Monday, February 23, 2009

I *heart* my family

I want to tell you all about our Valentines Day.  But- I don't really *heart* Valentine's Day...if you know what I mean.  Sure, I appreciate getting a card and some candy- or the case of this year- some chocolate covered fortune cookies!  But, I've started to realize that part of the whole purpose of Valentines Day (besides being a huge commercial conspiracy, but I swear I'm not going to post about that....)....AHEM, part of the whole purpose of V-Day is to teach kids that it is important to love and appreciate each other.  We take one day of the year to teach this lesson-certainly not enough- but it gives kids something to get excited about, and makes them feel special.  

And who wouldn't love this little girl??
Or, this handsome dishwasher?
This is the box Maddox made at nursery school for their V-day celebration.  It came home filled with valentines from the other kids, and lots of candy!
She made us a card:
Marshall left us a note on the fridge. 
This is what we gave Mdx this year:  a sticker book, Curious George book, first word flashcards, animal crackers, and a neon ball.  She got plenty of candy from school!
Posing she can have candy.
Right before bed- yep, she wants MORE candy!
I'm glad to tell you that Mdx is now a good tooth-brusher every night before she goes to bed!  At first she wasn't interested, but now she actively brushes her own teeth, rinses off the brush, and says "night-night" to the toothbrush before we walk down the hall to her room.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I *heart* my students

Closer to the beginning of February I took a group of 12 of my students to the All-City Orchestra auditions.  Last year our school only sent one student due to the fact that there was a substitute, and she didn't really help them prepare or push the kids to audition.  This year I made ALL of the students learn the audition song and perform it for each other in class.  They also had to memorize their scales for a grade, and we practiced sight-reading for weeks!  I set up transportation for the kids who needed it, bribed them with donuts.......and 9 (NINE!!) of my students got into the All-City Orchestra!  We are by far the smallest program in our city, so to get 9 kids in really means a lot to me.  I know it will be a great experience for them, I remember it well from my own adolescence.  It means even more now to be on the other side.

The Director's and Volunteer's meeting before auditions started.
Our judging table, which was behind a screen.  The clock was for us to time the 30 seconds that the students were allowed to study the sight-reading.  Notice my 2 cups of coffee (and cellphone on silent)
The standard Virginia judging form- I was in the HS Violin room.  
Back at school, here are some of my lovely 7th graders.  Don't worry, I asked their permission to show them off (no names of course).  This class loves to figure out songs by ear, their favorite is the theme to "The Backyardigans", which they want to play in our concert.
The back of my 6th grade class- and the front of my classroom.  They wanted to get their picture taken while they were playing.  This class has just learned that sometimes there are not 4 beats in every measure, and 3/4 time is much cooler.  Just wait until they hear 6/8!
Some of my High Schoolers- who are not shy at all!  They are begging me to take them to Busch Gardens....however I'm not convinced that would be any fun at all- at least for me.
I didn't need the All-City competition to tell me my students are awesome!  They show me every day in class.  :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

I *heart* Trader Joe's

I think this video just about says it all.  I hope that there is a Trader Joe's wherever I live from now on.  If not, it will be on my list of places I MUST visit (along with Pizza Italia, and Toys & Co.) whenever we are home visiting family.  

Monday, February 9, 2009

I *heart* baby art

One of the things I love about Maddox's Child Development Center is all of the art that they do with her!  They are working on learning their colors, and they get to paint and use's awesome!  I've taken pictures of the art, since we can't actually keep it all!

Art from around Christmas time...
BLUE week!
Winter art.
I LOVE this one! They made a MDX snowglobe!
Then they went on to GREEN.
Can't you tell- there's glitter glued on the paper!?  I can't really see it either.
She didn't seem to want to put many stickers on the paper.
They made a penguin with hands as feet....I'm a little confused too, it's ok.
Coming up they have a lot of love and Valentine's Day activities planned.  They are even having an ice cream party on Friday!  A few of Mdx's friends moved up to the next class- she'll be joining them in a few months.  In the meantime some new friends are moving up from the infant room!  I'm looking forward to getting to know these new kids too.  

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I *heart* Maddox's name

Maddox Gloria Mc.......

When she was born I'm sure there were more than a few people who immediately said: "Maddox?  HUH?".  So, I will tell the story of how she was given the name, and why I love it so much.

When I first found out that I was pregnant, my husband had been in Korea for about 1.5 weeks.  I wasn't even late, I just KNEW I was pregnant.  I can't even explain how, because I wasn't having crazy symptoms, feelings, cravings....I just knew.  Plus, there were all these stars aligning and people saying things that seemed like fate was telling me I was preggo.  My mother even told me that she had a dream that I was pregnant the whole time Marshall was in Korea!  Lo and behold....about 5 pregnancy tests later....I believed it.

