Visitors to Texas and an early Thanksgiving

My family descended upon Texas during the recent arctic blast (although I guess it still felt warm to those northerners) to celebrate my brother’s birthday and an early Thanksgiving. We still had fun even though we stayed indoors most of the weekend. Of course, the main attraction was seeing the two cousins together again. The evening they arrived, Harper was painfully shy and wouldn’t make eye contact for a while, even though she talked for weeks about Avery coming to visit. But she warmed up, like she always does.

Cousins

We took the girls to the children’s museum and they loved it! We had to drag them out of there to grab lunch before their inevitable crash nap in the car. And they looked adorable in their matching outfits from Gramoo!

Cousins

Cousins

Cousins

Coloring

Cousins reading

We couldn’t get enough of their hugging, so we asked them to hug many times that weekend.

Cousins

Cousins

My mom loved having both of her granddaughters together.

Mamie and her granddaughters

Me and my niece

And Avery practiced her serious pose.

Avery

Avery

I think Avery’s favorite part of the visit was chasing Maeby and trying to lay on her.

Avery loves cats

Harper

Cousins lounging

Best friends!

Cousins

The girls loved having their Uncle Chris to entertain them with shoulder rides and laundry basket rides.

Shoulder rides

Uncles are fun!

We prepared a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and while the turkey was cooking, the girls took a wagon ride around the neighborhood and played with play-doh.

Wagon ride!

Playing with play-doh

After dinner, we put the girls to work cleaning up the kitchen.

Helping to clean up

Towards the end of their visit, it started to warm up a bit and the girls got some backyard playtime with Mamie.

Playing outside

Playing outside

We were sad to see them go and for a few days after they left, Harper kept asking about Avery. We’ll see them again next year once baby brother is born!!

12 in 2014: October & November

I totally missed my monthly update for October, but it was a busy month for us! Here are a few pics of us with our little Harper from this month and last.

October: Me with both my babies!

Mommy and daughter

Mommy and daughter

November: Snuggling her daddy

Snuggling her daddy

It’s a boy!

Our recent ultrasound revealed we are having a boy! Harper is so excited to have a baby brother!

I'm getting a baby brother!

It's a boy!

It's a boy!

It's a boy!

It's a boy!

I'm getting a baby brother!

Harperween 2014

Harper got really into Halloween this year and made it so fun! She loved to say “Happy Halloween!” We went to a local pumpkin patch (or rather, a little festival with a gathering of pumpkins) and picked out a big pumpkin to carve together and little pumpkins to paint.

“I’ll take this one!”

Halloween 2014

I tried to take a mommy-daughter-baby-bump picture but she was more interested in the pumpkins.

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

The rest of the festival had fun stuff for bigger kids. But she liked watching all the kids on the inflatables. Maybe next year, kiddo.

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

Harper helped to scoop out the pumpkin but did not like the mess on her hands.

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

So we learned here in Texas that carved pumpkins don’t last more than 2 days in this heat. By day 2 it was completely molded black on the inside and by day 4 it was literally a melted pile of mush. But it looked good for one day!

Halloween 2014

She loved painting our little pumpkins together. And only tried a few times to eat the paint!

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

Today we went to her Halloween party at school where we saw several Anna’s, Elsa’s and Olaf’s (as did all of America today.)

Halloween 2014

Then we came home and got ready for the trick-or-treaters.

Halloween 2014

Halloween 2014

We went to a few houses with our neighbors and Harper totally rocked the trick-or-treating. I was really surprised, but she knew exactly what to do and wasn’t shy about it. When we came home, she took all of her candy out of her bucket and sorted it into piles for Mommy, Daddy, and Harper while singing “Happy Halloween!” The best part – Mommy and Daddy get to eat her candy!

harper is two!

My little girl is now 2 years old! And she’s definitely a little girl – or as she likes to say “big girl!” Because we spent the weekend before her birthday in Nashville, we didn’t have a party, but we both stayed home from work and had a fun family day.

When she woke up, we gave her a present from Grandpa and Gramoo – a Disney castle with figurines (instant hit!) After breakfast, we went to a new playground to run around for a bit.

Walking the mini village

Playground time

Playground time

After her nap, she got dressed up in her birthday outfit and came out to the living room where her new play kitchen and table and chairs were set up! She loved them!

Harper's 2nd Birthday

The play kitchen and table and chairs have since become a favorite activity. She puts her dolls/stuffed animals in the chairs and sets the table for them, saying “Elmo plate, Harper plate, Mommy plate.” Then she says “Elmo all done?” Her favorite part of her new play kitchen is the water dispenser in the fridge – she pretends to fill little cups of ice water for us. She also loves cooking strawberries and talking on her play phone to cousin Avery.

