Chef Henry saves the day.

I’ll be honest, I’ve come online to post something several times recently and every single time I’ve had to close the laptop and walk away because I had a physical reaction as I began to type. As soon as my fingers touched the keys I’d become nauseous or light-headed. Psychosomatic, much? Yeesh. Actually, the other day, even after I walked away, it took a lot of water and deep breaths to feel even a little better. Thankfully that was the day Henry took a mega epic 4 hour nap and I had time to regroup before he woke up.

So instead of talking about my dad this time, let’s just talk about fun stuff: Henry!

My kid is super into cooking/watching me cook/pretending to cook. He barely cares about cars, he’s just now kinda getting into his toy train, but his play kitchen? ALL. DAY. LONG. I pull him out of his crib in the morning, and he goes straight for it. He really likes to make me “soup.” He doesn’t say “soup” but I call it that because he just puts a little of everything into a pot and stirs. I’ll say, “Henry, can you go make mama soup?” And he’ll run in there and throw some things in the pot and bring it to me.

(Note: If you look at our YouTube channel, that is not me or my husband subscribing to Elmo or Surprise Egg channel. Henry’s latest obsession is stealing my phone and YouTubing it up in a corner. I have no idea how he finds this stuff. I swear I’ve never helped him search for anything.)

We got a learning tower for the kitchen because I could no longer carry his 27 lbs of love on my hip as I tried to prepare dinner. Next to the play kitchen, this has been the second best purchase we’ve ever made. I let him help me cook his dinner tonight, stirring the noodles and adding the vegetables (holding his hands so he didn’t accidentally touch the burner) and he ate that meal with more gusto than I’ve ever witnessed. I kept stressing to him that he made it, what a good job he did making it, etc. I’m aiming to having the next Gordon Ramsey here, guys. I love food (obviously) so if he can start taking over cooking in a few years, then yes, I will nurture this interest.

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For Halloween, we bought him an Elmo costume. He fucking hated it. I had to add that expletive in there because 1) he really fucking hated it and 2) it was a fucking waste of money. Ahem, sorry. Can you tell I’m a little annoyed by Elmo the costume right now? So I bought a chef’s play uniform. At first, he hated it. I seriously almost canceled Halloween. I was sooooooo fed up. But then, all of a sudden, he loved it! Even the hat! I tried to take it off and he made it very clear that no, he did not want me to take off the hat! I couldn’t believe it.

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He was the cutest chef ever and OMG. Once he got the hang of trick or treating, he was in his element. I thought he’d get freaked out by the crowds and going to people’s doors. NUH UH. He was as cool as a cucumber and SO HAPPY. Holding his Elmo bucket (at least we could use that) in one hand and a death grip on his Tootsie roll pop in the other, he strutted up and down those streets like a pro. This town does Halloween right. I mean, they go all out. So some houses were super crowded at the door and I’d hang back at the street while Chris took Henry up there. I would hear “Awww, what a cute little Chef! Chef Henry!” (He had a name tag that said Chef Henry). And then I’d hear from my child, “GAGAGAGAGA!” or “CACACACA!” or “YAYAYAYAY!” He likes to mix it up. Which I think is his way of saying “Thank you” or “This is awesome, I love candy.” I can’t be sure. Anyways, it was a blast.

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His talking has improved a little since then. When we were driving today, he was pointing out of the window “tee…tee” which I’m pretty sure he meant “tree” since there were some of those all around us. And I’ve been able to understand a few other words here and there too. His signing has improved and picked up drastically. Tonight I put him to bed, but he kept breaking out in nasty sounding coughs, which usually means I need to give him some albuterol. So I brought him out here with us to hang out for a little while and do his breathing treatment. After, he ran to the kitchen and signed “more crackers, thank you.” THREE signs together. That was a first. I was so proud that he took it upon himself to high-five me. HA!! My kid is cool.

