Wednesday, June 29, 2011


There may be 16 years between them, but if you look really close, you can see the similarity.....
(PLEASE excuse the carpyness of the photo...I took it with my iPhone, at 5:30 in the morning not even 2 minutes after I rolled out of bed)

See the left arm....It's hard to see in the picture of Madaline...but see it - Look real close. It's tucked up behind her head.

And see it here? The left arm.....same position.

I guess it's pretty clear they are related. Huh?

Looking for more worldFUL or wordLESS Wednesday posts? Check out:
Better in Bulk, 5 Minutes For Mom,
Seven Clown Circus, Parenting By Dummies

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend REwind

My goodness.....where did the weekend go? How can it possibly be Monday already?I think my mom & I picked almost 40 cups of strawberry's this weekend. I think Madaline ate at least a quart and a half of fresh berries over the course of the afternoon on Saturday. We made jam, froze berries and even invited most of our extanded family over for Sunday Strawberry Shortcake dessert.

And, Summer has officially begun here - as we started swimming lessons today.

So, that was my weekend. How was yours?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Where I'm From....

I am from JIF peanut butter, sun brewed iced tea, shake & bake chicken.

I am from the I am from the brown house that we painted green my sophomore year in College just across the road from what used to be the old Townsend Store.

I am from riding bikes on dirt roads and quicksand in the creek. I am from the the yard with no trees. And a place where the ditches are lined with lilies in the summer and the wind whistles and bends the old pines in the winter.

I am from ballet lessons that quickly gave way to soccer. I am from Scuteri's pizza on Friday night, Saturday morning cartoons, Yankee baseball and BIG {extended} family dinners.

I am from the fire and ice that is the Boyce temper and the soothing wisdom and the gentleness of a Bilinski. I am from the place where Marian Louise still lives in the house Patricia Ann grew up in. Proudly, I now live in the house Fredrick occupied as a child.

I am from a 45 mile an hour speed zone, no Chinese food delivery and where stop signs only exist where the the side roads intersect the main road and the trip to the nearest store that sells cloths is at least 25 minutes long.

I am from mind your mind your manners, get your hair out of your eyes, always wear clean underwear and make sure you have a have a quarter for the payphone.

I am from going to Saturday night Mass, but only as a child. And, not with my parents, but with my Aunt. Pretty stained glass, polished hard wood, the bitter taste of the seal on the tithing envelope dropped into the long handled Wicker collection baskets - only to say my vows in another church, further down the street just like my parents.

I am from where Home has been and always will be, on the hill, above the village, on the west side of the deepest Finger Lake. Just down past the race track. Where the old church is now a house, the Grange Hall that used to host an annual Halloween party still stands and where we used to fly kites on the ball field out back. You know, where the smell of late summer dew reminds me of 4-H camp.

I am from the the intoxicating smell of my Daddy's homemade sugar cookies, macaroni & cheese, and meatballs. And, where some much of what we do is a constant reminder of "It's tradition".

I am from haphazardly kept photos. A few albums, pages sticky with age, faded and yellowing hold memories thought of to be the most precious. Dad in his plaid pants. Mom with her hair piled on top of her head studded with flowers. Bell bottoms and wooden platform sandals. The 4 weeks I spend in Japan at 13. Shoe boxes stuffed with 4 x 6 memories dotted with the Eifle tower, Chaging of the Guard, sunflower fields in Minnesota and sights found on the New England coastlines. The eery and haunting photos of a NYC skyline that no longer exists. Dance recitals, birthdays, the birth of my little sister, school dances, high school crushes, sporting events, and graduations.

I am from a place where I spent the first 21 years of my life trying to find a way out. Thinking the grass was greener elsewhere. Only 6 short years later learning that what I really want was to be home. And, that, that is where I am from. Home.

{I have read some fantastic posts today based off of this. Please take the time to read Steph, Sarah, Jennifer, and Connie. Each of my their posts made my heart smile. And, yes, I realize that I don't often deviate from just sharing just Madaline and her Mayhem. But, what a fantastic post this was to much to say that I'm sure I said more than the meme called for}

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Family, re-defined

When I was a little girl family meant a mommy, a daddy, 2.5 kids, a dog, possibly a cat or two and a pristine white picket fence. Or, at least that is the vision I have always had in my head.
(a HUGE storm rolled thru last Saturday - I'm not one for shooting landscape - but, damn, I think I did ok on this one, don't you think?)

