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It was her idea to use blueberries so I gathered several in a bowl and threw in a baby carrot for good measure before we suited up to brave the winter wonderland that was our backyard. Over the last 24 hours flakes fell from the sky completely covering our lawn in the process and after having snow cream as dessert before our dinner the night of, the next morning began our official snow day and we were determined to play in it until we could no longer feel our fingers.

In pink from the tip of her nose to the boots covering her toes, we made our way through approximately four inches of fluffy white snow (a blizzard by most North Carolina standards) yet far more enjoyable than the ice we received last week. We threw snowballs and we laughed and I spun her around with her feet in the air and she asked the one question every child asks when they see the ground covered as it was… do you want to build a snowman?

And we did. We built her first snowman within the restrictions of our fenced in yard against the threatening sun as it climbed overhead. We gave him blueberry eyes and blueberry buttons with a tiny carrot nose; he wasn’t your typical snowman, hardly round nor divided into thirds and without a pipe or a mouth to hold it. She patted him with her mitten covered hands until she was content with his shape and she stepped back to look and said “this is the best snowman ever”.

I buried any criticism I could find into a ball of snow and launched it at her belly. She let a loud laugh escape as if the blow forced it out and she tried to hit me back with a snowball of her own. We spent the next hour or so making angel impressions as we moved our limbs back and forth, we gathered snow into a pile at the bottom of her slide as a landing and before we went inside to thaw ourselves, I looked back at that little creation of ours and found myself agreeing with her…he really was the best snowman ever.


( read more from our past snow days in the posts below ) 
Let It Snow  |  Sometimes It Snows  |  Snow Days


February 26, 2015

Sometimes I catch myself standing in the doorway of her room to watch her sleep. Creepy? Sure, but it’s also a parental right and you’d be hard-pressed to find a mother or father who hasn’t done the same. There’s something about the quiet rhythm of her rested inhales and exhales that calms the entire house. Maybe it’s because the opposite is true when she’s awake, when she’s bouncing off the walls threatening to break through them to release the unexplained volume of energy a child contains. 

There are some days when she tests my patience and challenges my thought process and asks more questions than any one person could possibly answer, those days I find myself wishing away the hours until bedtime if only to catch a minute of solitude. Yet every time I catch a glimpse of her beautiful eyes hidden behind closed lids, a blanket draped over her legs with a stuffed animal somewhere near, it takes all my self control not to wake her up again. 

For every moment I thought she was a distraction, she proved to be my inspiration instead. For every moment I begged her to listen, I saw my words in her actions later. For every time she’s reminded me just how incredibly blessed I am to be her father, she has also solidified the truth that sometimes the happy endings we request in our prayers are answered and revealed in ways we can never prepare for. Sometimes I watch her sleep just to see the evidence of God’s handiwork. 

I can only hope her dreams are half as sweet as she is.


February 24, 2015

I'm not sure if these are amusing to anyone else or just my wife, Allison, and me since we're her parents, but I have a feeling we'll look back one day enjoying that we captured some of Madison's random comments (click here for more).

While riding in the backseat...
MADISON:  You should drive slowly like a ladybug.


Shopping with her grandparents (my parents) at Best Buy...
MADISON:  What are you looking for, Papa?
PAPA:  Something to plug into my computer.
A few minutes later...
MADISON:  Papa, did you find what you needed to stick in your pooter?


ME:  I love Etta James, I can't get enough of her voice.
MADISON:  Yeah, she's a beast.


MADISON:  Daddy?
ME:  What's up?
MADISON:  I don't know what to tell you, but I want to tell you something.
ME:  Okay.
MADISON:  So... that's what I wanted to tell you.


Early Saturday morning...
MADISON:  Wake up! It's time to eat cookies.


February 19, 2015

This morning we woke up to Elsa’s wrath outside our window. Frozen limbs hung heavy from the trees and the lawn was a solid sheet of ice, I’m sure there was snow in there somewhere that fell fluffy from the sky before it was sandwiched between layers of freezing rain. We watched the flames in the fireplace dance to the record we played and the scent of various ingredients teased us from the pot of homemade soup on the stove. It wasn’t the kind of winter wonderland that warrants much playing or snowman building, but more so the kind of weather that encourages us to slow down and take note of where we are in this season of our lives… with our very own little ice princess... the cold never bothered her anyway. 


February 17, 2015

There are times when I catch myself staring, completely mesmerized by her, lost in the minutes of hours we share. I know every parent feels similar towards their own, but there’s something captivating about creating a person and then watching them grow. Every day there’s a new discovery on both her end and my own.

She reads a new word sounding it out as she goes and I notice the arch in her foot curves in a little more than yesterday. Her favorite color changes temporarily as does her outfit for the third time in a day while I watch the signs of toddlerhood, the wrist rolls and the abbreviated walking patterns, morph into a little girl.

When she laughs, she laughs with her whole body and her eyebrows turn red when she’s angry. She prefers dresses over pants and has a memory that rivals the smartest of elephants. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it until the end of my days, but she’s the best thing I’ve ever done and the truth in that statement continues to prove itself at every sunrise.

