Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Hey Christmas, it's still Halloween.  Step off.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh, Sandy Baaaaybee

Someday...when high-yi-yi school is done.  Someday, somehow, our two worlds will be one.  Love has flown.  All alone, I sit.  I wonder...why-yi-yi, oh left me?  Oh, Sandy.

Phew.  I really needed to get that out of my system.  Eric does not appreciate it when I belt out Grease medleys around the house...especially when he's trapped here.  Madeline doesn't mind my singing, but the reference is lost on her.

Exactly a year ago we were sitting around our house by candlelight thanks to the Blizzard that Ruined Halloween.  I must say, it's a little unnerving to be getting such wild weather two Octobers in a row.

What gives Mother Nature?  Hot flashes?  Confused by John Travolta's sexual orientation?  Angry that nobody seems to be taking Global Warming seriously?  Aggravated by Target's early Christmas cheer?  Yeah, me too.  Why don't you sit right down and eat a Snickers?  That always calms me down.

This year, thankfully, we did not lose power during the hurricane.  In fact, we got through Sandy with nothing worse than a few downed twigs and a chip in our siding.  Very lucky!  Our relatives in the New York area woke up to much bigger headaches today.  We're thinking of you guys!  

However, after nearly three days of being cooped up indoors, we are suffering from a slight case of cabin fever.  Madeline ran up and down the aisles of the grocery store this morning like we had taken her to Disney World.   The sun seems to be coming out though, (told you that Snickers would work) so hopefully we can get Madeline outdoors after her nap.

This is how we kept ourselves busy during the storm:

We played in our tee pee.

 I started working on a quilt made out of Madeline's old baby blankets:

 We made some homemade play-dough:
 And made a "man"?
 I drank my weight in coffee:
 We stared our our electronic devices:
 And we topped it off with breakfast at  a local diner this morning to celebrate the end of the storm:
I'm sure we'll be back to business as usual tomorrow, and hopefully Halloween will not be cancelled this year.  I'm looking forward to bringing my little lawn gnome trick-o-treating!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Madeline likes to hold my hand.  Not only when we're walking down the street or I'm helping her down stairs, but anytime we're sitting still.  Some kids have a security blanket.  Madeline has my hand.  
She does it so frequently that I don't even notice it anymore.  Madeline tugging at my fingers, twirling my rings in her hands, absently rubbing my's become a natural function of our everyday lives.  It's like breathing in and out.  

 So every now and again, when I look down to realize that my hand is being firmly grasped between two pudgy, toddler fists, it surprises me.  And the fact that this simple act of being near me brings my daughter so much comfort and security, is the both biggest gift Madeline could give me and the largest reminder of my responsibility to her.  I will always take care of you, little one.  Your life is in my hands.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tangled Up in Tangled: Toddle Along Tuesday

"Oh!  I see the light!" Madeline suddenly gasped as she stared out the living room window into the darkness.

Eric and I tore ourselves away from the warm glow of our electronic devices to focus our attention on our daughter.

"Now she's here.  At last I see the light!"  Madeline began to sing, still gazing out the window.

She turned to me and smiled, "Da tower!  Rupunzel in da tower, Mumma!  Like dis!" And to illustrate her point, she dramatically rested her cheek upon the crook of her elbow.

 Returning her attention to the moon, she sighed deeply.  "Like Rapunzel.  Rapunzel in da tower," she muttered to herself as she stared out at the moon.

 In the opening scenes of Tangled, a toddler-sized Rapunzel stands just so as she gazes at the floating lights in distance from the window of her tower.  Madeline was pretending to be her.

I was amazed that Madeline had picked up on the subtle details of Rapunzel's body motions from this brief scene of the movie, but I guess I shouldn't really be surprised.  Madeline is Tangled obsessed!

