Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Excess Accessories

Harper is currently smack-dab in the middle of a major "I love purses" phase.  A few mornings ago, she asked me if I really liked purses, too?  I immediately had a flashback to 1986.

--time warp--

I was five-years-old, and the proud owner of a pink patent pleather purse (say that five times fast!).  One random afternoon, my "friend" wrote her name, which I've since blocked from memory, on my treasured purse in CAPITAL letters with pen.  I shudder at the thought.

Suffice it to say that the inked offender was forever shunned from that day forward by the entire first grade of Crailsheim American Elementary School.  Let it be known that I did not call for the ostracization, but rather it was led by a member of the "Jennie Howe Fan Club."  (And yes, I was an -ie Jenny in those days.  Had to mix it up, you know.)

--time warp--

Whether it be cotton canvas, corduroy, sequined, leather or satin, Harper loves her purses.  That girl was born to accessorize!  And this girl hopes that girl won't get her pretty little feathers ruffled too badly if and when she finds herself in a situation like the one I mishandled twenty-five years ago.  ;)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cup o' Joe

Harper's vocabulary expands by leaps and bounds on nearly a daily basis.  Some of the words she uses stop me in my tracks, some of her sentence structures amaze me, most of her pronunciation is impressive and yet still some of her babble is incoherent.  We've got it all, folks!  ;)

This morning, for example, I trekked upstairs when I heard Harper rustling about via the baby monitor.  I walked in to find her jumping on her bed and laughing.  Twelve straight hours of sleep must really do a body good.  She bounced down to greet me before walking over to her play kitchen.  She began opening and closing cabinets with a concerned look on her face.

"Where's Harper's coffee?," she asked.

I replied that I was not sure, and then made an attempt to locate a pink or blue metal coffee cup in her cupboard.  I didn't see any of them, so I told her that we would have to look downstairs.

She then grabbed a small bucket from the top of her kitchen and began tossing its contents out left and right.  She looked up at me and said, "I can't find my milk either!"

I about lost it when she added "either" at the end of that sentence.  Such a little girl, yet such a little grown up. Either/or.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Baby, can I take yo' picture?

My favorite sister-in-law, Mikelle, (forget the fact that I only have one) and her boyfriend, Taylor, recently expanded their interest in photography into a full-fledged business, Heart of Texas Photography.  They were kind enough to donate their skills this past weekend to take photos of our family -- myself, Jeff, this ever-expanding belly of mine, a somewhat cantankerous 21-month old and a picture-crashing weenie dog.  Let's just say we were a handful!

Mikelle posted some of the pics on her blog today.  I can't wait to see the rest of them.  Check 'em out if you have a minute!  If you catch yourself wondering why Harper is upside down in all of the shots, it's because we started way too close to nap time to catch her interest.  We'll know better next time!

Oh, and Wrigley is seriously considering making a late entry into the world of canine modeling.  She has already booked Mikelle to do a series of head shots for her portfolio...I smell bacon!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Are you there, Blog? It's me - not Margaret.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I said I would finally blog again and still weeks have passed without nary a new post.  Sorry, Charlie!  As much as I'd like to write more often, "real life" takes precedence, and let's just say that "real life" has laid it on thick lately!  Good intentions can only get take you so far... Alrighty, let's get down to biz-nass.  That's why you're here, isn't it?  ;)

* First things first.  We moved.  I have never moved quite like that before.  I've only ever been responsible for moving my own individual belongings from one location to the next - never a family move!  Can we say "stuff?"  I don't collect anything.  I don't like a lot of things around.  I purged as I packed, and I purged as I unpacked.  And still, we have stuff.  Despite unpacking all of the boxes within the first days, we're still not quite done, but most of what remains are the things that we will slowly accomplish over time.  (Except for hanging the mirror in our bedroom and the candle/art piece in the living room -- how many weeks should that take, Jeff, really?)  Oh, and replacing the dishwasher, STAT!  I may have to get back into the business of slangin' plasma with a dear friend (you know who you are) to fund my kitchen appliance replacement dreams.  Double wall oven - somedaaaaaaaay!  :)  

The best part of the new house?  Everything.  It feels likes home.  Our family will enjoy living here over many, many years to come.  I'm excited about the prospect of adding our personal touches to the place as time goes on, too.  I'm so thankful to my husband for making this a reality for our family.  He works very hard to provide for the three of us (soon to be four!), and I'll be forever grateful for his love and effort.  

