can you hear me now, mommy?


i would like a pat on the back and maybe a few rounds of “for she’s a jolly good fellow”, please.
recently i have been awarded a new role within my mommying career: interpreter.

as the one who is with harper the most, i have the unique and impressive ability to understand everything she says. when she says “daw”, i know she wants to go sit at her art table and “draw”. when she says “moke” i know she would like some milk, please. when she barks at me like a pomeranian, i know she is telling me she would like “up” in my arms. this is usually how it goes – she tells me what she wants and i respond, knowing exactly what she means.
most of the time.

then there are times when i cannot for the life of me understand my own child. in very rare moments, i have a hard time trying to figure out what she is trying to get across. there are instances when i am staring at her saying the words and searching every inch of my brain trying to guess what she is saying, and still i come up with nothing.

poor kid. it must be hard being a toddler.
you are saying, very plainly and in english forcryingoutloud, what you want and your dolt parents don’t know what you are saying. but my wee one is a compassionate helper by nature. a lot of times she will say “mommy…read…book” and she’ll nod with the last word, almost to ask “ya get it?”

but there needs to be credit given where credit is due. the kid is a talker. and a good one at that. (’bout to get braggy, get ready.)
i’ll be in the kitchen and she will want me to come over and sit with her at her art/chalkboard table, so she will say “mama… daw… dausfin (dolphin).” poor kid has not come to understand yet that her mom has no talent in the drawing department. so she settled for a moon and stars – i can rock that with some chalk. (a dolphin is her favorite thing in the world right now, thanks to her grandma & poppa todd. they gave her a stuffed dolphin and a book with pictures of dolphins jumping in the ocean for christmas. she brings this book to me about 49 times a day saying, “mama… read… dausfin” with lots of dramatic nodding.)

i think she is leaps and bounds ahead of where i thought she’d be by now. she enunciates so well and knows so many words and actions. we’ll be eating breakfast together, sharing cinnamon toast and she’ll say “hahpuh… tose (NODS and points)… mama… tose (NODS vigorously).” or, when i take hurley to go to outside, she’ll point and say, “huh-ee… go… ahsside.” she is putting words together like that (and has been for about 3 weeks) that i had no clue a kid of her almost-20-months could achieve. i have read a few different places that kiddos don’t usually reach this milestone of putting words together until they are 2. YEAH GIRL!

she is so smart and so observant.

geoff says it’s because she’s a girl and that girls have A LOT to say in one day.
she’s just getting started early.


(side note: if you want to see a HILarious video about all that girls say, please watch this. if you are a girl or you know one, you’ll appreciate it. and then watch the second one. you’ll thank me.)

Posted in harper, mommy moment | Leave a comment

handerpants, a milk guitar, & santa the terrorist

ah, christmas.
it’s a time of family togetherness, sheer insanity at the mall and babies tearfully wondering why their parents are placing them on the lap of a fat, bearded stranger.

i mean, it is kind of cruel. but we do it because it’s a tradition. all kids have to do it. it’s a must. and as a parent you just follow along, assuming that their time has come and hey, it’ll be fun!

when you really think about it, don’t you feel bad for kids?
well, if not, you will when you see our santa picture.

we did it too. we took miss harper to the mall on christmas eve and waited in line so that we could introduce her to the wonderful, magic toy maker of the holiday, whom all kids love. or should love.
harper had NO LOVE.

after the compassion i felt for my child, i really felt bad for sweet santa. i mean, he was really trying and all day (i bet) he’s had to deal with little humans under 4 feet tall hating him for no reason. but he took it well. he was even willing to try a different position so that harper would stop crying.


once he was out of sight, she calmed down a little bit.
but it wasn’t until we left the mall that she returned to her normal countenance.
poor girl. evil parents.

for the rest of the day (and the rest of the holiday), my dad/bud referred to the bearded stranger as “santa the terrorist.”

that night, we went to the candlelight service at my home church. i am never lost on the wonder and beauty once everyone has their candle lit and you look around the room at all of the light and joy on everyone’s faces. it is truly one of my favorite moments every year at christmas. (i loved this moment from last year, harper’s first christmas eve candlelight service.)


that night was more of a christmas eve eve for us. my brother and sarah kate would be flying in from california the next day (from visiting her family), so we were going to treat the 25th like the 24th, in order to celebrate “christmas morning” with them. i mean, who would want to miss harper’s reactions and giddiness with all of the presents on christmas morn?

the next morning (our christmas eve) at breakfast, harper was walking around with her milk and spilled it down her shirt.
i know you’re thinking, WOW linds, you really write posts that keep me on the edge of my seat. but no, really. this is notable.
check it out:

pretty crazy huh? the milk she spilled was in the exact shape of a guitar. electric, if you ask me. (it kind of reminds me of strange things that happen to my brother sometimes.)
see? i knew you’d want to see that one.

