Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Last blog entry of the year...

It's been 9 months since Will and I started a blog about "Our Cheeky Life". Looking back, the first few blog entries were all about the weather, tomato seeds and photography. What a long way we've come since then. It's amazing how much our lives have changed in such a short period of time. Will has had a job change, and I'm about to have a job change (well, after my extended maternity leave). We've met some amazing people and made some great friends along the way. Obviously the biggest change around here was the arrival of this little fellow...

What an amazing experience over the last 9 weeks to watch him learn and grow. And when I say grow, I mean GROW. Our dear sweet little Henry, who entered the world weighing a mere 8 pounds is now up to 14.5 pounds! If only I could grow tomatoes as well as I grow babies!

At night Henry sleeps in a bassinet next to our bed. This seems to ease the nerves of new Mamas and makes it easier to feed him when he wakes up in the middle of the night. However, upon inspection of his beloved bassinet, I have discovered that the weight limit is 15 pounds. Uh-oh. Now I'm sure they err on the side of caution when setting those weight limits, but still- at the rate Henry is growing, I decided we'd better take action. Although the night schedule has not been bad, Henry's nap schedule has been somewhat erratic- which is likely what contributes to his "Cranky Hank" syndrome. Yesterday I watched him very very closely all day to observe for cues of tiredness so I wouldn't miss that "magic window" that is located directly between "not tired at all" and "now I'm so tired you can forget about me ever going to sleep". I managed to catch it a couple of times (Henry is very vague with his cues) and look what happened!

Yeah, not the greatest picture (especially since it's just a picture of the video monitor) but proof that Henry CAN sleep in his crib! I've poured over different books on sleep training for babies- "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child", "The No Cry Sleep Solution", and have read about BabyWise and the Ferber method. Right now I have doubts about my ability to let Henry "cry it out" but I've learned to never say never. Right now I'm just trying to work on putting him down when he's drowsy but not completely asleep (so he can learn to put himself completely to sleep) and when he wakes up crying I go pick him up, soothe him, and put him back down. These are methods from "The No Cry Sleep Solution". If this strategy doesn't work, we'll try something else. He's still pretty "fresh" at only 9 weeks, so I'm trying to cut him some slack until he hits at least the 3 month mark.

Henry's first Christmas has come and gone since our last blog entry. This year we went to my brother's home to celebrate with a late Christmas breakfast and of course, exchanging gifts. It was wonderful to be able to spend the day with our family and enjoy all the kids.

Henry got all kinds of things that he's going to LOVE in a few more months. I can't wait until he's able to play with his toys! He also got one very special gift from my mom & dad. My parents have 3 grandchildren. For each child's first Christmas my dad (who is amazing with woodworking) makes a VERY special gift for them, and this year Henry received his. This is something I know we will always cherish and that will hopefully be passed down to Henry's kids one day.

What a wonderful Christmas and what a wonderful year it's been. We can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for our family!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What are you feeding that boy??

Today we took young Henry for his second visit to Dr. MeNeely's office for his 8 week appointment (although he won't actually be 8 weeks old for 5 more days). The good thing about the doctor's appointment was that our wise old doc was able to give Henry the once-over and assure us that we are doing a top notch job of growing and caring for this little human. The bad thing about the doctor's appointment (at least from Henry's perspective) was that today was his first full round of immunizations. Both baby and Mama survived without too much trauma.

Henry got the standard treatment today of being weighed and measured. He is up to a whopping 13 pounds 5 ounces (from a birth weight of 8 pounds) and is now 24 1/2 inches long (up from 22 inches at birth)! I think we can safely say that breastfeeding is agreeing with him!

Henry really pulled out all the stops for Dr. MeNeely today and showed off all his new baby skills. His baby resume now includes notable accomplishments such as:

-sleeping in 4 & 5 hour increments at night (YES!!!)
-bearing weight on his chubby little legs
-pushing up with his arms when lying on his tummy
-smiling his adorable little gummy smile
-following things with his eyes
-awesome head control
-making impressive spit bubbles
-laughing at his Daddy's dancing

Henry got to see his first snow this week. Unfortunately we don't have any adorable snow pictures of him to post. Despite his very adequate layer of built-in insulation (aka fat rolls), his Mama just felt like it was too cold to get him outside, so he only saw the snow through the window. Poor Norman the Gnome thought it was too cold to be outside too.

But no matter how cold the weather is, some things still manage to warm the heart.

Henry's new Christmas stocking arrived this week, so our mantle is finally complete. His little stocking is now hanging with his Mama & Daddy's, and of course the ones belonging to all his furry brothers and sisters.

Henry and I try to get out of the house at least once a day. Over the weekend we went for a little visit at my brother's house. Henry is not sure what he thinks of his Uncle Nick.

Yesterday we went over to my friend Meredith's house. Meredith had her baby girl, Emerson, 2 weeks after Henry was born. Yesterday was what I like to refer to as their "first date". Henry looked absolutely massive in comparison to Emerson! Illustration:

We also went yesterday to get Henry's passport application processed so that he can make his first trip to England. Of course, before we could do that, we had to get his two "regulation" photos made- white background, with his eyes open, and no part of Mama or Daddy showing in the photo. What? This is no easy task to accomplish when you're working with a 7 week old subject. Thank goodness for the talented guy at White's Camera Shop in Columbia who got not one, but TWO acceptable photos for us to choose from. This is the hilarious photo that didn't make the cut:

Bathtime has become MUCH less traumatic at our house. If I had to guess, I'd say Henry is even starting to enjoy it a little. And he's MUCH more fun to bathe than the dogs (and usually less stinky than the dogs-usually)...

I think that's all the news for this week. Check back in soon! Here's one more shot of the most adorable baby in the universe to see you on your way. SMILE!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tis the Season...

Here we are- another late, late blog entry. I'm sure you all understand that I've been just a TINY bit distracted with this little bit of adorableness:

Have you ever seen more kissable cheeks in your life? Baby Henry (aka Cranky Hank on his bad days) is now creeping up on being 7 weeks old. Unbelievable. Over the last 10 days or so I have really noticed some changes in our boy. He's much more interactive, watching everything and everybody around him. He teases us often with his gummy little smiles (as demonstrated in above photo) and is obviously growing like a weed! If our scales at home are giving us any semi-accurate indication, Henry is up to about 13 pounds!! We'll find out for sure how much he weighs when we go for his next doctor's visit on Monday. Monday will not be a good day for baby Henry or for baby Henry's chubby little thighs because Monday he has to get SHOTS! Don't worry- I will have a huge wad of kleenex in my diaper bag. Obviously for me, not him.

Henry has also become a much better sleeper over the last week. I really hope I am not jinxing myself by proclaiming this publicly. A couple of weeks ago I traipsed up to Babies R Us to pick up this little gem - a "Miracle Blanket". And while I can't truly say that it's miraculous, it definitely borders on it. This blanket, especially designed for swaddling your little one so that he/she may slumber more peacefully, is really nothing more than a baby straight-jacket, but Henry LOVES it. Last night he slept for 5 consecutive hours. Can I get an Amen??

I thought he was really going to need a straight-jacket after he had to painfully endure watching his Colts fall victim to the Dallas Cowboys. Poor boy.

This year I have really had a new motivation to streamline our Christmas routine (meaning my severe lack of spare time) but we did manage to put up our Christmas tree. I have seen so many beautiful trees that look like they jumped straight out of the pages of Southern Living or Martha Stewart magazines. Not our tree. But that is exactly what I love about our tree. It's a mish-mash of so many little tokens of places we've been or people we know. Many of the ornaments were handmade by my mom, like these snowflakes:

There are many others that I've had my entire life, that were made for me by my great-grandmother before she passed away.

Of course, Will and Henry both have to mark their territory on the family Christmas tree as well.

A couple of days ago Henry and I (along with my most wonderful friend Mark) went over to try to get some photos of Ella Grace, Cohen, and Henry together in their Christmas pajamas (or bajammies, according to EG). Talk about trying to herd cats! We did manage to get a few shots (which for now must remain unrevealed to public eyes in case they are used on Christmas cards) but I will post this one shot of Henry & EG. She loves Henry so much and she loves holding him...until he cries. Watching her with him is just adorable!

And as usual, Cohen kept us highly entertained. I love this precious boy so much- especially when he's wearing my overly large sunglasses.

