Thursday, June 30, 2011

Run doggies, RUN!

Henry Zuill is man on the go. With the arrival of his newly discovered mobility, the 4-legged creatures around here have most likely reached a unanimous verdict that they may have very well woken up in some sort of nightmare. Well, it's not really that bad- but rare is the sight of a cat at ground level anymore and Preston can, more often than not, be found hanging out under Will's desk trying to avert a chance meeting with Hank the Tank.

In order to be able to get anything done in the kitchen we've discovered several things that will distract Henry from hot animal pursuit and dog food- at least for 30 seconds at a time.

His Daddy is quite proud that this has become one of Henry's favorite toys. It couldn't be any other way, could it?

He is still pulling up on anything he can get his hands on. One of his latest anti-sleep tactics is to pull up on the side of his crib in some sort of naptime protest. The problem is that although he's a master at standing up in the crib, the art of sitting back down still remains a mystery to him. So what you end up with is a tired baby, overdue for his nap, standing up and crying in his crib. I go back in and lay him down, say "night night" and leave the room. He stands up again. Sigh. So on Monday I decided (after going in and laying him down twice) that I would try to let him work it out on his own. After he protested for about 15 minutes I relented and went in with plans to lay him back down again. I walked in to find my sweet baby's face covered with what looked like Oreo crumbs. He has a black crib. The baby woodchuck has entered the building. While I'm not all that concerned about the crib (because I avoided purchasing a really expensive one just for this reason) crib eating can't be healthy, right? So I ordered some crib rail wraps, but in the meantime wisely utilized a beach towel and some duct tape. As my brother said, "You can take the girl out of the country...." Hey, if it works, it works (at least until Henry figures out that the other 3 rails are still temporarily available for gnawing).

Remember last week I mentioned Henry's baby Alcatraz prisoner impression? Finally caught a picture of it. It's especially convincing when he's wearing a striped romper. He's also made good use of the activity/music table passed down from his sweet cousins (who, as seen below, make entertaining Henry a breeze).

Henry's bathtime is still one of my favorite times of the day. Towards the end of the day "Cranky Hank" will occasionally rear his ugly head. Nothing remedies that like giving the boy some playtime in the tub. He loves it. Plop him in there with his ducks, his book, and his cups and he's a happy camper. This week Henry wasn't the only one who needed to be dried off after having his bath. He has learned how to make the BIG splashes and if you get caught in the path of the tidal wave, prepare to be soaked.

We added another activity to our regular bedtime routine. Henry likes it. Of course he does. He likes anything you stick into his mouth that he can chew on, including his new toothbrush!

My very young and vibrant Brit celebrated his 38th birthday this week (although he tried his best to convince everybody it was his 28th)! I keep reminding Will that if you round his age up, he's pretty much 40 already. He in turn reminds me that if I decide to do something tacky for his 40th birthday, that he has 4 years to plan his retaliation. So, at least for now, I'm playing nice. We went to see the new X-Men movie and had a wonderful dinner at Stoney River with Henry and my parents (who are about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary). And of course, what is a birthday without cake? As you can see from the writing on the cake, sometimes I like to cater to my Brit's delusions.

Henry and our sweet neighbor down the street, Harper, have really taken up with each other. She is 14 months older than Henry, so every time I'm around her it's almost like getting a preview of things we have to come- and although I soak up every minute with Henry right now, she really makes me look forward to next year. I can never wait to hear what's going to come out of Harper's mouth. She is hilarious- not to mention stinking adorable! Her mom (my good friend Jess) entered Harper into the toddler category of the current "2011 Gerber Generation Photo Search" contest. I think she's a shoe-in.

A couple of my friends had already been urging me to enter Henry into the photo search. Since it would be cool to have TWO Gerber babies on the same street, why not? The $50,000 college scholarship for Henry wouldn't hurt my feelings either. Voting starts on July 5th, so feel free to cast your vote for our boy HERE. I have to say, I think he fits the bill pretty well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Slumber party!

Last week I must have thought to myself "Well, finally got the hang of one baby, let's throw another kid in the mix!".

So on Friday night Henry had his first sleep-over. My niece, Ella Grace, came to spend all day Friday and Friday night with us. It was just last week (or so it seems) that my brother was giving me a 4am phone call from the hospital to tell me she had made her arrival- yet somehow she will be turning 5 years old next month. Unbelievable. She has grown into such a polite, loving and hilarious girl!! Not only did she help with baby Henry, but she kept us entertained the never-ending dialogue of a (nearly) 5 year old. I'm so proud of this girl.

