Danielle the Decorator.

For Christmas Danielle got some kid kitchen tools. She loves to cook with me and she is so darling. So today when she asked we made a cake with the star cake pans my sister in law Kathryn gave me a while ago. Danielle was very good at mixing the cake up- even though she was a little disappointed that she didn't get to roll it out with the kid roller.
Then came the decorating. She put whipped cream on it and blueberries. I meant to ask John to buy three little packages of blueberries but I asked him to buy three pinks of blueberries instead- which is a lot of blueberries. So we used a lot of them. And of course topped it with about ten million pounds of red sanding sugar. Just a little fourth of July goodness in December. Danielle said she loved it but really wished she could have made a bigger one. We've been storing the pans in the box they came in, which features a three layer cake with blueberries and strawberries.
After we made the cake we ate it. and I threw away that stupid box.


Merry Christmas!

First of all did I mention this year we finally found the perfect tree topper? I am in love with it. So Christmas was destined to be perfect.

I think there is nothing more rewarding than having kids at Christmas time. Everything we got Danielle was just what she wanted. She was so happy with her presents. Even her winter boots that we wrapped up were just what she wanted. She was pretty happy about the wall art I made her from the Rapunzel fabric she picked out. and the Rapunzel dishes and dress up clothes. She likes everything. I like that I can wrap up her winter clothes and she thinks Santa has been generous. Danielle came down the stairs after our upstairs breakfast and asked to open her stocking. darling. Mark went straight for the big present. We wanted Santa to bring the kids one big present- a ride on powered car. Then I wanted it to be good for both kids to I got a blue one. I looked all over for the best deal and finally bought it on Black Friday. I couldn't wait for Danielle's reaction. Then it came- Danielle went for the big reveal, saw the car, and asked to open her stocking. She said- "baby Mark loves his car." HIS CAR. that's right. The powered ride on is Mark's. He climbed right in and claimed it for his own. Since then Mark has been carrying things he likes to the car and storing them there. The put all his candy from his stocking in the car. Danielle showed him some of the buttons but calls it Marky's car.

Mark kept coming back to climb on different parts of his car. He got stuck once but then he got free so he was OK.
I guess that's OK since we didn't get Mark much of anything else. Turns out Mark is the unlucky kid. Every family has one- in my family every year Claire would get money in addition to her presents- because they realized the night before that she didn't have as much as anyone else. Mark pretty much got some candy in his stocking and a toothbrush and shoes. And presents from other people. We got him one thing-a kid computer. He loved that present. He always tries to steal the laptop so I thought we should get him his own. HOURS OF FUN. I like the deep transformer voice asking him to pick a game. Mark seemed very concerned about getting a comfortable chair.
Danielle was thrilled with how many books she got- and her Rapunzel stuff. We talked about baby Jesus and I'm not sure if she knows who is better- Christ or Santa Claus. Do children ever ask if Jesus is real when they lean that Santa isn't? this seems like a difficult topic.

of course right now Danielle likes playing princesses and loved all her Rapunzel stuff so maybe I don't have to worry about it too much. She knows that the witch wasn't actually Rapunzel's mother after all...

I loved this Christmas. I loved my presents and the whole day was great and best of all I loved my kiddos! Whoever said I wish I was Santa Claus was right. I loved it. I also learned that Danielle never stays still, so we don't have as many pictures of her. I tell her I am going to take her picture and she starts running around in circles. Can't so much capture that.

Less awesome- my struggling camera not wanting to get the kids in focus. It's hard to tell kids that they need to sit still so you can get a picture that may or may not be in focus. It's especially discouraging since baby Mark smiles so infrequently to begin with. I'm so frustrated my camera is supposed to be nice :-(

We took the kiddos to the Jewish Deli for our new Lunch Christmas Tradition. It was the sabbath though (which I felt a little guilty about) so they couldn't cook on the grill. I had a BLT (with beef) and John had what he said was the best Reuben he's ever had. Mark loved his food, especially that we let him eat the black and white cookie on the way home when Danielle didn't want it. You might think we feed our children only junk food- but hey- It's Christmas!


Merry Christmas Eve.

I love Christmas Eve. We made cookies and read the story of Jesus' birth and then picked a spot for our stockings and opened one present. The kiddos loved their new pajamas and Danielle loved the princess shoes Mark picked out for her (with a free ten dollar Kohl's coupon I might add). Mark got the book "Good Night Gorilla." He carried it around for a long time and loves it. Then he loved one of the cookies we made for Santa. Danielle drew Santa a picture of himself and the sippy cup Mark"wants." She helped us write Santa a letter.
Sometimes her prayers are a little bit like her requests to Santa- we told her that Santa gives kids presents for Jesus' birthday. Now she wants to know what kind of cake we are making for Jesus.
Good question.


