Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Paisley's One!

O M G

haha! What a way to start a post about your 1st baby's 1st birthday!

Really, though. Where did this year go? As Andrew was putting together a slideshow of first year pics for her party tomorrow, we realized that it was like a "year in review" for us! Basically all of 2009 was her first year. And it was amazing to consider that her whole first year was so intimately connected with everything we did. She was everything to us. We did everything for her. We all acquired new titles and roles and we all have been learning to walk in them. A new mommy, a new daddy, a new daughter, a new family!

Here's a peek at a very abbreviated version of Paisley's 1st year of life!

video

What a year. Thank You, Jesus, for sending us such a precious, joyful, full-of-fun-and-life angel! And thank you for coming into our lives, pretty girl. We love you so much and always will!

We're having a birthday party for her tomorrow afternoon. We've invited her uncles, her Brock grandparents, and her Brock/Jones great-grandparents. A "smaller" crowd so as not to overwhelm her too much for the first go-round at this birthday business.

So I've trimmed our green and red Christmas tree in PINK streamers and ribbon, made a "Paisley" banner, hung extra lights and glittery things, and generally OD-ed on pink-ness. We're having pink punch, pink gift wrap, pink napkins, pink cups, a pink mini-cake just for Paisley ... and chocolate hazelnut milkshakes for the crowd! (which are not pink. but the straws are.)

Remind me to pick up that cake at Safeway tomorrow!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

just five...just 70

So, for a long time I've been wanting to try my hand at stamping metal discs to create gorgeously personalized jewelry...

And I got the opportunity to do just that! The women's Bible study (Aspire) at Branches Church - that my mom leads - needed a great Christmas gift for all the women who would be attending our Christmas Brunch yesterday. So my mom and I got our heads together and decided that we wanted to do something that said "JUST FIVE." Explanation to follow.

Explanation: "JUST FIVE" has been a sort of mantra for the women's Bible study and, by extension, for the whole church for a couple years now. The phrase was coined to encourage us to spend just five minutes each day reading God's Word. A simple and life-changing discipline, but surprisingly hard to do!

Branches distributed green rubberband bracelets inscribed with "JUST FIVE" a while ago and we all have them floating around our houses. This Christmas, however, we devised a plan to supply the women of the Bible study, at least, with a pretty "JUST FIVE" bauble.


So I got the stuff and - with help - made 70 of them! Nothing like jumping in with both feet, huh? That's so me. But I was totally thrilled with how they turned out! And now I've got a new hobby...

Monday, December 14, 2009

you call that a weekend?

Wow. We've had a crazy few days since my last post! Some might call that a weekend. For us, it's the most work of all!

You see, I'm currently managing the "coffee department" at our church. Doesn't seem like too big of a deal until you add in some donuts, bananas, volunteers, a staff breakfast spread, and the 300+ church attendees we feed and caffeinate every Sunday!

Before December hit, the Sunday coffee job didn't seem all that stressful. I could easily do all my organizing of lists and people early in the week and then just grocery shop (or delegate the shopping) for Friday or Saturday.

Christmastime changes everything.

That, and the fact that we're in process of changing how we do what we do! -- the way we serve coffee, creating a new "traffic flow," the budget -- oh, and running into our volunteer's holiday schedule conflicts. December has become just a bit more stressful. Then add in the normal happy stress and busy-ness of the season, and a few Christmas parties to plan, and you have the recipe for quite a lot of "fun"!

This must be why we have songs to remind us that "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

shopping day!

Andrew started my day in a crazy way! He woke me up with a phone call at 6:30am from work. He was just getting off and about to head home after working all night long. Said he wanted to give me a chance to get out of bed cause when he got home, we were jumping in the car and going out Christmas shopping. Payday was here!

I heard Andrew come in and say a chipper "Good morning!" before he dashed off to the shower. My head was still fuzzy at 6:50 as I pulled myself out of bed, grabbed yesterday's jeans, and sat in front of the heater waiting for it to turn on. To warm up the cold jeans, of course. I only dozed off once while sitting there. Not bad.

Then a flurry of slow activity as we got Paisley up, got her changed and fed, and bundled into the car seat. It was so cold outside, even she seemed to grasp the reason behind keeping her little hat on.

Then we were off!

1st order of business: Starbucks drive thru for Cass. Andrew had already had something, which explained his abnormal energy level.
2nd: cash the paycheck!
3rd: divide it amongst 3 envelopes.
4th: shop the day away!

We were highly successful! (translate: lots of awesome stuff at great prices!) Paisley was an angel all morning. Riding in the cart, the Baby Bjorn, our arms, the cart, our arms, our arms, our other arm... We really did get a lot done and it's only December 10th! That's pretty early for this Queen of the Last Minute. Yes, that title truly did require italics, bold, and a color. Whoops! More italics.

