Saturday, August 29, 2009

my maddie girl

Face painting is fun! And why stop at the face?
Why not color those legs, too?

She loves being scared! Here Daddy is pretending to
do something else and then surprising her with a
"BAWK!" every few seconds. She actually had tears
streaming down her face from the anticipation.

heeeeere's toothy!

Sam's first tooth made its appearance today, August 29, 2009, after a delicious bowl of rice cereal and breast milk. I peeked in his mouth right before dinner and saw the blister there on his bottom gum, lower right (his left). I pulled him in my lap after he finished and felt that poky little tooth!

My baby is growing up so fast.

Friday, August 28, 2009

it was inevitable

Sam didn't seem to mind the bunny ears or the tutu: he just mouthed at the pink tulle and rolled around, smiling and happy. Maddie was absolutely tickled with her masterpiece. I think this is the first of many outfits to come...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes
Seriously, how sweet would it be to win the raffle that gets you a free one of these?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


There are many moments as a mother of two young children where I find myself desperate for simpler, less trying times. I say, "I can't wait for this stage to be over," thinking how much easier it will be on the other side of running away, sassy back talk, or 3am poop-fests.

But then I get on the other side of my camera, and as I peek through the lens at the angelic, gorgeous, inquisitive and playful faces of my children, those moments drift away. When the shutter flicks open I want to pause life, to capture that perfect speck of time in which my child absolutely takes my breath away.

And so I make it a habit to pick up the camera as often as possible, if not to capture the childhood that is so quickly slipping away, then to make myself see my babies through a different lens, to capture a moment so perfect and so inspiring that I fall in love all over again.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

we're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo...

Yesterday we hit the Oakland Zoo with our buddies, the Larsons. It was fun to get out on a nice Summer day to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the wild animals (not counting the four little monkeys who we brought along).

Maddie watches the elephants

It's no surprise that the girls enjoyed the lily pad leaping pond, otter slide, and frog statues as much (if not more) than the live animal exhibits.

This photo reminds me of an outside concert where one leans
against a friend when tired of sitting up. Too cute.


But the absolute highlight of the trip had to be yet another set of inanimate animals--the gorilla and jaguar our girls rode on the Carousel. We saved the rides for last, knowing the girls would be tired out after lunch.

Ben, Maddie, Kate and Kevin are all smiles

The babies stayed behind, but it couldn't stop
sweetie pie Claire's toothy grin!

Another trip past the "mamarazzi"

"All aboard the choo-choo train!!!"

By the time we boarded the Zoo Train, both Maddie and Kate snuggled down against their daddies. It was the quietest part of the day. All in all, a fun trip. Thanks, Larsons, for a great morning!

Friday, August 14, 2009

31 Months: Maddie

My Sweet Girl,

Kelly and I were joking around the other day about how we didn't go into parenting requesting "extra sauce" with our children. You have a spunk and a liveliness about you that I wouldn't trade for the world, because those characteristics make you the incredible girl you are; yet in the especially saucy moments I wonder just how I will make it to bedtime. With each passing month I fall more and more in love with who God has created you to be. I also laugh more and more about what He wants to teach me about myself as I learn to parent you.

You are inquisitive and curious and incredibly intelligent. You soak up information like crazy, asking questions pretty much non-stop until you get all the details necessary to make your own opinions on subjects. At times we are dumbfounded with your questions and observations and wonder to ourselves how best to respond. In other moments it is all we can do to keep ourselves from busting at the seams as you piece facts together. "You got a BAJYNA, *babysitter*? A BAJYNA? You are a girl?!" Poor Daddy will never be able to forget that long, long car ride with our teenage sitter.

You are immeasurably sweet and caring and affectionate. If someone falls on the playground, you rush to their side with kind words, a hug or kiss, and an offer of a band-aid. You encourage your brother as he learns new skills with exuberance and effusive praise: "Oh, Samuel. I am SO proud of you! You rolled! You rolled, buddy!" You love to help me with your brother and are the best at running little errands and doing little projects around the house. Even as you grow tall and lean and long-legged in my arms, you still love to be snuggled, carried, hugged and kissed.

You delight in making jokes and find the thrill of laughter irresistible. All you have to do is don a pair of goggles and instantly your face finds comedic charm and your body starts in with physical humor. Your squeals of excitement at your own cleverness reveal a confidence that is deep, deep within. That is what we love about you, Maddie--even if we didn't laugh at your jokes (and we do), you would find yourself absolutely hilarious.

