Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas, 7 and 3

It snowed during our Christmas eve dinner and there should be lots more by tomorrow afternoon. I'm from Texas.  A white Christmas is a very big deal.

Chris and I have commented that ages 7 and 3 (and, of course, cousin Evan at 18 months) may be among the finest ages for Christmas celebrations. My favorite moment of Christmas may have already happened.  Watching them tonight as they passed out the gifts they picked for everyone (at the Dollar Tree) and jump and shout with glee as those gifts were opened was pretty spectacular. But of course, there may be a few fun moments tomorrow...

I'm going to sleep, so Santa can get here...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Meredith's First Nutcracker

Mer danced in the Children's Ballet of Memphis production of the Nutcracker this year. There were two long dress rehearsals and 3 performances, and she handled it all like a pro. I'm not sure I'm cut out to be a stage mom. I definitely didn't bring enough hair gel. I'm sure you find that shocking. 

But this girl? She's kind of a rock star. 

Friday, December 07, 2012


Just got Madeline on my mind this morning. As the second child, the blogging on her life has been less. But not the adoration. So let's catch up.
  • She says "basically," at the beginning of as many sentences as possible. "Basically, I need a bandaid, because this booboo is kind of better, but not all the way better, and I know it needs air, but first it needs a bandaid."
  • She says "infusing," instead of confusing.
  • She's intense. Where Meredith rationalizes and can listen to reason, Madi is driven by emotion and can't easily turn that off. Did I tell you about the Grizzlies game where she was going to get to see her pre-K assistant be a Grizzly Girl? We didn't realize that this meant that Madi thought Natasia would be playing basketball. When this did not prove to be the case, Madeline wept as if we had stomped on her heart. And did not stop. 
  • She can count to 30 and write her name (and usually hits all 8 letters.)
  • She's funny. Still. Last night she got out of bed and ran into our room to throw a wadded up tissue at me. Bounced it off my face. It was funny. She knew it was funny. She also knew it was kind of gross, and that made it funnier. It was also a bit like, "Hey there, David Sugg." 
  • She loves Doritos. Not so much the healthy stuff. 
  • When she smiles, it's real. She doesn't really have a fake smile. And that just really says it all. 
And now, here to wrap it up with a bit more sentimentality, Mr. Elvis Costello. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


This may well have been the happiest night of Madeline's life. She was giddy--not hyper--just joyful. She kept exclaiming about the fact that people were giving her candy. She was amazed. And at most houses she wrapped up (after receiving candy) by saying "thank you and trick or treat and happy Halloween!" Meredith is praying a looooong prayer of thanks for her candy right now. Sweet and happy girls.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012


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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Madeline Learns to Swim, Olympic Style

Madeline recently asked to take her water wings off. She held my hands and bounced off the bottom of the pool, letting herself sink down and stay under water for several seconds. By day two of water wing-less bouncing, she was ready to swim. She taught herself how to swim in under ten minutes, with just a little coaching. This video is day two of her swimming, with Meredith filming and announcing it. You'll notice that A) another little girl named Louise gets in on the "swim to Chris" action and B) the Olympics just ended. Go Madi!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Madeline at School

Since Madeline's teacher is one of the finest human beings on the planet, she sends me pictures of Madi in action every once in awhile. Needless to say, it makes my day. 

Monday, August 06, 2012

Second Grade

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Sunday, August 05, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Today the girls were dancing to Pat Benatar's "We Belong" -- a dancing song if there ever was one.

Me: Meredith that was really elegant!
Madeline: (frustrated) I WANT TO BE AN ELEPHANT!
Me: You're an elephant, Madz. Now girls, dance your little hearts out, because we need to go after this dance.
Mer: Mom, they're not little. Not at all. They're BIG hearts because they're full of dance.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mad Scientists

It's hard to watch your baby grow up. So you have to savor the perks... Like watching the crazy stuff she does with her big sister -- and hearing the ridiculous conversations. Here's an example of stuff a one year old can't do.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Did I Tell You the One...

About the time Madi did the dishes...and her shoes?

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

That's a Wrap on the School Year

Madi wrapped up a year of preschool with a fabulous program and a pony ride. The girls and I then headed straight to Arkansas for one of the most relaxing weekends we've had in a long time. Milestone: Meredith, Madeline, and cousin Hadley played on their own for long stretches of time and even made group decisions to go outside on their own and sprint back and forth expending large amounts of energy. Any parent reading this knows that this is huge. Yea for kids who play on their own and wear themselves out! 

Meredith and Patrick in their program attire, posing for a shot inspired by the elder generation, circa 2008.

Here we are sans Daddy, who was sorely missed. He was in Colorado, celebrating Kayle's graduation and doing lots of hard work. But, as I said, he was in Colorado. So no pity for him. 

And then we hightailed it for the exact middle of nowhere and enjoyed every minute of it. 

Sprinting with Hadley (and a bottle of bug spray). 

Practicing our spit-takes. 

 Learning about ocean monsters. So far, no nightmares. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Free Swing

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ballet at the Shell

New Ballet Ensemble's Family Night was at the Levitt Shell again this year and was full of great stuff. Flamenco, hip hop, and plenty of ballet. Most of the young classes followed the outline of Le carnaval des animaux—Mer's class were the kangaroos. 

