Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Little Angel



Here it is, just in time for Spring Training. This is Madison's baseball card - she's a little angel, so it seemed obvious what team she should be on. As for what position, she also seemed to have a natural height for playing shortstop!

We had a productive day over at the old house, doing quite a bit of painting. The garage is looking quite good, in fact a whole lot nicer than it did when we ever lived there! Madison hung out with us for the entire day, riding around on her bicycle, bouncing on her ball - and blowing chocolate bubbles. Yes, you read that right. Mommy bought her some bubbles to blow, and these had a chocolate smell to them. Very strange!

We got home, and once again Mommy cooked up a marvelous dinner. Afterwards, it was pretty much time for bed for Madison. We made her some milk and put her in front of a DVD of Veggie Tales she hadn't watched yet: "Lyle the Kindly Viking."


She had to have a Viking hat on for that one! She happily wore her horned hat while sitting on the couch, looking quite comfortable actually!

Bedtime stories have become an every evening affair, immediately following prayers. Madison is quite insistent about this, which occasionally poses a problem when the old creative juices don't seem to be flowing so well. Fortunately, she helps occasionally by throwing in an idea or two. Always as of late, Alice is with her in the story - just as Alice is there in bed with her each night. Here is tonight's tale, which begins with Princess Madison and Alice, walking through the forest.


Once upon a time, Princess Madison and her friend Alice were exploring a beautiful forest with trees that seemed to reach up to the clouds. The trees were big, tall and red - and very majestic.

Unfortunately, they were so focused on looking upward that they did not see the large bear that seemed to arrive from out of nowhere. He was big as well, and certainly scary!

Alice was quite afraid, as was Madison. Wild bears are typically not to be toyed with. However, this one relaxed the two girls rather quickly by telling them, "Please do not be frightened. I'm not going to eat anyone. I'm only hoping that someone could teach me how to dance. I especially wish I could learn to do a proper arabesque."

"Dance?" Madison repeated.

"Arabesque?" Alice asked.

"Yes," the bear told them. "I'm finding it quite difficult to do an arabesque."

Fortunately, this was the sort of thing Princess Madison was quite good at. So right there in the middle of the forest, she began to instruct the bear on the proper way to dance ballet, including doing an arabesque.

The bear became quite good at it, and soon, Alice, Madison and the bear were doing marvelous pirouettes, Chaînés Turns, and of course perfect arabesques.

They were so into their dancing in the forest, however, that they failed to see the clouds form overhead. Indeed, a terrible storm was coming!

"It is too far to go back to our castle," Princess Madison cried.

"We must find shelter," Alice said. "Perhaps there is a hole we can fall down into!"

But the bear calmed their fears once more. Said he: "Do not worry! Because you have treated me with kindness, I shall treat you kindly. Come with me to my den, and together we can escape the storm."

And so Alice and Madison followed the bear quickly to his den, which was actually quite cozy. There was a huge television inside, and a massive refrigerator, which the bear reached into.

"Would you like some strawberries?" he asked.

Both Alice and Madison told him, "Oh yes!"

So the three sat there watching television and eating strawberries, all the while a storm brewed overhead. While it raged outside, the three never worried a bit - and in fact had a splendid time watching television and even playing a few games like Candyland.

It was a wonderful time, and if there is a lesson to learn here, it is quite simply this: if a bear ever asks you for assistance with doing an arabesque, the most polite thing would be to help him.

The End.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Roman Finale


Madison was at church this morning, and joined much of the cast here for a quick group shot. She loves hanging out with everyone, and playing with all the actors and actresses. Obviously they do too - although she didn't see it coming when the two heralds were off blowing their trumpets:


Right after, she was back to running around and climbing
all over everyone else.
In fact, here she is now putting her favorite pink cowgirl hat on top of Lance, one of our main stars of this series. We concluded "Gladiators" today with some very funny material - all the kids enjoyed it, and the adults too. We all had a great time learning about the book of Romans, while getting involved in the Roman motif. We immerse ourselves so much into each theme, going so far as to watch related movies, or read related booklets. Daddy read a lot of history about Romans, and Mommy and Daddy watched "Roman Holiday" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." For next month, the theme is baseball - so we've got baseball movies pulled out, and Daddy has been reading all kinds of books that feature the Bible and baseball. Hopefully, we can even head to a baseball game too!


Speaking of which, here's Madison this afternoon, reading for Spring Training. We went to the park in our community once more, and this time we brought the Mickey Mouse ball glove and the Tinkerbell baseball. This somehow makes it a little less manly and a bit more "princessy." Of course, being completely dressed in pink helps a bit too!

