Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One Year Later

Let me start by apologizing to all of you about not writing the Christmas post yet. There will be one, I just haven’t had the time to finish it. In the meantime, I thought I would take a minute to reflect on the past year.
Brad and I were both at a loss trying to remember anything about last Christmas. Harper had just been diagnosed with reflux and food sensitivities and was spending much of her day screaming at the top of her lungs. Add to that the fact that we were new parents and, thus, completely exhausted. The result is that I don’t even have a hazy memory of that day. It’s like we completely skipped Christmas last year.
Luckily Brad was smart enough to get some videos so we have proof that it happened. And as I was watching them this morning I was struck by just how much Harper has grown and by all the things she has learned to do. I do miss her being a sweet little newborn but she is just so stinking cute now, and so much fun! I can't wait to see how this next year will unfold. 
Brad cooing at our little Christmas kiddo last year.

Our Christmas toddler, with the alligator pull toy grandma sent her, and her new, beloved plush owl (which she refuses to go ANYWHERE without). 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Conversation With a Toddler

Harper: Hi!
Me: Hi!
Harper: Flaw!
Me: Flower?
Harper (insisting): Flaw!
Me (pointing to a flower on her shirt): Do you see the flowers?
Harper (pointing at the wall): Flaw!
Me: No, not flower. Map.
Harper: Dog.
Me: No, not a dog. Map.
Harper (pointing at the cat): Maow.
Me: Yes, cat. What sound does the cat make?
Harper: Hoo! Hoo!
Me: The owl says hoo hoo! What does the cat say?
Harper : Maow!
Me: That’s right, the cat says maow.
Harper: Flaw!

Harper in action.

The cranial abrasions are due to her recent (failed) attempts at ambulating. I am trying to convince Brad (unsuccessfully, thusfar) to keep a helmet on her until she is over this phase. No need to call CPS. We have it under control (read: we in no way have it under control, but such is parenthood).Your concern is appreciated, though.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

We Have a Walker!

Well, after months of thinking about it Harper finally took her first steps about ten minutes ago. It was just unbelieveable watching her, and I am so glad Brad was home to see it too. Here is our video proof taken only moments ago. Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Simple Thank You

One thing I’ve had to get used to living in the south is writing Thank You cards. It’s a little known fact that, when the south succeeded, they actually addressed the ritual writing of Thank You cards in their Constitution. Article I, Section 1 reads:
2:  Any Person shall be required to write a Thank You Card to a friend, neighbor, acquaintance or virtual stranger, in response to any of the aforementioned persons doing any or all of, but not limited to, the following: sending a birthday gift, sending a holiday gift, delivering baked goods (whether solicited or not), hosting a dinner/holiday party or similar social function, or performing any ordinary or especially mundane task or tasks which would generally necessitate monetary compensation be paid to a day laborer, domestic or the same.  

And trust me, southerners love their Thank You cards. I now buy them in bulk so as to avoid the inevitable stink-eye that follows an unintentionally forgotten or delayed Thank You. People have been uninvited to Mommy and Me groups for lesser infractions (I say this from experience).
Each subset of thank you has its own format in which the card must be written. Thank You cards for gifts typically follow this format:
Address the person formally but with genuine affection,
First sentence thanks them for the item, which you’d better name specifically, otherwise they’ll assume you’re sending a form letter. Second sentence explains how you are currently using the item daily. Third sentence insists that you just love it, you can’t remember a time before owning it, and that you’re not sure how you ever lived without it.

Final sentence repeats thanks, and expresses a desire  "to get together soon."
Close sincerely (your name)

For example:
Dear Neighbor I Just Met Last Tuesday,
Thank you so much for the exquisite fine bone china tea set you gifted my cat. Mr. Scrappers has always enjoyed a hot cup of tea first thing in the morning after a night of knocking all of the books off of our bookcase. I insist that I just love it, can’t remember the before owning it, and I’m not sure how I ever lived without it.
Thank you again so much, and I hope that we will be able to get together soon.
Sincerely, etc.
I have become very good at writing these cards. And I must admit, as much as I shudder at the thought of the deforestation that is caused by the sheer volume of mail exiting this household on a regular basis, it is a nicety that I thought was extinct. It makes you feel good to know that people still take the time to say thank you.
But today takes the cake. I just received a voice mail message thanking me for my Thank You card. I am at a loss for what to do next. Do I ignore the message? Return the call? Send a bouquet of flowers? What exactly is the etiquette for this situation?
Any ideas you have for solving my social conundrum would be greatly appreciated. I thank you in advance.
            Sincerely, etc.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Grammar Nazi

I just need to get a few things off my chest.

