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.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Video That Wasn't

Hey! Look what finally loaded:

video

So there you have it, our exciting announcement. Still wish I could edit out the chaos at the end and just leave the first parts, when people are realizing what's happening. Oh Well.

Now I have to see if I can get the date right on this, originally attempted 11/17 and 11/18; I need the NaBloPoMo people to give me credit for today.

We, by the way, are safely back in Ohio. Tomorrow I will be decorating for Christmas -- LOVE this time of year!

Friday, November 23, 2007

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

Somehow I missed this yesterday. . . my mom had taken Harper to the bathroom at my grandma's house, and when she (my mom) leaned over the toilet, her glasses fell in the bowl. Oops!

So tonight my mom is helping Harper get ready for bed and takes her to the bathroom. Harper looks at my mom and says, "Mugga? Do you have your glasses?"

My mom says, "Yes."

And Harper says, "You should put them on the counter so they don't fall in the hole!"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Day

Whew.

Holidays with my extended family are larger than life. We had two Thanksgiving meals today; lunch at my mom's mother's house, dinner at my dad's parents' house. 44 people at the first place, 36 people at the second.

Of course there haven't always been that many people, but as long as I can remember our holidays have been one huge gathering of people on top of people, kids everywhere, and enough food to feed a small army. For a very long time that was the only kind of holiday I knew. . . craziness, laughter, and not enough chairs to go around.

The first time I stayed in Ohio for a holiday I thought it was going to be sad or strange, but now I have come to love our more intimate family gatherings in Ohio as much as I love the big insane ones in Wisconsin.

I think Harper has started to love coming up here for holidays. Between my cousins and my cousins' children, the possibilities for playmates are seemingly endless. I love hearing her laugh and watching her play, running circles around the same houses where I once crawled and toddled and ran with my cousins.

But, oh, that darn peanut allergy.

My relatives have been really understanding about the things we've asked them to do to help keep Harper safe during these big gatherings. It's either that or we don't come at all. Yet, despite everyone's at least basic understanding of what to do or not do, I find the whole thing really stressful. To simplify it this year, we just brought food for Harper to eat when we sat down to meals. The truth is, no matter how safe something seems, unless I can see all the ingredient labels and know what else was happening in the kitchen where it was made, I just have trouble trusting that it is safe for her to eat. So I worry, even when she's eating our food, with all those people running around and food everywhere, I worry that we're going to have a problem. I have gotten my day-to-day worry pretty much under control, but these special events are an entirely different beast.

Today went pretty well, but at some point during dinner at our second stop, I suddenly became totally overwhelmed. Surely part of it are the pregnancy hormones going crazy. There was just a moment in which the responsibility of keeping Harper safe, and the fear that she was never going to be able to enjoy these gatherings in a totally carefree way, that we were never going to be able to enjoy these gatherings without worry, it just felt like too much. And I had a little breakdown. One problem I have always had is that once I start crying, I just can't stop. So I kind of hid in the bedroom harboring the coats, blowing my nose and sniffling, and trying to calm myself right the heck down. Because if there is one thing you don't want to do in the middle of a group of 36 people, it is to start crying for no apparent reason and then have to explain yourself.

I know all the perspective-keeping things I should be saying to myself; there are worse things we could be dealing with, we have a beautiful child, we have a large loving family, etc. I know these things, but occasionally they become difficult to remember.

Yet here we are, as the clock winds down on another Thanksgiving, and we are together and safe and Harper had the time of her life. And I am thankful for that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ahh. . .

So it is nice staying at my parents' house. I am not afraid to admit that I still love it when my mother takes care of me. Most of the things that I like about being here are totally superficial and silly, but still so nice.

1) At any given moment there are 1-4 people, besides me, waiting to entertain Harper and cater to her whims. And for the most part they like it -- enjoy spending time with her and fetching her milk while I put my feet up and enjoy the perks of my parents' home.

