Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Signs my Toddler is Trying to Kill Me

Madeline is usually a very sweet, loving baby girl.  Yet, with more and more frequency, her eyes glass over, she grits her teeth, and her head starts spinning on her shoulders.  Okay, maybe her head doesn't spin...but it sure feels like it does.  It's during these "episodes" that she decides to inflict bodily harm on her poor, suffering parents.  

I heard once that cats scratch when they become overstimulated.  Perhaps that's what we're experiencing.  Her little brain can't handle the stress of toddlerhood anymore.  So much juice!  So much sharing!  So much spinning until dizzy!  After so much stimulation, she decides that someone must suffer.  Naturally, her parents are the perfect target for her rage.

On the other hand, maybe this isn't a typical case of toddlers being toddlers.  Perhaps Madeline really is plotting to kill us..


She kicks us while we're changing her diaper.
She kicks us under the dinner table.
She sat on my lap and kicked me in the chin as soon as I got home from school yesterday.
Madeline got in trouble at school for biting once and never did it again.  However, she still thinks it's funny to watch other creatures bite one another. She saw some dogs biting one another the other day, and her reaction was to laugh manically while chanting, "Bite!  Bite!"  She's a baby Michael Vick.


She scratches our hands while we push her in the shopping cart.  
She scratches our hands when we hold her hand in the car.
She also scratched my neck last week while I got her ready for bed.


She pinches my feet while we sit on the couch.
Sometimes she states very calmly, as if she's a doctor about to administer a shot,"I pinch," before doing it.

And the cherry on top?

Last night during dinner she leaned over and stabbed the back of my hand with her fork.  After I explained why it's bad to hurt Mumma and gave her a second chance with the fork....she stabbed me again.  She went forkless at dinner tonight.

Madeline knows she's being bad because as soon as she hurts us, she leans in for a kiss or opens her arms wide for a hug.  It's like she thinks that it's okay to hurt us as long as she balances it out with a kiss or hug.  

I'm so cute!  Don't be mad at me.  Winky face.  

It only works about 50 percent of the time.   

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Haircut: Fail

My mom has a series of adorable photographs of her and my aunt as very young children pasted into a family album.  The black and white images of two little girls in 1950s coats, hats, and dresses look staged for a Hollywood film.  They just seem so perfectly retro.

Every time my mom sees those photographs, however, she groans and laughs about the "terrible" haircuts my grandmother used to give them.  It's true that the bangs are a bit too short and very square, but to me, that only enhances the charm.  Yet, fifty years later, my mother is still traumatized by the memory of the at-home haircut.

Someday, if Madeline has a way to look back through the thousands of digital images I've stored, will she be equally mortified by what I've done to her?

I gave Madeline her first haircut last night.  It did not turn out well, but I'm not really sure why I expected it to.

I've cut my own hair several times.  Every time it has been a complete whim.  Every time it has been a mistake and a complete disaster.  I don't have the patience to cut my own hair.  Nor do I have any kind of skill to deal with the thick, wavy, red rat's nest that resides on my dome.

Yet, cutting one's own hair is a bit like childbirth.  After a time, you forget the horror and try again.    
Pre haircut
So last night, while I ran my hands through the scraggly mop of curls threatening to engulf my daughter's head, I thought, "Meh, why not?  I can cut her hair!"

After her bath, I sat her in front of me, combed her hair as straight as I could get it, and without much thought, started snipping away.

I was worried about the possibility of accidentally taking off an earlobe or two, so I worked very quickly.  
Then I looked at the front of her head, realized I had given her a reverse mullet, and chopped the bangs off too.  The whole thing was over in no more than three minutes.

Since her hair was wet, I couldn't fully assess the damage, but I knew it wasn't good.  This morning, I as I pulled Madeline from her crib, I got the full affect.

