Moving this blog

20 Jan

I am in the process of transitioning this blog to a new server.  The new website is here:

The new website should be up within a day or so.

Happy New Year!

19 Jan

I do realize that New Year’s Day was um, 18 days ago; however, I will be recounting our Christmas, New Years and beginning of 2012, so, I shall title my post festively!

For Christmas this year, we made the trek up to Concord to spend time with the Haines half of the family.  Since we were going to be in MA for the actual holiday, we celebrated with my family down here the weekend before Christmas.  Madeline made out like a bandit, including scoring some very fashionable shoes from her Aunt Kimmy that she now regularly picks out of the closet to wear (shiny red party shoes go with everything, right?)

We got to spend a nice long time visiting in Concord.  Strangely enough, there was no snow in MA this holiday and it was relatively warm.  All in all an easier weather pattern to have a Southern baby in, but, we were somewhat disappointed that Madeline couldn’t play in the snow.  Alas.  Madeline did enjoy making friends with Uncle Tim and Aunt Kelly’s dog, Rummy.

Rummy and Madeline

He was probably her favorite part of the trip.  That and learning how to climb stairs with expert skill.  None of us needed any additional work out as we were tramping up and down the stairs with Madeline at least 10 times an hour….Here are some other activities enjoyed by Madeline in Concord:

Played with Clementines

Went to Drumlin Farm to see the animals

Visited the Concord Museum to see Grandma dressed as an animal (and to see the Family Trees)

Rearranged Grandma and Grandpa's pantry, aka "the coolest place in the house"

Attempted tree redecoration

Made a gingerbread house with Uncle Tim and Mom

Ate at The Rainforest Cafe

Took my naps mainly on the comfy bed I call my DadDid the NY Times Crossword (in pen!)

Dressed in festive attire


Hung out with Grandma and Grandpa

Displayed cuteness

Posed for family pictures

And of course opened and played with presents, especially the ones that weren't for me!


After our trip, we actually had a pretty quiet New Year’s.  Andy and I may or may not have been asleep already (possibly for several hours), when midnight rang in, but, Madeline did decide to wake-up and celebrate with us.

Once we got back to sunny NC, Madeline has enjoyed her many Christmas gifts.  She’s gotten to play outside with her buddy Forrest on her new sand and water table.


She has also decided that dressing up in her dragon blanket is the COOLEST.

Toothy dragon

Musical dragon

In those pictures you can probably see her best Christmas gift of all – three more teeth!  And they pretty much all came in together.  And I think she’s working on some more now.  It has been funny to watch her get the hang of using her teeth.  Before acquiring them, she was perfectly capable of eating a lot of different foods, but she is slowly buy surely learning the concept of taking bites of things now that she has chompers.  In fact, she was kind of against bananas for a while, but, now that she has teeth, she is way into just biting off pieces from a whole banana.  In other food news, Madeline has become pretty adept at fork use as well.  We just gave it to her a few nights ago to see what would happen, and she surprised us by figuring it out within about 2 stabs and bites.  Clearly, she is gifted :).

Madeline continues to provide a soundtrack for her life.  Her repertoire of humming includes Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Camptown Races, Elmo’s World, Jingle Bells, and an alphabet song from a children’s music tape (yes, a cassette tape, it is vintage from my childhood).  We’ve been really trying to work on the ND Fight Song, but she hasn’t picked it up yet.  She definitely has particular songs that she likes and wants to repeat, and sadly, that one isn’t one of them at the moment.  Not to fear though, she will be brainwashed soon enough.

So, that about brings us up to the current status.  Here are a couple last pictures taken yesterday morning.  There’s nothing like a fancy scarf, a cell phone, and your dog to make a gal smile.  Enjoy!

It’s been a long time

17 Dec

Hello friends!  Ok, I do realize that it has been over two months since I last posted, but seriously, I have a toddler running around, I’m a busy Mommy, so give me a break :) Here are some highlights of our world:


Musical genius – Madeline hums constantly and her favorite songs are the theme music from Elmo’s World and Jingle Bells.  When she sees Elmo anywhere – on TV, a doll, on a card – she begins humming the song.

