Tag Archives: Baby growth

Happy 3rd Birthday, Madeleine!

3 Years Old!!!

Here is Madeleine’s 3 year birthday post!!! I am always so shocked by how quickly she grows and how quickly these big milestones arrive. Three. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the idea that my little baby girl is 3.

You might remember this post announcing Madeleine’s birth. The many different things that we’ve gone through since she entered our lives is simply remarkable. 🙂 In one way, the 3 years absolutely flew by. In another, I cannot believe that the tiny baby in those other photos is the same girl that I see before me today.  We, as a family, have been through so much – it is so rewarding to come out on the other end and see how amazingly she is growing and becoming her own person. Although, she had very strong opinions from the day she was born, the opinions have become even more emphatic now as she has become even more verbal.

I don’t have a size update that’s any more current than last month for her MRI visit at the hospital. She is just shy of 32 lbs (according to our home scale) and last month she was about 3 feet tall. I am taking her to the doctor on the 23rd, so should have an update after that!

Things we’ve done this year:

  • Switched her from her old daycare to her new school, which she is really enjoying!
  • Upgraded to a “big girl bed”.
  • Our first big family trip to Hawaii – it was a first for Alex, too. I still need to post about this, at some point.
  • She learned to ride a bike with training wheels.
  • We are officially completely potty trained!! Is there still an accident on occasion? Sure. But about 98% of the time, she makes it to the toilet.
  • We had our first trip to Canada! Her first ever border crossing.
  • Her vocabulary has exploded and the things that come out of her mouth take us by surprise on a daily basis – in a good way
  • She is running around like crazy. Jumping off of things, climbing things, dancing, singing and living life to the fullest!
  • She had her first hair cut about 6 weeks ago to even it out. With the chemo, it all grew in at exactly the same length. It seems like that’d work well, but it was a lot shorter in front and then got much longer in back.
  • She has learned to swim and absolutely adores jumping off the ledge at the pool.
  • She is recognizing people, remembering them even if she hasn’t seen them in a while and knows who they are.
  • We have moved from “kiddie” toys to more big girl toys. She loves to “write” in her composition book, put puzzles together, play dress up, play with make-up, do art projects, help cook, take care of baby dolls, etc. She even brings the kitty toys to the kitty so she can play with it.
  • Pretend play is in full swing. We have an extra kitty around the house about 30% of the time. 🙂
  • She likes to help clean up, brush her own teeth, wash her own body and put on her own clothes. She is very independent and strong willed.
  • We’ve reached temper tantrums. They are not like the typical tantrums, however. When she is upset with what she has been told, she literally flings herself onto the floor onto her tummy, folds her hands together and buries her head on them while saying something like “I don’t want to take a nap!” LOL! Alex and I often find ourselves trying to not laugh because it is really pretty cute and funny.
  • She’s made new friends at her new school and is a very sweet girl to her friends.
  • In about a week she will start transitioning to her new classroom! Crazy!! Her new classroom will be a preschool room. She tells us that she’s going to go to preschool with all of the big kids. That’s right!! She’s officially going to be a big kid. I am both proud and sad at the same time.
  • Started going to movies at the theater. We’ve been a couple of times with her and she thinks it is super fun.

I’m sure there is more that has gone on this year, but I honestly cannot remember it all and I have been awful about blogging so I don’t have it documented.

As has been the case for the last couple of years, Madeleine just keeps stretching out longer and slimming down like a bigger kid. She looks more grown up all of the time.  With as active as she is, it’s no big surprise.

So, I’ll get to posting the rest of the photos now. She’s had a great year and I am so proud to be her mama. I do my best to tell her that often, and now she said “you proud of me, mama??” 😀

Outtakes from the photo shoot earlier today:

What’s outside? No, I will not look at you. Or smile. I don’t want to!! (That is literally what she was saying to me. Can you say Diva?)

How’s this face?

Standing Up!

I don’t want to! I all done!!

So we took off the skirt and moved to her smaller rocking chair.

The head tilt is a bit extreme. LOL!!

Slightly less extreme head tilt. That’ll work!!

Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet girl!!


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Happy 3rd Birthday Party, Madeleine!

