Monthly Archives: October 2011

My friends…

…are amazing. Seriously.

Two things you need to know about me: I love mail. And I love birds – specifically cardinals.

Yesterday I got home and a package was waiting for me. When I opened it, I saw beautiful things. Ah! My favorite! My lovely friend Anna found this watercolor on Etsy and bought it for me:

And she didn’t stop there either! You see, Anna is pretty talented herself. She makes all sorts of pretty things. She decided to make some stationary to go with the watercolor:

Amazing, right?! Yeah…I thought so too.
If you like it, you should check out her website: http://www.annamichellecards.com/

Getting gifts in the mail is not an every day thing for me, so imagine my surprise when I received yet another homemade (aka VERY SPECIAL) gift from a friend today! My friend April made me a little birdy nest necklace and sent it my way:

Gorgeous.

These gifts are so very special to me! I am so thankful to know that my friends from back home still think of me even though we’re separated by some major mileage. What a blessing!

I couldn’t have asked for better timing on these little reminders of friendship. I’ve been super homesick lately. And bummed because my cat has been missing for a week. And stressed because we are moving…again.

These gifts just reminded me of what really matters in this life: my relationships. With people and with Jesus. Remembering that makes life a little less stressful 🙂

Thanks, friends!

One Year.

We made it through the first year! Wow. I consider this a huge accomplishment. We survived. Harper survived. We made it! In spite of the doubt and straight up not knowing what the hell-o we were doing at times, here we are, one year later, with an amazing kid on our hands. Incredible. Thank you, Jesus!

As expected, I’m feeling many different things today. I’m joyful because I have a beautiful, happy and healthy ONE YEAR OLD baby little boy. Then there’s a part of me that’s sad because he isn’t an itty bitty baby anymore. He hasn’t been a newborn for a while, but today it’s really hitting me that all that stuff is over…gone! Blows my mind! And at the same time, another part of me is SO dang happy that he ISN’T a newborn anymore!

I know. It sounds stupid. I miss it and I don’t miss it all at once. I miss him being tiny and cuddly. I miss the noises he used to make (click here if you want to here some of the cute noises). I miss the pouty lip he used to give me if I didn’t give him his bottle quick enough. I miss actually having to hold his bottle for him. I miss him sleeping on my chest.

I don’t miss the depression. the loneliness. Or the anxiety. I don’t miss being so anxious about him waking up that I couldn’t sleep. I don’t miss being so anxious about the possibility of him never waking up again that I couldn’t sleep. I don’t miss his 20-30 minute naps (the longer ones are so much better). I don’t miss the jerky movements that would wake him up ALL the time even though he was swaddled.

I could go on and on about the things I miss and don’t miss from that time. I think the hardest part about having a newborn for me, was just not feeling like myself, not knowing what I was doing and not having support because we were in a new place.

As most of you know, we moved four hours away from friends and family a week after we had Harp. I was recovering from a c-section and Benji was at a new job so he couldn’t take off to help me. I just had to tough it out through the pain and the emotions. To put it simply: it sucked 🙂

I never really shared what I was going through on my blog or on Facebook. In fact, if you were reading my blog at the time, you probably thought I was super happy. I certainly wanted to appear that way. I wanted to feel that way too…but I didn’t.

I had a few close friends that knew what I was going through, but other than that, I didn’t really talk about it. I wanted to seek help for PPD, but I didn’t have a doctor in Memphis. With a newborn on my hands, making a trip to the doctor for myself just seemed like one more thing that would make life harder. Looking back, I wish I would have sought treatment. Maybe then I would have enjoyed the first couple of months of Harper’s life.

Regardless…we survived. By January, I felt like myself again and I truly began to enjoy being a mom (I credit lots and lots of prayer for this). I didn’t feel like a zombie anymore and I was beginning to get the hang of things. I didn’t cry all the time and I began to feel happy about the sacrifices I was making for Harp. I guess it just took three months to get over the shock of someone else depending on me 100% for their own survival.

Before Harp got here, I really thought I knew what this mom thing would be like. I spent the entire time I was pregnant reading and researching, but I still wasn’t prepared for it. I really don’t think you can be until you’re here. It’s amazing. There are times when it’s easy breezy and then there are times when it is incredibly hard. There are so many things that I love about it. And a few things I don’t really care for, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

With all that being said, here is a little video I put together for Harp’s birthday. You knew I would. It’s just some of my favorite pictures from the past year.What an amazing year it has been!

Happy birthday, Harper! Your daddy and I are so blessed to call you our own.

The Great Grans.

My grandparents came up for a visit yesterday. It’s a short trip – they’ll be leaving tomorrow – but we made great use of our time together today.

We started the day off by visiting The Cheese Shop. It’s an amazing little shop that’s about two miles from my house. They have all sorts of things that you can’t find in a grocery store. We were there for a good 30 minutes before a tour bus decided to unload into the store. We quickly left once that happened.

