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.

henry adam: 9 months

Month 8 was a wild and crazy ride here!  It was both the most exhausting and scary and awesome four weeks.  That sounds pretty ridiculous but it was.  Our month was divided into two very definitive halves. This first half of the month was consumed by Henry’s epic illness. For twelve days, the poor little man was tremendously sick with an awful stomach bug that left him wiped out and left his parents scared and exhausted as well. When visiting with my friend Skye over coffee, I confided in her that those 12 days were by far the most terrifying of my life to date. Henry just seemed so helpless and depleted and no matter what we did we could not make him better. Rather our job was to keep him comfortable as he battled his way through those harrowing days. No sooner did the sickness subside then we were on a flight to Amsterdam for an 8 day family vacation. And, this was definitely a great way to celebrate the end of Henry’s bug. We had a fantastic time exploring the city and its surrounding towns. It was definitely an adventure traveling abroad with a little baby. Henry did so well rebounding and was incredibly easy-going while we carted him around the city from sun up to sun down. And then before we could blink an eye the month was over and Henry turned 9 months!

This month also saw Henry eating more and more solid foods and a third tooth helps him with his love of eating. He is now a solid food pro and does not enjoy eating purees any longer (those are for babies!). No matter what we are eating, he wants a taste.  From roast chicken to miso soup to beef stew to Dutch waffles to salad and omelets, Henry cannot gobble down enough! He has been great with each new food and eats with gusto. I sometimes wonder how he can pack all of that in. So far there has not been anything that this little boy won’t eat (including lemons). We are now trying to introduce a sippy cup. We have both a sippy with straw from munchkin and a sippy with a spout.  We will see which one he figures out first. Hopefully by next month H will be a pro and interested in drinking some water, especially as we begin to head toward Henry’s 12 month birthday and our nursing weaning.

Mmmmm, Baaaaa, Hmmmm, are just a few of the babbling sounds coming from Henry these days. This has been a turning point month in Henry’s sound repertoire. He laughs when he sees people laughing around him and this is so cute because it feel like he is “in on the joke.” He loves babbling as he crawls around his room, towards the pups, and in your arms. He focuses intently on your mouth while you talk with him and puts his hands of your lips as though he was trying to learn how to replicate the noises. I love this phase so much! I am sure there will come a day when I will miss the quieter times as he talks non-stop but it is SO amazing to witness his language development. His voice is so cute and tiny and also so playful and sweet. And then, on the night before turning 9 months old, Henry said “ma ma”! My heart just exploded when this happened! Hearing his little voice call me “ma ma” for the very first time was amazing. I know I have been a mom this whole time, but it just became even more real hearing my son call me it. Be still my heart!

This month Henry is really into:

  • Pterodactyl shrieks from the back seat of the car. When Henry is strapped into this car seat he makes this sound that conjures up the image of a flying prehistoric beast. He is hilarious and playful and silly and we sort of love it!
  • Reading lots and lots of books throughout the day and before bed. He just cannot get enough. Right now his favorites are the Hungry Catepillar, Pajama Time, Barnyard Dance, and Olivia
  • Cuddling his jellycat bunny from Robin and Heather. This soft little bunny is a new buddy and joins us wherever we go.
  • Making little fists, reaching his arms above his head and growling as if he is saying, “look how strong I am as I flex my muscles.”  This cracks us up every time.
  • Meeting animals like baby ducks and puppies. Amsterdam was full of random animal encounters and Henry enjoyed them all.
  • Sitting in the shopping cart while we grocery shop and run errands. You would think this was the best part of his day the way he gets so excited and smiles and laughs as you push him along.
  • Cuddling. Perhaps this is in response to the epic illness he battled at the beginning of the month but Henry has been SO cuddly this month. He loves to rest his head on your shoulder and give big hugs and sloppy open mouth kisses. I truly love this!!
  • Walking with a gentle assist.  Now that he can pull himself up on anything, he wants to move. He grabs a hold of your hands and just takes off. He is quite well balanced while walking laps around the house, museums, playgrounds, and everywhere his little toes touch the ground. We are all super curious when he will drop the assistance and start toddling about on his own.
  • And, I almost forgot but the little guy is waving too. He waves hello and good bye. He flaps his arm up and down rapidly and smiles and laughs. He is quite proud of his new dexterity!

henry adam: seven months

Today Henry turns 7 months old and tomorrow he will be 17!  That is seriously how it feels sometimes. Don’t get ahead of yourself, Melissa, you still have many more months to go until he is off to college, but each month flies by with his constant changes and firsts. Not everything about being a mom is easy. For example, this past month I tackled two illnesses while simultaneously needing to continue to care for Henry. Ugh that was SO hard. All I could think about was this commercial as I went between my death bed and Henry’s room. But, I am super thankful for the family and friends who dove into the trenches with me to help get us to the other side of it all.  Despite these challenging times, being a mom is the best job ever (at least that is how I feel about it). I get so excited watching Henry learn and play each day. I remember when I was a babysitter always thinking how repetitive the days were and thinking how I would never ever want to be a mom myself.  How could I sit on the floor and “play” with an infant day in and day out? How could I pick up flung toys over and over again? But, it really is different with your own little one. Each time we play and each time he does something, you really do see the learning that is going on underneath and the subtle differences in each attempt. That, or I am so far down the mommy hole that I cannot come back up for air!

