Tuesday, December 23, 2008

...and three days old.

I should be wrapping. And drinking the slurpee my sweet husband just got me. But first, some thoughts :)...

I just happened to notice my ticker on the side of my blog that keeps track of Maddy's age. Normally, I'm much more prone to look at the one directly below it...the one that keeps track of how far along I am in my pregnancy...and mentally try to scoot it along at a faster pace. But I just noticed how old Madalyn is today...

2 years. 7 months. 2 weeks. And 3 days old.

The 3 days are what got me. Sometimes it's so easy to get frustrated with toddler-dom (as in "where do the pee-pees go, Maddy? 'In the potty, Mommy.' "Then WHY are they in your panties??") But there is a part of her that is still so little.

I realized tonight it must be the "3 days old" part.

A wise Mommy once told me that your kids will never again be as little as they are right now, today, so enjoy this moment. See, tomorrow she'll be 2 years, 7 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days old. It's a subtle difference, sure, but it's there. How else do they get from being infants to teenagers?

How many days old are your tiny ones? Or if you don't have any children yet, remember to savor their smallness when they do come, no matter what their ages.

Even when they keep picking their noses after you've told them repeatedly to stop. I mean, I've heard other people's kids do that, and I'm sure it's just disgusting.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh, Little M...

M's down for the night. She's talking softly in her bed, and then is quiet. All of sudden, I hear crying. She's clearly upset about something, so I listen to hear what she's saying:

"I want my crib back! I want to sleep in my crib! I don't LIKE my big girl bed!!!!"

That's right. The girl hasn't slept in a crib since...I really can't even remember when we switched her. Um, August? She's never looked back. We don't talk about cribs. She hasn't seen a crib lately. So whyintheworld is she suddenly, acutely, missing her crib at 9:45 at night??? Oh, M.

When I go in to comfort her and patiently explain that the crib is no longer a slumbering option, she wants me to stay and snuggle. Which is all good and fine, but, remember, the little angel is in a toddler bed that doesn't comfortably accommodate a Mama with a growing tummy. When parts of my body start going numb, I tell her that it's time to go to sleep, and Mommy is going out of her room...

"No, Mommy. God said He wants you to stay in here with Maddy. You stay here, Mama."

Come again? I do believe M can probably hear God's voice clearer than I, so I lay with her awhile longer, just to be sure. I mean, how can I argue with that?? I have no idea how she would even know to say such a thing! It's not common practice in our family to say, "God said for you to do so and so"! Then my oh so wise girl says, "Get out of here, Mama. You can come back later."

And that is that. We are often just shaking our heads by the end of the day...

A Steal of a Deal...

***Edited to add: And, just like that, this item is back up to $50.00. The Robeez, however, are still there. Oh, Amazon...you're such a tease...****
Anyone still need a gift for a toddler/pre-school girl?? Or do you have one with a birthday coming up? Because this here little gem is a steal and a half at Amazon right now...The Playskool Cherry Blossom Market for $15.00...that's (get this) 75% off! And if you get your order to over $25.00, you can cash in on free shipping as well. (To do so, I would recommend adding on this or this). You'd wind up with a very impressive gift, and could cackle to yourself over what a steal you got while feeling ever so smug!

My only word of caution would be to snatch it up now, before Amazon jacks the price back up. I've already watch the LeapFrog fridge phonics dip to below $10, and then soar back up. Oh, and stinkin' cute Robeez infant shoes were $9.87 (normally $27.99), but that came and went as well. (**Edited to add: OH WAIT! I lied! Here are the Robeez...they are still available! I told you this was crazy!**)

As for me, I keep taking deep breaths and telling myself that Maddy has a tent. Maddy is getting a kitchen for Christmas from her grandparents. She doesn't need a market. She doesn't need it. She doesn't....... However, my newborn niece on the other hand...hmmm...I wonder if I could save it for a few years???!!! I would feel pretty smug when I pulled it out of my closet and wrapped it for her 3rd birthday :).

****This deal courtesy of the ever fabulous WantNot...which you all should be reading if you want to get in on some truly amazing deals :)*****

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Silly/ Favorite Maddy pics...

*Daddy's birthday...

*Maddy calls this her "dinosaur face"!
My day has so far included:
  • *Telling Maddy it was "still night-night time" when she woke up at 7:30am this morning. It was still dark(ish), and Mommy didn't sleep so well with Daddy being out plowing snow all night, so I was hoping for justafewmoreminutesplease. My reward for this trick? The little peanut snuggled up in my bed and slept until 9am.

  • *No potty accidents so far! M is in the same pair of undies she started the day out in a diaper, but only because she is down for a nap. Don't, however, ask me how many accidents she had yesterday, nor inquire about how many I am sure to have this afternoon simply because of the above brag.

  • *Making chocolate cherry cookies with M. It started out so nicely: I found a recipe in a local paper, had all the ingredients already in the house, had visions of M and I spending quality Mommy/Daughter time. I was even envisioning sharing the sure-to-be-perfect cookie recipe with all of you. However, it called for the unsweetened chocolate to be "melted and cooled", so I popped the bowl in the fridge to speed up the process after heating it. Bad idea, because it got too cold and didn't combine well with the rest of the ingredients. So I have cookies with chocolate flecks. They are o-kay, but not share-worthy. Maddy had a ball helping, even if she did dump a good amount of sugar onto the floor instead of into the bowl :).

  • *Cleaning up the kitchen, making lunch, cleaning again.

  • *Seriously contemplating a nap. Everyone else is sleeping, after all. Granted, Dan was up all night working. But, still...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Then Again, I Cry @ OnStar Commercials...

Kensington's been keepin' it real lately about the current recession and it's effect. I'm so glad. Because there are a lot of struggling, hurting people right now who need a lot more than pat answers or trite quips. I wanted to leave a link to Sunday's message because I love its premise *(I just realized that you still need to click on "Current Series" then "Audio Messages" and "December 14th" to get to what I'm talking about...sorry, it's not letting me link directly to the spot)*:

Can we trust that God will take care of us? I mean, really? And, um, how? How do we, who are down here, trust a God, who is up there, to contend with whatever lion is roaring in our face, breathing down our necks? Your "lion" (bankruptcy, loss of a job, divorce, death of a loved one, pick your flavor) may be so scary, near, and real that you can smell his stinky breath.

Church on Sunday was real, supportive, and very, very touching. It ended with a Rob Bell Nooma Video ("Rain", my fav), so you know that means good, right? Oh, and it also ended with a tearful, pregnant hormonal girl. I'd love to say my tears were a reflection of the depth of my feeling (which they were), but then again, I tear up when I hear those OnStar commercials where the wife has just been in an accident and they patch her through to her husband who says "Baby, I'm on my way." Whew. Only 5 and 1/2 more months. Anyways...

I love the song "Hard To Get" by Rich Mullins, and was about to write out the lyrics, but, I found this, and it is ten times better :). I could have written these lyrics, although, if I had, I'd be a famous songwriter, but you know what I mean...

Here is my favorite quote from the song:

"I can't see how You're leading me,

Unless You've lead me here

To where I'm lost enough to let myself be lead.

And so, You've been here all along, I guess

It's just Your ways and You are...

just plain hard to get."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Maddy! Look at the camera! Smile!

**Updated** Thank you for all your responses...I truly appreciate the input! In the end, the bottom picture won out and is officially on our card. I was very surprised how much love picture Number 1 got, even though I never intended it to be an official contender! Hey, if you guys love Maddy not looking at the camera and making funny faces, I'll be sure to hook you up! I've got 10 times more of those kind of pics than the traditional kind! :)*******
Here are two options for our Christmas card (and yes, I'm ordering them tomorrow :), so let me know what you think...a special thanks to Miyuki, our photographer, who patiently said, "Maddy! Look at the camera! Maddy! Please smile!" over and over. This first one is just thrown in to be funny. The two choices follow...

Let me know what you think!

Friday, December 12, 2008

"And An 'I Spy' Book..."

She'd been rehearsing her list for weeks. "Madalyn, what are you going to ask Santa for, for Christmas?"
  • A Dora ball.
  • A Dora game for my Leap Pad.
  • A Lightening McQueen toy. (Think "Cars")
  • An "I Spy" Book.

And that was that. I can't tell you why all of those items were picked, but they were what she told us over and over that she wanted for Christmas.

So the big day came. We met friends for an evening celebration of the amazing, unique lighting of a nearby downtown. Santa would be there. Sure enough, we found a long line (outside, of course, in the freezing cold), and joined it. We inched along, and by the time we neared the large stage where Santa sat, Madalyn was dancing with excitement. I wasn't sure if she planned to sit on Santa's lap or put on a show, complete with robust renditions of toddler-interpreted Christmas carols. It was our turn and I handed her over to Mrs. Claus, who deposited her on Santa's lap. She was awestruck, caught up in the moment. When the question came, "And what do you want for Christmas?", my never-at-a-loss daughter...lost her words. Her eyes turned to me and I recited her list:

  • A Dora ball.
  • A Dora game for her Leap Pad.
  • A Lightening McQueen toy.

"Right, Maddy? That's what you want?"

Madalyn looks at me. She looks at Santa. She waits a beat. Clearly, it's now or never.

"AND, an 'I Spy Book!" she instructs. I laugh...I had totally forgotten her last item, and she wouldn't take a chance on not asking for the book!

As we walk off the stage, Madalyn looks at me and says, "So...where are the toys, Mommy?" She apparently thought Santa produced on the spot! ;)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Now Accepting Christmas Miracles

Yesterday a tearful husband called me at 9:18 am (approximately...ahem) and told me his boss had called him into his office and laid him off. Unexpectedly. A few weeks ago, all the salaried and year-round employees in his company took a significant pay cut, and we thought that was the end of it. Sure it was a blow. But I'm sure you can guess our mantra, right? "At least you still have a j_ _!" Can you guess the missing letters? Sorry, there's no prize. So you understand why Tuesday's news seemed a particularly low blow. Oh, and the little detail of a big national holiday coming up. What is it again? Oh yeah....CHRISTMAS. Nice timing.

So we pray. Well, first we cry, and rehash the whole event, and wonder whatintheworld we're going to do, and how quickly we can sell our house. We resolve to try every avenue, explore every option.

And then...

We pray.

And then...we put up all our Christmas decorations. Since we are real-tree people, we haven't decorated yet because we haven't gotten our tree. We haven't gotten our tree because we are waiting to go with Dan's brother and his wife and they are available this upcoming weekend. Anyways, we put up the decorations. Which seems like an odd thing to do the day after Dan was laid off. But what is a normal thing to do?

We have had a lot of (financial) ups and downs (o-kay, mostly downs) in our married life so far, but our married life so far has been awesome. There was a small, irrational little part of me that was actually glad that Dan will be home to spend time with us. We've been here before. Up until now, Dan has been laid off every winter...it was just part of his prior position. Of course, we were thrilled that his new job was year-round and salary. Such peace of mind, we thought.

We aren't quite sure what to do, but we've been praying hard even before this happened. We've known we needed to make some (major life) changes, and were just asking for the right path. So what seems disastrous we are so hopefully interpreting as a nudge. In, you know, a direction. Now, knowing what direction would, of course, be particularly helpful. So, if you'd like to pray for us, please pray that way.

Our preference? We don't care if it's hard, or challenging, or new, or different, or near or far. We will not lose our optimism, our joy in our family, our love for each other. Those things are absolutes. I saw my husband smile today, heard my daughter's uncontrollable laugh, ate yummy grilled turkey and provolone sandwiches with mustard, and made the house feel like Christmas (minus the tree). I am thankful for each of those things. But, Dear Lord, we need a plan. We want to please You and make You proud. We want to be generous and love each other and others well. We celebrate Baby Jesus, Advent, and that He grew up to do so much with a few small fishes and loaves of bread. Make 'em multiply. We're ready.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Itty Bitty Not Me

A short little "Not Me Monday" post to give you a brief insight into the week of Maddy and I. It's been a bit trying around here. Someone tell me again how many more days until spring? We're going a little stir crazy...

In the landmark battle of Mama and The Socks v. Madalyn, once the victory of Mama became apparent and the socks were being put onto the feet, a certain two and a half year old most certainly did not say to her patient, loving Mama who cares about the warmth of her toes, "You are going to have to go in time-out, Mommy, because YOU are not listening to ME."

A toddler with that much sass would never be blossoming under my perfect parenting loving care.

I most certainly did not have at least two days where I told Madalyn "It's a good thing you're cute" and she did not lovingly embrace her Daddy when he walked in the door each evening as if her savior had come. I'm sure I had plenty of patience with frequent bouts of whining caused by caged-up-toddler-energy and crabby-hormonal-Mommy.

I did not tell Maddy that all Mommy wants for Christmas is for her to put her pee-pees and poo-poos in the potty EVERY time. And I did not mean it with all my heart. I may mention this request to Santa next time I see him at the mall. It's worth a shot at this point.

Have a great week!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Rebel Without A Cause?

I've talked about MckMama's blog before and how entertaining I find it! Well, if that wasn't enough of a reason for you to visit, here's a great incentive: from now until December 14, you have a chance to enter an amazing raffle MckMama is offering. She is giving away a Canon Rebel SLR, the very piece of equipment she uses in her professional photography business. As if that wasn't enough, the prize package also includes an extra lens, a high speed SD card, a posh camera bag, a gorgeous camera strap, a blog makeover from a design studio, and a 16 x 20 canvas print of one of the amazing shots you take with your fancy new camera.

Wow! Right? What could make the whole thing better? To enter the raffle, MckMama asks that you give a $10.00 donation which will benefit some amazing charities. I won't give all the details, since you can read about it here, but it's a beautiful thing, and she's raising a boat-load of money.

A couple of my very cool friends have SLR cameras, and I've seen their beautiful work, so this is a prize not to miss! Have fun :).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving (Weekend)!

This post is a thinly-veiled attempt to say "Happy Thanksgiving" to everyone, while really just showing off how cute Madalyn's outfit was on Thanksgiving Day ;)! Yes, those boots do come in your size; we purchased them at Journeyz Kids and then I saw them at the regular Journeyz store in women's sizes! They were a little more than my normal shoe budget for Maddy (which is about $9.99 at Target :), but the dress was a hand-me-down, so it all works out, right?

