Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Letter 2011

Better late than never right?  If we're lucky, you are reading this before the New Year.  Maybe next year we will get this thing done before Xmas.

Well, it's more than two years into our marriage, and Shannon informs me that we are finally a "family" with the addition of our baby girl this fall.  I argued that we were a family even before Penny arrived.  After all, this IS the Harbert FAMILY blog, and has been for at least a year, right?  

Let's not get hung up on definitions,... here's what's going on with our FAMILY.
The NEW Harbert Family
Penelope Rain Harbert:
Sepia makes anything special
She arrived three weeks early, weighing a mere 5 pounds 13 ounces, with a full head of hair right out of the proverbial chute!  Those of you that have received our letter in years past know that we have been planning a family for some time.  We took our sweet time with it, but a with a bit of elbow grease, myriad of ovulation sticks, and a relatively smooth pregnancy (says the man), Penny was born on October 11th, 2011, at 10:11 am.
Shannon likes to play dress up with Penny and has maxed out her hard drive with the photos she has taken.  I look forward to weekends when I get to sleep in with Penny laying on my chest.
Penny likes to watch Netflix, stare into the middle distance at illuminated objects, and get passed around like a flask of mead at parties.

Exterior:  Shannon's belly.  Interior: Penny the fetus

Since we spent most of this year pregnant, most of our are adventures reflect this fact.  That said, we pretty much did all the same sort of stuff we did before pregnancy.  Camping, floating, sledding, swimming, etc.  Shannon suffered no morning sickness, and to be honest things went pretty smoothly up until the very end.  Pre-eclampsia signaled the abrupt end of the pregnancy, and doctors decided it was best to get Penny delivered for mom's sake.  Anyway, the pregnancy was easier than either of us expected, and we were able to stay active, same as always. 
Penny was born via C-section about 1 hour after this photo was taken

Maggie the cat snuggles Penny
Cats and chickens.  10 total.  The chickens have been in a bit of an egg laying slump, maybe battling some seasonal depression or something.  The cats don't lay eggs or produce anything of tangible value so I refuse to devote to many words to them here.  We were a little concerned about how the cats would deal with Penny, but so far there's been no problems, so I have allowed them live.

From left to right:  Roxy, Buffy, Sally, Cally, Gerry.  Sally is our newest addition as of this Spring

Shannon quit her job at the community college late in the pregnancy.  Her plan is to take a few years break from any sort of full time job so she can focus on raising babies.  She still keeps quite busy with private tutoring, and will teach an online math course this winter.
I still engineer electrical stuff, mostly wastewater treatment plants.  In a world of ever expanding privatization, the latest trend is for my firm to win huge contracts to design, build, AND operate treatment plants.  For better or for worse, it's exciting, fast paced work that I'm fortunate enough to still enjoy (on most days) even after nearly 10 years.

Our families:
In a year were the family was blessed with addition of Penny, we also mourned the loss of Shannon's Aunt Shari, who passed this year.  My grandad (mom's side) did manage to surprise us with his continued vitality, spending some time this year para-sailing in Hawaii and hot air ballooning around the northwest.  In his early 90's.  I guess the secret to longevity is to never stop doing cool stuff?
First bath with Daddy

The conclusion:
Life is good.  We smile a lot with Penny around.  Shannon still makes yummy food that makes me look forward to each and every day.  We hope that all of you are finding joy in the simple things as much as we did this year.

Enjoy the pictures below, and remember you can follow us on Shannon's facebook!

All the best,
The Harbert FAMILY
Shannon meanders along a boardwalk
Ryan demonstrates "football grip" at a holiday party
Smile time

A classic self portrait
Nephew Stuart and Niece Millie play with Ryan
Halloween, headed to the Federalis concert
That's a skinny mini!

At two months, the giant stuffed cat doesn't look quite as large

Ryan was coerced into purchasing Honda Pilot in anticipation of Penny's arrival

Ryan sings made up song to niece Brooklynne
Newport Aquarium
Frog Lake, Mount Hood in background

Penelope's baby celebration at Avery Park
Becca, Liz, Steve, and Ryan gone wild
What clever lighting in this photo
Shannon and Ryan appear genuinely surprised
Ryan gropes pregnant Shannon on one of many Willamette river floats
Penny with afro and cute dress
Pregnant Shannon floats Frog Lake
Leavenworth, WA
Another classic self portrait in front of tomato plants
Shannon likes to come her hair like a boy's