Friday, October 29, 2010

Mayhem In The Kitchen

Mommy...I want to sit on the counter

Can I stir it?

Can I do it mom? Please? I wanna do it!
It's quickly becoming well known that Madaline and I bake Thursday evenings. Last night my husband said that he could smell that sweetness of the brown sugar and the faint hint of pumpkin as soon as he reached the top step of the back deck. So, with that, have a great weekend. And, if your interested, click HERE and see what we made last night - because they are the almost perfect breakfast treat for this upcoming chilly weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stacking Dreams

*squee* Mommy - Aunt Olly home! *squee* Aunt Olly home!

"No sweetie....her cars is here,but she's not home. Aunt Olly is away at College"

"Mommy......Aunt Olly at College?" (only it sounds more like Cow-ledge)

Yep. She's at 'cow-ledge'.
That night after the last of our dirty dinner dishes had been tucked into the dishwasher, we snapped photos. Photo's that I promised Madaline I would print. Photos we would send to Aunt Olly who is away at 'Cow-Ledge'.

We giggled. *click* Madaline built towers with blocks. *click*
We laughed. *click* Morris and Murphy tried to escape from the Mayhem. *click*
We made silly faces *click*
Much later, surrounded by the quiet peacefulness that only appears once Madaline is in bed I anxiously grabbed the camera to see what what we had captured. I fretted that the memory card would be filled with dark, useless, blurry shots. For once I hadn't worried about staging the perfect shot. I just had the camera in my hand and clicked away at different points of the evening. And, what I found surprised me. There, embedded in a memory card, was the essence of my evening. The time of day that makes me feel more than a mom than any other time of day. It is just her and I. Heather and Madaline, a mom and her daughter.As I scrolled through the photos I realized that these could have been taken on any given week night. I see the tiredness of my work day tugging at the corners of my eyes. The mischievous twinkle in my daughter's eye as she recounts a days worth of stories - some coming so quickly that I can hardly keep up. Scattered toys that kept Madaline entertained as I hurriedly made dinner. The leaning block towers knocked down as Madaline reached for Murphy as he scampered across the living room floor.
Memories.
Memories of yesterday.
The memory of today
and
a memory for tomorrow.
Memories that we create one stacked block at a time. Each of those stacked blocks holding within it our dreams. Dreams we are living in this little house. Each day we're adding to the blueprint for our lives and hoping all the pieces come together. For it is inside this little green house, we have built a foundation of love. Our walls are held together with support and understanding. Each day we do our best to patch any holes or cracks with smiles, hugs and kisses. Each room is painted with patience and understanding. Occasionally, we have to sweep away tears and disappointment. Our walls are decorated with the memories of the times we spend together. Memories that will hopefully out live our own lifetime.
One block at a time - we are building and stacking our dreams into memories. This is LIFE. My LIFE. 5 nights a week. Just me, with Madaline, Morris and Murphy. Building memories.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dear Aunt Olly, {Week 7}

{You can click on photo to make it larger & some have told me it makes the text easier to read}

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mayhem and MADS-isms, {edition 1}

The other night we were finished with dinner and Madaline was climbing out of her booster seat. Not wanting her to fall, I said "Hold your shorts" as I extended my hand to help her. Her reply? "I'm not wearing shorts mom - I don't even have pants on".
And, she didn't. She's gotten back into the habit of stripping down to her unders as soon as we walk in the door every evening.
******
My parents took Madaline Saturday afternoon to get pumpkins. I got a much needed afternoon to myself that I filled with a hair cut and grocery shopping. Later that evening I was asking her how the afternoon went:

Me: "Did you have fun at the pumpkin place with Grammy & Grampy?"
Mads: "Patch. Not a pumpkin place - a Pumpkin PATCH"
Me: "Huh?"
Mads: "PUMPKIN PATCH"
******
The evening sky has been like a sheet of glass sprinkled with stars the last few weeks. A few Friday's ago as we were walking across the back deck after coming home from my parent's: .

"Wook-it Mom - Stars. Mom - Stars"
Me: "I see them Mads"
"I want one Mom"
Me: "One what?"
"A star"
Me: "Ok"
*grunts & jumps* "I can't reach - can you get me one?"
"I wish sweetie...I wish"
******
*thunk, thunk, thud*
Me: "Madaline, how many times do I have to tell you that we don't play on the stairs?"
"I'm not"
*thud, thunk, thud*
ME: "MADALINE - We DON'T play on the stairs"
"I'm NOT"
*thunk, thud, thunk*
Me: "MADALINE ELIZABETH - WE DON'T PLAY ON THE STAIRS"
"I'M NOT"
Me: "Than what are you doing?"
"sitting"
and sure enough, she was just sitting on the landing, eating her apple, thumping her feet on the stairs, under the watchful eye of Morris & Murphy
******
Madaline came thundering down the stairs Sunday and running into the living room
"Mommy I got a boo-boo"
Me: "Really? Where?"
"Right here" *hold up her middle finger and flips me off*
Me: *annoyed* "Did your Dad teach you that?"
"Huh?"
Me: "Did your Dad teach you that?"
"Noooo....Mom - I got a boo-boo" *continues to flip me off while showing me a small scratch on her finger*
Me: "HONEY..... *Husband appears around corner* Maddy - show Daddy your boo-boo"
"Daddy.....I got a boo-boo" *turns on her heel and flips my husband off*
It took all I had to keep a straight face as my Husband almost choked on his coffee

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dear Aunt Olly, {Week 6}

{You can click on photo to make it larger & some have told me it makes the text easier to read}

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Fragile Fibers of Parental Confidence

It's been a LONG time since Madaline threw a temper tantrum of epic proportions like the one she thre Saturday evening at Old Navy. A throw myself on the floor, roll around and scream at the top of my lungs kind of fit. It all stemmed from me telling her "No" to a pair of clearance jelly sandals. And, then to make matters even worse, I had what I'm calling a brief moment of stupidity. As I struggling with her towards the exit, I saw a bench. And, for a small moment I thought I could salvage this little shopping trip. Perhaps a few moments collecting herself while sitting on a bench would be enough to correct her bad banshee behavior.

