Wednesday, February 29, 2012

As promised...

Cute pictures of my baby!

Madeline trying really, really hard to resist grabbing the camera out of my hands:
 Eric physically holding Madeline back from grabbing the camera out of my hands:
 And Madeline hiding herself under the toy kitchen sink at school:

 Madeline's new thing is hiding in small spaces.  Sometimes we can't find her.  Got to keep a close eye on this one.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Babies are funny creatures.   If I were Madeline and I saw this...

...coming down the hallway at me, I'd be all like, "OMIGOD, Mumma?!  Why did you skin Pooh Bear and make him into a hat?!?"

(And Mumma would reply in her best Ivan Drago impression, "I wear bearrr!  No more honey-k!!")    

But the real Madeline?  She loves her towel made from genuine Pooh Bear hide.

Among Madeline's strange and unusual phobias, right along with a fear of her own shadow, is her fear of bath towels.  (A.K.A. Petsetaphobia...unless Google is lying to me.)

I guess the comfort of a soft, warm, sweet-smelling towel while wet, cold and naked in the dead of winter in New England isn't at all appealing to my daughter.  Hmmm.

I don't know why she hates towels so much.  It's not like we're using huge, scary Dada-sized towels. We are using small, Maddie-sized towels.  Yet, every time we try to wrap her up or dry her off after bath time, she howls and scoots her naked self away from us.

Since Elmo solved our last bath-related crisis, we decided to look for an Elmo towel while at Toys R Us on Saturday.

The moment Madeline saw Pooh Bear's hide dangling from the shelves smiling sinisterly at us, she yelled, "Huny! Huny!  Pooh!  Pooh!"  and wrapped her arms around him in a loving embrace.

Eric and I exchanged our own sinister smiles.  We'd found an acceptable towel.

Last night during bath time, I wore the Pooh Bear towel on my head to show her it's full glory, and when she got out of the tub, she allowed us to place it on her head and wrap it around her shivering, little body.

Apparently, cutesy cartoon characters can solve all phobias.  I wonder...if I showed up at an agoraphobics house wearing my Pooh Bear pelt, could I could get him to come outside?

P.S.  Cute pictures of my baby are on the way.  Not that ridiculous pictures of me aren't cute...

Monday, February 27, 2012

When Summer Copies Things She Sees on The Internet

When I have a lot of time on hands, I find my oven mitts itching for some DIY, arts and crafts magic.  This past week I had a lot of free time since it was school vacation week.  Most of my projects were half-arsed and not worth sharing.  The low point came when I got drunk and started wrapping wine and beer bottles in yarn on Thursday night.  They fell apart.  Apparently there's this invention called glue that I need to look into...whatevs.

But on Saturday, I completed my one and only worthwhile project of the week.  (Besides painting the dining room and not doing laundry.)

I've been noticing all the terrarium madness on the Internet for the past year, and making one of my own has been on the list for a while.

I used one old bowl I've had lying around the place for years and one bowl I bought at a thrift store for next to nothing.

You will also need pebbles, potting soil made for the kind of plant you'll be using, and of course...plants.  The nice thing about these kinds of plants is that they are hard to kill.  And since I tend to kill most living things that come in contact with's the red hair...I'm hoping these last a while.  

First, you need to pour about an inch of the pebbles on the bottom of the bowl.  
Then you need to pour enough soil to plant the roots of your plants.  I needed about four inches.  In my first attempt, I poured the soil in the bowl and then dug holes for the plants.  On my second attempt, I placed the plants in the bowl first and then scooped piles of dirt around the roots.  I recommend the second method because it was easier to place my pants exactly where I wanted them, and it was slightly less messy.  
In my second terrarium, I had enough room to also add a layer of moss, which I really like the look of.
Ta-da!  Aren't they purdy?
 Two easy, lovely, hard-to-kill centerpieces for my new and improved dining room!

