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Thursday, December 13, 2012

angels we have heard on high

Dear Henry,
I definitely should not be taking time to blog today with all the birthday preparations I have left to do. You are turning 2 next week! But I have to get this stuff on record because it is absolutely the sweetest thing. For the past couple months you have been completely enthralled with angels. We don't know exactly how it started, but we think it may have begun at Grandma's house when she let you carry around one of her small angel figurines. Soon you started asking me if you could hold my Willow Tree angels and you were very sure to be so careful with them. You also started standing in a certain corner of our dining room and saying, "Look, Mommy! I bein' a angel." We still aren't sure why you do that, but it's adorable nonetheless. A week before Thanksgiving, Grandma Gerine gave you a whole package full of angel magnets and you love them. We are constantly finding them all over the house because you love to play with them so much. I also started singing "Angels We Have Heard on High" to you, and at first you would ask me to "sing angels" over and over again. Now you know all the words and I often hear you singing it in your crib when you wake up from your nap. I'm pretty sure you even dream about angels! Last week you had one night where you were awake a lot, so we spent several hours in the rocking chair. At one point I was sure you were sound asleep and suddenly, with your eyes closed, you burst into the first verse of the song. You sang it twice through and then were quiet again for about 5 minutes. I was sure you were asleep again when I heard you say, "I love you, angels! See you in the morning!" Too funny!! Last night we took you on a drive through the city park because they have a Christmas lights display there. Of course your favorite part was the lighted angels. This morning when I was changing your diaper you said, "The angels are friends, Mommy." We can't help but wonder how long this love of angels will last. Hopefully long enough for you to get to be an angel in the church Christmas program next year. Can you imagine?? Your very own angel costume?!? Here's a picture of you admiring your collection...

Monday, December 3, 2012

ohhhhh baby

Today is the 24 week mark which means...this baby will be here in no time! If I have cholestasis of pregnancy like I did with Henry, the baby will be born via csection on (or within a day of) March 4. If I don't have cholestasis, we will have a csection on March 22 unless I would go into labor and progress quickly on my own. Since I've never been more than 37 weeks pregnant, I don't know if I would go into labor on my own before 40 weeks (or ever!!) so it's hard to know what to expect. Dameon will be with his students in Florida from March 9-14 so let's just hope I don't go into labor on any of those days!
We have decided on a boy name and a girl name (or pretty much decided, I should say) but they will remain top secret until the birth day. It was harder to come to a decision this time around because we had the additional factor of considering what would go well with "Henry." We also tried having Henry say each name to figure out which ones sounded the cutest out of his mouth but that was no help because they were all adorable when he said them. Dameon remains firmly planted on Team Boy while I'm much more on the Team Pink bus. Henry talks about a sister (without prompting from us) quite often so...we shall see! I love the element of surprise!! He is talking about Mommy's belly more and more. He even gives my belly hugs and kisses. And then he'll say something random like, "The baby can come out Mommy's belly and can stand on the table!" Ha! Dameon and I talk about how much we wish we could see the mental images he has to know what he really thinks is going to happen.
I am feeling really good these days. Sleeping decent (with many bathroom visits, of course), minimal heartburn, very little back pain, and no nausea. The most difficult thing is bending over. I can't do it without letting out a huff or puff and after about two bends, I'm done. The "Spa by Dameon" opened last night when he trimmed my toenails. I'm going to guess that he'll be even better at painting them this time around!
This little punkin is so so so super active and the kicks and jabs have just started to get a little sharp. I don't remember Henry being as active at this stage but it could just be that I don't remember as clearly. When we went for our ultrasound this baby was measuring a bit smaller than Henry did at his ultrasound so I don't know how that will pan out in the end but I'm definitely still sporting a bigger belly than I did with him at this time. It is so surprising to me how complete strangers will comment on my size. The produce guy at HyVee just couldn't get over the fact that I'm not due until March. He even said he felt sorry for me having to "carry that around until then." Uhhh...okay. Then the checker lady at Pamida was like, "Dang girl, you are huge! Sure it's not twins?" Like I've never heard that one before. It's not that these comments bother me or make me feel embarrassed. It's just that I would NEVER say that to anyone. Ever! Oh well. Maybe when I'm 39 weeks, I'll go hang out in the produce section for awhile and show that guy what big really looks like. He has no idea!

a collage of projects!

