Saturday, October 30, 2010

Catching Up

It's a good thing the people that read my blog (if there's anyone still left....) are actually  my friends, since I haven't posted since March and it's now October and things have changed around our house.

Namely, we had a baby.

Our son, William Warren, arrived about a quarter to one in the afternoon on Thursday, October 21st.

So much has happened in the last 7 months, I don't even know where to start!

Madelyn is definately a toddler.  She is completely my child and knows her own mind.  She loves to climb and play with her blocks and her puzzles and she especially loves to read.  She's getting to the point that she wants to read to me, even though she has no idea what she's actually reading, she tells me all about it.

She loves to play outside.  LOVES it.  She always wants to be on the go (except for the car seat part...she doesn't like it when she has to hang out in her car seat on the way to being on the go).

She just recently started saying a few phrases and doesn't talk a ton.  I take that back, she does talk a ton, just in her own Madelynese.

She LOVES her baby brother.  All she wants to do is kiss him.  And give him bear hugs.  Big bear hugs.  That usually send Mama's heart racing because she hasn't figured out how to be gentle.

And our dear baby William, whom his sister affectionately calls "dub-a-dub-a-dubya" ("W").  He's sweet and quiet and finally gaining some weight.  He was a little on the smaller side and has a posterior tongue tie, which makes it really challenging for him to feed at the breast.  So he's not for now.  For now, I'm pumping.  We're going to see if we can overcome this situation with the help of our doctors and our lactation consultant.  If not, then we have to make some hard decisions, because being an exclusive pumper isn't in the cards this time around.  It's too much for me and not fair to my daughter or my son - they need a happy mama who has time to love and play on them.  Not a mama stuck on a pump for 5 - 7 hours a day.

But thus far, he loves his car seat (unlike his sister), he is content to sit and be cuddled (unlike his sister....even when she was his age), so we're hoping he's our C  A  L  M baby.  I spell it out because I don't want to jinx myself.....

And for now, I hear him calling.  It's dinner time, for both of my kids.

Wow.  Did I just say that?  I have kids.  Plural.

My kids.  Those are two little words I wasn't sure I'd ever say.

No Words

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Show Off

I have to show off some photos of my girl....

We won a nusery photo contest and had a wonderful's the outcome:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

25 Years!

I remember this time....I was in Korea and I was coming back from tutoring a group of high school students.  It wasn't late, per say,  but it was winter and it was dark.  I'd taugth this class for a friend, while they were out of town and it was in an outlying neighborhood where there wasn't as much English and not as many foreigners walking around.  I'd gotten myself turned around and I was lost.   Most neighborhoods in Seoul don't really shut down - unless you're in their version of the burbs.  Which I was. I am, millions of miles from home, lost beyond all lost, not able to find sign to the bus station or subway and everything seems pretty darn shut down.

And I started talking to myself....I literally was thinking:

I am my father's daughter...and if my father can hump jungles in Vietnam and come out alive, I can find my way back to the damn subway

I know it sounds weird to jump to Vietnam and jungle humping.  But that's what I was thinking....I'm my Dad's daughter and when I have to be, I'm tough as nails.  Sure, I'm my Mom's daughter too - and after the tough as nails part passes, I cry like a freakin banshee...but in the thick of it, I put my head down and forge ahead like the bull my astrological sign says I am.

So at this point, ya'll are asking yourselves "Why is Heather telling us this story and what the heck does it have to do with her two little words for the day?"  No, I haven't lost my marbles.  Well, maybe I have, but that's beside the point.  I'm thinking that because I realized in a conversation with my Dad recently that this is the legacy our family has.  It's the example he and my Wicked Step Mudder (coined by my niece, who at the age of 3 didn't understand much past Snow White and thus started calling my Step Mom my Wicked Step Mudder) have provided for us kids.

And it's their 25th Wedding Anniversary today and I want to toast them and let them know that long after any parties die down and life goes on...that's what they've left us.  And that's what I hope to teach my daughter.  And that means something.

So, I don't have a flowery card for them and I didn't send flowers (because our credit card information got stolen and I'm currently naked without a credit card....because I would have!).  But I do have a gift for them....and that's the gift of legacy.

