August, 2012 Archive

Birthday Party Details

Because I like to drive myself insane and self serve a sizzling hot plate of fresh, homemade stress, I decided to do a few DIY projects for Madelyn’s birthday luau. I allowed the 99 cent store to provide table accessories like table cloths and centerpieces and I had leis for everyone to wear when they arrived, but I got crafty in other areas like signage, party favor name tags, fruit skewers and the ball pit.

I wanted a sort of activity for the grown ups to participate in so I set up a makeshift “photobooth.” It didn’t look super professional or high tech and I didn’t intend for it to be. After all, it was just a one-year-old’s birthday party. I bought metallic streamers and an ALOHA banner on Shin Digz to hang from the ceiling of the gazebo. Unfortunately, the wind blew it in crazy directions so the streamer curtain hardly ever hung straight and still when guests stood in front of it for pictures. Good job, WIND. Bryan attached our point-and-shoot on a tripod and put it on the automatic self timer setting, and thanks to the directions I made on a sign, the hope was for people to press the button, run into the shot, and pose! Thankfully, it worked out pretty well! We got some great shots! I’ll email the photos to everyone so they have a takeaway — albeit, tardy — from the party. I collected props from various different stores and recycled paper face props on sticks from my friend Dana’s 30th birthday party (thanks, Dana!).

I knew I wanted to do fun and colorful party favors for the kids so I found a little sand toy kit that looked great displayed on a table for the young ones and tennis ball and velcro paddle kits for the school aged ones. To Hawaiian-ize them, I made personalized name labels with cardstock and rainbow zebra stripe paper. I used a thin Sharpie marker to write their names and the finishing touch was a sparkly palm tree next to the name.

I made a complementing sign with the same paper that said FOR THE KEIKI to tie in some Hawaiian language. Had to make sure the adult guests knew these goodies were for the kids and not them! I mean, doesn’t every grown man want a plastic shovel and rake in a basket purse? No?

A normal, sane person who had a huge party to throw and a to-do list a mile long would make the intelligent decision to buy a bunch of cut up Costco fruit and toss ’em into a bowl for a fruit salad. But because I am neither normal or sane, I bought that fruit — oh I bought it! — and then my fruit sous chef/mom helped me cut them up and assemble them on skewers, in rainbow order, no less, to create a dual purpose side dish/Hawaiian themed decorative pop of color on the table.

Was it worth it? Well, there were 3 skewers left by the end of the party. We started with — wait for it — 73.

So, Bryan and I thought about having a baby pool at the party because we knew it would be hot — oh and it was! The sun made good on its August promise — but deep into the party planning, I had visions of a out of The Sandlot when Squints falls to the bottom of the pool and in need of swim assistance, and unfortunately, this party wasn’t employing Wendy the Lifeguard to pull out nerdy boys and give them mouth-to-mouth. So, if the pool couldn’t have water in it, it would have the next best thing: balls.

Thanks to Amazon, I found really quality and colorful balls to fill up the pool so nearly 1000 balls later, I was so excited to see the babes pile in and have a good time. They did! Who wouldn’t, really? I actually wouldn’t know because as a small child, I was never allowed in the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese “because it was filled with germs of strange, icky-pooey children.” But our own private ball pit with prescreened clean children? Score.

The shave ice hut did a great job tying in the theme of the party just by being there! The look and taste of the islands were very present and it was definitely my favorite part of the plans that came together.

All the pre-party work and early morning set up were totally worth it! It was stressful for the weeks leading up to the party to have everything I needed but couldn’t “rehearse” the set up before the actual big day since the party wasn’t in our home. But it all came together so smoothly and I enjoyed myself when all of our guests were there to celebrate Madelyn!

I know Madelyn won’t remember this party, and she’ll have a few more parties until she starts to have memories of birthdays, but the first birthday party seems like a big deal to me and something I enjoy looking at in my own baby book. We’ll always have the pictures — and the blog! — and I’m glad we created a special event that Madelyn will be able to go back and revisit and enjoy.

A Party of Firsts

This past weekend, we celebrated Madelyn’s first birthday with a party. It wasn’t just any party. It was a luau!

The idea came about when we were in Hawaii earlier this year. We love indulging in Hawaiian BBQ pork sandwiches and shave ice. We love the music of the islands. We love the beauty of the water, trees, and flowers. We love the Hawaiian culture of family — ohana. So we decided to pay tribute to Madelyn’s first big vacation and recreate Hawaii as best we could… under a picnic gazebo in the middle of a park… in Simi Valley.

Okay, so that’s what you get for not having any boarding passes and a real plane to take us all to Hawaii, but when you’re stuck on the mainland, you make do! We tried to forget that it was the hottest day of the year and sweated our way through celebrating Madelyn, the one-year-old, with a little aloha spirit!

I have been planning this party since our Hawaii trip in April so, ya know, far too long for any first birthday party! At first it was just going to be Hawaiian food and some palm tree decor but then I went hog wild and short of pitting an actual hog underground like the authentic Hawaiians do, I managed to find myself paying for a Hawaiian food truck and a shave ice hut, creating tropical fruit skewers, and hanging decorations all over the place. I had a pretty clear vision and Bryan, Aunties Lisa and Alison, and Uncles Kevin and Michael did a great job helping make it all come together early in the morning before the party started.

Meanwhile, back at home, Madelyn took her morning nap, so after we were finished setting up the park, I scurried home to beautify, and the guest of honor woke up just in time! I got her dressed and ready and rolled her into her party as her friends and family started to arrive.

Madelyn warms up to the party with milk and Mimi.

Arriving at 9:30 a.m. with coffees in hand, Auntie Lisa and Uncle Kevin are expert party planner associates!

My parents leid each other. Sorry, is that awkward?

The shave ice hut was a hit! Since it was hotter than the lava from Kilauea Volcano, people fled to the icy, sugary oasis for relief. Best idea ever and the shave ice was almost as good and authentic as it is in Hawaii. I will seriously hire Hui Hui Shave Ice for every party I ever have in the future. Ever.

Gay pride at the shave ice hut!

Looks like strawberry or, you know, COLD SUGAR.

Hui Hui Shave Ice did a great set-up with a personalized surfboard menu! So cool!

The food truck, Kings Corner, served up teriyaki chicken sandwiches, Hawaiian BBQ pork sandwiches, sticky rice, and potato mac salad — all of our favorite food from the islands!

It was fun to socialize with so many important people who’ve known us since before we were parents and even new friends we’ve met since we’ve become parents!

Aunt Alison and Uncle Michael are preparing to pose for all the photos they’ll be taking at their wedding in two months! Even their eyebrows were made for each other.

Love my right hand gal, Lisa!

Madelyn and I with Auntie Phis Erin and Alison with soon-to-be Phi-in-law Jordan!

Madelyn gets love from the Trabold Sisters: Grandma Ellen and Great Aunt Wendy

Cat and Matt with their cute cabana boys enjoyed their afternoon at the luau!

Bryan and I always have fun with Brian and David!

Becky and I were pregnant together and now Baby Dia and Madelyn are going to be starring in shows together!

My best friend Stefanie and I used to celebrate our own birthdays together as kids — and now we celebrate our kids’ birthdays as adults! Holy full circle.

People joked with me that I was doing way too much for a one-year-old who would never even remember this party. And, well, that’s true, but the party was also for Bryan and me to celebrate one hard-but-amazing year as parents! Still, I made sure to have some fun for the kids.

When I think about Hawaii, I think about swimming and relaxing, but I didn’t want to worry about babies in a baby pool, so I threw together a ball pit in the baby pool and the kiddos seemed to enjoy it!!

Madelyn and Cousin Ocean play together in the ball pit! Ocean turns 1 in September and it’s so fun watching them grow up together.


Even Princeton wanted in on the fun.

And outside the ball pit, there was more fun to be had, like poking each others’ flowery dresses and headbands.

Brielle has her own kind of fun with the rainbow fruit skewers!

