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Maddie is 4.5!

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

I can’t believe that Maddie is four and a half (or was on August 20th!). Time for another letter to Maddie! (more…)

Maddie’s First Swimming Lessons (without parents)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Maddie has had a few swimming lessons in the past, but this was the first time that she had lessons without parent involvement. Her lesson was immediately following Cullen’s in June and July. She was very, very nervous about it. We had discovered while in Cincinnati that she was a bit scared of the water. She had 6 swimming lessons with this set, and by the end she was much more comfortable. Hopefully, we won’t wait a year before doing another lesson.

The kids sat on the steps and waited their turn to be taken out into the water by the instructor. This is Maddie at the first lesson, and you can see that she is apprehensive. She was sitting on the 2nd or 3rd step when she had the near drowning incident.

Maddie curled up her legs to hang on even tighter to the instructor. The instructor has been giving lessons for years, and this is the first time that she encountered a reaction quite like hers.

She did not enjoy going out with the instructor for the first few lessons and refused to join her over half the time.

Throughout the 6 lessons, Maddie got a bit better with this until she willingly went to the instructor every time it was her turn by the last lesson.

By then end, it looked like Maddie might have actually been enjoying herself. We even saw a few smiles.

She didn’t want to go on the magic stick, but she agreed that she would join Sophie on the magic stick on the last lesson. I was so proud of her!

She didn’t even mind sitting on the side of the pool and actually jumping into the water (with the instructor’s help) at the last lesson. What a difference 6 lessons can make!

I hope we can do more lessons before too long.

Cullen’s First Swimming Lessons

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

We signed the kids up for back to back swimming lessons on Saturdays in June and July. Cullen participated in his first ever swimming lessons! Daddy got into the water with him each lesson, and Cullen loved it. He was so happy in the water!

Two happy boys!

Learning the swimming strokes.

Getting ready to float on his back.

The water brings out his amazing eyes. The only post processing I did to this one was a slight levels adjustment. His eyes really are THAT blue.

Cincinnati: Day 2, back at the hotel and baseball game

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

After touring the aquarium, we had lunch nearby and then returned to the hotel for Cullen’s nap. When we returned to the hotel, the maid had visited and put together this cute scene.

While Cullen napped, Maddie and I went to the pool. We learned that her swim bottoms didn’t fit, so she wore Cullen’s little swim trunks. Good thing that he was napping. They fit perfectly! She was all excited about going to the pool, but then when we got there, she didn’t want to go into the water. When she was in the water, she wrapped her arms and legs around me very tightly. She seemed quite scared. I had her go around the pool with me for a few “laps,” and then we got out and sat next to the pool. Maddie wanted to get back in after we were dried and ready to leave (of course). She had not been in a pool in a while, and it had been a year since her last lessons. After this experience, I knew it was time to get lessons again!

After Cullen woke up, we had some time to kill before dinner time. Gabe’s parents were supposed to meet Gabe just before the baseball game that evening. We walked along the riverfront, and Maddie fell asleep for a few minutes. Surprisingly, Cullen was happy to just hang out in the stroller while Maddie was snoozing. We walked past the bridge that they would be crossing later to get to the game.

This is when we realized that the Cincinnati skyline had changed since our last visit. I turned to Gabe, and said, “um, was that building behind the ballpark there before?? I don’t remember it! Sure enough, it was new.

We went to dinner where they had an entire page of mac-n-cheese varieties. They were also fairly accommodating with making some things for the kids, though they didn’t have an official kids’ menu. My mac-n-cheese was fabulous!!! I want to go back to Cincinnati just so that I can get more fancy mac-n-cheese. YUM. After dinner, we walked around a little more and then met Gabe’s parents. They walked across the bridge to the game. This is one of the views from their seats.

And another view from their seats.

Gabe showed me this photo after the game, and said, “don’t delete this one, it’s Pete Rose!” I’m glad that he told me that because I probably would have been wondering about that!

Meanwhile, I had the kids in the hotel room. Bedtime was challenging, but I finally managed to get the kids to sleep. I read some of my book while Gabe was at the game and the kiddos were snoozing.

I took a few photos of Gabe and his parents at the game as I could see the ballpark.

