Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lessons for Madeline

Dear Madeline,

If I could teach you one lesson today, (besides this one) it would be to always wear sunscreen.  Someday soon, you will get annoyed at my insistence of covering every inch of your skin with a thick layer of greasy white sunblock before I let you do anything stepping outside.  This is one of those things, dearest girl, where you just have to learn from  your Mumma's mistakes.

You see, Madeline, you are a ginger.  And gingers and the sun are mortal enemies.  I know it's a hard reality to accept, but it's the price we pay for being born without a soul.

Observe the results of today's shenanigans.


Years from now you may look at this, roll your eyes, and say, "Ma, come in, it's not even that bad."  Look closer, my love.  See that white horizontal line extending down from my collarbone between my shoulder and my neck?  That's not a white tank top strap.  That's the color of my actual, normal skin color.  Now, compare that "normal" color to the rest of my chest and shoulder.  See the difference?

Don't assume that because it's cloudy you won't get sunburned.  That's a mistake.  You will burn.  Don't assume that you'll be inside all day, so you don't need sunscreen.  That's a mistake.  You will burn.  Don't assume that a little dab of sunscreen on the tips of your shoulders and on your face will be enough.  That's a mistake.  You will burn.  Don't assume that your sunburn will morph into a beautiful tan.  That's a mistake.  You will peel.  

I'm sorry that your mother didn't pass down beautiful, tannable skin to you.  I'm sorry that you too will someday be forced to scramble for the shadiest spot at the picnic table before anyone else gets there.  I'm sorry that when we go to the beach I will make you wait an extra five minutes before returning to the water so I can reapply your coat.  I'm sorry that you'll never be able to wear a yellow bikini because even though yellow is supposed to make you look more tan...on we gingers, it's a giant disaster.

Wear your sunscreen, my Madeline.  Wear your sunscreen.

Je t'aime,

Mumma Bear

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

41 Weeks

It took three straight hours of grunt work to get Madeline to sleep tonight.  She would not lie still.  She would not take her bottle.  She would not cuddle.  She would not rock.  She would not let me leave the room.  Most of all...she would not sleep.  

In the end, I let her cry herself out.  When I last went in her room, she was curled up on her side whimpering to herself as she fell asleep.

I feel like a terrible Mumma.

Madeline doesn't feel good.  Plus, she has a tooth coming in.  Plus, her schedule has been totally flipped upside down.  Madeline is having a rough week.  

That about sums up week 41.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Have you ever eaten something so delicious that you find yourself unconsciously reciting The Hail Mary aloud, and you're not even Catholic?  Well, if not, you've got to try David Lebovitz's salted butter caramel ice cream recipe.  It's so good it could make Lindsay Lohan find Jesus...seriously.

I had a few mishaps along the way...
I burnt my first batch of caramel and had to start over again.   Oops
And at one point I managed to splatter boiling hot caramel sauce all over me.  Luckily, most of it landed on my clothing and not my skin.  Only my fingers and foot got burned.  Double Oops.  

But other than that, the process went pretty smoothly.  

Not burnt caramel....sooo much tastier!

Making the custard 
finished custard
churning the ice cream the following day
finished ice cream
Tip:  Most good ice cream recipes I've seen tell you to chill the custard in the refrigerator for several hours before churning it.  I usually skip that step because....erm....I'm impatient....and...erm...I'm too fat to wait that long for ice cream.  But, this time, I let the custard cool overnight.  The texture of the ice cream turned out much nicer than it usually does.  Lesson learned?  Don't skip this step.  Good ice cream takes patience.  

Tip The Sequel: A little of this goes a long way.  It's so rich and sweet and flavorful that there's no way I could eat a whole bowl.  

Friday, June 24, 2011


We got Madeline's passport photos done yesterday, and these were the leftovers.  Don't they look like mugshots?  Doesn't she look like a little thug?  

Her record includes:

Resisting nap time
Throwing her binky to the floor
Smacking her Mumma in the face
Harboring a fugitive (Mr. Gie-raff)
Pooping in a public place

Warning: baby is known to be armed and dangerous and extremely adorable.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Things That Make You Go "Awwww"

Adorable pictures of Madeline and her cousin, Katie Belle, from a family barbecue at my sister's house last Sunday.

Nom, Nom, Nom...corn

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer 2011 Bucket List

Today marks the first day of my summer vacation!  This is our first summer with Madeline.  I'm sooo looking forward to it.

Here's a short list of things I plan on doing.

