Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Maddy Funnies and Life Right Now...

Well, my goal has been to do a whole bunch of update posts to get caught up from last September (ha!), but that has not happened! Surprise, surprise! So, I'm just going to start fresh and if I get a chance, I will try to go back and at least post pictures of the major events between September 2009 and now...

I have to post two recent Maddy stories so I don't forget them altogether!

- Last week, we were leaving MOPS and walking to the car. With my ever-increasing belly, I try to have Maddy walk as much as possible. She was happily holding my finger with one hand and clutching Lambie (a little stuffed lamb) with the other. We came across a rock bed that is next to a flower bed. She is extremely fascinated with these rocks for some reason. As much as I wanted to hurry to the car and get on with the rest of our day, I stopped myself and gave her a few minutes to explore the rocks. Before long, it became clear that she was fully expecting to take a rock home and just working on finding the right one. So, I told her to pick one out and that we could take one home. She made her selection, picked Lambie up and looked like she was ready to walk to the car. Then, one single solitary rock caught her attention and she put Lambie and the first rock down to pick up the new rock. Not wanting to take TWO rocks home, I start thinking about how I can explain to her that she can only take one. I decide on my line of reasoning and tell her that she can only take one rock home because she also needs to carry Lambie. She looks at me thoughtfully, considers what I've said, reaches down and picks up the first rock in one hand, then the second rock with the other hand. Before I could object, she stands up, wraps her sweet little rock-filled hands around Lambie's neck, swoops him up and promptly starts walking towards the car. Problem solved. I couldn't help but chuckle as I realized that I now had to let her take both rocks home. And wouldn't you know it, she carried both rocks AND Lambie all the way to the car. Love this girl!!!

- Yesterday after a playdate Maddy was having a bit of a hard time unwinding from all the excitement. To try to calm the tone and soothe her, I opted for a long storytime. She snuggled up in my lap and we read several stories together. I even tried one longer story that we haven't done yet because I wasn't sure if her attention span could handle it - she loved it! Given that success, I picked a truly long picture book that would take us at least 15 minutes to read. I figured I'd give it a shot. Now, I have to stop here and fill in some information that will be pertinent to understanding this story. Maddy is a great sleeper, but she is fairly rigid. Once she is tired, she does not like to be cuddled much and she is virtually 100% guaranteed to never fall asleep in your lap. She even sometimes has trouble falling asleep in her carseat at night if we're on our way home. She just prefers her bed. Give her her blanket, sing her a song, and lay her down - that's how she likes it. Now, back to our long picture book. As we start the first two pages, I'm amazed at how much she is enjoying the story - looking at each simple picture and hearing my voice weave a story. I'm soaking up every sweet minute. Pretty soon, we're about half-way through the book and I notice her kind of slumping towards my chest and then catching herself. After the second or third time, I leaned down to peek at her and couldn't believe my eyes - she was sound asleep! The sight of my sweet girl, lulled to sleep by her mama's story, was so precious to me.

- A short, but adorable, glimpse into daily life with Maddy right now... one of Maddy's favorite signs (and words) is 'more' and it has become the expression for everything and anything she could possibly want more of. With the warm weather increasing, we've been spending a lot of time outside and seeing lots of exciting outdoor things - cars, motorcycles, school buses, trucks, birds flying, airplanes overhead, kids on bicycles... Maddy thinks all of this is just FABULOUS! She can't get enough of it! As evidence, whenever any of the above goes by, she watches with rapt attention, and then turns to me and - with the most beautifully expectant eyes - signs and says 'more?' I cannot get over the fact that she clearly thinks I can make these things materialize! In her eyes, I have some mighty impressive powers!

- Maddy is fascinated with my growing belly and the fact that I have a baby inside me. To give her a chance to 'interact' I've taken to lifting my shirt and letting her identify 'baby', say hi and give kisses. For a while, she couldn't get enough of it and would want to do the whole routine no less than six times a day! Lately, though, she's responded a bit differently... When I lift my shirt and show her my belly she'll come over, say a quick 'baby', give a quick kiss, and promptly pull my shirt back down, saying 'bye-bye-baby!' I can't help but laugh because she has no idea that her days are numbered on that response!

Now for a quick update on how everyone else in our house is doing...

