Everyday lives of the Meabon Household

Monday, January 31, 2011

A very special visitor

Harper had a most special visitor over the last six days - Grammie!

Jared's mom (a.k.a. Grammie) came in on Wednesday and spent the whole time loving on our little girl. Since Harper was in the hospital the last time Grammie was here, this was the first time that Grammie got to hold Harps. And since the Squirrel is such a little snuggler, she soaked up every minute.

They even had their own special night together on Saturday and let Jared and me get out to Biga for a birthday dinner.

Harper loved her time with her Grammie and can't wait to see her again.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

32 Big Ones

I tried getting Harper to hold the sign but as you can see, we aren't quite there yet.

Happy birthday Jared! I love you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Honey Hijacking

I can’t stand it any longer! I was just going to make a little comment on Brooke’s latest blog entry but after reading 11 of some of your priceless comments and suggestions I hope Brooke will allow me to hijack her blog one more time with a little grandmotherly editorial.

First of all...”Bad Habits” might have been titled “Little Phases” and boy did Brooke and her brother, Brent put me through their fair share, but then what mother doesn’t have these woes to tell (thus the 11+ blog comments).

Let me name just a few “Little Phases” that I can vividly remember throughout sweet Brooke’s 30+ years of life. I took Brooke for her 1 year check-up. She still wasn’t walking. Expressing some concern to our pediatrician, he nonchalantly stated that she was “too young to check for Down’s Syndrome”. Needless to say I freaked out, called our good psychologist friend, David Koch who calmly and wisely told me that there was nothing in the world wrong with Brooke other than she was too fat to walk. He assured me she would be up and walking in no time. I wasn’t completely convinced until one day while I was filling her bottle with Similac. I need to hit the pause button here and explain that at the time, I had Brent who was 2 years, Brooke just turned 1 year and life was cuckoo. So, back to my story, I cracked open that can of thick, creamy formula and as I was pouring it straight into her bottle when I just happened to notice the large letters that read CONCENTRATE. Oops, the light bulb on! No wonder my darling little roly poly wasn’t walking I had been feeding her non-diluted formula for 1/2 of her little life. She quickly changed to regular milk and was indeed walking in no time. Crisis over.

Skip to middle school, 7th grade cheerleader tryouts. Brooke was the only one of all of her friends that didn’t make cheerleader. Oh a heartbreaking and certainly life-scarring event. Every Friday all the cheerleaders wore their cheerleading outfits to school, you know...school spirit, getting the student body all fired up for the big game on Saturday, the important stuff in life. During football season every Friday, around 11:00 I would get a call from the school nurse (who happened to be a friend of mine) telling me Brooke was feeling a little “under-the-weather”. So every Friday I would go pick her up and we would spend the rest of the day together. Brooke would lie listlessly on the sofa, and we would have heart-to-heart talks about how she would need to let this be a character building time and the next Friday finish out the school day--among all the cheerleader uniforms. Yet, each Friday I continued to get calls and each Friday we continued to spend together. Fortunately, 8th & 9th grade try-outs proved more successful and Brooke ended up among the chosen elected and the Friday puniness was no longer an issue. In fact by the time 9th grade ended Brooke decided she wasn’t really cut out for the whole cheerleader thing and that was the end of that career and that crisis as well!

Fast forward to high school. Steve and I were going out of town and leaving the kids unattended for the first time. Strict instructions and promises were made by all parties. There were to be no people/parties of any kind in our house while we were gone. Brooke got busted, big time! Grounded for 6 weeks for breaking the rules and I was certain I had not one but two juvenile delinquent teens on our hands and spent countless hours talking with other parents about how to reign in our terrifying teens. Well, it took both kids getting out of college for that little “phase” to end, but indeed it too passed. Whew! We made it through parenthood! Nothing to it...

Oh not so fast. Just when you have finished raising your children, realizing they have become wonderful adults, that make you proud and grateful and you think you are coasting...you get a call from your precious daughter. You can tell immediately from the tone of her voice that something is not quite right and the hair on the back of your neck goes up, those mothering instincts come alive.

