Thursday, October 27, 2011

Living Room Plans

 This is what our living room currently looks like:

We haven't done much to it.  We painted it, and we bought a rug.

This is what it looked like when we moved in:

Our house is a little house.  There's no space for a playroom, or bonus room, man cave, mom cave or wine cave....well, maybe a wine cave.

We do have a tiny spare bedroom that we're currently using as an office.  But someday that might need to become a real bedroom if we decide to expand our family.  So, needless to say, we're going to be spending a lot of time together in our little living room over the next thirty years or so.

Therefore, it's important to me that we make this room comfortable, functional, and beautiful.

I've been spending the past few months evilly plotting all the wonderful things I want to do with this room.

First, we want to install built-in shelving and cabinets along the interior wall.  This would allow us to gain some much-needed storage space. (Our old house does not have too many closets.)  We'd be able to hide away Maddie's toys and Eric's abnoxiously vast CD collection. And, I think it would add some character to the room as well.

Here's some pinsperation for you:

Source: None via Summer on Pinterest

Source: None via Summer on Pinterest

Source: None via Summer on Pinterest

And here's what it would look like in our house....sorta...
Well, you get the idea.

I'd also like to install some crown and base moulding around the room to finish it off and help fill in some gaps.

We also would like some new furniture.  There's really nothing wrong with our couch, but while it looked great in our industrial loft apartment, it just doesn't fit right in our new home.

Finally, I'm agonizing over some bright and lively fabrics for curtains, pillows, etc. to add some color into the place.  So many pretty things to choose from, so few rooms to decorate...

Here are a few of my favorites:

 Yes, this is obviously going to be a lengthy process.  But someday, we'll have a living room we'll really be proud of.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

The Maddie Bear must be hitting a growth spurt, because in the words of her teachers, "She's been eating like a piggy."

 I love it when Madeline eats everything in sight!!! It's so much nicer than when she throws everything to the floor and blissful sigh.

Eating yogurt with a spoon at Panera where we met Dada for a dinner date last night:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Plague

I haven't been blogging recently because the plague had decided to take up residence in my lungs.

Remember when you were a kid and being sick was half-way awesome because it meant you got to stay home from school, your mom made you soup, and you got to watch all the television you wanted???

Well, being sick as an adult is nothing like that.

Sure, I got to stay home from school, my mom brought me some soup, and I watched several really terrible chick-flicks on Netflix Watch Instantly.... (And read Game of Thrones and half of Clash of Kings because there's no denying I'm a HUGE nerd.)....okay, so maybe it is still half-way awesome.

EXCEPT!  Except...I have a child now, and there's nothing worse than a sick baby.  And this one?  This one's a doozie.

So far, (may the Internet Gods strike me) Madeline has not shown any signs of catching my plague.  But I really miss freely cuddling her, showering her with kisses, and stealing half of her food directly from her fork.

Someday soon I will be well again, and I can smooch the Maddie Bear all I want.

Maybe I'll also feel up to blogging again....maybe.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I still can't talk, although I did sound a tad bit better this afternoon I think.

I've mainly been communicating to my students through the grace of interpretive dance. Imagine Elaine of Seinfield mixed with Charlie Brown's Christmas and you've got my moves.

I was going to include a YouTube video, but that would require getting off my bum and going into the other room to use the computer. I'm far too busy hacking a lung into the sleeves of my giant pink bathrobe to bother with that nonsense.

At least we've got leftover pizza...that might be enough to lure me off the sofa.

"Lemon, isn't there a slanket somewhere you should be filling with your farts?"

That's all I got folks. That's all I got.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Child's a Genius! But I Knew that Already...

Today was a big day for the Maddie Bear. She had her early intervention evaluation to see if she still qualified for services, and she scored above her age group in all categories!  No more early intervention for this gal.

We started intervention last March. At the time, Madeline could not roll over, and every time we put her on her belly she'd either scream her head off or lie there playing possum.  At the recommendation of our pediatrician, we had her evaluated for services, and she just barely qualified.  We knew her delay was not serious, but since the services were available to us, we figured we might as well take advantage of them.  She's been meeting with an occupational therapist for an hour a week ever since.  

Today, she scored 16 months in the gross motor skills category, (the same category she was delayed in the first time) so not only has she caught up, she has surpassed her age group. Hoo- ray!