2) Digital cable and DVR are two wonderful gifts of technology. There are so many stations and if you don't think you can watch something, shoot, just DVR it! It is probably a very good thing that neither of these technologies are appearing in my own home.

3) I don't have to cook, and yet, there is food to eat. Of course I don't mind helping, but the food tastes better when I don't have anything to do with it.

4) There are no chores/laundry I am responsible for. Sure, I can throw a load in if I need to, but there isn't a week's worth of laundry with my name it and no basement stairs to drag it up and down.

Even though the house my parents live in now is not a place where I have ever technically lived, it still feels like home; which I think says something pretty special about my family. I hope that, far into the future, Harper will come into our home, wherever it may be and feel as comfortable and welcome as I do here.

***

It is snowing here, there's about an inch or two piled up on the deck railing. Harper stood incredulously at the window telling each of us in turn, "Yook! It's snowing outside."

We ran to Target this morning to get snow pants and snow boots for Harper, just in case my cousins are playing in the snow tomorrow, i can't imagine keeping her inside while they are out playing. The good news is that those are things we hadn't yet acquired for this winter, so we weren't buying duplicates.

Tomorrow morning Matt will be heading here from Ohio to join us for turkey, and the Packers play. Life is pretty good.

Happy Thanksgiving (or Happy Thursday) to you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Harper's Latest

Short post today, I am sharing my dad's computer, which he has at work all day, so my access is limited. Starting tomorrow there will be another computer here (my brother's) to work with, hopefully I'll be able to add some pictures and I still owe Harper her third birthday letter, better late than never. Anyway. . .

Today Harper decided she was also going to grow a baby in her tummy, because Baby Doll is going to be a big sister. She's even going to (according to her) go to the doctor with me so they can cut her tummy and pull her baby out. She did a lot of walking around, groaning, with her hands on her puffed-out belly (funny because I'm not showing yet that Harper would notice), saying, "Growing this baby is reawwy hard work!"

Apparently she is also going to help me get the house ready. Today she looked up suddenly and said, "Mom, do we have any bottles?!" When I told her that yes, we had some left from when she was a baby, she seemed so relieved. This is going to be fun.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tired Yet?

So I'm wondering how quickly talking about this pregnancy will get old for all of you. And more specifically how quickly talking about talking about this pregnancy with Harper will get old for you. Because, personally, I see endless potential for hilarity in the area of Harper as a big sister and the conversations thustly inspired.

She seems to have accepted that the baby is really in my tummy and today we discussed how it will come out of there! She pointed at her lips and asked, "Will it come out of your mouth?" I tried to stifle my chuckle as I told her no.

Harper thinks.

"Will you push it out your bottom?"

"Well, some babies come out that way, but this one won't (I didn't think a more specific anatomy lesson was important at this time)." Because Harper was born via c-section (she was breech), this baby will be too. There are few doctors in this area who will allow a VBAC and mine isn't one of them. (Please, please, don't email/leave comments for me to share your concerns about this situation, I know that many of you would probably fight for the VBAC, but we've made our peace with it. I like my doctor.)

I tried to explain to Harper how she was born and showed her my scar. I told her the doctor will open my tummy and pull this baby out, just like they pulled her out. At first she was horrified, "Will there be a hole in your tummy?!"

I said no, the doctor would use stitches to close it up once the baby was out. Then she looked around and said we should have the baby at Mugga's house (where we're staying). I told her that the baby would be born in the same hospital where she was born, and that's when Harper said, "But Mugga has scissors!"

Uh-oh. Now I'm going to have dreams that Harper will come after me with her safety scissors, trying to get the baby out herself.

And speaking of dreams, any weird pregnancy dreams out there? It happened to me with Harper and it is happening again with this one. . . pregnancy makes me dream about tornados.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

On The Road

First of all, thanks to everyone who left congratulations comments -- it's nice to know so many people are thinking of us. I have LOTS to say about this pregnancy, because I had to keep quiet during the first not-so-fun parts. . . but that will have to wait for another day.

