Tag Archives: songs

Two Totally Terrific Years

2 years

It’s hard to believe that two years ago, I was snuggling up to my 7 lb, 9 ounce newborn baby. She has grown so much since then and I love her more every day. As I was looking through all her pictures from this last year, I began to tear up. This tiny creature has changed my world forever. She brings me a joy I can’t explain. Her laughter is magical, especially when she is playing around with her Dada. I knew I always wanted kids but I had no idea how awesome a journey motherhood would really be. And as difficult as parenting is at times (and trust me, the “terrible twos” are no joke…), the good times make all the hard work worth it. Thank you Harper for being who you are…our lives are brighter because of you :)

Harper’s Firsts:

First Time to Disney World- Freddie had a conference at Disney World last month so Harper and I tagged along. I wasn’t sure what she would think of the whole experience as she has no clue what Disney is all about (except for a short trip to Disneyland a few months back), but we had a blast! While we were there we visited Animal Kingdom and Epcot. It was the perfect way to enjoy the magic of Disney for a child who is unfamiliar with all the characters. However, it didn’t take long for Harper to learn who Mickey was. After seeing everyone else taking pictures with Disney Cast, she wanted us to snap a few pics of her with them too.

Disney World

First Petting Zoo- Harper sings about farm animals all the time, but it is not often that a city girl gets the chance to meet them up close and personal. Luckily, while we were at Animal Kingdom, Harper was able to pet a sheep, a pig and a goat and she thought it was very cool.

petting zoo

First Live Show- Since Harper is still too young for most of the rides, while at the parks we took advantage of all the shows that they offer. We were unsure of whether or not Harper would sit through them but she ended up LOVING them. So after a few successful shows at the parks, we decided to take her to Cirque Du Soleil. And she was completely enthralled for 2 hours! Can’t wait to take her to some more shows soon :)

IMG_2954

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy- Harper loves to paint. So for Christmas, Santa brought her an easel. Now she is creating masterpieces daily. She also likes to practice her alphabet using the white board and magnetic letters. And mommy likes it to because it keeps her busy long enough for me to do the dishes (that’s when you know a toy is a success!).

Favorite Song- This month in my music classes we are singing and dancing to songs all about the jungle. One of Harper’s favorite songs is “5 Little Speckled Frogs”. We have been singing this song together since she was an infant, but now she does it all on her own. And she will make sure to have a pair of rhythm sticks to accompany her, even if they happen to be in the form of crayons, silverware or straws.

Favorite Book- Harper is getting to the age where she can “read” books to us. “That’s Not My Fairy” is one of her favorite ones to read because it is simple and follows a pattern. She also likes “the touch and feel” part of this book as well. Check her out as she shows off her mad skills…


Harper’s Last Year in a Nutshell…

At the end of all of Harper’s monthly post, I used one word prompts to share information about what she was up to. For her 2 year post, I thought it would be fun to revisit those prompts as they apply to Harper today. And if you care to stroll down memory lane with me, each prompt is linked to its original post.

Harper Sits: When we moved into the new house, it was time for Harper to get a new seat at the table. So we said goodbye to our trusty dusty highchair, and hello to a new booster seat. Now Harper can sit at the dinner table like a big girl :)

Harper Do: Harper does quite a bit by herself now. The shorter list might be what she still needs my help with, but I will do my best to keep it to a few. Some of Harper’s newest skills are her chores. She loves to help. This includes sorting the cutlery in the drawer, putting her dirty clothes in the hamper, helping me start the laundry, and throwing things in the trash. She is always willing to help out around the house and I appreciate the extra set of tiny hands.

Harper Says: Like the prompt above, Harper can pretty much say anything now. However, since turning two, her favorites are “no” and mine”. I promise you, she woke up 2 days before her 2nd birthday and magically started using these words. None of my mommy friends seem surprised. Looking forward to this phase passing quickly.

Harper Has: Harper is fortunate to have so many wonderful friends. Most of whom she has know her entire life. Two years after our first get together, Harper and I continue to love and appreciate our mommy group. Looking forward to many more years of happy memory making.

Harper Wears: Harper loves to wear her big girl underwear. Thanks to our journey with Elimination Communication, Harper has been out of diapers for a while. Now instead of bring a diaper bag around with me, I have graduated to carrying a pink toilet seat. The lugging never ends :)

Harper Still: Similar to the original post where I first wrote this prompt, Harper is still breastfeeding and still co-sleeping (she is too big for me to still carry her on a regular basis, but if I need to, the Ergo still works great!).

Harper Knows: Harper is a smart little cookie. She has learned so much in this last year and is always looking to learn more. She knows all her numbers (and is able to count to 20), all of her shapes (including an octagon which is her favorite), her colors and her letters. We have officially moved on to phonics. Harper loves watching this awesome video and playing with this fun toy to help her practice.

Harper Helps: Like I mentioned above, Harper is a great helper. Not only does she love to do her chores, but she loves to help mommy cook. Our favorite meal to make together is breakfast. She likes to help me measure out the ingredients and stir the pancake batter with a whisk.

Harper Makes: Harper loves to build with her blocks. Her favorite thing to make nowadays is an igloo. Igloos with very tall towers.

Harper Snacks: Harper still loves to eat the snacks I wrote about in the original post. But she has added a few more to the list. Harper loves to snack on nuts, popcorn, rice cakes.

