Wednesday, March 31, 2010


meet eenee (ethan) and gippin (griffin). harper's cousins and my sister's 2 boys. harper just adores them.

and they adore her.

they are amazingly good with her. they take care of her, and show her new things, and include her. they are so much more endearing of a toddler just trying to keep up with them than i would think a typical 8 and 10-year-old would be. i love them to pieces.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

the little harper that could

harper is continuing to grow in her independence. i hate to say it, but she's starting to grow up and is realizing that she can do things on her own. i can't tell you the number of times we've heard "no" or "harper do it" the last few weeks. we're driving in the car listening to our music together songs and i start to sing along (they are pretty catchy tunes, you know) and i hear "no mommy." she cries out in the middle of the night and michael goes into her room to comfort her, and i hear over the monitor "no daddy." nana tries to hold her hand while she goes down the slide, just to be sure she doesn't tip back and bang her head, but we hear a firm "no nana."

more and more, what she most wants to accomplish seems to be putting on her own shoes. she will barely let me slip them on over her toes in the morning before she's tearing them out of my hands with her sweet little "harper do it, mommy." we may be rushing to get to school, but i allow her the time she needs to try and figure it out. but this isn't only a morning occurrence. any time of day, harper will go to her room, pull out her bin of shoes, find a pair that looks intriguing that day, bring them to the rug by the front door and sit down to don her kicks. a few times, she's become so frustrated that she can't do it, i've seen shoes fly across the room. i completely understand her feelings. adults deal with frustration in many other forms. kids can yell and scream and cry and lay on the floor kicking and all because the shoes won't go on! we would be fired or looked at completely differently if we pulled those stunts as adults.

the other day, as i was cooking dinner in the kitchen, harper resorted to a regular activity and pulled out her sneakers. and literally, for 20 minutes, she sat and sat and sat and tried and tried and tried to get those shoes on her feet. she fumbled with the shoestrings, attempting to imitate how mommy and daddy do it. she almost did it, too, but those are some tough shoes to put on. once she figured out how difficult it was going to be, she went back into her room and found an easier pair. ones with velcro straps. she put those on easy as pie and off she ran, smile pasted on her face. "harper do it!"

i'm so proud of my little engine. when her patience is thick, she can conquer the world.

and speaking of her bin full of shoes, i think my shoe addiction genes have been passed on. i used to be (pre-harper) a shoe addict. i guess i still am, i just now buy her shoes instead of shoes for me all the time. i have stories upon stories of shoes that i hold dear in my closet. mementos from our trip to spain- ones that i loved, but set down and left in the store, only to go back 10 minutes later and purchase. shoes that i just had to have after seeing a friend in chicago wearing them, asking her where she bought them, trekking over to the boutique and buying them in a size too small because i just couldn't bear not to have them at all. puddle jumpers that i bought for our maternity photo shoot to match my umbrella because the weatherman predicted rain, and while it rained the entire night before, it didn't at all that morning. shoes for every wedding i've been to. umpteen pairs of exercise shoes because cute sneakers make the exercise so much more appealing. harper now asks for her shoes by color when we get dressed in the morning. lately, everything has been "purple shoes" even when they're not. can a girl ever have too many shoes? i think not.


Friday, March 26, 2010

my secret hideaway

secret hideaways seem to be a part of childhood. i clearly remember mine from the house i grew up in and lived in for 18 years- the corner of the dining room where no one could see you as they casually walked down the hall toward the bedrooms, the walk-in closet in my sister's upstairs bedroom, the walk through attic that connected both my sister's and brother's upstairs bedrooms from tiny doors in their closets and contained windows that peeked out onto the street in front of our house (this was by far the coolest spot to go), the closet in my parents bedroom, the nook under the stairs in the basement. i would weave magical tales in those spots. have conversations with imaginary friends. make my plans for what type of store i was going to convert my basement area into next.

harper appears to have found a few niches of her own in our tiny abode. we really don't have a lot of unique corners and crevices and tiny caves for her to crawl into, but she has managed to create a space for herself either way. and it's in these places that i hear her singing the songs we sing together in music class or in the rocking chair every night before bed. i hear her "reading" her favorite stories, mimicking the voice and words we recite daily. i see her chit chatting on a cell phone and chatterboxing away to her friends and family, and texting the latest gossip to her bff (i can only imagine where she gets this from...)

and here, as i am preparing dinner in the kitchen, harper decides that she needs to find a nook in the same room as me, just so we're not apart. she, all on her own, clears the boxes of cereal and pancake mix, cans of oatmeal, bags of granola out of her way and nestles right in. not an ideal location of comfort, but in my opinion, a fine job of making room for her beautiful little self where there wasn't room before.

