Tuesday, April 24, 2012

18 months

Dear Madeleine,

I am overwhelmed as I try to write this post! I don't even know how to organize my thoughts, so I think I might just do some excerpts from your calendar, along with some other stream-of-consciousness observations about your life currently.  I have already written about many things over the past three months, but here are some highlights.

Feb. 1: I cheered up a stressed-out checker at Target. There was a difficult customer in front of us, but when it was our turn I smiled and flirted. She told me I made everything better.

Feb. 4:  Mommy and I got soaked running out of the grocery store.  What an adventure!  Miss Sara Beth came to watch me tonight.  When I saw her sparkly silver Toms, I said "ooooo!"

Feb. 15:  Weird.  I was up from 4-6 this morning, so I slept in and we missed MOPs.  I love having nibbles of chips and queso.  When I see Mommy's blender, I say "Loud, loud!"

Feb. 18: I was not a good sleeper last night.  Mommy and I slept in a bed in her old room together all night - we've never done this before!  We went to Waco for the Baylor basketball game, and I made friends with everyone, even Bruiser.  We went to the Lalanis to meet baby Ava and Granddad watched me in the hotel room.  I went to bed at 6:30 pm and slept so well all night! (side note not in the calendar: Madeleine met an usher at the basketball game and was so friendly with her. She went up to her several times during the game to be picked up. She told me, "I was never able to have babies, but I just love them. They seem to know when I need some extra love." Sweetest thing.  I love that they have the same expression in the below picture.)

Feb. 21:  I am so smart.  Whenever I see a truck, a thermometer or the kitchen timer, I say "beep beep." I am also so good at following directions.  (She really is, but she is better at directions like "Go put these clothes in Mommy's dirty clothes basket" but she is not good at "Madeleine we are in a parking lot so you have to hold Mommy's hand.")

Feb. 23:  I loved music time today at MCC;  I also played peek-a-boo with an elderly lady and her walker.  I love being outside and pushing my giraffe around.  I come up with interesting ways to stack my ABC blocks.

Feb. 29:  I am so friendly!  We had a playdate with the Saxes, Bettises and Fullers.  We went to Hobby Lobby twice, and both times I said "hi" and "bye" to the panda on the Panda Express sign.

March 6: I love to ride on our spinning desk chair with wheels.  I fell off and busted my lip today, but Mommy quickly figured out that I was crying not because my lip hurt but because I wanted to be back on the chair.  Granna and I were outside a lot today.  It was windy, and I thought it was so funny when the wind moved my swing!

March 11:  It was so rainy today!  We went to Jax Grill after church.  I played on the car game with Jake and Violet and I put tomatoes in my hair.

March 23:  Today Jake came over to play and Miss Sara Beth did too!  Mommy delayed my nap a lot and I laid on the kitchen floor with lambie and said "night, night."  I slept some in the car on the way to Waco.  I saw sausage on Mommy's pizza and said "poo poo"

March 28:  I went to time-out for the first time today. I kept climbing on the kitchen table to try to get Mommy's bowl of Easter eggs.  I was so mad during time-out, but after I was so good.  Mommy thinks I understand.

April 5:  I threw a huge tantrum today when Mommy said we were done watering the plants outside.  I wanted to keep watering!  I was so screamy.  We went to church twice today, and I was such a trooper.

April 10:  I love to sit in Mommy's lap while she blow dries her hair.  I also love to put on chap stick and wash my hands.  I go to any sink or faucet and say "hambas?!"  when I want to wash my hands (which is a lot!)  Granna taught me the word "neck" today.

April 16:  Mommy and I ran some errands in the rain.  I clapped my hands and said "Yay!" for the umbrella. I was kinda fussy tonight, but I went to bed well.

April 14:  Slept in till after 9 today!  Freaked out when Mommy left for a baby shower.  We went to Daddy's softball playoffs/championship.  I had fun playing with Jake, making new friends at the playground, watching kites and trying to take my shirt off.

April 20:  This morning, I grabbed a purse and said "bye-bye, car, church."  So smart.  Mommy and I went to Cypress.  I played a lot outside, even in the rain!  I played the piano and climbed stairs.  I even ate salmon, green beans and quinoa for dinner, and I pooped in the tub.  What a full day!

Other things about you right now:

- You love music and request certain songs, for example, "up above" for "twinkle twinkle, little star" and "su-shy" for "you are my sunshine."  You still has some song that you requst by saying "nuh, nuh" and doing the sign language for "more," but we have no idea what it is!

- You love to pray for friends and family, especially at bedtime.  You call out names during prayer time, and we pray for those people (such as:  Nana, Pop, AJ, Ben, Heba, Hamma, Deek (Jake), Paige, Amy, Liz, Peeby, etc.)

