Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pardon the Interruption

Please excuse me while I get really, really, excited about the Green Bay Packers. . .

I will have to use some stock footage in this post because, horror of horrors, Harper does not have any Packer clothes that fit her this year. (Someone in Wisconsin, please remedy! What? You say I can find that sort of thing on the Internet? I'll get right on it.)

I think it is about time to have her Packer jersey onesie from last year bronzed because it bears the most wonderful number in football. A moment of reverence please, for the great #4:

It seems like just yesterday I was watching the Packers on Sunday afternoon, instead of doing, I don't know, a book report, and this new kid, this Brett Favre guy, came in and changed the fate of the Packers and their fans. He was. . . good! Do you know what was happening in my life then? I was in high school. Here we are, fifteen years later, and he has led the Packers to their first 4-0 start since 1998.

The Packers are 4-0.



And they are starting to get some credit for being a good football team this year, which makes me feel happy, and weirdly proud; as though I have anything to do with it. No one expects them to be undefeated, each weekend now feels like waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it didn't drop today.

And not only did the Packers win, but Farve also set a new NFL record for the most touchdown passes. The most ever. Good job Brett, we all knew you had it in you.

(Harper, a little over a year ago, practicing her touchdown dance.)

*Perhaps the happiest news of all was the fact that, due to the impending record-setting, the Packer game was televised here! This rarely happens. The lack of Packer coverage is one of the hardest things about living in Ohio. I know, it's a rough life.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More Park Fun

It rained like crazy here this morning, and we desperately needed it, but I always feel a little more stuck in the house on rainy days, even when we weren't planning to go anywhere. By dinner time, however, it was sunny outside and lots of the rain had dried up. Matt was gone, but Harper and I headed up to the grade school playground at our church. They have that rubber-type surface instead of being in an actual park which would have been very muddy.

Just as we were getting out of the car, a couple of other parents and children arrived at the playground. There was one little girl who was nearly 1 1/2 and then another girl who was probably about 4. Harper and the 4 year old ran around like crazy, following each other, and having a great time. Then that girl left and Harper slowed down a bit to hang with the toddler. She was so sweet and clearly just thrilled to be around other kids. We definitely do not spend enough time with other children. We are hoping to get Harper into a preschool program in January and I think she would really love it for the social interaction alone.

Here are some pictures of the park outing we had in St. Louis with Erin, Brett, Calum, and Emmett. Harper was thrilled to be with those children too.

Calum and Emmett

Calum and Harper

Calum and Harper (with slide hair!)

Erin and Emmett

Harper and Emmett

It is good to be home, of course, because there are many people we love right here; but we also miss the built in playmates (for Harper and me!) that we had in St. Louis.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Table Talk

Harper and Dana had a play morning at our house yesterday. They had a fine time decorating large paper with scribbles and stickers. When we were little a friend of my mom's used to give us stickers. They were all kept in a drawer and we did not have free access to them. I think this was partly because my mom was afraid they'd end up stuck all over our furniture. It was the biggest deal if we got to use those stickers for something -- which might be why I'm so interested in stickers to this day. I have a tendency to horde stickers. But here's the thing, stickers are cheap. They make a great (peanut free!) grocery store treat for Harper. And then what? What do you do with stickers exactly? I put them on envelopes when I mail a letter or card. Harper occasionally gets excited about having one on her shirt. So to just hand the girls sheets of stickers to use willy-nilly seems so decadent, and if you're two it's lots of fun.


The other night we were all eating dinner together and Matt was trying to play word-association with Harper. It was one of the many times I've wished for some kind of video system through our home so I could go back and relive the conversation. Eventually we started talking about parents. Matt asked if Harper knew who his parents were and she said Nana and Dziatku. Then I asked who my parents were and she said Mugga and Grandpa. Then we asked who her parents were, she looked at us if we'd grown many heads, made a disgusted noise, and said, "You guys are my parents," in a tone that suggested she was totally insulted by the nature of the question.

Then we asked her who Rebound's parents were. That one stopped her cold. She thought for a bit and then said, "Dogs don't have parents!"

"What do they have?"

"Dogs have noonies."

"What's a noonie?"

Shaking her head, "Like a magic wand or something."

Now there's something I never knew.


In other news I got a flier in the mail yesterday with an offer for graduation announcements. Which struck me as kind of funny. Can you imagine if I had graduation announcements printed and mailed them to my dearest friends and family? Do you think people would send me graduation presents? Don't get my wrong, I'm in my last quarter of graduate school and there will be a huge woo-hoo posted here when I finish, but formal graduation announcements seem sort of silly at this point.


I believe this makes the 300th post here at Midwest Mom.

(If you are new to the site, just think of all the archives there are for you to read!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Breaking Etiquette News

According to Harper, "It's not nice to leave people in a bird cage."

You heard it here first.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How About a Movie

There are lots of pictures and stories from our weekend in St. Louis, which was fabulous, thanks in no small part to Erin's hospitality. But before we get to all of that, it seems like a while since we've had a movie.