I should learn that it's a mistake to commit to something on my blog. Like, when I said I was going to do a project with Henry every day and then blog about it. Ha! Didn't happen. But we do try to make at least two or three projects happen each week. Here's just a sampling of the things he's been enjoying lately.
Dot Art: I bought these dot paints at Michael's way back when I was still teaching and they have come in very handy with the little guy. They're a bit pricey (I think a pack of 6 is 10 bucks) but they really do last. Plus they're washable which is obviously a must.

Water Painting: I bought a couple cheap sponges and cut them into little chunks. He dips them in water and blots them on the paper. Great fun and no mess. Just be sure to use construction paper because any other kind (such as cardstock) won't really absorb any water.

Baking: Just recently Henry has started to help out in the kitchen. He is pretty trustworthy on this little step stool and loves to pour, stir, and stick his finger in any mound of sugar or flour that he can get to.
 First time helping Mommy make cookies. I've been looking forward to this day for a long time!!
 First taste of cookie dough. He couldn't get enough and was SILENT as he licked his tiny spoon.
 Cute story: He must have been so distracted by the goodness of the cookie dough that he forgot he was up high. He suddenly stepped backward and bonked, bonked, his way down the step stool. He cried a little and instantly had a bruise on his chin. For the next week or so, he would talk about how he got a shiner on his chin :)
Flour play: After our cookie baking experience, I learned that Henry is very enthralled with flour. I gave him a little in a bowl and spread some on his tray and he was happy as a clam. This is best to do right before bathtime!

Friday, November 9, 2012

filling in the gaps

Fun stuff has been going on around here lately, so this post will be a random compilation of things my camera has captured in the last few weeks. Henry has been loving on our pumpkins ever since the end of September when we picked them out at the Pumpkin Ranch. The actual carving of the pumpkins was highly anticipated by Dameon and I since this year he would actually be able to participate. Yay! Wrong.
Dameon was all like:
While Henry was all like:

Turns out the boy is strongly opposed to the smell of fresh pumpkin. Weird since he's been pooping his pants since late 2010 and never seems to react to that smell. He stood in the living room whining, wiping his nose, and gagging for the entire thing. The only redeeming part of the story is that he loved the jack-o-lanterns once they were out on the porch and lit. He kept saying, "Daddy feed the pumpkins," when Dameon would put the candle inside. Props to my husband on a superb carving job. Which he had to do all by himself while I kept the toddler from having a total meltdown.
Two days later was beggar's night. We decided to dress Henry in the pumpkin costume I wore as a child since we weren't sure he would even wear a costume without having a fit and we didn't want to drop a bunch of money on it. Surprise, Surprise, he did great! Perhaps it could have been the training exercises we did leading up to the big day. You put the costume on, you get candy. See? It's fun. Now eat your tootsie roll.  I took Henry trick-or-treating on the town square right after school while Dameon had a meeting. I pulled him in his wagon. At first he was confused thinking it was a parade. Every time someone would give him a piece of candy, he would throw it on the ground and say, "Drop the treats!" Eventually he caught on, though.
 When Dameon got home, we ate a quick supper and headed out to take Henry to a few houses in our neighborhood. He enjoyed it for a couple stops but then decided he was much more interested in the neighbor's rock. oh well.
Two days later, my mom and I took Henry to visit my grandpa. While there, Henry got to have his first tractor ride when we visited my mom's cousin's farm. He loved to honk the horn and hold the steering wheel!

He also go to ride with Grandpa and Monte on the four wheeler!

Since then we've had several cold/rainy days, which means we're a little cooped up. A couple days ago I was in the kitchen when I heard Henry calling, "I climbed up, Momma!" I came around the corner to find one proud little boy. He would only look at the camera for a second because he was busy looking down at the stool and beaming from ear to ear.

Last night my back was bothering me, so I layed on the couch while Dameon and Henry played. They built Henry's very first fort, which Henry loved! (I think Daddy kinda liked it, too.)
That's all for now. Next up on the blog docket will be a baby #2 update!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

a daddy and his boy

Last Monday we made an impromptu trip to Des Moines just for a little outing. When we got home, Henry and Dameon took the trash cans out to the curb (a highlight for Henry!!) and I went on inside. Several minutes passed and they still hadn't come in, so I peeked out the window and this is what I found. I could hear them chatting away about the stars and the moon. Oh how I love my boys!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The truth is...

Dear Henry,
As trying as these past few days have been with your toddler tantrums and (very) strong opinions, and as many times as I have muttered that I need a vacation...the truth is I still miss you when you're taking your nap. That's about the only time of day that we're apart. And also, it's a lot of work to have to rock you to sleep every afternoon and every night but today I really noticed how your legs drape way over the arm of the glider and it hit me how big you are now. I get sad over the thought of not rocking you to sleep every day so...I might just rock you til you're 12, okay?
Love, Momma

Monday, October 15, 2012

CUTE by henry

For way too long now I have been compiling a list of cute things Henry has done or said and I keep thinking that I have got to get these things written down. Yay for finally doing it! And, just as a side note, he cracks us up many times a day and I can't possibly remember/record them all. These are just a few highlights...
  • Henry is finally (I repeat FINALLY) sleeping through the night. Oh. my. That was a process. He has been consistently sleeping all night for about two and a half weeks. But, like everything, we are constantly in transition because...wait for it...wait for it...he just started cutting his second set of molars. Oh boy. Oh well, I can't complain. Prior to this streak, his record was three nights in a row. And that's only happened twice in his life. And he'll be 22 months old on Friday. Can I get an Uffda? Okay, now for the cute part of all this: Pretty much every time he wakes up and I go in to get him in the morning he says, "That was a good nap!" He thinks all sleeping is termed "nap." Cute? Yes!
  • Several weeks ago I was getting ready to do a big Uppercase Living install at the middle school and I needed a yard stick. Dameon and Henry took off for the hardware store to buy me one. When they returned, Henry was attached to this new contraption. But instead of calling it a yard stick, he was calling it a lever. I asked Dameon where he got that from and Dameon said he didn't know but that he called it that right away. And then it clicked. Sesame Street, of course!
  • Henry's been having some trouble with constipation so we've cut a few things out of his diet lately, including milk. The other night at the grocery store we decided to buy him some coconut milk since it's non-dairy and he's been begging for milk. I didn't really know what I was doing and accidently bought "Vanilla" instead of "Original". When we got home, I promptly filled his cup and he took a big drink. Immediately a look of pure delight came over him and he said, "I drinkin' ice cream!!!"
  • A few weeks ago we went to the Pumpkin Ranch just outside of town. Henry absolutely loved it and was so happy that we got to choose some pumpkins to take home. Every time we come up the porch steps he asks to touch the pumpkins and sit by the pumpkins. Normal, right? But he has a third request. He wants to "chomp" the pumpkins. We use chomp in place of "bite" around here. One day he told me he did chomp the tiny pumpkin. I didn't see any bite marks, so the jury's still out on that one.

  • We're pretty sure Henry is still clueless about the new baby, but every once in awhile we bring it up by talking about how there's a baby in mommy's belly. When we ask him, "What's in Mommy's belly?" He always says, "A button!" And then tries to lift my shirt to see my belly button. One day I was wearing a shirt with a pocket on it, and he was very interested in that pocket. A little while later, he asked to see my pocket, so I said, "Henry, what's in Mommy's pocket?" His reply: "A baby!!"
  • About a month ago I took Henry to the doctor because he had a pretty nasty cold. Much to my surprise, he started crying the minute I set him on the scale and continued to cry the entire time. At one point when the doctor had left the room I said, "Henry, why are you crying?" Through his sobbing he said, "I nervous."
  • My mom and I took Henry to the homecoming parade here in town, which was only a couple weeks after we had taken him to the Pufferbilly Parade in Boone. As the students were riding by on their trucks and floats Henry started calling to them saying, "Drop the treats!" Sorry, pal. No candy at this parade.
  • Henry is an announcer of all things. We pretty much always know what he's doing when he's out of sight because he narrates the whole thing. The only time we really get concerned is when he's quiet. The other day he was quiet and I knew he was in his bedroom. I walked around the corner to find this:

