or buckling the straps on her carseat/booster seat/change pad.

Looking at an everyday word book and finding all the items we name: bird, dog, flowers, sun, bugs, cow, duck, girl, book, chicken, car; and pointing out words she knows: banana, apple ball, moon, baby, dog, meow (cat), hop (bunny). And on and on. The girl is amazing!

Determination is taking many forms these days. 

Sunday, April 20, 2008


It takes all forms. Today, determination found itself in the shape of a small domed cookie flecked with chocolate chips. 

On the way out of church, some high school students had set up a bake sale table to support World Vision. There were muffins, breads and cookies of all types, going for anywhere between fifty and seventy-five cents. A tired girl had no sooner stuffed a quarter bagel into her gob when she quickly began signing and saying, "More! More!" and pointing with insistency at the table before us. I handed her off to a lovely high school girl so as to dig deep in my bag for a wallet. I found it shortly, past the sun hat, sunblock, sunglasses, diaper, wipes, sippy cup and calendar, way at the bottom.

Before a word of warning could escape my lips, a tiny but mighty hand swept in with such fury and ferocity that the slow-moving adolescent guardian was no match. I decided then and there to forgo a "healthier" option of whole wheat flour and fruit filling for the delightfully browned, packed with chocolate chips, to-be-taken-with-a-glass-of-milk cookie that had found its way into a contented little hand. 

She grasped that cookie tightly as we paid the ladies and made our way to the car. Her quick movements the moments before could not hide the sleepy eyes foretelling the long, much-needed nap that lay ahead. The small one sat in her seat and on the short ride home I watched in the rear view mirror as she alternated between nodding off and taking just one more bite. The battle of wit versus twitch continued all the way into the garage, where I removed the wee girl, body wilting into my arms, and carried her upstairs to the crib. 

As her head laid down onto the soft pink sheet, the fingers of her left hand loosened ever so slightly from my arms yet in her right hand that cookie stayed firmly grasped. She rolled over, smiled a big, squinty, four-toothed grin, and put that cookie to her mouth. There she lay, making it clear that she had no intentions of giving up her treat even to rest. I left the room, returning a few minutes later to see her head to the side, eyes half-mast, completely relaxed, and right arm bent at the elbow with the cookie laying touching her lips ever so lightly.

Friday, April 18, 2008

cute & a little bit persnickety

New swimsuit and matching hat

Adventures in the culvert

Me and Mama on one of our nature walks

All done! Get me out of this chair so I can run around!

The new skill I'm working on: 
climbing up and down steep inclines

Day at the Beach

A day at Half Moon Bay, 76 degrees, but even the freezing cold water couldn't keep Miss Maddie away. Mama and Daddy had to trade off water duty because our super-sensitive feet and ankles (ahem!) couldn't handle the chill. But she was one determined girl! The pants stayed dry for about the first 2 seconds, then she was down to the diaper.

Daddy on cold water patrol

Hi Dada!

Content to sit and play in the sand

Seeing the baby ducks, chicks and bunnies at the feed store: Pure joy

back home, enjoying the sunshine

Ohhh Dog-Dog! So glad to see you again!

These days I really love to go for long walks, 
looking for bugs and bees and other crawlies,
and when I get tired Mama gives me a piggyback ride home

And popsicles are pretty nice, too!

more family

Great-Grandpa Bob and Great-Grandma Evie

Aunt Michele, Uncle Ben
Elijah, Lizzie and Grace



Me and Grace in the middle of a snowball fight

Checking out the snowtoddler with Lizzie

Cousin Elijah

the girls

snow days

I like to hold the snow in my little hands!

Every morning I went to get the paper with Papa

And I even got pulled around on a disc

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

a few funny things worth mentioning about parenting a toddler (WARNING!)

My dearest darling girl is a climber. Bonafide! She now can climb up on most any chair, couch, etc. in the home and is also climbing from chairs onto tables. Also standing on the seat and bars of her tricycle. Oh goodie. Last night I sat watching her climb up the trike and making eye contact she removed one hand from the handlebars, balancing two round little feet on the narrow bar running the length of the trike, as if to say "Look, Ma! One hand!" She's a daredevil!