Hope you all are gearing up for a wonderful holiday season, and we'll report back soon (or as soon as we can)!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010- and our little Butterball

Wow. It's been 2 weeks since my last blog post. Those of you who keep up with us know that's not my style at all. I guess that pretty well illustrates the lack of excess time to be found around Casa Zuill. Young Henry Zuill does a fine job of keeping Mama & Daddy occupied 98% of the time. The other 2% of the time we can be found trying to hurriedly scrounge up something to eat or making a quick bathroom run. I might be exaggerating just a little. Maybe.

So, I guess we have 2 weeks of updating to do.

Henry is now 1 month and 2 days old. He is still growing like a weed!! I seriously think that if he continues to grow at his current rate, pretty soon we'll be able to charge admission to see him. When he was born he weighed 8 pounds. He is now up to almost 11 1/2. He is the owner of the most adorable squeezable chubby cheeks you will ever lay eyes on. He has managed to build up two little fat rolls on his thighs. His Mama loves this because it is reassurance that, yes, he is getting plenty to eat. He is quickly outgrowing almost all of his newborn clothes, leaving me in a scramble to try to make sure he gets to wear every outfit at least once before they are too small. Because some of them are just too cute NOT to wear once.

Henry is much more alert these days. During the daytime he still naps but not for nearly as long. He loves his bouncy seat & his swing. Sometimes he just hangs out with Layla and gets sniffed or has tummy time. And sometimes he has heart-to-hearts with my dad, aka his "Pappy" (who, by the way, is quite enamored with Baby Henry).

Henry had his first Thanksgiving this year. We went down to Pulaski to my parent's house for the usual feast of turkey, dressing, and all the fixings. Henry had the pleasure of being entertained by his two favorite cousins in between naps.

Henry and Daddy did a little bonding this week as well. AND Henry had his first bottle (of breastmilk) so Will got to experience feeding Henry. This was quite a big deal at our house.

Up until the past few days we have had unseasonably gorgeous weather here in Tennessee. To take advantage of that we went with our friend Anne and her two beautiful kids up to Centennial Park to try to get some photos for their Christmas card. Henry seemed fairly unimpressed by the Parthenon.

We had a great time hanging with our friends, and managed to get a few good photos for her to use.

They were so funny to take photos of. Following the pattern of most kids, the minute we would snap a shot we would hear little voices say "Can I see?". So cute.

We hope you all had as wonderful of a Thanksgiving with your families as we did!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our little party animal...

Well, party animal might not be a totally accurate description. But Henry did go to his first party over the weekend. And not just any party- we went to a "Beatles Pub Party" hosted by some great folks. Here's an accurate illustration of Henry's interactions at the party -

Didn't he rock the Beatles shirt? It was a great party with lively music and singing and an assortment of people in Beatles themed costumes. Thanks for the invite friends, and next time we promise not to sneak out at such an early hour. We had such a great time during the short time we were there and I can't imagine a better kick-off to Henry's social agenda!

And as any proper "Eleanor Rigby" would, I brought along my face in a jar. And I did leave it by the door.

Other than his first party, Henry had another "first" this week. Will and I got brave enough (or foolish enough) to take Henry out for his first official dining experience. So off to East Nashville we went to pay a long overdue visit to "Batter'd & Fried"- one of our favorite restaurants (gotta start the kid off right!). The food was great (especially our spicy tuna roll) and the boy was content so we've labeled this one as a success!!

So it's been a pretty busy week again for young Henry. It's amazing that he had time to fit anything into his social calendar at all, since 98% of his time is spent eating. Our boy has grown! He now weighs 9 pounds! He managed to gain an entire pound in his first 2 1/2 weeks here on Earth. Good job, son! When he's not busy eating (or partying) he pretty much just spends time looking utterly adorable.

He also spent a little time sizing up the competition around the house.

Sometimes he pretends to cry so that he can get Daddy to march him around the house on his shoulder and sing silly songs to him. It's pretty stinking cute.

This week Will purchased what I think will prove to be a very special book to our family. I hope that one day Henry gets as much pleasure out of reading it as we have gotten out of creating "Our Cheeky Life".

It seems unreal that Henry will be 3 weeks old tomorrow! It seems like we were just driving to the hospital! Time is flying by, but we'll keep doing our best to keep you up to date on what's going on! As always, thanks for checking in on us!!