Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to Maddox!!

This is the video that I made(with lots of help from Brandi) for my daughter for her 1st birthday! We showed it today at her birthday party, and gave copies of it to friends and family who wanted it- but I wanted to share it with all of you!

I decided to make the party a cherry theme, since she's too young to be into any TV shows like the "Backyardigans" or Sesame Street or anything like that.  Maddox did really well, especially since she got a 2+ hour nap before everyone came over today.  We had a great group of family, including grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, "aunties", and playgroup friends!

Here are some pictures from the party- thanks to my sister Em, who was taking pictures while I was running around trying to make sure that everything was taken care of. 

Maddox left her hairbow in all day!

Gramps walked Mdx around

I gave her to Jamie for a little while.

My girls!  Auntie Nina, Me, Auntie Brandi!

Playing corn-hole....where did the beanbag go?

Nina and Chris

...with a blow-up birthday cake on the table...

waiting patiently for cake

That's my cake??

you are really going to let me do this?

oh my goodness it tastes good!

sugar high

Mama and Daddy can't believe it

After presents, loving the sock monkey!
To my baby who won't read this for many many years......but who has made life so beautiful and important.  I didn't understand what unconditional love truly was until I had you.  Maddox, you are such a happy, cuddly little girl.  We are so grateful that you are smart, healthy, and active.  I can't wait until this time next year when we compare our lives then and now.  But until then...keep on screeching, dancing, itsy-bitsy-spidering, and smiling!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

a little lump of coal

Today in our faculty meeting our principal was speaking to us about our children.  How-when they leave our care each day, and head back to their lives....we have NO idea what they are facing.  These kids live in poverty, some have even been homeless.  For some of them the only healthcare they receive is at the Clinic that is in our school.  For some, the only meals they may eat that day would be the free breakfast and lunch served in our cafeteria.  And for some, the only adults who have shown an ounce of caring and compassion are their teachers at "The Dream" (That is my nickname for my new school- they even refer to the students as "dreamers").  

As teachers we need to look for something special in every child in our class.  They may misbehave, they may make us mad or annoy us, but it is our job to build that child up, to NEVER tear them down.  He showed us this video to help remind us that within everyone there is something beautiful....and you can find it where you least expect it.

I normally can't stand shows like this, American Idol, etc....but every time I watch this I get goosebumps!!  I believe Paul Potts (the singer) went on to win Britain's Got Talent, and was awarded a recording contract.  Not bad for a nervous, dorky cellphone salesman.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Yes- the stairs.  I only encouraged it because I wanted to see if she could do it.  Now that I know she can- she is banned from the stairs until she is in Elementary School.

This video cracks me up for so many reasons.  First, just the way she walks with her little butt going side to side is priceless.  But also, if you listen carefully you can hear her mumbling to the walker as she walks, and then she finally gets mad and hits it.  

The last video is of Maddox practicing for the Olympic round of circle-turning.  Her form holding the block is perfect, and she leaves a great shine on the floor.  I have to say, however,  that Macy is not impressed.

Workin 9 to 5

Actually, it's more like 8 to 3, but who doesn't love Dolly Parton??

I started work last Monday.  We have teacher workdays until the day after Labor Day.  Around here there is a "Busch Gardens law" that restricts school from starting any earlier than Labor Day.  The powerful amusement park lobbyists complained that they were losing a ton of money (and all their 17 year old employees) because school was starting too early.  So, the kids start after Labor Day.

All we've done so far is meetings.  I think I've gotten a total of about 3 hours in my room, and that is not enough to get everything done!  We've gotten our laptops, learned about the programs on them, gotten trained on the SmartBoards and Senteo, had a roundtable discussion with other teachers from the school, discussed the budget, and set goals for the school year.  My school-issued laptop didn't work when it was given to me, so I took it to the tech guy.  He "imaged" it, and gave it back.  Then it wouldn't connect to the internet, so I took it back to the tech guy.  He "authorized" it and gave it back to me.  Then my login wouldn't work.  Guess where I went??  Yep- I took it to the hole in the wall where the tech guy's office is...and while he "fixed" my computer I got to see pictures of his racecar that he races on the weekends.  Fabulous.  Did I mention I need to be in my room doing work right now instead of looking at your dumb racecar??  Sheesh.  I've also met all the other Orchestra teachers in the school system (all 5 of them- YIKES!) and we made our plans for District Events, All-City Orchestra, etc.  I can tell that this "half-time" job is going to take more than half of my time.  SIGH.  Hey- at least my computer works now.  Too bad it's not a Mac.

Maddox went to Kris's (the sitter) house for the first time on Tuesday.  I was pretty sad about leaving her, since I have honestly been with her every day since she was born...and really only had a few hours away at a time.  I am proud of that!  Common sense tells me that she's perfectly fine in someone else's care for a few hours a day, but my mothering mind tells me that she'll be miserable and no one can meet her needs or possibly know how she feels like I can.  BAH! When we got to Kris's house she immediately started playing with toys and ignoring me.  I said goodbye about 4 times and then just stood there before I realized that it was the time that I was supposed to actually LEAVE her and go to work.  Bummer.

