I just had to post saying WE HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 5 YEARS!!!!! Sometimes 5 years seems like no time at all, and other times it feels like we have bee together forever. Isn't time a funny thing. It is one of the most constant things we have but it certainly does not feel that way. 5 years in childhood seems incredibly disproportional to 5 years in adulthood. Anyway, I have loved these last 5 years of marriage. McKay is a phenomenal husband and father and friend. We are lucky to have found each other and to get to spend our lives with our perfect match. I love you McKay! Happy 5 year anniversary!
So I am a slacker and this post is over a month late, but I had to write about it. Ever since we learned we were going to move to Wisconsin I always had this weird hangup with the fact that Madelynn would move just before her first birthday and was sad that she would have to spend that special day away from all of our friends and family in Utah who love and care about her. If we had still been in Utah there probably would have been like 50+ people invited just among the family and close friends set (that's what happens when your families only live 15 minutes away from each other). I kept being saddened by the idea that we would have just moved and wouldn't have time to make any friends and that no one would even care about the fact that my special little princess was turning one. I know I was being irrational because she would not even remember at all and McKay would be more than happy to not entertain an enormous group of people, but I was still a little sad.
So when Madelynn's first birthday rolled around I was very happy that my parents were able to come visit us from Utah and that my sister in law Cecily's family was able to make the 3 1/2 hour drive to come to the party. Knowing that there were some people there who truly love and care about her was important to me. We also invited a few of that families that we had gotten to know here. It turned out to be a much smaller affair than I had been planning in my head, and a little bit less organized because for some reason when more than half of your party guest are under the age of 8 things get a little crazy! Here is a picture of the guests that were still around when we thought about taking a picture.
I had fun making a pretty birthday bunting banner for Madelynn and making her a small pink birthday cake that she got to smash. I wanted her birthday to be the first time she tried cake, but alas, she snuck some cake crumbs off of the floor when I was baking another cake a little while before. I had planned to do a pink and grey elephant party because I am crazy and bought her Halloween costume back in August, and since I bought her an elephant costume and her birthday is on Halloween... I planned it around her costume. I even designed my own party invitations to match the theme. I also had a lot of fun printing off photos from each month of her life and turning them into cupcake toppers and hanging them on the wall with her birthday banner.
I know McKay's eyes are closed in this picture, but it is the only picture that had the birthday banner in it.
Like I said, It was a much smaller party than I had planned in my head, but it went over really well. We had lots of food and since we took a trip to the cheese factory the morning before her birthday party we had a bunch of cheese and crackers. I even cut some cheese slices in the shape of an elephant! We played a couple of games including pin the tail on the elephant and pass the parcel and had a lot of fun. We also played a game where each of the kids had a balloon and they couldn't let it touch the ground. The older kids loved this, but when one of the balloons popped Madelynn freaked out and started crying. She is still a little bit afraid of balloons.
We were able to catch her reaction to the balloon popping in this picture, how sad is that little face?
When it came time to sing happy birthday and eat cake, Madelynn was not to sure about things. With everyone standing around her and watching her she was a little bit nervous and cautious about the cake eating process. She eventually dug her way through about a third of the cake and a lot of it ended up on her face and on the floor. We all go to eat cupcakes and let Madelynn have her cake all to herself.
This is the only picture we got of her smiling with her cake
Spending her Birthday With Grandma and Grandpa
Madelynn had a blast opening up presents. She just barely figured out that wrapping paper rips like regular paper, and ripping up paper is one of her favorite things to do. Thank you all who gave her a birthday gift, they were wonderful.
That night Cecily's family was able to stay the night so we got to have cousins sleep over! I think that will be more fun for the kids when they are old enough to sleep over together in the same room, but it was still fun having them stay in the house.
Mow some things about Madelynn at 1 year old:
-She weighs 20.5 pounds and is 29 inches long
-she loves to eat cheese, rice, noodles, crackers and pears
-she has 10 teeth!
-she started walking exclusively 1 week before her 1st birthday
-she love to play with cars and dvd's
-she likes to nod her head yes and shake her head no. It is always hilarious when she does this in an appropriate situation
-the only thing she will say is "yeah". Any other words she has learned have been shelved and Yeah is the only thing she wants to say.
- she loves animals, especially ones with fur she can pull
-she love to pull mommy's hair... we are working on that one, ouch!
-She likes to go outside
-She cries whenever daddy walks out the door to go to school
-She is enamored with the bathroom. She loves to play in toilet water, unroll and shred toilet paper and bath time is her favorite
-She likes to dance, she does this by stepping repeatedly in place or spinning in a circle. She mostly dances to music from Bollywood movies.
