12/27/09

First Haircut


Christmas Eve:

First, you should know there is a bit of redemption with the Great Christmas Fail. Madigan seemed to hate all the shoes she got this Christmas. (Minus, of course, the pink, old school converse shoes she got from Brett's aunt DeeAnn & family. Because those shoes rock, and even an almost 18-month-old knows that.) But she also got slippers from Grandma & Grandpa Hille, and more crock-ish shoes in her stocking, and both pairs were thrown by the wayside. She apparently only loves her too-small slippers she has now. Who woulda thought?

Now, onto the haircut:
A couple "before" shots:

(Christmas morning hair- of course!)


During...
(dum-dum suckers... a god-send!)
After....


A special thank you goes out to Madigan's Aunt Ashley, who is a professional stylist, and gave miss M her first hair cut. Although the fuzz that was trimmed hardly constitutes a "locket" of hair, we saved it anyway. Because we're silly first time parents like that.

I suppose this means that all the baby-type firsts have been "done"....
*sigh*

12/22/09

The Great Christmas FAIL.

Deep down, I think I'm a conflicted person.

I mean... I guess even superficially I'm conflicted.

Wait, that was conflicting in & of itself. Gah.

Let's start with Christmas. (Which isn't even here yet, I am totally aware.) I have exercised caution to make sure that people know how we feel about excess. I love that people want to give Madigan things. I love the act of giving and receiving presents. (After all- my love language is GIFTS!) However, we don't want our daughter to grow up thinking that the whole point of this season is to be showered in gifts. We've asked family to keep it to one or two things, smallish, that she will USE. We know that she's young and won't remember this Christmas, and that's coupled with the fact that in this economy, everyone could use a financial pass. We know that if we start a tradition of lots of presents, it only gets harder to keep up with later. So with all these things in mind, we chose our daughter's presents carefully.
First, a membership to the local children's museum. She loves it there, it's going to expand in the spring, and it's a chance to do something together as a family.
Second, we got her a basket of stuffed fruit. I was something to unwrap, it was educational, and it's full of colors and textures to just stimulate her little brain. Also, because we are "in the know" on the gifts from the grandparents, we know that the shopping cart she's getting from grandma and grandpa will go very well with this gift.
Third, we got her a new pair of slippers. Practical, useful, much needed. This little 17 month old is in love with her shoes; she asks for them right after "milk" in the morning! She is her father's child- she wants shoes on from sun-up to sun-down. I was so excited about these shoes!
We decided to have our little family Christmas this past Sunday. We plugged in the tree, we got Madigan up in her jammies and right after breakfast we let her open her gifts. The fruit was a success! She tore them out of the package and named each and every single one of them. (Too bad that she gave them names that most of us can't understand. But, whatever, we can overlook that...) She stood inside the fruit box, she pretended to eat a turnip. Score!
Then, the slippers. She peeled off the lid, and exclaimed "SHOES!" as she turned, sat, and then attempted to put them on. Next, she asked mama for "(h)elp". I also attempted to put them on her, without luck. They are a bit smallish, and also too thick on the bottom to allow her to walk normally. She took about seven steps, very reminiscent of a newborn calf, she scrunched up her face and said to her daddy, "no. No. NO." Then she sat and removed them. She scooped up her stuffed eggplant, and ran off into the Christmas sunset. Fail.
So... being primed for the season that isn't about gifts, can anyone explain to me why it hurt my feelings so much that the shoes we bought were such a fail?

12/13/09

Christmas Countdown...



Last weekend when we were home we "helped" decorate at the church. I say "helped" because I think that Madigan and I were there for a total of 15 minutes and we were both underfoot for 14 and a half of those. Brett did some real work though, I'm proud of him for pitching in for two congregations that he's never been a member of.

We also enjoyed the annual "Pie & Pipes" celebration, complete with bagpipers and pie. Notice that the people there listening were sitting in the back of the church... not our first rodeo. Bagpipes indoors are LOUD. A band of bagpipers indoors is LOUDER.

