Harmon's Haven

Meet amazing dad Robbie, mother-in-training Jesika, 7 year old best big sister Bree, 5 year old boy in every way Gabe, 3 year old who thinks he's 10 years old who makes us all laugh McKay,
and 9 month old sweetest Quinn Marie...the Harmon Family!

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I.Love.Summer! The absolute best part is having Bree home, and not having to rush to get breakfast, morning chores, and off to the bus every morning. We have had so much fun!! The kids have played so well together and we have really made the most of our time. Some highlights:

~Trip to Utah!

Ranch fun...Grammy and Grandpa's...4th of July Race...Uncle Taylor and Aunt Sarah...Idaho with grandpa Ralph...visiting Opa Rollie and Granny Phyllis...hiking Timp and over night in SLC with my love...we loved every minute of our trip to Utah!!

~"Field trips" to Ravinia (fulfilling McKay's dream of playing a real cello like the Piano Guys), Capanari's Ice-cream Shop, the Jelly Belly Factory, the Farmer's Market, and Mingle Juice Bar. Beach days at Kanosha beach were our favorite. ("Beach" being next to Lake Michigan.) Only 40 minutes North, just across the Wisconsin boarder. The water is pretty chilly, but the kids don't care! Quinn could play in the sand all day!

~Visit from the Evans...my cousin Kristin and her husband had a little anniversary get away and we got to play with their three children! We took up the whole swing set between our two families! The kids had a blast! Marshmallow races were the fav :)

~Fun at the pool, "school time" (working on summer workbooks), piano practicing, Splash and Spray, backyard "water fun" as the kids call it (throwing water at each other :), BBQs with daddy, rain storms, Yogurtland, Chipotle, family baseball, soccer and kickball in the backyard, play dates, and trips to many parks in the area have made for some fun memories. And I don't think a day went by without the kids going down in the basement to play "ninja spies." Not 100% sure what that is, but they loved it!

I am honestly sad it has come to and end. But it makes me excited already for next summer!! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I am surviving!

As I pulled up our family blog tonight and saw that my last post was the birth of our sweetest little Quinn...9 months ago...I was not really surprised :) Life has been an absolute whirlwind, or shall I say snowstorm, since then! Two days before she was born Robbie was offered a job...in Chicago. The offer came unsolicited, but it felt SO right. When our house sold in four days our feelings were confirmed that this was indeed the right move for our family. So with our four children in tow, the tiniest just two months old, we made the move halfway across the county to join the Midwest.

At this point I feel like a short list will describe the next 7 months:

-Drastic change in weather...from intense heat to intense cold!
-Bree successfully acclimating to a new school. She loves everything about it. Gym, lunch, friends, teacher...
-Robbie transitioning into his role as a Regional Vice President at Surgical Care Affiliates. He loves it. They love him. Perfect fit.
-Bree, Gabe and McKay loving the snow.
-Quinn growing and being overwhelmed with kisses and adoration by her five biggest fans. Getting her up in the morning and after naps is the HIGHLIGHT of her siblings' day!
-Learning why they call this the "Windy City"...I don't think it stops! (Which is great on a warm day though!)
-Getting to know members of our new ward (congregation) and loving how wonderful our church is at making people feel welcomed and loved. We are meeting some wonderfully amazing people!
-Joining Lifetime Fitness has saved us this winter! Have made some great friends and love having such a fabulous place to work out!
-Surviving being a mother of four. While it has been wonderful and so rewarding watching how sweet these children of mine are, the planning, laundry, meals, dishes, siblings fighting, cleaning, teaching, listening and lack of sleep have almost put me over the edge a few times. Ok, several times :) But I am learning so much and honestly am loving this motherhood thing more than ever.
-Celebrating birthdays...We are now at a nice 32, 7, 5, 3, and 9 months...my favorite ages so far!
-Missing family...my parents serving in Australia, my little sis serving in Taiwan, my other siblings in CT, TX and UT and my in-laws in UT and CA...too far away! We are realizing just how much we LOVE being around family and hope that someday we can be closer! BUT, even if this isn't "where we are going to settle," it is the perfect place for the Harmon Family right now. Spring is coming and we could not be more excited.

Each month here we have only loved it more, so let the Chicago adventures continue...hopefully with better documentation of our journey!     

Monday, October 21, 2013

She's Here!

