Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Isn't Over Until Harper Sings

Here is the video clip I was trying to get off the computer earlier this week. The only Christmas song Harper knows entirely is "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and getting her to stay in one place long enough to catch her singing on video was a bit of a challenge. (Note to self, remember to use the light on the video camera!) Please enjoy this little post-holiday performance:


video

*****
Harper got way more than her share of Christmas gifts (and we still have round two, up in Wisconsin, to go!) and several of them were pseudo learning games/toys. I have mentioned before that I don' t "work" with Harper on learning things in a let's-sit-down-and-do-flashcards kind of way, but lately her level of interest in numbers and letters (the symbols themselves) has gone way up, so it seems to make sense to encourage her. She's also been expressing and interest in reading her books, by herself, and then doing a very dramatic and sorrowful monologue about how she doesn't know what any of the words say. We have had the discussion about many kinds of reading, and I have told her that she can tell the story based on the pictures or what she remembers, but over and over she replies, "But Mo-om, I don't know the words!"

Trust me, I'm not delusional enough to think that I'm going to actually teach her to read before age four, but she does seem ready to learn some basic concepts.

The other night we were sitting in a restaurant and Harper asked Matt to write her name on that little paper piece that wraps around the napkin and silverware. He wrote her name with a crayon and passed it back to her. She took one look and said, "No Dad! Do it the right way!"

Matt looked perplexed, so I asked him if he used lower case letters (many of which she doesn't recognize yet).

Harper heard me say this and piped up, "Dad, use higher case letters!"

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

This is the fun part. . . Harper was so excited she was totally off the wall all day. She did not nap, which is usually disastrous, but worked fine today because she fell asleep right away this evening. Now the gifts are under the tree and I am enjoying a few minutes of satisfied peace before the mania that will likely ensue in the morning.

We have started a tradition with Matt's parents (and sister and Auntie M, depending on who is in town) of going to Christmas Eve Mass, then having a simple dinner at our house. We have potato soup and bread for dinner which is not fancy, but I did make both from scratch this year. Then we just have a quiet evening. Tonight it was just Matt's parents and us for dinner. We did a puzzle with Harper afterward and then played cards once she was in bed. There was Christmas music playing, a fire in the fireplace, and it really did feel to me like our own little Christmas card. I kind of like that we don't really do any gifting on Christmas Eve, especially since there will be three rounds of gift opening tomorrow and another one or two when we drive up to Wisconsin. Don't get me wrong, the gifts are fun! I just enjoy the fact that we, for now, have a wonderful Christmas Eve tradition that isn't even a little about the presents.

We usually go to church very early on Sunday mornings, when there aren't many people there. Tonight we went to a children's service and it was packed!!! It was neat to see the place so full of families and all the children dressed in their best holiday garb. During the first reading Harper leaned over to Nana and asked (in a loud whisper), "Are they talking about Santa Claus?!"

During the gospel and homily of this one mass, the children are all invited to sit up on the altar. Harper got really excited while the priest read the gospel about Jesus' birth. It is probably important to note that they didn't really use Jesus' name; the priest referred to him as a baby and the first born son. When she came back to the pew she told me, "They talked about my baby brother!!!"

Tonight, before bed, Harper chose treats for Santa very carefully. She asked Nana to put her to bed and then sent Nana out to us with two messages:

1) That if Santa should leave any treats on the plate, she would like to eat them herself.

2) That Nana and Dziatku better go home soon so Santa could come!

I can't imagine a year with children when Christmas won't be fun, but this? This is the best one yet.

Behold the Power of Stickers

A package of alphabet stickers came in the mail the other day with a magazine offer. Harper found them and proceeded to stick them all over herself.


And she even managed to put one or two on her own back.


She was truly proud. The girl loves stickers, and you will too, once you realize that they actually possess healing powers. . .

Friday morning I woke up with a cramp in the arch of my foot (Oh pregnancy, you are a fountain of endless physical wonders!) and Harper walked into my ow-ow-ow-owing. Apparently a role reversal was in order. She climbed up onto the bed and asked me what hurt. Then she asked to see my foot. I told her I had a cramp and she said, "Oh I see it. I'll be right back."

Then I heard her talking to Matt in the bathroom, telling him she needed something, "to fix Mommy's crimps." She returned with the box of stickers we'd used early on in our potty-training. She carefully peeled off two stickers and put them on the bottom of my foot, asking, "Does that feel better Mommy?"