The first problem is that I cut it way too short in the back.  It's also crooked.  Her bangs are also way too short, but at least they aren't crooked.  Of course, that part of her hair is curly, so it's hard to tell.  Meanwhile, the hair over her right ear looks fine, but the left side of her head is too long.  She also has some random long curls left in the middle in places.    

So it seems that the trauma of the mother's haircut has skipped a generation.  My mother cut my hair herself when I was a little girl, but I don't remember it ever looking particularly bad.

 But hey, it will grow back.  It only took Madeline two years to grow the hair she had before I cut it, which is just enough time for me to forget that I can't cut hair.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Morning Messes with Mumma and Maddie Bear

I have a confession to make.

I did not wake up at 4 am to make muffins this morning.  Gasp. Shock. Horror.  In fact, this project didn't even happen this week.  It happened two weeks ago....on a Wednesday...afternoon.

Wednesday Afternoon Messes with Mumma and Maddie Bear just doesn't have the same ring to it though.  And if you can't lie on the Internet anymore then what is this world coming to?

Let's pretend this little confession never happened, shall we?  
Would this face ever mislead you??  

Last Wednesday afternoon Monday morning, we found ourselves in the possession of three giant, delicious zucchini from our garden.  As it turns out, we're pretty awesome farmers.  But since we spent the better part of a month eating delicious zucchini on an almost daily basis, I was little over it.

Enter zucchini muffins!  This project served two purposes:

First, I figured it would be a good opportunity for Madeline and I to play Martha and Julia in the kitchen together.  I can't decide who's who for the life of me.  Frankly, it looks like both of us spent the morning in a Yurt without a comb.  That's not very Julia, and certainly not Martha.

I was also hoping I could trick persuade Madeline into eating some vegetables if they came in the form of a muffin. (It didn't work.)  I'm pretty sure the amount of sugar and butter in the recipe I used outweighs any nutritional benefit these muffins may have had, but at least there's fiber or something like that.....right???  Maddie also ate about half a canister of raisins during the process.  We like to keep things regular around here.

Madeline was a great little helper.  She was having so much fun, in fact, that she managed to dump half a container of salt into the batter of one of the muffins before I could stop her.

If I were a smarter lady, I would have put a toothpick in that muffin, but alas, too much of my brain has been wasted on Disney songs and Saved by the Bell references.  Therefore, we have one very salty mystery muffin somewhere in the bunch.

Do any of these muffins look saltier than the rest to you?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DIY Pinwheel Place cards

In the final moments of the game, I decided to make pinwheel seating cards for our wedding.  I thought about it, nixed the idea, and finally said, "Summer, time to pinwheel up...or go home."  So I channelled my inner Martha, and got to work.   

Luckily, they are very easy to make so they only drove me mildly insane during the week leading up to my wedding.  

I decided to attach them to clothespins because I thought this provided a lot of different options.  One could hang them from the ceiling or a branch.  They'd make cute napkin "rings."  Guests could wear them on their lapels.  

For our wedding, they were simply clipped onto long strands of ribbon stationed at the welcome table.  

(I actually didn't know how the tables at our reception were going to be set up until about an hour before the wedding, so these kept things flexible in case of emergency.  I also never actually saw them because obviously my guests had already taken their seats by the time we arrived in the dining room.  If they looked terrible, friends and family....lie.  I should be getting the photos back soon and I'll know the truth then.)  

  • 12 x 12 double-sided card stock 
  • clothespins
  • pearl-headed pins
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Pliers 
  • Wire Cutters


1. Make four-inch squares out of the card stock.  

I cut mine into four-inch squares.  They weren't teeny tiny, but they were small enough to be placed out of the way on the tables once my guests had taken their seats.  

However, any size square will work for this project.  I made some larger 12 X 12 inch pinwheels attached to wooden dowels to place on the lawn during the ceremony for example.   

2.  Find the center point of the square.  

You could use a ruler to do this, but I simply folded my paper into four equal boxes.  The fold marks crossed at the center point.  Don't worry, you couldn't see the creases once the pinwheels were assembled.  

