Nov 26, 2013

Henry is two.

Well, it happened. Somehow that little baby of ours grew up into a funny, opinionated, sweet little toddler. 90% of me is thrilled, the other 10% can't help but think back on his little squishy knee rolls days. If I squint, I still can see some elbow and wrist chub, but that's pushing it, folks.

We took Henry to Rome for his second birthday, because we couldn't think of a better reason to finally get ourselves on a vacation, and also we are awesome parents. Though, the bar has been set a little high. I mean, where does a person go for the 3rd birthday when they spent the last in Rome, for goodness sakes!

But when we got back home and presents were all accounted for, we held a proper birthday party for the squirmy car-obsessed two year old. While he napped, I whipped up some carrot cake, hung paper garlands, and wrapped all his presents. I'd never been so excited for him to wake up from a nap, ever! It was so fun, and just a reminder of why we love Henry. He's the best.

So a quick round up of Henry. The best of.

He recently started insisting on helping me cook everything and anything. Whenever I go into the kitchen, or go to the cupboards, he runs over and asks, "Watch?" or his recent favorite request, "Dump it?!" We have been baking our bread the last few weeks and he helps everytime. He always asks for a taste of the dough, never likes it, and ends up eating flour instead. But his favorite part is "dump it" aka, putting the cups, teaspoons and tablespoons of ingredients into the bowl.

He loves anything train, race car, bus, cool car (what he calls MINIs, VW bugs, and other old cars he sees on the street), and of course any construction vehicles.

He really gravitates toward older kids, between 5-9. He made a new friend recently at church and followed her around when we visited, asking her, "Hold hands?" and charming them into getting him anything he asks for. He's smart.

He recently acquired a secondhand scooter, and asks every time we leave, "bring scooter?", and I'm like Henry, do you have a death wish? He's not very surefooted on it, so we practice inside. Of course, he's getting better and I just need to come to terms with the fact that he's a daredevil. He only wants to ride it when we come to the top of a big hill.

His eating habits are finicky, but he does ok for a toddler. Mostly he eats scrambled eggies for breakfast or toast or yogurt or sometimes all three. Dinner is a mixed bag, but the other night we sat down to dinner with salmon and broccoli and he just picked up the broccoli to eat it like it was no biggie. I was like, Mark, don't breathe.

He's still a pro sleeper. Sleeps 12 hours most nights (8:30 - 8:30) and takes a 3 hour nap most days (1:30 - 4:30). It's awesome. I think it might be time soon to get him into a toddler bed, but I'm waiting to pull the trigger until I'm ok being woken up by a wriggly little boy climbing in my bed. :)

We turn on some music most mornings and have a dance party, and I swear it's one of our favorite parts of the day. He bobs up and down, usually with a snack in his hand, and more often than not, pants-less. I die over it all.

We realized the other day he knows and can sing along with most of our favorite bedtime songs. He can sing along to about half of the words to Edelweiss, Moon River, If I Only Had a Brain, Twinkle Twinkle, and probably more that I don't know about.

He loves music and will help me play the piano, help Mark play clarinet/saxaphone, and has just in the past few days started singing to himself while he plays. It's soul crushingly adorable.

His favorite words/phrases:
Iht ummy! (It's yummy)
Iht hot (It's hot)
Peeea? Dee doo. Bo Belpum (Please? Thank you. You're Welcome.) *He combines them all, it's effective.
Mama, sit down, sit down, mama.
Iht fends! (It's friends!) *He says this at the playground or church when seeing other kids.
Hide mama woom? (Hide in mama's room?)
Wah Pop Pop choo choo! (Watch Pop Pop's choo choo video)
Call Mary
Call Jejy (Call Jenny)
How bow...tutee/toach/shoes/pezle (How about cookie/toast/juice/pretzel)

We feel blessed every day to be parents to Mr. Henry. Even on the hard days, he is still a peach and we still laugh and quote him while we go to sleep every night.

