October, 2013 Archive

Patchy Days Are Here Again

Hard to believe that we’re going into Madelyn’s third Halloween. Even at two months old, we took her to the pumpkin patch to get traditional photos started even though she had no idea what was going on and couldn’t do any of the fun pumpkin patch activities.

Last year was different when we took her to Underwood Family Farms where she seemed to have an appreciation for her surroundings and could toddle through the pumpkin fields by herself and trot after the animals in the petting corral.

Pumpkins change. Hair grows. Cuter happens.

Pumpkins change. Hair grows. Cuter happens.

This year, Madelyn basically owned the place. We took her back to Underwood Farms and she seemed to thoroughly enjoy and understand all the aspects of fun on the farm. She pointed to things she recognized and made sure to show us every single pumpkin, or in Madelynese, tun-tun.

Where will she land next year?

Where will she land next year?

It was a hot Saturday; one of those tricky days that appeared cold from the bedroom window and sent chills through our house walls, but then turned out to be sunny, bright, and warm. We shvitzed our way through the long line to get in and Madelyn picked through the easy grab-and-go pumpkins in the crates.




We only had a couple hours to spend at the farm and Bryan was feeling a little ghoulish himself, so I was extremely goal-oriented as we made our way through the peopled grounds.

We headed toward the petting corral so I could hug and cuddle every single available animal Madelyn could see her fuzzy friends. She loved the goats and chased around this one sandy-colored little guy, calling out, “Hi, Goat! Hi, Goat! Hi, Goat!” She saw a chicken and had a conversation in full-on, fluent “Bock bock.” (She also says “Bock bock” to her dinner, soooo…). And Madelyn loved the sheep, despite offering salutations to the “Shit.” (FYI: letters P and T are completely interchangeable). I would say the petting corral was a success.

You WILL love me.

You WILL love me.

Listen here, pal. You stick with me and everything will be OK.

Listen here, pal. You stick with me and everything will be OK.



One thing we didn’t get to last year was watching the pig races, so I was determined to get seats during the hours we were there. Fortunately, the next race was only a half hour after we were finished with the animals, so we headed over to the grandstands early to get a spot to see the little piggies race around a semi-circle.

The track had seating on three sides. We sat toward the end of the long run and could see the piggies as they came out of their pens and then craned our necks to the left to see them prance the rest of the long run, round a corner, and end up back inside a holding area. The stands were packed (sweaty) shoulder to (sweaty) shoulder so I had Princeton at my feet in our second-level-up benches. His leash was under my tushie so I could have my hands free to share Madelyn duties with Bryan.

I could hear Princeton grunting and squealing — like a pig — when they came out for each race. His ears were perked and I could tell that he was really interested in the like-sized 3-month-old porkers 20 feet away from us. I just kept petting him to give him attention, but I could tell he just really wanted to be a part of it all.

So the determined dog did.

Oh, look! That cute little dog looks like Princeton. IT IIIIIIIIIS PRINCETON!!!

Oh, look! That cute little dog looks like Princeton. IT IIIIIIIIIS PRINCETON!!!

Just as the pigs were in front of our part of the stands, going for the long stretch, I saw a very cute and furry salt-and-pepper terrier running alongside the fence that separated the track from the stands.


Bryan tossed Madelyn into my lap and ran after Princeton while the announcers joked that a dog was now wanting to be part of the race and everyone was cheering. I was in a fog of laughter, panic, and embarrassment, but my eyes were clear enough to see Princeton, his fur blowing in the wind and his usually-tight jowls flapping in a wide smile, playing and fraternizing with the athletic piggies mid-race.

He trotted back to our seats and returned to sit very contentedly at our bench, basking in the memories of what just happened like a school girl who successfully snuck out of her house to steal a midnight kiss from her boyfriend. Princeton had had his eye on the piggy prize, pulled one great, big, swift yank on the leash under me, and in nanoseconds, he was free, even if only for moments. I’m quite certain this was the highlight of his entire life.