Home Again Home Again

well given extra time Danielle likes to ask to visit Eddy and Maya and Lucy and Aida. She loves playing with them. so we went to New Jersey so she could see her best friend ever- Eddy. Also it's a little weird when she calls my uncle dad but I'll get over it some day. And Mark and Sara have the coolest bathroom ever. That's all I'm saying.

On the way home we stopped at the dinosaur museum- the Museum of Natural History in Philadelphia. The kiddos loved it. While John was paying at the kiosk I tried to capture a picture of the kids on a bench. Mark was not pleased.

What he was pleased with was the Mark sized automatic faucet in the bathroom. Danielle loved the butterflies- at first she was quite frightened that she was going to step on one and kill it. So frightened she didn't want to move. Maybe we overstressed that lesson. We was also really good at practicing her crocodile walk.

Speaking of frightening Danielle was quite frightened of the tyrannosaurus rex. She told everyone that they walked on two foots. She told the girls that were preserving a new fossilized dinosaur that. And the security guard. and a random stranger she wanted to go home with. at the end of the day we got home and she got to watch dinosaur Dan. She wasn't quite sure why the dinosaurs at the museum weren't just like the one's in the show, but I think she loved it anyway.


6 Years

Did I mention that John and I had our anniversary yesterday? We went out to lunch while we were visiting Mark and Sara. I was super sick with a cold so we decided not to celebrate until a little later. No one wants to have a snot nose at their wedding, or their anniversary.
I still can't believe I am married. It is nice. also nice- a laid back anniversary where I get to sleep a lot and Danielle gets to play with Eddie.
6 years! That's longer than high school. I loved my wedding. and I love John.


Nuttybars For Everyone

Just like their mother, My children think the world would be a better place with Nutty bars. For everyone. Mark saw a box and started dancing around the kitchen. and yelling. He quickly called Danielle over to share in the glory. He offered them them to all of us.
Oh our little Marker- a food pusher already.


Sunday Thoughts

I don't think the perfect mom would be having a meltdown right now about her daughter not sleeping. She would just rock the sad child back to sleep with a lullaby. Her three year old child would obediently go to bed at eight and also take an early afternoon nap. If you guys don't start sleeping soon I don't know what will happen, but it won't be good.

I was talking to my sister the other day about some moms she knows who tell her she will have kids as soon as she isn't afraid of them anymore. They ask her if she realizes "the church" meaning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints tells you to have children. They remind her that as a working woman, she has no idea what it is like to be busy and tired. My sister questioned why all these women were so unhappy with their lives. Their husbands- their children.
I love my children so much, but I feel like having children is the hardest thing I've ever done. I never thought I would just wish for it to be easy- to stop feel like I am fighting for control of my own sanity.
After Danielle was born I found myself crying a lot. For hours a day I would sit there and cry after the baby went to sleep or when she was awake. Almost all the time when I was alone. I felt like all my worst fears had come true. I couldn't breastfeed. I was so tired. I wasn't going to work. I was fat. She wouldn't stop screaming at me. She had reflux and seemed to always be angry with me. She didn't let me feed her rice cereal. She kept throwing up on me. I remember wondering if I would always feel so empty inside. I hated all the moms that told me how easy having just one child was. then I moved to a place where some of the moms at church had sick kids.
I feel like those sick children changed how I felt about motherhood. I would be terrified if my child died. Maybe I started coming out of the tunnel of sadness with the help of some great anti-depressants. I never bonded with my baby. I knew I wouldn't do anything to hurt her and would take care of her needs, but it was hard to talk to moms about how great it was to have children. I never wanted to admit that I wished I was dead but I didn't want to do anything about it because that would make me an irresponsible mother. I'm glad I got professional help to start to feel like I was alive again.
My first labor was terrible. I wanted to have another baby. To prove to myself that I could do it. People started telling me that two wasn't hard, three was.
Having baby Mark changed everything. I've never been so tired. Staying up for a few months in a row will really make you crazy I'm convinced. Mark tried to stay up all night and sleep during the day. But he took a bottle for a few weeks while I tried to figure the breastfeeding/pumping thing out and then he switched back to breastfeeding. He let me feed him. He LOVED me. I immediately felt like I loved this baby more than anything, in an intense way I thought must be a hormone released in new mothers and maybe more in breastfeeding new mothers. I have no idea what it was, but it made me feel terrible. Because I didn't have it the first time. I just felt lost. I filled my emptiness up with cute little dresses and matching shoes. This time was different. I was connected to Mark but still sad. I never anticipated waking up with children and forgetting who I was. What I loved to do. When Mark was a week old I sat in his room in the middle of the night and cried about how easy he seemed. Then I cried because I had grown to love Danielle but wondered if she would ever forgive me for not loving her immediately.
I'm different now. But I'm also still the same. I've had an easier time deciding the commit to the care of my children than I've had feeling alive. I tried not to blame my religion for telling me motherhood is a holy calling. I knew I shouldn't blame my children. I tried not to blame my husband for being busy and emotionally exhausted with school. I tried not to blame my mom for not coming to help since she was sick. I tried not to blame the church ladies for saying they would love to help but never doing anything. Except Paula.

