Tuesday, August 30, 2011

State Fair

Sunday we (Justin, Madelyn, and I) went to the State Fair with my parents.  I love the State Fair - I like the exhibits, the people watching, and especially the food.  We took Madelyn last year with some friends, but it was a very different experience taking her when she was 5 months old than now when she is 17 months old.  She really wanted to walk around in all the crowds and to get into everything without paying any attention to what was going on around her.  Last year she wasn't mobile so that was a little bit easier, but she also didn't get a lot out of the fair.  This year she loved seeing the people, all of the food we let her eat, and especially the animals.

We took Madelyn to a horse show, which she was very excited about and wanted us to tell her about every horse that she saw.  We also went to the miracle of birth barn when she got to see several baby animals and also pet a lamb who had been born the day before.  She really loved the animals and was pretty distressed when it was time leave.

We also decided that it would be a good opportunity to take Madelyn on her first ride - the carousel at the fair in front of the Grandstand.  As I have commented on previously, Madelyn is pretty fearless, so we thought she would like the ride, and after her first moment of "what is going on here" she had a great time and wanted to keep going, even when it was time to get off.  We had a good time and Justin got a few pictures to commemorate the occasion.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Have Passport, Will Travel

Justin and I thought that we got our passports when we were pretty young.  I got mine when I was 14, Justin got his when he was 16.  This weekend we got Madelyn's passport.  It feels pretty crazy to have a passport for a 17 month old.

Nonetheless, Madelyn is now prepared to travel internationally.  Her passport is good for 5 years.  I don't think she'll look like her passport anymore by the time she is 6.

We leave for our Mediterranean cruise soon, and we are trying to make sure we have everything together.  I am a little nervous about taking Madelyn on such a long flight and also how it will go when we try to adjust her to a different time zone.  If anyone has any good ideas about how to make our trip go smoothly we are definitely open to suggestions.  In any case, I am sure we will have a great time :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Day on the Lake

On Saturday, to celebrate my birthday, we spent the afternoon on Lake Minnetonka with my parents, Justin's mom, and my aunt, uncle, and cousin.  Madelyn's biggest frustration with being out on a boat is that she is not in the water.  Her second biggest frustration is that we make her sit down while the boat is moving.  Even with that, everyone had a really good time and Madelyn was a good sport.

For a while in the afternoon we beached the boat at a sandy cove on one of the islands in the southwest part of the lake.  Here are a couple of pictures from our afternoon.

Madelyn and Daddy had a fun time swimming in the lake and blowing kisses.

Walking in the sand and in the water with Grandpa

Playing in the sand

 This picture is my favorite from the day:

Being out on a boat encompasses so many of my favorite things about summer - sun, water, relaxation...but by the end of the night there was a definite chill in the air which reminded me of how my birthday signals the beginning of the end of summer.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Little Ears

The expression "little ears are listening" has taken on new meaning for me recently.   I know that Madelyn understands a lot, because if I tell her we are going somewhere she goes and gets shoes - sometimes, hers, sometimes mine, but she clearly understands that we wear shoes when we go out of the house.  On Friday, when we went for a walk, I told her that if she wanted to walk she had to go where we were going, otherwise I would carry her.  Whenever I reminded her of that she would start walking the way we were going until something else distracted her, but another reminder produced good results.

However, even with all of that, it surprises me how much she is paying attention when she is not being directly addressed.  We were driving in the car listening to one of the toddler Pandora stations that I had set up when I song I didn't know about blowing kisses came on.  When I looked at Madelyn in the mirror she was sitting in her carseat happily blowing kisses.  I have chalked up clapping her hands when "If you're happy and you know it" comes on to learning and example - not so much listening to the song, but this was different.  Another time a song came on about a cow jumping over the moon and Madelyn would "moo" every time the song said "cow."  Now we definitely know that little ears are listening.

Friday, August 12, 2011


No one has ever accused me of being on the cutting edge of technology.  I didn't have IM until I was in college. I didn't start a facebook page until after college when I was at the wedding of one of my college roomates and she and another friend threatened to stop keeping me up to date with their lives unless I got on facebook.  My dad got a touchscreen phone before I did (but I do have one now).  I still don't have cable, but at least we got a DVD player that streams Netflix.  Clearly it took me a while to start a blog.  I started using Pandora internet radio like 3 weeks ago.

