Music Man shoutout


Madeline and I got a shoutout! In this essay about Hilton Village and all its charm, the author happens to mention our production of The Music Man at the local theatre. There’s even a photo of the cast, shown below — M is the youngest member. It’s been a great run and loads of fun. Last show is tonight!

Harold Hill meets the River Citiziens of Iowa

Harold Hill meets the River Citiziens of Iowa

Screenshot of the shoutout:


See the full essay here:

It Takes a Community: Life in Hilton Village

Hilton Village 4th of July


They told us kids AND dogs are in the parade.

Our old-school historic neighborhood proudly maintains many traditions, among them a 4th of July parade down Main Street. Wagons, bicycles, strollers, a historic fire truck, a modern fire truck, classic cars, and lots of happy faces were decked out in red, white and blue. A neighbor held a block party brunch where we decorated our vehicles the morning of the parade and then congregated after for some amazing potluck treats and good conversation. Both Madeline and Henry had a great time.

Getting ready:

And now, the parade (which started off with motorcycles before the grand marshal and reminded me of my time in the Disney Stars and Motorcars Parade):

The parade ends at the elementary school, where everyone in the parade gathers to watch the rest of it. Some of the vehicles are parked so that the kids can explore them. The neighborhood milkman also has a tent where you can sample the dairy’s products.

Then we headed back for brunch and a day of barbecues with the neighbors.

Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me?!


We’ve doped her with myriad cartoon shorts along with occasional full-length animated features for months now. She invites us to do the “Mee-key Gonald?” round and round the nursery (see video below). She’s got her princess dresses ready and has been asking to wear her Minnie polka dots to school. Minnie herself has been lovingly smeared with yogurt, milk, cookie crumbs, and various other toddler foods. Yep. At long last, we are going to meet the Mouse and the rest of the Gang.


M gathered Mom and Dad in her room for a jam session to the Mickey Mouse Club March. She added in her favorite electronica beats.

Two years ago


If I haven’t said it enough, Isabel March is awesome. I am picky. And let me tell you, it is truly amazing when you find someone who captures your aesthetic sensibilities. Which is why I am all the more tickled and honored that, when we visited her a few weeks ago, I found Madeline (in the belly) and I were still on her studio wall. Not only that, but we are still on her website’s maternity page, too.

Here’s Baby Madeline at 36 weeks. She didn’t stay in there much longer after this photo.


We’re on the maternity page!

Happy Valentine’s Day



taken by our awesome wedding/family photographer, Isabel March

Isabel March, our fabulous wedding photographer, held a Little Love Portraits event with complimentary(!) mini studio sessions in honor of Valentine’s Day. With our busy lives, it was a nice reminder to stop and capture the moment. Only a short time ago, our tiny 5-lb valentine came home and transformed our world. She’s now a sweet, endearing toddler who seems to have picked up her puppy’s habit of making friends wherever she goes. A singing, dancing, belly-laughing little girl with a big grin, tiny feet, and baby wisps still waiting for real hair to grow. Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy birthday, little Madeline. May this memory be one of many we will hold dear always.


A language guide for translating Madeline

I loved the introduction to the development of language in my college cognitive science class, and I love that each child builds his or her own vocabulary of gibberish that makes no sense to anyone else except perhaps family and friends. If you ever babysit M, here’s a leg up on trying to understand what the heck she’s saying. I’ve collected these words over the past few months; a lot of her language is fairly intelligible with context.