I'm grateful for my friends. I think they saved my life. After Mark was born I remember feeling horrible and having Melissa from the med school come over and watch the kids while I slept. She cleaned my whole house. Sarah watched the kids and I went to the dentist. Melissa came again when I was sick with a breast infection. Holly came and John and I went on a date to the grocery store. Best date ever. Melissa watched them again. I have no idea how she can clean any house in 30 minutes and keep the children happy, but those kind of skills might be why she's in medical school. Then Carlie came and watched the kids and I went to the gym and took a nap every day for a week. At the end she probably felt like dying but I felt like I was a person again.

I feel really sad about how hard it is to have depression after having kids. To feel like you are lost somewhere in a sea of what you wanted your life to be and what other people say. When I became a mother I didn't understand the lost feelings at the beginning of the day, or the anger I suddenly had. Taking anti-depressants made it possible for me to love my daughter and start to feel alive again.
I know in the end I will make it though unbroken. I will know who I am and love my children. I will be a different person. I don't know if I will always live under the cloud of depression that I've carried since my first pregnancy. I don't know if I will ever weigh what I did before I had Danielle (Oh wait- yes I do and I will.) I didn't know what to tell my sister when talked about those mothers who hurt her feelings. I don't always know if I will be able to fit in to my religion as a mother who doesn't feel that holy or fulfilled. But I know that I will always be a mom and I will never give up on them. I know that even if I am broken inside and lost, I can pick up the pieces and start over again.

I love the people who helped me,
including my little kiddos.


Dear Friend: Happy Birthday

Dear Friend,

I just wanted you to know that I am planning to ship your birthday present today. I know that your birthday was yesterday. To celebrate your birthday I found a box to mail your present in. Then I wrapped your Christmas present. I decided to mail them together. You know which one is for your Birthday because it isn't wrapped. That wouldn't fit in the box. Actually it probably would but in the frenzy of preparing the package I didn't want to venture into the cold basement where the wrapping paper is. I predict that by the end of the week the basement will be warmer, since we are getting carpet down there and some heaters. Well maybe some heaters if we buy them.

Not that I'm making excuses. I hope you are still accepting presents. I actually accept presents year round FAMILY, so I think you will too. Even though I'm pretty sure you sent me my present on time.

Also you should know that my husband's family is still waiting for their birthday presents this year. Do you think it is rude to wrap them in Christmas paper and write on them "happy birthday" with a Sharpie marker? I love sharpie markers- I want some of them in my stocking this year. Since I waited until December to purchase a years worth of Birthday presents they probably won't be that great. Also technically I think this is his fault- and not just because everything in our marriage that goes wrong is his fault (we worked that little bit out before we got married, a wife is there to nag and everything is the huband's fault.) They are his family so I mentally decided he was in charge of them this year- since he forgets to remind me of his mom's birthday sometimes. His dad gets a calendar from us every year since he asked us to make him one and his parents are divorced so mom isn't on the calendar. The first year we were married I "forgot" her birthday because he did. After that one year of embarrassment when I forgot to send the present in time I've decided to make my own calendar. Luckily now I'm facebook friends with his mom. Also I guess not shipping presents is a real habit of mine, because that has happened too. Then the people come see the present I was going to give them and I don't want them to think it's some cast off present, so it stays in my presents to be shipped bin. I actually have Thomas trains from two years ago for my nephews. I think they might have been part of that whole Chinese lead pant recall though plus I'm sure my nephews don't still use them so they are also in the bin.

Anyway I just wanted you to know when you open your present the Birthday gift isn't wrapped which I thought was appropriate since your birthday is over. Plus there is no card. I duct taped the box shut before I remembered to go get one. Also in the freezing basement.

Should I ship it separate?

Just want you to know you aren't off the hook for my birthday next year, and I'm sorry for delaying your birthday package thus making your December birthday even closer to the dreaded birthday destroyer Christmas.

Love ya- happy birthday a while ago




Our blog is finally ready for Christmas- and our Christmas tree is up. We decided to only put up some of our ornaments this year. We also didn't put any of the ornaments on the lower branches of the tree. We've discovered exactly how high baby Mark can reach.

Merry Christmastime from my family to yours. Since my children stay up until past midnight and sleep past eleven I'm hoping they are able to sleep in Christmas Eve. I'm sad that we will have new years eve traditions because Danielle probably won't be able to sleep. Danielle loves Christmas.

