Everyday lives of the Meabon Household

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And last but not least....

For my last "thankful" post, I am so very thankful for everyone that reads our blog. This blog has served as a journal for me, although sometimes I forget that its posted for the world to see. Often you might read my mindless rambling and the fact that this is public slips my mind. But the more readers we have, the more prayers and positive thoughts we have going for Harper so thank you for being a part of her life and caring to keep up with our little squirrel of a girl. And I'm sure December will bring many of the cheesy Hallmark Christmas moments that you can only have on a baby's first Christmas!

To kick off the Christmas season, I present the Kodak moments from Harper's first Christmas card photo shoot. I LOVE Christmas cards. I love getting them in the mail each year. I have always found that originallity in a Christmas card is key - I try to catch people off guard or have some kind of a theme. I would love to add you to our Christmas card list so please feel free to send your address to me at brooke.swallow@gmail.com and I'll be happy to add you - even if I don't know you. And I can send you our address upon request to be added to your list as well.

Happy holidays to all!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Since I am rarely in charge of my own schedule these days, I am starting to be very thankful for my DVR. I know, I know, it's a little shallow but when the girl goes down for a nap or for the night, sometimes I just need some mindless tv time. I think the shows people watch can tell alot about them so I'm going to let you delve into my private world as I reveal what I record on a regular basis:

- Boardwalk Empire: one of my new favorites and I'm so sad that the season finale is next week

- Parenthood: I love this show and it's a little more applicable now that I myself am a parent

- The Office: still a favorite although I don't know if we'll continue to watch it after Steve Carrell leaves

- The Daily Show and The Colbert Report: I can't ever stay up late enough to watch them in real time so they usually get watched early in the morning

- Glee: if you aren't watching Glee, you must be crazy

- Grey's Anatomy: not really into it anymore but I've watched it so long that I'm not ready to break up with this show yet

- Frontline: almost always has a very interesting story line

- Hoarders and Intervention: I clump these together since I usually watch them back to back and end up wanting to take a shower and clean my house after watching them

And although not currently on, True Blood and Big Love are in the mix when the seasons come back on. And no, I did not include the countless sporting events that Jared has constantly recording. If they were listed, this post would be endless.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Harper has just started laughing out loud over the past two weeks and it fills me with so much joy! She has this hoarse little laugh and it comes out at the strangest times. I've found myself singing, dancing, making faces, talking in weird voices and practically standing on my head. Does that make the girl laugh? No. Tonight we were just sitting on the couch, talking to each other and out it came. Unprompted, unsolicited, just out of the blue. I'm so thankful for that little laugh. Now if I could only catch it on camera...

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I think I have an unhealthy obsession with Hobby Lobby. I could spend hours in that store...and then hours at home with what I've bought at that store. And I don't know what's more entertaining, the products in the store or the people that shop there. They are craftastic! And don't you wonder what they're going to make with those silk carnations, kitty cat fabric and birdhouse kit? Do they go together as one big project or are they all separate projects?

For this holiday season, I went all crafty and made a wreath to hang on the door of our new house. I can't tell if it's gaudy and tacky or whimsical and cute but I'll go with the latter since it's my creation. I'm sure the people in line were thinking, what's she doing with all that stuff? You can't tell from the picture but it also has clear Christmas lights strung on it. So today I'm thankful for Hobby Lobby and it's hours of entertainment.

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's Time!

I LOVE Christmas time. There is something so magical about this time of year. I love lights on houses, Christmas music on the radio, decorations up in the house, the smell of a fire in the fireplace.

I have a strict rule that Christmas decorations don't go up until the day after Thanksgiving. If possible, they should come down the day after Christmas. Otherwise, they are down by New Years at the latest. So as you can imagine, I've been looking forward to this day since December 26. We started first thing this morning with the haul from the attic. And as of about 3 minutes ago, the tree is done! So tonight, I am thankful for the most wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Life on November 25

Happy Thanksgiving! I am so very thankful for my life as it is right this minute. I have a beautiful baby girl, an amazing husband that is my best friend, a loving family, incredible friends that I can count on and good health. I am so very grateful for all I have been blessed with. A big fist bump to the Man upstairs. Well done God!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Our family started gathering together today to celebrate Thanksgiving and tonight I am thankful for my brother, Brent.