I sincerely hope your Thanksgiving was warm and contented. While these are hard times (ecspecially for Michigan. Ahem.), there is so much to be thankful for: our health, family, clean drinking water, a warm bed...I could go on and on. Oh, and for a husband who drove all the way to Olive Garden just to get his pregnant wife the stuffed mushrooms she was craving, even when she told him repeatedly not to. He's sneaky. And he's mine ;).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cloth Diaper Discount

I just received an e-mail today from Blueberry Diapers with a link to a short survey. Once the survey is completed, the e-mail promises a discount code will be sent to me for 10-20% off any of the products on the Blueberry website (including Blueberry and Swaddlebees).

The survey was a breeze and told me afterwards that I would receive my code in 2 days. Just thought I'd pass along the info (here is the link to the survey) in case any of you beautiful cloth-diaper-ers out there are looking to add to your stash!

Sorry I've been an absentee blogger lately...we had a death in the family and life got put on hold for a little while. And now with the Holiday this week, I can't promise any new posts, but we'll see :).
Enjoy diaper shopping!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Because Listening to Country Music Makes Me Sappy...

10 Things I Am Thankful For, In No Particular Order

Number 2: My daughter. She is my shadow.
Today I decided to straighten my hair for no particular reason, other than being out of gel/mousse. I tried scrunching it yesterday with my straightening gel, and that really confused my poor tresses, leaving it in a frizzy, half-curly, half-straight mess. I couldn't deal with another day like that, so I decided to take the time to straighten. No small feat with a two year old. However, Madders entertained herself by smearing my makeup all over her cheeks in war-paint fashion. When I showed her her work in the mirror, she seemed quite satisfied with the results. And later, when I stealthily tried to wipe her face, she squealed, "Mommy, NO! Don't wash off my MAKEUP!!" I can hardly imagine how her teenage years are going to be.

Anyways, I was straightening my hair. Madalyn eventually tired of the makeup, and wandered to the living room to play with toys. By the time I finished, the little Miss was a stinky make-up artist, so I laid her back to change her diaper. Really seeing me for the first time since I finished getting ready, she said,

"Mama! You are a princess!" and then proceeded to reverently touch my hair as if she were a remote jungle child seeing blonde hair for the first time. It got me thinking that maybe I should straighten more often.

And that I love my daughter. After her bath, she wanted me to blow dry her hair, and make it look straight and smooth. Which is perfect, because it plays beautifully into my master plan to be able to blow dry and curl it for Christmas portraits. Yeah, I know that's a big dream. Especially since half-way to dry, she declared, "O-kay, Mama. That's good. I look like a princess. Can I go watch a movie?" When I told her she still had wet strands she said, "Oh no, Mommy. They aren't wet, they're just warm." Right.

But before we went to watch a movie, I clipped her fingernails and toenails. I know, very uneventful. Very everyday. Yet she was sitting on my lap, warm, dry, and quiet, and it was just one of those moments. There are days I go a bit stir-crazy. I fight to see what's ahead, where we are going. I plead with God to lead us, to give us a chance to do right by Him in our one chance we have to walk through life. I look forward.

So country music makes me sappy. Right now I am watching the CMA awards. I am writing, and had paused in the middle of that last paragraph, not sure where I was headed. Then I knew. Because Trace Atkins just started singing this song. In summary, I am thankful for my daughter. Where she is right now. Where we are right now. And that God is here...right now.

She was staring out the window of their SUV

Complaining, saying "I can't wait to turn 18"

She said "I'll make my own money, and I'll make my own rules"

Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school

Then she kissed her head and said "I was just like you"

You're gonna miss this

You're gonna want this back

You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast

These are some good times

So take a good look around

You may not know it now

But you're gonna miss this

Before she knows it, she's a brand new bride

In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by

He tells her "It's a nice place"

She says "It'll do for now"

Starts talking about babies and buying a house

Daddy shakes his head and says "Baby, just slow down"

Cause you're gonna miss this

You're gonna want this back

You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast

These are some good times

So take a good look around

You may not know it now

But you're gonna miss this

Five years later there's a plumber workin' on the water heater

Dog's barkin', phone's ringin' One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin'

And she keeps apologizin'

He says "They don't bother me. I've got 2 babies of my own. One's 36, one's 23.

Huh, it's hard to believe, but...

You're gonna miss this

You're gonna want this back

You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast

These are some good times

So take a good look around

You may not know it now

But you're gonna miss this"

Monday, November 10, 2008


If you don't already read MckMama's blog, then I dare you to read this post, and then not become a faithful reader. I'm pretty sure it would be impossible to not get sucked into the hilarity and sweetness. Oh, and her conversations with her three year old are spot on with the ones I have all day around here with my M. Maybe that's why I love it so much.

HILARIOUS. And, yes, that is a double-dog dare.

Don't make me put a cherry on top.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ways I Am Blessed...Part 1...

10 Ways I Am One Blessed Girl, In No Particular Order
Number One: I have world-class best friends.
This is probably one of my favorite pictures of all time. I found it again today, and it brought such warmth to my heart. We have soaked each other's shoulders in tears. We have wiped away pure joy from our own eyes at each other's weddings (one of us barely got through a reading during a ceremony :). They watched my daughter come into the world. She calls them "aunties". We have cried when one of us was leaving to go out of the country for a couple weeks (ie: Andrea leaving on her honeymoon...or these photos...)
We have been inexplicably proud of each other's accomplishments. We've had our moments. But I think we've balanced each other out. We've grown up. I still need them.

Here's to you two. I love you forever.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not A Not Me Monday Post :)

Well, it seems that MckMama is taking a break from her normal "Not Me Monday" posting, seeing as she just had a baby a few days ago. So I'll follow suit and take a break as well. You know, because, umm, I'm too excited to start working on a sewing project. Excited enough to ignore the inch of crumbs under Madalyn's chair and the dust bunnies the size of...well...actual bunnies.

Sure, I'd be happy to advise you anytime on how I do such a great job of priority-setting. No charge.

Soooo...I don't know how to upload a YouTube video to my blog. I know that makes me terribly behind-the-times. I tried by clicking on the video upload thingy and pasting the link in the box, but my computer just rolled it's eyes at me. Apparently there's more to it than that. But I truly love this ad, so you should make the extra effort to click the link! :) I know it's all advertising, but I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I know what I'll be doing after I vote. How about you?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fancy Nancy...

Here is some eye-candy of our little Fancy Nancy on Halloween! "Fancy Nancy" is a fairly new children's book series centered around a little girl in love with all things fancy. The mom I nanny for got Madalyn the dress-up outfit, the book, Fancy Nancy's dog, Frenchy (seen in some of these photos), and a few other things for her birthday, and we've been in love with Fancy Nancy ever since! Enjoy! These pictures are spectacular! (That's the fancy word for "great"!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Drinking Beer While I'm Pregnant...

I was talking to a friend at Story Time yesterday, and, since she is pregnant with her fourth child, I decided to make the poor soul listen to my complaints of nausea. She was very patient with my whining, and then calmly suggested that I go to Trader Joe's and buy some beer.

Ginger beer, that is.

Which, it turns out, is not alcoholic in the least, all natural, and contains an amazing amount of ginger. I said, "Oh, yeah, I was going to try some Verners" and my friend patiently explained that Verners doesn't actually contain any real ginger...just the flavor. But this Jamaican Ginger Beer is chuck-full of the tummy-soothing stuff, plus other natural, good-for-you ingredients.

So I made a special trip and bought a four-pack. My friend has also mentioned they had ginger chews, so I grabbed a good sized bag for only 1.49. Old Trader Joe's actually surprised me in it's pricing. I often lament to myself that I would like to feed my family organic food, but am not a billionaire. However, I bought Organic Vanilla yogurt, and it was exactly the same price per ounce as good old Dannon. Huh.

Anyways, I found the Ginger Beer, the Ginger Chews, and you know I was about to reach for the Ginger Chips, when I had to say, "Whoa, Girl. Let's not go ginger-crazy."

This morning I woke up, as nauseous as ever. I had a piece of peanut butter toast with a Ginger Beer chaser, and felt like a new woman. I'll tell you what, I'd recommend the stuff to anyone. It'd be a good idea just to pick some up to have at your house for the next time someone gets a stomach ache. Just sayin' :).

I do hope that none of the neighbors saw me walking around the house at 9:00am with a beer bottle. Don't believe the rumors, if you hear any!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Smoothie Heaven

I made this smoothie for breakfast this morning, and, let me tell you, it was wonderful.

Madalyn and I shared it.

And I was a little sad, to be honest, that I had filled her cup up quite so full after I tasted it...there wasn't enough left for me! :) So, if your planning on sharing, I suggest doubling the recipe. Otherwise, you may find yourself feeling selfish and jealous way too early in your day!

Go ahead, stick a couple cut-up bananas in the freezer...you'll thank yourself in the morning!

NOTE: I substituted the plain yogurt for vanilla yogurt. I've been forbidden from buying plain yogurt by my dear hubby for this simple reason: I use a half cup or a cup of it for some recipe, and then promptly let the rest spoil in the fridge. Every time. On the other hand, we all love vanilla yogurt. There you have it :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Not Me Monday Number 2!

It's that time again...NOT ME MONDAY! Check out this great tradition over at My Charming Kids! Enjoy!

This week my body did not say, "Hey, I'm pregnant! I should start acting like it!" I was not greeted by voracious nausea each and every morning that stuck around until 5pm each evening. As a result, Madalyn did not set a weekly record for "most Dora watched" as her mommy did not lay on the couch and attempt not to puke.

So, truly, there is NOT much to report :)!

We did not go to the pumpkin patch on Saturday with the little girl I babysit for, E., and Dan's brother and his wife, Miyuki. It did not feel more like hunting for a Christmas tree than a pumpkin as we were not absolutely freezing! We did not still manage to have fun, get pumpkins, drink hot cider, pet freezing cold animals in the freezing cold petting zoo, and go on a, you guessed it, freezing cold hayride!

Back at E's house later that night, I certainly did not eat in the upwards of 6-7 small dill pickles. I did not, in my determination, reach into the pickle jar with my bare fingers. I mean, it wasn't my house, not my pickle jar, WHY would I do something like that?? I'm sure I used a fork to fish that last one out, like a civilized adult.

We were not invited to go to "Playhouse Disney On Ice" with our friends AGAIN, right after the privilege of going to "Disney on Ice" just a few weeks ago. We did not again enjoy an amazing suite and feel oh, so spoiled. And, I assure you, I did not sit with Madalyn in the suite seating for ten minutes before the show started, watching the "pre-show" entertainment before I realized, "Hey, there's no ice." Yep, turns out it was just "Playhouse Disney" and I did not make up the "On Ice" part in my own mind. Yikes. Sometimes I worry about me.
Alas, now it is Sunday night, at twenty to ten, and Madalyn is not still awake in her bed, singing "Meeshka, Mooshka, Mickey Mouse!" and "Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog." Love it.

When Dan and I were visiting Frank and Andi last weekend, we did not find the very umbrella that matches the very rain boats and rain coat my Mom bought for Maddy a year ago. We did not buy M said umbrella, since she has been begging me for one in her best starving-orphan voice for quite some time. She did not have a chance to test it out this afternoon, and Dan did not take THE CUTEST PICTURE EVER. I'm sorry if you think you have a cuter one...you simply don't ;)! O-kay, you do, but just humor me here...

Have a happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We're Moving To Kalamazoo...Not Really...But Maybe...

I watched an amazing story on the news tonight. The City of Kalamazoo, Michigan, is offering an amazing incentive for the students in their community...free college education. You can check out the specifics here, but basically if you have a child who starts in the district in kindergarten, his or her tuition will be paid in full upon graduation, assuming he or she makes the grades to warrant college acceptance.

Amazing. The theory behind the incentive is that education produces jobs which in turn stimulate the economy. The program is funded by anonymous donors who "want neither the praise nor the blame for the program." I thought that was well said and admirable.

The news cast mentioned that so far the only down-side of the program has been that some students were simply not prepared for college and did not succeed in their first couple years. Apparently the district is now taking steps to help all graduating kids be "college-ready." I'm not sure specifically what that means.

But I'm told I can find out at the 6:45 am news cast. Looks like I'll be googling it when I make my way to the computer at 10:00 am! :)

So, anyways, I might just check out what it would take to move to Kalamazoo...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mexican...It's What's For Dinner...

*Sigh*. What to make for dinner when I desperately need to go grocery shopping:

Chicken Pizziola? No mozzarella or Parmesan cheese.

Chicken and Dumplings? Multiple things I don't have.

Macaroni and Cheese, homemade? No milk or Colby jack cheese.

Pancakes? Um, no milk or eggs.

Joy of Cooking Instant Skillet Dinner? Ugghh. Maybe.


USE CODE: SAVOR for 60% off

Casa Real - $10 Gift Certificate


Discount Applied:


We're having Mexican tonight! ;)

The Anatomy of a Story Time

10:25: We arrive. Although, I should back up. At home, at around 10:20, I am putting on Madalyn's shoes and coat, thinking, "I should talk to her about proper story time behavior again." I'll do it in the car. I forget.

So, 10:25: we arrive. I remember to talk about story time behavior as we walk in. Madalyn doesn't hear me, though, because she is saying "DA! DA!" and other syllables to see if her voice echoes in the breezeway. She is constantly checking for echo-edge lately.

Maddy says a rather loud and boisterous "HI FISHIES!!" as we walk by the fish tank. I start thinking "this may not end well." She heads over to the children's section and straight for the toys. Fine. The story room isn't open yet.

10:30: The door opens. All the moms instruct our children to put away the puzzles and blocks. "Madalyn, put away the puzzle. See? It's time for story time!! We can come back and do puzzles afterwards-and-also-get-a-movie-if-you're-good-please-put-that-puzzle-away-right-now-(crying, refusing)-do-you-want-to-just-go-home??"
I get the puzzle out of her hands. I take her into the room, hoping she will get distracted. More tears. Utterly refusing. I finally pick her up and head out. The sweet teacher whispers, "Feel free to bring her back in after she calms down" I say, "Thanks, I will, we're just going to have a little chat."

10:35: Back to the breezeway, the only place I can feel o-kay about her wailing without disturbing anyone. We chat. I reiterate the high points of behaving in story time: we get to sing songs, do a project at the end, play with puzzles afterwards, and pick out a movie. On the flip side, if we continue crying, we'll just go home. We walk to the bathroom to get a tissue to dry her tears. On the way back through, we see our friends arrive. "Oh look, Maddy! It's H.! Don't you want to go to story time with H?" Maddy doesn't hear me because she is detouring back towards the puzzles. I manage to reroute her.

10:40: We're back in story time. Madalyn doesn't want to sit in the circle on a carpet square, but opts for the hard tile outside the circle. Fine. It's still touch and go here, and I don't know if we're going to last. Then the teacher turns on Raffi's "We're Going To The Zoo." Madalyn's eyes light up. Sensing my opportunity, I ask her if she wants to go stand in the circle with the other children. "Yep!" she says as she bounds into the middle.

10:41: Some children are standing. Most are still sitting on their carpet squares or in their mother's laps. Madalyn is dancing and jumping with her whole body and heart around the center of the circle while loudly singing,





At least, that's what it appears she is doing as I peak between my fingers as my hands cover my reddened face. How could my child go from crying to being the center of attention in less than a minute? The other mothers are giving me gentle smiles and saying, "Wow! Look at her go! Hey, it's o-kay!"

10:45: Raffi has finished his catchy zoo tune, and it is time for the part of story time I dread the most: the actual story time. It is a constant struggle to get Madalyn to sit quietly for this portion, especially since she is usually so ramped up from Raffi. I notice my hands are sweating. Madalyn politely sits down with the other children. Moms say things like "Honey, go sit down by Madalyn" to their children because you know that every mom and child in the class knows Madalyn's name. She sits for a good portion with minimal squirming, standing, and finding a new spot and then sitting again. I begin to relax.

10:47: Madalyn abruptly stands next to the teacher and faces the group. She begins reciting the "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?" being read in a much more animated voice than the teacher. My friend A. says, "Wow! Do you have this book at home?" No, no we don't. We have "Brown Bear" and Maddy's simply picked up the pattern of the story. I whisper for her to sit down.

10:49: Madalyn takes a good hard look at the children. This story is losing them, she decides. She then takes the initiative to launch back into "GOING TO THE ZOO, ZOO, ZOO..." complete with galloping dance. I pull her aside. A few two-year old followers begin singing it again as well. I think, not for the first time, that I will one day be getting notes home from school.

10:51: Mercifully, it is finally time for the project, the part of story time that makes it all worthwhile. As soon as the teacher picks up the pieces of cardboard we use as "desks," Maddy is in my lap, politely waiting. A completed construction paper panda is displayed; that is our finished example. Paper, glue, and googly eyes are passed out. Madalyn is now a model student. She is every week during this time. She pastes and sticks with utter concentration. You'd hardly recognize her as the child whom most mothers were secretly prescribing Ritalin to in their minds just 10 minutes prior.

11:00: Our panda is completed and class is done. We put away our supplies and head pack to the puzzles. As with the project, Madalyn sits and sorts through the puzzles longer than any other child; we are the last to leave. I remind her about the videos, and we pick out two.

Next week, we'll do it all over again. Oh, and tomorrow is Gym and Swim. Keep me in your prayers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday...

Hi Friends! I have decided to be a part of "Not Me Monday," started by the hilarious MckMama at My Charming Kids. As she said, it does the soul good to be brutally honest behind the shroud of "not me"! I hope you enjoy this post, and you can hop over to her site to see what else moms would NEVER do this past week!

I did not skip our library storytime on Tuesday for no particular reason at all. Sure, it may have been raining. Sure my stomach was feeling a little funny. But, truth be untold, I did not skip out of pure laziness! Nope, not me!

I did not take Madalyn on fast-food lunch dates two consecutive days this past week (Wednesday and Thursday), once with my mom and once with Rebekah. I would never subject her to unhealthy fare in such abundance! (Of course, if I DID do such a thing, I'm sure I would have opted for the apple slices and not chocolate milk with the Happy Meal. Oh, how I love the way Mickey D's does not give me a way out of Mom-Guilt!)

And, for good measure, on the way out of the McDonalds we did not go to with Rebekah on Thursday, Madalyn did not drop her cookie in the parking lot, and I most certainly DID NOT pick it up, blow it off, and give it back to her. That would be totally disgusting. Who knows where that parking lot has been???!!!

I did not fill out Madalyn's first book order, given to us by our teacher-friend Meeghan. I did not relish the task of picking out each and every book, memories of bringing home my own book orders as a child flooding my mind. I did not imagine the smell of new books and scrutinize the order to see if it mentioned how long the books would take to come in! I did not remember how my heart would skip a beat as I saw the brown Scholastic box sitting on my teacher's desk after lunch. :)

After all, I was not picking out books for Madalyn, and it had nothing to do with my "school-days" nostalgia.

Dan and I did not announce that our family is growing...and not just by Bubbles, our new beta fish. Madalyn did not vehemently insist that Baby Carney is in "MY TUMMY!! NOT MAMA'S TUMMY! MADA-WYN'S TUMMY!" while smacking her belly repeatedly for emphasis. I did not finally say, "O-kay, the baby's in Madalyn's tummy" in a world-weary voice to avoid a complete meltdown. She did not eventually concede that the baby is, in fact, in Mama's tummy afterall (who knew?). We are all not crazy excited and of course, are not, in the least, a little crazy apprehensive. We are not trusting God fully, knowing firsthand (ie: Madalyn) that He provides for that which He gives.

Dan and I did not enjoy a weekend away at Frank & Andi's house while my parents watched Madalyn. I'm sure we did not spend a good chunk of time telling each other cute Madalyn stories and secretly missing our little girl. I mean, come on, it's our weekend away, right? I did not have a dream that our new baby is a boy. I did not consult the oh-so-reliable Chinese calendar online, which confirmed ever-so-accurately that the baby is a girl.

So I'm glad I got that ironed out. :)

I did not enjoy my first "Not Me Monday" post and will not be looking for new things I would never do this week!

Happy Monday!



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Simply Must Learn To Make These...

Right now I am praying for divine wisdom and knowledge, because I simply must learn how to make these hair clippies for Madalyn. Sure, I could buy them where I found them, but what fun would that be?

O-kay, more correctly, it would be quite fun, but I'm pretty sure this month's budget didn't make allowance for hair clippies.

Although I better just check with Dan to make sure. He could have thrown in 20 bucks for Madalyn's hair needs without my knowledge. I did buy the generic Target spray-in detangler for $1.14, so I'd still be good.

Anyways, just feast your eyes on these. Now I'm going to dig out some ribbon and a glue gun. Wish me luck!

I'm ecspecially loving the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red. Madalyn loves that story. Of course, I couldn't actually show them to her, or tell her I was putting them in her hair, or they'd never stay in. She'd want to play with them instead. But I could have the satisfaction of knowing her favorite story was playing out in her tresses. Maybe I'd just take a picture and show her later :).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hop, Heel, Toe...

So it's been awhile since I've posted. Just thought I'd state the obvious :). There has been a lot going on in the Carney household: Maddy made her latest horseback riding venture during Metamora's Horse Festival, we attended Disney on Ice, thanks to a very generous offer from Meeghan (Madalyn, who barely took her eyes off the ice, thanks you most of all for her first real show!), etc.

