Sunday, October 31, 2010

Grand Finale

What a wonderful weekend it has been! And what a birthday celebration too! Today, of course, was Halloween. But it is also Daddy's birthday, which made for a wonderful day. Mommy prepared a great feast for everyone with orange cupcakes, pumpkin cookies, green punch, and mummy wrap hot dogs. After church, the family came over - it was their first official visit to our new home. After a bit of touring, we put on the television for a while and of course watched "Alice in Wonderland" again. Soon it was time to eat though, and eat we did! It was all very nice - Daddy got some more presents: gift cards to Home Depot. Those will come handy here at the new house.

Everyone was so anxious to go out and do some trick-or-treating. The big question is: when is it time to go out? Is 5:00 too early? The sun is up, but everyone was so ready to go out there and fill their bags with candy! We decided to stall a bit, by taking a family photo showing everyone in their costumes.

You can see everyone here: Madison is in her Mulan costume, David is a pirate and Jonathan is a Spartan. Or a Roman. Hannah is a kitten, while Aunt Shain and Nana are cowgirls. Daddy decided to be a Viking this year, and Ye-Ye is a beekeeper!

At 6:00, we decided it was time to head out. We started across the street and went from house to house, all the kids running from house to house. Look at her running from one house back towards Daddy!

Oh yes: she's got the hang of it. She would say "trick or treat" as best she could, and she would always mind her manners. Now, about our new neighborhood. This one is apparently the one everyone comes to for trick-or-treating. These houses were all decked out, one after the other. Take a look at just one of the houses:

Many, many houses had inflatables like this, or pumpkins, or orange lights like in the photo below:

You can see Madison at that house above, doing her thing. It was a huge adventure, and all the kids came back with bags weighted down by all the candy. It was like the neighborhood was a huge block party - bonfires dotted the landscape with people everywhere, playing fun music and giving out candy to all the children.

There were even free hay rides for the kids! We walked up and down the street for about two and a half hours, until our feet were sore. The kids were actually tired, defeated by our neighborhood - because there was simply no way to visit all the houses. You should have seen all the candy, too!

One house was giving out orange Bibles: copies of the New Testament. A few houses were giving out full-sized candy bars! There were toys and there was enough candy to keep any child happy for a few months - at least until Christmas comes along.

When we returned, we had a nice, big fire in the fireplace and rested for a bit, talking of all the houses and experiences we had. Madison had a wonderful time, and never really got tired. She only had one lollipop the whole night - the thrill for her was being with family and running from place to place to get free candy. Daddy was thrilled too!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Today Daddy was at work, preparing for our newest service - but in the meantime, Madison and Mommy were getting the house cleaned up. They were also getting ready for this evening, which was a load of fun, actually.

First of all, we returned to Discover Mills for trick-or-treating. Our first stop was Bass Pro Outlet, where they had candy - and this big display with the Peanuts gang out in a pumpkin field.

Note how Madison is essentially the same size as Lucy up to her shoulders. Then there's the issue of those great big heads! We waited and waited here for a long time, just knowing that the Great Pumpkin was going to show up.

He never did.

Fortunately, someone else showed up:

We met Hannah, David, Jonathan, Aunt Shain and Uncle David there at Discover Mills. They too were doing some trick-or-treating, so we hooked up for just a bit and posed for our now annual group photo.

One thing about Discover Mills this year, and trick-or-treating inside the mall: it was overcrowded. That's why I don't have too many pictures. A lot of stores were actually out of candy before we arrived there, and we actually got there early! Lines were everywhere, and nearly every square foot of floor space in the mall had people jockeying for position in it.

Despite the crowds, Madison did have a good time. We did get an early start and were able to grab some good candy. Madison has got the hang of this thing: she thrusts out her trick-or-treat bag (we got one that came with a Disney movie), and even says thank you when getting her candy. She knows the drill!

Afterwards, we left Discover Mills to take Daddy out for his birthday dinner. Daddy was wanting to go somewhere that Madison hasn't gone yet - and that was Bugaboo Creek. This restaurant has mounted animal heads on the wall, but these are unique because they talk. That's right, we sat beneath a talking buffalo. And nearby a raccoon that kept popping his head out of a can. It's a fun atmosphere, and the food was good too.