  • Taintu: Thank you
  • Malcom: Welcome
  • Bassoo: Bless you
  • Babybug: Ladybug
  • Pickabook: Pick a book, read a book
  • Henny: Henry
  • Nahnice: Not nice
  • Meow: Cat
  • Rawr: Lion, bear
  • Mohs, Mimi Mohs, Mimi Moush: Minnie Mouse
  • Schwann: Shoe on
  • Muk: Milk
  • Shawbee: Sorry
  • Shtawbee: Strawberry
  • Shuggoe: Snuggle
  • Simmee: Excuse me
  • Padzu: Pretzel
  • Kooky: Cookie
  • Kinko Shar: Twinkle Star
  • See-yoh: Cereal
  • Ahmo: Elmo
  • Sheesche: Quiche
  • Wound and wound: I want you to sing The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round
  • Uppeedown: I want you to sing The People on the Bus go Up and Down
  • Weh ee go: Let It Go
  • Ewer: Ever (For the First Time in Forever)
  • Shummer: Summer (In Summer)
  • Up high, dow-woe: High five, down low
  • Baddee: Belly
  • Burr: Bear
  • Budday cake, Ahmo cake: birthday cake, Elmo cake
  • Chiddee: Chilly
  • Dah-wee: Dolly
  • Ditz: Dance
  • Dump: Jump
  • Pouts: Pouch (fruit pouch, yogurt pouch)
  • No-wah: Laura
  • Gama: Grandma
  • Gampapa: Grandpa
  • Eeemee: Amy
  • Miam: Liam
  • Eee ah you: Where are you
  • Mon: Come on

Mimi Moush valentines


M_Valentine_2015Last Valentine’s Day, I had a shelf exam and Madeline had a GI virus. So, class valentines did not happen. Fortunately, being in a class of 1-year-olds means they didn’t really miss much.

This year might be Mommy’s last chance to make Madeline valentines for a while. Besides being super into Frozen (audio here and video here), Madeline loves “Mimi Moush,” whom she knows as her crib buddy. So Mimi Moush valentines we did.

2014-12-21-08.39.18  2014-12-21-10.05.00

She’s come a long way from her tiny almost-9-week-old self.

Madeline-003 Madeline-005 Madeline-014

So, we ordered Minnie valentine cupcakes from my awesome friend Judy of The Good, Bad and Yummy, who also made Madeline’s birthday cake.

photo credit:

photo credit:

This morning, she was not feeling the Valentine dress, so we went with her “babybug” shirt instead.

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Babybug: “Cheese!”

The cupcakes were a big hit, as were the treats from her class party.

“Weh ee go, weh ee go”

It’s challenging to catch Madeline on digital media because she often wants to grab the recording device. Here, she is absorbed in singing her song to Mookey and Boo.

Madeline requests “Weh ee go” daily. She listens to the soundtrack, and every now and then you can hear [“Finally they’re opening up the”] “GATES!” or [“The past is in the”] “PAST!” ringing from the nursery. You’ll have to turn up the volume on this one quite a bit; don’t forget to turn it back down 🙂

Madeline’s first visit to the Poconos


What a visit to the Poconos! Although Madeline first became acquaintanced with snow in Philly, she was delighted to play in fresh, deep fluff for the very first time. She also, for the very first time, identified “Gama” and “Gampapa.” By the end of the weekend, she added to her vocabulary “Eemee” (Amy), “No-wah” (Laura), and “Mee-am” or “Ee-am” (Liam).

First came story time with Gama and Gampapa on the evening we arrived. M loves her board book collections, perfectly sized for her hands. She especially loves her Mother Goose rhymes, including “Dumpy Dumpy,” “Fuffin Man,” “Kinko Shar,” “Pah Cake,” and “Diddo Diddo.”

The next morning, we headed out for the grownups to ski while baby and puppy explored the snow:

Back home for lunch and a little playtime with Dad:

Heading out for the afternoon, we were much more about our wits and ready to play.

Fortuitously, we discovered a neighborhood friend!

Madeline found a little friend, about four years older, whom she calls “Bibbeh.” Bibbeh was wonderfully (and amazingly!) kind and patient with Madeline, repeatedly making snowballs for Madeline to smoosh. Madeline loved their new game of falling back in the snow, sitting up to dig, and repeating. Now and then Madeline would look up to peek if Bibbeh was still lying down.

Winding down after a full day. Let’s do some rock n reading.

Out to play the next morning. Say goodbye to the adults! We’ve got business with a toboggan.

Afternoon ski time. Go away Dad, I’ve got a toboggan to ride.

Finally, some scenic shots over the weekend:

Happy Birthday, Babies!


The babies in our little circle of friends were all born around the same time, so rather than have a slew of birthday parties (and cakes…and goodie bags…and party commitments), a friend and I decided to do our kids’ two-year-old birthday celebration together. Happy birthday to R, M, and the rest of the gang.

R_and_M_2ndBirthday_004 Our amazing two-sided Elmo cake and cupcakes were made by my friend Judy of The Good, Bad and Yummy. Judy is a hilarious kind-hearted soul and directed me in my all-time favorite role, Sally in YAGMCB. Most. Fun. Ever. Nowadays she pours her creativity into her baking. She made the bottom tier of mint chocolate chip cake and the top of red velvet, and both were indeed yummy.

First, the kids went to play while things were getting settled.

Then, we started on the cake and munchies.

Next, we attempted a group photo. You can just imagine the storyline here. We had a near fall with a dad on hand to catch, someone who brilliantly conferred upon each toddler a balloon, a brief alignment of smiling babies, and rapid deterioration into chaos as their attention lapsed.

Finally, they went back to the playroom. M was a big fan of the cat (“Kitty! Kitty!”).

The kids had a few presents to open. M was excited for books, Minnie Mouse, and shoes.

Madeline’s alphabet

Since the holidays, we have become very acquainted with Madeline’s repertoire. Here is her version of the alphabet:

A B C D E esshee (at 20 months, up to here was all we had — she would repeat this loudly with gusto and with emphasis on “ESS” if you attempted to sing any other song, as if you didn’t know what you were doing)
Ay-shy gay K ehhhhmm mo P
Syoo aww S, See-ooo B
Dubboooo X, Y n Z
Now I know mah A B C
Ness tahm bon’t oo sing WHIM-MEEE!

Madeline’s first snow


The first real snowfall of the season occurred a few days after New Year’s. Until then, Madeline had never truly experienced snow; she was only a bundled-up baby in a carrier the previous winter. I am thankful to be able to capture this moment in photo and film. Thank you, smartphone.

On the way to school, Madeline experienced snowfall for the first time (as a walking, talking person rather than a carry-dependent baby). She took it in slowly, shuffling through, surprised to find her tracks behind her, and occasionally dusting off the snow from her boots. We took a slow walk so she could play, and by the end she was all giggles, running through the snow.

Happy New Year!

2014-12 Holiday Card

this year’s holiday card

Better late than never, right?

Poor Henry endured much yogurt, fur tugging, and swatting from Madeline last year. Fortunately they are still buds. It’s amazing how M has grown and yet still looks very much like her baby self.

Christmas 2014


Christmas2014_132 2014 might well be our last year to sleep in on Christmas Day for quite a while. (Last year’s photos are here.) Madeline had been asking to open the gifts under the tree, but she doesn’t yet understand the concept of Christmas Day. This year’s holiday was all about introducing her to the tree, to decorating it with ornaments, to seeing the Nutcracker (a kids version put on by the Rock School), wrapping presents, and now opening them.

With a little help getting started, she’s gotten the hang of ripping off wrapping paper. First came a Hess truck with a space cruiser and a little baby scout ship. The space cruiser emits sound effects upon swerving or diving, making it a big hit with Daddy (and baby).

Next, we have a family of Calico Critters, the Woodbrook Beaver Family.

Then some snow mittens, a detour to the trash (“srash”), and Brio trains!

And in the biggest box was a Safari Express train set, a perfect finale to Madeline’s Christmas morning.

Madeline had a present for Daddy, but she was somewhat reluctant to give it.

What’s a holiday without coloring on your face?

Some shots with the afternoon sunlight.

Christmas dinner.

Some evening shots of the tree.

Madeline ended her Christmas day by laying her head in Mommy’s lap and falling asleep on the hard wood floor. Mommy was unable to move for the next half hour.


Teaching manners


“Say, ‘Cookie please?'”


“No, say, ‘Cookie please?'”


<shakes head> “‘Cookie please?'”


“‘Cookie please?'”


<sighs> “Okay, here.”


“You’re welcome, baby girl.”

^^^^Improvement over the past week, where repeated attempts of “Madeline, say, ‘Thank you’?” were met with “Macom” (her word for “welcome”).