Monday, January 28, 2013

Playing in mommy's closet

Madelynn likes to get into mischief. I think all little kids do to some degree. Well since we decided to get down to business with the baby proofing of our house and put baby locks on basically every cabinet in our house she has been frustrated. Her very favorite thing to do everyday was empty out our cabinets. All of the kitchen cabinets, under the bathroom sink, our game cabinet, you name it, she would pull everything out. Now that they are all locked up with those awesome magnetic baby locks she has had to find some other mischief to get into. 
 Today that mischief was playing in mommy and daddy's closet. Even though it is Mckay's closet too she pretty much leaves his stuff alone. I guess his shoes aren't as pretty and his ties are not as cool as my scarves, but for whatever other reason she only goes after my things. I caught her pulling all of my shoes off the shelves and she tried pulling the scarves down but then decided that since mommy was there now, peekaboo would be a much better activity. I love this cute silly little girl. She makes life chaotic and so much fun.

Madelynn and the tub of snow

Being the good mother that I am, I try to come up with ways to keep Madelynn entertained and try to introduce her to new things. So, I got the bright idea to go outside and scoop up a bunch of snow and let her play with it on our kitchen floor. Here is the video of what ensued. It did not end well. Granted, I did not think to take out the camera until she had been playing with it for almost 10 minutes and she was basically done with it. Her hands were probably pretty cold, but you can see for yourself.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Visiting Iowa

Last week we took a short getaway to cedar falls Iowa to visit McKay's awesome cousin Dekan and his wife Elyse. We have been meaning to get together with them ever since we moved to Wisconsin since we now only live 3 hours from each other. Since last week was the end of McKays month long break we figured we had to get it done or it wouldn't happen. So we finally make the short 3 hour trek to see them and boy are we glad we did.

I believe there are two types of people in the world. People who like to play games and people who don't. McKay and I fall under that category of people who like to play games. There is only one game that I can remember playing that I have said, "Please don't ever make me play that crap again!" That was in reference to a game called killer bunnies. I know some people like it, but my introduction to the game did not go well. Anyway, we love to play games. board games, card games, made up games, and video games too even though we don't play them very often. So it is always nice to come across other game people, and Dekan and Elyse are also game people.

I don't think anyone actually explicitly said anything, but we just knew that if we were going to get together we would spend the majority of the time playing games together. And we most certainly did. We enjoyed a nice lunch out at a tapas restaurant in down town Cedar Falls and did a little shopping and bought some cupcakes for dessert and then we got down to the games.

We also learned on this little trip that Madelynn LOVES cats. We already knew that she likes animals because she gets really excited when she sees one, but we got to experience the depth of that love for animals. Deakan and Elyse have two cats. One of them was smart enough to run away and hide for the whole day, but they have a delightfully friendly cat named pixel who was just as interested in Madelynn as she was in him. She had so much fun just chasing the kitty around all day. The cat became slightly disturbed when it realized Madelynn could follow it into all of its typical hiding spots. Under the bed? Yep, Madelynn can get under there too. Behind the couch? She fits behind there too! Under the kitchen table? Seriously not safe. That is one of Madelynn's favorite places as well. It was so cute to watch the two interact all day. McKay might just have to break down his resolve and get a cat someday because his baby princess seriously loves them!
This video is hilarious. Their cat has this weird fascination with raw spaghetti. It will do pretty much anything to get it. Which provided Madelynn with the perfect opportunity to try and catch the cat.

 Another highlight was playing with their ride on tractor. Apparently McKay and Dekan would play on it when they were little boys. Since Elyse now works for John Deere, Dekans family had it refurbished and gave it to her as a gift. Madelynn loved it. She was not quite big enough to reach the pedals, but she had a lot of fun letting daddy and Dekan push her around on it.

Elyse and Dekan, you are awesome. Thank you for opening up your home to us. We will definitely come visit you again.

New Years Eve 2012

I have to start by saying we have some awesome friends. One of my favorite things about living here in Madison is all of the wonderful people that we have met through church and school. Seriously, we are surrounded by amazing people. Lucky for us a few of them stuck around over Christmas break and were able to spend New Years Eve with us.

My family has a tradition of having a Fondue dinner on New Years Eve and I love it. Sometimes it would just be our family, but it has always been open to pretty much everyone so other years we would have tons of family and friends over on new year eve to eat food dipped in cheese, play games and have fun. Now that we are on our own I wanted to host my own fondue dinner. McKay does not love large throngs of people in any situation, but especially not in his home. But he was a good sport and got behind my party. We invited a bunch of people and ended up with a nice big group. It is funny how quickly numbers grow once everyone starts having kids. With everyone that came we ended up with a nice full house of 19.
We had our Fondue dinner and then sat around and visited while the little kids played, and then we busted out our play station 2 (because we are super high tech and current with our video games...) and played dancing with the stars. We had a little hiccup initially and could only get one dance mat to work, which ended up being fine because there would be 2 or 3 kids on each dance mat and they weren't really playing anyway. Once we finally got them both working we had a couple of dance offs. I am proud to say we were all pretty abysmal, but honestly not as bad as I thought we would be. I guess all the time I spent playing dance dance revolution in high school had not worn off all the way and I rocked my turn. Ha ha. it was really embarrassing and fun to play that game. We ended up celebrating New Years at 9:00 with some sparkling cider and noise makers because that is just what you have to do when you have 9 little people under the age of 5.
 Thank you Songsters, Kings, Williams and Scofields! It was a blast. Madelynn especially had fun following all the big girls around and playing with them. This is going to be a really fun family tradition to continue.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Christmas time in Wisconsin