-You know so many words!  We can't even believe how well you express yourself.  So fun.  You can identify yellow, green and blue; the letters E and M and you usually know what we are talking about with the number two.  You love identifying body parts ("elbow!  knee!") and many times you surprise us with words you know ("feather!  shadow!")

- You are not afraid of one darn thing, (still have some random separation anxiety every now and then when Mommy leaves though) you love to be upside down, make yourself dizzy, swing high, run away from your parents in the crowded church lobby, go down slides...and you love  when Mommy sneaks up on you and startles you.   You say "mo, mo" and do your sign language, so Mommy runs away and hides, then jumps out and scares you, so you squeal and giggle. You are going to love roller coasters.

- You love coloring with crayons and playing with play-doh.  You also love looking for roly polys in the flowerbed with Mommy.  You especially love it when they crawl on your hands.

- Growing girl - at your appointment today, you were in the 89% for weight (27lbs., 12 oz.)  and 86% for height at 33 inches.

We love you Madeleine, you continue to bring us so much joy!


Monday, April 23, 2012

It only took (almost) 4 years...

Oh man. Many of you know that I have been working on a Christmas stocking for Cason since FALL OF 2008. I'll say it again: Oh man. My fourth Collecting the Dots blog entry mentioned said stocking. I cracked up just now - it was a November entry and I thought there might be a possibility that the stocking would be done Christmas 2008. Here is a picture of Winston and I first getting started:

And this is what our mantle has looked like for our five married Christmases. Cason is so mistreated.

In fairness to Bucilla (the stocking brand) it was not that hard, just time-consuming. Also, I had a nasty habit of putting the stocking in a drawer for nine months at a time. I would bring it on road trips with all the wonderful intentions in the world, and it would just sit in my car bag. I find I'm highly motivated to do projects I have to look at (my entire laundry room was done in no time at all) but my procrastination finds new lows when I can simply put the project out of sight. A few things have happened in those almost five years...job-changing, house project-doing, marathon-running, vacation-going and baby-having type things, but it is still no excuse. If I had been better disciplined, it would've been done a long time ago.

 About a month ago, I decided this thing HAD TO GET DONE. I was tired of Cason's jokes about it being done in 2034, ;) I was tired of putting it on countless to-do lists, and I was just tired of it being unfinished. Plus, we have some new things in store for the White family beginning this summer, so I have a fire (or bear campfire?) lit under my rear to knock out some projects. I kicked it into high gear, left it out on my counter so I had to look at it, and I am happy to say it is now finished! I heard Mariah and Whitney singing that miracles song from Prince of Egypt as I put the finishing touches on the darn thing. Ta-da!

Would I do this again? Well I will have to if the Lord blesses us with more children. :)  I am also thrilled with how it looks.  Thankfully my Great Aunt Clara (who began this tradition in our family and has made Lord-only-knows-how-many-of-these in her life) is already trucking along on Madeleine's stocking up in Pennsylvania, but I am tempted to get another kit soon and just begin it, nameless. The hardest part was the outline of the bears' eyes (had to be symmetrical, and embroidering in a circle is harder than embroidering in cursive or loops, a la Cason's name and the lower bear's vest.) Also, the periphery was harder than the actual stocking assembly; by that I mean threading the needle, thread getting in knots, accidentally doing a bit with the wrong color thread and having to re-do - all my errors! The easiest part was following the directions. Really. It's like paint by number but with felt, thread, beads and sequins. The directions were wonderful, I was just bad about doing them.

Merry Christmas in April!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Weekend 2012

What fun we were able to have with family, soaking up the joyful glow that is the essence of Easter. He is RISEN! It makes all the difference.

We had a wonderful Thursday evening service at church called Broken for You.  It really set our hearts in line with what the Thursday and Friday of that Passover holiday looked like for Christ and his disciples.  Friday morning, Linnet came to play with Madeleine, and during the afternoon we had the Boehnings over for Rangers opening day.  We grilled brats and hot dogs.  So spiritual.  Saturday was Jake's 2nd birthday party.  What a perfect day to be outside!  Saturday night my ambitious (no really, she is) cousin Katie and her husband Jeff had 21 of us out to their new(ish) home in Humble.  They had family from both her mom and dad's side over, and while I didn't get to visit a lot with everyone (toddler mom, hello.)  We enjoyed being with everyone.  Madeleine had a blast, but we banished her to the patio once we realized she was too overstimulated to concentrate on her dinner!
Sunday morning we headed to church to meet up with the Deilys just like last year, or so we thought. My poor parents and sister got stuck in a tow truck on 290 because my dad's car broke down, and Jul and Ben were a little late because of a miscommunication on service times! Thankfully, at least Cason and I were able to enjoy a wonderful service in its entirety. Great worship and a powerful message from Pastor Gregg. After church we headed to Cypress with Jul and Ben in tow. Madeleine had her first egg hunt with a lot of helpful instruction!

