Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some classic lines this week...

The other day, Madi wasn't feeling so well, and I started lecturing her about how we both need to drink more water. I went on and on about how we haven't been drinking enough water and how important it is for our bodies I finally said "Madi, it's very important to drink water because [pause] we need to stay...". Madi completely shocked me by finishing my sentence in her little voice, "hydrated!" It took me completely by surprise. I guess I've ranted about this one to her before!!!

Yesterday, we attended a beautiful baptism ceremony. The pastor took the baby from the Godparent's arms, and began to walk up to the altar. Madi watched quietly, turned to me and said, "Where is God taking the baby??"

I am not a big fan of motorcycles. Whenever we see a biker without a helmet, I have often told Madi that is a dumb thing to do, even though 'dumb' or 'dummy' is not a nice word. This week when we saw a biker without a helmet, Madi began to shout, "Dummy!" Suddenly, I wasn't so sure how that sounded so I can up with a better plan. I told her that we should really shout "Danger" since it is more appropriate, and dummy isn't a nice word. She very logically responded, "okay, Mommy. I say 'danger' to the person and say 'dummy' to the motorcycle"! How could I argue with that????

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Five days and counting...

We can hardly wait for next week. On Tuesday, we will depart for Michigan for a nice well-needed Thanksgiving visit with Madi's Aunt Kathy and cousin Kelsey. Madi nicknamed Kathy "YaYa" and Kelsey "Boo Boo" when she was too little to pronounce their names. Kathy just kind of became "YaYa", but Kelsey's nickname was formed one day when we were Skyping. Kelsey had a biking accident and her whole hip was a gigantic bruise. She would show Madi her "boo boo" everytime we Skyped them. Madi began saying she wanted to call Boo Boo! Madi and her cousin Kelsey are very close. Kelsey is a sweet and beautiful teenager, and Madi simply adores her. She very much looks up to Kelsey and took to her right away. Madi and Aunt Kathy are very close too. I remember how patient Kathy was with Madi the first time they met. Kathy handled everything just perfectly and waited so patiently for Madi to warm up to her. I know it was killing her! All she wanted to do was grab Madi and squeeze her!

Next week will be Madi's second trip to Michigan. Our last visit was in May for Kelsey's confirmation. We had such a good time celebrating with them, and Kelsey looked gorgeous, as usual. It was very special for us to be present for such an event, especially since we are her Godparents! The pictures posted are from that special day. I had to include the last one of Madi because I love her expression. That was about 'Take Ten' and I'm sure her face hurt from saying, "Cheese" so many times. What can I say, the poor kid is constantly tortured by her paparazzi Mother.

A few things will be different this time around. Kathy and Kelsey have two new puppies that we've yet to meet, and Kelsey has a new boyfriend, whom I cannot wait to meet! I promise I won't embarrass you Kelsey--well maybe just a little:-) We feel confident that Madi may see snow for the first time (that she'll remember), and if not--she'll definitely get a good memory of some freezing cold weather! Oh, and I'm sure she can also count on a special manicure and pedicure from YaYa as usual...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Madi's Special Ring

Madi began quizzing Grandma Murphy about her rings when she was a little over two years. She was always fascinated with her claddagh ring--but especially with her diamond engagement and wedding rings. Grandma explained to Madi that Grandpa gave her those rings "because he loves me". Madi replied with, "Grandpa loves me too!?!" like why aren't I wearing a ring??? One weekend, Grandma and Grandpa went shopping for a very special ring for Madi. They walked in the front door and announced that Grandpa had a surprise for her. Grandma pointed to her rings and asked if Madi remembered why Grandpa gave them to her. Of course, she remembered the words, "because he loves you". With that, Grandpa said, "Well Madi O., I love you too and gave her the box. Madi was so overjoyed--I believe she knew exactly what was about to happen. She opened the ring box and felt like a true princess.

Madi only wears this ring when supervised, for obvious reasons. I am a little overprotective because I distinctly remember my parents giving me my first gemstone ring in my youth, and I wore it for all of half an hour. I went out to play in the neighborhood and lost it in someone's lawn. My ring was never to be found again.

One day in October, I opened up Madi's ring box, and the ring was missing. I questioned Madi about it's whereabouts and we "traced our steps" to find it...but no such luck. I was just sick about it. I thought for sure I had vacuumed the ring up and thrown it away. I thought it was gone forever. A few weeks later, something kept telling me to organize Madi's crayons and such. Low and behold I opened one of the containers and Madi's little ring was sitting inside. What a lucky day! The ring is back in the ring box and Madi knows it is now with her other special jewelry--"up high"!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

I love my Job...

I went out last night with some moms in our Mom's Club. It was fun, kinda, but what it really did was reinforce how much I love being a Mother and how much I adore my husband and my family. I am proud to wear my "Mommy clothes" everyday, even if I've worn the same thing for two years. I am proud that I don't usually wear makeup or care if I have a few wrinkles or gray hairs. Truth be told, I feel I've earned the wrinkles and the gray hairs. Thank God I'm around to even have them, right? Anyway, getting out of the house is fun sometimes, but it always reminds me where I'm needed and wanted most--at home. I'm thankful for the people in my life who I love, and who love me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Madi the Monkey

I wouldn't be surprised if Madi ended up in the Olympics someday. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up excelling in anything athletic. The child is a natural, and her body was made to be in motion. She taught herself to do a somersault at 16 months old with little assistance, and she's been improving her skills ever since. The beautiful part is her true love of physical activity. She doesn't partake in physical activities because she has to--she does them because she wants to.