Of course I said yes.

So remember, the next time you get a "crimp", putting a sticker on it should fix things right up!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Holiday Tour

Ah, it has been a long, adventurous (sort of) and overall fun day here in our household. We woke up just in time to see the power go out around 6:45 a.m. It was out for a few hours and then went out for several hours twice more during the day. The second power outage occurred as I was in the middle of dipping pretzels in crock pot melted chocolate -- oops! I dipped at a furious speed and managed to make enough pretzels before the chocolate became too set. I did this by partial daylight and partial candlelight, it was an interesting experience.

Harper had a sleepover at Nana and Dziatku's with her Aunt Meaghan (who is visiting for the holidays), allowing Matt and I a chance to get away for dinner and a movie. We saw National Treasure 2 and it was a lot of fun -- thoroughly enjoyable.

Tonight, I'd hoped to post a video of Harper singing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," which is adorable, but alas our video camera does not want to release that video to the computer for some reason. And we are having USB issues -- bleh! However instead of getting too frustrated about it, would you settle for a holiday tour of our home?

The decorations Harper helped to make. The middle kitchen window has become a sort of bulletin board.


The not terribly creative dining room centerpiece and a fluffy dog.


The Santa shelf, a place on our bookshelf normally reserved for various framed photos.


Snowmen along the mantle, which does have a wreath above it too, albeit one far too small for the space.


Our stockings, which my mother made for us. I have two now, my original is at my parents' house. I was so sad at the thought of them hanging my brother and sister's stockings, but not mine, that my mom made me a new one for when I got married and had my own home with Matt. Now that's love. Somewhere she's got a stocking to start for the baby. Oh, our Christmas CDs are there, too!


That jolly Santa holds a votive candle and makes a nice light against the wall when lit.


The other end table holds a Christmas candle, my (new!) holiday coasters, a snowman dish, and Harper's first picture with Santa.


Our Willow Tree Nativity set sits in a very holy place atop the television. . . and please ignore the fact that there's a copy of Knocked Up resting underneath it. (At least we had the sense not to set it next to the angel!)


The Christmas books! This basket might be my favorite of all the holiday items we pull out each year. When I was little my parents hid the Christmas books because I wanted them to be read over and over all year long. In hiding them from me, they inadvertently started a new tradition. I always knew Christmas was getting close when those books came down from the high shelf in the closet. I'll put them away the first week of January and they'll stay packed up until we decorate next year.


Of course it isn't a holiday without Christmas movies. One of these years we'll have to invest in our favorites on DVD because these tapes are getting old. Two of my favorites, sadly, cannot be found on DVD. :-(


This is the very fun Christmas countdown tree my sister, Shannon, gave Harper when she was one year old. The ornaments have little magnets in them and you add one to the tree each day (or three or four at a time, when you forget for a few days). Then you press the star on top to hear a zippy rendition of "Jingle Bells." I know Harper will have fond memories of this tree.

The cheap-o star-topper we've had since getting married. I love it. Look how pretty the light is on the ceiling.


A Willow Tree Angel ornament. (At this very moment the identity of the person who gave this to us is escaping me.)


A Mary Englebreit ornament my sister sent me about seven years ago. Probably from the store at the Mall of America, near where Shannon attended college.


Our skinny, well-loved, Christmas tree, which is looking a little crooked up top this year. I love the Christmas tree lights so much, I like to close the blinds and leave them on all day. There are a lot of lights on the tree!

So, there you have it, a tour of our holiday mishmash. Professional decorating it isn't, but most of the items I put out each year I associate with a special person or event. The decorations make me happy and I have a hard time doing anything other than just sitting on the couch in front of that tree in the evening. Hope you are feeling warm and festive, wherever you are!

Friday, December 21, 2007

This Post Brought to You By Insomnia

Okay I'm pretty sure this doesn't qualify as insomnia just yet. . . but one of pregnancy's real cruelties is the fact that you know you aren't getting any sleep once the baby arrives, but being pregnant makes it pretty difficult to sleep before the baby is even here. Sigh.

Harper woke up at 3:30 a.m., calling for Matt, and whining like she could medal in it at the next Olympics. I stumbled into her room (Matt's a really heavy sleeper, which is mostly great as he's the one that gets up and goes to work every morning), gave her a hug, rearranged some covers and told her to go back to sleep. Which she did.

