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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Let the Holiday Begin!! (Week 37, Day 1)

Work is finally complete, presents have been bought and wrapped, and now it's time to enjoy the holiday!  Christmas celebrations began Saturday, with an afternoon spent with grandparents and dinner with friends. Sunday we spent the day serving food to the homeless at our church - a humbling experience that reminded me of all that we have to be grateful for. This also gave Carly a chance to babysit Maddy during the day, providing the added bonus of having some quality time with Maddy when she is awake and alert.
Playing with Daddy
Phil and I have a Christmas tradition of celebrating just the two of Christmas Eve's Eve. After Maddy was snug in her bed, we had our traditional crab boil, always a treat! I think my favorite part of the night was towards the end - I was finishing up some presents when Maddy woke up and needed attention. Phil went in to tend to her, and I finished what I was working on. In general, I try not to go into Maddy's room and take over when Daddy is in there - it can be distracting for Maddy once I'm there, and it's nice for Daddy to spend quality time with her. Tonight, Phil was in there longer than usual and I could hear talking and laughing coming from her room. I snuck over to the door and peeked in the room, to find Phil sitting in front of Maddys crib, playing games with a Santa hat and both of them giggling and squealing with delight. It was absolutely adorable! It took every ounce of restraint not to come bounding into the room and join the fun - while I wanted to play too, I knew my presence would change the tone for Maddy, and I wanted she and Daddy to have these precious moments together. Instead, I grabbed the baby monitor, and was able to watch from afar, marveling at the bond growing between my daughter and husband .

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was split between both sides of our family, each with there unique traditions, both consisting of lots of quality togetherness and celebrations. It is always a treat for the grandparents to spend time with Madeline, and we enjoy seeing her interact with them. While Maddy didn't really get Christmas this year, she enjoyed all the people, toys, and boxes and paper to tear up.  

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Christmas Shiner (Week 36, Day 5)

Ever since Maddy started crawling, the ladies at daycare have been calling Maddy fearless. From the week she began crawling, she's been trying to pull herself up on anything she can find. It's clear that crawling is going to be a blip in Maddy's evolution, and she'll be walking before we know it. Today, no sooner had I dropped off my daughter at daycare and headed to the office, did I receive a phone call from one of the teachers. This is the first time they'd called me since the week she started, and I knew for certain we hadn't forgotten her food, bottles, or nipples. A phone call meant either Maddy was sick, or something was wrong. I mentally prepared myself for needing to turn around and reschedule my day. I answered the phone, and Miss Katie informed me that Maddy was not sick, so there was no need to come back. Maddy had taken a spill though- while trying to pull herself up on one of the benches, she lost her balance and fell on her face, and had a little cut under her eye. They called to tell me so I wouldn't be surprised when I picked her up. I was happy that they did, and while I hate for Maddy to fall, I know this is going to happen often as she learns to use her legs.

When I arrived at daycare that evening, I found my little girl happily playing, with a cut under her eye and a bit of a shiner. I've taken to calling her 'Bruiser' as it looks like she got in a schoolyard fight. She could care less, and I'm doing my best to try not to hover over her- I don't want her to lose her fearlessness, I don't want her to be afraid to try and explore. It won't be easy, and there may be more shiners coming her way, but in the end, she'll be the toughest little girl in town!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Christmas Overload (Week 36, Day 1&2)

It is currently the most wonderful time of the year, and this year is even more wonderful as we get to share the experience with our bouncing baby girl. The past couple of days have been filled with Christmas festivities. First, Madeline had her holiday party at school. It unfortunately coincided with a mandatory work event, so Phil had to be the sole parent to accompany Maddy to the event. This was hard on me - I wanted to be there so badly, but knew that I couldn't miss work. I adore Christmas and everything about it, so missing this party for my little lady gave me a lot of heartache. Luckily, the evening of the event, I was so busy with work the time went by quickly and I barely had time to think about what I was missing. Phil had a great time with Maddy at the party- they sang songs, made ornaments and took pictures with frosty the snowman. Maddy was not a fan of Frosty.

On Saturday, our church had a cookies and cocoa with Santa event - Maddy’s first interaction with Santa. I was so excited. It was a great event - our church had set up their gym for decorating cookies, a hot chocolate stand, and a picture booth for Santa. It was the perfect setting for a first Santa meeting - not crowded, and a very relaxed atmosphere. Unfortunately Maddy did not think so - she took one look at the bearded man, and stated very clearly her displeasure. We did get a picture, and I have to say it clearly portrays the fact that the first Christmas is more for the parent than the child - a profile shot of me, overly excited about the whole situation, and Maddy looking at Santa, clearly beginning to cry about being placed on this scary mans lap.  Sunday was the grand finale - a play date with a friend at Navy Pier, where they were going to a Winter Wonderland festival. There were lots of rides for my friend's daughter, and lots of lights and fun things to look at for Maddy. For me, it was pure joy - lots of people in the Christmas spirit, children SO excited about the holiday events, and me, seeing the future for Maddy and all the fun holidays to come.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Christmas Wishes (Week 35, Day 2)