There was a cupcake fiasco at the beginning of the party because the hot Hawaiian Simi Valley sun was melting the pretty frosting! So we had to make a game time decision to schlep them back home 30 seconds away to keep them cool in the fridge. Can we please give some bonus points to a stressed out birthday mama for staying sane and not having a melt down over this… melt down?? Please and thank you.

Uncle Michael chauffeured them back in time to sing “Happy Birthday” and watch Madelyn’s big cake smash. And big it was! She went to town on the cake and ended up naked and wet when it was over. That’s the sign of a good party. Never too early to prepare for college nights out, I guess.

This beautiful cake is about to get very ugly.

Last family photo without frosting in our nooks and crannies.

Madelyn listens to the chorus of “Happy Birthday” that accompanies her cake.

Teaching Madelyn that yes, she does want what’s in front of her and to eat it Moroccan style.

Houston, we have contact.

Frosting on the face makes any baby 10x cuter.

Methinks she likes cake!

The sign of a good meal.

Madelyn wrapped up her party on a sugar high and lots of cuddles with her grandparents and Aunt Alison, her twin friends Evan and Lauren, and her great grandparents. Of course, a wardrobe change was necessary after her cake smash, so she got to don her backup dress, one of the many I bought “just in case” during the weeks leading up to the party.

Golly gee, Madelyn’s family sure does like her!

All 3 almost had the same birthday, but the twins came early and Madelyn came late!

Madelyn with her Bubbie and Gigi whose glasses she enjoys ripping off their faces. I need to teach Madelyn that elder abuse is wrong.

We survived the heat and packed up to head home. Even after three hours of partying in high temperatures, Madelyn hung out and opened presents like a true belle of the ball. She has so many new toys and treasures to enjoy as she heads into her second year. Now that Madelyn has all these new fancy presents, her parents need a new fancy house for which to store all this loot! Kids’ birthday parties should come with real estate agents for parents.

Madelyn is in a party-and-presents coma. What a lucky little girl!

Madelyn got a bath to de-frosting-ize her entire body and after a few sips of her bottle as I rocked her in the chair, she pushed away her milk and reached for her crib and was in dreamland in a matter of minutes. I hope she had the sweetest dreams of a happy day full of love and aloha.

Birthday Day

Madelyn’s birthday was fo fun! For me! Madelyn? Yeah, I’m sure she had a good time, but I had the most special day celebrating my mommy anniversary with my baby girl, my mom, my best friend, her mom, and Brielle, Madelyn’s best friend! This tradition started on Brielle’s first birthday in March when we decided it would become tradition — birthday lunches together on the babies’ birthdays! When we went out for Brielle’s big day five months ago, it seemed like forever until it’d be our turn. But, as I’ve learned, time keeps a tick-tockin’ and on August 9th, Madelyn turned the big O-N-E.

We met up at The Cheesecake Factory, our usual favorite, and put the girls next to each other so we could swoon over them interacting (interacting = one baby swiping another baby’s piece of sourdough bread off her sticky placemat).

One reason we love The Cheesecake Factory for lunches with babies is the complimentary baby plate that comes out on the table as soon as we sit down. It’s tiny slices of their amaaaaaazing bread and bananas sliced into coins. Why can’t all restaurants do this? Helps keep the babies busy and fed while the grown ups try to enjoy grown up time.

They were so good while we figured out our orders and ate our own meals. Good job, babies!!

After we finished our lunches, I ordered Madelyn her own personal baby-sized ice cream sundae and a chocolate fudge cake for the table. This would be Madelyn’s first introduction to delicious things like sweets. Here I go spending a whole year dedicating myself to making healthy foods for Madelyn only to mess it all up with binging on cake and ice cream.

She wasn’t quite sure at first, but after a few tastes of ice cream with chocolate fudge cake she realized it didn’t suck and that she should make several servings and eat it at the kitchen counter at 10 p.m. because she’s stressed about planning a birthday party in two days… oh wait, that’s me.

Even Brielle got in on the birthday treats binge fest. She loved Madelyn’s birthday!!