Here's a sample of my crazy morning schedule (only Mondays and Tuesdays when she goes to Kris's house instead of being home with Marshall):
5:00am- Marshall gets up and goes to the gym, and straight to work from there
6:30- I wake up and curse a few times
6:40- get in the shower
6:43- out of the shower, wondering whose idea this "going back to work" thing actually was.
6:50- dressed, hair brushed (but not dried) run downstairs, let the dog out and feed her
6:55- go back upstairs and wake up the baby (you should never have to WAKE UP a sleeping baby- what an idiot I am)...change her, and feed her.
7:10- back downstairs, bribing Macy with a treat to get her to come back inside because she's not stupid and she knows I'm going to put her in her crate.
7:15- packing school stuff and baby into the car- wishing I had eaten breakfast
7:35- drop Mdx off at Kris's house
7:45- at school, check my box and email and head into first meeting of the day.  
3:00pm/as soon as possible: leave school to go get my baby and take her home!!

TUESDAY- lather, rinse, repeat.

Now- this was only the teacher workday schedule, it will be delayed by about an hour when school starts, since I won't have to be at school until 9 at the earliest.

We get a paper "Daily Report" from Kris that tells us how Mdx's day was.  She tells us what she ate, when she ate it, how much she drank, how many diaper changes/poops/pees, when she slept and for how long, what she did (blocks, books, shapes, music time, dancing, loved swinging!), etc.  The comments for Mdx's first day said: "Awesome day!  Mdx really enjoyed herself.  She's so sweet and happy, very cuddly too!  Loved showing off and making everyone laugh!".  The comments for her second day were very similar, except.... next to the food section, where it said that Mdx ate yogurt, cereal, cheerios, sponge cake, bread, chicken noodle soup, applesauce, and graham said "What a piggy!".  Ha!

I love my little piggy.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

wedding fun

We went swimming- I'm trying to keep her from falling in.

Last weekend we went to the wedding of Maddox's godparents, Lisa and Michael.  They are seminarians at Lutheran Southern Seminary in SC, so we don't get to see them often!   It was also a great time to catch up with tons of Camp Agape friends that we haven't seen in years.  It started with a cookout at the Blackorby's where Mdx enjoyed playing with all the ice in the wheelbarrow full of drinks.  

And...eating hush-puppies.

We all laughed because Mdx matched their plates and napkins with the checkered red/white.  Don't look too closely, because I'm fairly sure this is the dress she'll be wearing for her 1st Birthday party.  Act surprised.

The next day (Friday) was the rehearsal at Christ the King Lutheran in Cary, and the rehearsal dinner at the Chop House, also in Cary.  Marshall had I had a rare date-night, since we left the baby with her McIntyre grandparents.

Practice makes perfect. What a beautiful church!

At the rehearsal dinner we sat with Lisa's sister Sara and husband Nathan, who were also on a date night from their baby Amelia who is 5 months old (Marshall and Nathan got along way too well, it's a good thing they live all the way in Clemmons!!), and camp friends Katie and boyfriend/med student Michael.  Conversation involved a "beer full of fridges"... but I know nothing about that.  I was not driving that night.

Mdx had a fall while we were out and scraped and bruised her poor little nose!  It has healed pretty fast, and didn't seem to bother her too much.

We did an excellent job at being the "Guest Registrars", and team-parenting during the ceremony.  We sat in the back row (typical) so that we could escape easily when Mdx decided to shriek during the readings....which of course she did.  Marshall took her out to the lobby for some cuddle time and snacks.
At the reception, Mdx gnawed on a dinner roll.

And we got a great Camp Reunion photo!
We had such a nice time visiting with everyone, and introducing them to Mdx.  It was our first formal event with a baby, and we learned a lot!  For instance, next time we will pack lotion, a back-up outfit, dinner roll, and straw for entertainment.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

countdown- or up?

Just a funny picture of Mdx and the hose.

The biggest news is: Maddox took her first steps on Thursday night!  I was sitting on the floor and helped her stand up in front of me.  Right after she took about 3 steps towards me I looked over at Marshall and said "Did you see that?!".  He said "Yeah!" and right then she fell down.  I was hoping to capture a few steps on video and put it up here...but as soon as she sees the camera she gets too distracted to try!  Those of you that are coming up for her birthday will get to see it in person- she may even be walking FOR REAL by then.  :)  She had been wearing shoes for most of the day, which itself is kind of rare because she loves to pull them off.  She also was playing with her favorite new toy- a spoon.  Not a baby spoon, a real cereal spoon.  She carried it around the room all day while she was cruising, and she refused to let it go to take her first steps.   So sweet!  