After all of yesterday's excitement Harper and I piled into the car with my mom and sister for a long drive to Wisconsin. Somehow, even with a 3-year-old and a pregnant lady in the car, we made it all the way from Ohio to Wisconsin with only one stop. Harper was an angel in the car and took a nice long nap. We'll spend the week up here, Matt will join us for Thanksgiving, and then we'll head back to Ohio on Saturday. (Um, just in case you were interested in our travel plans.)

Several people have asked what Harper thinks about the arrival of a sibling. . . First of all, she'd like a sister. We'll see. We are planning to find out the gender of the baby and not keep it a secret, so we'll have lots of time to talk up a baby brother, should that be the case. She understands the part about the baby coming, but not so much about the fact that it is growing inside me. I tried to talk to her about it a little as she went to bed last night and was explaining that the baby was small and needed to grow in my tummy for a while before he/she would be ready to come out and meet us. Harper looked at me, thought for a minute, and asked, "Is the baby in pieces?" Gee, I hope not!!! (Early ultrasounds would suggest that the baby is intact.)

We are debating whether to bring her to the next ultrasound, scheduled for late next week, as though that might help her understand that the baby is already inside me. For those who asked, I am about fifteen weeks along. And I knew pretty quickly I was pregnant, which means it's been a l-o-n-g three months of secret-keeping.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bursting

So I haven't had this video camera long enough to figure out how to edit anything. It's the first part of this video (maybe the first ten seconds or so) that really counts.

Recaps of the rest of Harper's (3rd!) birthday celebration coming soon.

Okay, right here there is supposed to be a video of Harper opening a t-shirt that says, "Big Sister 2008." That's how we told our visiting friends and family that we are expecting another child. Harper opens the shirt, holds it up, and chaos breaks out. Sadly for me, neither blogger's video uploader nor YouTube are wanting to cooperate with me right now, so you are getting this message instead of a fun video. But hey, we're pregnant!


Our new arrival is expected May 6, 2008!

(Just for the record, I have been keeping this secret from most of the world, including our parents, since late August. We waited this long so we could share the news with our families when all the grandparents were together. I think I've nearly exploded several times from the stress of keeping this secret/fear I was going to reveal it.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Update and Question

Good morning.

During the night Harper's temp got up to nearly 104 before the last dose of Tylenol. However this morning, after no meds for eight hours (while she slept all night, thank you very much) she has very little fever at all; not even 100. I think this means we're headed in the right direction.

(Knocks on wood.)

***

So I posted a video from our new camera on my birthday, in the post called, "Happy Birthday to Me." Please do me a favor and leave a comment (just click anonymous if you don't want to sign in) letting me know whether you are able to view the video clip. When I look on my computer, not only can't I play it, I can't see it at all! This is highly distressing and I wonder if it is a glitch on my machine, a Firefox problem, or something else. I was really excited to post a birthday video for Harper, so I'll be bummed if it's not working.

Thanks!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Channeling Patience

I don't know how many times I can have this conversation before my head explodes:

"Mom, I'm rewwy feeying better. Can I have something to eat?"

"No honey, you just threw up, you have to wait a while for your stomach to be all better."

"Mom, can I have some reguyar juice, not sick juice (Pedialyte)?"

"No, that will be too hard on your tummy today, maybe tomorrow."

"Okay Mom, can I have some more sick juice pyease?"

"Yes, I'll get you some."

"Sanks Mom."

I know, I know, it doesn't sound too bad. But imagine all of Harper's lines being said in a tired, whiny voice, and then repeat this exact same conversation every five to ten minutes for oh, (looks at watch) about six hours.

Stomach flu, begone from our home!

Happy Birthday to Me

First things first, here, as long as it works, is a short video of Harper chatting with me on this fine birthday morn.

video

Doesn't look like she's about to come down with the flu, does it?

