Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Double digits...

There are certain events from my childhood that I can recall like they happened yesterday. And looking back now, some of the ones I chose to designate as defining moments seem a bit unusual.

I remember the first time I saw a snake in our yard, slithering it's way towards what apparently was a snake escape route under our sidewalk. I was sure it was going to coil back and bite me and kill me dead on the spot. It was orange and black striped and (from what I can recall) looked a bit like this.

I was probably about 4 years old, and nearly panicked, ran inside to tell my mom. She asked me "Are you sure it wasn't a worm?". Ok, I know that at times I might have been a bit dramatic as a kid, but a worm, really? Mom, I know you're reading this, and I hope you remember! And seriously, it was NOT a worm!

I remember the first time I rode the school bus as a kindergartener, and how our bus driver, Mr. Fry, backed into our long driveway to turn around and nearly plowed down a tree in our front yard. I remember thinking that it was not a good way to start my school career.

I also remember when I was 9 years, 11 months, and 364 days old, and how the next day was such a big deal, because the next day was my birthday, and I would be turning 10. Double digits. When you hit the double digits (in my mind) that was huge. You were growing up.

Instead of being in years it is in months, but our boy hit the double digits this week. Ten months old. And my goodness, sweet Henry, has it been the fastest ten months of your Mama's life.

Plans for the first birthday bash are obviously already taking shape even though it's still almost two months away. Instead of finding myself saddened by the fact that my baby is growing up so fast, however, I am totally caught up in marveling over how much he is learning every day. Not all of these newly acquired skills are ones that I would necessarily choose for him, however. For example, the way he's learned to slide the less-than-desirable dinner items under the tray of his high chair into the seat instead of eating them, and how he casually flicks them to pets that are clustered at the base of the table waiting for the treats falling from above. Sneaky little ginger.

His upright trips up and down our long hallway are getting faster and faster by the day. All of the four-legged babies in this house know when to take cover under a table lest they get plowed over by Hank the Tank.

We've also graduated to big boy pajamas. You know, the kind without the built in feet. Because the only way I could fit Mr. 95th-percentile-for-height into most of those footie pajamas these days would be to snip the feet off with a pair of scissors. It's amazing how footless pajamas can make him look so much older.

We received a threat by messenger this week. I was talking to my mom on the phone and she casually said "Your Daddy said that he doesn't remember the last time he saw Henry, and if he doesn't see Henry soon..." and the sentence trailed off. Like they wanted me to imagine the horrible fate I would be forced to face for withholding such adorableness. Knowing that my Daddy hadn't seen Henry in almost a month, not wanting to be responsible for him developing some sort of twitch, we packed up in the car over the weekend and headed to my hometown.

I love my parents' house. Don't get me wrong, I love where we live, but their house is the exact opposite. It's out in the country, and although the road they live on goes for miles and miles, there are only about five other families who live on it. And of course, they know every person in each of those families. It's a good place to relax and to detach. And of course, to visit with the people you love most in the world.

After some honestly refreshing family time this weekend, Henry and I headed out for another little adventure on Monday- to the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee to meet up with my friend (and amazing photographer) Kate. She showed up with her adorable little sidekick, Griff. Seriously, she's lucky I didn't try to steal him.

First of all, Henry was shocked that there were actually stairs and ramps that were especially designed for tumbling babies. He would climb a few inches up, and look back as if expecting the mother bird to intervene (who me??).

Then he and Griff did the usual baby thing. They looked at each us for a minute and then spent the rest of the time looking at each other, amazed by the other 'little person' within arm's reach.

Turns out that Griff is quite the little Picasso. With a little help from Mama of course.

Shew. What a wonderful activity-filled week it has been. Just makes you want to take a good long nap.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fast forward

Once you have a baby, time begins to pass at a rate that will make your head spin. That's what everybody says. That one minute you have a brand new wrinkled newborn who sleeps all day, but that before you can realize you've even blinked they are walking, talking, and asking to borrow the keys to your car because it's prom night and they promise they'll be home by 1am.

There is not one bit of doubt in my mind that I will soon be able to testify that this is the absolute truth, and I'll swear that I can barely remember the days when Henry refused to sit down in the bathtub and was trying to eat cat hair when I wasn't looking.

But for right now I'm a stay at home mom to a very busy 10 month old. Don't get me wrong, I bask in the fact that I've been able to stay at home with Henry. Don't think for a second I take it for granted because I know how many busy working moms would love to be in my shoes. Sometimes, though, when you are a stay at home mom (to a very busy 10 month old) you find yourself searching for ways to keep both of you busy and mentally stimulated- ways that you didn't try the day before, and the day before, and the day before...

Sometimes you take a little road trip, about 60 miles south, to visit a grandmother and a great-grandmother who couldn't hide their adoration for red-headed babies if they tried.

Sometimes you go to the park. But you have to go early, before the swings get so hot that they feel like they'll take off the first layer of skin if you sit on them. And you smile as you watch your baby get pushed higher and higher. The same swings that brought uncertainty a couple of months ago now come with a guarantee of baby laughter- especially if Daddy is the main swing operator in charge.

Sometimes you encourage your baby to practice his sippy cups skills. And then you don't know whether to be proud or grossed out when he utilizes them by trying to drink bath water from the hair-rinsing cup.

