Thursday, December 22, 2005

Glad Tidings

Hello to all our family and friends from the frozen state of Wisconsin! Actually, it isn't too bad up here right now. I was hoping to send a post before we left, including a fine photo of Harper screaming on Santa's lap. Unfortunately I didn't get my act together so well. Matt got home from a meeting early on Tuesday, our departure day, and I hadn't packed for Harper or myself. We were a little late getting out. I didn't think, "Hey, could we wait another 1/2 hour so I can post some pictures?" was going to fly. Matt was infinitely patient with me as it was. And when we finally hit the road our drive was uneventful. Sadly, I'm typing from my brother's laptop and there's no way to get the pictures from my camera into here. Oh well. You can all look forward to a long and photo-filled post when we return to Ohio. (In my defense, Harper pretty much refused to nap Tuesday morning, robbing me of much needed time to organize and pack.)

I also wanted to take a minute and publicly welcome Calum into the world. Cal is the brand new baby of our good friends Erin and Brett. I hope they don't mind the shout-out. We've been doing lots of praying for the little guy's safe arrival and it looks like it paid off! I was telling my parents about it at dinner last night and my dad says, "Great, I can take them off my list!" Apparently, once the baby arrives, you're on your own! People must have stopped praying for us when Harper turned about 8 months, the age at which she completely ceased to be reasonable! (Just kidding, we're very blessed to have a beautiful and healthy little tyrant.)

I do not expect to get on the computer again before the holidays, so Merry Christmas to all. If we had a mic I would try to record Harper saying, "ho ho ho," for all to hear. For now you'll just have to take my word that it is one of the cutest sounds in the history of the universe. Safe travel and happy eating to everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Some Events are Exciting, Others, Not So Much

We have lift-off!

The big news is that Harper recently took her first, actual, honest steps. By actual and honest I mean that she wasn't being shoved back and forth between Matt and I, taking one half-step, and then falling into the other guy's arms. Which is the closest she's previously come to walking. There was also one evening when she took one little step between the coffee table and the couch, because she was holding onto something already and I think she just forgot to reach out with her hands first.

Wednesday night, December 14, Harper walked (five or six steps) between my mother and I several times. Her grandma was in town, picking up Jamie from UD, and spent the night with us. I was trying to show my mom the way Matt and I had been kind of pushing her back and forth, when she said, "Well we just need a little more space here." She scooted so far back I was sure Harper would fall and get a face full of carpet, but, wonder of wonders, she just kept stepping! It was exhilarating and we are all so glad that she took those first real steps in front of my mom, who is usually far away in Wisconsin. At one point she actually teetered right past my mom and out the door of the room we were in before she realized what she was doing and promptly sat down. We even got her to walk down most of the hallway leading to the bedrooms. She's not breaking any land-speed records just yet. We've done some more of the back and forth, but the walking hasn't caught on, she still prefers her own unique half-sit/half-crawl method of getting from a to b. This may have something to do with the fact that her walk makes her look like she's just stumbled out of the bar at closing time.

First steps are really all the excitement one can reasonably hope for in a week, but we seem to have more than our fair share of excitement around here. Tonight we are having some folks from Matt's work over for a holiday party. I'm quite sure I wasn't thinking clearly when I agreed to that one! Anyway, my wonderful in-laws were over hear helping clean the house yesterday (a three person cleaning team is much faster than a solo effort, imagine that!) when I asked my father-in-law to take some boxes down to the basement. He comes to the bottom of the stairs and says,"I hate to tell you this, but you have some water down here."

When he says "some water" I'm thinking that maybe Rebound left a puddle in the basement. Then I go down to have a look. Some water actually meant about a 1/4 inch of water that covered at least a quarter of the storage room down there. (The silver lining to this cloud is that my obsession with storing things off the floor or in plastic boxes finally pays off!) Water in the basement is bad news itself. It takes a turn for the worse when you realize that the water has come up out of the toilet in the basement. Gross!!!! Yes, we had a clog somewhere, so that when we flushed the toilets upstairs, it backed up and came out of the toilet in the basement.

Let's just say I am not mentally capable of handling toilet backup in my basement. . .

Thank the Lord for my in-laws, coming to the rescue once again. They left me in charge of the baby and took the wet/dry vac down and cleaned up most of the toilet water. Then a very kind 24-hour emergency drain/plumbing person cleared out our clog. Forget professional athletes, someone with that job ought to get paid millions every year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It's the Little Things

This is the time of year when things start to feel a little crunched. That happy holiday bustle has turned into panicked holiday frenzy. The joy that overwhelmed me when Harper woke up from her nap and saw the Christmas tree (oooh, she said), has faded somewhat. We have things to get out and do, but frankly, she'd rather not be dragged in and out of the car a dozen times a day. And really, who can blame her. I know that we'll have a great time having Christmas with my family in Wisconsin and then more great times with bonus celebrations here in Ohio, it's just that getting ready for them is getting a little nuts. Our Christmas card envelopes have been ready to go for nearly a month, but there's no letter in them just yet. And I woke up Monday morning and realized there's less than two weeks until Christmas!!! Help!

