Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mollie and Matt visit Nashville!

We had so much fun with my sister, Mollie, who was in town from Denver, and Matt, our best man, who was visiting from Chicago last weekend! There's just nothing like catching up in person and unwinding at the same time -- it felt great. Matt was in Chattanooga for business, so he added a day onto his trip and arrived at our place on Friday afternoon. We made homemade pizzas and laughed a lot while Madeline slowly fell in love -- she said his name for three days after he left! Much later that night, I picked Mollie up from the airport and then the four of us hung out! The next morning, we went out to Dotson's, the diner I mentioned in an earlier post (that's been visited by every country music star) for breakfast, and then had to say good-bye to Matt so he could catch his flight.

Mollie, Rob and I had so much fun as the weekend went on. We had a fabulous sushi dinner at the place where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban are often spotted, then met our babysitter back at the house and went to see the new James Bond movie. My sisters' and I just love James Bond...another thing my mom passed along! The newest movie always seems to come out around Thanksgiving or Christmas, so we would always wait anxiously for weeks for opening weekend! I would drive home from college or Chicago so the four of us -- my mom, Mollie, Andi and I -- could go together! The next day, Mollie and I went window shopping (good for the soul) and flipped through books in Borders for hours while Rob and Madeline watched "foo-baww" at home. Naomi Judd (mother to Ashley and Wynona) walked up to me and asked if I worked there. I wish I had been quicker on my feet and answered yes so I could talk to her some more. I sent Mollie over to double check while Naomi perused the inspirational book section, and she confirmed my second star siting in six weeks.

Later that night we built a roaring fire with our new wood delivery and fell asleep to a Blockbuster rental. Mollie left at 4:30am the next morning to catch her flight back to Denver. It was so fun to watch her and Madeline play and giggle -- we were so sorry to see her go!

This week, we've enjoyed looking at the results of the professional photographs we had taken in our Peoria house the day before we moved. Two short months since our move to Nashville and our life in Peoria already feels so far away. So I never could have imagined how significant it would be to look at pictures of the three of us in the home where we brought home Madeline and became a family. The photographer, Nellie, is a friend -- she just blew us away with her beautiful candid style. Take a look if you have a sec -- follow the link to "Proofing" in the left-hand navigation and then type "vlach" for password.

We've been enjoying the fall and being outdoors with beautiful hikes, smores around the firepit and piles of freshly raked leaves that are ready to be jumped in! This will be a nice quiet weekend. We're looking forward to building another fire and brainstorming our Christmas gift list. I may even start drafting the annual Vlach Christmas letter!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sheryl and Me

Day before yesterday, we went to Sonic for lunch with our neighbors and then to a great playground just three minutes from our house. Madeline set her sights on an adorable little boy and beelined from the slide, wrapping her arms around his neck and holding him tight like he was her great lost love. As I quickly followed her to make sure she didn't knock him over in her exuberance, I looked at the cute kid's mom. Then I looked again. It was Sheryl.

Sheryl Crow.

She was lovely -- all smiles, dressed in jeans, a stylish t-shirt and construction boots with funky bracelets, wearing a curly ponytail without a stitch of make-up. Just like any mom of a toddler, she was out playing with her 18-month old adopted son, Wyatt, and an equally friendly young woman, who I assumed was her nanny. We shared some typical mommy talk -- "How old is he? How old is she? What's his/her name? He/She's so cute/pretty! Great playground, huh? Have a great day"... And then as I wandered off to give her privacy and act cool (yea, I know who you are but I see rockstars every day....), I heard her take a phone call on her Blackberry and discuss whether or not to book Toronto and Chicago.

So Madeline, if you're reading this a decade or two from now and you have no idea who Sheryl Crow is, she's pretty cool. She's won seven Grammy's and has more multi-platinum albums than I could count quickly in her bio. My affection for her music started in high school when my mom, your grandma, loved to listen to her albums -- rocking out to "All I want to do is have some fun" at the top of her lungs in the car with all the windows down.

We had a fun Halloween, despite a rocky start. Early last Friday morning, Madeline reached up on her toes, fingers stretched, and tipped her cooling bowl of boiling oatmeal from the kitchen counter right down the front of her. Blisters formed within seconds; she was in a lot of pain. Because I didn't know where the emergency room was yet, a neighbor across the street led me in his car, and my other neighbor/friend, Amy (the ER nurse) met us there and stayed with us. Madeline was so tough! She had first and second degree burns on her chest and under her chin, but after a dose of Tylenol with Codeine, she left the ER like it was any other morning, chanting "Play Ou-side" the entire drive home. After a week, she still has a quarter-size burn left on her chest and little scabs on her chin that look like she took a spill chasing a ball or something. It doesn't seem to bother her a bit, and she sits patiently while Rob and I change her bandage twice a day.

Halloween night, Madeline made her debut as a bumblebee. She collected candy at one house, then happily "helped" us pass out candy at our house by eating it hand-over-fist. Rob finally started hiding the bowl in the bushes between rounds of trick-or-treaters -- we'd see a fluff of bent-over toole sifting around between our landscaping, saying "Pop? Pop? Pop?" on repeat (lollypop). Our neighbor Stader (born and raised in New Orleans), passed out margaritas to the parents on our cul-de-sac as the kids made the rounds, making a special stop at our house to give me pickles and ice-cream. We ended the night by walking four doors down to a fun Halloween party.