Recipe for a Forever Family: Take One Mom (formerly from the Midwest), Add One Cutie Pie (formerly from China), then slowly Stir in Two Big Drooly Dogs.

The "Competition"

Who does Maeve really and I mean REALLY Love???

Going by the amount of Hugs & Kisses doled out on a daily basis, let's list the competition.

1) Coming in at an uncontested first place.............Elmo!

Maeve LOVES Elmo! She hugs him. She kisses him. She sings, whispers, shouts and repeats his name over and over and over. Maeve can spot a picture of Elmo at fifty yards. The funny thing is that we do not watch Sesame Street. It is almost exclusively Disney Channel. Where this infatuation started, I'm not sure, but whoever heads the Marketing department over at Sesame Street deserves a huge raise!

2) A close second place belongs to Smudge & Baby, or as Maeve calls them......Baby & Baby (can't quite pronounce Smudge yet.)

Each morning she comes down the stairs waving at the dogs and saying "Hi Baby". Then they usually get kisses and hugs. I can't complain too much here, because the dogs do earn their adulation. As they usually get roughly petted (as only a toddler can) sat on, bounced on and generally pushed around throughout the day. But the rewards are worth it, Maeve regularly stops by and gives them hugs and kisses, feeds them snacks and generally just loves on them.

3) We can't forget "Food" in general as a category. Her first word every morning is "Eat" along with the sign for "Eat". If I don't hustle her right down to get her breakfast, her next word is "WAAAAAAHHHHH". My little snacker can and does say "Eat" all day long. Maeve is always looking to try new things, hence the picture of the dog food.

Keeping her away from the dog food is turning into a game of strategy at which she is determined to win. Maeve looks at it and things, bite size, crunchy, handy container just my height...what's not to love. Mommy looks at it and thinks...NOOOOO, my daughter does not eat dog food!!!! I thought I had convinced her not to snack from the dog's dish. Then one day as she is sitting on the couch eating raisins from her "Snack Trap" bowl that she is crunching. Last I checked, raisins do not crunch. Seems my little genius has taken to filling up her "Snack Trap" bowl with dog food when I'm not looking. This way she can enjoy her favorite snack whenever she likes. She is a smart one!

4) Last, but not least on the Hugs and Kisses totem pole is Mommy. Just wait, next month I'm going to make her responsible for the mortgage payment and you will see how quickly I soar to the top of the list. :))

Seriously, Maeve and I had an absolutely sweet moment the other day. While helping me clean out my files (ie adding two hours of work for Mommy to do), Maeve found an extra passport photo of me. She beamed a huge smile at it and then at me. Patting her chest, she said "MaMa" several times and it finally dawned on me. Every time I ask Maeve "who is her Mama" or "where is her Mama", she always smiles, pats her chest and says Mama. I thought she was calling herself Mama, but she was really saying, "My Mama", meaning I'm HER Mama. So for the next fifteen minutes, Maeve hugged and kissed the picture over and over. I was so happy, until I thought...."Hey, I'm right here." After a while, grinning ear to ear, Maeve walked over and plopped a big soggy kiss followed by a sticky toddler hug on me.

She's right. I belong to her!! 4 comments

I know, I's been awhile

It has been awhile since my last post, but I have been at odds with two different things lately and it has prevented me from posting. I was even tagged and I haven't had a chance to do that either.

1) Those of you who know what I do for a living must realize that this is the season that I put an incredible amount of hours in at work. I can't wait for Christmas, but for a completely different reason the rest of the population...after Christmas, my work/home life becomes much more balanced.

2) Now for those who are telling me 14 hour days are not an excuse to post pictures of my little Maeve...(Dad), here is the second excuse.

I want the camera!!! Give me the camera!! I NNEEEEEDDD the CAMERA!!

You don't love have never loved me...why oh why do you deny me the camera!?! (See those crocodile tears. A truly masterful work of art. My daughter is gifted!)

Now see what you have done?!? I want the camera so much that I have a pain in my side!

