Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nana's Pancakes

Ryan's mom, Florence, otherwise known as "Nana" makes the best pancake breakfast!  I was first introduced to this delicacy way back when Ryan and I were just dating.  To this day, I have never been able to successfully recreate these amazing chocolate-chip pancakes, they truly are only this delicious when made by Nana in her own kitchen!  Trust me, I've tried - but she adds something special!

This weekend, we traveled to Ryan's hometown to visit with his mom, younger sister (Aunt Michelle), older sister and brother-and-law (Aunt Christy and Uncle Brad).  It was a weekend filled with pool time and visiting.  And, while Madison is totally off on her sleep (nothing like traveling and adjusting with a 16 month-old, right?) it was a nice time.  But, ask Madison what her favorite part was and I'm sure she would tell you it was Nana's chocolate chip pancakes.  She could not get enough!!!

Somehow, Maddie put away 2 pancakes for a "second" breakfast!

Check out that right leg, covered in chocolate!

Crazy how Maddie's eye's look green and not blue! Also, look at  that wild hair!!! It was a "no-AC" night, so I think the humidity and how she slept created some serious curls.

Thanks Nana for introducing Maddie to your breakfast delight!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Paint Palette

Well, it only took us two-years and eight-months to do it, but we finally painted the main areas in the downstairs.  And by "we" I mean "we" finally bought paint and hired painters.  It would have taken me a hundred years to do it myself and I guarantee the final product would not have been anything pleasant!  Ryan and I had such a hard time making a decision about paint color - no surprise there!

This is what we looked at for two weeks:

Obviously, the paint color on the far right was an immediate no.  The irony is that we had 3 other cans of paint samples close to that color.  So, quickly we returned to Sherwin-Williams for two other colors (the middle and bottom swatch).  I did a lot of really in-depth "google" research of colors, and during my search I came across the top color "Oyster Bay" and immediately fell in love. It took Ryan a few weeks, but he finally came around too!  And, thank goodness, because the final product is perfect!

Oyster Bay was a great fit for our home!  The mantel looks a little lonely, so hopefully we will find some new pieces to add to it.  

Thanks to several of my girlfriends that "pushed" for us to paint the wall that goes up the stairs.  I'm so thankful for ya'll's input, as it really looks great!

This view is a little off, the ceiling looks a lot higher and not true to the proportions of the room.  However, the picture display to the right of the TV was a new purchase.

This space has made me crazy for several years.  I couldn't find the perfect fit for this awkwardness space.  We made a few purchases, but nothing was "right" and they were returned.  But, we found this one at Pier1 this weekend and so far, it is a great fit!  

And, unrelated to painting, we took Madison on a sweet evening walk to "tire" her out!  She had a blast:
She carried this pine-cone the whole way and was so proud!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Playful Days

We've had a busy past few days and now I'm playing catch-up!  One thing we've learned over the past several days is how shy Madison has become/is.  She is super cautious of new people, new situations or even people she knows - but hasn't seen in a few days!  This is totally a new experience for me.  We are trying to be gentle and let her warm up on her own. Once she's comfy - there is no stopping her!
 Just peek at her recent fun:

Madison and her bff, Lily Olivia.  Madison loved playing in Lily's new house and trying out her ball pit and    sit-and-spin, although she was incredibly confused by how it works!

Madison at story time.  This picture does not do justice to the silly-beans she had.  This child was lying on the floor cracking herself up!

Play-date in the pool.  She LOVES the water and couldn't get enough of the splashing with her little friends!

It is highly likely that there is a lot of research and books about raising a shy-child and how to enable them to grow more comfortable.  I haven't yet found them or read them, but after the past few days, I'm thinking they should be at the top of my list.  Sure hope they come in kindle format!  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Flashback Friday

I'm starting a new tradition and calling it "Flashback Friday" as a highlight to our week.  Hope you enjoy!

This was a big week in our home! We made a decision to send Madison to preschool starting in August on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We went back and forth about a million times, just ask Ryan - I changed my mind pretty much every hour.  But, we do think this is best for our family and for Madison's development.  It will give me a lot more flexibility for my patients, which is important to provide.  And, hopefully it will allow me to be more "present" when I am with Madison.  I know you working moms understand, right? The constant tug to juggle work, even when you are home? I am constantly struggling with notes to write, doctors to talk to, letters to write...all while trying to enjoy my time with Madison.  Whew - so, here's to hoping this is a good change!

Madison enjoyed lots of time with friends this week.  We had a pool play-date on Monday and today I left her at a girlfriends with a babysitter so we could go shopping!  The babysitter had four kids, age 16-18 months.  Amazing:)  We shopped all morning at the enormous consignment sale and totally stocked up on fall  clothes.  See....

Step 1:  wash and throw on the floor to sort

Step 2:  sort and organize

*I am such a summer-time girl, but have been really enjoying stocking up on fall/winter clothes for Madison.  I mean, how cute is that snowman shirt?  It wasn't actually from the consignment sale, but I did just get it for her*

Step 3...put away!
* Please don't judge my shelf is a work in progress.  Today was just getting hangers organized by size and season!*

As a side note, I have come to really appreciate consignment sales.  When I was pregnant I was very apprehensive.  As it turns out, they are fantastic! You have to be patient and willing to sort through, but you can find amazing things. Plus, I think I'm addicted to the thrill of the find!  There are still some things I feel strongly that I want to buy new for her, but for play clothes...consignment sales are the best!!  So, new mommies-to-be, give them a try.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Parting with the Paci

I admit it, I think there is something super cute about a baby with a paci.  Ryan on the other hand feels much different.  It isn't so much that he doesn't like a paci, but the fear of an older toddler, still taking the paci in public, was too much for him. So fearful in fact that, just last week Ryan took the paci away!  Ok - it was a joint decision, but I never would have had the strength to follow through.  

Madison has pretty much had a paci since day one.  I pushed for it, I like that she had a strong suck, it gave me a "break" from nursing and we tried to restrict it to only sleepy and very fussy times!  Lately, we had been pretty good about keeping the paci for only crib times.  So good, that I couldn't find a recent picture of Madison with her paci.  Which makes me sad, but I'm pretty sure Ryan wouldn't be very happy if I gave it back to her just to snap a quick picture!  

We did the "cold turkey" route with the paci.  Ryan had a few days off from work and he took the chance to not only drop her down to one nap (she had been threatening to do this for several days), but to also take the paci away.  Hello daddy bootcamp daycare! He tells me she only fussed for a few minutes and my heart wants to believe him!  Honestly, it was easier than I anticipated.  The first few nights she fussed for a few minutes, but never more than five-minutes!  Since then, she's been doing great.  She will sometimes do a very pitiful whine/whimper and we can see on the monitor that sometimes in the middle of the night she is "looking" for the paci.  I give Ryan a lot of credit.  The reality was much less scary than the anticipation and now Madison is paci free.  

Ryan also wanted to try taking the lovey away - but I held my ground on that.  She loves it, she sleeps great with it and I love my sleep too much at this point.  And, I have a friend who still has her lovey!  Ryan thinks that might be an issue, but she's pretty normal (love you KH) and if Madison turns out like her I'll be pretty happy.  So, the paci is 100% gone and we all survived!!

A look back at the Paci...

Here she is just a month old in her bassinet with her paci - it's huge on her!

Maddie at 6 months sleeping with her Paci & Lovey

One of those "public" paci times - Maddie trying to stay awake at her 2nd-cousin's wedding!

Madison on her 1st Easter - getting ready!

A very sleepy 6-month old Madison


Monday, July 16, 2012

Old Salem

This is a delayed post - but we have such cute pictures from a recent trip we took with Ryan's family.  Aunt Christy & Uncle Brad invited us to their new home for the weekend (in May!) and part of our trip involved a visit to Old Salem.  What a neat place!!!  

Madison enjoying the water pump!  

Love this picture of Maddie with Aunt Christy, Aunt Michelle and "Uncle" Jimi
She is one lucky girl!

Attempt at a family photo! 

 Ice cream treat with Daddy.  Lovey is out - Madison was wearing down!

Look at this amazing town.  It was so sweet!  Some of the houses were private residences; it is hard to imagine living on a road like this.

Madison was done at this point.  But, I think the picture is adorable.  There was no "reasoning" with her.  
It is still sweet of her and Nana!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sweet Seal of Approval

We had our sweet neighbors over for dinner tonight with their two adorable little boys.  As a special treat, we made Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes.  Thank you pinterest and this fabulous link!!!
Madison did our taste testing and apparently is a chocolate-lover.  In the second picture her hands are blurry from signing "more."  Too cute!

I can't say I was too impressed with the final presentation, but they were yummy and it was a nice surprise for Maddie!  I think I'll plan to bring the dozen that are left over to playgroup tomorrow!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Beach Babe

Summer 2012 is the summer of the pool in the Castile house.
Luckily for us, Madison loves the pool as much as we do!  Ryan & I have been taking her pretty much Saturday and Sunday for the past several weeks and then I take her during the week. We don't last all day, but she is tons of fun.  Her favorite parts seem to be watching the other kids swim and eating her snack:)  We had a play-date with her little friends from playgroup and I'm kicking myself for not taking a group shot of them - next time!
Maddie lounging

Maddie and Nana enjoying an afternoon at the pool in June!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thank you Starbucks!

I really really love my time home with Madison.  She's fun and funny and very entertaining. But, I'd be lying if I said it was free from meltdowns and moments where I have zero-ideas of how to parent her.  I do remember my close friend telling me several months ago that this stage is actually harder because of the frustration toddlers have and their inability to express their needs.  I admit, I shrugged it off.  Thinking, maybe it wouldn't be that way for our family.  Whew- I was wrong!

After a downright fantastic morning, Madison took a 90-minute nap (not too shabby for our newly transitioned once a day napper) and woke up cranky!  We started our afternoon calm, reading together on the floor, but in the blink of an eye "this" transpired:

Full blast melt-down.  For those of you that know Madison well, you know the first sign of a meltdown is the "bow-throw."  She has perfected the art of ripping out her bow when she's angry.  And then she just melts.  It is amazing to me how quickly this happens. And then...just as quickly, she's back to "this:"

So happy that she's dancing and I can't snap a good picture of her!

I am pretty sure the frustration comes from her not being able to tell us what she wants.  We do sign with her.  She's consistent with "more, please, help, eat, all done."  Here's the thing, she can sign more and help all she wants, but if she can't tell what she needs help with, or what she wants more of...I'm pretty useless.  She's starting to say words, but only a few.  Her vocabulary is not very "effective" yet.  Generally, we try to go through what we think it is she wants, and if we strike out multiple times - we try the redirect approach.  She lasts just several seconds and can generally be distracted by toys.  But, whew - she's got a personality!  

Which, brings to me to my big-fat sincere THANK YOU to Starbucks today for offering free "refresher" drinks.  Ryan and I were each able to try one and it was just what we I needed to get through the afternoon!

Tips anyone?  How to more effectively communicate with a toddler in mid-meltdown? Or, perhaps avoiding them all together (ha!).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012


Why are the big ones never easy? I am terrible about making decisions!
 Ryan can vouch for that seeing that we now have THREE paint swabs on our walls because I cannot choose a color. Or the fact that we just put up curtains downstairs after being in our house for over two years because I can't make a choice.
The current dilemma is childcare for Maddie come mid August.  Our wonderful, fantastic, sweet babysitter - Miss Beth is leaving us for school.  So the question becomes, do we hire a new nanny or start daycare?  I can name 1000 pros and cons for both options. I am constantly stressed with work and the daycare would give me more flexibility. Plus, Madison is in need of socialization... desperately.  But it seems like such a big change.. maybe I'm the one who's just not ready...and is that so bad?

Luckily for Madison - her biggest decision is just if these glasses are too small for her face?

Thoughts/opinions on the daycare front?

Beach Babe

Ryan & I were invited to our friend's (Jason & Ivy) wedding at the beach in Southport.  We saw this as a perfect excuse to make a beach weekend.  With very little begging, we were able to talk our best friends from college into joining us over Memorial Day Weekend.  We ended up renting a house in Oak Island/Caswell Beach that was just perfect.  The house had an open floor plan, plenty of bedrooms, was very clean, and best of all, right on the beach!  We were nervous to see how Madison would handle to sand (would she eat it? be scared of the texture?) and the water.  She handled both like a champ and had a blast.  Proof below!

Maddie and her bff, Lily, playing the first day.

Not a bad view from the back of our beach house.

Too cute - I can't wait to show this to them when they are graduating from high school.

Seriously? I love this kid!

Ready for dinner!

This is one of those "not-so-perfect" family pictures, but I'm glad we have it.

At the wedding - it was a gorgeous backdrop!

We took the ferry over from Southport to Fort Fischer to take Madison to the aquarium.  She enjoyed the fist and it was a great first trip!

I am so bummed that we didn't get a group shot of our friends at the beach house.  We've all promised to do it again next year.  But, we are thinking to celebrate the big 3-0 we will the leave the kids behind and travel some place tropical!  Thanks so much to you all for watching Madison so we could enjoy a grown-up night out!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summertime Fun

We have been having such a blast this summer with Madison.  She is very much her "own" person with a grown-up personality!  Luckily, Madison seems to enjoy the important parts of summertime just like her Mom & Dad (froyo, pool time and outdoor bbqs).  Aside from some yucky bug-bites that prompted not one, but two, trips to the doctor - it's been mostly smiles and sunshine!

Chasing the beach ball - best $0.97 I've ever spent!  Madison has a super-ball radar and spots them everywhere we go.  In fact, we consider "ball" to be her first word!

Madison loves to "hula-hoop."  Unfortunately,  neither of us are able to do a good job demonstrating for her so she just carries it around.

 Her very own back porch chair.  She just figured out how to climb in all by herself- makes this PT mama proud!

Water table fun!

Hope you all are enjoying your summer! We are just trying to stay cool in our 100+ temps here in North Carolina.