So Santa's little Harper elves returned home happy and full of Christmas cheer. And there my story ends.

For now.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

mom agenda


Yeah, so I just fell in love with these planners again! I remember seeing them before... Before I was actually a MOM... But now I am for reals and I can have one!

~ happy dance! ~

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

on being christmasy

So I've been working like one of Santa's little elves tonight! Online shopping early in December is the only way to go!

While I'm at it, I've been compiling Christmas lists for myself, Andrew, and Paize. Complete with pictures, links, and descriptions! Just trying to make it easy for those who say I'm hard to shop for... [wink] ... You're welcome!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Things I Love About Being A Mommy

  • finding baby shoes under the furniture
  • playing on the floor with our heads together when she leans in to give a sweet kiss
  • her smile of anticipation as she toddles into my arms and awaits the applause
  • all the different tones in which she says "Mama"... every emotion is communicated!
  • when I rearrange her blankets one last time before I go to bed and her eyes flutter open, then she gives a sleepy smile and closes them contentedly
  • mirror time with my baby, smiling and waving to and kissing our reflections
  • the moment of recognition when she understands what I'm saying and responds to it
  • the pride of showing off a "trick" well-learned
  • tickle giggles and real laughs

baby, it's cold outside

It actually dropped below freezing last night! And it's just stayed so cold all day. Clear and crisp, but cold! So that -- plus the fact that Andrew's got a few days off -- put me in the Christmas mood!

After giving a few piano lessons, taking a late evening trek to Fred Meyer, putting the baby down for the night, etc... it's 11:52pm and we're finally pulling out the pieces of our fabulously pre-lit and perpetually evergreen Christmas tree!

The movie is on and branches must be fluffed. So, until tomorrow...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

turning, turning!

Thanksgiving night at Mom & Dad's. We're teaching Paisley to carefully climb down the stairs. Here's what she does when I tell her to turn... It's just too much fun!

video

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

What the heck are Paris Blues and how does one get them?

Come to find out, it is nothing psychological. Has absolutely zero to do with your sad state of mind upon leaving France.

Evidently, they are jeans. And that does ring a bell somewhere. I'm pretty sure I've seen them before.

Anyway, Nordstrom sells them, so they've gotta be all right.

So the fine folks at Paris Blues apparently like to feature different musicians each month as part of their ad campaign. The smartest thing they've ever done (not that I know all they've ever done) is choose Redcast as their December 2009 artists-of-the-month!

So that's cool. Go to Paris Blues artists page. There on the bottom right you'll find the December feature -- Redcast -- complete with a picture of the boys. Click that photo to hear Beside Myself and to read a (somewhat dated) bio!

Did I mention yet that you can follow the boys on Twitter for all the latest from their own mouths? @SethRedcast @JarrodRedcast @DarrenRedcast. Catchy.

December 8th is just a week from today! Christmas Concert, baby!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Virtual Decorating

That's what I've done tonight! I've decorated my "home" for the holidays! Like the look? I've been learning lots! The next thing I'd like to teach myself is how to make the perfect header...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Redcast's Latest


If you read my blog often, (or happen to notice the banner at the top...), you'll find that one of my favorite things to do is plug my brothers' band, Redcast. Now, I'm sure there are hundreds of thousands of sisters who try to help their brothers' fledgling garage bands make it to the big time. Well, I'm not one of them. Cause I don't need to be! They're already headed straight to the top -- I just like to brag. That's what this is. Big sister bragging rights.

So, Redcast did a Myspace release of their new original Christmas song! It's called Mistletoe and you'll love it! Kinda in the style of the "Pina Coladas" (our more appropriate name for The Bare Naked Ladies), it lends a fun and ironic twist to the romance of the season. Hurry! Go listen and love it!

By the way ~ Redcast Christmas Show on December 8th at the Olmschied Auditorium in St. Helens, Oregon. But of course you know that already if you read their blog. Tickets are $ (see that? like a restaurant review. only 1 dollar sign ($) and not 2 ($$) or 3 ($$$), so that means it's super affordable!) and you can buy them at the door!


And now that I've broken almost every rule of decent text design and style layout... I'll close. Oh, but don't worry. I haven't broken any copyright laws by using that image. I didn't steal it. I took it. Literally. Clicked the shutter button.

See you at the show!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What Am I Thankful For?

I'm oh-so-thankful...
  • for my wonderful husband and best friend
  • that we've officially been together longer than we were apart (woot!)
  • that marriage sweetens with time and investment... we're more in love today than ever!
  • for our precious daughter, a beautiful new life given by God
  • for God's daily protection over us
  • for my Dad & Mom and their never-ending love, their Godly examples, and their constant encouragement to press on in Him
  • for my dear in-laws who never tire of loving and giving and lifting us up in prayer
  • for my brothers...all 4 are so special to me and always will be
  • for my sister-in-love and the handsome boys that fill her and my brother's life with joy & laughter
  • for the opportunity to live near my family for the time being
  • for the lessons God continues to teach me and that He never gives up!
  • for my Gramma who survived a stroke last January and is still with us
  • for my Pa & Granny who have been coming to church and having their lives miraculously changed
  • for a church family who has been just incredible and so much fun to work with
  • for friends far away who are always close in spirit
  • for the life of a dear old pastor who went home to be with the Lord this fall
  • for the basic needs that God always provides...not to mention most of the wants and desires, too!
Q: What are YOU thankful for?

It's Thanksgiving Week already!

What a happy time of year! Yes, the days get shorter, but the holiday fun is here in full swing, so it's all right!

Starbucks is gorgeous, early birds already have lights on their houses, the smell of yummy candles is in the air, Christmas magazines and catalogs are on our coffee tables, Black Friday plans are being made, and we're all thinking about what we need to find/get/buy/do for whatever concoctions we're contributing to the big Thanksgiving Feast on Thursday!

We're having a special year. All of "the Brock kids" are headed to Mom & Dad's, plus Granny & Pa are joining us. An added bonus this year is that Matt & Carol and family are pulling up a chair to the table, too! We're gonna have SO MUCH FOOD. The best cooks in the world (in my opinion!) are converging into one kitchen and going to produce just the most amazing feast ever. Spinach dip, cheese fondue, candied sweet potatoes, hot fruit, banana pudding! Not to mention the usual rolls, turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie! Yum!

We have so much to be thankful for! It's Paisley's first Thanksgiving and we're parents, now! It's been an amazing year for us, not all perfect... But, hey, as Sara Evans sings so eloquently, "But it doesn't have to be per-er-er-er-fect! Every little piece of the puzzle doesn't always fit per-er-er-fect-ly..." : ) Haha! That's not really eloquent. Just cute.

Just a year ago I was almost 8 months preggers with my little Sweet Pea. We had been in Oregon for all of 2 months, by that time, and life was a little wild. Not to say that it's now calm... but it's at least much more comfortable.

Thankfully, the picture of me & Andrew at last Thanksgiving must be on Mom's computer, cause I just now had a crazy thought to post it, but couldn't find it on my hard drive. I think we're all relieved. Although a last year/this year pic might be fun... We'll try to take a good one on Thanksgiving and I'll put them both up. You'll see what a difference a year makes!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! Thank YOU for hanging in there and reading my random ramblings. Oh, and tell me -- Where's the BEST Black Friday shopping?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Redcast's New EP - Coming Soon!

So my brothers - Redcast - are releasing their greatly-anticipated EP digitally on October 20th! That means you can only purchase the digital album from iTunes or Rhapsody or some such. I saw the album artwork tonight. BRILLIANT. I have some inside info that I'm not sure I can say, so I'll just say that there are 4 tracks on this EP that are OUT OF THIS WORLD. They're calling it "The Quarter Past EP." You'll understand why when you see & hear it.

They're also working on a couple Christmas tracks for fun...

Find them on Myspace and be their friend! Hear it. Love it. Love them. I do!

By the way. I took the photos in the above Redcast promo banner. I'm so proud of them!

Monday, July 20, 2009

So many options!

Facebook, Twitter, email, texting...not to mention phone calls and letters... Who has time to blog anymore? Maybe it's just that I can't handle the unlimited number of characters I am allowed to type in a blog post!

I've been having fun with Twitter lately and doing my best to keep up with Facebook. I have more followers/friends on both of those social networking sites than I've ever had on any of my blogs! So I guess that's the draw.

Wow, I'm writing very distractedly right now and should probably just post this rambling blog and move on. If you're still reading, you're such a sweet friend!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

a comeback.

Hmmm... Is it bad luck to talk about a comeback before it actually happens? I hope not.

I'm hoping to make my photographic comeback before the summer is out! I want to rebuild my business and my skills to better than before!

I guess I've been on some sort of unplanned hiatus from professional photography since I got married. Life has been so crazy and fast and up and down and full of changes...it's been hard to keep up. But my camera still fits well in my hand. And I still love capturing moments forever.

I'm coming back. Just so you know. Now to work on a new logo...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yikes.

I haven't blogged in so long that I'm not sure where to start.

Lots of new pics of our busy life on my Facebook. CLICK HERE for a link to "Mommy's Paisley Faye Album III" -- the most current one.

Paisley is coming up on 6 months old! Her life is full of rolling across the living room, cooing, gasping, and squealing, smiling with her whole little body, playing with toys, reading books with Mommy, going on walks with Daddy, going shopping, lots of eating and sleeping and growing, getting hugs and kisses from her family nearby and receiving lots of love from her family far away...she's a busy little girl! Her current favorite pastimes include smiling at the girl in the mirror, talking to and feeling all the clothes in Mommy & Daddy's closet, and riding in the Moby Wrap. She dislikes being hungry and being boring. (She won't sit with me at the computer unless she's watching a little something in the corner of the screen...)

Half a year as a family of three and life has never been better! God has been so good to us and we are so very blessed. He's held our hands and taken us through some pretty difficult times as of late, but oh-so-victorious through His grace!

Andrew is currently working for the Oregon National Guard. His full-time orders expire end of September, at which time his NG duties will narrow down to just one drill weekend a month, leaving him free to pursue other vocational options. We're excited about some new ideas we have and are waiting to see if God swings those doors open, or redirects us in some other way.

Well, my girl's up and Andrew just got home from work, so onward to the family part of the day...my favorite!

Until next time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tea Clothing


I just found the cutest (albeit pricey) collection of baby clothes! Click the picture to visit their site. Promo code for 20% off your first order: 20greet

Hmmm...now to decide...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our Tax Refund

Among other things that were greatly needed...my best prize from our tax refund this year was this Oreck Halo vacuum cleaner! (thanks, Paize, for coming in 2008!) The floors feel amazing, and I don't think it's simply psychological. : )

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

17 Again...


Yep. I wanna see this one. I'm such a sucker for time travel movies!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The End of a Long 3 Weeks...

...Yeah, I complain about 3-week separations now, even though I used to mock people for doing so.

But that was over a year ago when we were in the middle of our 15-MONTH Iraq/Oregon "living arrangement."

Back then, 3 weeks seemed like a mere day. We jumped up and down for joy all day long when we hit our "just 3 months left!" mark. I don't know how we made it. Back then.

But today, 3 weeks has been way long enough for me. Andrew has been in California for the National Guard's annual training since March 28. Did I mention that we didn't even know he had to go until 2 days before that?

I've played the role of *single mom* for this time and didn't like one bit of it. Okay, so there were perks to having our car all to myself...but that's about it.

Paisley's in bed. I should be. Morning comes early and with it all the preparation for our little family's weekend out of town after we pick Daddy up! I guess we're attempting to chase the sunshine to Bend...but of course it's supposed to be in the 70's here all weekend, too... It'll be so nice to get away and *regroup* -- just us 3.

I'm afraid Andrew's going to be shocked by the changes in his daughter. A few weeks is a long time in the life of an almost-4-month-old! She smiles all the time, has started to laugh, switched from NB into 3-mos. clothing, and she even rolled over 3 times today! She's lost a lot of baby hair, but new hair is growing in. She's filling out and getting so chubby! She's awake a lot more in the day, has fun with toys, likes reading books, watches Baby Einstein, and has learned that her favorite way to fall asleep is in my arms with her face buried deep in the crook of my arm. She can pop her pacifier back into her mouth with her forearms, wrists, or shoulders when she spits in out while sitting in the car seat. She doesn't like riding in a dark car. She sleeps a good 6 hours, then eats, then sleeps another 5 or so on a consistent basis!

I don't think she was doing much of this before Andrew left. I can't imagine going through a deployment again! All that he'd miss!? It just hurts to think about. But, Lord willing, that's not in our future.

And we're just so excited to see him tomorrow!

Lord, please protect Andrew and give him safe travels tomorrow. Bring him home to us and we already thank you for a sweet reunion. Thank you for keeping us during this time. In Your Name, Amen.

Friday, February 27, 2009

by way of explanation...

I'm way more active on Facebook these days than this blog! Facebook is quick and easy and doesn't require much writing or much thought. And that's about all I can spare these days...not much!

But I do hope to blog every so often and maybe even often-er. Someday. Lots of pics on Facebook, so meet me over there!

I'm not signing off here... simply justifying my negligence.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Greatly Anticipated Post!

Andrew & I are proud to announce the birth of our beautiful daughter, Paisley Faye Harper.


She was born on December 29th at 4:24pm, just 4 days after Christmas. She weighed 6 lbs, 7 oz, and measured 19 inches long. She has lots of dark brown hair, slate grey eyes, and perfect fingers and toes! Mommy & Daddy couldn't be happier! Thank you, Lord, for this precious gift straight from Your hands to ours. We are committed to loving her, raising her, teaching her, and nurturing her in Your truth, by Your grace.
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