December 23, 2011

Our sweet bird is here

Wren Josephine Hardie
December 22, 2011
Born at home, 9:20 pm
7lbs. 7oz.
20 inches long
Little Wren has been here less than 24 hours and already she has stolen our hearts.
I will post a birth story later,
but for now I just wanted to leave these photos and a beautiful poem a friend shared with me.

On Children
by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,
But seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
And He bends you with His might
That His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves also the bow that is stable.

December 22, 2011

Waiting for Baby: Part II

For another of our pre-baby adventures, Ellie and I took advantage of a special they were having at the nail salon down the street.  After naptime we walked over and Ellie got her very first manicure while I got a pedicure!  It was so fun.  And really funny.  The ladies who work there couldn't get over her.  A little known fact about Ellie is that she LOVES to have her nails worked on.  I've never painted them for her, but if she sees anyone trimming their fingernails, she insists that hers be cut as well.  Fingernail clipping is the highlight of her day!  So I thought she might like this experience - and boy did she.
Just look at that face.  She is in hog heaven.
She spent the next several days showing off her pretty pink nails to anyone who would care to look.  Now that we are prepped and pampered, we're just waiting for little sister to make her appearance.  Come on labor - let's get started!

December 20, 2011

December 18, 2011

Eleanor turns 2 (part II)

all photos by Kelli Nicole

Eleanor my darling, it doesn't seem that long ago that I was composing a little blog post to commemorate your first birthday.  My, how you have changed in just one year!  Really, it is astounding. Especially the hair growth.  My super pregnant brain refuses to come up with any poetic or clever words with which to mark this milestone, so instead I will just write a few things I can think of about you right now and share some photos.  Really, your pictures speak for themselves.

You are so full of personality.
Usually it's very pleasant and sunshiney - but you do have your 2 year old moments. 
The battle of wills around here can be quite intense.
You are so very funny.
Your dad and I are often lying in bed cracking up over the things you said and did that day.

Your four canine teeth are finally coming in - we wondered when they would show up.
You weigh 25 lbs and are 34 inches tall
You do pretty well on the growth chart these days.
I think you're athletic like your father.
Always jumping, climbing, and now somersaulting!
You can throw really well and occasionally impress us by catching something.

Your hair is usually in a ponytail - otherwise it's an unruly mess.
You wear your silver boat shoes every day and LOVE to point them out to people.
You also love "lips" (chapstick) and have to wear some every chance you get.

You gave up on sign language for a while, but now you're interested again.
You often mimic me when I'm interpreting in church. (mouthing the words and all)
Your favorite sign is "giraffe" - you are very serious about this one.

I stopped counting your words a few months ago.
It just didn't seem necessary anymore.
But now we've reached a phase where you say so much and yet, it's not always understandable.
I'm sorry - I try my best to interpret for you, but sometimes even Mama's at a loss for what you mean.

Some of my favorite silly things you say:
pay-low (play-do)
rudderban (rubberband)
Whitney Hardie (where did you learn this, by the way?)
happy halloweeeeeen! (shouted any time someone mentions that holiday)
I do (whenever you answer in the affirmative)
Ellie-mommy-daddy tooted (seriously, every time?)
I did it!

I love to hear you say "I did it."
Because you do so many things and you grow up every day.
You open bottle lids, try to dress yourself, pause the movie, answer my phone - such a big girl.

loving the Little Mermaid pose, by the way.

You love to take pictures with our old camera.
You love to check yourself out in the mirror.
You love Elmo and Blue's Clues.
You are a little bossy and LOVE to be in control.
You love your friends and list them from memory: June-bug, Violet, Arnie (sorry, Arden)

You can count to 14 - if you can get past 4, that is.
Usually it's some variation of 1, 2 ...4, 2 ... 5,6,7,8,9,10, etc.
Not sure why you hate 3 so much.

Similar story with the alphabet - you get bits and pieces really well.
The whole thing?  Ah, it's over-rated.

Wow, Ellie.  I didn't mean for this to be so long. 
I'm sure you're probably embarrassed by how obsessed I am with you.
What can I say?
I'm afraid I will one day forget what you were like when you were 2.
You are too adorable for words.
You test my limits.
You make me laugh and cry (often at the same time)
You melt my heart.
You are a toddler through and through and I'm so happy to spend my days with you.
Keep growing, honey - you are doing just great!

December 17, 2011

Eleanor turns 2

Is it really possible?  I keep thinking about how much has changed in 2 years.
How different you are.
How different we are because of you.

Ellie, I'll write more for you tomorrow.
More about who you are and the things you do.
I'll post more photos because the internet could never have enough of your sweet face.

But I didn't want tonight to pass without me saying:
I love you, Sweetheart.
Happy Birthday.

Waiting for Baby: Part I

Well, I certainly hope this series doesn't get very long - as I'd love for our baby to join us sooner rather than later.  But I thought I'd document some of the fun things we've been doing to kill time while we wait for the little one to make her appearance.  Aside from our regular playgroup and library outings, Ellie and I have been trying to sneak in the occasional adventure while it's still just the two of us.

Earlier in the month we went to an AWESOME little exhibit at the Society of Illustrators called The Original Art.  It's a juried show that highlights the best in children's book illustrations from the year.  It was really fun and definitely a great way to spend an afternoon in NYC with small children.  Our good friends, Bea, Olive, and June joined us.
I loved that the artwork was hung high enough that I didn't have to worry about Ellie touching things, and yet the illustrations were engaging for someone her age.  We could point to the blue horse or talk about what people were doing in different pictures.  Coolest part ever?  The reading area set up in the center with all the books from which the illustrations came.  We spent a lot of time browsing these treasures.
Here's a photo I took of one of my favorite illustrations.  It's by Jason Chin for a book called Coral Reefs.

There were so many amazing books that I thought I'd share titles and links to a few of my favorites.
You know, in case you're in the market for some children's books this Christmas.

After we had our fill of children's books, we headed out. You know Ellie always has to travel in style.

December 15, 2011

Oh Snap(shot)

Well, we got a new point and shoot camera for ourselves this Christmas and I am in LOVE.  Finally, a pocket sized camera that takes decent photos and is fun for a photographer to use.  This is a big deal, people!  There are so many great shots I never take because (I'm lazy and) it takes so much energy to wield that giant camera and lens of mine.  Who needs another 7 lbs to lug up the stairs at the train station?  Not I.  So now that I have this little baby, I am shooting it up like a tourist.  Prepare the blog for lower quality, higher quantity, awesome everyday snaps like the one above.  Or these:
Yes, we are all very excited around here.
Oh, and speaking of random - here's Ellie's famous Thanksgiving Turkey.
Made with her own hands (and feet)
She likes to hold it during dinner.

December 8, 2011

Consider this our Christmas Card

Warning:  In the weeks leading up to my due date, I tend to get a little snarky.  It's a problem, I know.

Yeah, there's no way we're doing Christmas cards this year.  But I have been thinking about what it would say if I sent one out.  Maybe I'd do an abbreviated version of the ever-popular brag letter.
Merry Christmas from the Hardies!
Here's a short update about us:
Ellie - obviously cuter and more advanced than your child
Joe - achieving success in his career that you have only dreamed of
Whitney - effortlessly conquering the roles of wife, mother, and photo-blogging sensation
So Beat That!

OK, that's enough sarcasm for one post.  For some reason holiday letters just really get under my skin.  But if you've already sent one my way, don't worry - I won't judge you too harshly.  If you sent me a Christmas card/form letter, chances are we love each other and I will kindly browse through your family's achievements while reminding myself of how very hard it is not to broadcast the accomplishments of one's kin.  I will still love you.  I just might not respect you as much.

Now on to some real documentation of our family:
Here's me at 36 weeks (I'm currently 38).  Something happens after week 35 - my face starts looking really unsure that it's a good idea to be taking these pictures anymore.  I try to hide it, but I just can't.  Another thing I can't hide?  How much I love my Ellie girl.
Really and truly, friends, I hope all of you are doing well.  The Hardies are happy and healthy and wish the very best for all of you in this Holiday Season.

Photos by Kelli Nicole - edited and cropped by me.

December 5, 2011

Lentils - your life is not complete without them

Note to self: Lentils do not photograph well
Note to all of you: Do not let that stop you from trying this recipe.

Seriously, this is the best lentil soup recipe EVER!  I would like to make a public service announcement that everyone in the world should eat more lentils.  You really won't regret it.  The basic recipe was found here, and then I made a ton of adjustments based on the comments people made.  So I consider the following a bit of a masterpiece in my personal culinary history.

1 onion, chopped 
1/4 C olive oil
4 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, choped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 C dry brown lentils
1 C dry red lentils
1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
4 C broth (chicken, vegetable, whatever you want to use)
1/2 C spinach, thinly sliced (sometimes I add more - just depends on my mood)
2 Tbs basalmic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions, carrots and celery.  Cook and stir until onion is tender.  Stir in garlic and all the spices.  Cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in the lentils, add tomatoes and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour.  When ready to serve, stir in spinach and cook until it wilts.  Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add whatever else you think it needs to be delicious!

December 2, 2011

Journaling Happy Things

In the beginning of November I found myself in the depths of despair with the whole bedbug crisis.  The depths of despair, people.  Anne of Green Gables, anyone?  I remembered this talk given recently in General Conference about how it is always better to look up and I decided to apply this counsel to my own life right away.

So for one week I tried to find one really good thing about each day and write it down in a notebook.  And you know what?  I think because I was looking for good things to happen to me, I opened myself up to more possibilities for enjoyment in my life.  I went on outings when I normally would have stayed home because of the thought, "Hey, this could be my good thing for the day."  Even days that weren't super great were salvaged when I sat down at the end of the day and tried to remember the biggest highlight of the last 24 hours.

Because this is kind of my journal right now, and because I took some pictures too - I'll share what I wrote in my notebook those days.
Monday 11/7 - Ellie and I went to a park that's off our beaten path.  The weather was gorgeous that morning and we had the entire playground to ourselves.  It was refreshing to sit and watch my toddler run in the patches of sunlight and crunchy leaves.  We had no agenda, no place to be, just time to hang out and do whatever she wanted on the playground.

Tuesday 11/8 - An impromptu trip to the Met got us out of the house all day.  I never take last minute outings in the city, but I'm so glad I did.  We enjoyed some art (including a cool part of the museum I hadn't previously seen) spent time with great friends, and strolled through Central Park on THE most beautiful fall day.
Wednesday 11/9 - Finally sent off some overdue photos to a client.  Conquering the post office before lunch is always a good thing.

Thursday 11/10 - One pint of Breyer's chocolate ice cream.  Yes, the whole thing.

Friday 11/11 - Participated in a Blessing Way ceremony for my good friend Megan.  A group of close women got together to celebrate Megan and give her love and support for her upcoming birth journey.  There was laughter, candlelight, music, homemade Indian food, and just a general sense of well being and sisterhood.  I am so excited for her to have her baby, and of course excited for my own to join us soon.
Ellie and her friends were really living it up in Central Park that evening.
And I have no idea what is happening in the photo below, but doesn't her hair remind you of Greg Brady?
It's got me feeling groovy, that's for sure.
Here's hoping all of you have happy weeks as well.  
Take some time to notice what is right in your life, right now.

November 21, 2011

Buggy Buggy Buggy


There, I said it.  The most feared word in New York City.

That is the reason things have been so quiet on this blog for the entire month of November.
That is the reason my photography clients have been waiting, waiting, waiting for photos.
That is the reason I have cried myself to sleep a couple times recently.
That is the reason I feel the need to shout, "I'm not a dirty person!" to random people on the street.

Yes, my name is Whitney, and I am a bedbug survivor.  And I'm Mormon.  (sorry just had to throw that last bit in there because I'm feeling so clever right now)

Do you know how pregnant I am?
Way too pregnant to be dealing with this crap, that's for sure.

Having bedbugs is not for the faint of heart.  It requires copious amounts of laundry, sealing all clean items into plastic bags and living for about a month with ALL YOUR WORLDLY POSSESSIONS packed away.  Did I mention the vacuuming?  There is lots of it.  Anything that can't be washed and dried on high heat must be vacuumed.  Yes, that would be dear Joseph, vacuuming all of our shoes prior to sealing them in above-mentioned plastic bags.
Every floorboard in the apartment has been vacuumed with the hose extension.  All furniture must be vacuumed, closets emptied, dressers emptied, bookshelves emptied.  People, this is a serious upheaval.

Then there is the exterminating.  We are so fortunate that our management company promptly responded with a professional bedbug exterminator - but it is INTENSE.  They come for three days, a week apart each time.  And each time all furniture must be moved 18 inches from the wall, all bedding stripped, all picture frames and mirrors taken down, PLUS the other activities already mentioned above.  Then they come and spray and anyone who is pregnant or under the age of 2 must be gone from the premises for 24 hours.  Guess who that includes?

Lately it feels my life is laundry, vacuum, bag, repeat, repeat, repeat.  But there are good things to note as well.  

1. Our house has never been cleaner.  Though it is an absolute unorganized disaster, I am sure there is not a single speck of dust anywhere to be found - the corners of the room are spick and span.

2. We have learned that you really don't need all that stuff that clutters up your house.  In our initial clean sweep we tossed a lot of junk, and I'm excited to throw more stuff away when we open our bags.

3. We have really great friends who have watched our daughter, helped us vacuum and launder, let us crash at their place, given us tips for how they defeated the little monster bugs, and more.

4. Ellie hasn't had a single bite since the first extermination and for this we are really grateful.

5. As I write this, we are preparing for our final extermination - we will be officially bedbug free and our home will be put back together before Thanksgiving.  Now THAT is something to be thankful for this year.

Taken at 34 weeks

And I am thankful for  the tiny baby growing inside, who has wisely decided to stay put until we get this issue taken care of.  Bedbugs stink, but as Joe and I remind each other often - bedbugs are not eternal and we will not be beaten!

November 14, 2011

Bringing Home the "W"

So, I don't really get into Halloween.  Not really really.  I don't decorate, I'm bored after the first Halloween themed toddler party, and I can't handle any scary movies at all.  But I do get into the costume.  That's the one thing I really care about - well that and Reese's peanut butter cups.  I go crazy for family costume themes - I love group costumes!  This was our most ambitious year yet.  And boy did it pay off.
That's right.  Grand prize for costumes at the ward Halloween party!  And yes, I am such a gloating winner that not only did I save the plastic plate trophy so I could photograph it to show off to all of you, but I will also tell you that the prize included 2 movie tickets.  Boo-yah!  The taste of victory was sweet this year, my friends.

We may have won the prize for costumes this year, but I definitely failed in the costume documentation department.  I was too tired and too pregnant and it was too snowy to take any decent photos of the family in our get-up.  So you'll just have to try to eek out the full effect from the random photos I do have.

Halloween 2011: Amelia Earhart, her trusty airplane, and her route around the world.
Like any good pilot, first thing in the morning Amelia had a thorough inspection of her aircraft - complete with tinfoil prop and historic plane model number.
Then she suited up and posed for a quick press photo, detailing her intended flight route around the world.
Things quickly went downhill from here as we struggled to get an over-sized cardboard airplane wrapped in a shower curtain, a toddler, and a salad to the church building via subway in the outrageous snowstorm that surprised us all that day.

But we made it in one piece and posed for our only family photo of the entire event.

And yes, the airplane was built in such a way that Ellie could ride inside on Joe's back.  She wasn't too into it, but I thought it was an awesome touch.  And here is a video - probably the best documentation we have.

Wow, get a load of the crazy eyes in that freeze frame.  Clearly not enough sleep.
Amelia, you were good to us this year.  Next year, though, I think we should all be ghosts in sheets.