We’ve been thinking a lot about baby number 2. It’ll happen (hopefully) but not for a while still, I think. I’m still not fully recovered postpartum-wise from this guy! I want to get back 100% and then see what happens. But also, this kid has been so wonderful and joyful and EASY (how many toddlers do you know that runs to the bed while laughing like a maniac when I tell him it’s nap time?) that I just know the next one will be a challenge. And that’s fine, I like challenges, but for now, I just stare in amazement at this little dude, who is growing up way too fast. I snapped this last pic in Target the other day. I actually had a list of things to get and he was so patient. I let him hold the list and I’d ask him what we needed next and he’d pretend to look at it and tell me in his language that no one but he understands. He also didn’t want to let go of the first aid kit I bought to keep in the car. The Terrrget lady had to scan it while it was still clutched in his baby death grip.

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Things are pretty bad right now, I’m not going to lie. I cry a lot. I can’t sleep. I feel like I’m failing in many ways. But that kid up there? Well that just proves that everything will be ok. That I didn’t fail at one thing. That love is all around me. My dad lives on through us.

I’m blessed.

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17 months.

I can’t do Yoda poses anymore. My climbing/running/crazy toddler won’t sit still long enough and when I attempt to make him, baby rage comes out and he throws Yoda across the room and does this:

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A far cry (pun intended) from this little ball of joy just one short year ago:

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I’ll just try again when he turns two. They always mellow out by age two right? (hahaha) But in all seriousness, and despite the above picture, Henry really is a sweet, good baby. Here’s some new fun Henry facts:

  • He loves getting out of the house. It doesn’t matter where we go, just as long as it’s not in the house. Lately, I don’t even bother with putting him in a cart or carrying him if we’re going to a bookstore or Target for one or two things. He will easily and happily walk along with me and hold my hand. When I tell him to not touch something, he stops touching it. In short, it’s fun to take him places and I like hanging out with him. Really.
  • He can climb stairs by himself (and give me about 14959 heart attacks in the meantime)
  • He can do things on the iPad and iPhone that I don’t even know how to do. But it is cool to just hand him the iPad and watch him swipe to turn it on and find his apps. Today, he started tracing letters with his fingers in his alphabet app. People who try to tell me tablets aren’t beneficial for toddlers, I’ll show them Henry tracing his ABC’s at 17 months old.
  • There’s not much on the speech development front, though he is always “talking.” When actual intelligible words are formed, I will never get a word in edgewise, so I’m not rushing it. However, he understands EVERYTHING we say. It amazes me sometimes all that he understands.
  • He eats everything. Anything you give him, he will try. Oh, sorry, no. Except meat. He has all his teeth (minus the 2-year molars) and can bite through an apple core (yes, this happened) but he won’t eat meat. Half of a caesar salad? Yes. Chicken? No.
  • He is very snuggly. This is my most favorite development. I love when I’m in the kitchen cooking or doing dishes and I just feel these little arms wrap around my leg.
  • When we moved into this apartment, we decided to scrap the home office and just give Henry a full room. This was the best decision I’ve ever made. He LOVES his room. It has really fostered a new independence in him and he doesn’t need to be entertained all the time anymore. I love peeking in there to him reading or stacking blocks or whatever kids do. On a bittersweet note, he loves his room so much that he no longer wakes up in the middle of the night wanting to get in bed with me. He’s sleeping 11-12 hours a night, on his own. I’ll be honest, I miss it.

henry reading

I feel like I am forgetting so many things, but what more can I say? He’s amazing. An average toddler to most, but my world, and I feel so lucky to have him. I thank God every night for him and try to steal as many snuggles, kisses, and laughs as I can every single day.

It just keeps getting better with him, really, tantrums and all.

The big one.

We are coming up to the big ONE year mark and I’m part overwhelmed, part sad, part nostalgic, part reeling. Part lots of things I can’t put into words. Of course I’m talking about Henry’s first birthday. We’re doing a small family thing (with a couple close friends too) because money is super tight right now, but I’m excited. Thanks to my mom and aforementioned close friends of mine who are helping, it will be really cute and fun.

