Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Little Bit of Perfection

Monday morning I was able to have three hours to myself before the girls woke up. It was lovely, and I got out of bed Tuesday morning thinking the same thing would happen. It didn't. Hadley was up at 6:30 singing the ABCs at the top of her lungs. I walked into her room to greet her and she said, "Hi, Momma! I wake up!"

And with all my rigid planning I learn that whatever I have layed out to do with my day, nothing comes close to the fun I have with Hadley and now Harper. Sure, taking care of them is hard and I am exhausted by 8 at night. But it is hard to be disappointed when I hear my children's voices. Even if it is before I planned on them getting up. I think the following pictures of my day will show what I'm talking about.

Now that I have two girls, I decided yesterday that I should take full advantage and begin my plans to start my own Drill Team. What better way to begin teaching Hadley and Harper my old dance routines than with Mariah Carey's classic song, "All I Want for Christmas"?

Even Harper wanted to join in as Hadley will show:

All that dancing really wore Harper out, so Hadley and I let her take a little nap while we decorated the Christmas tree. We brought the tree home on Sunday, and Hadley has been eager to decorate it. On Monday she was decorating it with her puzzle pieces and money from her cash register. I didn't care that she was doing that, but she got annoyed with me when I told her, "No, you may not decorate the tree with your books." This was just as she was placing the hardcover copy of In the Small, Small Pond on a branch.

When I brought out the "real" ornaments, I thought Hadley would be interested in putting them on the tree. However, what she was more interested in was sitting on the floor, unwrapping each one, carefully looking at it, asking what it was, then saying, "Here ya go, Mamma." Not since that Hallmark commercial where the little boy is singing "O, Holy Night" thinking his older brother wasn't going to be there to sing it with him, but then the older brother shows up somewhere around the part of "fall on your knees" to sing it with him, has there been a sweeter Christmas scene.

Blowing on the french horn:

While I didn't have time to do everything I wanted to do before the girls got up, I was able to read from the book God With Us. The devotion for the Second Tuesday of Advent was written by Scott Cairns and he writes, "...our own bodies partake of [God's] perfection." I thought of that as I spent the day with Hadley and Harper. Things might not be according to my "perfect" plans, but I get to spend it with what I think are two little masterpieces.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What Did She Do?

As with most infants, Harper doesn't do much yet. The three of us look at her each day and wait for a coo or a smile but it doesn't always happen. When Harper does do something, it is usually followed by Jesse or I saying, "Oh!" As in, "Oh, she smiled!" Or, "Oh, she pooped!" (You can read the "ohs" with different tones.) When Hadley hears an "Oh" from us, she asks, "What did she do?" Sometimes she'll even answer her own question. "Harper pooped."

And life carries on. Hadley goes back to playing with her puzzles, or blocks, and we go back to doing whatever it was we were doing. So I don't have many things to tell about Harper just yet as we are still learning about the kind of person she is becoming. But I can offer some pictures.

This is Harper celebrating her 5 week birthday:

And a short video:

And here are some of our Christmas picture outtakes. We took a picture of the four of us this morning. Whether or not I make cards and send them out is a different story. I have good intentions to send out cards, but you know all about good intentions and the road they pave....
I just love my big sister.
And she loves me.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Little Dancing, A Little Harper

Last Tuesday was Hadley's last music class of the season, and I was able to take some videos of her in action. This class was so much fun, and even though I was a teacher in what seems like another life, after watching Hadley's teacher every Tuesday I have an appreciation for what teachers do to give children a chance to learn about something new.

Here are a few videos of Hadley in action. As I note in several of my entries, note how all the other children are sitting on their moms' laps, then note where Hadley is.

Here she is front a center:

This is my favorite one. At the end of class, the teacher sings a little lullaby while all the kids snuggle with their moms....with the exception of my child.

