Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Saw The Sign...with Less Ace of Base

I'm not a deeply religious person, and rationally, I don't usually believe in signs.  Yet, from time to time, I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something.

It's usually the kind of thing where maybe I keep seeing the same person in uncanny places.  Or a lucky number shows up on the deli ticket.  Or maybe a song you have an emotional connection to comes on the radio on route to a first date.  

Well, today I felt like the universe was trying to speak to me on my way home from work.

As I daydreamed my way through traffic, I started thinking of Ellis.  This is not unusual in and of itself because she comes to my mind on a regular basis.  What was unusual, however, were the feelings that came rushing back along with my thoughts.

Imagine seeing a really terrifying movie for the fifteenth time.  It's still probably scary, but it just doesn't have the same emotional punch it did the first or second time you saw it.  That's how my feelings toward Ellis run these days.  I'm still obviously filled with regret and sadness about losing our daughter, but for the most part, I've put those demons to bed.  My feelings are no longer fresh or raw, and when I think back to that time, it feels like I'm looking at a different life through a telescope.

Except that's not how I felt today when I sat in traffic.  For just a moment, it felt like I got punched in the stomach all over again, and it could have been two and half years ago in that hospital room right that very second.  As I said, it only lasted a moment, and then it was gone.  It was just enough to make me shake my head, and think, "Hmmm, that's odd."  

I let my mind wander to other things, but the news and commercials on the radio kept reminding me of Ellis.  Small, insignificant things that probably wouldn't even make sense to anyone else but me.  For example, there was a story about a missing baby, which reminded me of Casey Anthony, which was on the news in my hospital room the day I delivered Ellis, so the conversation I had with my mother while that news story was on TV came flooding through my mind.  

But the real kicker happened when I was stopped at a traffic light in front of Madeline's school.  I was waiting for the light to turn green, staring blankly at the large delievery truck in front of my car.  It took me a minute to even realize it, but right there, in large green lettering, printed on the back of the truck was the word, "Ellis."

It didn't say Ellis Construction or Ellis Landscaping or anything like that....just Ellis.

Now granted, Ellis is a pretty common last name, and I've often seen it attatched to company logos and the like.  But keeping in mind the context of my thoughts only ten minutes earlier, and the fact that the truck was right in front of me, and the fact that it didn't say anything but that one, huge, bold-printed word...I took it as a sign.

A sign of what?  I don't know.   It just felt like for one moment that universe was trying to speak to me.

Ever get a feeling like that?

Six Pieces of Advice for Navigating the Disgusting Aftermath of Childbirth-

When I saw that this week's Toddle Along Tuesday subject over at Growing Up Geeky was advice for moms-to-be, my mind instantly flew to the early days of Madeline's life.

I could warn future moms to treasure every moment because it really does fly by so fast.  Or, I could reassure a sleep deprived mom that eventually she will sleep again as impossible as that may seem.   Both of these things are absolutely true.  Yet, what stands out the most in my memory, are all the uncomfortable physical side effects of labour.


Before packing for the hospital, go to your local drugstore and find the largest sanitary pads you can find.  Buy them in bulk.   Remember how nice it was to not get your period for nine months?  Well, Mother Nature is about to smite you with weeks upon weeks of nonstop bleeding.  Seriously, we're talking Carrie's prom type horror.  Don't worry, it will eventually stop...just in time to restart your period.

Plus, unless you have the kegal muscles of Giselle, you will pee your pants several times a day.  The gigantic sanitary pads will be useful for that situation as well.  It's been a year and half and I still wet my pants from time to time.  

Don't be afraid to raid your hospital room for their enormous sanitary pads and mesh underwear either.  Bring an extra duffel bag to the hospital specifically for this purpose.


The nurses at the birthing center took souvenir pictures of our new family as we prepared to leave the hospital.  I love that they do this, and I had really looked forward to framing that picture and placing it on my dresser.  Yet, when I saw the picture... BAM...epic double chin.  At the time, I was happy and glow-y and assumed I looked radiant.  I did not.  Practice posing for photographs in ways that will disguise your epic double chin.


Don't skimp on an investment in comfortable nursing wear like I did.  Maternity clothes will most likely no longer fit you, but neither will your pre-pregnancy clothes.  Don't even consider trying on those jeans.  They won't fit.  What further complicates things is just as your midsection shrinks, your chest decides to say, "Howdy-do!" to the world.  Picture a very deflated looking Dolly Parton.  Those puppies are going to get h.u.g.e, as hard as rocks, and they are going to leak every where.  (P.S. Breast milk stains.  A lot.)  When I had to look decent for company, or when I wanted to leave the house, I felt horribly uncomfortable in my clothes.  As soon as I got home, I basically walked around naked.  (Poor, Eric- a lactating woman knows no shame.)  Therefore, buy some cute lounge-wear clothes to get you through the first weeks of awkward body transformation.


If you deliver vaginally, you chances of having a bowel movement during labor are pretty high.  There is not much you can do about this.  Just learn to let it go.  (Ha)   Honestly, I have no idea if I did or not because Eric stayed away from that region, and I had an amazing epidural to make me blissfully unaware of my lower half.  Double Honestly, I don't want to know.  All I do know is that I worried about it quite a bit before hand, didn't give a hoot during, and only mildly give a hoot after.  Don't stress.  Everybody poops.


Don't, and I repeat, do not look at your lady bits after giving birth.  This is particularly crucial if you experienced any tearing during labor.  When I went to my six week check up, my doctor kept commenting, "Nice job.  These scars are healing really well," as he examined his handiwork.  After that, my curiosity got the better of me.  Bad idea, Summer.  Dont' do it.


This is my most serious and important piece of advice.

Not everyone feels like an instant ball of nurturing motherly love after bringing home a baby.  I mostly felt uncomfortable, exhausted, and confused.  I spent a lot of time crying because I didn't feel like myself anymore.  It's like mourning the loss of your old self.

I worried that this meant I was horrible mother.  I worried that I didn't love my baby enough.  I worried that I would feel that way forever.  But after a few days, the fog cleared, I started crying less, and loving my baby more and more.

Feeling this way is normal.  It does not mean you are a bad mother.  Just because everyone says you should be shooting rainbows out your ears with happiness doesn't mean it actually feels that way. (I think that rumour was started by Hallmark.)  Be patient with yourself and your new role as a mother.

But while you're in the fog, please don't be afraid to ask for help.  Take a shower.  Take a nap.  Eat a sandwich.  Let someone else keep an eye on the baby for a while.  Don't feel guilty trying to be human again.

And if you're feeling really, really low, or if the fog isn't lifting after a few weeks, talk to your doctor.

For even more of my nonsensical rants, I wrote THIS POST about being a new mom when Madeline was just a few weeks old.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Maddie the Destroyer

Sometimes I'll walk into the room to find Eric on the floor playing with all of Madeline's blocks.  Madeline may not even be in the same corner of the room as Dada.  It doesn't matter to Eric if Madeline is helping or not.  He's still content playing with blocks all on his own.

Eric's favorite game is to make a gigantic block fortress, and place all of Maddie's Little People on the towers as if engaged in battle.  Sometimes it's the humans against the animals.  Sometimes it the meat eaters against the plant eaters.  When the Little People Nativity set was still out for Christmas,  Baby Jesus defended the highest tower of the fort.

But poor Dada never gets to see who wins because a force stronger than Little People always intervenes.....

Madeline The Destroyer.

As soon as she gets wind of Eric's block tower, she comes right over to ruin it.

She doesn't do it because she thinks it's a fun new game.  Oh no, she does it because for some inexplicable reason, Dada's forts really piss her off.

Gal isn't messing around when she knocks those puppies down.  She even yells, "NO!" in a frightening voice of rage as she makes sure every last block has tumbled.

Poor meat eaters defending their fort!  They didn't stand a chance against Madeline's steady hand of justice.

Our best guess to why these towers make her so mad is because she has an inferiority complex.  She is just learning how to stack blocks and could never make such a magnificent tower.  Therefore, all block forts must be destroyed.

Recently, she's even learned to be sly in her desire to destroy Eric's construction projects.  She knows that if she rushes right over, Dada will shield the blocks.  Instead, she saunters by as if she's not really interested at all.  She'll watch quietly for a few moments, search for Eric's weak spot, and then.... ATTACK!

Madeline lacks mercy.

I'd hate to see what Madeline does to the babies at daycare if they dare to build a block tower.

Earlier this week I walked into her classroom just in time to see her running over a crawling baby with a toy shopping cart.  When her teacher reprimanded her, Madeline glared at her and stuck out her bottom lip petulantly.  That's right, my kid's a bully.

Oh boy.  Toddler hood is going to be awesome!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blog Lovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Many Faces of Madeline Lee

Hmmm, what's that thing?
Oh cool, it's a camera!  I love those things so much it makes me drool!  

Dada, you had better give me that camera N.O.W because I want it!  

A little help, Mumma?  Dada won't give me the camera.  

Oh, a picture of ME?!  How flattering!  I love pictures of me.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Juice Box Adventures

On the rare occurrence that Eric has to work late, I try to do something special with Madeline.  Instead of going straight home after I pick her up from daycare, we go on small adventures.

This fall, Madeline and I could go to the park, take a walk, or visit the goats at a local farm.  Now that the frigid New England winter has finally decided to descend upon us, I've had to get more creative.  

Recently we've gone on tiny adventures to the mall or Target.  We've gone to Boston Market for mac n' cheese.  We've gone to Joanne Fabrics where Madeline likes to run her hands on all the fabrics as she brushes by in her shopping cart.  Sometimes I just bring her home, make a nest of pillows and blankets on the living room floor and watch a movie with her.  

Our adventures are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but I usually find out so much about Madeline during these little outings.    

For example, last week Eric had to work late so we went to Chipotle for a celebratory burrito.  Madeline surprised me by eating all her quesadilla even though she usually refuses to eat the ones I make for her at home.  (Everyone's a critic.)  

She also surprised me by using a juice box like a pro.  I had planned on emptying the contents into a cup for her, but she grabbed the box and straw and gulped down the juice like it ain't no thing.  No less than a week ago, we had tried giving her a sippy cup with a straw and were met with major baby frustration.  When did she learn to use a juice box!?  

I know, I know, it's a juice box, Summer, get a grip!  No big deal...right?  Except, it kind of is a big deal.  

I like to think I know everything there is to know about my daughter  After all, she kicked me from the inside.  I know her better than anyone else on this planet.  Then, out of nowhere, she'll blow me away with something as amazing as using a juice box correctly.   

It makes me realize that Madeline is not just an extension of me.  Although she does make the quite the adorable accessory.  (kidding...sorta)  There's a significant amount of time during the week where Madeline has her own life at school that has nothing to do with Mumma and Dada.  

What else don't I know?  Is she driving yet?  Can she speak French?  C'est possible!  

That's why it's important to take time for little adventures with Madeline.  It's a chance for me to discover little details about my daughter's life when she's away from me...like that she can drink a juice box like a pro.     

As she gets older, she'll be able to tell me about what she learned at school over burritos.  

I got to soak as much of it in while I can.  Before I know it, there will come a day when I ask her what she learned at school and she'll reply, "Nothing," before texting her BFF all through our burritos.  Sad face.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Snow Much Fun!

Except for the random snow storm that ruined Halloween, we've had a pretty tame winter so far.  This is slightly disappointing mainly because I bought Madeline a sled, a snowsuit and boots for Christmas, and I've been dying to put them to good use.

But finally, we got some accumulating snow on Saturday, and Madeline got her first taste of New England winter fun.  

We bundled her up so much that she looked like she was getting ready for deep space exploration.  You know, if astronauts wore pink...

Then we brought her outside, sat back and watched her react to the snow.

She loved it!  She kept yelling, "Snowwww!"    

 We took turns pulling her around the yard in her sled.  She acted like a little queen on that sled.   I think this was her favorite part.

Between her gigantic snow boots and the uneven ground, Madeline was unsure about walking in the snow.  Instead, she opted for lying face-first in it and scooping it up in her hands.  She kept sticking her face in it and getting mad when she couldn't get the cold, wet stuff off of her.

Live up playing in the snow for as long as you can little Madeline.   One day, the snow won't seem so fun and glorious...trust me.  Especially when we make you help shovel the driveway.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

You Know it's a Lazy Weekend When...

I've been wearing this same outfit (an over-sized flannel shirt, pink pajama bottoms, and slippers) for just about 24 continuous hours now.  

No wonder Eric wants to marry me.  Hot.t.t.t

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Know It

Every week one of my students will tell me to look up something crazy on YouTube.  Usually, it's something I have no interest in seeing like a dog peeing in a toilet, or a kid getting jumped, or Rebbecca Black singing "Friday."

But sometimes, sometimes, my students bring me Internet gold.

Such as...

Perfect timing to feed the Elmo obsession occurring in our house!

P.S. See if your inner English teacher picked up on the mistake in the subtitles.  My inner English teacher sure did.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012


(...rhymes with poutine, but is not nearly as delicious.  Mm mm french fries smothered in gravy. YES, please!)

Madeline, like most babies, thrives on routine, but it took me and Eric a while to figure this out.  When she was first born, we weren't used to rearranging our lives around a mini-human's nap schedule, especially when she napped so gosh-darn much.  So, we didn't.

Yet, we eventually realized that a happy Mumma and Dada equals a happy Madeline, and a happy Madeline needs her routines!

She's still a sweetheart on days where her daily schedule is disrupted, but she's also been known to breathe fire and bite the heads off of her Little People on those days too.  

The kicker with babies though, is that they are continuously changing.  This means that every few months our old routines stop working and we have to iron out the kinks until we fall into a new one.

This fall, for example, we had to readjust to a new house, a newly walking baby, and going back to work for the school year.  A lot of Little People lost their heads during that time.  Tragic.

Luckily, we've finally fallen back into a nice (boring) rhythm that Madeline thrives on.


Madeline's day usually starts between 5:45 and 6 AM depending on whether or not Mumma shaved her legs in the shower that morning before waking her up.  (Usually 5:45)  Most days she is already awake when I go in to get her.  I dress Madeline and get her breakfast ready while Eric hops in the shower.  She eats the same breakfast every day:  Dry Cheerios and apple juice.  Why mess with a good thing?

Once Eric is finished getting ready, I leave for work.  While I'm gone, Madeline watches Sid the Science Kid and finishes her breakfast before heading out to daycare.  


Obviously I'm not with Madeline during the day to see what she's up to, but they keep her on a pretty tight schedule.   She eats a second breakfast, she plays with toys, she does a project, she listens to a story, she eats lunch, she takes a nap, she plays with toys, she eats a snack, she goes home.  I see it all on her daily sheet when I pick her up in the afternoon.  


I pick Madeline up on my way home from work.

When we get home, we do our morning routine in reverse.  Madeline eats a snack and drinks some juice while unwinding from the day by watching cartoons.  I take off my work clothes and put on my Snuggie and slippers.  (I'm not joking.  Don't judge.)

The next hour or so is spent playing with whatever toy she chooses.  Eventually she moves on to books and I read to her for a while.   When she gets bored with books, Madeline starts doing things she's not supposed to...like standing on her chair or raiding the Tupperware cabinets.  I chase her around.  


At 4:30 PM, I start making dinner.  At 5:00, we sit down to eat.

By 5:30, Madeline begins to throw her food on the floor to signal that dinner is over.

From 5:30 to 6:00 Madeline plays some more while either Eric or I clean up the kitchen.  (Usually Eric.)    

At six, we try to transition into quiet games.  Eric and I will read to her.  We cuddle.  We play with quiet toys.  

At 6:30, we bring Madeline up to bed.  We give her a bath every other night.  (Bath time requires a whole separate set of routines.  I'll spare you the details.)

After she's changed and (sometimes) bathed, I rock Madeline while she drinks her bottle.  If I'm lucky, she falls asleep as soon as she's finished.  If not, I rock her for a few more minutes before moving her to her crib.

Usually she goes to sleep pretty quickly these days.  On the nights she's wide awake, we go back up to put her socks back on (she always takes them off!) and tuck her in again every half an hour or so until she's asleep.  

Then we start the whole process all over again the next morning.

The End!

On the weekends, our routine is a lot more flexible, but we stay on the same nap and feeding schedule that she uses at daycare.

It might not be the most exciting life to lead, but at least we've saved countless Little People lives in the process.

What's your routine?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

If You Like It...

You better put a ring on it!

At least that's what Beyonce tells me, and I've learned to take everything that Beyonce tells me very seriously in life.  Obviously.

(Not to self:  Don't quit job to embark on hand-modeling career.)

Eric asked me to marry him yesterday afternoon.  After about .2 milliseconds of careful consideration, I said yes.

Our relationship history is a bit backward.  We've been together almost six years.  We moved in together, had babies together, bought a house together, and now we're finally getting around to what tradition dictates should have come first.  

Several years ago, after Ellis but before Madeline was born, we discussed our goals as a couple late one night.  Eric asked me to list what I wanted in order of importance.  My list was baby, house, marriage.  So, that's the way we did things.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  That's what makes us US.

I think if I had married younger in life, I would have been in it more for the wedding than for the marriage.  I used to read a lot of Martha Stewart Weddings in my day.

Now that I'm more...ahem...mature, the party part of it isn't as important.

 It will be fun deciding what we're going to do to celebrate our marriage, but I'd be happy marrying Eric in a dingy city clerk's office and celebrating with burritos if we had to.  (Don't worry, parents, that's not really the plan.)

I'm excited to be embarking on this next step of life with Eric.  He's a wonderful man, father, and partner, and we're lucky to have one another.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

What We've Been Up To

It's frigid cold here in New England, so this weekend's visit with Nana and Poppy was mostly spent sitting in the warmth of our living room watching football.

Madeline had a great time playing with her grandparents.  They brought her a little desk that was her Dada's when he was a baby.  She spent the whole weekend sitting in her "chaeh."  She showed them all of her books and Little People and showed off her chatter-box skills.  She gave lots of kisses and cuddles and was a good girl through brunch on Sunday morning.  

Meanwhile, our dining room table arrived and it looks awesome!  It's so funny how furniture always looks tiny in the stores and huge in your own house.  In the store, the table we chose was the smallest compared to the others, and I was slightly worried it would be too small for the room.  Good thing we didn't get anything bigger because it fills the space perfectly.

 Lastly, Madeline decided it would be a good idea to be wide awake and ready to play from midnight till 3 AM last night.  Then she still managed to wake up for the day at 6:15.

That means we have a very cranky, tired Maddie Bear on our hands today.  We met Nana and Poppy for breakfast this morning before they left for New York.  The rest of the day has been spent lounging on the couch and watching The Little Mermaid.  

A perfect long weekend....back to reality (and some exciting news) tomorrow.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

16 Months

Dear Madeline,

Today you are 16 months old.

I can't believe that a year ago you looked like this...

And now, you look like this...

It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that those two pictures are of the same baby.  No, not even a baby anymore, more like a toddler.

The most significant change I've seen in you recently is your ability to pretend play.  Not so long ago, "playing" consisted of drooling on things and banging on things.  Now, your play is becoming much more complex.  For example, you know that there's a Mumma, Dada, and Baby that live in your Little People house.  When you play with them, their plastic lives imitate ours.  They sit in their chairs, they lie in their beds, they go out the front door.

A few days ago I noticed you walking around the house with your toy cellphone up to your ear.  You were babbling away and then pausing as if you were having a real conversation with someone on the other end.

Even your dreams have become more imaginative.  Sometimes you talk in your sleep.  We've caught you saying the names of your friends at daycare, and we've caught you saying, "outside."

You had your first real, nasty nightmare the other night.  You screamed to high heaven, and when I went in your room to check on you, you were huddled in the corner of your crib looking around the room wildly as if you expected a monster to leap out at you.  We brought you into bed with us, and it took you a long time to calm down and fall asleep.

There's lots of stuff going on in that head of yours.  I wish that I could peak inside.

Meanwhile, you've been obsessing over bears recently.  You notice them everywhere.  You call, "Bear, bear, bear!" before bed when you see the teddy bears in your room.

Chairs have also been a favorite recently.  You love chairs that are child sized.  You sit in your rocking chair everytime you go out on to the porch.  Nana and Poppy brought you Dada's old desk and chair from when he was a baby.  You're obsessed with it.

We joke that you've somehow developed a Boston accent because you drop the R's on most words.  It's not "beaR;" it's "beah."  It's not "chaiR;" it''s "cheah." Pretty cute.

A new favorite game of yours is to hide from us.  You like to hide in the laundry nook the best.  Sometimes you hide under tables.  Sometimes, if there's no place better to go, you just press yourself flat up against a wall as if we can't see you.