P.S.  Friends do not let friends drink and craft alone.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dining Room Painted at Long Last

We were supposed to paint the dining room back in October, but then the dreaded plague hit our house and lasted through Christmas.  This week, because we're on vacation obviously, the plague struck again. Luckily, it seems to have passed through quickly this time, so Eric and I got to paint today at long last.  

 And After:

It looks so incredibly different.  After we got the first coat up, I had the feeling of Oh, God, what have we done...but it passed once we got the second coat up.  I really love it.

It also looks redder in the pictures than it does in real life.  It's truly a pumpkin-spice color.

We need to do a third coat tonight after the Maddie Bear is in bed.  Then we need to put down our new rug, (Rugs USA 75% off!  Wha-what?!)  hang curtains, find a new light fixture, and hang up our artwork.  It's gonna be rad.

That's right, I just said "rad."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bye Bye Bubba

"Bubba?  Bubba!?!  BubAHHHH!"  the beast who had replaced our daughter screeched as I fumbled with the buttons on her jammies in my rush to get her changed for bed.   She wriggled and writhed and even refused to let Eric give her a good-night kiss.  

Madeline continued to cry and whine until she was nestled safely in my lap and her bottle was in her greedy hands.   As soon as she started gulping down the milk, her body relaxed and her eyes rolled back in her head in relief.   

We knew the bedtime bottle had to go sooner rather than later, but when Madeline started throwing tantrums whenever it didn't reach her mouth fast enough, we knew the bubba had overstayed its welcome.

Except for the last, tenacious bedtime bubba, Madeline hasn't been drinking out of a bottle since last summer.  At first we kept it to make sure she was getting enough liquids.  Then we kept it because it made the whole wretched bedtime ritual much, much easier.  Recently, we've kept it up because she loves it and demands it even though it no longer helps put her to sleep.     

Expecting a long and treacherous battle, we decided that February vacation would be the perfect time to say goodbye to the bubba.  If it meant long nights of temper tantrums and tears, at least Eric and I could sleep in till the blessed hour of 6 the next morning and not have to worry about work.  

Therefore, last night was the first night of our no bubba policy.  I held my breath, crossed my fingers, and whispered a prayer as we turned off the lights to settled Madeline down for bed for the first time in her life without the comfort of milk.  

Miraculously, I was met only with the peaceful sound of the ocean over Madeline's noise maker.  There were no tears, tantrums, or hours spent by Madeline's crib trying to calm her down.  

She sat in my lap as she does every night, sucked on her pacifier, and started to doze off.  She didn't mention the B-word once.  After ten minute of cuddling, I moved Madeline to her crib.  It may have taken her a little longer than normal to settle down, but within the hour, she was asleep.  

I just finished putting Madeline to bed for the second night in a row without the bubba.  Tonight was a happy repeat of last night's bedtime...except for the fact that after about two minutes of cuddling, she demanded to be moved to her crib so that she could be with her stuffed bear.    

Last night bubba went bye bye.  Tonight I guess it was Mumma's turn.   

This makes me wonder: how often do we as parents hold back our children because it's really us who need the comforting?

In the case of the baby who sleeps in her parents' bedroom until she's two because she can't stand to be alone, or the kid who can't cut his own food, or the kid who clings to her mother's leg the entire time she's at the playground, how often is it really the kid who needs the reassurance?  Maybe it's just that the parents want to be needed.

In our case, the bubba issue apparently wasn't an issue at all.  Madeline is doing just fine without it.  As for Mumma?  I'm typing at the computer feeling a bit sad about being replaced by a stuffed bear named Olaf.  The long nights of rocking my little baby to sleep in my arms are officially over.  The bedtime bubba was the last link.   

Our little baby is becoming our little lady.  Sad but sweet.  

Eric giving Madeline her first bubba.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Eating Elmo

We had a visit from Nana and Pop this holiday weekend, and they brought a delicious little surprise for Madeline.  

An Elmo cupcake!!!

Clearly, Madeline enjoyed it.  


Mmmm, Elmo tastes delicious!  

We love it when Nana and Pop come to visit!  

Friday, February 17, 2012

When You've Got Troubles, You Can Always Go Downton

...Abbey that is.