I’m putting together a montage video of his first year. Believe me when I say I have no shortage of video for this thing. I would even say I have too much video. Especially after he was a few weeks old. But when he was just brand new and I was up all night nursing and singing to him while trying to recover from a c-section, I was totally negligent in the video department. There are, however, a couple good ones and watching them kinda break my heart into a billion pieces. I will never hold a newborn Henry again. My walking (running) boy who I can barely keep up with now will never look up at me with that sleepy newborn stare. I’ll never be able to make a meatloaf while holding him because he was that tiny and that light. He’s still attached to me at the hip, but my biceps burn a little more each day now. Don’t get me wrong, I love this age. He is so much fun and he sleeps all the way through the night (currently 12 hours a night). That beats waking up every 2-3 hours. Part of me wishes I could have appreciated the early days more. Or at least remembered it more. It’s all kind of a haze. Between the post-partum crap and c-section recovery and the whole no sleep thing, it was rough.

At least I have videos like this (along with a gajillion pictures) to remind me of how sweet he was. This was during a 2 am feeding session.

And compare that to this kid a week ago on Thanksgiving:

Time to go read some of my book (Mockingjay) before bed. Hopefully I can find the page I was on since Henry likes to take out my bookmark and hide it. Goodnight!

11 months.

Honestly? Where does the time go? I can’t believe I have this almost-toddler now. Henry’s already walking (pretty well too) and eating all the foods (except no peanut butter, honey, or strawberries yet before you become concerned). His new favorite food is apple. I peel one and then chop it into bite-size pieces. He goes nuts for it. Anyway, I just can’t believe that he’s not this little, sedentary baby anymore. And even though things aren’t super great at our house right how, Henry makes everything better. He’s hilarious and smart and charming. I start getting bummed and maybe even let a tear or two fall, and then I look at my baby and remember how lucky I am. Truly, truly blessed. It doesn’t hurt that he loves snuggles and he loves giving kisses. Talk about heart-warmer.

I could go on and on about how amazing I think he is, but I’ll spare you….until his one year post, then you’re in for it.

And if you have some extra prayers or love to send, we could use them right now.

I’ll leave with this picture taken on his 11 month bday. My baby growing up.

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Our first family vacation.

Last month, our little family of three got up at the ungodly hour of 4 am to catch a 6:30 am flight to Florida. I was nervous and exhausted. Thankfully, the baby was not happy about getting up so early and slept almost the entire time to Florida, waking up to play in the Atlanta airport, then right back to sleep before take-off again.

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We had a great time visiting my dad and step-mom. Side note: my dad is very ill right now and going on week 3 in the ICU, so to say that I am very happy with our timing is an understatement.  I hope, and in my heart know, he will get better and go home soon, but I’m just glad he got to see Henry at this age. Henry loved crawling around his house and playing with his dog and kitties. And for the most part, he ate what we ate, and he really enjoyed eating new foods.

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Of course, we went to the beach. We were only there for about an hour because when it’s baby’s naptime, it’s baby’s naptime. I’m sure parents out there understand. He wasn’t having any of the sleeping in the shade at the beach either. But whatever, he loved the water and ate a fair amount of sand, so I’d say it was a success.

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I also got to visit with a couple old friends of mine and by far that was the highlight of the trip.  (Henry with his Auntie TJ above)

The flight home started great. Henry slept during the first flight from Florida to Atlanta, but I had to sing Elmo’s Song over and over and over and over (sorry other passengers) to get him to sleep.  The second (and longest) leg from Atlanta to New Mexico, he slept the first half and then woke up READY TO ROCK AND READY TO ROLL. Thankfully, he was giggly and funny, but very squirmy and wanted down. We let him hang out between our legs and the flight attendant held him for a little while, which passed some time. I’d say it was a success because we didn’t have any meltdowns (well Henry didn’t, I’m another story).

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One thing I’ve learned from the experience (and my husband did too), is that people need to have more compassion to crying babies/kids on planes. I’ll never complain again. When a kid has a tantrum, there’s very little a parent can do, and often, the cabin pressure and altitude changes hurt their ears and freak them out. We got a lot of comments about how good Henry was, but the looks on people’s faces when they saw they were seated next to ours was pure annoyance. Just cut people some slack, mmmkay?

A couple weeks ago, Henry also attended his first wedding. He had a tough time sitting still for the ceremony and we ended up checking out a tree for a little while. But he LOVED LOVED LOVED the reception. He made a new friend in one of my old co-worker’s 11 year old son, he danced with mom and dad, and had a tiny taste of wedding cake. We left the party at around 9 pm, which is WAY past his normal bedtime, but you wouldn’t know it. No tears, no meltdowns, he was as happy as a clam. We gave him his bath, he fit in some playtime and then crashed. Crashed hard. It was cute.

henry suspendersHe also looked really handsome.

Lucky Number 7

Henry turned 7 months old yesterday, and I’m an awful mother for not writing a blog post on the actual day but oh well. Now that he’s much more mobile and animated, he keeps me busy. Also, yesterday I took a few hours off to do what I wanted to do. Of course that means I mainly cleaned and made baby food, but I also took a long shower and watched a movie while my mom babysat. I’ve been kind of in a funk, so it was just what I needed.

But before I took any kind of break, I took his 7 month picture with the ever-shrinking Yoda. The baby also got to my sign and tried to eat it before I could place it next to him, but I was able to wrangle it out of his clenched fists for a few seconds.

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He went through the mother of all growth spurts recently, just eating non-stop when he wasn’t sleeping. The kid even woke up TWICE during the night for a few days to eat, which is something he hasn’t done since he was maybe 2 months old? Six weeks old? Somewhere around there. He’s back to normal now, thank you God, and sleeping through the night again. I’ve also upped his solid food consumption from twice a day to thrice a day, so maybe that had a hand in the return to normalcy.

Here are some other fun things he’s doing:

  • Crawling (he’s perfected the army crawl, but he gets on those hands and knees and rocks enthusiastically. I think real crawl is imminent.)
  • Pulling himself up
  • Fake Sneezing
  • Using some of those hard “g” sounds: goo, gee, gah, etc.
  • Eating a lot of real food and much bigger chunks. Also getting good at picking up food and making it into the mouth.
  • Standing while holding onto the table. He even walked down it a little bit this morning to get my husband’s glasses. He fell over after that, but still.
  • Just general funniness and sweetness

I’m going to be checking out baby music classes in the next week or so for him. Henry LOVES when we sing him songs and dance for him. I figure this will be a great way to have fun and stimulate his mind. I’m looking forward to the social time myself, to be honest.

Nothing too new in our world except we are in the midst of trying to purchase a home. The bank is taking its sweet time in approving us, and we have about 6 weeks until our lease is up. Not stressful or anything. Worst case scenario is we rent a house for a year or so, but either way, we are out of this apartment and onto bigger kitchens and more spacious living rooms.

Off to put a little monster down for his nap. Til next month! (Kidding. I hope.)

Dear Henry

Dear Henry,

It’s been a while since I wrote you one of these. It’s hard work taking care of a Henry. Hard, but the best. Really. The best.

You’re 6 months old today. Half a year old.

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I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. You do something new every day and you’re changing so quickly. I just try to take in every single stage of your life as it comes and savor it because you’ll be on to something new soon. I even cherish the not-so-fun times. The other night, your dad and I put you to bed early because you were fussing more than usual. You fell asleep quickly, but about 2 hours in to dreamland, you woke up SCREAMING. Now, whenever you cry like this, it alarms us. We kinda freak out because you, my sweet baby, are not a big cryer and definitely not a big screamer. You are a fuss-pot sometimes, but that’s usually as far as it goes. Anyway, you wouldn’t go back to sleep unless one of us was holding you, so I quickly got ready for bed and laid you down next to me. You let out a big sigh, and fell asleep. I just stared at you, trying to take a mental polaroid, so I would never forget how sweet you looked curled up in my arms. I eventually fell asleep, too.

Turns out, your bottom teeth were finally sprouting and that’s what caused all of the extra discomfort. See? You always have a reason. In all honestly, you are one of the happiest babies I’ve ever come across. You’re always smiling. You’re always happy to see us. You’re just very content to be wherever you are.

henryhappy“Little body, big smile.”  I think they made that with you in mind.

