Reflecting on the Past Two Years

(Nearly) Two full years have gone by since the girl who made me a mother was born. A lot about who I knew myself to be before has changed forever, and I’m nothing but grateful for that. You can never really imagine how having children will change you, and all anybody can do is remain open and willing to let their little hearts and minds form you into what they need you to be. I’ve spent the last two years letting her guide me into motherhood, and it’s been (and continues to be) the most important thing I will ever do anywhere, anytime for ever and ever.

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I knew that being a mother would be hard, because that’s what people tell you. But really, I had no idea what that meant. Sure you can understand getting less sleep, changing diapers all day, cleaning up messes that you didn’t make, and not being able to shower as much as you might like. And yeah, that’s kinda hard. What you can’t and won’t understand about a new job as mom is how the things you never even thought about before are the *cussing* hardest part of the whole *cussing* thing. Seriously, no one knows about it until they’re in it! It’s a big trick to get you to procreate and then Surprise! You never saw it coming, that you would wake up at night and worry about the harsh voice you used to correct your child and if you could undo the damage you know you caused to her delicate psyche. And you’ll feel that guilt, you know the kind that no matter how much of a saint you are, you could always be better? And if you’re not so saintly, it morphs into gloomy dread that you’re doing it all wrong. Am I being dramatic? Yes, but you are (will) too if you’re a mom or become one some day. Really, it happens.

Those feelings are what I didn’t see coming. And reconciling my old and new self is another part of the “hard.” Do I still like music and can I go see bands play? Can I still write every day and read the books I want? It’s possible, sort of. But hard. The books might be Dr. Seuss and the music might be “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Truly this isn’t a post about how tough life is after bebe. It’s about reflection, and thinking about how it’s changed me. Which is a lot, a lot.

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We’re starting to transition Harper into her own bed. She’s been napping and sleeping on her crib mattress on the (clean) floor. It’s going pretty well. When I told Michael about wanting to begin the transition (we wanted to give her plenty of time after Cora was born so she didn’t feel booted out by a new baby) his response was “Poor booboo.” Booboo is his nickname for her, and yep it’s very sweet. I think it’s different for every family, but her being with us at night and there when we wake up is too precious to not mourn a little. Even if she sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night to stand up and stare out the window saying, “Moont! Look, Mommy! Moont!” Moont=moon. And even though sometimes she cries and screams for no good reason 30 minutes before Michael has to get up at 4am for work. It’s all worth it to have those extra little moments with her. Around now seems like a good time to start the change, since I think we wake her up more than she wakes us up. Cora still wakes up to nurse every 4 hours or so, and even in a king sized bed, her sleep acrobatics make it tough to move without jostling her. So far she likes her big girl bed. And I can quickly go to comfort her should she need it in the night. Sometimes she sleeps right through the night, and sometimes I have to go lay with her for a minute or two, and that’s all she needs. Eventually we’ll move her into the her room. I don’t know how I feel about that yet…

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We’re still nursing every so often. She nurses to sleep for naps and bedtime and a couple times throughout the day because she likes the comfort of it. I went into this breastfeeding thing being very open to letting her lead the way and show me what she needs. I really never thought we’d still be going at 2, and I think she would have weened a bit earlier if Cora hadn’t come along and renewed her interest (and my milk supply). Sure it’s hard sometimes and yeah I feel like I’m always pulling my shirt down for someone but if Harper and the World Health Organization both think that nursing ’til 2 and beyond is the right thing to do, then that’s what we’ll do. I try not to think about the fact that when Cora has weened it could end up being 4+ years of straight breastfeeding. Yipes.