1. There has been an appalling lack of apostrophes as of late.

2. They’re, there and their are completely different words with completely different meanings (as are to, two and too, as Stacie points out).

3. Quotation marks are not to be used for emphasis.

Don't blame us when you think it's disgusting. We warned you!

4. The definition of irony is, “The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.” So it isn’t ironic when it rains on your wedding day, Alanis. It’s just bad luck.

5. Finally, if you literally died laughing I’d better be reading about it in your obituary.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I hope all of you had a wonderful and perfectly spooky Halloween!

So, those of you who know my clever and talented sister-in law, Bess, know that last year she made an adorable candy corn outfit for Harper's cousin, Maggie Jane, to wear Trick-or-Treating.

Maggie Jane as a candy corn last Halloween.

I loved it so much that she mailed it to me in anticipation of Harper being just about the right size to wear it this year. The fit was just right! She was the cutest candy corn in the neighborhood, although she would only tolerate the hat for mere milliseconds at a time.

Our little candy corn.

As it turned out, that was only the beginning of our costume fortune. Neighbor Ellen gave us a wonderful dalmation costume that her mother-in-law had made for her son when he was Harper's age, so we had two complete costumes for Halloween. They were both so great we did a costume change mid-day to accomodate both "looks."  

A balanced dog is a happy dog.

Anyway, our Halloween started a little early. On Saturday night we enjoyed the classic Audrey Hepburn film Wait Until Dark to get us in the mood. Then, on the day of we indulged in pumpkin carving, pumpkin seed toasting and taking Harper Trick-or-Treating. We visited all of one house before she got too tired to continue but at least we can say we did it!

Trick-or-Treating, here we come! 

Our scary pumpkin!

Oh, and there was the candy. We bought four bags and only had about a dozen Trick-or-Treaters stop by. You do the math, but I'll give you a hint: it involves more pluses than minuses. All in all, it was a lot of fun. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Photo Envy

My brother's family recently had a professional photo shoot done by a friend. I don't know what to say except look at all those GORGEOUS kids (and the grown-ups aren't bad, either). Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Birthday Post Script

For some reason I couldn't upload this video on to the birthday post. So here it is now:

If you listen closely you can hear Harper say "fish" a couple of times as she points at various fauna in the tank. We are certain this means she is considering a career in marine biology. Or shark fighting.

Birthday Report

Well, it was quite a birthday. Thank you to everyone who called, mailed, texted, e-mailed and/or personally delivered birthday wishes to Harper. She was a gift-unwrapping, cake-eating, good-time-having kind-of kid this weekend.
And the winner is... CUPCAKES! Pink Girly Sprinkles and Green Monster Eyes won out. They were cute but not very delicious. I should have experimented with recipes before hand but ran out of time. Oh well, there's always next year. 

We were lucky enough to have Brad’s parents here for the week, too. Brad’s mom cooked up a storm (Brad demanded she make her World Famous Potato Salad) and Brad’s dad was somehow finagled into supervising a major engine overhaul on our car, for which we are ever indebted. It was a lovely visit and we were so glad they got to share Harper’s first birthday with us. 
Harper and Pa enjoying post-pizza shenanigans.
Saturday’s celebration was exhausting. Events included organic, whole wheat pizza for lunch (Harper’s food of choice these days) followed by a trip to both the children’s park and the dog park. 
"Mmmm... pizza!"

When we returned home there was (a lot of) opening presents,
"The only thing more interesting than this gift is the bubble wrap it came in."

"Clearly this is an example of using repetition as a memory aid. Well played, Nana."