It was about this time last year when Brooke and Jared discovered there would be a problem with the little baby she was carrying. Each month the concerns with the Omphalocele seemed to grow larger and more serious. I watched my little girl be so strong, so courageous, so determined to fight to do everything in her might to allow their little one the best life possible. While Brooke was tough I, on the other hand was falling apart, in a heap of tears, in fear not only for my grandchild, but perhaps even more for my daughter, yet her resolve was steadfast. Then came Harper! Once again this “phase” of life thankfully passed.

So you see, I can have a chuckle at Brooke’s little worries over pacifiers and napping habits because I know that these are simply little phases and there will be so so many more to come. All of you young mothers reading this blog will face struggles with your children, some stages will be more difficult, more challenging, more concerning than others but there will never be anything more rewarding, more worthwhile or more priceless than the years you spend raising your children. I read once that motherhood was “going through life with your heart outside your body" no words have ever rung so true.

For what it’s worth and with all my love to all of you sweet mommies,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bad Habits

Hi, my name is Brooke.

Collective Group: Hi Brooke.

My daughter is a paciholic. It all started on Harper's birthday. One of the nurses thought she might enjoy it. She put the pacifier in Harper's mouth and there was no turning back. From there, the habit only got worse. And yes, I admit....I'm an enabler. I think, just one little suck and it'll calm her down. I won't do it again. Just this once.

Harper is starting to develop a few bad habits that could turn into big problems in the future. One is the pacifier problem. She really is addicted. She'll be all dandy and then suddenly get worked up about nothing. But the second that paci hits her lips, she's fine. And there's no falling asleep without it. I'm starting to hear that wishka-wishka-wishka sucking noise in my sleep!

Our other bad habit we're battling comes around nap time. Harper does not like to nap alone. Her morning nap usually only lasts about an hour and typically happens if we're out running errands or on our morning walk. The afternoon nap is another story. I try to give her a bottle right around 3pm and then put her down right after. She'll be sound asleep in my arms. I'll quietly walk her to her crib, set her gently down and as soon as she hits the mattress, her eyes fly open and she flashes a big smile. From there, there's no turning back. She's clearly tired because she continues to rub her eyes. I've tried leaving her in there to cry it out. I've tried setting her down before she falls asleep so she can have some quiet time and then go to sleep on her own. I've tried turning her mobile on. I've tried our nighttime routine of reading, rocking and singing. Two days ago I put her in her sleep sack and she took a two hour nap in her crib - BINGO! Um, well, maybe not - we tried the exact same routine the last two days with no luck. If I pick her back up, she falls asleep again almost immediately and then we go through the same routine. She can literally sleep for three hours if Jared or I are holding her. I think she's realized things go on during nap time and she's just not going to miss out on them by being shut up in her room. And yes, I love to snuggle with my little girl. Sometimes my favorite thing to do in the afternoon is to take a nap with Harps. But two hours of holding a sleeping baby every day??? Do you know how much I could be getting done in those two hours? Instead, I'm held hostage and completely caught up on the lives of Ellen and Oprah since this falls between 3pm and 5pm....by the way, did you know Oprah had a sister she never knew about??? This is getting a little ridiculous.

So to you moms out there, any advice?

Oh, and someone in the Meabon household is pretty excited about Superbowl Sunday! Let me give you a guess - its the one with the XY chromosomes and his name is not Rooney. GO STEELERS!
Pre-Game Dinner

Half-Time Hygiene

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Harps Meets Her Betrothed

This weekend, we had Lindsey, Kris and Parker in for a visit. Lindsey and I met years ago while we were both visiting Dallas for a New Years weekend. As things go in Texas, we each had high school friends that ended up being college friends. When Linds came to Atlanta for her residency at Emory in 2006, we got back in touch and became fast friends. The boys met and they, too, formed a quick friendship and even became tennis partners later on.

Since Harper was a scheduled C-section and Parker decided to hang on to the womb for dear life, they ended up being born five days apart. Of course we have their arranged marriage planned and the festivities will be epic...in the year 2040.

Lindsey and I have weekly discussions of all things baby so we were excited to have their family to San Antonio for a visit and the babies could finally meet. This was the first time that Harper's really payed attention to another baby (well, other than the one in the mirror - vain little girl). While Parker couldn't wait to get his hands on Harps, she just smiled and tried to talk to him. It also cracks me up to see the difference in boys versus girls. Parker couldn't get enough of the jumperoo. When Harper is put in the jumperoo, she just sits there and then inevitably tries to eat the seat.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's so easy to fall in love... by Harper's Honey

A little recap of Harper's first vacation from her Honey:

I was fortunate to have the world's best grandmother. Minniemama was a small, softspoken woman who lived simply and never complained. She had three granddaughters and each of us grew up thinking we were the ones she had loved the most. What a gift to give a child, and Minniemama did it so effortlessly. I still miss her and I've lived 35 years of my life without her.

Oh I wish Harper could have a Minniemama. Small, quiet, loving the simple life and never complaining--oops my grandmother I am not! The one thing I do hope is that one day each of my grandchildren might find themselves saying about me is “she loved me the most!”

Now after spending 6 full days and 5 sleepless nights with our youngest I must say I have learned much more than I ever dreamed possible about caring for a baby in 2011.

1. There is a reason why young women have babies and older women don’t. This is all a very good and well thought out plan. God is Good!

2. Lugging a baby, even a small, lightweight baby around in that incredibly heavy car seat is enough to give even Jane Fonda a work out. I swear we didn’t have car seats that industrial!

3. Baby monitors will drive you crazy. My babies lived without baby monitors. We were never actually sure of every peep, moan, twist and turn they made. Babies cried and parents often didn’t have a clue. Nights were easier in the good old days, we slept…and all of you reading this blog survived!

4. Dr. Brown baby bottles! What is up with these things?!? What happened to good old Platex screw on the nipple and be done with it bottles? These new things need a manual to put them together and then you have to wash, and I do mean WASH each and every teeny tiny part. (See I do complain.)

5. Brooke, The Bath General, and Bath Time. Now a little history here. I have been a very diligent grandmother. While Harper was in the NICU I went with Brooke and Jared to a special CPR course just for babies with special situations. I went to that course a confident, capable mother, grandmother, caretaker. I left that course scared to death that while in my care someday Harper or one of our other 4 grandchildren would choke on a pea or hotdog or whatever and I would have to turn them upside down and hammer on their little backs till the object dislodged and popped out. Next, they might turn blue and while dialing 911 and having to give all the important information I would also be pumping on her tiny chest and blowing puffs of air into her nose and mouth--YIKES! I was jello. I soon forgot the terrifying CPR course because I spent two instructional bath lessons with my daughter, aka THE BATH GENERAL. It takes four wash cloths, warm to luke warm bath water, 2-3 types of liquid soap. You must use the rough side of the wash cloth, you squirt 8 pumps of this soap on this rag to wash this body part, 3 pumps of shampoo to wash her hair (Have you seen this precious child? She has no hair!) Steve made the comment bathing Harper was much like going through the deluxe cycle of a car wash!

6. Bed Time Rituals...Holy Moley! Harper is a very easy, laid back, sweet placid good baby. But, she really loves her mommy when it’s bedtime. Tried as I could we stuck to the ritual of “once down, stay down...no picking up just consoling and replacing the dreaded pacifier when necessary until calm” routine. Until one night when Uncle Brent was visiting and Harper decided routine smoutine. She was bathed, fed and sound asleep for about 30 minutes when she decided she was ready to get up. Fussiness, then howling pursued and there was no consoling. Finally Steve stepped in to replace the pacifier and before I knew it she was up and in his arms...OH NO routine broken. The rage grew and continued for an “eternity”. Brent was sure she was in critical condition. Steve and I sounded like snapping turtles (do they make noises?) Finally, Steve suggested a little more milk, I adamantly opposed, while standing my ground did sneak down, grab a few more ounces and within minutes she was fast asleep. I hate it when he’s right! Brent’s eyes were huge and quietly after all was said and done just kept repeating, “There was nothing fun at all about any of THAT!” The good part was the next morning she was back to her happy self and Uncle Brent was laughing and playing with his little niece once again.