Once the shock and excitement started to settle in, and I realized that I was going to have to finish graduate school pregnant and alone, and I had NO idea what that meant...... we started talking about names.  Naturally, Marshall mentioned that he had always just assumed that he would carry on the McIntyre "MGM" initial-dom.  Since my name was Mary Gregory at my birth, I took this as a sign that MGM-ness must be maintained!  

In the meantime we wanted to refer to the baby as something besides "blastocyst", "embryo", "fetus", etc.  We wanted something more personal that we could relate and connect to.  That is how "Babymac" came into our lives.  We decided that no matter what we would name this future child, we would keep it a secret and always refer to her/him as "Babymac" until her/his birth.

I became the internet baby stalker.  Every website that had any sort of information on pregnancy, birth, end-of-your-life-as-you-know-it, etc, I would spend my free time reading.  I can only imagine what kind of work I would have put out my last semester at U of M if I hadn't been pregnant.....but alas, I was sleeping when I wasn't in class and eating, or at the library eating, or waking up at night and writing and EATING.  Ha!  I still got straight A's so I kicked some gosh-darn-un-preggo-butt that semester.

So.....I'm getting to it, I promise.  Marshall and I made lists of names that we liked, and would go through them with each other.  We each had veto power, and when you are limiting yourselves to first names starting with M that must go well with a middle name starting with G...your choices are limited.  We both refused to use any names that were in the top 100 of popular names in the past year.....which knocked out Madison, Madeline, etc.  We also are not the type of people to make up a name out of the blue, or misconstrue a name by spelling it with silent letters, or wacky spellings to make it unique.  I absolutely CANNOT divulge the names that we did not choose, because they will quite possibly be used for any future child/children.  But, I can tell you about Mdx (which is my abbreviation because I am a lazy typist). 

At the beginning, my housemates at Vail House had a blast guessing what Babymac was going to be named.  It was almost a nightly discussion at the dinner table.  I remember someone guessing "Murky" and I choked on my tofu because I laughed so hard.  Another person guessed "Magnolia" and I honestly considered it for a minute, which led them to believe that Babymac's name was going to be Magnolia.

When I mentioned Maddox to Marshall, I had it in mind as a boy's name.  I told Marshall that it was my Grandmother's maiden name, but that I didn't really know anyone with that as a first name.  To me, Maddox sounded strong and masculine.  But, Marshall insisted that he really liked it as a girl's name, not for a boy.  I had a few other girl names that I liked better, but the more and more I said Mdx Mc......and imagined a girl- it just grew on me.  We had other boy names as well...I just didn't know what we would pick.  I wish I knew more about my Grandmother.  I wish I knew her when she was my age, and had young kids and a marriage to manage.  I've seen pictures, she was so beautiful and vibrant, so full of life!  I have imagined what I would have known if my grandmother could have written a blog when she was 29 (my age- ACK!), what would she have said?  What would her children have known about her that they never found out?  Ah........anyways.....

So, at 19 weeks, when I drove 1 hour to the gender ultrasound appointment all by myself, I figured we'd finally find out WHO this baby was that I was carrying around.  I had already felt him/her kick and move around, and seen one ultrasound and heard the heartbeat multiple times.  It only seemed fair that I should be granted a LITTLE more info about Babymac finally!  Well, Babymac did not want to be bothered that day!  She/He was sound asleep with legs crossed and the cord going between the legs.  The ultrasound tech did all the measurements and then informed me that I would not be able to find out the gender that day, because it was simply too hard to tell!  I knew that our insurance was not going to cover another ultrasound unless it was medically necessary, and I was heartbroken!

I couldn't call Marshall, so I called my sister, I was SO upset!  She listened to me, and told me "Sometimes we don't get what we want!", which was NOT what I wanted to hear at that moment!  Finally Marshall called me and listened to me freak out for a few minutes....then he calmly told me that we would just pay to have another ultrasound done so we could find out the gender...and that was that.  The next week I drove into Detroit to a private ultrasound clinic, where they offered a recorded ultrasound session on DVD, and a guarantee on gender-determination....and I saw the most beautiful clear pictures of Babymac!  She moved around and kicked her legs and opened and closed her mouth.  It was so beautiful!  It was so obvious that she was a SHE, and it was so obvious that she was a Maddox!  I called Marshall immediately and told him that we were having a GIRL named MADDOX!!

The name Gloria just sounds beautiful to me when I say it, and that is what made me love it.  It also has a musical meaning, referring to the Latin: "Gloria in excelsis Deo" or "Glory to God in the highest".  There are many musical works which are titled "Gloria" and from what I have heard they are all inspiring and beautiful works.  I was completely at ease giving Maddox Gloria as her middle name, it just seems right.

So, we have the family name, and we have the musical/religious name.  It is perfect.  She is perfect.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I *heart* the lake house!

