Monday, August 31, 2009

The gift of a sibling

When I imagine their future, I see him kidnapping her most coveted doll, holding it hostage until she shares her Halloween candy. I see her getting even by lacing his morning cereal with cayenne pepper when he's too busy watching cartoons.

I see them scheming against us. Covering up each other's lies so she can sneak out of the house or so he can skip his first period Spanish test.

I see him helping her navigate an overwhelming first day of high school, showing her a shortcut to her next class and demonstrating a surefire way to open her locker on the first try. I see her rolling her eyes at her gaggle of friends who insist that her brother is way cute.

And I see him protecting her, dishing out the my-dad-has-an-arsenal threats to any boy who makes her cry. And I see her proudly dropping his name as if to say, "Don't you know who my brother is?"

Though I can daydream, only God knows what their future, as brother and sister, will hold.

So I pray. And pray and pray. Because I want to see my children create memories and share experiences that will forever bless them as siblings.

It is such a gift that she will forever have a big brother and he will forever have a little sister.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Scrunched Up.

Look at those curls.

Look at that face.

Don't these two lovelies make scrunch look absolutely divine.

I certainly think so.

*Harper update: At 6-days-old Matt took her in for a weight check (she lost a pound after birth, and that amount of weight loss can be concerning). She weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces last week. Yesterday I took her to be weighed, and she weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Twelve ounces in one week - not too shabby. You go, girl!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The moment they heard the news.

And their lives will forever be sweeter.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wrinkles & Peach Fuzz

Her little wrinkly parts, complete with a delicate layer of peach fuzz, are my latest addiction. I simply cannot get enough.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boy meets Blueberry Shortcake

Boy says, "I can do it myself, thank you very much."

Blueberry Shortcake beware.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The birth of a granddaughter and niece

Ever since we met, Matt and I have praised God for blessing us with amazing families. Both sets of parents are happily married, and our sisters are extremely dear to us (we each have one sibling, a sister).

So naturally, when Harper Lynn entered this world, she made Oma, Opa, Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, and MoMo as happy as they could be.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The First Hour

Harper Lynn, you are one week old today.

Here are a few highlights from the first hour of your precious life.

Life is so much sweeter because of you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Dear Croup,

You are a jerk.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Ever since we found out that we were pregnant, Matt and I have pondered the question, "How will we possibly love two?"

It's not that we didn't think we could love two, but would we love them equally? Because our love for Henry grows more each day. We naturally thought that we would love our second child, but we assumed it would fall lower on the scale-of-love (if you will) than the love we have for Henry.

We had no idea.

There aren't words to express the immediate overwhelming love we have for this sweet little girl, but let me share with you a story that might begin to illustrate it.

Saturday evening was the first time Matt and I had been alone with Harper since her birth. She was one-day old, and as she slept in her hospital crib, we sat wondering, "So what now?" I could tell that Matt was antsy. It was 7:30pm, and I asked him, "Whatcha thinkin'?" He said, "Well (anytime he starts a sentence that way it means he has something he wants to do but is hesitant about asking), I'd like to go shopping."

Strange, I thought. I did not marry a shopper. Unless shopping results in a new firearm, my husband wants nothing to do with it. Many moons ago, I teased (though his friends insist it wasn't a joke) that with every baby we have, Matt could get a new gun. For a split second I thought maybe he was going to approach me about this idea, but I knew better. Actually, I knew that he knew better. So I just looked at him.

He continued, "Well, I thought I'd get her a blanket. I haven't been able to get anything for her yet, and I know you want her to have a blanket." He was right. I want a swaddling blanket for her that isn't blue or brown. "Great," I said, "In fact, I have a Target gift card you can use."

The reality is that we are having to rethink our budget as we bring another baby into our home. Babies aren't cheap, and we are sacrificing one income so that I can be home with our children. It's worth every sacrifice (and then some), but it makes for a lot of creative shopping.

So off to Target he went.

One hour later he returned. Sans Target bag.

"So, what did you get at Target?"

"Well (again, this means he has some explaining to do), I didn't get anything from Target."

I just looked at him.

In short, my husband, the non-shopper, went shopping. Like real shopping. And he didn't even get a blanket. Rather he returned with a dress. A D-R-E-S-S! From the third store he stopped in. Apparently nothing was "good enough" at the first two stores. He said the dress was a "Harper dress." And it is. It screams Harper. It's perfect.

But the pricetag read $24.


Look, I don't need to justify our spending habits, but $24 for a tiny cotton dress that she will soil and grow out of in less time it took for me to write this post? No, thank you.

