Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An Afternoon with Harper and Julie

THANK YOU so much for your nice comments on my last post. I really appreciate all of them! I do love this blog and want to be here more. I have a few things planned, including a new series called What I'm Reading Wednesday as well as a home tour, which some of you have asked for. I appreciate those of you that are here regularly and can't say enough how grateful I am for the friends, old and new, that I've connected with through this blog!

Anyway, several months ago, Harper's Grandma Carrie gave her a My Generation doll from Target. Harper named her Julie, a totally random choice, and over the past few months, has really come to love her. Julie has become quite the little sidekick. Harper loves to choose new outfits for her and is dying to get this My Generation salon chair set up that she saw at Target.

I loved dolls when I was little. The Christmas that I received my first American Girl doll (Kirsten) was the best of my childhood. I had been looking at the catalogs for year, wanting an American Girl so badly, always anticipating the time when my mom would consider me old enough for one. As a little girl, I was rarely without a baby or dolly (I was even known to push my dolls around the mall in a doll stroller). Seeing Harper fall in love with a doll has been really fun for me and has let me relive my childhood a bit. Up until now, Harper has been rather uninterested in dolls (she goes for stuffed animals over anything) and so I was really excited when she took to Julie. It makes me look forward to giving Harper her own American Girl doll in a few years.

I think the reason that Harper is so fond of Julie is that Julie isn't a baby. Harper is not into baby dolls. She has never had any interest in them and truth be told, she's not all that into real babies, either, her cousin Pierce being the exception. Julie isn't a baby. She's four, like Harper, and can dress like Harper and enjoy all of the things that Harper enjoys.

Last week, I had my camera out so I snapped a few photos of Harper and Julie throughout the day. Some days, Julie doesn't leave Harper's bed and on other days, she doesn't leave Harper's side. This day was the latter.

Here is Harper reading to Julie. I love how focused she is in the first photo. It's because she was finding and reading all of the sight words on the page. The story that Julie heard went something like this: "and, said, said, she, he, the, the, said, play, as, it, is..."

Julie has a few scattered freckles on her nose, just like Harper. I think my mother-in-law chose Julie based on her freckles- we all have a soft spot for Harper's little freckles (or, as she calls them, "angel kisses").

Here Harper and Julie are enjoying a backyard bike ride while waiting for their muffins to cool. Julie has a little apron and set of oven mitts, which have Harper constantly begging to bake things.
 

Hanging out in her undies is a part of Harper's evening routine. Every night after dinner, Harper strips down and gets "comfy." Julie does the same. If Harper is hanging out, watching Ghostbusters in nothing but her unmentionables, so is Julie. I love it. And I love this pic.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Life, According to My Phone

If anything can tell you what's up around here, it's my phone. I've become a real slacker with my actual camera lately. Most of the photos I've taken over the past couple of months have been on my phone (I'm completely to blame for this one- I've misplaced both of my lens covers here in the house and won't take my camera anywhere without them... it's probably time to just order replacements).

I plugged my phone in this morning and uploaded a few photos. I thought I'd use them to do a quick recap of what we have been doing with ourselves the last month or so.

As usual, life has been busy. With actual work hours and preschool prep, I am working around 60 hours a week, teaching piano, trying to work through my 2014 Bucket List, loving Harper, attempting to spend quality time with Colt, reading, and trying to keep my house in at least a moderate state of order. It's pretty tiring some days, especially lately. I had a yucky case of the flu last week and am dealing with a sinus infection this week. Most days, I go to bed feeling like I've failed myself, Harper, Colt, and the dogs all in one swoop. My to-do list always has way more on it than I can possibly do in one day and my mind goes a hundred miles an hour at all times (about big things and little things and everything in between), but I'm staying afloat. I'm just taking things day by day and trying to be consistent. I figure that consistency is about all I can ask of myself. If I'm constantly trying to be better, then eventually I'll meet my goal, right?

I can't really complain since I'm the one who chooses to take on so much. I definitely like a full plate and would much rather be really busy than really bored.

Anyway, here is a little taste of what has been happening around here, at least according to my phone. These photos are unedited and unorganized and they certainly don't give a complete recap, but they are more than nothing, I guess. One of my goals is to be a more consistent blogger and I'm considering this random bunch of pics to be something of a start.

I guess I'll start with me.

I'm trying to grow out my hair again. Cutting it was pretty impulsive and I almost with I hadn't, mostly because short hair can't be faked. I have to style it pretty much every day, which has been a hassle. I'm back to lots of olive oil treatments, biotin supplements, and trying to avoid heat styling as much as possible. I'm also going a bit lighter. Whitney, my stylist, has been doing it in small phases so that we can keep my hair as healthy as possible.

The piano is one of the reasons that I've begrudged my short hair. I would much rather be at the piano than in my bathroom wrestling with my blowdryer and round brush. I've been spending as much time as possible at the piano this year and it's been amazing. The piano is just home base for me. It's where I can reset a bad mood, work through any frustrations I'm having, or think through important things. The piano is where I find my center and I'm so grateful that Harper and Colt are willing to give me a couple of hours to practice each night, even if it means they are on their own for dinner. I think that they have both come to understand that the piano is a necessity for me. Music is essential to my happiness and my happiness is pretty much essential to theirs, which makes them willing to listen to a little Brahms or Debussy each evening. 

More times than not, Harper is with me when I'm at the piano. She draws or plays on the computer while I practice. We both love this time and we both do some of our best work when we are together in my office.

This week, Harper will be starting her own piano lessons. I am going to be her first teacher. If she takes to my piano lessons as well as she has taken to my preschool lessons, we should be just fine. If not, I have no problem finding her another teacher. In this house, piano lessons are not optional. I expect Harper, and any other children that we may have, to learn to play and to finish an entire set of level books. I don't expect her to become a professional but I do expect her to become a competent and confident pianist. I know that the road won't be an easy one, but I'm in it for the long haul. Too many people have told me that they wish they'd stuck with the piano and there are just too many benefits that come with piano lessons for me to let Harper make the decision. I know that she will thank me one day and am willing to put up with a little (or more likely, a lot) of complaining between now and then. Her first set of books came last week and she and I are both looking forward to starting lessons. 

When I'm not working, practicing, or spending time with Harper, I'm usually trying to catch up on yoga, sleep, or the news. I'm also looking forward to warm weather. We have had some really nice days this spring and I'm excited for more of them. I'm really looking forward to hiking season. I've been once this year and it was equal parts fun and tough.

Harper is also ready for sunnier days. She is bursting at the seams with the energy of spring fever. We have done a few zoo and park visits this year and can't wait for more outside fun. 

Harper loves preschool and is super proud of everything that she is learning. She knows 31 sight words and is getting really good at handwriting. She still loves to color and draw. We recently set up a desk just for her in my office. She spends a lot of time at it and is always drawing me pictures. Here are two of my recent favorites. The first one is a "happy unicorn" and the second is me. I love that she included my giant purse and my bow tie ballet flats. She obviously knows her mama well.

And here is an iPad drawing that she did for Colt. His birthday is coming up so she drew him a cake. She is pretty proud of the fact that she can spell both of our names. 

Harper and her little friend Paityn went to Disney on Ice last month. They had a great time together and loved seeing all of their favorite princesses.
It was a little sad for me that the girls didn't want to wear princess dresses this time around. They opted to go looking like a couple of pre-teens instead. 

Harper recently learned how to crack an egg without making a mess or breaking off pieces of the shell. She did three in a row when we made St. Patrick's Day cupcakes and was really quite proud of herself. 

Harper loves (times at least a million) her baby cousin, Pierce. She calls him her "little man" and she loves to help take care of him when he is here. I can't say that I blame her. The little guy is ridiculously cute and one of the most lovable little people that I've ever met.


She also has a new favorite book. If you know Harper, you know that a book that combines something creepy with something really girly is perfect for her. She loves to read this together and wants to be a zombie ballerina for Halloween this year.

We had a fun St. Patrick's Day party with the daycare/preschool. The amount of cuteness that happened at my house that day was almost unbelievable.

A couple of weeks ago, Harper asked if she could get a haircut. She wanted it "to her shoulders" so I took her in and let Whitney do her magic. Harps and I both love her new look because it's easier to wash and comb. I also think she looks adorable- the shorter hair just fits her.  

Well goodness. That is probably enough for one post. Hopefully I'll be a better photographer AND blogger going forward. I really need to because I like this as a way of recording the little and big things that happen in our lives. I just sometimes feel like there isn't any point to blogging. I rarely get comments and never know who is even reading my posts. If you're here and you like (or don't like) what I'm posting, do me a favor and let me know. I've never been very good at responding to comments but it's definitely something I can work on. Maybe if I feel like someone other than me cares whether I blog or not, I'll actually be motivated to log in and post more than once a month. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Currently

Loving: Valentine season. Celebrating my favorite holiday with Harper and her little preschool pals was really fun. They exchanged Valentine treats on Thursday, and then on Friday, Harper hosted a "fancy" tea party with her friends. We gave her a new tea set the night before (her other one broke a while back and she was devastated... believe me, it was REALLY hard to wait over a month to give her the new one) and read some new tea party books. She was really excited for her party and had the hardest time falling asleep. She loves playing hostess.
Colt and I don't do the traditional Valentine's Day chocolates (I do love chocolate but am on 100 days without sugar right now) or flowers. We exchange gifts that are a bit more practical. Actually, we don't really even exchange gifts. He buys something for himself and I treat myself to something that I've been wanting or needing and then we have fun celebrating with, and spoiling, Harper. I "gave" him some hunting boots and he "gave" me some new things for the house (the rug that you see in the photo above and a lovely new chair for my office). I'm just not the romantic sort, I guess. A pretty teal blue chair makes me so much happier, and satisfies my practical side at the same time, than flowers. 
This chair, which was a TJ Maxx find, didn't cost much more than a bouquet of flowers from the florist that Colt usually uses. I figure the few extra bucks were worth it since it will last much longer than a dozen roses. I'm in love with it and the fact that it works as an office chair but can also be moved out to the living room for extra seating when we have people over. 

Reading
I thought it would be fun to read my favorite love story for Valentine's Day. I was right.

Listening to: lots of Brahms and Schumann. I wanted to study one composer each month this year. Last month, it was Brahms and this month, it's Schumann (studying the two of them consecutively seemed appropriate since they were friends during their lifetimes). 

Thinking about: summer! I can't wait for warmer weather. Neither can Harper. She got a new swimming suit last week and has worn it almost daily ever since. We need to get her signed up for some swimming lessons!

Working on: ice skating. Harper has LOVED her lessons. She has really taken to ice skating and is already attempting various twirls and tricks. We've been going twice a week to practice. This week is her last lesson for a few weeks and I must say that after six weeks of skating several hours a week, I'm getting pretty steady on the ice myself. I love taking her. We have a lot of fun skating together.

Looking forward to: school. Crazy? Not to me. I love school and could probably be a perpetual student for the rest of my life. I'm starting this summer and can't wait. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our Third Anniversary

Today is my anniversary. Colt and I have been married for three years.

I wish I could say that the road has been smooth and that every day has felt like a fairy tale in which we are living happily ever after with all troubles and worries far behind us, but I can't.

If you're married, you know what I'm talking about. You know how it is.

No marriage is easy, especially when it's one between two people as stubborn and spoiled as Colt and me. No marriage is without its challenges and Colt and I are most certainly not the exception to that rule. Still, we are both here, as committed, if not more so, than we were three years ago when we stood together in a courthouse, tying our lives together, for better or worse. We have been through some pretty intense, nearly heartbreaking, things together, and since saying 'I do' in 2011, we have truly worked (and worked hard, mind you) through our differences. There have been days when it felt like we would never see eye to eye about some things. There have been days when I've felt hopeless. There have been days when I wanted to throw in the towel. There have been days when I pictured myself as a single parent.

But, thankfully, those days have been few and far between and have truly paled in comparison with the good days- the days of fun and laughter, of growth and learning. Colt and I have come so far together. We have learned so much. We have learned how to argue without hating each other at the end of it. We have learned how to turn to one another instead of the other friends/family in our lives. We have learned how to love one another, despite all quirks and shortcomings. We have learned how to laugh over the little things instead of turning them into big things. We have learned how to show love and respect for one another. It's been a challenging road, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. Our challenges have made us better. Our challenges have made us stronger. I am so proud of us and the marriage that we worked to have.

I know that we haven't seen all of the hard times or faced all of the challenges that are in store for us, but I believe that the things that we have taught one another over the past few years have prepared us for almost anything. They have made us strong and have stood as proof to both of us that this is where we want to be.

In honor of our special day, here are a few of my favorite photos from our wedding day. I'm hoping to get a couple of photos tonight so that you can see how much we have changed (or in other words, how much Colt's beard has grown) over the past three years.




We celebrated our anniversary last weekend with a getaway to Park City. Someone gave us a weekend at Westgate Resort and it was wonderful. Tonight, we took it pretty easy with dinner and a movie, which was perfect since dinner and a movie is one of our favorite things to do.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Not as Big as She Seems

Sometimes it seems like Harper is about as grown up as a four year old can be. She writes words, ice skates by herself (we went on Sunday and she was so much better than the first time- she skated by herself and even tried a few tricks), has her ears pierced, and watches all of those insanely annoying Disney tween shows (Jessie, Austin and Ally, and Dog with a Blog are her favorites).

But then something like this happens and suddenly, she isn't quite as big as she seems to be.
I hope that she will never be too big for her Scout.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas 2013

We had a really busy holiday season that left me feeling stretched kind of thin. I usually take my camera to every party/event but this year, I kept forgetting it. I did manage to get photos from a few of our holiday activities...


Harper is still in love with Pierce, her "baby cousin." I'm pretty sure you can see why. The little man is adorable beyond words. 


On Christmas Eve, we took Harper out to sushi (her favorite- she is crazy about miso soup) and ice skating. She'd never been before and did really well for her first time. She was really nervous at first and insisted on holding onto both of us, but by the end, she was comfortable going with just me (which works better since Colt is so tall that he was basically dragging both of us behind him) and even tried a couple of "tricks." She is taking lessons a little later this month and can't wait. Ever since we went to Disney on Ice, she has been obsessed with ice skating.

Santa brought Harper a dollhouse (heaven knows that the thirty-something princesses/Barbies she has need somewhere to live), a mirror for her room, some clothes, and a few other fun things. It's hard for me to hold back when shopping for Harper but I try to keep it simple, especially considering how many presents she gets from everyone else in her life.

You think she is happy about a new toothbrush? You should have seen her face when she saw that Santa brought her some pink towels. She has been wanting pink bath towels for a while now and was probably more excited about receiving those than anything else.


Slowly, but surely, Harper's bangs are growing out. I don't even notice how short they are anymore. They have kind of grown on me. I actually think they are kind of cute now. 

Harper, Julie (Harper's doll), Emma, and Tiffany (Emma's doll) have been having fun together since Christmas. The four of them even went on a little lunch/shopping date earlier this week. The girls and I took Julie and Tif (as I like to call her) to Target for some new duds. I may or may not have treated myself to a few things as well. If you saw the sales at Target this week, you know that you can't blame me for that. I'm a sucker for 50% off!

A few days after Christmas, we took Trax downtown to see the lights and have dinner at City Creek. Harper had a great time. She liked the lights but the train ride and the escalators at City Creek were definitely the highlight of the night for her.

Notice her new earrings? She is so proud of them and can't wait for six weeks to pass so that she can get some ice skate earrings. 





That is just about it for our holiday season. It was a good one. Harper made sure to make every part of it fun and magical and Colt and I enjoyed spending some quality time together. The three of us spent New Year's Eve at home, watching movies and making cookies, and I didn't take even one photo. You'll just have to take my word for it that we had a good time. :)