Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas.

A day filled with faith and family and food and fun. A very Merry Christmas indeed.




Twas the Day Before Christmas...

And all through the house,
every fan was blowing,
every window open...because it was 80 DEGREEEs out. Seriously. So not Christmasy.

We all know I love my summer temperatures but I love them in the summer (and spring and fall!). Christmas is supposed to be cold darn it. But love where you live, embrace the moment, be content with what you have...all mantras I adamantly believe in. So...

We wore our tees and tshirt dresses and joined family at Nana's house for Christmas lunch. Some family from Texas was there and we got to see a cousin we have not seen in 7 years! And, embracing FL for all it is - not just the hot Christmas but the abundance of old people and there sports...we played...yep. Christmas Shuffleboard. You're jealous, I know.




I joke but it actually turned out to be a nice afternoon of friendly competition and many laughs. And we followed it with our usual Christmas Eve traditions - candlelit service at church, ordering pizza on the way home, opening pajamas as the one gift, leaving cookies out for Santa. Good stuff.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a new kind of advent calendar we were doing, you can read more here.Photobucket

1)Mailed letters. 2)Ding Dong ditched with real Ding Dongs. 3)Sibling love. 4)Lasagna for an old lady who has no family in my grandma's neighborhood.


5)Gave out 8 bottles of root beet reminding people they are A&Wesome. Coworkers, teachers, friends parents, etc. 6)Saying nice things. 7)Treats for the postman. 8)Last day of a friends chemo deserves a treat!


9)See #5 but with chocolate bars and different people. 10)One of my favs - totally random. Tori picked a first name, Todd a last name, and Tristan a city on white pages and we mailed a Starbucks card to a total stranger. Hope it made her day! 11)oops didn't happen 12)cookies for our favorite mechanic 13)free babysitting for some friends so they could have a date night


14)Flowers, delivered to a neighbor whose husband is deployed. 15)another oops 16)quarters on a soda machine 17)donating books to the library 18)bringing hot chocolate to the Salvation army bell ringer at our local grocery store


19)helping Nana (my grandma) clean her house, its hard for her to do so due to back problems 20)left a gift card for the amount of one of the kids favorite books - Harry Potter of course - on the shelf for the next person who looks at it 21)another miss 22)quarters left at a laundromat 23) no picture but we worked hard to wish everyone we met that day a Merry Christmas! 24)a special treat delivery to the poor overnight workers on Christmas Eve at CVS

This is definitely a new Maddex tradition!!

***Real Christmas/Christmas Eve pictures coming this evening or tomorrow morning!***

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sunday Snapshots - Foiled Again

Okay so my Sunday Snapshots was foiled again...but by Christmas so it's ok. You'll detect a theme here...


* Christmas Games * Christmas Shuffleboard * Mint Cookies * Christmas dishes * Guard Dog * All Finished * Silent Night * Christmas Snacks * Funny Girl *

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sunday Snapshots - Delayed

I fell in love this weekend with a dirty city full of chaos and history and small town charm amongst its crazy tall building and jam packed streets. More on that soon. In the meantime my delayed version of Sunday snapshots.


* FL Christmas * 9/11 Memorial * NY Christmas * Subway Stop * Broadway Sign * Babysitting Cutie * Reading Gift * Oops Double * Waldorf Astoria * Empire View * Office Party * Leaving Tampa *

Giving Tree 2011

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." - Winston Churchill

Volunteer Hours: 100+
Gifts Wrapped: 240+
Students Assisted: 120
Wishes Fulfilled: Priceless




Upon delivery we were greeted with a surprise. The school we deliver to had a newspaper reporter and photographer standing by to do a human interest piece. We are not the only school to support Blanton and the woman there running it is nothing short of amazing. The story is mainly about their situation, students and staff but I am the girl in the white shirt in the back in the photo and was quoted. Kind of fun and great publicity for a school that could use all the help they can get!

In tough year, Elf Project reaches more needy students with gifts, St.Pete Times

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Snapshots


* Box Boy * Christmas Musical * Master List * Christmas Party * Show Time * Cookie Baking * Might Mu * PB Cups * Bus Duty * So Funny * UT Night * Liquid Fuel *

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


We are 7 days into December. A mere 17 days until Christmas people. How did that happen?