I, however, have been laying (lying?) in bed for the last hour, thinking about how hungry I am. Thank you for that Baby Number Two! I have to sub today so when four-thirty rolled around and I realized falling back asleep would entail being woken from the equivalent of a too short nap, I decided just to get out of bed. I walked into the kitchen, because the baby obviously wanted me to eat a Christmas cookie, and there was a car in our driveway. A car that doesn't belong to us. Huh? I was freaked out for a minute, until I realized it was just the paper being delivered. Apparently our paper arrives at about 4:38 a.m. Ack -- remind me never to think having a paper route would be a good idea!

So what does one do when one can't sleep and it's not even five a.m.? Why, blog, of course! I know all of your days will be more complete thanks to this fascinating early dispatch.

Several people have asked how I've felt with this pregnancy, especially through the first super-secret trimester, and I have a lengthy post brewing which will answer that very question. I will place ample warning at the beginning of said post, because I intend to be very specific and let's face it, not everyone wants to read all those fun details.

*****

It's almost time to go eat some real breakfast (more Christmas cookies?) and think about taking a shower, etc. (I refuse to do either of those things before five a.m. because I am not insane.) But I feel as though I should take a deep breath here because today is going to feel like an official start to the holiday madness in many ways:

1) I believe all the shopping is finished and most of the wrapping, so much stress-induced panic has slipped away.

2) The school where I'll be subbing today is having their all-school-sing this afternoon. If memory serves (from my days of full-time employment there) the children will all be worked into a holiday party/sugar induced frenzy by singing time, and the singing will probably turn into shouting by the end of the afternoon. Good times!

3) Matt's sister Meaghan got into town late last night/early this morning and we'll all be together for dinner tonight, sort of kicking off the festivities.


I hope you are feeling festive wherever you are, and that you have the good fortune not to be in my vicinity around three-thirty this afternoon when I will likely be hit hard with the fact that I've already been awake for twelve hours.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Scaredy Cat

I have no idea where it came from at this point, but we have a giant cardboard tube (probably close to five feet long) that Harper enjoys setting up like a slide and passing various toys through for kicks. Today she held it completely vertically and, to our surprise, two pretzel twists fell out. Now we have often cautioned Harper not to eat food off the floor (more specifically, items that have been discovered days after they were originally served) saying that it might have germs on it. When I asked Harper to pick up the pretzels and throw them in the garbage, she refused to touch them, claiming she was afraid of "bug drips." I'm guessing bug drips = germs in Harper-logic?

*****

Tonight, when I was putting Harper back to bed, she suddenly piped up saying she didn't want Santa Claus to come to our house. She refused to give me a reason, but asked, and I quote, "Can you just cancel Christmas Eve?"

Something tells me she would regret that Christmas Morning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Reminder to Be Grateful (for me)

I've been having some Scrooge-ish moments lately. Holiday gift-giving is always a little joy-tainted-with-stress situation for me. We can't afford to spend very much on anyone, but really want to give good gifts that people want. I also start to feel guilty about how generous our families (especially our parents) are with us. It seems so lopsided. Sigh.

Really though, much of the Christmas-stress is my own insanity with no basis in reality and I just need to relax and enjoy the season. . . so many things could be worse for us right now.

On the way home from gymnastics today a car turning left drove right out in front of us. There was a man shoveling snow on the sidewalk immediately on our right and oncoming traffic on the left. There was no place to go. I slammed on the brakes, honked the horn, and manage to swerve just enough to avoid both the car and the snow-shoveler, who may have needed to change his pants after the incident. How we made it through that moment with no one getting hit or hurt in anyway is completely beyond me. We were driving on a road where the speed limit is 45 mph. Due to a little traffic I don't think we were going quite that fast, but if you'd been a bystander watching the whole thing unfold, you would have been certain I was going to drive right into the woman's driver's side door and possibly kill her.

After a quick moment, everyone just seemed to get on with their business, but I had to pull over and take a mommy time out because I was sobbing with relief. That probably sounds mellow-dramatic, but it was that close. Harper was in the backseat asking why I was crying and telling me she wasn't scared of cars; which only made it worse because I can't imagine how scary it would have been for her if we had slammed into that car.

So. Deep breath.

The Christmas stuff? My dirty house? The laundry? Not that big a deal.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tidbits

Last night Matt was getting Harper out of the bathtub and I heard her say to him, "I'm shaking like a leaf!" She cracks me up, that kid.