1.) One picnic a week
2.) Go berry picking
3.) Make at least three different flavors of ice cream.
4.) Make a pie
5.) Take Madeline swimming for the first time
6.) Build a sandcastle
7.) Read a non-work related book
8.) See a concert
9.) Buy a house
10.) De clutter our current house
11.) Frequent a farmers' market
12.) Eat Lobster
13.) Eat steamers
14.) Take Madeline on the train
15.) Ride the swan boats
16.) Bring Madeline to Central Park
17.) Go to Vermont
18.) Go to Montaulk
19.) See Harry Potter!
20.) Go outlet shopping
21.) Girl trip
22.) Mini road trip
23.) Cut my hair
24.) Go kayaking
25.) Plan Madeline's first birthday
26.) Ride the trolley
27.) Finish at least one of the arts and crafts projects that I've started
28.) Lose five pounds
29.) Give Madeline her first taste of ice cream
30.) Get a pedicure (Damn my feet are gross!)
31.) Bring Madeline to a parade
32.) Bring Madeline to see fireworks

Here's to a fabulous summer.  Let the fun begin!
(I may add to this list as other ideas pop up.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

40 Weeks

Oh, Madeline.  I think I'll have to start doing your bunny pictures while you're napping, because homeslice is on the move.  


 Madeline is ready to go.  She's not crawling...yet.  But she's rolling up a storm, and pushing herself up onto her hands and knees.

Yesterday, she was standing up while holding onto an armchair, and every now and again she'd let go for a second to see if she could stand by herself.  Every time she let go, she'd get a shocked expression on her face and quickly grab the chair again to steady herself.  She's both curious to push her boundaries, and completely freaked out by her new abilities.

I've been trying to teach her the meaning of the word "gentle" because gentle she is not.  She loves to pull my hair, scratch my face, smack me, and attempt to pull the flesh from my cheeks.  I know it's all meant with love, but seriously...ouch.  Mummas have feelings too, Maddie Bear.  

Whenever she hears "Hi" or "Bye-bye" she waves.  It cracks me up.  She waves to everyone.  It's great because we didn't teach her specifically to wave, she just picked up on it because everyone is always waving at her.

Going to bed at night is becoming more of a "thing."  More nights than not she wants us in the room with her before she can fall asleep.  As long as one of us is in there so she can hold onto her hand, she'll settle down to sleep.  If we're not?  It's a struggle.  We'll have to adjust our bedroom routines over the summer to find something that works for an older Maddie Bear.

She's been eating lots of fruits.  She had watermelon for the first time this week, and she loved it.  She's also still obsessed with our drink glasses.  If she sees me sipping a drink, she wants some too...especially if there's ice.  We're trying to get her to use her sippy cup, but it hasn't taken yet.  She'd rather just skip to a regular glass.

And on top of it all, she's still as pleasant as a peach.  She rarely is fussy.  She's getting to an age where Eric and I can easily pick her up and take her anywhere.  She's just so much fun!

I finished with school today!  I have a few days of freedom before next week when I take a week-long class...and then?  Nothing but some quality time with our little Madeline.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

March for Babies Update

See this girl?

This is Eric's sister, Aunt Coco to the Maddie Bear, and she just raised a bazillion dollars for our March for Babies team.  She's awesome!

I'm completely blown away by people's generosity.  I set our team goal at $500.

As of two minutes ago? We've raised $1,125.  That puts our team as one of the top five Lowell family teams.  Holy Popsicle sticks!

As for me?  I've raised $90.  Although, as an excuse, many people have donated directly to the team instead of to me individually.  Still, I better get cracking.  If you'd like to sponsor me, you can click on the March for Babies button on my sidebar.  Any amount is greatly appreciated!

If you'd like to join us on the day of the walk...

Registration begins at 2:30, and the walk begins at 3:30.

There is a Lowell Spinners game starting at 5:30.  Anyone who raised $200 will recieve two tickets to the game if you want to stick around.

Our team will be celebrating with beers and food at a local restaurant afterwards.

All family and friends are welcome to walk with us whether you signed up as an official fundraiser or not.  The more the merrier!  It's a par-tay!

(And there ain't no party like a Liz Lemon party, and a Liz Lemon party is mandatory!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

39 Weeks

This has been a big week for Madeline.  She has learned to wave AND to clap.

She's very proud of her waving skills.  So proud, in fact, that she may never stop waving.

I'm happy she's learning to clap her own hands, because she has spent the last few weeks clapping me.  In other words, she hits my face, shoulder, leg, whatever she can get her hands on because she likes the clapping noise it makes.  Now that she can clap herself, I'm hoping her fascination with smacking me will cease a bit.

