Saturday, July 30, 2011

Breaking Bad (Habits)

We're being silly! Hide your head in shame.

Ok, as I confessed, Maddie is two and still drinking from a bottle. I decided, (and this is the actual conversation I had with myself) "I'm a tough Mama. I can do this!"

So here's the plan:

1. Cut out the bottles cold turkey.
2. Offer a choice of sippy cups.

Contingency Plan:
Trick Maddie into drinking milk from a cup.

Progress Report:

Lead-up: I pepper my conversation with questions like "Are you a big kid or a baby?" Luckily Maddie answered "big kid" because I did not have a backup plan here. I casually mention, "you know, big kids drink out of cups, not bottles." and "look, Mommy's drinking from a cup!"

Day 1: Enough jibber-jabber. I cut to the chase. After setting out all our bottles and tops on the dinner table, I put Maddie in her chair and tell her that today's a big day. Since she's a big kid now (Yea!) we get to drink out of big kid cups and we're throwing out all our bottles. Maddie puts each bottle and top in a trash bag all by herself.

Daddy comes home just in time for me to say, "Where do we put the trash?" and Maddie to answer, "Daddy." Yes, Maddie, that's correct, we ladies don't do trash. Daddy takes out the trash, while secretly giving me a look of "Are you serious? Should I keep these someplace?" I give Daddy a knowing smile that says, I am so confident that you can really toss these! Little does Daddy know, I hid an emergency bottle in the pantry. Sucker!

Then we back the richest, most peanutty Peanut Butter cookies on the planet. I offer one to Maddie with a coffee cup of milk that matches mine. She dunks her cookie, but no dice on the milk. She opts for water from a sippy. Hey, hydration. I'm cool with that.

The whole day goes by and Maddie never asks for a bottle. Or milk. But she does drink water. Personal victory.

Day 2: Calcium here we come. Daddy gives Maddie an Elmo straw-sippy cup with breakfast. Two sips were enjoyed (can I get a hoot-hoot!)

We go to Grandma's house with our milk in the straw cup thing. (Maddie has always had milk on car trips. She's had some car sickness problems, and the milk helps stave that off). No drinking going on today though. She's drinking water but none of that other stuff.

Naptime approaches, time for the big guns. I pull out my secret weapon. A Pampers stages "bottle/cuppy thing" (this is it's official name). It's a sippy cup that has a nipple shaped more like a sippy cup mouth, got that? So it's a cup not a bottle and I'm not cheating. Maddie got it: she picked it up, examined it, said "Cuppy!" and promptly drank 5 ounces.

At dinner time, I asked Maddie if she wanted milk or water. She sadly mumbled milk. I asked her which cup she wanted and she didn't answer. So I gave her milk in an opaque sippy cup. Sure enough at the end of dinner she put that cup to her mouth and drank. And drank.

So maybe I did have to dip into my contingency plan. Either way you look at it: Victory is mine! For today...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 29, 2011


Maddie is officially two and she is a very bright smart girl. I'm constantly surprised by how much she has learned over the past few months. Today, she began talking almost exclusively in sentences and she was quite the chatterbox. Previously she had peppered her babble with a few sentences, mostly of the "I fell" or "Nu-Nu fell" or "Elmo fell" variety (do you see a pattern here?). But today it was all kinds of complex sentences and differing verbs.

Maddie can also count to 11. Do you believe that? Well, you shouldn't because her counting basically goes like this: tree, four, five, seben, eight nine, leven. She also knows one and two, but they are sort of isoteric integers.

Despite the many places that Maddie excels, there are several areas that we need to work on. And surprise, surprise all of these would be areas that need to be introduced to her and just haven't been. So here we go... These are my confessions:

1. Maddie still drinks out of a bottle. While Maddie has taken to sippy cups of all kinds for water (and also the occassional shot class

(Thanks, Grandma!), for some reason she just will not drink milk out of anything but a bottle. At one point, I tried. It was a standoff. She refused liquids of any sort. I was going deaf, so I caved. It was a bad situation. She is a total baby on this one, carries a bottle with her all day long, nurses that puppy and yup, even chews on the nipple. (Yes, Rob, I said nipple.)

2. Maddie still has a nu-nu (pacifier for those of you not from Rob's family). She carries it with her everywhere. She sleeps with it, talks with it... Oh wait, I don't have to tell you this, you've seen it in just about every picture I've ever posted. The day Maddie was born, before they even brought her from the nursery to my room, the nurse gave her a nu-nu. I remember her saying something like, "Wow, that baby needs to suck." She's been relatively placid about it, but she really needs it for sleep. And as you will soon see, I ain't messing around with sleep.

