So, this month felt like a "big" month in a lot of ways. Among other things, we took a "staycation," Harper had surgery, had a birthday and started preschool, I decided to embark on a business venture and Emerson somehow got cuter. And Tom? Well, Tom worked :) . Also, this post took me FOREVER to do because things have been so busy. Also, usually Tom watches the kids and I head to Starbucks for a couple nights to do the blog, but Tom broke his arm and can't watch the kids by himself. Woohoo! More on that next month. Anyway, as a result of this post being super late I can't really remember any of the cute things Harp said/did or any of that. Oh well! Without further ado, here was our September!
Toward the beginning of the month, Tom took about a week off and we spend it just hanging out together as a family. Among other things, we had a breakfast outing to Temple Square...
went on a family bikeride to the park...
went to the Children's Museum...
spent an afternoon in Provo, where we went to BYU's Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, the Museum of Art and went out to eat (or at least tried to)...
|outside the Museum of Art|
got stuff done and just hung out together. It was actually REALLY nice. I would say it was a definite success. There are always things we need to get done that are hard for me to do when I'm home with the kids. So, we tried to strike a good balance between getting those things done, going out to do fun things and just relaxing. I really felt recharged at the end.
Another thing that happened the week of the staycation is that Harper had eye muscle surgery to correct the crossing of her eyes. We still don't know if it was successful (the surgery's success rate is only about 50-80%) since our follow up isn't til November, but her eyes definitely cross less.
All potential success aside though, the day of the surgery was miserable. First off, she could eat all morning and her surgery wasn't until 1pm or something. I think it was originally scheduled for around 11am, but they were running late. Once we got to the hospital we had to check in and fill out paperwork, then they had to prep her. This involved putting her in some hospital jammies (the one part she LOVED), putting on her bracelet, checking her vitals, etc. With an adult, these things would be a breeze, but Harp screamed and protested through it all. She felt extremely violated.
Once we got through with that part we went into a different waiting room. The good thing was that both waiting rooms had a lot of really good toys. That helped big time. However, they had to put drops in her eyes, which consisted of the nurse and I going into an adjacent room and me putting her in a body hold while the nurse did the deed and she screamed bloody murder. We had to do that twice. I'm not sure what would happen if Tom was her only parent.
Anyway, after the eye drops we had to wait in there for a very long time. We chatted with the other parents who were waiting for their surgeries (one of them was with the same surgeon and was scheduled before us, so we knew it would be a while). Strangely enough, even though they were there for completely unrelated issues, both families had children who'd had the same surgery as Harp!
The nurse told us that when it was time for her to go under we could be there in the room with her while she was put to sleep and asked us if we thought it would be best to give her a sedative for that. She's been SUPER clingy and anti-strangers for a while now, so we felt that was best. When it came time for that and they gave it to her I could tell she was getting loopy, so I sat her next to me and put a show on for her on my laptop. She looked SO out of it and so sleepy, but she just kept fighting it. And even though it made her loopy and the nurse called them, "happy drugs," she was pretty touchy. Like, if you said or did things in just such a way she'd immediately lose it and start bawling.
Shortly thereafter they brought a plastic wagon over with some pillows and blankets that they were going to take her in. They weren't ready for her yet but she wanted to get in it. For the next 15 or 20 minutes while we waited she chilled out in the wagon. She kept doing really funny things. Like, when they finally came to get her she had her head down and bum up in the air or something weird like that. They took one look at her and said, "is she on happy drugs or something?" It was kind of funny but kind of sad and weird.
Anyway, then we all walked her down the hall toward surgery til we got to a line of the floor that we weren't allowed to cross and we just watched her go. It was a little scary. I don't like to think that I wasn't there when she was put under and that I don't know if she cried or anything. Part of me just really reviles against that and it's hard for me not to feel like moms should always be allowed to be there for their babies. Though I get why they do it and all.
