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.


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


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.

Oct 12, 2012

Costa Rica Part 1: Arenal Volcano

Mark had a conference in Costa Rica for a few days, so we decided me and Henny would join him when he was finished in San Jose and see a little bit of Costa Rican nature.

We arrived at San Jose airport in the afternoon in the middle of a monsoon. Luckily, we had hired a driver ahead of time, and he was holding a sign with our name on it near baggage claim. I was really happy to see him after 8 hours of airport travel with Hen and some rusty Spanish and issues getting through customs. And double lucky, Mark had found the driver holding the sign with our name on it, so I didn't have to worry about finding him. Plus, I felt like a superstar seeing that driver hold that sign!

We hopped in the spacious van and ventured out on the road for our 3 hour drive north to Arenal/La Fortuna. The roads were pretty bumpy, but I would find out later that they were the best roads of the entire trip. Around 6:30pm, we pulled up to our hotel, El Silencio del Campo. I am a thorough nerd when it comes to searching for hotels. I've become even better (or worse, according to Mark) at it since little Hen started joining us on trips. After pouring over tripadvisor, expedia, talking to a few travel agents, and reading blogs, we chose this hotel because it was a) well priced b) offered privacy c) had hot springs on site d) had beautiful grounds e) had top reviews on tripadvisor and f) had nice accommodations (but not luxury).

El Silencio totally exceeded our expectations. We loved that we had an entire cabin to ourselves so we didn't feel so bad when our teething baby would wake up every few hours. The staff was so kind and really took to Henry. Also, we had the grounds virtually to ourselves because it was rainy season. But the joke was on everyone else because it only rained twice while we were there, both times at night when we were already in bed. The hot springs were perfect temperature - like bathwater - perfect for a fat little baby. The breakfast was included in the price of the room, and you could choose from 5 selections. We went with the "tipical", which was rice and beans, queso fresco, and eggs. Gah, I could eat that for the rest of my life!

The volcano was active, but hadn't erupted since 2010 (it used to be a huge attraction in CR because it spewed lava pretty regularly back in the day). We did see a little steam rising, but no red lava like a certain husband was hoping.

On the second day, we took a guided tour from Desafio to the Hanging Bridges, a series of 25 suspension bridges throughout the forest. Our guide, Hansel, was a champion nature lover. He showed us things we would have never been able to spot, like a sloth (!), a family of monkeys, cool birds, an eyelash pit viper, and other creepy crawly things I am trying to block from my memory. Henry loved being in the hiking backpack - he was either sleeping, or just looking around and checking out Costa Rica.

Passed out Henry at the start of the hike.

They call this plant the nun's torment.

The viper! See his eyelashes?

I thought this orchid looked like an older mans head wearing a dress. Do you see it?

 That wraps up Arenal...next up Monteverde!

Oct 9, 2012

trip photos coming soon, i promise!

Our internet has been on the fritz for i-am-not-kidding-you 4 months. I've had countless phone calls and trips to the comcast building to exchange modems, and technicians come to fix the problem but still nothing. We hope to finally fix it this week, and then i will finally get our photos together. Because seriously, what the hell comcast, this is a first world country and why can't i have internet when I need it? I am a demanding American I-need-it-yesterday type person!

We have so many photos to share from Oregon, Costa Rica, and for durns sake Henry's 11 month is coming up and I'm planning his last photo shoot of babyhood, not to mention I'm going to cry my eyes out because how does 1 year pass by so quickly?!

To get you through the drought, Henry started doing this thing last week where he sticks his bottom lip out and sniffs his nose at you. We think it's the cutest thing ever and I die a little every time he does it. Seriously, that face. Warms a mothers heart right up.

Oct 4, 2012


We hosted a small debate party last with some friends of ours. Henry goes to bed around 7:30, so we had plenty of time to prepare the house for having people over. I bought some delicious cheese (double gloucester, wensleydale with cranberries, and robusto), poured some olive oil with za'atar spice from Jordan, and put some bread out to break. Other people brought desserts and flatbreads and I will tell you that I enjoyed the food and the company much more than the actual debate. Sometimes I wonder if we will still be the political nerds we currently are if we ever move away from DC. It's just the thing to do here, and I am guilty of watching every single one of the republican primary debates, as well as all of the debates 4 years ago and 4 years ago from that.

Anyway, for those of you that watched - did anyone else miss George W? At least with him, you knew you were going to get some cringe worthy little tidbits, but now it's just 2 pretty smart political guys who are well polished and coached and rehearsed to the brink of boredom. I was hoping for some clarification on policy positions, but it was just more of the same.

Now, I guess we have the veep debate to look forward to. The question I am submitting is: What's more important - a hot bod or a hot rod? I think that will get the debate off to a good start.

Oct 3, 2012

shopping with a bb.

Lately, I have been feeling like my closet is a frump factory. I'm facing the facts that my post-partum body is just a little different, and my clothes don't fit the way I wish they would, and my shirts must always be Henry accessible, and my pants are often covered in rice cracker and baby mush by the end of the day. Couple that with post partum hair regrowth and I have been feeling like I want to cower under my desk all day long, lest anyone should see me and die of shock. I'm a mess.

Ok, but really, it was time to shop and I no longer wanted to use the excuse, "but there is no time because Henry goes to bed at 7:30". Bed times be durned, I kept him out TWICE this week to shop. I leave work, drive home and say goodbye to the nanny, then we trek back downtown to Penn Quarter AKA my new shopping haven. Anthropologie, JCrew, Zara, F21, H&M, BR, UO, it's a rich and poor mans paradise. Of course, I learned to start at F21 and H&M, then end up at Jcrew and Anthropologie because I will tell you if you do it the reverse way you will have massive regret over having blown your whole budget on a pair of snow leopard pants and a yetti shirt, so you have no room for those whispy threads from F21.

But I'm getting off track. We end up downtown around 6:15pm, and I pop him in the ergo and we shop. I keep a baggie of gerber puffs in my pocket, and let him play with the hangers as I pick up different clothes. When I try on a blazer at Zara, I pop him out and put him on the floor at my feet, throw on the blazer, see it is ugly, then pick him back up before he has a chance to run away. It's an art. Or maybe a science. We pick out a bunch of things at JCrew, lock ourselves in the dressing room, and Henry has a ball crawling around and slapping the mirror a million times saying ba ba ba ba. At Forever21, it is a madhouse so no trying on clothes for us, I just throw a bunch of stuff on the register and buy it, forgetting the stupid return policy that only gives you back store credit. Finally at H&M, I head to the little baby section and pick out a few things for Henry, only to have to return later because he is just getting big enough to wear their 6-9 month old stuff, not for-goodness-sakes the 9-12 month olds. Time to double up on kale and broccoli to get that boy growing.

We return home with mounds of clothes, most of it to be returned, but well on the way to making me feel less like a frumpy mom and more like a together-kind-of-lady. And Henry gets to party and flirt with all the shopping girls, which makes him loopy and giggly. Win-win.

Oct 1, 2012