Dec 30, 2012

Merry Christmas.







Christmas with Henry was a dream. We spent the evening before having our traditional fancy Christmas Eve dinner, which is the one time per year we break out the china, and also - as it turns out - the one time per year that we make meat for dinner? Mark made a pork tenderloin stuffed with figs, and I had to pick it up from the butcher (of course sending a sort of vegetarian to do that job was a comedy of errors, but we ended up with the right thing in the end). Christmas morning was spent letting Hen unwrap every present and pull off bows and tags and wowing at all the gifts he purchased for us (wink). I thought I had Mark beat with the secret surprise christmas gift, but he killed any chances I ever had by purchasing round trip tickets to Germany for me and my mom. I couldn't believe it! We've been trying to go for years, but something kept coming up - job stuff, pregnancies, condo purchases, etc. But now we are locked in and I cannot wait to take my mom on her first trip out of the country, and to the place of her ancestors! It will be so amazing. We left our house for Virginia after presents were unwrapped, stopped by moms to give her the good news (tears, tears, tears!), then spent the rest of the day with Mark's family. We had such a great time seeing family and eating great food and making good memories. We put Hen to bed a little late, and snuck out to watch Les Miserables while Mark's parents were sweet enough to keep an ear out for little sleeping Henry. Amazing movie. We came back to his house after midnight and slept a restful sleep until the morning, where we woke up to snow. It really was magical.
A few things about Henry that I don't want to forget -
his expressions when we opened a new present, "wow!"
looking at the "tee" and the "ee-ohs (lights)"
his little laugh he uses to charm people
he pulls himself up on my legs and gives them a giant hug (melt)
after he's finished nursing at bedtime, he looks at me and says "appy", which I can only interpret as "happy".
this little boy is great. i think we'll keep him.

Dec 20, 2012

he needs me.

We spent a long weekend in NYC last week and had some great family bonding time. I think Henry enjoyed it TOO much, because every morning this week, he starts crying when we leave him with the nanny. He never minded before! So with the holidays coming up, where we will spend 10 days together, I am a little nervous to think of how he'll react when we try to leave him to go to work. Poor baby. He just needs his mama and dada so much lately. Especially his mama. I keep telling Mark - he needs us for different things. He needs Mark to have fun and be loud and crazy, and hear good stories. And he needs me for hugs and kisses and cuddles. It's a little exhausting when he always reaches for me and walks to me and cries at my feet wanting to be held, but it's also the best feeling in the world. He loves me! He needs me! I love being Henry's mother. It's the best feeling, truly.

Dec 17, 2012

Henny is becoming a little ham.

This video is from our pre-Christmas Christmas dinner last night with my family. Thanks to Laura for having the senses to capture this on her phone. Hen is getting so funny and he's starting to realize it. He totally nails it in this video. And as you can tell, we are all putty in his hands!
video

CT.

We were traveling when the news broke about CT, and to be honest I didn't really get a chance to sit down and read about it until last night when I was putting Hen to bed. I haven't been able to find peace about the situation at all. It makes me angry. It makes me feel hopeless. It makes me think of the deafening quiet in those families homes this weekend, and I just want to curl up on my bed and not exist.
We are all affected by what happened and I hope the conversation moves forward on gun control and mental health. Both could stand to be reviewed, tightened up, revamped, whatever. Something needs to happen, and I'm planning to write my congresswoman to let her know how I feel. And I plan on praying, praying and praying for those families and communities affected by this event.

Dec 11, 2012

christmas surprise

The day after Thanksgiving, I looked at Mark and said, welp should we go pick out our tree now? Not yet, he said. Too soon, he said.

A victim to dry Christmas tree a couple of years back, I agreed he was probably right, so I set my sights on December 1. December 1 came and we spent the day preparing for his departure to Budapest/London so there was no Christmas tree to be had.