I've had a bit of a blank on what to post. But felt compelled to post something lest you think I've abandoned this blog. So, how about some cute Maddy moments? Those are always good, right? Just humor me and say "right"!

*Madalyn calls my high heels "hop-heel-toes". I have no idea where she got this from, but she is very consistent in her use of the term. As in, "Mama, are you going to wear these hop-heel-toes to church?" I love it. I actually think it is an accurate description of what it feels like to wear high heels.

*Every week, Madalyn brings a paper home from her two-year old class at church stating what they learned, a suggested activity, and things to read throughout the week. Two weeks ago, they learned about obedience. Maddy literally came home saying "The Bible tells us to obey!" Much to my delight, now when I want her to listen, all I have to say is, "Maddy, what does the Bible tell us?" And she will say "Obey, obey, obey" nodding her head up and down while she does what I've asked.

O-kay. Maybe it doesn't always work that way. She is two. But still, I want to hug her teachers at church and cry tears of joy.

*This week, Madalyn learned about how God wants us to help others. She came home with a picture of David playing the harp for King Saul. I asked her who was in the picture and she said, "Noah, the Jungle King." Again, I couldn't make this stuff up. Apparently, the story of David didn't quite stick.

*Today Madalyn and I went for a walk. It's the first time we've walked a significant distance, just the two of us, no stroller or bike, no distractions. It was such a beautiful afternoon. We talked about how the trees drop their leaves in the fall, and found some beautiful ones. We collected pine needles, sprigs of lavender, and a dandelion as well. It was one of those moments where I felt truly present, and soaked up every second I could spend walking very slowly with my daughter. Everything looked so beautiful, vibrant, and warm.

Then I realized why. I got these great new sunglasses from Target, and they make everything look bright and vivid. When I took them off, nothing looked quite as beautiful. I highly recommend getting yourself a pair...they will make you feel much more cheerful :).

*So I've mentioned a bit about church. It's been a long, I mean looonnnnggg, time since Dan and I have felt at home in a church. I am so thankful to say that we now do. To add to how awesome of a blessing that in itself is, a few weeks ago the service opened with a string quartet playing Coldplay's "Yellow." I'll tell you what, it was amazing. What encourages me further is the upcoming series entitled "Confessions of a Sinful Church." If that wasn't engaging enough, here are the upcoming messages:

October 19: "We're Sorry for Being Self-Righteous Hypocrites"

October 26: "We're Sorry for Judging You"

November 2: "We're Sorry for Being Too Political"

November 9: "We're Sorry for Despising Homosexuality"

November 16: "We're Sorry for Caring Only About Converting You"

November 23: "We're Not Sorry for Following Jesus"

Right? I know. I'm interested too. Reminds me of an amazing chapter in Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz called "Confession." If you haven't read that book, you should go buy it today and read it immediately. Here's a quote out of it that summarizes a depth of where Dan and I have come from in regards to church and how it feels to be on the other side:
"So here is a step-by-step formula for how you, too, can go to church without getting angry:
*Pray that God will show you a church filled with people who share your interests and values.
*Go to the church God shows you.
*Don't hold grudges against any other churches. God loves those churches almost as much as He loves yours."
Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz

More to come. In the mean time, get yourself some rose-colored glasses and go take a walk. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sparky the Robot

Meet Sparky the Robot! He is my first knitted toy! I made this little guy for my nephew's second birthday and included a couple of robot books. He truly was a joy to make, and I grew quite fond of him during our hours upon hours spent together. It was actually a little difficult to give him away. Particularly when the birthday-boy was most engaged with the plastic, colored toys that make noise. :)

It reminded me of a quilting class my mom and I took with the most amazing instructor, Ruth Ann. She was a great teacher who I keep meaning to take several more classes from...she's that good. Anyways, Ruth Ann showed us some of her personal quilts, and they would take your breath away. I, somewhere along the line, made a comment such as "Wow, your family must loove to receive such beautiful things as gifts!" Ruth Ann looked at me with a shocked expression and said, "Oh, no! I never, ever give my quilts away! They are like my children! Besides, my family would never appreciate them." I later regaled this story with much disdain for not sharing such a talent with others, but...

After Sparky, I kind of understood.

You spend hours of your time, yourself, on making a homemade gift, and your heart is a bit in your throat when the receiver opens your hard work. I think that's why I love receiving homemade things so much...they are so personal, a true gift of self.

So how do you feel when you give away something you made yourself? Anyone relate?

Funny story: Madalyn watched Owen open our gift, recognized the robot as the same one that's been hanging out at our house all these days, and proceeded to calmly walk up and snatch it away. It took quite a bit of explaining to get her to understand the time had come to part with our dear Sparky!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dusty, Vivid, Telling, Full of Heart...

...just a few words I would use to describe my latest read:Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen, came highly recommend from two trustworthy sources: 1) Dan's Aunt Jane Carney, who I absolutely love. She never married, recently retired from her job as a librarian in an Erie, PA school, and now enjoys traveling and her book club that she has belonged to for ages. I have always wanted to be in a book club. Anyways, I was lamenting to her on a visit over the summer, complaining about how I absolutely adore reading, but never know where to look next for a good pick. Part of the reason is that I came out of a conservative background where everything I read was "Christian," and there is only so much of that genre I can take, although I do still enjoy a good Karen Kingsbury or Francine Rivers, don't get me wrong.

But I digress. The point is that Aunt Jane told me about Water for Elephants and I jotted down the title in my journal. And then promptly forgot about it.

Until source number (2) reminded me: my beloved Real Simple magazine. Last month they did a write-in survey entitled "What's Your Favorite Book Club Book?" I hungrily read every last response, and Water for Elephants was the very first novel listed. Convinced, I placed a hold online through our local library's website (how much I absolutely LOVE the fact that I can request a book online and then have it set aside, waiting for me, when I arrive at the library is, entirely, another post altogether.) I picked it up and read it in a matter of two days, tops.

I loved it.

Here is my disclaimer: there are some sections that are, um, not suitable for readers under maybe 21, or preferably not for non-married readers. But those are short in length. The overall tone of the book is so rich and deep. You will keep turning pages. There is just enough sentiment, just enough mystery, just enough of your own memories of the circus to keep every one of your senses engaged. You can taste the cotton candy, feel a fine layer of dust and sweat on your skin, and hear your heart pounding when the acts begin. And there are unexpected layers and emotions you won't anticipate in a circus novel.

The story is beautifully crafted, and the ending is absolutely what every author aspires the ending of her novel to be: perfectly satisfying and just a little cheeky.

O-kay, I promise to end what it beginning to feel like a book report (wow, it's been awhile since I've done one of those!), but I do promise to keep posting about the books I read, because I know how much I appreciate a good recommendation.

As a side note, Real Simple has started what they call a "no-obligation" book club online that you can check out. I'm planning to follow along, so I'll post some thoughts here.

Go forth and read, fellow bookworms!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jesus Is True...

...That is what Madalyn will tell you if you ask her what she learned in her class at church on Sunday. I asked later Sunday afternoon, not hoping for much of a response, and those three little words caught me completely off guard.