Harper Goes: After her first trip to church daycare, Harper now asks us if we can “go to church tomorrow?” on a regular basis. She loves it so much, we have decided to enroll her in their preschool a few days a week. I can’t believe my baby is going to school!!

Harper Sees: Harper loves to point out all the cool things she sees. She says, “Look Mommy, a (fill in the blank)”. And if she doesn’t know what it is she says, “What’s that Mommy?”. Always looking to learn :)

Even though Harper is growing up way too fast, she will always be my baby. The memories we are creating together are ones I will cherish forever. I recently came across this poem that a friend posted on Facebook, and I thought it was a perfect way to end this post.

“I won’t always cry, Mommy,

When you leave the room,

And my supermarket tantrums,

Will end too soon.

I won’t always wake, Daddy,

For cuddles through the night,

And one day you’ll miss,

Having a chocolate face to wipe.

You won’t always wake o find my foot,

Is kicking you out of bed,

Or find me sideways on your pillow,

Where you want to lay your head.

You won’t always have to carry me,

In asleep from the car,

Or piggy back me down the road,

When my little legs can’t walk that far.

So cherish every cuddle, remember them all,

Because one day, Mommy, I won’t be this small”

Happy 2nd Birthday Harper!!! Mommy and Daddy love you to pieces….

PS: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! You only have a few more hours left to get your entries in. Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks. Your comments act as your entry into the giveaway. Good luck!

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22 Months

22 Months

Only 2 more months until my little princess is 2 and life is SOOO good!  I love waking up to her smile every morning and seeing the world through her fresh pair of eyes.  Her smile lights up the room and she brings joy to the lives of everyone she meets.  Harper always has a song in her heart and isn’t shy to belt it out.  You can find her serenading her “babies” to sleep, practicing her abc’s while we are out and about or simply singing a tune to herself as she stacks her blocks.  She is living life to the fullest, without inhibitions.  And as much as I want to hold her close, this mama bird is proud to watch her little birdie soar.

Harper’s Firsts:

First Thanksgiving in Texas:  Once a year my family gets together for a holiday.  In the past we have always done Thanksgiving, but last year we choose Christmas.  This year we were back to our regular routine and were happy to spend Turkey Day in Texas.  My sister recently moved to a beautiful 37 acre farm and Harper loved nothing more than to explore every inch.  She enjoyed spending time with her cousins and going on daily walks around the property.  Can’t wait to make another trip back there soon.

Texas

First Camel Ride

As I mentioned before, this year we visited a Christmas tree farm where we got to cut down our own tree.  Not only did we ride a train to get there but once we arrived, there were many more options for transportation.  Camel ride anyone?

camel

I was worried that Harper was going to be scared, but she thought it was so cool!  Now every time we see a camel in a book or television show, she says, “Camel, ride it”.  Guess I need to look into finding our own camel to ride…Santa?

First Pony Ride

Why stop at a camel ride?  The Christmas tree farm also offered pony rides.  But this time Harper had to ride it on her own.  Again, she did awesome and made sure to request “the black one”.  My sister (the horse trainer) would be so proud :)

Horse

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy:  So I guess this is not technically a toy, but Harper has recently decided that she loves blankets.  I always had a blanket companion growing up.  His name was “budda” and he was around until I was 17 (when I left him on a plane :(…).  But Harper never seemed to take to the many blankets she had before until one day she picked out a pink and purple blanket from her closet and now has made them part of the family.  And in case you were wondering, she named them “pink” and “purple”.

Favorite Song:  E-I-E-I-O (otherwise known as Old MacDonald) is one of my most requested songs in music class.  And now it is the song Harper requests most throughout her day.   She loves to choose which animals are going to be on the farm and even has a special dance that goes along with it (wish I had a video of it…it’s SOOO cute!).     

Favorite Book:  My mom loves to travel.  She also loves to send Harper “souvies” from each of her trips.  On her most recent trip to Argentina, she sent Harper a book about colors that was written in Spanish.  So now, not only does Harper like to practice her colors in English, but she is learning them in Spanish too.  Gracias Abuela!

Harper Goes:

For a 22 month old, Harper Marie is one busy girl (I guess I am the one to blame for that…).  Don’t get me wrong, there are days when we do our best to stay in our PJs all day and lounge.  But on other days we love to go out and get involved in fun activities.  Here are some of the places Harper has been going lately…

On Play Dates…

Playdates

Harper loves all of her friends and enjoys getting together with them as much as she can.  After spending time apart, Harper is excited to have her friend Robin back from the UK.  On our most recent play date together, the little ones got busy on some beautiful Christmas decorations to help spread the holiday cheer.

To the Park…

Park

We are extremely lucky to have so many wonderful parks in our area.  There is nothing like setting a toddler loose in the park to run and jump and play.  Let’s see…does Harper look like she is having a good time?

To See Santa…

Santa

What would the holidays be without a visit to see Santa?  I can’t say it was Harper’s favorite outing, but at least she didn’t cry (then again, I didn’t push the issue of having her sit on the man’s lap alone…then we might have had a problem).

With only a few more days left until Christmas, it’s hard to believe Harper will be celebrating her second holiday season already.  Time really does fly when you are having fun.  My little girl is growing up fast and she isn’t looking back.