While we waited Tom and I took turns getting food from the cafeteria. It didn't take that long though. Maybe an hour or two? Toward the end her Doc came in to tell us how it went. He said it went well (though we still won't know if it was successful til our follow-up appointment, which we haven't had yet). Then, after a few more minutes they called to tell us she was out and that we could go see her. This part was really frustrating to me and makes me angry to think about. See, when I was a kid I had surgery on my ear and I have this weird memory of waking up and no one being there and being in pain. Now, I don't know how much of this memory is accurate since I also remember that I was is a big empty room with just my hospital bed in the middle of it, which obviously wouldn't have been the case. Nevertheless, I really didn't want her to wake up without us there. I told this to multiple medical staff members before the surgery and was told that they'd pass it along. They said that basically, a lot of parents find it disturbing to see their child still hooked up to things, so they usually wait until the child has woken up and is breathing well enough to be unhooked. I told them I was happy to be in there while she was still hooked up and that it wouldn't phase me. Anyway, they totally disregarded my wishes.
When they called to say she was out, only 1 of us could go be with her because they didn't want Emerson to be in there. I was the one to go and I could hear her screaming bloody murder as soon as I got on that floor. It was TERRIBLE. I'm still pretty disturbed thinking about it. I don't think I've ever seen her that upset. And maybe she'd still have been just as upset if I'd been there when she woke up, but I feel like it would have been a totally different experience for her too. Mom's are comforting. Anyway, as I got closer I could see that a nurse was holding her, trying to calm her and she was having none of it. As soon as she saw me she lunged for me, but they wouldn't hand her over without checking my bracelet. Then, I just held my poor girl for a long time. She just kept crying and she felt like a lump because of the meds. I don't know how else to explain it. Poor thing started asking for food (she hadn't eaten all day and it was probably at least 3pm by that time) so they let her have some pudding. She was still hooked up to some things (which reminded me of Emerson in the NICU - another sad memory) which she didn't like and which made mobility difficult. We changed rooms and they eventually let Tom and Emerson come in anyway. All this time she was SO fragile and just SO upset. Every time I'd suggest something (like reading a book or singing a song) she'd scream, "no! no! no! no! no!" I finally got her watching a show on my laptop again, but all it would take for her to loose it would be me adjusting the angle of the screen or moving my leg or anything.
We were only there post-op for like an hour or something before we headed home. She was still pretty upset all the way home and after we got home. At some point she started trying to rub her eyes a lot (I was told it feels like sand under your eyes) and we weren't supposed to let her, so that was fun.
Mostly, she just watched shows for the rest of the night and ate food. She was really really touchy all night though. It was hard and exhausting and sad. You can see in these photos below that she just looked...beat-up.
Anyway, the next day she was still a little cranky, but nowhere near as bad as the day before. After that she was pretty much back to normal. We had to put eyedrops in her eyes 3x's a day for 7 days though. At first she hated it and we'd have to hold her down and she'd just scream. Then we started giving her a jellybean each time and after that she would BEG us to do eyedrops. Like I said, we haven't had our follow-up yet, but we think the surgery was a success because her eyes seem way straighter to us. And...that's the surgery!
Big Girl Bed
On a much much happier note, Harper transitioned to a toddler bed this month! We'd felt like she was ready for it for a while, but it took us a while to get it all ready for her. Until she moved to the toddler bed, she'd been in a mini-crib and she just really didn't fit in it anymore. Plus, Emerson will need it soon (he's still in the rock-n-play). We decided to get the cheapest white bed with underneath storage that we could find. Then, I wanted to use the blanket I made for her as her main blanket and make some pillows to match.
Here's how it turned out:
We gave it to her 1 or 2 days before her birthday. The verdict? She LOVES it. She talks about it a lot and likes to be on it. Not only that, but it hasn't been a problem for her to sleep on it or stay in bed or anything. In fact, I've been trying to encourage her to get out of bed and play when she wakes up, but she just refuses to get off of it til I come get her. One day I hear her request a certain toy over the monitor (after she'd woken up). I opened the door without her seeing and tossed it on the floor a couple feet in front of her bed. When I went in to get her (I've trained her to say, "Mom, come get me!" when she's ready) it was still there and she immediately wanted to get it after I "rescued" her from the bed.