Here is Harper playing the game she invented while I was showering this morning. (Please ignore the lack of made bed.) She we amused for an embarrassing amount of time by sending the little plastic counting bears down the end of our bed.

(I really do need to figure out a better way to do video; our bedroom is much less dungeon-like than it appears here.)

When she finished our bedroom carpet resembled a coffee cake topped with bear-shaped sprinkles.

And now I feel like baking.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Update, Part Deux

We have arrived, safe and sound, in St. Louis. Harper has made her self right at home and chased the dogs around for about five minutes, trying to hug them goodnight. They were slightly less cooperative than Rebound.

At one point we were all hanging out in the toy room, Calum and Harper were playing, and Erin was nursing Emmett. Harper paused to look at Emmett nursing, thought for a moment, and then said to Erin, "He's kissing you!"


Harper's cold: Much improved.

Trip to St. Louis: Leaving within the hour.

Number of times I can listen to Harper say, "St. You-is," and still find it funny: 1,983, 436.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Random Thoughts And Park Pictures

I appreciate that several people have requested photos/stories from our Disney trip. One of these days I will be happy to share, but it is a little, um, overwhelming. A) We took literally hundreds of photos; I have no will power when it comes to the digital camera. Now I have to sort through all of them and I think I need to work up to the task. B) Do you really want to hear about our trip? We don't have any wild stories. Shall I describe the rides and shows? Again, feeling a little overwhelmed trying to figure out what would be post-worthy without writing my own Disney guidebook.

Moving on. . .

We had a delicious taste of fall earlier this week, marked by a couple of days when it was comfortable to get up and put on pants. Days during which we did not immediately start sweating when stepping out of the house. Now it is back up in the eighties, in true Ohio fashion, but longer lasting relief cannot be too far away. I love the kind of weather that makes me look at Harper and say, "Let's go to the park after dinner!" without faking enthusiasm.

We were only at the park for about twenty-five minutes, but it was long enough for Harper to say, "I really yike it at this park!" about 3,957 times. Other phrases uttered at the park included:

"First I will go down the big syide, then the other syide, and then you can watch me walk across the bridge."

"Thank you for bringing me here Mommy."

"Woah, I went really fast on that slide because I'm a big girl!"

Then we took some time to marvel at a white squirrel, which we have seen at this park before. Doesn't that seem, well, unlikely? I mean it's a white squirrel. Are there no squirrel predators in these parts?

Today Harper was feeling a little less chipper than during our park visit. She has a cold. The congestion and runny nose (shouldn't they be mutually exclusive?) set in last night, post park trip. We decided to have a low key pajama day around here. I supposed I should consider myself lucky that Harper choose subtle drama for this little bout of illness. She spent a good portion of her day sighing and saying things like, "I'm really sick Mommy." Or, "I don't feel good today." My favorite was, "I will have to go to bed right after dinner." Then she would request graham crackers, insisting that they would help her feel better.

We are supposed to be headed to St. Louis tomorrow to visit Erin and her beautiful boys. We'll see how Harper is feeling in the morning. No fever (she hasn't had one yet) and we're likely to try to make the trip. If we parents of two-year-olds canceled plans every time a nose got drippy, we'd all be permanently housebound. And since we're driving we can always cut the trip short or possibly postpone it a day. Canceling altogether would be a real shame because putting our kiddos together would definitely result in some pretty pictures.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Jane Game

Hi! We're home!

I'm pooped, but I'm going to combine this meme invite from Jill with a quick update. This is a middle name meme; the author writes one thing about herself for each letter of her middle name.

Mine is Jane.

J - Just arrived home today from a wonderful week in Florida.

A - Annoyed that the place we were staying told Matt that they had free wifi, when, in fact, it would have cost more to use it for the week than we pay in a month! Although once I "let go" of that it was something of a relief just to relax in the evening and not be worrying about all the email I should be answering.

N - Now dreading the unpacking. . . most of the suitcases are currently creating a luggage fortress around the kitchen table. And we've been home for hours.

E - Excited to see Harper, excited we had a great trip, and excited to take her to Disney someday. I'm also excited we didn't take her this week; while I missed her we saw lots of screaming children, reinforcing our conviction that the Magic Kingdom is not always the happiest place on earth if you're two.

We've all learned by now that I don't tend to tag people. . . I dislike the rejection I feel if they don't respond. But you're all invited to participate and let your middle name tell us something about you.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Off We Go!

Matt and I leave on our trip tomorrow! (Actually, later today, if you look at the clock.) And it has been a crazy day trying to get ready. I spent half the time doing laundry and trying to get the house ready-ish for live-in babysitters, and the other half trying to clean up after Harper. The girl was a one-woman wrecking machine today; leaving the house looking like some sort of preschool frat party had taken place. Discarded sippy cups, cracker crumbs, the entire contents of the toy box strew about with complete abandon. . .

It is now mostly under control. We'll head off for a week in mouse land and Harper will stay behind and be spoiled by her grandparents, all four of them, though not all at once.

There will be a shortage of Harper photos for the next week and so I leave you with a series from a nearby activity park "sprayground," which we visited when Mugga was here at the beginning of August. If there is a warm enough day this week, Harper may get to go back.

