Friday, May 31, 2013

A memorable May

Annually, May continues to be a month of milestones, and 2013 was no different for our little family!  Per usual, all of these events probably deserve their own blog entry, but I was finishing up my job and first trimestering. :) (Yes, that should be a verb!)  You know it's May when our passion vine begins to bloom with its explosive and whimsical flowers, the water table gets pulled back out, and we are looking for excuses to be in the pool!
Here are some of the highlights of our month:

We kicked May off with a sweet wedding celebration for a life-long friend and basically-a-sister-type, Rebecca Brothers and her new husband, Jeff Laschober.   Rebecca is my mom's best friend's second daughter, and her big sister Sara Beth was one of my first friends.  Our moms were roomies and Tridelts at Baylor together, so the Brothers are so dear to us.  It was a beautiful wedding!
 Granna and Grandad found a princess dress for Madeleine at Target.  Needless to say it was worn every day at some point for most of May, even to Lowe's.
She loved it when her friend Violet came to play in her Snow White dress.  Our mild May allowed for us to still have a jasmine background for this picture - they just kept blooming and blooming!
And while she likes the formality of her princess dress, as it gets warmer, her favorite thing to do is just play inside in her undies, sometimes.  She is so very helpful when it comes to washing dishes. :)
I hosted my last work event for Community Cloth - a Market Day in our studio space.   We mostly sell the ladies' product at community shopping events and in-home events, but we thought people might like the chance to come to us and shop our entire inventory.  It was lots of fun, and it was definitely bittersweet for me as I will miss working for this organization so much!
Market Day was the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend, so after I packed up the studio, our little family went out to Cypress for dinner and a four-generation celebration!  I love my grandparents so dearly, and it was great to get to celebrate lots of mamas.  I loved the pendant Madeleine made for me at school and the flowers that she and her daddy picked out for me.
The next week, we had a zoo outing with a few mamas and kiddos from our Sunday School class.  The kids were excited to give the zoo splash pad an inaugural try for the season, however it was still a little chilly (as evidenced by Madeleine's tentative tip toes!
That same week we also had a class social - a picnic at the Water Wall!  We had about 40 people there, and it was so much fun.   People brought their kids and their dogs, their blankets and strollers and dinner of choice.  We all visited and the kids ran wild!
The next day we packed up for Austin to go celebrate our darling little longhorn!  My sister Liz graduated with her degree in chemical engineering (so.much.hard.work.) and she will begin working for Chevron in Houston in the fall.  We are so proud of her.
We got into Austin (my parents rented a house for all the family!) on Friday afternoon, unpacked, had dinner and headed to campus for the ceremony.  It was only the school of engineering, but it was three hours long!!  Madeleine did really well, but Cason did have to leave early with her.  We were so proud of Liz and we had to pay really close attention when they got to her major because they were all mixed up!
On Saturday, we had a lazy morning (thanks to AJ coming and getting Madeleine out of our room when she woke up - we got to sleep until 9:30!) and at lunch time my parents hosted a party for Liz's roommates and their families.  Madeleine was also excited to get to play with her cousin-dog Buddy. :)   
The next Tuesday, I went on an eye-opening van tour by Elijah Rising with a group of girls from our Sunday School class.  I had hosted a showing of the documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls earlier in the month in order to learn more about human trafficking, and the van tour gave us a close-up look at what is going on in our city.  There is devastating depravity in our city, but God is moving in a mighty way.  I am actually writing this in June, and since the tour, we have seen one of the brothels close and the landowner has leased it to Elijah Rising to serve as their new headquarters!  How amazing is that?  I would highly recommend the documentary (hard to watch but so well-done) and a van tour to anyone living in Houston. 