* Harper la-la-loves her big girl room.  Her room is upstairs aka "Harper's stairs."  Hey, if you want to lay a claim to something, let it be known!  Her room is near completion minus a few finishing touches.  If you can call painting the entire room a finishing touch, then you're one of my kind!  I'm thinking chartreuse....thoughts?  A horizontal magnetic stripe across one wall is a must.  Who doesn't love magnets?!

* Cooper's room - it's coming along even more slowly.  The colors being used are white, brown and orange.  Think Texas-themed, but not over the top.  I need to pick a paint color.  I hope Sherwin Williams is ready for this girl!  My plan is to work on his room this week...I'm feeling inspired (slash pressured) by the baby shower on Saturday celebrating his upcoming arrival.  Let's strike from history the fact that Harper's nursery was literally done within days of learning her gender.  Ah well...we'll get 'er done!  Or "him" done, rather.

* Speaking of Coop, we're now at 33 weeks (and 3 days if you're counting, like me!).  He is movin' and groovin' more than ever.  According to Babycenter.com, he probably weighs around four pounds by now, and is growing like a weed -- as evidenced by my protruding belly.  I have gained sixteen pounds myself, and I'm thankful that none of it has settled in random places like my earlobes or ankles.

I'm excited AND nervous to meet him.  What will he be like?  How similar or different will he be from his big sister?  Maybe he will be a July baby instead of August?  While he is officially due on August 6th, Jeff and I both think he'll arrive between mid- to late-July.  I've talked to my doctor about inducing on August 2nd if he hasn't already arrived by then, but I'm sure we'll talk more about that as the weeks progress.  One can only hope!
* Current Harper-isms:
     -"No, Jeff!"
     -"I know, Mommy!" (Her tone adds extra flair to that one.)
     -"Shake your body" (While dancing.)
     -"Go, Harper!  Harper did it!"  (When she is proud of completing a task.)
     -"Harper is drawing. Harper is coloring with crayons."  (Sentences are coming on strong to quite strong.)
     -"Harper is sad, sick, happy or _____." (She is really starting to communicate her feelings to us, though at 
       a basic level.  What a difference that makes in our lives!  She also loves speaking in third person.) 
     -"This is 'licious.  Harper-licious!"  (Her version of delicious.  I laugh every time.)

* "I love you."  I've been waiting a long, long time for that one.  Seriously, I've prompted her at every possible occasion and got nothing.  Nix. Nada.  She uses it sparingly, but I've gotta respect her for it.  Oh, and I can't forget the other day when I told her I love her, and she smiled and replied, "I know, Mommy."  When I repeated the story to Jeff, he reminded me of how eerily similar of a response I gave when he first told me those same three words.  :)  What is that old saying about the apple and the tree?  Yeah....
    Well, that about covers it for now.  I've purposely left out details about Harper's most recent teething experiences, our Memorial Day trip to Abilene, swim lessons, her recent lack of sleep (and our own) and volunteering for four days straight for the Starburst Junior Golf Classic among other things.  I didn't want to risk inducing complete and utter exhaustion by mentally reliving any of those particular moments!  We are already knee-deep into a busy, busy summer.  June is rapidly coming to a close - how is that?  

    If you've made it this far without developing a headache, then I am impressed.  Until next time... later gators!

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    I'll scream if you touch my ice cream

    Like her Mommy, Harper does not care to share her ice cream, especially when her Daddy tries to steal bites in a less than stealth-like manner.  

    After an untold number of kids' meals, I finally remembered to pick up the complimentary ice cream cup after she finished her sammy.  Apparently, it piqued Jeff's interest, too!

    Frantically waving him off... 

    On the lookout...

    "No, Jeff!"  
    Seriously.  He was "Daddy" until he started messin' with her ice cream!

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Hug it out

    Dear Blog,

    I miss you.  I miss us.  I miss who I am and how I feel when we're together.  We can't keep going on the way we have been.  I know this is no way to treat someone (er, something) you care about, and I promise to make it up to you.  How about we meet for coffee tomorrow morning and get things back on track?

    Please accept my humble apology, and let us work past our current troubles.  Together we can make it work!  Until tomorrow...

    Your ever so sleepy contributor,

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Moving on up...

    NOT to the East Side, but rather, four streets over.

    This is our new house.  I've tried to not talk about it very much, because I'm the kind of person that doesn't believe something until it is actually happening.  I didn't want to get too excited about it in case something in the wild world out there kept it from coming to fruition.  But this is it.  This is going to be our house.  This week.  (I'm still not sure if we'll close tomorrow afternoon or Thursday or Friday, but that is neither here nor there.)