Harper's 2nd Birthday

Harper's 2nd Birthday

Thanks to Aunt Lisa for the fruits and veggies to stock her fridge. She thinks carrots are just Olaf noses.

Harper's 2nd Birthday

We went outside to open a few more gifts and take some pictures. Thanks to Aunt Kari for the play-doh set and art book!

Harper's 2nd Birthday

Harper's 2nd Birthday

Harper's 2nd Birthday

We each had a cupcake and we blew her candles out for her because she didn’t blow hard enough. And we capped off the evening by going out for dinner.

Harper's 2nd Birthday

What this 2-year-old is up to…

Harper likes to say her letters and numbers and points them out when she sees them. Her favorite letters to identify are H, D, M and U. She likes to count when she’s doing something like climbing steps or eating. She’s been working on her colors and says them right about 50% of the time.

She’s been stringing more words together for phrases and still mixes in some gibberish, but we’re getting good at deciphering her language. Like one day we thought she was saying “Abu Dhabi” but she was saying “Harper diapy.” And she calls her blanket “bacon.” She sometimes mixes up “s” words. She’ll say “poons” for “spoon”, “outdise” for “outside”, “neeze” for “sneeze” and “kirts” for “skirt.”

She refers to herself in the 3rd person but I’ve noticed just recently she says “me” or “mine” in some cases. She’ll say “Harper me” instead of just “me” though – so cute. So she’ll say “Harper outdise?”, “Harper all done”, “Harper lunch”, “Harper mine!” She loves to say hi to the cats – even if she’s crying or whining she’ll completely snap out of it when she sees a cat and says “Hi Margot!” or “Hi Maeby!” For a while, she called them both “Meow-kitties” but then she got their names. Now she’ll yell at Maeby to get off the counter – “Maeby! Down, down, down! Thank you Maeby!” She also says please, thank you and sorry (they must work on this at school.) Sometimes she’ll say thank you where she should say please, or say sorry when she doesn’t need to – it’s super cute.

When she wakes up in the morning she immediately starts chattering to herself about things in her crib or in her room. And then starts the “Mom? Mommy? Mooooooom. MOOOOOOOM!” And sometimes she gets frantic if she drops her lovie out of her crib – “MOM! HARPER DROP LOVIEEEEE!”

Other phrases she says a lot: “Anna! Elsa! Olaf!”, “Daddy work”, “watch Ariel?”, “Daddy, Mommy, Harper, baby, family!”, “I love ya Mommy”, “nigh nigh Mommy”, “Tickles!”, “Harper toot!”, “Hands and face!” when she’s done eating, and “Bye fwends!” when she leaves school.

She really enjoys school and her friends there. She’s just moved to a new room with more kids her age, but 5 of her friends that she’s been with for the last year came with her, so the transition was easy. Her teachers love her and say she’s very bright, a social butterfly and a good leader and listener, although she’s quite shy in the mornings when we drop her off.

She refers to herself as big sister now and likes to pat my belly and say “Baby!” She loves anything to do with babies right now. I think she’ll be a great big sister and will love to help.

Her favorite music right now is: Ariel! (Little Mermaid soundtrack), Anna!Elsa!Olaf! (Frozen soundtrack), Annie! (Original Broadway soundtrack), Belle songs! (Beauty and the Beast soundtrack), Sound of Music soundtrack, Woody song! (Toy Story “You’ve Got a Friend”), Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, and sometimes she’ll tolerate Wilson Phillips if she’s distracted. Paul Simon’s Graceland album has always been a favorite since she was itty bitty. I recently tried to get her to dance with me to “All About That Bass” and when the song ended she said “More bass?”

She also loves pretty much any video I show her on Youtube, particularly songs from Disney movies, videos of cousin Avery and videos of cats. I recently showed her a video of ballerinas dancing to the Nutcracker and she was mesmerized. “More video more video!”

Besides the toys she got for her birthday, she currently loves: baby doll (she named Baby Anna) and doll stroller, her purse (filled with random things), Elmo, Woody (from Toy Story), play-doh, slide, soccer ball, books (Olivia is a favorite at the moment) and puzzles, stickers, any playground, rides in her wagon or tricycle and evening walks around the neighborhood. She also likes dancing (like at my cousin’s wedding or at a kid’s concert.)

I recently took her on a walk in her tricycle (that has a long handle on the back for me to push her) and I popped her back on two wheels which she got a kick out of and she held both arms in the air while I did it. I said “Wow you’re a daredevil!” And I put her back down and she said “More devil? More devil?” LOL

She’s been a good eater lately too. I wouldn’t say she’s super adventurous in trying new things, but she definitely scarfs down her favorites and asks for more. Maybe it’s a growth spurt. She’s really into lettuce salads now! At her 2-year checkup she was 85% in weight and 86% in height!

All in all, I think she’s got this being-two-thing down pretty well. She’s pretty happy and smiley most of the time and we just love her to pieces!

Harper

a cousin’s wedding in nashville

A few weeks ago we met most of my immediate and extended family in Nashville for my cousin Kelley’s wedding. It was the first time my extended family got to meet Harper and my sister’s daughter Avery.

Our first stop was the Nashville zoo where we met my Aunt Lynn and cousin Sara and her kids. The girls loved it! Such a pretty and natural zoo.

Nashville Zoo

Me and my cousin Sara are both due a few weeks apart!

Pregnant cousins

My sister and her husband and daughter, Avery.

Nashville Zoo

The girls are checking out the giraffes!

Nashville Zoo

My dad and brother

Nashville Zoo

Me and my niece

Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo

Grandpa and his granddaughters!

Nashville Zoo with Grandpa

Nashville Zoo with cousins

Checking out the camels

Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo

Needless to say, the girls were tuckered out!

Crashed after the zoo

The girls played on the playground for a while before we went to the rehearsal dinner.

Playground

Hanging out with Avery

Evening walk

The next day we walked around Centennial Park with the girls in matching shirts – oh the cuteness!

Nashville park

Nashville park

Hanging out with Avery

Hanging out with Avery

Hanging out with Avery

Avery

The girls with Gramoo Julie!

The girls with Gramoo

Hanging out with Avery

Later that evening we put on our dresses and went to the wedding! The girls had fun and were pretty well behaved – luckily the ceremony was short!

At the wedding

The gorgeous bride and her father (Uncle Jim)!

Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo

Then we took a few more pics before heading to the reception.

Nashville Zoo

Harper was so excited to get dolled up in her dress, bracelet, necklace and sparkly shoes!

Nashville Zoo

Lisa and her mini-me!

Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo

Hanging out with Avery

Then the real fun began – the girls tore up the dance floor!

Dancing at the wedding

Dancing at the wedding

Dancing at the wedding

We did some spinning and Avery and her daddy did some dancing too!

Dancing at the wedding

Dancing at the wedding

Where’s Avie?

Dancing at the wedding

Here I am!

Dancing at the wedding

OMG I’m having so much fun!!

Dancing at the wedding

The girls got to meet Great-Grandmother for the first time!

Grandmother and her granddaughters and great granddaughters

Here’s my dad with his six siblings and parents – the whole crew!

Grandparents, aunts and uncles

Cutting the cake

Cutting the cake

The next morning the whole family met for breakfast.

Grandmother and her granddaughters and great granddaughters

Grandpa and Gramoo graciously offered to rush through their dinner so they could take the girls back to the hotel for bed so we could stay and enjoy the reception. And when we left, we got back to the hotel and I realized I left my phone at the reception! I blame the pregnancy brain! Luckily, my Uncle Jim grabbed it and brought it to me the next morning!

It was a fantastic weekend seeing family I hadn’t seen in years! We had a late flight back that night and got home around 1am. The next day was Harper’s 2nd birthday! So we took the day off and had a fun family day – stay tuned for pictures!

Harper has something to tell you!

She’s going to be a big sister!

Big sister status coming March 2015

Baby #2 is due March 26, 2015!

Reading how to be the best big sister

She’s been studying up on how to be the best big sister. She practices with her baby doll – rocking her, swaddling her, taking her for walks. When you ask her “Where is Mommy’s baby?” she points to my belly. Although, she has no concept that an actual live baby will be moving in to her house. But we have a few months to work on that. When you ask “Do you want a brother or a sister?” She says “Yes!” So I think she’ll be happy with either one. Same with Mommy and Daddy – we will be thrilled with either one, but we can’t wait to find out!

I’m feeling ok for the most part. There were some rough couple weeks there for a while with nausea and major fatigue, but now I’ve got my appetite back for most of the day and I’m just basically exhausted. I think I feel it more this time around because life can’t stop when you have a toddler!

We’re so excited for a new little spud to be joining our family!

A new little spud is joining the family!

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