7. Fortunately, the important things I have learned are that nothing will make you laugh more than to watch your precious little grand baby open her mouth so wide while waiting for you to spoon in the next load of prunes. Nothing gives you more joy than witnessing her breakout in a huge smile because you have just walked into the room. Listening to her babble incessantly can give you endless hours of entertainment. Finally, when she lays her head on top of your heart,burying her little head close to your chest and her eyes close as her tiny fingers clamp around yours, why then I found she had forever won my heart. It is then I knew I would do anything in the world for her for the rest of my life.

Brooke asked me before their trip if I thought I loved Harper as much as I loved her and her brother, Brent? I thought briefly before answering and then told her that indeed I did. I think to love someone as much as you love your own children is huge and seldom happens in a lifetime—the exception, grandchildren. And oh how quickly we can fall in love with them!

So now little Harper is back home where she belongs. While Grandy and I are catching our breath I find we are a little lost without our tiny shadow around. We find ourselves wondering what she’s doing, if she’s sleeping, eating, smiling. But the best part is we are fortunate enough to be able to drive a few miles down the street and take a peek and grab a snuggle any time we get lonely.

No, I may never be Harper’s Minniemama, but one thing I know for sure, I love her just as much as Minniemama loved all three of her grand babies!

With all my heart,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stuck in the sun

If you're going to be stranded, I guess there are worse places to be stuck. We've been stuck in Puerto Rico.

Rewind to December 31 - Jared closed his last deal of the year qualifying us for his company's incentive trip set to depart on January 8. Nothing like having one week notice for a vacation. This is actually the third year in a row that we've had the last minute deal closing qualification and we'd always known it would be a possibility but Jared was a little doubtful this year so we weren't exactly prepared. Thank goodness we have ready and willing babysitters a.k.a. Honey and Grandy and we were able to get a sitter lined up for Roons and Kitty so we could avoid boarding them (if you live in San Antonio, I highly recommend Animal Staycations).

However, we had a few challenges facing us. #1 - I'm still breastfeeding Harper. We had a stock of frozen milk so Harps would be fine while we were gone but I had to do quick research on trying to avoid dumping 5 days of "liquid gold". #2 - We hadn't put together our wills since Harper was born. This was one of those details that had been on my to-do list since August 4 but kept getting pushed to the side. Not to mention that Jared had a conference in New Jersey the whole week before we left and wasn't getting home until 6:45pm on Friday before a 6:30am flight on Saturday. #3 - The thought of putting my ghostly pale, post-baby body in a bathing suit made me want to blow chunks. I think I'd rather lick a splintered wooden spoon.

And so the scramble began. Breast milk plan: Take electric pump, hand pump, parts, cooler, storage bags, ice packs, arrange for a refrigerator in the hotel room and pray that we didn't get the extreme TSA Agent while trying to fly home hoarding liquids. Will plan: Contact our attorney Bob Werner to get all of the details sorted out. Side note, Bob is wonderful and came to us at 8pm on Friday night with his wife and daughter in tow to serve as our witnesses. Now how's that for service! Bathing suit plan: Begin immediate, hardcore workout for five days but something that can be done with baby in tow as husband will be traveling for the full week. Breakout the self-tanning lotion, hope it looks natural as opposed to orange and be prepared to smell like burnt crackers for the week due to the lotion. Begin the hunt for the miracle suit that will hide all baby caused imperfections including but not limited to soft and squishy stomach, flabby thighs, puckered and cellulite ridden backside and breasts that, due to pumping, will vary in size through out the course of one day. Hmmm, perhaps I should consider a full body suit.

The plan was laid out, we got all of the details sorted out and we were set to go. Jared and I spent Friday night at my parents house with Harps since we had to leave so early on Saturday morning. I think our little Harvard bound baby knew we were about to abandon her for the first time so she decided to wake up every hour that night needing a personal pacifier replacement. Nothing like getting on a plane at 6:30am after a night of no sleep!

Leaving was a little hard since this was my first trip away from the girl but we got upgraded to First Class on both flights (thank you Delta Medallion Status) and off we went - San Antonio to Atlanta, Atlanta to San Juan. A long flight means in-flight movies - fantastic! Our in-flight movie? Life As We Know It with Kathrine Hiegel and Josh Dummel. The problem? The plot is about a couple that dies leaving their baby girl to be raised by their friends. Awesome. So we just signed our last will and testament 12 hours earlier and this is the movie we get??? Is that a sick joke?