This post is just a little late (exactly one month) but Christmas this year was wonderful. This was our second Christmas on our own, but our first one in China doesn't really feel like it counts. So this was our first Christmas alone with our little family. We have talked about what we want Christmas to be like for our family and how we want to mesh the two families traditions and what we want to do that is all our own, and It was nice to have an opportunity to try it out. Things did not quite go as planned because Madelynn's 13 month old self had a much shorter attention span than our ideal plans required. Trying to read the Nativity story was really funny because Madelynn did NOT want to sit and listen to it.  But it was still nice to give it a try and have a calm and peaceful family Christmas. Luckily McKay brought out his guitar and played a little bit for us. That always captures Madelynn's attention.
We went a little bit overboard with the Christmas presents for Madelynn. We had a lot of fun buying hot wheels cars for 2 months before hand. Every time we went to the store leading up to Christmas we (McKay) would search the toy cars and since they are less than a dollar we would pick up a couple. When Christmas day came and we unwrapped them all and counted we ended up with 77 toy cars... I know, Its crazy. But Madelynn has an amazing collection of toy cars. She also got some barbies, a play kitchen with food and dishes to go along with it and a big girl car seat which she is loving! She also got a really cool rocking horse that makes noise and moves its head and tail. It terrified her initially, but now that she has figured out how to press the buttons to make it move and make noise it is one of her favorite toys.

After we opened presents on Christmas day we went over to our friends the Songsters house and had Christmas brunch. It was a lot of fun. It was kind of nice to have a break in the day to socialize a little bit. Madelynn also had fun with their kids. She likes to follow the big girls around and pretend like she is a big girl too. She also always enjoys their cute little boy who is the same age.  Thanks for having us over Stephanie!

Here in Wisconsin we had tons of snow over Christmas break. We had a little over 2 feet when Christmas rolled around so we also spent a little bit of time out in the snow. Not too long since that short 13 month old attention span kicked in along with being a little wet and cold. It was such a nice and relaxed Christmas. I had all of the fixings for an awesome Christmas dinner which we didn't feel like making on Christmas day because we just wanted to chill, so we had a wonderful Christmas feast on the 26th. I look forward to all our future Christmases with our little family.

Now here are some more happy pictures of our Christmas Happenings

House Guests

Over the last two months we have had lots of family come to visit us. We have been lucky enough to have both sets of parents come and visit us as well as McKay's sister Cecily's family and my sister Melissa. We have never really had house guests before. With the exception of living in China we have always lived somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes away from both of our families. If one of McKay's sisters came in to town they stayed with his parents or sisters, not with the little brother in the one or two bedroom apartment. It has been both exciting and stressful having house guests. It has been awesome that we have had the chance to see so many of our family members even though we moved so far away. I guess they must love us and miss us and think we are awesome or something like that.

Playing host and hostess multiple times over the last little while has given us the opportunity to be tourists as well. In planning fun things to do with our family we ended up getting to do the fun things too. We have gone down to a cheese factory called Alp and Dell cheese in Monroe WI multiple times now and taken their brief tour. We have also visited a little Swiss town called New Glarus multiple times and visited the cute shops there and eaten at a Swiss restaurant called the Glarner Stube and at a Swiss bakery and a chocolate and cheese shop. New Glarus is always worth the 30 minute drive.

We also got to go visit the House on the Rock which is about an hour away in the middle of the country. That place is bizarre. It is a seriously crazy place. It is very interesting and there is a lot to see, but there is a slight creepiness factor too it. They guy who built it did not seem to be 100% in his right mind and some of the things he collected were just a little weird. I would recommend seeing it once just for the novelty of it, but since we spent 4 hours walking through the actual house and all of the exhibit halls each time I think 8 hours of the House on the Rock are more than enough for me. The coolest part of the House on the Rock has got to be the infinity room. It is like a hallway lined in glass that just out over the forest for about 200 feet and has nothing below it holding it up. I am scared of heights so I had a hard time with it, but the view was incredible.

We have also had the chance to visit the Madison Zoo, the Wisconsin State Capital, The shops downtown around the Capital including a specialty cheese shop, The Wisconsin Veterans Museum, a Frank Lloyd wright building called Monona Terrace,  a couple of other shopping centers in Madison, the UW Madison Business school and a lot of different restaurants. We also spent a lot of time at our house playing with Madelynn. She LOVES having people there to play with her and constantly pay attention to her.

Thank you everyone who came to visit us. It was wonderful to see you and it was fun to get to experience a little bit more of Madison with you.

Now here are some of the pictures: