Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Ten of 2010

I'm participating in the Top Ten of 2010.  Let it be known that I am not a photographer in any sense of the word.  I need to take fifty photos if I want one to turn out good.  So, even though these are not particularly good photographs, they are my favorites because of the subject matter.  (It was hard only choosing ten from the past three months.  I can't imagine if I had a whole year's worth of photos to choose from.)  

 Eric snapped this on his phone minutes after she was born.  I like how her eyes are open, and that you can see how calm she was.  As soon as she heard my voice she stopped crying and looked around the room.  He sent it to everyone in the waiting room so they could see what she looked like.
 This was Madeline's second day on earth.  Look how small her head was!!!  And her face was still all smooshy and scrunched up.  
Our first family photo!  I have a framed photograph of Eric and I looking at Ellis Jane sitting on my bedside table.  This one is very similar, but we're happy and healthy in this one...almost exactly two years later.  
   We still have that same pumpkin, but it looks much, much smaller next to Madeline these days.
 They gave me a framed copy of this photograph at my post-baby baby shower.  I love the mischievous smile on her face.  What is she dreaming about?  
 This was one of Madeline's first ever real smiles, and we captured it on film.  She puts her whole body into her smiles.  Her whole face just lights up.  
 This was taken on a Monday afternoon after Eric got home from work.  I escaped to take a shower, and when I came back into the living room, I found the two of them sleeping together on the couch.  I love the death grip he has on her so she wouldn't roll off him.  
Poor Maddie will be so embarrassed by this picture someday.  It looks like she tossed off her mittens and is making snow angels on the floor.   
 Madeline LOVES her baths.  She's such a happy little girl in this picture.  
This one cracks me up.  She looks like she's exhausted and stressed from opening all her presents on Christmas morning.  

New York, We Love You

Madeline had the pleasure of traveling to her Nana and Poppy's house in New York for the first time this week.

In case you haven't heard, New York had a killer blizzard last weekend.  We had been planning on going down on Monday, but due to the snow, and the fact that we now have a mini human to worry about instead of just ourselves, we had to push back our traveling plans till Tuesday.

Madeline is a lucky girl because she got to have Christmas twice!  She got so many wonderful presents.  The generosity people have shown us is amazing.

Each year, his family exchanges what they call "Ha-Ha" gifts.  My favorite part?  Eric's father writes a poem for everyone, which he reads before each person opens his Ha-Ha gift.  Then you have to try to guess what the gift is based on the poem.  This year Madeline got her first poem and Ha-Ha gift.  It was a Little People Nativity Set.  How freakin awesome is that?!

She's also lucky because she got to meet her Great Grandpa.

Four generations.  Amazing.
The Maddie Bear had a great time hanging out with her Nana and Poppy.  They're a lot of fun, and I know Madeline is going to have wonderful times ahead of her.
We're already making plans for another trip....

15 Weeks

 Weeks fourteen and fifteen have been very busy for Madeline.

She had her first Christmas!  
She experienced her first snowstorm!  
She visited New York for the first time! (More to come.)  
And tonight, she'll say goodbye to 2010!

Our little baby is getting so big!  She's more alert than ever.  She'll actually look at the pictures in a book when someone reads to her now.  She's holding her head up very well, and she's able to sit up with only a little support from us.  

Eric taught her to make a sad face.  It's very cute.  She pouts her bottom lip out and her eyes get watery.  Then she smiles and sorta laughs because she's just faking it.  Every time she looks at Eric she does it.  He needs to be careful though because the other day her fake sad face turned into a real sad face, and she started howling.  
Watching some Sesame Street

Her sleeping has been going smoothly.  She was very fussy on Christmas Eve, but other than that, she's gone to bed pretty easily every night this week.  Last night and the night before she went eight hours between feedings during the night.  Pretty awesome for Mumma!  Let's hope she keeps it up when I go back to work next week.  

We're entering a huge transition in our little family.  Madeline and I will have to get used to a new way of life.  It will be extremely interesting to see how this transition to daycare and work goes.  

So long, 2010.  It's been real.  Here's hoping 2011 will be just as great.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baby's First Christmas

'Twas baby's first Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even Dizzy Cat's mouse.
The baby was nestled all snug in her bed
While visions of wine and cheese floated in Mum and Dad's heads.
The presents were wrapped all under the tree,
Some socks for Eric and a pair of boots for me.
And Maddie got another silly hat,
While we forgot to buy anything for our poor little cat.