We stayed pretty darn busy the entire time she was here. We played a little hopscotch.

We strolled our babies around the neighborhood. Her baby was a bit quieter than mine.

We made a little trip down to the park where I pushed her in the swings and in turn she pushed baby Henry in the swings. There was another "big kid" who got in a little swinging time as well.

That same "big kid" chased her around the playground until she was barely able to breathe because she was laughing so hard.

Baby Henry was very glad to have her here to spend the night with us- although you wouldn't be convinced by the look on his face, right?

The next morning I woke to a sweet little voice saying "A, is it time to get up yet?". And yes, it was time to get up, because we had to get ready for breakfast with the entire family at The Loveless Cafe. A little rocking (while inhaling the aroma of pork on the BBQ from three feet away) will help pass the time while you're waiting for a table.

Just for the record (much to my Brit's dismay, who descibes them as looking like 'catsick' ) Henry loves grits.

So, speaking of baby Henry (which we normally do, right?)...

Will and I often rush to be the first one to go in and get Henry out of his crib first thing in the morning or after a nap. There's nothing quite like the look you get from a baby when he wants out of his crib and you're the one who comes to rescue him. This week however, we've gone from seeing this upon entering the room...

to seeing this...

Since the above photo, Henry has been caught pulling up on a chair, a bookshelf, the tub, and his baby gates (which just happen to have metal bars, making him look like a miniature Alcatraz prisoner when he's shaking the life out of them). When he's not busy pulling up on anything that doesn't run from him, he has managed to get into all kinds of things utilizing his new crawling skills.

He's been a trooper in regards to his exploration of the culinary world. He's added several foods to his "likes" list, including cheese, dill pickles, sweet potatoes, pears, apples, and mashed potatoes. It won't be long before his Mama gives him a taste of one of these.

Yep- first 2011 tomato from my tomato garden. Summer has officially arrived.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Let the chase begin

It's amazing what Henry and I can get into while Will is gone on a five day long business trip. Not only did we get some great photos of Henry in the washpan during the beginning of the week, but we also managed to do this:

Will's office was in desperate need of a makeover. It was the only room in the house we hadn't done anything to decorate. Since Will mostly works from home, what better surprise for Father's Day than to create him a warm and relaxing environment to look at while he's on conference calls and sending emails?

I've definitely done my share of painting/redecorating rooms in my life, but let me tell you- doing it with a 7 month old baby in tow adds a whole new dimension to the challenge. I got started on Wednesday night, giving me 48 hours to get everything done before Will got home from Las Vegas- painting, drape hanging, shelf installation, furniture arrangement and cleanup. What was I thinking, you may ask? Yep, I asked myself that same question about 36 hours in. Thankfully, Henry seemed to sense that we were running on a tight schedule and was very cooperative with his Mama. He took long naps, went to bed shortly after 7pm both nights of the project, and when he was awake he was semi-contented to supervise me from his jumparoo.

I also graciously accepted some help from two of my wonderful neighbors (Daphne & Rich) and they did an amazing job hanging the curtain rods and pressing and hanging the gorgeous drapes. I think one of the best parts of the room is the wall decor. On the wall above Will's desk I hung some of his favorite photos. On the wall across the room from his desk we have the carefully planned "Wall of Geekiness" that would make any Star Trek or Doctor Who fan quiver with delight.

I was pretty proud of myself for installing not one, but FIVE shelves without making any unnecessary holes in the walls. And they were level. And at this very moment not one of them has fallen onto the floor! However, I have to say that the instructions that came with the Ikea shelving was a hybrid between very unhelpful and hilarious. I mean, really-

Will was scheduled to arrive home from Las Vegas at around 7pm on Friday night. The room was completed at 6:40pm. Talk about down to the wire. I felt like I was smack in the middle of an episode of the old TLC show "Trading Spaces"- where they run around like rats on crack for the last few minutes before the homeowners arrive. I finished sweeping and mopping and put the last touch on the shelves and on the door going into Will's office.

Will's face when he walked into his office was priceless! He was totally surprised and loves his office. There was just ONE small addition he had to make to the shelving- his token purchase from our recent trip to England. Because no office could be complete without all the Doctors, could it?

The last time Will had a lengthy business trip, Henry decided to learn to roll over on the day he was scheduled to come home. Surely he wouldn't pull a stunt like that again, right? Well, this is Henry we're talking about. On Friday morning we were upstairs in the bonus room. I was framing photos for the office and Henry was several feet away on his alphabet rug playing with his toys. Then he was a couple of feet away. Then he was right beside me. What? Little crawler! He started out slow but over the last two days he has steadily been picking up speed- especially if you coax him along with a set of car keys or a remote control. He got so fast yesterday we got a little image blur!

Poor Preston. The look on his face just screams "Oh hell, we're in for it now". And he's probably right. The race is on!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Keeping ourselves busy

Sin City has stolen my man- at least for the week. Will is in Las Vegas this week for a Hewlett Packard work conference so Henry and I are assigned the task of keeping each other occupied. It's so much quieter (and much less entertaining) when Will's gone so I make sure to try to plan little things for Henry and I to do throughout the week to keep us busy. This afternoon's schedule was pretty wide open once we got home from running our errands and Henry was getting bored in the house, so we packed up a few necessities and headed out for a few more photos in the old washpan (since I wasn't completely satisfied with round 1).

In search of some shade we went down to the area beside little creek that runs through our neighborhood. What better place for washpan photos right? You can bet your life I was on high alert for snakes and even risked the safety of my favorite pair of flip flops to wade in some semi-slimy creek water. Guess my country roots do shine through every now and then. The most classic part of the whole experience was when Henry really, and I mean really, decided to break in the washpan (and on the day when I decided to photograph him diaper-less). It required a good scrubbing when we got home. But I totally think the finished products were worth it. I still have so much work to do with improving my photography, but he sure makes practicing a lot easier!

I'm glad we took the time to find some shade and splash around. Afternoons like this with my little redhead are priceless and I'm sure before I can turn around they'll be gone, so I'm soaking them up while I can.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We're melting!

The weather in Tennessee this week is 10 degrees above normal. Yesterday it reached 95 degrees. When you walk out the door you feel like your face might very well melt off and we haven't even reached the "hot" months yet. This weather makes me thankful that I'm not 20 weeks pregnant like I was this time last year. Instead, I get to carry around an adorable but sweaty baby. Temperatures like this mean that Henry and I are going to be found in one of two conditions: either in an air conditioned building or in the pool. The last few days we've opted for the second.

Henry's reaction to swimming in the big pool was much better than we expected. Guess that practice run in the inflatable pool might have actually worked! He seemed quite unsure when we put him in the cold water...

...but once the "Daddy Express" started transporting him around the pool in his float, all was well.

Our sweet little neighbor Harper was there to keep him (and us) entertained as well.

We made our second run down to the pool yesterday. Henry took to the water like a pro. He kicked back in his float and chewed on sweet Sofia's sunglasses (which she kindly loaned to him for this purpose). We were so glad that Jen & Sofie were able to join us for a little water time!

Things have taken a slight turn in the world of Henry Zuill's picky palate. Last week while I was sitting at the table with him I was having some strawberry greek yogurt for a snack. Henry started staring holes into me and doing his little grunt that means "I want to try that". If you've eaten greek yogurt before you know that it's not particularly sweet- actually pretty tart, so I was doubtful that this would go over well and an image popped into my head of myself covered in greek yogurt that was forcefully ejected from the boy child's mouth. No so. Instead, this is what we got instead.

Who would have thought? Today he did the same thing while I was eating some spinach artichoke hummus. Excuse me Mister 7 Month Old- that's a mighty sophisticated palate you have! I'm pretty proud. He also loves Farley's Rusks (which we introduced to him during our visit to the UK) but let me tell you, these things are messy business.

In other Henry related news (and isn't all news from this house Henry related?) we've have several notable occurrences in the last week. Unfortunately for all the four legged babies in this house young Henry seems to be inching closer and closer to mobility. He's often caught up on all fours rocking back and forth. He'll pull up on you any chance he gets. And on the day he turned 7 months old he said his first word. Yeah. You all know exactly what that word was. Da-da. Will beams when Henry says it. And since I've been encouraging him to say it for the last month, I was a pretty proud Mama too.

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend and thanks for checking in on Our Cheeky Life!