Sunday, May 22, 2011


Warm weather has arrived again in our neck of the woods. Not quite warm enough yet for us to venture down to the pool at the clubhouse, but definitely warm enough for lots of walks outside. A couple of days were so sunny that Henry had to bring out his newest accessory.

Today after Henry woke up from his afternoon nap I was sitting in the rocker in his bedroom with him and he laid his sweet little head on my shoulder and just let me cuddle with him. It's such a wonderful feeling to hold him and just breathe in his sweet baby smell. I used to sit and snuggle with this boy for hours it seemed when he was a tiny newborn. It suddenly hit me how seldom I get to cuddle him anymore because this boy is on the MOVE. Or at least he's trying to be. Never still unless he's asleep- that's our Henry. Well that's not true- he's really not even still when he's sleeping. This week marked the retirement of bouncy seats in our house because in the midst of emptying the dishwasher I turned around to this sight.

He's also trying so hard to learn to crawl. He's not there yet- at least not in the right direction. He'll sit and make his way onto his hands and knees, and then usually proceeds to crawl backwards by pushing with his hands. I'm in no hurry for this boy to become mobile, and neither are the furry children who live in this house I'm sure.

Since we had to retire our kitchen bouncy seat we've transitioned to using the highchair. I actually think Henry likes it better. He can sit more on the level of the big people and supervise our activities. If you look really closely at this photo you can see Henry's two little teeth.

The sensation of having teeth in his mouth has Henry's full attention. Half of the time when you glance over at him now you see him doing this, trying to check out his newest additions with his little tongue.

Henry also continues to work his charms on the ladies. This week he cozied up to adorable Stratton after giving her a thorough once-over. She keeps him wonderfully entertained but when I ask her if he can spend the night at his house she gives me a resounding "NO!" because, as she says, "He poops in his pants and he might cry!". Smart girl.

So as you guys might have noticed, Will and I tend to take a LOT of pictures. Especially now that baby Henry has joined our family. We don't usually get into using props with our photography, but this week we were on a mission to fulfill a special request from my mom. Henry is the third grandchild, and both of his cousins, Ella Grace & Cohen, have had photos taken of them in an antique white metal washtub. I searched all over the internet and couldn't find a washtub like the one used in their photos. But Saturday, my mom showed up at my house, and guess what she'd run across at an auction the night before...

I think Henry was pretty clear on his thoughts about being paraded around the neighborhood in his diaper.

So that wraps it up for this week. It's been pretty low key and laid back here. But that's how we like it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bubbles and berries...

It was unseasonably hot earlier this week in Tennessee as the temperature reached a blazing 90 degrees. And there is nothing like being the primary transportation system to a chunky 20 pound baby to make it feel even hotter! Henry and I decided we needed a little break from the heat and also a practice session for when we hit our neighborhood pool in a couple of weeks, so this is how we spent part of our toasty Tuesday afternoon.

Cutest darn thing I've ever seen! Henry wasn't too sure about the cold water in his pool at first but he acclimated pretty quickly and before long he was splashing away.

He was joined at the Henry Zuill Aquatic Club by a few bubbles and a couple of his duck buddies.

Henry, in his usual fashion, decided that everything he can get his hands on must be placed directly into his mouth. Bubble eater.

Speaking of Henry's mouth, I finally managed to snap a picture of Henry's newest addition! #2 is on it's way, but hasn't broken through the gum line just yet.

We decided to brave the sweltering heat the next day and meet Robyn and the kids at a strawberry patch near their house. My friend Sarah joined us, along with her mom and her adorable little redhead, Jack. Ella Grace immediately took a liking to Jack. Jack wasn't quite as willing to plunge into the friendship so haphazardly and had to carefully evaluate the situation first.

Before the end of the outing, however, they were spotted holding hands and playing like they'd been friends for ages. Sweetness.

Jack really got into the strawberry picking experience. And by that I mean that he ate a strawberry for every foot or so that he walked. His little white t-shirt with red strawberry juice splattered down the front was almost more than I could take.