It's my fault, actually.  I was the one who watched it with her the first time, and enjoying the movie myself, we watched it a second and a third time.  And when Easter rolled around last spring, I was the one to make sure the Easter Bunny left us a copy of the DVD buried underneath a pile of chocolate eggs and jelly beans.  I got my daughter hooked.    

Now, Madeline asks to watch it at least once a day.  It's really the only movie that she can sit and pay attention to all the way through.  She sings all the songs.  We bought her a Rapunzel doll for her birthday; she likes to brush her hair.  She laughs aloud about Flynn Ryder and his crazy antics.  She calls every horse we see Maximus.

I've shown her a few other Disney classics: The Little Mermaid, Beauty in the Beast...but nothing has tickled Madeline's fancy as much as Tangled has.  

Thankfully, it's a cute movie, so I haven't minded indulging the habit from time to time.  At this point, I think we've gone about two weeks without watching it.  That might be a new record.

I am slightly worried that the message of the movie seems to be to not listen to your mother because she might be a crazy, controlling hoe-bag in disguise...but it should be several years before Madeline starts to pick up on the subliminal messages at play.

Photo of Rapunzel doll taken by Madeline.
Then again...if she can mimic a ten-second scene perfectly...maybe she's picking up on more than I realized.

Maddie's First...

...Jack O' Lantern!

We didn't carve any pumpkins last year because the of the freak blizzard that ruined Halloween.  And two years ago around this time we were running on very little sleep, so sharp objects were out of the question.  Therefore, I was really excited to pass on the pumpkin-carving tradition to Madeline for the first time this year.  

Unfortunately, she was not as excited as I was.  She was pretty "meh" about the whole experience actually.  Fist, she slept through half of the pumpkin selection process.  When she did wake up, she was more interested in picking up rocks than in the pumpkin patch.

Not impressed.
She couldn't have cared less during the actual carving.  To humor me, she glanced in my general direction a few times, but mostly she just used the opportunity to steal my IPhone and take pictures of the ceiling fan in the kitchen.  About fifty of them...  The rest of the time she played Little People with Eric on the kitchen floor while I hacked away at our pumpkin.
So not impressed, she'd rather just lie on the kitchen floor...
Oh, well.  C'est la vie.  Maybe next year she'll be more interested.
"What you doin'?"  
On the up side, once Jack was finished, she liked him a lot.

As soon as she saw him, she did this funny face that I've been unsuccessfully trying to capture on film ever since.    She sorta wrinkles up her nose like she smells something bad, grins, and half-growls-half-coos at the pumpkin.  I don't know what possesses her to do that every time she looks at it...but it's pretty hilarious.

I ended up not carving our other two pumpkins.  I might tackle the other big one next weekend, and I think I'll just let Madeline paint the smaller one since I know the gal loves to paint.

Monday, October 22, 2012

DIY Silhouette

For our wedding, we used some wood slices purchased at Michael's as platforms for our table numbers.  Aren't they lovely?  
Jaclyn Schmitz Photography
 When the wedding was over, I wanted to find ways to use the left-over decorations around our house as much as possible.

Which, brings me to this little DIY....

 They were ridiculously easy to make, and didn't cost a blessed cent since I had everything I needed in the house already.

I sorted through the bajillion-and-one photographs I have in my computer, to find some profile shots.  I cropped the images to zoom in on just our heads, converted the images to black and white, and played with the contrast a bit to make sure the profiles really stood out.  Then I printed the images, cut them out, and lightly traced them onto the wood.  Finally, I used some left-over stenciling paint to fill the outlines in.

Ta-DA!  Personalized art for our walls!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bunny Picture: 2 Years

I'm a month late on Madeline's two-year bunny photo shoot, but better late than never, right?

She's so big!  Remember when she used to look like this?

Or even this?  

Excuse me, I have to go cry into my bag of half-eaten M&Ms now...sniff.  To see our incredible growing baby, click here!  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Harry Potter Halloween

When your husband...who teaches marching band for a living...calls you a nerd, it's a sign that something has gone terribly awry in the universe.