After the races, people passed by us in the stands as we gathered up all of our stuff and they cheered on Princeton for his bold move. His ears were pinned back and his tail wagged high. He was one happy farm pup that afternoon.


By then, Bryan was pretty fried, especially after his Olympic sprint to catch Princeton the Pig-Dog, so we made our way to the open pumpkin fields to finish up our day with photos of Madelyn in the sea or orange.

She loved seeing all the “tun-tuns” and immediately began hugging them and talking to them. I swear she had a whole conversation with one.

Tun-tun! It's you!!!!!

Tun-tun! It’s you!!!!!

She also discovered the scarecrows that are probably more decorative to set the scene than to actually scare any crows… or children. Madelyn was drawn to the scarecrows like crows to the corn or farmers to the overalls or Princeton to the pigs. She stood two inches from the stake, looked up, and continued the conversation she previously had with the pumpkin. She played with their fake, empty, creepy scarecrow limbs and incessantly said with excitement: “Hi, tare-tow! Hi! Eeeeee!! Tare-tow!!!!!! WOW. Tare-tow!”

I half expected her to flash them and ask for an autograph. But she was wearing a onesie and overalls, so…





Kids, man. Their imaginations are amazing.

She sauntered through the fields like Maria in the green hills (which are alive with the sound of music) with her happy little girl voice trailing behind her as I snapped photos.

Do Re Me Fa So La Ti TARE-TOW!!!!!!

Do Re Me Fa So La Ti TARE-TOW!!!!!!

Madelyn loved looking up at the “cha-chur” — the tractor — which she also posed in front of last year. She was much bigger this year, and yet, still so small next to this green giant. I think we need to take pictures of her with the cha-chur every year from now on. She’ll be 17 and hating me because she’d rather be getting ready for high school homecoming with her friends, but I will insist on getting her mug in front of the dusty, dirty pumpkin patch cha-chur. What if she’s still calling it “cha-chur” by then?





After our frolic through the pumpkin fields, we made our way back toward the exit of the farm. As we passed the things she’d seen earlier that afternoon, Madelyn politely said goodbye and thanked … things. “Bye, shit!” “Bye, tun-tuns!” “Bye, {pig snort sound}!” “Bye, tare-tow!” “Bye, farm!”

I love that little profile and those pouty lips.

I love that little profile and those pouty lips.

She’s so polite! And during this Halloween season, she is constantly no trick and all treat!

Today’s Blog Post Was Brought To You By The Number 2 And The Letter M

So… now that Madelyn is basically now only a few months away from college, I thought I’d fiiiiiiinally post about her two-year-old birthday party. In August. Mother of the Year right here!

I’m not going to make excuses about being a slacker mom because that’s just immature and annoying. BUT. We’ve been continuing to put the house away and make it home. Traveling. Filled up with activities. My computer’s been on the fritz.

Oops. I made excuses.

But that’s what’s been going on around and after Madelyn’s 2nd birthday bash that I swore would not turn into a bash at all.

A few weeks before her birthday, I was unsure if we’d be able to even throw a party. Originally, I wanted a backyard shin dig, but our yard is still more a dirt run and it’s ugly with minimal usable space. Then since we had our kitchen remodeled, I really didn’t know how finished it would be. But thankfully, two weeks before the party, the kitchen came through, and I knew I could solidify plans. Since I didn’t have months and months of time to marinate on a party and go crazy with the theme, I set myself up for just a very casual, low-key get together with no bells and whistles.

And then I came back to reality. Please. Have we met me? I don’t do low-key. I don’t even think I do medium-key. Unless it’s blogging. Then apparently, that’s my M.O. these days. (bad mommy! bad mommy!)

So, I asked myself: “Self? What would describe Madelyn’s love and passion over the past year that would be fun to help with celebrating her birthday?”

It was a no brainer. Sesame Street. And Psycho Crazy Not-Low-Key Birthday Party Alison was born.