Sweet Henry slept through most of our berry picking excursion, snug in the baby carrier against Mama's chest. By the time he woke up we were both overheated and his hair was plastered to his head from sweating under his hat, but even sweaty hat head looks good on this boy. Ella Grace looked as beautiful as always and handsome Cohen was hamming it up and showing me his muscles.

It was a great day spent with great people. Now the weather has cooled off again- 60 degrees and rainy. I heard someone say once "If you don't like the weather in Tennessee, just wait a minute, it will change". So true. So we'll just wait a minute and hopefully we'll be out enjoying the sunshine again before we know it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hi, my name is "Henry's Mom"...

Several of my mom friends told me "Once you have a baby you'll no longer be 'Angela'. You'll be known as 'Henry's Mom'".

I'm totally okay with that.

Yesterday was my first official Mother's Day. All day long I thought about how my life has changed since Henry was born and changed my name to "Mama". Being a mother is even more amazing than I could have imagined. I'm sure it's that way for most people. The fact that I've been blessed enough to stay home with Henry is icing on the sweet cake of motherhood. The days of playing Rock Band until 2am with the neighbors and then sleeping in the next day are long gone, but have been replaced with something so much better. Now my days are filled with a (mostly) happy giggling baby who is learning and changing so fast. Not to mention that I have the best man in the world by my side to help me raise this amazing little offspring of ours.

Yesterday morning after my Brit cooked me a Mother's Day breakfast, the three of us went out for a walk around the neighborhood. Well, we had to, you see- so that we could try out the new camera lens I got from Henry for Mother's Day!

Henry has had a full agenda this week. First on the list, 6 month visit with Dr. Meneely. After me checking every day for the last month and finding nothing, Dr. Meneely felt of Henry's gums and found a tooth that apparently made it's appearance the night before. There's a second one close behind (and it's wreaking havoc on our sleep around this joint). Henry also had another round of shots in those adorable chunky thighs. Henry took his shots like a champ- he might have cried for 10 seconds and then looked at the nurse like "what else you got?".

Henry has worked on expanding his culinary palate to little avail. He is surprisingly not enthusiastic about solids, and since they say "foods under the age of one are just for fun" and not really for nutritional value, I'm trying not to push the issue. We're going to take a break for a week or so, and try again and see if he's more in the mood. The photo below pretty accurately illustrates the reactions we've seen time after time.

Henry has also been occupied with duck hoarding and cruising for chicks in Publix (now that he can ride in the cart like a big boy).

On Saturday Will, Henry, my friend Mark, and I all headed to Nashville for the "Cinco in the Gulch 5K/10K" run. Once I successfully finished the Mule Kick 5K last month I decided I needed another running goal in order to keep my motivation from escaping, so this 10K was the one I decided on.

The course was advertised as "mostly flat". Ummm- no. There was one hill that was killer! It seemed to go on for at least 1/2 a mile and was forever steep. The worst part was that if you did the 10K run you ended up running the 5K loop twice, which meant twice up that beast of a hill.

*Photo taken by Mark during the race*

I still managed to complete my goal of running the entire 6.2 miles. My time was 1:05- okay but not my fastest- but I'll take it. I've insanely already signed up for another race for the fall- a half marathon! Hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew!

Henry and I also got outside this week to do a little more spring planting, except this time it was something just a little prettier than our tomato plants.

Well, that about wraps it up for our week. Back to your regularly scheduled programming, and I'll get back to being "Henry's Mom"- best title I've ever had!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Eat a little food, grow a little food...

Food has been the subject of some special attention this week in the Zuill household.

First and foremost...Henry Zuill is now eating some solids! As his parents, Will and I are probably way more excited about this than Henry is. Let's face it. It's fun. You buy the cute little baby spoons. You carefully select the foods he'll try for the first time. You put a bite in his adorable little mouth.

And then he makes this face.

Green beans. He was not a fan. Well, for that matter, he didn't seem to be much of a fan of the avocado either.

Cereal didn't seem to disgust him to the same degree.