We took some family pics. Awwwww. For as happy of a kid as she is, Madeleine really should smile for pictures more. Just sayin'.
We had a yummy lunch at a beautiful table. Madeleine lasted a few minutes before naptime, and then she slept for three hours. (Toddler rule again - when family wants to play or you want them to be up, they sleep forever, and when you want a productive afternoon at home, they take a cat nap!)
She woke up happy and clothed, thanks to the escapeejays, and ready for milk and cuddles with her great-granpa!
Hope you and yours had a celebratory Easter!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Prep

We had a great Easter as a family! Madeleine was way more fun this year, even though she looked so cute in her bonnet last year. We were so busy at the beginning of the Lenten season, but thankfully we had a wonderful Selah service on March 11 that the Lord really used to ground us a little bit and draw our attention back to Him. Pastor Gregg felt led to call the church to a special service, focused on worship, rest and prayer. The service was cyclical and flowing, no formal "order of worship" and it was just what we needed. Cason and I continually go back to the verses on which we focused:

"Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years. 
Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow; indeed, they pass quickly and we fly away. 
Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts." 
Psalm 90:10,12

We also had a wonderful Palm Sunday service.  I'm so glad the Holy Spirit helped me to dwell on the words of "The Power of the Cross." Which was sung at the end of the service.  So beautiful, and it resonated in my heart all week.

Well, as much as we want Madeleine to develop a humble and spiritual approach to Easter, we did have some traditional fun.  It is much easier to get an almost-18-month old to say "hop hop" than it is to say "He is risen!" (although we tried.)

We took some springtime bluebonnet pictures; (nothing epic and Brenham-esque this year, and Madeleine didn't even have any white shoes yet) we just spontaneously hit the Arboretum with our friends the Rabes. We managed to get a few shots for an Easter card we sent to family and a few out-of-town friends.  Madeleine looked so cute in her Easter dress from Nana and Pop.

Another great way to entertain a toddler on a beautiful spring afternoon (which we've been having plenty of lately!) is practice egg hunting! Buckets and baskets, we tried it all.

She did great with the bunny ears her daddy picked up at Walgreens...except when she'd rather wear a box on her head, of course.

The ears made for a perfect prop when practicing with Granna. Also, please notice her big-girl, size 6 light-up shoes. When she first got them she walked around the house saying, "cool, cool!"

When we got to the weekend of, I made some delicious appetizers for Easter lunch (thank you, pinterest!) Both a healthy option (mini greek salads on toothpicks) and an indulgent option (baked brie - yum!)  Guess which one had leftovers! :)  Cason also was the primary egg-stuffer for Madeleine's treats - yep, grapes, goldfish and oatmeal squares!

Monday, April 9, 2012

This happened today

I feel I need to postpone our regularly scheduled Easter post for this little happening from today. Madeleine and I had a nice little morning at home, soaking up the last of this spring weather while we have it here in Houston. At around 11:15 I decided to take her on a wagon walk before lunch with Daddy. I'm so glad I happened to snap this picture on my phone before we got going, even though she is not into prompted smiling for the camera.
We navigated some of our nearby streets, watching for birds and planes and flags on peoples' houses, we picked some buttercups and dandelions, and I noticed my usual chatterbox was unusually quiet. Then this happened:

 I couldn't bear for her to keep nodding her head like that all the way home (we were a few blocks away still) so I just thought I would pick her up, fold the wagon seats down and see how it went.
Well she stayed like that all the way home. I tried to stay in the shade as much as I could, but the sun was in her eyes a lot, and we went over different bumps and curbs. She was out. Cason and I wheeled her into the house and stuck the wagon in her room.
How hilarious is that? The bummer was that she only slept in her wagon for 45 minutes, and that was it for naps for today! Toddlers are so crazy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Denton Trip

Trying to catch up here - so after the Bearathon we jumped in the car and headed north on 35W. We get to Denton as much as we can, but we always try to do a Spring Break-ish trip at the end of March (when Cason's dad's Spring Break is.) That way we all get a little more time together. We were there from Saturday to Tuesday, and it was just wonderful. It was one of those trips that felt relaxing, but we also did a lot! We spent a lot of time in the hot tub - in fact all three nights after Madeleine went to bed, the four grown-ups enjoyed conversation and champagne under the stars, just celebrating the little things. :) After the race, my legs loved the idea of lots of time in the water. Madeleine loved the hot tub too - one night we ate dinner outside, and she made such a mess that we decided to just grab her baby soap and bathe her out there!
Madeleine got the relaxation memo and slept until 8:30 two mornings and 9:15 one morning! Thanks, baby girl! Our leisurely mornings included Madeleine's exploration of Nana and Pop's room. For years her Nana has gotten Pop those singing and dancing animals and characters, and Madeleine loves to play with them. She has even been frequently asking us to sing "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" since we've returned home!

