Sunday, December 14, 2008

happy holidaze!

It's been a while since I've posted. Between the holidaze that's setting in and the illnesses we've recently endured (colds for Kevin and I, strep throat for poor Miss M) I haven't had a lot of time. But now I have a reason to post...we took pictures for our holiday cards this weekend--which I am supposed to pick up tomorrow and hope to get in the mail early this week!

You'd think that we'd just use the professional pic for these cards (which we have yet to have taken for 2008...yikes, better get on that), since every year it's a job and a half getting M to sit still AND smile. Last year we took, like, 100 shots and she was blurry in every single one of them. This year was challenging as well, but finally we captured one that was ok. Kevin did a little fine-tuning, and we're all happy with the results. So, without further adieu, happy holidays from the Harts!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

big girl pics

If I've learned anything in the past 2.5 years of being a parent, it's that there's a milestone around every corner. They just keep coming...and while many are bittersweet, they're all exciting. Here are two of Miss M's newest achievements...the first is....

The move to her big girl bed! This furniture is part of a bunk bed set, where the beds can be used also as two twins or a trundle set-up. Right now I want to use a single bed, as I'm sure bunk beds would only instigate trouble (climbing, jumping from the top bunk...shudder). This is part of a matching bedroom set that I had in my room as a kid. (There we go, recycling again!)

I put on the blue bedspread first but after picking up a yellow one from my folks, decided to use it as it matches the room's decor better. Both were used by me as a kid, too!

The second milestone is...*drumroll please*...and I'll let the pic speak for itself:

YESS!!!! Finally, M's hair is long enough for pigtails! I don't have the right kind of bands for little girls' hair, but you can bet now that we can use them I'll pick those up on my next shopping trip.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

pumpkin fun

This year I was super excited about Halloween. I've been preparing Miss M for the big day, explaining how trick or treating works, doing practice runs (sans candy), making decorations, etc. So when yesterday morning hit I felt like *I* was the kid! After decking M out in full ladybug attire, we went to the library for a special parade and story time. Later in the day we headed out for tricks or treats on our street, then headed to the mall for an indoor ToT adventure. It was a blast, she really "got" it this year (even if she got shy when it came time to shout "trick or treat!") and seemed to enjoy dressing up. The fun isn't over yet, because we have a kiddie Halloween party to go to later today.

Here are some pics of our pumpkin carving experience. I haven't uploaded photos or ToT yet, but will do that soon and of course post 'em here. Hope everyone had a safe, fun Halloween!

Helping Daddy carve the pumpkin.

Maddi and "Buddah" (she named it).

Maybe we should use this for our Christmas cards?

Ready to canvas the street for goodies. It's strange to out when it's still light, though...
Trick or treating at the mall with best bud, Karsten the Pirate.
Halloween fun continues on Sat. at friend Katie's party.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

craig n' me

I have a new best friend. His name is Craigslist...I'll call him Craig for short.

Craig has turned me on to some wonderfully awesome deals recently. The first was an ad for toddler-sized clothing, for sale by a local mom of 3. I went over to her house one sunny Saturday morning and picked through a pile of clothing in Miss M's size. Came away with a big shopping bag of stuff--including a great winter coat--for just $13!

The second deal Craig hooked me up with was a halloween costume. I had been planning on making a no-sew ladybug outfit for M until I saw a listing for a 2T ladybug costume, mint-condition, for just $5. Picked that sucker up yesterday (cheaper than I could have made one!).I LOVE getting good deals. It means you can save money for other things (gas, food, gourmet coffees).

I know some folks refuse to buy secondhand anything for their kids, but I figure what the heck? Most little ones grow so fast that they don't get a full season's wear out of clothes anyway, and you can get stuff--sometimes brand-name--waaaay cheaper than buying it new. Plus I'm in the recycling loop, using things that otherwise might be thrown away.

So, thank you, Craig! I'll be turning to you for more advice--I could really use a few things for the house and maybe, just maybe, you can help me out with that, too.

Monday, October 06, 2008


It was a beautiful weekend to engage in fall-type-stuff, so that's what we did on Saturday. There are a couple of farms on the edge of town that join together to hold a fall festival, complete with pumpkin picking, hayrides, petting areas for the kids & animals (kids pet the animals, not the other way around :), and more. We visited both farms and enjoyed just about everything there was to offer. Miss M had a blast. Here favorite by far was the "corn sandbox"--a giant tub filled with dried corn and stocked with lots of little shovels, rakes, and dump trucks. When we got home I had to dump the corn out of her shoes, pockets, and even the hood of her jacket!

Feeding the calves.

Way cool hay stacks to climb. She went all the way to the top with Daddy later!

"It's just the right size for me!"

The awesome corn-sandbox.

And finally...what's fall without pumpkins? (We brought home 2.)

Later that evening we went to an outdoor movie...The Wizard of Oz. Surprisingly, M sat thru the ENTIRE movie!! The first half of it she stared, wide-eyed, at the screen, absently dipping her hand into the popcorn bag that she was hoarding. The second half she spent on my lap, snuggled under a blanket (it was a chilly night). We don't have pics of that, but, true to form, Kevin took plenty of video.

