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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Just a little bump in the road.

Today we took Henry to get his Christmas portraits taken. Oh my, he was so sweet. He loved all of the attention. I got a lot of compliments for him (and, oddly, our stroller, which I love if you’re in the market for one) from the waiting parents in the studio. But honestly, I was fawning over a few of babies in there too. Specifically, baby girls. I’ll admit that I’ve been thinking a lot about baby numero dos lately. Maybe it’s because Henry is a week away from being one year old and getting so big and I miss having that little squishy baby. Or maybe it’s because Henry sooo needs a sibling. The kid plays catch with himself. He’ll throw a ball, go fetch it, and repeat. It’s simultaneously cute and sad.

But of course, inevitably, any plans for another baby came to a screeching halt last month when my husband was laid off. To go from 2 incomes, down to 1 income is a big sacrifice, but we made it work. We even built up a pretty nice savings. Thank GOD we did, too. But to go from 1 income to 0 income, AND a child to support. Well, yeah. Crappy. And scary.

To be honest, though it’s been a very stressful month, Chris and I have been shown just how truly blessed we are. It sounds so corny, and it is, but this situation has brought us closer with family and friends and each other. My mom is paying for most of Henry’s birthday party because she knows how much it meant to me to do something for him. She also paid for the portraits today because, again, I wanted it (we also had a coupon). My mom and step-dad have bought us groceries and diapers. My in-laws bought the babe presents for his birthday and Christmas and took us to Costco for some bulk dried fruit (and other things, but we have a lot of dried fruit in our house right now. I have an open bag of dried cherries I’m eating at this moment). My BFF checks in every day and always makes me feel better. She also makes me dinner and gives me wine and bakes cookies for my son’s birthday party. And then I have so many other friends who’ve sent us money and gifts for the baby, all unsolicited. Or they just let me talk and vent to them and probably want to tell me to shut up, but they don’t. They just tell me they love me and it will all work out  (I should specifically single out Mandy Jo, since she’s a daily victim of my woe-is-me). It just warms the cockles of my heart, you guys. There are a lot of beautiful people in our lives, even ones we don’t talk to all the time.

Because of all these above blessings, I’ve been trying to stay positive. That doesn’t mean I don’t still break down into tears occasionally. I do. Maybe every day, but I’m not telling. In the end, I know it will work out. I might have to dust off my old resume and get back out there, and if that’s what I have to do, then so be it. For now, I’m focusing on our beautiful, funny, healthy baby boy and all the people in my life who love us and we love back. We might not have much money, but we’re not poor. Not in any sense of the word.

I know you want to see some portrait shots (only the last one made the cut in terms of actual prints, but the other 2 are ones I still love):

henryport12drool face!

henryport3Baby Gap called and they want their model back.

henryport1“Oh, hey, I didn’t see you there.”