Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Time Traveling Daddy....

Joy. That's what parenthood is. I'm sure many people have attempted to sum up the parenthood experience in a more eloquent way than I but when it all comes down to it - the parenthood experience boils down to simply one word. Joy.

Although it hardly seems like a week, let alone a year since Henry was born - I now see a little boy in front of me rather than the little 'Oh my god Angela we have a actual-real eats and poops a lot baby' that we brought home from the hospital. I can honestly say I loved every minute of the whole affair. So how do describe the whole experience? Well, as I mentioned above 'Joy' sums up experience, but If I were to step into the TARDIS (Yes, I know most of you are going to have to look that one up) and time travel back to this time a year ago (the morning of Henry's Birthday), what would I tell myself?


It's a stormy morning as Future Will steps out of the TARDIS having just landed on the morning of October 26th 2010. To the Will of the past, the Will who had just driven his cheeky monkey Angela to the hospital, parenthood is still hours away.

Future Will: Hello Past Will!

Past Will: Erm…Hello…future me……hey where did you get that Doctor Who shirt you are wearing? it's cool

Future Will: Never mind that now Geek boy. I'm from one year in your future, I'm here to talk to you about Parenthood.

Past Will: What the 1989 movie starring Steve Martin and that women out of Back to the Future III?

Future Will: No, the journey you and Angela are about to go on - about to go on as a family!

Past Will: Oh…that's good cause I haven't seen it anyway.

Future Will shakes his head, sits down and gestures Past Will to do the same.

Future Will: So how you feeling?

Past Will: Excited….a little nervous maybe. It's been a bit of a whirlwind so far to be honest.

Future Will: I know. That feeling never stops by the way. The nerves pass after a few weeks - once you realize that you haven't broken him, you settle into a routine. But the whirlwind part - well, before you know it you'll no longer have a baby, you'll have a little boy who lights up anytime he sees his mummy or daddy.

Past Will: But what's it like? Parenthood I mean.

Future Will: It's hard to describe until you actual go through the experience. No matter what anyone tells you its so much more. Sure, it's fairly obvious you get so much pleasure from the big stuff

Past Will: Like what?

Future Will: Well, for example, the first time he looks onto your eyes and with a faint flicker of recognition, produces a little gummy smile.

Or the first time you have to change his nappy/diaper….the moment when you peal it back and shout 'Angela, our son has been eating tar again'.

The first time he reaches out his little hand and with the softest of touches, grips your little finger.

The first time, with an almost Herculean effort, he pushes himself from his tummy to his back and then starts to cry because his mummy and daddy are cheering like they have just won the world cup.

The first time you sit him on your knee, this son of yours, and with in faint baby-babble voice he looks at you and says 'Dadda'. Then, in the same breath, looks at Layla the dog and states 'Dadda'.

The first time you transfer him from your bedroom to his own in order to get more sleep but actual spend the night awake staring at the baby monitor talking about how cute he looks whilst sleeping.

The first time he hauls himself up on his arms and legs and with much shouting of 'Come on Henry, Come to Daddy' he bumps and crawls to your arms….and then, within what seems like seconds, has sped up his crawling so much that he looks like a remote control car whizzing around the house.

The first time you feed him solids and giggle at the looks of horror on his face - only for him to get his revenge when he delivers something nothing short of radioactive waste in his diaper later on.

The first time you realize that your son is psychic when it comes to either the dishwasher being open, the dog food being placed within reach of baby hands and the location of 'edible' cat fur on the floor.

The moment when he climbs to his feet on his little 'walker' car and takes his first steps into a brave new world.

The BIG moment when he final ditches his walker (or ironing board, storage bin, stroller or whatever else he's been using to steer himself around) to take his first real steps.

The first time he waddles up to you, bumps into your legs, looks up and with arms held high, reaches up to be picked up.

All of those experiences are huge and something that you'll just soak them in know what?

Past Will: What?

Future Will: It's the love you give and receive that matters. You'll look at Angela interacting with Henry one day and almost be able to physically feel the love between them.

You'll see Angela parents simply light up with Joy every time they hold that sweet boy.

You'll see your family, on a trip to England at Easter, hug and kiss Henry like you've never seen before.

You'll see his Aunts, Uncles and Cousins adore Henry like he is their own.

Friends, near, far and virtual will follow along the adventures of Baby Henry via the blog and shed so much love on the little boy that you smile every time you even think of it.