Hope everyone is enjoying the season as much as we are!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

sleepless days

I think it's happening...really happening this time. Miss M has been hit or miss in taking her nap for the last 2.5 weeks, and I really think she's close to giving it up. AAAAGH! Tell me, experienced mothers with older did your kid go about dropping the afternoon (and only) nap? How old were they? Did they quit cold turkey, eliminate it gradually, or what? And how much earlier did you put them to bed once the daytime naps were history?

This means, of course, that I am doomed as a WAHM. There will be no time to work unless I get up at 6 am to do it. I'm probably going to have to lean on a few folks who have been offering to help out, I think.

Other news? It's been rainy as HECK here. Everyone gets a little cranky when the days stretch out endlessly (especially when those days are no nap days), so I've been trying to find ways to keep life interesting and fun. Here are some of our adventures!

Singin' in the rain

Tiptoe thru the downspout

After an afternoon of fingerpainting, a bath was the only way to get all the goo off. Combine blowing bubbles with bathtime and there you have it, a solid hour of entertainment!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

holidays and harvests

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Ours started out pretty busy, but ended on a relaxing note. Sunday Kevin and I had to go to Chicago to play for a wedding reception, so Mom & Dad Hart came to stay with Miss M. They had a great time by all accounts...M was a perfect angel (or so was reported) and Grandma Joanne and Grandpa Ronnie got to spend some one-on-one time with their granddaughter.

Monday we had a Labor Day gathering with the family. It was a bit steamy out but it's been much worse, so we braved the humidity and hung outside for a good part of the afternoon. The trick is finding the best way to cool off. Here's what M does:

And my dad's cool-down technique:

It's also time to reap the benefits of gardening with late summer veggies:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

little lady

Just wanted share a quick pic captured at my friend Nikki's wedding recently (and congrats to Nikki and Cory, BTW!) of our little lady. Isn't it hilarious how she's got her legs crossed?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

the august rush

It's been a while since I've had time to update...things have been pretty busy. Last week I was balancing 3 projects, but I've since completed one of them and have made decent headway on the remaining two. One is a pretty labor-intensive article feature that includes a series of interviews with 4 people plus communicating with a publisher. I've been trying to as much done as possible before Kevin is back to teaching (tomorrow, eek!).

We're making more strides in our family-based quest to become "greener." The latest step: we're on board with reusable bags. I recieved one free in the mail just for taking an online quiz, so when I went grocery shopping I brought that bag with. Kroger also sells reusable bags so I picked up two more. That day I brought home only FOUR plastic bags from the store. That's opposed to the usual dozen, so I'd say that's making pretty good progress. I've since bought one more Kroger bag (an insulated one) and ordered 3 string bags from

Another perk, besides doing our part to lessen the impact on the environment, is that I don't have nearly as many bags piling up in the garage. We do recycle the ones that accumulate, but I always forget to take them in (we don't enjoy curbside recycling in our town).

Let's see, a Miss M update...we're all underwear, all day long now (at home anyway.) She's doing really well with letting us know when she has to go potty. We do use pull-ups for going out and at bedtime/naptime, but overall I'm happy with her progress. And for anyone wondering, I did have a bye-bye diaper party. We packed up all the cloth and put them away in a box. That seemed to do the she doesn't fight me when I go to put underwear on her. Yay!

Also, Madison is developing quite the imagination! The other night I went to tell her goodnight and found not Maddi but an elephant in her bed! :) Also, she had Data and Jordie from Star Trek Next Generation in the bathtub with her a couple of days ago. Thanks to Kevin, I guess our kid is on her way to becoming a Trekkie!

I haven't had time to upload any new pictures lately, but I'll be certain to do so with my next post. Hope everyone is enjoying these final days of summer. Can't believe September is nearly here!

Friday, July 25, 2008

potty party

It may be the mom in me, but I believe Madison is really a smart kid. I don't have anything to compare her to, of course, since she's our firstborn, but I seem to get comments from strangers a lot about how well she speaks, that she knows her letters and numbers so well, that she can sing a few songs at just 2 years, etc.

I'm sure this will have its downfall. It's got me paranoid that the next kid we have will be a little slower developmentally and I'll be worried sick about it. Miss M walked on her own at 11 months...if child #2 doesn't walk by its first birthday I'll panic. If fit doesn't use the "expected" number of words by 18 months I'll have a heart attack. I now understand why my parents always told me they didn't have gray hair until they had children. I think I understand now, and I'm not even stressed out yet!

But for such a bright little girl I'm getting a little frustrated with our potty trainng experience. It's going well for the most part...I'm putting her in underwear at home most of the time, and when she's wearing it she is really good about getting to the bathroom when she has to go.

