A lifetime ago

I have been a delinquent blogger. The start of the school year hit me harder than I anticipated. It took almost two months to feel like a “pattern” set in and perhaps this is a result of not yet having a full five day week! Isn’t that crazy? But not until the week of October 26 will I have a full five day week. So each shortened week flies by in a blur of activity, grading, lesson planning, adapting, adjusting, life, family, life, and life! How is it that the start of year seven could feel as uncomfortable as the start of year one?! Teaching is a humbling profession. Somehow though I finally feel a little less frantic and settled and will return to updating this here ole blog more regularly!

So what have we been up to?


Once upon a tween 

When I found out that our niece Alyza was coming to visit us for two weeks, I was excited and scared! What do you do with a preteen for two weeks? Do you play dress up or talk about boys? Do you go to the playground or sunbathe at the beach? Not-quite-a-teenager-but-still-a-kid is a tough age. I remember it and I remember not liking it. So how do we make the most of this visit?

Turns out preteens are sort of awesome! She talked about boys, toys, life goals, growing up, friends, bullies, playgrounds, drama, dreams, and everything in between! She was playful with Henry but enjoyed having “grown up” conversations too. It was quite a great visit. Each day we did some little adventure. A visit to the water park, city, lake, or mall to name a few. My favorite times were when we were all together hanging out at the zoo or our fancy date family date night. Two weeks flew by and our super cool niece had to head home. Now we just need to work on getting her back here!

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.

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.

new year resolution…sort of

I used to love making new year resolutions. It always seems like a fresh slate on my bad habits and sluggish ways. Somehow January first promises to bring everything anew. Typically my resolutions or fresh starts are unimaginative: eat better, exercise more, save money. This year, while I will probably still hold those as important, I also just want to take this year more slowly. Each year feels like a race to the next step.  So this year, I am going to adopt a new mindset around time and family. Instead of racing between events and scurrying between appointments and packing our weekends full, full, full, I am going to ease up on all of this. My priority, love, and attention will be focused on my new family unit.  Henry is this little for such a fleeting moment that it is important for us to savor, enjoy, and prioritize our time with him and as a family. I want to enjoy this year of first for us and this year of being a new family. It feels right to turn a bit inward this year and ensure the tranquility, love, and happiness of the home front. This doesn’t mean that we will forgo all relationships with friends but it does mean that we will be more discerning of our time in a way that perhaps forgoes our more flippant scheduling of the past.

K comes to town!

A week went by too quickly! Auntie Kaelin came to town this past week and we had quite the visit.  From shopping, to sharing cocktails, to playing with H, to eating way to much food, to lounging together on the couch and catching up, it was a lovely visit. I wish Madison and Boston were closer so that Kaelin and I could hang out throughout the year. Thank goodness FaceTime is so easy, but it is still not the same as a face-to-face.

Auntie K was an excellent auntie. H loved singing his repertoire of baby tunes with her, rolling around on the floor with her (showing off his new move of sitting independently), and snuggling and laughing with her.  After a week of us, I am sure K is excited to be back to life without baby chaos but she definitely enjoyed the chaos while here! I am really looking forward to our next visit and restarting the series: ‘Drinking with Baby.’ No one mixes into our life here in Boston as seamlessly as Auntie K, but every time she goes, it breaks our hearts!

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henry adam: six months

Why is it that I love and hate ticking the months off? Each month is SO different with this little guy. He learns so much and becomes more and more social with each passing day and I love all of this. And, I hate it! I wish I could hold on to these minutes more. Everywhere I go with him, strangers always stop to say, “Ah, savor this time it doesn’t last long.” I want to say to them, “I know and it kills me! And how did you adjust because clearly you are saying this to me because your babies are now thirty or so, no?” Oh well…it is the plight of all of us mommies and daddies.  Aside from this sad introduction, I promise this has been a fun month, in fact the best yet. (Yes, now that I am a mommy to this little guy, I cannot help but be hyperbolic, it comes with singing children’s songs all day long!).

This month, Henry is all laughs. And, when David gets Henry into a laughing fit my heart melts. These two guys already seem to share something special. Henry knows that when daddy is in the room it’s time to get the belly laughter started. David holds Henry high over head and “adjusts his grip” shifting Henry from his right to left hand and back eliciting the baby giggles. Growling on his belly or neck will do the same. Whenever we pack him up for an outing and buckle him into his car seat we share Eskimo kisses, touching our noses to his and he cannot stop himself from cracking a smile and giving us more of those adorable, sweet laughs. And one of my favorite new additions to the Henry laughter list is “goo goo gaa gaa.” Lately, if you are holding him and start this little baby phrase, he cracks up.  Perhaps he is mature enough to know that adult baby talk is ridiculous?