3. I still rock Maddie to sleep at night (and often at nap time). I refuse to comment on Maddie's sleep as I am a highly superstitious person, but I will discuss her going to bed routine. We established a nighttime routine almost immediately after taking Maddie home from the hospital. But her nighttime routine and her daytime routine involved a lot of cuddling. I confess, I just couldn't put her down. Things have gotten quite a bit better in more recent months, as I mentioned here. Maddie gets a bath, we read two stories, I have a little night-night saying, she gets a (few) kiss(es), and then I sing to her. Approximately 37 verses of Amazing Grace until she falls asleep and then I put her down. In recent weeks, Maddie has been initiating a move to the crib right after story time (Hallelujah!). However, usually being in the crib just excites her and she has "probelems" (on purpose) falling asleep which can only be solved by jumping in her crib. But we're working on it.

4. Maddie still takes a bath in the kitchen sink. Her grandma is going to be upset about this one, because she just gave Maddie a whole bunch of bathtub stuff for her birthday in June. But hey, that was only one month ago. It took me a while to buy a bath stopper. And I really need to clean the tub (Hey, I live with Rob. What can I say?) Really this one is 100% me being lazy. At first it was a save-my-back thing, now it's just kind of a bathroom-phobia thing. I don't know. These are all just excuses. I really have nothing to say here.

5. Maddie still sleeps in a crib. I never felt like this was a behind the curb thing, but I am astounded at the number of people who have already transitioned their 18 month olds to big-kid beds. We have a really good reason for this one. Have you heard about how much trouble we have with Maddie's sleeping? Uh, she can sleep in a crib until she's 20 as long as she sleeps. Oh, and when we're at Kopeka, Maddie sleeps in a big-big- kid bed (a queen size bed). She does fine, but she wakes up a lot, mostly because of the change of surroundings. And when Rob woke up in the morning, she was sitting on the couch, holding her Cinderella video case, pointing at it saying "Princess." Is it just me or does the thought of my two-year-old running around the house by herself inspires nightmares?

PS. Maddie is nowhere near potty-trained. I'm adding this as a PS, because I am perfectly fine with her not being potty-trained. But again, I am astounded at how many 18 month olds are already potty trained. Maddie just really isn't ready for this one yet. I thought she was getting closer this weekend, when she started grabbing at her diaper saying "Uh-oh" but then I changed her and realized her diaper had come open and was literally falling off. Any way, I'll add this to my confessions, but am not exactly in a rush.

Now, that I have confessed all my little secrets, here's the biggest secret of all. I'm kind of ok with all of this. So maybe Maddie is a little behind the curve on some things. None of these "sins" are really hurting her -- other than the kitchen sink thing (I mean her legs basically stick out of the tub at weird angles.)

Before Maddie was born, I really figured I would be some sort of supermom. I mean, hello, have you met my mother? And I have her genes. But as it turned out I'm just plain old like everyone else.

And here's a message to all you future moms or new moms, nobody's perfect. Don't expect yourself to be. Those perfect moms that you see at the park? They totally ignore their kids at home so they can watch their soaps. And they probably feed their kids out of dirty dishes, too. There's a ton of self-imposed pressure to be perfect, and any little challenge can sometimes seem like a sign, but at the end of the day when you look at your baby and he or she is happy you know you've done a good job.

The summer months have definitely inspired my thoughtful side and I've been thinking pretty seriously about how I would like to grow, both as an individual and a mother. And while I'm being kinder to myself and more forgiving of myself, I am going to be putting my new growth to the test by slowly addressing some of these development steps. Stay tuned for updates!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Well, I am sad to say that tomorrow is my last official day of my week-long vacation (and I even get the stress of working on Sunday too!) With the hecticness (hectosity? Oooh, let's go with that)... With the hectosity of my job and the craziness of Rob's schedule, we haven't had much downtime, particularly straight in a row. But with this week, I decided to grasp some peace and we headed to our cottage, a place that Maddie has always called "Kopeka."

I've very quickly discovered that Maddie is an outdoor child. (Dear God, help me.) While we go to the park almost everyday and often twice, Maddie very rarely has the experience of a backyard. At Kopeka, Maddie would exclaim "Outside!" at least every five minutes. There was the beach, "Rocks!" Sitting on the backporch, "Seat!" The Gazebo in the park "Zeebo!" And even sitting in the grass painting, "Paint!"