Happy 22 Month Birthday Precious Pie!  Mommy and Daddy love you :)

PS:  Thanks Hillary for the awesome pic!

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21 Months

If ever I am having a rough day, all I need to do is look at this adorable face and feel the love.  I’m not quite sure how Harper manages to fit all of the joy that she has in her little body, but she is absolutely full of it.  Now, more than ever, she is becoming my little buddy.  We love to run errands together, go out for lunch, just us girls, and cook daddy breakfast (she’s a great little helper in the kitchen).  She is quite the social butterfly and makes friends wherever she goes.  Our lives are full and we are so grateful for our little angel.

Harper’s Firsts:

First Time Voting:  Since presidential elections only happen every 4 years, Harper made sure to get in on the action.  I can remember my mom taking me to the polls when I was little, so I was excited to include Harper in this important time in history.  We walked down to our local polling place with our neighbors to make our voice heard.  Harper was more interested in the sticker collection than the ballots, but either way she was happy to support our country.  Hooray for voting!

First Trolley Ride:  One of the funnest things about being a parent is introducing your child to new experiences.  A few weeks ago, we took a day trip up north to go apple picking (post coming soon).  After all our hard work, we ventured into a nearby town to enjoy some tourism activities and local cuisine.  Harper loves horses so being in a trolley drawn by two huge Clydesdales was a huge treat :)

First Visit to an Urgent Care Out of State:  As a parent, you always pray for a healthy child.  Especially while traveling.  But as we all know, despite our best efforts, cooties are inevitable.  After a long day of traveling, Harper woke up yesterday morning with croup.  Although we are no stranger to this barky cough, we are in a new place where we are unfamiliar with any doctors or medical facilities.  Lucky for us, we found a great urgent care office that was happy to assist us by giving Harper a breathing treatment and prescribing some oral steroids to help get us through the rest of our trip.  She was a super trooper to say the least and definitely earned her lollypop.

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy:  Athleticism is most definitely genetic because before I ever introduced Harper to a soccer ball, she seems to find them wherever we go (ps: I was a soccer player for many years and still dabble in a women’s league here and there).  She is known to crash soccer practices at the park and dribble down the aisles of CVS.  So during our last shopping spree, we picked her up a soccer ball just her size and now she is ready to go pro.  Can’t wait until she is old enough for me to coach her team.  Oh, what fun it will be!

Favorite Song: Harper could easily start her own a cappella radio station.  The girl sings all day, every day.  Non-stop.  And I LOVE it!!!  Here is her most recent addition to her musical repertoire…The Rainbow Connection.  Ps: please ignore the fro and PJs.  Harper broke out in song during an early morning breakfast…

Favorite Book:  Despite my best efforts to initiate a bedtime routine with Harper that includes a few of her favorite stories, Harper has always been a lights out immediately after bath kind of girl.  She wanted no part of story time, until now.  And so her new favorite book to read before she goes to bed is Pajama Time.  I bought this book for Harper before she was born in hopes that we could dance around in our PJs together…and now we can ;)

Harper Snacks:

Finding healthy snacks for Harper is an ongoing quest.  It’s one of my favorite challenges and is always first on my list when I go to the grocery store.  I love seeing what new products I can uncover.  I’ve highlighted some of Harper’s favorite snacks before (here and here) but it’s been a while, so here are a few more…

1.  Organic Just Peas:  These might be my best find to date.  Harper loves her green veggies but “gocki” on the go can get a bit messy.  And funny enough, my child might be the only baby who doesn’t like cooked (or frozen) peas.  But she LOVES freeze-dried peas.  Which means, thanks to these amazing snacks, Harper can get in all her suggested veggie servings whether she is sitting at the dinner table or playing at the park.

2.  Trader Joe’s Roasted Coconut Chips:  I know I have talked about these little gems a lot but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to push them again.  Especially since Harper can pretty much finish off an entire bag by herself.  I now buy them in bulk so that I am never caught empty-handed when Harper requests her “coconut”.

3.  Earth’s Best Veggie Organic Pop Snax:  When it comes to her choices in food, Harper definitely prefers savory over sweet.  The last time I was at Target, I picked up a bottle of both Earth’s Best Organic Pop Snax flavors, Veggie and Sweet Potato.  She loved the Veggie but passed on the Sweet Potato.  Which was lucky for me because in my opinion, the Sweet Potato was heavenly.  The sweetest of treats.  So now, Harper and I snack side by side, with our Pop Snax, each enjoying the flavor of our choice.  Cause who says you have to be “of age” to enjoy some toddler snacks?

As we count down the days to Thanksgiving, I think it’s pretty obvious what I am thankful for.  Another year, another month, another day with the people I love most.  Harper, Daddy and I are so grateful for your smile, your love and your vigor for life.  We are so proud of all that you have learned, and all that you are becoming.  My only complaint is that you are doing it a bit too fast. But that seems to be a common protest from all parents.  So we plan to do our best to continue to savor each and every moment together.