    We're moving!  The house is in the same neighborhood, so that should make the actual move just a tad bit easier.  Our current house is a good house, but we've outgrown it.  We're moving from a 3/2.5 to a 4/3 - having a guest room/office is a big deal to me, especially when you half of your family lives in another town and you enjoy having friends visit, too.  This house is going to be our forever house - after all of the hassle we've been through to buy it, I'm not ever planning on moving again!

    Plus, I love it.  I'm excited at the thought of our kids growing up in this house.  As a former Army brat, I've always been fascinated by people who grew up in the same town accumulating memories with, give or take, the same group of friends until they left for college.  I thoroughly enjoyed moving and constantly meeting new people, but I'm ready to give my kids a go at a different way of life.  Ahh, that could make for an entirely new blog post, or book, really, but we'll leave it at that...for now! ;)

    If you have any interest in viewing the collection of pictures I took today, click here. Look to the captions for explanations.  (I have since added the backyard pics to the collection since I published this post last night.  Don't know how I left 'em out as those were the only pictures I was able to take weeks ago!)

    A warning - these were taken mainly for my reference, so they are not very pretty shots.  I regret not taking "before" pictures of our current house prior to any of the changes we made to it, and I don't want to make that mistake again.  Plus, I was able to find the answer of one of my most pertinent question following today's tour...just how many cabinet handles will I need to replace in various rooms?  Kitchen cabinets - 50.  Yikes.  Kitchen desk - 4. Living room cabinets - 12.  Bathrooms - double yikes.  Yeah, we'll start with the desk and living room cabinets...

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    The Great Pacifier Purge of 2010

    Well, we're finally here.  I finally decided to make a go of Harper giving up her pacifier, or "pass" as she so lovingly refers to it.  Ditching the pass has been on my to-do list for the past several weeks, but I hadn't come to the right moment until last night.  Jeff wasn't going to be home, and I thought it might be easier if only one of us had to listen to her protests.  Plus, we were down to one last pacifier, and I had no idea where in the hell it ended up after her nap.

    So, I put her down to bed last night without her pacifier.  She seemed confused at first, wondering why her silly mommy had forgotten that most important bedtime fixture.  Then she became upset.  She cried.  I tried to comfort her and explain that the pacifiers were gone because she had thrown them in the trash (true story).  She even asked to look in her bucket for proof, as if I had mistakenly overlooked one last silicon savior.

    "No pass?," she asked?    I tried to give her the old "you're a big girl" pep talk, but that didn't go far.  After about 45 minutes of crying off and on, she feel asleep.  All in all, it didn't seem too bad from my end.

    She made it through her first night, but lemme tell ya, the pacifier was on the front of her mind all day long.  It was the first thing she asked me about this morning.  She pointed out every single baby and pacifier as we were out running errands this evening.  She seemed particularly suspicious of a little boy sweetly slumbering in his stroller, sucking ever so softly on his pacifier.  He was bigger than Harper, so maybe that was what threw her off.  Either that or she didn't care for his romper outfit.  Who knows?!

    Her afternoon nap went off without a hitch sans pacifier.  I was really getting excited at that point.  Maybe I got a little ahead of myself as I thought how well Harper seemed to be transitioning.  Yeah, I definitely got ahead of myself on that one!

    Tonight has been a nightmare.  We put Harper to bed nearly two hours ago.  She is still vehemently crying in front of her bedroom door.  If she was upset about the pacifier last night, then she is downright pissed off about it tonight.  Even so, I am sticking to my guns.  No pacifier.  We will make it - well, I hope we will!  Jeff and I may kill each other in the process, and leave Harper to live a happy parent- and pacifier-free life for the rest of her years.

    I have heard of a three-day rule for breaking habits such as this one, and I'm really hoping for a clean break after tomorrow.  Harper is strong-willed, to say the least, so there is really no telling how long this will take!  At least I know if I can't sleep, I can pack.  Looks like we're moving at the end of this week!

    See, there is a method to my madness.  Ditch the pacifiers now, and that's one less thing we have to move!

    Oh, and I did find the last remaining pacifier.  I instinctively put it on the butter shelf in the refrigerator.  (I have no idea what led me to that decision, so don't ask.)  Kinda reminds me of a fire alarm behind a glass case!  I think I'm going to toss it in the trash now, too.  Seems like the right thing to do - and that is only easy to say at this moment because it sounds like Harper has finally given up her fight for the night.