Nov 21, 2013

Rome part 2

The rest of our trip was entirely sunny and beautiful. 70 degrees, sunshine pouring down on our shoulders, and we loved it. All the Italians were wearing their heavy coats because this was cold weather for them, but we were running around in tshirts.

Saturday we spent all day at the Vatican - St Peters, Vatican museum, and seeing the Sistine Chapel. Incredible, amazing, beautiful. Henry fell asleep on our way to the Sistine chapel, but woke up right as we were leaving, so we explained to him why we were all craning our necks to stare at the ceiling. He didn't care too much. ;) The most interesting part of visiting Rome was learning that the Papacy took lots of materials from other buildings (the Colosseum, the Pantheon, etc.) to make their cathedrals, their altars, etc. The Colosseum used to be covered in marble, but the Pope stripped the marble off to use it for St Peters square. Isn't that crazy?

We found a tasty little restaurant across the river at O' Pazzariello, amazing pizza with the fluffiest and chewiest crust, yum, and my first cacio e pepe - really tasty.

Sunday, our last day, we headed to the Colosseum, checked out the Roman Forum, and ate lunch by the Spanish Steps at Il Gusto's, which had the most amazing pizza, the best al fresco dining, and most delicious pasta I've ever had. Il Gusto's was it for me. I was so happy to have found it, just in the nick of time before we left! We found the Spanish steps after finding more gelato after lunch, and sat there for awhile people watching. Little known fact: Mark proposed to me on the Spanish steps in DC (an homage to the original Spanish steps), and I had always wanted to go to the real Spanish steps with him, but never imagined we'd actually make it there. But there we were. I was so happy to be there with him and with our little baby Hen.

Finally, we headed to the Villa Borghese gardens (Rome's biggest park - sort of like Central Park, but also with some incredible museums within the park), and rented a rickety - rickety - rickshaw to ride around the park. It was so fun, and Henry couldn't believe his luck to be on that bike. Perfect last memory of Rome for us.

We had a great trip and hope to return some day, but next time, we'll tack on a trip to Venice and Florence! Italy had never been on my list of must-see places, but now it's right there at the top to return. It's such a beautiful country, the people are so warm and friendly (Henry got more head pats and kisses than I can remember), and the food. THE FOOD. That's enough right there to get me to come back.

Nov 18, 2013

Henrys Roman birthday party

I was feeling a little sad about being far away from family this year for Henry's birthday, so on a whim we decided to go to Rome. We bought plane tickets, rented an airbnb apartment and 4 days later, we were off! After all, you only turn two once, so why not celebrate in style, right? ;) Considering his favorite things right now are fountains, pizza, ice cream, motorcycles, and cool cars (seriously, he points at little cars and says, "cool car!"), it was sort of a no brainer to go to Rome, a 2 year olds paradise.

We stayed in a beautiful modern loft apartment right next to Rome's Termini station, the main train station, so travel in and out was very easy. The apartment also had an amazing roof terrace with views of the city which we thought would be nice to enjoy during Henry's naps or at night after he went to bed, but we ended up being quite the night owls exploring the city so we didn't use it too much. Rome is a late city - most restaurants don't open for dinner until 7:30 or 8:00p, so we mostly tried to get Hen to nap late, then we would wake up around 6, explore Rome at night and eat dinner at 8, and put him down to sleep around 10:30/11 (which is RIDICULOUS, but he was such a good sport about it).

We arrived in Rome the day before Henny's birthday, so after he took a nice long nap, we woke up and walked to the famous Trevi fountains, got some gelato, and threw all the coins we had into the fountain. Henry was over the moon.

On Henry's birthday, he woke up to some yummy Italian pastries, then we checked out our loft rooftop to gauge the weather. It was going to be a cloudy/rainy day, but we made the best of it. We spent the morning exploring the Roman forum and searching for the Capitoline museum, which we never found, but we did happen upon the Altare della Patria, or the Alter of Fatherland, which commemorates Italian unification, and is an eyesore to local Romans apparently - it was built in the 1800s and destroyed some of a medieval neighborhood - but we went inside to escape the rain and found a museum dedicated to recent wars, which was sort of interesting. On top of the building, we ate lunch at a nice cafe with good views over the city, which was a good place to be during some heavy rain. After the rain, we retreated back to our apartment so Hen could enjoy a nap and we could regroup and rest. Round two was much better - we walked to the Pantheon, which completely took my breath away, gave me chills, and was our absolute favorite thing we saw in Rome. We spent some time walking around the Piazza and then found dinner at a nearby restaurant. I tried Pasta Carbonara and it lived up to the creamy hype. Then we walked through a few narrow crooked streets to land the best gelato we've had in our lives, at Giolittos.  Yes, that is fresh whipped cream on top of the cone! They gave Henry a free little cone with a bit of vanilla gelato. He loved it - his first ice cream cone, too. Not a bad place to have your first ice cream, Henny!

I'll share the rest of our trip from Rome tomorrow - more beautiful Rome, Vatican City, and Spanish Steps. 

Nov 6, 2013

Things that have happened

This poor little neglected blog. Between chasing around a toddler all day, searching for jobs, and settling into our house, who has time to blog?

I will say that I've even written a few posts, but decided they were moot or unimportant, which is most of what I blog about anyway, but I just haven't felt the fire lately.

I've learned the art of online grocery shopping. Coupled with daily stops by the local market to pick up a few things, I am finally feeling like I can cook for my family. I even started baking my own bread and making our granola, that's how square one it's become around here. Scary, even for me. I used to want to be this way, and now here I am, making my own bread, and cooking beans in water. Don't worry, I still have the cans of beans because who knows that they want beans for dinner 8 hours in advance? Not me.

I hung up a gallery wall that I like 80%, which is enough for me right now. Once I figure out a way to hang up this world map, and once we find a rug, the living room will be complete. I still need to paint our bed, hang up a few pictures in the hallway and in Henry's room, and oh speaking of Henry's room it has sadly become somewhat of a storage area since our storage solutions here are non-existent.

Speaking of Henry, he is a little angel. We've been spending most mornings in our pajamas lately, and we watch a little choo choo with breakfast, then it's play with cars and trains, music/dance, reading, we play hide in mamas room, read in mamas bed, snuggle, eat lunch, then it's naptime and I zonk. It's been raining a lot lately, mostly in the mornings, so we play inside in the mornings, then we go outside for a walk after he wakes up.

This post is also boring, but wait! There's more!

Henry turns two next week and I'm so excited about it. I've been teaching him about birthdays for the past couple weeks. We read books about birthdays, sing the birthday song, practice blowing out candles, and we even watched a birthday party on youtube. Because I refuse to have a repeat of last year when he wanted nothing to do with cake and wished his first birthday had never come to him.

I'm really happy how Henry is turning out. He is so well-mannered and polite, I laugh about it often. I will pour him a glass of water and he looks at me and says "Thank you! without prompting. He says hello to new people and asks to run everywhere, except the way he asks to run is "Three?" because Mark plays this game with him where they count to three, then run. His vocabulary improves every day, and it's seriously astounding to watch it all happen. Today we re-read the book Romeo and Juliet a million times just because he wanted to point out "Juliet!" and "Wo-wee-wo". I think he gets his memory from Mark - he truly remembers everything and wants me to repeat it after he says it just to make sure he got it right. He dances when a song comes on, loves to sing and do the motions to Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle, and Popcorn Popping. I spend all day with him and I can tell he's just getting smarter and more confident each day, and it makes me so happy and proud to be his mother.

For anyone interested in a good bread recipe, this one really killed it for me the other day (and who doesn't want bread in 90 minutes?)

Also, chocolate beet cake. If for some reason you have lots of beets laying around (we did!), it's a good way to use them up and a sneaky way to feel like you are eating healthy cake (you are not.)

I promise the next blog post will have pictures, don't you worry. So much catching up to do around here.