It's a new year and we are a new family.  Bruno is a brother and we are parents and Harper Claire, born October 23, 2014, makes new oos, aahs, and gurgles every day.  In the first two weeks of this new year alone, we've watched as she giggled a little bit for the first time (more of a "hmmm" sound, the fifth time I smiled in her face over a breakfast date in Virginia after we said farewell to her South African Granny, Wendy), giggled a lot bit for the first time (yesterday morning! a real chuckle on my lap with the two of us making smiley faces at her), reached for a toy for the first time (her dragonfly, brought to us by the lovely Katie Hill and Kevin Lorenz), discovered her hands for the first time (leftie first - she loves leftie), and slept 6 hours for the first time (after a night when we decided to see what happened if we ditched the swaddle...she quickly got in line).  She has started to smile like she means it and to make it known when she has an opinion.  She follows us with her eyes when we walk across the room, and while she generally seems to have inherited her love for sleep from her mother, she wakes up in the morning with a huge stretch out of her swaddle and a big smile across her face.  She hates tummy time on her "skip hop" play mat and would much prefer to show off that she can indeed lift up her head from the much more comfortable perch of Darren's chest.  She loves to snuggle up like a peanut on us and she seems to have decided that bath time is by far the highlight of her day.  As of January 8 (her Grambie's birthday!), she weighed 11.5 lbs and was 22 3/4 inches long (Darren predicted her length to the quarter inch, in stark contrast to his prediction at her one month appointment, which he overshot by 3 inches). 

Already, after nearly 12 weeks, it could not be more clear that all of our friends and family were right when they said that the time with these little ones truly flies.  So, with this blog, I hope to capture the small moments that will make up our journey as a new family.  This blog is a tribute - to Harper, but also to our incredible family and group of dear friends, near and far.  Harper doesn't know it yet, but in addition to the wonderfully loving American family that she will see often, she has four incredibly awesome international dudes as first cousins, Lukas and Jack in Germany, and Rocco and Mason in South Africa.  In addition to her South African Granny, with whom she just spent 2.5 weeks, she has an amazing Aunt and Uncle in South Africa and the number of loving Great Aunts, Uncles, Grans, and second cousins on both sides of the pond is too many to count.  And in addition to our amazing group of friends in D.C., there is an extended tribe of honorary Aunties and Uncles out there, spanning numerous continents, just waiting to come to know and love her (including some incredible writers who helped to inspire this blog - you know who you are).  We frankly wish we could live around the corner from all of you, and so we hope that while this will be an extra mouse-click away from Facebook and Instagram, this blog will be a place that will help to connect us all with all of you, where we can share in Harper's firsts, highs, lows, and new discoveries as she grows up and as our family evolves.  And where, years from now, she too can remember these moments and can see and feel the absolute bear-hug of love that this extended circle of international family and friends provides for her. 

So, welcome, and thanks for coming.