She also got a whopping 19 months in cognitive abilities.  We already knew she is a genius! Obviously.

In retrospect, I feel silly about getting so worried over where Madeline "should" be developmentally.  Even though I take a secret sort of pride in the scores she got today, I even feel a little silly mentioning them here.  They are, after all, just numbers.

As a notorious worry-wart, and first-time parent with a rocky reproductive history, I spent way too much energy worrying over Madeline's skills during her early months.  I'm much more relaxed now than I was then.  And if I knew then what I know now, I'm not sure I would have had Madeline evaluated.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned over the past year is that Madeline is her own person, and she'll learn and grow at her own pace.  Instead of listening to a book or the Internet Gods telling me that she should be doing X, Y, and Z, I should be focusing on the things that make my Maddie Bear unique.  Did I really need a number on a chart to tell me how wonderful my baby is?  Not really. (P.S. There's a really good post about this at Mandy's blog here.)

One of the women conducting Madeline's evaluation today said she tells her clients to ignore the Internet.  You'll inevitably come across someone bragging about their one-year-old running the Boston Marathon, and you begin to wonder....hummm, my baby can't run a marathon yet...

That being said, we had a really positive experience with early intervention.  The people were amazing, and it's a fascinating process to watch.  What looks like nothing more than playing with a block to me, gives them all sorts of information about a baby's development.  Most importantly, they were able to provide us with tips and exercises to help Madeline out.  Knowing those tricks and tips gave Eric and I a little confidence boost, and it nudged Madeline just over the hump.

I'm not sure if other states have this program, or if it's just a Massachusetts thing, but it's a truly wonderful resource.  I can imagine there are a lot of children and parents out there who truly need their support.

In the meantime, we're looking forward to watching what Madeline's magical little brain does next.

Hint, Hint

Randomness from our lives:

Someone's home from school today with a bad case of what I assume is laryngitis. Hint: it's not Eric and it's not Madeline. (I think Eric is enjoying the fact that I can't talk.  Finally, the poor guy gets some peace and quiet.  Maddie Bear seems confused and sad that I'm not speaking with her.)

Madeline's Halloween costume arrived in the mail yesterday. Hint: It likes honey and rhymes with Boo Bear.

Eric and I are painting the dining room next weekend. Hint: It will be one of these colors, but probably not the first one.

Someone has her Early Intervention evaluation this afternoon to see if she still needs services, which I suspect she won't. Hint: It's not Eric and it's not me.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Light a Candle

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

In memory of our lost children, please light a candle tonight at 7 pm.

Much Love,

Ellis' Candle:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thirteen Months

Dear Madeline,

Today you are thirteen months old, and you are hitting toddler-hood much faster than I anticipated.

First, you are walking up a storm.  In the past week, you seem to have stopped crawling altogether.  You toddled toward the stairs at a full gallop yesterday, and I had to lightly jog to catch you before you started climbing them. And I watched in amazement as you walked all the way from the living room to the kitchen last night to "help" me make dinner.  You didn't stumble once.

Unfortunately, because you are such an over-achiever, it seems that you are giving us practice for the terrible twos already.  You tell us "No" all the time.  And you understand what it means too; you're not just saying it because it's a fun, new word.  You push us away if you don't want us around.  You whine and grunt in frustration the second you want something. You threw a mini temper tantrum at the library the other afternoon when I carried you away from the toys.  Your poor sippy-cups get thrown on the floor about two hundred time a day, and so does your food if you don't like what you are eating.  And boy oh boy, do you HATE having your diaper changed.  I could become a professional baby wrangler after all this practice.

On the other hand, when you're not being a holy terror, you're sweeter than ever.   You've learned to give kisses the real way.  You make the "Mwah" sound and pout your lips out for a kiss.  It makes my insides feel all smooshy.  You love cuddling.  Recently, you've begun to enjoy sitting on my lap.  After dinner, you like to sit on my lap under a blanket and watch some TV, or look at a book, or play with your shoes.  The other night I was sitting on the rug looking at Ye Ole Ipad, when you toddled over, yelled "No! Done!" shoved the Ipad away from me and crawled into my lap in its place.  I'm sorry you feel jealous over a piece of electronic equipment.