Maeve certainly has a flair for the dramatics. She can turn the waterworks on and off in seconds flat. Of course, as soon as I give the camera she is perfectly fine and swings it around, squinting and "taking" pictures. I tried to give her an old one that I never used, but she figured that out pretty darn quick and was quite peeved with me for not letting her have the "real" one. Oh, well...maybe by age four, or probably more realistically fourteen, we will have this "The Camera is MINE" complex worked out. 4 comments

Ooooh NOOO! Santa Claus!!

It had to be done. The traditional picture with Santa. Ideally, this is a picture of a child beaming with joy after informing jolly old Santa of their most heart felt wishes for Christmas day. Or in our case, a screaming child, writhing & squirming to get loose from the crazy old guy with the odd red jogging suit. In other words, it was a typical picture day for us, that went something like this.

Maeve & I were having a good time at the Mall shopping for gifts. We had spent some time playing at the new and very cool playground, complete with just about every gadget ever designed to please a 20 month old toddler. Then headed over to the snack area and ate a boat load of greasy, extremely unhealthy, but ever so tasty french fries. Basically, a toddler's dream of heaven on earth. Then it happened...

Walking around, still in a dizzy, happy state of greasy euphoria from the french fries, we chanced upon Santa's house and noticed only a couple of families in line. Instantly, I began the extreme probability calculations of how long the happy, babbling toddler tagging along next to me would remain in said state...there was a camera involved afterall. Was I pushing my luck and subjecting my child to unknown horrors, or was it possible that I could get the dream shot that every mother hungers after! Dare I dream?!? It was a long shot, but I was feeling lucky, so we proceeded to the end of the line, one of us boldly and one, as of yet, blind to the horror that was about to commence.

Maeve giggled in line, making eyes and smiling at the little boy in front of us (no surprise there). She even watched happily while he had his "smiling" picture taken with Santa.


Santa turned expectantly towards us and Maeve paused...

The photographer took one look at us and knew the drill immediately. She gave me a knowing wink. "Wait until I'm ready", she said, "then calmly place her on Santa's lap and step back quickly." The old guy in red visibly cringed, knowing what was next. I waited, trying to appear complacent. Maeve looked around, somewhat pensively, beginning to get a sense of the impending doom that was about to take place.

Then I heard the signal. "I'm ready...GO!!", the photographer called. Three quick steps over and I placed Maeve in the big red guy's arm to meet her fate, then took a big step backwards. A quick "click" and "I've got it!" later, I pulled a sobbing Maeve out of the evil grasp of the big red guy and quickly accepted the blue & cream sucker offered for consolation. Plopping the sucker in her mouth, the sobs immediately abated as Maeve realized the complete messy potential of this wonderful gift. Seeing that she was now fine, I asked the photographer if we should try for another one. She looked me dead in the eye and said, "I've got a shot of her crying, leaning forward. Were you hoping for something else?" Taking one quick look at my now happy, babbling Maeve with blue cream sucker smeared all over her face, I said, "Nope" and walked over to the booth to pay for my pictures.

Mission Completed!

The dream still lives on. Next stop...the EASTER BUNNY! 7 comments

Update Time

Here is an update on the adventures of Maeve Fu Dai...

- She's very close to getting her driver's license (at least in her mind.) My mistake was to let her sit in my lap and "drive" the car while I backed it up 10 feet from the garage to the driveway so we could wash the car. She also helped "drive" it back into the garage. That is all it took. No longer satisfied with driving backseat shotgun, she tries to sneak into the front seat all the time. Our new thing is that she likes me to open the back hatch of the car and then she walks over and first tries to get into the front, but then will climb into her car seat and wait for me to fasten her in. Hmmm....who is to really blame for starting this "driving" fascination...let's think back to this past summer. That's right! It was Grandpa!! Driving the pontoon all the time with Maeve I see the master plot behind it all. Train the kid how to drive and she will just cruise back to visit her Grandparents anytime they want. I see it all now.