is it selfish to wonder why if harper can manage to find plenty of hideaways, why can't i have mine? oh, well, i guess i do. they're just different kinds of nooks and crannies. i call them blogging, photography and mom's group. and the last one is nowhere to be found in my house. last night, we had our monthly mom's group meeting, and the topic was on no child left inside, i.e. bringing the plugged-in child outdoors. one of our members mom's gave an inspiring presentation on reasons to get children outside and fun activities you can do while you're out there. gave me lots of ideas for the upcoming spring break and summer months off from school when i'm sure we'll be searching out things to do. it was fun, and an energizing few hours away to chit chat with moms who are in the same rocky ocean as i am- navigating temper tantrums, loss of sleep, meal planning, nutrition, organic and healthy living, green cleaning, hobbies, exercise, husbands. the list could go on and on. but it brings us back to each other every month to do it all over again and be inspired with a different topic. (next month is creating your own invitations by a very crafty friend, and i am uber-excited about this one, as harper's 2nd birthday is coming up in less than 4 months and my mind is already starting the planning process!)

and this has nothing to do with secret hideaways, but i just love this quick and raw shot i took of harper tonight. post-pizza dinner, pre-bath beautiful little harper.

in this big bold world we all live in, it's comforting to be able to carve your own space. it appears that harper is learning to do this already, and i can't wait to see where it takes her.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


i have a new favorite book. and i think harper is slowly starting to enjoy it as well. i tear up every time i read it to her, as we rock in the chair in her room before she goes to sleep.
someday by alison mcghee and peter h. reynolds

one day i counted your fingers and kissed each one.
one day the first snowflakes fell, and i held you up and watched them melt on your baby day we crossed the street, and you held my hand tight.
then, you were my baby, and now you are my child.
sometimes, when you sleep, i watch you dream, and i dream too.
that someday you will dive into the cool, clear water of a lake.
someday you will walk into a deep wood.
someday your eyes will be filled with a joy so deep that they shine.
someday you will run so fast and so far your heart will feel like fire.
someday you will swing high-so high, higher than you ever dared to swing.someday you will hear something so sad that you will fold up with sorrow.
someday you will call a song to the wind, and the wind will carry your song away.
someday i will stand on this porch and watch your arms waving to me until i no longer see you.
someday you will look at this house and wonder how something that feels so big can look so small.
someday you will feel a small weight against your strong back.
someday i will watch you brushing your child's hair.
someday, a long time from now, your own hair will glow silver in the sun.
and when that day comes, love, you will remember me.

michael and i watched the movie whip it the other night. i loved it. i even said to michael halfway through the movie, when the mother wants nothing more for her daughter than beauty pageants and the daughter wants nothing more than to play roller derby, harper can play roller derby if she wants to. you want everything for your child when you become a parent. you want to give her the sun and the moon, the stars and the ocean, everything perfect in life and none of the heartache. but i know that isn't possible. but what i can control is my unending love and support for anything she wants to do and anyone she wants to become. i love these days with her, much more than when she was an infant. don't get me wrong- snuggling and kissing and loving on her sweet baby-ness was heaven, but watching her blossom into the independent and beautiful little girl she is has been amazing. i am so looking forward to her growing up, to seeing what she'll be like when she's in high school, to see who she will fall in love with, to see what kind of stages she'll go through as she's trying to find herself and coming into her own. i'm looking forward to celebrating the daughter that i have.

and another favorite book of ours...

i bought this when harper was only a few months old because i enjoyed reading it when i first picked it up. we only recently started reading it with her and it's quickly become a bedtime favorite. the way harper recalls the days of the week and the colors of candy, screams "again, again" when papa bounces little pea in the air, and her loud exclamation of "spinach" when little pea is served dessert like it's something that she just adores herself.

it's just adorable.

the book and the girl.


Monday, March 22, 2010

looking for a good meal?

just a quick post to share an amazing dinner we had tonight. i found it on my friend, kellie's, blog- crock pot fajitas. harper didn't touch it (only ate the cheese), as she resists any and all meat that is presented (i can count on 2 hands how many times she's consumed meat in her 20 months). but, she did eat some sour cream. what a great mom i am! cheese, sour cream, and ultimately, a bowl of cheerios when she asked to be excused and i knew she hadn't consumed anything of substance and would wake up hungry in the middle of the night or starving by morning. i'm a feeding therapist, and i can't get my child to eat her dinner. please don't tell my clients...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

weekend in review

MSU advances to the sweet sixteen- need i say more!? actually, i didn't watch the games, with the exception of having michael rewind the last 30 seconds of sunday's game so i could say that i watched them win. hee, hee. i love msu, don't get me wrong. it's where michael and i met and fell in love. but to sit and watch a game for 2 hours, i just can't do it. there's too much to do!
here are a few weekend highlights:
  • a bike ride to the library and the local dairy queen on friday after work