Stefanie and her mom, Michelle, were so sweet and wanted to bring presents to lunch so that we could have our own intimate party. Opening birthday presents for your baby is awkward. Babies don’t really know what to do with them, so you end up unwrapping them yourself and then when the present is revealed, the baby cares more about the tissue paper anyway. Silly babies. They have it all wrong.

Maybe she’ll have this exercise down by Chanukah??

Before leaving (and leaving our mess… Oops! Sorry, Cheesecake!), we snapped a few more photos to document the day. Must’ve been something in the air on Madelyn’s birthday because everyone looked really good! Hot August air does wonders for the hair.

I think Madelyn had a fabulous birthday day! In the last photo with the mamas and the babies, Madelyn is even reenacting the birthing position. Such a lady, that one.

Later that night, Madelyn and I managed to stuff ourselves silly with another celebration at a restaurant. We met up with Bryan and Princeton for some more grub, but Madelyn seemed too worn out for her reunion with cake. We tried to GIVE her dessert and she turned away. Who is she? This can’t be my child. Doesn’t she know that on your birthday, you are required to eat dessert several times a day? Oh well. She’ll learn eventually. It’s only her first one.

The funny thing is, after all this celebrating of Madelyn’s arrival, it wasn’t until we got home and she was fast asleep that it was even close to a year since her birth. She was born late at night after a long day of induced labor and an unforeseen c-section. Out she came at 10:25 p.m. on August 9, 2011 and on August 9, 2012, I was going over the whole play-by-play of the events from the year before.

“Bryan, it’s 9 p.m. right now. A year ago RIGHT NOW, Dr. Fiiiiine came in and was giving us a little more of a chance to push her out before snip-snip time…”

“Bryan, it’s 10 p.m. right now. A year ago RIGHT NOW, I was getting wheeled into surgery and I was crying non-stop only to be comforted by Dr. Hunk’s dreamy looks and powerful, um, needle.”

“Bryan, it’s 10:25 right now. We JUST had a baby. You cut the cord. You leave with the baby. I puke. Good times.”

“Bryan, it’s 11 p.m. right now. A year ago RIGHT NOW, you were like ‘where the hell is Alison? Oh, she’s a geyser of leaking blood? This is rare and almost a problem? Cool.”

“Bryan, it’s midnight. A year ago RIGHT NOW — ”

“Alison, a year from now, RIGHT NOW, you will have your mouth stapled shut!”

Okay, he didn’t really say that because my husband is a gentleman, he is, but that was basically me the whole night of her birthday. I just relived every hour of the experience, and there was something comforting about it.

Madelyn’s birthday was a wonderful day and as special as her birth day was last year, her birthday this year was fun and I loved celebrating with my little buddy on my hip!

Twelve months! ONE YEAR!

Hi. My name is Alison. I am a mother to a ONE-YEAR-OLD! Holy 12 months, where did the year go?

It went a little something like this:

Madelyn is officially out of infancy and our toddlerhood begins. She is definitely toddling, though not on a regular basis. She’s taken steps and is still building her confidence, so crawling is still her preferred method of transportation.

It’s no secret that I’d been pretty emotional about her turning one. I still can’t really articulate why, but the feelings of nostalgia were in full force, pulsing lots of awe and amazement for what we’ve all experienced in the past year. The night before her birthday, I rocked her in her dark room as we always do when she takes her bedtime bottle. I played with her hair and stared at her lips and eyes as she calmed herself for sleepy time. The diva that she is pushed the bottle as if to say “take it away, Jeeves! I just simply canNOT be bothered with it anymore!”, wiped her eyes, and scrunched her face in her poodle lovey. She does this every time she is finished with her milk and ready for her crib. So I stood up with her, gave her a kiss on the forehead, and slowly lowered her into her crib, whispering to her, “Goodnight my little 11-month-old for the last time. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll be one.” She turned over, stuck her tushie up in the air, and drifted off to Dreamland in no time. I, on the other hand, ran out the door and into Bryan’s shoulder where I sobbed that I just put to bed our little baby and when I go to her in the morning, she won’t be a little baby anymore. And I guess that’s what got to me. That time moves on. Ready or not. She’s ready. And I will be ready. I will.