Afterwards, we drove home and checked out the decorations throughout the neighborhood. Seriously, I have never seen so many Halloween decorations. Large inflatables, orange lights, pumpkins, giant spiders - and one ginormous cat! If this place looks like this at Halloween, it will be stunning come Christmastime. Madison enjoyed the tour - it was almost like we were going back to Lake Lanier's night display. Can't wait to walk around in that tomorrow when we really go trick-or-treating. It's going to be a great day tomorrow!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Carving Party

Tonight we had ourselves a little pumpkin carving party. It was rather spontaneous, as earlier this week we sort of decided wouldn't it be fun to come over to the new house and carve pumpkins. So a couple of coworkers came over tonight to meet Madison, and see the new house. One by one, we arrived with chairs from the old house - and our pumpkins, of course.

Mommy had a wonderful dinner prepared: lasagna. We all enjoyed our hearty meal, and plugged in "Nightmare Before Christmas" on the big television as we set out the pumpkins on the kitchen table. You can see Daddy's carving above, based on the Mayor of Halloween Town. As the movie played, we cut open the tops - and prepared to remove the guts!

Brock is surprised at the "yuck factor," as he attempts to clean out the guts from within a pumpkin. It was his first pumpkin carving, and he actually did really good with it! His pumpkin was Daddy's favorite, actually. As you can see in some of the photos, Madison was right there with the action, hanging out with her new friends. Mommy was there too, making it a very special evening. It was a fun night, and to make things even greater, Mommy cooked up all the pumpkin seeds so we can snack on them in the morning.

Here Tyler is, trying to eat some seeds raw. Not recommended! Unless you're in one of those Asian countries where they do things like that. Anyway, once an October, there's a special event that just sort of sneaks up on Daddy and surprises him in a unique way. It isn't anything terribly elaborate, but it usually is something fun and spontaneous. Last year, it was taking Madison trick-or-treating to Discover Mills and seeing how much she enjoyed it there. One year before, it was walking a land bridge out to a deserted island in Lake Lanier we couldn't go to before, exploring it in the middle of the night with the entire family. Spooky! Tonight, it was having everyone over to carve pumpkins. It was a great night, and Madison enjoyed it too!

Scooby-doobie-doo! Above is Tyler's final product. Amazingly, he carved that out the quickest out of all of us. Below is Brock's pumpkin:

Boo! Madison watched as we put the candles inside and lit them up in the dark rooms. It was a late night for her, but she really enjoyed the company. Daddy did too. It's late, but he's still smiling remembering the great evening we just had here.

Here's Josh's pumpkins - he actually carved two this weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spending the Night

Without any fanfare, we realized that last night was the last one we'd spend in our old house. After ten years, it ends... not with a bang but a whimper.

At the new house, the guest room has been set up - and put together marvelously by Ba-Ba and Nana. They had been using it to sleep in when spending time here, and as they are gone back to Florida for a bit, Mommy and Daddy decided to take advantage the set-up by moving everything over to spend the night here.

So today was basically spent packing for our big adventure. We packed like we were going on a vacation, suitcases and toiletries set and ready to go. Only this time, everything would be staying where it was put.

We brought the pack-and-play for Madison to sleep in. She dashed to her room when it was night time. She loves it here. We kept our nightly rituals with her - prayers, milk, music, and she fell asleep pretty quickly.

Mommy and Daddy did too! It was a lot of work today, but we slept well in the new house. It is so peaceful here. Looking from upstairs out the windows is a panorama of fall outside.

This is a happy place.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Revenge of the Really Really Really Big Tater Tot

The scariest movie this season is here. Click on the movie below, if you dare!

Filmed on location at our new house!

Parental guidance is suggested.

Pop Rocks

Madison had her first taste of Pop Rocks today, which were a staple of Daddy's diet growing up (Bread, Milk, Fruit & Vegetables, Meat and Pop Rocks). If we made a food pyramid to show that, the Pop Rocks would be at the top.

Madison really liked the Pop Rocks, as shown in this video. Isn't this a wonderful time of year? So many different kinds of candies to try and so little time!

