ShabbyBlogs - Must be Maddie

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Vermont dogs

Upon first arrival to Chris & Mary's, the dogs excitedly greeted us at the door. Sniffing us out and figuring out why we were invading their home. But within a couple hours, they forgot we were there.

Mckayla is a middle-large sized black dog, maybe an old lab. She loved to be touched and scratched. If you started to pet her or show her love, the second your hand left her furry coat, her wet nose would nudge your hand pleading you to love her more.

Good golly that dog had the longest, loudest paw nails I have ever seen. It only took away from her cuteness when we were sleeping. See, we slept on a blow up mattress in the living room which has hard wood floors. And sweet, darling Mckayla would wander around the house, her nails hitting the floors and announcing to everyone she was walking.

Shiloh is the other dog. He is a mixed breed of boxer and something else. He's the sweetest, most mild mannered dog which is a great mix for two curious little girls.

At one point Samantha was playing with a necktie and even though it fit around her head, she didn't think about readjusting the size before dressing up Shiloh. As she was pushing and pulling the tie on Shiloh's head, his squishy face pushed and pulled with her efforts and he didn't show one sign of discomfort or discontent. He just put up with it and let her play with him.

Margaret told me that sometimes Shiloh's lip gets stuck behind his teeth, like he's trying to be tough...but really he's a big, lovable teddy bear.

She was so right. Shiloh was just so lovable, he's lucky he didn't get stuffed into our massive duffel bag and smuggled back to Virginia.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Prayers for Nanno

I've fallen in love with Vintch's writing over the last few months and she's one of my first bloggie friends. Even though we're miles apart, our blogs keep us connected. And today she posted about her grandpa Nanno. He is 90 yrs old and is going to the doctor this morning at 10:00am EST. I will definitely be praying for Nanno in a couple of hours. If you feel compelled, send happy thoughts, happy vibes and/or prayers to Nanno.

Snowy days with the girls

We spent the next few days of Christmas break snowed in and playing with the girls. We played all kinds of games. Hide and seek was fun, especially when Samantha would hide in the same spot ten times in a row. They liked coloring which I also like (it's therapeutic, try it). We read books and played with wooden letters.

They have a pretty cool room. Mary painted a tree on the walls and also made a little puppet stage for the girls. Margaret and I were customers in Samantha's beauty shop and had our hair straightened with a pink plastic flat iron. It was cute, and a little painful.

I have to say it is really cute when Samantha (older) and Gracie (younger) play together. Samantha is definitely making an effort to be the best big sister she can be and it's very sweet.

Little Gracie playing on the rocking...moose?

The girls being cute for a picture

The little ones have healthy appetites too. I was surprised to hear they love fruits and vegetables, pork, and hot sauce. During one delicious turkey dinner, Samantha decided to use a LOT of hot sauce. We warned her that she didn't need that much but I think she was showing off for her aunts & uncle...and in the end we needed a large glass of milk to extinguish the fire in her mouth. She learned "less is more" that evening.

I miss these girls already. They're precious and smart and it's so interesting to see their little personalities develop. I don't get to spend much time with people under the age of 10 yr, so it was fun to play...for a little while.

They are as cute as can be, but wow are they tiring too. I don't know where kids get their energy, but I wish I could bottle it and sell it. I'd be a millionaire. And hanging out with them for a few days definitely confirmed that I am not ready to have babies. One day! for sure! And I have no doubt Husband and I will be good parents, but not for another 4 or 5 years.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Peace within

MamaH sent this to me this morning and I wanted to share it.

"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tigers vs Westerners

There's a bit of buzz going on with Amy Chau's book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and her "tiger" type of parenting style. I read this article "Chinese moms vs. Western moms: Is there a mother superior?" and just today I read this this man's response, "'Tiger Mothers' Leave Lifelong Scars". In short, Ms. Chau is arguing that the strict Chinese parenting style is superior and produces smarter, more successful children compared to Western parenting.

Some examples of this strict parenting includes not allowing her kids to go to sleep overs or play dates, forcing them to master the piano and/or violin, arguing that nothing is fun until you're good at it. And to be good at something it takes a lot of hard work.