Tonight as I was putting Madigan down for the third time, she was at her wits end as to how to convince me to let her stay up playing some more. So each time I turned her onto her side to rock her, she just started blowing in my face. Because I'm childish and easily amused, it made me laugh every time. She capitalized by sitting up and saying "down?" She knows how to work her mom. I have no idea where she got the idea to start blowing. But it was funny.
Maybe you had to be there?
We're on the countdown to Christmas! I'll try to post a few pictures between now and then... I love how busy this time of year seems, and how quickly it goes by. I'm excited for another Christmas with Madigan, to watch her enjoy this one so much more than last year!

12/7/09

I Heart Faces Entry


Another entry for the "i ♥ Faces" contest for week 48, "sweet dreams" contest. Sleeping babies are truly the sweetest thing ever!
If you'd like to see more sweet dream pictures, then head on over to i heart faces right now!

12/3/09

Kid Pictures

Just a quick, light-hearted update!
As a "Family" gift for Christmas, we bought a membership to the local area Children's Museum. Madigan LOVES it there, so much to do and see, and she's (slowly) learning about sharing. Her 2 favorite things are the water exhibit and the little red & yellow toy car. I don't know why that toy car is just the best but it sure is! (Oh, yeah- please don't notice that my daughter had her mouth on about every thing I took a picture of her with.)
She's so active and into everything, it's good to have a place to go in the winter months that she can run from one place to another and just get some energy spent! We are so glad that they are building a bigger, better museum that should be open this spring. Since our family membership is good for a year, we should be all set till NEXT Christmas!

12/1/09

We Don't "Do" Santa...


Christmas is chalk-full of nostalgia inducing moments. In fact, I can't sing "O Christmas Tree" or "Silent Night" without belting out at least one verse in German, and thinking about caroling with the Byron youth group to the nursing homes in the area. When I think about Christmas, I think about felt advent calendars, tons of food, hugs from my grandparents, and wearing poster-board angel wings for the children's service at my church. When I asked my husband what images pop into his head when asked about Christmas, it's many of the same things- snow, food, family, and eggnog filled moose cups. As children, we were FULL to the brim with Christmas spirit.

In case you didn't notice, neither of us said Santa.


Brett says he doesn't know if the "Santa" phenomenon was ever really "pitched" to him or not. He remembers a neighbor dressing up as Santa and delivering presents, but says he always knew that it was just that- a neighbor dressed up as Santa. I think that with 2 older siblings (for each of us), the idea of this mystery man was never really pitched too hard to either of us because our parents had other, more pressing issues to attend to... like cutting out poster board angel wings and filling our moose cups up once again.

So now, as parents ourselves, we know we only have this year to solidify our own traditions. Let's face it- last year, when Madigan was still under 6 months old during the holidays, we were on the tail end of survival mode. We knew she didn't care that it was Christmas, and quite frankly, neither did we! This year, we better get our stories straight. She's going to have a lot of questions next year at this time, and if either of us flinch when she asks them, we will be in trouble.
Here's the catch: We aren't going the Santa route. And apparently, that's some sort of big deal.
Now, it wouldn't be a big deal if we were the religious zealots, Santa-is-satan, cram-my-Jesus-down-your-throat kind of folks. Because, that would be...expected. But for those of you who know us, you know that's not the case. So I guess that's why people are shocked when we say we're just not "doing the santa thing". Here's why....
First, I was a child sensitive to lies and have grown into an adult that is just as sensitive to being lied to. I hate liars, I hate being lied to, I am an actual-factual being. I'd rather be told a disappointing truth than a beautiful lie. If my parents would have tried to sell me a fake Santa story, I would have been furious when I found out. So I cannot willingly lie to my child for the sake of fantasy, only to know she'll be disappointed later. Secondly, I was raised to know the real Christmas story. One more beautiful than a man on a sleigh with magic flying reindeer. The first Christmas story holds enough magic for me, and it's real. It's not that I didn't know the whole "santa story", because I knew who he was. But to me, it was just another make-believe story. "Santa" still filled my stocking; and when "Santa" came to town on a firetruck to hand out brown paper sacks filled with dry peanuts, an orange and an unidentifiable lump of ribbon candy, I was first in line. I had fun playing along, because I was in on the secret.

As parents, our approach has nothing to do with anti-consumerism, over commercialism, or religious supremacy. I don’t care if she gets gifts from “Santa”, sits on his lap for a picture, or reads “The Night Before Christmas”. We have just chosen to forego selling a Santa story to our daughter, and instead focus on cookies, songs, family and Jesus (not necessarily in that order). Because those are the things that we cherish about childhood Christmases, and we want to give those same memories to her.

