summer family visit

Four months was too long between our family visits!! The last time we were all together in one place was back on the family Disney Cruise vacation in March. Now here we were in August finally reuniting and welcoming a new member into our family fold, Mr Henry! Jessie and the littles arrived first on Wednesday night, followed by my parents, and lastly my brother joined the group. We had a week together to connect, share, love, laugh, and explore. It went by in a blink but while we were together is was a perfect visit. Watching the littles play with Henry was heart warming. They were so interested in him. It was clear that they would be even faster friends once Henry is a little older to play with them more. We played hard in the mornings at home and went out on little outings during the day and relaxed together at home at night. It was a sweet visit and I am truly looking forward to our next one in December for Christmas (although, I am sure there will be many Skype sessions in between).

Hanging out in our pjs at home were some of my favorite times. The littles and Henry played, and played and played and the adults watched, joined in, and connected with one another over coffee. It was mellow but exactly what we all needed.

We spent a beautiful evening at a nearby park when the air was cool and crisp and then planned our next day to be spent out at Belkin Family Farm in Natick where we picked nectarines and apples and explored the property together. It was a great excursion for us and the littles who were so interested in picking fruit and tasting it straight off the branch.

 

henry’s christening

This past week was very special for Henry. He had the opportunity to meet his uncle Bryan, aunt Jessie, and the littles. He also spent time with Mema and Pepa and met his auntie Kaelin too. Many of our wonderful family and friends came together both to visit and to celebrate the little man’s christening. After a week of spending time together in the city and around the neighborhood, we topped off the wonderful visit (which I will blog about in a separate post) with a little sprinkle of holy water. The day was beautiful, the service special, and being together as a family the best of all. It is moments like these that make the distance between us hard, but the time we get together truly special.

sleep champion & scared parents

Henry is a sleep champion! It didn’t seem this way when he was first born though. That first night in the hospital after giving birth to him at 9PM, the nurse left us in our room two hours later and we were alone. Completely alone with this little person whom we knew “nothing” about and who was belligerent about having left the warm, dark world he had come to know. David and I sat in that room clueless. I remember feeling totally helpless as this little screaming baby turned red in my arms and I frantically tried to comfort him. Babies I had babysat for always seemed to like x, y, and z but then they were always older than two hours and none of my “tricks” worked. We had to start from scratch with this little guy and our first impression was not one of capable parents! That was the longest night ever. Yet, very quickly our sleepless, upset baby changed into a sleep champion.

By the time we took Henry home from the hospital he was sleeping like clockwork. Every two hours he was up to eat and was quick to soothe and put back to sleep. This two hour pattern though tiring was predictable and it is amazing how quickly you get use to sleeping in two hour shifts. In some ways it even felt luxurious. This pattern lasted until Henry was 4 weeks old and was coupled with long, long stretches of daytime naps. It use to always boggle my mind when people used the phrase “slept like a baby.”  Babies don’t sleep well! That is why there are all those TV shows and movies showing exhausted new parents comically stumbling about. And, all those baby sleep books that line the shelves of Barnes & Noble capitalize on providing hope and advice to new parents whose bags under their eyes drag to the floor. Henry, though, seemed to be in some sleep stupor. Perhaps this was the fourth trimester some have indicated exists for the select few?  Whatever it was, we were happy to get a little “regular” sleep even if it was in short segments.

At five weeks old, we held our breath.  This would be the moment when everything changed, no? Henry would suddenly wake up and become fussy and restless and inconsolable. We had pressed our luck long enough and now it was time to pay up with our precious sleep. Somehow Henry didn’t get the cranky message!! Instead, five weeks marked elongated sleep patterns and changes to his naps. Henry started to sleep the fabled long stretch. From around 8:30PM to 1:30AM, he slept solidly. Then again from 2AM-4:30AM and again from 5AM-6:30AM. WHAT!?!?  How is this possible. His naps are little shorter in the day now too: 9AM-11AM, 2PM-3PM, 6PM-7PM and then bed time. All week long, he followed this pattern (give or take 30 minutes). While this is the most amazing pattern we could ask for, it feels like we are walking on eggshells. It will stop, we keep telling ourselves. It will end, it will change, it will disappear, it will turn into the sleepless madness that is more universally experienced by babies all around the world, no? Sunday night we had a glimpse of this horror. Henry did not sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time. All night long, I fed him, cuddled him, changed his diapers, and swayed him back and forth. He would only sleep if he lay beside me in bed and I thought in a tearful moment that this was our forever future. And, I was “okay” with it, as it was inevitable and we held it off as long as we could.

Then last night, his predictable pattern seemed to return! Maybe the previous night was a fluke, or maybe it was a growth spurt, or maybe we will never know what it was. David and I are a little scared to see nights like that again and we are hoping that this sleep champion continues to impress us. It isn’t anything we are doing that is for sure, so hopefully this balanced, calm stays within Henry and sleep stays in our house. Fingers Crossed.

first hike

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.

henry adam: one month

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

 

oven fried chicken with sauteed green beans and corn

Our second Blue Apron meal was delicious this week. Oven Friend Chicken with Sauteed Green Beans and Corn really hit the spot and even David agreed that it was quite good!  With two of our three meals digested, we are really really thinking about joining Blue Apron during this first year of new parenthood. Because, even though I can get the recipes from the service online, can I get all the ingredients for the price Blue Apron is offering, that is the question! David and I will try this week to buy three meals worth of ingredients for these Blue Apron recipes and see what it costs us from a regular grocery store. Anyway, back to cooking this meal. While Henry napped in his mamaroo, I cooked up this meal in 20 minutes. I seriously cannot believe how easy this company has made dinner time.  Yes, I cooked it at 3PM and then let it sit on the oven until David got home and we reheated it for dinner, but it is the small victories in life as a new mom that matter! This meal will definitely join our meal rotation since it was super flavorful, easy, and the quick quick quick.