It’s hard to believe she’s mine. It’s hard to believe that I once did something deserving of such a blessing because she’s nothing short of a miracle. She was sent to her mother and me as the answer to a question we hadn’t yet asked, the solution to a problem we hadn’t yet acknowledged, a dream come true that we still haven’t woken from.

She tells me she loves me completely unprompted and she asks to cuddle when I least expect it. She tests the limits of her vocabulary and the volume of her voice and phrases her sentences in her own adorable way. She smiles when she loses her train of thought and again when she rediscovers it. She shares her toys when encouraged and her opinion regardless.

She has her mother’s eyes and my hair, her mother’s toes and my fingers. She looks best in purple or green, the same as her mama; she wears her heart on her sleeve like her old man. She says please and thank you and she apologizes when she’s wrong. She’s the best parts of both of us all wrapped into one and sometimes I can’t stop staring, I can’t stop watching my heart beat outside my chest.

No matter what, she'll always be mine.


February 12, 2015

She asked again. It was the third time in less than an hour yet I still answered with yes. I lost count of the overall total somewhere along the way; I lost count of just how many times she’s asked me to marry her and how many times I responded with varying degrees of absolutely. She smiles when she asks and I smile when I answer and while it feels like a game to me, it seems like a life to her.

“Stop telling her yes,” says her mother, my wife, the one I married. “Tell her why you can’t.”

I don’t have the strength to break her heart. I’m weak when it comes to her, those brown eyes that light up every time she crawls in my lap and puts her head on my shoulder and wraps her tiny fingers around one of my own. I’m weak and so I oblige her requests more often than not including but not limited to every proposal where she’s asked me to be her husband.

“Do you know what it means to be married?” I ask her. “Do you know what a marriage is?”

She ran her hand through the braid in her hair, letting her fingers feel the sections of over-under holding her shoulder length strands together. She blinked and her eyelashes played catch with the tops of her cheeks and she looked up letting her eyes drift towards the upper right corner of the room. She let out a slight hum as I pictured tiny wheels turning in her head while she collected her thoughts.

“It means you love somebody so much that you want to love them forever,” she said.

I looked at her, my three year old, and let the simple explanation she offered float and settle around us. I looked at her mother and saw my daughter’s smile, decades later, stretch across her face and I knew she thought the same thing. Until she discovers a definition stating otherwise, I’ll continue answering yes whenever she asks because there's no question that I love her enough to make it forever.


February 10, 2015

I'm not sure if these are amusing to anyone else or just my wife, Allison, and me since we're her parents, but I have a feeling we'll look back one day enjoying that we captured some of Madison's random comments (click here for more).

Getting ready to leave the house...
ME:  When is the last time you used the potty?
MADISON:  40 hours ago.


ALLISON:  I'm cold.
MADISON:  I'm warm as a bumble bee.


While holding her upside down...
MADISON:  Don't hold me upside down. I don't like that at all.
ME:  Why not?
MADISON:  You might drop me and I would crack into a million pieces... then get lost.


After putting a toy box in her room...
MADISON:  Let's organize my toys! It will be so much fun.


MADISON:  Let's go to Gold Navy.
ME:  You mean Old Navy?
MADISON:  I'm talking about GOLD Navy, you know, with the clothes.


February 4, 2015

No one warned us about age three. No one prepared us for the random outbursts or the rollercoaster ride of ups and downs while she figures out what she can get away with and what she can’t, where the boundaries are and when we’ll push back. More often than not, she’s very well behaved so it makes the moments when she acts out even more surprising as a consequence of their rarity and while a time-out still holds weight, it’s not nearly as heavy as it used to be… now we’re forced to get creative.

Many parents resort to spankings or hand popping and there’s nothing wrong with those methods, I certainly received my fair share when I was younger, but it’s not something I’m comfortable with. I really want to stress that it’s never okay for her to hit someone or for someone to hit her, especially a man, and I have a hard time trusting that she’ll learn that lesson if I in turn hit her when her choices are less than favorable. 

I believe the punishment should fit the crime so I’m sure there will come a time when we remove her bedroom door after she slams it repeatedly or roll back a curfew when she’s late, but for now we take away a toy should she decide to throw it and we ask her once not to whine when asking for something or else her request is denied. However, the grand punishment these days seems to be the dreaded overalls.

We save them for particularly bad behavior, conflicts at preschool or intentionally doing something after being asked not to, so the times she’s had to wear them are few and far between yet when punished with them she hasn't made the same mistake twice. Sometimes we leave the overalls hanging in her room because the sight of them seems to threaten her into behaving as the sweet little girl we know she can be, that we know she is.

She’s had a love affair with all things dresses over the last year refusing to wear pants unless begged or prepped in advance that she’ll be wearing them and for how long; consequently, overalls are the ultimate faux pas in her eyes as she feels strapped into the pants without any chance of escaping them discretely behind the couch. Our success rate with this wardrobe sentencing is 100% at this point (knock on wood) so we’ll continue to enforce it until it fails… as ridiculous as it seems. The fact we find her adorable in them is an added bonus.


February 2, 2015

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