Because, you see, I now understand how hard it is to be the new wife. 

I understand how hard it is to have kids in your home that are not ones you helped raise from infancy - and thus, when they're being turds, don't remember when they were cute babies in your arms to help temper the turdiness.

I understand how that can strain a marriage - because other couples have this lovely honeymoon phase, without kids and mortgages and soccer fields and group dinners on the fly, to cement their relationship.

And they get to grow into a family that moves at the pace of 1985325 miles per hour.

I also now understand how it feels to have a mortgage - and worries about keeping a roof over your family's head.  That's not exactly romantic.

And I understand how, despite the fact that it's just a sock, a sock left in the wrong place can drive one to want to commit murder.

And I understand that relationships can be won or lost, once conversation (or lack thereof) at the time.

I understand that love is an action verb, not a state of being.

That marriage is 99% what you make of it and 1% that crazy gober head lust part.  That lust part is important - but at 3 in the morning, when you're up for the 87th time with your new infant, lust isn't going to help.  When you're planning your 93 year old mother's funeral or being told you have breast cancer again, lust isn't going to help.

And that's what my Dad and my Stepmom have given us.  Their marriage has not been easy, by any stretch of the imagination.  They've faced obstacles I don't ever want to face.  And, I'm sure there are times they wanted to quit.  And sometimes, in some instances, that's okay....sometimes you've tried everything else and done what you can do and it's the healthiest thing to do.  But a good majority of people mistake doing what's healthiest with doing what's easiest and when the tough times come, pull up stakes and run in the other direction.

That's not what my Dad and Connie have taught us.

They've taught us lots of crazy, fun stuff too.  I'm one of the few people I know that thinks pork and beans are always used in taco meat.  And a few too many trips to the Oregon Coast have left me with an unnatural affection for Alabama.  And I will never accept that there is any chowder but Mo's chowder.
But 35 years from now I don't want my grandchildren to think I was cool because I know all of the words to Roll On, I want them to think I was cool because I taught them to dig in and keep going when things are tough.

Because that's what my parents taught me.

Dad and Connie

I may be a Mama, but I'm never too old to love my Daddy

Papa and Gigi and their Carson Boy

Sisters, sisters...never were there such devoted sisters

Carson holding his baby who he's "going to teach stuff to"

Carson and Uncle Jimmy

Just look at can see the wheels turning..."who are you and what are you doing with my Carson boy!"

Proud papa and his boy

Monday, March 22, 2010

Big Sissy!

It's hard to believe it's been 8 months since we've seen Jordan....time flies when you're busy raising a toddler!  Big sister came home this weekend, one of her best friends (also named Jordan...go figure!), is moving in with Jordan and her boyfriend in Florida.

What an exiting time for be young, with your whole life ahead of you and a world of opportunities.  They're excited and it's fun to watch them be excited and remember those first years of young adulthood....the sense of adventure and freedom.

So - Jordan and Jordan are heading out this morning, driving cross country to Florida (all in one drive, because at 20, neither of them can rent a hotel room.  They can get married, have babies and be drafted for war....but don't let them rent a hotel room!).  What an adventure!

On Saturday, we had the family over to see Jordan and spend time together.  Madelyn was too busy running around like a chicken, following her big cousins round and round and round the pool table (literally....we had a stream of children playing chase around the pool table....Madelyn didn't get the "tag, you're it part", but she did get the "chase" part and she thought it was great fun), to really make much notice of Jordan.  Jordan was notice worthy, however.  She just keeps getting more and more beautiful - as if that's even possible.

We're so proud of her - she's working so hard, doing well in school and just got a promotion at work.  Smart, smart kid, but we've always believed that of her :)

We have pictures - but they'll have to wait since they're still in the camera.  I know I've said that alot lately....but we've had some busy times in our house.  We're catching the moments, just not having the time to upload them.

We have a good reason for being busy - we're busy cleaning out our spare bedroom for a new house guest.  My mom is moving to Washington!  We're all so excited, we just can't stand it.  Okay, Madelyn doesn't really understand what's going on, but she sure does love running around Nana's now empty room.  Mom has talked about moving in the past and the timing was just right for her to make the move.  So, she'll be staying with us until she figures out where she wants to live.  I think it's going to be fantastic to have Mom be able to spend some quality time with Madelyn and it sure is going to be nice having an extra set of hands in the evenings when I'm alone.