At 6 months old:

  • sleeping ALL THE WAY through the night. Every night. (8 pm – 6 am)
  • you take about 3-4 naps a day, and you fight only half of them
  • you’re sitting up on your own
  • you’re trying really hard to crawl (you’ll get there soon)
  • you love splashing in the bath
  • you love jumping in your door jumper thing
  • you’re eating all kinds of food and LOVING it (your grandma calls you a foodie because you love trying new things and you eat a lot)
  • you’re getting pretty good at holding that bottle all by yourself

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  • you’re giggling and babbling a ton
  • everything is going in the mouth
  • your bottom teeth finally came in (and you love chomping on mom and dad’s fingers)
  • you’re playing a lot more on your own and I love watching you explore

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  • you wave hello and goodbye when prompted
  • You protest loudly when I take away a toy, fresh food feeder, or anything else you grabbed and put in your mouth
  • You love Itsy Bitsy Spider. With our without hand movements, doesn’t matter. If I’m singing it, you’re smiling.

I hope you stay this happy forever. Your dad and I will do everything in our power to make sure you do. And no, that does not mean all the G.I. Joes you ask for. Just like, love and stuff. Lots and lots of love, laughter, and kisses. You are the center of our universe and I’m not ashamed. Everything revolves around you. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next six months and beyond.

Love,

Mom

Updates and other things.

Wow. What a month it’s been.

Henry is almost 5 months old (!!!) and is changing every day. Here are some things he’s doing now:

  • Pulling himself up from reclined to sitting (not from flat on his back)
  • Sitting unassisted for a few seconds, but getting better!
  • Laughing a lot. He’s got a great sense of humor.
  • Staying awake for longer periods of time, and taking longer naps.
  • Holding his own bottle (still hasn’t completely mastered this yet either)
  • Entertaining himself for longer periods of time

After his immunizations last month, he was really clingy. The teething didn’t help either. Therefore, he would only nap either in my arms or next to me on the couch (with his legs touching my legs). He would also lay down and nap with me, which has been great. But I was being held hostage by a cute little drool monster, so I had to put an end to it. There are things mama needs to do! I put him down in his crib today for his afternoon nap and within 10 minutes, he was out. There were a few tears (which I soothed by rubbing his head) but other than that, easy. He slept almost 2 hours. I really hope he keeps that up. Bedtime is still easy peasy and he’s still sleeping 6-8 hour stretches before needing a feeding.

I feel like I’m finally hitting my stride with this parenthood thing. I feel more confident, I’m enjoying it a hell of a lot more, and I don’t stress out over the little things. I guess getting more sleep helps, but so does having an easy going baby who you can take in public without tantrums and crying fits and who is extremely predictable and easy to please. I said it. I have an easy baby. I was blessed.

henrymirrorCheap entertainment.

But, full disclosure, I’m feeling ok now, but I had severe anxiety attacks for a few weeks there. I would lay awake at night panicking over the future, the uncertainties, afraid to leave the house even at times…it was bad. But I’ve been working on it and I feel so much better lately. I’ve realized the best thing I can do for Henry is live life to the fullest and not worry about things I can’t control. I don’t want him to be afraid of the world or worry about little things because his mother is a lunatic. I’m gonna say the hormones did it to me.

I’ve loaded a bunch of vids onto our YouTube page. Check them out when you get bored. I tried to watch our wedding video again tonight but had to stop it. It makes me weepy!

My baby is growing up.

For the past few days, Henry has been waking up from his naps just SCREAMING! At first I thought it was teething since he has a tooth cutting right now. But, I quickly learned it was just hunger. He would down a full bottle like mommy drinking wine (your supposed to drink a half a bottle at once, right?) Anyway, after my mom witnessed it yesterday, she told me to give him a little cereal in his bottle. Yeah, did nothing. Then she told me to give him a little banana. I hesitated and then decided to call his pediatrician. The doc said 4 months old is when he likes to start introducing solids and Henry is showing all the signs of being ready, so go for it. I smashed up half a banana and fed it to him with my finger (we didn’t have the baby-feeding supplies yet). He ate all of it and was reaching out for more.

This morning, I made him his first little puree that consists of a full banana, baby cereal, and formula.