Afterwards, we made a trip to the Shenandoah National Park. We just took the Grans to a couple of overlooks so they could really see into the valley. It was beautiful. And we made lots of pictures.

Like this one of me and Harp:

and this one of Harp & dada:

The little booger wouldn’t smile while we were at the SNP. He took a quick nap in the car and was much improved by the time we reached our next destination: Stonewall Jackson’s home. We had originally planned on going to Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s home), but tickets were $22 per person. Benji and I had been before, so we decided to go somewhere that was a little cheaper and that none of us had seen before. Stonewall’s house was the same distance from our home as Monticello, so we decided to go there.

Harper decided to be my loud little baby bird while we were at Stonewall’s house. About halfway through the house tour, I decided to take him outside because he was being SO loud. I thought it was cute, but I’m sure the other peeps who paid $8 to take the guided tour didn’t share in my parental joy.

We had a good time outside while waiting on The Great Grans to finish the tour. There is a lovely little garden at Stonewall’s house so we spent most of our time there. It was lovely and I got a few more pictures of Harper while there:

Beautiful baby blues.

This one breaks my heart. When did he get so big?

After visiting Stonewall’s, we went to a little Farmer’s Market that’s right by my house. This FM is awesome because it’s open EVERY day and it’s all local stuff. I love it!

Now we’re at home watching Bama kick some Ole’ Miss booty!

Today has been great. I’ll be sad to see The Great Grans go tomorrow, but I’m so glad they got to come up for some quality time with Harper. He loves his Great Grans.

 

 

 

 

Baby Signing Pt. 2

Harper said his first word “eat” a little over a week ago. I was unsure if he was really saying what I thought he was saying, so I watched him for a week just to be sure. He already says things like mama, dada and baba, but he doesn’t really use them properly just yet. When he said eat or “eeeeeeeeeee” it was always at the right time, and most of the time he would also do the sign for it. Still I wondered.

After watching him for a week, I realized he was in fact saying it. How he said it depended entirely on his mood and how hungry he was. If he’s a little hungry, he just points at his mouth and says it. If he’s very hungry, he doesn’t bother with the pointing, he just whines “eeeeeeeeeeeee” over and over again.

Anyways, my friend Misty requested a video of this, so here it is:

Some of you may remember my first post about baby sign language. I’ve been sort of lax on the signing here lately. I still do it, just not consistently.

Close to a month ago, I went to my friend Theresa’s house to hang out for a bit. Her daughter is about two months older than Harper and very active! She started walking at nine months (correct me if I’m wrong on that Theresa)! Wow!

Anyways, whenever she wanted something to eat, she would walk up to Theresa and point to her mouth. It looked like a super easy sign to teach Harper, so I decided to try it. This time I threw some consistency into the mix 😉 At all of his meal and snack times, I would just point to my mouth and say “Do you want something to eat?” and then I would hand him whatever it was he was eating. It took about two weeks for him to catch on. And there’s a possibility that he was doing it before then and I just didn’t realize it!

I’ve always tried to talk to him like an adult, and it seems like he’s really beginning to pick up on what I’m saying. It’s so neat and it should make signing even easier for him to learn. And vice versa, I also think that signing will help him expand his vocabulary. I believe that if I had just said “eat” without doing the sign, he wouldn’t be saying it yet.

New Layout

Photo & journal by {anna.michelle Cards}

So…I was talking to my friend Kristy the other day about our blogs. Her blog is really pretty and mine is was sort of plain. We talked about how if you were looking for a journal to physically write in, you’d find one that was really cute and you’d probably even spend anywhere from ten to twenty bucks on it. Heck, I’ve even spent thirty bucks on a good journal before!

Anyways, after our convo, I decided to dress the ole’ blog up a little bit…ya know, to give it some personality! I didn’t actually have the time to do it until today. I like yellow a lot – it’s a really cheerful color in my opinion – so I used that as my main color. I decided to use a “vintage” yellow background that I downloaded many months ago. I’d tell you where I got it from if I could remember! Isn’t it SO cute?! I love it!

I put a picture of a journal made by my friend Anna with this post because it matched my colors. If you want some awesome stationary/journals/calendars you should totally hit her up! She’s A-MAZING!!!! Here’s a link to her Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AnnaSkates!

Alright. That’s it. Random…I know.

It’s Autumn, Yo!

Yeah. Amazing, right?! I know.

We came up to Virginia in October 2009 and I’ll always remember how breathtaking it was. That was the first time I had ever seen autumn outside of Alabama. We were only up for a week, but it was the peak week and oh…my…gosh! Words could never describe the beauties I saw that week. I constantly find myself revisiting the memories I have from that trip. Seriously. I can still feel the wind on my face at the top of Humpback Rock. Or close my eyes and see the blinding yellow of the fallen leaves in the middle of the woods. And the hidden staircase off the trail. Or the swarms of ladybugs at the top of Crabtree Falls. It was magical.

