Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

A hand-me-down jumper from Tammy.  Madeline wore it all weekend!
Happy Thanksgiving!  As the youngest child of a family of six (whose 5 siblings are relocated to various states) I would have loved to have family visiting us this weekend.  This was not in the cards this year and, consequently, David, Madeline and I spent a quiet Thanksgiving together.  Yet, we have so much for which to be thankful and it was nice to share the holiday together as a family to reflect on all our blessings.

The Thanksgiving table
We enjoyed the standard fare: turkey, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, butternut squash, cranberries & pumpkin pie.  I do have to pat myself on the back for the yummy cooking skills....if I do say so myself, everything was delicious!  My absolute favorite is my zippy (not spicy, just zippy) stuffing.  I make it with cornbread, onion, celery, yellow peppers, chorizo, diced green chilies and cilantro.....yum.  A definite tradition! And speaking of tradition, I continue my mom's tradition by making pumpkin chiffon pie.

Rodeo Drive candle snuffer
Happy Thanksgiving!
Along with all of this, my mom is part of the action when I place my candle snuffer on the table.  The candle snuffer was actually my mom's.  When we visited my brother, Marty, in California (when he lived there) in 1984, we went shopping on Rodeo Drive.  My mom was determined to buy something on Rodeo Drive and not "break the bank" (She paid $8-something AND kept the receipt to prove it).  Mom bought the candle snuffer in a little shop on Rodeo Drive.  Every time Mom made the table for a special occasion she would pull out that candle snuffer and re-tell the story.  It became a joke that we would tease her about.  Now, I set the table and proudly display the candle snuffer (I was with her when she bought it).  Somehow, I feel as though my mom is there with me, celebrating whichever special occasion with me. 

"Tangled" in 3-D
Friday, we worked on our Christmas decorations. I will post some pictures next time I blog.  We also took Madeline to go see "Tangled"  (Rapunzel) at the movies.  Oh, such an innocent movie and, in general, under normal circumstances I would say it was good.  Yet, it opened up all kinds of questions and interesting conversation for adoptive parents of a child who grasps only a small portion of the concepts of adoption.  Grrrrrrr....let's hope this doesn't confuse her understanding.  As my friend Terry (who adopted two children from Russia) said, "Gotta love how all the Disney movies have either orphans, children freshly orphaned, bad adoptive situations, or the wicked step-mom, etc".  Soooo true!

Decorating the tree
Saturday afternoon we went to a 1st birthday party for Henry, the son of our friends/neighbors/co-worker of David.  On Sunday, we went to another birthday for Dani, the daughter of one of my MOMS club friends & a playmate of Madeline. Madeline enjoyed partying her butt off and, now that Madeline is somewhat independent at a party, David & I enjoyed socializing with friends while Madeline played.  The remaining hours of both Saturday and Sunday were spent trying to get our house back into shape after unearthing boxes upon boxes of Christmas decorations.

Setting up the manger
Like it or not, Monday came and David had to go back to work.  Although David loves his job, who doesn't love hanging at home better?  And so...we now make the most of our evenings in front of the fireplace and Christmas tree while we wait for a long weekend together at Christmastime.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What A Day!

Leo the Lion's "mug shot" - BUSTED!
Alright, I will has been a little bit crazy busy later.  As a result, my house hasn't exactly been the cleanest.  Today, I decided that I needed to get scrubbin' and try to get my house back into shape before Thursday so that I could relax on Thanksgiving (when I am not concentrating on cooking, that is!)  Madeline was cooperating nicely with my plan as she kept herself busy playing as I was putting some laundry away and dusting the guest room.  Madeline asked me if she could wash Strawberry Shortcake's hair with some shampoo.  "What the heck", I thought.  Madeline is playing so nicely AND she even asked first!  Besides, this was helping me out a bit because since Madeline was keeping herself busy, I was able to be productive.  I even plugged the sink for Madeline so that Strawberry Shortcake could take a "bath" in the sink too.