Has the Downton Abbey fever caught on in your household yet?

Me too.  Let's be best friends and bad mouth Lady Mary behind her back.  That minx.  I adore her.

Seriously though, I've always had a weak spot for period pieces.  If it involves a corset, I'll watch it.  While other sixth grade girls were swooning over Leo and JTT,  I was swooning over Collin Firth playing Mr. Darcy.

Obviously, Downton Abbey and I were made for one another.  And while the second season has seriously crossed the line into soap opera territory, I'm still eagerly awaiting the Christmas special on Sunday.

To tide me over, I've been swooning over some Downton Abbey Internet gems.  Enjoy.

If only these were the words Eric whispered in my ear on Valentine's Day:


If only these were the words Carson whispered in my ear on Valentine's Day:  

(I actually think the Matthew one is my favorite, but it's pretty dirty.  Please click the link.  Please.  Just do it.)    

Meanwhile, from now on Eric and I will be answering to the names of Lord Felix, Duke of Ryme Inrinseca and Lady Lettice, Baroness Mumbles.    Thanks, Downton Abbey Name Generator  

While you're at it, Which Downton Abbey Character Are You??  (I'm Lady Violet.  Obviously it's because Maggie Smith and I bare a striking resemblance.  Also, how old is she?)  

Speaking of the Dowager Countess, don't you just love her fancy hats?  Now I can make my own thanks to Crooked House!  

And now it's just getting silly:  If You Liked It...

Ever since SNL took on Downton Abbey, I can't get through an episode without Eric declaring, "Nice car!  What's your other car?  A Bike??  It IS a bike!!!" every time Branson and Sybil have one of their "love" scenes in the garage.  

Finally, just remember....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Plans for M's Room

Baby rooms are tricky.  Everything has to be able to be changed easily.  It can't be too baby-ish.  The furniture and storage needs will change as the child gets older.

Not only that, but Eric and I would like to have another child someday who very well might turn out to be a boy.  In that case, Madeline would probably move a different bedroom in a few years anyhow.

Therefore, Madeline's bedroom is not at the top of our priority list.  At the same time, I want her to have a dreamy little girl's bedroom.  Every time I sit down in there, I start thinking about all the things I want to do to it. Spoiler Alert: there's a lot.

See this wall from the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue?

I'm a little bit obsessed with it.  I'm tempted to do this to the wall with the window in Madeline's room.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bear Feels Scared

Madeline has had a rough first week in the toddler room at school so far.  When Eric drops her off in the mornings she gets really scared and starts howling as soon as he puts her down.  

She's spent almost her whole life in the infant room.  Madeline loves her old teacher who spent hours upon hours rocking, feeding, and clothing her.  It's got to be a huge shock to the Maddie Bear's system to be in a new room with a new teacher and new kids.  She's also on a new schedule, and if there's one thing I know about my daughter, it's that she has a hard time adjusting to new schedules.  

Plus, because Eric drops her off so early in the morning, her teacher isn't even there yet.  All the early arrivals get placed in the same room together until the classrooms open for the day.  That means Madeline now hangs out with some of the big kids for about half an hour every morning.  Talk about scary!   

Of course, I'm worried, but Eric's slowly convincing me that she'll adjust once she gets used to her new surroundings.  I'm sure he's right.  I'm just glad he drops her off in the mornings instead of me

For Valentine's Day yesterday afternoon, Eric brought Madeline home a pink bear and a book called Bear Feels Scared.  It's all about a bear who gets lost in the woods and feels scared until his friends come and find him and make him feel safe again.  It's kind of a scary book, but Eric read it to her hoping she'd pick up the message feeling safe with friends.  

P.S. We were thinking of a name for her bear when Madeline said, "Tie, tie!" pointing to the bow around it's neck.  So we've named the bear Tai Bear.  All day I've had the words, "That was way harsh Tai," floating around in my head.  Further proof that I watched too much Clueless in my youth...and last week.   

