{p,h,f,r}: Spring flowers, little babies, and big troublemakers

Because I’ve got a ton of pictures to post, time to post them, and it happens to be Thursday!

{pretty}

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I’m not sure I ever appreciated rose bushes until this spring.  We have several well-established bushes outside our front door, and it seems like every day there are twice as many blooms as the day before.  They’re not wimpy, either; it’s hard to get a sense of scale from the photos, but most of them are bigger across than my hand.  I’m finding myself outside taking photos of them pretty often, and an important part of Maddy’s morning ritual is to go look at the blue sky and the pink flowers.
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{happy]

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After some lengthy scheduling delays, we got to take a peek at Baby Spike (so named thanks to all the people who have told us that our first child was so good that our second is destined to be a terror).  Our last ultrasound was a pretty disappointing experience, with a tech who wouldn’t let me look at the screen until the last 10 seconds or so.  This time, we got to go to the fancy imaging department at the children’s hospital, where the whole thing was broadcast on a big HD screen for our viewing pleasure.

Everything looks great, but Johnny was once again unable to determine the gender, try as he might.  He leans toward wanting to find out, and I do not, so our deal is that if he can tell by himself without professional help, he can know.  It’s amazing how the resolution is so good that they could count every individual finger bone, but the two of us totally had no idea if we saw anything or a lack of anything in the gender department.

 

{funny}

The new morning calisthenics routine never fails to amuse us (and that ponytail doesn’t hurt, either!).

{real}

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In case I ever doubted it, it has become abundantly clear that Johnny and I do not dictate all the activity of this house anymore.  Just yesterday, Maddy realized that she could suddenly reach both Johnny’s guitar and the coveted (and full) coffee mug on its formerly-safe shelf.  With the help of those admittedly-cute tiptoes she’s demonstrating above, she can pretty much reach any flat surface in the house, and it’s time to do round two of baby proofing*.

*The lazy kind, where I pretty much just make sure there are no knives near the edges of the counters.

 

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for {pretty,happy,funny,real}

The New House (Selective) Tour!

We’re mostly unpacked in our new house, which mostly means that we have to look through every drawer and closet to find anything.  We’ve got a lot more space here than in our last place, which is great for Explorer Baby.  The first thing we did was set up her room, and thanks to the marvels of a well-fitted baby gate, she can play in there relatively unsupervised (at least until her attention span runs out).

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Outside our front door are several rose bushes that we’re not responsible for maintaining, which is an ideal situation for me.  I’m looking forward to getting some plants and exploring the potential of this much warmer growing zone, but I don’t think I’d ever achieve the level of success that these have reached.

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There are some quirky elements that we’re still getting used to in this house.  At this point, I’m just curious to see how long we can last without a microwave (the answer is probably closely related to how many times I forget to take meat out of the freezer early enough).  We’ve got an abundance of cabinets, though: so many places for Maddy to hide our stuff!

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The kitchen was clearly built in an era before tall appliances – our coffee maker doesn’t fit under the cabinets, and the idea of fitting the Kitchenaid mixer is laughable.

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The utility sink is, for me, a hallmark an “adult house,” and it might be sad how much I’m looking forward to hand-washing delicates in it.  The little space underneath is – you guessed it – another place for Maddy to hide stuff (picking up on the theme yet?).

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Our bed wasn’t worth moving across the country, but the result is that we’re temporarily camping out on our mattress on the floor.  On the bright side, though, it doesn’t creak, and I’m never worried about Maddy rolling off.

We have two spacious bathrooms…

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…with a large window right outside the shower.

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Nice lighting, poor privacy.  The view from the shower:

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Next up on the shopping list will be better curtains.

There are fans in every room, which is delightful for the babe of the house.  She’s started checking every time we go into a room; I’m pretty sure the word “fan” will be in her vocabulary any day.

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Speaking of Maddy, here she is in her favorite habitat: leaning on the coffee table.  Sitting is passe these days, and the coffee table is currently the last place anyone should set their coffee cup.

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Maddy at Eight Months

 

 

Two-thirds of a year! Time is flying! This month's quick update brought to you by photos from my phone, and mobile blogging from the midst of our moving-box maze.

Maddy had a big month of mobility, perfecting her crawling and learning how to pull up to standing on everything. She's going to be standing independently in no time, I'm afraid, and walking won't be far behind.

