Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Start of a New Decade

Wow! I entered my 30's in style, thanks to so many people, but especially my husband! For weeks, Rob has been planning a surprise trip that started Friday when I walked in the front door from my doctor's appointment and found suitcases ready to be loaded into the car. Rob packed the three of us and we took off on a surprise adventure that unfolded over the next four days!

We drove up to Geneva and stayed the night with Rob's family. Rob took me out for a drink at a cute little bar near his parents house, and then we walked to a spot for dinner -- to my surprise, our friends Erica and Craig were waiting for us!

The next morning, we said our good byes to little Miss Madeline and pulled into Galena, IL. For the next three days, we stayed in the Stillman Inn, a 150-year-old mansion that was made into a bed and breakfast -- walking distance from Main Street. Every morning, we sat down to a homemade breakfast with the other guests (including a retired FBI agent), and every afternoon, we sipped champagne on the wrap-around porch. Rob had all sorts of tricks up his sleeve, including a horse-and-carriage ride, a spa massage, a visit to a local vineyard/winery, and reservations at wonderful restaurants. The only thing he didn't plan was the tornado that came through town! One morning, we went for a drive in the country and found ourselves petting a friendly alpaca named Quinn. Funny where you end up when you aren't going anyplace in particular...

In the meantime, Madeline had a great time with her grammy and grandpa, Aunt Nicki (who she calls Mimi) and her Great Grandma, Marion. She played in the sprinkler, went to a Memorial Day parade and played with the children next door.

When we arrived home on Tuesday, my family, Kyle and my mom's best friend, Merrell, came over for a pizza dinner. It was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday, and say goodbye to Andi -- she left this morning for LA to work at UCLA for seven weeks.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Two weeks ago, Madeline had her first trip to the emergency room (actually, it was her second; we took her in at three days old because she was....crying. Wow, we've come a long way as new parents!). She took a nasty spill down the back stairs off of the porch and face-planted into the concrete. For a week after the accident, her little nose was skinned, she had a fat top and bottom lip, and a bruised goose egg on her forehead. But just minutes after it actually happened, she was busy playing again.

Then a few days later, a routine trip to my dermatologist turned up basal cell carcinoma in a mole that the doctor biopsied. On Friday, I'll have that sucker removed entirely....but the vigilance has begun. Even though I understand how harmless that form of skin cancer's still creepy, don't you think? Hats, sunscreen and shade will have to become my new best friends.

Things turned up with a wonderful Mother's Day. Rob and Madeline came into my bedroom and woke me with fresh lilies and a Skinny Latte from Starbucks....heaven! They made french toast for breakfast and then Rob and I greeted at church while my dad chased Madeline around the coffee hour. This is the best part: when we got home, Rob ran out and brought back a handful of celebrity gossip magazines that I read with Andi all afternoon! And to cap off a perfect day, I took a relaxing bath, and then enjoyed the homemade dinner that Rob made for my family.

The biggest adventure right now is listening to Madeline learn to talk. It's like she has a mouth full of marbles, but her little attempts at words are music to my ears. One of her new favorites is "Up, please," which comes out as "uppee!" We also hear a lot of wawa (water) and calkjiaaa (cracker). She's busy alright. Walking doesn't seem to get her where she's going fast enough. Now she loves to run, arms swinging erratically, ricocheting off of walls that take her by surprise.

Memorial weekend is always special for me, but especially this year -- I turn 30 on Monday! I'm thrilled about this milestone birthday. My mom's birthday was the day after mine -- she always said I was her birthday gift that year. Pretty great, huh? If I'm being truly honest with myself, it's with some mixed emotions that I leave behind my 20's (which were fabulous, by the way -- graduated from college, fell in love, lived in downtown Chicago, worked in a high rise, got married, ran a marathon, had a baby....and along the way, made the best friends a girl could ask for). But I also feel like I'm coming into some of the greatest years of my life and I can't wait to see how the next decade unfolds. Bring it on!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Yum. This Looks Good....

I had expectations about the sorts of things motherhood would bring. But one of the best surprises is the flood of memories about my own childhood that I experience through Madeline. Like the other day when Madeline put her foot on top of mine -- I was transported to when my dad would walk in the door from work and I would stand on his feet, clutching his knees, while he walked around the kitchen. Or when I wrapped my entire body around one of his legs, clinging while he dragged me along, pretending that he didn't know I was there and asking my mom if she had seen me. As the decades role by and our lives get busier and busier, these snippets of memory are so unexpected and fun -- what a gift to re-experience the joy of childhood, even if it's just for a moment!

So yesterday, Madeline and I went to the park to play. In the 25 seconds it took me to pick up a stick and throw it for Maple, Madeline picked up something that looked like a giant brown pea pod, broke it open and started eating the thick, green oozing fluid inside. The only reason I knew it had happened is because it was all over her hands and her lips. Oh dear God. I realized in that second what my mom must have felt like when she came outside and found me licking sap from a tree because I thought it was maple syrup. Or when I climbed up on the kitchen counter and ate an entire bottle of children's Flintstones vitamins. The emergency room visit for that dog bite and all the injuries while camping, tobaggoning and playing with the neighborhood boys flooded back. Yep, I was a tomboy alright.

Rob did some digging around, and found that Madeline's snack was harmless. Good ol' Roger, the Peoria Park District's City Arborist, told Rob the pod was from a Kentucky Coffee Tree, named because the pioneers used to brew something resembling coffee from it. Interesting. I guess Roger's good at trees and history.

So it seems that Miss Madeline may be a tomboy at heart and possibly already love high heels. Could this be my proudest moment?