Sunday, September 27, 2009

peas, carrots & pjs, oh my!

this boy LOVES to eat!

can't stand the cuteness of the backlit fuzz-head

Nicole and Maddie were very excited about matching pjs

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


If you haven't been on u-tuub or seen the off*ice, then this won't make any sense to you. But, if you are zany like us, you will try to reenact "Par*kour!" in your free time, at a public park, with your daughter.

These are actual pictures of actual people. They are not stunt doubles. Do not attempt these tricks at home. Do not attempt to be as cool as Ben. Do not pass go. Do not collect $100.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Maddie: 32 Months

My Sweet Girl,

Well, here we are: 2/3 of the way through the year to 3! I'm amazed at how much 3 you already have in you. Having a new baby plus starting school is making the second half of this year fly by so fast!

Starting school was a major milestone of this month. You have only been one day, but it is clear that you love school and will get so much out of your time spent in the classroom in the coming year. Every day you ask about school or talk about your teachers ("Mrs. Knoll gots curly hair? Like me?") We love how enthusiastic a learner you are and look forward to all the things you will be teaching us!

You continue to be a daddy's girl, delighting in him, laughing at him, and constantly wanting him to be a part of what you are doing. Sometimes I feel like the "second string" but I honestly enjoy seeing you two love each other in your own special ways. He's been taking you on short rides about town, he on the bike, and you in the trailer, and those trips have become so dear to him. It makes you so happy to have Daddy's undivided attention as you ride behind him, and the conversations the two of you have leave him smiling for hours after your return. It is my hope and prayer that you and your Daddy will always have this special bond and will find a way to talk about life as you grow and mature and change.

You are exceedingly curious and question everything. This is both endearing and exhausting, as the questions come like arrows, straight and fast and hard all day. When I don't have an answer you get frustrated and so we've taken to googling answers and images to soothe your insatiable curiosity. Just this week we learned that moles have teeth, but they aren't sharp like other rodents, but pointy like a cat. Thank goodness for the internet! Before I know it, you'll be using "google" like a verb and jumping on the desktop yourself.

Your fashion sense continues to develop and amuse us all. Last weekend you announced your desire to go skateboarding and then went upstairs and put on your blue polka dot Easter dress and pink plaid mary janes. I added a couple bows to your pigtails and we were off. Never before has there been a lovelier skateboarder, at least that I've seen.

Just last night, around midnight, you called out "Mama! Mama! Help!" I sat upright in bed and then dashed to your side, preparing for a toddler disaster--bad dream, potty incident, etc. When I arrived at your room I found your closet doors ajar, and you were sitting in the middle of the floor shouting "My ballet slippers! My ballet slippers! I can't find them anywhere!" Luckily I remembered seeing them on Samuel's floor, so I went next door, grabbed them, delivered them to your hands, tucked you in, and left. You take your nighttime fashion very seriously, girl.

You are very confident, capable, and growing more and more independent with each passing day. We purchased your first pair of tie-up tennies and they have caused at least a couple time outs this week because you insist on tying them by yourself and often scream in the process, "I CAN DO IT!" We might have to rethink clothes, shoes, etc. that require Mama assistance, because you are quite good at getting yourself dressed and any interference at this point might not be worth it.

I rearranged the fridge and snack cupboard to accommodate this growing independence. When you are hungry for a snack, you can go into the kitchen and find your own yogurt, applesauce, drink, cheese, fruit leather or zbar. You can open most packaging and then throw the trash away in the compactor or drop an apple core in the sink. The other night during story time before bed, I left your room for a minute to put Sam down. You came in the nursery, asked to borrow his stool, and then disappeared. A few minutes later, I heard a familiar sound that I couldn't quite place. I called your name. No answer. Again, and no answer, but again that familiar thud. Then you called out, "I'm down here, eating marshmallows!" And then, "Oops! Now the marshmallows spilled. I'm picking up marshmallows!" Sometimes independence has its hazards, like straight sugar five minutes before bedtime.

You astound us with your compassion and concern for others. When we are outside the house and someone passes by, you shout with genuine love, "My neighbor, Mama!" In a room of small children you will give hugs, kisses and pat-pats to anyone down at your level. You are quick to rush to the side of anyone who is upset with gentle reassurance. You read emotions well and desire for those around you to be content. We can hardly keep you away from your brother, that "little marshmallow," and you are always wanting to hold and kiss him.

We love you sweet girl. We celebrate the curious and kind person you are, as well as your zest for life. Happy 32 Months!



Wednesday, September 09, 2009

School Days!

Today was Maddie's 1st day of preschool! We decided to start the year off right with a Back-to-School Party last night, and our theme for the evening was: Alphabet!