As for Hadley's younger sister, she is doing well getting used to the world. She's given us some big smiles here and there and Hadley continues to enjoy telling her about life. Here they are hanging out in the morning after they both woke up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Showing Harper what's what

It is very important to Hadley that Harper learns about certain things early on. While her parents are concerned about getting Harper to sleep at night, and whether she'll take a bottle, Hadley wants Harper to know about Elmo and all the fun toys there are to play with. Yesterday when "Elmo's World" came on Sesame Street, Hadley quickly ran over to Harper and said, "Elmo's World is on, Harper!" Harper, who was lookng at herself in the mirror on her playmat, responded with a, "Waaa!" Jesse picked her up, and Harper wriggled herself towards Elmo's voice so she could see what her sister was talking about. Already they've formed a bond.

Hadley's favorite toy to play with before bed is her zoo. Last night before the girls went to sleep, Hadley lined all her animals up on the couch where Harper was watching her.

Yes, both the yak and the camel have band-aids on their butts.

Here's a video of Hadley counting her animals while placing them in front of Harper. There are days when Hadley can count to 20....last night was not one of those nights, but A for effort, right?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

H Squared

Most of the readers of this blog know that we have an addition to our fine family (pun intended) but I thought that it was time to make it "blogficial" (that's a blogging term for official; I made it up just now). Harper Anne Feyen was born on Sunday November 9 at 10:52am. She weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and was 21 inches long. Not the giant that her sister was at 9 pounds 10 ounces, but an impressive size all the same.

Here are the proud parents admiring our beauty after the whole ordeal. Harper decided to begin her journey into this world just as the Notre Dame game was ending and Jesse was getting ready for bed. This was right around midnight, and despite the inconvenient time I will note that driving on the Beltway while in labor in the middle of the night is MUCH less stressful then driving it in rush hour traffic. I thought that was quite considerate of Harper to keep that in mind.

I don't have many anecdotes to share about Harper quite yet, so I'll put up some more pictures. I will write that we've learned she hates having her diaper changed. She lets us know how much she hates it by screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs. This makes the process quite enjoyable for all involved.

Here's a shot of the Big Sister. Hadley is telling Harper about the importance of going to the right college as well as matching one's socks to one's sweatshirt. I think Harper took the talk quite seriously.

Here's a shot with Harper's eyes open. We can't tell if they will be brown or blue yet.

And here's a picture of Hadley's latest trick. She swings from side to side while hanging on the doorknobs of her bedroom. I was quite impressed with this latest accomplishment, and had to refrain myself from telling her that if she used her feet to push herself away from each wall she'd really get a good side to side motion going.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Party! Party! Party!

Here are a few more pictures of Hadley opening her presents.

One of the many Elmo birthday cards:

Giving Elmo a kiss...
What could be better than Elmo underpants?

Opening presents with Daddy:

Here are a couple of videos. This is one of Hadley checking out a Sesame Street puzzle.

And this is one of Hadley gobbling up blueberries. I apologize for my giggling in the background. It is so funny watching her literally inhale these things.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two Years Old

My brother and I like to joke that we have something called an episodic memory. This means that someone can tell us about an occasion and we can pinpoint the exact date when it happened. I suppose it doesn't sound like a huge deal, but it can be quite entertaining at times.

However, I can't remember much of what was going on on October 23 before the year 2006. I can make some guesses, of course. If I were in high school, this would be around the time of Homecoming, or if I were teaching this date might be around the time of a Fall Break. I think Calvin had a Reading Recess around this time as well.

But all that seems insignificant when it's held up to October 23, 2006. Or October 23, 2007, and now October 23, 2008. Each of these dates hold many vivid memories for me now that Hadley is here. Last night, after Hadley's bath she ran out of the bathroom in just her diaper; a new game she likes to play. As I watched her running around laughing and waving her arms in the air I remembered that last year at this time she wasn't even walking. And when Jesse comes home and Hadley drops whatever she is doing and yells, "Daddy!" and runs to the door to greet him, I think of the time minutes after she was born and she heard his voice. Hadley was screaming as the nurses were cleaning her off and Jesse walked over to where she was and said, "It's OK, Hadley. Daddy's here." Hadley immediately stopped crying.

This year, as Jesse and I told her that her bithday was coming up, she explained to us that she would be going to school with her backpack. So this morning when she woke up I brought in her first present - a little backpack filled with crayons, a juicebox and snacks, her toy truck and cellphone and some paper. I said, "Do you know what this is?" She said, "A backpack!" I told her, "That's right, and we are going to go to school today!" I took Hadley to Washington Christian Academy, the school I where I was a teacher, and we spent the morning going to school.

