Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

This year Christmas was more special than ever.  Harper lifted our spirits and reminded all of us what the holidays are about.  We felt truly blessed to be so close to all our families and it was magical to watch Harper's innocence bring out the best in everyone. We were able to catch a small glimpse of how fun Christmas will be in the years to come now that we have a little one in the family.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy 9 Month Birthday!

Harper is 9 months old today!  It's crazy to think that she has been with us longer than she was in the womb.  She surprises us everyday with new sounds, new abilities and glimpses of the little person she is becoming.  Soon she will no longer be a baby, a fact she brings to our attention everyday.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Every Morning Is A Happy New Day.

After lying awake for the majority of the night and anxiously contemplating my pending day of resignation, Harper’s early morning rumblings provided a needed excuse to get out of my own head.  As soon as I turned on the lights she looked over and flashed her standard sparkling morning smile. As I approached her crib she let out a squeal and stretched her arm over her head, the massive grin never left her face. As I picked her out of her crib and held her warm little body against my chest I felt the weight of the previous nights concerns disappear. Every morning without fail Harper wakes up with a tremendous smile and it never ceases to amaze me. What if we all woke up and embraced the day with the enthusiasm of a small child? I know a few true morning people but I still doubt they wake up with the same joy on their face that Harper displays every sunrise. I think I may have found the way to reduce the rate of divorce in America. Instead of angrily jabbing at the snooze and growling at your partner maybe we should all try and wake up with a smile and set the day off on a positive note.

            After a week away in Los Angeles training for my new job I was shocked to see that Harper had changed in the short time that I was away. Her hair had gotten thicker and longer. She was making new sounds, her hand eye coordination had improved, and she was dancing in her bouncer. As we lay on the chaise I told her all about my new opportunity, she listened intently and as she got tired she started grabbing my mouth. Her droopy eyes and the relentless pawing at my lips lead me to obvious conclusion that it was time to stop talking and put her to bed. As I turned out the lights and starting unpacking my suitcase I began to think about the insane amount of work ahead of me. I spent the majority of the night reviewing my training material and feeling generally overwhelmed. As I shut off the computer and walked down the hall I had a moment of relief as I went past her room. No matter how crazy my night had been I knew that morning was right around the corner and she would be right there; bright, shiny and smiling just waiting to make my day that much better.

Harper says mom!

Harper has been babbling a lot lately, just like her dad, and today she definitely said mama.  Well, it was more like "ma-mom-mom" and it was awesome!  Dad got a little jealous that her first words weren't dad and insisted that the only words we could say to her for the rest of the week were da-da-da-da-da.

I was sure that this would confuse her, and as the week progressed she started saying "dada" regularly and
"mama" became a thing of the past.  But "dada" quickly became replaced with "oh -oh -oh and then wo-woah."  Even though she isn't quite aware of what she is saying, she has certainly found her voice and is exercising her right to choose whatever she feels like talking about.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

It felt good to be home for our first Thanksgiving in California in 5 years. Everyone gathered to celebrate under one roof for Harper's first Holiday dinner.  While we debated which of the two types of turkey was best, Harper thoroughly enjoyed her sweet potatoes, cinnamon apple puree and all the attention she received from two very thankful families.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Harper's 8 Month Birthday!

Today Harper is 8 months old!  This morning we took a long walk through the park with Laney where we met a neighbor walking his red tailed hawk.....quite interesting.  In the afternoon Harper danced in her jumperoo, her new favorite activity, and tried on her first pair of blue jeans.  We capped off the day with a play date with her best friend and big 'sis Laney.  I have a feeling birthdays won't be this simple for very long....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Today is Harper's first Halloween!  She wore her fall pumpkin outfit during the day, then dressed up as a kitty cat for the trick-or-treaters and got cozy in her witch onesie for bedtime.

October has been a very eventful month.  Harper can sit up on her own!  She is also cracking up at all things funny.  Her belly laugh is so contagious and adorable!  She has graduated from her all milk diet and is now eating rice cereal and oatmeal which is exciting and messy all at the same time.  She truly recognizes all of the people that she regularly spends time with and is developing into her own little person.

It's been pretty amazing to see how quickly our baby girl is growing up.  It's going way too fast...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy 7 month Birthday!