Fall Festival

Madison enjoyed a night with KidPak Discovery at Free Chapel, where we had all sorts of Fall Festival-related activities planned.

Unfortunately, the best laid plans for a night outside with inflatables and music and prizes - was sort of flushed down the tubes when the entire county remained under a tornado watch until 8:00 pm. That sent us scrambling to figure out what exactly to do with 739 first-sixth graders. That number doesn't include kindergartners, or kids Madison's age. We couldn't let them outside, obviously - but there wasn't enough room inside either.

It was a pretty hectic sort of day, but this is the sort of day that makes days like tomorrow so nice. We'll rest up and sleep in - and we're thinking of even spending the night at the new house. We'll see how that all works out. No pressure. It'll be a nice, relaxing day...!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

World Pasta Day

Today happens to a pretty important day. If you haven't marked it on your calendar, you probably should: today is officially World Pasta Day. We couldn't make the big international conference in New York City (where the world's leading pasta manufacturers would be presenting the latest nutritional and scientific research on pasta, as well as offering demonstrations from leading chefs on preparing appetizing and healthy pasta recipes). But despite being down about that, we decided to have our own international conference inside our home tonight. This event was big: we had three people show up. Mommy served elbow pasta to Madison, and meanwhile Daddy and Mommy enjoyed ravioli stuffed with a delectable cream. The dinner was a huge success, as noted by the pasta expert panel that attended.

Later, we planned to have an intense discussion summarizing the highlights and most noteworthy published studies on scientific evidence related to carbohydrates, but... it was pasta Madison's bed time!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Counting Down

Mommy and Daddy were under the weather today, which was a bummer. Madison is doing just fine, which is great - but when she wants to play or wrestle, it makes us feel like fuddy-duddies because we can't give her 100%.

I'm pleased to say that reading books has been a well established routine at bedtime. Madison gets to pick out the book each night, and she'll go through phases where she picks the same book over and over again. The book this week is "Ernie Gets Lost," a hand-me-down book that Madison has strangely been fascinated by as of late. It is essentially a guide on how not to get lost, and what to do if that happens.
We've been in big, public places lately - Disney on Ice comes to mind - and this book was really handy beforehand when Daddy was explaining to Madison the importance of holding our hands and staying with us: which she did. The book has a happy ending, of course. Ernie finds his way, and everyone lives happily ever after.

This reminds me of another Sesame Street character. Following the theme of the month a bit, we've been playing a counting video we found: it's the Count from Sesame Street. Moo-ah-ah-ah! It's an old VHS tape we picked up from somewhere, but Madison enjoys watching it. She likes Sesame Street, actually. When Mommy and Daddy were younger, that was pretty much the best there was when it comes to learning and fun. We still have a few records and VHS tapes from our past that we still enjoy playing from time to time - and of course we still pick up new ones: the "Big Bird goes to China" DVD comes to mind.

The weather is warm outside, unseasonably so. Still, we're pretty much grounded for the day with stuffy noses and sinus trouble. Daddy made a few trips to the new house today, moving more over there. We plan on spending our first night at the new house sometime this week. There's a lot of excitement about this, despite the fact that we're under the weather. In fact, if the Count were here, you could here him help count things down: "Four days! Four days left - ah, ah, ah!"

"Greetings! I am the Count. They call me the Count because I love to count things." -Count von Count

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Making Christmas

We've taken pictures of all the cast members for the upcoming Christmas play at Free Chapel, and for some reason, Madison had to insert herself into about half of them. She was just into posing for pictures with everyone. These photos are for Mommy, so she can keep track of everyone's face along with their names, measurements and other information. So she has this booklet with about one hundred people in it, and about half of the photos have Madison sitting, posing and smiling! She was having a great time meeting people, one after the other. It was actually a fun night because she made it entertaining as we went through the long list of volunteers.

Here's just one graphic used for the production, that shows on the screen behind the performers. Daddy got one of the big parts for the play, a piece called "Imagine Christmas" that some other churches are also doing across the country. In order to "make things fit" better for our church, Daddy had to write some new material, and condense other aspects of it - and on top of that, the production will have some other new elements, according to the director.