I have never known life without my big brother. Brent and I are about 18 months apart and have been close friends almost all of our lives (with the exception of a few years in there for junior high - I think I was a pest during those years). I have always looked up to Brent and spent alot of time following in his footsteps.

When Brent fell in love with horror movies, I watched along side him...even if it meant sprinting through our house at nightime for fear that the Boogie Man would come and catch me. When all of the girls in fourth grade went ga-ga for The New Kids On The Block, I loathed Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Joey and Jonathan because Brent said they weren't cool. Brent played the part of Bret The Hitman Heart so I became Hacksaw Jim Duggan or Rowdy Roddy Piper while we spent hours on the trampoline.

When Steve asked my mom to marry him, she came to us to make the decision since it would mean moving from Midland to San Antonio during our freshman and sophomore years of high school. I was nervous and unsure but my brother knew it was the right choice for us and quickly changed my mind. During the years that followed, our relationship went from childhood playmates to really counting on each other. We knew the other would always be there regardless of where we were. I was so sad to see Brent leave for college. I never would have considered Texas Tech as an option if it hadn't been for Brent going the year before I did so, in the end, it was the only school I applied for.

Throughout our college years, we became real friends. We spent alot of hours driving from Lubbock to San Antonio for holidays and summer breaks. We shared alot of the same friends and ended up seeing more and more of each other every year.

When Jared and I got married, Brent was my "maid of honor" and stood up at the front with me. I am thankful that after living so far apart over the last few years, we're now only an hours drive from each other. Brent's opinion has always been one of the most important in my life. He will always be honest with me and he'll always have my best interest in mind. And I'm thankful that Harper will grow up knowing her Uncle Brentie so well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Greenberg Smoked Turkey

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and my mouth watering at just the thought of it, I am thankful for Greenberg Smoked Turkeys. My family has been ordering Greenberg Turkeys for Thanksgiving for years and it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without that tasty deliciousness in my belly.

Greenberg Turkeys are from Tyler, Texas and are pepper flavored and smoked to perfection. It tastes like a warm, winter fireplace on a cold night and I look forward to this tradition every November.

A few years ago, Oprah listed Greenberg Turkeys on her Favorite Things show. My mother hadn't ordered the turkey yet and when she heard Oprah revealing our family tradition to the world, she immediately got on the phone. Like everything Oprah touches, they started selling like hotcakes and it took a few weeks to get through. Since we'd been such loyal customers, we were able to sneak to the front of the wait list and the crisis was avoided. Thanks Oprah, a little heads up next time!

Oh, Thursday can't get here soon enough. And the best part about the turkey is that there's always leftovers!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Little Shopper

As we move into the holiday season, I am thankful that I have a little shopper on my hands. Harper loves being out and about. We're lucky that we have an outdoor mall in San Antonio so we can get some shopping done with the fresh air around us. While shopping, my little fashionista either sleeps soundly or watches wide-eyed at the world. I'm teaching her the value of bargain shopping as we go!

While out and about last week, we stopped for some lunch. There was a table of women next to us and you would have thought Harper was part of their outing. Her eyes followed the flow converstaion between the women about the latest gossip. It was a little embarassing but I'm sure they didn't mind.

Now, feel free to ask me if she's still this good at shopping come next year's holiday season. Something tells me I might not be that lucky!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

O Moms

Ever since we found out about Harper's condition when I was pregnant, there has been a group of women that I have been thankful for every day...my fellow omphalocele moms.

April was the first, a friend of a friend. I had never even heard of this condition but was put in touch with April almost immediately. She was so informative and reassuring to me at a time when I didn't even know how to pronounce omphalocele.

After researching, I came across Morgan's blog. Morgan started blogging about her son and his O since there was so little information out there. From there, I found the blogs of other O moms but also the Babycenter thread that so many of us are on. Meghan and Morgan were about a year ahead of me and offered so much insight. Elisabeth gave birth just two weeks before I did so we have had alot of the same experiences at the same time. Carolina was a couple of months behind me in pregnancy but was so supportive through Harper's birth and NICU stay. There are even more and our little group continues to grow and I am thankful for all of the Babycenter moms.

When Harper was born, we were paired another omphalocele baby in the hospital and I was introduced to her mom Staci. And then just after Harper was born, my cousin put me in touch with Michelle who shared the story of her beautiful daughter. Later while doing more research, I came across Katie and her blog.