So break out the moose cups and eggnog, and gather around our tree for a rousing rendition of “Stille Nacht”. Bring your Santa hats, and help us make Madigan’s Christmas memories just as glitter-crusted as possible.


11/29/09

another I ♥ faces entry


So this week's contest for I ♥ faces contest is a "tooshies" contest.
I do happen to have several naked hind ends in my photography files, however, this is a clothed hind-end contest only.
I like this one, a picture from an engagement session I did. I love hand holding, jeans wearing engaged people. It's still "new" love, even though it's an old enough love to commit to marriage.
It always makes me think back to when I was newly engaged- just a young 20 years old, and I was so in love. A love that only grows more as time progresses... aww. Young love....


To see all the clothed bottoms you'd ever want to see, click on over to I Heart Faces website.

11/24/09

I ♥ faces


This is my entry for the I ♥ Faces "sun flare" contest this week.
To see all the entries, click here to be taken to the I ♥ faces website.
I took this picture of Madigan while she was playing in the park and I was trying to get a good picture for our Christmas card... it's an honest sun flare, unedited in any way. I love the look on her face!

11/23/09

Cheater

I am a cheater.

Before you go questioning my faithfulness to my husband, please know that the sanctity of our marriage is very much intact.
However, recently I was asked to be the subject of an undergrad interview for a social work major, and I agreed, with reservations. The subject: infertility. Immediately after agreeing, I felt like a giant fraud. A cheater, a liar, a poser.
Who am I to talk about infertility?
First, my journey was a relatively short- 20 months. (In infertility terms, that's nothing!)
Second, I won the crazy lottery and ended up with a child. How did that happen?
My first impression is to feel like I have somehow cheated the system. How can I call myself an "infertile"? My time on the roller coaster of infertility was short, albeit wild enough for me. With minimal medical intervention, we succeeded and wound up with not only a pregnancy, (which is a type of success unto itself) but an actual live birth. When I refer to my infertility-days, or talk of *gasp* another child most of my friends and family are quick to dismiss my belief that secondary infertility is not only a possibility for me, but indeed a probability. How would I possibly begin to explain to a college student what infertility does to a woman?

Then again, I've never felt comfortable when planted in the "mommy group" either. I absolutely, positively love my role as mother. I have relied on my mom-friends for countless amounts of advice, encouragement and reinforcement. But it's impossible for me to join in the lighthearted conversations about birth control, and when to "plan" the next child. I feel like the band geek, hanging out with the cheerleaders- waiting for that moment when they find out I somehow "cheated" to get into the club of motherhood, and kicking me back out again. This exclusive club of motherhood is fantastic, but trust me, you'll never find me saying to someone "you'll understand when you have children". Because in all truthfulness, you may not understand until you have faced not having children.

Right now, a person who offered me true support during my struggle is in a battle of her own. Her story began long before mine did, and has continued on after my infertility journey ended. I'm broken hearted for her, that her fifth cycle of IVF has failed, that science and medicine have left two very deserving people with empty arms and broken hearts. There is no fairness to that, no explaination and I feel like a fraud because I cheated to get here when she's worked her butt off and is still stuck there. Nothing I can do will help her become a mother, and I hate that.

In the end, I did the interview. I spoke about what I do know about infertility and what it does to a woman. I told the student that I believe that the infertile population is grossly underserved, and I hope she can change that. I know that often my posts are light-hearted and full of pictures, but if you need to know anything about me, it's that infertility is never far from my mind. Whether I'm worrying and praying for a friend, or thinking about my own impending struggle with secondary infertility, it's something that never gets put out of my mind.

So, yeah... I'm a cheater.
And if there was any way I could help a friend to cheat, I'd be there in a heart beat.

11/17/09

Thankful.


I am thankful.
Full of thanks.
Chalk-full of it.
I am thankful for tiny, chubby hands that grab everything and leave smeary little fingerprints behind. I am thankful for a curiosity that is insatiable. I'm thankful for a tiny little mind that needs to know.


I'm thankful for long eyelashes, tiny ponytails, and a girly-girl that picks a boat to match her outfit. I'm thankful for a husband that is as involved in our marriage as he is in parenting.
I'm thankful for little brown dresses, for a daughter that loves water so much she'll play with it anywhere, and for an adventuresome child. I'm thankful for a healthy child.