 When over the baby monitor there arose such a clatter,
We sprang up from the couch to see what was the matter.
Maddie was crying, all covered with tears
No Silent Night for the Witts-Linsners this year.

When, what to my wondering ears should sound,
But the alarm clock buzzing way too loud.
The night had passed oh so quick,
It was time to open Maddie's first gifts from St. Nick.

Away to New Hampshire, we flew like a flash
To visit our family, and remember Christmases past.

For the promise of joy, everyone came,
And we whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.
"Hi, Hollie!  Hi, Owen!  Hi, Pat, Eric and Jon!
Hi, Walter! Hi, Martin! Hi, Katie-Belle, and Dawn!
Oh, there's Bob!   And look, there, it's Grammy!
Who will bounce Maddie-Bear when she's gets' crabby."

The tree- how it sparkled!  the children- so merry!
Katie's cheeks were like roses, Maddie's mouth like a cherry!

We drank lots of wine, and put food in our bellies,
Till they shook, when we cackled like bowls full of jelly.

Maddie was chubby and plump, our sleepy little elf,
Who refused to sleep in spite of herself.  

So we thanked everyone for the wonderful gifts that they gave,
Then sprang to our car, giving Dawn's Baby Jesus a wave,
And away we flew to get Maddie to bed
Baby's first Christmas had come to an end.

But I heard them exclaim, ere we drove out of sight,
"The girls' team will win at Cranium tonight!"

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dancing with Madeline: Holiday Edition

Madeline was being a little bit of a fuss pot today, so we spent a lot of time dancing.  It was very festive at our house today.  

14 Weeks

 I've sat here typing, staring out the window during the hot summer days when I was pregnant, at the changing leaves when I was overwhelmed with caring for a newborn, and now there's snow on the ground.  Madeline is getting so big so fast.

She's still obsessed with trying to sit up so we've been putting her in the Bumbo.  She seems to like it. She looks like a little princess sitting in a throne when she's in it.  I like to sit with her and let her talk to me.  Our gal is such a little chatter box these days.

She's also become very interested in the television.  She likes to watch the news and ESPN.  A nice elderly couple in the building made us copies of Baby Einstein.  We tried one out with Madeline, thinking she wouldn't really be interested, but she loved it.  She fell asleep watching the bright colors bouncing across the screen.  Hopefully, we're not turning our baby into a couch potato.  At least she'll be around the TV less once she's in daycare.

Bath time is still a family favorite.  She's started kicking her legs like a frog while in her tubby.  It's really funny to watch.  She splashes the water all over.  I have to keep my hands on her so she doesn't float away.

Meanwhile, the Sleep Monster is getting his pink butt kicked.  Madeline has been sleeping really well the last few days. (Knock on wood.)  We put her down around 6:30, and she still doesn't fall asleep for good till around 10, but it's better than 1 AM like it used to be.  She's been taking her pacifier at night the last few days which helps calm her.  It's so funny how some weeks she won't tolerate it one bit, and others all she wants to do is suck on that thing.

 We're all looking forward to our first Christmas together as a family of three.  I know she won't remember it, but I will, and I'll tell her all about it.  Hoo-ray, Santa's coming to our house again!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Madeline's First... at daycare!

Of course, she didn't spend the whole day there...more like two hours, but it still counts.

Two weeks from today my life of leisure is over, and it's back to reality.  No more sitting around eating bonbons and ignoring the baby for me!  I'm going back to work.

To prepare our little tater tot for the transition, we brought her to her new home-away-from-home today.

I'm always proud of my Madeline when we get to show her off to new people.  She's such a good baby, and she's so god-damned cute!  She was so awed by her surroundings today that she spent the entire time turning her head this way and that to get a better look at her new digs.  She was also quite curious about the other babies, especially when they started crying.  Up till now, I think she thought she was the loudest person on the planet.  She was wrong.

It's so fun to see a room full of babies.  It's a magical, lollipop-colored world where everyone is toothless and happy...until someone wants their chicken nuggets N.O.W. and suddenly all hell breaks lose.  Sigh, it's a much simpler place.

And while Madeline learned that she is not the only baby on this planet, she certainly is still the most fashionable.  Her baby boots (Thanks Emily :) and skinny jeans were a major hit, as were her chubba cheeks and bald spot.

Even though Madeline Mumma is quite sad that we won't be spending our days together anymore, I think daycare will be good for our little one.  There will be so much for her to see and learn in a place like that.  New toys, new people, new sights and smells.