They had a great time at the game! It went much better than the game that we attended in 2009 with Maddie. Maybe in a few more years, the kids will be able to enjoy it a bit better.

The Reds actually won! Gabe texted me and let me know that they were about to win, and I knew that I would see the fireworks from the hotel. I managed to capture them!

I’m glad that Gabe took some photos at the game. He knew I would want to have them.

It was another fun day in Cincinnati!

The Sunday Somethings, 19jun11

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Something that makes me happy: The kids love to hear Howlin’ for You by The Black Keys (over and over). They both attempt to sing the dadadada part. They call it the “yaht-ya” song. Cullen even sings, “yaht-ya, yaht-ya” when he hears the opening beats of the song. It’s cute!

Something I’m thinking: Hmm. Another week, and I still haven’t thanked all of my MS donors. I feel like we’re crazy busy this month with all the classes for the kids and my photography class plus our regular mix of activities.

Something happening around the house: My parents came to visit us for the day on Saturday (when we had Games Night). This is the first time that they’ve been able to visit during Games Night, so that was fun! It was also nice for Gabe and I to be able to both play games at the same time. It’s rare for that to happen while the kids are awake!

Something I’m reading: I didn’t start The Giver for book club. I was too curious to see what the next trilogy in the Kushiel series would bring. So, I am about halfway through Naamah’s Kiss. I’ll have to read The Giver soon so that I can finish before book club. It shouldn’t take me too long to read it.

Something I’m playing: I surprised Gabe with the new Cornucopia expansion for Dominion a few days early for Father’s Day. Twice last week, we managed to play 2-player Dominion with the new expansion. We had games night yesterday, and I was able to play Dominion, 7 Wonders, Alhambra, Big Boggle, and Trivial Pursuit: Genus 6. Gabe played Stone Age, 7 Wonders, Through the Desert, Clans, Tichu, Big Boggle, and Amun Re.

Something tasty: I made a good batch of the sweet potato fries on Friday. I need to post that recipe.

Something Maddie is doing (39 months old): We had another dance class and another swimming class this week. Maddie talks about how much she likes both classes (but this week she said she likes swimming class but doesn’t like to get her face wet). She doesn’t participate in either class very much. She literally sits and stares at everyone for the first half of the ballet class. She eventually starts to participate towards the end, but I guess she just takes it all in first. Her favorite parts this week seemed to be when they take turns hopping across the room, stopping at each stuffed animal to do another dance move, and when they did ballet motions with a teddy bear. Swimming went better this week. She made sure to sit on the top step with only an inch of water, so I guess she learned something from last week’s experience! She was still very, very timid and refused to go with her instructor some of the time. She didn’t want to go any of the times that the instructor took them out into the water, but she did it willingly the last couple of times (after a bit of protest). We’re taking baby steps in this area. Maddie is doing great with her letter work. This weekend, she practiced Ps so that she could write Papa. She also learned Y so she could write “DADDY” on his Father’s Day card’s envelope. She writes her name pretty well, but she doesn’t always put them in order. Sometimes she does, and other times she just puts the letter on the page wherever she sees fit. It can be pretty random.

Something Cullen is doing (16 months old): After more than 2 months, he finally cut his 5th tooth. Oddly, it’s not one of the front ones. Maddie got all of her front 8 teeth first, then the first set of molars, then the ones in between. Cullen’s seem to be popping out in a different order. I kept thinking his top teeth next to the front two were about to break through. They haven’t yet. They appear to be very close. He was pretty grumpy for several days this week, and I was surprised when feeling around his gums to feel extra bumpiness in the back. Yesterday morning, I noticed that the tooth had broken through the gum. I really wasn’t expecting that! Poor little guy. No wonder he’s been moody. The gum back there looks very angry. It’s all red and swollen with sharp little tips of tooth poking through. Cullen enjoyed his second swimming lesson. Cullen definitely asks things like, “Where Daddy go?” and says, “Daddy go away” (when Daddy has left the room). This morning, the first thing he said was, “Where doggie go?” since my parents had their dog here when he went to bed. And then he said, “Doggie go away. Woof woof.” He’s definitely making progress with his 2-3 word sentences. Oh, and he definitely calls me “Mommy” and “Mama” now!!! Just this week, he did it multiple times. He will also say things like “Daddy shoe” in reference to Daddy’s shoes, and today he said, “Mommy shoe.” I said, “what? Did you just say that’s Mommy’s??” I knew that he had just been messing with me for a while. I knew he knew how to say Mommy!!!