But I have to admit that I probably hit a new high, or is it a low, in the nerdiest of nerd departments when I saw these Harry Potter potion labels on Pinterest on Sunday afternoon.

Ten minutes after first seeing them, Eric walked into the room to find me busily taping labels to bottles and bouncing giddily in my chair. "LOOK!  It's Draught of Living Death!!!"  I squealed as I thrust a bottle before him.

He raised an eyebrow at me.

"From HARRY POTTER!!!!"  I explained.

He raised two eyebrows at me.  "Okay..."

Ten minutes later, he checked in on me again.  This time I had roped the baby into my madness.  We were standing at the kitchen counter intensely focused on our work.  Okay, maybe I was intensely focused.  Madeline was just happy to be allowed to play with salt.

"What are you doing now?" he asked.

"Making potions...gosh!" I rolled my eyes at him.  "Look how awesome the Wolfbane turned out.  I used Chili Powder!" I added proudly.

Eric picked up a bottle and swirled it around briefly.  He did not look impressed.  "You're such a nerd," he laughed before retreating to the safety of the living room.

Now all the bottles are assembled on my dining room table, complete with the box from the basement, a centerpiece of dead leaves from the yard, and some baby pumpkins.  And it just makes me so, so happy every time I walk in the room and see it.  Halloween was made for people like me.

P.S.  The blog that offers the free potion printables has a lot of other Harry Potter-themed Halloween things.  Cha-cha-cha-cha-cha-check it out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The End is Nigh!!!

Tonight, as I brought Madeline up for bed, I noticed this pamphlet sitting mysteriously on our stairs:

" did this get here?"  I asked Eric.

He said I had grabbed it from the front door as I walked into the house this afternoon, but I had zero memory of doing such a thing.  I stared at it blankly for a moment.  I don't exactly have the best memory in the world, so I took Eric's word for it.

After all, what else could explain its presence in our house?  Unless...

"Eric!  What if there's a religious fanatic hiding somewhere in our house secretly leaving us pamphlets about the pending apocalypse?!?"  I blurted out.  And then, "Man, why do they always have to talk about Doomsday?  I don't want to see that.  Why can't they sneak in to leave us pamphlets about love and understanding?"

Eric didn't respond as he flipped curiously through the magazine.  He grinned.  "There's an article called 'What Can I Expect From Marriage?" he offered.  

I sighed heavily and headed up the stairs, "In your case I think it's one long headache."

The possibility of there being a religious fanatic hiding in our house was pretty much forgotten, but while I gave Madeline her bath, I had Eric check the closets for any stray Jehovah's Witnesses just in case.

Fast forward about an hour.  I sat down to my computer, ready to check my email, when a loud rumbling echoed through the house, shaking the desk in front of me.    

Being the completely rational human being that I am, my first thought was:  "Dear God, it's the Jehovah's Witness!  He's running through the dining room!"

I leaped from my chair like a mother jungle cat on the prowl, ready to go Doomsday on that tie-wearing thug, but something was not right.  The house was still shaking, but there was nobody there.  I froze in the kitchen, watching the dishes in the sink clang against one another loudly until the rumbling lessened and then ceased.

Many thoughts went through my head at once.  Was there an explosion in the neighborhood?  Are the plows out?  Is a giant sinkhole about to swallow us up?  Wait, was that an earthquake?

I immediately called Eric, who had already left the house for a rehearsal.  "Summer, it was probably just a train going by," he rationalized.

I tried to explain that this was a much bigger rumbling, and that I thought it was an earthquake.  Since we live in Massachusetts where earthquakes are very uncommon, and since Eric didn't feel anything strange where he was, and since the last thing I asked him to do before leaving the house was to check for religious fanatics hiding in our closets, Eric didn't believe me.  

Well, I was right.  It was an earthquake.  My parents called me two second later to ask if we had felt it too.  Four point five, baby...out of Maine.