Your favorite TV show is Sid the Science Kid.  I know we shouldn't let you watch TV, but when we're getting ready for work in the morning, you like to sit on your floor pillow with a bowl of Cheerios and watch Sid for a few minutes.  Of course, you're still obsessed with Elmo as well.

Your favorite foods are pasta, cheese, yogurt, and fish sticks.  You haven't been crazy about veggies recently, and you won't eat anything you don't recognize as a regular food choice.

As for books, you're new favorite is called, "Where, Oh Where, is Huggle Buggle Bear?"  You bring it to us at least three times a day to be read aloud to you.

We're going to stop your bedtime bottles soon, and we know it's going to be a challenge.  You strongly associate bedtime with your bottle.  You cry for "Bubba!" every night when we change you into your pajamas.  Mumma and Dada feel like chopped liver compared to the comfort you get from that bottle.  I know it's going to be rough, kiddo, but it's for the best.  You're a big girl now.

Speaking of big girls, you'll be moving to the toddler room at daycare permanently toward the end of the month.  How crazy is that!?  You'll miss your teachers a lot, but you'll learn to love your new teachers too.  Luckily, a lot of your friends from the infant room will be moving up soon too, so you'll have lots of familiar faces to play with.

You make our life so bright and fun.  It's like we get to see the world through new eyes all over again.

We love you, little Maddie Bear.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Around the Mighty Internet

It's the Friday before a long weekend!  Plus, we're getting our dining room table this weekend!  Double plus, Nana and Poppy are coming to visit!!  Hooray!

In the meantime, check out some of these links!

Check out these amazing photographs of sand under the microscope.  Amazing right?
(P.S.  I found these on another blog at some point during the week, but I can't find where even though I just spent like half an hour searching....so....I suck.  Sorry.)

Meanwhile, this woman makes a book a day.  Not reads...makes.  What an interesting project to take on. Some of her books are real pieces of art.

Slate Magazine has an interesting article on epidurals.  It sums up how I felt about epidurals.  After having two, I always think, "What's the big deal?" when I hear all the warning against them.  But what do I know??  And so the debate continues.

On a less controversial note, I saw this at Harper's Happenings and had to check it out.  Ever So Lovely is hosting The 2nd Ever So Lovely Valentine Exchange.  It's such a cool idea.  I really want to join...if I can get my act together and make some cards.

Last, but not least, here's a funny video about Iowa.  My step dad is from Iowa, so my parents emailed this to me earlier in the week.  It's in response to the negative publicity Iowa has been getting recently after University of Iowa Journalism Professor Stephen Bloom wrote an article criticizing the state.

I must say, it uses some salty language, so beware.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dining Room Plans

Our new dining room table is being delivered on Saturday, and we are soooo excited!

It looks like this:

Something about having a dining room makes me feel officially grown up.

I've never had one of my own before.  We lived in loft apartments before we bought our house, and there wasn't really the space or need for a big table.

Our dining room currently looks like this:

It's actually quite pretty the way it is.  I think the least amount of work needs to be done in this room. We love the tin ceilings, built in china cabinet and bead board.

But right now it's just a big empty space in the center of our house.

Here's the plan:

  • Paint the walls. (We're going with a pumpkin-spice orange color.  I really like the blue, but I enjoy richer colors in the dining area.  It makes me feel cozy.)  
  • Paint the ceiling with a gloss to make it POP!  
  • Replace the hardware on the china hutch
  • Paint inside of china hutch to compliment new wall color.  (Right now it's a cheery shade of yellow that looks awesome with the blue.  The orange?  I think not.)   
  • Get a rug
  • Get curtain rods, curtains and blinds.  (The neighbors must be tired of seeing us walk around the house sans pants.)  
  • Replace the lighting fixture.  
  • Find an interesting sideboard.  
  • Build a radiator cover
  • Buy/ Build benches under the windows on either side of the radiator.  
  • Hang up our ridiculously extensive map collection.  
Ta-Da!  Instant dining room.  

I didn't really think we had that much to do...but now that I look at the list...hmmm.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

That's One Dirty Baby

Babies are funny creatures.

One day Madeline loves grilled cheese more than anything under the sun.  The next time I give her grilled cheese?  Onto the floor it goes!  One day Madeline is petrified of the squirrels in our yard.  The next day?  All she wants to do is stare out the window at the squirrels in our yard.