  • daddy-daughter time at the local kids playspot while mommy saw a couple private clients

  • spring cleaning! steam cleaning the area rugs, dusting off the blinds and opening the windows, vacumming vacuuming vacuuming, deep cleaning the fridge and freezer, moving the too-young toys to the basement and moving some of the other ones up

  • family trip to whole foods for weekly grocery shopping and dinner saturday night

  • snuggling up on the couch for a movie

  • spontaneous trip to the playground with our neighbors and good friends, chad, jacque and their almost 3-year-old son, hunter, on sunday

  • cooking in the kitchen sunday afternoon for our weekly meals, while harper assisted with the dish washing (playing in the water- one of her favorite things to do)

and firsts:

  • our first family bike ride of the season

  • harper's first ice cream cone- she's had ice cream before, but not her own cone. she loved it and ate almost the entire thing. although she did share a little bit with us.

  • harper's first full-blown-lay-on-the-floor-kicking-and-screaming tantrum. (she didn't want to come inside.)
  • my first batch of homemade tomato sauce, for our italian meals and homemade pizzas

what a great weekend. every minute was busy, but it was nice to spend almost all of our waking hours together as a family. our weekdays get so wrapped up in daycare and work and errands, it's nice to reconnect over the weekends to put things into perspective-how important family is, and how not important chores are over spending time and laughing together.

looking forward to more spring weather enjoyment...together.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

color me green

happy luck o' the irish day to you!

in honor of st. patrick's day, i am talking about all things green. green in terms of the biggest buzzword of late-greening your home, your body, the environment. last february, i attended the monthly meeting of my mom's group, where we talked about green cleaning and greening your cosmetics. i came home and started to turn out the cupboards and medicine cabinets, looking for all things toxic and vowing to do better for our bodies. here's a brief list of things that have changed in the last year for the 3 of us:
  • burt's bees shampoo and body wash for harper
  • burt's bees lotion
  • california baby sunscreen and bug repellent
  • burt's bees face wash and facial scrub
  • alba body lotion
  • trader joe's cream shave
  • tom's of maine sls-free toothpaste
  • crystal body deoderant stick
  • trader joe's tea tree tingle body wash
  • burt's bees daily facial moisturizer
  • clean well all-natural hand sanitizer
  • vinegar and water cleaning solution
  • bon ami scrub
  • hydrogen peroxide and water solution
  • baking soda
  • borax and oxi white for the laundry
  • kirkland free and clear laundry detergent
  • mrs. meyer's clean day
  • dr. bronner's liquid castile soap
  • earth friendly products dishwasher gel
some of the items take some getting used to, but i feel a million times better knowing that i am doing what i can to keep us healthier. i can't control what's outside my front door, but i can manage my home. and of course i am nowhere near perfect, but we try to do the best we can. there are definitely things we can improve on, and my motto has been slowly, but surely andone day at a time. i still have yet to update my makeup, which is next on my list.

as far as greening the environment, we try to use glass whenever we can (and of course, this also supports michael's company, so it's positive two-fold). i also recycle everything. michael has been known to take out what cannot be recycled and throw it away on several occasions. it's worth trying, right?

greening our foods is a whole different post, so stay tuned.

harper and i enjoyed some sunshine in today's beautiful weather. for a few brief moments, her crankiness from this weeklong half-illness subsided and it was heaven. i soaked in the warm rays, and the smiling irish (rather polish and german) eyes from my wee little one.

she clearly wanted me to stop with the pictures!

here's to wishing you enjoy your wee little ones, whatever they may be.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3 years in the making

i picked up a new hobby of knitting about 3 years ago. i knitted a whole bunch of nothings. got a lot of projects started and then never quite finished, except for a purse that i made for my sister's birthday that first year of my hobby. one of my projects was a pair of baby booties, for our future child, started soon after i found out i was pregnant. i bought 2 skeins of soft, fuzzy yarn-one in pink and one in blue. i was going to knit 2 pairs, to be prepared for either gender. i decided to start with the pink pair, as i secretly was hoping for a girl. i finished one pink, fluffy bootie, started on the next, and then had a miscarriage. and i abandoned my project. i didn't feel like i could go back to finishing the pair when i had just experienced a huge loss. it was too heart wrenching.

when i found out i was pregnant again, i didn't want to start up on the project for fear of jinxing something, though i wasn't sure what. we waited with breaths held, finally heard the heartbeat, felt the tiny kicks, and in july, our beautiful little girl was born. and of course, with a newborn and a million other things to juggle, the bootie sat and sat, collecting dust under the bed. i had been meaning to get back to finishing that one baby bootie, but the knitting needles had been out of my hands for too long and i thought my project was too much to tackle on my first go round after sitting out of the game for close to 3 years.