I'm thankful for blue, blue eyes, black mary-janes, chipped paint merry-go-rounds, and a girl who circles counter-clockwise.

I'm thankful for my husband, whom I truly believe was sent to me by God. I'm thankful for our family. I'm thankful for my friends, both those I know in real life and those who I've only met through blogging. I am so thankful, for my life and for the things I have to count as blessing.

What are you thankful for?

11/16/09

Did you notice?

I updated my blog!
It's so much fun- like getting new clothes for my own personal webspace. Except I can't get too fat for this makeover! Win-Win!!
I also re-arranged my blog roll on the side of the page. I separated the list into "family" "friends" and "businesses". I expect I'll change it a little bit more as I start to expand on my new blog roll. I've found some great blogs recently and might be adding them as well.
Maybe I'll just do a quick bullet post update, in case you've wondered what's going on in "Sillyhille" land....
  • I have done NO Christmas shopping. Boo.
  • Madigan has 3 teeth, and is apparently very angry that the others would like to come through as well. I'd love to hear ANY advice on teething (except for rubbing booze on her gums, I'm not that kind of mom).
  • I will be traveling to Kansas for the next three weekends. Once for a photo shoot of a newborn (yay!), once for T-giving, once for Pie & Pipes celebration at our home church.
  • Um, I've been eating butter cake and wondering how I can become Paula Deen. I like one suggestion that I don't necessarily want to BE her, as much as I'd like her to be my surrogate grandmother.
  • I'm working on two new posts that I'm just don't feel are "finished" yet. I usually just sign on, type some stuff, and post it... (like this entry!) but I have 2 that are a bit more deep-thinking for me and I'm debating on even posting them at all... Don't know if the majority of people who read this (all three of you...) would just prefer light updates on the Littlest SillyHille, or if, you know, reading actual thoughts from me is also amusing. Did you know that if you leave a comment (hint hint) I would know that my aimless typing is not in vain? :)
  • In reviewing my bullet points, I realize that I use italics (and parenthesis) a bit too much. Forgive me.
So, that's my nut, in a shell. And since I didn't participate in the usual "not-me! monday" post that I occasionally do, I have just ONE "not me" to impart...
I most certainly did not eat pot-roast for breakfast. Because it smelled so delicious. And protein is filling, right?

11/11/09

I ♥ Paula Deen


When I grow up, I want to be Paula Deen.
No, seriously, I do. I really really do.

I decided I can over look her almost indecipherable Southern accent because she introduced me to butter cake. Take a second to soak that up.... butter. cake. 6 ingredients, the majority of which is actual butter and cake.
Here's the recipe:
Cake:
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted
Mix together and pat into lightly greased 9x13.
Filling:
8 oz soft cream cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces butter, melted
16 ounces powdered sugar
Mix together and spread over the cake mixture.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. The center should still be soft/gooey when you remove it from the oven. Cool it completely as this cake is best served at room temp.
True Paula-fans know that you can NOT sub margarine for butter. But just in case it's your first foray into Paula-ness, take note. NO Margarine. Mmmk?

My husband and I enjoyed this cake one night after tucking the lil sillyhille into bed. We snuggled up in front of the CMA's and brewed some decaf chocolate truffle coffee. It was delightful. If you have at home date nights, I highly suggest this. You won't be dissapointed.
Let me know if you try it...

Wordless Wednesday

11/7/09

Nursery Rhymes, SillyHille Style:

Humpty Grump-ty sat on a wall.
Humpty Grump-ty did not want to fall.


A pile of pine cones

and the freedom to roam...

Revealed a smile
before we headed back home.

11/2/09

Under Where?!


This post is about underwear.