Here she is meeting her bed for the first time:
Another happy thing is month was that Harp turned 2! She had some good prep because her two local cousins also have birthdays in September, before hers. So, by the time it was her turn she kind of knew the drill. Plus, I'd been mentioning it for a while. I kept saying things like, "well, when you turn 2..." She picked up on things and often when I'd tell her she couldn't have something she'd say, "when I turn 2!"
A few pics from cousin Lexi's birthday party:
|Wearing a cape backwards of course.|
Lexi got a set of plastic jewelry and Harp REALLY coveted it, especially the earrings. When I made her take them off so we could leave she threw one of the biggest tantrums to date...maybe THE biggest. She's a girly girl. Heaven help me.
For her birthday we had a small family party with cake and presents on the Sunday before her birthday (the day before). She was pretty confused by the cake with candles and the singing, but thought it was pretty funny too.
I love this video:
On her actual birthday we went to the Thanksgiving Point Gardens in the morning where she enjoyed feeding the fish.
Then, after her nap in the afternoon we had a bunch of her friends over for a low-key playdate in the backyard. Just some of her favorite people and some of her favorite snacks. It was really nice. One of the "snacks" we had at the playdate was lollipops. Since they are pretty much her absolute favorite thing in the entire world and since she always begs for the big ones they have right next to the cash register at the grocery store, we got her one. She LOVED it. To this day, whenever we talk about her birthday, that lollipop is the #1 thing she talks about. Funny story though...there's this little boy who is a couple years older than her, named Draven, who she has this HUGE crush on. Like, we barely ever see him these days and she still talks about him all the time and with this breathy little voice. It's kind of cute and kind of terrifying. Anyway, toward the end of the party she was walking over to me with her lollipop and she gets this super dreamy look in her eye and says, "I have a pink lollipop! Draaaven (breathy voice) gave it to me." I'm not going to lie, it totally made me mad! Like, first of all, MOM definitely gave you the lollipop. Let's give credit where credit is due. And second of all, how is she already this boy-obsessed? Heaven help us.
|This is the only picture I got of the playgroup.|
We didn't end up having time to open her presents from us on her birthday, so Tom took a half-day and we opened them the next morning. It was HIGH time for some new toys for her. She'd been following me around non-stop, never wanting to play with her toys for months and months. The ones she had were pretty babyish and not real tailored to her current interests either. But, while she's already (as I write this on October 23rd) starting to get a bit bored again, there was a very nice period right after her birthday when she was super into her toys and it gave me a much needed break from the clinginess. Even now she's not back to the point she was at before and we haven't even switch the toys out or anything yet. Feelin' good.
Here are some of the presents she got:
|Little People bus...also used as a nice seat.|
This Thomas the Train toy:
A lego duplo set (also a chair, of course):
I'm actually pretty into the duplo set. It's definitely more fun to play that with her than most other things. If I make something with them and tell her it's something she totally buys it, too. Like, for instance the creations below:
|L to R - Owl, parrot, house, tree, giraffe|
|And, of course, the lollipop.|
She also got a tea set (or, as she says, a tea party). This started her on an obsession with pouring water from her sippy cup into some kind of container, then drinking it with a spoon. She has spent countless hours doing this and still does it pretty much every day. There's constantly water spilled everywhere but at least she's engaged in doing something!