And for you…'ll wonder how you ever lived your life without Henry. The boy who smiles so widely every time he sees your face. The boy who brings so much joy to this little family of ours. The boy who, in my time Past Will, is turning one - no longer Baby Henry but toddler Henry. That's what matters. That's what Parenthood is about.

Past Will: Wow….that's what I've got to look forward to have I?

Future Will: Yes…..that and City winning the FA Cup, Series 6 of Doctor Who and City beating United 6-1 at Old Trafford.

Past Will: Fantastic! Sounds like a great year!

Future Will: It is simply Magical. Enjoy this time with your son. It will be the most amazing time in your life so far.

Past Will: Your Son!?! Has a ring to it doesn't it? Will?……Will?….Hello???….


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

They say it's your birthday...

Tonight was the last night that I will ever put Baby Henry to bed. Because tomorrow he will no longer be Baby Henry- he will officially be Toddler Henry. Tomorrow my baby turns one.

For me to try to recount all the changes that have taken place in my life over the last year would be nearly impossible. My life is completely different than it used to be and full of delicious unexplored territory because of a little red head who shows me something brand new every day. I get to watch the magical process of growing up happening right before my eyes.

Saturday a group of our family and friends joined us to celebrate the little boy who has brought so much happiness to so many people over the last year. Our Henry.

As I mentioned a couple of blog posts back, preparation for Henry's birthday party has been in the works for a while. It has been so nice for me to be able to create all the different parts a little bit at a time. Things came together just as I'd hoped for Henry's day- and my friend Kate Crafton was so amazing to come take the most wonderful photos to capture this milestone event!

Henry showed up early for the party- still in his pajamas (lest he get an unidentifiable stain on his birthday outfit before the guests arrived).

While Henry roamed about to check things out the rest of us were arranging and hanging and preparing.

I have been told more than once by one of my best friends, "Details matter...". So I tried to keep that in mind when I was planning Henry's "Vintage Toy" birthday party.

We had the most amazing cookies from Phoebe's Cookies. She couldn't have done a better job complimenting the other parts of Henry's party. And they tasted just as good as they looked.

I can't begin to explain how fantastic it was to have Kate taking all the photos at the party. She even was classy enough to bring an adorable assistant (her daughter).

I didn't pick up a camera the entire party. How freeing. I just got to dive headfirst in my baby boy's big day, and I knew Kate was documenting the day perfectly. It was so nice to be able to look through all the pictures the next day and get glimpses of moments I might have never seen otherwise. The best part of the party really is the people who are there.

About an hour into the party we reached the point where Henry truly got to be the star of the show.

Henry has been going though this phase lately where if you put a finger food on his high chair tray, sometimes, instead of picking it up and putting it in his mouth with his fingers he'll just put his entire face down on the tray and dive in. Apparently this technique applies to birthday cake as well.

What a perfect day and what lucky parents we are to have this amazing little boy in our lives. I'll leave you with a few more of my favorite images from Saturday.

Happy Birthday my sweet Henry.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Running behind, Running ahead...

I've been a bit behind on my blogging lately. There are only a couple of things I can blame this on.

Number one.

and number two.

Although it had been just over a year since I last touched it, it was amazing how quickly that stethoscope settled right back around my neck like it had never left. That's right. Mama is back to work.

It's so amazing to have those times in your life where all the pieces almost effortlessly fall into place. Mama stays home with baby for a blissful year. At the end of that year Mama finds herself seemingly ready to go back to work. Then Mama spies an open part time position at the clinic where she used to work. Soon after, an amazing childcare situation falls in Mama's lap. Presto.

Henry has done really well with the transition to me working a couple of days a week (which in turn means that I've done well with it too). I am blessed with a wonderful group of co-workers who have really made going back to work feel like "coming home". It doesn't hurt, either, that I have the most wonderful Brit at home- cooking dinner EVERY night I've had to work so far. Is he a keeper or what?

The first day I went back to work was the longest time period I had ever spent away from Henry during his 11 months. Knowing he was in good hands was great and helped ease my mind throughout the day, but still (and you Mamas know) that was a LONG day. However, I have to truly admit that there was nothing so sweet as when I went to pick Henry up that first day and he toddled his way across the room and hugged my legs and then reached his arms up for me to hold him. Time apart from the boy-child really makes me savor my time with him a lot more. Kind of like a dieter savors Ben & Jerry's. Blissful.