I won’t say I’ve enjoyed every minute of every nursing session these passed two years (sometimes I am SO touched out) but I will say I am glad I never forced her to ween before she was ready. I’m glad for the relationship we’ve formed and I’m happy to be so important to her, because I know that won’t always be. I want to soak this up as much as I can before it’s just a memory that I recall to Michael every few days when we’re old. And Michael will say, “Yep, I remember.” But he won’t really. Not like I will. He won’t remember how she plays with my hair when we lay down to sleep or how her feet tuck between my thighs when she curls up next to me. Only I’ll remember how I laid next to her for longer than I had to just because her hair smelled precisely like her. Will there ever be a more precious time than this? I want to bottle her sweet sentences and keep them forever with me. I want some tangible piece of right now to take with me for always, more than a picture or video, more than any relic. I am so privileged to be able to watch this baby grow into an intelligent, thoughtful, and astoundingly sweet individual but at the same time I am begrudging time for moving so quickly. I remember feeling bittersweet when she turned 9 months old and was moving toward having lived longer outside of my body than in it, and now that time spent in my belly seems more and more minimal as she grows. I know in my brain that she wasn’t meant for me to have forever, that she was meant for great things in the big world. But my heart refuses that outright and clings so tight to her always being my small companion.

Now that I’ve seriously made it difficult to see the computer screen through my tears, I’ll just end with some pictures of my girl. I love you, Harper. Forever and ever amen.

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“Honeymoon” in Brooklyn

After we got married at the courthouse we were casually thinking about taking a trip together somewhere to celebrate. Since we had to work around Harper’s birthday and some other things in the month or so after, we knew it wouldn’t be a “get married and get on the plane” type thing and we had some time to think about it. I really love NYC and have great memories of favorite spots and things to do in the area while Michael has stores to visit and friends that live up there which made it a natural top candidate for a trip. Plus, I loved the idea of Harper getting to be one of those cool kids who has been traveling to neat places since she was a baby. Here I go projecting again. I just want the best for my child, okay?

To get to the point, we picked NYC, more specifically Brooklyn, as our last hurrah summer vacation/honeymoon type thing. Does anyone think we’re crazy? Me, 17 weeks pregnant and traveling with an “infant in arms” (yeah right we’re going to pay full fare for our 14 month old child) on a slam FULL plane to NYC for a quick weekend getaway? Oh, and only bringing carry-on luggage? And no sitter for the 4 cats at home?!?! Whatevs, we do what we do. The cats were fine, by the way. Michael just left like 6 bowls of food and water out for them. Ladybird stayed with Michael’s parents for the trip so she would have some love and attention while we were gone.

The plane ride to LaGuardia was not bad at all (thank you, string cheese) and we were excited to be going somewhere. Even the walk through the airport was thrilling as we strolled (strollers can be checked for free!) Harper through the throngs of people rushing around us yelling at their cell phones. Michael got some money out of the ATM for our cab ride into the city to pick up Josh’s apartment key at Whole Foods Market – Union Square.*  I don’t know why (maybe because I always relied on my parents footing the bill for the cab and because Michael had never ridden in one) but we were so afraid we wouldn’t have enough money to pay the driver. One of those black town car drivers accosted us immediately after we left the airport and shuffled us to his car and started loading our luggage in the trunk before we could say, “We’re cheap!” so we went with it. Clammy hands all the way across the bridge because the dude didn’t have one of those meter things and we had no idea what he’d tell us when the car stopped. Luckily we had more than enough, and I found out on the way into the store that Michael had only tipped him $2. For an almost $50 cab ride. His response when I said WHAT?! was something along the lines of, “How was I supposed to know? You didn’t say anything.” I’m betting that driver will think twice next time he tries to shove two lost-looking young dopes and their baby in the back of his fancy town car. Harper loved the ride since she didn’t have to sit in a car seat and could climb back and forth between us to see the views out of the window.

I could go on about the awesome food we ate (pizza, vegan french dip sandwiches, more pizza) and the cool things we saw (the Brooklyn Flea, awesome neighborhoods, this old Italian couple making the best iced coffee we’ve ever had) but I won’t. Instead I’ll leave you with a mix of phone and real camera pictures that we found the time to take in our whirlwind trip. I will say that on our first day we went to the Union Square farmers market and it was so much fun. Probably one of the highlights of the trip. That might be because we were loopy from lack of sleep since we took the 6am flight, or it might be that we were swept up in the romance of being right in the middle of an incredible city with our baby in the stroller and our hearts on our sleeves. I can not over hype it enough. I wish we could go back and stay for a long time. I would totally live in Brooklyn and make friends with the old Italian couple so they leave us their rent controlled apartment and storefront when they die. Most of the pictures of Harper are of her in the stroller. She strolled a lot and loved every minute of it, especially when she could run down some pigeons while making her dog noise. 

*The NYC Whole Foods are crazy awesome. It was hard to remember we weren’t going to be able to take jars of pickled things and tons of cookies home with us.

Harper’s First Birthday

Since Harper is officially 14 months old tomorrow I thought it might be time to share some fun pictures and details about her birthday in June. I didn’t go crazy overboard and take a million pictures because I wanted to feel present and enjoy my baby on her day, and not worry about if every little thing was documented. Also, I’m positive that it was the most people assembled in Harper’s presence ever and I knew she’d need someone familiar close by to reassure her and keep her from being too overwhelmed. I must say that she handled it like a professional wedding planner and was not bothered at all by the influx of loved ones in her space. She’s a well-adjusted little girl for being alone with her boring mom most of the time.  Also note that I apparently didn’t care much about making the pictures too high a quality as most of them are a little off. I blame the dumb manual focus lens I am having to use since the automatic focus lens… broke. And some strange setting was applied on a lot of these pictures so they look orange. Whoops. But i have a ton of video of present opening and cupcake eating to fill in the gaps.

And here was her invitation that Michael designed in photoshop with some light direction from me. I edited my cell phone number and parent’s address out because this is the internet.

When I was trying to figure out where to have the party, I took into consideration that most of the people we hold dear are about 5-6 hours away from where we live. This made it pretty simple to narrow it down to… “South-er” when discussing options with Michael. We eventually landed on my parent’s house because 1) a lot of the invitees already know where it is, 2) we could then make it a pool party which is perfect for a June birthday, and 3) Mobile is a much shorter drive from Pensacola (where Michael’s family lives) than here so it would make it easier for his family to attend as well. Also, it was nice to be able to arrive a few days ahead of time to help my Mom get ready and have Harper adjusted to a new atmosphere before tossing her in a pool of “strangers.”

Instead of having the traditional buttercream birthday cake we went for crowd-pleasing, multi flavored, portable cupcakes from a local shop. I think we might have only had 2 or 3 leftover cupcakes so I think we made the right decision. Party food wise we had: pimento cheese croissants, do it ourselves (except the olive salad which was store bought) muffalettas, a veggie and fruit tray, baby quiches, chips and salsa, hummus, annnd… what am I forgetting? Chocolate macaroons. And my Mom made sangria for the adults. I know I’m leaving things out but none of you will know it, probably.

Harper had a fantastic time swimming and playing with her friends and family. I know she felt completely secure and loved the whole time and it was wonderful to have so many people show up for this baby’s party. Being away from family isn’t the easiest thing in the world for us, and I do feel a twinge of guilt every so often about not having her surrounded with cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents, but her party made me feel a little bit better about it. She still has an amazing family to love on, and still wants to jump right in with everyone when she gets the chance. She didn’t act one bit like a shrinking violet and was so pleased to have so. much. attention. And there were other babies there for her to check out, too! My friend Markie’s little Ender was there to be adorable and eat strawberry leaves, and her cousin Peyton (who had a birthday a few days before) was running around being the lovable little bruiser that he is. So much fun, and I’m so grateful to my Mom who was integral (I’ve never used that word more meaningfully in my life) to pulling this whole thing off. It wasn’t easy but I think it was more than worth it to one day recount to Harper how special she is and how everyone was there to celebrate her.

 

3+ Months Later…

Yikes… Where have I been? I think we last left you with Harper’s first Easter (whoops…) a week before we headed down south to vacation with the family and relax at the beach in mid-April. I might have some catching up to do around here. After vacation and the subsequent unpacking, getting back into routine, etc., I may have just redistributed my priorities. Plus, our office got way out-of-control messy and unsafe for baby girl so I couldn’t let her do her thing on the floor anymore while I bang on the keyboard. Oh, and then we got pregnant (!!!) and felt way too cruddy all the time to even worry about taking showers much less care about the internet. And then we went on another vacation. But let’s back up to our trip to the beach all those months ago. Do I even remember how to upload pictures? Yes. I think so.