We drove down to Cincinnati earlier today. Ann's mom, Harper's great grandmother, was also born today. We headed down to pick her up and take her to lunch. Fifteen minutes into the car ride, at about 10:30 a.m., Harper was sound asleep. That was the first sign. Then we picked up Ann's mom, went to lunch, and Harper sat on my lap the entire time, refusing to eat anything, even french fries. We all had a bad feeling and finished lunch as quickly as possible. We took Ann's mom home and Harper threw up as soon as we got back in the car. Oops.

So now I have my fingers crossed for a 24 hour bug/speedy recovery. We have several family and friends descending upon us for Harper's birthday celebration on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Birthday Eve

Tomorrow is my birthday, but we celebrated tonight because Matt has a basketball scrimmage tomorrow.

It was a wonderful celebration.

In the afternoon Matt and Harper gave me my gift. . . a digital video camera! You know what this means, my bloggy friends, longer and higher quality video clips of Harper spewing adorable all over the internet. Watch out.

Then, this evening, Matt and I got away for a dinner at nice Italian restaurant and then a movie, which felt even better since it was on a Wednesday. Going out in the middle of the week always makes me feel a little like I'm playing hooky.

We saw Dan in Real Life, which turned out to be an excellent choice. It's more drama than romantic comedy, and, though it isn't mind-bending or life-altering, it was solid entertainment. Just enough funny, not too sappy, and nicely touching at times. But, as we have discussed before, I have a predisposition to enjoying things. If you are a picky movie-goer, thou shalt not use me as a reviewer. Thank you.

And now I think I will curl up in bed with the manual for the camcorder and get myself up to speed so I can adequately record the events of Harper's third birthday.

That noise you are hearing?

It is my big contented sigh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I've Survived!

Actually, the second day of subbing was easier than the first. In hindsight that makes a lot of sense. I was able to greet all the children by name as they came in the door this morning, which sets a much better tone for the day. I was also not scrambling to familiarize myself with their classroom rules and routines and was much more relaxed.

One little girl had a tough day. She lost a charm off her necklace during recess and was nearly inconsolable about it; I assured her that anyone who found it would know it was special and bring it to the lost and found, but it is so small I kind of doubt it will be found. Then that same girl went to open her lunch bag and the covered bowl her main lunch was in had broken, there was glass everywhere, so none of it was safe for her to eat. Poor thing. We obviously found lunch for her, but that's a pretty difficult day if you're six!

During our morning recess I was once again failed by physics. There have been an unfortunate number of time lately when I've felt like what I might have learned in an AP Physics class could have helped me. One of the first graders asked me why the swings move when you pump your legs, and any explanation I tried to offer was met with, "But why?" Silly inquisitive kids!

Harper and I ran outside after school/nap and tried to plant some bulbs a friend gave me for an early birthday present. We worked until I literally couldn't see enough to tell where I'd already dug. It will be a pleasant surprise if any of them come up this spring.

When we finished planting, we went out to put some gas in the car. Harper got all upset because the moon was out (it was dark by 6:00) and she wasn't in bed. But she got over it and then was all excited because the moon, "Followed us home!"

Tomorrow it will be refreshing to get caught up on laundry and start cleaning up this house for our birthday festivities this weekend; at least that's what it feels like today.

Monday, November 12, 2007

If I'm Alive Tomorrow, It Will Be a Miracle

So, I used to teach first grade every single day. It was my job. I got up and went to work in the morning without giving it too much thought. I had fun. I loved the kids. Then I came home, ate dinner, watched some television and went to bed. Things were good.

Today, I subbed in first grade. I think the children were trying to kill me.

Actually, the children weren't bad, they were first graders and acted just a first graders should. But here I am, ready to get in bed before nine again, my feet are aching, and my throat is decidedly sore from all the talking necessary when spending the day with a room full of first graders.

Is it possible to have a fun, successful day, and still feel as though you've been hit by a truck?

I get to go back and do it tomorrow.

