A Broken Crayon Still Colors

I often find myself telling Madeline that broken crayons still color.  


I think it’s one of the more profound words of wisdom I have given my three year old so far. While I’m quite literally reassuring her that the broken Crayola in her hand will in fact still color in her coloring book just as beautifully as before, it means so much more. 

This is advice that I hope she is able to apply to more than just her crayon box. 

In life there are times where she will feel broken. Her heart, her spirit, her motivation. I want her to remember that she is still full of beautiful colors that even when broken can still color. 

She was made for a purpose and even if it might not always feel clear to her, she was created to do great things. 

We call her our rainbow baby because she was born after the storm of our loss. She brought light and color into our lives where there was much darkness and pain. Everywhere she goes she leaves a path of color and joy. I believe this is part of her purpose. Joy. She brings joy wherever she goes. 

I want her to remember that even those days where she feels like the world is working against her, that smile of hers is enough to bring joy to someone around her. A broken crayon can still color. 

Even while she is nursing a broken heart and feels like she might never love again, she can hold a door open for someone and that might make the difference in their day. A broken crayon can still color. 

If she someday finds out that her best friend has lied behind her back, she can go and sit at the lunch table with the new girl in school and make a new friend. A broken crayon can still color. 

I want her to always remember that she is here for a reason. She was created for a purpose. Even when she feels lost and aimless God can still use her and work through her. Sometimes it is that very brokenness that He uses. 

Our own brokenness gives us empathy and grows our compassion. It helps us know the right words to say when we meet someone walking down the same broken road. 

While I wish nothing but sunshine and rainbows for my beautiful little girl, I know that she will face the storms too. I know that she will unfortunately get her heart broken, have her spirit broken, or just feel broken down at times. I just pray that she will have the strength to know that even when broken she is still beautiful inside and out and capable of changing the world. 

That sparkly pink crayon can still color just as bright even if it breaks. 

But for now I’ll just keep buying her new crayons when hers break. I’ll fix as much of her brokenness as I can for as long as I can. 

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Matching Set

Everyday this week Madeline has insisted that we match outfits. 


This started on Monday after I had already had her dressed in a pretty purple floral skirt and white shirt. This was awful. This would not do. This did not match the black shirt and black and white striped skirt that mommy was wearing. I should have known that she wanted to wear a black shirt and black and white striped skirt too. 

There were tears and a full outfit change so that she could match and then lots of extra cuddles to make up for the horrible mistake.  

She has done this before. Asked to wear a matching skirt or shirt that I am wearing. It’s usually a one day phase and she goes back to her normal routine of asking to wear a dress everyday. 

Not this week.

This week, every morning in her sleepy little voice, the first thing she says is, “I want to match.” 

So, everyday I have searched our closets finding similar shirts, making sure that she looks even more like my mini-me than ever before. 

Since I’m not sure how long this phase of hers will last, I’m thinking we might take advantage of Missouri’s tax-free weekend this weekend and see if we can find some more matching outfits. 

I know there will come a day all too soon where dressing like mommy will be the worst idea ever, so I’ll cherish these memories and moments now while I’m still her hero and the person she most looks up to. 

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Boyfriends, Breakups, and Saying No

Madeline informed me last night that her and her boyfriend broke up. 

Reminder: she’s three. 

I asked her what happened. She said she told him not to kiss her and now he’s not her friend anymore. 

Again, she’s three. 

I told her that she did the right thing by telling him not to kiss her, and that she shouldn’t be kissing boys yet. I also told her I was sad that he wasn’t being her friend anymore. That seemed to satisfy her for now. I hugged her and she went on to play. 

I know that most likely the next break up won’t be so easy to cure with a hug, and that makes my heart ache for my little girl. 

Already at three a boy chose not to be her friend because she said no when he tried to kiss her (something they have already been in trouble for previously, so Madeline knew she wasn’t supposed to do it).

What happens when she is thirteen and it’s more than a kiss?

These are the things that already make my momma heart and mind worry. 

What if next time a boy she really likes threatens to break up with her if doesn’t do more than just kiss him? How do I instill strength in my daughter, beginning even now, so that when she wants to say no, she can say no and stand firm in that decision?

How can I make sure that her heart is not broken by a boy who only wants to see how far she will let him go. These may seem like crazy things to worry about, because well, she’s only three. But I believe that foundation of strength, self-worth, and confidence is being built now. 

She watches our every action. She sees how sweetly her dad treats me. She knows what love looks like. I want her to seek that in her life. I want her to grow up not settling for less than she deserves. I want her to expect the best, because she deserves the best. 