We had a room on the ground floor so it was just a quick walk to the pool/boardwalk and it allowed us a perfect little lawn of our own to play volleyball. Or crawl around, if you’re Harper.

She swam for the first time in water larger than a bath tub and really, really liked it. I probably went overboard with the sunscreen but I did not want to be that mom with a sunburnt baby who everyone looks down on. Plus, you know, it would be painful for her. She (and we) got to spend some relaxing time with family for a whole week and it wasn’t swelteringly miserable beachside. And like I said in this post, beach food is always better than not-beach food. So in true vacation mode, we made plenty of pimento cheese and had (veggie) hot dogs, chips and salsa, lovely pasta salad, baked potatoes, and even went out to eat for lunch at LuLu’s. Beside my hair being inexcusably long and way past due for a trim, it was a completely stress free week of being lazy and having about 6 other people available to watch Harper at any given moment. I know there was more than one occasion of Harper being strolled and strolled (…and strolled) to sleep out on the lawn by one of her cousins. Michael and I played some Go Fish and had a minor squabble about how you actually win that game. First person to have no cards or person with the most pairs? I’m sure I could google it but I really don’t want to be wrong. Here are some highlights in picture form. Mostly because I can’t remember much else from that long ago.

Loves the splash.

Smaller scale splashing.

We are both really cool.

I think this was when she started giving kisses.

Figuring out the sand.

And then we just left her there…

After making our way home and getting back into our routine, we let life pull us along for a bit. Michael was working more and more late shifts and we were kind of over it. Fast forward a few weeks and a few too many too sleepy days, and I knew something was amiss. I’ll spare you all the details, but it turned out we were going to be the lucky winners of the *oops* lottery and have ourselves a new baby. So to everyone that finds themselves wishing for a new baby a little too soon after your first, be warned. The universe ain’t nobody’s fool. And I’m sure if I told this story to someone who subscribed to The Secret’s belief they’d say I was mentally projecting some such and got blah blah blah in return. I’ll delve into what’s been happening with Baby #2 the past 4 months in another post. Yes, you read right. There will be another one! And for now, that’s all I can promise because I’ve been taking on a lot of new things recently and don’t want to compromise the integrity of those (slightly more) important projects. So we’ll start with this beach recap/pictures and go from there. I still need to record Harper’s first birthday, all of the various milestones she’s achieved, Michael and I making it official (that’s about as romantic as I can make it sound), and us going on our “honeymoon” two months later to New York City. Which was unbelievably awesome and way too short a trip. I’ve been several times with my parents and he’s been one or two times but going on our own with our little one in tow was so cool. And I want to tell about the new stuff we’ve been doing.

Hope everyone has a had a good summer. Who knows when I’ll be back with all the interesting details of our lives but I hope soon!

First Easter, Traditions

Easter has come and gone, along with the Monday after it, and I have not given the blog world an update on Harper’s first Easter. Despicable! What can I say in my defense? Nada. I’m trying to find a groove to fall into, but with Michael’s ever-changing work schedule, Harper growing like a mobile weed, 4 cats and the dog to tend to, gardens to plant, groceries to buy, house to clean, and showers to take, I somehow manage to neglect this blog. One of my favorite things. I’ll figure it out as I go, and in the meantime not let it stress me out. It would help to have a laptop, so I don’t have to confine myself to the office when I want to write, but that is not happening. We’ll get over it.

