Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nothing untouched.

I honestly don't believe that there could possibly be many things in our house that Henry Zuill has not touched. Just when I think that he has explored every nook and cranny, he walks in the room with a new discovery that he has made- and is always quite pleased with himself.

Mama's hair dryer and flat iron.

Santa Claus kleenex box (I admit I watched that mess unfold right in front of me and did nothing to intervene).

Since Henry has been so anxious to dig up new things to play with, I decided to help him out and introduced him to this. We start them out young here.

Those busy little hands are the reason that we elected not to put up a Christmas tree this year.
Just thinking about having to play referee between Henry and the tree for a month completely wore me out. We did put up the rest of our Christmas decor (so as not to appear like total Scrooges), and we've also been busy with other Christmas preparations.

I made the usual peppermint bark and tried some new recipes I got from Pinterest. My little kitchen assistant may have prolonged the candy making process just a bit.

The neighbors seemed to be pleased to see us show up on their doorsteps.

We also had the project of making this year's Christmas card to contend with. We managed to get enough photos to use for our card, but Henry definitely made us work for them as he laughed and ran away from the camera almost the entire time.

Henry got something really exciting in the mail today. A square white envelope with unfamiliar handwriting spelling out Henry's name and address on the front arrived. Neither Will or I had any idea who might have sent this. We helped Henry open the envelope and discovered that he had received a letter from Santa! Special thanks to the Christmas elf named Mark who made this such a sweet memory for us.

Too bad Santa didn't explain to Henry that it's just a little naughty to scramble up any nearby staircase before a parent can blink an eye. He's obsessed.

He's also obsessed with older kids. Fascinated. His friend, Jack, or his cousin, Cohen, can do the most minute things and Henry just cracks up with laughter. He's a little shadow to these guys. He's definitely trying to prove to them that he's old enough to hang with the big dogs.

Just a few more days until Christmas. I know that Henry is going to be equally as impressed by the paper and boxes as he is with the gifts. I look forward to watching him play with his cousins and get kisses from his aunt and uncle and grandparents. Christmas is going to be good this year.
We hope it is for you too!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baby might need to go in the corner...

I know Patrick Swayze declared in 1987 that nobody puts baby in the corner, but he was obviously not talking about Henry Zuill. Today Henry would have fully deserved to be put in the corner. Today he tried to break all world records and earn the title of the crankiest baby in the history of the world.

In his defense he's had a pretty trying week for a 13 month old. Eleven hour flight times and 6 hour time changes do nothing to elevate a boy's mood.

Henry added another stamp to his passport last week. He made his second trip across the big pond to his Daddy's homeland of England. One of the surly guys at the customs area of the airport asked Will "Business or pleasure?" regarding the trip we made to the UK. "Neither" was the first response that immediately entered both of our minds. We traveled to Will's home last week for the funeral of his sweet mother, Ann. So this trip, unlike our previous ones, wasn't particularly filled with road trips and sightseeing. Most of our time was focused on family- just as it should have been.

We again stayed with Will's older brother, Andy, and his wife, Cheryl. These two get braver every year. It started with letting just Will and me invade their home for a week in 2009, then again with 6 month old Henry in the spring of 2011. This time they were willing to brave the storm of a full-on toddler in their home for a week. As toddlers tend to do, Henry pretty much placed the "A Toddler Has Been Here" stamp on their house. Every breakable thing had been moved to 3+ feet off the floor within 30 minutes of our arrival and you couldn't walk through the living room without having to step over a block or a book or a sippy cup. But once Henry figured out how to chime out "Andy" in that sweet little voice of his, all was forgiven.

We did manage to fit in a couple of days worth of activities in the midst of the trip. We made a trip to the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke with Cheryl.

We also took a little road trip to the south coast of England to Bournemouth and spent part of the day with Rob, one of Will's childhood friends. Going to Bournemouth offered us the opportunity to do several things. There was a quaint little Christmas festival going on, so while we waited on Rob to arrive we sat and enjoyed a nice mug boot full of mulled wine. This was my first experience with mulled wine and I doubt my arm will require twisting to partake in it again. Henry didn't really seem to hold a grudge about the fact that he didn't get a boot of his own.

While we sipped from our steaming boots of wine, we were privy to witness some of the pension protestors coming through the middle of the festivities.

I also had a good view of this handsome guy.