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

17 Months

Dear Madeline,

This Valentine's Day you are seventeen months old!

As I write this, I can hear you and Dada over the baby monitor up in your room.  You are having a hard time falling asleep again tonight even though you were extremely tired all afternoon.  Dada just went upstairs to check on you only to find that you had completely unbuttoned your pajamas and pulled both socks off.

Madeline:  "Dada?  Dada?  DADA?"
Dada:  "Yes, Madeline?"
Madeline: "Hi!" giggle, giggle.
Dada:  Giggle.  "Yes, hi.  I can hear you."
Madeline:  Nonsensical babbling as if having a conversation.

Sleeping has become a bit of a bumpy ride again recently.  You fight sleeping for an hour or more most nights no matter how tired you are.  Last week I blamed it on the full moon, but it seems to be continuing into this week as well.  

Yet, this is how life goes for you these days.  Just when one routine seems set in stone, you grow and change, and we have to learn to adapt all over again.  

We're taking away your much beloved bottle for good next week during vacation.  I'm cringing just thinking about it.  It's the highlight of your night, but you certainly don't need it anymore, and it doesn't even seem to be helping you fall asleep anymore.  

You've been experiencing a lot of changes recently because you've officially moved into the toddler room at school.  It feels so weird to be picking you up in a whole new room with new teachers and new friends.  

There are no cribs in your new room, but there's a jungle gym, bookshelves, and a story-time area.  You go outside to play on the playground twice a day.  You have scheduled toilet breaks and tooth-brushing breaks.  Hello, big-girl world!

You've mostly handled the changes well, but Dada says you cry when he drops you off in the mornings now because your new room is unfamiliar to you still.  I know it won't take you long to adjust though, and you'll love your new teachers just as much as you loved your infant teachers.  

At home, you're starting to try to assert your independence more and more.  The terrible twos are a-comming.  I can feel it in my bones.  I can literally feel it too because you've started kicking and hitting us whenever you get mad at us or we try to change your diaper.

You want to explore and test out every single last inch of this place even if it means giving your Mumma constant heart palpitations.  Nothing like walking in to the living room to find your one year old balancing precariously on the table top instead of sitting in her chair like a good girl.

And the Cheerios!!  Oh my, do you LOVE to throw all your Cheerios on the floor.  We're going to be finding Cheerio remnants around this place till you go off to college.

It's a good thing you're so gosh-darn cute!

You've become very interested in nurturing your dolls recently.  You give them kisses and tuck them in for "Night-night."  You cover them up with blankets and "Shhhh" us to let us know the doll is sleeping.

Just last week you started feeding your dolls as well.  You stuff bits of rice, cheerios or crackers in their mouths.  You stuck a straw in Elmo's mouth the other day so that he could share your water.  I think Elmo's going to need a ride in the washing machine this weekend.

Funny things you say and do:   You yell "Runnnn!" and start shuffling your feet in place like Happy Feet.  You pronounce bubbles as "Bubblesh."  You sing along with the radio in the car and try to sing the "Honey, honey, honey" song from the Winnie the Pooh movie.   You shake your head rapidly back and forth until you get dizzy and fall over.

You never stop making us laugh.

We love you, little valentine.

Sleep Tight,

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Ball! Ball!"

These days Madeline has become a little ball of unstoppable energy.  She's go-go-go from the moment she wakes up till she finally decides to go to sleep.  Unfortunately for us, going to sleep is no longer a priority for Madeline.  Instead, she goes-goes-goes in her crib for an hour or more until she finally can no longer fight the sleep monster.

Therefore, one of our top priorities on weekends is to tire the Maddie Bear out.  Last weekend was mild, so Eric brought her to the beach and let her run around like a maniac.  It took her all of about two minutes to fall asleep that night.

This weekend was freezing, however, so we searched for toddler-friendly indoor activities.  When a coupon for a local indoor playground arrived in the mail on Friday, it seemed like kismet, so we decided to check it out.  

It was pretty awesome.  The playground was huge.  Eric said it looked like a giant hamster cage.  There were tunnels, ball pits, crawl spaces, and ropes as far as the eye could see.  