The other noteworthy item....this weekend missy had her first professional photo shoot!  We won a photography contest and the prize was a photoshoot with the photographer, Susan Berman, that was holding the contest!  We know Madelyn is adorable, but it's sure fun to hear others say they think so too.  More on that to come when the photos are available.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oral Explosion

Boy....when my girl decides to do something, she does it!

Tonight she really started talking up a storm!

She said:

bye bye

All for the first time that I've ever recognized!  And we all know that it doesn't count unless Mama says it counts.

Bye Bye
When we were leaving my Sister in Law's house, Jenni and I kept saying, "bye bye" in an attempt to get her to wave.  As Mads and I walked down the porch, she said, almost in a whisper, "bye bye".  I went running back to Jenni's to tell her that she'd said "bye bye".  We tried it again...and of course she didn't say it until Jeni was out of ear-shot.  Then, in the car, she starts screamin at the top of her little lungs, "bye! bye! bye!"

Once we were home, she started playing her ball.  It rolled away from her and I asked her "where's your ball?"  And she pointed at it and said, "ball!"

Every night when I'm getting Madelyn ready for bed, we look at her "Who Loves Baby Book".  It's a plastic book that has pictures of my family inserted in it so that she can learn to recongize their faces, even though she doesn't see them as often.  She started paging through it tonight while we were putting on her jammies and while she was on a picture of my sister Bree, I said, "where's Papa (my Dad)"?  Sure enough if she didn't page through the book and find a picture of my Dad and say "Papa, Papa".  I tried it again, turned to my brother Drew's picture and asked her "Where's Papa?"  She did the same darned thing.

We're on our way now.... walking, talking little Miss!  Next thing you know, she'll be reading and writing!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

365 Days

It's been a lot longer than 365 days since our little munchkin came into this world....but all I could think of leading up to her birthday and since was that she's been with us for 365 days.

For 365 days, I've been someone's mom
I've rocked her to sleep at night 365 times
Either she's woken me up or I've woken her up 365 mornings
And in that time, I must have kissed her a half a million times, because I kiss her 1000s of times a day
For 365 days, I've worried and sweated and laughed and cried and giggled and snuggled something more important than myself, something bigger than I've ever been a part of -

And it's been nervewracking
And overwhelming
And tiring
And joyful
And silly
And touched me so deep in my soul that, at the molecular level, I feel different.

For 365 days I've been someone's Mom and I thank the Lord that he's given me that opportunity because it's been the most amazing thing that's ever happened to me.


Things in our neck of the woods have been the same, but different.  Every day, we get up, go to work, come home, make dinner, play with our girl for the precious moments we have with her, then we go to bed.  Rinse. Repeat.

The weekends pass quicker than I can even say.  The more independent Miss becomes, the easier it is to get things done around the house....but I still have a hard time doing "things" when she's awake.  When she's awake, I want to be playing with her and enjoying the time we have, not doing laundry and cleaning rooms.  So...the house stays a bit on the cluttered side and the list of projects grows.  Such is the life of parents of a toddler, I guess.

Madelyn's baby book stops doing a month to month check in at 12 months...which is really sad, I think, because she changes so much month! Now she's *really* beginning to make new discoveries and learn new "baby babbles".  Her firsts are far from over!  I'll continue to fill it in as we go for the things there are left - but I'll have to start keeping track here of the things that she's done.

At the end of February, she got four more teeth, all on the top.  They've just broken the skin, but I can tell when they're still bothering her, because she gets so very cranky.  She drools so much, I'm amazed she's not completely dehydrated all of the time.

She's also started Hi-5ing.  Actually, she likes to smack both Mom and Dad on the head - and we've tried to teach her to do Hi-5 on the hand instead.  We also take her hands and run them gently on our face and say "gentle, gentle"....which works for a few minutes, but then she goes back to smacking and giggling.  We've got to keep working on that.

