maddy’s birthday.

(this is gonna be a picture-heavy post)

for maddy’s birthday

we headed to puerto vallarta

with grandma candee,

grandpa tom and

auntie debbie.

brooke had to stay

behind for this trip

because she had

to work

(sucked for all of us that she couldn’t join us).

when we arrived at

condo and started

unpacking, i found

wrapped gifts inside

madeline’s suitcase,

with a card taped to

the front and a different

day of the week

written on the envelope.

all with brooke’s

familiar handwriting.

it seems that she’d

come to the same

conclusion i had…

that maddy’s birthday

would be a week-long event.

opening a present from her brookie.

opening a present from her brookie.

the day after our

arrival was the 24th,

the day that my

life changed

in the most amazing

way i never

could have imagined.

to celebrate, we decided

to present madeline with

her options and

let her choose.

here’s what she chose:

ready to swim.


coming out of the alligator's mouth.

time for a drink.

watering the sand.

so happy.

her feet are gone.

burying her feet.

playing in the sand.

running on the beach.

running on the beach.



good advice.





waiting patiently.



eating some cake.

the next day

was the 25th.

three years since

the worst day

of our lives.

but as i’ve tried

to do since

our first 25th without


i did my best

to make sure that

my sadness

would not overshadow

the happiness

i’ve come to know

and embrace with

all of my heart…

my little reminder.

my maddy.

she was

once again the

focus. and with

her we made it



checking out the statues.

really happy.

checking out the statues.

with my best girl.


watching the traffic.


checking out the statues.resting.

making friends.

making friends.

so excited.

ready to play catch.

playtime in the pool.

getting tired.

very important conversation.

the next day

we did more of

the same,

in the pool.

in the pool.


and was happy

i didn’t let her

open the colored bubbles

in the conodo

this isn't working out as well as i hoped it would...

trying to blow bubbles.

what a mess.

(i’ve determined that they are the worst “improvement” of a children’s toy of all time).

later in the evening,

we spent some

time playing


getting a little help.

about to swing.

my little gymnast.

and hanging out

on the beach.


checking out the ocean.

watching the waves.

maddy & auntie debbie.



march 27th, we laughed

as maddy once

again showed us

further proof

that nature trumps nurture,

by shopping like

a pro



playing with her new new toys.

picking out some sunglasses.

checking out the marionettes.

checking out the marionettes.

(her mother would have been so proud)

we spent the rest of

the early afternoon

exploring the city

ready to climb again.

my little monkey.


she's wondering why we're moving so slowly.


me, deb, maddy, tom, candee.


playing the harmonica.

playing the harmonica.

statue.puerto vallarta.

the littlest prisoner.


watching the waves.



barbie kite.

(that is not maddy parasailing, btw).

that night we took

part in an activity

that should be

a part of

every person’s childhood…

kite flying.

but i’ve been scared

to even attempt to fly

a kite since

the mid 80s

when my grandfather lost

part of his finger

in a tragic

kite flying accident

(no fucking joke. our family has a cabin that’s situated between mille lacs lake and highway 169 in central minnesota, and one lovely summer day my grandfather was playing with his new prized possession, a giant dragon kite, the biggest kite he’d ever owned, in the big open area on the side of our cabin, when a gust of wind sent the kite diving and into traffic on-coming traffic. the kite got stuck on the bumper of a car going somewhere between 60-70mph. the 30 lbs test, nylon fishing line was attached to the kite on one end, and the other end got wrapped around my grandfather’s pinkie finger and tore most of it off, requiring extensive plastic surgery. he didn’t really care. he was already missing half of his thumb and all of his index finger on that same hand from a tragic accident he had had at the crystal sugar factory in chaska, mn when he was in his early 20s. he just wanted the kite back and he made my grandmother jump in the car and chase down the driver while he argued with his neighbor that he didn’t need to go to the hospital. i swear to you, every single word of that is true).

anyway, i overcame

my fears for

maddy and did

my best to get

her spiderman parasiling

kite up into the air.


she was interested

in it for about

two seconds

flying a kite.

about to fly away.

before disappearing

with her grandma candee.

grandpa tom and i

were far

more interested and

played with it until

the sun went down.

spiderman kite.

flying a kite.

spiderman kite.


flying a kite.

about to slide.


the next we said

goodbye to everyone

and flew back

to los angeles.

when we got home,

maddy’s brookie

had another gift

waiting for


birthday party.

opening a birthday gift from brookie.

(my child will never lack for love).

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