Harper is 7 months old today!  She is growing so fast and is sitting up on her own now.  She is fascinated by her big sis Laney.  She loves the weekends because she gets to spend so much time with her mom and dad and doggy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Pack

As soon as the suitcases come out her entire demeanor changes. We had all just returned from a walk in the park but she was still fired up and wanted to run around the yard. She followed me into the garage expecting something different maybe one of the treats we keep on the workbench. I watched the flicker from her eyes disappear when I reached up and grabbed our biggest brown bag. She followed me back into the house her head hung in defeat. As we started to get Harpers things together she strategically put her self in the middle of the room so that we tripped over her every time we went to get something out of the closet.  It was as though she was saying “Don’t forget me.” Once the bags we packed and set by the door she wouldn’t leave Harpers side and every time I looked at her it was almost as if I could hear what she was thinking” If she goes I go.”  We put her in the back of the car with the rest of the things and she had a new spring her step. She licked Harpers feet and jumped up to try and kiss my chin. I didn’t have the heart to tell her she was going to Grandma’s for the week. As we pulled off the freeway and headed to my parents house I caught her staring at me in the rearview mirror….she was not happy. As we unloaded her stuff from the car she gave Harper a nudge goodbye and walked inside without giving me a peripheral glance. What she made me realize is that our little family was a pack and I was splitting it up. I knew it was only a week but the looks the dog had been giving me that day made me feel like I was committing a much greater offense.

            As we boarded the plane my abandonment issues stared to wane as the stewardess handed my first class breakfast menu. A surprise upgrade from my mother in law’s friend had already begun to place my guilt behind the growing excitement of being in Hawaii for the week. I drank my Mimosa (2) quickly, anticipating our first flight with an infant. In true Harper fashion our little girl proved to be the perfect angel. The crew and our fellow passengers commented multiple times about how great she was. I replied that that those chewable Flintstone Valiums worked remarkably well…..I don’t think they really understood my sense of humor.
            Our first day went smooth and then we remembered that there was one factor we had overlooked when originally booking the trip……the time difference.  The resort was a very different and peaceful place at 4:15 AM. Harper and I walked the expansive grounds stopping to admire all the man made waterfalls and lush tropical landscaping. We cozied up in one of the VIP bungalows near the ocean and watched the sun come up. I was a little tired and my arms were sore from carrying her for the previous two hours but the instant the morning sun hit her eyes she turned and gave me a huge smile. At this moment with the ocean crashing on the rocks below us I felt incredibly lucky to be sharing the sunrise and my life with such a wonderful little girl. I don’t know if Harper will remember that morning when she gets older but I know that I will never forget it. 
            The rest of the trip was wonderful. Harper got to wear all her cute little hula dresses and was the star of the show at every event we took her to. She got some quality beach naps in and got introduced to the ocean with mixed results, we’re gonna work on that.  

In the end we were sad to go but happy to get the team back together. As we pulled back into my parent’s driveway I could see Laney wiggling with excitement through the blinds. As we opened the door she barked with excitement and went straight for Harpers car seat to make sure her little girl was home safe. We may be different species but it seems as though our priorities are the same. I got down on the floor and scratched her belly assuring her that our next trip would be together… a pack.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harper's 6 Month Birthday!

Today is Harper's half birthday!  It's hard to believe that she is already 6 months old.  It didn't seem so long ago that we were traveling to and from the hospital to see her, and yet she has grown so much in such a short amount of time.  Her personality is blossoming and watching her transition from infant to "real" baby has been an amazing experience that will be forever imprinted in our minds.

Our tiny dancer continues to surprise us everyday with her developmental milestones.  She is now sitting up on her own and, when perfectly perched, can stand without any assistance for a minute or two.  She recently found her feet and tries to hold them with her hands.  She still loves to babble but her favorite new thing is take long hikes with mom and dad and stare at her "big sis," Laney, for hours.  For her half birthday, she had her first dance party complete with tutu and leg warmers.  So fun!

Monday, September 20, 2010

7 Years of Bliss

This weekend we celebrated our 7 year anniversary.  We dropped Harper off at Grandma and Grandpa's house and set off for our first baby free weekend.  We didn't even make it down the street before we started talking about our little girl and how much we would miss her!  Oh, how times have changed.