Let me give you a run down of Harper’s Easter and what it entailed. We didn’t have an egg hunt or anything because the girl can’t be trusted with grass/leaves/outdoor muck yet. I collected the items for her Easter basket over the course of the past month, based on when we could afford some stuff. I wanted her basket to be special, and not just filled with edible items that would be gone by the end of the day (at the hands of her or Michael). I already mentioned the 4 wooden eggs I bought at that insanely expensive children’s boutique we visited. At Target I bought her a pack of pink and yellow onesies that were too adorable to pass up, a sturdy wooden pinwheel, and a Peter Cottontail board book (only $1!). On Amazon I ordered her a pink wooden rabbit toy, a wooden book with pictures of woodland animals called Forest Friends, and the book In My Meadow that has a little bunny finger puppet in it. She already owns In My Den that is about a baby bear, and she loves the finger puppet. Plus, it talks about curling up for bed with family which we do every night. I asked Michael to bring home a cute chocolate candy for her basket, and he came home with organic carrot baby food. Apparently they were out of what he wanted to buy, and this seemed like a good substitute? Who knows. I used origami paper in lieu of the traditional grass because it’s messy and I didn’t want to purchase it. And the colors of the paper just happened to correspond perfectly with her onesies.

She went straight for the pinwheel. It’s so bright and cheerful. I picked this one over the foil ones because I knew the tough plastic… fans? and wooden base could outlast some serious chewing. Not that I tested it out in-store. Just a mother’s intuition.

 We placed the basket in the middle of the room and set her down so she could crawl toward it. I wanted to capture this all on video, but dummy that I am, forgot to charge up the Flip video camera and it died shortly after she began to crawl. But I managed to take some video on my phone, though not ideal, it will work. She had fun taking everything out on at a time, but her favorites were the wooden eggs. They’re big enough to not be choking hazards but that does not mean she doesn’t try to eat them whole. She loves to put them on her mouth and blow. My little weirdo.

Michael had to be at work at 11 so he left a little bit after this. Harper and I got started on making chocolate cupcakes. Since we don’t have family close by, it would be easy for us to let holidays pass without much in the way of celebration. Nowhere we need to be, nobody to visit. I don’t want to fall into that trap, though, of not marking special days with special differences. I want Harper to know that on this certain day of the year, we always do *this*, no matter what, family to visit or not. So I made a big deal out of making cupcakes, having a real Easter basket, spending some time outdoors, and all three of us sitting down to eat a planned out dinner at the dining table. Maybe this will mean that Harper and I will go on to make cupcakes every year on Easter Sunday. Maybe it will just mean that we get in the kitchen and make something together, her able to help a bit more every time. She’ll use the same basket, and each year we’ll end the day with a big meal all together around the table. How do I know this will happen without fail? Because I’ll make it happen. Same as my Grandmothers made it happen, same as my Mom does. Because it’s important, and only a few certain people know why, and they’re the people that we have to thank for traditions that last and mean something.

What Are You On About Now?

Sometimes I imagine that’s what people are thinking when I make off-the-wall posts about things that jump into my brain in the middle of the night. That’s what I would be thinking. What has this girl been eating before bed to make her think about donating all of Harper’s toys to a children’s hospital? Well, it’s not what I’ve been eating, it’s what I’ve been reading. In my recent set out upon quest to be as obnoxious as possible when it comes to how Harper is parented, I’ve had some pretty astounding A-ha! moments (miss you, Oprah!) about things that now seem embarrassingly obvious. Isn’t that always the case, though? Once someone says it, plain and direct, a resounding “duh” goes off in my brain, followed by “why didn’t I think of that?!”

Okay, so here’s what I’m on about. And I think once I explain, you’ll all be wondering why I had to read a book to come to this conclusion. Babies/kids/teenagers/people do not need a ton of stuff to succeed in life! That’s it. Simple, non? For a parent, it starts during pregnancy. There are people whose job it is to sell you stuff based on your fear of having a dumb baby. Ever seen a dumb baby? Me either. These complicated toys with complicated patterns are all marketed as the absolute best way to stimulate your child’s brain into developing over night into a miniature Einstein. Now, no offense to Herr Einstein but I bet he was just a normal baby and I also bet that he didn’t have the Evenflo Delux Developmental Activity Center, Circus to credit his genius. Who says that my baby needs to be walking right now and that I need this gadget to help her do it lest she be marked “developmentally behind”? Marketing companies.