But get this: today, Daddy got the part of an angel who wants to take a peek at all the goings-on during the first story of Christmas. It is essentially one of the two main rolls in the play - so we're officially now very involved. Today's Christmas practice was the fourth or fifth this month - but our calendar is about to get quite full!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Mummy

Not too long ago, ancient Egyptian toddler Madison is revived when an archaeological expedition finds ...her mummy! One of the archaeologists, despite a warning, recklessly reads a very ancient life-giving spell - gasp! The Mummy lunges forward and escapes from the archaeologists, taking with her the Scroll of Kai-Lan. Alas, now she prowls Cairo, lurking in the shadows...

Beware of the Revenge of the Mummy!

Madison dressed up as Minnie Mouse again, and went with Mommy and Daddy to Kelly's annual Halloween party up in White County, where fingers were once again on the menu!

So were pumpkins and, from what I hear, pig's ears. But Madison didn't get to see much of the "freaky" food. It was all set up in a spooky lab for the older kids - at least the ones older than Madison. Meanwhile, she and all the others had a blast in the Bouncy Tottington Hall. This is Mommy and Daddy's word for one of those large inflatable things that you jump up and down in.

One thing on the activity list was a "make your own mummy game," featuring many rolls of toilet paper. Kids wrapped each other up, just like they used to do in ye old Egyptian days. Don't worry: no organs were removed.

The food was plentiful and good, and so was the company: a lot of people showed up to have fun outside. Eventually, a bonfire was lit - which attracted all of us because it was getting downright cold outside.

But soon it was time to head home. Madison definitely didn't want to go home yet, which meant she was having a great time. But it was late and she was getting quite tired, so we hopped in the car after wishing everyone a good night. It was a fun time again - something I'm sure we'll keep doing year after year, just as long we don't run into... the Mummy!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Speech Therapy

Madison saw a speech therapist today, which will probably lead to more visits because that's what happens when you visit any therapist. But our main concern is getting her caught up with actually saying the words, as her understanding of vocabulary is very good. Essentially, she drops the first parts of a lot of words as she tries to communicate. While this is cute, the current trend in our house is to encourage those first parts to be as clearly pronounced as we can get them. This has mixed results, but with a little effort, we've been pleased.

For example, Daddy got Madison to say the word "baby" by closing her lips together at the beginning and middle of the word. Until now, it's been "dady," which would could understand - but wasn't exactly the word. Our communication has often been like that with Madison, a pattern of correct guesses that further the conversation.

So small successes have been noted, but we knew that Madison also would need to see a speech therapist - as would we. Our intentions are to learn and do exercises with her so that we can get her completely caught up with the other children her age who've had a head start on learning this English thing. Madison's only been learning English about two years, where her counterparts have had four, so she needs to catch up a little more before school starts.

While on one hand, the thought of our daughter needing to go to any sort of therapy is dreadful, it's not entirely unusual - and certainly a bit less worrisome when you consider that she's an adopted girl just learning a new language. I mean, how many years have I been trying to learn Spanish without any success? I should see a Spanish therapist!

The word "apraxia" was thrown around a few times, but the therapist doesn't have anything conclusive to suggest that Madison actually has this: she's behind in every area when it comes to speaking, and it is hard to isolate anything at the moment.

But the therapy should help her get caught up. It's just another class for her: add that to music class, and the ballet class we hope to get her hooked up with soon - and maybe the martial arts class that Daddy wants her to sign up for.

An idea just occurred to me: why not combine some of these classes? Just imagine how fun speech therapy could be if you added a little martial arts!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Little Pumpkin

We were moving quite a bit of stuff today to the new house, cleaning out more of the garage and the living room, where Mommy has been stacking up stuff in a huge "outbox." As Daddy lugged items to the new house throughout the day, Mommy kept Madison busy with some fun activities, including some paper plate pumpkins. Madison was excited to make a few different pumpkins out on the back deck, and at one point Daddy came home to see his little pumpkin. "Happy face," she'd tell us, as she hoisted up her creations proudly. "Orange," she'd add, describing the pumpkins she'd been coloring in.