He does that every time doesn't he. Just when you aren't sure if God is going to answer, he does. Just when you think something isn't going to happen, it does. It's the "fourth watch" thing...
Our little girl came. The day after my last post...August 12th, 5:12 PM at a healthy 7 lbs 10 ounces. She is Quinn Marie Harmon and I love every bit of her. By way of a quick birth story:
Monday I woke up determined to make the week better than the last week which had been full of unmet expectations...just waiting for my baby to come! So I planned several things for the week, the first being to finish covering my kitchen chairs. I had covered two chairs months ago and had been meaning to finish. So I borrowed my friend's staple gun and got to work. The contractions had been pretty constant, but no different than the past few days, or actually past few weeks for that matter. (There had even been several nights where I had been up with contractions, but after an few hours of being pretty consistent they would stop! So disheartening!) So as I was stapling the new seat covers on my chairs I would have to stop off and on because of a contraction, and after a few hard ones I thought I had better start timing. While they weren't consistent, they were definitely harder and some were only a minute apart. So I called my Dr and they said to go in just to check it out...good thing we went in cause I was at an 8!!  I was thrilled beyond words. And the labor was wonderful. Because I had done it naturally last time I definitely knew how to manage the pain and only had a few freak out moments. We got to the hospital around 3 and she was born just after 5. Just like last time I had an angel nurse who told me all the right things (like when they said I could push and I just didn't think I could do it cause I was so tired she just looked at me and said, "Take a deep breath, you can do this and you are going to do this." I just thought, 'Yes, you are right. I am going to do this.') Two pushes later our little girl was here! And she has been a hit with her siblings ever since. Bree is honestly the best helper. I trust her walking up and down stairs holding Quinn she is that good. This is how I found them just chatting. Sisters are the best!
 Then two days after Quinn was born Robbie accepted a new job! Surgical Care Affiliates is the lucky company that gets Robbie Harmon on their team. They are thrilled, and so are we. That fact that it would require us to move to Chicago was sad, exciting and crazy all wrapped into one. Sad because of all the amazing Arizona people and our house that we would have to leave. Exciting because it is a really great job opportunity, a fun new city, and a new adventure for us. Crazy though because they wanted Robbie to start by October 1...which means we had to get our house ready to sell, list it, hopefully sell it, and pack up and move...all with a newborn!
While it was crazy, we could not have been more blessed. Our house sold in four days at a superb price. I only had to stay in AZ for three weeks without Robbie to close on the house. Robbie's new company gave us a moving allowance so we were able to have movers help pack and ship our things. The kids were all really excited and helpful, and Quinn was an angel through it all. God is so good.
Celebrating daddy's new job!
 A couple weeks after Quinn was born my sweetest sister Sarah came to visit. She was a month away from entering the Missionary Training Center to serve a mission for our church in Taiwan, and so she came to spend a week with us. Since my parents are in Australia as mission presidents my mom couldn't come as she normally does when I have a baby, so Sarah came in her place. And  can I just say, SISTERS ARE THE BEST! Honestly, she was such an amazing help and we had the best time. It was a week of heaven for me and for the kids :) They sure love aunt Sarah!
 She even got to watch them in the Primary talent show perform "My Little Buttercup." It was hilarious.

 And all the while the kids just loved on their little sister. I think Gabe and McKay each asked to hold her 10-20 times a day, not even exaggerating! They are both so sweet with her, which I love to see from boys.
McKay's love makes Quinn a little nervous at times :) but they are going to be buddies for sure.

We all especially loved when the smiles started early in September. There really is a little bit of heaven when  baby is in the home.
And saying good-bye to so many wonderful people in Arizona was harder than I thought. These lovely ladies are some of my mother-in-laws family...they are such amazing women who I have learned a lot from! They really made our time in Arizona so wonderful. I love each of them.

But now it's off to Chicago...the first place that Quinn will even know. We love this little girl so much already and I am so grateful we get to have her as part of our family. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I wouldn't want to come either...

It has been a week of waiting, unmet expectations, and a lot of disappointment. And really it is only my own fault. Even though my Dr. thought I would have her my now, I still shouldn't have gotten my hopes up so high. At my appointment a week and a half ago my Dr. said, "Oh you will most likely have her this week." 80% effaced and 2 cm dilated. So I made plans accordingly. A week passes, Thursday comes and he is surprised I'm still pregnant, checks me and since I have gone to 3 cm asks if I want him to strip my membranes. "Do you want to go into labor?" he asks with a smile? "Cause if I do this then you probably will..." "YES!" I exclaim. Please!
Now it is Sunday.
But honesty I wouldn't want to come to earth either. This world is so scary. She is in a safe, beautiful, calm place right now with others who love her. She probably doesn't want to say good-bye to all of them. And she is coming as the fourth child. To a mom who is trying but frankly, struggles. A mom who is scared about being able to give enough attention and be enough for each of the four children.
This morning I awoke again with tears because she still hadn't come. (My brother's birthday was yesterday and I thought it would be so sweet to share a birthday with him. I was so sad.) But then the thought came that I should write a letter to my little one. What would I say if I could talk to her right now...

