Friday, September 28, 2007

Yam I Am

So far, Madeline has tasted: peas (disgusting!); applesauce (she shudders with every bite, but it's better than the pea-dry-heave), prunes (we're getting warmer), bananas (heck yeah! This is the good stuff), and finally yams (documented to the right).

"Starting solids" sounds deceivingly tidy. While it is hilarious and even exciting to see Madeline's expressions as she tries different foods for the first time, it is also incredibly messy! It's hard to know how much food actually goes down the hatch once she's had her way. Her favorite game is to grab the loaded end of the spoon with her fist...then rub her eyes and/or drag the spoon itself across the back of her head. She looks like a little raccoon peering out from behind an orange or brown mask -- it clumps in her eyelashes, mats in her hair (the little she has), and coats the insides of her ears. This is all before the dog comes and licks her little fingers clean.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Take You...

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary! It has gone by so quickly... Every day I count my lucky stars that I get to share my life with my best friend. I love that Rob has never once removed his wedding ring since the moment I put it on him, and that he carries the wedding vows we wrote, ripped out of our wedding program, in his wallet:

I take you, Rob, to be my husband. You're my best friend, my love and a blessing in my life. I promise to be true to you; to honor and respect you; to listen to you and to be patient with you; to take care of you in good times and in bad; and to believe in you the way you believe in me. I want to make you laugh often, and I want to live our lives as an adventure, with you by my side as long as I live.

This morning, Rob got up early with Madeline and made us a big breakfast. Then the three of us met for lunch at a fun Vietnamese restaurant, and tonight, after the little girl goes to sleep we'll celebrate with sushi and a movie at home. Because we had our romantic Starved Rock weekend earlier this month, a relaxed night in sounds perfect. So, the traditional fourth anniversary gift is flowers, specifically geraniums (hmmm), and the modern gift is an appliance (an appliance?). Gosh, every girl's dream come true....

Since I'm a little behind, here's a quick update: Last weekend, Rob went fly fishing for the first time with his buddies, Dan and Garrett. He absolutely loved the peaceful sport, calling it "gentleman's fishing." Madeline also met my good friend and her husband, Julie and Rob, at Apple Blossom Farm.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Happy Half Birthday to You!

Yesterday was Madeline's first half birthday! We celebrated over lunch -- Ning came over with birthday cookies and Rob came home to join in the fun. We sang the half-birthday song ("Happy half-birthday to you, happy half-birthday to you..."), and Madeline had her first bite of pure, shock-to-your-system sugar (good thing our pediatrician doesn't read my blog). After Madeline finished licking all the frosting off her cookie, she dropped it on the ground to share with her big sister, Maple (no wonder the dog and the baby get along so well).

In addition to fructose, Madeline tasted peas this week. Her expression of distaste for cereal graduated to a dry heave for mashed peas, combined with a look that said, "How DARE you!" I smelled the olive green paste and thought it was gross too (which Rob took advantage of, putting a pea ban into effect for all of us). Thankfully, we have the whole thing on video.

So after peas and cereal (which dries into concrete, by the way), there's only one thing to do: dunk Madeline into her bath. She has always loved bath time, but never more than this morning. It finally dawned on me that at six months, she probably doesn't need the infant hammock anymore that fits into her tub. So with the newfound ability to sit up and move freely, Madeline played for 30 minutes, gleefully splashing to her heart's content (and not quite understanding that she was responsible for the tidal waves that kept hitting her in the face).

On a more serious note, a college girlfriend's three-month-old daughter, Elena, is undergoing repeated surgeries on her intestines to help correct her inability to gain weight. It's a serious condition, and heartbreaking to hear Lily's account of the pain her baby is enduring. We're pulling for the new family. It is a reminder that we must be grateful for the seemingly insignificant things.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Starved Rock, Here We Come!

This weekend, Rob and I rented a cabin at Starved Rock for two nights and took our first weekend away from Miss Madeline. The Vlach family swooped in to help; Rob's parents took great care of Madeline and Rob's sister, Nicki, came to Peoria to watch Maple.

So I admit -- I got a little teary-eyed saying good-bye. Madeline and I are serious buds, after all -- we hang out every single day! But at the same time, Rob and I have been looking forward to this special time away and it was fabulous! FABULOUS! The park and trails are beautiful....but to tell you the truth, mostly we just sat around reading (Harry Potter!) and sipping wine. We took a vacation from all responsibility; in fact, we even took a vacation from taking pictures!

Thankfully, Grammy and Grandpa had the camera out! Madeline watched the Bears game in her very own hat, just like Grandpa Tom, who wouldn't dream of watching his team without wearing his Bears cap. When we came to pick up Madeline, she was wearing a Cub's uniform like she was in the starting line up!

In other exciting news, Madeline is now eating rice cereal (well, at least that's exciting to me!). At first, she would grab the spoon out of our hands, shove it in her mouth like she hadn't eaten in years, and then wrinkle her nose and spit out the mushy contents in disgust...before starting the whole process over like a glutton for punishment. Now, only a few days later, she seems to actually enjoy the taste! Oh honey....if you like this flavorless mush, just wait till you get to the good stuff! Filet mignon, Wrigley Field hot dogs, cheesecake...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mollie Visits From Denver!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day! We were thrilled to have my sister, Mollie, visit from Denver. My two sisters and I have SO MUCH FUN every time we get together. Somehow, we always revert back at least a decade-and-a-half in maturity. For example, Miss Mollie and I were wildly daring each other to do silly and embarrassing things in Target ("I dare you to wear this hair band on your neck....I dare you to do a cartwheel...I dare you to walk around the store like this..."). Sure enough, it wasn't long before a Target employee reprimanded Mollie at the tail end of our kickball game back in Lawn and Garden! And as the older sister, did I act my age and take responsibility too? Not quite. I listened to her explain that no, she's not going to buy the ball as I pretended to be engrossed in an Illinois tailgating display five feet away, trying to keep my shoulders from shaking too much with laughter.

On a more mature note, we had a family prayer service for my mom at Springdale Cemetery, where we buried her. Springdale is 150 years old and stretches over 230 acres of rolling hills and valleys; my mom's spot overlooks the Illinois River under a giant Oak. Later that afternoon, we did what any good daughter would do to remember our mom....we got pedicures and went shopping!