Madeline, like all babies, goes through phases at lightning speed.  Most of her phases are nothing to cause alarm.  On the other hand, phases where she won't sleep unless it's on top of Mumma, or she develops a phobia of a family member, are more problematic.  Those are the phases that can sometimes (only sometimes) drive her parents bananas.  

Madeline's current phase?  Well, for mysterious reasons that only make sense in the mind of a Maddie Bear, she has suddenly become terrified of bath time.

It happened right around Christmas.  Madeline, who had always loved taking a "tubba," decided to scream bloody murder whenever we even mentioned the word.  

Maybe it's due to the fact that I recently brought her in the shower with me when she was in desperate need of a quick wash.  (Those stretch marks horrify me too, Maddie Bear.  You don't have to tell me.)

Whatever the reason, Madeline decided bathing was for the birds.

 This left us two options:  Option one, a hysterical baby right before bedtime.  (Not a great option.)  Option two, a very dirty baby.  (Also, not a great option.)

Therefore, we've been slowly working on a solution to our problem.  Operation get Madeline in the Tubba!

My first step was to take her baby whale tub and place it on the bathroom floor for her bath instead of actually putting her in the bathtub.  My theory was that she was not actually scared of baths, but instead scared of the shower.  Step one was not successful.  She still screamed and cried and turned red and tried to stand up in her slippery whale tub.

That's when I introduced the second step: distract Madeline with Elmo.  I bought her some bubbles with a picture of Elmo on the bottle.  When she started screaming, I let her hold the bottle.  Elmo helped calm her down a bit.  She sadly sobbed, "Elmo" while gazing at the bottle with her bottom lip pouted out.  Progress.

Step three, naturally, was bubbles.  Madeline loves bubbles.  (Um, who doesn't love bubbles?)  Yet, we had never used bubbles in Madeline's baths before.  It was time.  When Madeline saw the sudsy water, she formed a weak smile and consented to letting me shampoo her hair.  Progress.

The final step was the most effective.  Splashing.  I gently splashed the bubbly water, and Madeline imitated me.  What ensued was a Biblical flood of our bathroom.  Remember step one when we removed the whale tub from the actual bathtub?  Mistake.  Water, water everywhere!

Madeline thought it was hysterical.  I must admit, I thought it was hysterical.  Did Dada find it hysterical?  Not so much.  Still, he cleaned up our mess without complaining while I dried Madeline and myself off.  Good man.  

All in all, operation Get Maddie in the Tubba went pretty well.

Last night, we put the operation into effect again.  She shook her head violently when we told her it was bath time.  She clung to my shirt pitifully when she realized I was about to put her in the bathtub.  When I put her in the water, she howled hysterically for about thirty seconds.  Then she saw Elmo and her bubbles and calmed herself down.  She distracted herself with some toys while I washed her hair.  And this time I skipped step one, so there was no mess when she started splashing like a wild woman again.

Thankfully, I think this phase is well on its way out.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Baby is Adorable

Sorry if you tried to watch this last night.  We were having technical difficulties.  

Madeline has the most adorable voice on the planet.  It's so funny to listen to her talking to herself in the back seat of the car or over her baby monitor at night.  Gal never stops.

This little video doesn't really do her voice justice, but you get the idea...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

An Organized Mess

One of goals for 2012 is to be more organized.

I almost laughed aloud just typing this.  Because this girl??  I'm the high queen of disorganization.

As a general rule, I live in a state of perpetual clutter.  There are always envelopes stacked on my desk, paperwork misfiled in my so-called "filing" cabinet, baby clothes everywhere....don't even get me started on my closet.  Ee Gads.

The thing is, I really HATE clutter.  I hate having to spend an extra three minutes every morning searching for my car keys, or tracking down my cellphone, or locating a misplaced piece of paperwork I needed for a student.  It drives me bat ass crazy.

Then why am I such a red hot mess?  Why, Summer, WHY?!

 Perhaps it's because my brain hasn't worked properly since I squeezed a Maddie Bear from my loins. (Although, I can't fully blame her because I've always been this way.)  Perhaps it's in the gene pool.  (Sorry, mom.)  Yet, I think it's mostly due to my general laziness and desire to procrastinate whenever at all possible. Bills?  Eh, I'll file them later!