Matt was in charge of Harper all day on Sunday while I baked and made candy to dole out with holiday greetings to our neighbors. Kind of a good will gesture since we still don't know some of them very well. Despite spending nearly all day on my feet and having a sore back the next day from leaning over a table well into the night wrapping caramels, it was nice not to be 100% percent in charge of anyone for a few hours. A much needed break. Unfortunately, when I went to deliver the tins of goodies this afternoon, only two of the eight people were home. Hopefully everyone will find the festive holiday tins on their doorsteps and get them inside before the stuff freezes, although the buckeyes are good that way. . .

Harper is reveling in some newfound independence, which is exciting and frustrating at the same time. She has had a lot of recent success with feeding herself. She can get the fork and spoon into her mouth with about 95% accuracy, as long as we put the food on first, and it isn't something like soup. The downside is that she now pretty much refuses to eat her yogurt in the morning unless we let her feed herself. At this point it's a very s-l-o-w process. I thought I might speed things up by putting the yogurt in a bowl that stuck to her tray, and letting her use this Gerber feeding utensil that is a sort of ridged plastic thing the food is supposed to just cling to. That worked for about five minutes before Harper decided to eliminate the middle man and just started eating with her hands.

Something to smile about (besides the spectacle itself), even when eating with her hands, she didn't make too big a mess. Very little yogurt even ended up on the floor. That's my girl!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Peace on Earth

It's not exactly the lion and the lamb, but she sure loves that dog. Rebound is just getting to the point where he'll let Harper pet him or sit near him. He used to get up and move whenever she approached. Perhaps his new willingness has to do with the fact that Harper mostly eats table food now and feeds him pretty generously by way of the floor. In fact, we usually know she's finished eating when she starts throwing her food to the floor on purpose and then watching for Rebound to come and get it.

It will be great fun for both of them when they can chase each other around. Rebound, in his exuberant playfulness has managed to knock Harper over once or twice. I don't think he's ever hurt her, but it does startle her. She'll cringe when he comes running into the room, even though he usually misses her. Since there aren't any other children or dogs in the house (and no plans for either in the near future), they are each other's best bet for built-in entertainment. Me, I only have so many hours of playing on the floor in me each day.

They act remarkably like siblings at times. Harper has recently discovered the joy of tormenting Rebound. The other day we gave her an empty tissue box to explore. She absolutely delighted in banging Rebound on the nose with it. He kept trying to bite onto it but mostly just ended up making his head bob all around. Harper found this uproariously funny. Since then she has found great joy in tormenting Rebound with any number of household objects. Last night it was the plastic spoon we use for pasta. He's a good sport. To be fair, she also tries to play with him in nice ways. Yesterday he was all curled up on the couch and she got a rope toy out of his basket and, with much effort, pulled it up onto the couch to give to him.

Once in a while Rebound does get jealous of all the attention heaped upon Harper. Usually he lets us know by eating one of her toys. We've discovered certain things we must put away anytime we leave a room. Like the Little People farm animals. Sadly the horse is no longer with us. Fortunately Fisher Price must have anticipated this exact situation and a set of replacement animals (a new horse for now, and the rest as insurance) will be on the way to our house shortly.

So they torment each other, tease each other, play with the other guy's stuff. . . but mostly they love each other. And if there can't be peace on earth, let there at least be peace in our living room.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Giving Thanks

Much to everyone's relief, the digital camera has been returned! After a few lonely days in Cincinnati, it is back in my obsessive clutches and I can continue to document Harper's daily life with an unreasonable number of photos. Whew. I'll sleep better now and I'm sure you will too. Thanks to Nana, who let us borrow her camera in the interim, without which the previously posted lunch photos would not have been possible. What are grandparents/in-laws for, if not to grant access to digital technology in a pinch?

Here, at long last, are a few photos of Miss Harper on Thanksgiving Day. I would like to point out that her adorable outfit was a birthday gift from our friend Susan and her family in Nebraska. (Don't worry Susan, my concerns about the outfit being too big were not founded!)

Want to entertain the baby? Put her in front of a window. Even better, put her in front of a window that she can look out while hiding behind some furniture. To make it totally irresistible, add the lure of an outdoor cat to the mix. We spent lots of Thanksgiving Day looking out those windows.

Did you know that wicker furniture is also highly entertaining? Harper made beautiful music by alternately pounding on it and running her little fingernails over the surface. The girl has the music in her.

Thank you to Kathy and Dave not only for hosting a lovely Thanksgiving meal, but also for providing a room full of furniture the perfect height for Harper to cruise around to her little heart's content.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Our Sweet Little Weirdo

Hello People,

Harper here. Want to know what I had for lunch the day these pictures were taken? Huh? Do you? Here it is:

1/2 a rather large banana
1/2 a (smallish) can of green beans
1 graham cracker
1/2 a turkey dog
1 slice of American cheese
lots of milk

I swear, it's true.

While I lost a piece here and there to Rebound or my lap, most of that actually went into my mouth. Hard to believe they are having trouble getting me to gain weight, isn't it? I eat like a horse. I'm slim because I'm on the move. After the hour it takes me to eat lunch, I am itchin' to get out of that chair and go, go, GO!

Of course it wouldn't be lunch time without some entertaining antics for Mommy:

I have to warn you, this last photo is not for the faint of heart. Please remove small children from the room. Are they gone? Good. Now look closely. . . see that orange-yellow spot near my eye? Do you know what it is? Guess, I dare you!

That's right People, it's cheese, a small piece of cheese, on my eyelash. Around here, lunch isn't a meal, it's an event.

Can you handle it?