Today? Family has many definitions. My daughter sat at the Sunday dinner table a few weeks ago telling us about one of her friends at daycare and that she has two mommy's. And, none of us batted an eyelash of that declaration. I know single moms. I know a few single dads that are sometimes better at this parenting thing than my husband and I combined. I know blended families. And, I know families that are a combination of his, hers and ours.

Family isn't a set definition anymore. It is NOT the 2.5 kids. Or, the dog. Or the cats. And, there certainly isn't a pristine white picket fence around my front yard.Families are tied together by love and bound with honor and forgiveness. Families are created by people that yearn for love, need love, give love, share love. Family is LOVE. Family is opening your home when most people would shut the door. Family is doing first and asking questions later. Family is about doing what is right when others might think it is wrong. Family is about giving second chances and the opportunity to start new. Family is what will always believe in you when no one else will.

Family. In my humble opinion is one of the most important elements that defines us as human beings. Family is at the center of my soul. It is my core. It is what holds me together when my exterior world is crumbling apart. Family is the only thing that can warm and break my heart all at the same time. And, that is why with my heart warm, my mind numb, and my soul overwhelmed, I'm sharing with you that we are no longer a family of 3, but a family of 4.

The details of how or why are not important. And, perhaps it is in the innocent wisdom of an almost 4 year old that has put it best. When she is asked about "J" and why he has come to live with us in our little green house she simply replies...
"J lives with us now because he is family"

Looking for more worldFUL or wordLESS Wednesday posts? Check out:
Better in Bulk, 5 Minutes For Mom,
Seven Clown Circus, Parenting By Dummies

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Picking Flowers

Madaline has an obsession with picking flowers. We had the most pretty geraniums on the back deck. She picked all the flowers, all the blooms and all the buds off from it. They should grow back. Maybe. I hope anyway.

We went flower and herb shopping over the weekend. Each place we stopped, before we entered the green house I'd get right down to eye level and say "do NOT pick the blooms off the flowers". And, she'd look at me with her big eyes really wide and say, "yes Mama".

And, so, late in the day on Saturday when I told her we'd clip some of the perennials and bring them inside she was ecstatic. As I was clipping the iris that had gotten to top heavy to stand up straight in the garden, I noticed Mads had disappeared to the other side of the shed. Before to long she reappeared. In her little hand were what we call "ditch flowers". They are a very pretty small budded purple flowers. The grow in the ditch behind our shed as well as in the ditches that line the country roads we drive on a regular basis. They really are very pretty.
"Mama, I pick'd zis for ewe" she said, with a smile that was trying to be wider than her face.

"Why thank you Mads. They are just want these white iris need to mak
e them look pretty"

Now...If I can just get to to NOT pick the golden rod in August and try to pass it off as a pretty flower because she likes the color I 'd be all set. (as it too grows in our ditch) *A-CHOO!*

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I find that victories as a parent are few and far between.

Maybe it is because at times I feel like I am parenting a miniature version of myself. Daily I see snippets of me in her sassy mouth and her crazy sense of fashion. My Dad will often sit back and chuckle at Madaline's antics. In this chuckle I am reminded that he is seeing bits and pieces of me as a child in my daughter.

And, so, perhaps this is why Madaline's actions Saturday stick out of me so well. You see, I don't often write about our financial situation. Maybe that is because it is no ones business but our own. But, truth be told, we are getting by on one income. And, at times, money is tight. There is very little money for "wants" as opposed to "needs". If you know what I mean. And, this comes into conflict with the parent that I have always wanted to be. I've always said to my husband that I wanted to be the parent that said no to a new toy or a new trinket because I could. Not because I had to. And, while Madaline wants for very little (Grammy & Grampy are more than very generous), it does make me ache at times that I can not give into her every whim and want.