No longer, baby.  Kiss that clutter goodbye!  This is the year that Summer will get -ish done!

The last time I made this vow (and failed) was last spring when I created my home management binder.

When I first came across the idea on Pinterest, I snorted.  The thought of sitting down and creating a manual for my life seemed ludicrous.  It's the kind of thing type-A overachievers do.  I am not that kind of person, and those kinds of people drove me crazy in college.

Yet, as we began the process of buying a house, and Madeline's paperwork kept piling up everywhere, I realized I needed to get things straightened out before I went insane.  The idea of a home management binder was lookin' pretty darn good.

And thus, THIS was created:  My Home Management Binder!

Complete with tabs...

 And pocket folders...

Are you blinded by its radiance?  You should be.

I separated my binder into the following sections:

  • Contacts
  • Work
  • School (Maddie's)  
  • Medical
  • Meals
  • Home
  • Family
  • Financial 

All important forms from daycare, immunization records, plans for the house, budgets, coupons, business cards, fliers, recipes, memos from work, etc. go into the binder.  That way, I know right where everything is!

My favorite part?

I keep all my bill paying necessities in a zipper pouch in the very front of the binder.  When I'm paying bills, I no longer have to go searching for stamps, address labels, a calculator, or pen.  It's all right there for me to use.

And all those Type-A people who drove me nuts in college?  They came up with this idea.  Some of them have even created entire websites about being organized.  Their websites are a very helpful resource for people like me.

Here's a list of places I got most of my printouts for my binder.  I love all the printables.  They make me want to make lists for everything including the order in which I should put on my clothes in the morning.  


Of course, maintaining a home-management binder does take some organization skills.  The To-Do list I keep in the very front of my binder?  It still says, "Buy Madeline's birthday invites."  Yup, hasn't been updated since September.

Here we go, 2012.  Let's get organized.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Let's play a game.   Can you guess what Madeline is up to???

View the following pictures, and select the correct answers below.   

Madeline is either:

    a.) Playing a losing game of musical chairs.
    b.) Building a fort.
    c.) Eating Cheerios off the floor.
    d.) Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Madeline is either:
    a.) Helping Mumma and Dada clean.
    b.) Practicing her Quidditch game.
    c.) Really mad at that box.
    d.) Rehearsing for her debut as Little Orphan Annie.

(P.S. Yes, that is how I dress my child on weekend mornings.  You got a problem with that?)

Madeline is either:
    a.) Preparing a basket of goodies to bring to Grandmother's house.
    b.) Dumping all her blocks on the carpet Mumma just finished cleaning up.
    c.) Setting up a tip jar.
    d.) Basket weaving.

(Answers:  b or d, a, b)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What We've Been Up To

I've been mostly MIA since Christmas, so in case anyone is curious, here's what we've been up to!

The day after Christmas, we woke up to one miserably sick Maddie Bear.  The only thing the poor girl wanted to do was sit on Mumma's lap and snuggle.  I gladly obliged, and there we sat for two whole days...she even slept on me one night.

Turns out she had a double ear infection and probably pneumonia as well.

Thankfully, the miracle of modern medicine lent a hand in the form of antibiotics, and Madeline was back to her cheery self pretty quickly.  Huzzah!

Off to New York we galloped to celebrate Christmas with Eric's side of the family.  

 Madeline got to spend some quality time with Nana and Poppy while Mumma and Dada spent a day in the city touring a cheese cave with Kevin, drinking beer, and viewing high-end furniture with Carol.  Sigh...what a different life Madeline would lead if we lived in New York.  

When we returned to Massachusetts, we got back to our busy schedule of eating and lounging on the couch.  Eric and I barely managed to stay awake to usher in 2012.  (I took a power nap at 10:30.  It's the wine's fault.)

On New Year's Day, we brought Madeline to the Boston Children's Museum and watched her run around the place like a lunatic.

Finally, we spent our last day of vacation cleaning and organizing the house from top to bottom.  I feel so much better now that the house is de-cluttered and clean.  Hopefully it stays this way for a while.

And now....now it's back to work....and it's cold....and Christmas is over.  (Cue Eeyore voice.)