Of course, most of the playground was way too big for Madeline to handle, but luckily, they had a toddler area complete with a mini ball pit, one tunnel and a slide big enough to make a Mumma Bear worry.  

Madeline was in heaven the moment we tossed her in the ball pit.  For a long time, she just stood there yelling, "Ball! Ball!  Ball!" at the top of her lungs.  She was too overcome with emotion to do much else.  Eventually, she learned how to sit in the balls, wade in the balls, and finally, bury herself in the balls.  She had...well, a ball.

The only problem with the ball pit was the she insisted on tasting every single urine-and-sweat-covered plastic ball.   Yup, my kid was that kid spreading her germs around for all to share.  At one point, an older boy told her, "You're not supposed to eat the balls!" and then promptly threw a ball at her face.  That was not awesome, but other than that, the other children were lovely.

Eventually, with some help from Mumma and Dada, Madeline discovered the slide.  Luckily, it was one of those tube slides that are impossible to fall off of.  Phew.

She'd enter the top of the slide with a look of complete fear and awe on her face.  But about half way down the tube, she'd start cracking up.

The rest of her time at the playground, Madeline basically ran around the perimeter of the giant gerbil cage  looking for things that were manageable for her to climb on.

Needless to say, operation tucker the baby out was successful.  Madeline slept pretty well last night.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Fail

I burst out of work today eager to get home, slip on some slippers and my trusty camo snuggie only to realize that my car was out of gas. 

Actually...strike that...I got several miles down the road before I looked down in horror to see zero miles listed on my range.  My car really should beep loudly to let me know when I'm out of gas.  Seriously, it won't shut up if you don't have your seat belt on, what's with the lack of gas beep??? 

Anyhow, I turned around and headed back to my school's parking lot with my fingers crossed.  If I was going to run out gas, I really didn't want it to be by the side of the road.  Luckily, I made it. 

So, it's Friday afternoon, and I'm sitting at work killing time waiting for Eric to come rescue me.  Epic Friday fail.  (Cue sad trombone sounds.) 

On the other hand, it could have been worse.  I did not break down by the side of the road.  I did not have baby with me.  And, my phone was charged for once.  It's been dead for most of the week, so I'm glad I finally got on that last night. 

La sigh. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012




I see you!  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Better Parent?

As the mom in the parenting equation, there's a certain expectation that I should be the better parent.  I'm the nurturer, the caregiver, the one who carried Madeline for nine months, and the one who she runs to when she falls and bumps her head.

 Yet, what I've recently come to realize is that when it comes to raising Madeline, Eric is much better equipped than I am in many ways.  Truth be told, Eric is the better parent.  

There's no question that I wear the proverbial “pants” in the family as far as the baby goes. I make most of the decisions about Madeline's care. I choose her clothes, meals, and nap schedule.  When we're home, I'm the one who decides how we're going to keep her occupied and engaged for the day.  In short, I'm the ring master.

But Eric? Eric is the lion tamer. (Madeline is the lion here...just so we're clear.) I may run the show, but Eric’s the one placing his head between the lion’s jaws.

Maddie-taming, much like lion taming--I can assume--, takes a lot of patience. I am not a patient person. It’s my biggest flaw. I get frustrated easily.  My mood can flip flop between two extremes and back again in the span of an hour.  I lose my temper over silly things that shouldn’t matter.

So when it comes to reeling in our head-strong toddler,  who is doing her very best to test every limit set for her, I'm not always the best person for the challenge. 

On the other hand,  I am continuously amazed by Eric's patience and care with our daughter. I think the only time I've ever seen him get outwardly flustered as a parent was at 3 AM in the morning after Madeline hadn't slept for a week. Other than that one very understandable moment of weakness, he always keeps his cool.