Daddy didn't get as much as he'd like done today, as he's been under the weather a bit. It was pretty much for that reason that we decided to simply watch a movie in bed tonight - Madison chose "Pocahontas," which she'd never seen before. Of course, she knows the main character, having seen her at Disney and other Disney Princess material. But this was her first time watching the movie. We didn't watch the entire thing, but we did watch enough to get her giggling at Flit and Meeko, or enjoying the musical numbers. "Colors of the Wind" is such a classic.

Generally, I laugh at those people who enjoy pointing out the problems with "Pocahontas," such as the fact that she was really very young when she met John Smith. Or other historical inaccuracies. Never once have I heard any of these same folks complain that she gets advice from a talking tree, or that she had a pet hummingbird!

Anyway, Madison did meet a new Disney Princess tonight. We'll try again with this movie closer to Thanksgiving. Yes, I know this story is completely different from the Thanksgiving story. But it does show the Indians at the end bringing food and attempting to make peace with the settlers in the end, and that's always a good theme.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Madison's First Entry

Here it is, Madison's first blog entry:



Daddy was calling out the letters, and Madison was pecking on the keyboard, finding each one. As you can see above, she got them all eventually - and pretty much on her own. She had a little trouble with "F," "N," and "S," but seemed to do really well with the others.

It was a busy day today, but a lot happened at work. I guess you could call it a "red letter day."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pink X-Ray

Mommy got Madison some new pajamas which are pretty cute. Check them out: it's like a pink x-ray! She likes wearing these pajamas around the house, and also her snowman blanket over her head. The neat thing about the pajamas is that the bones actually glow in the dark, so when it is nighttime and she's in bed - she's all aglow. As you can see here, it appears as if she's got a healthy bone structure, with no fractures or breaks. The bones look in good order too, especially her bow-tie bone!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ice Skating

This morning, we woke up a little later. Daddy went down to the continental breakfast and filled a tray to the top, bringing back a huge breakfast to the room for the three of us. One of the things Daddy did was the "make your own waffle" device, which was a good investment of time. But soon it was time to leave the hotel.

One of the reasons we chose this location was how close it was to the gondola that rode up the mountain. We did this last year, and today we planned to do it again. Soon, we boarded the gondola, and up we went over the mountains, trees, and houses precariously perched far below. Off in the distance was Mt. LeConte, which our guide told us was the third tallest mountain in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Madison could see much better through the windows this time, as this year she's a bit taller!

When we got to the top of the mountain, it was time for some fun!

The first thing we did was the alpine slide - just as we did last year. Madison was so excited about this! We rode the chair lift together on up the mountain, a really pleasant experience if you haven't done so in a while. Of course, these are for ski routes most of the time, but it's just nice to ride one in the fall when all the leaves are changing colors. The quiet of the altitude is peaceful, and just the ride up the mountain is half the fun.

The other half is going down! Madison rode with Daddy, and we rode together alongside Mommy, racing down the hill. Madison was in control of the speed, as she didn't really have the strength to push it full throttle - which could get pretty fast if we let it. But she had us coasting along down the mountain at a nice speed. It was a great ride for all of us - lots of fun!

But that wasn't the highlight of the day for us. When Madison passed by the ice skating rink, she just had to go try it out. And who were we to deny her? Daddy and Madison rented some skates and hit the ice for the first time. She was pretty nervous to begin with, but Daddy never let her fall and she found herself trying harder and harder and getting better and better. She became so relaxed that at one point, she started turning around in order to skate backwards with Daddy - this was because she saw Barbie do just that on one of her Barbie movies at home! We circled the rink several times, taking breaks here and there, and when we finished, we were really finished: Madison was exhausted! We took off our skates, and were pretty much done with the top of the mountain, hopping on the gondola one more time to make the descent back into Gatlinburg. It was a quick trip up, but a memorable one. I think we'll look into more ice skating rinks as the season grows colder.

