Wednesday, April 27, 2011

March for Babies-Open Invitation

Hello My Beautiful Blog Stalkers,

Eric and I are participating in our local March for Babies this year, and we need your help!  

We march to remember our first-born daughter, Ellis, who was stillborn on September 23, 2008 after a seemingly routine 24-week pregnancy.

In the moments, days, weeks, and months after losing Ellis, one of my biggest struggles was my feeling of helplessness.  This was not something I could undo, fix, or change.  When I participated in the 2009 March for Babies it made me feel, in some small way, that I was doing something.

Last year, we didn't march because I was laid up doing this:

I'm so incredibly thankful for our beautiful, healthy daughter Madeline.  But, I don't want to forget Ellis, and I don't want to take for granted the fact that sadly not everyone goes home with a healthy baby.

Way too many babies are born too early in the United States.  The March of Dimes uses the money they raise to help prevent premature births and to fund new research.  For more information about The March of Dimes, visit their website at  

March for Babies 2009

 So what's all this have to do with you???

We need walkers to join our family team.  Go Team Ellis Jane!  

As a walker, you would:  

  • Walk with us on July 23. (Yes, I know, I know it's July and it will be hot outside, but three miles is nothing.  Then, we'll celebrate with food and alcoholic beverages in an air conditioned location when we've finished.)    
  • Fundraise for the team by getting sponsors.  (You can pledge to raise as much or as little as you like.  If you want to raise ten dollars and then sponsor yourself....shhhhh....that's fine with me.  My attitude is that every little bit helps.)  
  • You can sign up to walk for Team Ellis Jane here   

Please consider joining our team.  It will be a good opportunity to get some friends and family together for a good cause.  The more the merrier.  If we get enough people together, there may even be a t-shirt in it for you.  And who doesn't love a free t-shirt?  Am I right??  Also, the Maddie Bear will be there!

If you cannot commit to walking, there are other ways you can help.  

  •  Please consider making a donation to our team.  Any amount is appreciated.  You can make a donation here  
And/ OR
  • Simply spread the word about our team, or about March for Babies in general.  Send emails, post links on Facebook, hang up posters, gossip about it via text message.  

Any help of any kind would be greatly appreciated.

I'll be posting updates on team information and fundraising goals periodically as we get closer to the date of the march.

Thank you for your support!  It means a lot to us.  

Much Love,

Summer, Eric, and Madeline.

Mumma, Dadda, and Ellis Jane

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

32 Weeks

Anyone else getting kinda tired of bunnies??  Cause I am!  Today is the third bunny post in a row...

Madeline's curiosity knows no bounds.  She wants everything and anything she can get her hands on these days.  She's becoming quite a handful.  I'm almost glad she's not very mobile yet because once she starts moving, oh boy, my days are numbered.

I can see the gears in her head turning all the time.  When she's deep in thought, her eyes get very wide and she sucks in her bottom lip.  Sorta like this:

She watches our mouths closely so that she can try to mimic the sounds.  She'll watch us tap our hands on the table and then try to do the same.  She's soaking it all up.  

Feeding her is becoming an epic process because she gets distracted by everything around her.  Yes, Maddie, that's the brick wall; you can't eat it.  Yes, Maddie, that's Mumma's arm; you can't eat it.  Yes, Maddie, that's a tissue; you can't eat it.  Yes, Maddie, that's your high chair; you can't eat it.  Try some bananas instead!

Her favorite thing to grab is us.  It's cute, until she gets a good chunk of flesh.  She's got quite a pinch!

She's also become a bit obsessed with her own ears.  She tugs on them constantly.  I've heard this might be a teething thing, but it could also just be that she has colossally large ears and just can't help herself.  Either way, I'm glad she didn't have this skill when she had her stitches.  That would have been a disaster!

All this grabbing and curiosity means she's becoming more self sufficient.  She'll play quite happily with her toys by herself for longer periods of time now.  It's so funny watching her play and babble like a big girl.  Sometimes she even seems to sing to herself.  "Lah, la, la."  

Her eyes are still changing color.  They are still mostly blue, and I'm hoping they stay that way.  However, I've heard three different people this week say, "Oh, her eyes are so dark! They're almost brown!" and "Her eyes are still blue!" and "Oh, her eyes are so green!"  All three of these comments are correct.  Depending on the time of day, the light, and what she's wearing, her eyes look completely different.  Does that mean they're hazel?  We'll see.