On Sunday afternoon, we met Anne and Patrick (soon to be married!) at Anne's parents' house in Coppell. We love getting to see the Palamaras - they are such a special family to us. Anne's mom and my mom were in Tridelt together at Baylor, and then Anne and I became friends and roommates there, sharing a room for two years.  She is such a dear friend to me.  Anyway, it was so great to hang out with them, and they were all so understanding with Madeleine's energy level. Ha. Anne's mom Lori even made her a little Easter basket. She loved on their dog, she played with markers, and at one point, we turned our back and she ran into the front room, got on the mac and had pulled up one of Anne's brother's research papers. Sheesh!
Cason and his dad got to play some golf, Trish and I went to the nail spa (again, right after the race, my feet were thrilled!) we tried out a new (to us!) hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place. We visited Madeleine's great grandmother at her nursing home. Madeleine had her first fried chicken at Babe's in Roanoke (huge hit) and we got to go to our nephew's JV baseball game. Of course, that was the afternoon Madeleine decided to take a 3 hour nap, so we were a little late! It was gorgeous weather, and Madeleine had her first trip to CiCi's with her cousins, Aunt Heather ("Heba!") and Uncle Larry, Nana and Pop and us!
She also went for a walk with her Pop and fell asleep at a very random time, right after breakfast!
We had such a great time! Any other Texans out there want to start a movement to shorten the distance between DFW and Houston? Thanks to the Denton Whites for such a great visit!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bearathon 2012

I love springtime roadtrips! After my girls' weekend to the Hill Country, we loaded up again, this time all three of us, for a cross-Texas trip similar to the one we did last spring. We didn't get loaded up quickly enough on Friday afternoon seeing as while I was packing the car, Madeleine laid down on the kitchen floor with lambie and said "Night Night" a few times. She crashed before we got out of the neighborhood!
Off to Waco! No time to throw Madeleine in any bluebonnets since we wanted to get to the Connells' by game time to watch Baylor play Xavier. We had such a nice time staying with them, and Madeleine slept like a champ! On Saturday morning, Cason and I left her there to sleep so he could drop me off on campus. I was so excited. I've been wanting to run the Bearathon ever since I decided to start running long distances three years ago. Not a runner in college, it pretty much never crossed my mind while I was a student. ;) After completing the Houston Half in 2009 and the Houston Marathon in 2010, this was my first long-distance run since having Madeleine too.
I was pretty nervous about the hills in Cameron Park. The Bearathon's tagline is "The Toughest Half in Texas" because of the elevation changes. There aren't many places in Houston to do hill training, and frankly I just didn't have the time, so I was completely clueless how I would do. We got started, and I warmed up quickly. The weather was absolutely perfect. Chilly at the start, but not cold. I was never hot until about mile 12 when the sun was higher in the sky. It was so dry and breezy that I had a film of salt on me at the end of the race - it would evaporate so quickly. I think I sweated more on a three mile run in my neighborhood the other day than I did that whole morning. Anyway, the scenery really made it too. Much of the route was along the Brazos River - we got to cross the Suspension Bridge as the sun came up over the river - remember my bridge?
And of course the Cameron Park vistas were just radiant with new spring leaves:
And the hills...oh they were hard, but you just keep going. I didn't wish I had devoted a a lot if time to hill training - it was just fine. I was definitely slower going up the hills, but y'all I sprinted down them.
I did everything I could to keep from falling, and I just let gravity pull me down as quickly as I could manage. The student groups did a great job cheering, passing out shot blocks, gatorade, etc etc. Then I got to see the best little cheerleaders on Mile 11. Madeleine did not like the idea of seeing Mommy then Mommy running away.
Then I had my sweet family waiting for me on campus! I was shocked when I saw the clock at the finish line. I was going to beat my Houston Half time!! I found a girl I thought was about my pace and ran with her for the first half of the race. She must've been faster than I thought. Also, the Lord protected me from nasty falls as I was sprinting down those hills like a fool - those are the only reasons I could imagine why I beat my Houston time - this race's time was 2:18:53. Here's my girl and I on the swing on which my parents got engaged! Dawwwww.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience. Baylor's Student Foundation put on a very professional race, and it was so much fun. I'll definitely do it again!
Now on to Denton...