*****

I think we could have 100 Christmas presents for Harper under our tree Christmas morning and I would still be worried that the sight won't be "magical" enough for her. I know, I know, that's completely insane. I just want it to be so special. . . she's at such a good age for the magic of Christmas.

*****

The theme of any snow we get all winter is surely going to be, according to Harper, "My stupid mom won't let me bring snowballs into the house." She tried to sneak snow in today, clutched in her mittened hands and was exceedingly disappointed when I made her dump it on the stoop. I am no fun at all.

*****

Harper is suddenly obsessed with time (Darn it, should have added a clock to the pile of presents!) and asks me often, "What time is it?"

She does not like it when the answer is not an o'clock or something-thirty. When I answer her by saying something like, "It's almost one-o'clock," she'll ask, "What happens at one-o'clock?" I often have no good answer for this. (Christmas gift idea for self -- book of creative answers to three-year-old-type questions.)

Although I taught her to ask, "What time is it?" I miss Harper's earlier incarnation of this question which was, "What minutes is it?"


*****

I subbed in a early childhood center (preschool) today. Kindergarten, I could teach, preschool? That is a very special calling indeed. I do not know how those women do it day after day after day. It is like having 24 of Harper, but there's no TV time, or "play quietly on the floor while Mommy rests her eyes on the couch" time.

Also, it is distinctly more difficult to be in a preschool classroom while pregnant, my brain is already feeling scrambled, and then there's 24 little ones talking over each other all day long.

Parents of preschool age children should have mandatory time helping in a preschool because it sure does make you appreciate having just one of them at home!

(I actually had fun today, despite feeling a little like I'd been run over by a truck before it was over.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Santa Visit 2007

First of all, I'm too lazy to do a past-Santa-recap again this year. So if you'd like to check out the trauma inducing Santa experiences of years past, visit last year's post.

This year I had high hopes for our Santa visit because, oh my, look how excited:


She was excited about Santa last year, but not like this. She really, really gets it this year. And swore she was going to sit on Santa's lap, tell him what she wanted, etc. My confidence in this plan waned as we approached Santa's couch and Harper would not come out from behind Matt.


Despite Harper's uncertainly, at age three, we officially took our first non-crying series of Santa photos:


Okay people, I'm not dead yet.


Whatever you do, don't make me look at him.


Woah Santa, keep those hands away from my face.


I will not tell you my name, I will not tell you how old I am.


I think I'm finished now.


Fortunately Harper is not afraid of her Uncle Jamie. We had a fun time visiting Santa, despite the fact that photographic evidence suggests otherwise. As soon as we walked away from Santa's area Harper said, "That was great!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Season's Greetings

Our family Christmas card to the Internet:

Happy Holidays!

(If you're thinking, "Hey, that's sort of equal parts funny and creepy," I'm right there with you. But I have seen a few of these now and I just couldn't resist.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Reindeer Games

Yesterday Harper and her friend, Dana, had their final play date of the year. These two three-year-olds are like oil and water in some ways. They get so excited about seeing each other, but, if left to their own devices, they tend to fight over everything. Now I am not going to plan three hours of directed activities for the two of them, but I do try to provide at least one or two "projects" during their time together and I find it makes things a little easier on all of us. After they spend time together I realize how spoiled I am that Harper entertains herself so well. I have to keep an eye on her because her version of entertainment is often not on the list of parental-approved-activities, but still. . .she plays contentedly on her own much of the time.

One of the project we did to keep busy yesterday was decorate reindeer cookies. I can't take any credit for the idea, because it came straight from Pillsbury, but I will take credit for doing this project with the two of them. The only change I made was to use cinnamon candies for Rudolph noses, instead of the gum drops Pillsbury suggested. It's actually hard to find gum drops without a peanut warning on them (I know!) and I already had safe red candies here.


I decided to do the frosting, since it was important for the decorations to adhere to the cookie. I gave each girl a baking tray and a container each for pretzels, chocolate chips, and cinnamon candies. They each had the number of items needed to decorate their cookies and I told them no eating while they decorated. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they followed that direction, they even used napkins to wipe their fingers instead of licking the frosting.


I made one cookie ahead of time, so they had a sample to work from:


Overall both girls did a wonderful job with the cookies; many of them were recognizable as reindeer.


There was one that even turned out looking a bit like a reindeer themed Rockette:


And then there were a couple that looked like they played a little too close to a nuclear waste facility:



If we haven't learned by now that reindeer don't have to be perfect, then Rudolph taught us nothing. And, trust me, the mutated reindeer are just as tasty as the regular looking ones.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Day (or at least 20 minutes) in the Snow

First, the bad news. . . by the time we got out, the day after the big snow, it was no longer good packing snow. So we still haven't made a snowman, much to Harper's distress. At least there is still a lot of winter left.

The good news is that it doesn't take much for a three-year-old (at least for my three-year-old) to be entertained by a romp in the snow.


Snow angels came first. A smarter mother would have stood on the other side, so as not to leave a big shadow across the snow angel. Oops. It was bright outside so I couldn't see how the pictures turned out and didn't really notice my shadow error until it was too late.


We happened to find a couple of different looking sets of animal tracks in the yard. This was surprisingly entertaining. We followed them around, speculating on what animal might have made them. The choices around here should be pretty limited in terms of the type animal that might be tromping through the yard.


What do you think we were looking at?


The two pictures of tracks are from different animals. Maybe a deer for the bottom one?


I kept trying to take a picture of my boot prints next to Harper's in the snow. She trampled most of them before I got a chance. That, by the way, is also a fun game.


When track following/speculation become boring, Harper just flung her body around in the snow for a bit, until she got a few face-fulls; then it was time to go inside!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Did We Get the Big Snow?

Yes! In fact, we did get the Big Snow! But I was too much of a wimp to take Harper out and play in it today. (It was only 19 with the wind chill.)


Tomorrow it is supposed to be more sunny and less windy before it rains on Friday and everything melts. So I guess that makes tomorrow Official Snowman Day. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Weather and Philosopy (And a Shameless Plug)

So much for continuing to blog every day in December! Moving on. . .

Item the First:

It is officially winter in our area of Ohio. Since (I'm not kidding even a little) 8 this morning there has been a snow advisory posted which continues through tomorrow afternoon. Not a flake has fallen yet, but the meteorologists and snow-fearful folks are in a complete frenzy. We are supposed to get 1-3 inches (yes, if you live in Minnesota or western New York, you can laugh) which is actually a fairly significant amount in these parts. In the seven or so years that I've lived here I have witnessed, on many occasions, everyone get all riled up about a Big Snow and then watched as we got not even one inch. I will wait until tomorrow to get excited.

For her part, Harper is still bitter that we never got a decent snowman out of last year's snow. I'll be happy for her if we do actually see some decent accumulation this winter.

Item the Second:

Harper is beginning her study of philosophy early. She has apparently been questioning her existence. While driving in the car this morning we had a rather lengthy discussion after she asked, "Why was I born?" and,"Why did you name me Harper?"

The constant why-mode is not new, but her questions are getting less concrete. Would you care to explain why Monday comes after Sunday? "Because it does," is not an acceptable answer to my (or any) three-year-old.

Item the Third:

I've been web-published, by someone other than myself! Even though it is a completely dorky thing to get excited about, I'm sure none of you are out there harboring any illusions that I'm cool. Last spring I wrote a post sharing my opinions about teacher-gifts. As the holiday giving season is upon us, I recently read a post on a site called Work It, Mom! which discussed the same topic, and left a link to my afore mentioned post. One of the site's editors followed the link, read the post, and then emailed me to ask if I would submit it as an article to their site.

So I did.

And they published it!

If you have any interest in teacher-gifting, or just want to see for yourself that someone unrelated to me was interested in what I had to say, go here:

http://www.workitmom.com/article-1212

I'll be back tomorrow with an update on The Big Snow of '07.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Harper and the Baby

The questions/discussion about this coming baby have hardly let up and I'm thinking it's going to be quite a long wait for Harper. She, by the way, has a baby in her tummy, too. Although, hers is a girl baby. The other day she asked if we could lift our shirts up and put our tummies together so the babies could talk to each other. Of course I obliged.

Tonight, as I was putting her in bed, Harper asked me if she could carry the baby down the hallway. She looked at me very seriously and said, "I promise I will put two hands on him."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Year The Third

Dear Harper,

Earlier this month you turned three years old. Normally I try to write to you on or very near your birthday. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of visitors, visiting, illness, celebrations, travel, and holiday preparations. The time has really gotten away from me, but, as this month draws to a close, I wanted to make sure to take a few moments to let you know how special you are in your mother's eyes.