Nope. It only aided in escalating the situation. The wailing, the shrieking and the 'No Mommy's" got louder and more hysterical as the seconds ticked by. And, the looks from my fellow store patrons got nastier and more obvious in their disgust of my daughter's behavior and my inability to curb it. Sensing that there was no end in sight I got down on her level - Looked her in the eye and firmly stated "This is enough - your making a fool of yourself - put your shoes & socks on NOW or we are going home". It seemed to take an eternity as I counted to 10, giving Madaline one final chance to comply with my request. And, then, once again I struggled to pick up my flailing child, almost dropping her on the concrete floor. (thank you lady looking at the coats near by for your overly LOUD and clearly for my benefit *GASP* as I almost dropped her on her head - I appreciate it) Exasperated and frustrated, I composed myself, got a better grip on my 'Toddler with Super Human STrength', picked my head up, put a smile on my face and walked as calmly as I could out the door. Of course, as we left, my daughter serenade customers with an encore performance of "Mommy, put me down" and "No Mommy NO". I, on the other hand, got another 25 minutes of temper tantrum complete with added bonus tracks of "Turn this Car Around" and "Take me Back, Right now"on our drive home.

But, really - It's wasn't Madaline's behavior that bothered me the most. It was the behavior of other adults that got me. I know she was loud. I know she was being naughty. I know that her screaming and yelling hurt your ears.But, really, were the icy stares of disbelief necessary? Did you really need to shake your head in disapproval at me? Don't get me wrong, at first, I did find your sideways glances of curiosity rather humorous, but when they morphed into the head shaking looks of disapproval? Yeah. There was nothing funny about you anymore.

I'm sorry. Truly sorry. I apologize to you right now for her behavior. But, know this - no amount of disapproving glances you shot my way will ever compare to the how much my inner monologue will berate myself in the days and weeks to come. Your nasty looks filled with judgment and skepticism of my ability to be a parent have done nothing but tear at the fragile fibers already barely hold together my confidence of being a mom. Each narrowed eye stare sent my way makes me ask myself - Where did I go wrong? What should I have done differently? Every head shake of disapproval makes me wonder if maybe we should have just stayed home? And, the larger implications of your reaction to my daughter's behavior? It makes me questions my over all ability to be a parent. Maybe I'm not cut out of be a mom. It makes me doubt myself, even though I know in my heart, I am a good mom.

And, so, a word of advice - stop. Stop with the nasty looks and the disapproving stares. It doesn't help. Perhaps what you can do next time you is give me one of those nice, I know what your going through smiles. Perhaps a quick glance of understanding. Even the knowing nod of having been there done that. Because, it will make a world of difference. It just might be the one small thing that helps hold together my parental confidence and makes it stronger - especially in those moments you are witnessing - when I probably need it the most.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hungry?

Looking for a kid friendly, easy, slow cooked, no fuss dinner recipe?
Check out this weeks RE-DO recipie over at The Townsend Bakery - Chicken Soup w/ Mini Raviolis.
YUM!

~and~

How about something for dessert? Or, maybe a late night snack or a weekend breakfast treat?
I have baked up just the thing to help you use up one of those apples you probably have in a pretty bowl on your kitchen counter right now! Caramel Apple Muffins!
Gooey caramel with the still slightly crispy apple held together with warm cinnamon laced cake? Heaven, I tell you. Heaven!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Apples, Cider and Doughnuts, OH MY!

How can one usher in fall without a trip to a Cider Mill? One really can not. One of my favorite memories as a child is when my Dad and I used to take apples up to the local Mill to be pressed into cider for the annual neighborhood Halloween party. Well, long gone is the local Cider Mill as well as the annual neighborhood Halloween party. So, after doing a little google-ling I found this place: "THE CIDER MILL". One of my co-workers commutes from that area each day and so I inquired if he had ever been there. He spoke very highly of that place and so it was settled. Sunday we would make the almost 90 minute drive.It really was fun. Madaline thought it was neat how they ground the apples into a pulp and then squeezed the juice from the pulp, to get the cider. And, the doughnuts. Oh my good Heaven, the doughnuts. You really can not have cider and not have a doughnut. They make what I call old Fashion/Old School doughnuts at the cider mill. They are melt in your mouth, oh my gosh, I'm going to gain 5lbs with eat bite I take kind of doughnut. Now, don't get me wrong - I've had good doughnuts before. There is a local bakery that makes a killer Long John and even the occasional Krispy Creme or Dunkin Donut is not to bad. But, these - these homemade doughnuts at The Cider Mill - just the smell of them put every other doughnut ever made to shame.
*silly face for Daddy - since he couldn't join us because he had to work*
And, of course, there were bins full of apples, beautiful pots of mum and rows, upon rows of pumpkins. And, as you can see, Madaline was even kind enough for a few photo ops. As long as I made sure to get her picture while she was sitting on a pumpkin. It was a great way to spend the day. And, yes, the powdered sugar mess later that evening all over the carpet in the living room was well worth it!

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*In case you are wondering. I was not paid or asked or given anything to write about The Cider Mill. I am simply telling you about the great time I had this past Sunday with my daughter. Nuff Said.*