Her favorite gymnast is Nastia Liuken. She picked up that name quickly, and during the Olympics contended that she wanted to be "the white girl". I was shocked when I first heard this (obviously) but then realized that Nastia was wearing a white leotard. For weeks after the Olympics, and actually still to this day, she makes us announce her as Nastia Liuken, and she will get up for a little performance of some sort. She has often watched gymnastics on tv and literally broken down into tears because she wanted to do the tricks that they were doing. We explained to her that she has to learn to walk on the balance beam before she can learn to do flips! For now, she settles for a cute little class once a week, where she can practice and learn new things. More importantly, she can demonstrate her listening skills and ability to follow instructions, which the teachers are quite impressed with by the way! Her passion allows me to stress the importance of a nutritious diet and lots of rest. She reminds me to give her Juice Plus everyday!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Tale of Two Xiao Xiaos

Long before Madi came home, there was a special baby doll brought home by Grandma and Grandpa Murphy. We ended up naming the doll Xiao Xiao (pronounced 'Chow Chow' and nicknamed after Madi's given Chinese name, Xiao Yuan). Xiao Xiao sat in Madi's crib waiting for months, if not a year. Over time, Xiao Xiao has become Madi's 'everything'. She has taken this baby everywhere and many of her experiences have been in the presence of Xiao Xiao for the last two years. This condition of this doll's hair is indicative of how much she's experienced!
Over the Summer, Madi and Jimmy went to a birthday party in the neighborhood. Somehow, a container of kerosene spilled on Xiao Xiao and saturated her entire body and hair. While Madi was napping, we tried and tried to remove the traces of kerosene to no avail. We washed her with everything under the sun. We had no choice but to deem Xiao Xiao unsafe for Madi to play with. The mere thought was devastating to us, and to all of her Grandparents--to anyone who knew of Xiao Xiao for that matter.
Grandma Murphy and I plotted about how we would discuss it when she woke up and called a local merchant to line up a quick replacement. We were sitting on her bed, and I told her--point blank--the truth! I told her that something happened to Xiao Xiao and she was simply unsafe to play with. I explained that we would go on Monday to buy a new Xiao Xiao. Madi took the news remarkably. In fact, she took it much better than we did! We knew that the kerosene would wear off in time, and chances were that Xiao Xiao would be fine, but Grandpa Murphy would hear nothing of it. He was adamant about a replacement for safety reasons.
We picked up the new doll that Monday, and the original Xiao Xiao went in hiding in the spare room for a few weeks. We visited her daily. Once we determined she was safe again, Madi decided that the new doll would be Xiao Xiao, and she would be the older sister. Her original doll would be the baby and would be named Xiao Yuan--fitting that she chose to name her beloved original doll after her own given name.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Madi's Cats

Madi came home to three black cats--Schroeder, Cinnamon, & Rooty. We suspected that she had not been accustomed to having pets in China, and Jimmy and I were in agreement that it was very important to teach Madi respect for animals. We also knew that we would have to protect her from harm should the cats not accept her right away. We were often reminded by friends and family that the cats would have to be put to the street if they didn't get along! In the beginning, Madi and the cats were fearful of each other. The first time one of the cats sniffed her foot, she absolutely freaked out. Then Grandpa decided to tease her and touch her foot pretending to be the cat. That didn't go over too well--Madi jumped sky-high and practically leaped into his arms. We got a good laugh at her expense!

Madi went through a phase of trying to pull their tails if she could catch them, and they learned quickly how to stay very far away from her! I remember once when Schroeder aka "Baby Co" hissed and batted at her when she was in his face. Madi, of course, began to cry--mostly because her feelings were hurt. We used this encounter as another example to teach her why she needed to respect animals. I'll never forget that Grandma Murphy came to Madi's defense immediately. She was furious with us for not punishing the cat!

I'm happy to report that Madi and her cats are now best friends. She likes to reminisce about how she pulled their tails when she was a baby and points out how she is so good with them now because she's a big girl. Schroeder, who rarely entered her bedroom before, is now found frequently sleeping on her bed. Madi loves her cats; although, once in a while she gets a little jealous if I'm petting one of them, and she'll grab my hand and say, "Pet me! Pet me!"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Madi and one of her best buddies, Miss Mary Kelly at the voting precinct last Tuesday! They were proud to be American and take part in the voting process with their mommies!
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How will our Garden Grow?