-she likes to play in the kitchen cupboard and the dishwasher. She likes to pull thing out of them and put her toys there instead.
-She likes to play with older kids. She follows them around like a little puppy dog
-She really likes to play peek a boo, especially under a blanket
- she also likes to play chase, especially if you are chasing her.
-She likes to pull a big cheesy grin that closes her eyes, scrunches her nose and shows all of her teeth
-she likes to sit in boxes. Whether it is empty or not, she loves to climb in.
-she puts anything an everything in her mouth. If she shouldn't eat it, she inevitably finds it and sticks it in her mouth. Coins and leaves are her favorite.
-she likes to watch mommy cook and sometimes "helps"
-she loves to empty bags. She empty's the contents of her diaper bag almost daily. It is always a struggle at church to stop her from digging into someone elses bag!
-she likes to watch the show Yo Gabba Gabba and Blues Clues
- she hates wearing hats. Seriously hates them.
- she stopped taking a binky on her own when she was 9 months old, but now she sucks her thumb again instead.
-she likes to turn the page when we are reading books
-she LOVES to unfold laundry and throw it on the floor. That makes my life a little difficult.
-she likes to snuggle up with mommy under a blanket on the couch while I watch a movie
-She is a sweetheart with a fiery temper brewing under the surface
-She is our amazing baby angel princess and we absolutely adore her and couldn't love her any more!
I am 25 now. I don't know if I am supposed to feel different or something. I don't I just had to remark on the fact that I am now a quarter of a century old. Does that make me an adult now? I don't know if I will ever feel like an adult. Being married, graduating from college, having kids, moving across the country, establishing a life. Done. Maybe I will feel like an adult when we have more kids and own a home. Probably not. But that is okay. I am only 25.
P.S. It was a wonderful birthday spent with my two favorite people in the whole wide world!
Our DVD's are in trouble. Madelynn started to take an interest in them just a little while after we moved. I don't know what all of a sudden made them so attractive. They have been on the same bookshelf for her entire little life, but it was not until recently that our shelves full of DVD's seem to call to her, beckoning her to pull them of the shelf and then do unspeakable things to them. Those unspeakable things include throwing them, desperately trying to open the case and get the disc out, scooting them across the room under one hand as she crawls across the room, and my absolute favorites, putting them in unkempt piles and then sitting or standing on them.
Once I realized that our DVD's had become endangered I took it upon myself to figure out how to save them. I know I will not be able to save all of our DVD's from our little princesses destructive grasp, but I can try! I initially tried to come up with ways to block the shelves from her. I put her walker in front of the shelf thinking it would keep her away. Boy was I wrong! She used her walker like a step stool and would climb on it and get to the DVD's she couldn't reach before!
Then I started brainstorming contraptions I could make that would make it so that we could access the DVD's whenever we wanted, but would not allow Madelynn to get them. I started thinking about using tension rods and bungee cords and drilling holes in various places... all of those ideas fell flat. So, I decided, what the heck. I will let Madelynn keep wreaking havoc on our DVD's and just make digital copies of them all. That way when she breaks a disc I can just go burn a new one and put it back in the case.
After doing tons of online research about copying and burning DVD's and getting past the copyright encryption I found a couple of programs that are free that are working for me. I downloaded DVD Shrink and IMG burn and they have been working wonderfully for me. There have only been two Movies so far that they couldn't copy. Sadly, those two movies are ones I really cared about copying, so I found another program that I got a free trial of called Magic DVD Ripper that was able to copy them. I only have 3 trial uses left on that program and we may just end up buying it, but I am cheap and won't do that until I absolutely have too.
I have now delved into the realm of backing up DVD's and I am already a little tired of it. I don't know if I will ever really get through all of our discs before I get super bored. We have over 250 DVDs and I have copied 28. Seriously, I have a lot to go. Also, we will run out of storage space before I can copy them all. Oh well I will do whatI can to help my poor endangered DVDs.
Madelynn decided that she wants to try and walk now. She has been standing and balancing on her own for about two weeks now and occasionally taking a step or two from one object to another. Well last night she decided to take things a step further.
Here is one of the few pictures we caught of her standing
We were sitting on our family room floor playing with some toys while McKay was doing some of his never ending homework when out of the blue Madelynn stood up on her own and took a couple of steps before she fell over. We were so proud of her! Luckily McKay was able to see it happen too. we were both clapping and using our silly high pitched parent voices to tell her good job. After that she just kept doing it over and over. She stood up and walked more in one evening than she has in the whole rest of her little baby life combined! I was so happy that she kept going because it meant I was able to catch some steps on video!