This month, Madelyn…

  • Took her first steps! It was very random and totally sans prompting from us. She just… did it. There is absolutely no consistency to this so-called walking and I wouldn’t even say she’s walking. More like, well, she HAS walked. But she improves each time she does it. We have to place her, balance her, and then she’ll put one foot in front of the other, which, if performed in sequence, I guess equals walking. I think she’ll be doing it on her own soon, but there’s still a ways to go. Still, it’s pretty exciting. I think I’m ready for her to be a little more independent and so I can be a little more hands free! A walking child is like baby bluetooth.
  • Continued to eat anything and everything. This child has not shown any kind of disgust over certain foods and will pretty much eat all food we give her. I’ve never seen a small person eat so much broccoli. And enjoy it. However, she is not the neatest eater so her brother Princeton likes to hang out under her high chair and wait. He inevitably gets fed and Madelyn thinks it’s hilarious. She’s begun to deliberately feed him taking a bite of her own, then handing off a bite to P. She alternates this practice and I glow with joy and pride over the sharing that’s going on between siblings. If only he’d remember her kindness when she reaches for his tail.
  • Said “ma” “ma,” or, as I prefer to hear it, “mama.” She started spewing off the “ma” sound all throughout TJ Maxx during one random shopping spree. The whole store witnessed this new phonemic discovery, and I smiled to myself with utter glee. She clapped for herself and repeated “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma” “ma”
  • Danced and clapped while pushing her new walker! The walker is adorable and plays cute songs when it moves, so she’ll push, hear music, and bounce-and-clap. Then the song will run out so she’ll push, hear music, and bounce-and-clap. She’s like a sorority girl during rush. And she really has great rhythm! The walker plays a Japanese-synth-style “Rockin’ Robin” and she goes nuts like a 1960s teenager over Paul McCartney. I think her new walker is also helping give her confidence to get more comfortable with independent walking. I just hope when she starts walking for real, she claps and bounces then, too. The happy girl should have a little pep in her step, right?


You GUYS! I’m ONE! My curfew is, like, 7 p.m. now!

Whoooaaaa… I think I celebrated and drank too much milk! I really need to lay off the bottle!! Wheee!

Girls just wanna have fuuu-uuu-uuun!!!

  1. 8/20/2012 5:31 PM

    Be still my heart! She is simply PRESH. These pictures are so cute – but honestly, Alison, your writing is what makes this whole thing so poignant and exciting. Mazel on Miss M’s big 1st bday! xoxo

  2. KZ
    8/12/2012 3:21 PM

    Happy Birthday Madelyn!

  3. Mimi
    8/11/2012 8:18 AM

    Happy First Birthday, Madelyn! And I hope to share many many many more birthdays and firsts with you. This year has been fun & flown by, but we have more fun experiences to conquer! I Loooove you!
    XOXOX Mimi

Daddy Day Care

by Bryan Friedman in Daddy's Corner, Marvelous Madelyn

This past weekend, Alison went away for a few days with her girls, leaving Madelyn and me home alone to fend for ourselves. We did not have the usual services that mom provides, like picking out outfits, preparing dinner, and basically just making all decisions — my main reason for marrying a good Jewish wife in the first place. Luckily, I felt up to the task and was actually excited to spend the weekend with my daughter, just the two of us (and Princeton). I mean, it was only two and a half days, so I couldn’t screw things up too badly.

I remember the few times I got to stay home with just my dad when my mom was gone, it was like being at work when the boss is out. I had all the cliches — pizza for dinner, staying up late, watching rated-R movies — it was awesome. Of course, I was older than Madelyn is now, so it was definitely different. But I was still excited to be a single dad for the weekend. The last time I was “on my own” with Madelyn for more than a few hours at a nostalgic time for me — the first month or so of Madelyn’s life when Alison was recovering and I was working overtime as a stay-at-home dad/husband. Though it seemed so overwhelming at the time, everything was so laughably easy back then given that Madelyn could barely move and basically only wanted to drink milk, poop, or sleep at any given point. Of course, things are so much more complicated now with not just milk to digest, Madelyn constantly on the move, and a whole host of extra things to take care of. But I’ve watched my wife, the master mom, do it so many times that I wasn’t even slightly worried.