Madeleine finished up her spring semester at school.  Ms. Maggie and Ms. Marlyne were such fantastic teachers for her and her friends!  She learned so much, and they were so patient with her during potty training and the occasional nap time coups.   She loves them so much, and really enjoyed her Tuesdays and Thursdays in their class.  We celebrated with an after-school trip to Swirrl and....wearing goggles at dinner....?
We spent Memorial Day weekend in Denton.  Cason and Bill got to play golf, Trish and I got to have pedicures, and Madeleine had lots of quality time with her Nana and Pop.  Rumor has it she fell in the pool on Pop's watch, just barely though. :)  
On Saturday night after we put her down for bed, Trish, Cason and I went to see Gatsby and loved it!  Sunday afternoon the Bristers joined us in Denton for a fun family time of swimming, kebabs and popsicles!  Welcome, summer!
On our way back to Houston on Monday, we got to stop in Dallas for a lunch date with our dear friends, the Smiths.   Madeleine loves them for lots of reasons, but she was their flower girl, after all. :) 
Annnnnd we miraculously finished the month of may with a double-date night week.  Not sure how we managed that, but on Wednesday we got to go to the Alley Theatre Center Stage dinner (thank you Northern Trust) and the opening night of the new Sherlock Holmes play.  We love Todd Waite (one of our favorite actors in the Alley company) so we really enjoyed his role of Sherlock.  On Friday night, Madeleine had parents' night out at church (see ya, sister!) and we met up with my parents at Taste of Texas.  They so sweetly wanted to take us out as a belated congrats on Cason's new job and to celebrate our baby-to-be!
Phew!  May!
 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Walking

Since the revelation of my pregnancy coincided with the week I finished training for the Bearathon, it was a perfect time to begin walking with Madeleine more consistently.  We were also blessed with a beautiful, mild spring, so it was a no-brainer for us to walk three miles a day, averaging 4-5 days a week from late March through mid-May.

Aside from the obvious exercise for me, our walks provided manifold benefits which pleasantly surprised me, but in hindsight seem like they should have presented themselves more clearly.
I loved being outside with her and making the most of the opportunity to have undivided conversation with my girl.  Previously, when I would run with her, many times I would put my earbuds in and just concentrate on finishing the run and keeping her cooperative.  On our brisk walks, I left the headphones at home, and we talked for an entire hour, uninterrupted while we walked.

She learned the difference between many different flowers; she can now identify jasmine, buttercups, dandelions, petunias, roses, azaleas, bluebonnets and more.  Many times she would want to pick unavailable blooms, so we quickly had to learn the difference between "flowers that grow in the grass" (which I was happy for her to pick) and "flowers that live in flower beds" (a.k.a. not available for picking.)  At the beginning of the spring, our walks smelled of jasmine, and toward the end the aromas were strong magnolia and chinese tallows and more frequently of fresh-cut grass.  In March and early April I talked to her about the magnolia trees and how they were about to bloom.  A few weeks later they did bloom (imagine that!) and she loved pointing them out. 

"Mommy I picked this flower for you today because I love you." 

We had different landmark houses on our route: the house with the big metal chicken in the yard, the house that had a dog "like Riley," the house with the kitty in the window, the house with a large tree stump (where she had previously danced with her aunt Liz on a walk in early March.)  She also continued to astound me with her memory.  There is a home on our route that had a large inflatable pumpkin in the front during the fall.  One day we passed it and she suddenly said, "hey where is their pumpkin?" six months later.  Our neighborhood is full of large trees, but one street in particular has a great "tree tunnel" (according to Madeleine) and that always excited her.  Sometimes she would speculate about the homes and the families who lived within them. 

Walks were useful for practicing our identification of left and right (thanks to all the turns as well as signs like the one below) and she always loved the water access points - the blue ones with the "W" on them.  She loves to say "W!" then run around 180 degrees and say "M!" then run to say "W!" (you get the idea.)  "M and W for Madeleine White!"  She naturally thought they were just for her amusement.  On our Monday evening or Tuesday morning walks, she also loved finding all the "trains on the trashcans" as they waited on the curb, for the truck or for their owners to retrieve them, now empty, from the curbside.
We added to her rock inventory as we walked - I'd pick up pebbles, and she would decide whether or not she wanted to "add them to her collection."

We also enjoyed walking to the grocery store when we had a small trip.  I don't love maneuvering the Bob stroller in our tiny HEB (it's not a fancy one) but it's not terrible. 


Our conversations ranged from our surroundings to her "favorites" to her classes (MDO and Sunday morning) and what Bible stories she liked.  Sometimes we would sing, but not usually.  She would also get antsy sometimes, depending on her mood or the time of day, but for my always-on-the go kid, I figured an hour strapped in her stroller where she had to be still was good for her.  Every now and then we would stop and I would let her get out (to pick dandelions or buttercups) but all in all she stayed put. 

These walks were mostly just Madeleine and me, but sometimes, on nights or weekends, we would let Daddy come too.  She loves how he does fun tricks with the stroller.  She's the consummate thrill-seeker. 

I miss our walks - now it is far too hot and humid, usually, so of course looking back it is an even sweeter season.  It is with great joy and anticipation that we will welcome baby #2, but I have to soak up these fleeting moments when it is just Madeleine and me.  I'm trying!