    Sleep tight, all, and don't let the pacifier bite you in the ass! ;)

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Weeks & Months

    I never know the answer when someone asks me how far along I am into this pregnancy.  Oh, I can tell you the number of weeks, but months?  Forget about it!  It usually ends up in a conversation about how "they" tell you pregnancies last for nine months, but it really seems more like ten.  Regardless, it's a looooooong time!  So, anyhoo, if you want weeks, you got 'em!  We're fast approaching 24 weeks on Friday, which looks a little something like this:

    I couldn't remember what my pregnancy with Harper looked like, so I had to dig through the ol' blog archive to find the following photo.  Looks like I'm about par for the course...

    And just for kicks - here is the finished product! This is me (and HP!) at 39 weeks and 5 days - the night before I was induced.  Little did we know then what we were getting ourselves into! ;)

    We've got waaaaays to go!  Whew!

    Monday, March 29, 2010


    The XY chromosome, that is.  You probably didn't hear it here first, but we are expecting a baby boy to round out our family in August!  We are over the moon.  It is all we can do to contain our enthusiasm.  Really.  In just a few more months, Harper will have a baby brother to beat up and terrorize love unconditionally.

    I think Harper will make a terrific big sister.  She's already practicing.  She likes to kiss my belly to say "hi" to her brother, and then she pulls my shirt back down when she is tired of talking to him.  Too bad that shirt trick won't work once he exits the womb!

    Jeff and I are in the process of finalizing our name selections.  If you can recall, Harper was going to be "Campbell" for quite some time until we abruptly switched to HP.  It's a good thing, too, because one of Harp's good friends is "Cambell."  Since their house is just a stone's throw away, that could have gotten confusing down the road!  So, hold on to your monogramming horses, and we'll let you in on the little man's name as soon as we are sure that we've got it right.

    On an unrelated note, Harper had her 18-month check-up this morning.  She has obviously been eating her Wheaties (or her Fruit Loops, perhaps?), because she is still sprouting.  95% on height, really?  She must have her grandparents and great-grandparents to thank, because that certainly doesn't come from her parents.    Her doctor joked that Harper could be our star basketball player - the next Brittney Griner, perhaps?  (Minus the punching, I would hope!)

    That's all for now, folks!  I hope to have house news to share this week.  There is actually a chance we could be moving next weekend!  Just the thought of that makes me feel the need to nap...and so I shall.

    How sweet it is.

    As Harper and I got dressed this morning, we were serenaded by James Taylor.  Well, via iTunes, but still!  The two of us were born to sing and dance.  It might not be pretty, but we just can't help ourselves!  It makes my heart smile to watch HP bust a move at any given moment - with music or without.  She sings, too, with a splash of soul added.  Seriously, whenever she sings, her face looks like she is belting out the blues.  Such emotion!  James, buddy, I agree with you.  It is so sweet to be loved by Harper Elle Peel.  Like jelly, baby.  (The kind without high fructose corn syrup, of course.)

    So, as you might have guessed, mediation worked.  Harper and I are back on good terms.  I haven't blogged in a couple weeks (thanks for pointing that out, Sgt. Alyssa!), and it was partly because I didn't want to jinx our string of wonderful days.  The sun returned, sleep returned, naps made a comeback... Life will never be perfect, but at least we can say that we're all putting forth our best effort!  And when you're dealing with two stubborn 29-year olds and a stubborn 18-month old, that oughta count for something.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010


    Today was a better day. Not easy, but better. Not even the great days are easy, ain't that the truth?

    Harper slept well last night. She appears to be feeling well - no Motrin or Benadryl required. She napped. Well, it was a 45-minute nap, but at this point I'll take what I can get.

    We even laughed together today at Wrigley's expense.

    No tantrums.


    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Hardest job EVER.

    Yeah, I'm going to vent about how hard this motherhood gig can really be. We all know how rewarding it can be, how special it is, and how blessed we are to be moms, so I'm not going to waste much time on that side of the coin. Right now I simply want to vent about the challenges and the difficulties. Though I'll never truly know what it's like to be a dad (duh - because I'm not one), I assume they have their own set of rewards and issues to juggle. I'm not going to go there either.

    This is about me - a mom - and my struggles.

