Saturday, January 31, 2009

Three Little Kittens

David's Uncle Charles passed along an amazing gift to Madeline. I was a little pokey in the thanks department but now that Madeline & I sent along a special "Madeline Original" to show our true appreciation, I wanted to share with all of you the wonderful treasure that was received.

Della (last name withheld for privacy purposes here) (1870-1956) (see picture) was the grandmother to David's dad & then too, Uncle Charles. For each of her grandchildren she hand made a quilt. Uncle Charles' quilt was the only one to survive childhood and beyond. Uncle Charles so graciously decided to pass on his quilt to Madeline. The quilt is a depiction of the Three Little Kittens nursery rhyme and is in absolute pristine condition. Uncle Charles also included the photo of his grandmother, the maker of the quilt, and a brief handwritten history of its origin.

What an absolutely priceless heirloom to acquire. This quilt has been handmade by Madeline's great-great grandmother and will be treasured by this new generation and more to come. Thanks again Uncle Charles!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Childless Mother

As you can see from the sidebar of my blog, I follow many blogs of families that have adopted or are in the process of adopting. One of the blogs, "Where the Day Takes You", has recently started blogging again after a long hiatus. From what I have read, their adoption plans have turned in a different direction than they originally planned. Anyway, the author of this blog posted an AMAZING entry entitled, "What Exactly is a Childless Mother You Ask?" I was so amazed by how dead on she was that I had to share what she wrote. Yes, this was my life before Madeline and I feel for those women (and men) who are currently experiencing this pain. Please say a prayer for them to know peace and comfort in their hearts - it is more painful than most of you can imagine. Here is what she wrote:
What is a childless mother? Well, in this case it’s not anything you’d find if you Googled the term (which I just did). I’m not a bereaved mother who had a child(ren) that died. I’m not an incarcerated mother. I’m not a biological mother who gave her child up for adoption. I’m not an adoptive mother whose child was given back to its biological mother.

Simply put, I’m a wanna-be in waiting!!

I’ve never been pregnant- though not for lack of trying, believe me. To the average person, I am no kind of mother. There is no real word for what I am in the English language. Supposedly, I’m an “infertile woman”… but there is so much more to the experience as a person who wants children and can’t have them than plain old infertility. “Infertile” doesn’t begin to cover it! I AM a mother the kids just aren’t here yet!

So. I hereby declare that everyone ignore all the other uses for the term “childless mothers”- for I am taking a stand and changing it to exclusively describe ladies like me. It’s now for the women who’ve wanted yet never had so much as a false positive, or a blip on the pregnancy test. For those of us who have spent many 2 week waits giddy, talking to your belly and silently whispering “Am I? Could we be???”. For any woman who has spent hours crying asking the world why or who had to sit through one more relative’s baby shower and couldn’t explain that she was happy and sad and jealous all at once, or all who had to suffer through yet another friend or family member’s well-meaning-yet-heart-ripping “enjoy your freedom!” speech. All the while feeling tortured by that weird maternal feeling that lingers inside us all. She feels so, so ready for it all- everything in her life is lined up and waiting with baited breath for those children. She already FEELS like a mother- she is a mother in her heart & soul.

That’s what a childless mother is. If you meet one, be nice to her. And be nice to the childless fathers out there, too- they do exist.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blizzard of '77 Anniversary - Do You Remember?



This YouTube video is a MUST see! If you want, fast forward through the first 1 minute which is just informational slides and you will get to pictures and radio sound bits. THIS is what I remember winter to be like. I was 6 1/2 years old then, in the prime of my "Let's play in the snow" days. Yes, it snowed for days on end. Yes, my siblings and I were sledding off of our neighbor's garage roof. Yes, school was closed for days. Yes, there were snow mountains everywhere. Yes, those industrial plow sized "snow blowers" & front loaders cleared the city streets.

I am glad I am old enough to have memories from this great blizzard that gave Buffalo the bad rap with snow but I am also glad that I was young enough to not have to deal with the responsibility aspect of such a storm. It was all fun and games for me. Happy 32nd anniversary Blizzard of '77!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Forgot To Update

This has to be a record....THREE posts in one evening. I forgot to update my diet progress (or lack of progress) on Monday. I must admit that I didn't loose but I didn't gain either. I was REALLY bad while Carolyn and Dan were visiting. I am back on track and have been since Monday. I am hoping to shed some more sticks of butter this week. Loss to date (since Jan 5th) is 3 pounds or shall I say 12 sticks of butter.

The Tundra.......Ummmm, I mean Buffalo

David's Uncle Charles lives in Texas. Recently Uncle Charles commented on one of my posts and stated that the weather where he is was 71 degrees. *Sigh*.....we'll get that in May - if we are lucky. Uncle Charles seemed sincerely baffled as to why David and I would have loved the scorching heat of the upper 90's when we visited there early last summer (I think it was June). But, when your encounters with the sun are so brief, you learn to relish the steamy moments you share with it when it is around.