Anthony: Currently he's on an eight week trauma rotation that entails 6-a-week 12-hour shifts. To say that his schedule is exhausting is a huge understatement. Poor guy is giving every bit of mental and physical energy and comes home hungry and exhausted with just enough time to kiss Maddy goodnight, eat dinner, relax for 30 minutes, and head to bed. Talk about a rat race! We are just now half-way through the eight weeks. Not yet feeling the light at the end of the tunnel, but definitely knowing it's there. Anthony is such a strong person for the way he handles these challenges. He's resilient to be able to do it continuously and he's (mostly) happy and optimistic when he's home - I don't know how he does it!

Me: I'm about five months along now and it's fair to say that I've settled into a pregnancy routine. Although I'm disappointed about how little energy I have, I am feeling quite healthy and I'm still able to physically do almost everything I want to do. I find that I have to nap when Maddy naps about half the days of the week or else I get ridiculously overtired and when I get tired I get cranky! No time for that right now! As a result, my productivity level has drastically decreased. It's frustrating to not be able to keep up with the daily cleaning of the house and to not have enough time for projects that I would love to work on. But, it is the reality for the next several months. I'm (mostly) adjusting to that. :)

Little Nino: He's doing great! Growing strong and healthy and right on track for the July 20th due date. We got to see him at the ultrasound and it was so special! It's just amazing how clearly you can see so many details - he's an amazing little person and we can't wait to meet him! He's starting to punch and kick more and more and Anthony just felt his first kick the other day. In other news, this little boy has identified my bladder and decided it is a super cool play thing. He punches it like it's a punching bag! I definitely DID NOT have this experience with Maddy!

Now, for a few recent pictures...

Maddy and the Birthday Daddy!

Fascinated with bubbles...

Little girl is big enough now to really enjoy play places!

Going out to celebrate Anthony's Birthday

VERY upset after tucking both of her feet into the potty.
(WHY does she like to do this?!?!)

Love her little shadow!

Sweet Maddy Grace

Monday, September 21, 2009

Busy Weekend!

What a fun weekend we had! Anthony worked on Saturday, so Maddy and I were on our own, but he was off on Sunday! It was great to have so much time together!

Saturday started off as a lazy day for resting. I got some stuff done on the computer and around the house while Maddy played and took her naps. After naps, we headed over to my Mom's house to check on her after her surgery on Friday. It was SO GOOD to see her. She's been through so much with this eye problem and even though it's still a long road ahead, it finally feels like we are on the up-side of the curve! Big time praise - her left eye is now facing mostly forward! That is huge!!! While we were there my grandmother came over too - it was so nice for her to see Maddy and for us to visit.

After our visit to my Mom's, Maddy and I headed off to church. It was GREAT to be there and she had a good time in her class. After I dropped her off, I had one of those "oh-my-goodness-I'm-such-a-grownup!" moments. Having grown up in this church and having worked behind the scenes in the kids ministry, I have had no shortage of time to imagine what it would be like when I had my own children and we came to church. It must have been something about being there by myself (without Anthony - I seem to always have these revelations when he's not around), as I walked into the auditorium, I just felt all those things I had imagined culminate in that one moment - I had just dropped off MY daughter in her church classroom and then I was headed to church with the pager around my neck - like all the other parents! Isn't it strange how so many of our 'epiphany' moments sound so ordinary when we say them out loud? Oh well, I know all those other 'grownups' out there can relate!

Poor Anthony did not get home until 8:oopm! It was a strange and crazy long day for him, but thank goodness for a day off!

Maddy playing with the computer while I blogged

finding a rogue paci

she looks like such a big girl when she stands!!!

playing with her new pop-up toy from Grammy!

Maddy & Grammy are pirates - arrrrrrgh!

Marleigh, Mammy, Maddy & Emily

Mom & Maddy on the bus to church

Maddy looked like a little librarian in this sweater!

Here's a little video of Maddy on the shuttle bus after church. She 'sang' like this the entire ride. It was so precious! I savored the sound of it and tipped my head back, closed my eyes, and memorized the sound of her. I love this girl so much.

Saturday evening we found out that my sister - Jessica - had been in a bad car accident. She headed over to urgent care to be checked out while her car headed to the junk yard. :( Totaled. I am so grateful that she walked away uninjured. Amazingly, I was on the road at the time of the accident and suddenly had the strongest urge to pray for my safety. When Maddy and I arrived at church in one piece, I thanked God. It wasn't until later that night that I realized my prayers for safety had been for my dear sister. I am so glad that God protected her.