 3. Cut straight lines from each corner toward the middle of the square, stopping about one half inch from the center point.  

Again, you could measure, but I just sorta eyeballed it.

When you are finished, it will look like this:

 Repeat for all your paper, and set aside.  Let's get started on the pins.

The pins will be used to fasten the paper into a pinwheel shape.  They will also be used to affix the pinwheels to the clothespins.  However, these pins need some cosmetic surgery first.

4. Bend a 90 degree angle into the pins using a pair of needle-nosed pliers.

Bending the pins will allow the pinwheels to spin even after they are affixed to the clothespins.

I placed the pliers directly at the base of the pearl head.

 And used my fingers to bend the lower half of the pin.

The top half, the part closest to the pearl, will hold the paper.  The bottom half will be glued to the clothespins.

5.)  Clip the pins.  

Poor little pin heads need to be shortened a bit too.

I didn't like the way they looked when left long because the bottom of the pin could be seen sticking out from behind the pinwheel. Once I cut them short, the pins were hidden from view.

I placed my wire cutters about half an inch from the bend in the pin.  No, I did not measure.  I don't believe in rulers.  I believe in freedom.  And...


*** Be careful during this step.  Sometimes the clipped ends of the pins go shooting off wildly across the room.  I did not want an angry pin in my eye.  I also did not want any run-away pins finding their way into Madeline's feetsies.  I actually placed my hands, pins, and clippers in a plastic shopping bag while I cut.  The bag caught all the loose pieces.  I also combed my carpet just in case....with a flashlight. ***

 6.)  Make pin holes in the center of the square, and in the left-hand corner of each triangle. (Or the right hand if you prefer, as long as it's the same side each time.)

 I used a leftover, uncut pin to do this.

 7.)  Choose a corner, any corner, and begin threading a short pin through each hole saving the center for last.    

It's beginning to look like a pinwheel now!

Once all the corners are looped together, insert the pin through the center hole. (There's really no better way to say that...I'm sorry.)

It is a pinwheel!

8.  Affix the pinwheels to the clothespins.  

The back of your pinwheels will look like this.

The bottom half of the pin needs to lie flat against the clothespin.

The tricky part is not getting any glue on the top half of the pin or on the pinwheel itself because then it won't spin.

I gathered the paper up in one hand so that it was out of the way.

Then, I made a thin line of glue away from the edge of the clothespin.

Lay the bottom end of the pin flat against the glue, apply slight pressure while at the same time keeping the pinwheel out of the way.  Wait a few moments for the glue to dry.  


9.)  Label Pinwheels with names and table numbers!

10.)  Enjoy!  

P.S.  These photos could also be labeled, "The Devolution of a Manicure."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Hubber-roo!

Now that we're no longer going to hell because we're legally wed in the eyes of God and the wonderful state of Vermont,  I can officially start referring to Eric as my hubby, or hubster, or the hubs as per typical blogging lingo.

For a long time I didn't know how to refer to Eric.  My boyfriend?  That sounded too Sweet Valley High....what are we fifteen?  Is he going to ask me to go steady next? We have a kid, for crying out loud.  My baby daddy?  That implied too much drama.  My partner?  People thought I was gay.  Maddie's father?  That sounded like we had split up.  A coworker and I once jokingly came up with the term Partner in Sin, but that shortens to P.I.S. so that was out too.  

When people assumed he was my husband, I didn't try to correct them.  What was I going to say?  "Oh no, he's not my husband.  We live together and have a child, but we wouldn't actually marry one another.  Can you imagine? How pedestrian! Ha, ha, ha...."  It was just much easier to let everyone assume it was so. Bygones.  

This was actually kinda funny when we started telling coworkers and other acquaintances that we were getting married because everyone already thought we were.  We got a lot of, "Oh, really???"s  

When I told a neighbor, he said, "Oh..." paused a moment, and exclaimed, "Hey!  We're not married either!"  jerking his thumb across the street to where he and his girlfriend/baby mama/partner/p.i.s live.  All right, high fives, neighbor man!!  