But lately she's wanted to wear diapers, not underwear, and when she's in a diaper she doesn't make an effort at all to use the toilet. I'm contemplating playing the mean mom card and deeming diapers in the house off-limits. She could then choose to wear underwear or go nakey. I've also been tossing around the idea of getting some pull-ups for outings and naps. I don't want her to wear them all the time, as I've heard they're too much like wearing a diaper, but I'm not brave enough to chance going out in underwear. I'd love to be able to put the cloth away (although I will miss cute cloth butt) and not buy any more disposables--except overnight diapers--at all.

So...calling all experienced moms or dads who've been through this...what would you do?

Here are a couple of shots of Miss M at Grady's, a local place that has all kinds of rides plus pizza and ice cream. We went a couple of weeks ago and picked out the rides that were suited for a 2-year-old.
Taking a ride on the train:
Harley girl!
Thanks, as always, for reading & looking!

Monday, July 21, 2008

girls just wanna have fun


This weekend we were quite the socialites! Two parties in two days used to be nothin', but when you're embarking on a series of social activities with a toddler they can become exhausting outings quickly.

Saturday we had a birthday party to attend for one of Madison's friends. It was really a party for the kids AND adults, and we had a great time. There were kids to play with and toys (someone else's toys...always much better than your own!) and food and games (a pinata and pin the tool on the toolbelt...cute) and good company. Miss M had a great time...and she didn't even seem to mind when, as I was trying to coax her into leaving for the evening, she insisted on 'one more time' climbing up the little slide in the pool (never mind we had already changed her out of her swimsuit and into her clothes) and she slipped and fell right in. I saw that one coming but you know, sometimes they have to learn for themselves. I expected tears but all she said was, "Oops!"

Sunday we went to a family sweet corn party up in Herscher. Got to explore the farm a bit, and we had great fun listening to our echoes in an empty grain bin.

Today is recovery day. We don't have any plans, except to check out Kevin's ISU faculty concert this evening, and I plan to keep it that way.

Finally, I got around to adding a few pics!

Taking a swing at the pinata:

Collecting goodies from the pinata:

Playing with the birthday boy:

The awesome cakes from the party. The theme was tool time, so these creative edible goodies fit the bill!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

waterfun and all that jazz

Right now I should be working as the lil' one is snoozing, but seeing how I am researching blogs for an article, the more I read about them the more I felt the urge to update my own. So, here I am.

We took our annual trip to Iowa City this weekend. The Iowa City Jazz Festival was our motivation, as it has been the past 8 years. It's turned into quite the famiy event with both Kevin and my parents joining in on the fun. Good times were had by all!

Kevin took a lot of video of the bands but I don't think we got any pictures of the groups performing on stage. However, I have a host of images of the three of us at the pool--thanks Dad--that I think you'll enjoy. Miss M loved the water, giving me the nudge I need to make the trek to our local public pool. (It's sooo far a 10 minute bike ride.) Here are some of those pictures, enjoy them! Also, if anyone is interested in reading a recap of the festival you can check out my jazzwriter blog, but please wait a few days until I have time to write & post! I'm hoping to do this Friday evening.
Riding the Daddy-fish.
Pink arm floaties!
3 of Harts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Madison takes a boat ride

Since we're in a Curious George phase right now (classic books...I still love them!) I figured it was appropriate to create a title ala H.A. Rey.

Sunday was absolutely gorgeous so we hopped on the bikes, strapped Miss M in her bike trailer, and headed to Miller Park. We couldn't remember if they had paddle boats for rent on the lake, so we wanted to check that out. Lucky for us they did, and Madison loved the experience.
Here's a bonus shot of Miss M modeling her evening gown/blanket. Crazy kid!

Monday, June 16, 2008

the great outdoors

We had a pretty fun weekend. It was beautiful so of course we spent most of it outside. Saturday there was a concert downtown (sponsored by our friends at WGLT), so we hopped on the bikes and trekked down the trail. Madison liked it a lot, and she made friends quickly with a little boy sitting next to us. They danced, played with sticks, and shared snacks. She's a social one, that girl! Next we hit a local carnival. Miss M took her first train ride. It was a little Amtrak and she loved it! And on Sunday we celebrated Father's Day by having the family over. My folks & sister and bro in law and Kevin's folks all came. Except for a super duper wind gust that practically lifted everything off the ground and the brief rainstorm that followed, it was a great day for a cookout. The sun came out later so we headed back outside.

Blogger's photo uploader is working now so here are the pics!

Dancing with her new friend at the GLT Summer Concert:

Mmm, ice cream with Daddy. What could be better?

She's still talking about the train ride!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

green news, green thumb

We've accomplished two things so far this summer that we've been wanting to do for a long time. Here they are:

Kevin made a rain barrel last fall but he didn't hook it up until the spring. We're using the water for our garden, plus my flowers. (Thanks Mom Hart, Master Gardener extrodinaire and generous contributor to my plant stash!)

The clothesline is great. It takes stuff almost no time to dry, especially the diapers! When I lined dried my AIOs in the basement they took 2 days. Now I need only an afternoon of outdoor air.

And, well, since I just uploaded some photos to my computer, here are a few more for ya!

Getting ready to go to a wedding. Look how grown up Miss M looks!