Sunday, December 21, 2008

Safe and Sound

1 mommy + 1 two-year-old + snow and ice + 6 hours cooped up in a small seat + 2 airplane rides = (luckily) a safe and sound trip to Ohio!

Keith had left last Monday to fly to Ohio for work, so Maddie and I were house-bound for the beginning of the week (he'd taken the car) and our "big outings" consisted of walking down the block to Walgreens, just to get out of the house! We were both getting pretty stir crazy, but hey--at least now my house is REALLY clean! :-) Maddie and I took a cab to the airport Thursday morning, in the midst of heavy snow, and it took waves of feeling like I was going to throw up to realize just how anxious I was about the weather and flying alone with a toddler! I'm the queen of "what-ifs" and getting myself worked up way ahead of time...what if our cab gets in an accident? what if we don't make our connecting flight? what if our plane gets grounded in Chicago and we have to sleep in the airport? what if Maddie is a pill the whole way? I'm sure that God just looks down on me and shakes his head! :-) Thank you for those who prayed--Maddie was an angel the whole trip! As she says, "You happy girl!" (happy girl = happy momma!) She was awesome on the plane--we read books, colored, used Playdoh, sang songs, played with the airplane phone, listened to music, practiced putting the seatbelt on/off a billion times. Fine by me! We were an hour late leaving Portland, so when we landed in Chicago we raced off the plane, ran straight to our next gate and they were already boarding! Cutting it a bit close for my liking! It was so cute...when we landed in Columbus, Maddie ran the whole length of the terminal out of excitement (only a brief pause when she saw the Starbucks sign to ask, "Mommy coffee? You cookie?") and ran all the way to Daddy's arms! Such a sweet sight. :-)

We've had a nice time here so far, just hanging out. Maddie's cousins are here too (Dominic, 2 weeks older than Maddie, and Sophia who is 11 weeks old), so there's a constant source of entertainment and chatter. Last night we crammed 14 relatives in for dinner & all the fun craziness that a full house brings. Rumor has it that Santa Claus himself might be visiting the house on Christmas Eve this year! What excitement that will bring! (Well, you never know with'll either be excitement or horror!)

We are all still adjusting to the 3-hour time difference here. Last night Maddie finally cried herself to sleep after midnight and then woke up at 8am! Oh joy! She'd been all excited to try sleeping in a big girl bed for the first time, but that idea was shot down hard the first night. Picture my idea of a mother and daughter snuggling side by side, falling asleep in each other's arms. Then picture the Tasmanian Devil in your bed. Yep, we'll go with image #2. Gee, which part of this is not condusive to sleeping...the squealing? kicking the wall repeatedly? straddling momma's head? pretending you're a steamroller all over momma? getting elbow-ed in the face? Yeah, after about an hour, it was all the peace and harmony I could take. So my dear husband *stormed* out of the house, drove to the store (after midnight, mind you!) and bought a playpen. Ahhh, sweet relief.

One last quick memory. Maddie's favorite movie lately is Annie. One of the little girls in it always says, "Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!" So on Thursday morning when Maddie woke up to snow falling outside, she busted out in her little voice, "Oh my gracious!" HA!! Apparently this cute phrase is reserved only for snow, but she's said it quite a few times since then. She's such an adorable girl! :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Early Christmas

This year we're changing up Christmas. Our tradition is to spend Christmas Eve with my parents and then spend Christmas Day with the Cook relatives. On Christmas Eve we listen to Christmas music, get dressed up and sip champagne while we listen to my dad read the Christmas story in Luke. Before dinner we each get to open one small gift. My mom's parents are Norwegian and Swedish, so we've inherited the tradition of some Scandinavian food (Swedish meatballs, Lefse--like a thick tortilla, but made out of mashed potato dough and cooked on a griddle, then spread with butter and jam or cinnamon sugar) plus rice pilaf and green beans with spaetzel. After dinner we go to church together, then to one of the Cook relatives' houses for a gift exchange. By then it's getting late, but we always drag ourselves home, get on our comfy jammies and sit down with a cup of hot cocoa to open gifts. We always open one at a time, youngest to oldest. We took our time and enjoyed the process and each other and (before kids) would often be up until the wee hours of the morning.

Over the past few years, it's become tradition for me to make breakfast for everyone on Christmas morning (Keith and I would sleep over at my parents' house to make this easier!). French toast or German apple pancakes, homemade rosemary pork sausages, orange-cranberry yogurt, brown sugar-broiled grapefruit and a special drink. In the afternoon we'd finish our Christmas festivities by going to my aunt and uncle Cook's house for a big family dinner.

This year my parents are flying to London to spend Christmas with Dana and Travis & Keith, Maddie and I are flying to Ohio to be with his family, so we decided to do an early Christmas at our house with Nana and Papa.

Maddie looked beautiful in her new Christmas dress!

Eating cookies on Papa's lap.

Showing off her first gift...a coloring book from Aunt Dana & Uncle Travis. She dove right in and colored with Papa for at least 15 minutes before she even opened another gift!

