Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Polka-dot bikini? Nah...

After several days of unseasonably warm weather, I broke down and bought Harper's first swimsuit. It's only March, I know, but I am chomping at the bit for summer to arrive! This is her new suit--ain't it cute?

I didn't want to test Jeff with a bikini this early in the game, so I headed straight to the rack of one-pieces. I figured a guy who doesn't want his daughter to get her ears pierced until she turns eighteen probably wouldn't want her in a bikini at this age either. When I informed him of my purchase, I was not surprised that his first question was concerned with how much skin the swimsuit covered. You're too predictable, "Dad!" ;)

Now if only the weather would cooperate with my premature summer plans. Today is a dreary, rainy day, but at least I have sweet baby Harper to brighten it up for me!

Monday, March 23, 2009

My little Texas tornado...

Actually, "Texas tornado" doesn't exactly describe it. It is more like half tornado and half inchworm. What is "it," you ask? Harper may not be crawling just yet, but she has perfected some manner of mobility that has us entertained. We used to be able to set her down in one spot in the house, run to Sonic for a chocolate malt, and Harper would be none the wiser upon our return. Okay, I'm obviously lying about Sonic (and obviously craving a chocolate malt at the moment), but you get my point. Harper was stationary at one point in her life, and that point has passed. She now possesses a host of tricks including, but not limited to, rolling, scooching, inching, twisting, and quarter-turning to name a few. At this rate, she'll be shuffle ball changing by June! She can cover a room in a matter of seconds no matter the animal or object in her trajectory. I'm impressed.

Jeff thinks she will be crawling within the next couple of weeks. Forget about Harper being ready to crawl--I'm not ready for her to crawl. Jeff certainly isn't ready for her to crawl. Crawling will certainly up the ante on parenthood as we know it. From that point on, we'll have to stay hot on her trail with nary a reprieve to watch The Office at it's regularly scheduled time slot. Thank goodness for DVR.

Harper's six-month check-up went well last week. She may not have the same memory of the afternoon, but she was the one assaulted in the leg with a needle and not me. She weighed in at 15 lbs, 9 ounces (50th percentile) and measured 26.5 inches long (75th). In other words, heavy and long! I've about had enough of lugging her around in her car seat. I prefer to do my own routine of arm toning exercises, thank you very much! Harper will see her doctor in three-month intervals now instead of two, except for the fact that we'll need to go back in a couple of weeks to catch up on a shot or two.

Harper is really a trooper. Not only has she put up with us for the last six months, now she has also survived a weekend with Jeff on her own. Well, maybe not on her own, but close. I was in Dallas this past weekend from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon for a string of wedding showers for my friend, Alyssa. Jeff's parents live within walking distance of our house, so of course that jaunt was made on both Saturday and Sunday. I admit that I kind of wanted Jeff to experience Harper wholly on his own for a full day, but I can't really blame him for letting the grandparents take some of the weight of his shoulders. Harper seemed none the worse for wear after the weekend even despite eating sweet potatoes for breakfast. I tend to feed cereal as her breakfast meal, but I suppose sweet potatoes will work, too. Hey, at least I know the kid was fed, right?

Thankfully, the tornado warning has just been lifted. In other words, bedtime has come and gone for the pint-sized Peel. Harper is asleep, and I shall soon follow.  Enjoy some pictures from the last week!

She seemed to enjoy playing in the grass.  Oh, and attempting to eat leaves.
Apparently, Dozer thought he was invited to the picnic.
Harper got dressed up to watch the Horns play in the NCAA tournament.

Harper's first trip to the park...
She enjoyed her trip down the slide!
The swing was her favorite just as I predicted!

Cousin Audrey visited last week while Grammy was on spring break.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Half of a year??

Our baby is six-months old. Really? Half of a year has already gone by? How is that even possible?! This seems like a perfect time to throw in the obvious cliche--"Time flies when you're having fun!" Time also flies when you've changed 800 diapers, cleaned umpteen baby bottles, read and reread Dr. Seuss, trotted after a jogging stroller around the neighborhood, and snuggled with the new fam--Mom, Dad, Harper, and the Pig--in a pile of down blankets. (Sorry, Dozer, but you'll never be invited to the snuggle fest!) Need I go on?

Needless to say, the last six months have been a whirlwind experience. There have been moments that put my heart over the moon, and there have been moments that made me want to scream unkind words from a mountaintop. Good or bad, all of my days are tiresome. Harper has slept through the night for months and months, yet I have apparently developed the sleep habits of a nervous seven-year-old on Christmas Eve. Last night, I slept continuously until my alarm clock sounded. It was magical! Forget Harper--that is my latest accomplishment!

The last two weeks were the most trying to date. Harper had a runny nose for a few days, and boogers abounded in endless supply. She had no other issues, so never really figured out the culprit before the problem resolved itself. Once that cleared up, we were graced with days of constant rainfall. We needed the rain--our rows of irises are going to be spectacular on account of the extra soak--but we nearly went insane being cooped up in the house without our usual array of field trips. However, this week has been great. Harper has been in high spirits, we've been able to return outdoors, and my rain-induced depression has evaporated. Game on!

I bought Harper a swing today. Toys R Us actually had the swing in pink, which made it even cuter. The only problem now is that installation of the swing appears to be way beyond the ability of the Falcon Peels. I think we're going to have to call in for back up. I must have that swing! I mean, Harper must have that swing! :)

We have Harper's six month appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning. I can't wait to get an official weight and height on her. Well, her weight I'm guesstimating at 15.4 or 15.5, but I've been unable to get a satisfactory measurement of her height. Everyone tells us she seems so long, but I have no benchmark comparison. I've tried to measure her length/height myself, but that is harder than it sounds. If only she could stand on her own two feet....ah well, someday! I've got enough new problems now that she is a self-supported sitter!

Time for bed. I started reading The Shack last night, and I am determined to finish it tomorrow. Not as fast as my usual, but I'm only allowed to read at work if my boss gives the OK. She keeps me on a tight leash! Luckily, the emotional benefits outweigh the crappy pay! ;) Nightie night, friends!
Couch buddies!
Harper will solve our nation's economic problems with her trusty abacus!
Harper would like to eat my iPhone.
The Easter Bunny showed up on St. Patrick's Day. Oops!
March showers bring Harper flowers!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lemme see ya wobble, wobble...

Harper can sit up! She is hanging out in her playpen right now with a box of blocks and at least seven pacifiers. The playpen now moonlights as the official pacifier storage facility--previously, I could never find one pacifier despite the fact that she owns a dozen or so of the silicon sanity-savers. The old invisible nook-and-cranny hiding spots weren't doing us any favors.

Excuse me a moment--she fell over. [Reposition Harper.] OK, we're back in business.

We've been practicing her sitting skills hardcore for the last couple of weeks. She preferred standing so much that I was afraid she would never have an interest in sitting. I warned her repeatedly that she absolutely had to learn how to sit. Imagine how tiring it would be to stand beside her desk at school all day. Dinner dates, movies? No way! She would only be able to ride around in convertibles, or possibly a Land Rover if she doesn't grow too tall.

Needless to say, it was imperative that she figure out how to sit up unassisted. She showed improvement this week, but I didn't think it was going to "click" anytime soon. I was on the verge of calling the photographer to postpone her six-month photo session, because I rrrrreally wanted pictures of Harper from a new angle! Time and time again, I propped Harper into the upright position only to watch her wobble-wobble (oooh, shake it, shake it!) for twenty seconds and then promptly fold herself in half.

Until today! It finally worked. Out of the blue, she sat up, much like the day she suddenly knew how to eat food from a spoon. (At this rate, she'll be ready to move into her own apartment by year's end!) She still has room to perfect her technique, but she sure can hold the position for a hell of a long time. She only falls when she attempts to reach for a toy beyond her grasp. Her rescue cry previously signaled the fact that she had stranded herself on her tummy without an escape route--now that very same distress signal translates to "get your butt over her ASAP and sit me back up!" Still ever so sweet, yet so demanding. ;) I hope it doesn't take her long to figure out how to get into a good sit on her own. Of course, we're already working on it!

Okay, I'm rambling now, so I'll do us all a favor and vamoose. Later, tater tots!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Take it easy on me, it's my first time

Ok, blogosphere, here I am. No more hiding. You wanted me, and now you've got to deal with me.

I'd like to start this off with a little background; a basic summary of the last few years. This will probably be as much for me as for whoever is reading this, and I'm pretty curious to see what is about to be typed. So without further ado...


I've wanted to be a husband and father for about as long as I can remember. Even when I daydreamed as a kid about being a professional baseball player, or Zach Morris, or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (I was always partial to Donatello), I always would have a segment in my daydream that revolved around my make-believe fam. You know, things like grilling, playing catch in the yard - doing "Dad" stuff.

Well here I am, all grown up and living out at least part of my daydreams. How cool is that? How many people get to say that? And now that I'm living this thing, I've gotta say:

It's better than I ever could have imagined.

I met, and somehow, without the use of force (unless you count wine as a weapon), convinced my beautiful wife (and lead contributor to this blog), to marry me. It took me two dates to realize that I could not possibly make it any further without her. We just flat hit it off, and she has been the best blessing I've ever received, hands down... Which leads to the 2nd best blessing, or, more accurately, #1A, Miss Harper Elle.

I remember when we found out we were having a girl, and it taking some time for me to wrap my head around it. I don't know this for a fact, but my guess is that most guys who are about to become Dads assume the baby is a boy until there is evidence to the contrary. Additionally, guys, by and large, all want to have a boy. Why? Well, I'm no psychologist, but my best guess is that in our heads, we see it as a ticket to keep being little boys ourselves. It could just be me, but what I was thinking about - before my "son" turned into a daughter - was all of the tree climbing, bike riding, racing, sports, and wrestling my new best buddy and I were going to be doing for the next 20 years.

That all changed in an instant when the doc performing the ultrasound nonchalantly pointed out the part of the fetus that was the vagina. "Oh." Followed shortly by "uh-oh."

All of a sudden, my idyllic picture of the sports and boy stuff vanished, and was replaced by memories that I was unaware I had retained. "Sure Mr. ___, their parents know we're going," and "We'll make sure to be home by midnight," and all of these memories of things I had done as a young lad, these incredible efforts to catch some "alone" time with my girlfriend; I swear, if Congress was serious about wanting to solve the most complex problems in our nation today,they'd grab a couple dozen 18 year old boys, and tell them they've got a trip to Cancun as soon as they figure it all out. Unchaperoned. Ugh. That word, which used to be so beautiful to me because it represented endless possibility, now turns my stomach, because it represents endless possibility. "Unchaperoned." "Harper." My, how the tables have turned. Now my hands are sweating.

By now, you should be able to grasp why I was having a little difficulty coming to terms with "daughter" vs. "son." Don't get me wrong, I was excited the entire time Jenny was pregnant, but also a little worried.

And then Harper was born on 9/15. And we got 3 glorious hours of sleep two nights later. Witnessing the birth of your child, like everyone says, is a life-changing experience. Watching Jennifer and Harper bond, and all of the emotions, and the closeness Jenny and I shared at the time, was overpowering. It was so strong that when I reflect on it now, I am unable to recapture even a fraction of the emotion; the result is that it feels like I'm remembering a movie. A damn good movie too, one that you see when your channel surfing and are compelled to stop flipping, even though you've seen it a thousand times. You know, something like Back to The Future or Shawshank Redemption.

If it had been a boy, we were thinking of naming him Marty McFly Peel.
Or Vince Young Mack Brown Peel, Jr.
At any rate, Harper Elle has stolen my heart. The first time she smiled at me, I felt a piece of it being taken, and when she laughed a couple of months later, I knew it was all over. When I come home now, and she sees me and turns that 1000 watt grin on, I melt. I have no idea how in the world I'll ever be able to say "no" to her.

I'm so blessed, so thankful for my lot in life, and so thankful for all of our friends and family. If you are reading this, thank you for being a part of our lives. You mean the world to us.

And Jenny - sorry I was late to bed last night, but I was typing this. You're the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I have no idea how you are able to hold everything together so gracefully. Thanks for continuing to put up with my shenanigans.

Evil Shenanigans

Play of pigs...

Harper really loves her WrigPig. Of course, I couldn't get the best part on camera, but you get the idea. Piggy makes her laugh all the time! Jeff likes to remind me that this is the beginning of the end of my first place position with Wrigley. If I have to lose my best pig to someone, I suppose that someone should be HP!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

yabba dabba do!

Lately, I've been tossing around the idea of starting another blog. The new blog would (allegedly) center around all things non-Harper in my life--as if any such thing exists. This idea remains an idea only, because I realize I can't even keep up this blog. Truthfully, I can't keep up with much of anything these days! Mother's Day Out program, where art thou?

Well, I know you all come here for Harper news and updates, so that is what you shall get. Harper is five and a half-months old. Her latest accomplishments include walking in her car/walker, quasi-sitting up and foot-snacking. I know what you're thinking--Baby Genius! ;)
She loves going on walks more than ever. (At least I think that is what she was trying to tell me as she slept for the duration of our hour-long walk along the river.) Honestly, she seems to love the outdoors which pleases this former tomboy to no end. I plan to buy a swing ASAP to hang from a tree in our backyard. I think she will love it. Or maybe I'm just looking for another excuse to climb the trees in our yard!

Not much else to say... I've gotta get ready for a fundraiser at the TSHOF tonight, and Harper has to "chase" Wrigley in her car/walker. (Moving eight feet in three minutes is considered a chase, right?) Anyhoo, I vow to return soon with a more interesting installment of this HowePeel life, which is about more than just this Harper life....

A girl and her pig-dog-bear.
Obviously, we wear tank tops and skirts during the last week in February.
Deep in thought about her next nap, perhaps?

A tasty foot appetizer!

She actually walks in her "car" now a la Fred Flintstone. Yabba dabba do!