Think for a moment about how toys (and with them, childhood) have developed over the past 50, even 10-20 years. What else has grown at remarkable rates over that period of time? So-called diagnoses of ADD and ADHD along with a slew of other alphabet soup acronyms that basically mean a child has trouble focusing, and is unreachable and unteachable. I went to school with a huge number of kids that were prescribed Ritalin and Adderall so that they would learn more and pay attention in class. Some of them my friends, and I never got the impression that there was anything wrong with them to need medication in the first place. The sad part was that a lot of the time they were selling or giving away their medication to kids who just wanted to get high on what is essentially, speed. I’m not saying that sometimes there aren’t real needs for these medications. There are, but only for a period of time while the real issue is addressed and sorted through. You might think I don’t have any authority to be doling out advice, and I don’t. But I’ve seen first hand what these medications can do to kids who might just need some extra time and extra attention, and the support to work through what might be causing this lack of focus. And I don’t necessarily disagree with the diagnosis of a problem, I just don’t think it needs to be medicated into oblivion. Okay, I’ve gone off on a tangent.

Back to the matter at hand! All these toys, games, shows that clutter a child’s life seem to only create children who want more of it. Companies manufacture these elaborate toys to hold a child’s attention while it sings and whistles and vibrates, to the point where it is doing all the work and the child sits and presses a button. And when they’ve sat long enough, pressing that button over and over, they’ll tire of it and need more. More whistles! More songs! More lights! And so on, a cycle begins. After thinking about it for a few days, I’ve decided that I’m offended that a company thinks their toy is as creative and imaginative as my child. I want Harper to be the star of the show, not some flashy spectacle of a plaything. I want her to be able to project her imagination onto her toys, and for them to be for her whatever she needs them to be. Simple and honest, nothing too “fixed.” Let’s not forget, too, that it never fails for a baby to be happier playing with an old bottle half full of rice than a hulking plastic, very fixed and very specific, bright and colorful whoozey whatsit.

Maybe this is an eventual lightbulb that goes off in every parent’s head. Maybe you start off with the best intentions and things just snowball into a mountain of misfit toys, some broken and forgotten. With all the access to media kids have today it’s no wonder they’re are having toy-overload. It’s sickening to me (and maybe I’m being dramatic, but maybe not) that ad executives sit in a room and create commercials directly intended for children, so that they’ll nag their parents to death to buy them a toy that will be played with for a week, only to be replaced by the next manufactured nag-inducing craze. Well, I’m over it. I’ll throw myself on the sword of embarrassment to admit that I fell for it for a while. With the best of intentions, I thought by getting her plenty of toys to choose from (plenty being relative, we don’t own a ton) she would be happier in her play. It was amazing to realize that the opposite is true: she didn’t want to be overwhelmed by many options, surrounded on all sides. If I gave her several on the floor to play with, she would take a look around and crawl away toward a light socket or something less baby-friendly. If I gave her one item, let’s say her old  bottle with uncooked rice in it, she would sit and ponder every inch of that thing, thoroughly examining it for several minutes.

I’ve come to my senses and made the decision to scale back. We don’t have a ton of space for excess never-played-with toys anyway, so we’re sorting through and trimming down. Things like simple cloth dolls, pieces of fabric, her wooden keys and stuffed bear, her fruits and veggies, sentimental gifts, favorite books, and other imagination-inspiring make believe items will stay. The rest will be donated or consigned. I applaud anyone who made it this far in my diatribe against mass marketed ugly, noisy toys. I’m now at over 1,000 words on the subject, so I apologize. I also apologize if my thoughts do not seem cohesive, I’m not as eloquent as the book. Which is, by the way, Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. From his website:

A consultant and trainer to over 110 U.S. independent and public schools, Kim John Payne, M.ED, has been a school counselor, adult educator, consultant, researcher, educator and a private family counselor for twenty seven years. He regularly gives key note addresses at international conferences for educators, parents, and therapists and runs workshops and training’s around the world. In each role, he has been helping children, adolescents and families explore issues such as social difficulties with siblings and classmates, attention and behavioral issues at home and school, emotional issues such as defiance, aggression, addiction and self-esteem and the vital role living a balanced simple life brings.

I highly recommend the book. It was a pleasure to read, and so beautifully worded. I’m much less graceful in my amateurish attempt to summarize its sentiments. Basically: if your child lives with less stuff, you send the message that he/she is the true valuable, and that no amount of stuff can replace or make better his or her own personhood.

Family Togetherness Etc, Etc…

Last Thursday we treated ourselves to half price admission at the High Museum of Art to see the Picasso to Warhol exhibit before it’s last day on April 29th. This was Harper’s first trip and if you recall, the High was on our list for summer things to do. The half priced admission starts at 5pm every Thursday, so we made our way over after dinner. We hadn’t been for few years… I don’t actually remember the circumstances of our last visit but our very first visit together was on my birthday in 2009. Michael and I were barely dating and we went for a day trip to see an Alec Soth exhibit and eat burgers at the Vortex. Somehow we always ended up going to Atlanta on my birthday… at least we did twice. And this past birthday I just so happened to already live here. Harper was a good girl for the most part, only shrieking a little bit. She’s in a very shriek-y stage right now and it’s earsplitting. I was planning on putting in some more pictures from the museum with Harper awake, but it is taking forever for my phone to send them to my email, so I will make due with this shot of a Warhol.

By the second run-through of the Picasso to Warhol exhibit, we had been at the museum for two hours and she was sleeping peacefully in her stroller.

We played in the grass for a minute outside of the museum entrance once she woke up. My feet were killing me so I needed a break before making the track back to the car a few blocks away. Harper loves to sit in grass, and since this was nicely manicured I let her linger for a while and crawl around without fear of yucky bugs hitching a ride. I took off my shoes and snapped some photos since it was such a lovely day.

Oh, before we went to the museum I was lucky enough to have a mole sliced off my shoulder at the dermatologist. I made an appointment to have it checked out and the doctor decided to just go ahead and take her off. This was a first for me…

Harper and I have been focusing a lot on play time recently. I know that sounds weird because what else is a baby supposed to do, but what I mean is: I have been focusing on playing with her pretty much all day. There will be periods where she “helps” me do laundry or vacuum (she loves to have her hair vacuumed. If you have a child that’s afraid of the vacuum cleaner, you probably aren’t vacuuming enough. The same does not, however, apply to cats), and when I have to do dishes or pick up trash outside. And of course we run errands together. But most of the time, on any given day you can find us sitting on the living room floor playing together. It’s amazing the difference in her attitude when I’m playing with her, versus when I sit in a chair and read and let her play alone. Often, she will eventually catch on and make her way over to my chair and pull up, trying her best to climb in my lap. Why fight it? Most of the time just having me on her level on the floor makes her happy enough to play pretty deeply on her own. She likes having a rapt audience, I suppose. She’s been doing this thing with her stuffed toys where she grabs them and reaches her hand way up in the air and thinks it’s so funny. I think it’s funny, too.

Speaking of pulling up on stuff… the girl can do it on an.y.thing. My legs, the couch, the laundry basket, the dog, anything more than 6 inches off the ground, I would say. She’s also figured out stair climbing, which is only an issue because of those two steps we have that connect the office to the rest of the house. If we’re in the office and she is playing on the ground, you can bet she beelines for those stairs every time. She is comfortable enough in her crawling to follow me from room to room, and maybe pop a few pieces of dog kibble in her mouth along the way. It’s amazing that we’re already approaching toddler territory. And I will warn you that my posts from now on will probably include some element of “She’s growing up so fast how can this be?!?!” so if that’s not your style, better mosey on to a more graceful blog. I got 99 problems but grace ain’t one.

And if you had any doubt about who this baby looks more like… I present to you the classic Michael McCraw underbite smile. Her Dad’s won me over 3 years ago and her’s melts my heart today.

And since I’ve already committed myself to making this post fairly picture-heavy: here’s Harper in a cute hat.

How was everyone’s weekend/Monday? Anyone else put a cute hat on a baby and have a photo shoot? Anyone dance around the living room to the Grease soundtrack on vinyl?