  • And, finally, the most recent Henry quote that I've heard him shouting from the next room about three times in the past few days: "Uh Oh! I make a mess!" One time he had torn up the mail into tiny shreds. The second time he had emptied all of the shirts out of Dameon's drawer, and the third time he had spread kitchen utencils all over the kitchen floor. His reply to me asking him to help clean up is pretty consistent, too. "Nope. I can't do it." Hmmmmmm...little stinker.

supper club

A stroke of genius, you might call it. Okay so I can't take complete credit for this. My mom was in a supper club when I was growing up. Not sure if she came up with it or not, but at the end of the summer I approached two friends about starting a supper club of our own and they agreed! Here's how it works: On Monday nights Megan cooks a meal for her family and triples the recipe so that Stacey and I can pick up our portions. On Tuesday nights Stacey cooks her meal times three. On Thursday nights it's my turn. Each meal includes a main dish and one side dish. Here's why this is so great:

1. BUDGET: Dameon and I have been looking for ways to cut back on our grocery budget for a long time. We spend way too much money on food and can't ever seem to figure out how it really happens. Very consistently we are overspending this area of our budget and is so frustrating! We obviously have to eat. And we eat most of our meals at home. We also both eat lunch from home. And we don't have to eat fancy food or anything but we don't want to eat junk either. I cook almost every night, so that means buying a lot of ingredients that I only use part of. But when I buy ingredients for one meal times three, I am more able to use up those ingredients and less goes to waste. Bingo! Grocery budget intact.

2. MESS: This may come as a shock to you but I'm not awesome at cleaning up messes. Especially kitchen messes. I know, I'm almost 30 and it's about time I get it together. I know. But cooking less often means less mess in the kitchen. Win!

3. FAMILY TIME: Typically when Dameon gets home at 4:30...or 4:45...or 5:00...I have to quickly turn Henry over to him so that I can bury myself in the kitchen and quickly prepare our meal that we need to eat by 5:30 so that he can get back to work. Now that our meals are prepared for us two nights a week, the three of us can spend more time together.

4. VARIETY: Having other people cook for us has introduced a little more variety into the things we eat. Generally the three of us seem to have the same likes thus far but I think we've eaten four or five meals that I've never prepared.

5. I'M PREGNANT: Just because I can cook it doesn't mean I can eat it. Such a bummer to spend time preparing a meal that, in the end, makes you gag when you think of eating it. Solution? Our meals are brought to our door prepared!

The only really hard thing for me is coming up with what I want to make. I think the best way for me to avoid this problem is to sit down with my cookbooks and make a list of the meals I can easily make in mass. So far I've made pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches with pasta salad, meatloaf with party potatoes, taco soup with corn bread, chicken tacos with tortilla chips, tomato cream pasta with garlic bread, and lasagna with bread sticks.


It's true. You take less pictures the second time around. Dang it! I wanted to be the exception to that one. Need to try harder! Nevertheless, Baby #2 is growing like crazy and we are getting closer and closer to the halfway point and the much anticipated 20 week ultrasound. We still haven't changed our minds about finding out the gender and it's still driving me a little nuts that I just can't get a strong feeling one way or another. I will say I'm a little less on Team Girl than I was at the beginning. We shall see...
I'm starting to feel movement now and a lot of those yucky first trimester feelings have subsided. I still feel tired but much better than before! Today is the 17 week mark so we quickly got this picture taken last night. When I was 17 weeks pregnant with Henry, we moved to Winterset and the dreaded kidney pain kicked in so I'm praying that I miss out on that with this baby. I have another OB appointment tomorrow, which will just be the basic routine but I always look forward to hearing that heartbeat!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

project #3

One of Henry's favorite things to do is put things in and take things out. Doesn't really matter what the things are, as long as they have a container to fit them. Enter our latest project. This one is also great for fine motor skills. I gave him an empty minced onions container and some q-tips. Oh, happy day! He loves putting the q-tips through the holes one-by-one. We gave this to him on Sunday and now two days later, he's still coming back to it. I'm trying to think of something else that's skinny enough to put through the holes to add to his q-tip stash.
Oh, and the cutest part of all this is that he now tries to request a project but it turns out that word is really hard to say. It comes out something like, "pwagik." Adorable :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

we're still not sure how to feel about this...



He's still the cutest boy in the world, but he just looks so old now!!!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Each day Henry and I are going to (try to) do a project. At this age, my criteria for a project are that it needs to involve some sort of sensory experience, it needs to be hands-on, and at least part of the activity needs to be something he can do independently. When I first introduce the materials for a project, I don't do any instructing. speaking and no demonstrating. I just let him explore. Sometimes this is hard because I just want him to figure out the point of the activity right away. My adult self gets in a hurry! But it's so much better to bite my tongue because often times he comes up with other purposes for the materials that I wouldn't have thought of. We usually do our projects in the kitchen because they are easier to clean up and I like to keep it separate from his other toys.
Yesterday's project went like this: I put out a bunch of kitchen utencils and three big bowls. I poured some dry macaroni noodles in each bowl and let him do the rest. He was completely fascinated for a solid 30 minutes. Stirring, pouring, and switching the noodles from one bowl to another. He was deep in silent concentration! After 30 minutes, he took a break to roam around the house which is when we ate lunch and then took naps. He came back to the projects after he woke up. Success!

Today's project was called Muffin Tin sorting. I took a few toilet paper tubes and cut them into shorter tubes. Then I put them in a large ziplock and set them next to the muffin tin on the floor. Henry is a kid who likes order, so I knew it would be best to have 12 for each spot on the muffin tin. At first he wanted to dump the tubes out. Fine with me! Then he put them back in the bag. He wanted to shut the bag. I then realized he would likely get stuck on wanting me to open and close the bag because he loves to open and close things. So, I went ahead and put one tube into the muffin cup. He caught on right away and filled the rest of the cups one by one. Then he put each one back in the bag and started over again. He loved it! I watched the clock and this kept him busy for a good 20 minutes.

And, of course, everything gets flipped over and turned into a drum eventually :)
My plan is to drag out one of my fun containers from when I was teaching to store all these projects in, so that I can build up my stash. I'll let him play with the same ones for awhile and then pack them away for a bit so they seem new when I reintroduce them. The best part is that most of the projects are free because you just use stuff you have around the house. Though I guess you do have to adopt a bit of a hoarder mentality. Yesterday I stopped myself before throwing away an empty oatmeal container! Thanks to Pinterest, the ideas are endless. I can't wait for tomorrow's project because I have a good feeling he's going to love it. More to come...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Baby #2

See? Told you I'm big.

Hooray for almost being through the first trimester! It has been a lot the same as my first pregnancy with a few definite differences. With Henry, my nausea was mostly contained to the evenings. This time it's been more evenly distributed throughout the day. I also feel like I'm a lot more tired this time around but that probably has to do with the fact that I'm chasing a toddler around. Although, he's really good at playing by himself on those days when I just can't get off the couch. So, here's a little Q & A about this pregnancy...

When did you find out? July 18

How did you tell Dameon? We were both suspicious leading up to the actual positive test result. I didn't want to talk myself into it too much because I didn't want to be disappointed but right before I took the test I got extremely nervous and I just knew. It was positive right away! To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Just that rush of reality setting in comes with a lot of excitement and, at least for me, a lot of fear. I basically just walked into our bedroom with test in hand and said, "We're pregnant!" I think Dameon was equally shocked. But in a good way, of course!!

How far apart will the kids be in age? 2 years and 3 months. Perfect, I'd say!

Does Henry have any clue? No. Sometimes I'll say, "What's in Mommy's belly?" to which he always responds, "A button!" and then lifts my shirt to see my belly button. (Which, in case you're wondering, is already almost completely flat.) I don't think he'll really understand until the baby has been living in our house for a couple weeks.

How did you tell your families? First we had to get them face-to-face, which was a bit difficult to do without blowing the surprise. Then I told them I had seen a project on Pinterest where you make a book of your child's favorite things and have his favorite people read it to him. The idea is to make it into a video blog by video taping the reading. The book reveals the big secret! Yep, we have the reactions on video. So fun!

When are you due? March 25. This is a bit scary because Dameon will be in Florida with his band during the end of my 38th and beginning of my 39th week. GULP.

Will you find out the gender? Nope. Although, this is going to be harder for me than it was the first time because with Henry I had such a strong feeling he was a boy that I didn't need the ultrasound tech to tell me. This time I don't have a strong feeling and the suspense is really getting to me! At first we were both sure it was a girl but now we're both wavering.

Cravings? Yes. Oh yes. Let's see.... iced tea (not good when you're supposed to avoid caffiene), puppy chow, salad...but only the kind from Texas Roadhouse or a really good salad bar with all the toppings, soft pretzels from the mall (too bad we don't have a mall), ramen noodles until i got sick of them yesterday, and apples without the peel because the peel makes me gag when I'm pregnant.

Most prominent symptom? TIRED. I am so thankful to be a stay-at-home mom because I can nap when Henry naps. I seriously admire women who work all the way through their pregnancies or have multiple children at home and don't have the chance to nap. I am so spoiled to be able to nap every day. Plus, I have an amazing husband who does whatever I ask even after a full day of work. He has made many trips to the grocery store when I can't muster the gag reflex control to go myself, sat up with Henry on several nights (more to come on that topic later...uffda), worked long hours into the night so he can be available to help out with anything and everything in the evenings, and put up with being out of clean clothes on several occassions because I have failed to keep up with laundry. Such a good guy I have :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

it's about time for an update

It's been way too long since I've posted but...such is life. I have to wait until Henry is sleeping to do it (because our computer is in the basement) and too often other duties are calling my name. BUT, I've been compiling a list of Henry's latest happenings so you don't have to wait any longer! :) Here are the most current cute stories about our little buddy boy:
  • He is in a major climbing phase. A little later than most, but I'm fine with that. As soon as he reaches the top of whatever he's trying to mount, he exclaims, "I DID IT!" He uses this phrase at the conclusion of other feats, as well. The only time we really grow concerned is when we hear him shout but can't find any evidence of what he actually did.
  • I'm one of those moms who can tend to be a bit of a picker. I have a hard time ignoring his ear wax, boogers, hang nails, etc. Apparently, I've always apologized to him during the picking because now as soon as the picking ceases, he beats me to the punch and says "Sah-wee".
  • He tells me multiple times throughout the day that I have a good idea. I'll say, "Should we read a book?" And he'll say, "Good idea!" I love it.
  • He constantly asks to have his boo-boos kissed. Even if they're not legitimate boo-boos. Someday I'll probably have to teach him to be tougher, but for now I'm not gonna turn him down when he runs to me saying "Kiss it?"
  • One of our favorite exclamations of his is, "I missed you!!!" He doesn't usually use it in the right context but we don't care. It's the cutest.
  • On Sunday as I was getting him dressed, I was explaining that we were going to church. I said, "Who will we see at church?" and he said, "Amen!!"
  • Okay, now I'm going to brag for a sec. I just can't help it...this kid is amazing! He knows ten letters: B, H, L, O, R, S, T (he says cross), W, X, Y; He knows seven shapes: circle, square, heart, diamond, star, triangle, oval; He can rote count to 4
  • He says pretty much anything and everything, but here are some of his latest translations...
    • eyebrow is eyebrown
    • crayon is crayond
    • dinosaur is cosaur
    • fix it is fisk it
    • pen or pencil is paper
    • love you is yuv you
    • hold me is hold you
    • animals is amals
  • And now for a few things he can't yet do... 1. Puzzles: He basically has no clue. This is sad for me because I love a good puzzle. We'll work on it.  2. Eat with a fork and spoon: Yep, parenting fail. I missed the boat on this and now he basically has learned helplessness. Oops. 3. Sit still: He is, by far, the busiest kid at storytime. It's not that he's being naughty or anything. He just can't sit still. He'd rather cruise the room and explore, while participating from afar. Again, we'll work on it :)
  • And last but certainly not least is Henry's biggest news of all...............
He's going to be a big brother in March! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!! The pregnancy posts will commence soon, but not today. I'm one tired gal and since he's napping, I'm gonna nap too. Oh, and one more thing: for several months something has been messed up in my facebook settings and nothing that I post shows up in people's newsfeeds so that's why I'm not able to link my posts to facebook anymore. bummer! If you have any thoughts on how to fix this issue, I'm all ears. I sent an email to facebook but they're no help.