Being in Bournemouth also presented us with the opportunity to eat at Harry Ramsdens.

Harry Ramsdens proclaims to have the world's most famous (and best) fish and chips. I suspect that this is most likely true since I couldn't resist diving in long enough to take a quick photo. Yes, it was really that good.

We saved the best for last. After we finished up the last morsels of our cod and chips and mushy peas we made our way down to the area just in front of the restaurant- down to this:

Even though he had to wear a jacket and didn't need an ounce of sunblock, Henry made his first trip to the beach. And he loved it. Laughter just rolled out of his little mouth as he ran down towards the waves and was scooped up and brought back before the water met his feet- and he just repeated the process over and over.

The flights over to England and back are no joke. The prolonged containment inside an airplane for that length of time is hard for the most patient adult to handle. Needless to say I was more than a little freaked out about the potential havoc Henry might wreak upon the other inhabitants of our air craft. He really did shock us all. As his Daddy put it- he was total rock star during the total of about 21 hours we were on the plane. I think we had less than 30 minutes total of whining/crying/fussing. Good job Henry. (Consequently, our apologies to Delta for the 2 or 3 ripped up "Sky Mall" magazines you might have found lying about).

Henry has really been on a verbal streak over the last week or so. Maybe there was something in the British air that made him more chatty, but he's really thrown some new words out there this week including:

Aaaaa-deee! (Andy)
Ro-Ro (in reference to his Aunt Robyn)- he says this one spot on
Ayyy-la (Layla, our dog)
Ewwa (Ella, his cousin)

and my favorite:
Oh Whoa! (Oh no!)

A few iPhone photos from the last couple of weeks to end this entry.

*Henry making off in his friend Harper's car
*Cozying up to Uncle Andy
*Driving the car/cart like a madman at Publix
*Dandelion & Burdock- one of Will's many UK favorites
*Two passed out boys on the plane
*Trying to decide whether to color on or rip up the child's placemat at Harry Ramsdens
*Now cozying up to Auntie Cheryl
*Climbing the forbidden stairs at Uncle Andy & Auntie Cheryl's house. If I had a dollar for every time we had to fetch him off of these...
*Taking a break in Granddad's lap

Have a great week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Catching up...

As you may have read in the last (and amazingly touching) blog entry, we've had a rough week with the passing of Will's mom. Regular blogging kind of got pushed to the way-side, so we have a little bit of catching up to do.

A couple of weeks ago, a few days after his first birthday party, Henry had his one year doctor appointment with Dr. MeNeely. He took his one year shots like a trooper and according to the growth charts continues to grow likes a weed. 97th percentile for height!

As rapidly as he is growing physically, Henry is just as quickly checking activities off his "to do" list.

Such as starting to sometimes put the puzzle pieces back in the puzzle instead of just hiding them under furniture.

Deciding that just because a door was closed no longer meant it could keep him out.

Helping to dipose of all the excess paper in Gaga's adding machine.

Making friends with the neighbors' gray cat.

And taking thorough inventory of the refrigerator. Several times a day.

This little boy keeps us busy. Often times after lunch I catch myself looking forward to his nap time, so that I can just sit for a minute. But by the time he's been asleep for nearly two hours I find myself quite ready for him to wake up. There's nothing quite as entertaining as this little fellow.

The dogs are starting to find him a little more tolerable these days. And this is where they can always be found during mealtime.

Henry's Christmas present arrived last week. Will and I decided that he really wouldn't know the difference between getting his present in November versus getting it a month later on Christmas. So the overly anxious parents gave the boy his gift very very early. And he loves his new chair.

Will and Henry got to be bachelors last weekend while I went out of town. They managed just fine without Mama in the house. Of course, Henry is quite a Daddy's boy. He's pretty fond of time spent with his good old Dad.

I headed out to Memphis to help throw a baby shower for my good friend Sara. She and her husband David are having a baby boy sometime in January and her family and friends gathered to help prepare this sweet Mama for the event.

Borrowing an idea from the shower my neighborhood girlfriends threw for me, we had all the guests make a onesie or burp cloth for Baby Shepherd.

I'm going to end today's entry with this image of Henry in Santa's lap. Oh wait. That's not Henry, that's his dad. Guess there is no question who he gets his good looks from.

Henry looks more and more like his Daddy every day, even down to the red curls.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Thanksgiving!