We played catch for a bit, something Madison is getting better at. Also, she's getting better at throwing as well. Hoping to test her aim, I told her at a reasonable distance, "Madison, see if you can hit Daddy." At which point she ran up to me within two feet and nailed me with the ball!

This afternoon was priceless. We heard the ice cream truck coming through the community. Boy, do I remember that sound! Daddy ran down the steps like a little kid, scrambling for some change and calling out, "Ice cream! Ice cream!"

Madison dropped everything she was doing and ran with Daddy out the front door. You'd think there was a fire in the building or something!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Magic Gourd

Today was yet another work day for Daddy, but he did get home a little earlier than usual - just in time for chicken marsala! Mommy has been cooking some wonderful creations as of late. Of course, she always cooks well - it's a feature that many people would be pretty jealous of. But this week has been fun. Of course, tonight was chicken marsala. This is essentially Daddy's favorite food, so very delicious. Earlier this week, Mommy tried out something new: it was talapia, with a coating of salt and vinegar potato chip breading. It was actually pretty creative, very different and really good.

Mommy says Madison is doing great with her letters, and her numbers as well. She's been playing a game lately that teachers letters and shapes, and has been somewhat addicted to it. It's a great diversion, and as long as she's learning it's a win for everyone.


Yesterday we received a movie in the mail for free from Disney Movie Rewards. We ordered it because it was produced in China. It is called "The Secret of the Magic Gourd," or if you want to say it in Chinese: "宝葫芦的秘密." Say that three times fast! It is amazing looking at the scenery in the movie: seeing China again brought back so many happy memories. It was filmed in Hangzhou, China, which looks very picturesque. We all sat down on the couch and munched on popcorn as we had movie night again. Here's a photo of the mystical magic gourd, with his faithful frog sidekick:


The movie itself is cute, and held Madison's attention throughout: a boy finds a magic gourd, who can grant him any wish. Throughout the story, the boy learns the value of hard work - and the gourd learns that really helping people isn't just giving them what they want. I suppose if we have Veggie Tales here, there's no reason why the people in China can't have magical talking gourds.

Madison recognized the land of China, and the people of China as well. She didn't recognize the gourd though. He was a little weird, actually. But still, we enjoyed watching it together.

BY THE WAY, we've been seriously chomping on girl scout cookies this week. Hannah's order came in, and we've demolished a few boxes in no time. It's crush, crumble and chomp! Thin mints don't stand a chance against Daddy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Button Eyes

Mommy spent the day with Madison today, the two having a marvelous day together. One of Madison's new fascinations is the Etch-A-Sketch. Nothing she's been drawing out looks like this, but she is getting creative with her twists and turns.

"Mommy!" she'll call out. And each time Mommy comes, there's a new design that looked sort of Aztec or something. She'd do shapes too: once, there was a square, and then even stair steps. mommy showed her how to do the squiggly lines, and soon she was doing all sorts of abstract designs.

Another playtime activity involves Play-Doh. Madison loves to press and make shapes with her colored Play-Doh - today, she pressed some cutters down into the Play-Doh to make two flat circles. Once done, she put them up over her eyes. Mommy said it reminded her of "Coraline!"


This generally creeped Mommy out. And on that note, I certainly will not be posting here a picture of Madison with buttons for eyes.

I think that's why we returned to the Etch-A-Sketch!

Tech Support for your Etch-A-Sketch

Q: My Etch-A-Sketch has a distorted display.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: My Etch-A-Sketch has all of these funny little lines all over the screen.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I turn my Etch-A-Sketch off?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What's the shortcut for Undo?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I create an empty New Document window?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I Exit without Saving?
A: Pick it up and shake it.


Q: How do I set the background and foreground to the same color?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: What is the proper procedure for rebooting my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I delete a document on my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

Q: How do I keep from losing my Etch-A-Sketch documents in the middle of my work?

A: Stop shaking it.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Funundrum


Step right up!
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages!
(and elephants!)


Tonight we had a big family night, joining Ye-Ye and Nana, Hannah, David, Jonathan, Aunt Shain and Uncle David at "The Greatest Show on Earth." We rode down with Ye-Ye and Nana, waved at the nice PETA people and found a parking spot early, ready to enjoy a great evening together!


This year's performance, called "Funundrum," was very, very good. This was just what we remembered the circus being like growing up. When I say "we," I mean Mommy and Daddy. We both remember when we were younger, going to Madison Square Garden to watch Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey's Three Ring Circus (try saying that three times fast). There really isn't a story to the night - it's really just about one performance after another. And frequently, there were three or four performances going on simultaneously. They're all good. It is an entirely different atmosphere than what you'd think of with Cirque du Soleil, but at the same time it is exactly what you think of when you hear the word "circus." It's very difficult to compare the two, so I won't!