Something I am struggling with: I’m struggling with this week’s photography class assignment.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: The kids each had another swimming lesson, and I had another photography lesson.

Something I learned: I learned how to play 7 Wonders and now have another game to add to my wish list!

Something I’m looking forward to: We have another ballet class for Maddie, swimming lessons for both kids, and a photography lesson for me. I have another haircut at the fancy salon (ooh, what will I do this time?) which will be followed by dinner and a movie with my girlfriend. We also have dinner and games with friends this week. I have some fun lunch plans this week, too. Our weeks are pretty busy for the next month or so. We’re having fun, but I’m looking forward to not being so crazy busy.

Something captured: I love this photo of Maddie and her buddy Sophie that I took at our picnic after dance class on Monday evening. I think I’ll be submitting it to my photography class this week, though I’m not sure it exactly fits the assignment of “art photography.” Whatever. Anything can fit into the “art” category, right?

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

Two and a half!

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

I wrote this on Maddie’s half birthday (August 20th), but I couldn’t get my photos organized until now. It’s been a crazy week. I finally sorted through the photos, and it’s time for another letter to Maddie! (more…)

Happy 5 months, Cullen!

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

These months are going by so fast with the two kids. It’s time for another edition of letters to Cullen! (more…)

The Sunday Somethings, 13jun10

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Something that makes me happy: Hearing my daughter say, “I lub you, Mommy” tonight when she was going to bed.

Something I’m thinking: Today, my parents have been married for 40 years.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping to pre-order my new iPhone this week. Yep, that’s right, we decided against the Droid Incredible with Verizon and now we’re going for iPhones. I’m excited.

Something happening around the house: I did some kitchen organizing with the pantry and spice cabinet. I still have a little more work to do, but I spent a lot of time on Saturday cleaning things out.

Something I’m reading: I’m almost finished with Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella for June’s book club meeting. I’m not sure what I’m going to read next. I’m having trouble getting motivated to read Devil in the White City (July’s book club book). I feel like I want to read lighter stuff, especially since my time and brainpower are limited.

Something I’m watching: We watched The Blind Side last night and really enjoyed it. I think since we don’t get much chance to go to the theatre these days, we’re going to try to make a point to watch movies at home with Netflix more often. Speaking of the theatre, I was able to sneak out on Friday night with a girl friend to see The Karate Kid. I really enjoyed it! I thought they did an excellent job of the remake. The movie was different enough from the first one to seem like a different movie yet stayed true to the basic story lines and had many references to the original.

Something tasty: Our first fresh corn on the cob (which I prefer off the cob) of the season.

Something Maddie is doing (27 months old): Maddie made some big strides in her potty training preparation. I call this phase, “potty awareness.” We’re not actively potty training, though I think that this will happen pretty soon. She has asked to go to the potty for almost all of her BMs this week. She’s so proud of herself. Her diapers are still often wet, though she will sometimes ask to do that on the potty, too. She is getting really good at dressing herself. Today, she got something on her shirt and wanted to change. She changed both her shirt and her shorts with no help from us. She went to the drawer, picked out her new clothes, took the old ones off and put the new ones on. She has been working on these skills for a while. This has been a big week for Maddie. In addition to her potty successes, she had another swimming lesson and continues to excel at puzzles. At her swimming lesson, she went completely under water for the first time and LOVED it. She has been a little timid in the water lately, so this was a big victory. She still seems nervous every time she gets into the pool, but she usually warms up and then has a great time after a few minutes. We bought Maddie some new puzzles this week, and I have to say that she is very impressive with the jigsaw puzzles! We bought 3 puzzles of varying difficulties – 12, 24, and 48 pieces. I was pretty sure the 48 piece puzzle was going to be too challenging. I thought that the 24 piece may also be too hard for her to put together by herself. We tried the 12 piece first. She put it together in less than 5 minutes, completely by herself. In fact, she was trying to teach me how to put together puzzles. First, she collected the corner pieces and told me about them. Next, she showed me one piece and one of the connecting pieces. “See the pink here? And the pink here?” Hilarious! I am very impressed by my little girl. She can put together the 24 piece puzzle without help from us (and does it over and over and over). We haven’t brought out the 48 piece puzzle yet, but I am thinking we’ll have to do that soon!