I am so thankful for the support and advice I've received from these amazing women. I am so thankful for their stories on pregnancy and motherhood. I have cried tears of sorrow, tears of celebration, tears of mutual frustration and tears of utter joy for these women and their strong, couragous children. We are a unique little club and I hope that I can be as helpful to anyone that receives this diagnosis as all of these women have been to me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Well I've Got Friends in Low Places

I am so thankful for friends with babies! I am lucky to have a large handful of friends that have had children within months of Harper. I love that I have people I can call to compare notes with, vent to, to swap tips and to brag with about normal baby stuff. We are all sleep deprived, covered in spit up and love our babies. I would be lost without Lindsey, Lisa, Kathryn, Krisana and Amanda. Tonight I am thankful for these special friends and for their babies that will be lifelong friends of Harper's!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Nights

Tonight I am thankful for OnDemand movies and a bottle of wine. Without them, Friday night would just feel like every other night. Thanks to these little helpers, Friday night turned into date night on the couch with the hubs once the girl went to sleep.

Oh how my weekends have changed!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Houston x2

We made the trip back to Houston yesterday to meet with Dr. Cass and check out the goop situation. Harper's culture results came back from the pediatrician and she did have a bacterial infection so I was happy we were able to get in to see him before the Thanksgiving holiday. Since Jared was in Louisiana for work, my parents made the drive to Houston with Harper and me. Jared met us there for the appointment.

Let me first say I am so thankful for Dr. Cass. He has so much patience and is so reassuring to us regarding Harper's progress and her future outlook. Any time we email with questions, whether its a Saturday or 10pm at night, he responds within ten minutes. We felt so at ease the first time we met him and continue to feel this way each time we speak with him.

As far as the appointment goes, I come from a career in sales so I like results. I like to hear that I'm accomplishing goals. I'm so use to having a number or finish line to reach so I'm a little lost without my quarterly goal in my new career as mom of an O baby. However, going to each doctor's appointment is kind of like having a monthly review. I have someone that can tell me if we're reaching our goals, whether it be weight, progress on the O or even her development. Our appointment yesterday was like someone telling me I've finished the quarter right on track with my end of the year goal. While Harper does have an infection, it should start reacting to the silvadene we started applying so we should be able to keep Harper off of antibiotics this time. As far as her omphalocele goes, Dr. Cass was very pleased. He said it looks like its reduced by about 15% since our last visit and that he is happy with the way we're wrapping it. The skin growth is looking great and he was pleased with the fresh, pink skin that's showing up. So on the O front, we're meeting expectations!

Dr. Cass was concerned with the amount of reflux Harper is having. While the spit up doesn't seem to be irritating her, the amount she's spitting up might be playing into her low numbers in weight gain. He's suggesting a reflux medicine but it will really be our pediatrician's call on this. We have an appointment tomorrow morning to go in for a weight check to see how she's progressed since last week's appointment. Hmm, I wonder if I could qualify for an incentive trip if we can get this kid to weigh more???

Harper had a very pleasant trip on the way to Houston. She was so easy and happy the whole way. Her first night in a hotel wasn't as restful as Jared and I had hoped. While she was never really wide awake, she continued to stir, whimper and moan about every hour. One of us would get up, put her pacifier in her mouth and she'd go right back to sleep. About an hour later, she'd start stirring again. One time I thought I'd just let her whimper through it and hope she'd go back down but that only irritated her more and I didn't want to end up with Rage on my hands so out of bed I went.

The drive home today was a little rough for Harper's parents due to lack of sleep. Harper did great most of the way but got a little irritated just as we were passing an exit and we thought we'd have her hold off just a little longer. Unfortunately, the next gas station was 19 miles down the road! Rage came out to play but she was put to bed as soon as the warm bottle emerged. Other than that, Harper was pretty easy on the trip home too.