I do too. I need to finally sew up my adventscalendar but it is living in my freezing cold basement. So cold. I can't go down there anymore. Actually when it gets really cold I don't even want to leave my bed. My bed is so warm and loving.

Mark likes to cuddle with all the blankets I make for my etsy shop and he wants to be the center of attention. He loves to sit on the canvas board and let me take pictures of him. He wants to climb on things- he can move Danielle's seat and climb on to the kitchen table. He is helping us get ready for Christmas- also by carrying ornaments that he can get ahold of around. He wants all the ball ornaments.

What have you done to get ready for Christmas and what do your babies want?


Remember November

I miss November. It was not as cold as December is. I remember it being colder last year and I dread the cold. Last year our heating bills were so high that I wanted to die. I resolved not to have our house be very hot. Lucky for me it was warm in November so we didn't have to use a lot of heat. Danielle and I spent at least an hour doing yard work every day while Mark was asleep in the morning. Suddenly Winter has come. Luckily Danielle and I finished building our flower beds before the ground froze. We had a lot of time to plant the bulbs that were 75 percent off the price. We built two new flower beds. I'm hoping to have raised beds around the yard and use them for a garden when we live here- then when we move I can just plant flowers in them. I love raised flower beds because they are easy to work with.
Danielle collected rocks from all over the yard and we built a rock path. I leveled corner of the yard that was made up of yard rubble from the bricks and fence and sandbox problems.

Danielle has her own wheelbarrow. She loves it. She helps me carry things. She was very proud of our little path and the rocks. Austin was very happy to play with us.

and now our little flower bed is covered in a little bit of snow. and it is so windy. Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons here in Pennsylvania. I wonder how winter will be.


Sunday Thoughts: Marriage

My brain doesn't work right when I have a tension headache. Today I was talking to a girl at church who said she was about to get divorced. She said that she had been dating a guy who was close to getting his temple recommend then got married and realized he still smoked. She has a young baby and was very sick while she was pregnant. Her husband couldn't care for her so she went to stay with her parents. Now she doesn't want to go visit him for Christmas and he isn't getting leave. She seemed discouraged. I was sad for her.
I was also a little bit confused. Not because I doubted that she was unhappy- but because I wondered if you should stop trying if your spouse refuses to give up smoking or come to church. I don't doubt that in this woman's situation her relationship isn't good- especially after talking to her more. I just thought of how she wanted to explain her divorce by the fact that her husband says it's impossible to be in the military and mormon. As if him not wanting to be Mormon was a reason in itself. (this was not her entire story but I got sidetracked by that idea). I wonder if that is true for some people. Would you leave someone if they had different religious views that you did? If they refused to give up an addiction or smoking or friend? If you felt like they were a bad example for your children? I wonder how much that plays into someone's happiness or love. I've talked to a few women lately who have husbands with addictions. I wonder how I would feel if my husband came to me and told me he didn't want to be Mormon anymore. What if he wanted to start drinking? Do people who aren't Mormon think about things like this- if your spouse changed religions and you disagreed do you think it would destroy your marriage? If you are non religious are there behaviors that would destroy your relationship? I think it would be interesting to ask people because everyone seems to have different values.
I don't know why this one part of the conversation stuck out so much. Maybe because I didn't relate to her situation very much. I don't know anything about the military and marriage- I have a cousin that got married and her husband got deployed. He contacted her and asked for divorce and she never really found out why. I also have another cousin who seems quite happily married to a man in the military. It wasn't just about the military but about what a marriage "deal breaker" is.
What would be a marriage "deal breaker" for you- or do you have any?


Dear Friend

Dear Friends,

If any of you have read the Love Languages Book you would know that Christmas is a special time for one love language. The Gift givers. I like that one of the biggest seasons of the year is dedicated to my love language. I love getting things for people. I would be Santa Claus if I could. When people tell me they don't like giving presents I never quite understand what they are talking about. Do you not love other people? Don't you look at anything and have it remind you of someone? Do you never listen to what other people like? Just ask yourself- what would make them happy? I like to get people presents that remind me of them and that they wouldn't buy for themselves. If I have a hard time (JEN R.) then I just get them something I want myself. Lucky for me I want A LOT of things. I think it's pretty hard to get me a present I don't like. Actually I think it's only happened once or twice, because the presents were REALLY REALLY TERRIBLE.
This year we are trying to teach Danielle to give other people presents. Mostly to distract her from just wanting everything in sight. We went to Target the other day to pick a present for someone else's birthday and she wanted to get them a tiny little car and get herself a powered bike and a Princess doll assortment and some candy and another doll and I didn't even go near the other aisles. I guess she has a long way to go in the think about others department. It just doesn't excite her like I was hoping it would. I like her complete lack of ability to think of what other people would like. We asked her what to get her gymnastics teacher. He gets a sit and spin according to Danielle. She wants one as well.