When I take my cell phone away from Madeline, and she throws a fit, Eric’s the one to get down on the floor and distract her with some toys.   When I select the truck-shaped shopping cart at the grocery store because I think it will be ever so fun for Madeline, only to steer the cumbersome beast into a display of organic tomato sauce, Eric calmly takes over shopping-cart duty.  That way Madeline enjoys her ride, and Mumma enjoys watching Madeline enjoy her ride.  Eric cleans up our messes.

Meanwhile, when Madeline gets in that grumpy, toddler-tantrum mood, I completely shut down.  It's probably because I can't control or fix the situation.  The whims and desires of Maddie Bears are not something that can be easily brushed aside, and a baby cannot be reasoned with.  I wish I could patiently guide her through her tantrum the way Eric does, but instead I get frustrated because she is frustrated.  So instead of just having one pouting redhead in the house, we suddenly have two.  I need a lot of time outs from parenting.

But Eric? Eric never needs a time out.

Luckily, my frustration always seems to be taken out on inanimate objects and never on people.  It's not like I start stomping around screaming at my daughter.  I very rarely, if ever, raise my voice at Madeline.  Instead, I take all that built up stress and have a complete hissy fit over a can opener not working properly later that day.  

Yet, I do worry that my bad moods affect Madeline even if they're not directed at her.  It would be ludicrous to assume they don't.  
Eating Pizza with Dada

I see how it affects her first in the fact that Madeline is a mini version of her mumma.  Her personality goes from lovely to threat-level-orange in ten seconds flat.  Of course, she is a sixteen-month-old baby, and I hear that's how most babies act.  Sadly, I am a thirty-year-old woman. Maybe she’ll grow out of it...

Yet, my bigger worry is that as she gets older, she'll sense my frustration and think it's her fault.  If she's having a bad day, or struggling to work out a problem I can't easily solve for her, I don't want her to think her feelings are bad or invalid because they drive her mother slightly batty.   I want her to be able to come me with her math homework no matter how frustrating I find math.

I'm afraid that when she has a problem, she'll go directly to Eric instead of coming to me because she'll be afraid of my reaction.   Or worse, she'll hide her feelings from both of us.  

Thankfully, Madeline has at least one cool-headed parent, and I hope she learns her problem-solving skills from him rather than me.

In the meantime, I'm trying my best to be patient and enjoy this stage of Madeline's life as much as possible.  (Which I do, P.S.  As much as I'm whining now, I love this age overall.)  

 I'll be watching Eric carefully and learning from him the best I can so that I can be the better parent too.  

Madeline at the beach with Eric enjoying a daughter-Dada saturday afternoon.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend Shenanigans

You know you're old when you go to Mohegan Sun, only have three drinks over the course of many hours, and still wake up looking like this:

Granted I did go to bed at 3:30 in the AM and woke up at  7:30.  I don't remember the last time I did that, but I'm pretty sure there was a wailing infant involved.  

This time, there were no babies.  (Actually, I did see many babies at the casino, but that's a whole different blog post.)  Instead, I had an awesome girls' night out in celebration of Amy's 29 + 1.   Amy won $96 at her first-ever penny slot machine.  It was a happy birthday miracle!  

When I woke up after a night of penny slots, hamburgers, three drinks and some dancing, I felt like my whole body had been hit by a truck.  It's now 48 hours later, and I'm still recovering.  Boy am I RUSTY!  How is it possible that I once did this on a regular basis??  My first year of college I don't think I went to bed before 2 AM....ever.  Yet, somehow I'd still manage to wake up, get breakfast, go to class, and do it all over again the next night.   

Ho-hum.  Helloooo my thirties!!!  What's good?!

Oh well, I may be an old hag, but our night out was still ridiculously fun.  (Best part?  Some 1985-era Michael Bolton look alike whipped his ponytail in our faces repeatedly.  It was awesome.)    

Another sign that I'm old and lame??  

Our Superbowl party looked like this:  

 Then we made Madeline her own personal Superbowl in her bedroom:  

 It was the Little People Animals vs. the Little People People.  The Animals won, but it totally should have been the Little People People because their quarterback is dreamy and The Giants The Little People Animals are obnoxious.  Just saying.....