Madelyn & Friends Archive

Madelyn is Four

Yes, she turned 4 in August, but there have been negative 2847 minutes available to sit down and recap life. Babyland has kept us busy in addition to new schedules, less sleep, more activities. In other words, I have failed at blogging. If blogging was a major, I’d be kicked out of the university. If blogging was a marriage, I’d be divorced and getting zero alimony. If blogging was a pre-teen, I’d be getting so many eye rolls and guttural sighs that my laptop could slam doors from the living room couch where I typically blog. So yes, that’s me and blogging right now.

But I didn’t want to miss out entirely on recapping Madelyn’s birthday because it was a good one! Her first, second, and third birthdays were all labors of love, and her fourth was no different. This year, I wanted to incorporate something she loves while still providing entertainment for her friends. I thought about going to a play place because she loves those places or going to the farm because she adores the animals there, but with a five-month-old in tow, I really wanted to torture myself to the max and orchestrate an at-home party with all of her friends… and grown up friends… and family.

So we hired a bubblist. Because isn’t that what everyone does? We had a bubble party where a bubblist — the highly professional and scientific term for the person who demonstrates giant human-sized bubbles — came to do a whole show and facilitate play time in the backyard. But I couldn’t leave it alone at the bubble company. No. I insisted on torturing myself with bubbly decor, spherical food, and things that go pop… like bubbles.

I made her traditional birthday party wreath to welcome guests to the front door. And for some more sensory fun, I laid out bubble wrap on the pathway to the door a la the red carpet. The kids liked jumping all over that thing and to my next door neighbors, sorry for the noise; it was festive decor for a birthday party, not gunshots and gang activity. #oops

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Somehow, we managed to cram all of our party people into the open kitchen/family room for the bubble show. The bubblist demonstrated different kids of bubbles and talked about sciencey things. The kids were engaged and didn’t even realize they were learning. This teacher/party planner was pleased.

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Then it was time for the kids to go in a bubble. They took turns and one at at a time, the bubblist let the kids journey into a tunnel of bubble. It was pretty cool and I think they all enjoyed seeing the world from the inside of soapy water.

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Arielle was completely unfazed.

Arielle was completely unfazed.

Even some grown up kids got into the bubble action.

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After the indoor bubble show, everyone played with bubbles outside. The bubble fun continued with lots of plastic kiddie pools and various tools for making bubbles. It was a full out bubblepalooza and just what the kids needed after sitting for 30 minutes.

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And what’s bubbly fun without a plate of sugar? Cake time came, and Madelyn posed with her bubble cake as we all sang to her.

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All that was left for this busy birthday mom was to relax and actually socialize with our friends and family. I’ll admit I love throwing these big parties, but the downside is that it’s hard to actually visit with everyone. So while Madelyn and her friends ran around, I tried to soak up time with the people I love.

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The sun was going down and our friends trickled away. Madelyn saw her giant mound of presents and couldn’t wait any longer, so she tackled them with delight. She is quite the lucky girl! Her final hours of being 3 were spent playing with all of her new treasures, including her first American Girl doll from Mimi and Poppa. We brought my old Samantha down and we played with our dolls and I suddenly turned 7 all over again. Shameless.

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It was our first August 8th in 4 years that we didn’t visit Lazy Dog Cafe for dinner. It was where we had our final meal as a family with just Princeton the night before we were induced. Since then, we’ve brought Madelyn with us the night before her birthday and have made a little bit of a tradition out of it. But birthday party trumped Lazy Dog, so we broke this tradition and hopefully we’ll get back on next year for the night before her 5th birthday. (wait, what? 5 is next?!)

With lots of goodnight kisses, we put our almost four-year-old to bed, and Bryan and I blew up balloons to flood her room for when she woke up the next morning because that’s another tradition we are setting ourselves up to continue. It wasn’t until the last couple balloons that I remembered I wanted to get her birthday donuts to enjoy for breakfast, so at midnight, I found myself at a 24-hour donut shop. Hey, priorities. Also, I snuck some home for Bryan and me because we deserved them.