The rest of you can expect ponies. My Little Ponies. For every holiday ever. I do love me a my little pony. Unless you are one of the select few- then you might want a princess or a Pinkalicious book.

I think I'm starting to understand how parents sometimes give children's toys for birthdays.
But I still feel like a hairy ball toy is a gag gift.


Modified Thanksgiving Menu

Since everyone in my family is now sick I have decided to revise my Thanksgiving menu.
For Me: Peppermint Popcorn I made with Claire. Lots of it.

For Everyone:
Saltine Crackers
Pedialyte Popsicles

Last time Danielle had to flu she got REALLY dehydrated. I've also never dealt with a breastfeeding baby who has the flu- I was doing really good trying to wean him and he isn't keeping much of anything down so should I keep trying to wean and throw more saltines at him? Because this baby DOES NOT CARE for saltines. I read this article about how you should continue breastfeeding so the push to wean is going to get moved back again. Do you ever feel like life looks at your well made plans and laughs at you? It took me such a long time to come to the decision to wean Mark and I've been so wishy washy about it. How. When. Where- these questions are much less solid than it was to decide to breastfeed. I had to work so hard to be able to do it I never thought about how it would end. Although just like with breastfeeding I appreciate the crap loads of unsolicited advice I've received. he he- and the solicited advice. why is it that the people who are the most opinionated and pushy are the one's you don't actually ask?
Overall I think Mark has moved backwards in terms of weaning- from 4 times a day back to I don't know how many but I know I've done three loads of throw up laundry today. John has also done some, before he joined the sickies.
My kids are so sick and sad. Danielle wanted me to hold her but at one point she smelled too bad so she got to take a bath first. Danielle learned to swish water around her mouth to get the bad taste out. she wanted to go to bed tonight. She also made it to the bathroom several times to throw up and I'm really proud of her. Mark has had several baths.

Oh well- it gives me more time to make the rainbow jello Danielle wanted, and explains why I felt so sick all week. Sometimes when you think you could be accidentally pregnant it is really the flu. Other times just your standard monthly crazy paranoia.

Still good to keep lots of pregnancy tests on hand. and Saltine crackers.


Christmas Lists

I'm convinced that Christmas lists are the best thing ever invented. For example at Macy's you can go drop you letter to Santa off and tell him what you want- there is a big mail box. So for the last little while every time Danielle has asked for something I tell her she should tell Santa what she wants.
The other day John sat down with Danielle to write her Christmas list.

Danielle's Christmas list so far:
Tree House
5 pinkalicious bocks. No 6. or more.
Toy Trap with Woody and Buzz
A Meal at Mc McDonalds
A Scooter Like Penny's
A Girl Hat
A pop up fire truck and American Girl dog (added a few days later as she looked at a catalog)

I loved her descriptions- and that I knew what some of the more cryptic toy requests were.
Too bad she's not going to get that tree house though- we drew up some basic plans and priced out the lumber at a little over $1000.00. Maybe I'll draw her a picture of one.
She is also helping us pick out toys for other people. She wants to get her gymnastics teacher a sit and spin. And for her best friends? that's right- Ponies. or Pinkalicious.

We may or may not have read pinkalicious right before she wrote her list.


Sunday Thoughts: Crazy Mom

Today was an interesting day. I let Mark take a nap this morning and missed church. I was going to go with John to the tough mudder to see him run. He finished and I'm super proud of him. You should look at the run HERE.
I was going to go with him- my friend said she would watch our kids the whole time (Hello HUGELY Generous) and we brought them over. Then I started feeling bad. I'm still breastfeeding mark so I guess this would be like weaning him. He usually wakes up at 4 in the morning to eat- but twice last week he waited until 8. I missed my baby after only an hour. We didn't end up driving up early because someone needed a ride the next morning- so I started regretting my decision to go- we could have dropped them off the next day- we didn't need to make someone else watch them right away. I kept asking John every ten minutes if he thought the kids were OK. I wanted to call my friend and ask if Mark was being too hard. I thought about bringing him to the race the next day. outside all day rather than with friends probably wasn't the best idea ever.
My friend didn't beat me up when I called past midnight and got our kids.
because I had a meltdown. John didn't get back until around 8 tonight so that would have been long but I bet the kids would have survived. I just didn't know if I was ready to wean Mark so suddenly. of course now I decided to wean him next week during Thanksgiving break. I just didn't feel ready because I hadn't PLANNED it. I knew Danielle would be having the time of her life with her friends but I wasn't ready to leave Mark.

