As I've mentioned, Madison loves to be outside! Ryan and I have been trying to get all our Spring planting done. This year, that included all our flowering pots and our first attempts at an herb and vegetable garden. If everything grows, we will be very excited! Madison has been enjoying all our trips to the Farmer's Market and Lowe's. But, she especially loves helping out in the yard!
Here is Daddy supervising! Our yard is pretty small, so we thought we'd start with a very small vegetable garden and see how it goes.
I have taken quite the break from blogging, but would like to attempt to catch up. Madison turned 2 a few weeks ago and is just a delight. She has quite the strong personality, is barrels of fun, incredibly snugly and very opinionated!
Favorites: She loves to be outside. She would be outside all day long. Madison loves to hunt for Easter eggs (we throw them, she collects them. repeat. again.), she enjoys watering the flowers and most of all, bubbles. She will gather her buckets and walk away, yelling, "Bye, see you soon!" Luckily for us, our backyard is gated, so she can't make it far.
Park playdates are one of her favorites. She likes to climb and swing. She talks all about the slide, but generally will go down once or twice and then is done.
Her favorite show is Mickey Mouse. Perhaps terrible that we let her watch tv, but sometimes, I need to cook dinner! She loves Minnie and will sing and dance along. She asks to watch "Rubies" (Max&Ruby), but is often bored quickly. Elmo continues to be a favorite, but she won't sit to watch Sesame Street. Inside, she is often coloring and playing with stickers. I wish I could insert a recording of her little voice when she asks for stickers (it sounds Russian).
Madison also loves letters. It is amazing watching her learn. I cannot take any credit for her knowing and identifying all her letters before age 2, I guess they just learn what they are interested in? Hopefully she'll be a reader.
Dislikes: Waiting. Patience is something that Madison does not have! Please tell me this is a general 2 year old trait? We are finding that we cannot even tell her when we are going to leave, because she becomes so frustrated with the "getting everything ready" part, she often has a meltdown while waiting. Honestly, this tends to be the root of almost all tantrums.
Eating: Madison weighed in at 25.1 lbs at her 2 year checkup, putting her right at 50% for weight. She is off of whole milk now. We have really tried to introduce her to most foods and at dinner, she has what we are having, or at least attempts to. Veggies are not always enjoyed, but she will generally eat peas! Madison loves blueberries and bananas. She also has her Daddy's sweet tooth, so we will need to teach her portion control and moderation :)
Sleeping: Madison has turned out to be a great sleeper. She goes down every night around 7 and sleeps until between 7 and 8. We keep generally the same routine of bath, books, and laying her down awake. Sometimes she is asleep in 5 minutes, sometimes 30, but we cannot complain and almost never are there any tears. At home, she naps from 12:30-2ish. Daycare is a little rough, she generally sleeps only about 45 minutes, but it doesn't seem to have too negative of an impact on her! We think she's afraid she will miss out on any fun! And, she gets extra snuggles from her teachers if she's the only one awake - so she may have it all figured out! At home, there is no rush to get Madison when she wakes up. She likes taking her time and we find if we go in too quick, she is often grumpy.
Routine: Madison goes to daycare all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She loves school and is running out the door to get there. She spends Wednesdays with her "Aunt Shell" and they get to have so much fun. Often they go to story time at the library and for walks to the park. I get to spend all day Mondays and Fridays with her and usually try to attend playgroup. Right now, we are doing a 4 week class at MyGym. We did a Town of Cary ballet class, but at just under 2 years, were just not ready for such strict classroom guidelines - haha! However, the leotard was adorable!
In case you missed our big news...Madison will be a big sister early this summer!
Luke Ryan Castile is due to arrive on June 8th. We are over the moon excited and maybe just a little nervous about it! Since most people ask, Madison definitely does not understand what is happening. She thinks everyone, including men and daddies, have babies in their tummies. She does like to pat my stomach and tell me "shhh" the baby is sleeping, but that is pretty much the extent of it. Now that we are starting to work on his nursery (no judgement, we've still got 8 weeks...) we have been talking about "Luke's room" and his bed, etc. I fully anticipate that the first few weeks will be tricky. And, I do worry about how she will feel. I firmly believe that a sibling is one of the best gifts and I am so hopeful that she will love him and they will grow to be best friends! Luckily for us, my mom has agreed to stay for several extra days to help with the transition. Madison is the luckiest little girl and has such a special bond with her grandparents, so this will truly be helpful!
He is for sure, a second child. While we are excited about him joining our family, we haven't been quite so diligent about our preparations. Ryan just finished painting a dresser for his room and we just decided on bedding. I'm hopeful that in the next few weeks I can start to do a little decorating and washing of clothes, etc. My sweet sweet friends were pretty convincing and we settled on a "drop-in" baby shower for him. I am excited for all things little boy and how different this will be for us as a family!
Just some random events that have been happening around here...
Here is Madison and Daddy lounging around on a lazy weekend morning!