Nana and Papa got her "hoops" to play in the tubby. We tried them out yesterday and I swear she was in the tub for at least an hour! They're a big hit!

Every year since my sister and I were kids, we got a new ornament for Christmas. Usually the ornament fit with something we were into that year (sports, something we were collecting, etc.) and we wrote our name and the year on the bottom. I want to start that tradition with Maddie, also. When you're old enought to move out of the house, it's so neat to have a big box of personal ornaments that chronicles your childhood. One thing Maddie's really into this year is Thomas the Tank Engine, so my mom found her this glittered train. So cute!

This chic new coat is from Aunt Dana & Uncle Travis. Maddie is so stylin'! She loves it, especially the fur around the hood, and it fits perfectly. Thanks, sis! :-)

Merry Christmas everyone! We'll post pics from Christmas #2 in Ohio as well!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Right Now!

Lately Maddie has taken to saying the phrase "right now!". She refers to herself as "you", so now she'll say, "You do it right now?", like when we're putting on our coats or cleaning up. Sometimes it's used in a not-so-cute way, like when she demands, "Mommy, more yogurt. Right now!" (apparently she has her own personal maid servant!)

A few minutes ago I was trying to put her down for a nap and she was resisting.

Me: You need to get good sleep so that you can be a happy girl when you wake up.
Her: No, no nap! Play!
Me: No, you're a tired girl and you need your sleep.
Her: (in between whining and crying) No nap. You happy girl! You happy RIGHT NOW!

Nice try, my dear! :-)

(just a few pics with Nana and Papa at Thanksgiving, thrown in for good measure!) :-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mommy's got a new 'do!

You know that feeling when you've looked the same for what seems like forever and one day you just get sick of it and say I NEED A CHANGE!? Well, that's been me lately. Getting "new hair" always cheers me up and refreshes me, so I made an appointment at the salon and today was the day! Make me blonde! Chop it all off!! I totally love it. (As a side note, us girls know that getting a cut and color is spendy, so I only indulge twice a year. My hairstylist said I win the prize for "most growout" roots were like 6 inches long! HA!)

Even though Maddie's been really sick for the past three days (103.5 fever...ugh!), when you pull out a camera she can't help herself. The inner HAM just has to burst through!

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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

For the past three years, during the Christmas season we have either been remodeling...or remodeling some more...or living with my parents, so I was soooo excited to decorate our own house this year! Keith is the self-proclaimed bah-humbug of the family (his mom is the same way...must be genetic!), so I get to do the decorating all by myself (fine by me! then I get to do it exactly the way I like it!). This year we got our tree and decorations put up the weekend after Thanksgiving because I want to enjoy them as long as possible. We'll be spending the holidays in Ohio this year, so December seems awfully short...gotta soak it all in now! :-)

I had these idyllic visions of Maddie and I standing side by side, decorating the tree while listening to Christmas music and sipping hot cocoa. Well...that would have been nice! Instead, she put about 2 ornaments on the tree, cried when I tried to put on Christmas music (instead of her Action Bible Songs DVD, which we hear *many* times every day), and then turned into Ms. Whining Queen for the rest of the afternoon until we couldn't take it anymore and forced her to stay upstairs, screaming in her crib.

Ahhh, the holidays have begun! :-)

Remember the hot cocoa I talked about sipping? Well, that quickly ended up all down the front of her white shirt, which then was thrown in the sink to soak. As soon as the shirt came off, she started streaking through the house squealing with glee, "I'm naked! I'm naked!" Man, if I'd known that was all it took to make her happy, I'd have tried it a long time ago!

While sorting through our ornaments, she came across this one, which she liked to call "itty bitty Lucy". It really does look *just* like our dog!

These square wreaths match the garland on the mantle. There's a wreath in the windows on either side of our dining room built-in china cabinet. Now I've got to go on the hunt for battery-operated white mini Christmas lights for those wreaths!

The grand finale! :-) Merry Christmas, everybody...from our home to yours.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

She's a Hoops Girl

One day, a week or two ago, Maddie was playing with Keith and he made a basketball hoop shape with his arms so that she could shoot baskets on his chest. She thought the game was so much fun! Later that day Keith took her to Target and they picked out a little hoop with a Nerf-type ball and now they have father-daughter "hoop time" almost every night...usually while watching the Blazer game on TV and snuggling on the couch. I just love seeing my hubby have so much fun with his little girl & she sure adores her daddy!

She shoots, she scores!

Maddie is so proud that she's learning how to shoot baskets!

Hangin' with Daddy and watching the Blazers. Keith has her well trained already--she'll say, "Dribble! Shoot!" and "Go Oden!" :-)

Tonight Keith was getting ready to go outside, so he had his hat on. Maddie normally hates hats, but since daddy was wearing one, she had to wear hers too! She kept it on for probably 30 minutes, which is definitely a record.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Maddie's "Real" Birthday

Maddie's actual birthday was November 2nd (we just had the party a week early), so we decided to have a fun little day on the town with her to celebrate. I don't know about you, but I actually love it when I get to spread out my birthday celebrations! Coffee with a friend one day, special dinner with my family another, gifts that arrive even after my's like a whole week of happy birthday to me! (oh yeah, we were talking about *Maddie's* birthday, right?!...)