Happy 21 Month Birthday Pumpkin Pie!  Mommy and Daddy love you :)

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20 Months

20 months into this incredible journey and I couldn’t be more proud of my little bug.  She is learning and growing so fast and it is an absolute pleasure to watch.  She loves people and never hesitates to say hi to strangers all around town.  She has great manners and will often times remind me to say “thank you” or “you’re welcome”.  At dinnertime, Harper likes to say her grace and is quite a fan of “cheers” (if you are ever over for dinner, be prepared to raise your glass multiple times).  She has officially become a daddy’s girl and literally lights up at the sight of her “dada” (or Freddie, as she likes to call him).  Harper gets more independent each day and is enthusiastic about exploring the world around her.  An active toddler, we do out best to participate in all of the fun activities our community has to offer.  We love going to story time at the library and when we are not busy with music class, you can find us hanging out at the park.  The older she gets, the faster the time seems to fly by.  So having the time to sit and reflect on these special moments is truly a gift.

Harper’s Firsts:

First Haircut:  For my birthday (post coming soon…I promise), I decided to cut my hair off.  While I was in the chair I was telling my stylist about Harper’s “D0″.  I wanted to make sure I was conditioning it properly, using the right products, etc. (yes, my 20 month old daughter’s hair IS that high maintenance).  After giving Harper’s hair the once over, she offered to give it a little trim.  We weren’t necessarily prepared for this monumental moment, but we went for it anyways.  And Harper loved every second of it.  Of course we saved a few of her curls as a keepsake.

And she even got to pick out a couple of clips as a prize, which she described as very “pritty!”.

First Time at Disneyland:  I plan to go into more detail in a later post, but the weekend of my birthday the whole family went to Disneyland.  It was pretty hot and crowded but Harper was a real trooper.  She even got on a few rides.  And of course, no trip to Disneyland is complete without a “souvie”.  Here is Harper in her first pair of ears…

First Visit to the Pumpkin Patch:  If only they made pumpkin patches like this when I was a kid.  There were so many attractions there, you almost forgot to pick out a pumpkin (although we somehow managed to get two).  Harper’s favorite part of the pumpkin patch was the hay.  They had a little mosh pit set up with tons of hay for the kids to play in.  And boy was it fun.  Harper even turned herself into a scarecrow.

(By the way, getting the straw out her hair wasn’t nearly as fun as putting it in.  But the memories make it worth the while)

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy:  While “Amma” was in town, Harper scored big!  One day, “Amma” came home with a life-size Blue’s Clues doll.  It’s the same size as Harper and she takes it wherever she goes.  She feeds it, takes it to the potty, practices her exercises with it.  She LOVES it!  And it keeps her occupied long enough for me to get a load of dishes washed (which is a huge feat!).

Favorite Song:  Harper’s musical repertoire is growing exponentially.  With me teaching 8 classes a week, and Harper attending most (if not all) of them, she picks up new songs constantly.  Her most recent pick is Silly Sam (#47).  She loves the part where the sopranino plays and follows along with her finger in her mouth, pretending to play along.  This is also when she channels her inner “Maniac” from Flashdance (think “fast feet”).  She’s got the moves :)

Favorite Book:  It’s hard to keep up with Harper’s favorite book these days.  She will pretty much read anything you put in front of her. But while her “Amma” was in town an old favorite resurfaced…Baby Faces by Margaret Miller.  We had gotten it for Harper when she was itty bitty because we were told it might help distract her in the car (since she was never too keen on the whole car seat thing).   It is a fun book to look at with her because she likes to “read” it on her own…meaning, she can recognize the facial expressions and tell me what they are.

Harper Makes…

Paintings:  Harper loves to do art (as seen here).  She often colors (or eats) with crayons at home.  Recently I took her to an art class at our local community center.  As you can see, she had no trouble getting her Picasso on (although I think she might have gotten more paint on her body and clothes than the canvas).  But now we have a masterpiece we can frame and display in our home.  I am so proud of my little artist!

Cupcakes:  As I mentioned before, Harper is already honing her culinary skills.  After perfecting her craft of cookie decorating, she decided to take up cupcake decorating.  And lucky for us, “Amma” was in town to help (the master baker of the family).  We enjoyed another afternoon at Williams-Sonoma making spooky cupcakes covered in bright orange frosting and lots of sprinkles.  The perfect Halloween treat!

Music:  It’s no secret that Harper is quite the musician.  She truly loves all things music.  Whenever she gets the chance she is banging on the drums, keeping the steady beat or singing her own tune.  Check her out at a recent music class we attended while on our mini-vacay.  Singing a solo with pure confidence…

Being a parent is without a doubt the hardest job in the world.  But the pay is second to none.  The love we share with Harper is unmatched.  The joy she brings to our life is indescribable.  As we approach her second birthday, it’s becoming a reality that she isn’t going to be my little baby for much longer.  She is turning into her own little person with a spunky personality and incredible zest for life.  And although at times it is hard to see her grow up, I am looking forward to the next chapter of our lives with gratitude for all of the memories we have made together.

Happy 20 Month Birthday Harper!  Mommy and Daddy love you :)

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19 Months

Joy. Gratitude. Love.  Peace.  Just some of the words that come to mind when I look at that adorable face.  The last 19 months of my life have been filled with such wonder, such excitement, such awe.  Harper is growing up to be an incredible little girl and I feel honored to be a part of it.

Harper’s Firsts:

First Blood Draw:  No mother likes to see her child under the weather.  Getting sick is part of growing up but when Harper gets sick she is out for the count.  There is no such thing as a small cold for her. In fact, we have ended up at the ER for croup far too many times.  So at the advice of our nurse practitioner, she got a blood draw to test her immunoglobulins at our recent check up.  Harper was such a champ!  She cried a little bit but overall was very brave.  Here is a pic of her showing off her cool green bandage.

ps:  the results were fine and Harper is as healthy as ever.  Praise God!

