Friday, October 29, 2010


Tornado (n.) is defined as a localized and violently destructive windstorm occurring over land characterized by a funnel-shaped cloud extending toward the ground; a movie produced in 1996 featuring fierce competition between storm chasers with a strong romatic undercurrent; a metaphor for my life this week.

I hate tornados. When I was pregnant there were three separate occasions when the local tornado sirens went off and I was home alone. I immediately took my cell phone and hid under the bathroom vanity in our powder bath which I considered the safest room. This may seem drastic, but when you live in a little redneck town the suburbs, tornados are an actual possibliity. Oh, and being 8 months pregnant may have shifted my perspective as well. Imagine cramming that belly in a space designed only for a trash can and maybe a few magazines. It wasn't pretty, but it was safe.

This week we had tornados again. Actual tornadoes and destructive metaphorical tornados in the form of pneumonia in my sweet baby girl.

Tuesday on my way home from work I got a call from daycare that Madelyn had spiked a 102.6 fever. I picked her up and we went straight to the urgent care. After an hour of observation because her breathing was so rapid they deemed her illness "a virus" and sent us home. It didn't sit well with me, but they said her lungs were clear and as someone who has always had asthma and respiratory issues (and who has made several trips to the ER in respiratory distress) this is always my first concern.

That night I got up constantly to check on her. She was panting like a dog she was breathing so hard but I just kept telling myself that they had checked her and she was fine. Trust the doctors, don't be a paranoid maniac like you always are.

The next morning we woke up and I knew something was wrong. After 2.5 hours at the doctor, x-rays, breathing treatments, and a big shot of antibiotics we were sent home with a diagnosis of pneumonia.

Chalk one up to mother's intuition. And thank God for it.

Proceed to cancel all work appointments, head to Target for antibiotics/juice/tylenol/a new toy as retribution for all of her pain and suffering, and hibernate at home for two full days of snuggling and resting. Worry, worry, worry all day and all night. Feel terrible that I ever put my parents through this. And pray that this is just a fluke and she doesn't end up with asthma like me.

It doesn't help that our pediatrician has urged us to go see a pulmonologist because it's "not normal" for a child to have pneumonia twice by the time they're a year and a half.

I'd like this to serve as reminder for everyone out there, parents and not, that doctors aren't always right. They see A LOT of patients every day, and they don't know your body like you do. They don't know your children, how they act, how they react, their normal tendencies. Be your own advocate and if you think something is wrong, pursue it.

Tornadoes are often unexpected and cause major damage. Watch for the signs in the air and in your life. And remember next time you have to take cover to grab snacks. With Madelyn I can conquer anything as long as I have snacks.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I have eaten waaay too many candy corn in the past week, the actual number of which I will never publicly disclose.

I spent all day on Saturday at the Clemson football game without my hubby and without my little angel and I had so much fun. Really, it was a great day. Gorgeous weather, tons of food, and great time with friends. Including our friend's adopted 10 month old daughter Gracyn who I really did not want to put down. Go figure, I get a break from mommy duties and all I want to do is hold a baby.

I have a sink full of dirty dishes and floors that need sweeping but I'm sitting on the computer and watching Dancing With the Stars. And after I see Audrina and Jennifer Grey I plan to catch up on some magazines. This is about as rebellious as I get these days.

I'm not sure when it happened , but I am completely obsessed with Madelyn. I wasn't one of those parents who felt a tsunami surge of emotion after birth and lost all sense of reality. I knew I loved her but my feelings manifested themself in gradual, more subtle ways. Like, I couldn't stop looking at her. And I was stressed out maniac trying to make sure she was constantly ok. Normal first time parent behavior, but to me, affirmation that I felt connected to her.
Over time my love grew and grew for her and now I've turned into a big gooey puddle of Madleyn love and every.little.thing. she does just melts my heart into a million pieces. Seriously. I've become one of those moms. And in the midst of my love-struck fever I've decided that all I want is to move to a farm and have a whole litter of babies that can just crawl all over me all day long. I'm kidding, though I really do have daydreams about this. I'm confident the urge will pass. But please don't tell my husband--he scares easily.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Puttin' my big girl panties on

Yesterday was rough. After being so grateful and assured that my honey was home for good, he was told at 9 a.m. that he'd have to leave that evening to go to Birmingham for two straight weeks. As I told Kristin, there are not enough profanities in my vocabulary to explain how I feel about this. So instead of cuss, I cried.

All. Day.

It was obnoxious, even by my standards. I'm not a crier and I'm not sure what happened. I wasn't prepared. I hadn't grocery shopped or cleaned the house, not to mention we had big plans to go up to the Clemson game on Saturday while Matt's parents watched Madelyn. Yes, a day together amongst adults together was just what the doctor ordered after all the time apart. Not so fast.

After a sleepless night I woke up feeling un-refreshed but less dramatic. Accepted there's nothing I can do, thanked God for giving him such a good job that he happens to love, and put my big girl panties on. Time to stop being such a baby.

Except now I'm watching Steel Magnolias and Shelby is in the hospital know how it ends. Great. This is just what I needed.

I'm still going to the Clemson game. I'm going to let Matt's parents watch Madelyn and enjoy the day with friends, even though my best one will be missing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A day at the farm

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at a local farm to celebrate fall and of course, pick up some pumpkins. Except we didn't end up getting pumpkins because we were so tired by the end of the day that we decided having the pumpkin patch experience was enough and we could just pick some up at Lowe's. So lame. But we really were so tired.

Our friends Chad and Amanda met us there and they have a little girl named Emma who will be 3 in January. It is hysterical to watch her and Madelyn play together and talk to each other. Especially since Emma talks like a five year old and Madelyn talks in complete jibberish. Somehow they look at each other like they both know what the other is saying.

Here's a little recap of our afternoon.

Arrive at the farm and immediately hop in line for the tractor-pulled cow train. This was an obvious choice.

Stop to let Emma pose on the child-sized tractor:

Admire large tree:

Continue on to the corn house where we proceed to let the children walk around shoe-less in a foot of corn and repeatedly say "Madelyn don't eat the corn, just touch it.....touch Madelyn! Not eat!"

Pause again for an attempt at family photos:

(aren't they cute? :)

(pause here to wish blogger would add a photo editing tool titled "add tan")

Begin making our way through the corn maze in the shape of Bobby Cox's face. Pretty impressive, even by redneck standards ;)

The bridge at the end of the corn maze. At this point Madelyn has permanently removed her shoes and all Emma wants is her juice box. Proceed to cafe to indulge in fried food made the way only a rural Georgia farm family can.

Good friends, good times, and not a single tantrum from either toddler :) It was a happy day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

This kind of morning

What do you do when you've been stuck in traffic for 55 minutes in jeopardy of missing your 9 a.m. conference call?


Open and boot up your laptop as you continue to drive in lane 6/7 of Atlanta's mess of an interstate. Sip your large latte. And crank up your Friday morning Britney playlist as you speed into work.

While I don't typically condone doing anything but driving in your car (I'm taking to you teenage texters), sometimes you just have of those mornings.

This week has been crazy at work so needless to say I'm pretty excited it's Friday. Even more excited that our highs are only in the 70's for the weekend! Perfect pumpkin patch weather.

As always we have a busy weekend planned, but I'm just so happy Matt is home I could care less what we do. Saturday we're getting up and heading straight to J. Christophers our favorite breakfast place (hello blueberry crunch pancakes), then coming home with full bellies and working on the house all day so that in the coming weeks we can get a For Sale sign in that front yard! We've been doing a lot of praying (begging); a lot of financial planning (not shopping); flipped a few coins, tossed some salt over our shoulder and are hoping for the best. A little luck can't hurt.

Sunday we're going to church and then to the pumpkin patch! You can be sure I'll have a photo filled post ready for Monday morning. I don't know what could possibly be cuter than Madelyn and pumpkins. Or just Madelyn.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back to normal

Order has been restored at the Marden household...Matt is HOME! Cue the harps and the gospel choir singing "Hallelujah!"

He got home around 2 p.m. yesterday and I think by 2:05 my stress level had been reduced to normal state. No more training. No more Connecticut. No more single parent-hood. I'm a happy girl.

He couldn't believe how much Madelyn had changed in just two short weeks. It was such a reminder to me to cherish every single moment because they really do pass so quickly.

I made a decision in the midst of this past week as well. I've made no secret about the fact that I hopelessly suffer from a type A personality. Typical first born, a slave to my to-do lists, neurotic in nature, with a minor tendency to panic when I can't control a situation. You know the type. Well, I'm it.

But something clicked with me and I realized that not only is stress the most useless emotion, it also ages you and it makes you cranky. I don't want to be stressed about getting everything done. We're all busy, we all have a lot to do. Instead of resenting all of my to-do's I'm going to take joy in those I like, and get to the rest when I can.

If I feel like baking I'll bake. I won't do it out of guilt (because if I don't, daycare will feed Madelyn non-organic teddy grahams for snack instead of her homemade banana muffin!), or out of obligation (because even though I can't explain it I feel like I should do this). I'm going to take joy in the little things like reading, writing handwritten cards to my friends and family, decorating and organizing photo albums for Madelyn when she grows up, and spending time with my husband. I'm going to check my google reader and TV listings a little less.

I've felt like I've been on a slippery anxious slope lately and I'm convinced if I let it continue Madelyn will inherit these neuroses and that is just not ok.

I don't think God ever intended for us to spend all day running around like crazies, trying to squeeze 40 hours of work into a 24 hour day. So I'm going to stop.

Life is too short, and I've got it easy. It's time to enjoy it :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Die.

Slightly biased, yes, but seriously I just die over the cuteness of this picture. Die.
I always said I'd be the authoritative parent. The bad cop to Matt's good cop with natural tendencies to spoil. But I'm afraid that little girl is going to run all over me, leaving me in the dust of her dimples and giggles.
I'm in serious trouble.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sometimes you just have to breathe

On Friday we traveled up to Gor-Geous Chapel Hill for my cousin Jimmy's wedding. The trip included a one-hour plane ride with a nearly one and a half year old, renting a minivan, and sleeping in a hotel room- all things that make this girl uncomfortable. Have you heard about the hotel-driven bed bug epidemic? Yeah.

Thankfully my sweet mother flew to Atlanta just to help me and Madelyn get to North Carolina in one piece and I really thought we had everything under control. Until 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night when the stomach virus of 2010 took me down. And I mean down.

I thought maybe it was the bar french fries I ate while watching a shameful Gator loss to Alabama but turns out no one else who partook in my fries was ill. And ill is an understatement. I was up all night and then had to fly the next day. Thank the good Lord above for my mother because I wouldn't have made it without her. We're now home though I'm not exactly sure how we got here, and I'm still sick.

Since Saturday night I've been living on motrin and gatorade, sleeping constantly, nursing a blinding headache likely from dehydration and lack of food, and generally trying Not to breathe on Madelyn.

Last night I was exhausted and nauseous but I knew I had to give Madelyn a bath so I did. Afterwards we went into her room to get a new diaper and jammies, but she saw my weakness and took advantage of my impaired reflexes by pooping on her floor. Carpet, to be exact. You know, the kind of flooring that soaks up everything. And in three different spots.

Breathe in.....breathe out......breathe in.....breathe it with me now....
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