I guess I jinxed Buffalo. Early this year, I posted about how little snow David and I get by our house. Due to where we are located our house misses most of the lake effect snow. Well, this year we are getting slammed, not by lake effect, but general snow storms. (Good news is we are getting our money's worth on our plow contract this year). Also, it has been so cold that we don't get a break from the white stuff either. It has come and none of it has melted at all this month. It hasn't been this cold in Buffalo since the winter of 1977 - and we had our infamous Blizzard that year too (I hope that is not on the horizon for this year).

Anyway, I had a meeting in Buffalo at 10 am today. David called me to tell me that the roads were terrible and it took him and hour and a half to get to work (it normally takes 30 min). I attributed his ridiculously long commute to rush hour getting backed up because of the snow. I decided to proceed to the meeting with Maddie in tow even though it was offered to me to reschedule. Nahhhh....., I thought. How bad could it be? Rush hour was over and all will be fine. Yes, rush hour was over, yet the roads were still crappy. And what should've only take 25 minutes took me 50min. Half way there I thought to myself, "This is CRAZY that I am out here when I really don't have to be" but alas, by the time that thought went through my head I was actually closer to my destination than I was to my house so I proceeded.

While driving I decided to snap this picture, (yeah, yeah, yeah.....I know, what the hell was I doing taking a picture while driving in a snow storm) but I just wanted to share. Although things were a little slow, the roads were still manageable. No schools were closed. I had to laugh though because in other parts of the country one measly inch of snow will practically call for a state of emergency and pretty much shut down the city. We Buffalonians are robust....a few snowflakes don't scare us!

As Promised.... Basement Photos

As promised, here are the pictures of my basement (I finally found the camera cord to transfer over the photos). Unfortunately, the lighting in the "after" photo is kind of crappy and I couldn't stand still enough for my camera to not shoot a blurry picture (must have had too much caffeine that day.) Although the lighting in the before picture gives a better idea of the color of the basement (the after picture just looks so brown), the after picture at least gives you an idea of how the ceiling helped to finish off the project of finishing our basement. Thanks again "Go Go Dan" for your work while visiting us. Now we just need to finish off the stairs going down to the basement. David sized and cut all the wood for that project when Madeline and I were visiting Marysia in early December. We just need to find the spare time to do some painting before laying down the laminate. Hmmmmm......sounds like I need to leave town again.....ha ha ha!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Okay, this image isn't exactly what I want to teach Madeline but I thought the image was pretty funny....and it sort of fit what I wanted to post about. What the heck, I thought.

What I did want to point out, however, is that it is crazy how much Madeline is like me. She is the little social butterfly and I already see issues arising as a result of this trait.

When I was younger, I was the one who wouldn't shut my yak in the classroom. (I still can't stop talking - especially after some coffee!) I was the one the teachers would move to a corner to try to prevent me from gibber-jabbering. And I was the one, as my mom would say, has "ants in her pants". Yep, that's me....AND that's Madeline!

Today as I was waiting in the hallway to pick Madeline up from pre-school, I heard the teacher preparing to get the children lined up and ready to dismiss. I could tell the teacher was trying to wrangle them towards the door but I still heard of children's laughter and chatter. And then came my first glimpse of what lies ahead when I hear the teacher say, "Madeline is talking....Madison is talking....Lauren is talking...." The teachers voice had a very soft spoken, "gentle reminder" type tone to it but nonetheless, Madeline was the first one mentioned. I had to roll my eyes to myself and think, "Yep, I will now begin my years of payback for all the chaos I caused in my youth."

When the children were dismissed the teacher came over and talked to me about some other miscellaneous trivial thing but while we were talking I asked her how well Madeline listens. Her response was that "Madeline does well with a gentle reminder and she is still learning the routines but Madeline doesn't like to sit still for very long". *SIGH*....tell me something I don't already know! Yep, my mom is laughing her dupa off up there! Hear that???? Mixed with my mom's laughter do you hear the "pop, pop, pop" sound? That's my grey hair popping out! Parent-teacher conference week is coming soon. It should be interesting.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Productive & Fun Visit

As pretty much expected, my posting was non-existent this weekend. David's sister, Carolyn, and brother-in-law, Dan (aka GoGo Dan), were visiting us from Indiana. It was a short visit but we managed to cram in work, fun activities and relaxation time.

First, an update on my last post "Crunch Time", I did somehow manage to whip the house into shape. However, the joke was that Carolyn was under the impression that I have such an organized house. Oh, how nice it would've been to let her think that was the always the case but I knew I had to 'fess up on the little secret that the condition was merely in honor of their visit. Sure enough....our "destructor" quickly scattered her toys and gave Carolyn and Dan a clearer picture of how we live.