When finished with her meal, instead of signing "all done" as she's been taught, Maddie instead starts waving her hands back and forth, at the speed of toddler, swiping all remaining food and drink to the floor around her. Awesome. Oh, and then she rubs her hands up her face, through her hair, and then grabs her toes, spreading the shmear that was dinner to all necessary ends of her body.

Tonight I had a rare lapse of judgment and forgot that my daughter is, in fact, out to improve her own standing and not in the way of sharing or considering others' needs. Yes, after a long day of "No!" and "Up!" and "MORE!" I helped myself to a handful of chocolate and peanut butter chips as a "reward" for making it to bathtime, and I gave a single morsel to my delight of a child. The teeny girl, clad only in a diaper, pink shirt, and leftover potato scraps throughout her hair, demanded "MORE!" and I opened my hand, only to realize a second too late that she would, of course, speedily grab every last morsel of chocolate and pb goodness and shove them quickly into her nestle-smeared face. Cute.

I leave you with these mental images. Pictures to come later. I'm off to finish my very own handful of morsels, well deserved.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fifteen Months: A Study in Motion

Dearest Punky Pies,

15 months sounds so old to me, and yet here we are. It seems as though the days fly by and you change more and more each month. It was so difficult for me to decide what new developments to include in this update, as you are doing so many fun and exciting things these days.

Your language skills are taking off, and now you love to repeat back to us things you hear, like last night in the bath, when you said to no one in particular, "octopus," while grabbing your little purple squeeze toy by the same name from its resting place. We've not been working on that one, so it caught us by surprise! You have a fondness for funny words like elbow, pinch, waffle, tooshie, and mwowww (aka meow) and your voice is constantly changing from sing-song to growling to silly sounds to high-pitched screams. It's enough to keep most of your Maddie fan club in stitches.

Your Daddy delights in your ongoing projects in the backyard. You've always got at least a few going on simultaneously, whether it's moving dirt from pot to pot, filling buckets or cups with water, picking grass and flowers and buds off all the plants, or "riding" the dog as she attempts to rest on the cool lawn. You've taken a special interest in small creatures this month, noticing tiny bugs and bees as they buzz and hum and fly around. The first time I showed you a ladybug I was amazed as you plucked it right out of my hand into yours, and then my amazement became hysterics when your face quickly changed from curious to freaked out as the ladybug crawled up your inner arm. Now you are content to watch the crawlies from a safe distance.

With the warm weather, I am finding great joy in introducing you to the many summertime childhood pleasures. We play with bubbles (another fun word to say). We search for dandelion "wishers" to blow, watching the seeds drift away. We eat popsicles on the back patio. You've yet to figure out how to balance it by holding just the stick, so instead your poor little hands freeze as you cling desperately to the cold and fruity deliciousness. And as much as I try and help you, you make it clear that under no circumstances am I to take that popsicle away, or even to touch it, for that matter.

A few months back, I taught you that if you can't see the moon, it's gone night-night. So now anytime something disappears, shortly after saying "...go?" you break into snoring sounds. Where'd the bee go? Oh, it's sleeping. That bird that was flying about? Night-night, even though it's only 8:37 a.m. As a matter of fact, I tried to use the night-night to my advantage at about 5:54 this morning, when upon waking you inquired about the location of our other family members. Dada? He's sleeping, Maddie. Snoooz-shooo. Snoooz-shooo. Doggy? She's night-night, too. Snoooz-shooo. As a matter of fact, everyone is still in bed, where they belong! (It didn't work, but I'm not complaining, as you and I had a good fifteen minutes of snuggle time on the couch downstairs as we played the night-night game over and over and over).

A friend, who is also a parent, upon seeing the gregarious and busy nature that is Miss Maddie most-of-the-time wondered aloud "how does your mommy keep up with you?" And it is no easy matter. You are busy all day, every day, and I have to constantly keep an eye out because you are so. darn. fast. Yet most nights, about an hour after we've finally got you to bed--a process of eating, bathing, diapering and dressing that is an outright workout--your dad and I miss you. So we sneak in before heading to bed ourselves, to steal one more glance of that precious little face surrounded by wild sleepytime curls.