She was wearing a sticker on her dress when she came out that said "The Bible Is True," so I am pretty sure she was spot on with remembering what she had learned.

I so want to bring her up to know how BIG God is, that He can be trusted, that He is good and made her very, very good too. I want her to know what I am still trying to learn: that He loves us and that even when things go horribly awry, when situations are hurtful or devastating, when we are let way, way down, it is really, on a very eternal, deep level, o-kay. We are loved and protected. There is always, always reason to hope and reason for joy.

And sometimes we have to throw a big, old-fashioned fit and get it out of our system when we are disappointed. That's o-kay because it is honest. It is raw hurt and disappointment expressed.

He can take it. He expects it.

I want her to know Him. But on a primal level, God is showing me that is largely His job. My relationship with Jesus has always been intensely personal; it's about me and Him. It has been since my childhood. I pray He gives Dan and I the words, the actions, the love to show Maddy truth. But in the end, it is He who will whisper His words, uttered uniquely for her ears, spoken in the way she can best understand...

Jesus is true.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Love A Rainy Day...

It has decided to start raining here and never stop. Consequently, we've had lots of indoor play days where Play-doh and tea parties abound. Here are some pictures of our days inside, watching the rain pour down. This is Madalyn's inaugural experience with Play-doh. I know that makes me a slightly bad mom for waiting this long to let her play with it, but all I can say was that none of it was consumed, and she loved it. Mom only let her have one color at a time, but that's just the kind of OCD she has to get used to around here. We can't have colors getting mixed up. Maybe when she's four I'll step it up to two colors...:)

Funny story: Madalyn is playing happily with play-doh when she suddenly begins begging me to "Make a lion, Mama! Make a lion with Play-doh!" I have no idea where she is getting this from, and then I spot the barrel the play-doh came in:

Oh, sure, I'll just whip him right up! :) You want a pig and frog while I'm at it?!

Dress up days are also fun...

One of Maddy's latest accomplishments was putting several crates of toys completely away, all by herself, while I was in another room. I told her to pick them up if she wanted to move on to another activity, and she did, without me helping and continuously encouraging. I was so proud of her, but my heart swelled even more when I picked her up from the Church nursery today. Before she knew we were there, with her back to Dan and I, I saw her picking up toys and putting them away with the teachers...no one telling her to at all.

I'll tell you what, there may be challenges but...

That's my girl.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Know You Love It

One more thing, friends. Do you like this shirt?
Wait, you don't need to answer because I already know you do. How do I know? Because it's so cool, and well designed, and original. It would look just marvelous on you, darling. And here's the really cool part: our friend, Brad Ruggles, a way-cool blogger and graphic designer, came up with it! The even cooler part? This shirt is entered in a contest to benefit Compassion International's Global Food Crisis Fund. If it wins, you'd be able to purchase this awesomeness and help hungry people have a good meal. Brad won't make any money off the proceeds, but I think you'll agree, he deserves some serious praise for his graphic skills.

So go vote right now! The contest ends tomorrow!

I mean it...right now :)! Uh-oh, that was the Mama-tone of voice coming out....better not mess with it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Accident Forgiveness

So potty training has certainly stepped up my workload throughout the day! Instead of allowing Madalyn to play quietly in her room to her heart's content, I now must check to make sure all that silence isn't adding up to a nice poo-poo on the floor. I must cart the potty around with us in order to have close proximity hopefully aid us in success.

She has already discovered that "Mommy, I need to put my poo-poos in the potty" will get her out of her crib and into a few more minutes of staying up quicker than a wink. Why don't we just take a chance, you ask, after all, she does have a diaper on at bedtime? The answer, dear reader, lies in the "artwork" that she "painted" all over her walls when the poo-poos were indeed deposited in her diaper. Now the simple idea of her repeating her artistic glory is enough to wisk her to the potty each and every time she merely suggests a need to go.

All of these challenges, you know, they're tough. But Dan and I apparently felt the need to step it up a notch. Apparently we were all like,

"Yeah, this potty-training stuff is work, but we need something more to shake up our lives. What else could we do to complicate things further?"

I know! Put Maddy in a big-girl bed! Messing with bedtime seemed like as good of an idea as any.

Seriously, it was in an attempt to avoid further "incidents" as described above. If you've got poo-poos, baby girl, just scoot your heiny out of bed and come tell me. No need to express yourself creatively.

Dan and I have considered getting her an easel and finger paints to allow for artistic freedom, but Dan is afraid it will only encourage her study of the medium.

Anyways, I heart Craigslist, because we scooped up a pretty much brand-spanking-new, beautiful toddler bed and nightstand for $50.00. I was morally opposed to toddler beds (I've been known to call them "a waste of money"), but Dan kept telling me a twin was too big for Maddy. "What if she falls out?" No matter how many times I explained the concept of guardrails, it fell on deaf ears. So Dan finds the toddler bed/nightstand online, shows me the price, throws in that we wouldn't have to spring for a mattress right now since you can just use a crib-sized one, and I caved. Dan picked up the set from another Father-Of-A-Precious-Baby-Girl who was selling it near his work. The guy explained to my husband that his daughter had finally graduated to a twin. He says, "Yeah, my wife wanted to put her right into a twin from her crib, but I was too afraid she'd fall out, so we purchased this set."

Ahh, a kindred spirit for D.

He was only too excited to come tell me that story.

Of course he hasn't been the one to try and wedge his body into the dollhouse-sized bed when Maddy demands "Snuggle me!" at bedtime.

I'll let him have that job a few times, and we'll see how quickly we move up in the furniture world.

In other news, Maddy had her first Gym & Swim class today. Up until now, she has only had Swim, but I thought gymnastics would be a fun add-on. However, all she did for the entire session was half-heartedly walk up and down the balance beam, while asking "Time to go in the pool, Mama?" every 30 seconds.

She was like, "Mom, Michael Phelps doesn't do this ridiculous cross-training. Let's hit the pool and get serious."

You have to admire her dedication to the sport.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My Likeness

Dear Madalyn,

You reflect so much of your Daddy. Many people have said that it is just crazy to see the two of you look at one another, mirroring the same blue eyes, thick lashes, and expressions. You look so much like him.

As for you and I, well, we share the same freckle on our left ankles. And that's pretty much where the physical similarities begin and end. Some try and say your hair takes after mine because it is curly, but, truth be told, my hair at your age was snow white and about 80% less!

No, we don't resemble one another physically.

But the other day, much to my time-standing-still, slow-motion, prayers-furiously-hurled-towards-heaven horror, you feel down the stairs. Head over feet, all the way from the tippy top to the bitter end. I ran down after you, repeating, "oh no, oh no, oh no" over and over. You must have seen the pure terror on my face. All I wanted to do was scoop you up, assess for broken bones or head injury, and than hold you and make it all better. Praise God, thank You so very, very much, you, my sweet child, were unharmed.

And here is where our similarities begin.

At the bottom of the stairs, in your fear and hurt, you did just like your mama used to do as a child. Like your mama still does. You ran away. You did not want me to hold you or comfort you, did not want my kisses and assurances. You needed to be alone with your pain, to try it on for size, to test your own reserves first. I always did this too. I remember whacking my knee on the table, stubbing my toe, burning my finger, etc., as a child, and running out of the offending room, into a place of solitude. I didn't want anyone to touch me, talk to me, until the pain subsided to a manageable amount.