Devotion.

Devotion.

The birthday girl woke up and loved her balloons and donut breakfast. We were all in a chipper mood as we celebrated our August 9th baby and spent the morning relaxing and detoxing from the festivities from the day before.

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Even Arielle was ready for her sister's birthday!

Even Arielle was ready for her sister’s birthday!

Our friends had invited us to join them at The Getty for a free Lisa Loeb concert featuring tunes from her kids’ music. It was one of those perfect summer afternoons with the sun warming us up, but not too bright, and a friendly ambiance with a relaxing vibe.

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Madelyn spent some time down at the stage right under Lisa Loeb’s … earlobes. She was right at her feet when she played “Stay” and the crowd — mostly made up of parents who piqued in the 90s — went wild. Then, the kids became unruly, and Madelyn had enough of that preschooler mosh pit. Mob mentality is not Madelyn’s thing. Note to self: Do not take Madelyn to Coachella.

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We waited out the crowd when the concert was over and hung out with our friends, enjoying the emptying grassy hill. We took pictures and the kids ran around and I soaked in the day that made me a mom four years ago.

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All of my favorite people.

All of my favorite people.

Our sleepy kids passed out in the car as we made our trek back to the ‘burbs. And since I’m a sucker for birthday traditions, we met up with the grandparents at The Cheesecake Factory for our annual birthday dinner to celebrate Madelyn. She was so funny at dinner and I know she felt the love from all of us. Watching our big girl blow out her mini sundae candles got me all teary (was that a cherry on top or chopped onions?). I’m in awe of how she’s grown, exceeding all expectations of what it would like to be the mom of a 4-year-old who is so kindhearted, imaginative, witty, curious, and smart. She’s ahead of her time in so many ways, but whooooaaa, time. Could you please slow down a minute so that I’m not so torn between wanting my beautiful girl to stay little forever and so excited for all that she will be?

Part of Her World

It’s no secret that Madelyn’s favorite Disney princess, movie, and ride at Disneyland is The Little Mermaid. She loves the music, the redhead, and the story. She lugs her Ariel doll everywhere, calls Bryan her Prince Eric, and sets the table with her dinglehopper. This kid is a no B.S. scholar of all things Mermaid.

So, no brainer. Her birthday party this year was decked out Under the Sea Chic — didn’t want too much commercial Disney decor, but wanted to set the mood using a sophisticated palette with lavenders and teals, lots of shells and sea glass, and netting with pearls.

Food was fun and easy and I’m kicking myself for not getting a lot of photos. The shell pasta salad was SO good and I will make it again and again. Here’s the recipe. You’re welcome. I made a crab out of a red bell pepper and stuck it in some hummus and used a dab to “glue” on his olive eyes. And then there were a few trays of Jersey Mike’s SANDwiches because, you know, THAT joke is a novel one. I set out a basket of individual bags of chips and Bryan asked me what I was going to name them. I was about to take a nanosecond to come up with something and then realized that not everything needs a name. CHIPS. They’re just CHIPS. However, I love food and I love puns. Kill me.

Ariel's Bikini Shells Pasta Salad -- Size C, for Carbs.

Ariel’s Bikini Shells Pasta Salad — Size C, for Carbs.

This party gave me crabs.

This party gave me crabs.

Sand dollar sugar cookies for the win!

Sand dollar sugar cookies for the win!

Little figurines of the beloved characters popped up here and there but I didn’t need to overdo it because we had THE REAL THING THERE!

Ariel, herself, swam up onto the land for the day to join us at the party and she was AMAZING. She came to us via Smile and a Song Princess Parties and people, I am telling you, the best best best character company I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy! If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you must call them for all your princess needs.

Ariel rang the doorbell and Madelyn answered. I think she was stunned, but quickly got on board with having a princess in her house.

A special guest is here? For moi?

A special guest is here? For moi?

What. The. What.

What. The. What.

Ariel is da hooooooouse

Ariel is da hooooooouse

Ariel’s voice was more pristine than the sea water — she was 100% Ariel from the start of the party until the end of the party. The girls adored her and even the little boys were into the whole 90-minute visit. The engagement she had with the kids was completely undivided and really, the whole experience was worth every penny (Ariel is not free, but her value is priceless). I swear, Madelyn believed that THE little mermaid dived out of the TV and into her backyard. She drank it right up and made this mama proud! And me? Well, I was like a kid in a candy store. I hardly socialized with our guests while Ariel was at the house because I didn’t want to miss one second of her interaction with the kids. It was so entertaining and while I could have left her to hold the kids’ attention while I participated in adult conversation, I chose to watch her show. She read The Little Mermaid book which is basically like hearing an autobiography from the author herself. And then she did songs with the kids. And she also did face and arm painting because in addition to singing, Ariel is also a talented artist.

Ariel fishes; the children bite.

Ariel fishes; the children bite.

Hans Christian Andersen would be so proud.

Hans Christian Andersen would be so proud.

Meanwhile, the grown-ups do adult things like finish sentences and eat a whole uninterrupted meal.

Meanwhile, the grown-ups do adult things like finish sentences and eat a whole uninterrupted meal.

... And I am emotionally moved by the "How to Dance Like a Princess" instruction.

… And I am emotionally moved by the “How to Dance Like a Princess” instruction.

Ariel puts Santa Claus to shame.

Ariel puts Santa Claus to shame.

Madelyn poses with Ariel, Prince Eric, and Ursula. Thanksalot.

Madelyn poses with Ariel, Prince Eric, and Ursula. Thanksalot.

Midway through the photos sesh, Madelyn got sassy and Ariel followed suit.

Midway through the photos sesh, Madelyn got sassy and Ariel followed suit.

And then all the kids got a turn to pose with the mermaid!

And then all the kids got a turn to pose with the mermaid!

Ariel is so hard core, she tatted up all the kids. Nose rings for Madelyn's 4th birthday party.

Ariel is so hard core, she tatted up all the kids. Nose rings for Madelyn’s 4th birthday party.

Ariel lead the birthday cake production and noted how the frosting resembled her home. I was so glad to pay homage to her roots.

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My girl loved everyone singing to her!

My girl loved everyone singing to her!

SO glad I didn't come to the party in my shell bikini top!  I mean, can you imagine?

SO glad I didn’t come to the party in my shell bikini top! I mean, can you imagine? I would totally lose in “Who Wore It Better”

After Ariel left, I was able to enjoy my other favorite aspect of Madelyn’s birthday party — mingling with friends and visiting with family members who’d traveled far and wide to celebrate with us. It was so nice having cousins together who don’t always get to hang out. And it’s always fun to have both of Madelyn’s great-grandmothers together because she’s so lucky to have two she can play with.

They're cousins! (un)identical cousins!

They’re cousins! (un)identical cousins!

I get by with a little help from my friends -- and sister mamas.

I get by with a little help from my friends — and sister mamas.

Together, this group photo is 184 years old.

Together, this group photo is 184 years old.

Group shot with representation from Mimi's family.

Group shot with representation from Mimi’s family.

Getting children to smile for the camera is like herding cats. While it’s extremely entertaining, what’s even more comical is the show going on behind the camera: eight adults squealing and jumping and shooting doting mother gang signs in order to get the munchkins to cooperate and look in the same general direction. With a smile. And still.

Madelyn enjoyed playing with her Siegel side — 2nd cousins — and the darling Epstein boys — 3rd cousins! — all together.

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Grown up cousins with their Granny and loving how their girls all play so nicely together!

Grown up cousins with their Granny and loving how their girls all play so nicely together!

It got dark, and we closed down the party. The afternoon in the shade (thank goodness, because it was a very hot day) turned out to be a successful birthday party for our little princess. Madelyn ended her night with cuddles from her grandparents and some expert gift unwrapping. She’s so lucky to have so many friends and family members who love her.

And we are so lucky to be part of her world.

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I don’t know how much longer I can produce these parties. I always say I’m going to just do something low key, but that’s a lie because I’m a glutton for punishment and actually enjoy the work that goes into a big birthday party. I keep thinking this will be the last of the big ones… but then I remember that in 2016, I’ll have another first birthday party to plan. Oh dear God, help me.

The Best Things In Life Are Three

So, Madelyn turned three. I can’t believe it either. It was an epic birthday filled with lots of celebrating.

This was the first birthday that she really understood she was even having one. For the past couple months leading up to August 9th, Madelyn would declare, “It’s almost my birthday!” and then proceed to ask every day if it was her birthday yet. While she knows the date of her birthday, I don’t think she’s grasped the essence of time, and that it has to pass, day by day, first.

The day before her birthday, we celebrated at school! Madelyn enjoyed summer camp at her preschool and since the majority of her school years won’t include birthdays with her class — boo summer birthdays — I wanted to make sure she got to celebrate with her friends and teachers while she could.

During Tot Shabbat, she got to go up on the bimah and say her name and age, and then the camp sang “Happy Birthday” to her. She enjoyed wearing her birthday crown with Minnie Mouse on it that her beloved Miss Joi Joi made. It didn’t leave her head for the rest of her birthday weekend! At the end of the camp day, I brought in cupcakes for the class and she got another round of the birthday song. So far, the birthday love was flowing.

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That night, as tradition dictates, we went to Lazy Dog Cafe as a family of four (Princeton included) to mark August 8th as the last meal we ever ate as a family of three (again, Princeton included). It’s where we ate the night before we had Madelyn, and it’s not that it’s such an amazing place, but it’s just special for nostalgia’s sake.

Madelyn wanted to get dolled up for the night out at dinner. She requested a tutu — “but the black one, because it’s fancy” and she also requested a pre-dinner photo shoot. Who am I to deny the birthday girl her wishes?

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At the end of dinner, she had a brownie sundae and she sang “Happy Birthday” to herself. It wasn’t even August 9th yet, and she was nailing the birthday shtick.

Due to the build up, and the fact that I am also a sucker for birthdays, I wanted to do something extra fun on the big day as a family. Her birthday was on a Saturday, so we really had freedom to do whatever we wanted. I know she would’ve been happy with a “Frozen” marathon and some ice cream, but August 9th is a special day for me, too, and I wanted to mark it with something we don’t normally get to do. So it was perfect when I remembered that the Ventura County Fair was in its final weekend and I thought she’d be old enough to finally enjoy it. We told her we were going to take her to the fair to show her the animals, eat yummy food, and ride the rides, and she totally loved the idea!

When we put our two-year-old to bed on August 8th, Bryan and I blew up balloons and flooded them in her room while she slept. On her birthday morning, we woke up to her waking up to the balloons. Over the monitor we heard, “Oh, purple! That’s my favorite! Oh, pink! That’s my favorite, too! Oh, yellow! That is so my favorite!” It was pretty funny how she found the balloons so magical.

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For her birthday breakfast, we surprised her with a candle in a donut. There’s no other acceptable way to start your third year than with donuts.

Birthday donuts: The most nutritious way to start your third year of life.

Birthday donuts: The most nutritious way to start your third year of life.

And from there, we were off to the fair!

Madelyn absolutely loved the sights, sounds, and smells of the fair! She cooed over every animal and cheered for the piggies at the pig races. We went into a petting farm that had the usual suspects: goats, sheep, pigs, chickens. Oh, and DEER. Yeah, Bambi was there and let me tell you: deer are bitches. The $3 we paid to be in there essentially went to Madelyn’s future therapy bills because the two deer were skirt-hungry and kept stalking Madelyn and nibbling on her tutu. She was none too pleased. I had no idea that deer were so drawn to clothing, and we both felt very violated by their attempts to eat Madelyn alive and naked.

Madelyn eats her first corn dog. She gives it two paws up.

Madelyn eats her first corn dog. She gives it two paws up.

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So after some vigorous hand washing, Bryan took her to meet some other interesting characters: the gamers. It’s been ages since I’ve been to a fair and nothing has changed. Even though we all know that carnival games are for suckers, it’s like one of those stupid-but-fun rites of passage that is totally a father-daughter moment. And just like out of a cheesy movie, he won the game and got a stuffed animal for her. Granted, it was Team Brydelyn vs. a poor kindergartner who didn’t stand a chance. And the stuffed animal was worse quality than the junk inside the claw machine that you find in the lobby of Denny’s. But still! (Digital) Kodak moment!

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After praying to whatever God was most convenient, we went up in the tallest Ferris wheel and I tried to enjoy the views of the pristine beach on one side and the colorful fair on the other in order to distract me from the fact that this thing was meant to come apart at the hinges and travel from city to city, prepared again and again by the country’s finest higher thinkers. I’m such a buzz kill. But I write this to you two weeks later, alive and well. So there’s that.

Not dying on a portable Ferris wheel.

Not dying on a portable Ferris wheel.

We used up more tickets on some kiddie rides that Madelyn owned like a champ. I wasn’t sure how she’d do going on rides all by herself for the first time ever. We stood and watched her go around and around and cheered her on. She totally loved it.

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The end of the day drew near, and a nap was still in the cards. Madelyn snoozed until dinner time and we met up with both sets of grandparents for another traditional meal: The Cheesecake Factory Birthday Feast. And brown bread.

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A mini ice cream sundae with a candle in it sealed the deal for a successful birthday dinner, but we still had presents to open, so we went back to our house with the grandparents and Madelyn ripped apart gifts like a pro. The year before, she needed me to assist her in opening presents, but now she’s able to lay into them like a human machete.

And lay into them she did! Literally. Both Grandma and Grandpa and Mimi and Poppa know their girl loves to dress up, so they supplied her with all the ball gowns and fins and lab coats any imaginative toddler could dream of. She squealed with delight over each get-up and then we proceeded to be audience members in a fashion show displaying the hottest in Disney character couture.

She opened each one and laid them out on the floor. Then, when all were revealed, she took turns strutting her stuff in them. After that, she placed the costumes on all the adults in the room and made us do the coordinating characters. It was definitely Madelyn’s world and, as usual, we were in it!

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Madelyn dresses up her grandparents in all of her new costumes!

Madelyn dresses up her grandparents in all of her new costumes!

Bedtime came and we all said goodnight to the new three-year-old. I think it’s safe to say that her birthday weekend was a hit and she felt all the love and then some.

And yet birthday celebrating wasn’t over. A trip to Disneyland and her big party were on the agenda for the week ahead and between the two of us, I really don’t know who was more excited!

Happy birthday, Madelyn!

  1. sharon
    8/26/2014 6:40 PM

    Madelyn! Your birthday #3 was amazing & so much fun.
    I look forward to celebrating many many more birthdays with you.
    Love and Kisses and Hugs to you!
    Mimi

Butterfly Girl

For as long as Madelyn has been Madelyn, she has loved butterflies. My mom takes her on lots of nature walks around the neighborhood where they both point out butterflies that flutter from flower to flower. Madelyn also has butterfly art in her bedroom and she has always identified them while flapping her arms. The excitement buzzes in our own backyard when she spots one landing on her chair or playhouse. She has even taken an interest in the life cycle, explaining that the caterpillar goes into a cocoon and sleeps for a while and then comes out as a butterfly. So when my mom said she wanted to take us to the Butterflies Alive! exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, we made a special day out of it.

With a quick and easy drive up the beautiful coast to the museum, we bee lined to the butterfly exhibit where we roamed around a netted enclosure that featured a gorgeous garden for butterflies and humans alike to enjoy.

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Madelyn wore her favorite dress with — gasp! — butterflies on it and made sure to show all the butterflies her spirit wear. She talked to them the way we coo at puppies and newborns: Oh hi, butterflies! You’re so pwetty! How are you today? Do you see my dwess?

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We even witnessed two butterflies mating. Madelyn pointed out that their tushies were touching. Gives a whole new meaning to BUTTerflies, ya know? She wanted to hold them since they were really still and connected, but we told her that they needed to be left alone. The exhibit should really advocate for the sock-on-the-doorknob system.

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The butterflies were truly beautiful as they surrounded us and for a gal like me who doesn’t like bugs or anything flying around, I found the entire habitat peaceful and wonderful.

Since we were already there and made the drive, we wanted to check out the other exhibits at the museum. The Smokey the Bear exhibit was an interactive lesson about camping in our natural parks, water cycle, camp culture, trees, and the natural beauty that campers enjoy. I love how hands-on it was and that Madelyn was learning without even realizing it. The entire room sparked creativity and, let’s face it, will probably be the closest Madelyn gets to camping. I mean, have you met me? But I thought it was really cool and totally appreciate what it teaches the kiddos.

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We breezed through the permanent exhibits like the taxidermy animals, during which Madelyn proceeded to make their accompanying sounds for them. She also saw an elk-like critter and declared it to be Sven. She kind of wasn’t too off base, considering he was — wait for it — FROZEN in time.

It was a really nice day at the museum with Mimi and Madelyn. She loved every second and I hope we will enjoy more museum trips together. The kid’s brain is thirsty and I love opportunities to fill ‘er up.

Down on the Farm

Once Spring sprang, Madelyn was chompin’ down on strawberries like a little fruit fly. Just like her father, strawberries are her favorite, so it was definitely on the radar to go to our local farm and pick some of our own for a little farm-to-table cuisine. We made plans with Amy and her two cuties, Maddie and Dani, and my distant cousin-in-law in-law in-law, Melissa and her bundles, Oliver and Lily. The three of us mommies were in a toddler class together and our kids all play so nicely. And it’s perfect that Oliver, Maddie, and Madelyn are the same age and Dani and Lily are the same age, so everyone gets along great! I love these gals so much, and we always have a little too much fun together.

Melissa and her crew took, um, a scenic route, so Madelyn and Maddie had a little one-on-one time in the park at the front of Underwood Farms.

Madelyn and her girlfriends! Dani is the perfect older age that makes her idol material for 2.5-year-old girls.

Madelyn and her girlfriends! Dani is the perfect older age that makes her idol material for 2.5-year-old girls.

Once we were all together, we trekked out to the fields with toddlers rotating in the beds of wagons. I loved hearing the innocent chatter of the older six-year-old girls as they reacquainted themselves. Listening to them made me excited for when Madelyn gets to be that age and she can be super independent and helpful.

It was a hot day and even though we arrived early, the sun was brutal and we were all working up a sweat. We were greatly rewarded with the fruits — literally — of our labor that we may or may not have eaten directly from the bush.

If you’re reading this, Underwood Farms, we did not eat any berries until after the cash register portion of our day.

By the way, I think you should know, I am basically Cesar Chavez. I am an expert berry picker. And Madelyn became a little Cesar Chavez-ito because she, too, learned very quickly. At first, she went for every berry she saw, but I told her to skip the green or white ones; that they needed more time to grow because they were babies. After that, she had red radar, and was a pro at scanning the juiciest, ruby-reddest berries. She also learned that if she pulled the strawberries from anywhere, she’d rip off the wrong part of the stem, so soon enough, was holding them just right and pulling at the correct spot and, voila, perfectly stemmed, robust, blazing strawberries. Very talented.

Madelyn's chariot that I chauffeured. Rough life.

Madelyn’s chariot that I chauffeured. Rough life.

Madelyn says: "Mmmm! Juicy! UH OH! MY SHIRT! MY SHIRT!" Priorities.

Madelyn says: “Mmmm! Juicy! UH OH! MY SHIRT! MY SHIRT!” Priorities.

Life's a box of strawberries.

Life’s a box of strawberries.

Field of strawberry dreams. If you plant it, they will come. And eat them.

Field of strawberry dreams. If you plant it, they will come. And eat them.

All the little farmers! Cutest kiddos!

All the little farmers! Cutest kiddos!

After our agricultural adventure was finished, we made our way toward the other attractions at the farm. Underwood Farms is like Disneyland for aggies: tons of activities and animals to enjoy in addition to the crops. The older girls spent some time mining for gems, but the little ones got squirrelly, so we chose the next activity for them.

Madelyn attempted a pony ride about a year ago, but it was not a successful Seabiscuit story. Instead, there were tears and a very accommodating refund. So I was hesitant to reenact the whole thing for fear of scarring her for life, but we gave it a try, and sure enough, Madelyn is a professional jockey!

She absolutely loved riding the pony who seemed very delighted to be attached to a spider web made of steel and chains while roaming in a circle with 28 pounds of total glee on her back. (Yes, it was -her- back. I checked. All clear.) Madelyn gently pet the pony’s mane and back, whispering what I’m sure were sweet nothings. Best five dollars I ever spent and I can’t wait to bring her back.

Next stop: Triple Crown.

Next stop: Triple Crown.

Snip is moving down the outside. They're coming down the finish! Can Snip hold on? Snip rounds the corner! Snip's picking up speed! They're almost at the line! Will they do it? Here comes Snip! It's Snip! Unbelievable! They did it!  And Snip wins the day!

Snip is moving down the outside. They’re coming down the finish! Can Snip hold on? Snip rounds the corner! Snip’s picking up speed! They’re almost at the line! Will they do it? Here comes Snip! It’s Snip! Unbelievable! They did it! And Snip wins the day!

Because we still weren’t quit finished with getting our fair share of farm critters, we went to the corral where we could pet all the animals. The petting farm is filled with chickens and goats and sheep, in addition to their gifts of waste that resemble chocolate chips — as Madelyn pointed out — all over the dirt ground. I did not hesitate to tell her that those were not at all chocolate chips, lest she get a sweet tooth while petting her pals.

She loves the goats especially, and every time we go to the petting farm, she always talks to them and tries to converse with them like they’re humans. This day was no different.
“Oh, hi, Goat. You’re my friend, Goat!”
“Oh, you’re feeling sad? Oh no, Goat. Come here, Sweetie, come here and I’ll make you feel better.”
“Goats, are you hungry? Here, let me pet you.” You know, because hunger and backrubs go hand in hand. Or hoof and hoof?

Then, like clockwork, she finds a community goat hairbrush and stalks follows them around the pen trying to play Beauty Parlor. God bless these creatures.

Madelyn goats for the gold.

Madelyn goats for the gold.

Look at that blonde cutie pie! Oh and look at the goat too!

Look at that blonde cutie pie! Oh and look at the goat too!

Everybunny loves the petting farm!

Everybunny loves the petting farm!

There were also new baby bunnies that we all got a kick out of gushing over. I really do love being able to go on a farm animal safari only a handful of minutes away from my suburban home. It’s definitely my local little happy place, so I’m giddy that Madelyn loves it, too.

After we three Jewish mothers scrubbed and sanitized every epithelial cell on our children’s bodies, we exchanged sweaty hugs with Amy and her girls who had to leave. Melissa and I took the kids to one last play area to climb on the wooden train so they could finish up with some fun and we could get in some final chatter.

Madelyn and Oliver are such good pals and we think they may even be a little in love. Hey, there's no blood between these kinda-sorta cousins.

Madelyn and Oliver are such good pals and we think they may even be a little in love. Hey, there’s no blood between these kinda-sorta cousins.

Then, it was time to skidaddle and make our ways back into civilization. I do love my days at the farm, but I’m also quite grateful for quick trips to TJs. However, what one can never get enough of is good girlfriends, and Amy and Melissa are diamonds in the rough.