|We tried out some new glasses for, like, a day.|
As I said earlier, Harper really likes to just follow me around and get in my business. The day after her birthday I was excited to go outside with her and have her play for once instead of just standing by me and chatting. Well, to show you how well that turned out I'll just say that I sent Tom this picture at work, with the caption, "Lots of new outside toys and where's Harp?":
Here was the answer:
One day I was on my computer at Starbucks (Tom gives me "nights" a few times a week) and I started looking at tot-school/pre-school stuff. It just looked so fun and I knew Harp would love it. Plus, I realized it might help her with a few things she struggles with. So, I planned it all out and started doing it with her! Now, by way of disclaimer, I do NOT think that formal schooling is necessary for small children. I think they learn best through play. So, our "preschool" is completely low-key, flexible, informal, focused on her needs, etc. Plus, a BIG part of the reason I decided to do it is because I think certain aspects of it will actually help her to be more into playing. Remember, Harp isn't big on playing so far and I'm trying to nudge her that direction. So, let me explain what we do.
As you can see below, I laminated a posterboard and some subject titles, pictures to go along with them, and an elephant (not pictured). The subjects, pictures and elephant all connect to the board via magnets, so they can be moved around if needed. You can see our subjects below. The elephant is our placeholder. He starts at the top, adjacent to "Calendar" and moves down as we move through each subject. We call him, "Mr. Elephant."
For the "Calendar" subject, I have a calendar, a tiara and a wand. She gets to wear the tiara and wand and becomes the "Calendar Queen." She LOVES being "Calendar Queen." In fact, today (October 23rd) we didn't even make it to the rest of the subjects because she literally ran around with her tiara and wand saying, "Calendar Queen!!!" for at least an hour straight. I took that as a good opportunity to put away her laundry. This is a good example of how flexible preschool is. Anyway, she becomes the Calendar Queen and I guide her hand over the Calendar, pointing to the applicable spots as we say, "Today is [day of the week], [month] [date], [year] a couple times. Then she does it herself as best she can (I don't try to correct her).
The "Alphabet" section actually alternates between "Alphabet" and "Numbers." We alternate every other day and we do each number or letter twice before moving to the next. At some point we'll have a review week. We don't do preschool every day, or even close, so after almost a month of doing this we are only on our first day of the letter "C." Anyway, I do pretty much the same thing for alphabet as I do with numbers, but for sake of explaining I'll give you an example of an "A" day. First, I pull out a bag I've filled with anything in the house that has the letter "A," like blocks, stickers, part of an alphabet toy, etc. I pull out each piece and say, "A A, ah, ah, ah, an alligator (with a new example for each piece, like apple, astronaut, etc.)." If it's a block I have her find the side with the letter herself. Then we make a tower out of all the pieces (she just started doing that one day and it stuck). Then, we get a piece of paper and I draw "A"s all over it and things that start with "A." Sometimes we'll look through a magazine for the letter, cut them out and glue them on the paper.
|"A" tower. I swear there are "A"s on each piece.|
For "read," I've set aside alphabet and number books and if we're doing the letter "A" I'll put out some alphabet books and we'll just go to the "A" page and I'll have her find the "A"s and we're read whatever that book says about "A." We probably have at least 10 alphabet books, so we don't usually do them all.
The "Activity" part is the part I wanted to do with her most of all. One of her struggles is that she has never, in her life, wanted me to show her how to do something. Another is that she is a little behind on fine motor skills, partly because she gives up easily and always wants me to help her instead. So, for the activities, we do any fine motor skill activity I can think of (some examples below). The catch is that she HAS to let me show her how to do it first. Then, she can do it however she wants. The first couple times she really balked at that, but I pushed through. Now she's totally fine with it and has been more open to me showing her things at other times too. Now, don't get me wrong, I am all for creativity and allowing children to do things their own way. However, there really are times when you need to just be able to show them something. I feel like this has also been a success in encouraging her fine motor skills. I can already see her improving and it's great!
|In this picture she's putting marbles in an ice tray. The way I showed her was to start at one end and put them left to right, top to bottom, one per slot. She did it that way some, but mostly her own way.|
Below, the activity was to put a raw spaghetti noodle in playdough, then thread some rigatoni noodles onto it. She did that some, but also just enjoyed sticking the spaghetti noodles in it and did it the other way too (rigatoni noodle in the playdough and some spaghetti noodles inside of it. This activity was a BIG hit and great for fine motor skills too.