Sunday started out bright and early. We were headed out of the house at 8:30am to St. Michael's. Sunday was the two year anniversary of Baba's passing (Anthony's grandmother). There was a special service in her honor before regular church started. Even though we were a few minutes late, I still felt great about us getting up and out of the house so early! Maddy did GREAT at church! She even took a little nap and was quite refreshed afterwards! It was so nice to see everyone there and it was great for all of them to be able to see her too. Anthony's cousin Kristin was there and her son Joey - he's 15 months old - and it was fun to watch him and Maddy interact! What a great time with family and friends!

Maddy wore her hat in honor of Baba

Singing with her Baba and Daddy in the choir

with Aunt Catherine (Catherine was a HUGE hit because she had a water bottle, a bright yellow purse, and high heel girly shoes - Maddy was enthralled!)

Maddy & Joey checking each other out

Anthony, Catherine, Me and Anna - I LOVE THOSE GIRLS!

Although we had a great morning on Sunday, the day was really a hard one. Anyone who has regularly experienced a schedule of loooooong days and one day off a week knows how challenging the day off can be. It seems so counter intuitive - after a long hard week it seems like it would be easy to just enjoy a day off together. Not so much. It is hard work. Trying to make the most out of each moment - cram in so many interactions with people, so many activities and extra rest - it is impossible to do it all. Pretty much without fail, one of us ends up being grumpy on the day off. It gets really old to have our one day off a week partially soured by a negative attitude. I wish I could say we've come a long way on this front, but we still struggle with it almost every week. Suffice it to say - sometimes life is just hard, even on days off.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fabulous Friday

We had a great day today! It's been such a busy week with Bible Study and MOPS starting so we decided to take it easy today and recover. We played at home and after Maddy's naps we headed out for a few errands. I'm amazed at how Maddy keeps growing and learning new skills. She is so curious about her environment and how everything works. She is now learning to stack cups inside of each other and she's working on the idea of stacking things on top of each other to make a tower.

Maddy playing with her new ball popper (she LOVES this toy! I'm hoping to post a video of her playing with it soon!)

They have been working on painting the outside of our building this week. Maddy is SO interested in the tall ladders outside our windows and the men who are climbing them. This afternoon we went out on our porch and chatted with the painter who was up on the ladder! Too funny!

I thought this was a cool picture

During Maddy's naps I got a LOT done in the kitchen! Woo Hoo! I got a bunch of finger foods prepped for Maddy - pears, peas and carrots. And I made yogurt! So far my batches of yogurt have turned out so-so, but this time I was extra careful and attentive and it turned out SO YUMMY! Nothing better than fresh yogurt in your fridge!

Maddy has decided that the dishwasher is very exciting! Whenever I open it she high tails it over to grab stuff from the dishwasher. Now I have to distract her so that I can get the dishwasher closed! My latest distraction is a big cup with a few spoons in it. She loves to play with silverware so it works pretty well!

the girl and her spoons...

love the expression!

In other exciting news... Maddy is starting to stand on her own regularly. She is doing it more and more and for longer and longer every day. She's starting to be more aware of what she's doing now and pretty soon she'll make the connection that standing allows her to do a lot more things. Unbelievable how she grows and changes every day! One thing I have NOT enjoyed about her getting bigger is her messy diapers. I am going to be completely honest here and tell you that they are DISGUSTING!!! So far her diapers have not been too bad and I've even been proud of myself (ha!) for handling them so well! But that's all changed now! Yuck! Some days I can barely bring myself to open that dirty diaper! I suppose this too shall pass...

learning to stand

This afternoon it was off to run errands! We went to the library, Costco, and Target where we ran into Anthony! Well, it wasn't really an accident - he had called and said he was on his way home and decided to meet us - but Maddy was sure surprised to see him!

you'll have to enlarge the picture to see it, but this is the fourth time in about two weeks that I have found a spider web on my mirror - how is this happening over and over?!?

Maddy at the library - this girl loves her blankie!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bible Study Tuesday

I have been waiting for this week for a long time now! I know I will shock more than a few people when I say that summer is definitely NOT my favorite season - especially with a baby! I do not care for the hot weather at all. And although most people consider summer a time to relax and kick back, it was just not that way for our family. So, I am very happy for the arrival of fall! And this week marks the official start of fall for us (although not by the calendar) - it's the start of Tuesday morning bible study and MOPS on Thursday morning! Woo Hoo!