You're very smart.  Everyone who meets you says so.  You even know how to sit still and listen during circle time at school.  I find that pretty amazing.  When we tell you to find certain toys, you know which toys we're talking about, and you'll go find them.  A new favorite game is to carry your basket around the living room and fill it with blocks as you go.

Words you can say: Dada, Done, Down, Up, No, Mumma (but only very rarely), MiMi (but we don't know what you mean), Baby, Bubba, Ouch, Apple, Black, Purple, (I know, I didn't believe it when her teachers told me either, but I've heard it with my own ears!)  and Puppy.   I'm sure I've missed some, but still, that's pretty impressive!

Favorite Toys:  Ugly Baby, blocks, shopping basket

You've sure become a challenge recently, Madeline.  But it's so much fun watching you grow and become this amazing little person that we don't really mind.  As long as you keep giving us kisses, cuddles, and mischievous smiles, I'll take a little diaper wrangling now and again.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vintage Posters

It seems all I do these days is scour the Internet looking for new ideas for the house, which is exactly how I came across these awesome vintage prints on Etsy last week.  The teacher in me just loves a good educational message hanging on the wall.  

(I can't decide if I like the cow or the cat side better.)  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When Babies Bite....Back

Soooooo...remember how Madeline was bitten by another baby at daycare a few weeks ago, and I threatened to go on a baby-swinging rampage??  

Well...Madeline may have maybe, kinda, sorta bitten a boy in her class on Friday.  Apparently her teachers never let her get a good chomp out of him, but she tried three times.  

In her defense,  this is clearly a learned behavior.  Perhaps the baby she bit was, in fact, that very same baby who taught her how to bite in the first place.  

On the other hand, I clearly do not want my daughter thinking that she can go around taking a nibble out of anyone she damn pleases.  She currently has seven teeth, and there appear to be more on the way. This biting situation could turn downright nasty.   

When she bit my cheek the day after being bitten herself, I felt sure that she understood that she had inflicted pain.  Her demeanor instantly became guilty.  She pouted her bottom lip.  Her eyes got watery, and she kept casting sorrowful looks in my direction while she played with her toys in the corner of the room.  

She has not bitten Eric or me since.  

But apparently, this empathy does not extend to other babies.  Can a one-year-old even know empathy?  

Herein lies the problem.  

How does one teach a thirteen-month-old baby not to bite people???  (I can't swing my own baby around by her ankles.  That could be seriously frowned upon.)    

Obviously, I turned to the mighty Internet Gods for a solution.  

Here are the most common solutions:
1.  Sit her down, and firmly, but gently, explain that we do not bite other babies
2. Every time she bites, give her a hug or kiss instead
3. Bite the baby back!  

Yet, I have a sneaking suspicion that none of these solutions will work with a baby Madeline's age.  She can't be reasoned with, I don't want her to think biting = hugs, and she already knows that biting hurts.  It happened to her last week!  

Thankfully, Madeline got through the day today without any biting incidents.  Let's hope it stays that way, shall we?  

(I suppose a muzzle is out of the question???)  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vote Early and Often

Eric says, "This outfit is ridiculous."

I say, "Um yeah, ridiculously adorable!"

You be the judge.

Also, they've reset the numbers over at Top Baby Blogs.  We'd sure appreciate a vote or five.
Help a baby out?

Top Baby, Daddy & Mommy Blogs on TopBabyBlogs.Com

When Sleeping Dogs Lie

"Hi.  Baby.  Hi."

I hear Madeline's little voice echoing through the baby monitor.  I pretend I don't, hoping she'll fall back asleep.

"Hi.  Up.  Up.  Hi."

I open one heavy eye and glare at the clock.  It's 6 am.  It's around the time I wake Madeline up every Monday to get her dressed and fed before I have to leave for work at 6:20.  Except today is Columbus Day, and I don't have to work.  I want to sleep in.  I pull the blankets closer in around my face.  

I listen for signs of life on the other half of my bed.  I wonder if Eric's awake, and if he is, will he be the one to get up with Madeline.   He's no longer snoring.  He must be awake.

I open my mouth slightly and feign deep breathing to give the illusion of heavy sleep.

I know he's doing the same thing I am, thinking the same things I am.  He's listening to Madeline, hoping she'll go back to sleep, and if not, hoping I'll be the one to get up with her instead of him.  