Sometimes you wonder how your baby can hear the sound of the dishwasher opening from 50 feet away, and then you occasionally give in and just let him do his thing and explore the world of dishwasher land. But you still wonder why his tongue has to be sticking out of his mouth while he is on the expedition.

Sometimes, on the really good days, Daddy doesn't have to work, so we are all able to go the pool together. I'm really not sure which of my boys enjoys this the most.

Sometimes you just go out in the yard, in the morning, when the light is supposed to be good, and try to get a couple of those great pictures of your boy. But sometimes all you get are pictures of him trying to eat grass and looking purely annoyed (but still adorable).

Or you can just stay inside and take photos of him crawling around stark naked with his favorite stacking cups from Ikea covering his hands like a pair of winter gloves. Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop. He couldn't sneak up on Hellen Keller with those things on his hands.

These are the days that I will long for when he is older and wants to entertain himself with anything other than his Mama. So I try to etch them in my memory, to savor them like you would savor a long nap or a really good dessert. I soak them in, because these are the days.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What do you remember?

When I was a kid I was a country girl. We ran barefoot on gravel roads. I remember hot summer nights, being allowed to stay up way past our normal bedtime, and catching lightning bugs who were doomed to the fate of being placed in mason jars with holes in the lids where they would be stared at with total fascination until we let them go free. And I remember eating watermelon. Big slices of watermelon sprinkled with salt that we would carry to the front porch steps and eat, with juice pouring down our chins, and nobody made us use napkins.

Although we weren't in the country, and it wasn't past our bedtimes, Henry and I had a little reenactment of my childhood watermelon scene this week. And I did not make him use a napkin.

He has eaten nearly 1/4 of a watermelon in the past week. I think maybe he likes it.

It has been birthday party central in our social circle lately. A party each weekend for the last three weeks. It's part of being a parent, isn't it? Days that, in the past, would have been spent going to the movies or to restaurants with linen napkins are now spent as part of an audience that is held captive by giddy babes who have a sugar high from inhaling too much cake. I'll take this any day over linen napkins.

On Saturday our sweet neighbor Harper turned two. Let me tell you, Harper's mom, Jess, knows how to throw together a party. She blows me away with the details.

Even down to the details of Harper's birthday outfit. Will got the money shot with this photo. I love it.

We were pretty blown away by the cake too. A old fashioned strawberry birthday cake with the most delectable icing. The kind of icing that makes you lick your fingers. I don't know what came over me, but I decided that it would be just shameful for Henry to be at a birthday party with this kind of cake and not get at least one bite. So I gave him a bite. The next thing I knew, he was climbing up me like King Kong climbed up the Empire State Building in order to wrap his lips around bite #2.

All of their family came from out of town for the birthday bash, so we decided to take advantage of having the whole group together, and after the party headed down the street for me to take a few family photos. They are quite a festive group in their party attire, right?

We also took a few shots at "Jess & Bob's tree" (which is conveniently located about 50 feet from mine and Will's tree). Man I love taking photos like this.

About a month ago Will and I were Target one day. I pointed to an item on the shelf in the toy section. "Let's get this for Henry," I said. It was one of those little walk-behind cars. He'd been standing up and cruising for a while, so he would obviously love this. We got it home and excitedly put it together. Henry looked at it, spun the wheels a little bit with his chubby little hand, and went back to his normal routine of looking for non-food items to put in his mouth. No interest whatsoever. Every once in a while we would try to get him to stand and walk behind it. He would quickly throw us a look that clearly said "y'all are crazy" and crawl off, so we just let it go.

Yesterday we were having a laid back Sunday afternoon. Will was on his laptop, I was working on some birthday decorations, and Henry was playing with his toys in the floor. But suddenly, he wasn't playing with toys on the floor. Suddenly, he was moving down the hallway doing this.

You can clearly see the amount of concentration this requires.

He hasn't just stopped with the car. Today we looked up and saw the resourceful little devil walking through the hallway pushing his stroller. I have a feeling we don't have long before this boy is really on the move! And finally, this week, from the mouth of my babe came the one word I've been waiting on the edge of my seat to hear- "Mama". I'm in love with watching this little boy evolve! What a ride!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Henry and Harper sitting in a tree...

How many times has this little chant run through the heads of the moms of these two adorable kids?

Harper is our too-cute-for-words neighbor down the street. Henry and Harper are destined to be together, right? Or at least be amazing friends. No doubt about that. On this past humid and blazing hot Tennessee Sunday afternoon, these two chums spent a little time enjoying each other's company (as did their parents). It's good to have good neighbors.

Harper didn't mind sharing her mom for a bit, but she made sure than Henry knew who was her rightful owner.

If Henry doesn't go after this girl's heart, I don't know what's wrong with him. Look at this smile.

Uncle Mark even braved the sweltering weather to visit with us.

Eventually driven indoors by the nearly 100-degree heat, the babes soon found ways to entertain themselves inside.

This collection of legs makes me swoon!

The day wouldn't be complete without Henry trying to make off with some of the goods.

Eventually the coloring (and stealing magic markers) became a bit boring for these two. Turns out that Harper loves dolls. It also turned out that Henry made a great doll for her to stroll around.

He was not such a fan.

With the coloring and the strolling behind them, these two finally sat still long enough for a snack. And is there possibly anything better to eat on a smothering hot summer day than watermelon?

And of course, no Sunday afternoon is complete without this. Henry loves his Daddy so very much.

Thanks for checking in with us!