I really enjoyed being back in study. The study I am doing this time is about spiritual warfare and how to protect against it. Should be good! I am by far the youngest in my group - never a favorite feeling! But, there's lots to learn from the women in that group, so that's good!

Maddy did not have such a great time though! Bible Study is during her morning nap and it's going to be a bit of a challenge for her to figure out how to nap in a room with busy playing kids! Of course, she may just as likely decide that she doesn't want to nap and that will be just fine too! I just have to remind myself that it's going to be an adjustment and that's okay! When I picked her up she was doing that shallow breathing that you do when you're recovering from crying - it was breaking my heart! And then when I gave her to my mom so I could run to the bathroom, she broke into huge wails! Poor girl! It was nice to be the one to comfort her and make it all better though. It's amazing how comfortable we are with each other and how much I just understand her needs.

In other news today - Maddy is starting to master the pincer grip. It's been a long time coming and she has consistently preferred to just use the raking method for everything. But tonight at dinner I watched her pick up a little pea with her thumb and forefinger. Just another sign of our baby girl growing up! Also at dinner tonight I discovered that Maddy is for sure a carnivore! I tore up some pieces of lamb that we had left over and she devoured it! In fact, she preferentially picked up the lamb pieces over her other food. Really interesting to start to see preferences developing.

I only have one picture from today. Enjoy.


Ugh! I have been having so much trouble getting the video to upload to the last post that I have gotten behind again! And the video STILL isn't working!!! Oh well...

Anyways, today was a pretty regular Monday. We stayed home the whole day. I was able to get a lot done around the house, which was very nice!

A couple of things to celebrate today:

- Maddy has decided that she likes vegetables again! Hooray! It's probably been a month or so that she's been refusing pretty much all veggies. I've just kept offering them to her figuring that one day she would eat them again. Well, the day has come! The last few days she has been happily eating all types of veggies!

- Maddy is standing on her own! Okay, so it's only for a second at a time, but it's still pretty exciting! She did it twice today. The funniest part was that she didn't seem to realize that she was doing it!

enjoying the sippy

love this little face!

just couldn't resist posting the back of this cute polka dot top!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Catch Up...

Whew - I had a few days get away from me there! Anthony was off on Saturday and Sunday was a busy day so I opted not to blog on either of those days. Today will be a picture heavy blog post while I try to get caught up on the last few days. So... here goes!

On Friday, Maddy and I joined Amanda and Ethan and Emily, Lillian and Rosie for the first trip to the cider mill of the season! We tried Plymouth Orchards and had a fun time even though we weren't able to get out and pick any apples! I was not overly impressed with their cider or donuts, though, so I am definitely looking forward to a trip to Erwins!

Ethan and Lillian - they are so cute together!

Sweet Rosie

Maddy as a very cute caterpillar

Ethan as a caterpillar

Maddy as the most serious scarecrow I've ever seen! Anthony and I were remarking that our poor girl is in trouble - with two of the most serious people for parents, I'm not sure how the girl is ever going to learn to be silly! :)

Lillian and Emily - so cute!

Lillian - she's such a precious little girl!

Lillian - look how happy she is!

Maddy in the wagon

she was not sure about the hay - hence the classic Maddy Grace face!

enjoying the cider!

Saturday was Anthony's day off and we really enjoyed it! We had a lazy morning just relaxing at home and playing with Maddy. Then I ran some errands during Maddy's nap while Anthony got some relaxing time at home. I got a lot accomplished! In the afternoon, we headed over to Todd and Emily's to hang out and watch the Michigan game with friends. It was a lot of fun! Of course, it's very different to watch a football game with six kids under six!

reading with Dad!

she loves this story about the sounds animals make and often looks back and forth between the page and the reader as they make the funny sounds - too cute!

I love her intent expression in this picture!

Love these two so much!

Maddy and Daddy

In the evening, we headed out to see Anthony's Mom, and sisters Anna and Catherine perform in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. They were all three in the chorus and it was SO FUN to watch them perform! I'm so proud of them and impressed at their skill! I was especially loving to watch Mom in such a different role than I've ever seen her in - she really enjoyed it and looked GREAT singing and dancing up there! A big thanks to Jess and Mike for staying with Maddy so we could enjoy the show.

