Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Incredible Two

My amazing, beautiful Harper~

You are now two years old. It seems just yesterday that we were rocking you to sleep, wrapped in a blanket, like we now do with your brother. We visited Mimi and Baba today and as you were entertaining us endlessly with your language skills and overflowing personality... I said out loud, "I don't ever want her to grow up and change... she is amazing right NOW". (The truth is, you've been amazing at every stage and I always say this.) I just don't want to forget how you are now at TWO and I want to soak it up. I am blessed beyond what my mind could have ever conceived when thinking of what it might be like to have a daughter. You are my joy; you are my girl.
You are so full of life my sweet girl! From the moment you wake up in the morning with your squeals of joy to your sweet kisses and "I you mama. I you dada." (I love you mama/dada) at night. You are social and joyful like your dada. Emotional, loving and passionate like your mama.

You still love Elmo and can spot him a mile away in a store aisle. Buzz Lightyear is your 2 year old super hero (following Carter's footsteps). We love hearing you try to say, "To infinity and beyond!" And today I got the biggest thrill listening to you try to explain to Mormie (great-grandma) how Buzz went to the Moon (was put away during your birthday party) and just got back.
You are daring, unafraid and free. This is most obvious when you climb on anything (we allow you to that is) and do things like summersaults off the couch! You are sensitive and oh so empathetic towards others, especially when you hear your brother cry... I love that about you!

You love music and DANCING! We've lost track of the hours we've danced with you or you have danced with your "friends" (toys/dolls). Your "highly developed" sense of music makes us laugh as you LOVE Rod Stewart and Feist the best. You are obsessed with shoes, especially the sparkly ones... and we call them your dancing shoes, as you love to hear them "click, clack" on the floor like a tap dancer. I cherish the moments when I sing "Jesus Loves me" to you at bedtime. You pump your legs to get me to sway and belt out each word in your own pronunciation.
I love how you say, "hold you" when you want up. Even though you are growing up faster than I can process, those moments where you want to be held and snuggled remind me that you are still my little girl and always will be. I grin with delight when I hear you say, "hi buddy" or "hi Bentley" when you see your brother. He already looks up to you and loves you when you play with him. You are already such a good big sister!
Dada and I are so honored and humbled that God has entrusted your life to us... to love, guide and support you. We look forward to every precious moment God gives us with you in the future. Your Mama and Dada forever love you Harper!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The holidays 2010

Whew! The holidays are over and we are on to the new year... But November and December weren't without a handful of special memories and moments. Christmas was special this year for two specific reasons: 1) it was Bentley's first Christmas, and 2) it was the first Christmas where Harper actually seemed to get "it". It is SO incredibly magical to see Christmas through the eyes of a child. We got lots of time with family baking, watching Christmas movies, seeing Christmas lights and taking the kids to see Santa Clause (which was hilarious as both our kids were screaming and crying!). We look forward, as our kids get older, to explaining the REAL meaning of Christmas and Jesus birth and sacrifice; and the importance of giving to others and loving others. What a great holiday season it was! Here are a few pictures that highlighted a few fun moments...
Harper and Claire taking a bath together and like always... feeding off of each others' energy!
Our family picture on Thanksgiving day
Our little "cheeser"... Any time a camera comes into view, Harper yells out "cheese!"
The Swift boys. These are the BEST moments captured!
Me and my incredible husband... Go Oregon State!
Sweet kisses from my girl
Bentley and Jensen hanging out while I did some Christmas baking with Bonnie and Yvonne. Bentley is surprisingly serious here, where usually he is smiling like his cousin. Jensen is 2 weeks older and we are already having so much fun seeing them grow and develop at the same time!
Our handsome little man!
I loved seeing Bentley in this sweater on Christmas Eve. Thank you Uncle Josh and Auntie Jordan!
Harper took her position near the presents early on Christmas Eve.
It took a little bit, but she finally got the hang of the "opening the presents" thing. Her most favorite past time besides opening presents... being "nakie" (i.e. diaper only)! Which has lead us to having to make the rule: ONLY at home! As I have had to fight this battle in public a couple times!
We gave Harper this giant kitty pillow first on Christmas Eve and she practically laid on it the rest of the day! It was the perfect place for her to relax while the adults finished up a beautiful dinner made by my mom and sister.
Mr. man helped his mommy open gifts until late into the evening... next year will be so much more fun for him ;)
Santa's little helper.
Daddy and his little boy on Christmas morning.
Auntie Bonnie and Uncle Josh gave Harper these Elmo pj's, while Nana and OoOo gave her sparkly tennis shoes... they had to go on immediately!
Harper loves to "hide" under her blankie all the time... I was special enough to be included in hiding with her and surprising daddy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"M" is for Moderation in 2011

It's January and the beginning of a new year: 2011. It's that time of year when everyone is uprooting old habits of unhappiness and un-health (if you will) in hopes that they'll trade them in for habits that promise a happier, healthier, "new" self.

I can recount countless years where I wrote down my new year's resolutions and taped them to my bathroom mirror, hoping that seeing it first thing every morning would whip me into shape and remind me to be "good". My resolutions were usually pretty extreme and hard to maintain for very long. You would find posted on my mirror phrases like, "eat absolutely no sugar", "workout everyday without fail", or "only eat three meals a day without snacking"... blah, blah, blah. What I never noticed, was that between those lines of rules listed out, was the word "fail, fail, fail".

Through hard lessons learned over the years, combined with nutrition education, you now will never see such resolutions posted on my mirrors. I now live in the freedom of one rule: everything in moderation. That's it. I have learned to give myself grace in everything I do and in everything I eat. I mostly choose things that promote health for my body, but I give myself the space to enjoy everything. Completely guilt free.

In the midst of being inundated by messages and adds for new diets and awesome gym membership deals, I was thrilled to come across someone with similar beliefs. I found this quote in Bon Appetit magazine by Restaurant Editor Andrew Knowlton:

"Most food critics, in fact, don't look the way you probably think they do or should. Many are best described as healthy. How can this be? Personally I've learned that how much I eat isn't as important as the quality of what I eat. It took several years of dining out to realize that I did not have to clean my plate, no matter what my momma told me. I can still do my job without finishing the drumstick and breast in my friend chicken basket. It goes back to something you've heard a thousand times - everything in moderation. Add to that philosophy a decent exercise routine of running. Also, when I dine out, I'm eating at quality places serving dishes made with great ingredients. I rarely eat processed food and fast food. Chefs are jumping on the health bandwagon as well, eating smaller portions and exercising more often."

So here's to 2011: a year for experiencing peace with your food, grace with yourself and a life free to enjoying everything in moderation!