Tag Archives: Milestones

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013

So, obviously this post is about a month late, but it was such a fun year this year that I just had to share!

A lot of people think that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, and to a degree, it is. But I also think it’s such a fun day to show each other that you care – not that this shouldn’t happen throughout the year. I find it important to show Madeleine that you should show others why you love them and take some time to be selfless, caring, appreciative and kind. That being said, for Valentine’s day, we did a number of things.

First, school: They didn’t do anything super formal, but did decorate paper bags for their Valentines. Anyone who wanted to brought in Valentines and the friends all got to take their bags home that evening to see what their friends put in their bags. I did Valentines with Madeleine. Nothing fancy, just the ones you get at the store. But, I had her choose which version she wanted to give to each friend and then she signed an “M” on each one. 🙂

Second, her daddy: I didn’t feel the need to do anything elaborate or outlandish, but wanted to make sure it was thoughtful. I decided to help her write him a note about all of the things she loves about him. See the photos, below, for the details of this letter. She had a little bit of a hard time with the concept, so a few of the answers she gave were quite hilarious. Others were just super sweet, and yet others were a little bit…shocking? You can view a video of her showing her daddy his present by clicking here. At the end you even hear her say “You can say thank you to me?” LOL! We’ve been pretty strict about manners and she calls us out sometimes. 🙂

Letter - Page 1

Letter – Page 1

Letter - Pg 2

Letter – Page 2


She wrote "daddy" in much the same method she wrote her own name. :) I told her what letters to write and she did it!

She wrote “daddy” in much the same method she wrote her own name. 🙂 I told her what letters to write and she did it!

Her artwork for him

Her artwork for him

And finally, our own celebration as a couple: I made a trip to Portland with some girlfriends in January for my future sister in law’s wedding dress hunt!! You can read about it on my friend’s blog here. While there, we did some shopping in downtown Portland and I picked up adorable little mini-notecards with matching envelopes, a heart seal and red seal wax. I forgot to take photos of them after they were sealed, but I planted them throughout Alex’s work bag, car, etc so that he would find them throughout the day. 🙂

 I had been planning on making a delicous dinner, but Alex said he didn’t feel I should have to make dinner on Valentine’s Day. So – he took us out to our favorite Mexican restaurant down the road. We didn’t want to deal with the chaos at any of the “traditional” Valentine’s places and it was a nice little night out with my two loves.

Getting a good picture out of my little ham is next to impossible. LOL!

Getting a good picture out of my little ham is next to impossible. LOL!

M and mommy!

M and mommy!

And of course, what would Valentine’s Day be without red roses from my hubby??

❤ ❤ ❤

Hope you all enjoyed your Valentine’s Day this year!!!


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It’s hard to believe that our baby girl has grown up enough to be in preschool already, but she is! We officially transferred her to her new preschool classroom in late October, after her birthday and she is really thriving. Every day we get a long description from her of who she played with and what she did and what she’s learning about. On occasion the response I get is “I don’t want to tell you!” when I ask her what she did that day. LOL!!! We get new artwork in her cubby every single day. She also attends the following “extra” classes each week:

  • Art Class: Twice a week
  • Spanish Class: Either once or twice a week, unsure.
  • Yoga: As a part of their “Movement Matters” curriculum

Built into their daily/weekly curriculum they also cover:

  • Math
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Science
  • Art
  • Outdoor Play/Exercise
  • Show and Tell to practice public speaking

Madeleine really loves her class! We get daily updates via e-mail about their lesson plan for the day and it is quite detailed. These are really nice so we can reenforce what they’re learning at school when she’s at home. It’s also really neat to see the variety of activities and thoughtfulness that her teacher puts into the lesson plans. Each week has a theme to focus on, and the activities are generally based around that. So during Space Week they talked a lot about planets, did space art projects, read space themed books, for example.

We had parent/teacher conferences a couple of weeks ago and her teacher said she was doing great! She had no concerns about her learning and development at all. She also said that she is starting to show preferences in play partners. Bianca seems to be a favorite friend these days. They both love to read and will sit together reading stories quite often during choice play. 😀

We get regular updates from her teacher on our family site where she uploads photos and descriptions of the kids’ activities. Below are some of the things they do!

During Math Counts, Madeleine worked with Joey on picking up leaves with tweezers.

During Math Counts, Madeleine worked with Joey on picking up leaves with tweezers.

First day of Preschool!

First day of Preschool!

Making an art project

Making an art project

Story time with friends

Story time with friends

Outside play time!!

Outside play time!!

Math activity time!

Math activity time!