Finally, Music and Play we don't usually have time for. But, music is basically just dancing to some music together (I switch it up, with different genres) and sometimes use instruments (maracas, drums, etc.). Play is just one-on-one playtime with a specific toy, with mom.
On this day, Emerson, Harper and I had fun rolling this ball to each other during, "Play" time.
And that's our preschool! Oh, yeah, and Harp LOVES it. Every single time I ask her what she wants to do she says, "preschool!"
Another big thing this month was that I decided to try to sew some stuff to sell. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a beginner and am still learning, but I really enjoy sewing and gosh darn-it, I can make some things well enough to sell them. I'm sticking to basic things, though, that don't take a lot of time or concentration because I have to be able to do them with a two year old on my lap. This includes stylish burp rags...
baby blankets, bibs, binkie clips, baby washrags, etc. All proceeds (you know, if there are any) will go toward an international vacation with Tom (and no kids). I don't even know yet where I'm going to sell them or a lot of the details, but I have been working on building up an inventory. It's been really fun! I LOVE picking out fabrics and really enjoy making these things. Harp actually enjoys it too! Most "productive" things I do she doesn't like, but she will often request that I sew. Then, she'll either sit on my lap or stand on a stool next to me and jabber on about the sewing, the pins ("Sharp!! Don't touch them!!" she says), the bobbin, the thread, the baby I'm making it for, etc. It's been great. More pictures of items in my next post probably.
Harper Loves "Beebee Emson" (Baby Emerson)
This has also been a theme this month. She has always liked him, but this month she became OBSESSED. Literally every single time he is within reach is has to be ON TOP of him. She's always saying, "Beebee!! Hi Beebee! I wuv you BeeBee! It's ok Beebee!" etc. She loves to "snuggle" and "cuddle" him and has gotten pretty good at putting his binky in. She tells him she loves him waaaaay more than she says that to me. In fact, I think the first time she said that on her own was to him. While it can be slightly dangerous at times and Emerson doesn't always enjoy the attention, I hope her love for him is here to stay. Plus, it has made him a pretty tough cookie!
Giving him toys:
|Usually she's up before him, but he was up before her one day. I propped him on the couch then went and got her. When I sat her down she was so happy and surprised to see him there! It was really cute.|
Now for all the other pictures that didn't fit into a major theme:
One day we went to the park, then had a picnic. It was such a lovely outing:
|Riding in the storage area with her head through a hole that is supposed to be for putting things into the storage area.|
For a long long time I have napped while Harper is awake. She is not one to get into things and generally respects my need to sleep. It's one of the great things about her. We've had almost no incidents in the many many times I've done this. One day, though, I woke up to find that she had somehow gotten poop all over the floor and herself. I'm not sure if she pulled it out through her leg hole or if it came out on it's own and she just started grabbing at it, but it somehow happened.
|Here she is telling me about it. That's poop on the floor, on my cord.|
I, of course, cleaned her off as best I could and plopped her in the bath. It didn't stop me from napping while she was awake though, since I just figured it was a fluke. Sure enough though, later on that week it happened again!!! For the next few naps I was much more cautious and paid more attention to what she was doing. It's now been a while though and we've had no further incidents. Whew! Gross!