So, I was pleased that I had a few minutes more to work.  I grabbed some dirty laundry, ran in the basement and switched loads.  Came back upstairs, dusted, straightened and put some things away.  All the while, Madeline played nicely.  Until....."Mmmmoooooommmm, something is wrong with the sink!"  I arrive, with Madeline wearing a hooded lion towel from her toddler days, the sink overflowed onto the entire vanity top.  Now, why Madeline didn't shut off the water BEFORE the sink overflowed is beyond me.  But, even better, Madeline tried to clean up the water on the floor by taking out some guest towels from underneath the sink.  Good thinking on her part, however Madeline proceeded to leave the doors to under the sink open so that when the water over flowed it drenched ALL of these bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths.  So NOW, I have all of these towels to wash now too.

The sink only half-way through clean-up.
To make mattes even worse, I was having a hard time unplugging the sink.  I was trying to flick up the stopper by reaching my hand into the sink, but each time I would reach my hand into the sink, the water level would rise and Niagara Falls would once again begin to flow onto the bathroom floor.  Hmmmm....what to do? Ah! I got a cup and was going to scoop some water out of the sink and into the toilet until I could reach into the sink and unplug the plug.  I began to transfer the water into the toilet.  Wait....isn't the toilet supposed to automatically flush when you pour a whole bunch in at the same time?  Hmmmm....that's odd. Okay, maybe I wasn't pouring enough in so I shrugged and flushed the toilet. WHOAAAAA!!!! It is plugged!  When did this happen?!?!?!? Luckily *that* didn't overflow too (although I was quite nervous because it came close).

 And so my "productive" day was productive only in creating more of a mess to clean up. Grrrrr.... Well, I guess Madeline isn't as independent in her play as I hoped she could be.  Oh well, live and learn.  I guess I will be cooking AND cleaning on Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Skating At Mama's School

Due to an accident, (not ours) traffic was backed up on the day that Madeline normally takes ice skating lessons and, as a result, we missed Madeline's normal ice skating lesson last week.  Today, we were able to do a make-up session for last week's missed lesson.  Today's lesson (because it was a make-up) was at an ice rink at a location different than Madeline's normal rink.  Today's lesson was at Dwyer Arena, the ice rink at Niagara University.  I went to NU for my teaching certification/Master's in elementary education.  During my time at Niagara, I was never inside Dwyer Arena but that is where we were today.  Niagara's campus is small but very pretty.  I don't think I've been on campus since graduation.  Even though it wasn't *that* long ago (I went back to school for teaching later in life & graduated in '03) it seems like a lifetime ago. So, it was kind of neat to go back.  I must say, I have never been a huge fan of being a *student*, yet I really enjoyed my time at Niagara.  I feel more of a connection to Niagara than where I earned my Bachelor's degree (Buffalo State College).  I believe Niagara University gave me a great education and prepared me well for my own classroom.  Maybe one day, one of my nieces or nephews will choose Niagara....OR, maybe Madeline will attend in the future.  Until that day comes, I can simply say that I enjoyed my brief moment back on campus.

As far as the skating lesson goes.....for only her 2nd time on ice skates, I think Madeline did a great job.  Yes, Madeline spent a lot of time on her butt, however, she also spent a lot of time standing and skating on her own AND without the help of an ice skating walker.  Amazing progress in only two lessons!  Great job, Madeline!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Catch-Up Report...

Birthday morning!  5 YEARS OLD!

Growing up so quickly!

Making pizza for a birthday dinner

Opening birthday presents

Measuring Madeline's height

Madeline's growth over the past 6 months & year

A Hello Kitty nightgown from Aunt Margaret

How is it possible that a stay-at-home mom to only one child is so busy that there never seems to be enough hours in the day?  Hmmm.....good question.  It's not like I am sitting around, watching soap operas and eating bon bons. Yet, I could literally work myself around the clock.  (A) How does that happen and (B) how did my mom function with six kids??

Since I am not as on top of the blog postings as I used to be, I am sure I have missed out on sharing numerous photos and stories.  I will try to catch you up on the major ones.  Since it has been over two weeks since I last posted, I guess my synopsis of events will have to remain short.

On the 4th of November we celebrated Madeline's 5th birthday.  On Madeline's actual birthday, we had a fairly quiet day at home.  Madeline requested that we make pizzas for dinner and we had an ice cream cake for dessert.  After dinner, Madeline couldn't wait to open her gifts and she certainly tore into them! One of the items Mama and Papa got Madeline was a pair of ice skates (knowing that we were going to start her in skating lessons only 5 days after her birthday.)

Our nighttime routine enjoyed after a long day.
On the 5th, however, in lieu of a party David, Madeline and I headed out to Sandusky, Ohio to stay overnight at the Great Wolf Lodge.  With Madeline being the "lil' fishie" that she is, this was a perfect locale for her birthday celebration.  (A special thanks to my Aunt Sue & Uncle Ron for doggy-sitting Sobaka so that we could go on this get-away).

Madeline overlooking all the water play at Great Wolf Lodge
Hmmmm...what else have we been up to?  I have been soooo busy launching my endeavor as a Tastefully Simple consultant.  My 1st week, I did 4 parties and+ my 1st party was successful enough to recoup my start-up costs! (Thanks, Kelly!)  Things are going well with that.  Although I have a steady stream of new bookings, I have slowed down my pace (my choice).  I am thinking if I average 1-2 parties a week we, as a family, will be able to nicely balance my absence in the evenings while still bringing in some extra $$.

Wearing wolf ears on our way home from Great Wolf
Madeline's 1st ice skating lesson (pic taken through glass)
In addition to my new business adventure, Madeline continues to keep us busy.  She is growing so quickly!  Madeline continues her swim lessons, which she LOVES.  She is able to swim the LENGTH of the pool!  Madeline also LOVES her ice skating lessons which she began on the 9th.  I don't think Madeline can decide if she wants to skate more because she enjoys hockey or because she likes "sparkly dancing on ice" (figure skating).  Madeline is still enjoying the 3 mornings per week that she attends Pre-K.  David, however, is having a tough time with this.  Why???? Well, apparently Madeline has her first crush.  She told me that she wanted to marry Talon.  Previously Madeline would tell me that she wanted to marry Papa.  What I really wanted to say to Madeline is, "What kind of parents name their kid Talon????"  Friday, I picked Madeline up from school and she told me, "Joey was holding my hand".  WHAT???  This is Pre-K!!  I need to brace myself now for high school!
Since I haven't had regular postings on the blog, I know that I have left out a bunch of pictures.  I decided to add a few of them here (even if they occurred prior to my last blog post).  Hopefully, things will settle down here a little bit and I can keep you posted on the upcoming holidays and a child's prime "Santa years".  (Side note: I LOVE the fact that I can use the "Santa's watching" line on Madeline.  I have Madeline convinced that a little green light on my car's rear view mirror means that the "Santa-cam" is on. you think this will work when she is a teenager???)

A Fall walk along the lower Niagara River
Hard to see but Madeline & Grandpa holding hands on a walk
Madeline pulled her little table right next to Grandpa on our last visit
Having fun on a playground in Michigan City, IN

Enjoying Octoberfest on a recent date night

Madeline preparing designs for pumpkin carving

Madeline & Sobaka: Queens of the Playground!

Dress-up! YES, that is my 1988 Sr Prom dress! NO, I did NOT wear that fuzzy tiara!

Even Sobaka played dress-up

A Saturday afternoon walk with Papa

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Madeline's Last Day As A 4 Year Old!

Madeline's "Birthday Girl" shirt will be well worn  & washed this week

I can't believe that my little girl will be turning 5 tomorrow!  I am trying to enjoy each moment as fully as possible.  Since Madeline attends school only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, today was Madeline's day to celebrate her birthday at school.  I sent Madeline to school with cupcakes for her classmates.  The funny story is that when I told Madeline I was going to make cupcakes, she told me that she wanted them to look like Sobaka's cupcake (Sobaka has a cupcake dog toy).  So, I made sure that Madeline's birthday cupcakes had pink frosting and sprinkles on top.  This morning I showed Madeline the cupcakes I made and she critiqued them by reminding me that the cupcakes needed "berries" on top.  So, as Madeline ate breakfast, I quickly adorned each cupcake with a halved maraschino cherry.
School cupcakes

Sobaka's cupcake toy
This evening, David is working late.  So tonight, Madeline and I will share popcorn and watch a movie together.  I am getting Disney's Ice Princess movie from the library.  Why this movie???  Well, little does Madeline know, she will be getting ice skates for her birthday and starting ice skating lessons on the 9th!  She is growing just wayyyyyy tooo quickly!