In the meantime, it was time for us to head back. Mommy and Daddy were a little tired and figured it would be wise not to push it for the trip back. We said goodbye to Gatlinburg and started the drive back through the Great Smoky Mountains one more time. It's such a beautiful drive in the fall. But Madison was asleep! She fell asleep rather quickly, almost immediately after getting into the car. She was worn out from the fun in the morning. We all had such a good time this year. It's a quick trip, but it is such a breath of fresh air for all of us, and a tradition we'll keep for quite some time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gatlinburg 2010

After church today, we packed up the car for our yearly trip up to Gatlinburg to see the colorful leaves, and get a breath of fresh air. The trip up was fairly uneventful - in fact, Madison napped for a good portion of the journey. Once we got to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, everyone's eyes were open. The leaves were colorful and bright, and things looked a little different this year. We drove through the higher altitudes, traveling into forests of orange and groves of yellow, the fluttering leaves descending gently all around us. It was quite picturesque.

So was Gatlinburg. We always enjoy a quick trip up, and this one was - for the most part - no different. We had a nice room with a fireplace which you can see Madison in front of in the photo above. Mommy dressed her up to look very lovely today, and as usual, she got lots of comments. Back to the room: it had a view of the stream, and a very large jacuzzi. But it also featured a bed that made me realize where the term "bedrock" came from. This thing was rock-hard, keeping us up just about all night. In fact, I've inserted this Mohs Scale measuring hardness to help illustrate my point.

As you can see clearly above, "Beds at Fairfield Inn" fall somewhere between quartz and corundum, and just below the hardness of a diamond.

Despite a complete lack of sleep that night, we didn't let it spoil the trip. Earlier in the evening, we ventured out for a walk downtown, as is our custom. We found the candy shop, which Madison was very excited about. We got her some marshmallow candy on a stick, and wandered up through a market area called "The Village Shops."

We like this place, as it has some nice fall decor such as these unique scarecrows. It also has a lot of nice stores in it. One store features a lot of Irish, Scottish and Welsh items, including Crunchy candy bars! Mommy was quite pleased with that. But we also found some salt and pepper shakers there that we picked up: two leprechauns for St. Patrick's Day. Mommy bought some other items too, and together we enjoyed a nice leisurely stroll through the area.

On the way back, we passed by a car museum, which focused more on Hollywood cars that folks would recognize. Right out front, there was Herbie. This was great for Madison: she ran right up to Herbie to touch his hood. The funny thing was that as soon as she did, the horn beeped. And as soon as she did it again, Herbie's hood went up and the car shifted about. Madison giggled - and touched Herbie again. And this time his headlights went on. It was a great moment for Madison, who enjoyed seeing Herbie out there. Who cares about the Batmobile when there's Herbie?

We went back to the hotel room after that, but our evening was far from over: we sat in bed and watched a movie together on DVD: "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Madison enjoyed that, but soon it was time for bed. Mommy and Daddy had a tasty hot chocolate, and settled down for bed upon our stone slabs cleverly disguised as beds: it would be a long night!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spider Cupcakes

Madison kept cooking tonight, helping Mommy make some seasonal pumpkin cupcakes that were simply yummy! Look at that spider Madison is holding. Clearly, she doesn't have arachnophobia!

And clearly, she doesn't have a fear of sugar either!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

Tonight, Mommy had a nice surprise before bedtime: cookies!

She had purchased some cookie dough, pre-shaped with little pumpkins on each portion. Together, the three of us placed the cookies on the pans and watched them bake for 8-12 minutes. And that's when the fun began...

Using some icing, Mommy and Daddy would create small cookie sandwiches, and then hand them off to Madison so she could do her part. Madison would take the cookie sandwiches, and roll them in one of three bowls filled with sprinkles. Some sprinkles were orange, others were purple, and some were thick with festive seasonal colors. Madison likes the orange ones.

Of course, sometimes it gets a little messy. But that's part of the fun - cleaning the mess up!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Disney on Ice

Tonight was a fun night for all of us - we went to see Disney on Ice. It was "Toy Story 3," so we knew Madison would love it. In fact, here she is when first seeing the Disney characters skate out onto the ice:

Look at her with that little green alien hat. It came with the cotton candy that we purchased - and she inhaled! I can't put into enough words how much she enjoyed this evening. She'd been watching people ice skate before - and watching Disney characters do it was the next level! Right away, one of her favorite characters came out to greet everyone.