On the 11th of February, she waved "bye bye" for the first time.  She hasn't done it much since, but recently started doing it again.  Never unprompted, but she's getting there.  She's always a little too late.  Today, we visited her Grandma Freda and we told her to wave "bye bye".  She did wave bye, but not until we were out of the house and out of Grandma's line of site.  Oh well....she's getting there.

On the food front, she's definately getting better.  She can now eat strips of toast instead of tinsey weensy pieces.  She's not a fan of meat, yet, but she did eat some turkey sausage this morning and seemed to like it.  She's now eating scrambled eggs (yea!) and has had bits of very lightly spread PB&J sandwhiches.  Sometimes she likes those, sometimes she doesn't.  Her absolute favorite foods are still green beans (go figure!), cheese, any fruit (but bananas most of all) and pasta.  Pasta, pasta, pasta.  When in doubt, feed the girl some elbow macaroni in marina sauce and she's a happy child.  She's tried a bit of breaded halibut and liked that.  She likes tater tots and has had bit of all beef, kocher hotdogs.  We keep trying avocados, but she's not a fan yet.  She's eating Kix cereal as a snack from time to time and love Pirate's Booty, veggie flavor.  Her absolute favorite breakfast is waffles.  She could eat those for every mean, I'm quite certain.

She doesn't drink much from a bottle anymore - some in the morning, some at night and when I put her down for a nap.  She's become an expert at the sippy cup and has started grabbing our cups and trying to drink from them.  She has a little cup she plays with in the bathtub and is constantly trying to drink her bathwater.  You'd think she was dehydrated, but she's drinking water or milk all day long.

At the end of January, I started putting hard soled shoes on her - and it was quite a site to see.  At our cousin Si's wedding on the 31st of January, we put little patent Mary Janes on her and let her walk around for the first time outside of the house (any house, really...we don't carry her that much...we'd just never let her run around in public).  She had a blast dancing the night away with her cousin Kaycee.

Since then, we've started taking her for walks - and that's now her favorite thing to do with her Daddy on weeknights, before I get home from work - and on the weekends.  If the weather is nice, we go for a walk.  Generally, we just walk around the block since the County built a water wall separating us from the River (hallelujah...they finally caved and built a wall surrounding our entire neighborhood!!!).  It makes getting to the park and greenbelt along the River a whole lot more dangerous, since we'd have to walk along the River road for quite a ways.  So, for now, we keep it to the neighborhood unless we drive down the road, past the wall, to the parking lot for the park and get out and walk there

She's quite the daredevil when she's walking.  She often go full steam ahead running down the sidewalk, which makes her Mama *very* nervous.  She's taken a bit of a tumble, not much - just enought to have to catch herself on the sidewalk...but it's going to happen, she's going to take a header at somepoint. I just hope I can keep it together when she does.

She *loves* to play chase with her Daddy.  With me too, but Daddy is so much better at tumbling around with her than I am.  She'll start chasing us, then we'll turn around and chase her back and she giggles and runs as far as her little legs can take her.  All it takes to get her started is peeking at her around a chair or a corner and she's off chasing us.  She loves to try and tickle our feet if she can catch them and if either of us is laying on the ground, she's trying and climb on top of us, giggle the entire way.

She and I took a quick trip to Idaho in February to see my folks.  We didn't spend much time with my Mom as she'd just been here for Madelyn's birthday.  We stayed at my Dad's house so she could visit her Papa and Gigi, her cousin Carson and Uncle Drew and her Auntie Bree.  She had a grand ole time - and while she was there, Gigi and Papa got her her very own table and chairs for tea.  She didn't quite get the concept of tea (but just give that time, I'd guess the next time we're there, she'll be all over the adorable tea set), but she did get the concept of crawling up into the chairs and sometimes onto the table.

Since then, she's becoming a crawling critter.  She tries to crawl up just about everything she can.  She's tried to crawl onto the coffee table, but we've successfully kept her off of that, for now.  We bought her a big soft chair for the living room and she crawls up into that and watches a few moments of Sprout TV (no lectures about screen time before 2, sometimes it's the only way I get a chance to make dinner...) or to read her books.  She crawls into her mini rocking chair in her bedroom.  She crawls onto her rocking horses and rocks herself.  She crawls up the stairs if we're not careful to close the gate.  She tries to crawl into her high chair, but it's a tad too high for her yet. 