My sweet daughter,
We are so eager for you arrive! Bree and Gabe have been praying for days now that you will be born...they can't wait to hold you, to play with you, and to teach you all they know. You have the BEST daddy ever. Honestly, there aren't more blessed children anywhere than his...you should be so excited cause he will play with you, tickle you, tease you, read with you, and bless you with all the blessings the priesthood of God offers. I just want to tell you that even though I struggle, I am really excited to be your mom. I feel blessed to have you in our family and know there will be things that you will teach me and I am so excited for that. We are going to have so much fun :) We will read together, have dance parties, do play dough, have tea parties with Bree, cook delicious food, pray together, and laugh a lot. This world is scary, but we are working hard to make our home a safe haven. A place where you can feel peace, and joy and hopefully feel the spirit of the Lord daily.  
So it's ok...stay up there as long as you want. Because then you can learn everything you can and bring it with you to teach your parents, and Bree, Gabe and McKay. They are so anxious for you to come and are going to love you so much. Your dad and I already do and just can't wait to see your sweet face. Hope to see you soon my sweet angel.

With love,

Monday, August 5, 2013

Half Birthdays and more Summer fun...

It's been a nice couple weeks here at Harmon's Haven. Complete with 1/2 Birthdays, Pioneer Day, and more swimming. Oh ya, and too. much. sugar. Of course we have to have treats when we have a celebration of some sort, but also I have been having some major sugar cravings?!! The kids haven't minded one bit :)
It started Monday with an extra fun "summer time" Family Home Evening trip to the movies. Dispicable Me 2 was the choice, and it was a good one :) Then of course we had to have a Family Home Evening Treat (the part they all look forward to) of root beer floats. Delic.
Tuesday was Bree's special day...6 1/2 years old! I think my kids think that everyone celebrates 1/2 birthdays. They tell the everyone from the cashiers at the store to the neighbors next door, "It's my 1/2 birthday today!" Most of the time they get a slightly confused look in return. It makes me laugh cause they don't even notice. I don't make it as big of a deal as their REAL birthday, but there are definite perks: Pick what we eat for dinner (Bree chose tacos and Gabe chose homemade pizza), choose a treat at Sprouts (Bree chose gummy Sunkist circles and Gabe chose those rather disgusting blue gummy sharks...not a fan personally), and they both got to invite a couple friends over for swimming. Not too shabby. They are such sweet kids and I love having excuses to do fun things with and for them.
Wednesday brought the holiday, Pioneer Day. This is an official Utah holiday, complete with parades and fireworks. Here however, we had to create our own. So we got out the halloween costumes for the day (always a huge hit) had a BBQ and did some sparklers. Perfect.

Bree and Gabe have been doing so great with their summer school work, both impressing me with their reading and math skills. I love being able to teach them something and watch the look on their faces when they get it! Seeing their confidence soar as they sound out a new word or write something on their own...the best. McKay is also learning new things, like putting plastic beads up his nose (oh boy was a bit eventful getting that out. Picture holding down a screaming boy while daddy goes in with tweezers. Yes there was blood. But he is ok!) and has been going to the bathroom on the toilet! Mostly he has master going poop...not to be graffic, but he wets his diaper which triggers him knowing what is coming next, tells me and we run to the toilet for the next half. It's great, but it's not a full transition. I think a couple of days in underwear and he would get it, but with the baby coming so soon I think I had better wait. But boy is he proud :) Another fun part of these past two weeks is that Robbie has been working from home a lot. The best part about that is we get him for almost two extra hours each day since he doesn't have to make the drive! It's the BEST!!
Then this past week we have had fun mostly swimming and preparing for Harmon baby #4. I am almost finished turning the nursery from boy (ok, let's be honest it was left over stuff from when Bree was a baby and just kind of adequate for boy or girl) to a real GIRL nursery! I am so excited and can't wait for the cute yellow and gray bumper I ordered (thank you Robbie!). I go in there and sit on the rocking chair and imagine those late night feedings...something I will look forward to actually cause it will be the only "alone" time with my sweet baby. At my last two appointments I have been 75% effaced and dilated 2 cm. I realized last night that I need to stop hoping (ok kind of planning) that "today is the day!" and just realize it could be two more weeks and I just need to enjoy this time with my children before we add to the chaos.
So goal for this next week, just enjoy this time :) One more week before school starts for Bree so we are going to make the best of it!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I am back!

Shameful really. What have I been doing for the past eight months that I haven't had time to do some regular updates on my family...well, a lot, but nothing that should get in the way of keeping a family history! So. I am committing to rededicate myself to updating our family blog regularly (which may mean once a month, but that is something!). My excuse of, Oh where to start when I have so much to catch up on, is being thrown out the door, and I am going to just pick up from the recent past.

A summer packed full of fun, and I can't believe there are only three weeks left till school! I honestly think I will cry the day Bree goes back because it has been SO wonderful having her home every day. The kids have so much fun together...and McKay just thinks he is as big as they are. I am not saying that we don't have constant fighting and tattling (sigh) but their laughter and squeals of delight as they chase each other and make forts together and slide down the stairs together make up for it. Some summer highlights:
Spring charts to earn a trip to Sunsplash at Golfland. They each set some goals to work on for the Spring, and they accomplished them! You would have thought we were at Disneyland with how much fun they had. It was an awesome way to kick off the summer.
A trip to Lake Powell with my family and cousins the Andersons...our childhood friends and cousins we used to do everything with. It was SUCH a blast now having families of our own. Seeing our children play and getting together as adults was amazing.
A farewell to my parents. My parents are off to Brisbane, Australia to serve as mission presidents for the next three years. It was strange watching the house slowly be packed and shipped away, preparing to be sold (hopefully) while they are gone. But it was neat watching my parents sacrifice and prepare spiritually for this time of service. They will be amazing and have had so many life experiences to prepare them for this challenge. Sad to say good-bye, but thrilled we will get to visit! They are such inspirations.
Some Utah fun! We got to go to Utah for THREE WEEKS! I can't say enough about how much I loved the weather. My at the time seven months pregnant body felt rejuvenated. I wore my compression hose (for my awesome varicose veins) pretty much every day because it wasn't too hot and it really helped. We enjoyed the ranch (especially McKay who has been asking every since we got home if he can go to the ranch right now...and he couldn't go without his boots!)...soaking in the fresh mountain air, the horses, movie night, four-wheelers, and the time with family. Robbie's parents couldn't have been sweeter and we just had a blast with them. We also got to see some friends (Miss you Rose!), Robbie played in a volleyball tournament (hottest guy out there!) and we got to visit my grandparents (such a neat thing to have my children's great-grandparents around. My children love them!). The 4th of July was a highlight; BEST place to celebrate the 4th in our opinion. The parade, Stadium of Fire and we all ran the Freedom Run 10K...well ok I walked and was just happy to make it. My awesome All-American sister-in-law won it, and I came rolling in with my three kids in a stroller literally in last place. Just happy to be there :) Side note: My brothers and I ran it in honor of my sweet sister Lizzy who has been in the hospital for the past 6 weeks in order to monitor her mono-mono twins...she only has two more weeks until they will take the babies out and we are praying everything will be ok! She has started a fabulous blog called "The Small Seed" that shares her story, and is full of inspirational, faith promoting, uplifting posts. I highly recommend it as a regular dose of goodness.
Utah was wonderful. Also during the Utah trip I snuck away for three days to my home away from home, Mobile, Alabama to support our Distinguished Young Woman of Arizona, Katie Wilkinson. It was so great seeing the Greers (who were my host family back when I participated in the program thirteen years ago!) who I stay with any time I go back there. They are my Alabama family and treat me like a daughter. And it was so fun to be with two of my favorite ladies from my committee and show them some southern hospitality. Really I love that city. Poor Katie was sick most of the time, so she didn't get to do as well as she would have liked, but I think the experience was just what it was supposed to be, and she left with great memories and some new friends...which is what it is about anyway! We have our state program coming up in September so we are gearing up for that. (So excited I just got California Pizza Kitchen to sponsor our Mother/daughter luncheon for the participants and their mothers!) She will be the star of the show and we are excited to honor such an amazing girl!
Now since we have been home I have been in a state of shock. Literally. Something to do with the 116 degree weather I think? But I have been in full nesting mode...moving McKay into Bree and Gabe's room (bunk beds!!), cleaning out the closets and moving all his clothes over. Going through and washing all the baby clothes (Bree has LOVED this. Every time we pulled out something from the box she would say, "Oh mom, look, this is SO darling!"). Fixing up the nursery and making it over for a girl. Fixing and freezing extra meals (need to do more of this!). And all the while watching my belly (and my veins) grow! To say I am anxious for her to get here is an understatement. But in the meantime I am enjoying my three sweet children, who never cease to make me laugh, impress me, and make me count my blessings.