that afternoon, we went and picked up reed & sarah kate from the airport, then the fun really began. it was “christmas eve”!

and then it was “christmas morning”…



in our house, a tradition on christmas morning has always been the picture taken as the kids come up the stairs (remember last year?). but of course, this year, the far-and-away-cutest picture was of harper coming up the stairs.

she was so cute when she finally made it up.
she looked around, saw everyone and smiled so big.


then she was so curious and interested in all that was there, just checking it all out. she saw her chair that my parents got her and was not too sure about it at first.


then when she sat in it, her hair got caught on the back and i was afraid she’d never go near the thing again. she eventually warmed up to it.
naturally… i mean what girl wouldn’t? it’s shearling, darling!

then she saw the bowl full of all the oranges from the adult stockings. drawn like a moth to a flame… (oranges = her fave)

stocking time!

there was a book in her stocking, so she handed it to bud and then “backed it up” – as we like to say – into his lap to read it. maybe 7 or 8 times that morning. (yes, bud is wearing a tattoo sleeve. we all got them in our stockings. finally, me = cool)


after a quick wardrobe change, there was a lot more opening of presents for the little lady. she really enjoyed it – i wasn’t sure she would really get into it, but she loved tearing the paper and opening boxes.

then more book reading with bud…

toy discovering with aunt kate…
more reading (her new peter rabbit book from uncle reed & aunt kate)…


helping bud open one of his presents…


obviously after a rather large breakfast…

while us girls were in the kitchen making christmas dinner, the men were just standing around in the kitchen, not making themselves useful. so i punished them by making them pose for a picture.

they loved it.



at christmas dinner, we have another tradition called table gifts. each year, we all get one gift and there is usually a theme. one year it was games, another year it was alma mater t-shirts. this year it was gloves. and boy was i glad because this texas girl can never have enough armor to take me through missouri winters!
so, i got some super cute gloves with a flap (technically called smoker’s gloves) so that i can use my bare fingers for my fancy iphone and things of that nature. hey, i am a woman of the future.
the best part of table gifts this year was, you guessed it, handerpants.
yes, my dad really did receive these for a table gift.
yes, these are real things.
yes, you can buy these.
and yes, they are actually called handerpants.
he wore them around for the rest of the night.
even while he was drawing with his granddaughter at her new art table.


it was such a sweet christmas. and they are so much more fun these days with a little nugget running around, making precious noises and getting excited over presents.
i’ll leave you with my favorite shots from christmas this year, and big surprise, they were taken by the baby daddy. i think they sum up well the joy and cuteness that was going on at our house this christmas.



merry christmas and happy new year from texas, y’all!

Posted in austin, christmas, family trips, harper, my family, the chapmans, the grandparents | 3 Comments

holidays & a birthday in kansas

i thought i’d wait until it had been exactly one month since i last posted, but what the hey….
we had a lovely christmas. and new year’s. and i’d love to share it with you. but instead of talking, i thought i’d show you in pictures (and a video here & there) because i know that’s what you really want to see.

let’s start in kansas, with the todd family. there was a lot of this adorableness happening…

several times a day, harper would hand hannah a book and then proceed to back-that-thang-up into hannah’s lap. the girl loves her books, and they are even better when read by miss hannah.


in case you just aren’t sure, YES, there was a lot of cuteness that weekend.
also, harper still LOVES to be scared and hannah capitalized on this a lot. SO fun to watch.

our niece, amelia also had her first birthday party that weekend and there were lovely goodies made by my sister (in-law) sarah. she informed us that we each were designated 2 and only 2 cookies for the weekend (so that there were enough for the party – this was mostly directed towards my husband – and he had a reallllly hard time with this one. i think he tried to sneak some while sarah was sleeping.


she was straight up martha stewart for that party. well, she usually is when entertaining. great hostess, great ideas, great food. and i got to help!
if you have ever been around kids in your life, you know that watching kids open christmas presents is one of the best things about the holidays. harper’s grandma & poppa were so thoughtful and gracious with their gifts for her. they loved watching the joy on her face (or intense focus that she exhibits when getting a book). side note: best outfit/cutest thing harper got this year were these awesome moose PJs that you’ll see in the next christmas post. be on the lookout, they might make you faint from awesomeness.


we had such a great time with family that – as you can see – i didn’t take too many pictures. but i know you get the gist of the time we had.
it keeps getting funner and funner (i know, not a word, but i like it) to watch the 3 girls grow up together – watching them take care of each other, play together, love one another.
little girls are pretty rad.

Posted in christmas, family trips, hannah, harper, kansas, the todds | Leave a comment

the thoughtful gift giver

so harper has been doing some christmas shopping lately.
mainly, she has been trolling stylish & colorful magazines,
such as west elm, boden and j.crew.
the current issue of the cashmere & bridal genius (j.crew) has been
particularly helpful and interesting to little miss story as of late.
after her breakfast and morning sippy cup of almond milk, this is what she enjoys doing:

 

 

Posted in christmas, harper | 3 Comments

hanging on each moment


well, hey there.
it has been exactly one month since i have posted on my blog.
i feel guilty and neglectful, but i have (obviously) been pretty occupied elsewhere.
the last 31 days have been an almost accidental yet totally intentional sabbatical.

so what did i do during the month of november?
oh, just a little bit of everything.
aside from thanksgiving, we didn’t travel very much this past month. but each day was full, some days, over-full. days were packed with having friends over for chili and cider, movie nights and popcorn on the couch with my man, giggly bathtimes with the wombat, late nights researching and trying to be brilliant in my office and moments when i’ve caught myself almost desiring to waste time on facebook or pinterest.
i have been – blessedly – busy – like a crazy person –  with work. i am so grateful for the business i have been given, yet i am still figuring out being a wife and a mom and a designer and a cook and a housekeeper and a good friend and daughter and sister…
sometimes it can get a little overwhelming.

so i made a call last month.
to be present.
to be thankful.
to be a hard worker and make my business what i want it to be.
to take time sitting with my daughter on the kitchen floor “making soup” with bowls and measuring spoons.
to take 10 minutes to clean my kitchen and be grateful for the home we have, to take care of it.
to read books.
to make our family’s christmas list.
to take hurley outside and actually enjoy the crisp, bitingly-cold air that stiffens my bones.
to truly look at the stars and the moon when my daughter points them out.

with thanksgiving just past, and christmas coming sooner than i think i might realize, i am giving myself the freedom to let go.
let go of things that can wait a few more days, and appreciate the things that will pass to fast. things that i want to relish. and savor with each breath.
my precious, frustrating, adorable, goofy family.
friends that i shake my head at every day, amazed at the gift that they are to me.
a job that is in truth my dream job, but something that i need to take care of and have to work at to make great.
i have a saying on my bulletin board in my office that says “squeeze the day“, and i am focusing on doing just that.

happy late thanksgiving and merry early christmas, dear friends.

photo courtesy chookooloonks
Posted in random | 3 Comments

a big first in a girl’s life

while we were down in austin a few weeks ago, we took harper on a trip that i am sure she won’t ever forget.
it was a big first for the little lady, and is for any child of the female species. a moment in time, this early realization, where they fully understand why they were put on this earth…
my mom/yaya and i took harper to purchase and be fitted for her first pair of shoes!


after each one we tried on her, she had to walk all around in them
(smart girl!) to see how they felt i’m sure,
so this is what she looked like for most of our visit.


it was pretty hard to lure her back to try on the next pair,
but the girl helping us had the perfect idea
(i’m convinced she’s done this before)…








i think harper had almost as much fun as we did.
watching her in each new pair was pretty precious.
aaaand i think she knew it.

the lovely ladies at the nordstrom kids shoes department even took pictures for this “first” and gave them to us to take home as a souvenir.



Posted in austin, first, harper, The Mahm | 2 Comments

don’t fence her in


the last time we were in kansas with family, we had the privilege of attending our niece hannah’s soccer “game”. and i shouldn’t really even call it a “game” because it was a bunch of adorable 4 year olds decked out in their finest gear, pretty much practicing the game of soccer. and it was one of the cutest things i’d seen in a while (minus my daughter, of course). each time one of the kiddos did something good, she would more than likely find her parents in the crowd and wave her little heart out. hannah not excluded. she would kick a goal and immediately find one of us and wave excitedly, making sure we had just witnessed her most recent athletic achievement.

this outing, as chilly as it may have been, was a blast for harper. she had fields upon fields to roam.
ever since she figured out this walking thing, she loves to just roam about. i really think if i let her, she could walk for miles. i need to take her out to a football field and just see what she does.
she usually will find something interesting on the ground, like a rock or a fallen leaf that she’ll clutch tightly and then there she GOES. as i watched hannah with her mom and dad, my boo and his dad were having quite a time with the little lady, watching her discover and traipse around the soccer fields.



now i know that a lot of parents think their child is a genius, but seriously – early on – geoff and i realized that our little girl just might be as well.
from a young age, harper could play with a ball in her hands and simultaneously play with a second ball with her feet.
NO i am not kidding.
so she’s pretty much the next mia hamm, right? i’ve already started applying for scholarships, don’t worry.
the men were out helping her hone her skills that day.
she walked hard. she trained hard.
so they let her rest. and she was cute doing it.
Posted in harper, kansas, the todds | Leave a comment