I expressed my concern.

He assured me, "It wasn't $24; it was on sale."

Better-ish. It wasn't on final-markdown-clearance sale (the kind of shopping that I like to do), but it was better than full price.

And can I just say that is the proudest $24 sale item my husband has ever bought? Honest to goodness, he was beaming as he showed me this dress. Beaming.

And so was I. My husband, the non-shopper, could hardly wait more than one day before proudly purchasing a dress (a dress!) for his baby girl. He is hopelessly smitten, and it moves me to tears.

Somehow God grew our hearts so that we would continue loving Henry even more each day while simultaneously loving Harper in such a way that we never thought we could.

And as I observe the father of my daughter, I'm awestruck at God's ability to fill my heart up even more with love for my husband. Watching Matt with our sweet girl has turned me into a weepy mess. She has snatched her daddy's heart, and I'm happy to let her have it.

God is crazy awesome. In less than 48 hours He has overwhelmed me beyond what I ever thought possible. Not only did He give me a heart for adoring two children and a precious husband, but I'm blown away by our family and friends who are loving and supporting us through this transition.

My parents have unconditionally cared for our sick son (Henry came down with croup over the weekend) as we spent time with our newborn. Matt's family will put more miles on their car and take more days off work in the next few weeks simply to give our family extra hands. My sister single-handedly bought out the entire pink side of Carter's. And our friends. Wow, our friends. They have overloaded our inboxes and mailbox with their words of encouragement, support, and sincere prayers. Not to mention hospital visits and an insane number of meal offers. Seriously, God? Seriously? You love my family this much? I can't even stand it.

As if all this wasn't enough to make me cry big-ugly tears as I type, my husband sent me right over my blubbery edge when he looked at me before bed last night and said, "I was going to pay $24 for the dress."

Of course he was.

Something tells me he didn't even see the pricetag on that dress. Because no matter what, it wouldn't have mattered.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In only one day . . .

. . . my new reality, as a mother of two, is setting in.

And I don't know how I like it.

Actually, I love it. I won't even begin to describe how it feels to love two other human beings as much as I do. I think I'll save that for another post. It's emotional, and I'm exhausted.

But within one day of meeting my daughter, I learned that my son, at home with my parents, was suffering a high fever. And an ugly cough.

Here I am, sitting helplessly in a hospital bed, doing what I can to recover while providing my tiny baby girl with her only physical nourishment, and my son is across town feeling like crap.

I hate it. I hate not being able to take care of them both simultaneously and equally. I hate the constant tension in my heart, pulling me to feed, swaddle, and nuzzle my newborn daughter while my son suffers without his mommy's comforting touch.

Breaks. My. Heart.

Being a mother-of-two has taken my heart to a whole new level of completeness. And it has taken my love for God to a whole new level of awestruck wonder. Seriously, did God really just expand my heart to make room for two babies? Indeed, He did.

He expanded it. Filled it up. And now I must lean on Him more than ever as I manage two sets of precious needs.

I wrote this post on Saturday, August 15th.
Tuesday update: Henry has croup, and he is on a steroid. The virus will run its course, and he should be fine as long as his temperature stays down. Thankfully he has little to no interest in his baby sister thus his interactions with her will be minimal.

Monday, August 17, 2009


These pictures were taken only hours before Harper was born.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Thank you, Jesus, for a beautiful and healthy baby girl.

Harper Lynn Hooper

Born Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 1:20pm

7 pounds, 8 ounces

19 3/4 inches long

Perfect in every way

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Maternal Exhaustion

As I mentioned Tuesday, I anticipate that tomorrow's events will deliver a drastic change in my priorities.

In addition to taking a break from vlogging, I imagine I'll need a break from my blogging routine in general. Normally I try to post Monday through Friday with a vlog on Tuesday and Non-Maternal Instincts on Thursday. But I'm exchanging structure and routine for survival and sanity.

It's my blog, and I'll blog (and vlog) when I want to.

In the meantime, I anticipate many days wishing I were doing this:

Pray for me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mr. Independent

Before you know it, he'll be shuckin' that corn.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Practically Green Vlog Hiatus

For the next several weeks I will not be posting any Practically Green Vlogs.

On Friday we anticipate welcoming a second child into our family (I have a cesarean scheduled for Friday afternoon).

We are eager to meet our newest blessing, and I suspect that vlogging about green living will hardly be a priority.

I'm not sure when I'll return to my Tuesday routine. In the meantime, I'll be struggling to live practically green among all the stuff that comes with another small child.