So maybe it's more common than we thought.  

Now here we are, legally joined for eternity in the eyes of God and the wonderful state of Vermont, and it's your birthday.  And there will be no "hubby", "hubster", or "the hubs" for me.  I'm proud to simply call you my husband.  

Happy birthday, husband.  
Photo by Jaclyn Schmitz Photography

(P.S. Eric, I am now the same age as you were when we first started dating.  And I kept thinking, "He's so old."  I was wrong, you weren't old then.  But you are old now.  I love you just the same.)  

Monday, August 20, 2012

23 Months

Dear Madeline,

I'm a few days late with your letter again this month.  As always, I'm finding myself wondering, "Where did the summer go?"  And, in just a handful of weeks you'll be a mighty two-year-old.  How can this be?  

You're turning into quite the little lady these days, my dear.  You love the color pink.  When we went to buy cupcakes before the wedding, you insisted on getting the pink one.  When you got to choose between two pom-poms at gymnastics, you made it very clear you would accept nothing but the pink option.  When you see your clothes in your closet you plead, "Da pink one!  I want pink!"  Luckily, you have a lot of pink clothing to choose from.  

Your favorite movies are Tangled and The Best of Elmo Volume 2.  Most of the time you get bored with watching television pretty quickly, but you will sit still to watch the entire movie if Elmo or Rapunzel are involved.  

After several weeks of being quite picky, you seem to be eating a wider variety of foods again.  We were shocked to see you scarf down an extremely spicy beef taco when were visiting salsa and all.  When you were finished, you cried for more.  We ordered you a second one.  You ate that too.   

Of course, your favorite food is still a bowl of pasta with butter and cheese, so you're not that adventurous.  Still, it's an improvement!  

You're very independent.  You like to try to go down the stairs yourself, climb on the playground yourself, and wash your hands yourself.  In fact, you're quite obsessed with washing your hands.  Sometimes we have to tell you no, which seems a bit backward, but you don't need to wash your hands every five minutes.  

Your independent streak has also gotten you into some trouble a few times when we've caught you sneaking out of the house without us.  Luckily, it still takes you a long time to get down the stairs otherwise you'd be gone, baby, gone.  We now keep the doors latched at all times.  

We were very proud of you at your final gymnastics class last week.  Not only had you learned most of the moves, including donkey kicks and a (teacher-aided) somersault, but you were so well behaved!  A lot of the other kids were too tempted by all the toys to stay with the group, (and who can blame them?) but you very patiently waited for directions before you took your turn.  

Meanwhile, we've been getting a kick out of having conversations with you.  You speak so well now that we can ask about your day and try to piece together what you're telling us.  Out of nowhere you'll make a comment like, "I like gymnastics!"  We'll start asking you questions about it, "Oh, really?  What do you do there?  What's your favorite part?  Who's in your class?"  And you'll give us simple answers, "Hee-haw.  Foam pit.  Kids."  

This morning we listened to you talking to yourself in your crib about going in Mumma's car in your seat.  Then you started calling, "Eric!  Errrrrrrric!  Eric, where are you?"  You've figured out that Dada's name is Eric, but you haven't quite figured out why you don't get to call him that.  

Dada went in your room to get you and asked, "Who am I?"  and you answered, "Eric!"  It took several tries before you gave him the answer he wanted.

You'll be going back to daycare full time soon because Mumma and Dada have to go back to work, but we feel very lucky to be able to spend so much time with you over the summer months.  

 We've got big things planned in the coming months....toddler bed and perhaps some potty training.  I'm sure you'll take it all in stride as you usually do.

Love you lots, Maddie Bear!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wedding Ribbon Wand DIY


Contrary to what this craft project may suggest, we did not have a Harry Potter themed wedding.  (Eric wasn't sold. ) Nor, was it a princess-unicorn themed wedding. (I'm keeping it on the back burner for future Maddie parties.) 