BREE: 6 1/2 years old, light blue eyes, naturally highlighted blond hair. Loves to swim like a mermaid. Loved kindergarten. Did every grown up roller coaster at Disneyland this past Christmas. The best helper. Most improved soccer p layer this past spring. A natural dancer. Working on keeping her clothes picked up. Loves cooking. My best sleeper. Could eat a whole bag of frozen corn. Wants to be a pop star. Is growing out her hair. REALLY wants an American Girl doll. Loves to read.
GABE: 4 1/2 years old, dark blue eyes, bleached out hair (but hopes it will turn brown like daddy's). Loves Newsies, favorite song being "Open the gates and seize the day". Wish you could hear him sing it :) Mastered diving to the bottom of the pool and can't get enough. Has the best attitude about unloading the dishwasher. Keeps his clothes and things picked up. Loves to wrestle. Loves to cuddle. Always wants pancakes for breakfast. Cries a little too easily when he doesn't get his way. Loves Ninja turtles. Our resident bug killer.
McKAY: 2 1/4 years old, hazel eyes, light brown hair. Comedian of the family and he knows it. Always claims there is bird poop on the car because he wants to go through the drive through car wash. Needs a toy "guy" in order to take a bath...and asks to take a baths at least three times a day. Loves the ranch. Not interested in using the toilet. LOVES the hose. Would eat raisins or apricots all day if I let him. Wakes me up before my alarm every morning. Loves to look at books.

And not to mention the love of my life who is off to another part of the country interviewing for a job...he has a good job, but is ready for a change. He works so hard for us and I couldn't be more blessed to have him. He makes me laugh, plays so hard with our children, teaches them to work, appreciates what I do, and makes the best German pancakes.

I must add some pictures to this, and will soon. But for now, happy Thursday!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paper Christmas Tree Topper

Just found this easy tutorial on a way cute star for the top of a Christmas tree. I wanted a natural looking one for our Thankful Tree for this month and think it turned out well!

I am trying a new thing this year where each Monday before Thanksgiving we do a lesson on Giving Thanks...for family, for God and Jesus Christ, for the beauty of the earth, and for others. There is a story and a scripture for each one, and then afterwards we all write (or draw) something we are thankful for (having to do with the discussed topic) on the paper ornaments and hang them on the tree.
I love it because it is helping me think of my blessings more than just on Thanksgiving Day. It's been especially good timing this year...I was quite down after the election. The moment they called Ohio in Obama's favor and determined that he won I felt like the world was going to end. As dramatic as that sounds, I really was devastated. Mostly because besides voting, as much as I believed in what Mitt Romney stood for, believed in his economic policies, believed he would be far superior to Barack Obama as the President of our country, and knew he was the only hope of bringing America back to where it needed to be to succeed...I did nothing! I didn't have a sign in my yard, no sticker on my car, only posted a few things on my FB page, didn't volunteer to make calls for the campaign, didn't donate money, didn't do squat. My husband assured me that I surely couldn't have made a big enough difference to really change things...and while that may be true, I could have done something and who knows what would have happened? If nothing else at least I would have felt like I did my part. Lesson learned I guess. But neat for me, and on a spiritual note, the next day as I was studying the Book of Mormon reading in Alma 5 where the prophet Alma is asking, when we get to the judgement day and are before our Lord, is he going to say you are blessed because your works have been good and righteous while on the earth, or are you going to feel guilty and know that you didn't do what you were supposed to do?! It hit me so hard, that the feeling I felt about the election was just a sample of how awful it would be, to get before Christ and know that I didn't follow him as well as I could have! That I didn't do those things that I was prompted to do and didn't live the way I knew I should have lived. That would be THE WORST! As horrible as I felt after the election, oh I can only imagine how awful this would feel.

Grateful for the ways that the Lord teaches us. Grateful for the scriptures and the insights they can give. Grateful that while the election didn't pan out the way I personally would have liked, that Mitt Romney was a good example of light and goodness and won't stop doing good in the world just because he wasn't elected President. Wish I could thank him personally.

Happy Thanksgiving!