Madeline Lately

Oh, hello.
I believe I promised a post.  Here you go.

Wilde family pictures happened.  Here's Grandma and Grandpa with their grandkids:
The three of us.
 Neither Mike or I really look that great in most of the pictures.  But Madeline is really cute.

Madeline is the funniest eater.  She still would rather nurse than eat real people food, but the real food that she does eat is highly atypical.  She hates all the normal bland things that most babies eat (bananas, rice cereal, bread, etc.) but will happily eat things with flavor, like shrimp and burritos and curry.
And, we've recently discovered, sushi:
She really wanted these dill pickle chips.
 Berries are Maddie's favorite food.  All berries are great, but raspberries are her favorite.
 She has the most hilarious concentrating face.  She furrows her brows and puckers her lips and stares super intently at whatever she's focused on.  It's really hard to capture on film, because as soon as she sees the camera she gets distracted and her concentrating face goes away.  I finally got it, though:
 She's always sticking her feet through the bars of her crib.  Always.
 So cute.
 She fell asleep on me.  This NEVER happens.  Never.  It was so sweet to just hold my baby while she drifted off to sleep.
 She learned to drink out of a straw.
 We went to Cornbelly's with some cousins!  It's great having older cousins who will hold you whenever you want.
 Will did not want to share Uncle James with Madeline.
 Lucy and Emma on the cow train.
 ...which was way too fascinating to smile for the camera.
 Baby's first corn maze.
 This shed thing was full of corn.  Madeline thought it was interesting until some older kids started throwing it around.
 Carving pumpkins!  Mike put the pumpkin in front of Maddie and just carved wherever she pointed.  It turned out very avant gard looking.  I think Madeline will really get into this tradition in a couple of years.
 Must. Reach. Grandpa's. Glasses.
 Three generations watching the Notre Dame game.
 Playing with Dad is the best.  I'm so sad about all the back light because this picture is so cute of Mike and Maddie.
 Daddy tickles.
Maddie smiles.
 We had a hard time getting Maddie to smile, or even look at the camera, but here she is with her uncles and her cousin, Sam, who is giving a fantastic photobomb here.
 Obvs these photos are out of order.  We got the pumpkins before we carved them.  Here we all are at the pumpkin patch:

 I never get enough of those sweet little sleeping shots.
 Mischievous Madeline
 She was DETERMINED to get the phone.
 Google hangouts with Dad is the best.
 Correction: reading with dad is the best.
You can just tell she's giving one of her fake laughs here.  Cracks me up. 
So, yeah, life is good.  Madeline is fun and sweet and so full of life.  Mike is busy doing all his Mike things.  I'm loving my baby, hating the imminent cold weather, and loving the B Drag, as we affectionately refer to it around here.  We're all looking forward to Thanksgiving.  Especially Mike.  That man loves his turkeys.

Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving next week!


Happy (belated) Halloween!

From Evil Mike, Evil Melissa, and Evil Madeline.

Apparently Evil Madeline's goatee tastes delicious.

In case you have yet to experience the darkest timeline:


Introducing: Bookmark Dragon

If you only know three things about me, they are probably:

1. I like to read
2. I like to write
3. I like my kid
(Not in that order, don't worry.)

I've done bookish posts on here before, but I usually save my book thoughts for emails with fellow bookish friends, Goodreads, or something like that.


I've decided to unleash the entirety of my bookish, nerdy glory for all to see.  Muahahaha.

Introducing: Bookmark Dragon

You may or may not have known that the book blogosphere is a large and thriving community dedicated to talking about books: book reviews, book news, book covers, promoting literacy, the evolution of book genres, you name it.  Basically, if chocolate were involved, it would be like my personal heaven.  I'm not sure what took me so long, but I've finally decided to stop being a lurker, and join it outright.  

Bookmark Dragon is my new book blog where I'll be posting on all sorts of book-related topics, with the occasional giveaway thrown in for good measure.  (I've got one scheduled for next week, be excited!)  I've already got a few posts up, and have many more in the works.  I'm really excited about this, and hope this is just the start of lots of bookish conversations.   

So here's the deal.  It takes a while before a blog really gets out there, you know what I mean?  If you would comment on the blog, like the page on Facebook, tweet the blog, pin it to Pinterest, or share it in any way, I would be so grateful!  I hope this request isn't too obnoxious.  I promise to post some really cute pictures of Madeline on here within the next week if I get at least 15 comments over at Bookmark Dragon.   Since the audience of this blog is mostly just family and close friends who agree that Maddie is really freaking cute, that might be pretty good incentive.

If you still need convincing, here's a sneak peak picture of Madeline I took earlier this week.
Every time you comment/like/tweet/etc. about Bookmark Dragon, Madeline smiles.
Can you even resist that face?  



My Miracle Madeline

It's late.  Madeline is asleep in the next room.  I crept softly in to check on her, as I do every night, the light from the hallway spilling in with me.  Her little body is cocooned around her blanket, the corner still grasped in her long fingers.  It's the corner with the tags; her favorite.  Her toes are touching the edge of the crib, as they so often are when she sleeps.  I watch as her chest rises and falls to its own perfect rhythm.  It is a quiet moment.  An ordinary moment.  One moment of thousands.

But, to me, nothing is ordinary about it.  In the space of a breath I remember the journey we took to bring her into this world: the desperation at hearing the problems we and she would face throughout the pregnancy, and possibly throughout her whole life; the crushing worry for her well-being; the feelings of helplessness mingled with a determination and ferocity so fierce it was nearly violent to fight for our little girl's life; the overwhelming love and concern that grew with each kick and roll; the tiny victories we celebrated together when we managed to get through yet another day without going into labor.  This little girl who we fought for, prayed for, cried for, and pleaded for, is alive.  She breathes.  She thinks.  She thrives.  In the face of all probability, she is asleep in the next room clutching her favorite corner of her blanket.

The thing is, I would have loved her anyway if she was blind.  I would have loved her anyway if she couldn't breathe without support.  I would have loved her anyway if she had down syndrome, or a faulty immune system, or cerebral palsy, or metabolism problems, or any of the other issues we were told were a possibility.  She was my little girl, and I just wanted her to survive her tumultuous fetal life.  But not only did my Madeline survive, she defied medical odds and waited to be born until she was full term, something no one dared to hope, and is now completely healthy.  She has never had anything more serious than a minor stuffy nose.

Her life and her health are nothing less than miracles.

I don't know why our family was given this miracle, especially when so many others are denied theirs.  But I do not forget it.  Not even when she wakes up for the eighty-seventh time at night.  Not ever.  Because I know how tenuous and uncertain her life once was.  Because I know what if feels like to confront the mortality of a child.  Because I love her with a love deeper than the ocean.  Simply put, because I am her mother.

So when she cries and won't be comforted by anyone other than me, or when she wants to read that board book again, or when she spits out the food I just finished making, or when her giggles fill our home, or when her head rests on my shoulder, or when her arms reach for me to hold her, or when her large blue eyes meet my brown and light up with joy just because she's happy to see me, or when I watch her little body sleep - I will remember the miraculous singularity that is her life.  I will remember, and I will love her all the more.

All babies are miracles, in their own way.  But this one - this curious, vibrant, happy, demanding, hilarious, beautiful, loving little miracle - this one is mine.