I did have a slight panic attack when Madelyn suddenly started to show strong love and passion for Minnie Mouse about a week before her party. I had to throw water onto that fire because I needed her to still be into everything “Sessy.” There would be other opportunities to love on Minnie. This was the era of Elmo.

Since the party had to be inside, I got all teachery and made little Sesame Street-themed centers for the kiddos. The food in the kitchen was the centerpiece that helped to also carry the Sessy style. And then all of our people could enjoy social time and eating outside. It actually worked out perfectly, despite my original desire to want a backyard party in our new house. (p.s., the backyard still needs the landscaping because we chose to remodel the kitchen first. Welcome to BornFriedman, all makeover reality show producers who are visiting the blog! Sit down. Stay a while.)







So what does Psycho Crazy Not-Low-Key Birthday Party Alison mean? Well, I made fresh squeezed watermelon lemonade. I don’t even really LIKE watermelon lemonade. But this was good. It made a delicious mess of my kitchen while pureeing and juicing watermelons. I could have just done regular lemonade. It’s a hit. It’s a favorite. But nooooo. I had to make sure the beverage was RED just so I could fill up a glass canister and dress it up as Elmo. And no one wants a cup of just tomato juice. These are OCD problems.

I thoroughly enjoyed coming up with punny labels for things. It’s like porn for my brain. Everything from Abby’s Coloring Fairy School for the coloring wall to the Bert & Ernie’s Great Adventure Trail Mix to Telly’s Peanut Butter & Jelly, I tried to tie in different characters and skits from Sesame Street. I think I am a bigger fan of Sessy than my daughter.

I knew I was having cupcakes instead of a cake because they’re easier to serve and eat, and they were store-bought because there’s a certain level of Crazy I’m not willing to reach, and that’s baking for 48 people. But what’s a spread without a nod to Cookie Monster, so I just haaaaaaaaaad to bake cookies. Life is rough.

The party was called for 4 in the afternoon so that Madelyn could get in a nap and wake up fresh. The only problem with that was that she napped like a rockstar and I had to wake her to finally join her own party. Because of that, she was a little shy when she made her grand entrance, showing signs of good pacing, which will do her well in college. Nobody likes a burnout.

AAAAAALMOST ready to greet her public.

AAAAAALMOST ready to greet her public.

Once she finally removed herself from grandmothers’ legs and arms, she enjoyed being with her friends — little and big! — and seeing her party come together after days of being banned from the party room (Mommy is such a Party Set-up Police!).





Finally, it was time for the big birthday song, but first we sang to Uncle Brian because he was actually celebrating the very day of his birthday AT the party. Nothing says a rager for a 31-year-old than an afternoon with characters from children’s programming.

Then Madelyn got her time to shine, and she blew out her candle perfectly! She seems to have mastered the birthday routine and enjoyed being the center of attention.










Possibly the photo-opp highlight of Madelyn’s birthday party was the Sesame Street scene that was attached to the wall where kids and families took super cute pictures! It’s almost like the real thing. Almost.

Bryan and I even dressed up for the occasion. We bought Sesame Street shirts to show some true Sessy spirit. We may or may not don these ever again. Ooooo suspense.












The afternoon turned into evening and our last few friends trickled out the door. It was time to say goodbye to our friends and open presents with the immediate family. Madelyn loved opening her cards and tearing through bags and wrapping paper. It’s funny to think what a difference a year makes. At the end of her first birthday party, the same group gathered to do the same thing, but Madelyn didn’t understand any of it. This year, she took the time to examine and get excited about each new thing, and one thing’s for sure: this kid is stocked with Elmo, Hello Kitty, and Minnie Mouse gear! What a lucky little girl!



So once again, I broke my promise about tossing together a small, boring party, but I think I did a fairly good job of keeping things real and in budget. It was super fun and the most important part is that Madelyn felt all the love.


Even if she feels extremely neglected on the blog. Must remedy!