Since moving here in June, October has been on my mind A LOT. I’ve been so anxious for it to arrive! You’d think it’s because of Harp’s birthday, but no…it’s because I’ve been dying to see the leaves change. I was half afraid the change wouldn’t be as great as I remembered, but when it started last week, it didn’t disappoint. And it’s only gotten better with each passing day.

The trees all change at their own pace. Some change really slowly, and then others will change in a day. There is one tree by our house that really surprised me. When I left for work one morning, it was green. By the time I came home, the top portion of it was a deep red, like red velvet cake, while the bottom was still green. It looked like someone had dipped it in paint and was ready to put it to canvas. It was so pretty and intense!

And then you have the mountains. As if they couldn’t get any better! Normally a dark green, almost black, color in the sunlight, they are now speckled with reds, oranges, browns and yellows. It’s just….beautiful. Sigh. Fall in Alabama is pretty, but it just doesn’t compare to this.

I can’t wait until Harper is old enough to appreciate this season. I can already see the three of us jumping in giant piles of leaves together. Maybe by then he won’t be obsessed with eating leaves anymore 🙂

Harper the Hampster.

Harper has a new trick. He has figured out that instead of sucking on his bottle, he can just hold it above his head and let the milk drip into his mouth. Ingenious!

Here ya go:

Stop rolling your eyes. Of course I made a video of the new trick. I document everything! And of course I’m going to blog about it. What else am I supposed to do while Harper and P are napping?

Anyways, Benji said that Harper reminded him of a hamster yesterday. Hence the title of this post. This little boy cracks us up, that’s for sure! You’ll also notice in the video that he is holding the bottle with his hands AND feet. That reminds me of a monkey. Maybe we should call him Monster – get it? Monkey & Hampster put together?!?! I know…I’m cheesy. Shut up.

Hopefully one day soon Monster will be 100% on the sippy cup and he’ll drink from it like a regular person. Right now he just plays with it and slings it everywhere though. Fun times.

Watching Harper’s Face Change

Some of you may remember my Baby Project 365 post from a while back. In a nutshell, I’ve been taking a photo of Harper’s face every day since January 26th (his 3rd month-iversary of life). My plan was to continue taking a photo a day until his first birthday.

I was actually pretty awesome at remembering the photo every day. Sometimes I would remember in the middle of a Harper “right before naptime/bedtime” meltdown, so I’d snap it during the fit. Other times, I’d remember it while trying to clean food particles off his face. In the end, there ended up being a nice variety of Harper faces for the project.

Towards the end, Harper caught on to the fact that he could avoid my flash by not looking directly at my camera. The daily photo began to be a major challenge because he obviously didn’t enjoy it, and well…I could never get a picture of him actually looking at the camera. If I did manage to get him looking at the camera, he looked drunk.

I really thought I’d make it all the way to his birthday, but then he got sick in the middle of September. It made an already unenjoyable photo session even more difficult…so I just decided to stop.

I thought I’d feel bad if I didn’t make it all the way to his birthday, but I don’t. While I do love being able to see the change his face made from January through mid-September, I’m kind of glad I don’t have to worry about that daily photo anymore.

Anyways, here’s the finished product:

(WARNING. I’m writing about snot down below)

In other news, Harper is still sick. He has traded his wheezing in for snot rivers – seriously, people! SNOT RIVERS – but he seems to be feeling better at least. Today was the first time since Thursday that he was actually happy! I sure was glad to hear his laughter again.

Back to the snot. I have officially passed the “handling of something really gross” mom test. Before having a baby, there were several things that grossed me out that I thought maybe I could conquer if I loved the little human enough (pee, poop, spit up, etc.). Snot was always one thing I thought I’d NEVER be able to handle. I mean…it’s snot. Green. Gooey. Gross.

Since Saturday, Harper has had some major snot issues. (I feel like I shouldn’t be writing about this, but hey…I warned you up above, so if you’re still reading and get grossed out…it’s on you). He has pretty much had a constant stream running down his face. Anytime he sneezes, he blows snot rockets out of his nose. And sometimes, when he is just breathing, he blows snot bubbles. You get the picture. Gross.

As nasty as it sounds, I haven’t gotten sick over it once. In fact, today, while at the grocery store picking up some medicine, I did something really gross and really motherly. We were heading back to the car and I noticed the river (which I previously thought had dried up) was running down Harper’s face again. I didn’t have anything on hand to get it with, so without hesitation I grabbed it with my sleeve. I mean…how many cool/gross points do I get for that?!

I know this is lame, but when I got in the car and thought about what I had just done, I was amazed and kind of touched. Having Harp has completely changed me in the best ways. I just love him! I REALLY underestimated how strong that love and the desire to protect him would be. It conquers snot, y’all. SNOT.

It’s sort of unbelievable.