The most surprising thing was how crazy I felt. I felt horribly guilty. I tried to convince myself I was worried about Mark or my friend being upset but it was really about me. I need my kids to be around. I have a hard time when they are gone. Not to play with friends or if I need to run errands for a few hours or go to the gym, but the idea of being gone a whole day terrified me. Maybe I can blame the breastfeeding. I wonder if I am just crazy or if a lot of moms go through this crazy guilty attachment.
I tell myself it was OK since Mark had a fever this morning. It went away with Tylenol and he doesn't have it anymore. Really I just realized another thing about being a mom- I feel like I have this hormonal physical connection to my children. We worked in the yard today- the three of us all bundled up planting bulbs. Or playing with the dog- Mark loves it when Austin plays ball with him. I'm still not quite sure why I stayed home or if I'm going to turn into one of those super protective crazy stalker moms someday- but now I understand them a little more.
which might not be a good thing...

have you ever realized your concern about your kids was more about you than about them?


What did you Do today?

Today I was going to be able to see in the dark with my super power night vision, but it ran out of batteries. Luckily Danielle came to the rescue with imaginary batteries which Mark also received so he could help us rescue puppies in the basement.
I also realized why it WAS a good idea to make a pile of all my pants and jump in them. pants can be just as soft as pillows if stacked properly

The ladies at gymnastics were having a competition about who had the child with the biggest feet. I totally lost that one- the kid who won had clodhoppers sized 11.5. I'm not sure why they were competing about that, but I also lost the "I don't buy my child nice shoes" contest. You can imagine my sigh of relief when another child walked in wearing sparkly sketcher twinkle toes. Just moments before these beautiful shoes were the victim of being called 'canvas shoes I could make with a bedazzler"
by big feet's mom.

I'm not sure why some mom's like to make everything into a competition, but it was funny today.
sometimes it's had to have such a worldly and stylish child.
but someone has to be her mother, and I'm glad it's me.


Challenge Myself

child update- mark has been walking for two weeks now. So different than Danielle! I think she walked 5 months earlier than he did. Kiddos are fun- Danielle saved her allowance and bought a pillow and carried it with her everywhere for a few days. Like a security blanket.

Well it's been a month and I haven't posted every day.
But the month of positive posts is over. When it comes down to rainbows ponies and unicorns it's time to stop. Plus my aunt told me I'm more negative when I'm positive so... I have to say I have had more negative thoughts this month than ever before in my life. Now that I've decided it is over I am thinking positive things again. Like that I LOVE antibiotics. I am convinced that whoever invented them is going straight to heaven. I had a sinus infection this week and I was mean to my mom while she visited because I didn't feel good but now I think I will be able to sleep without pain killer and sudafed tonight. I am so happy about getting medicine. I'm happy I went to the doctor and got medicine. I am happy that when I went to the dentist they told me I don't have any cavities. I'm glad my mom got to come visit because I missed her.

We did all sorts of projects- if only my mom lived close to me I think my productivity would quadruple. Plus she was making bread with me, which tasted fabulous.

Well this positive blog post for a month has been a little bit more challenging than some of my other challenges- but it's my first on the good old family blog. the other challenges I've done are the challenge to make something every day and the challenge to make a treasury every day. I finished the make something every day challenge after 28 days- Like February you know- and I am on day 22 of the treasury challenge- a treasury is a collection of 16 items on Etsy that go together. That's how they pick what items will be on the front page- every hour etsy picks from a member curated treasury and those items are on the front page. I think it's interesting to see what I'm drawn to.

I already have an idea for my month challenge next month. I got the idea of Christine Smith who used to live in this area but moved to Delaware- she did it for a while.


Dear friend,

Dear Mom,

It is my pleasure to tell you that we have another sock lover in the family. Remember that one year that we had over 100 socks between all of us? I was really happy that I got 12. and I know to go after Christmas and get the socks on sale. I myself don't wear seasonal socks but my children can.
Danielle loves socks. She packages up all of her socks in a great big sock wrapper and carries them around with her. Or she puts all her money in a ball. It seems a little strange to have a sock stuffed with money in it- did anyone here see in living color?- but they really are a convenient change purse.
Sometimes I walk into Danielle's room and she is wearing all her panties and as many socks as she can get on. She needs several pairs for her feet and hands. Did you know that socks are the new gloves? really they are the same as mittens and there are lots more options.
I have to say though the other day when Danielle had socks on top of her footed sleeper I had a hard time not dying from how cute it was. I almost woke her up from sleeping, which is a horrible thing. I should know, right now I'm up in the middle of the night with her and she isn't feeling well. Maybe she needs a pair of socks.

Love this hot chocolate.
Love socks.- even if I wear them very infrequently. they make my feet feel sweaty.
Love you.

Lessons from Danielle:
Some days you need socks on top of your footed sleeper. For fashion.

sorry about the bad picture- the flash was necessary. She is sleeping on a mattress on our floor while my mom is here. Normally she sleeps like the dead- which is why I can take flash photos of her in the middle of the night.
If only Mark slept that way.