Henry has been eating and eating and eating this month. As I type that it sounds so weird to me. Obviously he is eating otherwise he we would have a problem on our hands. But, what I mean is that he is weaning on to solids and really enjoying himself. He seems to enjoy a fruit for breakfast, a fruit and some greens for lunch and greens for dinner. So far he has enjoyed:  sweet potato, carrots, turnips, avocado, peas, green beans with raisins and apples, banana, mango, pear, butternut squash, apple and peach. Some of these he enjoyed more than others but overall he hasn’t been fussy about eating as long as you pull his highchair about in the kitchen like a choo choo before settling down to the meal. We even tried some BLW with a banana and toast twice. I peeled the banana the first time and while he could grasp it initially, it quickly became too slippery. The second time with a little help from my mommy friends, we peeled the banana a little and left a bit of a hand grip for him.  This was a much more successful attempt! We see our pediatrician on Henry’s six month birthday and we plan on really starting BLW then once we get the green light (because I am such a chicken about choking)!

Christmas is a cozy time of year and with it sandwiched by both David’s and my birthday this time of year is so fun!  Now top this with a new little baby, and the joy of the season is quite palpable. Henry woke up around 8AM on Christmas morning and we were all so giddy and excited to race downstairs and open presents. I doubt he knew what was going on but he could definitely tell that the adults were happy and making a big deal about the beautifully wrapped packages.  Henry made out like a bandit. So much love poured in from family and friends all around the country. He received so many loving and wonderful gifts: a ride-a-long elephant, activity table, his entire 9 month wardrobe, a singing monkey, a sorting raccoon, a push cart, blocks,  rattles, hooded towels, and books. He was a lucky little boy and this was one very special first Christmas both for him and for his parents (I cannot believe I am this little guy’s mom and David is his dad, seriously?)!

Henry has developed a number of fun new skills this month. It all started with slobbery attempts at raspberries. He was determined to master this skill and practiced SO much. As soon as he woke from a nap, he immediately started to razz, after eating, during tubs, when being changed, when in the car, really just everywhere. And…he did it! After days of constant practice, he is now a pro-razz man! A weird new talent on the surface, but it is the first step toward real communication skills, so hurray! He is also able to sit on his own. This has completely changed how he plays. Now he rocks back and forth on his hands and knees into a sitting position and can reach and grab toys nearby. He seems so much more independent in a way because he can now get what he wants into his hands and play with it without being inhibited by the prone pose. Because of this mobility and sitting up (and even pulling up to standing), we have lowered his crib. David also has taught him to turn off lights, which has been incorporated into our sleep routine. It is adorable to watch his little hand encircle the light switch and ever so slightly lower the switch enough for the lights to go out. He is quite proud of himself. He loves to sit in your lap and read many books. He has a nice attention span now and is really interested in the story watching both the pages and your mouth as your read. With help, he likes to turn the pages too.

Despite the rapidly cooling temperatures, we have been out and about. First, Noah was born!!  Henry’s little best friend finally joined us and we have visited him and his parents and were excited to celebrate Christmas with them as well! We attended music classes at the Sudbury Library and introduced this to Noah too. Most excitedly we visited the aquarium downtown. Henry was amazed! He was enthralled by the fish and turtles. He just watched everything and reached out to touch everything. I can already see that this will become a standard spot for us. And, obviously you have to follow-up a visit to the aquarium with a visit to the North End for cannolis, no? Yes, I could get very used to this family outing. And to cap off the month, Henry turned 26 weeks old on New Year’s Eve, he currently is weighing and is tall and wears size 9 months clothing!

Henry is really into:

  • Since Master Henry is drooling like it is his job, he needs to wear a bib all day or have multiple costume changes. I am not a fan of the bib look so we discovered these scarf bibs and love how hip he looks!
  • Someone loves to read these days. His new favorites are: Babies Everywhere, Baby Loves Summer, Giraffes Can’t Dance, and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.
  • Now that the little man is munching his way through solids we have found these leather bibs to be SO helpful in keeping him clean and they wipe clean so there is no extra laundry (Thank you, Bryan and Jessie!)
  • We have started using Honest diaper wipes and really like them. They have a mild scent, a textured material which allows for super easy clean-up, and they are supposed to be made of only good, safe stuff for baby bums.
  • And to hold the little man’s food we have been using these espresso cups!  Yup, we now measure how much he eats by how full the espresso cup is: He ate 2/3 of an espresso cup today!
  • Henry had a really good Christmas with lots of love coming in from all other the country. Some of his new favorite toys are his ride-along elephant and activity table. He just cannot get enough of these. (Thank you, Andy and Heather)