So the trees, yes treeS, are up. The front porch is wrapped in garland and accented with poinsettias. The snowmen are out. The advents are in full swing.

And honestly I still feel so unprepared this year. There are ZERO gifts wrapped under the tree, various gifts in various stacks around the house, some still in the process of being made. Gifts that need to be shipped are going to be cutting it VERY close this year, ones that need to be ordered even closer! No cookies have been baked. No Christmas clothes have been worn. I really need to get on it. Oh and did I mention that the kids shower is leaking...right through the wall into Tori's closet. Cue plumber!

But in an effort to make myself feel better I am going to ignore all that and make a list of reasons to smile today. My favorite elf says the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear...but I don't sing. I list.
1. Duh - its Christmas. December. Magical.

2. Giving Tree - lots of stress this week but 117 kids wishes fulfilled, totally worth it

3. Coffee with Cinnamon Maple creamer. Amazing.

4. My beautiful new coat, ready to go. NYC Baby. 9 days!!!

5. My awesome kids doing random acts of kindness all month long. And ENJOYING it. More on this later.

6. The silent night (ok so its morning) I am experiencing right now, just me and the puppy sitting in a quiet house twinkling with Christmas lights.

7. Third Day Christmas CD - my favorite!! Though Michale Buble, you now come a close second.

8. Fun stuff coming up quick on the calendar - seeing A Christmas Story live with Taylor, J & T's Christmas party, Tori competing in the Mighty Mu math competition this weekend, NYC, and only working 4 days of the kids 17 day stretch of no school. That's 10 days of cookie baking,Christmas crafting, ice skating, bike riding, gift wrapping, movie watching fun.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Snapshots...

So that blog I love, the Kelle Hampton one, does this thing called Friday Phone Dump, and its ingenious because I don't always have my camera, but I always have my phone. And random pictures are a great way to represent one's time. And random pictures, even on a phone, is a great way to grow as a photographer. Angles, lighting, subject matter, etc...all good. That being said...Sundays are my lazier slow mornings. I get up crazy early because my body has no concept of sleeping in and we don't go to church until 9 so Sunday Snapshots it is...9 photos accompanied by 9 two word captions.


Family * Kayaking * Running Again * Los Mariachis * Rainy Day * Giving Tree * Sewing Again * Red Cups * Front Porch * Furry Baby *

Friday, December 2, 2011

You've been RACK'd!

We used to have this Advent Santa thing. He was made of some kind of felted material that looked worse each year we took him out of the box and had a string hanging from his beard with a mitten which never quite made sense. You tucked the mitten in the appropriate day of the month to countdown and that was it. But he was not exciting, or cute, and so he often went forgotten making him highly ineffective. Last year we had an awesome candle from England - the kids loved lighting it and it was a total success...but the problem with candles when you burn them is that they melt. So it was a one time kind of thing.

So the advent has begun, the craziness of Christmas has begun. And the cookie baking, carol singing, classic movie watching, Christmas tree decorating, Jesus birth celebrating part of me is LOVING it. But the mom who doesn't always get it right, who wants to give her kids everything they want but still not spoil them or make them materialistic...she's in over her head.

So this year advent in our house is an attempt to teach, or maybe reinforce things we've always taught, what Christmas spirit looks like, that God gave a gift of love and kindness and that we are to celebrate Him and His son by doing the same.

Enter 25 days of Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (Thank you Pinterest!)! Whether you celebrate Christmas because you are an American or because you are a Christian celebrating the birth of our Savior I encourage you to join in. Trying to think of 25 things we could do as a family and not spend hundreds of dollars stretched me in amazing ways. Sometimes its the little things that go a long way. So even if you are not counting down this season - join us in our random acts of kindness!


Um...ding dong ditched sounds terrible but its actually cute. A box of Hostess ding dongs delivered to a neighbor, we have neighbors with kids that will love it!!

Thanksgiving 2011

PhotobucketWhile the irony that I love pictures and am not photogenic in the least is not amongst the things I am thankful for this year, I am greatly blessed. I saw a fantastic quote somewhere, author unknown, that reminds me how very very blessed I am.

"Some people are so poor, they only have money."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Challenge Nation Tampa

Things I learned this weekend:

1 - I have really fun friends. And they are awesome in that they encourage me to think outside the box. From a mental and spiritual stand point I have always known this, they challenge me in new ways on a regular basis. But this weekend the challenge was physical.

2 - Scavenger hunts are like adventures for yuppies. Fun, creative, learning new information and a sense of accomplishment without the risk and expense that real adventure seekers have. Like a mini-vacation from responsibilities.

3 - I am out of shape. And I don't want to be. So for the 124,464,887,934th time I am going to attempt to start running. (I do have two sweet labs visiting who are making me get off my tush so that seems like a good segue into the great return to exercise.)

4 - Random Tampa facts.

PhotobucketTampa is Native American for sticks of fire. There are not one, but two statues in Tampa that could pass as sculptoral representations of this. And we can make a human pyramid.

PhotobucketTebow is now a FL legend. And if you ask a random stranger on the street who happens to be wearing an out-of-state sports team to post in a football pose and you follow that with "Let's Tebow" they will automatically lunge for this prayerful position.


Rosalind was the lead female role in As You Like It. Her statue forms the center of a bench at the Plant Museum located at the University of Tampa. And posing like her is ridiculous. But fun.


12 clues, 11 locations, all over the streets of Tampa and we proved that not only could we complete it...we didn't do half bad. 9th out of 52! Next stop for the "Pink Ninjas" Great Urban Race...3.24.2012.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I love when you go to watch your favorite show and you're pretty positive you missed an episode but it doesn't matter because they give you that awesome flash of "here's what you missed" so you know exactly what is going on. Well consider this the "here's what you missed"...because I have been TERRIBLE at blogging this month.

- Because of Tori's spooktacular tournament Halloween weekend we had to squeeze in our usual traditions. But we got it done. Tori and Tristan carved their own pumpkins this year (werewolf by Tori, vampire by Tristan) and not to be out done Todd worked with his tiny pumpkin to make a silly toothed pumpkin. I snapped pictures, tortured kids with pumpkin goo and was excited about my spray painted pinterest inspired candlebra.




- We sent October packing with some Halloween fun. Both kids were mesmerized with the idea of having fangs and so we left the Halloween store with no costumes but two packages of fangs. After much discussion they decided to go trick or treating as what we call "Disney style" teen vamps. You know spiked hair, overdone makeup, knee socks with mini skirt for Tori and Rock On t-shirt for Tristan.


- November has meant lots of work for both Todd and I, tons of exams and projects for Tori, and the end of baseball season for Tristan.

-Todd took a quick trip to Colorado for his birthday to hang out with his brother Trent and to see his mom and the area he grew up in. After seeing his pics I was reminded why I hold the camera on family vacations. Lots of pics of random things...a computer they eventually used for shooting practice, airport terminals, his brothers house in detail, etc. No mountains or even a picture of he and his brother. So here are the two good ones - him with his mamacita and on a mountain where they went shooting.



- Meanwhile Tori headed off to the Florida Church of God State Youth Convention with 100+ other middle & high school students from our church. They listened to speakers, went to classes, completed scavenger hunts, ate junk food and rocked out to Sidewalk Prophets live.

-Back at home Tristan and I had a crazy weekend. Tristan's baseball tournament FINALLY finished, he spent the night at his grandparents while I headed to Peter Pan at the Straz center, and then we checked out LegoLand Florida. Honestly you can get more bang for your buck at a million other places in Florida - but we can now say been there, done that. And Tristan had a friend with him so that made the whole experience better for him!




Friday, November 11, 2011

Still alive!

We are still alive but SO busy. And I swear I have taken pics of life in general. So I will be back...tomorrow night with some updates and some photos! In the meantime Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Where we are...

October is a good month for us. But a busy one. So if I am not here...well then I am here:


Tristan is playing his first season in the minors, this means the kids pitch for the first time. Tristan is a good little pitcher when he keeps cool. And he's a great fielder, having caught multiple fly balls and fielding some awesome line drives. The batting however is rough this season...the boys are getting complacent in knowing there are more balls than strikes and more than likely will get walked, so they stopped swinging. Tristan jumped on the bandwagon. Super frustrating. But it'll come.



Tori is playing her first season in majors. Some new rules make it more "real" and exciting. She likes to play catcher but most often plays 3rd base. Her hitting is either really really on...or she can't his the broad side of a barn...or she gets walked. Some girls have gotten to be fab at pitching, some, well see the above note about the barn! She works really hard at it though and has fun with the girls on her team, some of whom she is now in her 3rd season with. Her biggest issue...running. She's got crazy long legs that somehow go crazy slow around the bases. But her coach plays it safe and she did learn to slide right so she's still making it home!!

This is the last week of fall ball which means softball tournament, aka mass craziness. Tori plays games on Mon, Wed and a double header on Friday night. Followed by Sunday games if they are in the finals. Tristan has practice Tuesday and a game Thurs and Sat. So for those counting in the next 7 days that is anywhere from 6-8 games + 1 practice between the two of them. Awesome.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Whats up?

Lots of stuff, hence the lack of pictures and blog posts!

Weekend fun included:

-a baseball game and a softball game (really this was a given by now right?!)

-the fantastic brunch at Jackson's at Harbor Island in Tampa. Delicious food, gorgeous view and fantastic company to celebrate Taylor and Pam's (Taylor's mom) birthday!

- a picnic dinner at the park on the Tarpon bayou followed by some rollerblading, running and a family game of football

Adding to the normal chaos:

- Tori *may* have broken her finger. It is Dr.Mom splinted for the moment. Time will tell what happens next.

- Might Mu practice started this am.

- My dog has chosen this week to be sick, effectively ruining the carpet in my dining room that's not a dining room even more than it was prior to these incidents. Incidents immediately following my decision that the carpet could wait a couple months longer to be replaced so as not to have a big expense prior to to the holidays and our two upcoming trips. Awesome.


- Looking forward to a girls night out to see Addams family (musical) with Taylor this week.
- Do something day at church is just around the corner and my family is looking forward to serving at the local tent city.
- Seeing friends this weekend we have not seen in way way way too long.
- Halloween. Tori is leaning towards being M&M's along with two friends. Tristan is thinking vampire.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Woohoo/Oy vey.

Both kids came home from school today with all this exciting news.

Tori was nominated for 6th grade student of the month.
She also was chosen as a student with the highest math scores in 6th grade for the "Might Mu" math team.

Tristan was named 1 of 4 students to represent his school in the Creative Olympic county competition. (They give kids random things in a bag and tell them they have to build something...built a bridge out of marshmallows, twizzlers, straws, etc to earn this spot!). And found out he can be a drummer this year.

All fantastic things. And I am excited for them.

But it also means more $ (for drum lessons) and more time and more random work day things I have to juggle (competitions during the day but not here, Might Mu practice before school weekly, etc).

So woohoo - my kids rock. Smart, creative, musical. Awesome.

But they're wearing me out.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Shopping - A Love/Hate Relationship

It's fall. And while I realize this means the most miniscule change in temperatures ever here in FL it is a shift in my mind in which I should get to wear cute fall clothes. And jeans. And I am working on the whole losing weight thing (I know, I know, you've heard it before) and I don't want to buy anymore fat clothes. But a girl has to have a certain number of jeans to survive and right now, well my number is lacking. So I went on a hunt today. Tried the usual suspects - Kohls, NY and Co, Gap, etc. And then ventured into The Loft. Now despite that SO many of my friends (and sister) think this is the most fabulous place ever I always write it off as out of my price range.

But I am in love. Things fit. They look classic but still trendy. Perfection.

Except the price tag. For example...this shirt is simple, easy to wear to my usual mom stuff but still super cute. See here: Shirt. Especially in coral with jeans and maybe cute riding boots. But its almost $40. For a tshirt. Come on people. And here is the hate.

I hate that stores that make you feel semi-decent wearing something when you are not a size 0 cost a fortune. But if you are size 0 and can wear anything in the world and still look good there are 100's of stores with items priced at like <$20 all the time.

I might stop eating. No actually I love to eat so that won't happen but I might go run. For real.

PS - I did splurge and get two pairs of pants (on sale!) that rock. Comfortable, not hideous, and perfect for fall - even if fall is currently only taking place in my head and in a retail store near you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like...

FALL! The temps dropped (all the way down to 64 degrees one night!), Tori was wearing boots, Halloween decorations now adorn our house, and we had an impromptu park BBQ/baseball/softball lessons and it was GORGEOUS. Have a list of things to do yet tonight so this is where I dump photos and call it a blog entry!






Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Tristan!

Tristan turned 9, yep NINE, this weekend. And that's crazy. He's my baby and this is the last year in the single digits. Yikes.

Saturday, his real birthday, was kind of a funny day. Tori and I had committed to doing a charity walk in the morning thinking he would have a baseball game like every other Saturday morning. Of course he didn't because life is like that, but we still went.

This year we were running with a football theme so compliments of pinterest (if you are not on there yet get moving!) I had this fun idea to make a birthday break thru banner thing. Not the official name, for the record. So I crepe papered all across his door, back and forth, with a sign basically explain that football teams bust out of the locker room like this and today he was the star and could bust into his 9th year. Following phone call from walk site:
Me: Happy Birthday Baby!
Tristan: Thanks mom.
Me: Did you like busting out of your room this morning?
Tristan: Yeah...(insert odd pause)...but you're so weird. It was weird.

Anywho...the rest of the day was normal stuff. Dinner out, baseball practice, yogurt spot. Good. Instead of a party he chose to go to the Bucs game with "the guys". More on that to come. Waiting on pics.

So to Tristan, Happy Birthday little man. It is a pleasure watching you grow up. I love your gentle spirit, your knack for recognizing when someone needs a hug or a "its ok", and your caring ways. I love that you have a new best friend every week and even occasionally refer to Jake as one of the options (FYI - Jake is a dog). I love that you are shy and quiet in new situations but silly and loud in ones where you are comfortable. I love the face you get when you are thinking hard, where you put your face really close to the paper and your eyebrows burrow together. I love watching you play ball ... sometimes so focused and sometimes in lala land. I love how much you enjoy time with your sister now that she's around less. And I love your inability to say no to her when she wants to make a deal in Monopoly even though it makes you lose every time. And most of all I love that you are my son. Looking forward to seeing what the next year brings.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Meet Collin

Remember Carter . Well in the last 18 months he has changed ALOT. He knows names, loves to sing songs, and will point out and name the letters on EVERYTHING near him. He runs with the energy that only toddler's possess. Some things don't change...his smile still lights up his entire face. And those baby blues are still going to break hearts one day.


One of the biggest changes though for Carter is that he is no longer an only child. Meet Collin, my newest "nephew" (okay so it's not biological or by marriage...but still family in my world!). I believe his mama is calling him Squishy or Little Squishy and really...don't ya think she has good reason? Adorable!! Thanks Jenni - for letting me take photos of your gorgeous boys but more than that for letting me be a part of their lives. Love y'all!


Friday, September 16, 2011


For some fall has arrived when they see signs of changing leaves, a crisp wind starts to move in and aromas of pumpkin and apples drift from the oven. For us fall has arrived when the chaos begins to gather momentum, the calendar begins to fill with appointments and ball games, and the weather drops into the high 80s. And fall has arrived. So here's whats happening:

- Both kids are back in ball. Tori is playing majors softball this year for the first time (new rules!) and Tristan is playing minors baseball for the first time (first time kids pitch). Mon, Tues, Wed, Thus and Sat - gone. Just like that.

- Tristan gets a new teacher starting next Wednesday. After 10 day count they had to rearrange so one of the K teachers are moving up. Luckily Tori had her for K and we really like her but its still a bummer to be one of the kids moved a month in to school.

- Halloween preparations are in full swing. Costume ideas, party ideas, and frustration that they plan a big weekend tournament for softball right over the weekend we want to have a party.

- Work is busy, busy, busy for both Todd and I right now.

Really that's it. Our calendar is full of tedium - but the good kind. Baseball games, school open houses, church dinners, and birthday celebrations. And despite the temperatures screaming summer still I am thinking another week or two and I really will break out the pumpkins and the fall garlands, the cider recipes and the sweater box. Sometimes you just gotta fake it :-)

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I have been playing in my "studio" a lot lately. Trying to figure out lighting at different times of day and perfect camera settings that require the least amount of off camera editing possible.

And Max, well sometimes highly irritating and really yippy, is a great model. But he just does not have the range of expression my family conjures up. Nor is he this ridiculous.




The muscle face. Creepy but funny.