Unless something comes up, we won't need to go back to Houston until January. So thank you Dr. Cass for being a doctor that cares about your patients!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our Video Baby Monitor

Tonight, I am thankful for our video baby monitor. This handy little device saves me a lot of trips to and from Harper's room each night. I can take a quick look at our little girl with each squeak I hear without having to trapse across the house to make sure she's still breathing. I can just peek at that little screen and make sure Harps is still doing alright. When I put her down for a nap, I can take a look without having to go in her room and catch her attention just as she's about to drift off. But what I really love is just stealing a little glimpse every now and again of that sweet baby that I love so much. I can't wait for the day when I can eaves drop on serious conversations with her dolls.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A bit of vanity

Since my hair was starting to look like a goat gnawed on the ends, today I am thankful for Isaac. Since my schedule has been a little unpredictable over the last few months, I went a few too many weeks without a trip for the always helpful cut and color. With a few baby pounds still hanging around and feeling a little blah about my look, a good couple of hours in Isaac's chair was just what I needed. A girl's gotta have a good hair stylist! Now if I could only find the time to get my nails done...

Thank you Isaac!

Monday, November 15, 2010


**Omohalocele pictures below**

Today, I am thankful for our drive-through pharmacy. As a new mom and slightly germ-a-phobic at this point, I am thankful that I can load up the girl and swing through to pick up our prescriptions without having to get out of the car.

With our recent goop situation, we've had an slight increase in pharmacy trips. After trying the telfa as previously mentioned, I found that the telfa wasn't allowing Harper's O to breath so the goop was increasing. When I removed her dressing last night, her O was so wet that the scab was sloughing off every time anything touched it so I made another call to the pediatrician and the surgeon to come up with another new plan.

We left the dressing off for the last 24 hours and have seen an improvement in the wetness. So as of tonight, we've started the silvadene treatment I mentioned a couple of days ago. We're also headed back to Houston to see Dr. Cass so he can see Harps in person.

You can see our new plan below. And you'll also see our fancy, fashionable wraps I found. We have patterned and colored Co-Ban wraps so that Harper can accessorize her O along with her daily outfits. At some point, I'm going to be able to open our own pharmacy with all of our medical supplies!


Silvadene applied

Kerlex wrap

Finished with Co-Ban wrap (bumblebee)

The Bathroom/Pharmacy

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Since I'm no longer working, I am testing my domestic skills. I figure that I'm officially a stay at home mom for now, so I might as well learn to cook. Tonight, I am thankful for recipes.

When it comes to cooking, I need specific instructions. "A pinch of salt" leaves me with so many questions. A big pinch or a little pinch? What if my fingers are bigger or smaller than those of the recipe author? Is a pinch really enough to make any kind of a difference? I like exact numbers and measurements - teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, quarts. I like play by play instructions of what I'm suppose to do next. I can't just look in my pantry and mix things together to come up with a meal. Recipes are my friends.

So as I venture into this unchartered territory called the kitchen, I welcome any suggestions, recipes or tips. But every now and again, I might still have a slip up - like a few nights ago when I put a pie in the oven, turned around and had an unopened box of brown sugar on my counter. Oops, skipped a step and my cranberry-apple pie ended up causing a face pucker. Oh well, nothing a little ice cream can't mask!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall Flavors

I love this time of year. I love when the weather gets cooler but not too cold. I love when the excitement of the holidays fills the air. I love seeing the leaves change colors. But most of all, I love the fall foods. Today I am thankful for the flavors of the season.

Cranberries, pears, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, turkey - I am a big fan. And I have my own little private party the day that Starbucks brings back the Pumpkin Spice Latte each year. All of the flavors have a sweet and savory mix that is unbeatable. So eat up friends! And be thankful for the explosion of deliciousness in your mouth this time of year. Who's ready for Thanksgiving dinner?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Responsive Doctors

Harper on her morning walk

Today I am thankful for our doctors that respond so quickly when we need them. That being said, Harper has had an interesting twenty-four hours.

Jared had to travel for work so Harper and I had dinner with Honey and Grandy last night. When we got home, I got Harper's bath ready. I always take her O dressing off last, just before taking off her diaper so that she doesn't get too cold. When I took the Co-Flex (top bandage) off, I noticed that the gauze wrap underneath was bloody. This was a first. We've also been noticing a goopy area that has been slowly increasing in goopiness over the last week. Well, last night the goopy was extreme goopy. After a momentary panic, I took a picture and texted it to Jared for some input. I then called my parents who were at the house in about a minute, followed by a call to our pediatrician's office. Fortunately, we had a check-up appointment with Dr. McCray already scheduled for today. The pediatrician on-call first told me that I needed to head straight to the ER. We talked this through for a little while since the ER was the last place I wanted us to be. I envisioned that turning into a complete nightmare. Once he realized that I had the situation under control, he said I could wait the twelve hours until our appointment but needed to check Harper through out the night to make sure she wasn't still bleeding, running a fever or noticing a change in her temperament. As you can imagine, this made for a lovely night's worth of sleep for me! Steve let me borrow my mom for the night so we had a girl's sleep over, just in case we had to make a midnight run to the hospital.
She slept much better than I did

Harps made it just fine through the night so off to Dr. McCray's we went this morning. Here's the appointment in a nutshell:
The blood wasn't a concern. This seemed to be caused from some of her scabbing ripping off a little earlier that planned. The goopiness is a concern. There are two areas to watch so we've cultured the goop (and yes, goop is my medical term) and are waiting for the results. Dr. McCray made a call to Dr. Cass, our pediatric surgeon in Houston for some input. I'll get to those details in a second. Harper's weight gain is "adequate". Ugh, I don't like adequate. This is coming from an A student. I like A+'s. Adequate is more like a C-. Not failing but not great. She's 10 lbs 12 oz and has dropped back into the 12th percentile so we're going to discuss a little more weight gain strategy at her 4 month appointment.

Harpie and I headed back home to wait for some input. We got a call from Dr. Cass this afternoon wanting to know the details. After a goop explanation, we discussed trying a new strategy. The new plan? Re-start the betadine treatment each night until the goop clears. Continue to wrap the O with the Co-Flex but use telfa (a non-stick pad - kind of like the cotton part of a band-aid) before applying the gauze so that the goop isn't drying on the gauze and then pulling off the scab. We'd prefer the scab to fall off naturally than to be pulled off. Once we are goop-free, we are going to start using silvadene. Silvadene or Silver sulfadiazine is a cream often used on burn victims. It kills a wide variety of bacteria but will keep the omphalocele wet whereas the betadine was a drying agent. We're also pushing our visit to Houston up so it looks like we'll be headed back in the next couple of weeks as opposed to the beginning of December. Dr. Cass wants to check out the O in person and make sure we're on the right path.

So today, I am thankful that we have doctors who responded so quickly, made Harper a priority in their day and put this mom's mind at ease.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Burp Cloths

Since my daughter has turned into a geyser after each feeding, today I am thankful for burp cloths. Without these handy little strips that are conveniently placed in each room of my house, in my car, in my diaper bag and typically also in my hand, I would be covered with throw up. I have found I can't have enough and just when I think I've finished the laundry, I have to do it again specifically for more burp cloths. So if you happen to have me as your Secret Santa for Christmas, can I offer a suggestion? Burp cloths.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Enough to be thankful

If you haven't caught on yet, I am spending each day of this month of Thanksgiving being thankful for something in my life. It might be something small and simple or something silly that makes every day easier or something big I just couldn't live without. When I was writing last night's entry, Jared and I had the following conversation:

Jared: What are you going to be thankful for today?

Me: Our bedtime routine.

Jared: So what happens when you run out of things to be thankful for?

Me: If I can't think of 30 things that I'm thankful for, then I really need to get a new perspective on life.

So today I am thankful that we have AT LEAST 30 things to be thankful for. This really has been an interesting "project" so far. I find that I go through the day trying to pick the best thing to write about that day and often wait until the very end of the day should anything better come up.

I think of all of the things that could happen in life and how they can drastically change your course and direction. I truly believe that everyone has the power to take their given course and let it make them stronger or let it break them down. I pray that I will always make the best of the life I've been given and that I can always find things in my life to be thankful for.

I say this now and please feel free to remind me and hold me to it but I'd love to make this an annual November tradition to share with my children. I think it helps put life in perspective as we head into the craziness of the holiday season. So, go ahead, click on the response tab below and let me know what you're thankful for. And don't get offended if you see your item appear later in the month! It just means you've made me aware of something I might not have thought about already.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Night Time Routine

Tonight as I laid my little girl down to sleep, I realized how much I love our nightly routine. Around 8pm, we start to get Harper ready for bed. She's changed into pajamas, we turn down the lights, read two books, say prayers and then sing. I've found that the best songs to put Harper to sleep are songs from Camp Longhorn Campfire. We start with Taps, followed by Pass It On and then end with Linger. If you were a CLH camper, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about.