Minnie Mouse, Mickey, Goofy and Donald were the "hosts" for the evening, which got started rather quickly with army soldiers parachuting down from the ceiling - on skates, of course. Each character was introduced at the beginning, including one of Madison's favorite toys, "Mr. Potato Head," and his lovely wife too.

One of Daddy's favorite characters showed up too: Emperor Zurg! A long time ago, I thought this would just be a bunch of characters skating around in circles, dressed up with oversized heads. But Disney on Ice actually puts on a great production with jumps, choreography, great music, special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, and oh yes: little green men.

The bad guys show up too, of course. Lotso the Bear shuffled along in an incredible suit. And Ken was there too. Check out Lotso as he leads the unsuspecting cast through Sunnyside Daycare. Alongside him is Ken, who had a really fun costume on. His walk was perfectly rigid, and yes, there was the controversial ascot.

But would Ken be swayed to join the good guys when he sees Barbie? The scenes with these two characters almost were the highlights of the evening. Their first ice dance to the song "Dreamweaver" was very good, filled with moves that had Madison's eyes wide open.

All in all, it was a great production that had Madison in her seat and focused on the action on the ice. What was really great about it were our seats. Daddy didn't realize how close up we'd be, but you can tell by some of these photos that we were right up there next to the characters! Madison loved that, of course. But so did Mommy and Daddy.

It was a perfect family outing. Obviously, we had to get cotton candy. When you get cotton candy at a Disney on Ice show, you usually get some sort of themed headgear. This time, Madison got a little green alien head, which she wore for most of the night. Madison was so happy that at one point, she turned to Mommy and randomly gave her a kiss on the cheek!

When Daddy went to get popcorn during the intermission, he discovered that Madison had learned a new word, which she was proudly saying: "Zamboni!" Mommy, always in educational mode. Never miss a teachable moment when a zamboni is near!

Anyway, tonight was Lotso fun for the family. Daddy worked most of the day leading up to this, and Mommy was busy running errands. Madison played quietly in her room, except for the occasion where we all ate Ramen noodles for lunch. In other words, it was a pretty quiet day. All that changed when we hopped in the car to go down to Phillips Arena. Madison had no idea what she was about to see!

As a little teaser, we have plans on going ice skating in a few days. It'll be her first time, so I'm sure you'll be seeing pictures here soon enough. Until then, it's bedtime. See y'all later!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reading in the Morning

Here's a photo of Madison and Mommy reading their magazines in bed in the morning. Mommy likes to read "Women's Weekly," while Madison is checking out her first edition of "Princess" magazine, which arrived in the mail recently. "Princess" magazine is filled with activities and pictures of the Disney Princesses, and this edition features a lot of stuff about Mulan, which is great.

Madison has taken to climbing in bed with us around 7:30 each morning, where she snuggles with us until everyone is officially awake. Daddy climbs out of bed and gets her a drink, and Mommy some tea. This morning coming back, Mommy and Madison were reading magazines next to each other - it was too cute.

One more thing though: Daddy had to climb the Great Wall of China this morning. Of course, he has to do that nearly every morning. Madison creates a Great Wall of China out of all the pillows in the master bedroom, and it usually blocks a doorway or place beside the bed. When done, she triumphantly announces, "Great Wall of China!"

Daddy climbed over it, nevertheless. Drinks must be served!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our Little Einstein

The question has been posed: "Will there ever be another Einstein?" Ah, but soon a new question will be asked: "Will there ever be another Madison?"

It is often said that Madison is a pretty smart girl. She picks up on things really quickly, so you have to be careful around her. She spent the day today matching images, using a sticker book where you have to put the appropriate stickers in the right places. She really enjoyed that. She also still enjoys puzzles: a 63-piece puzzle gives her no problem whatsoever.

She knows how to use computers to a certain extent too. She knows the functions of certain buttons, knows how to work a mouse, and knows what happens when you click certain things on the computer screen. She recognizes letters, and recognizes instruments. And, as documented here on this blog time and again, she knows places too: China, for example. She'll hear music and know it is Chinese, or see architecture and recognize it as Chinese. And she sees people and knows them as Chinese.

She's really a pretty bright girl!

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." -Albert Einstein