Monday, May 31, 2010

memorial day

Well, have you seen it yet?

The Pioneer Woman posted photographs to commemorate Memorial Day. They left me crying and thanking God that we live in a country with such bravery. As we watched footage of soldiers' graves last night, my friend Drew said to me and Brian, "when some of the European countries stick their noses up at us, I just want to say, 'where would you even be without us?'" This day makes me proud, and I need to work on being a little bit more thankful for our country.

If you haven't seen the pictures, go check them out here. She also posted some on her main "confessions" page here.

Happy and Thankful Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

down on the farm

Harper and I love the local farm-especially since Spring. All of the momma animals had babies and it is an adventure each time we visit. We've been going once or twice a week since about April so that she could play on the playground and see the animals. What a blessing that right when the weather gets nice, all of the animals have their babies. I know it is mother nature taking care of the young, but wow, how wonderful that we get to take advantage of the weather and enjoy the baby animals at the same time.

We always start at the playground, and then Harper sees the barn and pens makes a run for it! Towards the animals!

I would take a picture of that, but I'm racing to catch and hold her hand so she doesn't spill on the paved path to the goats. She gets to the goats, in lightning speed, and waits for them...they arrive and there's instant glee
for both parties...then the goat makes a quick bleat (any other suggestions on the sound? because I can't decide what to tell her with the goat-they really sound like sheep) the goat bleats in its sheer joy to see Harper (or maybe it wants food), and the next thing I know (too well)
I have an instant third leg that I end up carrying around the rest of the time. She cracks me up, but I guess it is a little scary because the animals are pretty loud and foreign all at the same time.
That's okay. I don't mind holding her :)

So we move on to the barn with the sheep, lambs, pig, and piglets. They're all so cute, but Harper holds on to dear life as she cranes her neck to look over the stalls. She enjoys every visit, and I have to say it is the highlight of my week.
These piglets are 8 of 11 born in March. We saw them when they were days old and they're getting so big now and leaving the farm to new owners. They are some of my favorite animals.

The sheep are my second favorite. They delivered several lambs this Spring and it is so cute to watch them take care of the young. You can look out into stalls or into the fields and tell who's is who's. Look how the babies follow their mother.

Of course, Harper's my favorite part. We are having such a great time growing together.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

sunny days...

We've been busy lately-between moving in, appointments, and listing the other house, I've had my hands full. I have a hard time letting things just sit undone, so I've been going and going to get them un-undone. I'm also trying to enjoy this early summer weather with Harper. I don't have any appointments tomorrow (whoo hoo!), so I'm going to really get some cleaning and more planting done tomorrow.

Last week we went to the zoo with Harper's best friend, Sunny, and they had a blast. They were both so good up until the end when it was getting a little too crowded. Talk about a MILLION kids. It was the first nice day in a while and I think every school's rain date must have been that day.
This is Harper's official zoo outfit. There's an elephant shirt and a giraffe skirt. Not to mention the grass hat.
We've also been doing some fun lunch dates and the girls are so good when we go out to eat. Two peas in a pod, really. One of these days, I am going to order something from that case behind them. Too tempting, really.

Harper's just chillin' in her high chair.

We also got to go see the Blue Angels fly this year at a great home on the water. They fly each year for the Naval Academy graduation, and I think it is so cool (nerd alert). We went last year with her when she was 3 mos. old and had to stay in the shade most of the time and then in the house when the planes flew-because they are quite loud and flew right over us. This year, she had ear plugs and loved every minute of the Blue Angels. Every so often she'd get a little bit nervous and cling tight, but for the most part she'd sit or stand and point the airplanes. Every time she hears an airplane, by the way, she does that, so she was well-rehearsed.

I found this little outfit for $4 at a Wee Consignment Sale. This is a local organization, and totally worth visiting if you live around here. There are tons of gently-used kid and baby items. They even have a "boutique" area with adorable smocked dresses and jumpers. She can wear this a bunch this summer.

Our view was spectacular. There's the naval academy cathedral in the background and the Severn River out to the Chesapeake Bay in front of that. Can you imagine waking up to that every morning?!
After all of that fun in the sun, and a whole tube of sunscreen, we were tired! I know, it is hard work.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Can you see what was playing in my delivery room when Harper was born?

We checked in on a Wednesday night and that's when Lost came on during the 2009 winter season. Brian and I have watched it since the beginning, and I've always thought they were in some kind of purgatory. The final episode is in a few minutes-kind of bitter sweet. I can't wait to have some answers, though.

Do you watch Lost? What do you think will happen?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Annapolis-the prettiest and most romantic town in America

Show us your life-your town!

So, this year Annapolis became the most Romantic Town in America. In Forbes it was ranked as one of "The Prettiest Towns in America and called, "perhaps the East's most romantic town." Brian and I love it here in Annapolis, and here's why.

The water! There's water water everywhere, making Annapolis the sailing capital of the world. We haven't purchased a boat (waiting on the family to get a little bigger), but there are water priviledges everywhere here.
Just last night, I went out on a friend's boat down the Magothy River, out to the bay, and picked up some friends at our famous Cantler's restaurant. Which brings me to #2...
Seafood! Oh, I love some great seafood and can get it anytime here. We have fresh seafood markets galore and nearly every restaurant boasts its crabcakes as the best. I love crabcakes, steamed crabs, and yum yum cream of crab soup (go check out the Seafood at Carrol's Creek, my favorite Annapolis restaurant located on the water in Eastport/downtown Annapolis). Which brings me to #3...

Historic Downtown Annapolis! When Brian and I first visited here, we thought we'd traveled back to the 17th century. Downtown Annapolis is on the water and has all kinds of specialty shops and restaurants. You could spend a couple of days there, seeing the oldest original state capital building in the country, going to little boutiques, visiting the Naval Academy Cathedral, doing some pottery painting or pottery buying, and eating ice cream down on the waterfront. There are several historic inns, including the Maryland Inn, where George Washington reportedly stayed. We love downtown Annapolis. So quaint.
Location location location! We're technically "the South," but us Tennessee folks think this is the North. Anyway, we are in a great location-DC is only 30 minutes, New York is only 3 hours, the water is EVERYWHERE, and skiing is about 3 hours. Brian and I love to go up to Baltimore, just 30 minutes away, and see the O's play at Camden Yards.
We get all 4 distinct seasons (hello, blizzards, and hello allergies!), but they usually aren't sooo intense as you would find in other corners of the US.
Us hiking in the mountains

Annapolis is right here next to everything, but has that hometown feeling to it.

I love Annapolis, and I hope you'll come visit! What do you love about your town? Brian and I love to travel, so who knows...

In other news... look who's in a new front-facing carseat!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

365 day fashionista for kids

Have you seen this video? I love looking at fashion and this gave me chills the whole way through. You may have to watch it a few times to read everything and see all of the outfits. Turn up the sound and have fun!

Uniform Project Picture Book from The Uniform Project on Vimeo.

grandparents galore

Yep, grandparents can wear stuff like this and still be really cool. Go figure.

Harper and I just got back from a week with the grandparents-both hers and mine. We had a great time and I think, no I KNOW that she was spoiled rotten.

First, we flew to Memphis on a little plane. She was wonderful, despite an ear infection. Then we spent the evening with my parents and she was a little angel for us. She did get her first boo-boo ever by scraping her knee on the ground. She didn't cry though, but rather got up and kept running around. When I was little, I always had bumps and boo-boos on my knees.

The next day, we took her over to her Mimi and Pop's so that she could get adjusted to staying the night with them by herself. She had a blast playing with her toys. There were only a couple of things for her to choose from, and I think she got a little bored.


Harper was in heaven! She gobbled up that love. She then spent the next 4 days away from her mommy and daddy and apparently didn't cry one time. Ha! Maybe Mimi and Pop should move up here and help me out with that one because Harper has definitely entered Toddlerhood and is quickly mastering the art of temper tantrums. I only got sad one time when I was away from her-and that was on Mother's Day so I'm allowed.

I went on with my parents and sister to travel down to Texas. We took the RV and drove 12 hours to visit them. The drive went by so quickly and we all had a great time catching up and listening to old soundtracks that we used to enjoy on road trips. I haven't been on a road trip like that in a long time and it was so much fun.

We got into Texas and spent the long weekend with my grandparents. We went furniture shopping and helped my grandma get settled into her new place.
How about this one with the boa?

We spent a lot of time at the nursing home with my grandpa and let me tell you a little something about it. If you've been avoiding visiting someone in the nursing home because you're scared of what it will be like-don't avoid it and don't be scared. I was seriously just prepared for the worst (cause somehow that is my coping mechanism) and I was so happy when I walked in to see him. The home was clean, bright, and open. We had a nice time visiting with him and I was so relieved to hear him joking around and giving us all a hard time. We even brought him home on Sunday for some fried chicken. My grandmother goes there every day for most of the day and takes great care of him. That's love.

I looked around the nursing home at one point and thought about what all of these people (mostly women) were once like. I have a whole new outlook on the elderly and on nursing homes. For example, some of the women were dressed in the nicest outfits. One lady stood clutching her purse and looking at passersby and I could just picture her going out with her friends carrying her favorite handbag-kind of like me now!

My grandmother breezed through there like it was her home-saying "hi" to all of the staff and going to visit some of the other residents. I had the best time hanging out with her again. We all went to a Japanese steak house one night and had a good time relaxing together.
We loaded up the RV and headed back to Memphis. When we got there, of course Harper just kind of looked at me like, "who are you?" or "oh, were you gone?" Ha! Needless to say she and I both had a great time with our grandparents.

Monday, May 17, 2010


My kid is the one in the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin-you know, the kid with the bucket on her head that keeps walking into the wall. We put Mark's hat on her and she just stood there for 5 minutes with it on, looking through the mesh.

Harper's new favorite word is "uh oh." She wakes up, throws her pacifier out of the crib and "uh oh." She comes down for breakfast, throws cheerios on the floor and "uh oh." She goes upstairs to pick out an outfit, throws shirts out of the dresser and "uh oh." You get the drift. She says it all of the time and it is so cute. The "oh" part is the best. HA! This just happened overnight. Here she is throwing her cheese on the ground so that she can say it. She didn't eat a bit of her lunch today.
We had a nice day-more unpacking and I swept and mopped all of the hardwood in the house. It took me 45 minutes, but I don't think I'll have to do it that often. We did our usual grocery shopping and there were TONS of babies at the store this morning. We usually go by the deli for meats and cheeses and Harper gets to taste. She's a ham herself. Then we tried for a walk and that was a disaster. It started raining on us and then the dog down the street wanted to mate with my shy dog Georgia. Not fun. We played and played in the new play room and then Sunny and Alec came over to visit for a couple of hours.

Harper had her last bottle forever last night and we're trying bedtime without one for the first time. At one year, we dropped all but the bedtime bottle-just because she's so little. She does great going down for naps without a bottle, so here's hoping. She's been asleep for a couple of hours and went to sleep without a peep. I'm sure it will be fine. I thought I'd be a little sad, but I'm getting used to all of these changes. But then again, am I fine if I actually took a picture of it last night?
We also took down the changing table because it was starting to get a little dangerous. She's just too big and squirmy for it now. AND we turned her around in the carseat. She looked pretty uncomfortable in the 30 lb. bucket, and she seems happy facing forward.

Miss Harper loves learning to feed herself with a spoon. I always let her have the last of the yogurt each day. She gets so proud of herself.

I promise she has other shirts besides the Wonder Woman shirt! I know it keeps popping up. Anyway, she's doing well with the spoon, and can even do it with no hands!
She's growing up so fast! People say that, but I never really got it until now. Here she is just a year ago today.
Harper Rose, you're 15 months old, and sweeter than ever. We love you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An English Teacher's Favorite Books (if that is possible)

the impossible question
As a (former?) English teacher, I hear "What is your favorite book?" quite often! Um, that's sort of impossible for me. This Friday's "Show Us Your Life" poses that same question, so I'll try.

I'd love to hear about your favorite book. Maybe you could tell me a classic you love and then maybe something you're reading now. Ooh! And tell me of a book that was supposed to be good and turned out kind of blah.

My love for books I think started kind of young-right before high school. I read Kaye Gibbons every time she published something, starting with Ellen Foster. Then, once I became a freshman in high school, I spent a lot of time in the library after track practice waiting for my dad or mom to pick me up. After that, I went on to become an English major and teacher. I still read frequently on my own and try to keep up to date. My taste is, in my opinion, sophisticated.

I just don't waste time with fluffy or mushy books (for lack of a better word), and I wouldn't waste yours in suggesting these. So, here are some of my favorite books, in no particular order (because that would kill me).

  • Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. Oh my goodness, this is UNBELIEVABLY GENIUS. He writes about the connection of generations from the 18th century to present. This witty, heartfelt, and creative novel/memoir/historical account made me stop every 25 pages or so just to digest. READ IT.

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. You've probably heard of The Kite Runner. Hosseini moved me with both of these novels, but if I had to pick one, I'd choose Suns. Wow! They aren't connected in any way, other than the fact that Suns picks up in Afghan history where Kite Runner left off (kind of). But, don't think this is just about Afghanistan. Hosseini is not trying to educate you about Afghan culture. He's simply (and really, it isn't so simple) telling a beautiful story about women, friendship, and grace. READ IT.

  • Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. I'm finishing his 3rd book now, and I am just dying to meet Mr. McCourt. I'm going to look him up because he lives right up near here in Connecticut. Once you read Angela's Ashes, the memoir of a young McCourt growing up in a 1930's and 40's impoverished Irish family, you will truly fall in love with his character and ability to find light, and sometimes humor, in tragic circumstances. He wants so badly to love his father but...READ IT.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I just love the story every time I read it. It is a fast read, and I'm just dying to know how all of the characters grew up. If you don't know anything about it-READ IT. Good grief, what are you waiting for?