Mostly, she's just so, so sweet.  She loves to cuddle.  She gives me kisses and squeals when I kiss her chubba cheeks.  She lays her head down on my shoulder and sighs while I rub her back.

Eric and I are pretty certain that we are the parents to the cutest baby on the planet.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Maddie's First...


We were quite curious to see what Madeline's reaction to an adult-sized white bunny rabbit would be, but as usual, she was completely unfazed.  She grabbed his hand, pet his nose, and pulled his fur.  She was not shy or scared at all.  (It's clearly because she has the social skills of a ten-month old!)  

Maddie, Katie Belle, and my brother-in-law, Chef Martin
 On our way out for Easter brunch, I hid our Easter eggs along the sidewalk to the parking lot.  I stuck them in lamp posts, under benches, in holes in the walls, and underneath daffodil petals.  Eric pretended he didn't know me.  When we got home from breakfast, they were all gone.  Either someone found them or a possum ate them.  Hopefully no children ate them...although they were hard boiled, so I don't think they would do any serious harm...unless said children were allergic to eggs.  Hmmm....maybe not so great an idea? 

I spent the rest of the holiday watching enough of The Sound of Music, Downton Abbey and The Ten Commandments to drive Eric to heavy drinking during the Celtics games.

P.S.  The Ten Commandments (aka MOSES!) is probably one of my top ten favorite movies of all time.  I don't know why.  I think all the overacting and blue, blue eyes put me in some kind of trance.  Also, this movie and Christmas carols about the Baby Jesus account for the majority of my religious education.  Also, if I don't watch it, I worry that God may smite me with a large pillar of fire.

You may notice that my face looks extra doughy in this Easter photograph.  This is because I lived on a diet purely made up of pastries, french fries, and Peeps over vacation week.

The Easter bunny won this round, that's for sure.  He'll get his when I bite off his chocolate ears tonight during Dancing with the Stars...        

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Can you find the Maddie Bunny?  

Okay, I'll give you a hint.  
Now can you find the Maddie Bunny?

There's the Maddie Bunny!  

Happy Easter to all bunnies big and small.  


Saturday, April 23, 2011

New York, Je t'aime!

We spent the last few days in New York visiting Eric's family.  Madeline was so excited to see Nana and Poppy that she drove us the whole way!  She's a pretty good driver considering she can't reach the pedals.   
 She read books with Poppy...

And modeled the latest fashions for Nana.

Madeline played with her new buddy, Tabatha, who drew her this fantastic picture:  

And of course, Madeline played, and played, and played with her new toys.

Meanwhile, Eric's dad, Eric, took the two of us into the city to see his new office, which has killer views.  

 We ordered cheese from our favorite cheese monger.
 We saw lots of fake Statues of Liberty, but not the real one...
And Eric saw lots of instruments he wanted to buy.

Thank you, New York.  It was fun.  We'll be back soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Today we dyed Easter eggs. (And by we, I mean I.)  

Madeline was more interested in the egg carton than in the dying process, but that's probably for the best.  That last thing we needed was a Maddie Bear covered in purple food coloring.  Although purple does look lovely on her.    

I'm sure next year she'll be more interested in Easter.

I told Eric that I'm going to hide the eggs around the apartment and make him and Maddie hunt for them on Sunday.  He told me that was the silliest thing he's ever heard.  Won't he be sorry when the Easter Bunny leaves his basket empty on Easter morning.  Bah Humbug!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

31 Weeks

Today we met with the early intervention people for Madeline's evaluation.  Bum, bum, bum.

At Madeline's six-month checkup, we mentioned to her pediatrician that she still hadn't rolled over.  The doctor referred us to early intervention.  Her argument was basically, it can't hurt; might help.

The evaluation today tested all of Madeline's skills, not just the area we are concerned about.  At the end of the evaluation, they tallied up the numbers to find out if we qualified for their services or not.  

Madeline's numbers revealed that when it comes to her social skills, she is ten months developmentally. Woo-hoo, Maddie Bear! This didn't really surprise us.  Madeline is very verbal and extremely friendly.  She smiles and interacts with everyone.

It also wasn't a surprise that when it comes to her gross motor skills, she is only at five months.  (You mean to tell me my child is smart, but not at all athletic?!  Shha, where did she get that from??)  This qualifies her for their services.

They will be meeting with Madeline once a week for the next six months.  At the end of that time, Madeline will be tested again to measure her progress.  At each appointment, they will work on her tummy-time skills.  They will also continue to give us tips and "homework" to work on with her.