The best part of the day was coming home to Harper who was so excited to see me. And the fact that she started every story about her day by taking a deep breath and saying, "Well," in a short emphatic huff like a gossipy neighbor who has new dish to share.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Six Things

A while ago Emily tagged me for a meme, requesting I list six habits. Oddly enough, I have been mulling this over in my mind and I can only come up with bad ones, or perhaps some that are neutral. I failed to think of a single habit that would have anyone impressed with my character.

Here are some of the first that came to mind:

1. I leave lights on. I don't mean to, but I tend to move from room to room in the house, and I want my way to be lit, especially in winter. I am trying to do better in this arena -- it drives Matt crazy.

2. I buy birthday cards ahead of time and then mail them late nine times out of ten. Better late than never, right?

3. I am not a morning person and rarely get up without hitting snooze at least once (Matt's laughing now because he's sure I meant to write once every ten minutes for an hour.); I think this comes from not having to be anywhere in the morning 90% of the time. I will do better tomorrow when I have to go sub again.

4. When I start reading a book it generally takes me an excruciatingly long time to get past the first 50-100 pages. After that I'm usually obsessed and will read it even when I should be doing other things.

5. I never remember to water the plants until they are flopping over the side of the pots, inches from death. I'm so relieved when they perk back up.

6. I have a hard time seeing laundry through from beginning to end. I put a load in the washer, get it in the dryer if I'm lucky, and remember it's down there two days later when I have a dryer full of cool wrinkled clothes. Then they sit upstairs in the basket for another day. By the time the clothes are put away, it's time to do laundry again. No wonder it seems like a never-ending process. Someday we will move into a house with a first-floor laundry, or we will remodel this house to have one. You can start sending me lottery tickets now.

Gee, after all that, aren't you glad you don't live with me????

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'm Crowded, Roll Over*

Well I guess the stuffed animals finally revolted and decided that Harper was just taking up too much space:


(Don't worry, I planted her firmly back on the head-end of the bed after taking this photo about five minutes ago.)

*Do you remember that song? Called something like, "Ten Bears in the Bed." It dates back to the early days of Sesame Street, but I wasn't able to dig up a video clip this time.

Friday, November 09, 2007

When They Can Talk, You Get to Know What They're Thinking

One of the greatest things about having a verbal child is the fact that you actually get glimpses inside the mind of a two- or three-year-old. Sure, there are moments when I wish she'd just stop talking already (Gee, no one has ever thought that about me!), but mostly I enjoy Harper's audible monologue.

We've always suspected she's had a big imagination, but lately her curiosity and imaginary play have hit new levels. For better or worse we have lots of toys around that are probably too young for Harper, things I just haven't bothered to banish to the basement. (Don't worry, we have plenty of age-appropriate toys on hand as well.) One of the toys she's pretty much outgrown are the Peek-a-Block things from Fisher Price. She calls them the blocks you don't build with. Anyway she requested I get them out the other day and it's been non-stop questioning every since.

"What's in this apple?"

"A worm."

"Why is it in there?"

"Because worms like apples."

"Why doesn't it have a face."

"Worms don't really have faces we can see."

"Slimy does! Where is this worm's face?"

***

"Why is there a mouse inside this cheese?"

"Because mice like cheese."

"Why do mice like cheese?"

"Because it tastes good to them."

"Why do they think it tastes good?"

"I don't know, why do you like cheese?!"

***

"This noise block makes a sound. How does it do that?"

"When the pieces push together they make a sound."

"Why?"

"In about fourteen years you can takes physics, then you can come home and tell me why."


Harper also seems to be integrating information in a way she hadn't been before. Back in September, when we were in St. Louis, she saw Erin nursing Emmett, and it was really her first close encounter with breast feeding, at least since she's been old enough to remember. That image must have nestled itself somewhere in her brain because in the last couple of days she has taken to nursing her baby doll.

"Baby Doll doesn't want her bottle," Harper says, "she is eating from my bref."

"Your breast?"

"Yes, I'm bref feeding her."

I suppose some people might find that odd, but I think it's very sweet that she is nursing her doll. And Harper informed me that Baby Doll can get milk, or water, or juice from her breasts. Now there's a trick I haven't learned!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

About Time

If you scroll way, way down, to the bottom of the page, you'll see a little time line type thing that keeps track of Harper's age.

It appears she's about a week away from turning three.

(Holy cow, how did that happen?)

Just to keep things interesting, and to let us know that age two still has a curve ball or two to throw us, Harper decided to invent a new member of our family this week.

As of Monday, Harper has an imaginary friend.

Her hair is pink.

Her eyes change colors.

And her name is Barbecue. Although sometimes Harper calls her Babycue instead.

Barbecue is not always a good listener, likes to play tag with Harper, and insists her seatbelt be buckled at all times.

Barbecue's influence, good vs. bad, has yet to be determined.

Barbecue is three, but on her birthday she'll be two. Harper says she's going backwards.

Welcome to the family Barbecue.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Harper's Good Things

Remember yesterday? When I hit you over the head with a club and told you to go vote? And sort of implied that I would be back with a more substantive post later in the day?

Sorry about that.

Despite having a great day subbing, I was still exhausted from the early wake up call, and I fell asleep a little after 9. 9! I had to look on the Internet today to see who had been eliminated from Dancing with the Stars.

Thank goodness for the Internet.


So today I thought I would tell you about some of the things Harper has been enjoying lately. She can drive me crazy, but makes me laugh so much.

Over the weekend, my dad was in town with a friend/colleague to attend the Wisconsin-Ohio State game. After we derailed the Friday plans with Harper's allergic reaction, they stopped by for some extra visiting time before flying out on Sunday.

Somehow Harper managed to rope two grown men, one of whom wasn't even related to her, into a game of Candyland.



And she didn't even pout when she lost. Though she had a difficult time audibly congratulating Grandpa.

Then they played a few rounds of a newly invented game (thanks Matt) called Sock Fight!

Playing Sock Fight! is easy. You just whap each other with socks until someone gets tired, or gets poked in the eye.


Also, the Packers won on Sunday.

As if the weekend weren't exciting enough, Monday brought a package, for no reason at all, from Aunt Meaghan. Aunt Meaghan had been to Disney World and sent Harper a stuffed Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger. Harper tore the paper off the animals and exclaimed, "I've always wanted these friends!"


Harper has sort of rediscovered her dress-up box lately. Her favorite outfit? The cowboy princess. Yesterday she ran around in this costume for quite some time, pulling imaginary alphabet letters out of her purse (a little too much Super Why, I guess) and yelling, "Cowboy Princess to the rescue!"


Looking at that picture I ask you. . . Is there any problem that couldn't be solved by a determined Cowboy Princess? I think not.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Do Your Duty!

I will be back with a longer post later. I'm just dropping by to say that, if you haven't done so yet, you should go vote!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, November 05, 2007

How Many Days Left in November?

Whew, I think my posting endurance wore down during the drought that was October. Here it is, only the fifth day of NaBloPoMo, and I'm feeling a little blop weary.

It's only 8:40 and I'm already thinking that bed is looking much better than cleaning up the million toys from Harper's play date this morning.

I am substitute teaching in the morning, for the first time in a very long time, probably almost a year. Though I am very confident in my teaching skills, I always feel a little nervous when I've been out of the classroom for a while. At least I am working my way back with a 1/2 day. Next week I'll be doing two full days. (All the people who work full time are totally laughing at me right now!)

Tonight I'll share some photos from Halloween Day, when Harper's friend Aaron came over for Halloween crafts. Sort of. They did sponge painting and made sandwich cookies by putting frosting between two sugar cookies. There was so much finger dipping and drooling into the frosting container that I threw the rest out when they were finished. Here's the problem with preschool arts and crafts. . . the set up and clean up last approximately 100x longer than the actual crafting. Those three-year-olds and their short attention spans! Kindergarten I could do, but I don't see preschool teaching in my future!