We arrived early enough, and to our delight they were allowing everyone on the circus floor beforehand. Guests were entertained with animal acts (such as the elephants painting portraits on paper), and as you can see to the left here, kids could dress up in circus costuming. Madison had a great time getting dressed up with Hannah, and then going over to the sticker table to get their wrists stamped with a "Greatest Show on Earth" logo. They met a few of the performers, and even posed for a picture or two - but soon it was time to return to our seats: the show was about to begin!


About four years ago, we saw a Ringling Brothers performance and it was kind of boring. They were trying something different by adding a story and making the evening into some sort of song and dance musical. It just didn't work. This time, however, it did work. It was an incredible show, and I can't recommend it enough - even if you don't have kids. Madison was awake the entire time, focused on the show and laughing loudly at the clowns, trapeze artists, pirates, and elephants. She loved the show!


You can see here that there was even a pretty big Chinese element. Acrobats from China performed, along with a few Chinese dragons. There were at least five of them, to our delight. Mommy and Daddy picked up all sorts of candy that we smuggled in, so everyone had all sorts of snacks to munch on - on top of the popcorn too. Yes, we bought circus peanuts. Whoa, those are really sweet! Still, it was a treat for everyone.
Anyway, it was a fun night - and a pretty long show. Madison really had a great time, enjoying all the acts from the high wire to the seven motorcycles zooming around in that big steel sphere. It was late when it was over, but Madison was "wired," and stayed wide awake through the whole thing. She sat in Daddy's lap during the last few acts, but never drifted off to sleep because there was always something neat capturing her attention. Yes, there were quite a few acts that made up the show, and Daddy enjoyed the "research." You see, at children's church we may be doing a circus theme sometime soon. Daddy came away with a few ideas, but more importantly, our family came away having a great time together.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Royal Family


Here they are, the love of Daddy's life, the two girls that mean so much. This is a nice photo Daddy took before going to see "Beauty and the Beast" last month.

Daddy had to work all day, and into the night, but tomorrow should be a good day together with the family. We've got a big event planned for the evening - and we've also got piano class in the morning. Madison loves piano class and is really learning a lot.

Side notes:
Madison is learning to curtsey properly. She's really into this lately. When she meets someone, there's always a curtsey. Daddy has to bow when he gets home.

SunTrust is not a bank. It is a source for lollipops. Today, Madison went with grape flavor. All Mommy got back was a slip of paper telling her how much she deposited.

Bedtime stories are every single night now. They're expected! First, we do night time prayers. Then, there's got to be the bedtime story. Tonight's bedtime story involves a runaway tiger that Princess Madison chased through the circus tent. They followed it across the tightrope, along the trapeze, and eventually captured the tiger by eating a lot of cotton candy - which the tiger loves. The tiger came up to join them in eating cotton candy, and then was captured by Ballerina Bear! By the way, the tiger is a white tiger who joined our stuffed animal collection some time back. It has "Ringling Brothers" on one of the paws - this is a bit of foreshadowing for tomorrow's big event... : )

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kronk


Here he is, one of Mommy and Daddy's favorite Disney characters: His name is Kronk, and he's featured in "The Emperor's New Groove," and the sequel, "Kronk's New Groove." Both are funny movies - we introduced Madison tonight to the first one today, which is a historic moment: after all, we both love this movie.

What did Madison think? She watched the entire thing without moving, and laughed quite a bit. This thrilled Mommy and Daddy quite a bit, of course. Next up, we'll try out the sequel. If you haven't seen this movie yet, it sort of nails our sense of humor. You should check it out. But, in the meantime, you should also try out Kronk's Spinach Puffs:


Kronk’s Spinach Puffs

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury refrigerated garlic butter crescent dinner rolls, or reg crescent rolls.
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1 box (9ox) frozen chopped spinach-thawed, squeezed to drain, or chop fresh spinach
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350. Spray 16 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Separate each can of crescent dough into 8 triangles. Press 1 triangle on bottom & up the side of each muffin cup.

3. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed til smooth. Add eggs, beating well after adding each. Stir in onion, spinach, salt & pepper until well mixed. Fold in cheese. Fill each cup to the top with the egg mixture. Don’t overfill!

4. Bake 15-20 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean and edges of rolls are golden brown. Serve Warm.


"Oh, look. A golden-throated small-winged warbler. Just one more for exotic bird bingo. I am loving this." - Kronk


Monday, February 21, 2011

Shell Hats


We're a loving family! I caught these hold-outs from Valentine's Day having a conversation in the living room, so I had to take a photo. They both had nifty shell hats on, courtesy of Madison. The whole living room was empty except for these two, standing alone in the middle. If we were in some sort of "Toy Story" movie where all the toys come to life, this was probably a point where these two hearts were talking about moving upstairs with the others - and then suddenly daddy walks in.

HEART ONE: "So, the other day I was checking out all the stuff Madison has up in her room upstairs when ..."

HEART TWO: "Hold on! Someone's coming."

HEART ONE: "Uh-oh! We'd better freeze!"


Note those shell hats. That was Madison's idea. She found the shells elsewhere and decided that these would be the ideal head-ware for these two hearts. They seem comfortable with them on, so I'm not going to complain.

Today, Madison and Daddy went back to the playground in our community. It has a few tennis courts as well, so Daddy and Madison did some exploring. Lo, there were tennis balls galore there, littered about as if we had a light snowfall of tennis balls last night. Needless to say, Madison was ecstatic. We grabbed about four of them and had fun throwing them back and forth over the tennis court's nets. Daddy juggled and Madison bounced and the two of us were astounded at how much time you can spend doing pretty much nothing with tennis balls on an empty court.

We also did use the playground equipment as well. The slides are always fun, especially when you're trying to go up backwards. Daddy was waiting at the top one time, and Madison was desperately pleading for him not to send her back to the bottom. She was so close to the top and her tiny fingers were clinging to the only hold she could, using all her effort to pull herself up to the top of this slide.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kissing Daddy

Madison is very generous with her kisses to Mommy and Daddy. What's convenient is that she actually counts them, one by one. She'll kiss you once, twice, three times and so on - right on the cheek. And then she'll let you know the appropriate number of kisses afterwards. What a great way to do math! Rarely is it one kiss, by the way. Sometimes it is two, and there are times where there'll actually be ten kisses for you right on the cheek. This is a photo taken at El Sombrero this afternoon, a lunch we had with our old friends Pam and Andrew. The latter took this photograph using his cell phone. It was another nice time, and as a bonus, both got to attend our children's service this morning, which was spectacular. Things went very well, and Daddy was quite pleased. "Gladiators" has been a fantastic series. Of course, it has been time to focus on March as of late, which will be "Spring Training." We've had a few recent baseball letdowns, but maybe there's something better around the corner for the family. Daddy just wants to go to a ball game, that's all!

Today was another big day, but the three of us took our first nap together in the master bedroom. It was Sunday afternoon, we had a huge morning and a big meal at lunch - so the three of us were zonked. It didn't take long, and I heard two little sets of snorers next to me! But soon Daddy was sleeping too. Speaking of which, it's pretty much time for that now!
G'night!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ground Control to Madison

As stated earlier, there's a lot of reason to be on Xbox live this week, but for some of our friends online, Madison added just one more: here she is leaving voice mail for each of our friends in the Xbox online world. Her comments are typically unintelligible, but filled with energy. This is a funny looking picture to Daddy: it appears as if she's at Mission Control monitoring the progress of some deep space mission. A wistful look in her glance tells us that someday she might get to be the next one on the space shuttle as it launches out. If my girl wants to be an astronaut, I'm completely fine with that. Jealous, in fact!

It was a big day at work again, where Mommy and Madison came to join Daddy in the office. It is always nice to see them come in, and Daddy's heart is warm with happy thoughts when Madison runs across the office and crashes into him!


Here's a photo of "Momma Dadda" seated at my desk. He's very happy to have his visitors today!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who's Been Sitting in My Chair?


Here is Madison's homework for this week, the difficult question: "Who's been sitting in my chair?" Each of those circles represents a note, although it may not be the "great big whole note" that Madison was working on earlier. What we certainly know is that Papa Bear represents the low notes that boom out, "Who's been sitting in my chair?" Baby Bear represents the high notes that squeak out and twinkle: "Who's been sitting in my chair?"

Typed out, it looks pretty much the same. But you should hear Madison when she sings the cute little song that goes with it.
When Daddy came home tonight, Madison was pounding on the keys of her keyboard, experimenting with the different tones and notes. Occasionally, she'd hit a button that would launch "Everything I Do," or some classical piano tune that she'd try to keep up with by pounding out more notes. It was cute, although somewhat loud. We don't mind the noise or the repetition so much - I guess when it's your daughter trying out the piano, everything is okay!

"Must she keep playing that?" - George Bailey

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hsien Ko's Musical Magic Phone

Tonight we had a spontaneous invitation for a Habitat for Humanity fund raiser. Did we go? Yep! It was a great date night for Mommy and Daddy, with a nice dinner and a magician comedian named Mark Robinson. He was actually very funny - a great act! A few of our friends from KidPak came, and we all had a fun time together for a night out on the town. Mommy dressed up and looked very lovely, and she even found a decent outfit for Daddy to wear so he could attempt to look somewhat presentable! Meanwhile, Madison was at Ye-Ye and Nana's house, having a great time. She got to play for a while with Hannah, David and Jonathan. But when we returned, we found Madison watching "Angelina Ballerina" with her grandparents. Although, once the cell phone came out, Madison was showing Ye-Ye how to take pictures with it. She took several photos, but then everyone learned how to record on the cell phone quite by accident, when Madison pressed this button here:

video

This was at the end of another great day. The weather was so nice outside all day long, so we set up some of the deck furniture outside this afternoon. It was actually warming up inside the house a lot quicker too.

This morning, we had piano lessons as we usually do each Thursday. Madison is really, really enjoying these classes - and learning a lot too. Today we were finding the middle C note, and learning more about rhythm and music note shapes. Our teacher is very good, and before this is all over with, Daddy might be a master pianist as well!


Okay, so Tuesday, "Marvel vs. Capcom 3" came out. Yes, we've had it in the house since then. This is big news in the video game world, as Daddy and his friends online have been playing into the wee hours with characters like one of his favorites shown above, Hsien-Ko. Her inclusion was a surprise, and pretty much a selling feature, actually.

Daddy remembers going to Chad's house in Cleveland to play a game with Hsien-Ko in it. The game is called "Darkstalkers." This was back when Daddy lived in Athens. We'd be playing late into the night in Cleveland, and rather than spend the night there, Daddy would drive all the way back to Athens. This was not smart, and God's grace was clearly evident.

Anyway, Mommy's only commentary about this is that even in the early nineties, Daddy was always into the Chinese characters in video games. I suppose that's true. Perhaps there is some sort of prophetic thing going on. I do know that I seriously never set out to adopt a child from China way back then. Really, the only thing I cared about back then was playing video games and hanging out with the gang. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration.

Back to "Marvel vs. Capcom 3:" Yes, Chun Li is in this game as well, which makes it lots of fun for everyone. But the game is packed with lots of other stuff too. Lots of fun. There, that's my official review. Pretty soon, Madison will be playing these games with Daddy. They aren't plugged in that often - in fact, since we've been in the new house, Madison has yet to see a video game. But eventually, she may see one... that might be fun...

Well, it's late and it is time to wrap up here. Looking back at what I've got written, I see we've got Hsien Ko, magicians, music, and a cell phone video in today's comments. So, the big question is: it being late and all, what sort of title should I use for this blog entry for today?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jedi Bathrobe

So, what did Daddy get for Valentine's Day? A jedi bath robe! This luxurious bath robe is perfect for any jedi in your family, complete with mystical hood and jedi logo over the chest area. Lengthy sleeves help conceal lightsabers, or toothbrushes in the morning. You'll feel the power of the force when you put one of these on, and you'll also feel nice and cozy before breakfast!
As you can see, Mommy got Daddy a great Star Wars Valentine's day theme, complete with this robe and season 2 of the "Clone Wars" on Blu Ray. The force is strong with Mommy!


Daddy saw Madison briefly, as he spent most of his day at work. Most of the afternoon, Madison got to ride her new bicycle around - it was that kind of day! It was nice and warm outside, or at least warm enough to ride her bicycle. She has a Strawberry Shortcake bicycle that has been hidden away at Ye-Ye and Nana's house for the past few months. Today, while Mommy was at the old house getting the carpets cleaned, Madison went next door to visit - and to get a bicycle to ride around on! She had a great time today - she also got out the sidewalk chalk once more in order to create artwork all over the Ye-Ye's driveway. Later, Mommy came over too, and together, Nana, Mommy and Madison sat inside and shared these incredibly delicious blueberry muffins that Mommy cooked up this morning. These were fantastic! Daddy had two before going off to work. Yummy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Madison Likes Dinosaurs


Check out this picture of Madison's doll house. Dinner is ready in the kitchen! The house is about three stories tall, and stretches out rather wide. We were so blessed to receive this last Christmas as a donation, and Madison has enjoyed it ever since. You can see though: everyone is invited in the doll house. Lately, Madison's dinosaurs have been making their presence known. T-Rex is making some culinary treats for the family, while a stegosaurus takes a bath upstairs in the bathroom.