Madison loves her "everywhere chair." For you mommies-to-be, this is a great gift! Pottery Barn Kids. Here she is sharing it with Daddy.
I've been trying to make hair-bows for Madison. This is a huge feat for me, I'm just not all that creative. But, thanks to Pinterest, even those of us that can't come up with the ideas - can at least copy them! I have a love of all things smocked. And, hair-bows can add up. So, I'm giving myself a challenge and trying to make Madison some holiday bows!
And, this just goes to show, I stink at house cleaning...
Ryan, can we PLEASE get a cleaner hired again???????
What a relief...the heat has finally broke here in North Carolina and I am so excited. Seasons are so great, because just when you've had enough, you get a change! The weather has been so amazing here - comfortable days with cool evenings. Fall is truly just around the corner. We've been taking advantage of the wonderful weather and enjoying some outdoor time and open windows!
Here is Madison in the am on a morning walk
She is too cool for school! Seriously, this kid has it made in her stroller. Sunglasses, graham crackers, milk and multiple toys. I love that it was cool enough for her to wear a cardigan!
We were lucky enough to be able to meet some friends at the park today and we practiced our sliding. Madison is one cautious kiddo, but she's gradually getting used to the idea of a slide. In fact, today she actually said "slide!"
This is actually from an indoor park from last week, but here she is again taking on the slide! Madison has some extra daring friends and she is learning how to navigate the playground from them.
As a physical therapist, slides are iffy for me! I love the coordination, motor planning and abdominal strength that they encourage. However, experience with broken femurs are enough to make me a "helicopter-mom" as Maddie slides down. I know it is rare, but I tend to hoover close enough to make sure her little legs don't get stuck! Hopefully, I'm not holding her back:)
Madison is very lucky to have exceptional grandparents. She (aka we) certainly do not give them enough thanks for all they do for Madison and for us. She has such wonderful role-models and so, so, so much love!
Wishing her grandparents all a very happy Grandparent's Day!!
Madison is fortunate to have her Nana that lives in North Carolina, Florence. So far, Madison has been able to see Nana fairly close to monthly! Nana is so much fun and is always ready to play and read and snuggle with Madison. Here's a peek at some of her favorite Nana-moments!
Easter 2012 with Nana
Sweet Snuggles from Nana
Madison's maternal Grandmparents, Lainy & Papa, have done an amazing job playing an active-role in her life, even from Missouri! Madison get's to see them about once a month and even traveled to MO once to visit them. We know that she looks forward to visiting again for Thanksgiving.
Madison had such a great time in Ocracoke Island this past summer (2012) with Lainy & Papa
Maddie with Lainy and Papa in NY in Summer 2011.
Madison loves when Lainy and Papa come to visit. There is so much playing, laughing and snuggling (when she can sit still long enough)!
Madison's paternal Grand-dad, Paul, is lots of fun! She had a lot of fun during his recent visit and thought he was so funny!
Thank you so much to our parents! We are definitely better parents because of you all, our parents! We are so fortunate that Madison has you all to spend time with, learn from and love.
A very Happy Grandparent's Day to you all!!!
And, a special wish for our Grandmother's...Grandma Kay and Grandma Angie. Lots and lots of love!
I love to bake. I think it makes for nice gifts and it is an "easy" thing to contribute to any event. For Madison's 1st Birthday, I had my heart set on cake pops. I was able to borrow my neighbor's cake pop maker - yes, these things exist. They turned out cute and so recently I decided it was time to get my own cake pop maker. Our "new" neighbors were very sweet and brought over a box of clothes and toys to pass along to Maddie. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to give the new machine a go!
I actually purchased the Bella brand maker, but I do love the Babycakes one as well. One thing to note - if you are on the market for your own is to be sure to purchase one that has 12 holes. The one I borrowed for Madison's birthday only had 6 and it takes A LOT longer!
A few tips:
* Use the Babycake recipe for cake pops. I read a lot of reviews and it seems that some people have used boxed cake recipes, but they often have to alter the ingredients. I'd rather be safe than sorry!
* Fill each hole pretty much to the top. You don't want it to overflow, but if you are too cautious, your cake pops do not come out ball shaped!
These ended up being ugly cake pops and thus were not used!
* Freeze the cake pops for a bit (30+ minutes) before adding the sticks to them
* Dip the sticks in melted chocolate and then put them into the cake pop. Let the chocolate harden before dipping the balls into chocolate.
* I use a tall cup to melt the chocolate in and then dip the balls. I then I use a combination of tapping and twisting to get off excess chocolate. This is the trickiest part of the entire operation! It is easy to leave too much on and then it drips down the stick.
* For the cake pops to dry, a foam block works great! This is what we used for Madison's party. However, I don't happen to keep those lying around, so we had to improvise. Luckily Ryan's an engineer and was able to help me come up with a pretty logical solution! Coffee cups filled with dry rice or beans!
We discovered that Madison has quite the sweet tooth! She was able to eat her own cake-pop in just a few minutes!