Okay, they used sponges and cookie cutters to paint with. They also made a cute craft by threading white yarn in and out of holes in dark paper plates to make spider webs. We attached spider buttons to the webs when they were finished. The final product was cute, but the process wasn't quite as fun to document as the painting! and the frosting!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Halloween Photos, At Last


Finally, Halloween photos!


Let me begin by saying, especially as I finished up my school work, I was very grateful to have a hand-me-down Halloween costume at the ready. But I do feel as though Harper's Halloween costumes have gone down hill since the first one* I made "from scratch." By next year I'll be sending her out in a garbage bag.


A couple of people have asked me how we handle Halloween, because so much of the candy is unsafe. I do feel a comfort in the fact that things are all wrapped up, so I don't consider her entire bag contaminated if there's a Snickers bar in there.


Matt took her trick-or-treating this year. When they returned, we spread Harper's stash out on the kitchen table and pulled out the treats that weren't safe for her. Which were relatively few, because the people we know made sure to have something safe for her bag. We counted twelve pieces of candy she couldn't keep, and they we let her pick twelve out of our safe bowl. She's never had a peanut butter cup (obviously) so she doesn't know what she's missing. Harper was perfectly happy to exchange her goodies for our Smartees and Skittles.


(Harper and our Neighbor, Gracie)

When Harper went to Nana and Dziatku's house, there was a bowl of treats to pick from and do you know what she choose first? An orange!

When she got home from trick-or-treat, after the great candy exchange, we let Harper choose one thing to eat. Her pick? A juice box!

*Looking back at that first Halloween post makes me laugh. I obviously hadn't learned anything about formatting a post in blogger yet. I was a brand new blogger then. Last month was this blog's 2 year anniversary and I didn't even recognize it!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Back to Normal, Just Like That

Well Harper is still fine. We haven't (knock on wood) even had a reemergence of hives, which the ER doc said was a possibility.

I had intentions of giving a more thorough play-by-play of yesterday's misadventure, but now I'm not feeling so much like reliving all the details. I also talked extensively about the event on the phone with various friends/family members today, which has purged much of my desire to recount things from beginning to end. I will however share a few other details and answer some of the questions I've gotten more than once.

We have no idea what caused this reaction. As far as we know peanuts (and possibly peas) are the only food allergies Harper has. The most likely thing is that there was some peanut residue in the house we were visiting. In reality we take risks every time we leave our peanut free home. We have decided, for the time being, that we are not going to live in a bubble, nor make Harper live that way. Now if we started to have many incidents like we did yesterday, we'd have to reevaluate some of our choices. We'll cross that bridge, well, you know. We have an appointment with our allergist on Monday and we'll see what recommendations she has.

Giselle asked how we kept Harper entertained for 6 1/2 hours in the ER. . . well I have never been more grateful that my child likes to watch television. The ER in our neighborhood hospital has a little cable television in each ER "room." So thanks to Disney, PBS, and Nickelodeon, Harper was fairly entertained. She was able to color a little bit, but there was a blood oxygen monitoring thing on her finger the entire time and that made holding anything difficult.

I have said in the past that I tend to be fairly calm in an emergency, especially if I am something of an "in charge" person in the circumstance. I tend to be okay and then freak out later. When I realized Harper was having a problem yesterday I asked Chris to bring me her bag, with the epi pens in it, call 911 and tell them we had an allergic reaction and were using the epi pen. Then I just did it. They really are easy to use, and Harper didn't know what was coming, so she didn't fight me before I had the chance to stick her. You basically just pull the safety cap off the back of the epi and then "firmly push" (i.e. jab) it into the outer thigh, hold it there for ten seconds, and then massage the spot of the injection for another ten seconds. Harper's hives were gone and her wheezing had considerably improved by the time the paramedics arrived.