Madeline and I met Carolyn and Dan at the airport on Friday afternoon. After a brief t-shirt shopping spree at the local Harley Davidson store (Dan has a Harley), we enjoyed a relaxing evening hanging out at home and sharing pizza & wings. It also gave an opportunity for us to plan out the rest of the events for the weekend. (Also, computer whiz Dan figured out why my new printer wasn't loading and being recognized by my computer)

On Saturday, the original plan was for us to go snow tubing after Madeline's dance class. However, the weather was brutally cold and Carolyn & Dan persuaded us to let Dan help David install a drop ceiling in the home theatre portion of our finished basement. (I took before and after photos on my camera but I couldn't find the cord to transfer the pictures onto my computer) It was one of the last things on the list of things to do to complete our basement. Dan is very talented in home improvements. We felt terrible that Carolyn and Dan would fly all the way here to visit and we end up putting them to work but the help was greatly appreciated. In the evening we got a babysitter and the four of us headed out to dinner. We decided to head back to share one of our favorites, Toro Tapas. The nature of tapas is meant to share small plates which allows for a very social, casual dining experience. The restaurant ambiance is quite trendy and in Buffalo's Elmwood village - a hip part of the city. We stuffed our guts on the cheese and fruit platter, tangerine BBQ pulled pork, calamari, a great leafy salad with goat cheese & blueberries, red pepper & basil crab cakes, potato & cream cheese enchilada & wine. We topped everything of with chocolate sushi. After dinner we went to a local bar to hear a fairly descent band - Hit N Run (the photos were taken by Dan's cell phone at the place that had the band). I believe that we all enjoyed ourselves immensely on our night on the town.

This morning we all slept in a bit (including Madeline). The guys finished up the last little bit in the basement while Carolyn, Madeline and I did the "Wegmans" experience. For those readers that are native to Buffalo, you have no idea how blessed we are to have such a great supermarket here. Carolyn is a great Wegmans fan (Uncle Charles - if you are reading this, Wegmans is similar to Austin's Central Market). I then whipped together a gut busting pasta with chicken, red, orange & yellow peppers, onion, fennel & diced tomato. After sharing dinner we had to pack things up and get ready to take Carolyn & Dan to the airport. The weekend was so short but we accomplished so many things together. We hope that we can do it again soon. We had a great time and we greatly appreciate all the (unexpected) help that was given. And, by the way, I absolutely have no chance of loosing any weight this week. In fact, I expect a gain.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Crunch Time!

I am really, really trying to get the house ready for our visit from Carolyn and Dan. I just don't know how the heck to tackle this with a little one trashing it behind me. How did my mom do it with SIX kids?!??! More and more, I am thinking maybe we should pursue getting a bigger house. I just plain old don't have enough hiding spots for all our clutter! I am nowhere near ready and I only have the morning to try to pull things together before picking up Carolyn and Dan from the airport. Yep, the Cinderella movie will be a good friend of mine!

I should really stay up tonight to clean but David was in Albany for two nights. That shouldn't make a difference but when David travels it really knocks it out of me! I guess because when David is home I get more of a Mama break after David gets home from work. (Not that I go off duty, but another set of eyes and ears on Madeline gives Mama-Dirtyfoot some leeway.) I am exhausted....no wonder people generally have children when they are younger. I can only imagine what our Indiana visits do to Grandma and Grandpa - they must be grateful for a break when the three of us head back to our hotel. So, I am heading to bed soon and trying to do the best I can in the morning. I hope Carolyn and Dan are as forgiving as Jon was!

Carolyn and Dan will arrive Friday afternoon and are leaving Sunday. The visit will be quick so I have a feeling we will be quite busy. I will try to keep the blog updated but forgive me if there is a little lapse. Photos and stories will come in time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Princess Party

AWWwwwwwwww........how cute! After a bit of a draining day yesterday, I put Madeline to bed and started cleaning up some of the toys that Madeline had left out. On the kitchen floor, I came upon a little princess party with her doll house toys. I would love to know what was running through her imagination. Sleeping Beauty (in pink) was standing on a canopy bed with a kitchen center pulled up to the bed with a tray of food on top of the counter. Cinderella (in blue) is standing on a chair in front of the laundry room center. I wonder if she imagined Cinderella doing laundry like it is referred to in the Cinderella movie. Belle (in yellow) is sitting on the couch with a baby while another baby sits on a chair nearby. At first I thought how nice it was that Belle was spending time with the babies. Yet, with further thought, I bet Belle was in "time-out". For some reason Madeline has it out for Belle and Madeline will put her larger Belle doll in time out. So maybe that's what's going on there. This is photo shows exactly how I found these toys. Its fun to get these little glimpses into our little girl.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Trying To Get Back To Our Routines

Jon is now gone; he left our house Monday morning. First thing....get on the scale. I was nervous to do this because I did A LOT of diet damage over the weekend. It is so hard to diet when you have house guests. I certainly couldn't fix Weight Watcher-friendly meals to a big meat and potatoes type guy like Jon! You tend to make richer foods, consume a few drinks, and make desserts too. I was just praying that I at least stayed the same weight and not gain anything. I did, however, manage to loose a 1/2 pound. Not a lot - but still 2 sticks of butter. I am once again back on track but I anticipate another bad weekend with the new rotation of house guests (David's sister and brother-in-law) arriving Friday.

David had off on Monday for MLK day. We spent the afternoon running around doing some errands. Although we accomplished some important items, most of the running around was non-productive stuff. We made a stop at a local electronics store and that is when Madeline decided to try her best to test me. Yep, lately our dear Madeline has decided to take it up a notch in her testing the "not listening" approach. When Madeline decided that she was done with electronics shopping, she pulled out the "potty card". Of course, after we trekked all the way to the other side of the mega-store and got her on the pot, she said "all done" with out her doing a thing. Then, Madeline absolutely refused to pull up her pants (which she is fully capable of doing herself.) Since no one was in the restroom, I left the stall and told Madeline to come out and wash her hands when she pulled up her pants. Madeline just stood in the opened doorway of the stall, crying, with her pants to her knees. Next since the restroom was still empty, I told her that I was done with the potty and that I would be waiting outside for her. David and I stood guard outside the restroom door and Madeline still refused to pull up her pants. Instead she attempted to leave the restroom with her pants down to her knees. Basically the entire scenario boiled down to a power struggle in the ladies room. You have no idea how tempted I was to drag her bare-bottomed out of the restroom and through the store, but I thought better of that. Instead, I pulled up her pants for her and Madeline and I left the store and went to the car. (Good timing though because we were actually about ready to leave anyway. Madeline wasn't aware of that fact so she was led to believe we were leaving because of her behavior.) Upon returning home, Madeline went straight to time out. The evening brought a new and improved Madeline but, let me tell you, Mama-Dirtyfoot was wiped out!

This morning, David, Madeline and I took a trip to the post office before dropping Madeline to school. We needed to get the ball rolling to apply for a US Passport for Madeline (Her passport photo is too cute). It is looking like we will have an opportunity to travel with David to Germany on one of his business trips in March. The rest of the morning was filled with school for Madeline, a visit from her speech teacher, and another time-out for not listening to Mama-Dirtyfoot (I told her to not play on the stairs. I turned my back and two seconds later guess who was on the stairs). Let's just say, I love Madeline dearly but when she goes on her "testing sprees", bed time does not come soon enough. Let's hope we can get this (somewhat) in check before Aunt Carolyn and Uncle "GoGo" Dan fly in for their weekend visit this Friday!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jon's Visit Winding Down

Okay, this picture is a little old (year 2000) but is a good idea of the type of trouble the three of us used to get into. This photo was taken in the French Quarter in New Orleans on a visit to Jon. The three of us are soaking wet (it was pouring that evening) and half lit....and I am pretty sure I "earned" some of those beads that David & I are wearing.

Nine years later, our visits sort of put an exclamation point on the fact that each of us is getting older. Okay, so some might say, "Good, you're 'growing up'" and that might very well be the case. Yet, it is also a reminder of youth past. Let's just say that although our visits together are still very enjoyable, they are more uneventful and quieter than in previous years.

Saturday, Jon's mom stopped over for a visit and we were finally able to do our Christmas gift exchange. (For many years we affectionately called Jon's mom (Shirley) David's "Buffalo Mom". So naturally when Madeline came home Shirley became Madeline's "Buffalo Grandma"). In the afternoon we went to a memorial party (Jon kept referring to it as a "death party"...nice) for Jon's late uncle. I thought Madeline was about to bust a gut on all the olives she ate there. In the evening, David and I got a babysitter and David, Jon and I went to the Buffalo Sabres hockey game (great seats ( see photo) and the Sabres won 3-1). But when you are a paying for a babysitter, the night tends to end early.......of course, getting tired earlier than we used to has something to do with it as well.

Today, we had a leisurely morning at home. After church, Jon tagged along to see some open houses (yes, we are still toying with the idea of moving). Thank God Jon was there because he wrangled Madeline (yeah....Madeline wasn't exactly an angel today) as David and I spoke to realtors. The late afternoon was filled with playoff football for the guys. Mama-Dirtyfoot fed Madeline dinner, gave her a tubbie-time, and put her in for nite-nite. Our "excitement" for today was a grown-up late-night meal. Yet, it was nice to have uninterrupted conversations. *sigh*....Uninterrupted conversations are now considered an indulgent guilty pleasure. Oh....so funny how times have changed.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Big Bird In For Questioning

"Uncle" Jon is here. Okay, for those of you that do not know who Jon is, he is David's best friend. They met as co-workers when David first moved to Buffalo, eventually they were roommates and for a short transitional period, the three of us lived together as I was moving in with David but before Jon moved to New Orleans. Jon was also the best man at our wedding. Jon is really more like a brother to David and he has brotherly status with me too.

Madeline was pleased with Uncle Jon's arrival too. Jon arrived around 1pm and for the few hours in the afternoon before David came home from work, Madeline made Jon quite familiar with her music. After at least 4 times through her favorite CD, I am sure Jon will be singing "Wheels On The Bus" in his sleep.

Diet-wise.....it won't be a good weekend. I already made a gut-busting dinner - breaded pork chops, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn, applesauce & broccoli (not to mention the pecan bars with Cafe Latte a la mode for dessert) and some wine too. Thank God I saved up my "Flex Points" for the weekend so I have a little leeway.

We are pleased to have Jon visiting although Jon was not happy about flying here this morning. Let's just say that Jon isn't exactly thrilled with flying - add to the equation the "Miracle on the Hudson" episode yesterday. Luckily Jon has a sense of humor (as warped as David's and mine) that helped to squelch his fears. Below is a conversation with Jon yesterday through email (subject heading: Airplanes).....only Jon!

Jon: OK, these things are landing in rivers now, I may rethink my trip tomorrow.....

MDF: Don't worry. Most of our rivers are frozen over now.

Jon: It hit a fn bird!!!!! They call it a ''bird strike'' like the bird's trying to take it down. What if they are, what if this emboldens them? If I get to the airport tomorrow and see some pigeons hanging out on the power lines, I'm bailing.
At least they ruled out terrorism, so we know there aren't sleeper cells hanging around airports throwing geese at at planes.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

School Progress

This morning I dropped off Madeline at pre-school. I decided to take the time while Madeline was away to do some grocery shopping/beer run (Jon is coming to town tomorrow). This is the first errand I ran while Madeline was at school. I must admit I had mixed emotions. I was thrilled that I could have a somewhat peaceful shopping trip. No having to drive the monster semi-like rig of a kid's "car" shopping cart, no begging for snacks, no trips to the potty mid-store and no begging for bologna at the deli. On the other hand, the silence was deafening and I so missed my sidekick.

I picked Madeline up and saw art work displayed in the hallway (see photo above). Awwwwww.....displayed artwork - talk about a heart warmer. It's funny, I can see her personality in her work. It is so like her to not want to paint/color much (thus the white space in her lamb - she is more into gross motor activities). Yet, school is definitely having an effect on this characteristic. This evening Madeline actually *wanted* to color. She grabbed her coloring book and she and I colored for quite a while this evening. What a difference!!!!

Also, without a doubt, Madeline is talking more lately. This evening she was stringing all kinds words together. During nighttime prayers we recapped her day and she told me about what she worked on in school today (the teachers let us see what they were working on so I knew what Madeline was talking about. The children laid on the floor and had their body traced and they were painting in the body) Madeline told me "Paint school. Paint the hair. Paint the shirt. Paint the pants. Paint face." I told her that was right and that she also colored with Mama at home. Madeline replied, "No paint at home, paint at school". Madeline is also not only aware that she'll see "Uncle" Jon tomorrow but also the time frame that this will occur. This morning she told me, "See Uncle Jon 'morrow. Courtney (her speech teacher) first". Although I have to give credit to both her previous and current speech teachers, I have to say that the pre-school experience has given her such growth in such a short period of time. David and I are so glad that we chose to Madeline after Christmas.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fundraisers....ALREADY!!

Madeline started her second week of Pre-School today. I have to say that it appears to be going very well. She seems to love it, the teacher says things are going great, Madeline was in a very happy mood when I picked her up, she seemed excited about her day and Madeline's speech teacher and I both feel as though Madeline already improved on her speech in the short amount of time since Madeline started school. What else could you ask for, right?

However....I didn't even think about*this* aspect of sending Madeline to school. Enclosed in Madeline's take home folder from school was the chocolate catalog for her school's fundraiser. "UGH!!!! You gotta be kidding me!", I thought. At least when the kids are a little older they can call people to beg for sales themselves. But at age three, who is really doing the selling???? And since Madeline is new to the school I don't just want to ignore the fundraiser completely. Since the fundraiser catalog is for Easter candies I guess I'll just ask the Easter bunny to shop through Madeline's school. So here is the spiel.....If you would like to support a fundraiser to benefit Madeline's school (and plan to see me before Easter) let me know if you are in need of chocolate.....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lord of the Dance



Normally, as I sit in church, I look ahead at the hymn numbers to see what songs will be sung during the Mass. Sunday, Madeline was being a bit testy so I was a little preoccupied with her and trying to keep her quiet. I contemplated making a quick exit so that I wouldn't have to wrangle Madeline anymore. The song book was already put away. Yet I quickly grabbed it when they announced that the closing song would be "Lord of the Dance". *THIS* song completely reminds me of my mom.

My mom loved to dance. She often said that she was born with dancing shoes on (and I inherited this love of dancing) and when we would tease her about her short stubby toes (which I also inherited) she would tell us that they are good for dancing. But aside from her love of dance, my mom specifically asked for this song to be played at her funeral (and she specifically requested that it be played in the most upbeat tempo as possible). I so badly wanted to sing along to the song because, aside from the fact that it reminds me of my mom, I do think it is a pretty song. Yet, the song struck me and the tears started. All I could manage (barely) was to move my lips. As I looked at David, he too was touched by the memories that song invited.

As the song says, "Dance then wherever you may be...." I know you are, Mom (and are probably having one heck of a time up there). Mom, your love for dance was simply just an extension of your love for life. Thanks for giving me that gift - a somewhat carefree spirit, a love of life, a love of dance.....and the ugly toes too!