And, so, as we wandered around Target, I was more than happy to say YES to the new sand pail that came with a shovel (thank you Target for your $2.50 bins). And, again I said YES as we wandered thru the seasonal items and there were some boxes of other sand toys - each for .99 cents. I even let her choose two. Maybe it was because she'd asked so nicely with her good manners. Maybe it was because she'd actually been riding in the cart the whole time instead of trying run up and down the isles like a heathen.

Before we knew it, we'd come full circle back around the store. By now she's asked to get out of the cart and walk. And, in my mind I was thinking if we can just get thru the checkout past the shelves of "needfull things" we'd be all set. And, besides, I'd just told her that because she'd been so good, that I'd treat her to a lemonade and some popcorn.

And, that's when it happened. It caught her eye. On the bottom shelf in the check out. The miniature barbie toy.

"Mama, can I have it"
No honey, not today
"Please, mama"
I said NO, not today Mads
"I want it"
"I want it"
Madaline Elizabeth, we just got you a new bucket and new diggy things for your sandbox, you don't need it
"I want it" know what - you have to make a choice. If you want the barbie toy we will have to return all the sand toys
"I want both"
I'm sorry, but you can't have both. Either the sand toys or the barbie toy. You choose.
::Madaline hangs her head and stand there thinking for a few minutes::
::she turns and stomps back over to put the barbie toy on the shelf::

Thank you for making a choice Madaline - now, would you like your lemonade and popcorn?

And, when I looked up, perhaps the best thing that could have happened? The cashier that had just rang us out, looked over at me and smiled. A little knowing smile. Kinda like the smile I wished that someone had given me that fateful day at Old Navy. But, oh well. And, now that I think about it, I don't think the popcorn at Target has ever tasted as good as it tasted last Saturday.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weekend REwind

I typically gauge how the weekend is going to play out by how well behaved Madaline is on Friday night. And, come Sunday night, a sure sign of a busy adventure filled weekend is how much of a scream induced meltdown she has. I know, I know...sad. But, true. Needless to say she was beyond well behaved Friday night and had a meltdown of epic proportions Sunday night.

And, so, I think we closed the book on another rockin' good weekend.
At one point we found ourselves deep in upstate Amish country buying a few flowers and herbs. And, I was surprised that it wasn't super busy or crowded with people. And, since we did have a spend a significant amount of time in the car to get from point A to Point B - this allowed some of Madaline's free spirited nature to shine thru. And, by this, I mean, I allowed her to run from one end of an almost empty green house to another while I carefully chose my basil plants. Usually I try to nip this kind of behavior in the bud so not to annoy others around us, but, this time I found it refreshing. She had a relatively safe environment to blow off some steam and I could choose my herbs in peace without having to worry about her picking the blooms off the endless rows of pansies & petunias. That's a win-win in my book.And, of course we needed cat food, which in my mind is the perfect reason to drive 20 minutes out of my way to Target. And, we ended one night with a trip to the ice cream stand and another night by making smores in Grammy & Grampy's new fires pit thingy. Daryl got in some fishing, we had a BIG family dinner complete with Aunt Olly, and as usual got some groceries for good measure.
And, as long as I think of only all the good we had all weekend, it kinda make the ache in my heart ache less in response to the "I am extremely overtired, not going to listen to reason, what ever you do don't look at me or touch me, scream until I almost puke" meltdown Madaline had minutes before she collapsed from sheer exhaustion in her bed last night.

So, that was my weekend. How was yours?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Feature: Ruffles, Ruffles and MORE Ruffles

Here's just a few things that caught my eye on Etsy this week:

tag you "r" it by Kari

Oh...and this....Be still my ever ruffle loving heart:

Lil Miss Muffin
Etsy; Facebook

So, that's what I've been looking at this week. What I've been wanting. If you can, take a minute - visit their blogs, their shops or even follow them on twitter.

PS: None of these shops asked me to do this, nor did they know before hand that I was doing this. I'm just hoping they don't get angry with me for using their photos. These are just a few of my favorite Etsy shops that I've been browsing lately....and slowly saving my pennies in hopes of being able to buy a few of these items for Madaline.