  • Shakespeare's tragedies and histories. Yeah, I know you're groaning and probably rolling your eyes at me about this one. BUT, sit down when you can read a Shakespearean play in ONE SITTING so you'll get used to 'that language.' He's absolutely my favorite writer of all time, and there's a reason why he's so famous. To help you out, read a brief summary of the play before you read it-he intended for his audiences to already know the story line so that they could focus more on his interpretation. Try Othello or Hamlet. Then read Richard III. If you want, sit down with the play in one hand while you watch it on film. He allows the reader to weave in and out of a story and always, always, puts a spin on our everyday assumptions about life. Just give it a shot. Then tell me what you thought. Please?

  • The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Whoo! Get through the first 60 pages and then watch out! The whole book, I just kept looking at the cover and looking at the cover, imagining what this could be like. What an adventure!

  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I read this 10 years ago when I was in California. This is for the nature lover and for those who appreciate Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman. The hero, Christopher McCandless, sure did.
Other great authors I like: crazy ol' William Faulkner, Dickens, Poe, David Sedaris, Kaye Gibbons, and more.

Recent flop book-The Art of Racing in the Rain. This was predictable and cheesy. Sorry, it was.

My next read-Crime and Punishment

Do you have a good book to recommend? Please share in my comments.

And hop on over to Kelly's Korner to read (ha) about more by clicking on the link below

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

Flying with child in lap

Harper is 15 months old and has flown 6 times! Oh my goodness, that's insane. What is really insane is that I've flown 7 times in the past 15 months (once without her, obviously). So, Harper and I are old pros at flying with "child in lap" ("in lap" now makes me laugh). I have a bunch of things to share about our recent trip, but those will be coming at you when I find my camera adaptor here among the boxes. Yep, we've moved and I'm currently unpacking all of the fun.

So, here are my tips for flying with a child under two.

1. You don't have to purchase a ticket for the child until he/she is two years old. Get a window seat, and preferably one at the front or back of the plane.
2. Preparations-Pack one big bag with the following:
  • Your wallet and a small makeup bag with your own items (gum, lipstick, brush, phone). Your purse is really not necessary, so stick it in your suitcase for now.
  • Medicines-ibuprofen (in case of ear troubles). Benadryl (in case of emergency allergic reaction) Remember the medicine dropper for these.
  • Diapers-pack 4 or 5-changing pad, and wipes. You never know how long you may be on the plane.
  • Jacket with hood-for a cold plane and to block overhead lamp from neighbor.
  • Dry finger foods.
  • (Emergency) jarred food and spoon.
  • Antibac wipes, like Wet Ones. Use these to wipe down the seat before you get in it.
  • A new toy that you tested once. Keep the baby engaged with a new toy that you know he/she will love.
  • Drinks. Yes, they'll let you bring any liquid through security. They have to just give it a vapor test that takes a couple of minutes at the most. So, you could bring a sippy cup with water, milk or juice if you want.
  • Bottles. Bring two bottles on the plane with you-one for takeoff and one for landing. Stop by Starbucks on your way to the gate and fill your bottle (or thermos) with hot water. The water is steaming hot, but by the time you're on the plane it cools off enough for takeoff. SOME PLANES DO NOT HAVE HOT WATER. I learned this the hard way.
  • Security item. Being on a plane full of people can be scary, so a security item may be nice.
3. Keep your normal routine the day of the flight.
4. Arrive early and ask for a seat with an empty space next to it. Show them your cute baby for leverage.
5. A car seat and base ride free. You can send your car seat and base through baggage with no fee. This goes for a stroller too, but I prefer to take the stroller through the airport. The baby bjorn is nice, but what if you have a delay? The stroller provides a safe place for the baby.
6. Check your stroller at the plane.
7. Board the plane early. I used to wait until the last minute, thinking that Harper needed as much time off of the plane as possible. But, then I tried the reverse and love it. We get on the plane, get situated, and it isn't so overwhelming because the plane fills slowly for her. Plus, and this is a BIG one, you can talk to the flight attendant while she's not busy and ask if there's a free seat for your baby anywhere.
8. Give the baby something to eat or drink during takeoff and landing. You can also use these little ear plugs for kids. They actually worked for Harper.
9. Harper loves SkyMall-give it a shot.
10. Keep a positive attitude. I've just had to let go and pretend like "it's an adventure." This really made a difference last time and Harper had a lot of fun. We sang songs, read books, looked out the window, and really had fun.

4 out of 6 times have gone so smoothly for Harper. The two bad times were when she had ear infections and no ibuprofen (learned that lesson). Every other time, we had everyone oohing and ahhing over how good she was. I wish I could brag on Harper, but it really is just about being prepared and happy. She is a WILD little girl, but really did great on our trips.

I'll be back later to upload photos from our trip-some like this iphone shot