Happy 3rd Birthday to our baby girl! She is already 3 – My goodness, time really flies! My mom seems to be making a tradition out of flying out to Seattle to visit on Madeleine’s birthdays, and this year was no different. 🙂 

It is such a joy to see Madeleine growing up and learning every day! She is such a big girl with a very clear idea of what she likes, wants, dislikes, doesn’t want.  And, since this is her first big birthday party and the first one that she will probably remember – I let her be a big  part of deciding what she wanted for her party.  Her decision? “Butterflies! And purple!”

Again: Since it’s her first “real” party (the first year she couldn’t have other kids there because of the chemo, and then 2nd year she was recovering from major surgery) I went a little bit crazy and fear I may have set the bar for future parties way too high.  I really wanted her to have an amazing time and I was so excited to see her play with her little friends and enjoy herself. 😀 So, once I had her theme, I was off!! I chose an accent color of teal to go with the purple because I thought it would keep the colors young and cute for a 3 year old.

I began by pinning a bunch of ideas to a board on Pinterest and then officially started by making custom invitations on Vistaprint to send to our friends and family.  Then, I began calling around for party locations, cake costs, etc. Madeleine got to help choose the cake flavor by taste testing several mini-cupcakes with different flavors. She went to the party store and helped me pick out decorations and put them in the basket. She was quite a good helper and was thrilled to do it. In fact, she even helped me shop for her birthday presents. Haha! I always do that because at least I then know it’s something she wants.

We have been heavily planning for about a month and Madeleine had been asking about going to her birthday party for that same amount of time! She was beyond excited.

Once I decided on a venue, I went to meet with the party coordinator for that location and selected balloon colors, clarified what I would do vs. them and continued refining details. One of the things I really wanted was a beautiful cake/dessert table for her. I saw a number of them on the internet while doing my search and was really excited to put hers together.  I had a cake and mini-cupcakes custom made (by my former boss! :D) to match the theme. I made Madeleine cookies at home and had some to put out on the table, but also used them to put in mini-food bags for guests to take home. I had a little mini candy bar out with theme colored candies. It was pretty fun!!

For her attire, I found some things online and B was kind enough to make her a color coordinated tutu to wear with it! Unfortunately, M was feeling a bit finicky and refused to put on the same skirt she had been asking for non-stop a couple of days prior. Oye! I did manage to snap some pretty adorable photos of her in the skirt for her 3 year photo shoot, though. Stay tuned for that post.

Overally, the party was a great success! The kids had a fantastic time, from what I could see, and Madeleine was thrilled to see everyone. 🙂 We hired a music instructor to play music games with the kids. This was a great way to engage the kids with something cute and fun and Madeleine had the biggest smiles during this part. At the end, we finished with a nice song and turned out the lights. Then we used flashlights to create stars on the ceiling (and then also the floor). In fact, when I asked Madeleine what her favorite part was she said “the lights on the ceiling and the floor!!”

Now I’ll get on with it and post photos. Thank you to all of those who came to the party to celebrate with us!!

The kid’s table


Cake table from afar!

Cake close-up with mini-cupcakes on mini-cupcake stands. Also take notice of the butterfly glitter on the table. hehe!

Checkin’ out her cake table. She could barely keep her hands off of all the goodies!

Ready to start the music time!

The kids getting Maracas!

We needed to make sure daddy had a maraca, too!


The kids sat down for dinner. 🙂

Pizza was a hit!

So cute

Madeleine and her “little buddy” James. She met James at her former school before we had to switch facilities and she adores him sooo much and specifically asked if he could come to her party. She grinned SO big when she saw him again. They fell right into step just like they were when she was still at school there.

Trying to wrangle the kids into a group photo proved more challenging than one might think. The kids were all far too distracted by all the treats on the table. haha!

The “best” with everyone in it.



Singing happy birthday before she blew out the candles!!!

Mmmm – cupcake time!

Hope you enjoyed the photos!!! There are tons more, but it’d be a bit much to post every photo. 🙂

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Big Girl Bed!

April 19th was officilly Madeleine’s half-birthday, making her two and a half. We decided that this was as good an age as any to switch from a crib to a big girl bed. I am was not ready. She was contained and I was happy with that, but realize she’s got to learn sooner or later. So – two Saturday’s ago we tackled converting her crib to a toddler bed. Complete with toddler rail to keep her from falling out. What did she teach me the first night? Those rails are worthless. Heh. I walked into her room after hearing a thump and then blood curdling screams from a toddler who had suddenly fallen out of bed. ***sigh***

YAY! "I got a book! I weading!"