I won't sugar coat it kid, age two has not been your prettiest. You are smart, strong-willed, funny, and creative. I believe these qualities will help you become a phenomenal woman. They also mean you are not an easy girl to raise. That's okay, I never asked for easy. I love that you are strong and smart, even if it means you try to figure out seventeen ways to get around just about anything I ask you to do.

You are not a baby, at all, anymore. It is almost heartbreaking to write that, but I can no longer deny it. You aren't even a toddler. You're a little girl. Sure you're taller and your hair is longer, but what has really stunned me about this past year is the way your personality has blossomed. You speak so much more clearly now, anyone who spends time with you can understand. This strikes me as a mixed blessing, you no longer need me to be your interpreter to the world, you can share ideas all on your own. While I know that's what is supposed to happen, that year after year there will be all kinds of ways in which you need me a little less, it still hurts my heart just a tiny bit. I take hope from the fact that, at age 31, I still think of turning to my mother for answers and reassurance and I hope that 28 years from now, you'll still know you can come to me for anything.

Little blips are disappearing from your speech like crazy these days. You can make "sp" and "sm" sounds the way they are supposed to be, instead of coming out sounding like "f." So you now say, "smile," instead of, "file." You've also nearly always pronounced "l" as "y;" so you, "yiked" something instead of, "liking" it. While you still do this to a degree, the other day you said "yellow" just as clear as a bell, "l's" and all. I worry sometimes that I'll forget all these things you have done on your way to being grown, which is why I write them down.

Your imagination is something to behold, and that has been one of your most wonderful gifts because it allows you to entertain yourself for hours on end. I love playing with you, of course, though it can't be done every hour of every day. I'm so glad you are able to create little worlds for yourself. You assign names and stories to nearly everything you interact with and you are always asking, "Why?" about everything! I love watching you tackle problems and figure things out for yourself.

I have always loved you, of course, and now I find myself so excited to get to know the person you are becoming. When you talk to me, it is a little window into what you are thinking. I love the glimpses I get into how your mind works.

The next year is going to bring lots of changes for you. Naturally you'll do lots of learning and growing over the coming twelve months. You are also going to start preschool and become a big sister. I have no idea how you are going to react to either of those things, I don't believe three-year-olds are known for being comfortable with change. Even if the transitions are difficult I truly believe you are going to love going to school, learning, and interacting with other children. And when May comes around I am certain that you are going to be a wonderful big sister, with one more person in the world to recognize the special girl that you are.

I love you Harper and I wish I could express it eloquently enough to make you understand the depth of my love. I hope I'm showing you every day how proud I am to be your mother. I can't wait to see what this next year brings.

Love,
Mommy

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Snips and Snails, and Puppy Dogs' Tails

Oh. My.

Thanks for all your supportive comments and guesses over the last couple of days. The voting ended up with about 9 guesses for a girl, 5 for a boy, and the rest fell under the category of, "wha?" because they weren't actual guesses.

So now the question is this:

What on earth am I going to do with a boy?!

Several mommies-of-boys have already come forward to tell me how much I'll love it, and I am truly thrilled to be having a boy. I just lack confidence about raising one. You know, I want to raise a good boy. I don't mean necessarily follows-all-the-rules good, but kind and generous, honest, respectful, etc. (Having Matt as the boy's father is a very promising start!) The world has often seemed short on good boys, don't you think?

Part of the reason we(I) wanted to know what we were having this time around was the fact that I didn't know how I'd feel about a boy and I wanted to have time to get used to the idea; just in case I needed time to get used to the idea. As it turns out, I was instantly thrilled when the woman reading the ultrasound pointed out the identifying anatomy.

In case you are wondering, Harper is happy too. In the first moments after we told her, she said she wanted a sister. Since, however, she has adamantly stated she wanted a brother. When I asked why she wanted a brother she replied, "I don't want the baby to be the same as me." Well there you go.

But, mommies-of-boys, please continue to tell me stories about how great it is and how you ended up being wonderful to your boys, even if you weren't sure you'd know how. I'd appreciate it.

I'm kind of sad to see an end to the pregnancy announcing and gender guessing because the number of visitors to this little blog has gone way up and it has been kind of fun, imagining lots of people excited for us or at least interested enough to come back and know what has happened here. Of course, I'll continue to write about what's happening, but there won't be any major announcements or suspenseful guessing games for a while to keep people hooked. Unless of course someone reading this would like to buy us a minivan, if you are so moved, I promise I'd write LOTS of exciting posts about it!

Also, NaBloPoMo ends tomorrow. I'm feeling a little sad about that. It has been fun writing every day and, after the first week or so, I started looking forward to it, rather than feeling pressured. So maybe, just maybe, it will keep up into December.

Finally, if you are any kind of football fan, you know there is a HUGE football game tonight. The 10-1 Packers vs. the 10-1 Cowboys. We can't watch the game from home (dumb NFL Network), but my brother is saving me a seat at the bar up the street. Even though I will have to skip the spirits, I will be joining him to cheer on the Packers. I am embarrassed to tell you how happy the thought of a victory tonight makes me. But don't worry, if they win, I will be sure to let you know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Zoo Trip

Wouldn't you like to hear all about our trip to the zoo???


What?


That's not what you're looking for?


Hmmm. . . Guess you'll have to check back another time then.


Oh, come on! Do you really think I'd do that to you again?



It's a boy!!!!!

Can You Wait a Little Longer?

Please keep commenting -- this is so fun. That last post has more comments than the announcement that we were having a baby received.

So it's a relatively nice day here. Harper and I are taking a morning trip to the zoo in Cincinnati and then having lunch with Nana. I promise I will end the suspense the moment Harper gets in bed for her nap. But it might be slightly longer than the 24 hours I said yesterday. Look for a the big reveal by mid-afternoon.

In the mean time go ahead and leave your guess if you haven't. I'll tally the results just for fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's a. . .

Hi!

I know what kind of baby we're having!

Harper will be a big sister to a little -

You know what might be fun?

I'll give everyone 24 hours or so to leave a comment* and guess whether the baby is a boy or girl. Any strong feelings out there? Now's your chance to prove how psychic you are!

If you are among the five people or so we didn't make wait, no fair "guessing" or giving it away, you'll have to keep the secret until tomorrow.

We had lots of fun today at the ultrasound, with our little one squirming all over the place and Harper claiming that the baby was, "So cute!"

*(Even if you haven't commented here before, make yourself known! Just click the word "comments" below this post and give me your guess. You can sign your name or just be anonymous -- you don't need a blogger account to leave a comment. And sometimes the word verification doesn't go through on the first try, if your comment is still in the comment box after you've tried to publish it, just give it one more try.)

Edited to add: Only two guesses and this is already way more fun that I thought it would be. Please, keep the speculation coming!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sweetest Stall Tactic Ever

"Mo-om, I just want to give the baby one more hug and a kiss."

Tomorrow we may found out exactly which kind of baby we're having. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Flashback

Remember how I was going to use NaBloPoMo to catch up on several things I'd meant to post about earlier this fall or even late in the summer? Have you noticed that I haven't done that much? I may take some of these final November posts to rectify that situation.

*****

This first set of photos is from a day in August when Harper and I visited the mother of an old and dear friend of mine. Mrs. K was my confirmation sponsor in high school and we have kept in touch since I moved to Ohio. It is rare that I actually get an opportunity to visit with her when we are in Wisconsin, but I was excited to take Harper to see her, since it had been well over a year (maybe two) since our last visit. I had no idea how long we'd stay because Harper can be unpredictable in new situations.


Mrs. K has many grandchildren and had lots of books and toys available for Harper to enjoy. She thought to put some out ahead of time, and Harper was almost immediately put at ease. I have rarely seen her warm up to someone so quickly.


There are certain people in the world that are natural child magnets and I suspect Mrs. K is one of them. We had a wonderful visit and it was difficult to leave. It may be one of my greatest pleasures as a mother, to see people I care for and respect getting to know and enjoying my child.


*****

The next two photos show Harper with my babysitter Jill's children. Jill and Troy's children are a really beautiful reflection of their parents, both in looks and personality. Harper's big thrill from our visit to their house was playing with the tea set, because Jill let Abby fill it with real water. Harper was blown away.



Someday I'll share the story of how Jill ended up being our babysitter. Jill started babysitting for us when I was in first grade and she was in seventh (I believe), and I still remember how hard I cried when she went away to college. Since then we've become good friends. And I love knowing her children, and knowing that she knows mine.