We made it safely to Puerto Rico and the fun in the sun began. Wyndham always does a nice trip for the development team with great dinners and activities. Jared played golf and won the tournament and the long drive competition, I visited the spa and had a long overdue pedicure, we each had a massage, went on the catamaran snorkeling trip, spent time playing in the ocean and sitting poolside and beachside catching some rays. Meanwhile, the great freeze of 2011 was hitting stateside as we caught glimpses on the news. Mom and Steve were having fun with the girl and she did pretty good while we were away, apart from not letting them have a good, full night worth of sleep. They kept us up to date with picture texts so we could keep up with the Squirrel throughout the day. Here are a few of my favorites. Uncle Brentie, fresh off his trip to Indonesia, came to see her for a visit. I'll see if I can get Honey to give a blog post about Harper's vacation...but first, I think she deserves about three days worth of solid sleep!

On Monday night, it hit both Jared and me. We missed Harper and were ready to see her. Okay, two more days and we'll be home Wednesday afternoon. Little did we know, Atlanta (our connecting city) was iced over, flights were being cancelled all across the country and we were about to be stuck. We got word on Tuesday that both of our flights were cancelled and we were rescheduled for Thursday's flights. We checked the other airlines to see about flying through one of the few un-iced over cities but would have paid $2000 for the flights - um, don't think we have an spare $2k lying around to burn. Normally being stuck in a tropical location in January would have been ideal but not so much on our first trip away from the Squirrel.

So 24 hours to kill and we made the executive decision to spend the day in Old San Juan doing a little shopping and keeping ourselves busy to pass the time. We had our first dinner date with just the two of us since Harp's has been home and called it an early night. We might or might not have looked through our phones throughout the day for peeks at Harper pictures.

This morning came early with a 4:45am wake up call to get to the airport (that's 2:45am San Antonio time) but we are now on the plane (thank you again Delta for the First Class upgrade) headed home with a quick flight change in Atlanta. We are ready to cover our little girl in kisses. Like I told Jared this morning, I take it as a good thing that we're anxious to be home and see our girl instead of preferring the childless life in PR!

And for those that were wondering, the breast milk was a complete non-issue. I breezed through security, no questions asked with 6 days worth of liquid gold in my possession. Funny enough, Mr. Platinum Medallion got stopped instead of me with my overabundance of liquid! We only have the above iPhone photo for now but I'll try to get the few camera pictures we took downloaded and posted to share so as to illicit feelings of jealousy for all that were caught in the cold :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cinco Meses

Happy Five Months Harper!

Harper's Top Five at Five:

#5 - Eating. Harper has five bottles a day of about 6 oz of breast milk mixed with rice cereal. Once a day she's having prunes and vegetables. So far, our veggies have been squash (not her favorite), sweet potatoes (a hit) and carrots (also a hit). I guess I should also include her hand and almost anything in her hand in this subject since most of the time, things go straight into her mouth.

#4 - Sleeping. She has the occasional off night but for the most part, the girl is a great sleeper. She goes down at 8:30pm and usually sleeps until about 8:00am. She's not too into naps and only goes for about an hour each time.

#3 - Mommy's Girl. Harper has just recently gotten into a "Mommy Phase". When she's really tired, if I'm not the one putting her down she has a meltdown. We're trying to break this habit by switching off turns on putting her down. Jared is alot tougher than I'd be to put up with all of that crying. She normally just wears herself out and falls to sleep. A side note to #4, she can nap for hours if she's cuddled up on Jared or me. I know this is a habit we should break but I just love snuggling up with that little girl.

#2 - The Voice. Whoa! Harps has found her vocal chords. She's a bit shy in public but in small groups and one on one, she can gabber at top volume.

#1 - Grabbing, grabbing, grabbing. Harper is grabbing at anything and everything in site including jewelry, hair, toys, books, iPhones and bottles. She's made a couple of swipes at her brother (Rooney the Dog) and sister (Kitty) but they're too quick for her. Its fun to see her learning how to use her hands. I'm really hoping she develops her father's hand eye coordination and not her mother's - Jared was a collegiate athlete and I run into tables walking through my own house.

"Enough with the pictures Mom!"