This past Wednesday we hosted our first playdate.  We have been to tons of playdates, but never had them here.  I was concerned about people being able to get into the neighborhood if they weren't AF, so I just invited other military moms.  Most of them were Navy, but they were still cool.  Ha!  The living room and dining room were packed with moms and kids playing, and there were even a few kids playing out in the backyard.  Everyone said they had a great time, so maybe when I get brave enough we'll host another one.  

The kids emptying our toybox.

We also met a really cool Mom that lives about 3 streets over from us named Emilia.  She has an 18 month old son named Derek, and they came over to our house to play.  Emilia is German and met her husband when he was stationed at Ramstein.  She has offered to trade some babysitting with us, so I will definitely take her up on that.  She speaks German to Derek, and it was fun to try and remember some of my German to speak to him.  So far my memory of nouns and adjectives has been pretty good, it's just assigning gender, and using a definite article that gets me confused.  Der Hund? (the boy dog?)  Das Hund? (the ungendered dog?)  Die Hund? (the girl dog?)  Die Hunden? (the girl dogs?) AAaaaa!

Yesterday we went to a cookout at Marshall's friend Ben's house.  Ben also works in Intel with Marshall and this was the first time he had a cookout for all his co-workers.  As always they played cornhole, drank a lot of beer, and had some great food off the grill.  Maddox was having a good time sitting in her friend's little folding chair.  It had a handy-dandy little spot to hold a drink.  It also had a wonderful feature off the front end called gravity.  Gravity took hold of Mdx and she tumbled forward out of the chair and onto the grass TWICE, earning me the Mama-of-the-year award, and leaving Mdx with a green stain on the top of her head.  I refuse to take total credit for that.  I guess luckily for the baby we couldn't stay too long because we had an appointment later that day to meet with the lady who will be Mdx's babysitter when I return to work.

Pre-fall, enjoying a cold beverage.

Mrs. Kris came highly recommended by some other moms in my playgroup network.  She had mentioned that she had an opening, so I jumped on the chance and called her to see if she was available during the times I needed her.  Luckily for us she is, so Marshall and I went over to her house and met her.  She lives about 5 minutes away from where I'll be teaching, and it's really not out of the way at all to pick up/drop off there.  We saw the children's play areas, changing area, eating area and her awesome backyard with all sorts of play equipment.  There are cubbies/baskets assigned to each child for their supplies, blankies, change of clothes, etc.  She normally has only a few children each day.  She has a very detailed handbook and contract and I appreciated how thorough all of her information is.  Mdx took to her immediately and was screeching with happiness as she was on the floor playing with her.  She reached out for Kris to hold her...and when it was time to go and I went to take her back- she PUSHED MY HAND AWAY! (the baby did, not Kris).  That is a good sign!  So, even though I'm still nervous leaving Mdx at all, I feel that she will be in a good place, under good care.

Speaking of under good care....I'm more than a little annoyed at the Langley Child Development Center.  When I first realized that going back to work was probably going to happen- back in February- I put Mdx on the waiting list.  They told me that it was 6 months to a year long.  They only have 1 infant class, but they have two 1 year old classes.  Since she'll be 1 at the end of August I was hoping that she would get a spot sometime this fall.  I had called about 2 months ago and they said she was #38 on the list (ACK!) but that it would probably move fast.  Then last week I went in to inquire about where she was....and they said she was #42!!  When I asked how in the world she could possibly go DOWN- they said that people had put their babies on the list before they were even born (and before me in Feb)....and now those babies were being born, so they went on the list before Mdx.  GRRRrrrr.  I asked the woman at the desk if I should even BOTHER staying on the list.....if we even have a CHANCE of ever getting a spot at #42?  Her response was "Oh yes, eventually you'll get a spot!".  And in the back of my mind I thought (When she's 5!!  Thanks for nothing!!).  So I'm not counting on the Langley CDC at all.  I guess one good thing is that at the CDC the teacher would have 9 other kids to worry about, and at Kris's she has less than 5 at any time.

Then on my drive home I remembered a conversation with the music director at St. Mark Lutheran in Yorktown.  He was telling me about the great Lutheran schools in the area (the Lutheran daycares are all full- I checked)....and how their preschools are so popular they have ridiculously long waiting lists.  So- even though we may not be here when Mdx goes to preschool, I think I'll put her on the waiting list for Gloria Dei, and Trinity anyway just in case.  Gosh, the stresses of being a parent.  :)

I'll leave you with some pics from our last trip to the lake.  Mdx went out on the boat for the first time, since she can finally fit into a life jacket.  We rode over to the swimming area early one day.  She played for a while and then fell asleep on the ride home.  We also took a trip to town and enjoyed some ice cream (we try to make sure she gets the full lake experience).  Maybe next summer she'll be roasting marshmallows over the campfire, swinging in the hammock, and fishing with Gramps.

Not sure about the vest.

Grammy makes it okay.

So tired she fell asleep sitting up.

Ice cream! messy.  Not like it would stain the shirt or anything.