She is, however, pretty psyched about the fact that she can read books in her bed and get in and out all by herself. So psyched, in fact, that I have now removed all toys and books from her room until she starts sleeping. The last two days she has instead played with books instead of napping, which has resulted in quite a cranky girl.

So cute! We about died laughing at the half in/half out sleeping arrangement. 😀

Our little girl is growing up so fast! We do hope that sleeping in her big girl bed starts to go a little bit easier, but we realize that it’ll take a little bit of time. The next big change? Potty training! She’s gearing up and knows that she needs to start using the potty in order to wear her big girl undies. Let’s see how long this transition takes. 😉


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Happy 2nd Birthday!!

Dear Madeleine,

2 years ago I was a very scared mama, in the hospital while you were making one heck of a dramatic entrance. I should have known at that point that you’d have the fiery personality of the little red head that you are. 😀 Once you arrived, it was like nothing else mattered but making sure you were ok.

Today, you turned 2. It’s amazing that it’s been 2 years since that morning in the hospital. I think of the tiny, helpless little baby that you were. So little and sweet. I remember your first giggles. The first time you smiled at me and it lit up my entire day. Taking you for walks in your stroller. Seeing your dad get wrapped more and more tightly around your little finger as each day passes. The first time you rolled over and your first “real” food. The first trip we took as a family, your first Christmas and holiday season. Celebrating each month and each milestone as they came. Watching you learn to walk, learn to speak and telling us which animal makes which sounds. We have had so many firsts and so many amazing memories already, in your 2 years of life.

And then, my world was shattered on July 23rd, 2010. My sweet baby girl was diagnosed with cancer. You had lost all strength from the torso down and we were eventually told you would probably never walk. We started your chemo. Had your surgery to have your port implanted. Biopsies were taken and you started physical therapy. Not all in that order, but it was a whirlwind of blood tests and doctor’s visits with several different specialists. All I could do was focus on each day. Each hour. Each minute. Which appointment was next and when did you need your next dose of which medication? I was so sleep deprived I literally kept medication logs and notes of when you slept last and for how long so I would know when to put you down for a nap again and when to give you your next dose of each type of medicine. But I was ready. Ready to fight.

I have never felt so helpless, but also so determined in my entire life. It was my job to fight for you. To be your voice, since you didn’t have the ability to tell us what was going on. And speak I did. I called those doctors all the time. Your oncologist just loves to tease me about that! I asked so many questions. I fought. I fought for you. Because I knew then, just as I know now, that you deserve the chance to walk and run and play like every other child. I cannot even explain to you how incredibly in awe I am that everything has worked out in the way that it has. You are our miracle baby. You are so determined. You are so amazingly strong. You are so resilient.  You bounce back from everything as though nothing ever happened. Even this last surgery – we’re only 2 weeks out and you are already running around again, playing and acting as though nothing has happened – except when you see your incision and tell me about your boo boos.

Because of you, your daddy and I have a whole new appreciation for life. For health and happiness. We know who our true friends are. Who truly supports us and who is just here for the attention that a family or friend with cancer brings. It’s brought a whole new clarity to our lives about what is really important and who is really there for us at the end of the day. Because of you, we’ve seen who we can trust.

On this, your birthday, I want you to know how incredibly special you are. You are the light in our lives and always know how to bring a smile to our faces. So fun to be around, so funny, so smart and so sweet.  Really, I could not ask for a better child. 🙂 So – Happy 2nd Birthday! I hope you had a great day, and I hope you forever know how much we love and adore you. We are so incredibly grateful for your amazing outcome from your treatments and we cannot be happier to watch you walk, run and play every single day.

Keep learning, keep loving and keep being the sweet, amazing girl that you are! You have a strength and stubbornness about you that is so difficult to find. It will serve you well – it already has!

Love you so much,



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It has been 1 year

Yes, one whole year since Madeleine was diagnosed with cancer. An entire year. Wow.