First Time Decorating Cookies:  Harper loves all things Elmo.  She is also quite the little cook.  So when our friends invited us to decorate Sesame Street cookies at Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago we were totally game!  Although I had no idea Harper would enjoy herself as much as she did.  She was extremely focused and took her job very seriously.

Harper was on a roll.  She ended up decorating 3 cookies!  She wasn’t too much interested in eating them but she did decide to decorate her face (and lick the frosting…).

First Midwife Reunion:  To celebrate the one year anniversary of our local birth center, our midwives threw a reunion for all the families that had planned home births.  It was a gorgeous day in the park with yummy food and great company.  Such fun to see all of the beautiful babies that have been welcomed into the world by these extraordinary women.

We are so grateful for our midwives and are looking forward to working with them again for baby #2 (which is a while off…).

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy:  As I mentioned earlier, Harper definitely has a “thing” for Elmo.  She also is my little musician.  So this Let’s Rock Elmo is the perfect way to satisfy both of her loves.  She has a blast singing the ABC’s with him, while rocking out on the drums or shaking the tambourine.  This toy is a HUGE hit!

Favorite Song:  We sang a lot of fun songs this summer.  But one song that Harper has been singing the most lately is Ten Fish in the Sea. She loves practicing her counting, working on her jumping and dancing around in a circle.  Plus, these adorable little puppets only add to the excitement :)

Favorite Book:  Harper loves to show off her growing vocabulary and read by herself.  She has recently been drawn to books that have pictures of objects and things that she recognizes.  At the Park is one of her favorites.  Although I am not sure if it is the bright colors or the picture of the ice cream that she is most excited about.  Guess it’s no secret whose daughter she is (says the mommy who once had a slight addiction to 31 flavors…).

Harper Helps

The older Harper gets the more she wants to be involved in pretty much everything.  I love that I have a buddy to pal around with who is always willing to lend a helping hand.

With Music Class:  Now that I am teaching 8 classes a week, Harper has become quite the little assistant.  She likes to help me manipulate the props, cue the songs and show off her skills front and center.  At this rate, I will be calling on her to sub for me when I am ill!

Clean Up:  Freddie has been very adamant about Harper learning how to pick up after herself.  And even though at Harper’s recent check up, the doctor mentioned that this is not a skill they acquire until about 24 months, Freddie is making sure she gets a head start.  Harper loves to sing the clean up song and help put her toys away.  But her cleanliness doesn’t stop there.  When she spills water on the floor she likes to mop it up with a towel.  She can also be found polishing the furniture with her baby wipes.  What can I say?  The girl loves to clean :)

Make Her Own Snacks:  After months of little interest in solid foods, Harper has become quite the eater.  And she is a girl who knows what she wants.  If the fridge is open, Harper will help herself to the yogurt, veggies, cheese, milk…you name it.  She will waddle across the kitchen floor with her arms full and hand me whatever snack catches her eye.  Next step? Cooking…

There is never a dull moment with a toddler in the house.  Harper definitely keeps me on my toes.  But she also helps me to see life differently.  Colors are brighter, sounds are sharper and scents are stronger.  I love the enthusiasm that she has to explore the world and soak up everything it has to offer.  Thank you of being such a gentle teacher, Harper Marie.  Happy 19 Month Birthday!  Mommy and Daddy love you :)

And while we are in the mood to celebrate, a big congratulations to Jea for winning the NatureBox giveaway!  Thank you to all who participated.  I look forward to getting another awesome giveaway up and running soon.

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16 Months

This month creeped up on me faster than ever before.  I am not sure where the time is going, but it sure didn’t pass go, and there was no collection of the $200 (Monopoly reference for those of you who aren’t board game nerds like me!).  16 months?  Wow!  She is officially 1 and 1/4 year old.  And all Freddie and I keep saying to each other is…”I can’t believe how big she is getting”.

The older Harper gets, the more fun she becomes.  There is not a day that goes by that she doesn’t have me in stitches.  It is amazing to watch her grow and develop.  The girl is definitely a talker (but then again, look at her mom!).  She gains new words daily and is very good at mimicking…so watch your mouth :)

In a few months, Harper has gone from walking to full on running.  Why leisurely stroll when you can bolt to your destination?  And her bursts of speed are usually prefaced with “Mark, set, goooooo!”, her new favorite phrase.  Looks like someone is in a hurry…just don’t grow up too fast.

Harper’s Firsts:

First Encounter with a Butterfly:  For Father’s Day, we went to our local natural history museum for a beautiful exhibit of live butterflies.  We enjoyed walking through a delightful garden filled with flowers, luscious greenery, and more than 1,000 free-flying butterflies. It was amazing to watch the butterflies flutter past you, and drink nectar from nearby flowers.  One even landed on Harper’s shoulder and hung out for a while.

First (and last) bout with Roseola:  Harper just recently recovered from a nasty bout with the Roseola virus.  She started running a low-grade temperature, which we attributed to teething (although Harper still only has 6 teeth).  But after it spiked to 104.5, we knew that our little baby was sick.  We took her to the doctor and they gave us a list of possible diagnosis but told us it was hard to determine the actual cause of her fever.  However, after 3 days of running a high temperature, Harper’s fever finally broke.  The next day she developed a rash on her trunk and that’s when we knew that the fever was attributed to Roseola.  They say that once a child has been exposed to the virus, it is highly unlikely that they will get it again.  So here’s to well wishes and good health!

First Overnight Without a Diaper:  As I have mentioned before, Harper will wake up most mornings with a dry diaper.  We have experimented with diaper-less naps, but have never been brave enough to try a diaper-less night.  Well, when Harper was sick, she was running such a high fever that we had her naked most of the time.  She slept a few nights without a diaper and didn’t pee in the bed once!  This was a huge milestone for our family as we are moving closer and closer to a diaper free baby :)

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy:  Harper is finally of the age where she is enjoying playing with her Mega Bloks.  Her favorite thing to do is take apart her daddies elaborate structures that he makes.  We are also having fun practicing our colors (even though the range is limited…didn’t think of that when I bought her an entire bag of pink blocks).  She has even started to put a few blocks together.  Which means it is only a matter of time before we can start building forts together :)

Favorite Song:  Harper is loving all things horse related these days (which will thrill my big sister, who happens to be a horse trainer).  It might be the cool horse puppet I use in my music classes, or the fact that I bounce her on my legs while singing to her, but Harper can’t get enough of “Riding on a Pony“.  I will often overhear her singing it to herself while she is playing.  Especially the part where the horse stops and sways back and forth (Whoa! she says…).  It’s nice to know that even after singing it in class 7 times a week, she is still a fan :)

Favorite Book:  With all of the books Harper owns, there are plenty that become neglected.  Ollie the Stomper was a book that Harper received for her birthday that we never got around to reading because you can’t possibly read ever single book on her shelf.  But Harper has recently found the book and fallen in love (Thanks Jones Family!).  She likes to point out the different colors of the boots and then point to her shoes.  The repetition in the book has been a great tool for her language development too!

Harper Wears:

These days it’s all about dress up.  Harper wants to wear everything.  Check out her new digs…

Shower Cap:

Or as she refers to it…her hat!

Apron:

Thanks to Grandma, Harper is well prepared to help mommy in the kitchen.

Chucks:

Never leaves home without them :)  Unless of course they don’t match her outfit…

The love I have for Harper is unmatched.  She has stolen my heart and melts my soul.  I am so grateful to have her in my life.  She is my little buddy and hanging with her every day is a pure joy (although toddler-hood has had its moments…).  Her spark for life inspires me to not sweat the small stuff and reach for the stars.  Thank you for the life lessons Harper.  Mommy continues to grow from your inherent wisdom.

Happy 16 Month Birthday Little Bug!  Mommy and Daddy love you…xoxo

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15 Months

15 months ago I could have never imagined the type of love I would have for this little girl.  15 months ago I couldn’t have ever fathomed the level of joy her smile would bring to my life.  15 months ago I was blessed with the most incredible daughter anyone could ever ask for, and not a day goes by that I don’t express my gratitude for it.

As I say every month, the time is going by WAY TOO FAST!  And as each month whizzes by, it feels like the time is moving even faster.  Someone asked me today, how old Harper was.  After stopping to think a bit, I realized…she’s 15 months!  Didn’t I just publish her 14 month post?  Wasn’t she just learning to walk?  Nevertheless, Harper continues to grow and change and she is now officially a toddler…although she will always be my baby.

Harper’s Firsts:

First Time Saying Her Name:  Harper’s daddy is always teaching her new things.  A few weeks ago, while Harper and her daddy were spending some special time together (and mommy was catching up on some rest…), he taught her how to say her name.  If you ask her what her name is, she says, “Haw-pa”.  It’s kind of the cutest thing ever and it definitely melts my heart.

First “Girls Weekend”:  My mom came to town to visit, so Harper and I took a road trip to meet her in the city to spend a few nights together, just us girls.  It was our first time away from daddy and our first time attempting a long drive on our own.  I was hoping Harper would take a nap or be entertained by her DVDs (yes, my little girl has a DVD player in the car…something I promised myself I would never do…I totally caved!).  Unfortunately, she wanted no part of either and cried the entire way.  I stopped a few times to comfort her and help her calm down.  As soon as I would take her our of her seat she was happy as a clam.  But as soon as I would put her back in her seat she would start to fuss again.  Harper has never been a fan of the car so this wasn’t a huge surprise, but for the next road trip, I am going to make sure we bring daddy along so one of us can be in the back to keep little Ms. Harper company.

First Mother’s Day with Grandma:

This was my second Mother’s Day with Harper.  It has quickly become my favorite holiday :)  But this year was extra special because my mom was in town.  So it was a celebration of 3 generations.  Harper loves her “Amma” and enjoyed spending time with her.  Grandma and Harper took some strolls in the neighborhood together, played at the park, read books…you name it, they did it!  Harper loves her Grandma so much.  She can’t wait until Grandma comes back for another visit soon.

Harper’s Favs:

Favorite Toy:  Harper loves working on her puzzles.  She got two great puzzles for her birthday and is having a ball learning how to fit the pieces into their designated spots.  She enjoys exploring her shapes and colors (Thanks Clara!), and has fun dancing along to Old Mac Donald (Thanks Forest!).

Favorite Song:  Harper has been attending my music classes since she was about 6 months old.  At the beginning of each class, we always sing a “Hello Song“.  In the midst of welcoming our music makers while singing their names, there are a few parts where instead of using words, we just sing “uh-huh”.  Whenever we are getting ready to go to music class, I always sing this song to Harper.  The other day she sang “uh-huh” back to me for the first time.  So now, whenever I sing “Time for music” to her, I wait for her to sing the “uh-huh” back to me.  Such a special moment :)

Favorite Book:  As Harper continues to learn more words, she is enjoying reading Richard Scarry’s Early Words.  She likes to point to the rabbit brushing his teeth, and then proceeds to pretend to brush her own teeth.  She likes to find the rabbits shoes, socks and hat and loves to repeat the words after I read them.  It is such a joy to watch my little girl expand her vocabulary.

Harper Has…

Good Manners:  Growing up, my parents taught me the importance of having good manners.  In the midst of raising my own child, I am doing my best to pass on this important social skill.  Before Harper could use her words, I taught her a handful of signs.  “Please” was one of the first signs I taught her.  I would prompt her to say it whenever she would ask for something.  In the past month, Harper has become so polite, and always remembers to use her manners.  In fact, when she wakes up in the middle of the night for her feedings, I hear her saying, “please”.  And my answer is always…yes.  Can’t turn an adorable baby who is using her manners down…total softy :)

A Big Girl Table:  Now that Harper is cruising around the house on her own, we wanted to give her a space where she can practice her artwork, work on her puzzles or enjoy a snack.  We found this adorable table at Ikea with chairs to match and it is now one of Harper’s favorite places to be.  As soon as she wakes up in the morning she says “sit” and walks over to her table and wants to “color”.

An Addiction to Shoes (or should we blame that on her Daddy…):  Since Harper has become a walker, it is important that she wear proper shoes.  For most babies, ONE pair is plenty.  However, when it comes to Harper, her daddy is convinced that she needs MULTIPLE pairs of shoes.  Every time I turn around, he has gone shopping and picked up yet another new pair of shoes for her.  He just can’t help but spoil her!

I have had some pretty awesome jobs in my lifetime, but being a mommy is hands down, the best one yet.  It’s a lot of hard work and a ton of responsibility but the pay is unmatched.  Seeing my little girl grow up right in front of my eyes is an amazing reward.  I love her more each and every day.

Happy 15 Month Birthday Harper Marie!  Mommy and Daddy love you :)

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Musical Mondays: Favorite Baby Music

We live in a day and age where music is readily available to us. There is Pandora, and iTunes, satellite radio and even music channels on your TV. With all of our options, it is easy to become overwhelmed. I was recently asked by some of my students to identify some of my favorite children’s music. So here is a short list of musical collections Harper and I are currently enjoying.

Animal Playground

First of all, have you heard of the Putumayo Kids collection yet? Talk about variety! They have over 20 CDs that feature music from all around the world. I first learned about Putumayo through Pandora and have been hooked ever since. I love the Animal CD best because it is a great learning tool for teaching our little ones about the different types of creatures that live on our planet. The music is fun and upbeat and makes you want to dance. And Putumayo is not just limited to kids music. They have an extensive collection of music for all ages.

Brilliant Beginnings in Music

As I have mentioned before, exposing your child to a variety of music helps them to appreciate different styles and sounds from an early age. Brilliant Beginnings offers beautiful music from all over the world. You can dance with your child to flamenco, drum to an Irish jig or explore your maracas to the traditional sounds of the Cahuilla people. The music is simple enough for your little ones to treasure but sophisticated enough for adults to enjoy.

Family Time

There is something magical about reggae that just makes me want to groove. And now your little ones can groove along with you. A wonderful collection of original tunes and a few covers, Family Time resonates with themes of fun, responsibility, and freedom. Sing along with a new twist on the ABCs, play a musical version of “Ziggy Says” and enjoy story time with a message that promotes unity and love.

Farm Songs and the Sounds of Moo-sic

There is nothing better than a family sing-a-long. A fan of all things created by Lynn Kleiner, Farm Songs has quickly become a new favorite in our household. This CD is a delightful combination of music, learning, humor, and fun for people of all ages! Through the engaging songs, orchestral music, and activities, children will learn about music making, movement, and listening. It is sure to put a smile on your face :)

Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George

A musical collection to be enjoyed by the youngest to the oldest, Jack Johnson’s playful tunes and laid-back approach turns out to be the perfect musical alter ego for a the character of Curious George. With songs like “3Rs” which reminds us to recycle, reduce and reuse, and “The Sharing Song” children are taught age-appropriate lessons in an upbeat and fun way. Highly listenable many times around, this music makes me happy.

Your turn: What are some of your favorite children’s song/CDs? Looking forward to hearing your responses :)

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Musical Mondays: Starting Early

There is no greater gift than the gift of music.  One of the things that makes music so wonderful is that it has no limits, especially when it comes to age.  Which means, you can start making music with your little one as early as 6 months in utero.  And the sooner you start,  the greater the benefits.

When it comes to music education, starting your little one in music soon after birth can give your child a jump-start on learning.  Like I have mentioned before, we are all born with a natural ability to sing.  Which is why we find that our youngest babies and toddlers can easily learn to match a pitch because they are no yet distracted by formal language, allowing them to easily focus on the task at hand.  Music has the tenancy to encourage babies to speak sooner and more clear as singing enhances how the child enunciates and also brings phonetic awareness.