I love to watch the peaceful look that comes over Harper's face as she drifts off into dreamland. The hectic rush of the day is slowly stripped away and all that seems to exist in that quiet moment is our little family. Thank you God for these sweet, special moments.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Here we go Steelers, here we go!

My Monday shout out of thanks goes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. For those of you that don't follow pro-football, the Steelers are having an excellent season so far.

When Jared and I first started dating, I was so excited for our first Christmas together. We had a few presents under the tree for each other and, as we sat down to open our presents, I wondered what that first present would be. Perhaps a piece of jewelry...or maybe perfume..even a beautiful new scarf? No, it was a Steelers jersey. Jared explained that the Steelers were one of the most important things to him and he was excited to now share that with me. I knew if I expected to see him on Sundays, cheering for Pittsburgh would be part of the equation so I have fully embraced his love for Big Ben, Troy, Hines and the boys.

So I'd like to thank the Steelers for their outstanding season so far. Things are much happier around my house when the Steelers are playing so well. And yes, Harper also has a wardrobe full of Pittsburgh gear for Sundays. Someday she'll be sure to impress the boys with her ESPN-like knowledge of football.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yard Work

Our yard was a little neglected during the months of August and September since most of our time was spent in the hospital. During the month of October, we were so happy to be home with our little girl and enjoy our time with her that the yard continued to get little attention. So today with the weather being so nice, Jared and I got to work while Harper supervised in her "magic" swing chair.

So today, I am thankful for our leaf blower. While I still got a good work out from the rake, the blower was very helpful in that I won't be too sore to pick up the little peanut tomorrow. Yard of the Month award, we're coming for you!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nap Time

We had a busy morning this morning. Jared and I went to the San Antonio Start! Heart Walk. Field Johnson is Harper's friend who was born with a heart condition so we walked to support Field. We were going to bring the little Nugget along but we woke up to a 39 degree morning so she got to stay warm at Honey and Grandy's house.

Jared didn't get in from a work trip until 10:30pm last night so coupled with our early morning, today I am thankful for afternoon naps. I don't think naps get the credit they deserve. Jared and I have both always been big supporters of a weekend nap but they've taken on a whole new meaning with a small child around. It can be a challenge to squeeze one in while your baby is down when you have a million other things to do during that time. However, that sweet, sweet afternoon slumber can be just what a parent needs to recharge the batteries, especially when your child likes to have her pacifier placed back in her mouth so she can go back to sleep at 2:30am, 3:30am, 4am, 5am....oh, and 5:30am. I'm not naming any names, I'm just sayin'.

So to you my dear friend afternoon nap, I don't think we visit each other often enough but when we do, I am always reminded how good you are to me and how I cherish our time together. So don't you go being a stranger, you hear? You come along and visit the Meabon household any time you'd like.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Alarm Systems

Since Jared traveled for work last night, I'd like to dedicate my thanks on November 5 to alarm systems.

I am a wimp...a BIG wimp. I am 30 years old and I get scared when it gets dark outside. Now, I have gotten better since my days of checking every closet and behind every shower curtain wielding a kitchen knife but I think this is in large part due to our alarm systems. We have two alarm systems, one wired into our house and one living in our house. Our primary alarm has a punch code and is monitored 24 hours per day by a company. Our secondary alarm system goes by the name Rooney and begs for food at our dinner table.

So I'd like to give thanks to the alarms that let me know when someone comes into our house and sometimes just when someone is walking by our house. I sleep a little more soundly with the assistance of these two alarms....well, and my baseball bat too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Months Old

Today, November 4, I am thankful for my baby girl turning 3 months old. Attaway to grow Harper! Just three short months ago, we were told to prepare ourselves in case Harper didn't make it. It was beyond our wildest wishes that she would be out of the hospital and doing so well at three months.

I am so thankful for my three month old who is full of smiles, giggles and babble. I'm even thankful for her projectile spit up and constant drooling. She is full of personality and fills my heart with joy every time I look at her. My friend Julie came to visit yesterday and asked if I'd gotten past that point where I just want to stare at Harper all of the time. Nope, not officially past that point.

Happy three months Harps!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Janet, Jake, Jane, Honey Bunny, Honey or just Mom

November 3 marks a very special day - it’s my Mom’s birthday. So on this November 3, I am so very thankful for my mom.