On the one hand it is so hard to believe that we have now lived with cancer for more than 50% of her short life. On the other, it seems very difficult to remember a time that was not tainted by it and the doctor’s appointments and worry that come along with this type of diagnosis.

However, despite the difficulty she has faced this past year, we have also had some amazing things happen and are so very very thankful for those things.

So, on this bittersweet anniversary, we choose to remember the sweet. Her incredible strength while going through treatment with all of the surgery, pokes, prods and doctor’s visits.  Her fighting attitude to learn to move, crawl and walk. The loving support of our family and friends to help get us through the sleepless nights, exhausting days and worry-filled appointments. These are all things that made the experience better than it could have been.

We have grown as a family, seen people’s true colors – in good ways and bad, and learned to truly appreciate each other, the life we have and the time we spend together.  We have come out on the other side stronger and wiser and with so much love for our little girl.


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A Year and a Half

18 Months!

We have reached Madeleine’s half birthday! Amazing.

She has had a lot going on this month with doctor’s appointments, including her 18 month well-child check-up with her regular pediatrician.  According to their measurements she was 22lbs 8oz (unclothed. She was clothed in her last weight check at hem-onc) so she still hasn’t really gained much of any weight since the whole steroid crazy weight gain. She also somehow shrank by half an inch. (I kid, I kid). Length is notoriously inaccurate at this age. They measured her at 31″ in length, but she was 31.5″ at hem-onc a couple of weeks ago. Both of her measurements put her in the 25-50%, which is great. That means she’s well-proportioned and Dr. George was quite happy with that.

After going over all of her “what is she doing now” type questions, she is right on the mark, if not advanced, developmentally. Most notably, we discussed that her movement is catching up to where she should be because SHE’S WALKING NOW!!! (I know, I can’t get over it). She even walked for Dr. George, which he loved. He also mentioned that her language development is quite a bit above where a lot of kids are for 18 months. He said that normally 2 word phrases don’t start until age 2, but she already has a couple of them. It’s exciting to know that she’s ahead of schedule in this area, because I was worried for a while that there’d be some learning delays from all her time in the hospital.

The other noteworthy thing that happened at this appointment was: Vaccines! Since she is able to finally get her vaccines for the first time since she was 9 months old, we went ahead and got her all caught up. Dr. George said his max. is normally 5 shots, and that’s how many she was due for. It ended up being immunizations for like 9 or 10 different things, but only 5 pokes. She was pretty miserable for the next day or so, but has fully recovered now.

What else has happened for her during her 17th month?