These baby milestones- so much fun. Time is flying by with our little one. I wish so badly I could make things stand still. Henry is at such a fun age and I love being at home every day, witnessing every moment of him growing and learning. I'm so lucky to have all this time at home with him right now.

So, on to the "grow a little" part of this blog post.

And it begins. Tomato plants are in the ground, receiving the proper nourishing, and I know in a few weeks time they will return the favor. I didn't grow the plants from seed this year but the Franklin Farmer's Market was able to provide nicely. We have five heirloom plants plus one Early Girl plant in our bed. My little gardening projects are something I really look forward to involving Henry in, in the future. I'm sure that time will be here before I know it! My little man was already happy to supervise while I took care of the manual labor.

Henry Zuill: International Baby of Mystery...

Not the kind of baby who settles for being "average", Henry has checked another thing off of his baby bucket list. He is now an international traveler! A week and a half ago our trio packed up and headed to the airport. Destination? England! All of Will's family lives in the UK, and needless to say, they were just a little excited to meet young Henry for the first time!

I'll admit it- I was a LOT nervous about how Henry would do during the long flights. Our first flight was short- from Nashville to Atlanta (rerouted from Detroit). The second one however, from Atlanta to London, was about 7 hours long. Don't get me wrong. Henry is a great baby, but even the best babies (and adults for that matter) are likely to have problems tolerating a flight that long. Will booked our flight over as a night flight, and just as we'd hoped, he slept for about 6 hours of the flight. Whew.

So we left Nashville at about 5pm on a Wednesday, and between travel and the 6 hour time difference, we arrived in London around lunchtime on Thursday. We were hosted for the week by Will's oldest brother, Andy, and his wife, Cheryl. Brave souls aren't they? Andy picked us up at Heathrow Airport and we headed directly to his house, took a quick shower, and came downstairs to find some grandparents who were very anxious to meet our little redhead.

Grandparents weren't the only ones happy to meet baby Henry. Uncle Dave, Auntie Lizzie, and Uncle Andy were pretty fond of the boy as well.

Once all the introductions were properly taken care of and everybody got a dose of loving from Henry, we settled in for the night. The rest of the week was spent hanging out with the Zuill clan, doing lots of good eating, and some light sight-seeing.

One of the places we visited was Portsmouth. Portsmouth is home to the world's oldest dry dock still in use and also home to some famous ships, including the HMS Warrior and Lord Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory. We had unbelievably beautiful weather and toured both ships.

We also visited the historical cathedral city of Winchester. Again, beautiful weather made it a perfect day to stroll the city's streets and tour the cathedral. One thing that can be seen in Winchester (and is in the photo below) is King Arthur's Round Table. Pretty impressive, but since it is one of three tables claimed to be King Arthur's, authenticity is definitely in question.

Andy and Cheryl live about a ten minute drive from another English landmark you might recognize.

Henry spent his very first Easter in England with the Zuill family. He started off the day with his very first Easter egg. Too bad for Henry he's not allowed to have chocolate yet. Too bad for his Mama's waistline that she is.

We headed down to a local pub for our Easter lunch with the family. This was not what you would think of here in the states as "pub food". We had roast beef, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and yorkshire puddings.

Even though I felt like I'd barely be able to walk after that meal, I did manage to, and Will, Henry, and I set off for a walk in the area. Gorgeous weather, gorgeous scenery, and my two favorite guys.

On Tuesday, April 26th, Henry turned six months old! To celebrate he went on a little road trip to London. Henry had his first ride on a train that day!

The reason we all went to London on this day was to go to the "Doctor Who Experience". Doctor Who is a science fiction show in the UK with a tremendous following, and Will is a HUGE fan. This show has been running since 1963, so most people in England grew up watching it. It's full of monsters and time travel and adventure. So for Will (and the rest of the Brits in our group) going through this huge interactive exhibit was like reliving part of his childhood!

Will wanted Henry to have his picture made in front of the Daleks (one of the most feared monsters on Doctor Who). Seriously, doesn't Henry look scared?

We had a great week with our family and were so glad that they were finally able to meet our (and their) pride and joy in person. I'm sure it will seem like too long until we see them again!