Hadley had a great time. One of the secretaries gave her a lollipop, an art class sang Happy Birthday to her, and the first grade teacher gave her a sticker and a pencil. Hadley made a trip the school's library where she was able to type on the computers and look at some books, she saw the cafeteria, and even got to sit in the Headmaster's chair behind his desk (how she managed that, I'm not sure but it made her mother a little nervous).

As always, Hadley had no problem being around other people, especially the students. At one point the kids I taught when they were in 8th grade, who are now seniors, came out to say hello. This was a real treat for me as I love this particular group of kids, and Hadley had no problems warming up to them either. At one point she even started "tap dancing" for them.

Here she is sitting at a desk in Mrs. Bratt's Science room:

Checking out the library:

Doing some work at the computer:
Sitting at Mr. Danner's (the Headmaster's) desk. If you look to the right, you'll notice that Hadley even put her snack down on his desk. Lovely.

Leaving school was quite a chore, however. Hadley did not want to go. She began crying as soon as we walked out of the building, and continued to cry the entire way home. Thankfully, we saw some school buses, garbage trucks and even a firetruck on the way home so that calmed her down. When we got back to our neighborhood, we stopped at the bagel shop to have a cookie. I offered to take her there for breakfast, but all Hadley wanted to do was go to school, proving once again that she is her father's daughter when she'd rather go to school then have a donut or a bagel.

The cookies that Hadley gets at this bagel shop are exactly like the ones I used to get at the Oak Park Bakery. If I have a taste of one, I feel like I'm 5 all over again.

It's been a lovely day to remember, although it's not over yet. Once Jesse gets home we have a tricycle to open up and ride on, along with lots of other presents from the family. For dinner we have her favorites: macaroni and cheese, bluberries, and ice-cream for dessert. I'll make sure I post more pictures of the evening.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hadley's 2nd Birthday Party

I supposed that technically this is Hadley's third birthday. After all, October 23, 2006 should count for something, right? Of course, there was no Elmo cake like the one at Saturday's birthday party.

Granted, he turned out looking a little more like Animal from the Muppets, but Hadley seemed to know who he was. Here's another shot of the birthday table with the Sesame Street plates, hats, and party favors, and another shot of Hadley's expression after she saw all the stuff laid out on the table:

Her buddies Matthew and Aiden came over and Hadley was so happy to play with them all evening. They colored, played with balloons and all kinds of toys, and all three practiced the new skill they learned - jumping!

Last year I made Hadley a birthday cake and she was quite suspicious of it (there are pictures on this blog of last year's celebration), but this year she had no problem diving into Elmo. In fact, when she first saw the Elmo cake, she took her Elmo doll (who she calls, "Uncle Geoff's Elmo" because he gave it to her) and put his face on the cake. I said, "Hadley, what are you doing?" She responded, "Elmo wants to eat the cake." I told her Elmo had to wait for Matthew and Aiden to come over.

FYI - the carseat on the table is NOT our soon to be second child. That is my friend Mindy's new baby Ryan who was born October 1. Here's a video of everyone singing to Hadley:

I had a great time watching Hadley have a great time. Hadley and I have known Matthew and Aiden and their moms Erin and Mindy for over a year now and we are fortunate to call them good friends.

This Thursday, which is the "official" birthday, we'll have our family celebration.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Last Exercise Class

On Monday we finished our last FunFit class, and Jesse came along to join in the fun. Here are some of the highlights:
On the parachute playing with the balls while the parents swing the kids around in a circle.

Picking out an instrument to play during the song, "Rockin' Robin." Hadley has managed to get the largest instrument every time.

See what I mean?

