Friday, May 30, 2008

daddy-daughter camping trip

Ben and Maddie are away on a camping trip with a group of guys and their kids while the moms enjoy a quiet night to themselves. This particular mom was feeling just a teensy bit of heartache when the following pictures arrived via Ben's phone:

Dirtiest Camper Award

Asleep in the tent, all bundled up

Just what I needed to get me through the quiet evening, a beautiful little bundle of love.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

sweat + sheet + curly hair =


vacation photos

Looking out on the Deschutes with Dada

Polishing off a root beer

Exploring the riverbank with Boppa

Playing around with Papa

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

vacation tales

Sunday afternoon we met my parents, aka Grammy & Papa, at the Portland airport. As we waited at the bottom of the escalator, I pointed them out to an excited Maddie. Her legs started kicking back and forth as a smile of recognition started at her eyes, working its way to her spread mouth. She had many hugs and kisses to share, reaching out for her grandparents with loving pats and snuggles. Papa started right in with his whisker kisses, much to Maddie's delight.

Maddie's language is growing in leaps and bounds these days. Just yesterday, she sat with her Grammy on the floor of a first grade classroom, repeating colors as she stacked wooden blocks. This morning, she called out for the "kitty kitty kitty" and when she didn't come, started calling the cat by name: "Emma? Emma?"

Of course, the highlight was last night as she patted her beloved Grammy on the shoulder, snuggling and kissing her again and again, saying Grammy in only a way Maddie could, with adoration and excitement and pride.

First thing yesterday morning we went to visit the "moo moos," which Maddie had been asking for since getting on the airplane, after learning we were going to visit Papa/Grammy. (She said again and again, over the drone of the airplane motor, "Papa? Moo moo? Papa! Moo Moo!" and of course, "Snow!") It was a warm 81 degrees yesterday, perfect Oregon Springtime weather, but we were able to deliver on the bovine inquiry. Maddie thourougly enjoyed the cows, as well as the old Shetland pony, old as her mama, and played for a while on an old tractor, bouncing in the seat, turning the steering wheel, and shifting gears.

And then we have the new toys, environments and heights to explore: while downstairs yesterday, Maddie managed to stop playing the piano and climb her way to the top, four and a half feet of the ground, in a matter of seconds. She sat atop, grinning, looking at Grammy's Mother's Day cards. And a few hours later, she had made her way to the wide window sill behind the couch, strutting to and fro like a rooster, her chest puffed up with pride.

Vacation is fun for us all, even if a lot of work for Mama. Nothing brings me joy like seeing my child thrive.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

wind and light

We went for a "hike" this morning before it got too hot. Once we rounded the hill, a strong warm wind picked up and kept us cooled off while we explored. The brave girl wandered all about, examining rocks and dirt and grass while her dog scampered beside her. 

Later we had a doctor's appointment. Maddie is well above average, as expected, and amazed the doctor as she sat still for all the pokes, prods and inspections. And such a big girl: not even a tear with two shots! We sang "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," she simply frowned and then crawled into my lap for a snuggle. I was a very proud mama. 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

More photos from our week

Happy Mother's Day 



My first trip to the pool this year

I was cold but wouldn't let Mama get me out, oh "No!"

Oh, Dada...I love you!

Examining myself as a baby in Tutu's locket

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mama Day

Dear Madeleine Noelle,

I've always been an emotional person, but becoming your Mama has absolutely ruined my chances of wearing non-waterproof mascara ever again. It was just before Mother's Day two years ago that we found out you were on your way. I sat through the church service bawling, tears of gratitude flowing down my cheeks. Nine months later, at the moment you left my womb and were lifted into my waiting arms, I cried. Now, with every infant baptism or cheesy commercial or performance by a children's choir, I cry. They are tears not of sadness but of indescribable joy and awe that I get to experience life as a Mother. You, dear child, are more beautiful and amazing and uniquely mine than I ever could have imagined. 

It's been a long week, and midway through I was feeling tired and weary and incapable of meeting your constant need for attention, food, love, play and entertainment. I felt like there were too many "bad mommy" days in a row. But I know from experience that this is less a mama issue and more a spiritual one. I cannot raise you, cannot be the Mama I want so desperately to be, apart from the filling up and overflowing spirit of my Savior. When I insist on doing it my way, I become exhausted, overwhelmed and selfish. Wednesday night I prayed to the Lord, would he forgive me for going it alone too many days and give me the glorious strength and patience only he can provide, that I might serve you and be the Mama you need me to be.

The great thing about your Heavenly Father, Maddie, is that he answers prayer. Thursday and Friday were great days. We played and laughed and enjoyed each other. We had kissing fests and snuggle times and wrestling matches and adventure walks. You made me crack up as you danced naked around the house. And last night, as we took a bath together at the end of our very fun day, you did something so tender that I will treasure it in my heart forever. You looked at my breasts, snuggled them, and kissed each one with a sweet little "mwa!" The look on your face was so sweet and genuinely loving. As my eyes filled with tears I told you, "Yes, they were very good to you, Maddie. They deserve lots of love." 

Apart from the love and encouragement of God, I could not be the Mama I am today without the example of your Grammy. What an amazing mom she is! Gentle in her guidance, strong in faith, giving and caring and gracious and so much fun! I see her now as a Grammy, not only to you but also to Grace and Lizzie and Elijah, and am in awe of her ability to turn any situation into a fun game or learning opportunity. She rejoices with your accomplishments and feels the pain of your falls. And through it all, she still remains my own Mommy, listening when I need it, offering such sound advice without any expectations of how I receive or employ it. Your Grammy, she is a fighter and instilled in me the strength of character and gentleness of spirit I see coming through in you. We are so lucky to have her love and devotion as our foundation.

And your Tutu, how you love to entertain her! She never ceases to delight in your silliness or naughtiness. Anytime she sees other babies or little girls, she cannot help but think of you and wonder what you are up to. She would camp out in the backyard without running water or electricity if it meant she could spend more time with you! And we love her so much because she raised your Dada to be inquisitive and energetic and to delight in life, qualities you possess in abundance. She taught your Dada how to love with reckless abandon and to pour his whole self into being a parent. How marvelous that she is part of who you are today!

And then there's Kelly and Susan. You might not know it yet, but someday you will: these two ladies are Mama's lifeline. Without my best friends, without the Mamas of Tyler and Nicole and Tyler and Wyatt, I don't know how I'd make it through each week. Let's just say that if family is our foundation, these girls are the electricity that keep things running. Not a day goes by that I don't interact with these girls, if not in person then by email or on the phone or in our prayers. They are your surrogate parents and love you so dearly. Best of all, they love your Mama and enable and strengthen and encourage her to be the best she can be, each and every day.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms who enrich my life. And to my hubby, who made me a Mama and allows me to stay home each day with the most glorious toddler the world has ever seen, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Praise be to God for the marvelous and indescribable miracle of motherhood!



Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Madventures in May

My first chocolate milkshake
The verdict: YUM!

Riding around in my new wagon,
a hand-me-down from some neighbor kids

Ready for our trip to the beach, Mama & Daddy!

Blowing bubbles with my Daddy

Mama saves me from the cold wet water
(where I was happy to plop right down and enjoy the view)