Mastery of the English Language – Ok, so mastery may be a little too strong of a word, since by mastery I mean that everything is “Ba-ba,” with different emphasis and inflection.  She points at something, like Corby for example, and says “Ba-ba.”  Ba-ba is such a multifunctional and useful word that she can really say anything she wants to with it.

Notifying Us When Things are Wrong in her World – She uses “uh-oh” extremely effectively to tell us when things are out of whack.  For example, on our pantry door is a child proof lock.  When it gets left open, instead of attempting to go in the pantry, she very kindly stands in front of the door, points at the lock, and loudly and emphatically says “Uh-oh” until we lock it up.  As we play in the yard, when she comes across a dog poop, she will stand beside it, point, and say “Uh-oh” until it gets disposed of.   This is very helpful in cleaning up the yard.

Teeth – Madeline finally has teeth!  She got her first one about a month ago, and just cut her second one this week.  One is on bottom, and one is right above it on top.  She greatly enjoys grinding them together.

Can you see my first tooth?

Hugging – Miss M’s thing right now is hugging things.  She has a vast collection of stuffed animals and other soft things that she loves hugging and cuddling, but, she also likes to hug other objects like her sippy cup, the dog leashes, and random bits of tupperware.  Everything in our house is very well loved.

Nature Girl – It is a good thing we live in a temperate climate because Miss M adores being outside.  She likes to redistribute gravel from one location to another and loves to give the dogs sticks for chewing on.  We have a little rock bed in our backyard for drainage purposes that she also really enjoys exploring.

Nature Girl

Books – OK, so I know I talk in every post about how she loves books, but, she really loves books.  We spend a great amount of time each day reading books in our book reading chair.  And she also enjoys reading herself books in the book reading chair.

Reading in my reading chair

Dogs – Again, I talk about the dogs in every post, but M’s relationship with them is very special.  And the dogs are even beginning to actually like, not just tolerate, her.  She gives them both lots of cuddles and kisses.  She also climbs on them and plays with their paws and tails, and they are both extremely tolerant of her physical affection.

This picture highlight's Maggie's mixed feelings about Madeline

And to finish out the post, here are some current pictures of the lady and our family.  We all hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Thank goodness no one has peanut allergies in this family!

I love outside!

My BFF and I did not enjoy Santa

This Santa was OK since I was in a fortified position

Creek exploring with my Dad

I am ONE!

4 Oct

Holy cow people, how can my little girl be one already?  Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday that we were welcoming Miss M into the world… I know it’s all cliche to say things like that, but seriously, I really can’t think of another time in my life when a year has zipped by so fast!  And what a lot of growing the little lady has done – here are her current stats:

22 lbs (that’s a gain of about 14 lbs since birth)

30.74 in (that’s a gain of almost 10 inches since birth)

Can you imagine gaining 14 lbs and 10 inches in one year!?!?! It is no wonder babies sleep and eat all the time!  And that’s of course not to mention all her physical and social skills.  Since she figured out walking about a month ago, she’s really honed her skill and can do awesome things like carry items while walking, bend over and pick things up, and get up to standing from the floor without furniture to help.  And since the weather is finally more fall like, she has become somewhat obsessed with playing outside (that’s my girl!) and I have to fend her off quite often when letting the dogs out.  She doesn’t understand why the dogs get to go out every time they stand by the door and she doesn’t.  I fear the day that she is tall enough to reach the door knobs.  I guess I’ll have to start locking them then….

Madeline had a very nice extended birthday celebration with all of her family.  On her actual birthday, Madeline began the day with a special German Apple Pancake made by Dad.  It had delicious powdered sugar on top, which she reached out to taste right away, as evidenced in this picture.

This looks tasty!

Then, she opened up some birthday cards and presents from Grandma and Grandpa Haines and Great-grandma Fran.  Corby helped.

Here Dad, open these first.

Sweet Birthday Smile with my new purse (that Mom might have to borrow until I get a little bigger)

Corby is helping

After breakfast and our morning walk, we went to the aquarium with Forrest!  Yay!  The aquarium is always fun, especially with good friends.  Madeline was so tuckered out by the morning’s festivities that she gave me a birthday present of a 2 hr and 15 minute nap.  Woo!  We closed out the day with a delicious birthday dinner of Mom’s Special Secret Recipe spaghetti sauce (which I’ve told Madeline that she has to make next time) and Skyping with Grandma and Grandpa Haines while eating my special birthday blueberry muffin.

Spaghetti is a shirtless affair

That burning thing is pretty

Muffin = so good!

Over the weekend, the birthday celebration continued with my side of the family.  We spent the morning at the Seafood Festival where Madeline had her first taste of funnel cake and large crowds, and then just hung out with Nonni, Popsie, Aunt Kim, and Uncle Chris for the rest of the afternoon.  Madeline had a second birthday dinner of lasagna made by her Dad and her “real” birthday cake – Banana cake with butter cream frosting, which was the traditional birthday cake that my Mom made for me when I was growing up.  Madeline was definitely a bigger fan of the frosting than the cake, and really, I can’t blame her.

Sportin' my birthday hat

Another candle? Just let me at the frosting.


I believe she has this piece of cake in her mouth for the sole purpose of sucking off the icing.

After cake, the evening came to a close with some hanging out in her diva jacket and diaper.  No better way to end a fabulous first birthday celebration.

Uh Oh Bipedalism!

13 Sep

Since Madeline is a mere 17 days away from her milestone 1st Birthday, I figured I should update everyone on her 11th month.  Madeline’s biggest accomplishment of late is…(drumroll)….walking!!! We are so proud of her.  And she is just a little bit proud of herself :)  She took her first steps about a week ago, but it took until this past weekend for her to really start practicing with more regularity.  If the distance is greater than about 3 feet, she still feels more comfortable crawling, but, she is getting braver by the day.  I especially love her Frankenstein Arms and tiny dainty steps.  It kind of reminds me of myself trying to walk on ice.  Here are a couple of videos  of her accomplishment:

Another big change since last time is her first word other than Mama or Dada – Uh oh!  We’re counting it as a word.  And she says it constantly – a lot of the time in reference to an actual situation in which uh oh is deserved, but also pretty frequently just because she likes to hear herself say it.  It is kind of funny.  Her sweet little baby voice is way adorable.

Madeline continues to point a lot.  She’s progressed to pointing at thing that she wants and saying “ah” or “eh” until we get it for her.  Though she doesn’t have the words, she certainly makes her desires known.  Which brings us to her next development – when she doesn’t get what she wants she also makes that known.  Talk about a Drama Queen!  Refusing her a fork is as if we’d cut off her toes.  Luckily, she is still pretty distractable with some other fabulous item (froggy baby spoon anyone?).

I think I’ll end this post here since for sure I’ll be writing a novella for her 1st Birthday!  Enjoy some pictures of the little lady!

Lounging at the BeachWhat is in there?

Hurricane Hair

Teaching Forrest about proprer Lamby cuddling techniques

With my crazy Aunt Kimmy

Is this how it goes?

Go Irish!

Me and Dad ready for the game

Ball pits are fun!

Investigating this new toy

This may be the coolest toy I own.

Ten Months!

31 Jul

I guess it has actually been quite a while since I last posted about the little lady.  If you’ve seen her lately, you know why – she is a BUSY girl!  And that makes me a BUSY Mommy!  It is a little tougher to find time to sit and blog when you’re chasing around a mobile baby, making sure she doesn’t get into too much trouble.  Actually though, a major bonus of her mobility and increased awareness of the world is that she is pretty good at entertaining herself.  Like right now – I’ve got up the Baby Gated Community and she is happily alternating between banging a silver rattle on the tile, putting it in her mouth like a cigar, and singing into a giant cup.  And I’ve only had to play keep away with the computer once so far during this post….:) [case in point – I composed the paragraph 3 days ago and am only finishing it up and posting today!]