The centerpiece and decor

Maddie's chair and "special girl" crown

decor closeup

Cheers! It just wouldn't be a celebration without "sparkly!"

The meal: alphabet mac & cheese, roasted veggie letters
& fresh tomato salad (Maddie's personal favorite!)

The dessert: Alphabet mini cupcakes!

M is for Maddie!
(notice she can't take her eyes off dessert)

After dinner we spent a few minutes praying for and speaking blessings to Maddie. We prayed for her class and for her teachers. We prayed that she would be kind and obedient, and that everyone would grow to know and love our Maddie for all she is: kind, smart, compassionate, caring, curious, outgoing, and so much more!

Last night we got Maddie down early for a good night's sleep before preschool. She woke about 12 saying she had to go to the bathroom. Ben got up to help her and it wasn't until around 5am this morning that I realized he never came back to bed! He didn't have any concept of what time he got up with her, so he laid down to help her get back to sleep and stayed the rest of the night there! :) She woke up at 6 am, tickled to find Daddy in her bed, and excited about school.

The big girl, all ready for school!
I hardly recognize her in this picture; so grown up!

Mama, Maddie & Samuel on our way to school

Ready or not, CPP, here comes Mighty Maddie!

Excited to meet her teacher, Mrs. Sims

Samuel conked out in the stroller while Mama & Daddy
grabbed coffee after a successful drop off!

When we went back to pick her up, Maddie didn't want to leave! As all the other kids poured out to meet their parents, Maddie continued playing outside with her teachers. :) When she finally came out to greet us, Mrs. Sims said, "Some kids could just TEACH the class!" Ben and I got a good laugh out of her remark, as that is our Maddie to a T. We're so glad she was able to be her outgoing, assertive, smart self on her first day of school.

Maddie said she did an art project at school, a paint project of the ocean, "Like Hawaii, and like Jennie!" (She was very excited and proud of putting all these things together). She enjoyed meeting Mrs. Fairchild (Bible teacher) and Mrs. Knoll (art teacher) and even played with her classmates!

All in all, a great first day. We are so proud of our big girl. Way to go, Preschooler Maddie!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Six Months: unbelievable!

My sweet little boo-boo bear,

I cannot believe that you are six months old. SIX. Half a year. Halfway to your first birthday. Boo hoo! You must remain my baby forever, understand? No more growing. Stop it.

Okay, seriously, first things first--you are growing, whether I want to believe it or not. You are--how shall we say it?--an enthusiastic eater. You love your milk and you sing for your cereal. I can't wait to get started on fruits and vegetables. A whole world of flavor awaits, my little man! Next thing I know you'll be pounding away the shellfish with your sister.

You are, without a doubt, the smiliest baby I know. All we have to do is walk in the room, look at you, make a sound in your direction, and your face lights up with a large, gummy, round-cheeked smile. Some nights after you've gone to sleep I will flip through pictures on iPhoto and my eyes well up with tears when I see that little smile. It is glorious! Complete strangers comment on your easygoing and happy nature. You can make anyone's day with that grin.

This month you've really gotten mobile. You spend a lot of time on your belly these days, spinning around to reach toys or stretching for a handful of your sister's hair. You will dig your toes in, pull your knees under, and inch your way across the floor after a desired object. One evening I set you down to finish up dinner and you crept your way across the living room floor until you could see me. Then you proceeded to sing to me, beckon me, grin at me and woo me to your side. I figured the least I could do was meet you halfway.

I can no longer place you on a blanket on the grass and expect you to be content in the middle. Oh no, you will scoot and barrel roll your way across to the edge, where you can caress the green grass and feel it between your chubby little fingers.

You are using your voice more and more these days, uttering not only coos but repeating syllables like da, ya, and ga. You can cover entire octaves as you sing for your dinner or work to get your sister's attention. Sometimes all I have to do is look at you and you break out in full belly laughs.

Each month you and your sister grow more and more in love. Maddie loves to be around you and has taken to calling you "little marshmallow," much to our delight. You are soft and round and squishy and delicious, so the name fits. She loves to bring you toys, to talk to you in a sing-song voice, and to help you discover new things.

When I think back to that ultrasound appointment, where for a moment we grieved the "imperfect" findings of a routine test, my heart swells in my chest. God was so gracious to deliver us almost immediately from grief to trust, from despair to hope. In the weeks and months that followed, He revealed to us His plan to not only save and protect you, but to use you for His purposes and for His glory. As we fall more and more in love with the boy that you are we grow more and more excited for what He is going to do with your life.

We could not love you more, sweet Sam. You make my heart grow with joy and gratitude with each new morning that you greet me with a "hi" and a smile. Thanks for being such a great little guy and for completing our family in your own perfect way.