So, what was the point of making ribbon wands, you didn't ask? 

Ribbon wands are an alternative to throwing rice or blowing bubbles as the bride and groom exit the wedding ceremony.  They are cute, relativly inexpensive to make, and they add a sweet pop of color to the festivities.  Plus, ribbons just make me warm and happy on the inside.  

I origionaly saw the idea on Pinterest...obviously...and I found a good tutorial here on Intimate Weddings.  I changed a few things, added a few things, nixed a few things, so I thought I'd detail how I made my ribbon wands.  


  • Ribbons (a lot) 
  • Jingle Bells
  • Eye Screws
  • Jump Rings
  • Wooden Dowels
  • Spray Paint
  • Hot Glue Gun

  • and possibly...

  • An electric drill
  • Needle-nosed pliers  

**I bought all my supplies at Michael's except for the eye screws, which I bought at Lowe's.    


1. Spray paint your wooden dowels to the color of your choice....
 But don't use Styrofoam to protect your lawn because spray paint eats it, which I once knew and clearly forgot.
 Also, don't spray paint your dowels ivory because it is the same exact color as the natural wood, and therefore, a waste of time.

On second thought, only follow step one if you want pure white or silver, or even fushia dowels.  Otherwise, accept the wood color as God intended and proceed to step two.

2. Cut your ribbons
I used three ribbons per wand.  You could use more or less.  The pink ribbons were fatter than the yellow and peach ribbons.

Each ribbon was approximatley three feet long.

You could make them longer, but I was afraid they'd whack people in the faces as they waved them.

3.  When your dowels are dry, use a very small drill bit to make very small holes in the center of one end of each dowel.

Usually, I avoid power tools at all costs, but although you can force the eye screws in by hand, after just three of them, our dainty fingers were sore.

We didn't make the holes very deep, but it gave us a nice, easy head start on adding the eye screws.  It only took about five minutes to drill all the holes.

Also?  Be careful using power tools.  My Maid of Honor almost seriously maimed herself.

 4. Add eye screws to the end of each dowel.

I found a pair of pliers helped get the screws in nice and tight without me having to scream, "I've got blisters on my fingers!"

 5. Hot glue your ribbons to your wands.

I placed my ribbons right below the top edge of the wooden dowels.

Then, I made a ribbon sandwich.  I used one line of glue to place a skinny ribbon on the bottom with the fatter ribbon on top.    Then I added a second dab of glue on top of that to secure the final skinny ribbon.

I wanted the ends of my wands to look neat, so I wrapped the ribbons around the wand a few times, adding dabs of hot glue as needed, until everything looked nice and tidy.

6.  Wind up your ribbons and secure with a piece of scotch tape.  

You can see from the photo below that the  reason I sandwiched the ribbons is because when they are all rolled up, you can see the fat pink ribbon with the skinny peach ribbon as an accent.  The yellow ribbon is hidden until the guests unroll the wands.

(Ignore the jingle bell in this photo.  That's a spoiler of steps seven and eight.)

7.  Add the jingle bells to the jump rings.  

I used my pliers to pry the jump rings apart slightly so I could slip the jingle bells on.    

8. Secure the jump rings/jingle bells to the ribbon wands.  

While the jump rings are still parted, loop them around the eye screws.  Use the pliers to press the ends of the jump rings back together so that the jingle bells don't go flying off at your wedding.       

***The picture above is actually misleading because that is a split ring, and not a jump ring.  Jump rings are just simple circles with a break in the middle that can be pried apart.  Split rings are the devil.   After spending a rough twenty minutes on just two split rings, I went back to the store and got jump rings instead.  So much easier!

And that, my friends, is how you make ribbon wands.  

You might also note that I made some silver ribbon wands as well.  They are a little more manly....if there could ever be such a thing as manly ribbon wands....for our male guests.    

At our wedding ceremony, we placed the bucket at the end of the aisle with a sign explaining what they were.