Working on their "G" letter worksheets. M is in the pink sweater.

Working on their “G” letter worksheets. M is in the pink sweater.

Learning how to make a snowflake with paper and scissors.

Learning how to make a snowflake with paper and scissors during the winter themed week.

It is so exciting to see Madeleine learning and growing! She still surprises us with the concepts she is learning every day, and we are very thankful to have her at a school that takes education and their teaching so seriously.

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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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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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2 years old – What’s happening?

2 Years Old!

Happy 2nd Birthday to our little girl! She’s no longer our baby – and is officially a little girl. Crazy how fast time flies. Apologies for the delayed birthday post. Between her surgery and my mom’s visit and then getting caught up at work and Halloween, it’s been a bit of a whirl wind! 🙂

We haven’t gotten in yet for her 2 year check up. We have it scheduled for a couple of weeks from now.  I need to stop referring people to M’s pediatrician! When I scheduled it he was scheduled a month and a half  out. Geez! That has never happened before – but the scheduler said he’s one of the really popular ones. I’m not surprised, he’s really great.

I do, however, have stats for her since she went to the doctor on her birthday for her eye surgery follow-up and on the 20th for her post-op from the most recent tumor re-section surgery. She was 24.6 lbs after the surgery. She lost about a pound and a half from the surgery, which isn’t surprising. She hardly ate at all for nearly a week, but I think she’s probably re-gained that by now. She’s about 33.5″ inches tall (I believe that’s what it was…I know it was 33.something…). It’s the first time they’ve measured her standing up instead of laying down! If the “double your height at 2″ trick works for her, she’ll be nearly 5′ 7”. I guess she’s not taking after her mommy with the petite jeans! Haha.

What has she accomplished developmentally at this point? A lot!!

  • She has become quite the chatterbox. We hear lots of 3 word phrases and even some 4 word phrases. Things like “kitty doing here??” (what’s kitty doing here) “Brush teeth now” “wonn a wosie song?” (Ring around the Rosie Song) “Tiger says grrrrrrr” “Go dowtairs watch Mickey” (Go downstairs and watch Mickey) “Birdie fwy in cwouds” (Birdies fly in the clouds)
  • Along with words comes counting. She is pretty amazing, if I do say so myself! She can count from 1-10, sometimes going to 11 and 12. We haven’t made it to the teens, yet. She’s been doing that for the last 2 months. September 3rd, to be exact. How do I know that? We were at my friend’s wedding reception and M just started counting. 🙂 Now she loves to count everything! And she can identify numbers visually, too. From 1-10.
  • We’re also working a lot on letters. She’s not identifying  very many of them, but she is quite comfortable with the ABC’s and we sing them often. When I say “we”, I mean, she actually sings along with me. 😀 It’s pretty darling.
  • Next comes singing. We sing, a lot! And she’s learning words to songs. For example: Her teachers sing a certain song to her. She came home one day and started singing it and making hand motions and we had no idea what she was doing! We didn’t know where she came up with it until we asked her teachers, but she now calls it the Farah Song. That’s her lead teacher’s name. 🙂 She also loves to sing Ring Around the Rosie and does the little dance/motions that go with that one as well. The Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (aka: wonn a wosie song), Daddy’s froggy song (aka: Froggy Song), The Marine Corps Hymn (aka:Daddy’s song), The Star Spangled Banner (aka: Pretty song).
  • Her world of animated movies has expanded greatly since her hospital stay. They kept her entertained when she couldn’t be active like she normally is. Shrek and Tangled are her two favorites. She used to call Shrek the “Donkey movie” but now she asks for it by name. Tangled is still the “horsie movie”, however. Rio is another one she enjoys a lot, it’s known as the “Birdie movie”. We don’t watch anywhere near as much as we did when she was post-op, but we will generally have movie time on a Saturday or Sunday where she gets to pick one to watch.
  • Mickey is still a huge obsession!! I let her watch an episode in the mornings before daycare while I’m gathering all of her things and getting her lunch put together for daycare. She can name all of the characters and sing the different songs.
  • Books are still #1 in this house, in terms of repeated activity. They are in basically every room in the house and she reads them constantly. In fact, she has so many books that her book bin and shelves are overflowing. I need to come up with a better storage solution. She reads them to herself, though, if I’m busy. It’s quite cute to listen to her ramble on about what she sees on each page.
  • She is learning about different animals and has all of their sounds pretty much mastered. She’s also learning about all sorts of different fruits and vegetables and what they look like/are called. We have been teaching her how to pick up after herself and how to take off her own shoes and put them on the shoe rack herself.  She also is quite good at identifying colors and shapes and has gone from not knowing quite what to do with some of her puzzles to being a master at them.
  • The kitty is still her BFF. She loves to let the kitty in the house in the morning (kitty sleeps in the garage so she doesn’t keep us all awake at night) and she’s very good at being gentle with her these days. Doesn’t mean she doesn’t still get excited and squeal and shriek and chase her around…none of which Calliope is too fond of. She’s even got her name down “Kai-pee”. 😀
  • In the last 6 months she began daycare and is thriving. It has really shown what a sweet disposition she has. Other kids will be mean to her, take her toys, push her, whatever and she doesn’t retaliate. She’ll get upset, but she doesn’t retaliate. It makes me a little mad on the one hand, because I don’t want other kids to pick on her. But on the other it makes me proud that she is such a sweet girl. I foresee needing to teach her to stand up for herself a bit in the future.
  • Her days at daycare are full of different activities. Today was picture day! She’s also been to an “Assembly” at which the Reptile Man did a show. She goes for walks, plays outside every day, does art projects, has singing time, reads, etc.
  • Her “redhead” personality is still in full force. She is quite stubborn and will freak out if she doesn’t get what she wants when she wants it. For example, when I am getting her out of the car to walk up to her class, she will ask to walk, and if I’m running late and try to carry her so I can hurry – screaming ensues. LOL! Generally I try not to do that, but sometimes it’s necessary.
  • As time goes on, she’s getting more and more snuggly. It is so awesome! I think it’s one thing to be snuggly as a newborn, but to have a little toddler that wants to snuggle with you and to know they mean it – that is awesome. I love her little hugs and kisses. In fact, in the hospital she couldn’t get enough of them – more than likely because she felt crummy, but she would grab my head with her little hands and pull it in towards her to get hugs and kisses.
  • We have been gradually introducing her to the potty. She sits on it in the evenings before bath time, and sometimes now she asks during the day. Daycare is gradually introducing it as well – offering her the potty and letting her try. So far she has had a number of successful attempts with us here at home, but none at daycare. In fact, Alex thought that he’d try this weekend to see how she would do if he put her in her Minnie Mouse undies. It went horribly with no successful attempts on the potty and she didn’t seem that interested in trying, so we know she’s not ready to try full time, but at least now we know. We’ll try again in a month or so to see if she’s more ready, then. But she is telling us when she’s gone and she does know what the potty is and what it’s for. So…we’ll see!
  • She is learning self-care. She rubs shampoo around on her hair and soap on her body during bath time. She’s also brushes her teeth and has a little stool at the sink which she stands on to get water on her toothbrush. Of course, I still have to help her with all of these things to make sure they’re correctly taken care of, but it’s fun to see her attempt and learn. Now she tells me that it’s time to brush her teeth, go potty and take a bath. 🙂
  • We’re finally seeming to be back on track after her surgery with regard to sleep. I’m hoping that continues! We may even have to push her bed time back, because the earlier I put her to bed at night, the earlier she wakes up. And when I’ve put her to bed about 1/2 an hour to an hour later, she seems to sleep until a more normal/reasonable time. When I’ve been putting her to bed at her normal 7:30, she seems to be getting up way too early (think 4-5 am early).
  • Madeleine is getting better with her manners. She knows to say please and thank you, although generally needs to be prompted because she doesn’t say it the first time. Right now we’re working on saying excuse me after any…gaseous emissions. She’s starting to get the hang of that, too. In fact, she said excuse me the other day when something was in her way while she tried to push her little grocery cart around the house.
  • She’s getting to a point where she remembers people that aren’t every day people for her. That’s pretty exciting. 🙂 For example, Uncle Paul came up and spent a couple of days with us and after he’d left, she kept asking about him. She always seems to be drawn to those that don’t gush over her. She likes people who play hard to get! Haha!
  • In terms of things we’ve been doing as a family – she got to visit the pumpkin patch for Halloween (more on that in a later post), she had a long visit from my mom after her surgery since I needed help so that I could work effectively from home while she was recovering. More on that in another post. Alex has taken her to the boats at Bellevue Square. For those not from the area, these are in a children’s play area at the mall that kids can climb and play in. We have gone berry picking, taken a trip to the Puyallup Fair and for mommy daughter pedicures. But mostly, we’ve just been busy with work, daycare, surgery, doctor’s visits and trying to get back on schedule and some sleep.
Now, for some additional photos. A friend had this shirt made for her. Isn’t it cute? And sparkly!! She loves sparkles – such a girl.

Whaaa? You want me to look at the camera??

And now, for some close-ups:

Still reading

Look at those pretty eyes!

You want me to do what?? Smile? Huh!


"You, pink Bear, you stay right there!"


I love this picture, because it's such a classic Madeleine face.

Hangin' out post-op.

I love this little outfit.

Ready to play outside!

One of her many birthday gifts. 🙂 She loves that thing!

Her cutie little rain jacket! 🙂 Out for a walk.

Ready to brush her teeth!

Time for mommy to help!

At the fair, checking out a fire truck!

Petting the miniature horses at the fair

"Cow say moooo!"

Hope you enjoyed! 🙂 I’ll try to catch up on posting about the last month or so.

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4 Monkeys!!

Madeleine has been making some very exciting progress with her language. She went from repeating words to knowing what almost everything is. She knows all sorts of additional animal sounds (Horses – neigh: sheep – baaah: frogs – ribbit, etc).

She’s also figuring out numbers and letters. For numbers, she just randomly counts! And a couple of weeks ago, she counted from 1-10, repeatedly. And randomly. It’s so cute! Her favorite number for a while was 2, and now it appears to be 6. We’re also working on 11 and 12 and she’s counted up to 12 a couple of times. She also can point to certain numbers and know which ones they are.

Letters are a little bit behind numbers. We sing the alphabet song all the time and she’ll chime in with letters every so often. She’s also recognized certain letters and pointed them out. B, C, F seem to be common ones.

So, with all of this learning, she is also on to 2 word phrases with the occasional 3 word and once she even said “shooos off. Daddy hepp pease” which translates to “Shoes off, daddy help please”. Yes, that’s right! 5 words!!

Last week she came to work with me at the end of the day and colored me pictures to hang at my desk while I worked after-hours.

Now, for the hilarity that comes along with this. We have little conversations, all the time. I ask her questions and she answers with sometimes real words and sometimes baby babble. So the other day I said “Madeleine, do you know that mommy loves you?” And she said “yeah!” to which I asked “How much does mommy love you?” and she replied “4 monkeys!” I was a little baffled, so I said “4 monkeys?” and she said “yeah. 4 monkeys!”  Huh. So I repeated the same initial questions and she again replied with “4 monkeys”  😀 If you all knew how much she loved monkeys, you’d understand that 4 monkeys must be a lot of love. LOL!

Loving on the cat! She said "Kitty snuggle!" 😀 See how thrilled Calliope looks? hahahahaha!

And, on a happy mobility note, this weekend I was folding clothes upstairs and Madeleine started running from our bedroom, through the bathroom and into the closet (you have to go through the bathroom to get to the walk-in). Then she started saying “Fast! Fast!” and then she said “Running! FAST!”  and I can attest to the fact that she is officially running now. Our little girl can run!! The same little girl that was paralyzed a little over a year ago. Simply amazing. 😀

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The end of an era

As you may or may not remember, I am a breast-feeding mama. Or should I say was?

We have had our fair share of issues with breast-feeding.

First, my milk supply disappeared and Madeleine was basically starving. We had to switch to formula, and finally saw her gaining weight again. You can read about that here and here. I struggled for a month pumping like a maniac while supplementing her with formula and my milk just wasn’t coming back.

Finally, I gave in and was prescribed a lactation drug. I called it my miracle drug. My milk came back with a vengeance and I have been able to breast-feed ever since. With some hiccups. As it turns out, even with the drug, my milk supply was very finicky and would disappear if I was under too much stress, didn’t get enough to eat, tried to lose weight, etc etc. And every time this happened, I’d have to eat like crazy to jump start production again, which caused me to gain about 10lbs each time.

Now, to the point of this post. Sorry for rambling. I found it to be very important to continue until she could get her vaccines again. Since she got her vaccines at 18 months, I have only been feeding her once a day. And given my work to lose weight, my supply had taken a pretty huge hit and I couldn’t feed more than that, anyway.  I hadn’t consciously thought about when I would stop, but with my starting work and the mad dash to get out of the house in the morning, I had just not been feeding her before I left. When I got home and started the mad dash to feed her, bathe her and get her into bed, there wasn’t much time to feed her at night either. And then I thought about it and figured it was time to stop. I hadn’t fed her my milk in several days and she wasn’t protesting, so why not?

It’s been several weeks now and she is doing great without it. I am pleased, because I felt comfortable with the timing, too. It’s kind of amazing to me that I managed to breast-feed her for 19+ months considering all of the trouble I had. It was definitely time, though. And there you have it. The end of an era, but my body is finally mine again.

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