I believe the sprayground is somewhat new, one or two years old perhaps? We are looking forward to future visits!

Stay tuned, possible Disney updates coming soon.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Releasing a Breath I Didn't Realize I'd Been Holding

(Photo note: These are also unrelated to the text, also taken by Mugga, and are funny because Harper is trying to boss around a plastic dog.)

This morning I took Harper down the street for an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist.

Here's the story:

When Harper was born the doctors thought they heard a small heart murmur. Then it was thought to have disappeared within a few days of birth. Then she screamed like a wild banshee at her doctor appointments for the next eighteen months. Then, when she was two, she made it through the appointment without crying and her doctor heard the murmur again. She told us it had quite possibly been there the entire time, but we weren't able to hear it over Harper's, um, protests. Our pediatrician requested a follow-up appointment to check things out at 2.5 years. We went back in June, she could still hear it and suggested we go see the cardiologist, just to be sure there was nothing to worry about. She told me repeatedly that it was no big deal.

We kept the referral to the cardiologist pretty much to ourselves. With Harper's peanut allergy, I already carry a fairly heavy load of anxiety and I truly tried not to worry about this appointment today. I was trying not to make a mountain out of a molehill, not to borrow trouble, etc. This is also why we didn't talk about it much, Matt did not rearrange his schedule to be with us at the appointment, I didn't even rush to make the appointment; we did not treat this like a crisis. (Unlike Harper's first peanut reaction, after which I begged for, and made, and allergist appointment for the next day.)

Now I have plenty of moments during which I am not on my way to getting any parenting awards, but I think I get a couple of gold stars for today. For many people the things I did probably fall under parenting 101, but I was feeling on top of my game.

First of all, when the nurse called to confirm the appointment, I had the foresight to ask what they were planning to do, so I could talk to Harper about it beforehand. The nurse thanked me for asking, told me they planned to do an EKG (when there would be little sensors on Harper's chest, arms, and legs), then the doctor would listen to her heart, then they might do an ultrasound/echo if he felt it was necessary. She also told me that Harper would be able to choose a sticker when the appointment was over; a very important detail to the two-year-old set.

Before the appointment this morning I talked with Harper about what would happen, assuring her that nothing would hurt, and she knew that they were going to check her heart out and that she would get stickers if she cooperated -- good enough.

When we got to the office they took us right into the exam room. I filled out paper work while Harper played with a couple of trucks and then was weighed and prepared for the EKG. The nurses were kind and patient and Harper cooperated completely. Once she was all hooked up the EKG was very quick and then Harper got to help peel the sensors (I don't know what else to call them) off when it was finished.

After we had the EKG there was a long wait to see the actual doctor. I pulled out another good mommy trick and retrieved crayons from the bag so Harper and I could draw on the exam table paper. We worked our way through shapes, letters, numbers and were drawing bears in caves and squirrels in trees when the nurse came in to tell us it would be just one more minute. She looked at me and asked if I was a teacher; as she was walking out she said to the other nurse, "Those teachers always know how to use their time well."

I looked at Harper and asked her if I was a teacher. She said yes. Then I asked if I was a teacher right now. Harper said no. Then I asked Harper what my job was now and she said, "To keep me safe."

Isn't that sweet? She knows the answer to that question because it is what I tell her, firmly, after she does things like run away from me in public or attempt to jump off the back of our couch.

By the time the doctor came in, our drawings were covering 90% of the paper. He listened to Harper's heart, checked her pulse, took her blood pressure, looked at the EKG, declared the heart murmur "innocent" and asked us to come back in three years to follow up. No restrictions, no worries. He said the murmur is kind of loud because she doesn't have a very thick chest wall, but he was not worried, and no need for an ultrasound.

Harper tailed him out to the stickers, happily chose a couple, and away we went.

It was only after returning home that I realized how incredibly relieved I was.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Interesting Conversation

We are members of the Cincinnati Zoo. Over the weekend we received their "Wildlife Explorer" publication through the mail. The main story involved a pregnant Indian Rhinoceros named Nikki.

Harper and I were looking at the rhino pictures, and I told her that there was a baby in the rhino's tummy. We also looked at the ultrasound photo, but try explaining that to a two-year-old. The pregnant rhinoceros discussion led to a rather hilarious question and answer session.

We talked about the baby in the rhino's tummy and Harper asked, "Why did it eat a baby?!"

I explained that the rhino didn't eat a baby, but was growing the baby in her tummy, and when the baby was ready it would be born and there would be a baby rhinoceros.

Harper thought for a few moments and asked, "Where does the baby come out? From the mouth?"

I explained that no, the baby doesn't come out of the mouth, and made a slightly vague reference to the general area from which the baby would appear.

Harper thought for a few more moments and asked, "Does it come out in the toilet?"

After some stifled laughter, I told her that an animal doctor would probably be there to help with the baby and that it would not be born in the toilet. I figured we could wait for another day to discuss the fact that rhinos don't exactly make use of toilets anyway.

(Photos, totally unrelated to written content, courtesy of Mugga, from her late July visit.)