I have to say that Pandora has been a huge revelation in my life...we now have created 6 different stations for Madelyn each of which can play great children's music in the car, at home through the DVD player or the computer, or on our phones when we are out somewhere.  The most recent station we created for her is a lullaby station and from it we found a lullaby album that we really like by Jewel (Lullaby).  One of Madelyn's favorite stations is "Row, Row, Row Your Boat Radio."

Every time I embrace a technology medium that most people I know have been using for a long time I think "this is so great, what took me so long?"  I don't have an answer...but I do get there eventually.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fun at the Lake

On Saturday we took Madelyn up to the lake with some friends.  She went for a ride in the boat and then got to play on the shore afterwards.  She is a big fan of water and water related activities so she thought that the day was well spent.  We didn't change her into her swimsuit for the time on the boat since she wasn't getting wet and we didn't want to go through too many swim diapers during the day.  However, when we got in from boating Madelyn wanted to get in the water right away so we decided that it wasn't worth getting her changed.  So, if you think in the pictures and video below it looks like she is in her clothes that is because she is.  The video also highlights her difficulty with the concept of sharing :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Madelyn can identify a lot of animals.  If we ask her to point out a sheep or a dog or a cow she gets it right most of the time.  However, she is very selective about which animal noises she is willing to demonstrate.  She will only give two sounds consistently "roar" and "baa baa."  When in doubt she tells us that all animals say "roar."  I am not sure why she latched onto "roar" but it is without a doubt her favorite animal sound.  Tonight we managed to get a video of her showing off her repertoire.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Who Lives in the Computer?

We live in the age of skype, which has been a fantastic way to keep in touch with family members.  But sometimes I wonder what Madelyn thinks, and how she associates the people that she talks to on the computer with the people that she sees in person.  I think she does on some level, but she also tries to hand things through the screen to the people she is talking to.   She also knows that the person we skype with the most is her Mommom (Justin's mom), and so if we ask if she wants to talk to Mommom she runs to the computer and points at it.

Recently, when we were skyping with Mommom Madelyn was getting frustrated that Mommom was not taking the toys that she was presenting to the computer screen.  I told Madelyn that Mommom was in the computer and so she couldn't take the toys, but that it was nice to show them to her.  This seemed to satisfy Madelyn, however Mommom said "I'm not in the computer, I'm in New York" which was clearly true.  I wonder, though, if Madelyn understands the difference, or if she thinks that Mommom lives in the computer, at least some of the time.

Monday, August 1, 2011

7 Years!

Sunday was Justin and my 7th wedding anniversary.  It is hard to believe it has been that long that we have been married and really seems to have flown by, although it also is a little hard to remember life before we were married...particularly life before Madelyn.  In the past we have gone places for our anniversary, but this weekend we stayed home and mostly did things together as a family except for a date on Saturday.  This summer it has been so much fun to do things with Madelyn because she gets so excited about them.

The weekend was filled with activities that might have been ok to do without Madelyn (at least some of them) but were a significantly better experience for taking her to do them.  On Friday Madelyn and I met some friends and their 19 month old daughter at the Mall of America to go to the Minnesota Sea Life Aquarium.  Although transitions are not Madelyn's biggest strength right now, she did pretty well moving from one place to another with only minor resistance at the different activities until it was time to leave when she pretty much had a full scale meltdown.  She really liked the jellyfish and insisted on looking at each individual display although there were only 3 different kinds of jellyfish in about 9 displays.  However, her favorite part was the underwater tunnels.  Unlike some of the children who were scared or startled or at least concerned by the sharks and other large fish swimming right at/by their heads, when Madelyn was caught off guard she laughed. Huge rows of teeth a couple of feet from her face did not phase her in the least.  There were "oohs" and of course "whoas" but not any fear.   We have been saying for a while that she is a pretty fearless child which I think bodes for an exciting toddlerhood.

It was a good weekend for the beach and the wading pool, and although we were not the only ones who had those ideas it is fun to see how much change even a week brings.  Last weekend when we played at the wading pool she would walk around and enjoyed any games or playing that we would initiate, but this weekend she initiated some water activities of her own, including splashing both of us and a new game where she jumped on top of me and pushed me into the water.  She thought it was hilarious, and actually Justin thought it was pretty hilarious too.  I tried to convince her several times to go play the game with daddy but each time she would just smile at me and then try to get me to go into the water again.

All in all it was a pretty fantastic way to spend our anniversary weekend.