It was adorable watching some of the older babies toddle up to Madeline and stare at her.  She's going to make lots of baby friends.  (Hopefully none of them are bad influences on her like that no-good baby from down the hall who she keeps sneaking out with at night.  I might have to take her cellphone away from her if she keeps it up.)  

Eric and I even left her there for about an hour while we went and got lunch.  It was very strange leaving my baby with strangers, but I don't doubt their abilities to care for our precious cargo.  They obviously know their babies, and that's worth its weight in gold.

Sigh...two weeks.  Two weeks....two weeks...


It's finally snowing!!!

(Although, to be honest, it's more like flurrying.)

Which is good because it's been snowing in our bathroom mirror for three weeks now, and I was starting to get jealous of our reflections.  I swear I saw my looking-glass self building a snowman last week while my back was turned.

P.S.  Eric refers to Maddie's outfit as her "bear-ass pants."  

Will it be a white Christmas after all??? Bum, bum bummmmm.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Snowman Apocalypse

Sunday was a tough day for Frosty in our household.  Poor Snowmen.

I wonder if they realize that it's only going to get worse...

Much, much worse! 

Blinded by the Lights

I have a distinct memory of lying under the Christmas tree and staring up into the lights when I was a little girl.  From below, all the lights look like they're floating in the darkness.

Last night, Madeline and I spent the better part of an hour lying under the tree staring at the lights together.  Maddie was quite entranced.  

I figured I better take advantage of the fact that Madeline isn't mobile yet.  Next year I'll most likely be chasing her away from the tree.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Baking with Grammy

Yesterday, Madeline and I spent the day at my mother's house baking sugar cookies.  Well, actually, my mom and Bob baked while I mostly sat and watched.  I did cut the one pound of butter into small pieces and put it in the mixing bowl.  I also briefly wielded a Christmas-tree-shaped cookie cutter.  Madeline did not help bake at all.  This is what Maddie and I spent a lot of time doing instead:

I always associate baking with my mother (because she could beat Martha Stewart in a bar fight), and I have lots of memories of her baking cookies and fudge and bouche de noels at Christmas.  I hope as Madeline grows up, she'll associate her Grammy with baking and other warm grandmotherly things as well.  Especially since her Mumma's baking projects usually turn out like this:
Last year's melted sugar cookies.  Mmm, yummy.
Don't be fooled.  The roof and two walls are made out of cardboard.  Epic fail.  Just thank The Baby Jesus that I didn't take pictures of my homemade marshmallows.  They looked like bloody human fat.  
Yesterday's baking adventures were extra fun because my mom not only made a batch of her classic sugar cookies, but she dug up an old sugar cookie recipe from her great-grandmother's handwritten cookbook.  That's my great-great grandmother, and Madeline's great-great-great grandmother.  Pretty cool.

The cookies turned out extra pouffy and didn't really hold their shapes.  They tasted delicious though.  Although honestly how can you go wrong with a pound of butter, a tablespoon of vanilla, and a whole lot of sugar??  We decided great grandma's recipe was not meant to be rolled into shapes.  It works better in circles.

My mom gave me some dough so that I can attempt to cut my own shapes sometime this weekend.  I think I'm going to attempt to make some melted snowmen.  That way it won't matter if the cookies are extra pouffy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Daddy Love

I love listening to Eric and Madeline "talk" to one another through the baby monitor while I drink a glass of wine and eat some chocolate.

Maddie loves her daddy so much.

Madeline Sits Up

Another boring adorable video of our baby.

I Heart Wednesdays!

Apparently, Madeline has decided that she's only going to sleep on Wednesdays.  Last Wednesday she slept for fourteen hours.  As of now, it's been thirteen hours, and she's still a-snoozing.  The Sleep Monster triumphs!!  (At least for now.)

Personally, I think she's just getting her beauty sleep in so that she can stay up all night on Thursdays.  At least we got to watch The Sing Off in sweet heavenly peace last night.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

13 Weeks

Madeline decided it would be fun to stay up till 3 AM last night. What the hell am I going to do when I start getting up at 5 for work again in just a few short weeks?  Sigh...We'll make it work.

Otherwise, Madeline is a happy little baby.

She's more of a little person instead of just a lump that cries and poops a lot.  She has likes and dislikes, a personality, she's becoming more interactive.  It's fun....except when she stays up till 3.

I still think she's quite serious for a baby.  She gives me a lot of, "What in God's name are you doing, Mumma?!" looks.  It makes me laugh to get the stink eye from a three-month-old baby.

That doesn't mean she doesn't smile though.  She still smiles a lot.  One flash of those toothless gums is enough to kill me.  