Today I spent the afternoon away from the family, at a Christmas celebration with a few of my very dearest friends - we've been getting together for an ornament exchange every year for the last 10 years, and this one was no exception. It was wonderful to see my ladies, and revel not only in the memories we have together, but also in the support we provide each other - as friends and mothers. This year was the first year that we were all mothers, and you could tell - our discussion rarely left the topic of our kids. Each of us has taken a different path in motherhood - we have a mix of full time, part time, and stay at home moms. We have some that read every parenting book and followed the ‘sleep rules’ to a tee, and some that never read one book and went with their gut. Some had their children in their own crib from day 1, and some still have children sleeping in their bed with them. What they all have in common is they have amazing, well adjusted, completely secure, lovely children.
There was one thing that kept coming up that continued to irk me though - each mom, as they would tell a story or an antidote, somehow would mention how they felt in that instance they were a ‘bad mom’ or weren't going to win Mom of the Year Award. Each of these women are absolutely stellar - both as parents and as individuals, and it bothered me that they would punish themselves with such harsh overtones. It’s a habit I've seen in lots of Moms, and read about as part of the American culture today in ‘Bringing up Bebe’ - Mom’s in the US have a habit of cursing themselves for not being perfect, not being Mary Poppins to their children. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be Mrs. Everything, and then chastise every mistake we make.
I know I am not beyond this. I've already seen it - I beat myself up if I forget something of Maddy’s when we go out, if she begins to cry and I cannot fix the problem fast enough, if I’m 5 minutes later than usual picking her up. But I’m not convinced this makes me a bad mommy. I am convinced it makes me human.
Looking back, I can guarantee that not one of the beautiful woman around the table will have children that will look bad and say “My mom really could have tried harder, done more, etc etc”. I know they will only have accolades for their mothers around how they always did their best for their children, loved them, and made them feel safe. And I hope my dear friends know this, and don’t beat themselves up too much in the along the way.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Double Wave Maneuvers (Week 34, Day 6)

With each new milestone, Maddy’s excitement builds. Crawling has caused her immense joy - being about to spot something she wants, and immediately start to move towards it of her own accord - you can see the satisfaction in her face in being able to achieve these small feats on her own. Her determination and independence is beginning to shine through more every day.
Maddy hit a new milestone today when she showed Phil and I (at midnight) her ability to wave. Nonstop. With both arms. Continuously. At Midnight. Phil and I both knew we should be urging her to go to sleep, to calm down, to be quiet, zen, and sleepy. But it was too cute to control. She was squealing with delight and waving her arms with such excitement, we couldn't help but to laugh.

Maddy is now sharing this talent with all her friends and family, and while they reciprocate with a wave in return, no one can quite capture the excitement and enthusiasm of Maddy’s double wave combo.
Here comes the wave!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

She's Got Personality (Week 34, Day 4)

Every day, Maddy's daycare sends home a report on the world of Maddy that day - not only when she ate, slept, and had diaper changes, but also what she did that day, and anything exciting that might have happened. Each day I enjoy reading about her activities and adventures,whether it be the books she read or toys she really enjoyed. Today's report card had me just tickled. In it, they said "Maddy has been fearless in her crawling and pulling herself up". I love that the word fearless was used to describe my little girl. I want so much for her to be fearless in so many aspects of her life - not afraid to go after her wants and dreams. I know that fearless right now is going to mean some falling, some bumps and scrapes. I hope I'll be able to help protect her from real danger, while allowing her the room to fall and get back up on her own two feet- today physically, and some day emotionally.

So far, she seems to be off to a good start, and I will try to continue to encourage her fearlessness. For now, I'll just continue to watch my fearless munchkin attempt another pull-up!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A lot to be thankful for (Week 33, Day 5)

Today was Maddy’s first thanksgiving, and we had a lot to be thankful for. Maddy was finally feeling better, and we were planning to spend the day with family. As we stayed in Chicago this year for Thanksgiving, I signed us up to do the Lincoln Park Turkey Trot - Phil and I had done it the last time we spent Thanksgiving in Chicago, and it's a great way to start the day- nice run on a brisk morning before a day of overeating. This year, however, the brisk morning was downright chilly- the temperatures in Chicago had gotten unreasonably cold lately, making a thanksgiving morning run a challenge with a 7 month old. We got up early with Maddy - no alarm needed thank you - she naturally gets up at the crack of dawn! 

We then proceeded to bundle Maddy up in as many layers as we could possibly fit on her, including the big puffy snowsuit my mom bought her before she was born. We got ourselves mobilized and out the door, and managed to strap our little snowsuit puffball into the running stroller - hat, gloves, blanket and all. I can tell you, Maddy was none too pleased to be out in the cold, and we didn't find it to be a real fun fest either. It wasn't too bad walking to the park- if we were moving we at least had the blood pumping a little. Once we got into our corral to wait, we could no longer really move, and it started to get really cold. And as we now had a little one to account for, we were in the “Walker/Stroller” Corral - AKA the very very VERY slow stall. This also meant we were the very last to start the race, and had to stand there for a very long time. It was cold enough with me jumping up and down, moving around trying to keep warm - I was growing more and more concerned with Maddy, who had no way of building up a sweat and getting her blood pumping. Phil and I decided we’d start the race, and see how Maddy did - if she was uncomfortable or fussy, we’d cut out and come home.
By the time the race FINALLY started for us, we were all a little irritated, including Maddy. I was well past thinking this had been one of my more brilliant ideas. We set up with the rest of the walkers/strollers, and found that the concept of a race was a bit different for Phil and I than most of the other people surrounding us - we had dressed in running clothes, obtained a running stroller, and were ready to, well, run. The throngs of people around us seemed to be more inclined to leisurely stroll the 3.3 mile course, and as hard as Phil and I tried, we could not seem to get around anyone or find a pocket of space to begin

to jog a little. At this point, we were all frustrated, and decided to break from the pack, and jump over to a different path to allow us to run a little. Once we did that, things began to look up, except for the fact that we ended up taking a short cut, and cutting the majority of the race course out! Our 3.3 Mile race ended up being a little over 1, if that. Which actually turned out to be a blessing, as we just wanted to get Maddy indoors at this point.  We ended up crossing the finish line, and walking straight to a coffee shop to warm up and get some reprieve from the cold.
The rest of the day was far less eventful, and our blessing increased exponentially to have warmth, food and family in abundance!

Happy Thanksgiving!