Another trick is clicking her tongue.  She does it all the time.  I'll hear it over the baby monitor in the mornings, and from the backseat of the car, or from her stroller when we're going for a walk.  

Madeline is eager to get moving.  She's trying so hard to figure out how to crawl.  Every now and again she'll figure out how to go backwards a step or so, but that's about it.  When she sits, you can see her trying to figure out how to get up on her hands and knees.

She's become such a little mischievous baby.  Her curiosity gets her into everything.  This morning she managed to grab her wipes, squirt bottle, a sock and a tube of diaper ointment while I was changing her.  Then, she grabbed all of her shoes while I fished around in her closet for a pair of socks.  Then, she grabbed the door to the armoire as we passed by.

I can't imagine what a handful she'll be when she actually can get around this place on her own.

P.S.  Just one more week of work for Eric and I, and then the three of us will be on vacation!  Hizz-ahh!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Incredible Madeline Lee

I used to try to imagine what my baby's face would look like.  What color her hair would be.  What her voice would sound like.  I spent a lot of time sitting in what is now Madeline's room daydreaming about my future child.

And along with all the imagining, I spent a lot of time trying not to get too attached to a "perfect" image of my baby.  Don't get too attached to the idea of a girl because what if it's a boy.  Don't get too attached to the idea of a musical child because what if she's tone deaf.  Don't get too attached to the idea of frilly dresses because what if she's a tom boy.

But, what I couldn't possibly have understood at the time was that my idea of the "best" baby would in no way compare to the amazingly perfect creature that is my daughter.

There was no way I could imagine a baby as good-natured as Madeline is.

There was no way I could imagine a baby as hilarious as Madeline is.

There was no way I could imagine a baby as intelligent as Madeline is.

There was no way I could imagine a smile as beautiful as Madeline's is.

There was no way I could imagine a personality as charming as Madeline's is.

There was no way I could imagine my sweet little daughter with her Mumma's red hair and her Daddy's eyes. (Which are green today, but could be brown or grey tomorrow.)

And even if she's tone deaf or refuses to wear dresses, my daughter will never cease to amaze and awe me...

Even if it did take Eric and I nearly two hours to get her to go to sleep tonight...

Because Madeline Lee is perfect exactly as she is.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lessons in Bad Parenting Volume One

How to be a Bad Parent Lesson One: Forgetting Your Child at Daycare.  

Yup, that's right, Eric and I forgot to pick Madeline up from school today.  We totally suck.

To be fair, we didn't really forget her.  We had a misunderstanding.  I thought Eric was picking her up, and he thought I was picking her up.

When I walked in the door this afternoon,  Madeline was not in the jumper-roo, she was not on her play mat, she was not sitting with Eric...where he lay napping on the couch....  Wait a second.  My brain stalled.  Something was not quite right.  

"Uh, did you get the baby?" I asked from the doorway.

Eric leaped up with a start and looked at me with slight panic in his eyes.  "Uh, no. Did you?" 

There was a moment of silence between us. Eric stared at me the way one stares at a very hungry lion, clearly worried that I was about to bite his head off.  

"OMIGOD!  We forgot Maddie at daycare?!?  We're the worst parents in the world!!!"  I screeched.

We grabbed the keys and were back out the door in less than two seconds.   "I can't believe we forgot her.  Poor baby!" I kept repeating.  Scenes from Little Orphan Annie, Oliver, and Tarzan played in my mind.  Would no one adopt her because of her red hair?  Would she have to turn to a life of crime?  Would she be raised by a pack of Chimps?

Eric corrected me.  Again, we hadn't forgotten her at daycare.  We both knew where she was after all.  

When we showed up shortly after five, Madeline was the second to last baby in the building, and she was sleeping like an angel in her crib.  The teacher explained that they had tried to keep her awake for us since we were usually there by 3, but she just couldn't keep her eyes open.  Worrying that her parents had abandoned her and that she'd have to earn her keep by scrubbing the floors must have tuckered the poor baby clean out.  (It's a hard knock life, for us!)      

"Sorry," Eric quickly lied, "We got caught up in house stuff.  Buying a house sure does take up a lot of time..."

I guess neither one of us wanted to explain that in reality we are the worst parents in the world.

"Oh by the way," the teacher started, "Do you mind filling out this incident report?  One of Madeline's little friends decided to bite her on the ear today."

Wow.  We had forgotten our baby, and she had her ear bitten??  Her life clearly was turning into a Dickens novel.  Not a good day for the Maddie Bear.  To add insult to injury, it was the ear already scarred from the cat.