In the morning I made Maddie pancakes with warm applesauce and cinnamon. Maddie opened one gift that I'd been saving from her Aunt Robin and inside we found the most adorable things she had made herself--a pink tutu with silk flower petals and an outfit she made for the birthday girl with the #2 on the shirt (see photos). I am jealous of how crafty Robin is with a sewing machine! I'm great with paper, but I can't even sew on a button. (Keith has this fascination with me learning how to sew, for some reason--I agree it would be cool, but I have too many projects going as it is!) :-)

We played with the new toys she opened at her birthday party (books, Playdoh with accessories, coloring book and markers) and watched one of her new Bob the Builder videos (which shows real construction equipment in action--she was mesmerized!). I had wanted to take her to Peanut Butter & Ellie's, a children's cafe I'd been wanting to visit for years, but when I looked up the address I was so bummed to see that they'd closed! So, off to the Old Spaghetti Factory we went. Maddie thought it was so cool that they have a train car inside the restaurant--that pretty much entertained her the whole meal.

"How old are you, Maddie?" "Two!" (Duh, look at my shirt, Mom!)

Racing cars with dad at Old Spaghetti Factory.

The oh-so-cool train in the restaurant.

After lunch we headed over to the NW 23rd library and picked out new books to take home--can't get better than that! Happy birthday sweetheart! We love you soooo much and are so proud of what a sweet, smart girl you are. You bring so much joy to our lives every day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Madeline!

I can't believe it...where has the time gone? It really does seem like just months ago I was in the hospital holding my newborn daughter and now she's TWO (as of November 2nd)!! Last year Maddie was sick on her birthday, so we had to cancel her party--such a bummer! This year we had friends and family over to my parents' house for cupcakes (my Mom's famous perfect chocolate cake recipe, which has been served at countless dinner parties, my wedding, Dana's wedding...) and ice cream. Maddie had so much fun playing with Allison's girls, Macy and Ava, the Newell's baby Lucy and her cousins Kinley and Bridger (well, technically they are MY cousins...anyone know what that makes them for Maddie??). I thought Maddie would really be into opening presents, since she'd already tried to sneakily open some at home, but once it was time she lasted through one gift! Nana, Macy and Kinley took over from there. :-) Thank you to everyone who came to show their love and help us celebrate Maddie's big day!

No smeary mess of a face for this girl...she's likes to be clean!

Lucy, all decked out. (Maddie talks about "baby Lucy" ALL the time!)

Alli & Ava...what a ham!

Maddie loves hanging out with Macy--Macy always makes her laugh!

Bonnie got her this cute boa, which goes perfectly with...

this totally adorable tutu that Ali made her! Can this girl get any cuter?! :-)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Night

The older Maddie gets, the more fun the holidays become...mostly because she's becoming more aware and involved in what's happening, which is such fun to watch. We had a fabulous Halloween night this year. In the morning we did our Friday tradition of going to the NW 23rd library for toddler storytime. The teacher and many of the kids came dressed up, which was so cute--especially two sets of twin boys. One set were firefighters and the other set were giraffes. Storytime is always filled with singing, dancing, listening to stories, and running around catching bubbles. I mentioned to another mom that I wasn't looking forward to the prospect of trick-or-treating in the pouring rain, so she suggested going to McMenamin's Kennedy School. It was an awesome idea & probably a new tradition we'll continue for years to come. All the staff members were in costumes and there were about 20 different staff throughout the maze of hallways giving out candy, including a balloon artist. It was dry, it was quick, it was safe, and we got to see tons of other kids and families (the hallways were packed to the gills!). (P.S.--Thanks for the adorable costume, Nana and Papa! But just to be fair, she also chose her Ohio State Buckeye pacifier! )

After trick-or-treating, we headed to Old Towne Pizza in N. Portland for dinner and then headed over to the Rose Garden for the opening night of Blazer basketball vs the San Antonio Spurs. (Keith and my dad have season tickets, but my parents are in CA this week, so we got to go as a family.) It was such an electric atmosphere inside the arena--Blazer dancers and cheerleaders, a live band, light show, etc. Maddie was totally into it, like I've never seen before--waving her arms, dancing, cheering, stuffing her face with popcorn. She had a great old time. Well, for the first quarter at least. I don't blame her for getting stir crazy. You thought sitting in airplane seats was tight. You literally have about 5 inches between your shins and the back of the seat in front of you. Maddie and I spent the 2nd quarter playing with toys and basketballs in the Blazer store and running up and down the breezeway. We headed home at halftime and Keith watched the rest on TV.

Maddie had eaten pizza, popcorn and drank about 1/2 of Keith's Diet Coke, so she was *super hyped* when we got home. The next morning when she woke up, the first words out of her mouth were "Hoops. Popcorn. Horsey ride (back to the car). More!" I think it was a good night for all. :-)