Which leaves me wondering:  What if the pamphlet is right?  The zombie apocalypse is nigh, folks.  Watch for evidence during tonight's presidential debate. Take cover.  

Dear Madeline: October, 2012

Dear Madeline,

      Well, my dearest daughter, you have been two for just over a month now, and all I can say is, "Wow!"  If I didn't know better, I'd think daycare was offering you a secret course entitled:  The Terrible Twos:  How to Live Up to the Hype.   Cause, honey?  You have become an absolute stereotype.

The other day I spent twenty minutes trying to figure out how to get you to leave the house so we could go do some much needed errands.  You wouldn't put your shoes on.   You flailed about like a jellyfish whenever I tried to force them on you, cried and ran away when I raised my voice, laughed during time-out, and happily continued playing in your potty (that's right I said "in" your potty) when I tried ignoring you.  At one point, you even took your pants off in further protest over leaving the house.  If it hadn't been so cold out, I probably would have just carried you out to the car by your ankles whether you had pants on our not.

Eventually I had to act the fool to get you to cooperate.

"Madeline?  Madeline?  Is this how I wear my shoes?"  I asked as I attempted to put your baby-sized sneakers on my grownup feet.  You giggled and showed me the right way on your own feet.  Then I had to feign stupidity again to get your to put on your jacket.  I think I even pretended to walk into a wall.  Simply put, my darling, you've turned your mother into a jackass.

Yet, when we got to the store, you were an angel.  At the register, you set your sights on the candy bars and proceeded to take each kind off the shelves, one at a time, to ask me what they were.

I quickly scolded, "No-no, Madeline.  Those aren't for you," before turning my attention back to the cashier.

Before I knew what was what, you simply put the Snickers back, repeated, "That not for Madeline," and held my hand.

A lady standing next to us was very impressed.  "What a good girl!"  she exclaimed.  "So well-behaved."

"Yes, she is!" I beamed back.  She didn't have to know the truth.

Of course, you're not all bad.  You still have your moments of pure sweetness.  You tell us you love us all the time.  You constantly want to cuddle and play with us.  This afternoon you sat on my lap after school and said, "I missed you, Mumma."  Heart.  Melt.

Sometimes I think it must be very hard being two.  You want to be so independent, and yet, you have very little control over your own life.  I'm trying hard to balance understanding with discipline.  I want to  acknowledge that you're feeling sad or frustrated, but I also want you to do the right thing.  It's a real juggling act.

Meanwhile, we had your two-year physical a few weeks ago, and you were a chap through the whole thing.  You cried and screamed when the nurse tried to weigh and measure you, but you didn't make a peep when they pricked your finger for the blood test.  You watched the blood dripping from your finger with devout fascination from the safety of your father's lap.  You were a good girl for the doctor, and opened your mouth wide just like we practiced.  You cried after your shot, but shots sometimes make me cry too.  It wasn't so bad.  In fact, you keep telling me that you want to go back to the doctor. Ummm, what?  

The doctor was impressed by how vocal you are.  You string whole sentences together pretty well these days.  We can carry on full, albeit simple, conversations with you now.  When the doctor asked you if you needed help opening your book, you simply replied, "No, I got it."  Yes, you're two going on thirteen, Maddie Bear.

I'm looking forward to Halloween with you this year.  You're starting to pay attention to seasonal changes and holidays.  I don't think you fully get what's going on yet, but at least you know something unusual is happening.  Plus, you're going to look ridiculously adorable in your costume. If I can convince you to wear it, that is...

I love you, my little hell raiser.  You keep life fresh and interesting.

Love Always,

Monday, October 15, 2012

While Dada's Away...

...Mumma realizes she is an unfit parent.

Eric attended his twentieth high school reunion back in New York this weekend, which not only means he's old, but also means Madeline and I had a Mumma-Daughter weekend together.