Here is the video. It is a little bit long and please forgive the silly high pitched mommy voice. Aren't walking babies so cute!?!
I have to admit something. I have a problem. It is a fairly serious problem too. I LOVE LITTLE GIRL CLOTHES! This unicorn costume was one of the things that my mother and I picked up when I was pregnant with our baby that never came to be, this and a lion costume. When you find out you are pregnant on Halloween you can't help but stock up on baby sized clearance costumes the next day right? Well that is what I did. It is so funny to me that Madelynn ended up being born exactly 1 year after I found out I was pregnant for the first time. Well our lucky little Halloween baby has more costumes than she will know what to do with. We have multiple Halloween costumes for her so I felt it was safe to break out one of them a little early this year. So the other day Madelynn became a UNICORN! My little sister had one of these costumes when I was in high school and somewhere I have a picture of one of my friends trying to wear it.... I can't find it, but I know it exists somewhere. So when I found this Unicorn costume it had to come home with me, and now almost a year later it had to be the first costume to come out of the box and be put on a cute baby.
Madelynn was not a huge fan of the costume. She was fine if she was sitting or standing, but if she had to crawl anywhere the giant horse face on top of her head made things a bit difficult and she would grunt and growl at me while she tried to crawl. I should have caught it on video because it was hilarious. I may have to put her back in it just so I can catch a video of her unicorn crawl. It was seriously so funny I couldn't stop laughing while I was watching her.
She eventually made her way to a mirror and fell in love with her reflection. She played with herself and admired herself for over 15 minutes, which is a whole heck of a long time when it comes to baby attention spans!
Then she decided it was time to tackle and crawl on mommy.
I eventually let her get out of the costume because even though she looked super cute, she was starting to get a bit toasty. That costume is warm! I would totally trust it to keep her warm outside while trick-or-treating (which we haven't decided if we are going to have her do that or not). Once the unicorn head came off it left her with some crazy "stand up comedy hair" as my little brother would have called it. I tried to comb it down and then tried wetting it down, nothing worked. She had that stand up comedy hair until after her next bath.
Look at that crazy hair!
Well there you have it. Madelynn the Unicorn. I am sure we will be doing this again soon. The question is,will she be a unicorn again? Or will we break out the Lion or Elephant costumes? hmmmmm.
I realized today that we have been living in Madison for over a month now and I haven't written anything about it. How terrible is that. I have to start by saying that I LOVE it here. Madison is unlike any place I have ever lived before and I have fallen in love with it in a very short amount of time. I was very hesitant about moving out to Wisconsin initially. When we came out to visit in April to see the campus and get to know the program there was more that one occasion where I told McKay that I did not want to live here. On the very last day that we were here visiting, he drove me out to the country, and I decided that maybe I could live outside of Madison in the country, maybe.
McKay lived here for 2 years on his mission and would tell me all about it and would frequently tell me that some day he wanted to take me to Appleton, Sturgeon Bay, Stevens Point, Prairie Du Chien, etc. Whenever he would get nostalgic for his days in Wisconsin he would tell me about another place in Wisconsin that he wanted to take me. Well, we have now been to more than one of those places because WE LIVE HERE NOW! That seriously is so crazy to me. We are living in the place of McKay's happy memories. I never, ever thought we would live in Wisconsin. What is funny, is that back in the day when we were finishing up our bachelors degrees McKay was flown out for a job interview with a company called Epic, that is located about 5 miles from where we live now. We ended up going to China instead but here we are three years later in Madison Wisconsin. There are so many times that I feel like we were brought here by divine intervention for a reason. I have NO idea what that reason is, but the Lord has a purpose for us here in Wisconsin.
It took me almost 2 1/2 months of online apartment hunting to finally find the place that we are living now. While we were in Madison in April we talked to a lot of other students and a couple of other LDS people living in the area and got their input on where the best areas to live in were. We were so lucky to come in to contact with the Day family. They had us over to their house for dinner and invited a bunch of other business students over as well. They stayed in contact with us after we went back to Utah, and even looked at some apartments for us. They were so key in helping us make our move. What is funny to me is that with all of the apartment searching I did across Madison we ended up just about 4 blocks away from them, and in the same complex that another LDS family is living in as well. How crazy is that?! We are also less than two miles away from our church building, just down the street from the Library, Adjacent to a city park and there are 5 more parks within a mile of us. We also have amazing access to shopping and dining all while living in a really nice neighborhood with paved walkways wandering through the neighborhood and a duck pond about 2 blocks away, and a lot of really nice people. Have I mentioned that I have fallen in love?