Madison likes dinosaurs, but it wasn't anything inflicted upon her by Daddy. I promise! There were these plastic dinosaurs in the church's prop room, and Madison was immediately drawn to them - so much so that she brought them home with her.

Perhaps it is Kai-Lan. She likes dinosaurs too. Maybe it is a Chinese thing. I don't know. What I do know is that Madison likes dinosaurs.

This is not a bad thing, actually. Daddy thinks she's a little young for the "Dinosaur" movie, and the Jurassic Park series might be flat out! But "The Land Before Time" series might be something worth looking into! And Daddy will be sure to be on the look out for dinosaurs elsewhere.... maybe we can make a dinosaur Easter basket, complete with dinosaur eggs!

Here, you can see how the three-headed sea serpent, Chester, is having breakfast in bed. This is the snake that came with that Playmobil game a couple weeks ago. Madison has enjoyed his company since, and as you can tell above, he's been leading a very comfortable life!

This is a photo of Madison tonight at dusk. Tonight after work, there was just enough time to go to the neighborhood playground and run around a bit. The weather has been fantastic the last few days - at least a lot warmer than the past few months, anyway. The end result is this insatiable desire to get outside and do something. So we went to the our community's play area and had some fun tonight before dinner. This was our first visit there, and Madison really liked it. She ran all over the place and did her gymnastics on the bars (with help from Daddy). Most of all, there were the slides. She had such a great time, but it was a short time - we had to get home for supper. Sort of reminded me of my childhood. Go out and play and be home for supper!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day


Happy Valentine's Day! This weekend, Mommy and Daddy talked to a whole lot of Madison's Disney friends, and sure enough: all of them were sending Madison a Valentine's Day card! As you can see above, Madison checked out the mailbox this morning, where there was a delightful surprise!

Madison rushed inside to look at her Valentine's Day cards - there were so many! She got about thirty different cards from Belle, Rapunzel, Kai-Lan, Mickey, Mater, and even Herbie the Love Bug (who signed his card with little tire tracks). Lady and the Tramp signed their card with little paw prints, which was rather nice of them to do, actually. Lately, Madison has been into Lady and the Tramp, as she has both stuffed dolls with her at night time. Last night before bed, we had a bedtime story involving lots of spaghetti and rolling meatballs. Daddy got home from his ginormous day just in time to tell a bedtime story. Madison was so looking forward to Valentine's Day. What a cutie! But her favorite card was the one that Mommy and Daddy gave her:


She clutched is close to her chest and filled with that sweet joy, she said, "Thank you!" We picked one that sparkled and shined, with all sorts of pink. No way she wasn't going to like a card with bling! Inside, it says, "To the fairest princess in the land." Which she is!

But wait! There's more! We got her a few Valentine's Day gifts as well - Mommy wrapped them up in red cellophane with pretty pink bows. We made a neat display with much of the Valentine's Day stuff from years' past.


Madison opened up a new Kai-Lan video (which came with a card from Kai-Lan). In this video, Kai-Lan is now a princess, which was pretty thrilling. She also got a Mickey Mouse Club DVD, which came with even more cards! Daddy has been promising a heart filled with candy, so of course there had to be one of those: Mommy found a heart box with M&Ms inside it, which we'll probably wait to open a little later! Also: there were some Hello Kitty stickers, and Disney Princess lipstick. Oh, and some tasty conversation hearts to munch on too. Those are yummy!
Madison is into the lipstick idea lately, so this sparkle lipstick from Ariel was just the thing to bring a smile to her face. And some sparkles to her lips! As you can see, she was anxious to put it on this morning as soon as she got it. This is the kind that has a bonus: it also smells like bubble gum!
Tonight, we'll be heading over to Ye-Ye and Nana's house to give them their Valentine's Day crafts, cookies and their cards.

You can see what Madison helped make here to the right. She put all the hearts on the frames, and helped Daddy put the pictures inside as well. Each of these comes with magnets, so we have one hung up on our refrigerator. But we gave these out yesterday to many of our friends at church, along with her signed cards - and tasty cookies (which everyone set a land speed record eating)!

As you can tell, there was a bit of work involved in setting this up for Madison, but it was certainly all worth it! Madison was smiling, beaming radiantly all morning long. She is such a sweetie! Mommy and Daddy plugged in a romantic comedy, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," and watched it was we did our work last night. It is somewhat of a tradition for Mommy and Daddy to spend February watching romantic comedies: it's like watching Christmas movies in December! When Mommy went to sleep, Daddy went to work setting up our first Valentine's Day in the new house:

It was a heart-themed display. The roses are kind of shaped like a heart, and of course the "I Love Lucy" box set is a heart. Even Daddy's card to Mommy had some nice heart graphics inside. MAN TIP: Daddy buys the card the second week in January. Buy them in February and all the good ones will be gone! Anyway, Mommy likes "I Love Lucy," as does Daddy - so we'll be watching some episodes and pillaging for jokes for future KidPak series. Also, we'll be eating Ghirardelli Chocolates while sitting on the couch. Oh, and conversation hearts too. And did you notice that one of the roses was a chocolate one? Yeah, we'll eat that too!