This month I had a procedure done that put an end to our morning nursing session. When I planned the appointment months ago, I figured we'd be good and ready to quit by about 15 months. But as the day approached I grieved and re-grieved the loss of our morning snuggles (and the accompanying 20-30 minutes of extra time in my comfy bed). I realize now I was afraid that with the end of nursing, somehow our relationship would change. Maybe you wouldn't be as snuggly or affectionate, or you might feel some sort of rejection from me and act differently. But here we are, a few weeks later, and not one thing has changed. I'm so grateful. I'm still crazy about you, and you still call me with that loving, sing-songy voice: MaMA! MaMA!

I'm right here, baby.

Your MaMA

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Uh-oh! Oh no!

Another video, taken a few months ago:

I left my heart (and camera upload cord) in Sandy

Hello faithful readers!

The posting has been sparse lately, and I have to apologize! I hate to put up a bunch of words with no cute pictures, as I know the Madeleine photo extravaganza is why most of you visit in the first place. You see, as per the title of this entry, I left my cord at my parents' and thus cannot upload any new photos! No Maddie snow pictures yet! No proof of the ongoing pigtail cuteness! No sneak peeks of my cute new haircut. Meanwhile, my memory card is jam-packed with 131 photos from the past few weeks. Do I have you in suspense? Can you hardly wait? Check back this weekend for all this, and more...

So, I leave you with a few oldie-but-goodie videos. Hooray! I've been trying for months to get these uploaded, and after saving our iPhoto library to the hard drive and deleting the files from our Mac (hello, can anyone say 6000+ pictures!), the movies uploaded without a hitch.

Without further ado, Maddie's very first sled train with Mama and Daddy, down the hill at Grammy and Papa's house at Christmastime.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

a few of my favorite things

Favorite things about Oregon:

1. Gah-gee and Pah-Pah (Grammy and Papa): going outside with Papa to see the cows or play in the snow, tickling Grammy's feet, showing the fans all her special tricks
2. "'Noh!" (snow): Every time someone put a coat on, Maddie would shout "Up! Up!" in order to go outside and play in the snow. Upon returning from said snow playtimes, she would always carry in one small snowball to bring some of the fun inside.
3. "Mmmm!" (moo, also cows): A trip outside was not complete without a suburban girl's shout-out to the local beasties. Papa would take Maddie along to feed the cows, and she showed no sign of fear when getting up close and personal with a herd of Herefords. That's our girl!
4. Lots of family for entertaining and being entertained: Grammy/Papa, Joe!, Uncle Ben, Aunt Michele, Grace, Lizzie, Elijah, Gramma Mimi, Papa Bob, Grammy Evie, Cousins Richard, Brenda and Craig, not to mention a menagerie of furry friends including Lucy, Emma, Penny, Jiminy Cricket the Shetland Pony, a herd of cattle, Sophie and Pico.
5. Treats: Brownies, cookies and graham crackers, Oh My! I believe my child ate four shortbread Girl Scout cookies in one afternoon. Let the record state that these were NOT given by the girl's mother but lovingly provided by an assortment of family members who believe one should not be deprived of the finer tastes in life. 

Favorite things about coming back home:

1. Wisteria hysteria: the backyard in in full bloom, wisteria and jasmine offering up fragrant blossoms perfect for plucking and tossing in the fountain!
2. Dog-dog!: Maddie is very much in love with her furry sister and made it quite clear just how much she missed her companion, climbing atop her back, leaning in for a hug, and making little whimpering noises to communicate just how lost she'd be without someone to torment. Hanalei took it all in stride, thankful to reclaim her place under the highchair, source of snacking satisfaction
3. Regular sleep habits: Someone was so excited to be in Oregon she would wake up earlier and earlier each day, with a record earlybird arising of 5:18am! (Luckily for Mama, and this should probably be posted above under favorites about Oregon: extra strong coffee! As well as the ability to finish one's java and breakfast without interruption thanks to the extra help.)

We are back, the sun is out, and these girls have got some playing to do! Thanks Grammy and Papa for a great trip. Can't wait to see you again real soon.