For now our little threenager has seemingly gotten over her first broken heart fairly easily. She was able to say no to the unwanted kisses from the boy who is always trying to kiss and hug her. She is learning that while she likes to give out hugs, she doesn’t want to be kissed, and she is in control of herself, so she gets to make those decisions not the boys. 

I can only hope remembers that she is incharge of her body as she grows in to her teen years and that that beautiful heart of hers doesn’t get too broken along the way. 

But I will be prepared with a shoulder to cry on, some sappy music, chessy movies, and some ice cream to make it all better when it does.

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Garage Sale Goodbye

We’ve been trying to get ready for a garage sale this week (which we apparently planned for the hottest weekend of the year #winning). Part of the massive amount of prep that it takes to get a garage sale ready has included going through Madeline’s baby clothes and toys. 

This has got to be a special kind of torture for someone who is as sentimental as me. 

Every dress, every tiny t-shirt, they all seem to hold a memory. I find it so hard to put a price on a memory. 

I know I realistically can’t keep everything. Right? Can I? 

No. That’s just crazy. Especially considering I probably really do have several photos of her in each special outfit. So it’s not like those memories are going to fade away completely. 

Maybe it’s just because she’s the first baby that I got to actually bring home. Maybe it’s a little bit because of the loss of her brother. Maybe it’s just that she’s a girl, and her clothes were/are so adorable. Maybe it’s that we decided we weren’t having anymore and selling things makes that decision seem real and final. Maybe it’s all if it, but getting rid of her baby things… Closing that chapter of her life, our lives, man this is hard. 

And to think, I just thought we were having a garage sale. 

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We Spoil Her, but She’s Not Spoiled


This face is why my child often gets ice cream before bed or a new Shopkins from Target.

“Please, momma.”

And those eyes and that lip is just too hard to resist. I know we spoil her.

I do.

I know she doesn’t need another Barbie, another Shopkins, another anything, but I want to buy these things for her. It’s my choice as her parent to say yes more often than no.

And yes, she does hear no.

We also know that she is grateful. Every new toy is met with a giant hug and more “thank you”s than we can count. We may spoil her, but don’t ever call her a spoiled brat.

She has a generous, giving spirit. One that we got to witness at the Fourth of July fireworks display last week.

We had set our chairs up next to a mother who was there with her three young children. We noticed they were calling the youngest girl, Maddy. This made our Maddy very excited. She loves to meet other little girls that share her name. She smiled and waved at the girl and said hi.

Later, when as it began to get dark and we got out the glow sticks for Madeline to make bracelets, Madeline decided she wanted to share one with her new friend. Together we walked over and gave the other Maddy a glow bracelet. Madeline was so excited to share with her.

Madeline is always willing to share her toys, snacks, whatever she has, if her friends want to play, she invites them to join in. This is why I don’t worry about spoiling her. She appreciates what she has and loves to share it with others. Her heart is big.

Then there is always that little nagging part of me that wishes I was buying toys and clothes for two, so sometimes I over indulge my guilt and grief and she reaps the benefits.

We currently are in a place where we can say yes to her requests. Thankfully, her requests are usually small. This won’t always be the case. As she grows those wants will too and she will have to hear no more and more. So we say yes now while it’s still exciting for to get a toy from Target’s Dollar Spot or a $3 Shopkins blind bag. Soon enough she’ll be asking for a car and we’ll be a little slower with that yes I’m afraid.

Speaking of spoiling… today is Amazon Prime Day and Melissa and Doug has a special offer for Life with Madeline readers:

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She’s a Firework 

StopGrowing 


Up


So


Fast!

I mean where did this tiny little baby go?


Look at how we watched the fireworks her first year. Snuggled close in her Ergo with the Baby Banz headphones protecting her little ears. 


Last night she danced around with glow sticks and asked when we were going to do our own fireworks. She has grown so much in such a short time. 

I so much wish I could bottle up each of these different stages and keep each of these versions of her in a safe place.  Somewhere that I could come back to as she grows. When she’s a moody a teenager and I need to remember that she was once my sweet, cuddly, little toddler. 

I just want to be able to open up my little Madeline time capsule and get my cuddles while teenage Madeline slams a door and blares her angsty music. Someone needs to invent this completely impossible vision of mine. I mean, who wouldn’t want to come back to this face time and time again?

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Photo Obsession 

I fully admit it. I have an obsession with taking photos and videos of Madeline. We’ve taken at least one (haha) photo of Madeline everyday since she was born. Usually they are just quick, cute, little candid shots of her playing. Sometimes they are posed and more thought out, but to say we have an excessive amount of photos is a bit of an understatement. 

This week my phone as started giving me the dreaded “out of storage” message. 