Something Cullen is doing (20 weeks old): We took Cullen to the doctor on Monday for reflux issues, and the doctor recommended that I cut dairy out of my diet as a first step. Well, I’ve been through this before!. I have been dairy free for almost a week, and I believe it has already made a difference. Cullen was spitting up often and was not taking good naps before the trial. He is spitting up rarely now, seems to be in a better mood, and has been napping better during the day. Now, if we can just get him to sleep at night for more than 2 hours at a time (and sleeping in the crib/bassinet would be good). I am still holding out hope that we’re in midst of the “4-month-regression”. Several of my mommy friends have indicated that their infant went through a regression around that time. Hopefully, it will just be a short phase and we’ll get back on track to making progress on sleeping through the night. Cullen went swimming for the first time this morning, and he seemed to love it! He’s so cute in his little swim trunks and rash guard. Cullen has been more interested in toys and has been happy playing on his tummy for greater lengths of time. He’s fascinated by the remote control, as Maddie was at this age.

Something I am struggling with: Food! Cutting out dairy isn’t as bad this time as it was the first time. Some of the substitutes are coming back to me. Pizza is something I miss the most as there really isn’t a reasonable substitute. Quesadillas are also tempting and without substitute.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We bought tickets to see Jack Johnson later this summer! Seeing one of his concerts is on my goal list. His music is meaningful to our relationship, so we are excited to see him perform!

Something I’m looking forward to: A swim event for kids under 4 years old at work on Friday.

Something random: I almost forgot to take Cullen’s photo today! Good thing I still have a few more hours. Something tells me that this one isn’t going to be an awesome photo.

Something captured: The neighbors’ yard had a midnight makeover. Maddie’s response was profound: “it belongs in the potty.”

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 15nov09

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Something that made me happy this week: My parents came for a visit this weekend!

Something I’m thinking: I went to the mall with my mom yesterday, and I found it difficult to walk and stand on my feet for the duration of the mall trip. I think online shopping is the way to go for Christmas this year.

Something I’m hoping: To wrap this up so I can get in some time playing Dominion before bed.

Something happening around the house: We’ve been playing Christmas music and put up our tree. I don’t care that I’m almost 2 weeks “early.” We’re not going to have a chance to do it during the week of Thanksgiving, and I want to enjoy our tree for more than 3 weeks. It makes me happy!

Something I’m reading: I actually found a few minutes to read this week. I’m back to Loving Frank by Nancy Horan since that is early December’s book club pick.

Something tasty I ate this week: Pancakes this morning for breakfast, yum!

Something Maddie did this week: This week, we were talking to my parents on the webcam and during the conversation, she turned her back and said, “I’m done!” She then proceeded to try to close the laptop. Kid says some funny stuff these days. She’s a little sponge. Oh, and just this evening she has started calling me Mommy some of the time. Of course, I’m excited about that!

Something happening with the pregnancy: Things are about the same. I’m now 29 weeks pregnant. Time is really flying this time. Yikes!

Something I struggled with this week: I’m getting tired more easily and finding it hard to be on my feet for any time at all.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: Just the usual, boring, ongoing stuff.

Something I learned this week: I learned how to play Dominion: Seaside (well, at least the differences between the original game and the new expansion). Fun!

Something I’m looking forward to next week: The start of my week holiday and visiting with friends and family.

Something random: I have a new battery for my Mac, yay! When I came home from our cruise, I found that my battery no longer had a charge and would not recharge. Fortunately, I had had the battery less than a year, so they replaced it for free…and I have a year warranty on the new one. Win win!

Something captured: I haven’t gotten the photos off of the camera this week, so thanks to Mark and Melisa who posted their photos of Saturday’s swim lesson. Maddie had SO much fun with Daddy. She looked like she was actually swimming at times!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

Pool Party photos

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

In June, we had a pool party at work for just the littlest kids. We attended the Itty Bitty Beach Party and took a few photos. Maddie enjoyed playing in the pool! Click on the photo below for the rest of the album.