I’m one of those lucky girls that can call my mom one of my best friends. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t have numerous conversations about all aspects of life. She’s always there to give me advice for things as small as where to find greek seasoning in the grocery store to big issues like how will I be the mother I need to be for my precious baby girl. The past 3 months have given me a whole new appreciation for my mom and I am so thankful for the type of mother she’s taught me to be. I only hope that I can do half as good a job at being Harper’s mom and that Harper and I grow to have the type of relationship that my mom and I have.

Over the last few years, she has seen every person in her immediate family be affected by some type of medical issue and she has been a rock for all of us. The strength, courage, faith and determination she’s shown have been lessons to me on how to be a better woman, wife and mother. I am so grateful to have her as a role model in this crazy world and will pass the lessons she’s taught me on to my own little girl.

So here are a few of the invaluable lessons I’ve learned over the years from my mom:
1. Birthdays should be celebrated with gusto! And it’s never too early to start a birthday countdown.
2. Budget shopping is an art form.
3. Christmas decorations are not to go up until after Thanksgiving and should be down by New Years. However, when it comes to Christmas decorating, go all out!
4. It’s never too cold to have the top down on a convertible. Just crank up the heat and wear a jacket.
5. Handwritten notes are special and will always be appreciated.
6. Pretty is as pretty does.
7. Communication in a marriage is key and when you argue, don’t let it last long.
8. When baking cookies, don’t forget to add the flour.
9. Be a good friend.
10. Never hesitate to pick up the phone, write a note or just send a quick email when someone you know is hurting. Kind words will mean so much to the receiver and it’s better to acknowledge their situation than to think you have nothing to say.
11. When a baby needs to poop, push on their feet and it helps them with the movement.
12. A lamp can add the perfect final touch to a room, a book shelf or a countertop. You can never have too many lamps.
13. Ordering a Greenberg Smoked Turkey for the holidays is not only easier but much more delicious than making one yourself.
14. Listen to anyone over the age of 70. You can learn valuable lessons from them.
15. Putting Sun-In on your daughter's hair during the summer months and letting her swimming in the pool every day will lead to green hair.
16. Answer your children's questions honestly, no matter how hard they might be or how young you think they are.
17. Be the parent that other kids will talk to. You might not like all of the details you hear about your child's life but at least you'll know what's going on.
18. Dogs will always love you and will sleep with their head on your pillow if you let them.
19. Be an amazing grandmother! Grandkids will make you very happy.
20. Love your children, laugh with them, cry with them and learn to be flexible and you will be a wonderful mom.

Happy birthday to the ultimate birthday queen! I love you Mom.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


On the second day of this month of Thanksgiving, I am thankful that we live in a society where my little girl will grow up knowing she can be anything she puts her mind to. She will have a voice in our political elections and could even be a Congresswoman, a Senator or even President one day. I am thankful she was born in a time when we elected our first black president and I hope that she will soon see our first female president.

So to show Harper just how it's done, we voted today. I'm also thankful that there wasn't a line a 10:30am and we were in and out in no time! And with parents on opposing ends of the political spectrum, she'll be sure to grow up hearing views from both sides and can make her own decision on where she stands.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Hallo-weenie!


I’d planned to update a lot earlier than today but Harper literally had the busiest week of her life last week. The girl has become a social butterfly and had a number of engagements to attend.

We started the week with the Oakwood Spookfest. Our neighborhood puts on a mini-Halloween carnival with games, a chili cook-off and a costume contest so Harper made her official introduction to the neighborhood. We didn’t participate in the chili cook-off since Jared, being from Pennsylvania, is a firm believer that chili should only be consumed when its 45 degrees or colder outside. Darlin’, welcome to Texas! Its rarely colder than 70 degrees outside! We’re working on the Texas adjustment and I have high hopes that we’ll be a chili contestant in the 2011 Spookfest Chili Cook-off.

Tuesday was action packed. We started off with a lunch hosted by Honey for the Class of 2029 along with their mommies and grandmommies. As you can see, we tried for a group picture but its not easy to get 5 babies below 6months of age to all cooperate as needed. In eighteen short years, these five will be leaving these mommies in tears as they head off for their perspective universities. And we all know Harper is Harvard bound so I just wonder where everyone else will go!