I took just a few pictures:

I taught Maddie to paint last time we were at Kopeka, and surprise, surprise it was a hit. Maddie is quite the artist -- and thankfully these paints are washable.

Maddie's favorite part of Kopeka is the beach. When we first got there, the lake was pretty muddy and there was a huge beach. The next day was terribly windy and rocky and we lost all that beach. Maddie loved to stand close to the water and watch the waves, but she still seems to have a little fear from that day long ago when we introduced her to the Lake. Thankfully, she's happy to throw the biggest rocks she can find. And Daddy spent lots of time helping her. She's very proud of herself.

Maddie was fascinated by the "apples" on my Dad's Mountain Ash tree.

Every vacation should have a breakfast made of Nutella. Don't try to stop her.

If it rains, just bring your lawn chair inside while you read and watch Tinkerbell.

One of our new discoveries was the gazebo in the park next door to our cottage. I tried to teach Maddie to sing "I am Sixteen, Going on Seventeen" but she didn't go for it. She would rather stare out at the water, dance around and throw herself down on the ground saying "I fell."

Thursday, July 21, 2011


This morning, Maddie was sitting on my bed while I got dressed. I took out my peasant skirt (because it's too hot to wear anything else) and put it on the bed. Maddie immediately picked it up, held it up for closer examination and said "BIIIIIIIG! Big, big Mom-mom." Then she stopped and said "Little baby." Nice.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Reunited and it feels so good...

** Disclaimer: Honest to goodness, I do not know what is going on with my blog. The pictures are showing up terribly! But if you want to see a clear version, just click on the picture. I am too tired after this long day to try to figure this out.**

Ok, maybe a bad song choice (and a bad song) but appropriate. My family had it's first reunion in ... Maybe 15 years? Maybe more?? Today also marked my Aunt Dode's birthday and she was hosting the party at her house.

Rob and I had so much fun, as did someone else I know. A few pictures from the day:

Sitting in the shade and good company.

Carl Kogler's descendants -- including me!

Each branch of the family posed for pictures by their "parent" tree. This is one of my favorite pictures: my cousins, Leo and Betty Jane holding up their father, Peter's picture.

My first cousins Lucy, Carl John and his wife, Emily, dining on the steps.

Maddie makes friends with her cousins Wyatt and Alexis.

A rare photo of the blogess, with Fuzzy and little Fussy in front of the "Family Tree." I appointed myself as the decorations subcommittee and used the rainbow as my theme. Since there were seven siblings from which we all decended, each sibling was assigned a color and had their own paper chains and photo ornaments in their color. This tree represented the whole united family with everyone's picture and a rainbow chain:

This is just a little sampling of the day, but there are lots more at our Flickr page if you are interested!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

As American as ...

Cherry Pie!

I never ever make pie. Truth be told, I am not a big pie person except maybe on Thanksgiving day when I will eat a slice so that I can enjoy the Cool Whip. (Yes, I said Cool Whip, Tom!)

But a little while ago my Mom gave me a pint of cherries and they just weren't being eaten. So I contemplated making a regular old pie. And then I thought, "Naw, I can do better than that."

So I made a sugar cookie:

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 egg
Bake in an ungreased pie tin at 450 degrees for 10 minutes

Then I added it with cherries (just cleaned and pitted, nothing fancy).

Then I topped it with a diabetic coma:

[Sorry this is really just guess work here]
2 Tbsps cold butter
a handful of sugar
a handful of brown sugar
a small handful of flour
blend or mix by hand until you've got a nice sugary crumble and throw it on top of the pie
Throw the whole thing in the oven for about 10 minutes more.

And you know what? It was really good.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What a difference a day makes

Last night I realized that I had 2 hours to throw together a photo album in order to take advantage of a super awesome coupon I had. This is pretty typical for my Saturday nights. I get in this super productive, let's-stay-up-really-late-because-it's-the-weekend mindset... all the while forgetting that Rob has to leave for work at 5 am and someone likes to get up at 6:30.

So there I sat at 11:30, with dreary eyes looking through the approximately 5000 photos that Rob and I have taken over the past two years. And I noticed this:

My baby used to look like this.

And then one day she looked like this.

And then this.

And this.

And then she magically grew hair and looked like this.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Take a number

I once read a quote that I'm going to paraphrase here: "Parenthood is counting how many more of something there is."

I firmly believe this statement.

Tonight I said to Maddie, "One more time!"

Then I asked her to repeat, "How many more times, Maddie?"

Without missing a beat, her answer: "Three."

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