Young children learn music similarly to the way they learn to speak.  Research and practice have taught us that children who are spoken to will learn to speak and that children who are read to will learn to read.  So, doesn’t it seem obvious that children who are sung to will learn to sing?  Children learn to speak and make music by listening and repeating.  Music also teaches children to make fine distinctions in what they’re hearing.  Training your child’s ear to internalize rhythms and tones at an early age can help children recognize emotion in spoken language later on, helping to promote social and emotional skills.  In addition, music teaches children that they can use a variety of tools to communicate their thoughts and feelings, including sound and movement.

Music classes are a great opportunity for our little ones to become familiar with social settings.  Group music instruction provides a foundation for the development of healthy social skills by encouraging cooperation, turn-taking and sharing.  In the process of singing, dancing and having fun, children learn expectations of how to behave in a structured setting.

While early music teachers agree that musical skill can be learned at any age, natural talent is nourished in environments where children as young as newborns are repeatedly exposed to quality music.  These early experiences provide a foundation for future success as children who get music education from a young age will simply think of music as something they could always do.  Remember, we love what we know.  So through repetition, our little ones gain the confidence they need to build on their musical foundation.

While we are busy enhancing your child’s language, social and emotional development, why not increase spatial intelligence?  Experts say music forms strong connections in the brain that are the same as those used in cognitive skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and mathematics.  Music helps the brain lay down neural pathways that will be used later in life or later for higher learning.  Exposure to weekly music education provides a practical foundation for success in a classroom setting as musical activities help children to focus their thinking, encouraging them to follow directions in a fun and creative way.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better?  The incredible benefits of early music education are all happening while you and your baby are enjoying the pleasure of music together.  Does life get any better than that?  So, what are you waiting for…hurry up and get started!  Time is ticking…

This photo was taken by my good friend and talented photographer Rachel Bradshaw of Little Sparrows Photography.

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Musical Mondays: Listening Ears

The simple act of listening to music can have a significant impact on both parent and child.  Listening to music together is an inexpensive and easy activity that can be wonderful bonding experience shared by the entire family.  Not to mention, the extensive benefits for your child’s development.

Listening, comparing, and responding to various types of music helps to develop thinking skills.  Early music exposure can help promote critical language and literacy as well as creativity and coordination. Listening to music will help teach your child about patterns and sequence, and about rhythm, beat and tone which are useful for problem-solving and reasoning.  Research has shown us that children with a strong sense of beat are more likely to read well and excel at math.  Listening to music helps put babies and toddlers into a relaxed and receptive state.  Music also has the ability to raise your child’s self-confidence and self-esteem and can become a form of expression for your baby when they can’t yet talk.

So now that we know the incredible benefits of listening to music, how can we make music the most important fixture in your home?  Nowadays, music is always available because it is so easily accessed.  Many people can play music from their phones, computers and televisions.  Putting on your favorite tune and dancing around with your baby is a great way to spend time with your little one.  Think of your family’s daily life as a movie that needs a soundtrack.  Having songs playing all the time will help cultivate your child’s interest in music, so that as they grows, they’ll have an ear for it.  Make music a part of your day by breaking into sing songs during playtime.  A simple game of peekaboo can spark a musical moment.  And as the day winds down, listening to music at bedtime is a great way to help your child get ready to sleep.  Recorded lullabies are sweet, but babies love the sounds of your voice the best.

When it comes to playing tunes for your kids, think cheerful and simple songs.  Let your personal preference be your guide.  If you like classical music and your baby appears to enjoy it too, go with that.  Anything with a good melody will do, although slow songs tend to work best for bedtime and fast ones for playtime.  Your goal should be to cultivate a love for music in your child.  It should be about having fun and exposing your child to new sounds and rhythms.  Looking to spice it up a bit?  Bring your children to listen to live music.  These are great opportunities to expose them to many different instrumental sounds and styles of music.

When listening to music with your child, help them to become an active listener by calling attention to particular sections in a recording or song.  For example, comment on the tempo (slow, fast), the pitch (high, low), the volume (soft, loud) or the different types of instruments (drums, flutes, etc.) that you hear.  Over time, auditory discrimination is enhanced as the child learns about these concepts.

In my classes, one of our favorite songs to listen to is Aquarium, from Carnival of the Animals off of the Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move! by Lynn Kleiner.  With the help of their parents, children move to the music using scarves or instruments.  Each movement is intentional, dancing down low as the melody descends and back up again when the music ascends.  The kids love to practice their jumping at the end when they hear the oboe.  Moving our bodies with the music is a great way to teach children to be active listeners as well as teach musical form.

Introducing your child to the wonders of listening to music is truly a gift .  And the earlier you expose them, the better.  At 6 months in utero, your baby is able to discriminate sound.  Although most of the sounds in the womb are muffled, the melody and rhythm of music are not much altered. A baby’s brain is able to register the rhythmic patterns of the music, and changes in beat and melody are picked up.  So, take time to sit quietly and invite your baby to a concert in the womb.  Singing and listening to music is a beautiful way to begin your relationship with your baby.

Whether your baby is in or out of the womb, putting on your listening ears and cranking up your favorite song is a wonderful way to share the joy of music with your child.  And the best part?  There are no rules.  Just sit back, relax and listen :)

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