Feelin' Good

Last night my friend, Andrea, came over for a beauty makeover evening. She gave my other friend, Kelly, and me haircuts. Kelly and I were both counting the days until our cuts because they were quite overdue. I love our hair cutting evenings for more than the haircut. It is always such a girls night gab-fest.

Also, I lost 2 1/2 pounds in my first diet week....21 more to go. At least I lost my "Oh my God, I ate like a pig during the holidays" weight. Now I am at my, "Oh my God, I ate like a pig on vacation" post vacation weight (which I never took off after my trip to Outer Banks in JULY!!). I have to remind myself that it will take a while to lose the weight but I didn't gain it overnight either. And when I think that 2 1/2 pounds isn't much progress, I need to remind myself what 2 1/2 pounds is equivalent to. I need to visualize that weight. 2 1/2 pounds is equivalent to 10 sticks of butter. I lost 10 sticks of butter last week!

Friday, January 9, 2009

It's Official....I'm A Teacher!

I guess I've been a teacher for a while but my certification was only provisional. (I can't believe that it has been five years already!) I had immaculate timing when I decided on a career change and started the teacher education program. New York State no longer has "permanent certification" for its teachers yet, I was in the last graduating class that offered it. I was grandfathered in to being eligible for permanent certification as long as (in addition to the board exams that are required for provisional certification) I obtained my Master's degree, acquired 2 years of classroom experience, and submitted a video tape to the State of New York for review (and consequently satisfactorily pass their review) prior to my provisional certification expiring.

I must say, getting the video tape accomplished was so stressful and near impossible because, due to my travel to Russia for the adoption and circumstances around my mom's illness and death, I had no time to think or plan for such an important thing. Yet, thanks to my dear friend and former co-worker, Jen, and my sisters, Marysia & Margaret, I was nagged to death (with love of course) to make time for this video before I lose the opportunity for permanent certification. I mailed my video tape to the state for review days before my last day in the classroom. (Knowing that I would be a stay-at-home after we came home with Madeline, time was truly ticking).

Thanks Jen, Marysia & Margaret, for all the gentle prodding. I received my permanent certification in the mail today. I am permanently certified to teach Pre-K, K-6 and Business in the State of New York.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Gift From an Angel

A bit of history is involved in these pictures. David's (past) aunt, Terry traveled to California 42 years ago. She brought back David's brother, Ed (who was nine years old at the time) a blue and black Chinese silk set. Ed never wore the set yet David's mom held onto the set - a reminder of her sister and a gift she had given. Along came Madeline and David's mom decided to pass along the set, not knowing whether or not we would find a use for it. I can't tell you how many times Madeline pulls out the set. Aside from wearing the pants on her head (she pretends its long black hair), Madeline likes to wear them around the house as lounge-wear. She must like the feel of the silk. Below is some video footage....
video

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Boy Crazy at 3?

Madeline had a doctor's appointment today (which ended up having to be rescheduled). While in the waiting room, we saw a little boy that was in Madeline's music group. The boy carried with him his favorite toy, a "Woody" (from Toy Story) doll. As I talked to the boys mom she said things like, "After seeing the movie, he wanted a Woody", "We looked three days for his Woody" and "Go show Madeline your Woody". Ugh....it was very difficult to keep a straight face.

Next, a little blond boy walked into the waiting room. Madeline's face lit up, she started waving and saying, "Hi Boy!" Madeline, the blond boy and the "Woody" boy were all playing with the toys while Madeline kept chirping, "Hi Boy!" Ughhhhhh.......I am soooo in trouble and sooooo not looking forward to her teen years!

Movie Night

I read "The Secret Life of Bees" after my sister, Marysia recommended it. Since her recommendation, I read the book as did my sister, Margaret, and my friends Jen and Kelly. Each one of us enjoyed the book. Kelly and I decided to see the movie while it was still up at the theatres. In general, the movie held true to the book. I guess if I hadn't read the book, I would have thought that the movie was okay yet both Kelly and I felt that the movie fell short. No producers, directors or actresses can do a better job than your own imagination.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

First Day of Pre-School

We have been prepping Madeline for this morning every since Santa left town (Photo at left is right before we left the house). We have been talking about school and reading about school. The other day we drove past her school. This morning, over breakfast, we talked more.

MDF (Mama-Dirtyfoot): Madeline, will Mama be in school?
Maddie : No
MDF: Will Papa be in school?
Maddie: No, Papa work.
MDF: Where will Mama be?
Maddie: Mama home.
MDF: Were will Madeline be?
Maddie: Lynn school.
MDF: That's right, Madeline will be at school and Mama will pick you up later.
I then told her of all the wonderful things she would do today - play with new friends, sing, hear stories, etc.

Fast forward to 8:45. David and I take Madeline into her classroom. Madeline starts clinging to my leg. I think.....oh God, this could get ugly. "Up please, up please", Madeline exclaims. This is something Madeline says when she is uncertain of a situation (she wants to be picked up). But as we spoke with the teacher and Madeline got more comfortable with her surroundings David and I realized it was time to make the break and leave (the photo to the right is Madeline wearing her "I am not so sure about this" look while shaking hands with her teacher). Mama and Papa gave her a kiss and told her we would be back later. Madeline just turned to us, waved, and said "bye-bye".

So, I barely got out of the door before the tears started streaming (down MY face - not Madeline's). David dropped me back at home before he headed to work and the silence in the house was deafening (another reason to wipe away tears)! Yet, time went quickly and before long I was heading back to pick Madeline up. As I waited outside of the classroom to greet Madeline I could hear her in there having a good time. The teacher said that Madeline did great. I was pleased that Madeline did well. I know that this time away gave Madeline a greater appreciation of her mama too because all afternoon Madeline kept giving Mama-Dirtyfoot spontaneous huge hugs. They were nice hugs - not clingy, anxious hugs but rather "You're the greatest" hugs. Yes Madeline, I missed you and love you too!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Miscellaneous updates


*Madeline's school supplies are packed and ready to go. She knows that school is tomorrow and seems excited. Mama-Dirtyfoot has done her best to get her excited, yet on the inside I am a bit sad about the entire transition.

*I survived my first day of dieting. I stayed on track all day. I guess I never realized how much I nibble throughout the day. Without the ability to do that, I was pretty hungry at times today. I stayed on track and was actually able to have a popcorn snack after dinner.

*As per my request, David hid the scale so that I can't weigh myself until Monday.

*I got three new friends on Facebook today.

*My laundry has sex in the closet. Why do I say that? Every time I open my closet door, the laundry in the hamper has multiplied. (They have gotten quite lucky this holiday season)

*Although it feels like winter will never end, I was happy to realize that the days are already getting longer.

*I am annoyed at Santa for dumping all those toys at my house. Now I have to find somewhere to put them. WHAT was he thinking???

*I started Christmas shopping for next year.

*My friend Kelly and I are in need of a haircut....our friend Andrea is checking her schedule to hook us up!

*I need a pedicure!!! My scaly feet are snagging the sheets.

*Madeline is getting our warped sense of humor. She can make us laugh!

*We just got home from Indiana on 12/30 but I am ready to travel again.

*Just curious, God.....if I can't get pregnant, why the heck do I have to deal with periods?

*I am not reading the book that I started (and say I am reading on my blog). I think I might start a different book soon.

*Kelly and I are going to see "Secret Life of Bees" on Wednesday. We both read the book.

*David and I want to see "Marley and Me" together because we read the book together.

* I want to see "Tale of Desperaux" because I *loved* reading that to my students each year.

*I am going to a MOMS night out (post)holiday party on Friday.....sigh, my first true test for my diet.

*I forgot I ate asparagus at dinner.....until I peed (ugh!)

*I am budgeting in (with my points) to go to McDonald's tomorrow so that I can take Madeline to lunch after her first day of Pre-School.

*I am thrilled with the response I am receiving for the St Gerard's reunion (by the way, for those interested the tentative date is May 2nd)

*My secret dream is to be in a play/musical in community theatre but I wont try-out because I am afraid of failure.

*I am so happy that my friends/family follow my miscellaneous ramblings on this blog.

*I am so blessed in many ways.

D-Day

Today is the day - diet day! I am at the heaviest weight I have ever been, feeling absolutely disgusted with myself and out of control at the same time. I can either take the easy road and accept my rolls of fat and continue to make lame excuses for them, or put myself to work, make lifestyle changes, turn down the goodies I want to eat but ultimately feel better about myself in the long run. Plus, my belief is that, in general, overweight people have low self-esteem and I am beginning to feel myself go down that dark path. I hate the way I feel about myself now and it is directly related to my weight.

So, my last diet-free night I indulged in all the no-nos - a grease-drippin' breakfast, McDonald's french fries, a high fat gut-bustin' chili dinner (with loads of cheese, of course), a pastry heart after dinner, and wine. Yet my fridge is now stocked with fruits and veggies and I am ready to go. My biggest fear, however, is that I fall flat on my face with this diet and that I will not be able to re-motivate myself thus causing myself to be a ton of lard for the rest of my life. My strategies for success are to work in tandem with my sister (via long distance) to work on our weight loss and encourage each other over the phone. I am signing up for Weight Watchers Online and my friend, Kelly, will give me the third degree every day about my exercise activity. Please wish me luck and pray for the strength needed for me to have willpower. If I am being successful in this, I am sure that I will keep you posted. It'll mean bad news if you never get another update on this topic. Stay tuned......

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Weight Watchers

Ohhhhhhh, How Cool!!!!! I just signed up for Weight Watchers online (they are offering a one week free trial online if anyone else out there is interested in testing it out). For those of you not familiar with Weight Watchers, you get a daily "point" allowance and you make your food choices (home cooked, store bought, restaurant.....whatever) but stay within your point limit. The online thing is really cool though because you get all the tools to track your food intake but also, you can plug in *any* recipe and the computer will calculate its point value per serving and you also get suggestions on how to lighten up your favorite recipes (or you can get recipe ideas online).

School Shopping

Madeline is starting her first day of pre-school on Tuesday. I could have started her in September but David and I didn't think she was ready (nor were we). We realized that, as an only child, Madeline needs the socialization with other children. And although, as a teacher, I can work with her on ABC's and 123's, Maddie needs both the social interaction with other children and the social training of being in a classroom environment. In the past, no one went to kindergarten. Yet, in this day in age, the majority of children experience some sort of day care or preschool setting. So, although Madeline has the advantage of being with mom throughout the day, she would be at a disadvantage for not experiencing this environment (and its social rules) before kindergarten. Therefore, we decided to start her up after the Christmas break. The program is a nice program. The school is very close to our house and she will only go on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00-11:30.

Last night, David, Madeline and I went shopping for her school supplies. I began to realize how much I am going to miss Madeline for those couple of hours each week. I also began to realize that this is the beginning of her having her own life. Now, I do *everything* with Madeline. If she is trying to recite a part of her favorite book, I know what she is trying to say. If she is humming a tune, I know what song is going through her head and where she learned that song. Now, she will be exposed to new thoughts and ideas. And when she comes home humming a tune, I might not have any idea what song she is singing. With that said, I am secretly (of course Madeline can't know about this) having mini-anxious moments thinking about the whole idea. I think to myself, "Are we doing the right thing?" but I realize that yes, we are. Madeline is ready, it is just Mama that is not. And to think......this is only the beginning!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sister Time (Wished You Were There, Margie!)

Okay, once again I have to apologize for my crappy photograph. Cell phones don't allow for award-winning photography- especially in dimly lit restaurants. (Hmmmm, I just noticed this but my smile looks like I am either missing a tooth or maybe I have food stuck in one of them. Pretty funny!)

My sister, Marysia, was in Buffalo for a holiday visit with her husband's family. We initially had plans to join some of my friends for dinner but the times to meet for that got changed to 7:45pm reservations so we opted to try for an earlier night out (so much for that, we ended up staying out until 11pm anyway). Oh well, it worked out nicely though that Marysia and I were able to have some one-on-one sister time.

We ended up going to a movie matinee and saw "Yes Man". It is not unusual for me to find a movie or something on TV humorous but not laugh out loud. This movie was funny. Yet, I don't know if it was actually *that* funny or if I was just primed for comedy because my sister and I were being silly together. Regardless, while watching this movie I was having some good laugh out loud belly laughs.

Next we went to dinner at a new bistro-style restaurant in Buffalo called Wine Thief. The restaurant got a good review by Buffalo News' Janice Okun. The restaurant is in Buffalo's trendy Elmwood Village. With the bistro style small plates, the choices were perfect for sharing. We decided to try some of the items that were reviewed. We shared the Heirloom Tomato Salad as a starter and also shared small plates of Lamb Chops and Duck Tacos (yes, you read that correctly! Duck! and they were yummy!) We also shared some Cloudline Pinot Noir. After our dinner we were not yet ready to go home so we headed over to Starbucks for tea and dessert. We each had a Cranberry Bliss Bar and a Venti Wild Sweet Orange Tea (I got Marysia hooked on that too). What the heck, 'tis the season over overindulging. Over dinner we discussed our dieting strategies to implement come Monday. But at Starbucks we chose to savor the sweet treats with our warm beverages while sitting in front of the fireplace. We chatted until closing time.

I drove Marysia back to her in-laws' house and headed back home. Since it was late, Marysia wanted me to call her to let her know that I got home safely. Yes, my big sister was looking out for me....but it was more than that! She also wanted to let me know that she planted the anchor in the side pocket of the passenger side door. *UGH!!!* Thanks a ton!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas Past Packed Away.....again

I absolutely hate taking down the Christmas decorations. Aside from finding the chore tedious, I find that it makes me melancholy. We normally do not take down our decorations so early. We usually wait until Three Kings Day but since the addition of Madeline, the amount of stuff around the house has insanely multiplied. The walls of our home seem as though they are closing in on us and the Christmas tree was hogging up some much needed space in our living room. So now, the tree that was in Maddie's room is packed away (she was not happy about that) and our main Christmas tree is also taken down (I just have to take apart the tree in our finished basement).

Anyway, the photo above is the angel that used to be on our Christmas tree each year when I was a child. David and I have our own star topper but I hold on to this angel. Every year I pull it out, smile, remember fond memories of Christmases past, and wrap up the angel again for another year of storage. Despite its brief annual appearance, I cannot part with it. David and I also keep our childhood stockings but we do not use them, they've been replaced with newer Christmas stockings. I also hold onto a handful of ornaments from my childhood and a string of the "old school" big lights that we used in my childhood home. Two of my most prized items of Christmas Past are the sad lookin' beat-up teddy bear that we used to play hide and seek with in the Christmas tree and I have also "refurbished" an old musical jingle bell that we used to hang on our foyer door when I was a child. The now renovated jingle bell hangs on the inside of our front door. (See before and after shot below). Am I more nostalgic than most or do we all squirrel away our Christmases Past? Where do you stand in this obsession?