  • She is now WALKING!!!! Yup, I know you know that already, but it is so huge, I figured it should be first on the list.
  • In terms of movement, she is also doing some other new things. She is knee walking. I assume she does this because she feels more comfortable with that than with always walking, since she’s still fairly unsteady on her feet.
  • She is also doing this crazy hand/feet walking. Imagine she has her bottom up in the air and her arms and legs are fully extended. Then she proceeds to walk on her hands and feet forward to whatever she is trying to reach. I call it her crab walk.
  • Thanks to her increasing height and mobility, she is now into EVERYTHING. Even things that were previously too tall of her to reach, she is getting in to. Like the TV console. She can now reach over the gate and pulls stuff off of it. Remotes, my glasses. Water glasses. I am running out of hiding places for things that she can’t get! She’s also into the little tray on our entry table, pulling my keys out constantly to play with. Not so great when you’re trying to leave the house and cannot find your keys! But she thinks it’s fantastic.
  • Her vocabulary is expanding every day. I have 50 words in her word list, but I know that I am missing some because she says new ones every day. I would guess that she’s got closer to 60 or 65 words. Compared to last month, she has more than doubled her words! Just yesterday she started saying bunny (we have a wild bunny who hangs out in our back yard/our neighbor’s back yard eating plants and grass). She also just started saying “binky” tonight. And she is getting much better at pronouncing the words. Bath now has a very clear “th” sound on the end. Bye has a very clear “eye” sound on the end, instead it used to just be “ba”, for example.
  • I bought her a number of different puzzles and “mind exercise” type games this month. She is already getting much better at them! Things include stacking wooden shapes on different numbers of pegs, fitting shapes into wooden cut-out puzzles, and stacking rings.
  • Musicality is a force to be reckoned with in this house, too. She has a mini-piano, wooden drum and wooden xylophone. She loves all three and plays them regularly.
  • We’re still doing well with her appetite and eating new things. Her most recent addition to her diet is brussel sprouts. She loves them, which I was a little bit shocked by. But she often surprises me with what she likes and dislikes. Her daddy also fed her Kimchee the other night. For those of you that aren’t aware of what this food is, it’s pickled cabbage slathered in red hot chili pepper sauce. Yes, you read that right. But Madeleine adores it. She gobbles it down. And yes, daddy gets to change those diapers the next day! EW.
  • Reading continues to be quite fun for her. She is very good at pointing things out in her books and has even learned the word “mouse” from Goodnight Moon.
  • Madeleine got to go down to Olympia and see Alex’s family for his brother’s birthday dinner. She really enjoyed that and they all got a kick out of being able to see her walk.
  • We also had Alex’s mom up to visit this past month, so she got to spend some time with Madeleine as well.
  • Coloring is super fun for her now. When we go out to eat and she sees the crayons, she even says “color! color!”
  • We are slowly introducing the potty to her. And by slowly I mean, if I need to go to the bathroom I’ll sit her on the potty (clothed) while I sit on the big potty, just to get her used to seeing it.
  • She is currently cutting her 11th and 12th teeth. Molars on the top. This has made for a miserable week with a very fussy, very tired baby. Especially in combination with her cold remnants. She is not sleeping well at night and has fallen asleep on me while we’re downstairs playing in the morning. As opposed to the first set of molars that came in one and then the other, providing her with a brief break between them – these two are coming in simultaneously, providing very little relief from the pain. One tooth is 3/4 of the way through, the other 1/2 way through.
  • She’s also been recovering from yet another cold. She seems to be feeling better from the cold itself and no longer has a cough, but those darn runny noses take forever to clear up. Ick.
  • Before bed we have started picking up her toys together. I have her focus on putting her duplos back into the duplo bin while I pick up most other things, but I’m sure this will start planting the seeds for her to know she needs to pick up after herself.
  • Imaginative play has officially started. She pretends to call people on the cell phone. She pretends to feed her baby as well. And just today she tried to share her string cheese with her stuffed monkey! (not the sock monkey, a different one)
Otherwise, not a ton that’s exciting happened this month. We’re hoping the yucky weather disappears for good soon so we can go outside and play more frequently! But she is certainly as cute as ever, so I’ll share some photos!

Yes, that's salami on my head.

Look at her medical file! Wowza.

Bang bang bang!

"Hello? Who's there?"

Look at those eyes!

Hi Uncle Trevor!

Looking at lights with grandpa Steve.

Hi mommy!

She has discovered the window, and can see over the ledge now.

Very pleased with herself. ha!

She climbs. OYE!

Getting very sleepy

And, she's out! For those of you who know her, this is very very rare for her to fall asleep like this, so we know she's exhausted. If only she'd sleep later.

Duplo time! She loves playing with duplo creations.


Asleep on me again!!

Working hard on her puzzle

Look at how flexible she is!

Feeding her monkey a string cheese

Grandma Karli, Alex and Madeleine

Outtakes from her birthday photo. She was so happy at her daddy's silly game, it made it really tough to choose one.

Another cute smile

Look at that smile!

Such a sweet girl

That daddy, he is so funny!

A classic Madeleine face! I couldn't leave it out.

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17 Month Photos

As promised, here are the photos from Madeleine’s 17th month.

Helping daddy study

At dinner with mom and dad "ahh, what to drink??"

Her first experience with play doh (home made play doh at that!)

It was rather sticky though. Hmmm

Agghhh! It's stuck on my hand!

Sleepy girl

Very excited about coloring

She makes the goofiest faces.

The fish face is a favorite

Feeding the baby doll!

Her gum ball machine!

Makin' music

With her little wagon

She likes to pretend our house is her own personal jungle gym.

Lovin' the sock monkey!


Look at her neck!!! She definitely has her daddy's neck.


PEEK-A-BOO! Which reminds me, she adores playing peek-a-boo these days, but is a total cheater and peeks through her fingers at you. LOL!

Isn't she sweet? 🙂

"OK mom, I'm done! Really. Done."

And last, but not least….

My favorite of the day 🙂

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