Incidentally, the show was performed at our former high school - North Farmington. Anthony and I met there and have a lot of memories dating back to that time and place. In fact, ten years ago Anthony performed in Joseph on the very same stage as a senior in high school. It just so happened that I had already spent a fair amount of time that weekend thinking back to high school days and everything that went with it (as a result of a couple of interactions over the weekend). So, when we arrived for the show, my emotions were right up at the surface. And sure enough, just sitting in that auditorium, I welled up and started crying! I can't even explain it fully - just so many memories and so much emotion that goes along with it. I know everyone's experience was not like this, but a lot of high school for me was filled with insecurity and constant self-awareness. I spent way too much time worrying about how I was perceived and trying to project the image of myself that I wanted others to see. Inevitably - even with a great group of friends - I ended up feeling not good enough and shunned by certain people. The most surprising thing though, was realizing that while I've made a lot of good progress in that area, I still struggle with a lot of the same things! I think I'm sick of wondering what people think of me and watching every word and action when I'm in public. I now feel pretty good in my own skin and I'm increasingly confident of how I'm viewed in God's eyes and yet I still get stressed so often in social situations. Just sitting there Saturday night made me realize that it is time to move past that and just embrace myself and be myself. I don't want to waste any more time on any of that silliness.

On Sunday Anthony was back to work. Maddy and I hung out at home in the morning and I got some good work done around the house. Our dining room table had become cluttered with my crafting stuff and it was time to clear it off and get organized! It felt really good to get it clear and even better when Anthony saw it later!

In the afternoon I realized that Maddy is cutting a tooth on the top! She's definitely been showing the signs of teething so I wasn't too surprised but I'm always relieved for her sake when we see the gum pop open! She must have been feeling it too because she took an extra long nap in the afternoon! That was actually a good thing because after her nap we headed to a birthday party for Anthony's grandmother. She was extra rested and in a much better mood than she would have been otherwise! Anthony's dad came to pick me and Maddy up - it was such a treat and so nice not to have to drive at all!

I really enjoyed my time at the party. A lot of the great aunts and uncles were there and it was so nice for them to be able to see Maddy. I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed seeing everyone myself! There were about 40 people there and as I looked around the room I realized how much I now feel that these people are MY family - even though I'm not blood related! They have really embraced me and it is just such a great feeling to know that we have so much family that love us and care about us! The party was downtown so Anthony was able to come right at the end after he finished his shift. Everyone was so happy to see them - it is so rare that he is able to attend the events anymore - and I know it meant a lot to his grandmother. Maddy did great the whole time and just bounced around between me, Mom, Dad, and Anna. She was - of course - very happy when Anthony arrived. I brought her pajamas and her blanket so she snuggled up and fell asleep in her carseat on the way home. Once we got home, she settled right into her bed! It was perfect!

a very happy Maddy this morning!

Maddy talking to me from her crib (for more of this, see the video below)

she found her paci in her toy bin - too cute! It's funny how strange she looks with it since she never uses it!

while I was trying to get some things in order in the bedroom Maddy got a drawer open and started pulling a ton of stuff out of it! She made a big mess fast!!! It actually worked out because I had been meaning to organize that drawer for a while.

the little mess-maker! (she looks so innocent!)

While I was organizing the drawer and cleaning up Maddy's mess, she was exploring Bella's crate and the poor girl got stuck! I couldn't resist snapping a picture before helping her get out.

I took advantage of Maddy's extra long nap to get a little dolled up for the party. It isn't very often anymore that I get to do that! Most days I don't even put make-up on! I was able to try on a few outfits and pick a favorite, get contacts in, jewelry on, hair done and put on make-up. Even after all that she was still sleeping!

all dressed up

Maddy got all dressed up too! This is one of my favorite dresses of hers and I decided to try putting on the pearls that Nani (Anthony's grandmother) had given her. Maddy always loves other people's jewelry so I wanted to see how she reacted to something on her. She loved it! She played with it for a few minutes and then left it alone!

Before we left I tried to get a picture of me and Maddy since we were both looking so good! She was not interested! I think I took 20 pictures or more and practically all of them had her either pushing away from me (see below) or crying (see below). Ugh!

"Mom - I am not interested in this!"

"Didn't you hear me?!?"

this was the best I could get...

I'll finish with a cute video. This was Sunday morning and it was first thing when I went in to get Maddy. She was just so vocal and intense - it was too cute! I rushed to get the camera and was so surprised that she kept it up! These are the moments to remember...