Month six was a full one to kick off 2015. Henry probably met more people in this one month than he has in his short lifetime. The parade of family and friends was kicked off by a visit from Auntie Kaelin. K spent a week with us (and helped out during illness #1 food poisoning by fish taco!). Each morning we would lay around the house in our pjs playing with Henry, grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and just be together. It was so fun to be able to share my winter break from school with my two faves! Henry just loved spending time with Kaelin and it was so so sad to say goodbye. We are counting the days until we can see her again and show her Henry’s new move: pseudo-crawling (which might be real crawling when we see her again).

Then, Henry was swept up in a hectic social scene which included celebrating a new bestie soon to arrive in February.  He had a great time at his first baby shower. He was held a ton by our friends Kellyanne and Lauren, and soaked up every second of the experience, i.e. he went on a nap strike. Despite the lack of sleep, he remained pleasant and content throughout the luncheon and he even snuck  in his first kiss! That is right, Henry is starting early on the girl front. This adorable little one-year-old (yes, my son is into older women), was so sweet and thought that “kissing the baby” was the best thing ever. So clearly, she had to lay the love on thick. I only wish David could have been there to see the love shared 😉 If this wasn’t enough love, Henry also spent time dressed up as baby Cupid with his little crew of baby friends. We all headed to our friend’s house as she hosted a play date and holiday craft day. It was a fun time watching the littles play on the floor with an assortment of toys, dip their hands and feet into paint to make cards, and dress as baby Cupid for a little photo shoot. Obviously we kept one card for ourselves because the cuteness was killer and then shared the others with our fan club, grandmas and grandpas. And, we ended the month with the same baby group to celebrate the Patriots in the Super Bowl potluck style.

This month also contained Henry’s first flight!  We packed up a ton of gear and boarded a flight from Boston to Jacksonville to spend some quality time with David’s family. It was a smooth trip down and back. Best of all Henry got to meet his great-grandmother, uncle, aunt, and three cousins and, of course, spend time with grandma and grandpa too. We all stayed together in one house which meant that despite the shortness of the visit we were able to squeeze out every second together. Henry was totally smitten by his new family members and loved loved loved playing with his cousins. Alyza could not stop cuddling and holding him, Alex enjoyed reading to him, and baby Zachary was such a sweetheart and played and shared toys with him all weekend long. It really was special and I am so glad we were able to get down there.

What are some of the new skills that this little guy has mastered heading into month 7? Well, he loves to babble. He is constantly making sing-song sounds, little shrieks, squeals, and laughs. He has really found his voice this month and I cannot get enough of it. Every night I make it my mission to get him to laugh himself silly. I seriously love the sound of his voice. It is soft and high pitched and just so darn cute! His favorite things to laugh at these days are: wrestling with David’s head, tickles to the tummy, and the space ship song. Henry is also sticking out his tongue and trying to mimic the shapes we make when we talk. He focuses very intently on your mouth and then tries as best he can to move his mouth and tongue in a similar fashion. He also loves to roll his tongue over his new tooth!  Yup, our little guy is all grown up now with his one little chomper. His bottom left tooth has broken through the surface of this gums. It is hard to catch a glimpse of it though. And spotting it feels like claiming a sighting of the loch ness monster, but every now and then he pulls his tongue back just enough and bam there is the tooth! He is pseudo crawling too. If you place something at just the right distance from him, he will slow crawl his way over to it.  Too far and he will look for something close to distract himself, too close and he will army drag himself to it. But we have caught the crawl on camera to confirm that he is SO close to doing it. Of course he prefers to walk though. He loves to hold your hands and walk all around the house and pull himself up on things. I hope he doesn’t skip crawling. I really want to see him scooting about, but clearly his passion is for the two-footed approach.

Lastly, he can sleep through the night! I say “can” versus “is” because he is not consistently sleeping through the night quite yet. His first cold has set him back a bit as has teething.  Let’s just say having a sick baby is so miserable even if it is just something as slight as the common cold. It is just awful watching him struggle to breathe and sleep (thank goodness for Vick’s Baby, a humidifier, Tylenol, and an amazing husband). Fingers crossed this cold gets its butt kicked by his budding immune system quickly!  But, back to sleeping. The other night Henry slept a solid 6 hours straight, then 8 hours straight and finally culminated in a 10 hours straight night! What?!? It was nuts! My chest was so confused as to why no one demanded nursing through the wee hours of the morning but the rest of my body was feeling delighted by the sleep drunkenness I was experiencing (darn you cold for making it so short lived!).