One of the coolest things my parents have ever done (in my humble opinion, and I've only known them my whole life) was buying a lake house in Virginia!  They like to go up on the weekends, and for most of the summer.  We go when we can, and Emily and her family like to go up too- but it gets pretty crowded when we are all there at the same time!  There is no cell service there, and no internet- so we get a lot of quality time together.  The town that is close by is small.  For entertainment we go to the grocery store, Dollar General, antique stores, or the thrift shop.  There is also a fun gas station/convenience store called Uppy's where you can take your boat down the lake and dock at their pier and go up and get ice cream!

A few weekends ago, Maddox and I went to the lake just for the day to spend time with Mom and Dad, and Emily, T.A. and Anderson.  I know I have a picture of the outside, I just can't find it right now.  You'll see it eventually!  Meanwhile, here are the pics from our trip:

This is the new heater they got- much smaller than the old one, and toasty!
I think Anderson is trying to get a matchbox car out from under the stove.
He called in a professional to complete the job.
Mdx is happy because I tied Grammy's apron around her- up under her armpits.  She likes wearing dresses!
T.A. and Mdx are playing with a sticker book that Grammy had there.  She has toys stashed away in lots of nooks and crannies around the house.  Most of the time the kids share well!
Gramps and Mdx had a heart-to-heart talk.
Emily and I spent a good amount of time messing around with the settings on our cameras.  Dad explained aperture, f-stop, shutter speed, else.  I should have listened better.  DRAT!
Emily gave me some eggs to take home!!  Yay for family eggs!  I was surprised how small they actually are, it is hard to tell in a picture, but they are cute and small- and tasted delicious!

I love the lake house, but mostly because of the people that fill it up!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I *heart* our Anniversary

Marshall got us a gift certificate to the Spirit of Norfolk dinner cruise for our Anniversary LAST YEAR!  We kept trying to plan a time to go, but didn't have a babysitter for a long time.  Then we wanted to plan it for whenever we had family in town and they could watch Maddox- BUT every time we had family here we wanted to hang out with them!  So, we finally scheduled a time with a sitter and took an early dinner/late anniversary cruise.  I actually really do like our Anniversary date (Cinco de Mayo) because it is easy for us and everyone else to remember.  Plus- Margaritas....I don't need to say any more than that.

The ship before we left.  It was sunny, but very cold outside!
The buffet dinner had rolls, salad, chicken salad, pasta salad, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy, three-cheese pasta, mixed veggies, and sole stuffed with crab.  Then we got a dessert plate with 4 little desserts on it.  It was awesome!
Right after you board, the buffet starts.  We were eating before we even left port!
One of the many, many piers we passed!
It's very hard to see- but this is the USS Cole, which was attacked by terrorists in Yemen in 2000.  It is now docked in Norfolk and has been repaired.
This is the USS George H.W. Bush, which was just commissioned in January!  It is the last of the Nimitz class Super-carriers to be made.  
This old couple was cracking me up all night.  They were also celebrating their anniversary, and were breaking it down on the dance floor!
We had a great time and would like to go back again sometime.  As promised- here is the picture from the Superbowl party!  I didn't take many, because I was chasing Mdx basically the whole time- or eating.  :)  I have got to get my hair cut, it is driving me CRAZY!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I *heart* February

This month I'm going to try and focus on posting what I love, appreciate, enjoy, etc.  I know that most of the time I write about Maddox and what we've been up to, but that's mostly to update friends and family who we don't see very much.  I've also been known to complain a time or two, but I'll save all that up for March.

What I like about February:
-It is a short month, so payday comes faster (for those of us that get paid at the end of the month- this is a big deal!)
-This month I'll be taking some of my students to audition for the All-City Orchestra.  For most of them it will be their first audition EVER!
-The name rocks- Feb-RU-ary.  Do you know anyone that actually pronounces the RU part?  That's always thrown me, because I really used to think that it was Feb-you-ary....but I was wrong.

Now for some fun pictures- these are leftover from Inauguration weekend in January.  Maddox and I went to Maryland to visit Marshall's grandparents, aunt, and cousin.  It took about 3 hours to get there, but it was a very easy drive through coastal Virginia.  We stayed overnight and then came back home.  It was fun, next time we'll stay a little longer!

Mdx and Great-Grandma Helen
Mdx and Great-Grandpa Mac
Mdx kept running into cousin David's room looking for toys.  He was very generous and shared with her.  He even got out a giant basket of stuffed animals!
She changed clothes to eat dinner and watch the Steelers game.
David is reading Mdx "Moo, Baa, La-la-la".
Aunt Marcia gave Mdx this doll that was hers when she was a girl!
I don't know what she's doing- probably singing.....loudly!

That's it for now, I'm off to bed.  Congrats to the Steelers for winning the Super Bowl tonight!  I'll post pics from the party we went to next time.