I am in a unique situation because my father is full Chinese and my mom is Caucasian, a little East meets West. When I was growing up my parents were not nearly as strict as tiger parents. And after reading some of these articles and responses, I'm glad I didn't have such a strict upbringing. What I remember most from my childhood is their saying, "do your best, we can't ask for more than that."

As a girl eager to please her parents I took that saying to heart and often enforced it upon myself. Yes they preferred that I finish my homework before I went to play, but they did not watch over me to make sure my hw was 100% complete before I was released for play time. It was me who did the enforcing. I put pressure on myself to do my best, and a lot of times that resulted in "A" quality work...and yeah I was disappointed when I'd get Chinese Fs, aka Bs. But my parents weren't ever disappointed in Bs.

My parents were really very supportive and didn't ever say mean, abusive things to us. "You're stupid" or the like never came out of my parents' mouths. Most likely it was me and my bro trying to push each other's buttons.

Unlike kids with tiger parents, my brother and I had sleep overs ALL.the.time. Like...every.weekend. There was a time in elementary school where my best friend Laura and I would spend weekends at each other's houses. My brother was exactly the same. As long as our homework and any projects were completed before Monday, my parents were happy.

But there were moments when they pushed us too. My mom pushed me to play the oboe in middle school, even though it was one thing I really didn't want to do. But her pushing me into it was the start of a chain reaction. I kept playing in high school, was placed in the top band, and made good friends through band. And I'm thankful I stuck with it, because I learned a lot of valuable life skills because of music. Practice. Persistence. Discipline. Team work. Dedication. etc. etc. etc.

I can understand the pros and cons of each type of parenting style and in typical Peachy fashion, I like the middle ground, a blend of the two. Rules AND play time. Structure and schedules but also flexibility. I just don't buy into the extremes of anything.

What are your thoughts? Did you grow up with tiger parents, or have friends that had tiger parents?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Taco night

Tonight is taco night at the Peaches & Husband abode. And I am excited. I love tacos. I love how easy they are to prepare & clean up and how delicious they are. I love that we went through a couple month period where Tuesdays were taco nights.

Does anyone else have regularly scheduled meals? Do you hate it or look forward to it?

I think if my family had scheduled meals in high school I would have gotten tired of it. But now that I'm an adult, taco night is comforting and a constant that I can count on. I like that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A new love

Christina Perri.

She's a musician who plays piano and sings. I saw her on Conan a little while back and she mesmerized me with her unique, punky but girlie look and her distinct voice. She reminds me of Fiona Apple but she's different, she's got her own style and I LOVE it.

She creates a dark emotional dimension with her music & lyrics and I'm falling for each of her songs.

Definitely check her out:

She sang "Jar of Hearts" on Conan and really, who hasn't felt like they've had their heart broken and stolen and stuffed into a jar of hearts?

"...And who do you think you are
Running 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Who do you think you are..."
~Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts official music video

She's got videos on and on her website.
Definitely check her out.

Christmas Day cont.

I took a deep breath and turned down the driveway, unsure of where the gravel road was and hoped for the best.

"OMG I feel like I'm going to run into their house!?"
" that's not their house, that's their neighbor's house. Their house is farther to the right."
"To the right?! Where?? In the trees over there?"

This is the exact conversation I was having as I was wrestling with the car to get up enough speed to head up the hill, through the trees, and up to Chris's house. The yellow "!" warning sign was flashing on my dashboard like a strobe light, reminding me just how un-experienced I am in snow driving.

At one point I thought we might not make it. The car was struggling and I made a rookie mistake of breaking at the bottom of the hill instead of using that momentum to propel me up the hill. Husband was telling me to ACCELERATE, ACCELERATE! I was flooring it and hoping for some speed.

But by the grace of God, we made it to the house. I put the car in park and jumped out of the car, anxious to stretch my legs and stiff body. The air was cold and crisp and so refreshing after a heart racing drive.

Chris met us outside and welcomed us to his home. We chatted outside until we were cold and then headed inside. A few minutes later Mary and the girls came home. They were at a party next door.

Samantha, the oldest girl, burst in exploding with light and energy. Her younger sister, Gracie, was a bit more reserved.

Gracie came in and ran into me, thinking I was her mommy. Granted we do look similar, what with the dark hair, small stature and asian features. But I guided her little self to her right mommy, Mary. Margaret, Husband and I just cracked up. We had a feeling that mix-up might happen.

We brought in gifts from MamaH and PapaH for the girls. They opened their gifts with such excitement. Paper was flying everywhere. Chris & Mary & the girls gave gifts to us too. We got WOOL SOCKS!!!! Now that might not be an exciting gift for a lot of people, but for a gal who is always cold I was ecstatic. We also got a sweet painting by Samantha.

When the excitement subdued, we skyped with MamaH and PapaH. Then it was bedtime for the girls and time for the adults to relax after a long day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Christmas Day

When Christmas Day arrived, the car was about 80% packed. We were packing for 6 days in Vermont which means snowboards, snow boarding gear, wool sweaters, some gifts for the nieces and as many socks as I could stuff into our duffel. It looked like we were moving to Vermont, instead of just visiting.

After we finished packing the car, Husband and I headed to MamaH and PapaH's home to have breakfast and pick up Margaret. After a serving or two of eggs and bacon, unpacking and repacking the car, we hit the road.

A whopping 560 miles stood between us and our destination,
the home of Husband & Margaret's older brother Chris, his wife Mary and their two adorable little girls.

We drove our way up the East coast all. day. long.

Thankfully Husband burned some stand-up comedy routines onto CDs and we laughed our way north. My favorite stand-up line of the trip: "...sprinkle some fries on those CUP CAKES." Oh how I love Patton Oswalt.

When we finally got to the state of Vermont it was close to 6pm or so and pitch dark. It was an unfamiliar darkness. Living in a metropolis means there's a lot of light pollution that prevents really dark nights. But in Vermont, the darkness is encompassing. It envelopes you and you can't help but look up at all the twinkling stars.

As we were getting close to Chris's house, Margaret and Husband warned me about the driveway. "It's pretty steep, so don't freak out." They were not kidding.

The driveway is a 45 degree angle down off a main road. It was covered in snow and when it was time to turn, I was freaked out. I immediately remembered my car has not driven on snow yet. I said a little prayer that the car would handle the elements so we could make it to Chris's house...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Husband and I opened presents on Christmas Eve. He is such a good gift giver. He got me Washington Capitals fleece sweatshirt that's super comfy and vintage looking; I love it. It never ceases to amaze me just how well Husband knows me. He knows my photography love affair began with film and this Christmas he gifted me with the Canon EOS 3 body. He said it's what the professionals were using before everyone went digital. AND the EOS 3 is compatible with the our DLSR lenses! How awesome! Gift giving is definitely one of his love languages.

I got him a super soft, plush, navy robe since it's been so cold this winter. And I got us some house presents, like tall drinking glasses for water (so we can stop stealing each other's) and a little 2 cup liquid measuring cup. It wasn't super exciting but they were things we needed.

The rest of Christmas Eve was spent at my parent's house. It was a pretty relaxing afternoon and I'm glad I got to spend some time with my family since we were traveling out of town. We had dinner and opened presents.

Me and Bubba

AND I got to open T's lovely package of her favorite things. I was so excited! I've already used the gloves and love them. They're way cuter than my plain jane blue ones. And the bag sealer is a big hit with Husband.
Any time we have friends over for drinks, I break out the Lily coozie because it separates my drink from everyone else's and it's pink and girlie. Thanks again T!

Later that night we went to church and afterward had some friends over for drinks. We ventured out to Q-Ball, a billiards bar near our apartment where Husband proposed to me. It's kind of our tradition to have a drink there on Christmas Eve. And I totally kicked butt playing pool - woot woot!

We stumbled home, happy and pleased with the day. We had a long day ahead of us and it was time to get some rest.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

"Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through." ~Anais Nin

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Friends I am back in town and I have SO much to catch up on...blogs, life, friends, my apartment, etc etc etc.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday and a happy start to the new year. It feels refreshing to have a new start this year. Like I can shed all my bad habits and work on establishing better and more beneficial ones.

Best wishes and I'll be back with updates soon! Love you, miss you, mean it.