This month Henry is into:

  • Eating solid food bits by himself and perfecting his fine motor skills. I am finally getting over my fears of choking (a little) and Henry has tackled: eggs, toast, broccoli, tomato, and banana. All while playing in his high chair with measuring cups, prep bowls, and a pasta claw.
  • Playing in the snow, or really experience the snow around him.
  • Sorting out his new day care experience. Yes, the little man is now attending daycare two days a week.  It has been a tough start. His first day was quite sad and it left me with a broken heart and then he skipped his second week because of his cold. So he really hasn’t started but he is technically in daycare for two days a week (a blog post about this to follow soon).
  • Loving his Travel Crib. This item is SO easy to move through the airport with, stows in the overhead bin, and is comfortable and simple to assemble.
  • Playing with some new toys: Push Cart, Ball Drop, Octopus, Talking Puppy.
  • Wearing his latest eating fashion item, the long sleeved bib, for easy clean up!

 

 

 

 

 

long sleeve bib

travel with a baby part II

We did it! We got from our house to Florida and back through the use of air transport. Woot Woot! It was just as hard as I imagined but also smoother than I could have anticipated. Does that make sense? The visit was really great. We were able to spend a long weekend with family and cherish the moment when Henry met his cousins. It was not only special but well worth any headache that comes with upsetting a baby’s usual routine in order to travel by plane.

Of course, traveling with a baby changes right alongside that changing baby. While we felt confident with our recent journey, Henry won’t be like this the next time. He isn’t crawling yet so that is a game changer I am sure. But, for now, we nailed it and got everyone home safe and sound. Did we learn anything this time about getting a family through the airport?  Sure, pack efficiently, do your best to squeeze in a nap, and relax it will all be fine!

(1) Pack efficiently: We thought about this part of the trip a lot! We wanted to make sure that we had on our person everything we would need to keep little man happy, clean, and fed and have a checked bag that contained everything else we would need. We flew with JetBlue which made checking a bag perfect since they don’t charge for the first bag. We divided our checked bag into thirds. David packed his third, I packed my third, and we packed Henry’s third. What did we pack for Henry?

  • 24 diapers, 6 night diapers
  • 12 pouches of baby food
  • 3 bibs
  • 2 spoons
  • 1 hat
  • 1 coat
  • 1 zip up hoodie
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 5 pants
  • 5 onesies
  • 2 pjs
  • baby shampoo
  • Tranquil Sleep Turtle

The rest of Henry’s gear was carried aboard with us. David wore a travel crib as a backpack so Henry would have a place to rest his head at our destination. We were really happy with this purchase. While it was a bit of an investment, with all the travel we have coming, we felt like it would be worth it in the end. Henry was very comfortable and the crib could not have been easier to assemble, carry, and disassemble. I carried the diaper bag packed with:

  • 3 diapers, wipes, butt paste
  • Toys
  • Nursing cover
  • 2 pouches of food, 1 spoon
  • 1 empty bottle, 1 sleeve of formula, 1 nipple (just in case)
  • 2 binkys
  • 1 bib
  • 4 books (Giraffe’s Can’t Dance, Everywhere Babies, The Going to Bed Book, Baby Loves Summer)
  • ErgoBaby 360
  • Blanket

I also carried my pump aboard. Note to all mommy travelers: Make sure that if you plan to  bring an ice pack with you to keep the milk cool that it is frozen through and through. The TSA almost confiscated mine, but thankfully it was mostly frozen and the supervisor permitted me to take it through (ignore that government if you reading this). And, we cruised through the airport using an umbrella stroller for lightweight, easy travel. I know, I know it sounds like we packed a ton but seriously it all came together and there was absolutely nothing we were lacking. This helped make the transition to the new space easy and we were able to truly focus on spending time with our family.

(2) Do your best to squeeze in a nap:  It was not easy to get Henry to nap on the flight. There was just so much to look at and experience, how could one sleep?  Henry had fun looking out the window, babbling to the flight attendants, and peaking and smiling at the other passengers around him. Everyone near us was super friendly toward him as well. And, when he did get a bit fussy, David held him close and rocked him as best he could to sleep. He only slept for about 30-40minutes which isn’t nearly what he is used to doing, but it was enough to take the edge off and he remained pleasant for the duration of the flight.

(3) Relax it will all be fine:  Traveling with a baby is a bit unpredictable. But, it is also really fun. Everything is so new for them and you get to experience the wonder of flight through their eyes. And, each time he flies over the next few years this wonder will only increase. Yes, he may fuss and yes we will probably forget something next time, but what can you do?  You just have to throw up your hands and enjoy the ride as best as you can. If the people around you freak out because your baby is upset, do your best to relax, breathe, and know that you are doing the best that you can. It will be fine, they will be fine, and most importantly the baby will be fine. As long as the flight is safe, you’re perfect!