Eric and I kept Madeline up an hour later tonight so that we could shower her with love and affection to ease our guilt.

Luckily, she's too young to remember this.

We're the worst.

"Please, sir, can I have some more?"

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Random Thoughts of a Cranky Pants

1. Even though I am not carrying a bowling ball around in my uterus this summer, heat still makes me cranky.  It makes Madeline cranky too.

2. Madeline is wide awake and yelling in her crib right now, and Eric has been out of the house every night this week.  I'll be right back...

3. What's with those baby hairs on the back of your leg that never. go. away?!?  I passed a razor up and down my leg about twenty million times this morning, and they are STILL there.

4. We had more severe weather this afternoon.  (There were tornadoes on the other side of the state last week.  We do not get tornadoes in Massachusetts very often.  Blizzards? Yes.)  This time, I decided to move my storm shelter from our bathroom to our laundry room because, in the laundry room, at least there are snacks. And by snacks, I mean a bottle of apple juice and some cans of beans.  We had some lightning and wind for about ten minutes.  Storm shelter remains unused!  

5.  From now on I'm going to mash bananas in everything Madeline eats.  If it has a banana in it, she will eat it.  Then she will not poop for five days in a row, but at least she's eating.

6.  One, grown men should not be riding on clown-sized bicycles. (Unless you actually are a clown, which he was not.)  Two,  he should certainly not be riding on a clown-sized bicycle without breaks through downtown during rush hour.  Third,  he should not shoot me dirty looks and then hop a fence(?) whilst carrying his bicycle.  Four, it's time to move to the suburbs.

7. I just spent the last twenty minutes in Madeline's room listening to her rant on about what I assume were her thoughts on how to fix the economy.  I'm not fluent in Maddie Bear yet.  I try not to engage my daughter in conversation before bedtime, but it's so hard not to want to play with her when she smiles up at me and tugs my hand closer to her belly.  Good Lord, my baby is cuu-ute.

8. I think the movie White Men Can't Jump is making a comeback because I've had several separate students bring it up in the past week.  I had one student ask me if it was true.

9.  My overly cute baby is still crying overly loud.  La sigh.

P.S. They reset the numbers over at Top Baby Blogs today.  I made it all the way up to 53 and I was psyched!  Please give us a vote if you enjoy us.  Maybe we can make it to the top page for two minutes before all the popular blogs start getting votes :)

Vote For Us @ TopBaby Blogs! The Best Baby Blog Directory

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bandwagon Fan

Looks like everyone is jumping on the Bruins' bandwagon....

Don't you think you're taking this whole thing a little too far, Maddie Bear???  Your Mumma does.

Inspiration. (AKA, I totally ripped off her idea...except she does it better.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

38 Weeks

I've got a bad case of the Bloggy Blahs this week. We've got a lot going on with trying to buy a house and running like mad toward the last day of school. I've totally lost my blogging mojo.  Sad

Still, I couldn't miss my Tuesday update, now could I?

Madeline is saying words with purpose now. She says "Bubba" all the time!  Her first real word would involve food, obviously. She also has looked right at Eric and said "Dada" several times. She very rarely says "Mumma." (Thanks for the rejection Maddie Bear...). But, Eric swears she said, "Mumma bubba," the other morning after I left the room.

Speaking of leaving the room, Madeline has been a total Mumma's girl this week. (I guess you're forgiven for not calling me by name.) If I put her down, or leave the room, or pass her to Eric before she's ready, she cries. Gal loves her some Mumma.

 Every night before bed she comes to me for cuddles. She throws Ernie off the couch just so she can laugh when I pick him back up. She watches Eric play her toy piano and tries to repeat it.

Her favorite new trick is to open and close her mouth quickly as if she,s nom-nom-noming on something.  Kinda like a fish...She makes a little popping sound when she does it, and she loves it.  It's pretty hilarious.

She's getting more confident in the crawl position. She rocks back and forth on her hands and knees.  She looks like she's at a rock concert.

We had an almost four-hour long home inspection on Saturday afternoon. Madeline was amazing the entire time. She made not a fuss!

 I sat on the porch with her to feed her a bottle, and I pretended the house was ours.  It's going to be such a great place to grow our little family.

I hope it all works out. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Music Appreciation 101

Maddie has started taking music lessons with Dada.  (He puts his instruments on the floor and she looks at them...or bangs on them...or chews them.)

 Perhaps he should start by teaching her that she's playing the wrong end...