Thankfully, neither was she. I was grateful not to have to navigate through sticky notes of instructions spread all around the house as I recall my dad having to do when I was little. Things may be more complicated now, but we’re not quite to the point of schlepping to soccer practice or dance class yet — no crazy schedules to keep or random bits of information to keep track of. M has her routine, and it’s one that Alison and I have a pretty good handle on by now. I like to take over a lot of the caretaker duties on Saturdays anyway since I don’t get to spend as much time doing it during the week. So Alison knew I’d be fine, and I was.

I left a little bit early from work on Friday to take over for Mimi and Poppa, who came over for a brief gap-filling afternoon shift so I could finish up my work day. I had scheduled some hangout time with my friend Brian that evening, but Madelyn and I spent the afternoon together. We hung out downstairs, fiddling with our toys — her with her Elmo doll in her playpen, me with my new TV on the wall. After her afternoon nap, it was time for dinner. Alison and I try to keep Madelyn eating healthy (even if I somehow can’t keep myself eating healthy), so it was chicken sausage and vegetables on Madelyn’s highchair tray.

Though I tried to keep her up long enough to see her Uncle Brian, she just couldn’t make it, and it was time for bed. Like the master sleeper that she is, she went down easy, leaving just enough time to clean up the house for my guests and pretend like it’s always that clean. I had a fun, late night chatting it up and went to sleep wondering how Alison does this every day…and I only had a half day!

On Saturday, after some play time and a morning nap, I picked out Madelyn’s outfit (by myself!) and it was off to Grandma’s house for a fun-filled day with Grandma and Grandpa, Auntie Ali, soon-to-be-Uncle Michael, and cousins Steve and Chris, whose 60th birthday we celebrated. It was nice to have some extra help, of course, and Madelyn loved crawling around a more spacious house, performing for a larger crowd. Madelyn played, napped, then played some more as we sang some guitar-accompanied songs with her and had a fabulous dinner that she helped us gobble up.

When it was time for Madelyn to go to sleep, she went to sleep as usual, and when it was time for me to go to sleep, I scooped her up, put her in the car seat, drove home, then scooped her up again and put her in her crib. Amazingly, she didn’t complain one bit. No whining. No crying. No milk. Nothing. She just went right back to sleep each time.

I love her so much.

On our last day together, we started off the day with breakfast and Sesame Street (already a weekend morning tradition by this point) followed by the usual morning nap. Then it was off to meet Uncle Kevin and Aunt Lisa at our favorite brunch location (and yours too I hope) — Brent’s Deli! It’s always fun seeing Kevin and Lisa, especially at Brent’s. We had a grand old time as Madelyn entertained us the whole time.

One thing that was really funny was watching a couple who showed up a few minutes after I did with a baby about Madelyn’s age. They followed the same routine I did! 1) High chair cover, 2) Plastic sticky-back placemat, 3) Puffs (same brand), 4) Little bits of food from adult plate, 5) Oops!…Move the knife, 6) Repeat steps 3-5. It was validation that I was doing everything right. It’s like Alison taught both me and them what to do before she left.

The fun parts of the weekend were over as Madelyn and I headed home. During the final afternoon nap, I cleaned the house and readied everything for Alison’s grand return. It’s always nice to come home to a clean house, so I wanted to use the down time and take the opportunity to make sure that’s what happened. After a nice long nap, Madelyn woke up, had some leftovers from Friday night, then it was time for a nice…long…bath. This kid was a mess and I couldn’t let her mom see her like this. So a few scrubs and washes later, we concluded our time together and Madelyn went to sleep, hardly realizing what a feat her father had just accomplished. And the next morning, she’d wake up to see her mommy and forget all about our fun weekend together.

Especially now as Madelyn is turning one, I know I will remember this weekend fondly for a long time. Of course by our next weekend together she’ll most definitely be walking and talking, but this weekend together was just a fantastic reminder of what a great ride this year has been…and how much I love being Maddie’s Daddy.

Happy Birthday sweet girl!