It's ok, I convinced myself. We'll wait until he comes home. December 8 would be our tree day. Mark came home and we both woke up on December 7 with our own brands of sick, I laid bedridden most of the afternoon and evening while he graciously played with Henry and let me sleep. December 8 I spent 5 hours in the waiting room at the afterhours care center trying to figure out what was wrong with me (nothing. doctor prescribed medicines i could not take because i am still breastfeeding which means i wasted 5 hours of my life on Saturday.). And still no tree.

Sunday, we skipped church. No use in sitting for 3 hours, spreading our germs, especially with Charity in the room, who has instilled in me the importance of keeping your germs to yourself! (I love you C!) With that extra 3 hours, I directed our family to a certain outdoor market with beautiful Christmas trees. We picked the perfect tree, strapped it on the hood, set our sights on home. And Sunday came and went and the tree was sitting in a bucket in the corner of our blue dining room.

Last night, I took Henry out to my sisters house in Virginia to spend time with Laura and her babes and all the cousins. It was a great time. We got home late, Henry was in his Christmas PJs, asleep in his car seat. I woke him up to go inside, carried him down the street from where we parked, and up the stairs where I witnessed a CHRISTMAS TREE! Lit up with twinkling lights in our bay window in a darkened room. We stepped inside, Christmas music playing, and all three of us stared at the tree. Ooooo, said Henry. You made my Christmas dreams come true, I said. I know you like this kind of stuff, Mark said (ha!).

 Well, thanks Mark for the perfect Christmas surprise. Christmas is finally here, and it couldn't have come in a better package. And now I get to go home tonight and gussy her up a bit. Still on the hunt for that perfect tree topper, maybe this year is our year?

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good tree!

Dec 5, 2012

Some thoughts on this Wednesday.

I'm in this weird place where I feel empowered, but also helpless. Anxious, yet calm. Confident in next steps, yet unwilling to make things happen to move there.

Do you ever get this way?

Since I got pregnant with Henry, I've felt like my brain has been cloudy, and I have moments of extreme clarity that are later disregarded for a TV show or washing dishes, or going to bed at 9pm. Maybe I just need some sleep.

In all honesty, there is a lot of change afoot in our part of the world, and we can allow it to happen, or we can continue to push it away. But Mark and I are both in need of the change. I know we are. Becoming parents and taking on new responsibilities, new love, new meaning in life -- all that -- has changed us. Made us want to be better, for ourselves for our Henry. And so what do we do with that? For now, nothing. But we are building, planning, making our way. Some day soon, we will do the things we need to do to bring the change.

But for now...we wait. Probably the worst 4 letter word in the whole English language, would you agree?

Nov 30, 2012

1 year old.

This is the last of my monthly updates for Mr. Henry. Goodness gracious, how exactly did we get here?

About a week before he turned one, he started talking and really taking steps on his own. As of today, he can walk about half the room by himself, but when he's not practicing walking by himself, he is walking around everywhere, holding on to every single thing and trying to figure everything out. He says ball, mama, dada, go, dog, more, and bubble. He can tell you what a dog, kitty, cow, and monkey say. He flirts with all kinds of people (mostly women) by cocking his head back and forth and being all cute or just practicing his royal wave. It kills me. He's eating pretty good - he loves avocados and cheese and bread and likes sweet potatoes, apples, broccoli, lentils, yogurt, and occasionally pears. He still takes 2 naps, and I'm in the process of trying to give him whole milk which he thinks is crazy. He takes a sip, stops, and looks at the cup/bottle like "ummm nice try lady."

Henry lights up our life so bright and brings us so much joy. He has turned into a little charmer and makes me laugh all day long. I'm so proud of the little guy he is and grateful to be his mother. Sometimes I just sit and watch him reading a little book or dancing around or singing a little song and I try to soak it in because I'm realizing how quickly these little ones change. This week, with Mark out of town, I tried to teach him the art of snuggling. And today I can proudly say I have a cuddler on my hands. As long as he has his bear - his true love - and his paci, he will sit with me and let me snuggle him. IT MELTS MY COLD HEART. I miss baby Henry, but I am totally in love with little Henry. He's a riot and has the keen ability to endear almost anyone to him, including yours truly (obviously).


Nov 28, 2012

Christmas Crafternoon.

Last night, I hosted our little sort of annual Christmas craft party. I had planned on a few ladies coming over for a somewhat quiet night of making garlands and ornaments and gift tags, but word got out (and I'm glad it did!), and we ended up having more than half the ladies in the ward (and then some!) over for crafts, delicious food, and general merriment. It was like a surprise party for me (and the Gods of craft?), and I was thrilled to have a perfectly raucous group of ladies at my house! I know everyone is busy this time of year, so I was extra pleased that so many girls in my hood equally recognize the importance of girls night and Christmas preparation. I already want to have another crafternoon tomorrow, especially if it involves chocolate butter and challah bread and GOAT BUTTER and cranberry walnut bread. How had I never had goat butter before last night? I am forever indebted to you, Libby.

Anyway, onto more important things like how talented everyone is.  And how I just stole everyone's instagram photos for this blog post. Your welcome! And thank you. We had a blast. It was the first night I could remember actually completing a craft (let alone even starting one) at craft night. Hurrah. Success for all. And now I am officially in the Christmas spirit.








Nov 26, 2012

Not traveling.

Mark was in Kenya last week. For Thanksgiving. For the record, it stinks having a husband away on business for holidays. Also for the record, Henry is teething and is letting me know by screaming at nights and wanting to cuddle during the day (bless him). Needless to say, a clingy baby and a missing husband has resulted in me getting absolutely nothing done last week. We did, however, manage to watch a bit of The Sound of Music. Halfway into the opening scene with Maria twirling around singing, Henry turned to me and smiled this huge closed mouth grin, and I smiled back at him, then he turned around and watched for another few minutes. Then he was off again...cruising. Fitting into tight Henry-sized spaces. Clearing off the bookshelf. Opening and closing all the doors he can find. Sticking his little fingers through the mail slot. Boy is busy these days. It is exhausting. I am grateful today for the time we had to spend together last week, but thank goodness Mark is back! I'm a tired momma.

Nov 20, 2012

Henry's 1st Birthday Party

Henry turned one. On his birthday, we shared a mini cupcake with him that was met with a sort of uninterested dismissal of the sugar bomb. He doesn't like to be forced to do anything (I wonder where he gets that from...).
That sort of prepared me for his birthday party, where he was sitting in front of a few more people and seemed to be more interested in playing with his friends than eating a dumb old cupcake (his words, not mine!).  His birthday party was a super fun little celebration for all of us. Happy to have him in our family, happy he is growing into such a fun little bug, and happy to have-all of us-survived and thrived. We thought it might be fun to get our food truck to cater the party, and luckily it worked out perfectly! So I didn't have to worry so much about feeding lunch to 30 people, instead they just waited outside for a few minutes, picked up a gourmet hot dog, and came back inside to party. It was a dream and I'm glad Dave was available to cater!
I'll let the photos do the talking. They tell a pretty good story.

 Totally uninterested. He was like what the heck is this mom. Gross.
 We switched cupcakes in the middle thinking maybe he'd like chocolate better?




 Hey ok, maybe he does like cupcakes! Way to go chocolate goatee, nice look!
Just kidding, he hated it. Just nonchalantly shoving cake in my babies face while he sobs. Mom fail. At least Hunter thinks it's funny.

 The afterparty. Playing with toys and bonding with family and friends.



 Henry with his little friend, Gray Gray. They hang out every day and are best buddies...most of the time. :)
 Loves his new firetruck. Thanks Papa!

Nov 15, 2012

Happy birthday, Henry.

 Henry.
It's been a year since that day you changed our lives forever, made our hearts triple in size, and left us a little bleary-eyed and absent-minded for a while.
You made me a mother. You're growing up every single day and I am so proud of you and I hate it all at the same time. It doesn't seem fair that I carry you for 9 months in my belly and then you are only a snuggly sweet smelling baby for 2 seconds.
But oh, to live in those 2 seconds was like a dream. Everyone told me - enjoy these moments they pass so quickly, but I couldn't comprehend it until it happened. Even though those first few months are a complete whirlwind, I look back and think of the peace and gentle kindness you brought into our home.  How lucky we are to have you in our lives. Happy birthday, little Henry.

Nov 9, 2012

Sleeping + Henry hits some milestones.

Last night I put Henry to bed at 7pm. He was exhausted, fussy, throwing tantrums, and just generally freaking out, so it was to bed a little earlier than usual. After he went down, I thought, gee I'm a little tired myself, so it was off to bed for a little cat nap that turned into a full nights sleep, waking up at 5am, which was when our sweet little Henny woke us up. His first time sleeping through the night in over a week since he got a pretty bad little cold, so we were all grateful to the little guy for giving us a full nights sleep, even if he did wake up at bloody five o clock am. But I did get a pretty solid 9 hours of sleep which has happened never since baby came along, so I was feeling really grateful this morning.

We woke up, he started crawling all over us, hitting dada's back (so funny, right Mark?), and it was off to his room for some morning play. We read books, practiced walking, and I watched him deftly leap from chair to crib to ottoman in his favorite game of "cruisin for a bruisin".

Even though these mornings come early, there really is no better way to start the day then a sweet little snotty nosed face laughing and looking at every ball-shaped thing and saying "ball. ball. ball."

Oh, right, Henry said his first word last week. Ball. The next day I was leaving and said Buh-bye Henry! And he waved and said "buh-bye". Um, what? Then an hour later, he said "mama". I think he must be figuring it out now. My heart leaped out of my chest to know that we were starting our first verbal communication with each other. It's just a new kind of love. Every new thing he does introduces a new kind of love to Mark and I and just opens up our hearts further and further. Can you tell how swoony I am over this little baby? Must be all that sleep I got last night!

ps Monday, he took his first steps. Things are about to change over here!


Nov 1, 2012

Henry's first Halloween

Well, well, well. It was quite a different Halloween for us folk'n down here. Usually Mark and I scramble last minute to put something together and most often end up wearing a trash bag or something equally hideous to any halloween parties we attend. This year, Henry and I schlepped it to the fabric store 2 weeks ago, I broke out the sewing machine, and MADE our costumes. The first - and last - year that I will probably do that. When you are a lousy seamstress, like-a-mahself, you do whatever you can to make it work. Full time employment and full time momming and full time costume maker is just asking for it. As it were, with my trusty hot glue gun by my side and some trimmings to hide the uneven stitches, I made our little Henry George king for a day.


He won best costume at our friends halloween party last weekend, and he helped me give out candy last night in our neighborhood. And he may or may not have chewed on a twizzler for some of the night. It's halloween, people. He was bouncing around the whole night, waving at everyone who came to our stoop, and even flirting with another little queen. Boy is on top of the game.





Kudos to Mark for making the coat of arms, modeled after our actual family coat of arms. And kudos to Henry for actually keeping on his tunic the whole night, despite his strong preference to just wear the bowl of candy.

Oct 31, 2012

Henry makes a friend + we love the zoo.

On pre-Sandy Saturday, we went to the zoo to experience the nicest of Fall weather DC has to offer, and the nicest of friends the world has to offer. We met up with Patience, Dan, and Jude for our annual hangout and introduced Henry and Jude to the world of gorillas, lizards, snakes, elephants, zebras, and pandas. Oh boy, that Henry loves himself some gorilla, turtle, and panda.

We stupidly didn't take too many photos, but Patience snapped one of Henry and a bear and me, Dad and Henry checking out farm animals, and Henry and Jude admiring their favorite zoo animal, the stuffed monkey. Also, Henry can now tell you what a cow says, if you ask with enough persistence. Hooray.





Isn't little Jude adorable?? Thanks Paynes for the fun day!

Oct 26, 2012

11 months.