but then i was inspired to make a special little something for a special little-to-be who lives far away, and so i chatted up my friend, candice. she is an expert knitter and gave me some great tips to get started. so, i have the skeins and the motivation, but bought the wrong size needle. i'm exchanging it this week, and will begin to tackle this project before the weekend. (details cannot be shared until the secret project has been completed and is in the hands of the receiver. spoiled surprises are just no fun.) but in the meantime, i decided to pick up and start again on the bootie so i could get some practice again before i jumped on my other project. and i actually finished! they are not perfect in the slightest, but they are complete. and they will look yummy on baby feet.

this is the mess of yarn as my last bootie awaits to be finished

and here is the finished product! these are, in fact, booties if you can't tell.

and here is the yarn, just awaiting my needles to get started and those first knits to be cast on. these colors remind me of spring.

more updates on my project to come...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

yin and yang

how could it be that 2 weekend days can be so different from each other?? friday night into saturday morning was routine, with the exception of a feverish harper early on. michael and i watched a movie friday night, without interruption. harper woke up saturday morning, seemingly feeling better after a full nights sleep without much of a peep. we enjoyed breakfast, made another mess in the kitchen baking homemade muffins and i went to visit with my 2 kiddos who i see for private speech therapy on saturday mornings, leaving harper and michael with their weekly daddy-daughter time. i came home to a napping little, and was able to get some things done around the house, including starting our homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner. when harper woke from her nap, she ran to the front door, and attempted to put on her boots and hat, signaling her extreme desire to get outside! it was raining slightly, but she wanted to get out and i wasn't about to stop her. she and i enjoyed some puddle splashing and walking up and down the sidewalk in front of our house, something she enjoys on a regular basis now. michael really wanted to run some errands to price out cabinets and countertops for our kitchen renovation this summer (keep your fingers crossed that it's not going to cost an arm and a leg and be canceled), so i decided that harper and i would have a mommy-daughter date. first, we ventured to the library to return some books. she loves it there. she crawls through the tunnels on the way to the kids section, runs over to the puzzle area and climbs up on the bench to name all the pieces she sees. forget the crazy amount of books that surround her. this girl loves puzzles. i could only tempt her to leave them alone by asking if she wanted to go for ice cream (i.e. frozen yogurt). so, we headed to plum market for a few groceries and swirlberry, my new addiction. yum. we made it home just in time for a quick dinner, pjs, some stories and songs in the rocker and bed. michael and i proceeded to couch it for another video, but harper wasn't letting us off so easy...

saturday night was torture. back to the first-few-days-with-her-at-home-newborn-torture. she rolled and cried and sat up and stood up and yelled for mommy for 2 hours before finally falling asleep. our 2 hour movie took 3 hours to watch, due to all the pausing so we could comfort harper. we went to bed right after the movie only to be awoken another 4 (or 5?) times that night. and lucky for me, she didn't want anything to do with daddy (can you hear the sarcasm?). michael would try his darndest to lull her back to sleep, but she wanted nothing to do with it. sweet dreams were not coming to any of us that night. after a restless night, a 5:40 am wakeup call of "mommy? daddy?" finally had us up and brewing the coffee, with an extra shot of caffeine. but lo and behold, it wasn't really 5:40. daylight savings was upon us and we lost an hour- another hour of precious sleep slipped through our hands.

we tried laying her down for a nap way earlier than usual, but she wouldn't sleep, so we decided to go along with our original plans to meet uncle jeff for breakfast at my favorite breakfast spot, cafe zola, and then head over to the garden shop for some inquiries and purchases for our vegetable garden. and what luck do we have but to "run" into the shamrocks and shenanigans 5k- a barrier to us parking anywhere close to our breakfast spot. we tried to enjoy the short breakfast and the hurried lesson on starting your own vegetable garden before we were back in our car headed for home. 10 minutes from there and harper's eyes were shut tight. i carried her in the house, layed her in her bed and tiptoed out the door. 10 minutes later she was up, and that was it for napping for the day.

still not to be deterred, we again went along with our plans to attend our nephew's hockey game. we took turns (michael did most of the turn-taking) following her up and down the stairs and along the bleachers until the game ended. we packed up and headed back home for a quick dinner, bath, pjs, stories, songs and shut eye. 7:00 pm- lights out- crankiness ended for the day.

how could it be that 2 days so close to each other are so different? it took all i had not to lose every ounce of my patience on sunday that i had saved up on saturday. she's taught me a lot of patience and a lot of acceptance and a lot of calmness. i guess it's all in the life of a toddler. and despite all the yuckies that might come along with the blossoming of an independent little girl, i wouldn't change a single thing about her.