They've already given us some good suggestions.  For example, at the first meeting with them last week, they suggested that we place a small, rolled up towel under Madeline's chest to help her "cheat" at getting her head up off the ground.  It's forced Madeline to use her arms a lot more already.

It seems like such common-sense advice, but we never would have thought of that on our own.  And trust me, it's not like we haven't tried putting Madeline on her tummy before.  We do it every day.  But instead of working out a way to move, she just puts her face in the ground and screams bloody murder until we pick her up.

The early intervention people told us that babies with a history of reflux issues have a hard time with being on their tummies.   When she had her reflux problems as a newborn, it probably didn't feel good to lie that way, so she learned to associate tummy time with bad feelings.  Again, duh!

I'm glad we're getting services.  It doesn't seem like rolling over is a big deal because in all other areas she's completely on track, but the women today kept stressing how important tummy skills are.  She needs to learn to develop her chest and neck muscles so that she can push herself up, crawl, even write.

Plus, it was kinda fun and really interesting to watch.  The ladies showed up with a huge suitcase full of toys, put Madeline on the floor, and essentially watched her play.   Maddie was so excited to have the full attention and applause of four adults at the same time.  She kept turning her head over her shoulder to make sure all of us were watching her perform her tricks.

She's quite the show-off, our little social butterfly.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Marathon Mommy Daddy Day!

Because we are horrible, terrible, no-good, rotten parents, we dropped Madeline off in daycare on our first official day of vacation so that Eric and I could go into Boston to have a quality day to ourselves.

(I wanted Eric to get a picture of my gleefully jumping into the air to celebrate our day of freedom, but instead, all he got were my not-so-graceful landings.)

 It may be worth noting that I am not a runner, nor do I  find running particularly interesting.  Every few years I take it up simply because I know it's a fast, easy, and cheap way to lose weight, but I do not enjoy it at. all.  After a few months, I inevitably get bored and lazy and give up.

In spite of the fact that Eric and I could only run for more than ten minutes if a very slow, but hungry, tiger were chasing us through the jungle, we spent our day watching the Boston Marathon.  

Why?  Because those people are fast.  And whenever someone is really good at something, it's always fun to watch.  I could watch someone vacuum his living room if he were the best in the world.

Today's winner finished in 2:03:02.  (A new record, p.s.) Excuse me?!  He ran 26.2 miles in the same time it took me to make my feet ready for sandal weather the other night?!

Fact:  It took us roughly an hour to eat an order of dumplings, two bowls of soup, and some rice with chicken at lunch today.  In that same amount of time that guy theoretically ran 13 miles. If we had eaten two orders of dumplings, added another beer or two, and tacked on dessert, it may have taken us just as long to eat lunch as it did for that guy to run an entire marathon!!

Also, my feet still hurt from walking back and forth across the city and standing on a crowded sidewalk for an hour to see better people than myself run by.  But, I can't complain, because I did not just run a marathon!
The runners get chips?!  No fair!

The craziest part about these people?  On the way back to the train, we saw them walking down the sidewalks on their way to lunch as if they had just finished a leisurely jog.  Every year we've gone to watch the race I've been amazed by this.  I'm pretty sure that if I just ran a marathon, I would be the first guy who ever ran a marathon.

Also, I watched the majority of the race through other people's mobile devices since whenever a runner went by, thousands of cameras and cellphones lifted in the air to capture the event, thus obstructing any view I might have possibly had.  So, technically, I did not see the marathon. I doubt very much if there was actually anyone there who saw the event with their own eyes instead of through the lens of some kind of machine.

Not that I can blame them, because unlike us, most of the spectators at least knew someone running.  If I ran the Boston Marathon, you'd better believe I'd require Eric get a good photo upon the pain of death.

Maybe I'll take another whack at running.  I did swear on the Internet that I'd get my frumpster off the couch.  I know I won't be running a marathon anytime soon, but maybe next year I can run from the train station to the sidewalk to watch...

P.S.  We also took silly pictures of me....Get it?


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Get Your Oooohs and Ahhhs Ready

We're starting our vacation off in style.  Yesterday, we went on a shopping spree; today, we met my parents at Brown's to satisfy my hankering for steamers with buttah.  Tomorrow, we're going to be horrible parents and put Madeline in daycare for the day while we go out and have fun.

I've mentioned before that my parents take really good pictures, and I...don't.  Thankfully, they brought the camera today.

Behold, adorable family photos at last...a lot of them.