She's also become quite the reader.  She'll sit and look at books for the longest time.  She is constantly bringing them to us to read to her.  Her favorite at the moment is "Milly Moo the Crazy Cow" (a touch and feel story about barn yard animals hiding from their friend Milly Moo in case you were dying to know).  She has always hated diaper changes, but these days if I had her a book, she'll let me change her diaper pretty smoothly while she reads.  Apparently reading on the toilet starts that young <>

When she brings a book to us and wants to sit on our lap, she does the cutest thing.  Starting about 2 feet away from us, she'll turn her back to us and back up, looking over her shoulder, till she's hit our laps, then she sits down.  I feel like I should be saying "beep beep beep" just like a semi truck backing up when she does it.

She is really starting to understand us.  If we ask her to get her ball, she'll get it.  If we tell her to throw it to someone (and she's in the mood), she'll throw it.  She'll get her babies and her binkies on command.  When we say, "Let's go for a walk!", she'll head for the door and wait for us to put her shoes on.  At night, Jim plays with her while I cook dinner.  When it's time to eat, he'll say, "Get in your chair" and most nights she'll head straight for her high chair and try to get in it.  She has started signing "More Please" and will make that sign whenever she's hungry.  She's done it a time or too when her Dad or her Grandpa Ron have been bouncing her (which she loves), but generally she does it when she's hungry and all through dinner till she's full.  Her universal sign for full is to start dropping her food on the floor, but she is starting to get "all done".  She'll sign it when we say "all done" - but she still doesn't exactly understand what it means.

A funny little story about her "more please"....  Recently her Auntie Jen (who watches her) and her Auntie Jessica took all of the Clark cousins to Walmart for some shopping.  It was getting close to Madelyn's (or, as Kaycee calls her, Mad - o - win) lunch time and nap time and she was starting to get cranky.  Jenny set her down to walk in the produce section and Madelyn ran over to the onions and started signing "more please".  This tickles me pink, since Jimmy is always teasing me about how many onions I put in food.  Looks like I've got a second vote on loving the onions!

Yes, she does understand quite a bit.  She understands that the remote is not for her and doesn't like it one bit.  She understands that the phone is not for her and doesn't like it one bit.  She does carry her little phone over her shoulder like she's talking on it and it's quite adorable.  She understands she's not supposed to bang things on the TV and that it makes her Daddy quite upset when she does (so, of course, she keeps doing it). 

She understands when we're reading at night that bedtime comes next and somestimes she wants to cut to the chase and go straight to bed.  She rarely cries when I put her down now.  Rarely - but she does get ancy when we're reading and just wants me to put her down.   She's not much for rocking and cuddling unless she doesn't feel so hot or she's super tired....which is why I still sneak into her room every night and pick her up and rock her.  I'm not quite ready to give that up just yet.  Luckily, I haven't destroyed her very wonderful sleep habits.  She is still sleeping through the night from 7:30ish to 7 am, unless she's sick.

She's still a big Daddy fan.  At night, she knows that when we come out of the bath, we look over the railing down into the main room and her Daddy will be there waving at her and throwing her kisses, so every night she calls out as we come out of the bathroom "Daaad, Daaad" - even if he's at work and not there.  If she and I are playing in the living room and he's not with us, after a while she'll go to the bottom of the stairs and call out "Daaad, Daaad".  She's always looking for him.   Last weekend, Jim was doing quite a bit of yard work and she would just sit and watch him out the back window.  Every once in awhile, he'd take a break and come talk to her at the window.  She *loved* that.  When he'd go back to work, she'd start crying - and I was never sure if it was because she missed her dad or wanted to go outside....both are some of her favorite things.

Her other current fascination is jumping and bouncing.  We still have some balloons hanging around from her birthday.  They're in a pile in ther corner.  She'll dive into them and sit on one and bounce herself up and down on them.  If there are pillows lying about, she'll move them, one by one, into one big pile in the middle of the room and jump and roll around in them.  Lately, shes' taken to putting her little yellow step stool in her room right next to her big "Lotty the Ladybug" pillow, climbing up onto the step stool and then doing her version of jumping (which is really just her squating and standing, then falling forward) into Lotty.