So since moving here we have done a lot of fun things, and a lot of boring nothing. We purposely moved out here earlier than we needed to so that McKay could show us around his old mission stomping grounds and so that we could get somewhat unpacked and settled in before McKay had to start School. McKay's parents were wonderful and made the drive across the country with us and helped us move in. I have to make a quick shout out to all of the amazing and wonderful people who helped us move out. We have the best family and friends! You guys are so great. Thank you! We were able to get the entire apartment packed into the moving van in less than 3 hours. Also, you special people who hung around after and helped us clean the apartment, you are extra amazing.
Anyway, back on topic. McKay's parents drove the moving truck with one of our cars attached to the back, while we drove our other car. The drive out took longer than expected. We underestimated how fast the moving truck would be able to drive. We were doing really well if we could get it to go 60, so that seriously slowed us down. We visited McKay's aunt Ilse and his Sisters Sasha and Cecily and their families on the way out. We still need to make a trip to visit his cousin Dekan who is only 4 hours away! Also, Madelynn was NOT a fan of being in the car for 4 days. She would cry and cry and cry and cry. You would think she would wear herself out but she can cry for over an hour with out tiring out. That girl has some serious stamina. So we were bad parents and occasionally let her out of her car seat and let her sit on our laps or crawl around in the car. I know it's unsafe, but it helped all of us keep our sanity. Once we got to Madison and got the truck unpacked McKay's parents were able to stay with us for 3 extra days, so we played tourist when we needed a break from unpacking.
We spent one day on a trip to Prarie Du Chien. This was one of McKay's favorite spots on his mission. It is on the border of Wisconsin and Iowa on the Mississippi river. We had so much fun listening to his stories and seeing the places where he lived, and tracted and seeing other places he had memories of. We even tried to recreate a picture he took and sent home on his mission. One of the things we did while we were there was have lunch at the pizza hut buffet. He used to go there and have eating contests with his companion while he lived there and it was a lot of fun to go back there with him.
The next day we went down to a city called Monroe. While we were down there we went to the Alp and Dell cheese factory. We were able to take a tour of the factory and were told about the cheese making process by the owner. He was a little old Swiss man with a thick accent and curly mustache. He made the tour worth while. Listening to him talk about making the Swiss style cheeses in his Swiss accent was a blast. We were able to try a whole bunch of different cheeses and since moving to Wisconsin we have a couple of new favorite cheeses. We have found that we really like an aged Gouda called Marieke Golden, Applewood smoked Gouda, a Swiss cheese called Butterkase, and a Spanish style cheese called Gran Queso. We also love the cheese curds. Some are definitely better than others, but they are all good. While we were at the cheese factory we purchased a bunch of different cheese and had cheese and crackers for lunch later that day. On our way home we stopped in New Glarus Wisconsin and bought a bunch of pastries from a Swiss bake shop. They were amazing. I am thoroughly enjoying the Swiss influence out here in Southwest Wisconsin.
After McKay's parents flew back home we had one week as a family to do whatever we wanted before school started, so we did a lot of unpacking, cleaning and organizing and took some more mission memory trips. This time we went to Stevens Point and Appleton Wisconsin. We also drove around the country side quite a bit. Wisconsin has some of the most Beautiful and picturesque countryside and farmland I have ever seen. Sorry Cecily, Wisconsin is sooooo much prettier than Illinois. While we were in Steven's Point we once again had to eat at one of McKay's happy memory eateries. This time we went to the Chinese buffet that they have there. The name has changed, which made McKay hesitant at first, but he was happy to walk inside and see that it looked exactly the same. Once again I got the pleasure of listening to McKay reminisce. I love to hear him tell stories about his mission. Even more so now that we live here.
Once McKay started school on August 21st things got quiet for me and Madelynn, but things got really busy for McKay. There have been so many social events for the MBA's, one of which was a cruise on lake Mendota, that was pretty fun. But only a small handful of the events are open to significant other and there has only been one that miss Madelynn was allowed to attend. Not too surprisingly, very very few of the MBA students are married, and even fewer of them have kids. Also, not too surprisingly, about 90% of the MBA's who have children are LDS. People who are not Mormon and don't know that we are call it the BYU club. Funny funny funny! The "BYU club" was able to get together over labor day and we all had a picnic together. It ended up being a blast and a half and I hope we can make something like that happen again soon.
Since moving here we have started taking a whole lot more family walks, playing at various parks, eating a much larger variety of super yummy cheese, enjoying the huge year round Dane County Farmers Market and McKay has started using public transit. Life is definitely different right now but we are loving it.
P.S. we have an air mattress, a huge couch and tons of extra room here, so if anyone is ever in the area, or decides to take a trip out here, let us know. We would love to have visitors!
Now here are pictures of a bunch of things I just wrote about!