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

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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.

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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.

Madeline’s interpretation of Let It Go

Each night at bedtime, Madeline gets a song. This routine has become unwieldy given her penchant for repetition, but evidently she has been paying attention, at least. Who knew kids had such good memory at this age?

“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

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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:

Madeline’s first snow

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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.
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“Peek boo!”

With Madeline strapped in her booster seat (so as to stay out of my way), I began to assemble her teepee. She kept squealing “Wow! Eeeee!” as it took shape. Then Daddy inadvertently set her loose and she started playing in it before I was finished with assembly (note the ouch-waiting-to-happen slippage on the wood floor). For our small apartment, I suppose this teepee is an acceptable use of 9 sq ft.

Dancing baby

She doesn’t really care for children’s tunes, but put on some pop/hip hop/any dance track and she’ll have a party.

She’ll bounce to any hint of a bass rhythm. This includes washing machines.

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Karla and Rob’s wedding

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My dear friend Karla married her longtime beau Rob in a beautiful ceremony and reception that reflected their cozy laid-back vibe perfectly. They were wonderfully accommodating to us with regard to Madeline, even welcoming her with a bucket of toys! They are going to be wonderful parents 🙂 Congratulations, newlyweds!

On another note, we discovered the following:

  • A wedding full of pediatricians makes the best baby entertainment/childcare ever. Period. For your tot’s next birthday, forget the magician, the balloon artist, and the live appearance by Elmo. Just hire a cohort of pediatricians.
  • Madeline LOVES to dance. We thought she might be overstimulated with the party and loud dance music, so we took her off to the side toward the trees and pond. She shrieked to be put down and toddled a beeline straight back on to the dance floor, where said pediatricians had previously been twirling around with her. We tried reigning her in at least twice, and each time she toddled back to the party. On the dance floor, she would bounce and sway and clap. Here’s hoping she has more rhythm than either Chris or me.

Toddling, exploring, and meeting Danielle, who would become Madeline’s best friend for the evening:

Roaming amongst the pants and skirts:

Playing with Danielle and meeting the rest of the pediatricians:

The bride and groom during their toasts:

By 7:30pm we thought Madeline might have been tired, but she protested leaving the party and headed straight back to the dance floor:

She ran back to the dance floor whenever we tried to carry her away.

We realized after several attempts to head home that we have a party girl, and she had several dance partners to bounce-twirl her around:

The next morning, she slept in:

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Babymoon at Disney World: Magic Kingdom

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Babymoon part 2 of 6. The first park we visited was Magic Kingdom, and we were pleasantly surprised to find the holiday decorations were still in place. Holiday hours were also still in effect, and with the drop in attendance that comes after the new year, we had an easy time navigating the mild crowds. One cool thing that is probably really hard to find anywhere else is the mutoscope — and the Main Street Station has several. Here’s a video of one called “Rodeo Time” in action:

Ingrid and Sol are married! Part 1

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Our dear friends Ingrid and Sol had a beautiful wedding in perfect California weather at Aptos Village Park. True to form, they planned their day around food and friends.

A quick stroll down the aisle:

20120630 IngridSolWedding 035 from Christopher Butz on Vimeo.

Then on to the celebration:

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Seacliff State Beach

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The morning of their wedding, Ingrid and Sol were relaxed. We asked if we could help with anything, but they had no chores to assign to us. They suggested we go exploring, so we did!

The morning was foggy. We headed north along the bay and saw a cement ship, the Palo Alto.

Then we came across the Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center and poked around a bit there. Among other things, they had a nice tide pool exhibit!

I took a video of a mollusk doing its filter feeding thing:

20120630 Mollusk from Christopher Butz on Vimeo.

Then we headed back to our room to get ready for the wedding.

Miniature railroad at the Arboretum

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The Morris Arboretum miniature train display opened last weekend, and we went to see it and play with the new camera. This year’s display theme is “Storytime Rail,” with fairy tale-themed structures: Sleeping Beauty Castle, a Hobbit house, Baba Yaga‘s house, the Old Woman’s Shoe house, and more!

Here comes the Lehigh Valley train:

We took some great photos. Here they are, with no color correction or retouching: