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**
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.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Those Kinda Parents...

You know the ones. Everything their child does is above-average and amazing. They love to tell you about the sight words she has memorized by age two, the algebraic equations by age four.

Since having Madalyn, I know the thrill that comes with watching your child achieve a new skill. The smugness that accompanies reading What To Expect The First Year and realizing most babies aren't doing that by this age.
But I realize this feeling is universal. There is a certain danger, I believe, with placing too high of expectations on a developing, learning, imagining, wandering, giggling little creature.

SO when Madalyn completed Microfish Two and rode her first horse like-she'd-been-doing-it-all-her-life in a single week, I never made any Olympic comparisons, nor did I envision lessons at smelly horse stalls or the echo of an empty university pool.

She is, after all, only two.

OF COURSE, there will be many more pictures, for your viewing pleasure, posted soon, since an average of 235 images of these blessed events were captured.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Drama, Part 2

**NOTE: I'm on a little break from OUTRAGEOUS Friday. Just not enough outrageousness floating around. I will, however, get back to it just as soon as I feel like it :)**

Last night I babysat for the same three little girls mentioned in my previous post. Although I started watching them when they were just 1 yr., 5 yrs., and 7 yrs., they are now 7, 11, and 13.

The time has flown.

Ashley, the middle child, just got a trampoline for her birthday, complete with protective net and zippered entry. Let me tell you, those things are not for the faint of bladder. Childbirth clearly did a number on me (insert a few kegels here). It didn't help that Maddy refused to bounce on her own, but rather preferred me to hold her and bounce. Trampolines are a workout enough without carrying a squirmy, squealy 31.5 lb weight!

My recent "Drama, Drama, Drama" post was fresh in my mind and, of course, I found some fresh materials from these little ladies:

*Tiffany (the Oldest at 13, who had a dear little friend, Talina, over for a sleepover):

"Leonardo DiCaprio is SOOOO HOOOT! OMG! Don't you think he is SOOOO HOT, Laura?!"

Ummmm....keep in mind that the child has never even seen Titanic. I mean, when I was her age, girls were drooling over Leonardo. Why does he have such staying-power? I just don't see it.

*Emma (the smallest at 7, as said to me while she was supposed to be trying to sleep):

"I don't know why everyone likes dating. It's so weird."

and also...

"No one thinks I'm cute anymore. I wish I could go back to being smaller. Ashley (the middle) told me she wishes I could be a baby again, because I was cuter. But I don't think she really means it. When I was a baby, she dropped me on my head because she didn't want me to be part of the family. On purpose. Right on my head.


It still hurts."

Love the drama.

Also, as a side note, I drove home in a tizzy because I have no idea how to parent teenagers. I'm only 25 myself (although very close to 26 :), and I realize I have eleven years to worry about this matter, but I just don't know what to do with them. Do I tell them they have to go to bed at a certain time, even if they don't have school the next day? What television programs are o-kay to watch? (In my opinion, clearly not House, which the older ones watched almost all evening long. I happen to love that show, but watching it through the lens of an eleven year old...there's plenty of inappropriate stuff. They were starting in on Heroes when I left.)

I'm praying for Divine Intervention already.

Now back to watching Barney.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drama, Drama, Drama...

**My Little Drama Queen on the keyboard. She's the next Brooke White, I'm pretty sure. Remember Brooke from American Idol? She was so sweet. I just loved her. Anyways...**

I'm pretty sure I could be a mom of all girls. I say this, of course, so you can all chuckle under your breath when and if Dan and I get pregnant next and discover we are having a boy.

I'll tell you why. My reason is partly because I have mostly been around girls. I nannyed for three of the sweetest, most drama-filled girls you could ever meet during my college years. I always loved watching "Strawberry Shortcake", braiding hair, and dressing up dolls. I loved baking with them. I loved making crafts. Now that the oldest is thirteen, I love hearing about her friends, her crushes, and her new favorite pair of jeans. I'm used to the fights, the tears, the pouty lips.

When I found out Madalyn was a girl, my mind instantly went to all of these things. Helping her pick out a Homecoming dress. Coloring at the table for hours. The sweet pretty things, the living room dance parties, the joy.

And, oh, the drama!

My recent revelation is that I love the drama that comes with being surrounded by girls. Somewhat of an, ahem, drama queen myself (did I just admit that?), I am comfortable with this exuberant side of the female gender. I love knowing the scoop (I've often asked my best friend Andrea, a decidedly UN-dramatic gal, if she thinks there would be any merit in starting a Christian gossip column). I love watching the back stories of the Olympic athletes and finding out they overcame tremendous obstacles to be where they are and then panning back and watching them win gold. And when they loose by a fraction of a second...oh, the drama.