First, I mashed the banana up in our food processor:

bananamixThen I added two tablespoons of baby cereal and 4 liquid ounces of formula:

bananapureeIt should be apple sauce consistency, and this was except there were lumps of banana still. Next time, I’m going to mash a little bit longer.

This made six 1-ounce servings, so I divvied it up into little containers. I popped two in the fridge for today and the rest in the freezer for later.

bananaservingsSince we don’t have a high chair yet, I stripped him down to a diaper and put him in his Bumbo chair. He ate a full container (ok, about a quarter of it ended up on his face) and seemed to enjoy it. When I’d pull the spoon out, he’d get pissed until I gave him more, if that’s any indication.

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henrybanana2This is a huge milestone for the baby, but also for me. Feeding Henry has been such an area of strife for me since he was born. Now that he’s moving onto real food, I feel relieved. I’m also excited to make all of his food. Have you ever tasted the canned baby food? It doesn’t even taste like what it’s supposed to be. Unless carrots are supposed to taste like poop. Making the food will be a breeze with our food processor.  I’ll make sure to post some good recipes as I come across them and test them on baby.

He’s growing up too damn fast.

Grandma to the rescue.

I’m working on this long post about my history of diets and losing/gaining weight. It’s really taxing to put all those emotions into words but it’s really helping me. It’s a lot cheaper than paying a therapist, for sure. But Chris and I have started eating a lot healthier (veggies with EVERY meal, ya’ll!) and I’m starting to get serious about exercise. For the first time in my life my motivation doesn’t center around wearing cute clothes or getting a boyfriend. I genuinely just want to be healthier for my child. Henry relies on me to be around a long time and I owe that to him. It’s no longer just a size issue.

In baby news, mama hit a major milestone last week. Chris and I both had a cold or nasty allergies or something. We were miserable. My mom offered to take Henry for the afternoon so I could sleep a little. Tears were abound when I dropped him off. Not Henry’s…mine. As I walked in the door and saw all his little toys and swing, I cried some more. Then I cried in the shower. I didn’t get much sleep. I don’t know why I was more upset than usual. My mom has watched him several times for me when I go to lunch with friends or run an errand. I think I just felt guilty. I need to just suck it up and take care of my kid.

As I was picking him up later, my mom suggested I leave him there for the night. She has been begging me to let him spend the night since he was born, so I wasn’t too surprised she offered. I said no. Then I said maybe. As night approached, I felt even crappier. That’s when I thought that I should probably take my mom up on her offer. I asked my friends their opinions and they all told me I was stupid/crazy/really stupid if I didn’t do it. Chris, of course, supports whatever I want and said it was up to me. Sigh.

photoTHIS is what I was missing.

Through the irrational sobs, I packed up the pack n’ play, clothes, diapers, wipes, toys, blankets, towels, bath gear, and basically everything he owns and drove over to my mom’s house. When I got home, I took the really good drugs, cried a little more, and fell asleep. Twelve hours later when I woke up, I felt like a new person. I was rested, not congested (that rhymes!) and SO ENERGETIC! I hadn’t slept that much since before the baby was born. My mom texted me and said Henry slept almost 10 hours for them and was doing great. I don’t think I can do that very often, but man, what a great resource when I need it. And to know Henry is comfortable and happy makes it even more amazing. A cute side note: It was my step dad who got up at 4 am to feed him, then sang him back to sleep. How sweet is that?

I had to go to court that day because I got pulled over recently. I wasn’t speeding. I never speed. The cop clocked someone else. Thankfully he believed me. Maybe the “Baby on Board” sign in my window helped convince him. Anyway, I didn’t have our updated insurance card with me so I got a citation for that. He didn’t fill out the damn form correctly, so it was immediately dismissed. What a waste of time.

After that, I raced to my mom’s to get Henry. I was smiling ear to ear. I missed him so much that my arms literally ached. He was napping when I got there, but as soon as I heard a little cry, I ran in there to hold him. He was just as happy to see me as I was to see him.

Thank God for Grandma.

henrysuspenderphotoRandom photo of Henry in suspenders. Just ’cause.