Youngest to Oldest - Anabelle, Mateo, Harper, Sutton and Field

We wrapped Tuesday afternoon up with a Halloween party at the park with all the girls in my dinner club and their kids. Again, we tried for a group photo. Have you ever seen a group of moms try to get a group of about 20 kids under the age of five to pose for a picture? Next time I need to film the moms. We were dancing, singing, calling names, making faces. Don’t know you know the kids are all looking at us thinking, what in the heck are THEY doing??? Harper finally got to debut her Halloween costume. Since it was hot outside, we came in her Halloween dress and decided to put on the costume once settled. Well, I slipped Harper in her hotdog, she turned her head and promptly spewed spit up all down the inside of her first Halloween costume. After pulling her out, drying her off, wiping the inside out and making sure she was done with the spit up, I slipped her back in for about five minutes worth of pictures. Hmm, somehow I had pictured that going differently in my head.
Group Shot

Just before the spit up

Anabelle's costume
Sutton was worn out!

On Wednesday, Harper woke up and decided she was going to be a diva for the day. Miss Priss was just fussy but I can totally understand. After wearing her out as much as I did on Tuesday, the poor thing was exhausted. We had physical therapy that morning so headed out to see Elaine. We love Elaine and she’s so good at working with babies. Harps was great for the first ten minutes and then had a complete meltdown. That ended our PT session so the two of us headed home and this was how Jared found us later that afternoon.

We finally made it to the pumpkin patch on Friday for the obligatory annual photo. I learned a valuable new mom lesson: Don’t wait until October 29 to visit the pumpkin patch. Needless to say, the patch was a little, um, depleted. I also realized that an infant will most likely do to the pumpkins what they do with everything else – try to eat them. What are the chances they sanitized that pumpkin before my child decided to gnaw on it?

As for yesterday’s Halloween festivities, we took part. Since we might have child services called on us if we fed Harper Halloween candy, I decided to bake treats for our neighbors so we could reverse Trick or Treat and drop treats to them while still modeling the Hotdog. Now, those who know me well know that I have a pretty hard time finding my way around the kitchen…but I’m trying! I’ve started venturing into the cooking thing and have had some success. For those that don’t know me, here’s a little history. When I was in my first trimester with our little nugget, I was craving ANYTHING that involved ground beef as the main ingredient – hamburger patties, spaghetti sauce with beef, meatloaf… I decided I needed to have meatloaf for dinner and since most restaurants don’t serve meatloaf (go figure), I was going to make it myself. Well, not only did Jared and I end up with a mildly charred serving of meatloaf but we also ended up with the fire department, full fire truck and all, at our house to remove our oven. After living in the house for 3 years, Jared wasn’t too happy that I decided to use the oven for the 5th time and almost set our house on fire while the house was on the market. So, yesterday’s baking adventure should have taken about an hour but ended up taking about 4 hours. At least I’m trying! After my marathon kitchen session, we took our little wiener to visit the neighbors and then the three of us parked it in the front yard to pass out candy to the trick or treaters.

Ready for Trick or Treaters

I mentioned PT earlier and Harper is doing great with her sessions. Since she can’t lie directly on her stomach, we’re working on a modified version of tummy time and she’s really doing well with her head control. Its funny because her eyebrows automatically go up each time she's turned on her belly. We’re also working on sitting up, rolling and neck stretches. We’ll continue with PT until they feel Harper is caught up to where she should be but at this point, it will be about 6 months worth.

I’m also excited to say that I’m reclaiming my membership in the running community. Its been so nice to get my feet back underneath me and I can’t wait until Harper hits the 6 month mark and can start joining me on runs. We’ve been doing some power walking but the girl’s gonna love it when she feels the exhilaration of a run! I’m definitely not back up to my marathon training distances but little by little, I’m adding on. Who knows, maybe I’ll shoot for a half early in the spring! Anyone want to join?

I’m a little late with a welcome but we want to give a big “Welcome to the world!” to Eli Arnold who was born a week and a half ago. Sorry for the delay Eli but we’re thrilled to have you join us!

We are so happy for the month of November. We have SO MUCH to be thankful for. Thankful item #1: Harper was home for Halloween! Three months ago we didn’t think it would be possible but we were so happy to have our little girl home to celebrate the fun. More thanksgivings to come…