california adventures

2,975 miles separate my front door from my brother’s. I wish it were more like 2.9 miles, but unfortunately this is not the case. With each of us on our own coast, we are left then to savor our visits with one another.  Henry and I were so lucky to have the opportunity to spend an ENTIRE week out in SoCal with my brother, sister-in-law, and the littles. it was an AMAZING visit. While I was super intimidated flying solo with Henry, it was surprisingly not as horrible as I imagined. We left our home in Boston early with a bag full of baby goodies and spent six hours together in tight quarters. Once we landed and saw our family it was completely worth it. Henry had such a fantastic time visiting with his family and especially loved his time with his little cousins who were so warm, playful, and inclusive of him.

We ate well, including a visit to the legendary In and Out burger, and spent time just being together at parks, water parks, long walks, short jogs, fun outings, and lots and lots of coffee cups shared. The highlight of the trip for me was when they surprised us with a first birthday party for Henry! It was so amazingly sweet and thoughtful and it just warmed my heart and soul. I could barely keep it together as they told me from cake to guests to balloons, they would be throwing the little dude a birthday blow-out bash. This trip will be very difficult to top but I have a feeling that visiting with them again will be…AMAZING.  I will miss them hard until then.

call me crazy?

Me + Henry = Flight to California Saturday

Uh oh!  I am about to undertake a solo cross-country flight with my 11 month old. Am I crazy? Yes and No.

No: This will be the fourth flight in Henry’s young life-span. We have already tackled a flight to Florida, Amsterdam, and California. We know the routine: check-in, boarding, flight, disembarking, baggage claim. We can rinse and repeat this routine like professionals! My packing lists help alleviate the stress of getting organized, and there is always plenty of toys and food to pull out of my magic bag. I have some new toys stowed away for the flight there and back and an arsenal of raspberries to keep my berry monster content.

Yes: Henry is WAY more active these days than when we took those earlier flights. I am not sure he will be content to sit and play the entire 6.5 hours in my lap. And, I won’t have my partner with me to troubleshoot the shrieks. David is AMAZING in general and specifically on flights. I am a nervous flyer, so David rocked Henry to sleep in the back by the flight attendants and David changed his diaper during turbulence, and David had extra hands to grab toys, food, binkies, and anything else that the little man might need. And, when I reached my capacity for wrestling Henry about David took over. I am most nervous about not having my partner with me. Six and half hours is a long time. You could watch 3 feature length movies or drive from Boston to Maryland! Perhaps, I will need to buy myself and everyone around me a glass of wine, or perhaps, Henry will see that it is just me and just him and we will have the most delightful flight cuddling and kissing and reading books and laughing.

Fingers crossed.

henry adam: 11 months

11 months!! STOP STOP STOP. I am not ready for this. Henry is SO ready for this. He is ready to walk, ready to explore, ready to grow. This parenting business is so hard. I finally get that old saying, “they will always be your baby,” because even when Henry is 60 years old (if I am alive and kicking), I will still want him just to be my baby. This little dude is awesome. Seriously, he is the coolest, sweetest little person. I love my little human so so so much and understand that despite my best efforts to keep him little, he will be 1 year old in just 30 days. This first year is flying by us at ludicrous speed. When he was born almost 365 days ago, he was this helpless little sack of love and cuddles. An accomplishment was keeping his eyes open for more than 5 minutes at a time. Now, he is a super independent, playful little boy who loves to get into mischief and go go go.

Month ten started out with Henry being bananas for tubs. We would fill his little baby tub up, plop him in and he would splish and splash. It was a bath for anyone in the room! We added some fun new toys to the mix since we realized that while he was growing up his toys weren’t quite meeting his needs or interest any more. So this submarine from Green Toys (which is an awesome company that makes all their toys out of recycled plastics) entered the soapy waters and obviously a sea plane makes sense for tubby time too! Going along with this “Henry’s growing up and we really need to realize this!” theme, we tried out the regular tub. BIG MISTAKE! Bath time was super scary even though all of the favorite toys were in the shallowest of waters, Henry was not a fan of the extra elbow room. So we are back in the little tub for now. Any suggestions on how to make the transition into the “deep end” would be much appreciated! For now, he is super content to sit in his crammed tub quarters and be buried under his tub toys.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? If not, come on over to our abode and place your bet! Will Henry walk by his first birthday? What are the odds you ask, 2-1, 6-5, 20-1…I don’t really know how to calculate it, but the current bet stands: David “yes he will be walking” to Melissa “nope he won’t be.” David’s evidence includes Henry’s  growing eagerness to walk around with his baby walker toys, an ability to walk around the house when holding your one hand (or finger), some spider crawling in the grass, cruising along the furniture all the time, and some very fleeting independent standing moments. On the contrary, I see Henry as totally going in the direction of walking but just at a slower, more cautious pace. He is super nervous to stand alone and will go days without doing it, he is hesitant to fall, and LOVES to be carried about. I think our little king of the house (Henry actually means “home ruler”), will walk at 13 months.  But, the only one who really know is the man himself. So what is your bet?

While we are all on hyper alert for those first steps, Henry has been up to a bunch of other things. He is working on giving high fives, blowing kisses, and pointing. At night while the three of us cuddle up in his room to read stories before bed he tries to point at objects in his books. It is too darn adorable. And, the one that makes my heart explode is when you ask him, “Henry, can you give mommy a kiss?” he smiles, leans over, and lays a sloppy open mouth kiss right smack on your lips. AH! I want to ask him a million times a day but I remind myself to play it cool, mommy!

Tearing through the house on your hands and knees can be exhausting and every now and again you need to take a little pause. Henry’s pause just so happens to look like cobra pose in yoga these days. And speaking of crawling there is nothing more exciting and hilarious to baby boy than crawling under and over things. Under Buster is by far the most fun (not sure Buster thinks so), and under tables and chairs or over his elephant he goes. He has also started to open and close drawers which means daddy and I are no longer able to get away with “lazy” childproofing of just covering the outlets.

But the very most fun development of this month, for me to watch at least, has been the Imitation Game! It’s like having our very own laugh reel in the living room. Should one of us crack a chuckle, then Henry cannot help but start laughing as well! It is like he knows someone just told a joke or said something funny or perhaps he just wants to “participate” in the conversation (since his sound repertoire grows by leaps each week). But it cracks me up! His baby laugh is hilarious, so then a small chuckle turns into an all out family belly laugh. Good times.

This month Henry is really into:

  • Dancing. Pick that child up and waltz around the house and he squeals with delight. It is magical!
  • Watching for daddy’s train. We drive over to the commuter rail to pick up daddy and roll down the window and watch the trains go by. With each train he shrieks “Da da, da da” and we watch to see if it’s the right train. Once David is in view, Henry cracks a HUGE smile and laughs until he gets his hello kiss.
  • Pushing every toy around his room like a car. Most of the toys at our house are gender neutral, but this little boy loves his cars and all things transportation related.
  • Parties!  This month there was a lot to celebrate: Annabelle’s Birthday, Kellyanne’s Birthday, Wyatt’s Birthday, and even a gender reveal party for a new friend on his way!
  • Family times. Our weekend in New Hampshire and our Mother’s Day weekend were so great. Relaxing, rejuvenating, and full of time together.
  • Eating. This kids LOVES to eat. He sits for three meals a day and gobbles everything up. But most of all he is obsessed with berries. He is a fanatic. He will grab a strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, or raspberry and raise it above his head like Thor’s hammer and shriek in delight before gobbling up as many as his little mouth can hold.
  • Daycare.  It has taken nearly 6 months but finally Henry likes daycare, especially playing at the water table and sharing toys. He loves passing a toy back and forth with Alex in particular.

What Henry did not like this month:

  • Traffic. This little guy has never really enjoyed traveling in the car. Even when he was a super little baby he cried during most of a car trip. And now that he is older and his cries are even louder no one likes traffic!
  • Ear infections. Boo! Henry suffered through his first ear infection. Thankfully once he was on an antibiotic, he was comfortable but until then we had a few tough nights.

 

 

 

memorial day weekend

We have lived in Massachusetts for years now and have never been to New Hampshire, WHAT!?  I know it is madness! Well, that is not entirely true. We have taken short day trips into the granite state but nothing longer than that. We decided to rectify this with a little getaway to Lake Winnipesaukee for Memorial Day Weekend. My mom and dad planned the whole thing so we can’t take any credit for the fantastic job they did setting up the family vacation. And, why would they do this for us? Obviously, they love us but also they wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary!  Four years ago on a memorial day weekend, David and I said “I do” and this whole adventure got started.  This was a fantastic trip to celebrate love, family, and mother nature!  Each morning we started with an early family hike. We never set an alarm, which might at first sound like a luxury of relaxation, but really who needs to set an alarm when your baby wakes up at exactly 5AM each morning. Then the afternoons would be a different outing to the pool or mini golf or to the lake or to the town of Meredith. The three days were full but very fun.

this

happy mom

I am so blessed to come from a long line of moms. This Mother’s Day this basic reality overwhelmed me on Sunday. As I sat on the glider in Henry’s nursery snuggling my baby, I thought about the many mommies in my family who similarly caressed, loved, and cherished their little ones. I am so grateful to these women for having the courage and compassion to raise their daughters and sons. Surely there were difficult moments and harder circumstances but because of their capacity to be selfless and loving, I have this amazing opportunity to be a mommy myself. My mom, my grandmas, their moms, and on and on and on were all here in this moment, rocking their babies, loving their babies, and thinking about what the future held for their babies. It is a true blessing to be Henry’s mother and to continue this cherished existence. On Mother’s Day, I hope we think about those mothers who came before us, those mothers around the world who are doing their very best to care for their families, and those women who may not be mothers yet but who are mothers nonetheless.