You, my most precious one, are fiercely independent. Deeply dramatic. Pure girl. And so perceptive of others at such a young age. You told your Aunt Rebekah the other day, out of no where, "You have very pretty eyes." You've been known to tell complete strangers at the playground, "Oh, I like your shoes, girl." You brighten the day of others with your kind words.

I love you more than I can tell you, show you. So, when you fall, baby girl, take all the time you need. Have it all out. But know that I am always here and will do everything in my power to let you know I am always for you.

We like to sing "I'll Stand By You" together (the Carrie Underwood version :). Here's part of it:


If you're mad, get mad

Don't hold it all inside

C'mon and talk to me now


What you got to hide?

I get angry too

Well, I'm a lot like you.

When you're standing at the crossroads

And don't know which path to chose

Let me come along

Cause even if you're wrong,

I'll stand by you..."



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In The Thros...

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. Of course, I have all the pat excuses: we were out of town, it was Labor Day weekend, I celebrated my birthday (smile). All worth posts in and of themselves.

But none of those are the true reasons.

It's officially potty-training time at the Carney house. With the world's most independent toddler. And the world's most determined Mama.

So things are getting interesting.

Any prayers that you can offer up on our behalf are coveted and advice is appreciated ;)!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Almost Don't Want To Post This...

...because I am considering using this amazing sale at Target to buy a Christmas gift for every woman I know! But because the long weekend is here, and I'm feeling generous, go ahead and buy yourself a $5.00 purse!

Just don't be suspicious if you receive an eerily similar one around the Holidays. I'm sure I pay a handsome sum for the gifts I give my loved ones :)...

Happy Labor Day Weekend!



*This amazing deal found at http://www.wantnot.net/**
Edited to add: *Seriously, I could buy myself about 12 of these purses! Does anyone else feel the same way??*

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One Small Step for Mom-Kind...

I think I've established thus far that Madalyn, God Bless her little soul, is a bit of a headstrong one. We've been working on tempering this "independent flare," at least to a socially-acceptable level. For example, even though she may have the constitutionally-protected right to throw herself on the floor on a playdate and demand to go outside, even when the other children are still politely eating their lunches (freedom of expression and all), it's not behavior that I want her carrying into her adult life!

Oh, there are no exaggerations about the "terrible twos". Whatever horror stories you've heard--they're all true.

So anyway, on the evening of the above described playdate, I had renewed vigor to step-up discipline standards at home. So when my gentle little flower started pitching a first-class fit about not being able to have a sucker before dinner, I got down low, looked her square in the eye and said: "We do NOT speak to Mommy like that. Your behavior is unacceptable. Because of the way you are acting, you are going to time out." And onto the chair in the living room she went. She of course climbed down, crying and expressing her sorrow to the fullest extent. I picked her up each time and plopped her right back down (got that technique from Super Nanny, oh yes I did. Thanks, Jo.)

After the timer went off, Dan went in to speak with our daughter. They were having a discussion about exactly why she was placed in timeout when I came in the room. I neared the chair, and Madalyn turned to me. Huge tears in her eyes, arms outstretched...

"What do you want to say, Maddy?"
"Mommy, I'm sorry." She climbs into my arms and I hold her close. In that moment I know the meaning of true, pure, immediate forgiveness. I'm a little choked up, to be honest.
"Oh baby, it's o-kay. Mommy loves you so much." I was suddenly overcome to tell her it's fine, don't worry about it, Mommy will buy you a pony.

I'm a new mom. I want to raise Madalyn to be polite, empathetic, and kind. I want her to be disciplined. So let me hear your thoughts: what discipline strategies have worked for you?

Today we walked into the library, reviewing proper library-protocol as we entered the foyer.
"Remember, Maddy, we speak softly in the library. And if there are other children by the toys, we need to share nicely. When Mommy says it's time to go, it's time to go, no fussing (here I am remembering carrying her out against her gracious will last time, all the while casting apologetic looks to tight-lipped librarians). Do you understand?"

"I understand, Mama," came the sweet reply. And she did great.

Maybe we're getting somewhere after all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Talk Me Out Of It...

*Edited to add: Just curious, when you click on that link, does my shopping cart come up with three items in it? It does from my computer, but the comments I've received make me think that maybe just the website is coming up for others. The three items I'm referring to are all on sale :)!!**

Go to this link, and tell me that these clothes for M. are not worth the somewhat hefty price tag, even though they are crazy on sale, and great quality, and mostly, just so incredibly cute.

C'mon. Talk me out if it. Particularly that rock 'n roll tee.

Thanks. I appreciate the help with my self-control.

I Sure Hope I'm Pregnant...

Why? Here's why...

Today's Diet
*Granola with Yogurt, Coffee (an admirable start. wait for it...)
*A roast beef sandwich with strawberries on the side (made by my dear friend Karen, on a playdate with Madalyn. Still doing just fine)
*The rest of Madalyn's chicken nuggets that she didn't eat because she was more interested in, um, playing on her playdate.
*Popcorn, prepared by Karen immediately after lunch for a snack (still healthy, right?)
*Two leftover chicken quesadillas when we arrived home and Maddy was down for a nap (around 3:30pm). I was hungry.
*A mint chocolate chip drumstick ice cream treat (because I needed something sweet after the quesadillas)
*Chili for dinner with bread, albeit only half a bowl.
*A Dunkin' Donuts coffee drink while out with Dan and Maddy. Whipped cream and chocolate...yum.
*More chili upon arriving home (the remaining half of my bowl).
*The rest of Maddy's chocolate chip cookie from Dunkin' donuts.

So, yeah, I hope I'm pregnant. With five babies. Because I'm pretty sure that's the only way to justify my consumption of calories today! Ummm, does anyone else ever have three dinners in one night, each complete with its own dessert? Just, ahem, curious.

**DISCLAIMER: This sample diet is in no way indicative of a long-term pattern of health for this gal. O-kay, maybe it's a pattern at certain times of the month. I wonder if we have any chocolate chips...**

Monday, August 25, 2008

Small Town Splendor

This past weekend was Metamora Days, an annual festival that takes place in the one-horse town where I grew up.

I am not sure what a one-horse town is.

I am sure Metamora is one.
But if you'll harken back to yester-year with me, you'll see a little girl who's birthday party was held each year during this grand festival. Tiny little Metamora used to put on a much better show than she does today. The day would commence with a parade lining up right in front of our house, continue with a downtown craft fair, petting zoo, and hoopla, and finish up with a breath-taking hot air balloon launch. Oh, and then fireworks.

And in my innocent youth, I don't believe I could quite differentiate that this was not all, in fact, in celebration of my birthday.

In fact, as we drove into town last weekend, to introduce Madalyn to the thrills of small town splendor, I saw a sign for some little one's birthday. Warm sigh. Lucky kid.
"How does the rooster feel, Maddy?"
"He feels nice."

"Baaaa-ing" at the sheep. They communicated quite nicely with one another.

Everyone in my family heard me say, "I just can't believe how well she rode that horse. She looked like she'd been doing it all her life" 15 times.

Quite a sight to behold.