Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy 10-month birthday, Madeleine!

Dear Madeleine,

You are such a big girl! This has been such a fun month as our summer is winding down. We've had lots of time inside as the Houston temps are usually triple digits lately. Yuck! Here are some fun things about your 10th month that we want to remember.
  • We started the tenth month with our annual BSB trip. This is a group of nine very special families - Granna and Grandad went to Baylor with the parents, and all the kids have grown up together. You had a blast with everyone. You were so social with all 40+ people there and didn't mind being passed around. You also got to play with Emma! She is about 8 months older than you, and she just kept saying "Maaa-a-lin!" Her mommy told me she still talks about you all the time!

  • It takes you forever to fall asleep. You talk and talk and talk sometimes for an hour, even when you seem exhausted before I put you in your bed. You are very peaceful, you just take your time. Sometimes you whisper, sometimes you shout, sometimes you have a melodic, sing-song voice, but you just babble and babble. Yesterday Granna was over while Mommy was feeding you a banana. Granna kept saying "Ba-na-na" and you would repeat the syllables with "uh-nuh-nuh." So amazing!
  • You continue to eat us out of house and home. We recently had some changes in your feeding - we stopped breastfeeding last week. If Mommy had known that was our last time, she might've gotten emotional! However, you and I are both ready for this stage to pass - you were losing interest and not getting enough milk, so now it is all bottles for you. Mommy still pumps and you get about half of your milk from me and half of your milk is formula. What a healthy little cocktail! You also have now taken your 4pm feeding in a cup and it is more of a snack amount (4 oz.) You love the cup and you continue to love feeding yourself table food. You now have 8 very established teeth! I might be leaving some things out, but I think so far you've had:
string cheese (your favorite!), strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, tortillas, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, mandarin oranges, yogurt, crackers, cheerios, pulled pork, watermelon, bananas, rice, refried beans, sweet potato fries (Cafe Express!)
  • You've gotten to see a lot of your family lately - from the Deilys loving on you during BSB weekend and Granna Tuesdays to a visit with Nana in College Station. You've gotten to see Linnet a couple of times and even had your first art gallery visit to see some of your Great Uncle Tucker's work. Aunt Peggy, Kristen and Karoline played with you one day when we were in Cypress.

  • You are so curious. You love to observe the world around you, and I think that is why you are so happy in the shopping cart (if only you could face away from Mommy, right?) You love seeing cars go by and today was a special treat when it was large trash pick up day. We sat on the bench on the porch and watched as two big trucks picked up large trash items with a huge claw! You loved it. You love chasing the cats. I think they enjoy you too because they spend a lot of time with us, and they are around for you to chase! You enjoy "non-toy" toys, like in this picture below - a pashmina that goes on the top of a trunk at the end of Mommy and Daddy's bed, Daddy's shoe horns and suit hanger! It is also fun for you to find new noises to make - banging on the stainless steel outside of the dishwasher, raking your fingers on the A/C intake grate, flicking doorstops around the house, etc. I have also put bird food and a bowl of water on the patio right outside our breakfast nook. You enjoy watching the birds and the squirrels while you eat your meals. We even saw a hummingbird the other day!

  • You are doing a lot of standing on your own. Your cruising gets better and better. This was the first picture I got of you standing - it happened by accident, but look how cute you are! I think you will be walking any day now.

  • Unfortunately this heat has given us a battle with yeast infections in your diaper. We have given you lots of baking soda baths and diaper-free time, crawling around in the bathroom or on the tile at Granna's. You've even had some diaper-free naps (whatever it takes!) The on-and-off infection doesn't seem to bother you much, but they give Mommy quite a lot to do.
  • You know some more commands - "shake, shake, shake" you will shake your head back and forth or you will shake whatever is in your hand, clapping, and your cute little trick where you use your fingers to make a little motorboat sound with your lips. You are starting to give us smooches on command, but only when you want to. Today you and I were coming into the house, and while Mommy was unlocking the back door, you gave me a kiss on the cheek, totally unprompted, and then smiled so sweetly for me. I never want to forget it. You were so pleased that you did it two more times. Thank you, sweet baby, I love you too.
  • Holding your own with big kids is not a problem. You follow them everywhere and don't seem to mind the occasional roughhousing or toy being taken away. You are not afraid of anything - again, just more curiosity. You climbed all the way up in the play gym at church, and the vacuum cleaner and hair dryer don't bother you a bit. The other day Mommy was pounding a nail into a picture frame very loudly, and you just watched.
  • You are still very much in the "put everything in my mouth" phase. Sometimes you put a paper towel or napkin in there and you look like a little billy goat. You come by it honestly - here's a picture of your Mommy.
  • We rearranged some rooms and furniture to make a playroom for you out of our old dining room! You love it and we love it too - what fun. You have bigger toys now, and Miss Tiffany let you borrow some toys that Archer and Ashton have outgrown. You love pushing them around.
  • Sometimes Daddy puts your ABC block on your head, and you look like the Chiquita Banana lady.
  • Other times, you decide to lay down while playing and just look like a chunk with your play remote. The times you are still are rare. Most of the time you are moving - you are not very cuddly, and changing your diaper wears us out! So so squirmy!

Madeleine, we love you so dearly!!


Monday, August 22, 2011

August Randoms

Y'all we only have about a week of August left!! Now I know that our thermometers won't miraculously drop to highs in the 70s once September hits, but at least we are closer to fall. Here are a few random things going on that didn't merit their own posts but I thought they were worth mentioning as little things going on with me/us.

I have a book recommendation! It is a Christian fiction book, but it has so challenged my prayer life. It is called The Veritas Conflict by Shaunti Feldhan. It takes place at Harvard and combines spiritual warfare, apologetics and a compelling plot, all three of which are responsible for me staying up way too late reading this book. I highly, highly recommend it.

Cason moved back our bathroom. Before Madeleine came, we would get ready for work at the same time so we could carpool. It made the most sense to just use both bathrooms in the house, especially since our master is pretty small. Well, he missed me, and we don't really have that problem anymore. I am glad to have him back. :)

Is there anything grosser (in an almost 50-year-old house) than the underside of a kitchen sink? I was spending way too much time under there as we had a leak and our disposal broke. We got a new disposal (called BADGER 1!!) and Dad came over to help us put it in. Madeleine was a great help. I decided to paint underneath the sink with the same paint that is on the kitchen walls. I think it is a great improvement.

Speaking of other little improvements...for awhile I felt like something was missing in our master bedroom. I think it was curtains! My parents got these for us for my birthday - nothing fancy, just from Bed Bath and Beyond. I love how much cozier it feels in our room.

Before (this is from when we first moved in!):

Of our home improvement investments we made this spring, we are so thankful for one - new insulation! Seems like we picked the perfect summer to protect our house from this horrible, lingering heat. One horrible decision we made was to re-landscape everything. We are managing to keep most of it alive, but one bed quickly bit the dust - the one on the west side of the house. Sprinklers don't reach and it gets the direct afternoon sun. Look at those poor little boxwoods! Fried to a crisp. You win some, you lose some.
We went to College Station a couple Saturdays ago, and Madeleine got to play with Kohen Houser! They were so cute together - I can't wait to watch their friendship grow.

God continues to teach me more about our relationship through being a mom. Madeleine was holding her own bottle the other day, and she looked at me, so proudly. I couldn't help but think "Sure, I'm so proud of you, but Madeleine, I made the milk for you, put it in the bottle or cup and handed it to you. There is no way you could be doing that right now without me!" I think God does the same thing. We try so hard to say "Look Lord! Look at what I can do for you!" and, like a proud parent He does smile, but He knows there is no way we could've done it without Him.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Our Slow & Simple Days

Madeleine and I live a very simple life these days. Many might consider it slow or boring, and I have to admit, I've had to adjust my expectations. Before Madeleine was mobile, I could get a lot more done during the day. Now that she is all over the house, it's much easier if I just surrender my days to her and try to be productive during naptime. My dad always told me "happiness = reality/expectation" If your expectations are too high, your happiness quotient will be low. The more appropriate and realistic your expectations are, the happier you will be.

Madeleine is expecting me to catch her, that's why she's laughing, naturally. Ha.

Well, now I expect to get nothing done while Madeleine is awake. Laundry can wait, emails can wait, dirty dishes can wait...sometimes I can sneak a chore in, but if I expect to not get anything done, then that task is a bonus! Our days are simple but rich, I believe. We don't leave the house much, mostly because it's so dang hot, and I like to respect her naptimes. I also know that I won't have this luxury with future children, while I want to maintain a simplicity, I don't know how many opportunities we will have to just "be," so while it can be lots of one-on-one fun, might as well enjoy it! I relish every giggle, every smirk, every lightbulb I watch go on in her brain - it's amazing and it's flying by.

We run errands every now and then, or enjoy activities at church or playgroups, but not most days. I don't want to run her ragged. How do we spend our days? We explore our house together. We play in the pillows in my bed, we look for and chase the kitties, she cruises on the furniture, we build towers and knock them down, I walk her around the house in the Moby and just talk to her or sing to her. I vacuum or sweep with her in the Moby. We turn light switches on and off. We play chase and peek-a-boo. We look out the front window seat window at the squirrels or we look out the back picture window at the blue jays, cardinals and doves eating the birdseed we put out for them. We bang on metal bowls in the kitchen, we ring the bells in my bell collection, we look in the mirror and make faces, we turn on the sprinklers and walk around the backyard. Pandora is usually playing - sometimes her stations, sometimes mine. The TV isn't on. Even eating is exploratory!

Many days (especially the ones with short naps) go by very slow, I'm not going to pretend like they don't, but the weeks go by fast! Are these days intellectually stimulating for me? No, but I hope they are for her! I want the same things for her that my parents encouraged in me. Curiosity about the world, the affirmation of thoughts and feelings, an excitement about learning, creativity. Sometimes I long for the days when we can go to the library together, or go to the Children's Museum or Zoo and have her really get something out of it, but until those days come (and they will come so fast!) we enjoy our home days.