Siblings, Sunsets, & SoCal

How do I get back to SoCal? Seriously, though if I could pack up the family, blink my eyes, and find myself permanently resettled in Southern California my dreams might have come true. First, the people draw us in. My brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew spend their sunny, warm days in a truly beautiful setting. These people are the salt of the earth type. If they weren’t already family, I would probably stalk them into a friendship! From the minute our airplane’s wheels touched down, they took great care of us. Being with them, exploring with them, lounging with them, playing with them, and enjoying them made the weekend. Henry had the time of his life with his little cousins and cuddling with his Auntie and Uncle. The goal of the weekend was to share some quality family time and keep those moments out-of-doors. After our brutal New England winter, David and I feel like apocalypse survivors: Are there other humans out there? Is it safe? What is that bright yellow globe in the sky?  From backyard cookouts to long strolls along the water, to watching beachy sunsets, to visiting petting zoos and all things kid friendly, we truly soaked up the best of being with our family and the SoCal weather.

The flights to Cali were long. While we may feel like “seasoned” family travelers this trip still proved we are bit of a novice team not quite ready to win the Amazing Race. Inbound we were focused, playful, and in control of the situation. Henry played, laughed, and overall did well getting over to the West Coast. Interestingly the most well-behaved, adorable little boy sat behind us and let Henry read some of his books and play with some of his toys. It was kind of this weird idyllic co-parenting experience between rows 30 and 31 on that airbus. The way back…not so much. A weather delay followed by a mechanical delay made our flight two and a half hours longer than expected.  H was not a happy camper. Before the wheels lifted on our connection back to Boston, he was DONE. A constant nagging sound emanated from his throat and filled the cabin around us. He could not be distracted nor was he interested in sleeping. Ironically in front of us, a family of 3 also struggled to keep the peace and quiet.  Our kids had decided to make a pact of discontent!  Rows 30 and 31 were the epicenter of every other passenger’s worst nightmare. But, hey we all made it safely home and isn’t that really all the matters in the end?

Enough about the crazy travel. That was a mere blip on the screen of this epic weekend. How all of this happened in one weekend is shocking! Isn’t it crazy how three full and warm days can trick your body and soul into thinking it was on a two week hiatus? After we landed, we were immediately greeted by the many embraces of our family. We settled right in with one another and adventured throughout the afternoon catching good food and glimpses of the beach through the early afternoon. We ended the evening at home in the yard while the kids played and we sipped wine and chatted about all sorts of things. Henry slept like a champion despite the time change and this allowed for all of us to be at our best. We were rested and refreshed for our second day. It started with some great playtime. The California littles were SO good a playing with their baby cousin. They included him in everything, shared with him, and taught him along the way. Watching my child play with my brother’s children was a gift. I could not help but project into future playdates and visits.

On top of all this fun, we also drove down to San Diego to be a part of my dear friend, Sarah’s wedding. Gosh what a beautiful ceremony, cocktail party, and dinner scene! I was not surprised in the least that these nuptials were the most fun and romantic ever! Sarah and Jesse are some of the coolest, most genuine people I know and their wedding was a true testament to their awesomeness. They married in their botanical Garden of Eden backyard and shared their home, good food, and happy chickens with all of their guests. No exaggeration, their vows were some of the most beautiful promises I have ever heard exchanged at a wedding and it was SO fun to be witness to their love. They deserve simply the best!

So what did we learn while on our California dreaming weekend? A lot.

Southern California is a utopia of beautiful people, beautiful weather, beautiful food.

Neighborhoods are manicured resort towns that beg visitors to pitch their tent permanently.

I miss my brother, sister-in-law, and littles SOOOOOOOOOOO much. Seriously, it KILLED my heart to say to goodbye.

Henry is crazy for animals particularly of the petting zoo variety. Let’s just say he tried to lick one too many chickens out there.

Henry & the littles are going to be fast friends while growing up and I cannot wait to watch it!

My bro and sis-in-law are really cool people, whom I love as family and friend.

Cheeseburgers, fries, and special sauce are all you need to eat every day.

There is nothing wrong with 3 or 4 cups of coffee in one day when shared among good company.

Projecting movies and watching them 4-across in bed is a hilarious way to spend time together #bestideaever

I am obsessed with Costco fig bars…must get Costco membership stat!

Henry is a wild man at weddings, tearing off clothes & dancing, waving, and shouting at guests. He will inevitability be a wedding crasher we presume.

You can never have enough Disney princesses or clip-on earrings or dresses.

Savor every second because these visits are short and truly are the very best of times.