Eric gave her a loud raspberry on her tummy this week, and it scared the daylights out of her.  Her eyes opened wide and she let out a wail.  It was the first time we've ever seen her get scared by anything.  Luckily, Eric just hugged her to let her know she was okay, and she stopped crying.

Her newest mission is to grab her toes.  You can see the wheels in her brain turning as she concentrates on her little piggies.  Every once and a while, she manages to grab them, but mostly her arms are still flailing about with minds of their own.    She also has a little cloth, crinkly book that she's taken a sudden interest in.  She sat on my lap for an hour today while she tried to grab at it.

She still hates tummy time with a passion, but at least I know she can lift her head, she just chooses not to.  (See picture.)

I know Eric's going to be plumb tuckered out when he gets home from work today, so I'm really hoping that sleep is in the cards for tonight.

As for me, I'm trying to enjoy the last few days I have with my little girl to myself  instead of getting bogged down in the lack of sleep...but we'll see how that goes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

O Tannenbaum

Wie treu sind deine Blatter!

Decorating the Christmas Tree is my favorite Christmas tradition.  Nothing puts me in the spirit for Christmas carols and eggnog like decorating a pine tree like a good German. (I'm not German...but Eric is!)

Believe me when I say that I take tree decorating very seriously.  Therefore, I have a list of tree-decorating guidelines.

1.) A fake Christmas tree will never cross my threshold.  I understand and appreciate why other people get them. (Real trees are quite messy.)  But me? I consider that sacrilege.  The day a fake tree crosses my threshold you can assume that I've succumbed to some horrible fate, and Eric has replaced me with a younger, skinnier, blonder model.

2.)  We must look at every tree in the yard before settling on the best one.  I need to explore all my options.  I don't care about the kind of tree as long as it's not one of those Chia-pet ones.  (I don't know what they're called, but they look like tree monsters.)  I prefer ones that are both tall and fat....perfectly cone shaped.  This year we got a sad, skinny tree, but luckily, it looks bigger in our apartment than it did at the lot.
Maddie, AKA Scar Face, was not very helpful in picking out a tree.
Our tree looks extra dinky on Eric's jeep.
3.  The tree must be decorated as soon as possible.  I know you're supposed to wait for the tree's branches to drop, but I don't.  I'm way too impatient and excited once we get that delicious pine smell in the house.  It's like a tree-decorating fever takes over my sanity.  If the branches shift drastically after we decorate, then I simply rearrange the ornaments to fill in any holes.

4.  The entire family must help decorate.  I know in some families only the kids do it.  Or, maybe only the mom does it so that it looks perfect.  Some people even hire other people to do it for them.  Well, that may be just fine and dandy for them, but to me, that is just so wrong.  It's a family event!  Obviously, this year little baby did not help because she doesn't have control of her hands yet, but someday she will.  If Madeline puts the ornaments in places that make the tree look ugly, I'll just do what my mother did to me...I'll rearrange them after she goes to bed.
5.  It should be dark out when we decorate.  That way all the lights look extra twinkly and bright.  (By the way, only multicolored lights are acceptable on my tree.)  Then, you can strategically put all the shiny glass ornaments next to the lights so they stand out.

6. Something Christmas-y must be on in the background while we decorate.  Both music and movies are acceptable.  This year, It's A Wonderful Life was on TV while we decorated.  That was an extra bonus because that's my favorite Christmas movie.

7.  Christmas drinks and snacks should be provided.  This year we didn't have any snacks, and I'm pretty sure the eggnog made me sick...epic fail.  Next year, I need to remember to be prepared with cookies and hot chocolate ahead of time.

8.  Finally, and most importantly, the same ornaments must be used each year.  I don't do Christmas tree themes and color schemes.  I use my same mismatched ornaments year after year.  First off, all the different colors, shapes, and textures make the tree look absolutely beautiful.  Secondly, digging out the same ornaments each year is like saying hello to long-lost friends.  Each one has a story or a memory for me.

Some remind me of who we are.
Eric's trombone.
Some remind me where we've been.
Holly ball from England and a NYC taxi cab

Some remind me that life is silly.  
Elvis from one of Eric's students.
Some remind me of my childhood.
Big Bird: 1984
Some remind me of what we've lost.
Ellis Angel 09
Ellis Angel 08
 (Ellis Angel 10 has yet to be found.)
 And some remind me of all we have.
First ornament on the tree!  Thanks Amy!
Oh, little girl, you have years and years and years of tree decorating with your crazy Mumma ahead of you.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Just remember, follow the rules, and you'll be fine.