End Positive Post #21


Insomnia and Sick Kiddos.

Tonight Danielle and I are up. she has a cold. I have some weird pain in my face. Just the left side. I think it's my sinus and I just hope that it's not from my teeth. Se we are eating a snack and watching little bill on TV. Time to make my Christmas List!
Middle of the night Christmas Lists are the best. You can imagine how thrilled I was when someone asked me the other day what I wanted. It was my sister. Bless her awesome heart!
I find making a Christmas list almost as exciting as actually getting the presents- plus I get to spend A LOT more money on my imaginary list.

My Christmas List:
1. Darling dipping dishes from HopeJohnson on Etsy
2. Kate Spade China in June Lane Gold
3. Barnes and Noble gift cards.
4. Brown High Heels size 8.5. I can't seem to find a pair. With closed toes.
5. Minky Fabric from Minkydelight.com
6. Laminated Cotton fabric like Nicey Jane or Michael Miller or Amy Butler (or any cute oilcloth fabric)
7. Echino fabric I like SuperBuzzy to get it. I want some of the new ones SO MUCH. I don't have any of the Fall 2010 fabric and it makes me sad.
8. A Serger.
9. The Living Room Painted.
10. The garage painted. I know that sounds silly but I love the idea of a painted garage.
11. Stockholm products from the containerstore like the drawer.
12. A deck.
13. Amy Butler rug- Wallflower large rug. wow it's beautiful. and expensive.
14. To go to the Biggest Loser Resort. I've been watching the show with my friend Suzy and I think it would blow my mind. in a good way.
15. A bound cookbook with my mom's recipes- complete ones, not the drafts.
16. A white tub instead of the yellow one.
17. A stereo for the basement.
18. A new computer- with CS5 from photoshop- or lightroom.
19. A clean house that someone else cleaned.
20. Board Games. I love them SO MUCH.

End Positive Post #20


Positive Post #19 of 31

I think that asking if Christmas is coming soon is very positive. For example each day Danielle asks me if it is Christmas yet several times a day. I've decided to never shop in advance ever again. She really wants to open all her presents.

But you know what I really think all day long? I'll sum it up in three words:







and that's why Danielle and I get along so well.

End Positive Post 19 of 31


Positive Post #18


I was wondering...

End positive Post #18


Positive Post #17 Mom Style

First off I have to say that Halloween? The.Best.Ever.

If you want to get a piece of my "always in lounge clothes but never jeans" look, here's a little tutorial.


Step One: Go To JJill. Or JJill.com all I have to say it- their sizing is pretty forgiving so be prepared to feel skinny. Even though really you are the same size. Anyway I like the wearever collection and I get black EVERYTHING. If you want to branch out- get gray.
This is really the key to my wardrobe- I have a lot of these pants but I like the flared leg and I am not super tall so I have to watch out for the fraying at the heel.

Step Two: Wear your pants everywhere. Let's say you want to grout the bathroom for example- just wear your black pants. Cleaning the kitchen floor with bleach cleaner? Leave those suckers on. Yard Work feels good in black pants, as does sleeping. Did I mention you can leave them on all day? But that would be gross, change into your other identical pair.

Step Three: Continue to use the pants when you get pink streaks from a bleach cleaner covered counter top. Act as though it is totally normal to have smears of white grout on your calf.

Step Four: Buy more pants, but don't get rid of your old trashed ones. That would ruin your mom style.

End Positive Post #17. I was going to post pictures but I decided not to so they can be a separate post tomorrow. When I find my camera and phone with pictures on it.


Positive Post #16

Positive Post #16

I have been looking at paypal and did you realize you can make a "buy it now" button on paypal? So if you are blogging about stuff you sell you can link to your paypal. Maybe. So here goes for fame and fortune on my blog.

I think I might but a button on every post I make, if it actually works.
I think it's hilarious- what would you sell?
End Positive Post #16 of 31


Positive Post #15

I got my tooth fixed. They didn't even ask if I wanted another color- they just glued the sucker back on. They cleaned it- maybe because it was stored in the change section of my wallet. My kids put money in their mouths though, so it probably would have been fine either way.
for those of you (denise) who wonder- I actually didn't start dental Hygeine. I finally realized that maybe piles and piles of educational debt were a bad plan. John knows this too, so he plans to work after school. Since I can't commit to that I decided to wait on school.

Other good news: Mark wakes up twice a night now- that is less than ever before and he is darling at night. Danielle likes to feed him yogurt and she is really good at it. After a few weeks she is officially a preschool drop out- and her school backpack came in the mail the next day. luckily she has a lot of important ponies to carry around the house and now she can do it.

I am about to die in anticipation of Halloween- one of the most glorious holidays EVER.