- Shoes. This is my daughter...she loves shoes just as much as her Mama!! Recently, she wants to get her shoes and try them all on, even the ones that are too little. We do this every morning when she is getting dressed. Her favorite pair are her new black MaryJanes that I just bought for her. They are a little too big for her, but that doesn't stop her from wanting to wear them as much as possible. In the morning she generally picks out her shoes and usually her socks too. So this morning, to go with the khaki pants and orange T-shirt that I picked out, Maeve chose yellow socks and red squeaky sandals. A fashionista in the making.

- Picking Up & the garbage. Maeve is quite the housekeeper now a day. She picks up everything she can get her hands on. The problem is that she doesn't differentiate where it ends up. The current choices, a toy bin, the playpen or the garbage can. Her favorite is the trashcan. I let her play with a set of measuring cups the other day while I was cleaning. It wasn't until later that I went looking for them that I realized she had "put them away". Of course this was after I had tossed the trash into the main garbage can. How else to spend a fun Saturday afternoon, but trolling through your trash can.

- "Mine", she picked up this little gem in daycare and she knows what it means. She will pick something up and look me dead in the eye and announce "Mine". Normally, this is cute unless we are at a play date and she wants something someone else wants. Oh the joys of teaching "sharing" to a 20 month old. I wonder who spoiled her so badly. :)

- Talking. Although she does have quite a vocabulary, Maeve only says a few words on a regular basis. "Eat", "Shoes" and "Mine". I love how she says "shoes", she draws it out, saying, "shooooes". It sounds like she is just enchanted with them, which she is. Maeve loves to go through her word books, and recognizes too many to count now. I know she gets it (just doesn't memorize the page) when she points at something in our house and says the name.

- Her last doctor's visit at 19 months, she came in at the 55th percentile for height and the 25th percentile for weight. (These are the American charts to measure growth in children.) Maeve has always tracked around the 50th to 55th percentile for height. Her weight is where the real improvement is...going from not even on the chart when she first came home, to the 3rd, then progressing to her current standing at the 25th percentile. Yeah!! For those not familiar with these charts, it is just an indicator as to where your child compares to all the other children. In Maeve's case, she is taller than 55% of the other kids in the US on average. The goal is not to get to 100%.


Halloween Memories Part II

Unfortunately, I had to work late and was not able to take Maeve on her 1st Halloween....But that didn't stop her from going out and having fun with some of her very good friends that night. At least one of us had fun. :)

So here she very own little "Pot of Hunney" with some of her favorite people on Halloween 2007. The big question of the night was, "Which costume?" I had bought her two (the chicken and the Pot of Hunney). In the end, it wasn't even a close vote..Pot of Hunney won hands down. My favorite picture is the last one...All Tuckered Out. 0 comments

"Pot of Hunny" & other Halloween Memories

These are our formal JC Penney Portrait Studio pictures taken about a week prior to Halloween. Now, while other families have a hard time picking what pictures they wish to purchase, it is easy for me. I simply pick the pictures that Maeve looks the least miserable in. Yes, we are still having a hard time at the picture studio. Typical picture day goes as follows,
- Wake Up: Maeve is happy and smiling.
- All Morning: Maeve is happy and smiling.
- Test Run & try on costumes: Maeve is delighted. She giggles and runs around in her costume having a ball of a time.
- Pack her up in the car: Maeve is happy and smiling.
- Walk into JC Penneys and back to picture studio: Maeve is happy and smiling.
- Watch other people have their picture taken: Maeve is happy and smiling.
- Our turn, walk into the little studio: Maeve is happy and smiling.
- Start to take pictures: Maeve is WWWWAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH HYSTERICAL!!
- Try bribing with candy, promises of Hawaiian vacation, anything: Maeve is WWWWAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH HYSTERICAL!!
- Decide only to take pictures when Maeve stops to take a breath and get a few pictures taken.
- Walk out of the little studio and over to the computer to select pictures to purchase: Maeve is still WWWWAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH HYSTERICAL!!
- Select pictures, pay and walk out into the main JC Penney store: Like turning off a faucet, Maeve immediately stops crying as soon as we leave and now wants down so she can play and run around in the store.
- Walk through JC Penneys for a little shopping: Maeve is happy and smiling.

Did I mention that when we went to pick up the pictures she started crying as soon as we walked in the studio and didn't stop until we walked out. Hmmmm....I think I am going to Sears Picture Studio next time. 0 comments

Just a Day in the Life...

It is important to be comfortable when watching TV. Good thing Maeve had two 100+ lbs furry pillows (otherwise known as Bullmastiffs) to position just so for maximum loungability.

Helping Mommy take the perfect picture. No, No Mommy...move the camera this way. There I think you have it now. Baby (the dog) is checking out the "treat" potential of the situation.

Can we say "Cheese"?! Or make that "Cheesy"!!

You wouldn't look so thrilled either if your Mommy color coordinated you with the couch...but dig my pigtails!

Yo Doggy! Nice ears!!

A very suspenseful moment on Disney's "Little Einsteins". Will Rocket overcome Big Jet's efforts to sabotage him?!? The dogs are not so concerned.

They call them "Firecracker" pigtails. If they get much bigger, I am going to start loaning them out to the local High School band as back-up trumpets.

Ever wondered what a Chinese Irish American Princess looks like? Well wonder no more...
Maeve Fu Dai 0 comments

M&Ms, Elmo & a Chicken...

Today we went to JC Penneys for our Halloween pictures. As usual, Maeve walked in with a huge smile and promptly charmed everyone there...then she saw the camera and promptly started crying, and crying and crying. I ordered a couple of poses that she only looked somewhat miserable in. I am going to try one more time Monday to see if we can't get a cute and smiling Mom & Daughter shot.

BUT...I did pull out the camera when we finally made it back home (stopped off at the Toys R Us for a new Elmo doll first.) Then she was more than happy to pose for a few pictures. Now here is a happy baby!


Hayride Heaven

Maeve had a great weekend last week visiting family & friends back in the Midwest. The highlight of the weekend was our cousin's annual "Hayride" party. With plenty of cousins to play with, a huge yard to roam around in, children's play area galore, not to mention the craft table and every snack known to humankind available...Maeve was in heaven! Here she is with her Uncle Tony scoping out her next activity.

She quickly zeroed in on a particularly tasty cookie. The fact that someone else had it didn't slow her down in the slightest. After several failed attempts to take a bite of the other baby's cookie (much to the hysterics of everyone around us) I broke down and brought her a cookie of her own. Problem solved.

Then it was off for a hayride with Mommy, Uncle Tony, Aunt Melissa, Aunt Mary Ann and her cousins. Don't forget the driver...cousin Kevin!

After a long day, it was crash time.


The Queen & her loyal subjects...

Some little girls are born to be Queen. :)

After a trip to Chucky Cheese with her daycare friends, Maeve came home with a crown of her own.
So here is the Queen enjoying a nice lunch of grapes, bagel with bologna & cheese sandwich and a little milk to wash it all down. The Queen is still learning to take smaller bites, hence the bulging cheeks. ;)

No Queen would be caught dead without her loyal subjects nearby, and here they are...loyal until the last crumb disappears, then they will probably take a nap.


Lazy Sunday...

Just hanging out watching the neighbors walk by thinking, "My doggies are way bigger than your doggies!"

Wait a minute! What do I see!!! Mommy has the camera out and I'm sure she is going to let me play with it this time!!! YEAH!!

"WAAAAAHHHHH" Why can't I play with the camera?! I want to play with the camera! I need to play with the camera! I am REALLY upset here!! Don't you even care?!?

There is only one thing to do in this situation! I'm calling Grandma and telling on you!!!

Grandma says you have to give me the camera now! It is my turn. Don't you believe me?!?

Maybe if I pretend I'm calling Uncle Eddie now and sort of reach over and grab the camera really quick...a sneak attack. That's the ticket...a sneak attack.

How about a stare down. Ever competed in a stare down with a toddler chickee...well you are in for it!!

Hey no fair!! No tickling the tummy! This might be cause legal litigation here...hey, I told you no tickling the tummy...okay, okay, you can do a little tummy tickling. Silly Mommy.

You might think you have won, but this is just part of a larger plot of mine to take over the world! Oh Yes!!


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