The weather in Tennessee has been blissful too. Fall has arrived and made it clear that it will not step aside to the likes of Summer's blazing temperatures. Large pots of mums and beautifully orange pumpkins have found their way to my neighbors' front steps. Our Halloween costumes are hanging anxiously in our closets waiting for Henry's first real "Trick or Treat" night with his cousins. He's been channeling the spirit of Halloween already.

This is the kind of weather that demands to be soaked in. And of course you know what that means- lots of trips to the neighborhood playground.

You know it's going to be a good day at the playground when you walk over and see that the parking lot is not full of cars, but full of strollers and tricycles with streamers coming from the handlebars.

You might remember when, back in April, I participated in my very first 5K run in Columbia. It all went so well- and the rush you get after running a race (even a measly 5K) is amazing. So amazing that you might foolishly sign up for a 1/2 marathon soon after. That is exactly what I did. Back in the spring I signed up for a 1/2 marathon in Murfreesboro- The Middle Half.

What was I thinking, you might ask? Advertised as a primarily flat course this was bound to be a great choice for a first half marathon. Unless you live in Tennessee, where the summer temperatures reach 85 degrees by 9am and your running routine brutally bites the dust all summer. Oops.

Determined not to let an entry fee go to waste, and with a little less than a month to go from the race, I set about trying to salvage my running enough to participate. And participate I did. Although undertrained, I was present at the starting line at 7am on Saturday morning, not knowing exactly what my outcome would be.

The weather was absolutely perfect and some of my fellow runners were dressed to impress.

About halfway through the race I ran into my friend Karen (who oddly enough, I had never met in person before that day). We ran several miles together, passing the time with good conversation.

After just at 2 hours and 20 minutes, I found myself approaching this.

The finish line! Even though (two days later) I am still hobbling around a bit like a 98 year old woman, I am proud. 13.1 miles and I ran it. I couldn't decide which was better at the end of the race. My finisher's medal or the fresh orange slices.

Or being able to finally put this on my car.

Karen and her husband Jonathan were pretty proud too.

Another race begins at our house this week. This one is called "It's 5 days until the Birthday Party". I guess there's no doubt what our next blog entry will be about!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Houston, we have lift off...

Well, it wasn't actually lift off. More like take off.

About three weeks ago Henry took his first steps from my arms to his Daddy's arms. Then, obviously, he checked it off his baby bucket list and couldn't be asked to do it again. Until four days ago. Our beloved offspring has now evolved to join the masses of humans who travel by way of two legs instead of on hands and knees. Or he has the ability to walk, anyway. He's still not a complete convert. Today I caught him walking completely unassisted to his baby walker so that he could propel it around the living room. Silly little Brit.

In honor of his British heritage Henry donned a special outfit for bedtime this week. We picked this outfit up for my nephew Cohen when we visited Buckingham Palace during our first trip to England in 2009. I was so happy to see in it one of the bags of fabulous hand-me-downs from my sister-in-law. I think Henry pulled it off quite well.

Henry's first birthday party is in about 2 1/2 weeks. I'm still in a state of somewhat disbelief about it. I know there are decorations (that I have made, no less) sitting on my dining room table. I know I have mailed out the most carefully crafted invitations. I know that tomorrow I'm going to order from Etsy the shirt he will wear on the day of his party. But in sprite of all the evidence, it's still so hard to believe my baby is about to turn one.

Quite timely in it's arrival, appearing in my mailbox last week was a coupon for a free 8x8 photo book from Shutterfly. Never a girl to turn down a free photo book, I set to work over the next couple of days. Today this arrived in the mail. I cried twice while writing it. I can't wait for Henry's dad to get home from Atlanta to read it.

Will and I both love photography so we haven't really felt the need to get the traditional 3, 6, and 9 month photos of Henry. I mean, hardly a day goes by that the boy doesn't have his picture taken. However, a couple of weeks ago we were able to score a photo session with my friend and amazing photographer Sara Rose. We met up with her at The Factory in Franklin, Tennessee for a family photo session and for her to capture some images of our nearly one year old.

Henry did amazing for the photos. Except for the fact that I'm sure Sara had to edit out half of the photos because Henry decided to do his 'Kiss' impression for part of the session.

And as if that wasn't enough, he saved the best expression for when his Daddy was laying a sweet kiss on his Mama.

Thanks for stopping by to check in with us. We'll see you later!