 
Besides calling me “mama,” it seems that “dada” is beyond her grasp. It sounds more and more like she's calling Johnny “Bubba,” which I find pretty hilarious. At our prompting, she said, “bye bye” – clear as day- to a cat; neither of us would've believed it if the other hadn't been there.
 

The day we left California, it was 94 degrees. Last Sunday in Massachusetts, it snowed. True to her Minnesota ancestry, Maddy enjoyed it (though she's still confused by precipitation in general).
She's been spending a lot of time exploring the very small territory of our non-childproofed apartment, reading books to herself, and conducting in-depth studies of her own toes. Real troublemaking is just around the corner!

 



 

{p,h,f,r} County Fair Edition

Yesterday was the opening day of the local fair, and since we can't pass up a good time, we headed over as a family after Johnny got home from work. Admission was $1, which meant that even if we had a baby meltdown in short order, we weren't losing much.

{pretty}

I'm still not really used to the variety of produce that grows around here. The garden variety produce (literally) I can understand, but it's weird to go to the farmers' market and see homegrown grapes and avocados. So it follows that the produce competition at the fair was a little different from usual, including this beautiful variety of grape colors.

 
Bonus pretty: The best of the quilt competition. It was a pretty great selection!

{happy}
Maddy enjoyed the fair a lot more than we expected, especially since we were there close to (and then past) her bedtime. She's turning out to be a real extrovert, so anytime she gets to be around a lot of people (kids, in particular), she's very excited. She babbled at no one in particular, and then loved the parakeets in the Floriculture building.

{funny}
We didn't go too crazy with the fair food (mostly because it was a last-minute trip and we didn't have a chance to get more cash), but the splurge of the night was a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting and bacon. Yes, it totally looked like a baked potato. And yes, it was awesome. The stand was selling one for $6, or a value pack of 5 for $30. Super value.
 

{real}

Just to keep us from having too much fun, we ended up with three very flat stroller tires. We discovered on our way back to the car that we had parked in a field full of sand burrs, and Johnny has his suspicions that they were to blame. I'm holding out hope that they're just mysteriously flat but not injured; wish me luck.

 

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for {Pretty, happy, funny, real}!

 

Maddy at (Six and) Seven Months

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Happy seven months to Madeleine! Her six month birthday fell on the day we left for our road trip, so I never blogged it. Sorry to the 2 people who missed it; the 49 pictures that follow should make up for it.

Since month five, lots has changed! Maddy went from a proficient sitter to a totally capable, if ungainly, crawler who would rather stand up and walk.

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She recently mastered the art of pulling everything out of her toy box; putting stuff away is close behind, right? Bueller?

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She socialized her way across the country, charming cashiers and waitresses from MA to CA. She always has a beaming smile for anyone who gives her attention (especially women), and she’s generally extremely good-natured.

Trying on a fur cape from the Kim Kardashian line at Babies R Us

She’s extremely curious about what everyone is doing, especially in the kitchen (“stirring” and “chopping” will be early vocabulary words, I think). Every day brings a new discovery: today, she set off the carbon monoxide detector (terrifying) and initiated a game of peekaboo (hilarious).  She continues to be a fierce presence in her walker; I’m pretty sure this will be the last thing I see before she breaks all my toes someday:

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Investigating everything.

Speaking of food: we’re starting to introduce real food, with pretty good results. Favorites so far are plain greek yogurt, avocados, rice, and garlic bread. Baby food was kind of meh, and rice cereal was a big miss.  It’s *possible* that she has started to associate the word “mamamamamama” with me (well, with food, but me and food are tight).

This month brought her first ex utero Notre Dame game, and she had a great time doing pushups and getting excited for a couple victories.  Sorry baby, the heartbreak is bound to come.
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She’s discovering lots of new activities: swimming, swinging, and riding in carts are new favorites (especially the “zoom” option on all of those).

She weighed in at 20.5 pounds at her six month check, and 21.8 on the home scale last week (keeping her soundly in the 95th percentile), but she’s still just our little Maddy.

That time we kinda moved across the country with three days’ notice

Okay, so…once upon a time…no, that'll take too long.

In a nutshell: Johnny had long had a dream – solidified by ten long winters – of moving home to California, but it was always in the category of “Maybe…someday…when we're ready.” Then, he got a call from a friend who works for a statewide non-profit, wondering if he wanted to come out and work there on a temporary-but-hopefully-permanent-basis. It was basically his dream job, working with someone he already knew he liked, and in his beloved homeland. The catch: he found out about it on a Wednesday, and would need to start the Monday after next (so, ten days' notice). Throw in a cross-country drive with a baby, and we realized that we would need to leave Saturday morning. Commence crazy packing, a massive to-do list, some phone calls to arrange things, last-minute shots for the baby, and quick last-minute goodbyes (and a little drinking).

The name seemed fitting, somehow.

Three days later, the oil was changed, the car was packed, and we were as ready as we were going to be. Our favorite doughnut shop opens at 3AM, so we figured we'd just leave whenever Maddy woke up anytime after that (PRIORITIES, okay?).

Doughnuts in hand and cauldron of coffee in cup holder, it was Next Stop, South Bend! Maddy was a super traveller, and we didn't have to make a major stop until lunchtime in Buffalo (where we tired her out by window-shopping our way around a nice mall. Looking good, Anthro.). All things considered, we made it to South Bend in very good time – about 17 hours for what is, on paper, a 12-hour drive. Johnny made it through the last few hours by dreaming of making it there in time to order takeout from the world's best Chinese restaurant. We made it with 20 minutes to spare, and it was just as good as we had remembered.

Sunday was our day to relax and hang out with friends, some of whom we hadn't seen since our wedding. We went to Mass at the church where we got married, then to brunch, and then walked around campus. It was a beautiful day, so Maddy got to see all the sights (and her parents got to grumble about all the things that had changed).

Christmas card spoiler alert.

Well, guess it's a tradition now.

We hosted dinner that night and had a grand old time catching up with friends (and catching viruses…but that will come later). Monday morning, we took a last little tour of campus (complete with the obligatory guard who refused to let us park on campus, even with a sleeping baby and promises of just a quick stop). Then we were on our way, past Chicago and on to Route 66.

 
Coming up next: We journey into places never before seen (by me, anyway). Things get weird.

 

7 Quick Takes: Linkin’ Around

Linking up with Kelly et al. to share a few things that are catching my attention or coming to mind (aka, clearing out the tabs I’ve got open on my browser).

{1}

This new photo (and video) of the moon passing over the earth is incredible. I love seeing their scale and movement.

{2}

Apparently it’s World Breastfeeding Week, and that’s great, but how about no one goes crazy? Here’s my photo contribution to the week, but no worries, skittish ones – we’re all covered up.

 

{3}

I’m rereading some Harry Potter lately, and every time I come back to it, I’m surprised at just how much I enjoy it (even book #5, which is by far my least favorite). With that in mind, I’ve been pondering Why Your Kids Need to Read Harry Potter, and on a lighter note, 8 Reasons Molly Weasley Is a Great Literary Mama (both via Carrots for Michaelmas)

{4}

I know this is an advertising campaign, but darnit, handwriting is awesome (science agrees). Unsurprisingly, back to school ads are making me nostalgic for the days when I had an excuse to buy new pens and paper every semester.

{5}

In what is possibly the most spot-on targeted advertising I’ve ever seen, Facebook “suggested” the following ad for me:

I’m not endorsing this company, because this was the first I’d ever heard of them. $8 is just a leetle steep for a onesie, but I am partial to the idea of baby clothes without logos or phrases. Maybe when Miss Maddy slows down her growing a little bit, I’ll give them a try. If I do, you’ll be the first to know.

{6}

Rosie linked to this article about buying maternity clothes, and it had me in stitches. I’d call it a must-read for anyone who’s experienced the indignity of maternity shopping. When I went to buy jeans while pregnant, the tag helpfully advised me to “Buy the same size you would normally choose (XS, S, M, L, XL).” Ah yes, because my normal jeans come in lettered sizes. Never again, Motherhood!

{7}

I’ve got a few sewing patterns on my wishful list right now, including the Geranium dress for Maddy. It looks simple and versatile enough that I could sew it over and over again. For myself, I think this sundress pattern – in the right fabric – could be made nursing-friendly. I’m doubtful that I’ll get one made up while it’s still sundress weather, but hope springs eternal (as does, well, spring).


It’s Friday! Yay! Visit the happenest place on the internet for more takes.