Speaking of which, check out breakfast this morning!


It was still pretty early, and our first Valentine's Day in our new house was very special! Papi Jr. arrived in the mail today, so we added that to Madison's loot. What is Papi Jr? It is a chihuahua, of course. This was a promotional giveaway for "Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2," and it worked out great for the day. We printed out a Valentine from Chloe and Papi last night, just in case the stuffed animal arrived in the mail. Sure enough, it did this afternoon. SO, Madison got yet another Valentine later in the day. Right now, she has Papi Jr. in the bed next to her. He's wearing a Texas Longhorns jersey, though I have no idea why.

Anyway, after a restful afternoon, we decided to go see a movie later on in the evening. The last one we saw was "Tangled," so it has been a couple months. This time our choice was "Gnomeo and Juliet."


What you see above is not a character from the movie, but a "create-your-own-gnome" that Madison built on their promotional website. Let me give a shout-out to the movie: it was good. We went with Ye-Ye and Nana, and everyone enjoyed the movie. Our expectations weren't high, but afterwards we were all very glad we went to go see it. It was enjoyable for the adults, but Madison really liked it too. She was adorable in her 3D glasses, with a ginormous tub of popcorn in her lap. After the movie, the theater was empty, but that didn't stop her from chasing around Ye-Ye through the whole theater, up and down every aisle. It was a wonderful experience. Really!

Just before that, Ye-Ye and Nana spent some time with Madison - while Mommy and Daddy went out to eat for Valentine's Day. We chose Red Lobster because it is just down the road, and had a nice time together. Had to have a little Mommy-Daddy time on Valentine's Day! Mommy dressed up very lovely today: she was beautiful. She still is!

It was a fun day - a lot more fun than your typical Valentine's Day, actually. It was a full day too. In fact, Madison fell asleep rather quickly. We're probably heading to bed right now, safe and secure because of the gnomes we have out front!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Friends! Romans! Countrymen!


Today as another twelve hour work day for Daddy, but this morning's service was a lot of fun for the kids as we continued our story that takes place in ancient Rome. It's a comical tale, with slaves, Roman soldiers, royalty, heralds, and of course a weird talking pedestal. That's Daddy's part. You can see him over to the left, or in this photo below here.
This is a costume that gives you the basic idea of Daddy's entire costume. Yes, it's weird. It took ages to get all that white paint off the face! Yet it is actually still on there just a little bit, which will be sort of odd when it is time to go out and do some last minute Valentine's Day shopping for our little girl. Fortunately, Mommy helped Daddy come up with a great cost-effective idea for tomorrow that should give her a little thrill. Just wait until we have her go to the mailbox to see if anyone sent her a Valentine's Day card. Maybe we'll take some pictures of that, if she's feeling up to it. Yes, she's feeling better tonight - though Mommy is starting to feel a tad under the weather. It was especially tough this morning. Madison couldn't make it to church as she spent the night coughing quite a bit. Yesterday she worked so hard on everyone's cookies, and she also signed Valentine's Day cards for everyone - and made those nifty crafts too. It was a shame that she couldn't make it to church, so in between services, Daddy skyped Mommy and Madison at home, and everyone that you see above - and a whole lot more - each one sat in Daddy's chair at work and talked to Madison, one at a time, and wished her a happy Valentine's Day. Each person thanked her for her cookies and gifts, and then got up to let the next person in line talk to her. It was very special for Madison: she was smiling the whole time as everyone sat to talk with her. Daddy was beaming too. We work with wonderful people!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cookies with ♥

We've taken Valentine's Day to a new level 'round here. As you can see to the left, tonight's big event was the creation of "Cookies with ♥."

Anyway, Madison, Mommy and Daddy had an awesome time making some of these cookies for tomorrow at church, which should be a pleasant surprise for many. But wait! There's more! Madison has also recently decorated and signed quite a few of her own Valentine's Day cards, so plenty of people are going to get a nice surprise there too. But that's not all! We've also made a special craft, which about twelve people are going to get - you might be one of them. We're not going to show it on this blog until Valentine's Day, otherwise it'll ruin the surprise.

Anyway, as you can see, we're looking forward to Valentine's Day quite a lot more than usual around here. In the past, Mommy and Daddy have made a big deal out of the day: it's fun. Daddy's favorite gifts from Mommy include a "I go Ape Over You" theme, which included a stuffed gorilla holding a heart and the entire "Planet of the Apes" series on DVD. Oh yeah! Also, one year, Mommy got Daddy hermit crabs for Valentine's Day. Meanwhile, one year, Daddy got a bunch of dry ice and set up a fake little lab on the kitchen table for a theme: "We've got Chemistry!" Daddy remembers writing a really tiny message "I U," and having a microscope there for Mommy to look through and see it. Also, there were test tubes with candy in them. One year, Daddy had an "Alice in Wonderland" theme, with white roses painted red - and playing cards on step ladders trying to finish the job of painting them red before Mommy got there.

Elvis has always been a theme, of course. For years, they made an heart-shaped Elvis tin that one of us would inevitably get for the other. We still have the collection of tins downstairs, actually. ONE year, Daddy got a LOT of balloons and had them all over the kitchen and living room. Anyway, you can see we sort of go crazy on Valentine's Day.

This year, it will be no different. Daddy has something for Mommy this year, but I'm not going to post it yet: don't want to ruin the surprise!

Meanwhile, today was another work day. Big, long day. It was great to come home and make cookies with everyone. It's so nice to come home to a happy family. We really enjoyed our time together this evening.

Tonight before bedtime, Daddy was holding on to Madison's hand as she was falling asleep. Or so he thought... you see, Daddy started doing a whispered count: "One.... two... three..." It seemed as if she was drifting off to sleep when I got to around forty or so. Yet right when I got to forty-two, all of the sudden she jerked her head towards me and said, "boo!" That little stinker!

Friday, February 11, 2011

We All Scream

Mommy, Madison and Daddy were at the office pretty much all day - and into the night for Daddy. But we still had some time for ice cream. Madison always has time for ice cream!

She always has this big smile on her face just before she tears into the ice cream. There's this look of raw joy that explodes outward, and such glee! She looks at us reverently and at a near whisper in hushed awe, she says, "Mommy. Daddy. Thank you!"

You're welcome, sweetie. It's nothing.

We don't give her ice cream all the time, by the way. It's usually as a reward, actually. Ice cream is the ultimate motivator to get anyone to do anything. For example:

"If you eat all the food on your plate, you get ice cream, okay?"

"If you clean up all of your room, you can have some ice cream, okay?"

"If you type up this large document for us and mow the grass, you can have some ice cream okay?"

Just kidding on that last one. I was just making sure you were paying attention.


"Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos." ~Don Kardong

"There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love chocolate, and communists." ~Leslie Moak Murray

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Here We Snow Again


The poor gnomes outside! All through the night, once again the snow came down in fluffy flakes. It was nothing as dramatic as our last encounter, but it still inspired the same childlike wonder. "Snow!" Madison called out as she tromped down the hall. She had looked out the window and saw more white on the ground.

Mommy took this photo here of the sun filtering through the trees. It was a pretty morning. There wasn't quite enough to go out and play in, but it did look very nice nonetheless. This morning, we had piano class again for Madison. On the way to the car, we couldn't resist: Madison made a quick snowball and tossed it at Daddy. Oh yeah? Well, this means war! Daddy tossed one back and we had ourselves a minor skirmish in the front yard. Nobody was hurt, but Madison had to get her fingers warm and ready to play the keyboard when we arrived.

Music class was very good again. Madison is getting much better with rhythm - you can clearly see her progress in that department. She knows the high notes and the low notes, and has been working with her hand positions to, making "spiders" or "bunny hops" on the two black keys. It is a unique class that moves along nicely from one topic to the next fairly quickly. Kids never have time to get bored with anything, because there's always something else to do next. One moment, Madison is playing the bells and marking rhythm, and the next she's interacting with Mommy or playing certain types of notes on the keyboard. Madison has a great time, and it's neat that this is on Thursday because both Mommy and Daddy can come and see her learn.
We've plugged in "Pete's Dragon" today as the three of us snuggle on the couch. This is dating Daddy a bit, but I remember seeing this movie at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Ye-Ye and Nana took us to see the big showing of it at their theater. We sawthe Rockettes too. I remember it was very, very cold outside. Today, it's still cold outside, too cold to go out anddo anything really. Especially because Madison has the sniffles. So afterwards, we're going to make a craft for Valentine's Day. In fact, that's what Daddy came over to the computer for: getting things ready to make the craft. What is it? You'll just have to wait and see!