    As a blogger, I find myself more inclined to share the good news and accomplishments while glossing over or straight up ignoring most unpleasantries. That is one reason why you might not see more frequent postings from me. Or I'm exhausted, which isn't necessarily a good or bad thing. Or I might just be too busy. Or I might not have anything nice to say, in which case we've been taught to not say anything at all. Well, it's not going to be that way today. This blog is my forum, my soapbox, my bullhorn, my post-it note - it's a vehicle for sharing my thoughts, however random, insightful or boring they may be.


    This week has been particularly hard. Harper has been feverish, on and off, for days. We made a last minute trip to the doctor on Monday afternoon, but nothing came out of it. We were told to proceed with Motrin and Benadryl, and to keep an eye on the fever. Strep and flu tests were performed just in case, but they both turned up negative. Meanwhile, we've spent all week with a cranky, grouchy and tantrum-y toddler. I have been amazed by some of the fits she has thrown. When she is in tantrum mode, she is not to be swayed. They make me feel angry, sad, helpless and deficient. I can only imagine how they make her feel inside.

    It is during those moments that I question my ability as a mom. It makes me wonder if I have any idea what I'm doing. I'm vaguely aware that none of us really knows what we're doing - we're all just making a go of it and trying to give it our best effort. It is exceptionally hard to swallow when you feel like you really must not even have a clue.

    We haven't sleep well at all this week either. Tuesday morning we were awoken at 4:30AM by our little blue-eyed monster. She can usually be put right back to bed with the replacement of her pacifier. That would not be the case on that particular morning. That was our wake-up call for the day. To make matters worse, she didn't go down for her nap until 2:45 that afternoon during which she slept for less than an hour. I may or may not have referred to her as "Damian." Remember that kid from the movies with the "666" marking? Yeah, that about summed up my feelings yesterday. Oh, and from approximately 12:15 - 4:30 PM today, with the exception of yet another 45-minute nap.

    Gee, thanks for the break!

    I hope that incoming teeth are to blame for the recent interruptions in our lives. I keep peering into her mouth to inspect for evidence of new pearly whites. Nothing so far. I've heard the canines, or eye-teeth, can be the absolute worst, and those are the exact four that we are waiting on.


    It hasn't all been terrible this week. After she's taken her meds, it's relatively smooth sailing. Well, comparatively. Our troubles occur when the drugs start to wear off before enough time has passed to administer the next dose. Speaking of which, that time is nearing.

    This should be a happy week. We made an offer on a house yesterday, and we signed the contract today. If all goes well with the buyer of our house, then we could be in our dream house by the end of April. I'm excited, but I can't really show it because my head feels like it is going to explode. I need sleep. Desperately. I need my Harper-free time, but alas, there is no MDO this week. I'm not completely sure of what else I need - I can just tell you that I feel like a zombie.

    I should be grateful I have the words and the ability to express how I feel. On the contrary, my poor, sweet Harper has little choice but to resort to throwing a fit. And believe me, it is not pretty when mother or daughter pitches a fit. Even scarier when they are synchronized. Take my word on it!

    My rant is over. I feel a little bit better now, and I hope Harps does, too. As soon as I turn off the ceiling fan and unglue her toes, I'll ask her.

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    Better eat your Wheaties

    Harper attempts cereal WITH milk for the first time... Oh, the little things.

    Please disregard Jeff's emphysema and Harper's bedhead.

    Friday, February 26, 2010

    Clean up on aisle four

    Thursday morning, approximately 8:40 a.m.

    Mom: Harper, it's time to go to school. Let's go - grab your backpack, please.
    (Shouts from the kitchen towards the other side of the house.)

    Harper: .....

    Mom: Harper, c'mon, we need to get in Mommy's car.
    (Heads towards Harper's room to corral her towards the front door.)

    Mom: What in the?! Really? All the food from your room?
    (Watches in disbelief as Harper shuffles her feet through the plastic food.)

    Harper: Hi!
    (Smiles. Picks up new measuring spoons and heads for the front door.)

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Kiss and tell...

    It's no secret that Harper loves her friend, Carson. He lives on our street, and we are friends with his parents, so the thought of Carson stays fresh on her mind at all times. I can bribe her with the chance of seeing "Car-Car," and once I even convinced her to take a nap because she could be sure that Carson was napping at his house, too! You can only imagine how excited she was on Sunday when she learned that we were going to the zoo with him later that afternoon...IF she took a nap, of course!

    We headed out to the Cameron Park Zoo, and it could not have been a more beautiful day. Sunny, close to 70 degrees - hard to imagine we received several inches of snow only two days later! We are so lucky that we can drive ten minutes and spend as little or as much time as we want at a pretty nifty zoo. Not too many cities can boast of such a thing! Anyhoo, fun was had by all...and maybe even a love connection! Somebody call Chuck Woolery!