You are nearly walking by yourself, voicing your opinions about everything, barking like a dog, headbutting those you love (I think that's your kiss), and pulling yourself up all over the place. You want to go go go, I can feel it! It is so wonderful! Yet, I am selfishly looking at little baby pictures of you when you were so tiny and cuddly and needed me in such a different way. The great part is - we have grown to both need each other. Dad and I are both completely in love with you and you love us both in different ways. You could play with Dada all day and night. I love peeking in your nursery and seeing you guys laughing together and building things and running all over the place. And you and me, Henny, we've got this thing down, don't we? Sometimes it is tiring to be needed so much, but when I look down at you pulling on my legs or hear you crying out to me because you want to be held - I love that I'm the only person in the world you want. My heart soars! I have so many of those heart-bursting happiness moments lately.

You are waving, you clap your hands (especially to if you're happy and you know it), you like the songs - The Wheels on the Bus and most of the crazy songs I make up to sing you. You are squirmy as a little fish these days. Changing your diaper is sort of a competition of strength, wit, will, and distraction skills. You found out about 2 weeks ago how to throw a tantrum - your first one was after I gave you your first piece of bread. You started shoving it in your mouth so fast, I took it away so you wouldn't choke. Oh my word. Throw the head back, arched back, straighten your whole body - it's so sad! Dad calls it the Henry torpedo. You say no to everything. We say yes, you shake your head no. We say "Henryyyyyy", you shake your head no. You think it's pretty funny. You know what a dog says -"mmph mmph".

I'm savoring this last month of your babyhood. Every day is so precious to me, and each day I spend away from you feels like an eternity. We are planning your first birthday and I'm so excited for this amazing milestone - for both of us.

weekend.

This weekend is my favorite weekend of all time. Every year - the last weekend in October is always the best one. Not too cold yet, leaves on the trees are beautiful, crunchy leaves on the ground, halloween, and the world is on the cusp of November - my favorite month of all time.

I stupidly thought it would be a good idea to make halloween costumes this year (is working full time and mothering not enough!), so Hen and I schlepped it out to Joanns last night. His first time in a fabric store, and I tell you, it was like Disney World for that kid. Wide-eyed, throwing his head back to check out the patterns and fabrics, bouncing up and down and squealing in his seat, and he wanted to touch everything. When I threw some furry trim in the cart, he almost lost it. When I gave it to him to hold, he looked at me solemnly, with his best "ohmygoshthisisawesomemom" eyes. So I stayed up till 1am last night sewing and designing his costume, and I'll be staying up late the next couple of nights trying to get everything done, yay! Breaking out the sewing machine is making me feel all sorts of domestic and I feel so accomplished! I'm of the "anyonecansewastraightline" sewing mentality, which makes me a poor seamstress, albeit with a optimistic outlook. I can handle that.

We will be dabbling in some halloween parties this weekend and headed to the zoo with great friends we never get to see! It's going to be a great weekend, best weekend of the year, most likely. ;)

Oct 25, 2012

Dating in the daytime.

One of the biggest secrets to dating your husband as two working professionals is to realize - hey we have a nanny all day long, so we should... take a long long lunch today...or take the day off and go to IKEA together (my dream - maybe it will happen one day)...or take a romantic stroll through the park. We've been able to have a lot of fun that way, for less money than it costs to - hire a babysitter for 6 hours, go to dinner and show, and not feel stressed about getting home to make sure everything is ok. Of course, when we do these little daytime dates we just talk about Henry the whole time anyway, so what even is the point!

Oct 22, 2012

Baltimore.

Saturday evening, we were on the way home from a baptism when Henry fell asleep in the car. He needed the nap pretty badly, so we decided to keep driving so he would stay asleep. And we drove...all the way to Baltimore! It turns out Bmore is less than 45 minutes from our house, so by the time we parked, Henry was just waking up from his nap.

We went to Fells Point, walked down the pier, got hot chocolate from Pitango, ate big slices of pizza, and let Henry pull us around town (he's quite the one-handed-walker these days). It was a sweet evening and just nearly made up for our cancelled NYC weekend trip (teething baby with a cold and walking around NYC makes me tired just thinking about it). We also found a costume for Henry that I think is quite perfect and I'm excited to share in a couple of weeks.