I can’t imagine why…

So I’ve been working on making sure that all of our photos and videos are backed up and then backed up again because my biggest worry is losing these all too precious memories. 

Right now I’m using Google Photo to make them up, which seems to be working really well. Plus the bonus is that the built in Google Assistant created these really fun animations with the photos. They are beyond adorable. 


Does anyone else have a good solution for photo and video (especially video) storage and backup? We have photos on our phones and then also on our laptop from our cameras. I’d like to get everything backed up together, but I’d also like it saved in more than one place “just in case.” 

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Dancing with Cinderella 


Tonight, Madeline dressed in an Ariel tshirt and a crazy dress up skirt, asked her dad to play Beauty and the Beast and dance with her. He had a long day at work, and was tired, but he held her hands and he danced. She spun around in circle after circle and was thrilled that daddy was dancing with her. 

These are the moments that I want to always remember. The quiet Friday nights at home. Our family. 

As I watch them dance I couldn’t help but think of the Steven Curtis Chapman song, Cinderella, and think about how it won’t be but a blink of an eye before I’m watching them dance at her wedding someday. Time is moving too fast with this little girl. Three years has flown by, I’m afraid think how quickly the next 20 will go. 

She spins and she sways

To whatever song plays

Without a care in the world

And I’m sitting here wearing

The weight of the world on my shoulders
It’s been a long day

And there’s still work to do

She’s pulling at me saying
“Dad, I need you

There’s a ball at the castle

And I’ve been invited

And I need to practice my dancing

Oh, please, Daddy, please”
So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t wanna miss even one song

‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone
She says he’s a nice guy and I’d be impressed

She wants to know if I approve of her dress

She says, 

“Dad, the prom is just one week away

And I need to practice my dancing

Oh, please, Daddy, please?”
So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t wanna miss even one song

Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone
She will be gone
Well, she came home today with a ring on her hand

Just glowing and telling us all they had planned

She says, 

“Dad, the wedding’s still six months away

But I need to practice my dancing

Oh, please, Daddy, please?”
So I will dance with Cinderella

While she is here in my arms

‘Cause I know something the prince never knew

Oh, I will dance with Cinderella

I don’t wanna miss even one song

‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight

And she’ll be gone

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Portrait of a Dad

To most this is just a photo of a dad holding his newborn daughter, but let me tell you, it is so much more. This is a photo of a dad who less than 14 months earlier had held his first born, his son, for the first and last time all at once. It’s a photo of a dad who has been through a tremendous tragedy and yet been an unwavering rock of support for his wife through the loss, another pregnancy, and now the birth of their new daughter. It’s a photo of a dad who is already so in love with and filled with wonder and amazement at this tiny little girl in his arms. It’s a photo of a dad who has just felt his broken heart heal a little bit while looking into his daughter’s big beautiful eyes. Today, that little girl is 3 years old and says daddy is her best friend. I’m pretty sure that feeling is mutual.  There is a reason this is forever my favorite photo of you two.


Patrick,

I’m not sure I can put into words how grateful I am to have you not just as my husband, but as the father of my children (but you know me, I will try). I remember the day we got married. I thought I loved you such an incredible amount then, but then that day I saw you holding Madeline, our sweet, beautiful, daughter in your arms for the first time it was like falling in love with you all over again. Watching you become a dad has been the most incredible thing to witness. From your willingness to change cloth diapers (thank goodness we are past that!), to watching you patiently let our little Princess try to “make you pretty” with her tiaras and beads. You have become such an amazing dad, and Madeline and I simply adore you. The days where Madeline has gone into full threenager status and is driving me crazy, you know how to talk us both down off of the ledge. We love our family adventures with you, our movie nights, our game nights, and our just be silly nights. You make everyday and everything a little more fun. I am convinced you are the world’s greatest husband, and Madeline knows you are the world’s greatest dad! We just know we are lucky to have the best! We love you bunches!!!

Happy Father’s Day from your two favorite girls!

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Cinnamon French Toast Casserole 

Every year since Patrick and I have been married I have made French Toast Casserole for breakfast on Christmas morning. It is our little family tradition. It is one of Patrick’s favorites and so every time there is a special occasion, his birthday, or in this case, Father’s Day, this is his special request.
It is fairly simple. I usually make it up the night before and then just put it in the oven when we get up the following morning and then it is ready without too much trouble. Patrick likes it best served with bacon.

Ingredients:
French Toast:
1 loaf of French bread, but into cubes

8 whole eggs

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
Directions:
Grease a baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Places the cubes of bread evenly in the pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour evenly over bread. Cover well and store in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 2-3 hours).  

To make the topping: mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork until crumbly. Store in fridge until needed.

When ready to bake, sprinkle topping over casserole, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

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