So we lie there, neither one of us wanting to admit we're awake.  Stuck in standoff.  We play this game almost every weekend.  Eventually one of us will have to get the baby, but we're both hoping the other person will give in first.  

To be fair, Eric did wake up with her on Sunday morning.  I woke up with her on Saturday, so technically, it's my turn again.  I hope Eric doesn't bring this fact to my attention.  In case he does, I plan my comeback:  "Yeah, well you didn't have to push the baby out of your body cavity, did you?  So sometimes life isn't fair, is it?"

Perhaps Eric senses my hostility through my fake sleep, because he doesn't say anything, and he's giving up the act.  He's rolled over a few times....definitely not asleep.

I close my eyes tightly and will myself to actually fall back asleep.  I listen to Madeline's incoherent babbling, punctuated here and there by an actual word.  "Up, Baby, Hi, Bubba."

And then she says what I've been waiting for:  "Dada.  Daaaahhh?  Dada?"

My trump card.  She's calling out for Eric.  There's no way he'll be able to ignore that slice of adorableness.  It's times like these that I'm actually happy that Madeline doesn't say "mumma" yet.

I hear Eric sigh, hear his feet hit the floor, listen as he shuffles over to my side of the bed and flips off the baby monitor.

Ha-ha!  Victory is mine.  I can hear Madeline's gasp of delight in the next room over as Eric opens her door to rescue her from her crib.

I roll to the middle of the bed, stretch out until I'm taking up the whole space, and nestle my head down into my pillow.  "I won!"  I whisper gleefully to myself, "I won..."

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Millions of Apples...

Apples for Maddie!

I dragged my family apple picking on Saturday morning.  I don't care if it is 80 degrees out, we're going to do fall-like things damn-it!

Madeline had the time of her little life.  At first she was a little confused as to why we were sitting on bales of hay in the back of a tractor with a bunch of complete strangers, but she went with it.

Then? We reached the apple trees.  Paradise was found.

She took a huge bite out of the first apple we handed her.

And she munched....
And munched...
And munched...
And munched...
And munched some more...

Until that whole apple was gone.
She was so content eating that apple, juice running down her chin, hands sticky.  I think we could have stayed there all day as long as we kept plying her with sweet, delicious apples.  It's a good thing she liked them too because I now have a bazillion of them sitting on my counter waiting to be eaten.   

Next year will be even more fun because she'll be able to run around and pick apples herself.  Those apples better watch out....Madeline's a-comming for them.  
And of course we stopped by the pumpkins again.
Because pumpkins are A-wesome!  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Feeling Fall-y

Eric insists that fall begins on the first of September, which marks meteorological fall. But since I do not let weathermen dictate my reality, I insist that fall still begins on September 21. (although I must admit that I appreciate my local meterologist's frizz factor chart which tells me how I should wear my hair for the day.). As it turns out, I am wrong because this year fall began on the 23. When did the seasons become so complicated?!

Either way, this post is long overdue because it is now October.

Fall is my favorite season. I love cool, crisp air. I love wearing sweaters and light jackets. I love how everything takes on a golden hue and the taste of apple cider.

Sadly, New England has decided to boycott fall by alternating between hot, humid days and bouts of pouring rain. Today and yesterday though? Gorgeous!

When I picked Madeline up from daycare today, I had the sudden urge to see some pumpkins. I took her to a local apple orchard and let her toddle amongst the rows upon rows of adorable orange gourds.

She loved it! She pet the pumpkins, waved at everyone, laughed at the kids running past, and blew kisses to the goats and chickens. She enjoyed looking at the pumpkins so much that she cried every time we walked away from them.

Together, we picked out three baby-sized pumpkins. She held the littlest one in her lap the whole car ride home.

I do not have any pictures because I did not have my camera, and my phone is as old as Noah. There is an incredible picture in existence, but it is trapped in my dumb phone. In memory of Steve Jobs, it might be time to update.

Other things on my to-do list this autumn:
Drink apple cider on the porch
Buy a big pumpkin
Carve big pumpkin
Go apple picking
Paint the dining room
Go leaf peeping
Build an ottoman

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Photo Explosion!

It was a gorgeous, New England-style fall day today.

(About time....just saying, Mother Nature...)

As soon as we got home, I dragged my family outside for a walk around the neighborhood and some playtime in the yard.  I love that we have a yard now!