The Family Night show is always a bit long, and the little ones (okay, and some of the grown ups) sometimes get a bit squirmy. But the school wants the young ones to have the opportunity to really watch all the older children. Hattie, Meredith, and Elizabeth loved it. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Future

Mer: So, I can't decide if I should be a teacher or a doctor.
Chris: Maybe a scientist? I think you should be a scientist.
Madi: Hey guys. Or, she could be Super Girl.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Madeline at 3

I'm tardy with this birthday post. Maybe because she's the second? Maybe because Madeline, by nature, isn't easily summed up in a birthday post.  

If I had to choose a few things to help describe Madi at 3, I would probably start with snugglepot. This is a noun that (as far as I can tell) Madeline invented to describe a cozy spot where cuddling could--and should--take place. She piles up blankets and pillows and asks us to get into the snugglepot with her. (We do.)

So, obviously, the affection in this child is not waning. She'll hug and kiss whatever she can reach, grabbing a knee or elbow for a quick kiss in the middle of a game or activity. Honestly, she's kind of like a doting parent in the way she just can't quit with the affection. And I have to tell you, it's a strange but lovely experience to be comforted by a three year old.

But as she'll tell you, she's a teaser, too. She loves to joke and trick. Since she was still in the womb, we've participated in a UT medical study. They're tracking mothers' habits and children's diets and doing yearly surveys and tests. A few weeks ago we went in for third year tests and during that time she did a lot of different activities--but there were 3 times that the tester returned to a poster with crayons on it. The tester pointed to individual crayons and asked Madi to name them--she got them right each time. On the third try, Madeline kept a straight face, pretended to think deeply, and switched each pair of colors as she answered the tester. She never let on that she was joking til she had done it 8 times. She wins staring contests too. Easily.

What else? She consistently reminds me not to pop my knuckles. She's a pretty picky eater--passionate only about candy and yogurt. She can count to 28, so Aunt Beth and I are breathing a sigh of relief that she may have escaped our math genes. She's working on her M's and A's, and writes lots of letter-like objects with great focus. She is greeted at school by cries of "Maddy-poo!" from her friends -- this is the name she has asked them to call her. Adults are not allowed to use the moniker, and are admonished if they try. 

Her imaginary friend (not as ever present as Meredith's friends Hanas and Jonas, but hanging around quite a bit lately) is Alice. Sometimes pronounced Alisk. Never yet pronounced correctly by me. 

That's our girl. Complicatedly perfect. 

Birthday breakfast. 4/11/12. Third birthday. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter Goodness

First, for the record, what an amazing spring. A real, true spring -- not the short, startling slide into immediate summer that we sometimes get. We've had egg hunts in the heat, egg hunts in rain boots, and one gorgeous Easter morning.

Backyard egg hunt after a monsoon.

Our sweet neighbors, Ramona and Milo, came over for the egg hunt.

Then we went to their house and met the hens!

The merging of the Sugg and Lareau clans was the creation of an egg dying dynasty. We ALL take our egg dying very seriously. Aunt Beth and I (with help from the girls and Papa) dyed 60 eggs and could happily have done another 60.

Serious work.

Happy eggs.

Happy girls. Happy Easter!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our First Appalachian Hike

I say our first, because I have a dream that some day we'll hike the Appalachian Trail together. I fully recognize that this dream may require significant modification, as in, "Some day we'll hike 1/58th of the Appalachian Trail together." But it's my dream and I love it. There is almost no limit to my love for hiking. I once tried to climb a fourteener in CO while suffering from altitude sickness and as-yet-undiagnosed pneumonia. I still have mostly good memories of that excursion. But I digress...

While in North Carolina we hiked a trail or two off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was gorgeous and glorious. Meredith was a total pro, leading the way and reporting back to us on her walkie-talkie. Madeline was truly expert at sitting on shoulders, and actually did do some fairly significant hiking for someone who hasn't yet hit 3 feet.

Mountain moss.

Land's End vest model. Seriously. Who is this kid?

Camera balanced on top of a large boulder pic.

"One must read all signs, beginning in the parking lot." Chris Lareau

Beacon Point.

Appalachian mountains.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Southern Skiing

I fully admit that as we headed off to North Carolina with snowboards and a large assortment of gloves, hats, and coats, I thought Chris was deluded. No way there would be snow, no way it would be worth it, no way we could pull this off.

I was wrong. There, I said it. Granted, the snow was entirely man-made, but it was still a great day. We didn't do a whole lot of spring skiing when we lived in CO -- probably because it was a busy time of the semester even for those law students who were mainly there to play intramural soccer. Regardless, it was nice to push the sleeves up and wear sunglasses instead of goggles.

Mer took to it quickly, partly because she's pretty adventurous, and partly because Chris is a great teacher. They skiied together for an hour, she went to an hour class, and then she and Chris skiied together again. For all you haters out there: she had to start with skiing instead of boarding, 'cause they don't rent snowboarding stuff 'til you're 7.

And Chris totally took one for the team, getting in not one moment of snowboarding, while I went up and down the mountain seeing if I could still remember how to stop. I did.

And now, for the record and for the grandparents. Video of Mer's first solo ski.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Breakin'

We don't consider it an adventure if we don't leave before dawn.

We like our adventures with al fresco dining. (Knoxville, TN)

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