Long live Candy!
except milk duds, because it turns out I wasn't supposed to be eating milk duds at all anyway since I popped my crown off on one. and all other sticky candy.
I'm usually so careful to only eat them on the other side of my mouth.
I don't know if I can think about never eating milk duds again. They keep looking at me from the candy bin. They love me. They want to make me feel better about going to the dentist. They don't think my gold crown is a mercury filling.
Totally worth the very insignificant copay since I have much coveted dental insurance that I have a crush on.
Did I mention I'm one of the reasons everyone has such expensive dental insurance?
true story.
End Positive Post #15


Positive Post #14

I have the opportunity to undo one of the worst mistakes of my life. What is it? that's right- getting the wrong color gold in my crown. Now my dentist (who really was NOT very good) recommended that I get a porcelain crown. Since I've been to a few jaw specialists who disagree and I cracked my tooth by clenching I asked for a gold crown. Porcelain can crack so if you clench or grind your teeth you shouldn't get it. You should get gold.
So once I had convinced my dentist that even though my porcelain crown would be guaranteed for two years I was going to get the less attractive gold they grudgingly asked me what color I wanted. Color? I didn't know that gold came in colors.
Then I realized what an idiot I am- of course it comes in colors, my wedding ring is white gold. I thought- well maybe I should match my wedding ring.

I don't know if you know this but a white gold crown looks a lot like those cheap-o metal fillings you used to get as a kid that I don't even know if they make anymore. Why didn't I get yellow gold? I could spit every time someone sees my crown and tells me they used to get fillings like that when they were kids. NO YOU DIDN'T.

not that it makes me frustrated because I am always happy.
and I would never be so vain about my teeth to care if people think my crown is gold or just a super big cavity.
One year after the first mistake I did it again. I got another crown and even though I knew it was a mistake I wanted it to match so I got white gold again. At first they ordered me a porcelain crown and I was a little upset that I had to call back two days after my fitting and remind them that I wanted white gold like the last one. They seemed to think it was unusual. Apparently they have never dealt with anyone that clenches. Why did I trust these people to make me a crown in the first place.

Just yesterday a miracle happened- while I was eating my crown fell out of my mouth. Now if I can get my other crown to fall out by tomorrow morning I can get it replaced with a yellow gold crown. I guess crowns just fall out sometimes since mine did. Maybe I can count on the other one falling out eventually- I could just get them to make me a yellow gold one. This one only lasted about 17 months after all. How about when my slowly and painfully dying root next to the newest crown finally dies- maybe I won't just need a root canal like the other surrounding teeth- maybe I can get another crown. Luckily I still had three pain killers left over from after I had a baby so I should be able to make it until tomorrow morning. Should I be worried that my crown stump hurts so bad? Can that get infected or is there even tooth left there?
Man I wish I was a dentist.

So my advice to you is to plan what color your crowns will be someday. Think of the repercussions of the color gold you get. I might be stuck- or have non matching teeth. On the bright side I could get white gold yellow gold white gold yellow gold. Then I could wear any color jewelry and match.

Totally worth the 2,000.00 dollars. Twice.

end positive post #14


Positive Post #13

You know what I want for my babies?
well lots of things. but also these flashcards for geek babies. I'm surpised they haven't been bought up and made fancy and sold on Thinkgeek.com
I really like the site ThinkGeek.com. Presents from there seem to go over pretty good in the Madsen household. I also want to buy like everything on the site for Harley King. he seems like he would like that stuff. and he is hilarious.
Will my child be Geeky enough for the geek alphabet? I don't know. But I do know that it brings joy to my heart that Danielle likes my little ponies.


Marriage Excellence: Good Reads Positive Post #12

Have you ever read the book His Needs Her Needs? I like it. It talks about people's top ten emotional needs. You can rate what yours are- then it talks about how your needs will be different than your spouse's needs. For example Recreational Companionship, Familial Support, Communication, Admiration, Sex, Financial Support, Attractiveness, etc. I just realized I know they guy ones more than the girl ones. hmm... Anyway it has quizzes- which is super desirable in a relationship book.
I actually think it is one of my favorite relationship books. I like how it has so many ideas. I recommend it to people- but not without a warning that it isn't perfect.

What isn't perfect about it? The title. I've been working on some other ideas:

Each chapter of this beauty starts with an example story. That story? Why a couple had an affair. It must be mind blowing to be a therapist. So many different ways people screw over the people they used to love. Who can keep up? Therapists must live in constant fear that they are doing something wrong in their relationships.

You think you know how to love the opposite sex and make them happy. You are a fool. A huge fool. Every instinct you have will lead to their unhappiness. If you follow your gut, your spouse will have an affair.

Have you ever tried to be the perfect spouse? There are not enough hours in the day. Your spouse could doubtless do better. Or maybe you could. Good luck avoiding the affairs we describe!

Read anything that's improved your marriage lately?

End Positive Post #12