It's pretty funny to watch, that's for sure.

It's been a long time since I posted - and it's nearly 11 pm and I've yet to make our lunches for tomorrow and get us ready to go...and I haven't even added pictures - so this posting will have to wait until tomorrow....  That's me - always behind the 8 ball and loving every minute of it.

**edited note...three days later, I still haven't had a chance to add pictures, so I'm just going to post this and try to add some pictures another night....because if I don't, I won't start blogging little fun stuff, like the fact that last night Madelyn started signing "eat" instead of "more please" when we told her to get in her high chair...***

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year post in the month of December.  My head apparently wasn't in the blogging game!

So - let me give you the highlights of December:

  • Madelyn is not just walking, she's running.
  • She is not so into being spoon fed anymore. but doesn't have enough teeth to chew.  This makes for some interesting dinner times.
  • She's very independent, unless Auntie Jenni or Mama are around...then she wants to be HELD.  That is unless we're changing her clothes or her diaper - then it's a no go.
  • She is starting to put together that Mamamamama is me and Dadadadadadada is Jim - but she hasn't yet put it together that it's just Mama and Daddy.
  • She loves to DANCE (thank GOD....with her father's blood running in her, I was worried....damn non-dancer.  My next husband is going to be a dancer.  And I only say this because I tell Jim when he kicks the bucket I'm marrying an cat loving, liberal, chef who loves to dance.  I really shouldn't tempt fate with comments like that...I am so blessed with such a wonderful husband.  If his worst fault is that he doesn't like to dance, I'm doing okay.).
  • She's down to one long nap a day, most days.  If she naps, it's a wonderful day.  If she doesn't nap...well...notsomuch.
  • Despite the waterfall of water coming out of the child's mouth all day long, she still only has two teeth.
  • I was able to be off with her for three weeks - and that was a blessing and a curse, because I'm dealing with major MWS (Madelyn Withdrawl Syndrome) and MTOSD (Madelyn Turns One Soon Disease) issues.
  • She points at EVERYTHING and won't stop until I tell her what it is.
  • She had her first sleep over with Cousin Sydney.
  • She got dressed up and went to work for the first time. was a baby Christmas party....but she looked professional, by damn.
  • She met a kitty cat bigger than George at my Chiropractor's office.  No one was injured in the taking of these photos, for what it's worth.
  • She loves to look at pictures and is starting to point people out, thus asking their names over and over again.
  • I had my first Christmas in the last three years that I wasn't sick, pregnant or sick of being pregnant.
  • Jim was on a wonderful route that spoiled us rotten because he was home before Madelyn got up and didn't have to leave again until my bedtime.  This month isn't panning out to be the same, unfortunately.
  • Madelyn started blowing kisses, even if she has no idea what she's doing.
  • Madelyn made it to midnight on New Year's Eve.  Her grandparents did not.  My how times change.
  • Jordan turned 20.  Let me say that one again.  Jordan turned 20.  Holy CRAP.  I am the step-monster to a 20 year old.  When did *I* leave my 20s?!?!?
  • We cheered BSU on to a BCS bowl victory over TCU.  Okay, we weren't in Arizona, but I bet they could hear Madelyn and I from the stadium.  Take THAT stupid BCS.  NCAA Football playoff system, anyone?  And yes, if my daughter gets to watch TV, it's either Rockford (blame her father for that one) or college ball.
Other than that, what can I say?  I'm in love with my daughter, I'm in love with my husband and more days than not, I'm in love with my life.  What more can one ask for?  Okay, I know...I could make a long list too...but I'll take what I got unless you have a winning Powerball ticket laying around you want to send my direction.

Now....if I could just get over the fact that my daughter is turning one in a week.....

On another note - the county has decided to put a water wall surrounding our entire neighborhood, thus separating us from the River.  Hallelujah!!!  Never say never...but it looks like this year won't be the year we flood.

I've updated our Shutterfly Site with tons of cute shots - but here are just a few teasers....