... which led to unbridled singing and cake.
"Frankly, these are a little disappointing mom. I can't believe you decided to introduce me to sweets this way. What a shame."

Bath time (necessitated by the cake incident, but always a favorite) was next on the agenda and the evening ended quietly. Overall, I think it turned out to be a pretty perfect birthday.
"Wahoo! Bath time!"

The ceremonial Opening of Presents was quite a drawn out affair and started a couple of days early to accommodate the sheer volume of gifts accumulating about the house. Her gifts included:
1 Collection of Various Baby Games (thank you Aglaves) 

1 Munchkin Mozart Music Cube (thank you Talakkotturs)
1 Plastic Fish Tank Including Tank Accessories and Plastic Fish (thank you Cookes)
1 Princess Mouse (thank you Brandons)
1 Authentic Chinese Baby Outfit Ensemble (thank you Kessels)
1 Complete Outfit with Pillowcase Dress, Sweater and Hair Accessory (thank you Hedlunds)
1 Doll (thank you Daryl and Ann)
1 Child’s Dish and 1 Mug in Hand Painted, Portuguese Porcelain (thank you mom and dad)
1 Children’s Play CSA Share (from mommy and daddy)
4 Wooden, Hand Painted Cars (from mommy)
1 Bongo Drum and 1 Set of Jingle Bells (from daddy)
Enumerable Books (thank you Talakkotturs, Daryl and Ann)
Money for College (thank you Harveys, Daryl, Ann, Wayne and Jan)
Everyone was overly generous (birthday loot must be one of the perks to being a first born) and we can’t thank everyone enough for helping make her first birthday so special. It’s possible I left something off of the above list. I truly apologize if I have offended anyone by doing so but it’s been hard keeping up. Next week I’ll start on the Thank You’s, just after I finish putting the house back together.
Our birthday beauty at Stride for Strays. Thank you for the gorgeous picture, Nikki!

Anyway, on Sunday Brad and Pa worked on the car so Nana and I took Harper to Stride for Strays in the morning, and then we had a nice lunch downtown. Afterward we went to a used bookstore and picked up a couple of gems and then headed over to the aquarium to see the fish.
Harper absolutely LOVES the aquarium. Buying an annual membership was one of the smartest things I have done because we visit probably three times a month. And it shows. “Duck” was Harper’s second word and “fish” made the top 10 as a direct result of our frequent forays. This time we got to see the penguins up close, which was a thrill.
We had a front row seat until the kid on the right decided to cough directly on Harper, so we chose to move back a little.

Thanks again to everyone for the wonderful day! And here’s a video clip of the Birthday Girl wearing her plate as a hat at the pizza place on Saturday. What a creative daughter we have! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Birthday Wish

My Dearest Harper,

I am overwhelmed with emotion as I write this birthday note to you. It was one whole year ago you came into our lives and made us a family. You are exactly what we wished for and more than we could have ever expected.

I want you to know that every day we get to spend with you is a treasure. Each new thing you learn, each new thing you do, each new milestone you reach amazes and inspires us. You are truly the light of our lives, sweet Harper. I wish for you the happiest of birthdays, my baby girl.

Mommy and Daddy love you so much!























Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birthday Week

I just have time for a quick update before our VERY busy week. Harper is turning one in a few days and Brad’s parents are coming for the festivities. This has triggered an overwhelming urge in me to clean the house from top to bottom, so that’s what’s on the menu for today. I have even purchased two Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for the occasion. Let the good times commence!
People have been so generous with us. The house is already filling up with birthday gifts for Harper and I am literally running out of places to put them. I think we’ll open a few before her birthday so as not to overwhelm her on B-Day. There are worse problems to have, to be sure.
New developments in the past few days include two new teeth (and more in the works, I think, judging by the way she’s been enthusiastically masticating her teething toys this week), her first steps (two in a row, although she has yet to repeat them), blowing kisses, hugging on cue, pointing to her “tummy” when you ask where it is, and a whole host of new words including “bye”, “juice”, “yes” and “fish”. The cuteness meter is off the scale right now.
I’m just trying to keep it together because I know I’m going to get all nostalgic and weepy  when I write her birthday post, so there’s that to look forward to. And I still have a birthday cake to whip up (hint, it involves sprinkles!). Overall, this is going to be a memorable week.
Here are some pictures of our not-quite one year old. More to come!  