    Possibly ammo to use in a senior yearbook? Class of 20__?

    We approached the bear as he finished pooping...awkward!

    Somehow we never discovered this great slide during our previous zoo trips!

    Loved it!

    And one fun ride for Dad!

    Ahhhh - holding hands! This is where it starts!

    Carson goes in for the kiss...

    ...and Harper comes at him with tongue. Really, Harper?? Sheesh!

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Tiger Woods & Toilet Bowl XLIV

    Super Bowl weekend did not go exactly as planned for the Peel household. Just be glad that we did not show up at any of your game-watching parties! Jeff dubbed the weekend "Toilet Bowl XLIV," because our family spent most of our time in the bathroom instead of in front of the television like most of America. Seriously, who loses weight on Super Bowl weekend?! It is meant to be a weekend of indulgence and glutton, if you will, but not at the Peelton. We subsisted on a steady diet of Gatorade and saltine crackers.

    Speaking of Gatorade, I must say thank you to Tiger Woods and his numerous infidelities. I can think of no other reason as to why Walgreens has clearanced out his line of Gatorade drinks for a mere 50 cents when all of the other flavors sell for $1.99. I have seen the same cashier every day for the last three days, and I finally bought the last four bottles this morning. She seemed somewhat concerned, yet impressed with my savvy shopping. Thanks, Ti-gee, as Harper would say.

    I fell victim to the bug when I woke up on Saturday morning. Jeff had to man Harper all day while I was bedridden. Then she got sick shortly after bedtime on Saturday night, and threw up for the next several hours. Jeff took another one for the team helping Harper christen each and every toilet bowl in our house. You know, holding her hair back and such. ;) Our laundry pile more than doubled that night, and of course, we were out of detergent. (This girl bought a Thor-sized bottle at Target last week, which somehow did NOT make it into my car? Go figure!)

    I woke up feeling much better on Sunday, and we waited patiently to see if Jeff would get sick or not. Harper didn't throw up and had normal diapers, but she didn't eat much and acted rather sluggish. I wasn't surprised because I knew she had to have been exhausted from lack of sleep that night. Jeff made it through the day without any major incidents. Until this morning...

    Jeff woke up with a case of "tummy sticks," as we like to call it. Harper seemed to be better, and without thinking, I gave her her usual cup of morning milk. Unfortunately, she had a few sips before I wised up and remembered that she should avoid dairy for a little while longer. I gave her Gatorade instead and didn't think much more about it. We then headed out to pick up the mail for Jeff's office and take care of a few other quick errands when it happened. Revenge of the milk! Out of nowhere, Harper spewed curdled milk ALL OVER MY CAR. I want to puke now just thinking about it! I am shuddering at the thought of it...

    After rushing home to clean up my sweet girl, I had to grab the cottage cheese-covered car seat from my car and figure out how to clean that disgusting mess. Trust me, if you can avoid it, you never ever want to have to try and take apart and clean a Britax car seat. It may qualify as one of the most difficult tasks I have ever attempted. Aside from having to get way too close to the offensive puke, I barely managed to get the seat and cover cleaned....please cross your fingers that I can get it all back together in its intended fashion!

    Well, Harps finally fell back asleep on her pull out couch, wearing her adorable Strawberry Shortcake robe made by Grammy, and Jeff is asleep in bed. I think I may have to take a nap myself for I suspect I may have a looooooooong day ahead of me!

    Let's pray for a speedy recovery for all of our friends and family feeling under the weather! Oh, and how 'bout them Saints?!

    Thursday, January 28, 2010

    While the cat's away...

    ...the mice will play, but they won't sleep very well. Jeff headed to San Antonio yesterday for a continuing education course, and he won't be home until late Saturday afternoon. If all goes as planned, he will pass his test on Saturday and add a few more initials to the end of his name. You can just call him "Jeff Peel, CIC, CISR, CRM." Or just "Jeff." Take your pick.

    He hasn't been out of town for an extended period of town in several months. He took a few courses in the first half of 2009, but this fifth and final course wasn't offered in Texas until now. So, basically, he hasn't been away from home for very long since Harper really started to care about "momma" and "dada." She actually realizes he is gone this time, and she doesn't much care for it. She talked about her daddy ALL DAY yesterday. His name was the first word out of her mouth this morning. She didn't want to sleep last night, and while I can't be sure of the reason, I'll attribute it to Jeff's absence to make him feel good about it. I have my fingers crossed that we'll sleep well tonight.

    So, study up, Dad, and hurry home! Harper misses you, as well as her Uncle K-K who is on a quick trip of his own. Apparently, Mom is dirt this week!

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Move over, Gatorade.

    There is a new thirst-quencher in town. It's called Chuy's salsa, and Harper is here to drink it all up.

    Step 1: Drink salsa.

    Step 2: Cry uncontrollably because you caught a little twist of heat on your tongue.

    Step 3: Tame the heat with a quick swipe of the lollipop.

    Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 as many times as you can possibly handle.

    Sweet ol' Piper takes the safer route and drinks melted ice cream instead. Smart kid!

    (s)He moves in mysterious ways...

    We went to church yesterday, and I can't explain what came over me as we walked into the worship service. Lemme tell ya, the folks at Highland Baptist like to sing their little hearts out. We quickly sat down and started to join in on the current song. Or rather, I tried to join in on the song. I opened my mouth, and suddenly, a wave of emotion rolled over me. I squeezed half of a note out before my lips started quivering. I couldn't sing. I wanted to cry. I stood through the entire praise portion fighting back tears in an attempt to regain my composure.

    It was the weirdest thing. I was so happy to be there, but I couldn't stop thinking of all the people - friends, family and complete strangers - that are leaning on the Lord right now (and always, for that matter). Think of all the prayers that go up to Him on a daily basis for His strength and guidance. It was an overwhelming reminder that He moves in such mysterious ways.

    Think of Haiti. Think of the destruction, the devastation, the deaths and the unimaginable needs of the survivors to make it through the day, much less what they need to rebuild their lives. Then think of the young man rescued after spending eleven days in the rubble of a hotel grocery store who survived by eating cookies and drinking soda and beer. Amazing.

    I was also thinking of a little girl born at a mere 25 gestational weeks. Her mother is a fellow provisional member of the Junior League of Waco. Baby Maya was born incredibly early, but she has forged ahead with unbelievable might over the past four weeks. I could not even fathom a guess as to how many people are praying for Maya and her family. The daily updates via Facebook are so encouraging, so uplifting. Each day that Maya lives has been a miracle. Hers has been a heart-wrenching yet amazing journey. She is living proof that God is good.

    God is so good. My family has so many things for which to be grateful: we are all healthy, we have a home, Jeff has a good job, we can pay our bills, we have strong minds and are able-bodied, we are really, really ridiculously good-looking, and we have the best English Bulldog in all of the land. (Ok, so maybe I exaggerated with those last two...) But you catch my drift, right? There may come a time when we really need your prayers, but for now I am more than happy to give you mine.

    Forever and ever, Amen.

    A little Randy Travis and U2 to start your morning... ;) You can thank me later.

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    An interruption of your regularly scheduled programming

    Extra, extra, read all about it! (Pitcher can't pitch, and there's no doubt about it!) Ahem. Excuse my cheerleader flashback...wait, I was never a cheerleader! So....what I was sayin' was...

    Get ready for another Mini Peel! Yes, this is the official confirmation of the rumors you've heard or the pictures you've seen on Facebook of Harper wearing her "big sister" shirt. Please don't take it personally if you found out through Facebook or through another friend, and not from us directly. The news started seeping out of tiny holes in the proverbial dam, and before I knew it, it was out. Moving on!

    I'll be 12 weeks along tomorrow. Mini Peel is due on August 6, 2010. I'm feeling a boy vibe this time around, but we'll have another two months or so before we find out the gender. What do you think? Will Harper have a little brother or a little seester?

    The pregnancy definitely feels differently. Well, in a sense. Physically, it is the same as the first pregnancy. I haven't been sick, just a little tired here and there. I haven't gained any weight yet either. I don't know how to say this without sounding insensitive or cold, but the difference with this pregnancy is in my head. Brace yourself: it just doesn't seem as earth-shattering or life-changing as it did when I found out I was pregnant with Harper. Sounds terrible, doesn't it? I can't possibly tell you how excited we are or how much we are looking forward to this baby. It's unfathomable. But at the same time, it doesn't seem like it is as big of a deal once you've already had one kid.

    The thought of that really bothered me for awhile, but then it occurred to me why it seems that way. It's because I have a kid! It's because I have a crazy, hilarious, couch-climbing, windowsill-perching, dancing queen of a little kid! I don't have the TIME to sit around and think about how wonderful it is to be pregnant. Our family is BUSY being a family. The fairy tale portion of a pregnancy is not present this time around. And you know what, I'm not sad about that. Instead, now I know how flippin' cool it is to be a parent to an awesome little kid (even on the bad days) with such a unique personality -- I am much more grounded in the reality of it all. We're going to have another neat little kid with his or her own personality that will contribute to and round out our family. How nifty is that?!

    So there you have it - by the end of the summer, four will be the official count at the FalconPeel household. You read it here first, folks! (Or you already knew, and you can just pretend!)

    Calling to share her big news!

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Warm up

    No, this post is not dedicated to the weather. I only wish it were warming up outside -- 20 degrees is too cold for this born-again Texan! Speaking of Texas....

    Check out the chair Uncle Kevin got Harper for Jeff's birthday. (Did you follow that?)

    All set for the National Championship on Thursday! Just keeping the seat warm for now with a little DJ Lance and the Yo Gabba Gabba gang. By the way, I don't really know what to think of that show, but Harper loves to dance along with it and it buys me twenty minutes of freedom per day. I think I'm sold!

    When she isn't allowed to watch an extra episode of YGG, Harper can often be found reading her YGG book or lugging all five of her YGG stuffed toys around the house. Can we say "obsessed?" Jeff hates DJ Lance, and his is ready for Harper to move past this obsession. We'll just have to see how long it lasts!

    On a side note, we took back the den and breakfast nook from Harper. No more kiddie land in our living room! Our breakfast table can finally return to it's proper spot. Life can go on... Harper still has a few things tucked away in the space, but now the room finally looks like adults live here, too. Proper staging can't hurt when potential home buyers come a-knockin' either! Oh, and she was not crying in this photo because I tore down her play-prison. She was mad about something else at the time, but she did throw her hands to her face with a look of shock when she first saw the pile of plastic!

    And in closing, a random moment between Harper and myself. Neither of us are known to snuggle, but we sat that way for a good 15 minutes yesterday morning. She needed to be held, and who am I to not oblige her? This doesn't occur often, but I've learned to stop myself and enjoy the moment. They seem to be going by all too fast these days...

    Back to business

    The holiday indulgences are over, the decorations are resigned to spending the next eleven months in the garage, and five-day work weeks are again considered the norm. What else does the new year mean for the Peel family, you ask? Well, for starters, school is back in full swing for me (though to be honest, there was never any hint of a break between fall and spring), and Harper is back at Mother's Day Out! Hallelujah!

    I knew the five hours every Tuesday and Thursday were valuable to me and important to Harper's socialization and development. However, the true extent of how much we both needed that time apart did not become evident until last week. Harper and I were both at our wits' end. Luckily, Grammy scooped up Harper on NYE and granted us a 48 hour reprieve. I should have used that time to complete my prospectus, but instead I indulged in some much needed relaxation with friends. (Shout out to Alyssa and Spencer - GREAT to see y'all!)

    Yesterday, we all got back to business. Jeff was eager to get back to work and get in gear this year. Right, babe? :) (Here's to hoping he writes and renews LOTS of insurance in 2010!) Today was Harper's first day back at MDO. I was afraid that should be clingy and uncooperative when I dropped her off. In fact, that couldn't have been farther from the truth. She had a rocky start at home this morning, but she couldn't have been happier when we walked into her classroom at the church. We are truly blessed to have found such a wonderful place for her!

    I was slightly saddened by the fact that Harper's favorite teacher, Miss Cassie, did not return this "semester." She had an opportunity to teach three-year-olds in an Montessori class at another church. Tears nearly spilled down my cheeks when she told me the news on the last day of MDO before Christmas break. The second teacher in Harper's class had been a floater the entire fall, so the kids really came to count on Cassie as their consistent and trusted leader. She was so good with all of the kids, and I always took notice of how much she worked with Harper on her words, manners, etc. It was nice to know HP was spending time with an adult that took time to teach her and not simply "watch" her. We'll miss Cassie, and we'll pray that another wonderful teacher will land in that class. It is also possible that her class may be combined with the two-year-olds. That could get interesting!

    So, MDO is back on, and life is back to "normal." (Whatever that means!) My Tuesdays and Thursdays shall once again be filled with school work, Junior League meetings and the occasional lunch date! Oh, and playgroup is back in session tomorrow, too! We have sure missed those kids (and moms)! OK, now back to that prospectus....