Friday, July 20, 2012

henry does chicago

On July 1, Dameon turned 30! We celebrated in style in the big city. I did an okay job of taking pictures along the way, but not these are just snippets of our trip. Also, before you see any of the pictures I want to address the elephant in the room. The elephant called My Terrible Haircut. Yep, got it the day before we left. Totally not what I was picturing. My bangs were chopped. I mean CHOPPED. Add to it the fact that it was 150 degrees outside and the results are seriously terrible. Just putting that out there. Okay.
On Day One we arrived late afternoon, checked into our hotel (fantastic location!) and walked a ways to Weber Grill Restaurant for supper. It was super yummy and the birthday boy got a free dessert. Bonus!

Day Two included breakfast right across the street at a great pancake place, a trip to the (free) Lincoln Park Zoo, and a trip to Navy Pier...

The zoo had an indoor exhibit for little kids that was air conditioned. It was my favorite for that very reason. Henry liked climbing through the tree house and peeking through the windows.
 They also had an endangered species carousel, so we couldn't pass that up!
 Supper at Navy Pier. Did I mention it was hot? It was HOT.

Day Three took us on a very long morning walk to Millenium Park. Henry met the bean. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (or CFO as my band director husband calls it. He would. :) ) was having an open rehearsal while we were there so Dameon and my parents took that in while I entertained the little guy in a shady spot that had steps. That was all he needed to be perfectly happy. :)
 That afternoon we went to the beach, which was only about three blocks from our hotel. It was another first for Henry. We were surprised at how brave he was about going into the water. We were not surprised at how much he liked the sand.

After the beach, Dameon and I went to dinner to celebrate his birthday while Mom and Dad entertained Henry. The restaurant was a little fancy for our taste, but enjoyable.

Day Four was the fourth of July and also the hottest day. We kept Henry indoors almost all day, but we got a chance to meet up with some friends who live in Chicago. That night we had our last meal there and it was probably the best. A restaurant right up the street from our hotel just happened to have great pizza, great atmosphere and an out of this world cookie pizza for dessert. We also got to see fireworks over the lake which Henry really enjoyed. He kept saying, "Stars!!" We had a great time and will certainly go back to Chicago again someday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAMEON! YOU'RE THE BEST!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A must-read

I've done my fair share of reading when it comes to parenting topics. From breastfeeding to sleeping to vaccination to discipline to starting solids...the list goes on and on. Last fall my cousin, Heidi, gave me a few books to borrow. It takes me a loooong time to get through a book but recently I got around to reading BIBLICAL PARENTING by Crystal Lutton. Wow! It is by far the best parenting book I've read. The book teaches that we should parent our children to reflect the way God parents us. When we look at Scripture we see that God parents us on the basis of grace and through that, he provides a perfect parenting model for us. The book is a pretty quick read and extremely worth it! I just ordered my own copy from Amazon so I can finally send Heidi's back. Read this book! And let me know if you want to borrow my copy :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

the beginning of a beautiful adventure

Yes, Henry's daddy has big plans for this truck. Mostly, plans that include a daddy and his boy side by side fishing, camping, and exploring. Just spending time together. With lots of stops for ice cream, I'm sure. Yes, big plans indeed. Plans that Henry's daddy has been dreaming of for a long, long time. Henry doesn't know it yet, but the memories made along the way in this truck will be treasures to him when he's all grown up.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

in appreciation

The other day I was talking to my friend Hayley, who is a mother of five, about parenting and she said that whenever she gets stressed out about mothering her five little ones she just watches an episode of 16 and Pregnant and she feels much better about her own day-to-day. True story. The other day I was watching such smut (as my husband likes to call it ;)) and was stunned by one particular scene. In it, the young mom had been on the rocks with the father of the baby throughout the whole episode. When they got home from the hospital she was overwhelmed with joy and appreciation toward this guy for "rearranging the room so the baby's bassinet could fit." She was literally brought to tears because of this one "generous" gesture from the father of the child she had just given birth to. Without him. Alone in the hospital. Not trying to take anything away from that situation, but it stunned me because of all the many MANY things my husband/Henry's daddy does for us on a daily basis. Sliding a dresser over to make room for a bassinet wouldn't even make the list. Man, I'm so thankful for Dameon. He was there every second in the hospital, taking complete care of Henry while I was recovering from surgery. He had never taken care of a newborn before and he handled it with patience and ease. He skipped his band concert on the third day of our stay. And then there was the time he took a whole day off during his busiest season of work last summer to paint two of the nursery walls blue because I decided I really wanted them blue. And how about the night that I couldn't get a fussing Henry to go to sleep and, knowing there wasn't much he could do for a nursing baby at midnight, just came and laid on the floor of the nursery while I rocked Henry in the chair so that I wouldn't feel like I was up all alone. And let's not forget the fact that this guy works his tail off year-round including nights and weekends so that I can stay home full-time with our son. He even picked up extra work this summer so that we can feel a little more comfortable heading into year two of being a single-income family. Sheesh. Moving a dresser? I've got it sooooooo good. And this short list doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. Especially since I didn't mention anything about the pre-Henry days.
With that said, Henry and I are so blessed to have the husband/daddy/leader that we have. WE LOVE YOU, DAMEON!!  Happy (belated) Father's Day.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

owies, caving, and funnies

I think it's safe to say that 17 months is my favorite age so far. Without a doubt, every age and stage has been memorable and special but this...this might just be the best. He is saying (or at least attempting to say) pretty much everything, he's becoming less baby and more little boy (sad and happy all rolled into one for Mom and Dad), and has the best personality ever.
Oh, how we love this kid...
 Here are some of his latest funnies:
  • He recently learned, completely unprompted, how to walk backward. It's so precious because you can tell he is just so proud of himself.
  • He almost never says the word, "Yes." Instead, he says, "sure!" But it comes out more like, "Soooo-uh"  And then I could basically cry tears of cuteness.
  • He doesn't forget much. Example: a couple weeks ago I was getting ready to help him go down the slide and I realized I was stepping in a spot by the base of the slide where the dog had just peed. Now every time we go out in the yard, Henry points to that spot and says, "Pee!"
  • He loves having company and goes nuts when people come over. Between him and Rufus, it's just crazy hot laps around here when a guest arrives.
  • He tends to announce things. Example: Every time he sneezes (which is every time sunlight hits father, like son...) he says, "Cough."
  • He currently finds the following things absolutely terrifying: Monkey Joe's, bubble machines, and sprinklers. Funny story about the sprinkler: I sent Dameon to the store to pick one out, thinking this would be great backyard fun. He came home with this crazy hose-like thing with many smaller hoses that branch off of it. When turned on, this thing shoots water in every direction all at once and the water pressure is intense. It was literally spraying water across the entire width of our yard. Plus we made the mistake of turning it on when Henry was somewhat nearby. Game over.
And now for the caving. There are a few things I've really stuck to my guns on when it comes to parenting decisions. Exclusive breastfeeding, no fruit juice, and cloth diapers just to name a few...them all. Here is an example of something I have completely caved on. First we bought our van and our van has a dvd player. I think my exact statement was: "Let's not even use it, so he'll never know it's there." Then, of course, we had to test it out so we could see how it worked. Then one time he started freaking out when we still had an hour left in the van, so we turned it on. Then I figured, heck I'd get him a Sesame Street dvd in his Easter basket for moments of desperation. And then my excitement about him loving Sesame Street (because he NEEDS to) took over and was fueled by the fact that he is half me and he DOES have an inability to resist that which is the gold standard in children's programming. Thus, I caved. And I took Dameon down with me. Now, every weekday from 9 - 10 you can find Henry in one of his two perches. Sitting in his bag chair or standing by his toy box. Not blinking.
The way I see, the way I justify it to that I supply his entertainment for the other 13 hours of the day, so one hour "in the zone" can't be that damaging, right?? Please don't judge me.;)

And, last but not least, now that it's summer and shorts weather is in full swing, Henry has decided that walking on concrete is very challenging. Aw, his very first skinned knee. And the same day that I snapped this photo, he skinned the other one even worse! Poor kid. Nevermind that the next day I took him to the shoe store and discovered his 5.5 extra wides were no longer doing the trick. Nope. He's now the proud owner of size 7 extra wides. "When a kid's shoes get too small, you'll know it because he'll have a hard time staying on his feet," said Barry the shoe guy. You don't say.