Now I'm on a quest to find other spots around town that are about a 45 minute drive from our house. It's such a perfect idea. Plus, we do not take advantage enough of living on the East coast where everything is so close together!

ps Henry's top 2 teeth are in. It makes him look so much older! Where is my little baby?

Oct 18, 2012

Camping in the Shenandoahs

Last weekend, we set off on a very last minute camping trip down in the Shenandoah's with The Hamills. It was beautiful, refreshing, and much colder than I anticipated. As Hen's first camping trip, we were a little nervous about taking a baby camping and maybe risking him getting eaten by Smokey the Bear. It was a bit of a comedy of errors, but for last minute planning I'd say it was a success! Our tent was too small for Hennys little travel crib, so he slept in the car the first half of the night, and then we all got in the tent and snuggled under big blankets. There was not much sleep involved, but I was so happy to get out into nature and enjoy the simple pleasures of life like good friends, good food, and pretty surroundings.

In ultimate lazy blogger fashion, I am referring you to Hannah's blog post with great photos and captions and even a super embarrassing photo of yours truly. Enjoy!

Oct 17, 2012

Cannon Beach, Oregon


I have lots of photos to share from our summer trip to Oregon. We had an amazing trip and when we left we just kept asking ourselves, why are we leaving this perfect place?

Oct 15, 2012

Costa Rica Part II: Monteverde or How to Hike with a Baby and Go to Bed at 8:00pm

So. Where was I.

For the next portion of our trip, we entered into what was called a "jeep-boat-jeep" trip. AKA, the scariest hell of a ride I could have ever dreamed up. The first part started innocently enough. We took a small bus (large van?) about 15 minutes to the edge of Lake Arenal. About 30 people boarded a large touring boat and we put putted across the lake, taking in the amazing views around us, day dreaming about building a house and living off our land with the view of Arenal Volcano in our backyard. It was one of the most idyllic places I've been. So remote, so quiet, so green and pretty.

We reached the other side of the lake for our last portion of the journey, which should not be named "jeep", but rather "careening-on-the-top-of-mountain-roads-while-clutching-your-small-baby-to-your-chest-trying-not-to-puke". Were Henry not with us, I like to think I would have managed the journey with out any trouble, but my protective mothering side came out and I was in an all out panic. And because we were in a bus, there wasn't a place for Henry's car seat, so I put him in the ergo and clutched his head up against my chest so his brains wouldn't turn into scrambled eggs. Thankfully, he fell asleep and was a perfect angel the entire time. But word of warning to those wanting to try the jeep-boat-jeep transfer from Arenal to Monteverde - it is not for the faint of heart and certainly not for stressed out mommas!



That transfer aside, once we got to Monteverde (translation: green mountain), it was a paradise. Our hotel, El Establo, was a perfect little mountain retreat, that surely had its heyday in the 70's or 80's, so it had that summer camp kitsch to it. It is perched up on the mountain top, and on a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean (we were lucky to have 2 clear days!) We loved it. It also got dark very early there, and Henry was still on east coast time and waking up at 4am (yay!), so Mark and I would go to bed around 8 or 9 every night. The best part of it all, was that we didn't feel one bit of guilt, like we should have been experiencing Costa Rica! Or reading! Or watching an awesome movie together! No, we were exhausted parents, and the hiking wore all of us out even more. But. We so enjoyed our hikes through the Monteverde cloud forest. Once again, we threw on the hiking backpack and Henry was either sleeping or just quietly observing his surroundings. We all really liked it. The last night we were there, we finished hiking the trail around 4pm, just as it started raining. We barely made it back to the visitors center when the heavens opened and it started pouring rain. Torential, rain foresty costa rica rain. It was awesome.

View from our hotel

Enjoying perro watching

Metal beetle, so cool.











Monteverde! We loved you. This is us, feeling triumphant at the continental divide, which you could not see because, well, it's a cloud forest.

Next up - I need to share about flying internationally with a baby and how AWESOME it is. Really.