MY underwear, to be precise, so you may want to stop reading if we're related or you ever feel like looking me in the eyes again. Ok, that might be a bit dramatic....
Carrying on....
The thought of folding my underwear has never crossed my mind. I was not raised by folders. I did not marry a folder. So I think, genetically speaking, we have two non-folders and those are dominant genes. We're bound, by nature, to be non-folders. It's not that I'm anti-underwear folding. Quite honestly, it never occured to me to fold it. So, imagine my surprise when at work, not one but two co-workers had to explain to me the nuances of underwear folding. It perplexed me, that people take the time to fold something that is not seen by anyone other than their spouse.
Who are these underoo folders, and what motivates them?
Several theories ran through my mind regarding why a person might want to fold their briefs.
Do they fold them because they're too Type A? Is it that much more organized? I admit, mine is basically crammed full then slammed shut. Could they possibly be oragmi freak shows and love to fold things? (I believe the latter, when bred back with other "origami" genes, produce humans who grow up to fold the swan-towels at resorts hotels, and boat-napkins at fancy restaurants).
It led me to conduct my own research into the field of underwear folding. To understand a folder, meant I needed to become a folder...
I spent a recent evening by dumping my underwear drawer, and putting it back together again. This, my dear friends, is what I've learned about myself:
1. I own many pairs of underwear I refuse to wear. Too big, too small, too loose, not enough fabric, and weird elastic accounted for probably 25% of my total underwear collection, all that I refuse to put on. For good measure, I threw them all away.
2. I own one pair of underwear that involves fur, or at least faux-fur, that I'm almost certain I've never worn. It was quite possibly given to me as a joke, for my bachelorette party, but I honestly cannot remember. I kept it. Not with any intention of wearing it, mind you. But just in case I die and a total stranger must clean out my underwear drawer, I want them to think that maybe I was a bit wild. Ha.
3. I own a pair of candy-necklace style underwear. It was given to me by my brother-in-law. At Christmas. In front of the whole family. I'm not going to explain that one any further. Just suffice it to say that more than one person was embarassed that day.
4. A large portion, probably upwards of 80%, of my underwear was purchased before my daughter was born. Actually, I can safely say it was before she was conceived. It was back about three styles of victoria's secret waitstbands ago.
5. All my underwear, with the exception of the fur and food pairs listed above, is 100% cotton. Most of them are victoria's secret low rise briefs. Not because I'm that girl that has to have brand name underwear. But because it lasts longer than any other underwear I've ever had. Obviously, since I buy it about once every 5 years. Apparently new underwear isn't a high priority to me. In the spirit of full disclosure, spending $50 on panties when I feel like it should be spent on diapers, groceries, and other "necessities" is what really stops me.
So there you have it. Once I whittled away my stash, I folded them as Trisha so kindly showed me how (on pretend underwear, at work. I don't make my co-workers fold actual underwear for me.)
I must say... it DOES look so much nicer in my drawers...
Maybe a non-folder can indeed become a folder after all....

10/31/09

Bee-utiful!

Miss Madigan got a halloween package from Grandma & Grandpa Hille this week. It had a stuffed ghost and a sippy cup in it. She loved the cup, she was a bit reserved about the ghost. Finally, after 2 days of me hugging and kissing the ghost, she decided he was alright after all. Here's a picture of her actually HUGGING him, and patting him on the back. Her mouth is wide open because she's saying "huuuuuuug".
She is going to be a bumblebee for Halloween. She's not so sure about the hood being up, but she's fairly content if the hood is down. Here I had to bribe her with my phone to get her to leave the hood up.

This is the back of the Bee. I love the antennae and the wings! She's our little honey bee!
We're not big Halloween people, but we're going to visit a friend's house then head to a local church that has kids activities inside.
Oh, yeah, we're planning on eating all her candy once she goes to bed too. He he he...

10/27/09

Soup Sister

Has anyone ever told you how to eat soup? Because Madigan would be happy to show you how...
Four steps, people. Dip, stuff, slurp and smile.

In case you didn't get that here it is in photos:

Dip:

Stuff:

Slurp:

Smile:

Got it? Good. Give it a try!

*Editors Note: Yes, I know my kid has a mullet. Blame her father, he won't let me cut her bangs or her mullet. Seriously... *

10/20/09

More I ♥ faces!



Another week gone and no post?
Sheesh, give me a break, I've been busy!
Here's my entry for the "I ♥ Faces" contest this week, you can check out others this week on their site by clicking on the link.


This was a picture I actually already HAD of Miss Madigan that I took last week. Then when I learned that this week's "I ♥ faces" theme was "Pink Week", I knew that I had to enter it. She just loves to play with my black scarf with the pink ribbons on it. Every single thing she touches goes onto her head, and this was no exception.
We sure think that she's a cutie! And she always loves to support a good cause!