Partying like it's 1999.

Chillaxin' with dinner.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bunnies vs. Zombies

Harper’s vocabulary is pretty limited at this point, which is surprising considering she comes from a long line of talkers (on the Bauer side, of course. Bookers and talking are like oil and vinegar- they make a fine salad dressing but you can't expect them to start the conversation). Still, she does have a handful of words she uses consistently. Here is a page from Harper’s dictionary (in alphabetical order, naturally):
Dad - Pronounced “da-addd!”, as if she were a demanding teenager rolling her eyes. Definition: “Hey big, hairy guy who makes me laugh. Get over here right this instant and entertain me!”
Dog - Pronounced “dah”, without the g. Definition: “I am currently feeding the organic lunch that you lovingly prepared to these drooling, wiggly quadrupeds.” Alternate definitions: “I am pulling on the quadruped’s ear,” “I am chewing on the quadruped’s tail,” “I wonder the quadrupeds’ rubber bone* tastes like?”  etc. (*“rubber bone” may be substituted for anything the dogs have had in their mouths).    
Duck - Pronounced “duCK”, with the overemphasized “CK” like the Yiddish “ch” from deep in the back of the throat. Definition: Generally duck but also goose, swan, parrot, flamingo or, on occasion, anything with a beak, feathers, fur or scales.
Mom - Pronounced fairly accurately, or sometimes “mama”. Definition: A command as in, “I want milk right NOW!" or “Get me out of this highchair right NOW!” Please note: “mom” and “mama” are commonly used while she is staring directly at my chest and/or pawing at my blouse.
No - Pronounced “nonononono!” ad infinitum. Definition: “I would much rather spend the rest of my life in this soiled diaper than interrupt my activities for ten seconds to endure a diaper change.” Important to note: often “no” is accompanied by thrashing about in convulsion-like fits that can only be counteracted with fervent belly-raspberries.
Yeah – Pronounced “yeah”. Definition: An appropriate response to any query. For example, question: “Do you think it will rain?” Answer: “Yeah.”  Question: “Do you think it will rain spaghetti and meatballs?” Answer: “Yeah.”  Question: “Do you think Kim Jong-il’s reign as Chairman of the National Defense Commission, General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and pseudo-deity of North Korea will be maintained indefinitely or do you think that oppressed and starving North Korean’s will rise up and revolt to reclaim their country?” Answer: “Yeah.” 

Her understanding of language is pretty good, too. She knows the names of a lot of objects and will point to them if she is in the right mood and within no more than six to twelve inches of them upon inquiry. For example, if she is in the bathtub facing the drain and you ask her where the drain is she will frequently point to it. Of course, this is only true as long as she isn’t distracted by her rubber octopus, pelican, turtle, porpoise, crab, the rushing water, Splash Time or her own fingers. The same can be said of the faucet and soap. And outside of the tub she will (often) point to one’s nose or mouth upon request, or even one’s (belly) button and “mommy’s fat tummy” (thank you, Brad).
But the newest verbal development is that she is parroting just about every sound that comes out of our mouths. She has barked, chirped, whinnied, mooed and hummed along to whatever music is playing in the background. She is a virtual noise making machine these days.
Those of you who now or have once had toddlers know that you can’t actually make them do anything, especially on cue or when a camera is available. But we were able to catch her making “the bunny sound” (i.e. sniffing) and making “Zombie growls” (which she perfected while visiting her cousin Hazel on our trip to Utah in July) on video. So here they are, visual proof of our little genius in action:

Brad also got (a lot of) adorable footage of her playing his Djembe, but its length precludes me from being able to upload it onto this blog. Spoiler alert: she is going to LOVE her birthday gift!

And yes, we pretty much have a clothing optional household for everyone under three years of age. Don't judge us.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Grand Entrance

Last night, about ten minutes after I put Harper to bed, I heard her crying in her room, so I went in to check on her. The instant I cracked her door open her wails were replaced by the sound of clapping. 

It's hard not to fall for that kind of thing. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Piece of Cake

With Harper’s birthday right around the corner I have been obsessing about what is, without a doubt, the most important detail; The Cake.
I really want to make Harper's first birthday cake from scratch, frosting and all. You know, something whimsical but simple. I was thinking a spice or pumpkin cake, or even applesauce, but then I remembered that Harper hates cinnamon with a passion she usually reserves for her Pediatrician.

Perfect! I should be able to whip this up in just under a month, no sweat.

So now I’m considering a vanilla cake, or maybe cupcakes (even though they’re so 2008).

Why would anyone make clown cupcakes when it has been scientifically proven that clowns scare well over 100% of children (and a fair number of adults, too)? 

The only problem is that Harper has some food sensitivities that are going to make this project a little more complicated than I’d envisioned. She has a nasty dairy intolerance and a recently discovered egg intolerance, too. And, while finding a dairy-free, egg-free cake recipe is difficult, finding a dairy-free, egg-free cake worth eating is virtually impossible. I apologize in advance to any vegans that may be reading this but the vast majority of vegan baked goods are too dry, dense and/or overly sweet to make up for the first two offenses.  
So if anyone out there has any ideas for recipe hunting or, even better, has a wonderful vegan cake recipe, please let me know. In the meantime, I will continue Googling diligently .    

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Girl's Day Out

Some of you may remember my recent post where I gushed about Project Runway’s co-host, Tim Gunn. Well, what I did not fully disclose, dear readers, is that shortly after writing that entry (I believe it was the next day, actually) I discovered, much to my surprise and delight, that Mr. Gunn would be hosting a fashion show at our local mall this weekend. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was able to finagle a ticket to the after-show soirĂ©e. My good luck was due entirely to a chance meeting with an unusually kind insider who could tell I was a big fan. So yesterday Harper and I got all dolled up, grabbed enough gear and supplies to intimidate even the most seasoned of Sherpas, and headed out to the mall for the afternoon. (Let me also state here, for clarity, that Tim Gunn is one of the very few people for whom I would attend an event at the mall.)      
I knew we were going to have to be early to get good (read “any”) seats, so I timed it so that we would arrive just over an hour prior to the show. And it would have been perfect, had we been 5 minutes earlier. It seems everyone else in town had the same idea because the last seat was filled just as I walked up. No matter, we had a terrific view of the cat walk standing just behind the last row of seats (although I would later come to regret choosing a spot in such close proximity to the speakers).

I found this photo on the web, text included, so I'm not the only one.
Tim was as gracious and dapper as ever, and I got a little thrill to see him in person (if seeing him from the back row of a mall venue amongst a crowd of 700 people or so can be considered “in person”). However, the tides of fashion fortune were not with us yesterday. The show, which was already scheduled in the middle of Harper’s lunch time, started a little late. Harper, who was too fascinated by all the goings on to eat a real lunch, had grown tired of me appeasing her with Cheerios. As you can imagine, a hungry almost one-year-old and a loud, crowded fashion show do not a good combination make. So we left.  
I was hoping I could feed her quickly and we could get back for the post-show party but, by the time we were finished a line of immense proportion had formed outside the reception area, so we skipped it. (Remember the line from the scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie and Randy go to visit Santa at the mall after the Christmas parade? It was that line. What is it with malls and lines?)  
Anyway, it was fun to get out for the day and do something girly with my girl. Here’s a clip of the beginning of the show. I was much closer to the stage than is evident from this footage (I was only four rows back). And please try to ignore the shrieks from the fussy kid strapped to my chest. Enjoy!        
The "Silver Fox" himself.

P.S. Yes, the co-host for the event was named Leah, too. I kept imagining that Tim was speaking directly to me every time he said her name.    

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Walker

I bought the Melissa and Doug Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy for Harper's first birthday (next month) because I thought it would help her learn to walk. But she is so close to walking I decided to see how she's like it now. So this morning I put it together and watched to see what would happen. Luckily I was thinking ahead and had the video camera ready to go.  

Go Harper! Go!

It is bittersweet watching this and knowing that my baby is almost a toddler.