Let me clarify. I do not endorse creating unnecessary drama, unless in a controlled, imaginary play setting ("WHAT? Your dollie's best friend is moving to NEBRASKA?? Well, let her have a good cry about it, approach her friend's parents, and see if she can't beg and plead with them to change their minds" and the like). And I truly oppose gossip (despite my brainstorms about

But if you have a scoop you'd like to share, your secret's safe with me, and I will lean in with delight, and relish every word! My same undramatic friend, Andrea, has often said "Just look at you!" when she's about to tell me something juicy!

I love drama. And Maddy seems to be following in her mommy's footsteps. We put a new, pretty dress on her yesterday and she gushed, with all the hushed reverence a two year old can muster, "Oh, Mommy, just like a princess!" We'll keep enjoying our fanciness around here, God Bless Daddy!

Until, you know, a little boy comes along. After this post, you know one's bound to :).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Michael Phelps of Mamas...

Today is my good, best, longest, most extravagent, most determined, most fashionable, most-beautiful-green-eyes, most-understanding-of-curly-hair friend Rebekah's birthday. The above pics are from a few years ago (awww, look at little Maddy!), and she is even more beautiful today. Just look at the below picture of Bekah holding her new little niece:

Her blog, Heart Cries, has drawn many. It chronicles her journey, alongside her husband Ben, to adopt their first child. Their story is beautiful. Everyone who reads, who looks at her pictures, who sees how carefully she documents each step of the process, agrees that Ben and Bekah are the Michael Phelps of a choice for birth parents. Oh, you haven't been glued to the Olympics?! either. I just, um, heard that Michael Phelps was that swimmer-guy who now holds more gold medals than any other Olympian ever.

Ben and Rebekah are that good.

Rebekah has become this mature, wise, beautiful mom-in-waiting. All she has been through, all she is now navigating through, have changed her for sure. And all the bloggy world gets to see the sparkle. But I'm proud to know her a little bit closer:

  • She was my first friend in Sunday school at Christ the King Church in 5th grade.

  • She was my constant confidant, along with our other best friend, Andrea, during all my junior high and high school years. She whispered with me late in the night. We witnessed each other's heart breaks and all the growing-up-isms.

  • She was my very favorite roommate during one incredible year at Northern Michigan University. The year in retrospect meant very little to either of us academically and every thing in life expereinces. We were nestled in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan the year the town of Marquette broke the record for snow fall! We had "wear your roommate's clothes day". Rebekah was dating Ben, her high school sweetheart, and we again whispered late into the night, this time about when he would pop The Question and which of our college guy friends had any potential for me (none :)!). We built a huge snowman. We loved every minute.

  • I stood up in her wedding. She stood up in mine. She watched my first born come into the world.

  • We've called each other with every bit of exciting news and been witness to the reality of Who God Is in each other's lives.

She is beautiful and the real deal that all her readers see.

Happy Birthday, Friend. Enjoy every minute! And, oh, we all cannot wait to celebrate again with all the rises and settles of what this year will hold.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


You know that feeling when you walk into your house after being gone for a length of time and it all looks so familiar, yet slightly new, slightly different? I love that feeling. My house looked so beautiful to me when Dan, Maddy, and I arrived home today after a vacation Up North.

It may be small. But it's ours. It's us. It's home.

I was also quite excited to get back to my laptop. A full inbox and lots of new blogs to read...what could be better? :)

I will blog more tomorrow...promise.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I Can Feel The Laziness Setting In...

Tomorrow Madalyn and I leave to go on vacation with my parents. We will be at a lake in Northern Michigan in the middle of nowhere for seven days. Dan will join us on Thursday night and we will return home on Sunday.

I can already feel the laziness setting in. It's 3:22 pm and I'm still in my p.j.'s. Dan is starting to get concerned I will go to today's 5:00 family dinner at his brother's house dressed this way, unshowered, although he won't admit it.

It's just such a peaceful day. Don't get me wrong: I've done three loads of laundry, packed Maddy and I, and made sure Madalyn was bathed for tonight. I may get inspired and run the dishwasher any minute.

But that's about it.

I don't know if I'll be able to sign online at all this next week, so I apologize in advance about the lack of blogging. I'll make sure to have plenty of pictures and fresh materials when I return. In the mean time, I'm going to try my hand at knitting Maddy some cute legwarmers, read some books, and take naps. Oh, and maybe try to get a little sun. I'm finishing out this summer as white as when it started, and that simply won't do!

Alright, I suppose I'll change out of my attractive brown tank top and velour lounge pants. I can't promise the same for next week, though :)

Enjoy these last, lazy days of summer however you can.



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Maddy's Fall Fashion Picks

In case there are any toddlers in a quandary about what to wear for late summer/ early fall, here are Maddy's hand-picked favs from's comment on the boots: "Look, those are my boots!" Fashion tip: always claim ownership of an item. Make it yours. Work it.
Madalyn's comment on the dress: "Maddy wear that beautiful dress." Fashion tip: only wear what you truly believe to be beautiful. Your self-confidence will come shining through! Also, know what color palette is flattering for you personally. Maddy knows purple flatters her coloring!

