The 38-year-old mom of three, married to former NFL star Jason Sehorn, tells PEOPLE Moms & Babies she’s looking forward to another festive holiday season and the upcoming birthday of her youngest daughter, Emery Hope, almost 2.
We recently had a chance to speak with Harmon in New York City about her family’s latest milestones, and her work with the Children’s Advil “Relieve My Fever” campaign.
How are the girls?
They’re wonderful! Emery’s birthday is coming up. It’s kind of hard to figure out a party for a 2-year-old. I’m usually really good at birthdays, but I’m kind of having a problem with this one, and trying to remember what we did with the other two!
I think it’ll be really close family members, because it’s not like 2-year-olds have a ton of friends. She has her sisters, and right now, that’s kind of it.
For each one of my daughters’ birthdays, I get pink-and-white balloons with ribbons on them, and after they go to sleep, I sneak into their rooms so when they wake up it’s like a balloon forest. Every year, like 100 balloons. When they wake up, all they see is a ceiling full of balloons and they have to run through the ribbons to get out.
Honestly I might have more fun doing that … no, they do, they love it! I’ll do it every year until they leave [the nest].
Do your older girls (Finley Faith, 7, and Avery Grace, 5½) dote on Emery?
They do. They’re really good big sisters. Finley’s been a big sister for almost six years now. Avery is a great big sister, too, and Emery has learned how to work that to her advantage when she wants to!
It’s interesting. I’m an only [child], and having three girls, sometimes I don’t understand why they fight. I’m trying to read every single book I can on how to get them to communicate with each other and build good skills, so not only can they get themselves out of arguments with each other, but then they’ll have those skills for when they get into arguments with their friends. I have like 12 or 15 “How to Be a Good Parent” books by my bed. It’s very intimidating!
Has Jason tried to get the girls interested in football at all?
No! (Laughs.) It’s just sort of a natural thing because it’s in the house all the time, on the TV, like background noise. So I think they just kind of love it anyway. And their school is very into football. They have a really great team, so at a young age they get started with that school spirit.
In fact, the older two are cheerleading, and it’s so cute! They get out there with their little ponytails, ribbons in their hair, pom poms.
And you all love your home in Charlotte, N.C.?
We do. It’s weird telling people where we live. I really thought I was going to keep that one under wraps, but not so much. But the city is a wonderful place. It’s child-friendly, and I feel like it’s a lot slower than some of these other big towns. My girls aren’t going to grow up as fast, and I want that. I want them to hold onto their innocence for as long as they can. It’s a fast world out there. I don’t need them to grow up faster than they already are.
Do you have any big holiday plans?
The holidays are my favorite, all the way from Halloween straight on through to New Year’s Eve. The tree is up, there are fires going in the fireplace. I decorate the banisters and the outside of the house, and I love it.
I have visions of my girls coming home from college, in the car, coming up the driveway thinking, ‘I can’t wait to get into that house.’ I want them to come home and want to bring their friends home, knowing it’s going to smell good, and that I’ll cook something great for them.
And have you started your Christmas shopping yet?
Oh, I’m done! Oh yes. I headed over to American Girl Place with my entire team today and said, ‘You grab this, you get that!’ Everyone tackled a different floor. So Santa is done! Good thing my girls can’t read this (laughs).
I talk to Sasha a lot. I don’t know that it’s necessarily swapping tips as much as it’s just more conversations of comparisons. We talk about what she’s going through, what I went through. Our girls have met, and we vacation together.
So tell us about the Children’s Advil “Relieve My Fever” campaign.
It’s a campaign that’s not only great for your kids and promoting the product, but something that’s funding a charity to help kids, too. Children’s Advil has teamed up with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a charity that funds 170 hospitals nationwide. They in turn help 17 million children a year.
When your kids are sick, it’s obviously not fun. You can only watch so many videos, you can only cook so many things for them, and you can’t really give them many treats. So this is something fun parents can do with their kids — making videos and singing along to the rewritten song “Fever.” [Parents can upload their videos to relievemyfever.com through Jan. 31, 2011, for a chance at a weekly $250 gift card and final $15,000 cash prize.]
The submission alone is a five-dollar donation to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and if you vote on one of them, it’s a one-dollar donation. I can think of nothing worse than having sick kids at the holidays, so this one really spoke to my heart, and I was happy to get involved.
– Kate Hogan