We checked into the Lafayette Park Hotel and enjoyed couples massages, lunch by the pool and a delicious dinner downtown.  The rest of our romantic getaway was peppered with conversations about Harper's newfound ability to sit up and the recent soul warming sound of her first laugh.  Click on link below to see Harper laugh.
Laughing Out Loud

We thoroughly enjoyed our time away but couldn't wait to get home, put Harper in the baby wrap and go for a walk as a family.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


A Story by Dad

         When Harper was first born I would eagerly share, with anyone that would listen, the story of her chaotic early birth, tiny stature and subsequent awesomeness. Nine times out of ten whomever was on the other end of my prideful rant would have an equally or more extraordinary story of their own. When I told people that Harper was only 4 pounds at birth, rounding down of course for sensationalism, they would claim to have either given birth to or personally been a 3 pounder. If I mentioned that my wife could have died during the whole process they would reply that they had actually died during labor only to be revived just in time to naturally give birth to 3 pound Siamese twins. The other end of the spectrum came in the form of what I started calling “ SuPreemie Stories.”  When I mentioned that my daughter was premature people would literally jump at the chance to mention their grandkid, neighbor, best friend, spouse or sister that had been a “preemie” but had grown to be a six foot ten, 375 pound center in the WNBA.
 “My cousin was only 2 pounds when she was born but she is a big, healthy, 250 pound 4th grader now.”
It was as if these people thought I would find comfort in the fact that even though Harper was rather tiny now eventually she would be freakishly large so it would all even out in the end. After a few months of listening to rather odd childbirth and “SuPreemie” baby stories I stopped telling the barista’s and parking lot attendants about Harper’s arrival.
 A few days ago as we walked through the grocery store on our first daddy/daughter public outing I started to realize that just seeing Harper’s bright blue eyes and chubby cheeks prompted complete strangers to divulge their own infant stories. Then there was the new mothers and fathers who wanted to compare notes on progress and relish the chance to one-up us on an infant milestones. Throughout our journey in produce and beyond I was stopped multiple times by newish parents with questions that, without any time to answer, were turned into statements regarding the fact that their kid had smiled, laughed, spoke or walked quicker than any baby in the history of time. Between the random people and the fulsome parents a standard 20-minute shop had turned into an afternoon event. As we finally left the store I told Harper that I would never pressure her to do things quicker than she was ready to, just for the sake of bragging to random people in the grocery store. She gave me a big goopy smile and continued to eat her hand with the gusto of a much older child. My phone rang and I picked up to hear the voice of my good friend, another new father, who sounded very tired. He told me that his girl had been up all night and asked me how Harper had been. “She’s been great! Ry put her on a new schedule and she’s been sleeping 11 hours a night. She seems to be way ahead of schedule as far sleeping goes.” As I heard him hang up the phone I wondered if maybe I should have used a little restraint…..but c’mon 11 hours at 5 months, that’s got to be some kind of record.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Harper's 5 Month Birthday!

Harper is 5 months today! It was mommy's first day back to work so Harper got to spend the morning with daddy and most of the afternoon with "glamma."  It turned out to be a gorgeous day so when mommy got done with work we celebrated with some fun in the sun!  Harper loves to glam it up poolside like her mom.  She's such a diva already.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Harper Rolls Over!

Today was a monumental day at the Siegel house.  Harper rolled over for the first time on her own!  Tummy time is paying off as Harper continues to grow stronger everyday.  Below is a link to a video of her playing on her play mat and rolling over.

Harper Rolls Over

Harper is also quite the talker.  She takes after her mom and dad in that respect.  She loves to tell us stories in her own language of baby babble.  Below are a few videos of her hanging out with mommy and daddy and talking away.

Harper Babbles

Harper Tries to Say "I Love You"

Harper Tells a Mean Story

Morning Talk With Mom

Harper Coos

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Daddy's First Post!

My First Post

When Ryane first told me she was staring a blog I have to admit I was more than a little skeptical. For me blogging fell into the superficial, self indulgent, derivative literary gray area right along with tweeting, facebooking and cryptic texting. I did however start to see the benefits when after explaining, for the 300th time, what had happened with Harper’s birth and the reasons behind Ryane’s complications I realized that I could direct all inquires to “our” blog where there was a concise personal and clinical explanation of Ryane’s condition and the reason for the early arrival of baby girl. All of a sudden this four letter word that I had avoided for so long was popping out of my mouth with alarmingly regularity. “When are you going to bring in some pictures of your baby?”  BLOG  “What did you say the name of Ryane’s condition was again?” BLOG  “How long was your baby at birth?” BLOG. Just like that I was singing the praises of our little piece of the internet like an art school drop out temporarily working at Starbucks while promoting their BLOG. The problem was I was taking credit for this creation and not really contributing to it……at all. I would help Ry every once in awhile come up with a caption for a pictures or comment on the theme of the homepage but that was pretty much it. I was the Christopher Columbus of the blogosphere claiming a discovery that wasn’t really mine and I was starting to feel a little guilty. The worst part is I’m supposed to be the writer in the family. I am the one working on the book and no it’s still not done. So I have to apologize to everyone who thought I was the man behind the blog and I have to apologize to my wife for not doing the one thing she asked me to do. She is an amazing person and has fallen into motherhood with the grace that few can. Watching her with Harper has brought me more joy than I thought was possible. She is selfless and wonderful and has managed to document so much in her, yes her, blog while running on minimal sleep, keeping a clean house, working out regularly and being a supportive wife to a neurotic and compulsive husband who never posted a word on the family blog. Lenghtly explanation for a first post but I thought I should clear a few things up before I started. I feel better now and ready to shed my preconceived notions about the medium and commit to contributing at least once a month so here we go……..
 I sat and had a long conversation with Harper this morning.  She is a great listener, a trait she got from her mother. After Harper listened to my rants about blogging she starting to talk in her newly found warble of a voice. She kind of makes extended vowel noises but has great ever-changing expressions so the audience stays captivated. In short she makes a lot of noise without really saying anything but keeps it interesting, finally a trait she got from dad. As she strung together her sentences of non-sequitors I couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that she was trying to communicate without any real help from anybody. In such a short time she has already transformed from an adorable little lump of playdoo into a tiny person struggling to find the right words to tell her daddy that blogging isn’t that bad. I am more excited than I ever thought I would be to witness her progressions as she begins to absorb the world around her and grow into the wonderful person I know she will be. I have so many things I want to say to her, so many things I can’t wait to show her and so much to learn from her that some times I want her to grow-up even quicker so we can get on with all the great things we have to look forward too. Then again as I held her tiny body against my chest after our conversation this morning and felt her tiny breath on my neck I realized that all that will come but I will never get this amazing time back. So for now I will be patient, shocking right, and enjoy our interpretive chats and the naps in my arms while wondering what she’ll be able to do tomorrow.

Summer Vacation!

I can't believe summer is almost over!  School starts in a week and mommy is getting anxious to go back to work.  Rest assured, Harper will be in the loving arms of her grandmas when she can't be with her mama.

This summer has been pretty amazing.  While we haven't seen the sun as much as we usually do, we were able to enjoy a week off at our annual vacation spot, Lake Almanor, with the Siegel Family.  Once again, Harper was a great traveller and slept the entire way to Chico where we stopped off to pick up her uncle Chris before making the final trek up the Feather River Canyon to our favorite Lake.  Lake Almanor holds so many special memories for our family, including our engagement back in 2001.  It was so fitting that our first family vacation with our daughter, Harper, was at this magical place.

1st Dress (the one mom and dad opened on Christmas Day)
Harper spent most mornings hanging in her lamb chair which she really enjoys.  She is such a happy baby in the mornings (mom's favorite time with her) and loved to coo and smile with us before taking her first nap of the day, which was inevitably always on someone's chest.

The boys would wakeboard and airchair first thing every morning while the water was flat, a past time mom used to enjoy before baby.  One afternoon they attempted to paddle board which was quite entertaining for the rest of us on shore, as Chris was the only one out of the three of them that was successful.

The afternoons were spent playing games on the deck and looking at the lake.  Harper wanted to be apart of the group and was very entertained by our game of cards.  She also enjoyed afternoon naps outside under the shade of the pine trees.

Despite the fact that we had a few rough nights (she kept mommy and daddy up from 2-5AM one night!), we had a great time at Lake Almanor and Harper made the memories that much richer.  We are already looking forward to next year's trip and can't wait to see how Harper will react to this gorgeous place when she is of an age to walk around and explore the surroundings in all its beauty!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Harper's 4 Month Birthday!

Mommy and Harper
Harper is ready for her celebration in her cupcake dress!
Harper is 4 months today!  She's getting so big and weighs 12 pounds now.  She has recently started cooing which is so much fun to watch as a parent.  She spent the day trying so hard to talk to mommy, playing on her mat with her great grandma, Mimi, and napping in "Glamma's" arms.  Below is a short video of Harper chatting with mommy and enjoying her morning time in her massage chair.

Harper Coos

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Papa turns 80!

This past weekend we had a big family reunion to celebrate Papa's 80th birthday.  Mimi outdid herself with a gorgeous spread of delicious home-cooked food, the perfect party decorations and a huge chocolate cake for the amazing event. It was a lot of fun reconnecting with family and sharing Harper with everyone.
Once again, Harper was the star of the event (sorry Papa) and loved every minute of every hug as we played "musical baby" with all the guests.  Harper was very excited she got to stay up late to wish her great grandpa a Happy Birthday!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

God Bless America!

Harper celebrated her first 4th of July in Chico this year.  She was such a trooper on the long drive, sleeping the entire way up and back!  Saturday morning we took a trip downtown to the farmer's market where we picked up fresh fruits and veggies for our 4th of July BBQ.  Bella (our friend's 5 lb Chuwawa) enjoyed the free stroller ride with Harper.

 We spent most of Saturday poolside.  While Harper didn't care much for the cool water, she loved lounging by the pool in style.

On the morning of the 4th we rocked the morning away on the outdoor swing with Harper's best friend, Sienna, and Auntie Cailin. Later we took a walk through Bidwell park and ended the evening in American fashion with a backyard BBQ.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Smiles for Father's Day

This past weekend we celebrated Ryan's first Father's Day.  Harper was so good to her daddy and slept for 8 hours straight!  Sleeping in until 8AM never felt so good.  Harper has grown so much in the past few weeks and is now over 10 lbs!   She has been sleeping and eating a lot more lately and has recently started to smile.

We spent the morning at Chow, our favorite brunch spot in Lafayette and then headed into downtown Danville so dad could enjoy a massage on his special day.  Harper and mom made their first trip to the mall and she did great!  Later that afternoon Harper napped and mom and dad soaked up the sun poolside.  We ended the evening with a trip to "Glamma's" house for a BBQ and some root beer floats with the grandpas.  It was a truly fantastic day.

Click on the links below to see Harper smile.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ryane's 30th Birthday Surprise

On June 10th Ryane turned 30!  It was an exciting birthday for mommy as she was able to enjoy a wonderful date night with daddy at Esin, a great restaurant in Danville.  The weekend just kept getting better when she got the full treatment at the Nail Shop with all her local girls Saturday morning and then an afternoon surprise party with all her college girls back at the house.  It was a truly memorable birthday and Harper's presence was the icing on the cake!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Harper's Big Weekend

This weekend marked the beginning of summer for the Siegel Family and many exciting adventures to come.  Friday morning dad had to fly to Southern California for business leaving Harper and mom with the house to themselves... Ladies Night!!  Mom's good girlfriends came over for dinner, girl talk and to celebrate Harper who soothed herself to sleep for the first time!

On Saturday, mom got to lay out by the pool and enjoy the last of her "girl" time, working out, doing her nails, and spending quality time with Harper when she wasn't napping.  When dad came home, we all got ready for our first real outing to our monthly supper club.  Harper was a great new addition to the group and everyone enjoyed having her there.

Sunday morning Harper got a chance to go to mom and dad's favorite brunch spot.  We thought she'd like the blueberry muffins, but she ended up napping the entire time.  She was so good at brunch we decided to take her to the Walnut Creek Art and Wine Festival.  We enjoyed the beautiful afternoon people watching and listening to the band.

When we got home it was all about Harper!  She loves her play mat and is beginning to track the different lights, colors and sounds.  After we played Harper and Laney enjoyed another nap outside in the shade while mom and dad went swimming.  It was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend!