Wednesday, November 14, 2012

cutest little monkey

Happy Halloween from the cutest little monkey around.  I had fun getting a few shots of Harper all dressed up on Halloween before we went and trick-or-treating in Magnolia where they close off a few blocks to traffic and the businesses hand out candy.  It was very crowded and I don't think Harper was quite sure what to make of all of it, but we had fun.  Then we went and grabbed a burger with Harper's friend, Lincoln and his parents.  This post is mostly pictures, but enjoy!



monkey love

Monday, October 29, 2012

catching up

I have slowly become less and less interested in our blog.  Perhaps you have too since I haven't posted much in a while.  But for posterity's sake, I will play a little catch up.  We have been in Seattle for three months; it is incredibly beautiful here and we have enjoyed exploring all that it has to offer, but we are definitely still adjusting.  Adjusting to a new area, new people, lack of our close friends and family we left behind.  I know it just takes time to build a network and feel at home and comfortable, but to make it a bit harder, Harper and I just returned from a two week trip to Utah.  I have to admit that coming home after being surrounded by so much love and familiarity, in a way has felt like starting over--again.

It's a official, I am the mother of a toddler.  Harper took her sweet time walking on her own and made sure not even let us set her down on her own two feet until she was completely ready.  For months, she pushed around chairs and strollers, boxes and coolers and loved going anywhere she pleased.  She would cruise when holding onto mine and Brady's hands, but as soon as we would let go she would hit the floor so fast or insist we pick her "up".  People would tell me to enjoy the time she wasn't walking because once they start, there is no stopping them.  Well because Harper was already climbing onto chairs and tables before walking I really never noticed any downsides to her walking.  She was completely thrilled when she finally took the plunge and so were we.

missing Harper's salt waters and sunny days at the park

finally doing it!

I do miss my little Harper walking with her arms outstretched, often straight into the air.  I think she got so used to walking behind things, holding on, that once she was walking on her own she needed her arms out for balance.  She quickly become more stable and confident.  She hasn't yet mastered a run; for now, she kind of skips a bit when she is moving with excitement.

saying goodbye

In September we said goodbye to Brady's Grandpa Ashdown.  His decline was rapid and because we weren't home for any of it, I think we are both still in disbelief that such a strong, hard-working, vibrant man is really gone.  The three of us drove home for the funeral and were so grateful to spend a few days with Brady's family. 

I think Glen and Michele gained great comfort from cuddling their two granddaughters as we said goodbye to our Dad, Grandpa and Great-Grandpa.  Thank you for the stories, the laughs and your example of dedication, hard-work and respect.  We love you Grandpa Ashdown!

three generations after having said goodbye to the fourth, Great-Grandpa Ashdown

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

harper and mimi

Can I just say that I adore this girl?  This is who I was greeted by this morning: Harper and her pink bear.  Grammy gave Harper this bear when she was just days old and she has just recently taken interest in it, but has already named it Mimi.  Harper is always very happy in the morning and greets us with huge smiles and lots of stories which consist of excited babble, pointing to her bear, her bunny and her blanket (three things she sleeps with).  They end with her hugging whichever she is holding, offering it to you and politely requesting "up" which she usually whispers with an over-pronounced P.

This morning I made Harper a bit sad because she was so excited to see me, but as soon as I went in, I turned around to grab my camera and I am so glad I did!  I have to say this has got to be one of my all time favorite shots I have taken of her, and it even shows off a few of her fly-away curls in the back.  I am so grateful for this little lady and that I get to be her mama.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

times they are a-changin'

Harper insisted on playing in the rain on the 4th in Arizona. She's made for Seattle!

Bob Dylan couldn't be more right: the water around us has indeed grown, there will be days we'll be drenched to the bone and the times really are changing for the Ashdown family.
Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
For the times they are a-changin'.

parking the Uhaul with daddy

There was little time to blog or do much else other than pack boxes and repack them after Harper felt the need to unpack a bit.  Our last few weeks in Tucson were great, we tried to spend time with the people we loved and I was grateful that Brady's work schedule was flexible and rather light so we could sort and pack together.  The last thing I wanted was to have to upgrade to a larger truck for an additional $300 so each box was packed as efficiently as possible (I am embarrassingly good at tetris). After packing the truck with the same efficient use of space and help from some really great people, we had room to spare.

Best way to watch Sesame Street hands down!

As Brady received his job offer from Deloitte nearly a year ago, we have been had more than time to think through the moving process, what to keep and what to sell and what to just get rid of.  It was actually a relief to finally get to start packing boxes.  As I mentioned before, Harper is extra helpful when it comes to taking things apart or out of boxes we mainly packed after she was in bed, which turned into many, many late nights working and feeding our addiction to Mad Men.

helpful Harper loved being part of the action
saying goodbye to the Amezquitas who I met on my mission in 2005

We packed the Uhaul early to beat the heat; Harper was quite helpful and slept through the entire process.  I felt so grateful, but what I didn't realize then was that the real work was about to begin.  Somehow the last bit of cleaning and organizing happen after the truck is packed and there is way more to do than you ever thought and it takes forever!  At one point, Harper entertained herself with a nearly-gone container of hummus, eating it by the handfuls and coating herself and the cooler with the rest.  So as we pulled out of Tucson (about 6 hours later than I had hoped) the three of us squeezed into the front row of the truck, she was simply wearing a diaper.

After all the packing, planning, cleaning and more cleaning, then mopping as I walked out the door, I was so relieved to have finished that I didn't even have the energy to properly say goodbye to Tucson or most the people I loved there.  Maybe that's how it ought to be: you work so incredibly hard to leave a place that you don't have time or energy to lament the end of an era.  But I will always love our time we had there and our first little home where we became parents.


I am now sitting in our new place in Seattle on my own as Brady is in Los Angeles for his first week (then he'll be in Dallas next week).  Harper and I have had a good time exploring and seeing what our beautiful neighborhood has to offer.  The zoo is only a mile away and our Tucson zoo pass transfers so we've been twice already.  But I have to be honest--I miss being surrounded by familiar faces and places.  A few days before leaving, I was feeling so sad about saying goodbye and then it struck me.  I got to take Brady and Harper with me, I wasn't going alone.  They are my world and they still would be my world in Seattle.  I am so grateful for the years we spent in Arizona and am filled with excitement for new faces and places.  The times indeed are changin'.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I am almost a month late, but I had to take a minute away from packing and preparing for our move to Seattle to commemorate a fantastic, emotional, wonderful day and milestone in our family.  On May 12th, Brady graduated with a double masters degree from the University of Arizona.  Doing the duel degree, an MBA and Master's of Information Systems, is slotted to be a two and a half year program. About a semester into the program, Brady decided he could finish both in two.  The timing made a lot more sense according to when big companies do their recruitment and hiring; it also meant a semester less living on student loans.  Let me be honest, I was hesitant at first and wasn't sure it was the best idea--but let me also say how incredibly impressed I am that he did it!  Brady worked so hard, stayed up well into the night countless times and still somehow made time to make dinner many nights and cuddle his girls.

 The day of Brady's graduation was wonderful (although a bit hot) and we were to happy to have Glen and Michele here to see him get hooded.  They were angels and took turns with Harper, walking behind her as she explored the beautiful old theater.  Once I looked back and Glen was holding her way up so she could reach the balcony; Harper's always in heaven when Grandma and Grandpa are here.  As Brady's name was announced and he walked across the stage, I felt so impressed by him and what he has accomplished--I was overcome, relived, but also a bit sad to see this chapter end. 

 After graduation, there was a reception outside and it was bittersweet knowing that this was goodbye to a lot of classmates and friends.  Ben, Lindsey and Macee joined us for the reception and then we all headed downtown for a celebratory dinner.  What a perfect day!

Brady, I know you are not one for public pronouncements of love and affection, but I just have to say, I am so impressed by you.  You have TWO master's degrees!  You have accomplished so much and I am so excited to see what the next two years hold for us.

Friday, April 13, 2012

celebrating harper

 Harper had her first birthday party this past Saturday.  We had so much fun with our friends and family that were able to come celebrate our little lady.  A week before the party, Harper's Grandma (Brady's mom) called and said she wanted to come to the party from Utah.  We were thrilled!  We have loved our time here in Tucson, but for times like these it's tough to be so far from Harper's adoring grandparents.

It was so fun to have Michele here for the weekend.  Harper loved spending time with her Grandma, they loved taking little "discovery walks" together and touch and explore things.  On Friday as I was decorating cupcakes and getting things ready, the two of them were upstairs for the longest time playing and cuddling.  Harper was in heaven and I'm pretty sure Grandma was too.  Thanks for coming Michele!

We were glad that a bunch of Harper's friends (and their parents) could come celebrate with us.  Harper's cousin, Macee was here showing off her crawling skills--the five month gap between them is getting smaller and smaller as they grow.  Although Macee may well walk before Harper does, Harper had a few ways to show off for her cousin while they were here.

We had a ball watching Harper dive into her first taste of cake.  She adored the feeling of frosting between her fingers and enjoyed a couple licks while she played.  Brady finally helped her discover the cake that was hiding beneath all that frosting.  Harper's a lucky girl to have such a nice dad.  The clean up was less fun, but it was worth it.

I'm not totally sure how first birthdays will be celebrated for future Ashdowns, but I had a lot of fun preparing for Harper's party and although I know she won't remember it, it was a big, exciting day for us.  She admired my decorations and wanted to pull them down so badly, while Brady and I were happy to spend a perfectly sunny day with family and friends celebrating one year of parenthood.

whatever this stuff is, it feels great
and tastes good too!

this is hard work!

taken right before Harper realized how fun it is to clap with frosting-coated hands

Harper and Grandma recovering from the party and cake

look Mama!

Monday, April 2, 2012


Happy birthday Harper girl!  I can't believe it has been a year since we welcomed Harper into the world.  I have to be honest--in some ways it seems like yesterday and others I can't remember life without her.  She brings so much joy into our lives, loves to make us laugh, meet new people and go anywhere with her mama.  She isn't walking, but she loves climbing stairs and stands up on anything.  Harper is one joyful little girl and we are so grateful to have her.  I put together a little slideshow to commemorate Harper's first year.  Enjoy.