Today was a great day! We worked on a wonderful project with our local Mom's group to build a garden for charity. With about five other families, we planted tomatoes, peppers, carrots, herbs, & strawberries. Despite a serious red ant problem, we were able to have everything planted within an hour--actually, I think the red ants made us plant a lot quicker! The kids had fun and really seemed to love the idea of helping others. We will adhere to a maintenance schedule to see that a portion of these fruits and veggies are delivered to the Caring Kitchen in Delray Beach.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Florida Loses a Superhero

It's true. It's happening. Is it really? Yes, it really is...I've been trying to ignore it for days now, months even, because I can't believe it's truly happening. I can't ignore it anymore. Am I sad? Yeah...I'm really, really sad. We are losing a precious Superhero in our own Delray Beach. My brother and his family are moving back up North. I'm crushed (forgive me, I think I'm grieving at this very moment). Matthew (I love you too, Mom and Dad) has been such a blessing in our lives that it's hard to imagine him living anywhere else, but I know it will all be okay. I know that God works in mysterious ways....

2009, a year of change--Barack Obama--a move to New Hampshire, it's all good, right? Yes, it is all good. I'm so happy for my Brother and his wonderful opportunity and for his family's new opportunities too! So, why am I sitting here crying?? Because I'm contemplating life over a glass of wine, that's why!! After all, I'm the one who wooed them down here in the first place! They were here from the beginning--the final days we waited for Madi, and the day we brought her home. Did God send them down here to give Madi and Matthew a solid beginning as cousins? I believe he did. Should I feel guilty? No, no--because I know they have all been loved. Loved by a solid community of loving friends and loving family. I know that that doesn't just go away--no matter where you are. Love knows no boundaries. I know that Andrew, Colleen, and Matthew were brought here to Florida for a purpose, whatever that might have been. I know that they changed people's lives, and people changed theirs. They were there when we needed them, and I know that we were there when they needed us. That gives me peace, and I hope it gives them peace too. I wish them a journey of peacefulness, happiness, and tons of love. But am I sad? Yeah, I'm terribly sad...

Andrew, Colleen & Matthew--you will always have a home in sunny Florida:-) :-(

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We're Back!

Ahhhh...the little things we take for granted. Our internet is back up and running, thankfully, so please stay tuned for blogging to resume in the near future!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Murphy's Law of Gardening

Yesterday morning, Jimmy and Madi opted to spend the morning gardening together while I went to church. They planted some carrot seeds that arrived in the mail compliments of a charity. Madi helped Daddy plant a bunch of other things too (please don't ask me to name them). They did a great job and had a blast together. Madi was very proud of her work.

Around 1:00 pm, I noticed that I was having trouble accessing the internet. I picked up the phone--no dial tone. Then it occured to me. Yes, once again, my dear husband (and I do mean that sincerely) chopped our phone line with his razor-sharp shovel.
With that said, I am down at my brother's house writing this blog. AT&T expects our phone line to be remedied by Thursday (hoping for no costs but expecting no miracles!) Please call our cell phones if you need us, and please be patient with blog entries. I have a feeling this may be the last one before the weekend!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Twilight Zone Halloween

Wow. Where to begin...Halloween was really, really strange this year. We were joined by one of Madi's best friends, Ana, her baby sister Monica (aka Mo Mo) and the lovely Mrs. Carrie Socha. They arrived just before 5:00, and we decided to make an appearance down the street at a friend's house. They host a Halloween party every year, and daughter Mary is friends with Madi and Ana. Well, leave it to us to show up while the family is still getting dressed and preparing for the party! We felt so awkard--not because of them, of course--but because of our inappropriate timing. We visited for a few minutes, and then headed back to our house. It started to rain just as we pulled up to the house as timing would have it, but we were lucky enough to escape the major downpour.
Once the rain subsided, we decided to take the girls to a few houses, accompanied by Grandma Murphy. Out of the ten houses we hit, I think three of them were home. We started to wonder if we had the right day! The ones that were home commented that we were the first trick-or-treaters. We were starting to see a pattern here! The girls feet were getting sore, so we headed home. A few minutes later, we decided to pay our immediate neighbors a visit. Poor Ana tripped over a cord in our neighbor's yard, and they weren't even home to give us a treat--guess that means we got 'tricked'. Our second 'trick' came when we walked two doors down and a vicious dog emerged from the house, beyond the control of the girl who answered the door. It sent this poor girl into a panic, and I was frozen--I mean frozen. So was Madi. The dog tore right past us and went for Ana, who was trying to move out of the way. Thank God for Carrie's instinct, because she scooped that child up faster than anything I've ever seen. The dog bit her dress, but thankfully no one was hurt. The girls were stunned. We were stunned. I don't think they were even sure what happened! As a friend quoted, "It sounded very Disney-like"! And they didn't even get any candy!!! We decided that trick-or-treating was clearly over for the night. We walked back to the house in shock and couldn't wait to have a cocktail! (We needed one after that debacle.)
Shortly thereafter, the first group of kids arrived with frightening costumes, and that was it. The girls were done. They opted to go inside and watch a movie. The night was full of rain, so most of the evening was spent with friends piled up inside our garage. Despite the chaos, the kids ended up having a fun Halloween. I wonder if the Socha's will ever want to spend Halloween "Murphy style" again???!!! I am still giggling today when I think about the bizarre events of the evening...and then the real kicker....our van got egged last night! (maybe it was the Socha's?)