Ingredients:

5 Ounces Green Beans

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

2 Ears Corn

1 Bunch Basil

1 Clove Garlic

1 Lemon

1 1/2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs

1 Cup Buttermilk

2 Teaspoon Fried Chicken Spice Blend (Smoked Paprika & Garlic Powder)

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Mini Bottle Tabasco Hot Sauce

 

Preheat the oven at 450. Cut the chicken breast into three equal pieces. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk and then roll in the panko breadcrumbs and spices (which you should blend together in a little bowl). Place the breaded chicken on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs have browned.  Meanwhile, in a pan on the stove, melt the butter and  add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the green beans (which you should cut into 2 inch pieces). Once the beans are a bright green, about 2-3 minutes, add the corn kernels that you removed from the cob, juice of half the lemon, salt, pepper,  and basil. Saute all together for another 2 minutes. Add a 1/4 cup of water to thicken the mixture.  Then plate the sauteed vegggies and top with the delicious chicken.  They recommend adding Tabasco sauce to taste on the chicken but I skipped this part and it tasted fine.

lamb, mint, and pea orecchiette

We have been so lucky.  Since Henry was born we have been able to avoid cooking in the kitchen for almost 3 weeks. Our nearest and dearest friends have taken amazing care of us and have brought over nutritious and delicious meals. From chicken pot pie, to kale salad, to fajitas, to lemon pepper chicken, to homemade pizzas, to stir fries, and so many more, we have truly been overwhelmed by the love and care of our friends. It cannot be stressed how amazing it was to not have to think about, worry about, or shop for dinner.  We were really able to focus on Henry and figuring out his needs and were able to avoid the frenzy of cooking and juggling the baby. Unfortunately, preparing dinner has now become a daunting task and I feel quite shy about being in the kitchen and trying to make sure Henry isn’t having a meltdown. But timing dinner and naps is unreliable at this early stage. Thankfully, our friends, Lauren and Mark, have helped us with this big transition. They currently use Blue Apron as a weekly meal delivery service and generously gave us a free week trial of meals. We received our package yesterday and everything was fresh and perfectly portioned. All I needed to do was mix it up on the stove top and enjoy. With Henry as my sous chef, we prepped and cooked our first Blue Apron recipe and we loved it!  It was so simple and the recipe was complete in 20 minutes.  This service is perfect for new families and David and I are thinking about extending our membership now.

The service provides you with recipe cards for each meal that you can then use again in the future if you decide not to use the delivery service again. So it is a win-win situation!

 

Henry was an excellent sous chef in his rocking chair on the floor. I kept holding my breathe and hoping he would stay content while I told him what I was doing on the counter and stove top. Hopefully in the future he can help his momma out with a little more of a hands on approach.

Ingredients:

Orecchiette Pasta

English peas

3 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of mint

1 lemon (for zest and juice)

1 purple spring onion

8oz ground lamb

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

 

Cook the pasta and reserve 1 cup of water. In a pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute diced onion and diced garlic cloves for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the ground lamb and cook through. Season with salt and pepper. Add peas, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, squeezed lemon juice, butter, Parmesan cheese, and cooked pasta. Add the reserved water slowly to create a light sauce. Cook together for 2-3 minutes, serve and enjoy!

5 things that reveal you are a new parent!

Life with Henry is somehow becoming “normal.” Everyone always says that once the baby arrives, it feels as though they have always been a part of your life. Yes, in the midst of a frantic cry-fest, I can vividly remember my life as a DINK (double income no kids). Yet, at the same time, while there is some razbliuto for our former existence, I do truly love our new little family member who is all things sweet, warm, and cuddly. To say it is all easy and moving along smoothly would be inaccurate but we definitely have a “schedule” forming which helps us better comfort, respond to, and understand our little man. Each day feels better than the previous even if it is a miniscule difference. Nevertheless, David and I are clearly new to parenting and some of the tell-tale signs of our newness have left us doubled over laughing.

1. When food shopping with Henry, David forgets that he is pushing the stroller and not the grocery cart. Henry therefore can be found with random food items tucked alongside him while David says, “Oh oops that’s right he is not the cart!”

2. When changing Henry we have a 50/50 chance of having him pee all over himself. No matter how fast we aim to change him and how prepared we are to face the diaper change it inevitably ends with a costume change for the little guy.

3. When taking Henry’s car seat out of the car, I am never quite sure how to raise the handle and have knocked myself in the face and chin. So when you see my bruised face know it is a parenting battle scar.

4. When we successfully head out of the house for an errand and time it just right to coincide with his nap, we feel like we have accomplished mission impossible upon our return and can’t help but high five, chest bump, and do a victory dance.

5. When Henry fusses, we sing the craziest songs. Songs we make up and songs from deep deep into our childhood emerge and freak us out. Like, who remembers the lyrics from Sleeping Beauty? Apparently I do!