One thing that was particularly difficult was the fact that the ER doctor made me feel awful for choosing our local hospital. The house we were visiting was literally less than two miles from our local hospital, and the closest children's hospital is probably at least twenty minutes away. So when the paramedics mentioned the children's hospital, I asked if we could go to the closer one. They said it was fine. However, the local hospital, I now know, does not admit patients under the age of 16. If Harper had needed to be admitted, they'd have had to transfer us to the children's hospital. So the doctor nearly yelled at me about the fact that we'd come to the closer hospital, especially since Harper was basically stable when she was transported. After I apologized and said I hadn't known, he looked at me and said, "Well that's why they have children's hospitals." That would mark the point in the story when I lost my composure and started blubbering. If the paramedics had told me we really should go to the children's hospital I would not have argued with them, but they didn't say a thing. If the paramedics didn't know we should have taken her there, how was I supposed to know?

After talking with a friend who's brother is a paramedic, it seems that the doctor was a little out of line. And I really didn't need to be spoken to like that, even if I had made a mistake. I am thinking of writing a note to the head of the ER to mention it, because of all the people you don't need to make feel worse, parents of children who are in the hospital are pretty high on the list. Also, at one point, the doctor stuck his head in to check on us and said he wasn't going to come any closer because he'd just had some peanut butter crackers to eat. Do you think that was the only food choice available to him? I didn't think about it too much at the time (my mind was full) but now I am feeling angry about that.

Whew, guess I had more to say than I realized.

In other news, we had our family portrait taken this morning. This has become an annual event and we'll use one of the pictures to make Christmas cards. Sadly, Rebound will not be in the photo this year. We tried, oh how we tried. We had two good years of family photos with the dog, but he was simply not having it today. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. The lack of dog was more than made up for by super cute photos of Harper. It was a much better experience getting photos of a nearly-three-year-old this year than a nearly-two-year-old last year.

If you have read this far, you certainly deserve some photos. Here are a few of the day Harper and Matt went to get pumpkins:

Friday, November 02, 2007

This Kind of Excitement? Not What I Need

It's going to be brief tonight folks, and not about Halloween (which, I know, Kids in costumes! I promise I'll get to later). Despite the fact that I remained relatively calm. . . I'm feeling as though I've been through the emotional wringer tonight.

Everyone is fine.

We had to use Harper's epi pen today.

I think a full play-by-play may have to wait for tomorrow.

We were at a friend's house, where we've been many times before, but I picked her up when it was time to leave and she was wheezing and had two hives on her face. We have never had to use the epi before, but it has always been my understanding that if there are two symptoms (two different body systems effected) that it means use the epi.

One ambulance ride, six and half hours in the ER, and a couple of prescriptions later, we're home and Harper is sleeping. She's not even traumatized and handled the entire thing like a real trooper.

I was fairly confident that, if the need ever arose, I wouldn't hesitate to jab my child with that needle. And I'm proud to say I didn't hesitate. And I'm really proud of Harper because she cried for about three minutes after I used the epi -- which I've heard really stings going in -- and then never shed another tear through the whole ordeal.

Tonight I'm thanking my lucky stars that we know what to do in an emergency.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Welcome to NaBloPoMo!

Hi! I should be writing right now to say I am totally finished with school and be inviting you to celebrate with me. . .

But I'm not.

I'm so close I can taste it, but there was an element (difficult to explain) that I left out of my internship journal and now I have to go back over the weekend and add it. I was planning to fix it and then drop it off on campus Monday. Then I realized I have to be on campus for a non degree related meeting Thursday, so maybe I'll just drop it off then.

So here's the deal; I will let you know as soon as I get home from dropping off my amended journal and we can give a big collective woot then. Okay? Because I know you'll be just as relieved as I am when all my school work is totally finished.

I did come home tonight to find a card and a little gift on the table from Matt, Harper, and Rebound. I think they are all just as happy as I am and look forward to a return my semi-regularly scheduled routine of doing laundry and making actual dinner.

A Halloween round-up is one of the things you can look forward to over the next couple of days. For now, though, I will leave you with Harper singing her "Halloween Song" courtesy of The Little Einsteins:


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