10/12/09

I heart Faces entry




I heart faces is a fantastic photography blog that is chalk full of tutorials, ideas, and mostly, photos from people just like me! That's right- your average, every day folks who have a passion for photography. Ok, so some of them aren't average, they're above average.
Anywho, every week they have a theme to enter an original photograph into their fantastic contest. This is my entry for this week, themed "Excited!" It's actually my first entry ever.
I've seen these contests before, and have hesitated entering for a few reasons. Mostly because I have seen the entries, and they're FABULOUS. I know my photos don't hold a candle to them. But I decided to step out of my safe, happy place and jump right in this week. Because with a theme like "Excited!", I feel like I have a shot that conveys that emotion very well. The two things that get me the most excited in the whole wide world are my beautiful daughter Madigan, and photography, so I couldn't pass this opportunity up. Also, the possibility of getting feedback on my photography from people who know their stuff is a bonus incentive.
So, enjoy my first entry into "I Heart Faces" photography challenge. I hope it's the first entry of many.....

10/9/09

This one's for you, dad!

video

Madigan loves her Papa Randy. LOOOVES him.
The feeling is mutual, naturally.
If you listen closely during this video, you can actually hear him get wrapped a little tighter around her tiny finger. That's where she keeps her Papa Randy....

I'm anxious to see if she actually will say it for him or not when she sees him next week. I'll keep you posted on that...

10/3/09

Shoebox Head


Let me set the scene for you:

It was the late 80's, October... Halloween, actually. According to my parents we were not rich folks back then, although we (my 2 brothers and I) had no idea that we couldn't afford any old costume that we wanted. More years than not we had homemade outfits, ones that my creative mother usually orchestrated herself.
So take a moment to soak up this little visual nugget:

Zac, my oldest brother, was a tube of toothpaste. It's obvious that lots of time and creative energy were put forth into his bedsheet-turned-toothpaste tube. Besides the color scheme, it even had the "with fluoride (c)" printed on the front. Creative indeed. Ben, my next oldest brother, apparently wanted to be a ghost... Easy! another bed sheet, a little magic marker and voila!
I'm not sure how things took such a terrible turn south for my costume. Several questions have entered my mind: Did I want to be a toothbrush? No, not likely. Did they forget they had a 3rd child to outfit? Highly doubtful. Did my mothers creativity run out? Again, unlikely. Did my parents think that a shoebox on my head, fringed with construction paper "bristles", was just too funny to pass up? We might be on to something here....
If body language means anything, it's obvious that I knew I had failed on the toothbrush front even at that tender age. I won't even face the camera, my brother has to hold my hand to keep me in the picture. I've also learned from studying this picture that apparently we had siding on the inside of our kitchen, and we must have eaten hamburgers for dinner. But I digress...
Now, as a parent, I have come to realize that there are only precious few years where you can talk your children into dressing as you'd like them to dress. All too soon they develop their own opinions and desires for costumes. Last year, at only 3 months old, Madigan had no choice in being a banana:

Will she someday wonder why I picked such a fruit for her first halloween? Probably. The answer is simple: it was cheap, it was warm-looking, and it was easy to get on and off. Oh, and I think there is a law somewhere that states that your firstborn must dress as a fruit or vegetable for their first halloween. Seriously.
So when looking at costumes for this halloween, we realized that the years that WE get to pick are limited. Especially considering that she screamed bloody murder when we tried on a "Candy Corn" outfit this year. Does she KNOW that being a candy corn would be dorky? Hmm... Don't think for a second that we didn't try a few of the outfits that would surely cause her to groan and roll her eyes when she sees the pictures as an adult: a garden gnome probably topping that list. I reserve the right to put my kid in a sweat suit and put a shoebox on her head if I want to. Because it's funny, because I'm her mom and it's my job to dork-her-out on a few occasions in my life. And also because I guarantee that little Sarah Shoebox Head was the only toothbrush on the block that year. So, truth be told I may have been embarrassed at the time to be a shoebox headed-toothbrush that year, but as an adult I really appreciate my mom's effort and creativity, not to mention her ability to recycle a shoebox into headwear.
So soak it up, people:


Because you might just see me sporting a shoebox head this year, for old time's sake!