Without further ado, here are some of Madeline’s new tricks:

Singing and Dancing – Madeline has always responded to music – I guess that’s what happens when you have a french horn blown in your ear with great regularity while in utero – and that hasn’t changed.  When she hears certain songs, she likes to bounce up and down with the music.  Additionally, she likes to sing – something that she’s always done, but now, she can go up and down the scale and does it almost constantly.  Featured in the video is Madeline’s favorite sound – like a jaw harp.

Margaritas help with the singing and dancing...

Granny Walking – While she cannot stand unsupported yet, Madeline has taken a great interest in bipedalism.  She furniture walks very rapidly and enjoys pushing different items around – the kitchen chairs, her walker, and laundry baskets in particular.  Her gait is rather bowlegged and waddly, and when she uses her walker especially, she looks like a little old granny.  Just a couple of days ago, she figured out how to steer the walker and back herself out of corners.  She makes very emphatic and dramatic turns.  See below:

She is very proud of her new skills and likes to show off for the camera:

Books – Since M has had a bedtime routine, books have been a part of it.  Only fairly recently however, has she begun to care about them.  She likes to look at books with bold colors and characters.  Right now, she’s giggling at Thumper on the cover of the classic, Thumper Counts to Ten.  She also particularly enjoys touch and feel books.  Pat the Bunny is one of her favorites and she now tries to smell (and sometimes taste) every page, and I think her favorite page is where she gets to put her finger through Mummy’s ring. She can also turn the pages of her board books.

I love books!

Dogs – M loves the dogs.  And they have a love-annoyance relationship with her.  They are mostly very tolerant of her chasing them, pulling on their tails, and poking them in the face.  However, when they’ve had enough, they’ve had enough, so, they get up and leave, often dumping M off in the process.  Thankfully this has been in the carpeted areas of our house, so no injuries have been sustained.

Look at my cool toy Teddy!

I get some too, right?

I love you Teddy

(And no, we haven’t added a third dog to our family.  Teddy is my parents’ dog and we were babysitting him for a week.  He loves Madeline the most and never walked away from her attentions)

Finger pointing -Madeline’s right hand is almost constantly poised in a pointing position.  She points at a lot of things, and sometimes even on command. If she feels like it, she can point out Daddy in a picture, Mommy’s nose, and Lamby.  And sometimes she points for effect during her dancing.

Stayin' Alive

Carpet cleaning – OK, so, this isn’t a new skill, but a revised one.  Once Madeline figured out the use of her opposable thumbs, she has been on a mission to keep the carpets in our house free of blemishes.  It is really very kind of her to locate and retrieve pine straw and bits of grass.  Her latest favorite are clumps of dog hair.  I usually catch her before they go in the mouth, but, sometimes I do not and am greeted by a little baby who hasn’t quite hidden the evidence – she’ll be chewing on the ball of hair with several little bits of it still hanging out of her mouth.

Peek-a-boo – Between the initial drafting of this post and the actual posting, Madeline started playing Peek-a-boo.  She covers her eyes, waits for one of us to ask “Where’s Madeline?,” then uncovers them.  Very cute.

I know that all of you readers out there (all 3 of you) are not that interested in anything but information on Madeline, but, since I always talk about M’s new skills, let me just briefly fill you in on my new Mommy skills that have resulted from Madeline’s skills:

Speed Dishwasher Emptying – The dishwasher is an intriguing place if you are 10 months old, so, Mommy has to get it cleared out and loaded very quickly before inquisitive baby tries to get in.  I usually put her down in the living room, sprint into the kitchen, and begin work.  That give me about 45 seconds of baby free time to unload.  I think I may call Guiness to see if I have set the world record.

Baby Safety Zone Construction – In under a minute, I can seek out and destroy the majority of potential baby dangers in an area and then secure the borders.

Making up Songs -Since M is a musical baby, I like to sing to her about what we’re doing.  Yes, it is way dorky, but you should hear how I’ve morphed the tunes of The Wheels on the Bus  and Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes into pure musical genius.  I think I may win a Grammy.

I think that’s all I have to say about the Sweetness at the moment.  I will end this post with a few more pictures to brighten your day:

Taken on my 10 month birthday!

One of my favorite faces to make

Orating, or maybe preparing for a career in opera?


Don't I look silly?

Madeline’s East Coast Tour Part 3: The Final Chapter

28 Jun

I know you can’t believe that there was more to our already busy trip, but, there was.  After a relaxing three days in Concord, we hit the road again, this time to attend a wedding on Cape Cod.  One of Andy’s good high school friends was getting married, and Andy was in the wedding party.  As such, we got to see many other Concord friends and some extraneous Haines relatives that we hadn’t yet seen.

Family on the Cape

The remaining Haines Clan

While Andy was off rehearsing for the wedding, Grandma, Grandpa, Madeline and I visited the beach.  It was a lovely flat beach at low tide, so there was a lot of sand and some nice puddles for playing.  Madeline did not have her suit, so, we just tied up her romper and let her free. Upon touching the sand, M decided to imitate a baby sea turtle – she took off on a beeline to the water.  And she didn’t stop once she got to it – she just kept going!  Good thing it was shallow and waveless.  Sadly, this video does not show her in the water, but it does capture some of her joy at being released to the sand…

On the night of the wedding we reached a major milestone for our family – the first time Miss Priss was left with someone besides Mom or Dad!  Uncle Tim and Aunt Kelly graciously offered to babysit for the little lady while the rest of us attended the wedding.  Though leaving her was traumatic for me, everyone was a rock star!  Madeline didn’t fuss too much while we were gone (or at least that’s what Aunt and Uncle told us;)) and Aunt Kelly was able to get her to go down to sleep!  Yay Aunt Kelly!  She said she felt like a champion with that accomplishment.  And, they appeased the parents by sending regular text and picture messages during the wedding and reception.

On the way home from the wedding, we stopped to see one more friend – and a very special one indeed since she was the bestower of Lamby!  Madeline was able to thank MB in person for her favorite stuffed buddy :).

And that brings us to the end of our trip.  Our flight home was pretty good and Madeline held out until about the last 15 minutes of our 3 hour car trip home.  At that point she had HAD IT.  But, really, for a little girl, she did fabulously well overall :)

Sad to Leave MA

Upon returning home, Madeline settled back into her usual routine pretty quickly, but has been honing some new skills that she began while up in MA.  They include:

1. Feeding herself – Pretty much since we began feeding her solids, we’ve offered small bits for her to pick up and feed herself – nothin’ doin’ – until we were in Concord.  She decided that she could in fact pick up little bits of bread, get it to her mouth, and actually release it in her mouth.  Since we’ve gotten home, she has expanded her repertoire of finger foods to baby puffs, Cheerios, bits of meat, and bits of her new favorite food, string cheese.

2. Furniture walking – She has really expanded her skills with this concept since coming home from our trip.  She especially likes to cruise along the coffee table and the shelf on which we keep the TV.

3.  Search and Recovery of Crud – With the improvement of her pincer grasp and her mobility, Madeline has become very good at search and rescue of pine straw, bits of grass, dog hair tumbleweeds, and any other crud that she finds on the carpet.  For some reason, she does not put this stuff directly in her mouth, so I can intercept it pretty easily.

4. Trying to turn my dogs into Princes – I think Madeline must have heard the story about how the frog turned into a Prince because she’s been giving dogs lots of kisses lately.

I love Corby

I love Teddy too

5. Going on Expeditions – When she first started locomoting, Madeline didn’t really stray too far from me. She’d at least stay within view.  Well, now that she has gained confidence (and speed!), I will turn around and she’ll be off on an adventure around the corner where I can’t see her – the laundry room seems to be a favorite place to adventure to.  And who can blame her – there is dog water, dog food, ironing boards, a toilet, and the Roomba in there – lots of fun stuff!

Well, that concludes the update on our 9 month only little dearie!  We’ll be hanging here and trying not to get too hot or inhale too much forest fire smoke for the rest of the summer!

This is just a funny face....:)


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