It's hard to believe you start school in just a few short weeks. But you've definitely outgrown the nursery. At church on Sundays some have taken to lovingly calling you "boss" because you have so many ideas for games and entertainment, and yet so little cooperation from the babies. You are imaginative and energetic and creative. All day long you are making up little conversations between your toys, setting up scenarios for the stuffed animals, throwing tea parties for Samuel's chew toys and play dancing around the house.

Once you are in a classroom, I imagine your intelligence, curiosity, creativity and imagination will flourish. You will love having kids your own age to play with and alongside of you. Undoubtedly you will meet your match in some feisty and fun classmate and you will be fast friends, because you are friends with everybody.

Tonight I watched you run around at the Neighborhood BBQ, smiling and laughing and entertaining everyone with your sociable nature "Hi! What's your name? What are you eating? I'm Maddie. I like cookies. Why you eating that?" Each week our neighbors comment on what a sweet and beautiful girl you are, and your Daddy and I just smile and nod. We know, Miss Maddie, we know. We understand more than anyone what an amazing, precocious, precious and lovable girl you are.

Before I know it, you will be three, and the days known as the "twos" will be far behind us. While in many respects I will be relieved to move beyond the melodrama and loudly-point-out-the-obvious-and-awkward stages, I will miss these last months of Summer at home, just the three of us, making our own adventures, laughing at our own inside jokes, twirling feather boas and donning beaded necklaces, dancing around the house, singing at the top of our lungs.

You are a remarkable child, Madeleine Noelle. Thank you for teaching me each day how to be a better person by increasing my patience, my love, my creativity, challenging my mind and expanding my heart. I love you.



Thursday, August 06, 2009

5 Months: Samuel

Hey Bubba,

With each passing month, I love you more and more, but I also grieve the baby we are leaving behind. It's an incredible journey, this first year, and I just wish it didn't go by so fast! You are such an amazing little guy. You are at a stage where you just give and give and give. Each day you have so much love to share and I can't get enough. You are the happiest, sweetest, most easygoing little fella and you sure make our lives enjoyable just being you.

As I searched through the pictures for this update, it was hard to find many in which you aren't all smiles. Every time I grab the camera you just start grinning away, all gums and cheeks, cooing and singing. You delight in your Mama (or sister, or Daddy, or anyone, really) just being down on your level, talking to you, listening to all you have to say.

Another change this month is your hands. Those two chubby little hands are all over the place, reaching, grabbing, finding things to explore and place in your mouth. When you nurse your hands are constantly moving, touching my face, caressing my hand, holding my fingers. You will even grab your toes and do little stretches all while getting your tummy filled up. It delights me to no end to see you enjoying your world through such careful and tender exploration.

You look up to your big sister, Maddie, and adore her. She simply walks into a room and you laugh, smile or sing in her direction. If she happens to get down in your face to offer a kiss, a sweet remark, or a tight embrace, you go crazy with joy. When she asks to hold you, you will sit for minutes at a time, slumped to one side, squeezed within an inch of breathing, all with that characteristic Samuel smile.

When your Daddy arrives home at the end of a long day, you never fail to deliver, coming through with the most adorable grin and coo in his direction. You could call for me at all hours of the night and it wouldn't matter, because once I peer into those big brown eyes I am sucked in. I delight in caring for you, carrying you around, and cleaning up after you. You are a constant source of joy for this family.

You have gone through so many changes this month. You can roll both ways and shimmy your way around on the carpet and in your crib. You love to arch your back, stand up on our laps and are even attempting to sit on your own. Nearly all your baby hair has been lost, making way for the delightful peach fuzz that is your baby buzz (and so, so soft for the nuzzling!) You love to be outside, on a blanket, rolling around with just a few toys and in earshot of Mama and Maddie.

Thank you for enriching our lives and filling us with giddy joy, for laughing at our lame jokes and putting up with the crazy voices all in order to get you giggling.



Wednesday, August 05, 2009


As Sam gets older and changes from a quiet newborn to engaging baby, he and Maddie have more and more fun together. As far as big sisters go, Maddie is sweet and loving and gentle and kind to her brother. She loves to get in his face and "nuzzle noses," or make him smile by using a funny voice or making silly faces. Samuel is always searching the room for his beloved sister, lighting up with a huge smile whenever she comes into view. Today after waking from his nap, Samuel was all smiles for his big sister Maddie as she told him, "Hey best buddy, did you have a good nap? Did you, sweet little boy?" My heart swelled with love.

jammie time on the couch

all smiles, all around!

resting in the laundry basket