More of "Maddy's Fashion Picks" to come as the fall lines present themselves! Have a gorgeous day :).

Saturday, August 2, 2008

You Fix It.

Ever heard this little verse?

"Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."

(1 Peter 5:7)

How about this one:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

(Philippians 4:6)

If you grew up in the church, your answer is "Yes, a million times"...I guarantee it. Ever gone through a tough, anxiety-invoking, real-life situation with no obvious way out? I'm not talking a "trial" or "testing of your faith", as we like to say to make it sound all churchy and not-really-that-hard. I'm talking about losing a job. Not having money to pay the rent. Failing at something you tried hard at. Real disappointment. Real worry. Really stuck.

How'd the above verses work out for you? If you're like me, you're driven to your knees and to your Bible when hard times hit. And that's an awesome thing. But, if you're like me, although you take comfort in these verses, your situation is still overwhelmingly real. If only you could physically take the worry and "present it" to God. Maybe then you could leave it with Him.

My problem has always been that I don't know how to trust Him with it completely.

I'll take this out of the hypothetical (without getting too specific) and tell you that there has been a situation in my own life for the past year and a few months. It was something I felt I had failed at and I simply did not know how to deal with it. I knew I needed to get in contact with a certain person connected with the situation because she had borrowed something of mine before the trial happened. I need and want it back. But to call her, to ask for it, would be to face a whole other area I simply have not had the courage to face. I just couldn't do it.

Even when thoughts plagued me of her selling my belonging on E-bay since she hadn't heard from me.

Even though I thought about the situation almost every day.

I simply could not do it.

And I didn't really know how to bring it to God, because how do you explain to Him that you are too cowardly to do what you know, as a mature, self-supporting adult, needs to be done? The answer seemed obvious to me...He would say, "Get over yourself and just do it."

But I couldn't.

Three dear, Godly women, Rebekah, Meeghan, and Teri have been doing a Bible Study with me this summer called "No Other Gods" by Kelly Minter. It is through Beth Moore's ministry, and has been a lot of fun. This past week there was a quote in the book that jumped out and brought tears to my eyes. Gave me hope. Gave me my answer. Here it is:

If thou hast anything that perplexes thee, the simplest plan for thee will be, not to try to solve the difficulty, but to seek direction from heaven concerning it. If thou hast, at this moment, some doubt that is troubling thee, thy wisest plan will be, not to combat the doubt, but to come to Christ just as thou art, and to refer the doubt to Him. Remember how men act when they are concerned in a lawsuit; if they are wise, they do not undertake the case themselves. They know our familiar proverb,'He who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client'; so they take their case to someone who is able to deal with it, and leave it with him."

Charles Spurgeon

You may be thinking, "O-kay, that's a lot of 'thees' and 'thous'; where's the epiphany?" What I saw in that quote was that I could bring my situation to God and say: "Here this is. I have absolutely no idea what to do. I am unable to do anything because of my own fear and the complexity of the situation. Please help me." And that would be o-kay. I don't have to try and deal with it first. I could simply leave it with him the way a man would leave a complicated lawsuit with a top-notch lawyer.

Here it is. You take care of it. I simply can't.

It hit me then: that is, in essence, what He asks us to do in the above verses. That's what He wants when we are told to come "like a little child." Maddy doesn't give me suggestions on how to fix something for her. She doesn't worry for months on end about how she can fix it herself before bringing it to me. I simply, immediately, get the pieces, a pouty lip, a few tears and the words, "Mommy, it's broke. You fix it."

And I do.

And He does.

Friends, I told God I could not fix my situation because it was too big and I'm too small. And too scared.

The next day, out of the blue, I get a text message from a person I haven't spoken to for a year and a couple of months.

She wants to return my belonging.

Refer it to Him.

Friday, August 1, 2008

OUTRAGEOUS Friday: A Little Late

Sorry to be getting to the Outrageous Friday post a little late today! Dan and I are having a realtor come look at our house today and see if we have a shot of selling in this OUTRAGEOUSly hard market. So, of course I've been cleaning like a mad-woman. Correction, I am about to start cleaning like a mad-woman since my mom just picked up Madalyn :). Maddy needed to "go buy unicorn food" (I have no idea where that came from! When asked what "unicorn food" was, she told me "it's like treat leather," which is what she calls fruit leather) this morning, so I didn't get a whole lot done. I'm about to start. But not before I tend to something more important...this post.

Although unicorn food is pretty outrageous, it doesn't compare to what I saw on this blog a few days ago. I've copied Brandiandboys once before, so I promise this is the last time! It was just so OUTRAGEOUS, I couldn't resist. Here it is:

That's right, a fishy pedicure! According to CNN News, these tiny carp nibble off your dead skin. They don't have teeth, so they are unable to do any harm to live skin, and the creator says it works much better than a traditional pedicure. In fact, a Northern Virginia spa plans to offer a full-body version soon!
What do you think? Are you game? (I think it's absolutely disgusting, but don't let that sway you!)

Have a great weekend!