It started off rocky.  Mere minutes after Eric left, we were playing in the yard, enjoying a beautiful Autumn afternoon, when Madeline decided it would be a good idea to snack on some Lily of the Valley berries sprouting around the perimeter of our yard.  Lily of the Valley berries are poisonous.  

The little stinker slowly held the red berry up to her face, raised one eyebrow at me in a wicked little grin, and just as I cried, "Madeline, nooooo!" popped the thing between her lips.  I rushed over and fished my finger around in her mouth as she mischievously giggled.  Apparently, Madeline finds it hysterical to scare the bejesus out of her poor, dear Mumma.  I'm assuming she swallowed the berry because there was no sign of it left in her mouth.  

After poison control assured me that one single berry was probably not going to do my daughter in,  I started to breath again.  Next weekend, I'll probably have Eric mow those berries down.  Either that or I'll start keeping Madeline on a leash.  Actually, a leash would probably solve a lot of our problems...  

Shortly after the berry incident, I decided to try to wear Madeline out with a walk around the block.  Immediately after closing the door behind me, I realized I had left my keys on the kitchen table.

Not even an hour after Eric left us, I had not only nearly poisoned my child...but now we were on the brink of homelessness.  Bwomp, bwomp.  At this point I started seriously questioning my suitability as a parent.

Not surprisingly, I lock myself out of the house a lot, so we leave a spare with a neighbor.  They were home.  Phew.  

Luckily, the rest of the weekend went pretty smoothly other than the regular day-to-day Maddie wrastling that we've become accustomed to.  Did you know, even if it's cold enough to warrant wearing sweatpants, a sweatshirt, socks, and a camo-print snuggy, Madeline still insists on going sans socks or pants?  When I say we are experienced Maddie wrastlers, I'm not just trying to be funny.  I quite literally wrestle clothing on her sometimes.  I'm bigger, but she's scrappy.

The weekend wasn't all bad though.  In fact, it was mostly good.  We did a fall-themed art project, played in the yard some more, (on a leash of course) met Mimi and Bob for lunch, read books, and watched UP.

Even though I enjoyed some mother-daughter alone time, I think Madeline and I were both very happy to see Eric walk in the door this afternoon.  Although, Madeline sometimes shows her happiness in odd ways.  Like crying for twenty minutes straight and mumbling incoherent objections toward her miserable existence when Eric takes her pacifier away.  But I guess that one is also my fault because I let her use it most of the morning even though it was not night-night time.  Sorry, Eric.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Move Over John Madden...

Because it looks like there's some new competition in the form of a little girl in pigtails.

Madeline has had an inexplicable fascination with football since she was just a wee tater tot.  We used to think she was drawn to the bright colors, but now that she's older, it seems that she just really likes watching football.

During the Pats versus Seahawks game this afternoon, Maddie Bear provided us with the following running commentary:

"They walking! They running! They fall down!  Hahaha. (Fists up in the air.) Hoo-ray!!!"
(Turning around to face us) Hooray, Dada?
Eric: Hoo-ray!
Madeline: Hooray, Mumma?
Me: Hoo-ray!

"They playing football in a castle! They standing. They fall downnnn.  Bwahaha.  They running.  Ooops.  Drop the ball."

I think she's up there with the best.

Monday, October 8, 2012

What We've Been Up To...

This long Columbus Day weekend, (or Viking Weekend, as my step dad likes to call it since they did get here first, after all) we...

Took laundry basket baths with all our furry friends...

 ate our weight in sugar by 11 am....

discovered new playgrounds...

walked along the harbor...

discovered how to leave surprise photographs on Mumma's phone...

successfully potty trained this baby (but not the real baby yet)...

took sewing lessons from Mimi...

so that I could start work on Madeline's Halloween costume (here's a sneak peek)...

 And we crawled, rolled, and spun through tunnels! (Even Mimi took a turn)

I also ate some pumpkin cheesecake with Amy, but I don't have any pictures of that because I ate it all.  Nom, nom, nom.  

Hope you had as much fun this weekend as we did!