Every Friday of summer, our town hosts an outdoor concert in the green. I have wanted to go to these for two years, but inevitability something always comes up. The weather might storm, or we might forget about the series, or we might decide to skip it. But finally this past Friday was our night! We called some fellow town friends to meet us there and we drove over. Setting up our blanket, we found a beautiful spot in the cool summer air. The green was full of families and friends ready to share an evening out under the stars. Little did we know at the time that this would be the last concert in the series for the summer. Thank goodness we went then, no? While I am not a fan of the Grateful Dead, the cover band did a good job. We enjoyed the music and when Henry became fussy we even enjoyed the dancing and bopping around that he demanded! We stayed until the sun set and before any bugs were noticeable and headed for a little ice cream treat to cap the night. It was a perfect summer evening and we will definitely need to get to those concerts more often next summer!
Having a baby in the summer is awesome except he cannot be out in the sun for too long. So beach days, walks in the park, and really any outdoor activity has to be calculated perfectly so as not to let his soft baby skin burn or over heat. After a relaxing morning home, David did a quick Google search and found an “adventure” for us to have in the afternoon. We packed Henry up and piled into the car. When I asked David if I needed to program the GPS he smiled and said no. We drove down our block and within 3 minutes we were there. Little did I know that a quiet forested reservation was so close to our house. Having once been carriage routes, the paths were wide and generally flat. We took out the stroller and headed into the cool, shady woods for our first hike as a family. Along the way we talked about how we could come back with the pups too and how in the future it would be so fun to watch Henry toddle and then run about. It was a really nice way to spend the afternoon together so close to home. This may be our new favorite spot.
I first started doing Pure Barre classes in my second trimester. I loved feeling active again after an exhausting first trimester where my fatigue knocked the wind right out of my sails. Once the third trimester started though, I was no longer able to exercise more than a brisk walk in the park. With a bigger and bigger belly and a little hip joint pain it was hard to maneuver about at the barre. I knew though that once Henry arrived I would want to return to classes to bounce back from baby. Today was that day.
At 3AM, while I was awake feeding the little guy, an intense wave of guilt and the sleepies hit and I thought it would be best for everyone if I cancelled my appointment with Pure Barre. What was I thinking? How could an exhausted first time mom with little sleep really tackle a class like this? How could I leave my 5 week old baby? Unfortunately, with less than 24 hours to cancel, I would be charged for the class regardless of my attendance. David was super supportive and truly encouraged me to get going. He said, “You will be a better mom, if you get to have a little personal time.” Still feeling guilty, but at least encouraged by David’s support, I headed to my first class post-baby.
Sitting on the floor waiting for class to start, I felt so awkward. I wanted everyone to know somehow that this was a special and hard moment for me. The ladies surrounding me all chatted about their lives and I sat there thinking: This is a HUGE moment, here I am a little shell shocked but still here. It was like I needed someone in the class to acknowledge this. Then a lovely woman asked me if this was my first time and I was finally able to say, “Yes, my first time since I had my baby.” And, as a fellow mom, she wrapped me up in warm encouragement and told me it was going to be a great class. We chatted a little about our children and about our summers and I felt like the snowball of guilt melted away a bit.
I was surprised how strong my arms felt in class while we did our push-ups and weights. Carrying around my 11lb baby definitely is helping to tone. This section of class used to leave me winded as my arms felt like jello beneath me as I “planked” for 90 seconds. Now I felt rock solid. But my “weakness” is now my stomach. Having been a gymnast in high school, I never really had to worry about my core strength. Somehow those years of core work held on through my post-gymnastic years. Well, that is all different now post-Henry. Yes, I know it was totally worth it to have my bundle of joy but it is amazing how different my body feels after baby. It took 9 months to grow this little one so I am going to be gentle on my tummy and give it the time it needs to tone and tighten up (and hopefully it can at some point!).
Feeling good after class, I immediately checked my cell phone to see if David and Henry had reached out. There was a text of a picture of Henry snoozing away in his Mamaroo and I felt perfect. I had done something for myself and Henry and David coped perfectly well without me.
I tried to call David on my way home to check in and share my positive feelings about class. He did not answer. I was little nervous but thought that he might be napping along with Henry. When I walked into the house, David looked a bit tense and Henry was grief stricken. Crying and crying for 20-30 minutes, David had tried everything: diapers, bottle, singing, bopping, dancing, walking, etc. etc. But Henry was not content. I scooped up my little guy into my arms and he settled down. Sometimes when you are that little you just want to cuddle your mommy. David did an amazing job and I am so appreciative of the time he gave me and the love he gave Henry, but does Henry’s reaction mean I left too soon?
Henry Adam, our little guy, is one month old! He is just the sweetest little boy too. David and I could not have imagined a better addition to our twosome. And, we get to keep him too! Seriously, this month has definitely had its challenges (evening fussy sessions that left us ragged) and its triumphs (heading out of doors more and more), and we are so happy to announce that Henry survived his first month with us as parents!! Woo Hoo we did it! The learning curve was steep (and in many many ways we continue to climb it) but this first month of jitters and calling out to each other, ‘What do I do?” is checked off. I would even do it all over again if I could.
Henry is really into:
- Being held upright by the couch so he can stare at the picture frames on the wall
- Rocking in his glider
- Napping in his Mamaroo
- Being swaddled
- Taking baths and getting his head scrubbed
- Dancing around the house with mom and dad
- Listening to his parents sing crazy, off tune songs
- Being smelled by the puppies
- Cuddles and sleeping on someone
- Farting (this makes all of us happy!)
- Kisses on his chest and feet
Thankfully this meal was salvaged! Just when you think everything is going smoothly and you confidently saunter about the house feeling like the most amazing new mom, you are snapped back into the reality of messy motherhood when you have a sleep-deprived moment. There I was cooking up the chicken patties and thinking I could briefly multi-task only to turn back around to the chicken and see them filling the entire kitchen with smoke! I had completely forgotten to turn down the heat to medium and had left the chicken to burn on high long enough to trigger the smoke alarms. David ran downstairs with Henry and the dogs as I stood there paralyzed not knowing what to do (this is my response to a crisis, which is a terrible response!!). Thankfully David snapped me out of my “playing possum” state by shouting turn the stove off, open the window, and flap a towel by the smoke detector. We were a jumbled mess as we tried to fix the kitchen drama, calm down the dogs, and soothe the baby. Luckily within a few minutes the alarms stopped and the smoke cleared enough for it to no longer be scary. When we looked into the pan we were surprised to see that the chicken was burned but not so badly that we couldn’t still enjoy it for dinner. Despite the mishap dinner was still delicious!
2 diced cloves garlic
1 bunch basil
1 diced bunch green onions
3/4 cup barley
10 ounces ground chicken
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a small pot of salted water to boiling on high. Add the barley to the pot of boiling water and cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Set aside until it is time to plate the meal. While the barley cooks, in another pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced garlic and the green onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the diced tomato, basil, edamame, and 1/4 cup of water. Bring mixture to a boil, once boiling cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until the barley is done about 12-15 minutes. In a bowl, combine the ground chicken, basil, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Create 4 patties and cook up in pan with two tablespoons of olive oil. Loosely cover the pan with tin foil and cook on MEDIUM (not high like we did!) for 4-6 minute per side. Once all elements are prepared plate and enjoy!