And here are a few videos showing Hadley in action:

This is my favorite part of class. The kids all get on one side of the gym, and the teacher says, "1, 2, 3" and everyone runs to the other side. Watch Hadley count:

Here's one more because I think it's so cute:

Here is Hadley singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" next to Miss Piggy:

And here's one more of Hadley dancing with her drum:

After words the three of us got a little snack at Starbucks, and walked over to a park in the Kentlands to play for a bit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Decorating Pumpkins

After our Fun Fit class on Monday, Hadley and I went to the grocery story to pick out some pumpkins to decorate. Hadley gets very upset when we leave Fun Fit and/or Music class, so I have to come up with fun things to do in order to distract her from leaving class. On Tuesdays after class we go to the park which is right outside the building where the class is, but I have to get creative on Mondays, and I thought picking out some pumpkins would be a festive thing to do. Anyway, here are some pictures:

Such concentration....

I think I'll decorate my tray now...

Let's see if I can make a pumpkin tower.

The finished products:

Friday, October 3, 2008

First Haircut

On Tuesday I took Hadley to "Cartoon Cuts" to get her hair trimmed. Jesse and I have talked about doing it ourselves, but both of us are a little nervous, so I thought we'd check this place out and see how Hadley likes it.
The first thing she saw were elephants on the door and walls and she loves elephants, so that made her happy. There were also crayons and paper in the waiting area, and she walked right over and got busy working while we waited for the big event.

In order to get her hair washed, Hadley had to climb up a ladder to a bunk - like seat. She thought the climbing was pretty cool, but hated getting her hair washed. Hadley doesn't generally cry in public, but when she is uncomfortable or scared she looks at me like I'm just about the stupidest person in the world to put her through whatever situation she's in. She'd give some of the middle school girls I've taught a run for their money with the look she has perfected.

The haircut went pretty well, although Hadley didn't like the cape too much. Too confining, I think. But the lady turned Barney on while she cut Hadley's hair and that proved to be quite successful. At the end of the cut, the lady gave Hadley a pink barret which Hadley wants to wear just about every day. She also gave her a lollipop which I have conveniently "lost." Here are some pictures:

This next video has nothing to do with Hadley's haircut, but it happened yesterday so readers are getting a "two for one" in this entry. As some of you know, Hadley is quite fond of books and the library. We go to the library at least once a week. Yesterday, Hadley was playing in her room and I heard, "This is just like the waabare." I went in to see what she was doing, and she had made herself a little "check out center" and was checking out her books (or "bookas" as she likes to call them). She used two cards from a game as the self scanner, and made sure she "scanned" the book where the sticker (barcode) is supposed to be. Here is the video:

After this task was completed, Hadley took Bear into the kitchen, sat him on her pink stool, and began showing him her magnetic letters. "This is a 'W', Bear. This is a 'B', Bear." After awhile I heard her tell him, "2 plus 2 is 4, Bear." I have no idea where she learned that. We all know that I was not teaching her math.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Highlights from the weekend

The weather has been so nice recently, so we took Hadley to the park in the morning on Saturday. The park we took her to is called "Adventure Park" which is a park that Hadley will definitely grow into. There are a lot of things she can do now, but as she gets older she'll have better access to the "big kid" stuff.

Entering the park with Daddy:

Playing the enormous xylophone:

Jumping on the bouncy swing:

And Hadley's favorite, driving the big bulldozer. Anytime Hadley has a chance to "drive" something, she is a happy camper.

On Sunday we didn't go to church because we all have colds, and Hadley loves the nursery these days so it would've been torture keeping her in church with us when she knows where the room is. We tried a couple of weeks ago to keep her in the service with us and after the singing was over, Hadley announced rather loudly, "I'm done." Then she jumped off her chair and began walking for the door. So Sunday we stayed home. Hadley and Jesse have colds worse than I do (probably because I'm taking super prenatal vitamins that have turned me into a disease fighting machine), so they were a little more tired on Sunday than normal. Here they are right before naptime:

Hadley wanted to make sure Bear got in the picture, so here's a close up of him:

Ahh Bear, what will we do without you? I thought we were going to have to face that reality last night as I was putting Hadley to bed and I couldn't find Bear. I looked everywhere for him. At one point I said, "Hadley, do you know where Bear is?" She said, "Yea!" I said, "Where is he?" She said, "Bear's in the car." Sure enough, Bear had been left in the car. Phew!