Harper trying on clothes, as usual:
And pretending this wipe is some jammies:
|I was SO mean for not making Emerson's clothes fit her.|
|Went to a spot in our neighborhood where you can feed the ducks. She looooooved it.|
It's always adorable to watch Harp play in the water with Tom:
|Had a little get-together with some Philly friends and Harp loved playing with their kids.|
He is such a delightful baby though! Oh my goodness, it is a constant battle not to just eat him up! He gives smiles and laughs SO easily! Like, I'll put setting him down or changing his diaper or something else completely unfunny and he'll just start bursting with laughter for no apparent reason! He has such a sweet little face and is so so innocent. His nighttime sleep has gotten worse (he now wakes 2 or 3 times a night, at least) but is still a great daytime sleeper. Still no rolling, but he's started basic toy grasping and rolls to his side.
|Right after this picture was taken, Tanner Mangum (BYU's quarterback) made his first hail Mary catch, to win the game, and Tom couldn't help but jump up and start yelling like a madman. Poor Emerson got pretty started and started wailing.|
He recovered though, and here he is loving our nightly bedtime ritual. He looooves being read and sung to:
|In the Sunday shorts and suspenders I made for him.|
|Harp also looking cute in her Sunday best.|
Train at the mall:
|Getting rid of all my pennies.|
|For a full hour she pretended this domino was a phone and would say she was texting Jill, then put it up to her ear and say, "Hello? We're on our way." Over and over.|
Found a berry bush. Picked for a long time. Perfect Harp activity:
Her first time playing in a rain storm. Warmed my heart:
|Emerson and I chilled on the top step and stayed dry.|
Went on a bikeride with the kids and their Baba (Tom's mom). Our tires got flat, so we pulled over to this little grassy area while Baba rode home and got the car. Harp got a lot of joy out of the bike flag:
A very delightful cooking session with Harp:
|Pepper lollipop of course.|
|Went to the library with cousin Ellie. SO exciting!|
Decided to go to the State Fair one day and weren't expecting much, but had a great time! They had this great farm activity thing set up for little kids. They gave them a basket and had this path they'd go through where they'd hit different farm work stations. At each station they'd get something to put in their basket and have some activity. At the end they'd "sell" the stuff in their basket in exchange for a $1 coupon which they could use at the "store" to buy 1 treat (everything cost $1). It was so well done! Harper loved it - especially the treat at the end!
|I had to pull her away from this station.|
|This ended in a tantrum for something I didn't even understand, but initially the pink tractor was a hit!|
|Emerson was a total gem the whole time, in the carrier.|
|After the farm activity we got ice cream!!|
|While we were eating our ice cream this little girl came over and gave Harper her balloon animal! What a sweet little girl! Warmed my heart.|
Anyway, it was a really awesome outing and way better than expected.
|Already lost the jacket and one of the shoes :( .|
|He's a little bit of a thumb sucker. Probably would be more of a thumb sucker if we didn't swaddle him for naps.|
He really likes to talk sometimes and it sounds super funny. Like it's not coming from him:
|I'm so glad he's so snuggly. Harp was not snuggly.|
We checked out Gardner Village one day. It is this shopping area built around some old mills that one of my ancestors, Archibald Gardner, built. They have a lot of decorations for Halloween up every year.
They also have a petting zoo. Harp liked it, but it was NASTY! So many flies. I kept being like, "oh, don't touch that!":
|The llamas were her favorite because she loves the "Llama Llama" books.|
|Wearing the glasses that we tried out for a day.|
Ok, this video cracks me up, because Ellie says, "Hey Sheri...[something][something]..." and then Harp turns around and says, "Hey Sheri!" in her cute little voice. Not sure if she knows what/who, "Sheri" is.:
They have these motorized stuffed animals at the mall by us and Tom thought she'd like going for a little ride:
She loved it :) .
|Wearing my high heels.|
|How do we keeps little E. in the bumbo without him falling over? We wrap a towel around him.|
|There's a video that went with this and is one of the cutest E videos ever, but it was a bit immodest :( .|
E talking and enjoying me singing him a song:
Tom worked late one day, so we decided to go hang out downtown. We met him to pick up dinner (he didn't have time to actually EAT it with us or anything...), enjoyed our meal together outside and then played in the play area:
|Went to storytime at the library and they have a playtime afterward. As soon as she started playing with these trucks she made them into a train, of course.|
And to end it off, a mini Harp tantrum, because this is what our life is REALLY like. They're usually much louder than this though: