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!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Grandma" Zuill

It's been a difficult few days here at "Our Cheeky Life". My mum (Henry's "Grandma" Zuill) passed away on the morning November 13th. She passed at 67, which is far too young and it was a shock to us all. Although it's not the typical up-beat entry people are accustomed to at "Our Cheeky Life", I wanted to write this so one day, when Henry is old enough, he understands how important she was to our family.

My mum was a gentle women. She gave her everything to her family. Raising five kids is no mean feat. I say that again...FIVE kids! Angela and I have our hands full raising one, let alone five. She passed on her gentle sensibilities, her subtle wit and her 'tallness' (family joke) to all her children.

Being a guy I rarely see mamma or daddy's in a child's features. Even with Henry I still can't tell who he looks like. But I see my mother every time I look in the mirror - both in features and in heart - and I'm proud of that and I know she was too.

I don't feel badly to admit I was a mamma's boy. My fondest memories were of her and I preparing dinner. Not that I did much other than be Mummy's 'sampler' - trying the roast beef on a Sunday to make sure it was 'tasty', making sure the carrots tasted 'just right' or licking the bowl when we made something sweet. I think about those times together often and it's something I'll treasure forever. I still cook a lot. I'm no great chef by any stretch of the imagination, but I think I do pretty well. I got that from her.

Mum and I were close. She was close to all her kids. Every weekend we'd talk on the phone about my week, what was going on in her world etc. And when talk turned to that of the adventures of Baby Henry I knew her smile widened on the other end of the phone. I'm very proud of the day when she got to meet Henry. We visited back in April and within what seems like seconds of us arriving at my brothers house, mum and dad were there to meet a certain someone. Mum then proceeded to kiss and hug that baby like it was going out of fashion. Even now I look at the photos of that moment and it lifts me. My deepest regret is that she didn't see him more often being so far away. We'd planned to spend this Christmas in the UK and I know how much she was looking forward to seeing him again. It saddens me to think she won't see Henry grow. Henry will know her though - through the stories and memories that I and the rest of my family will share with him - and I think he'll know how special she was.

As you might imagine, this entry has been difficult to write. Everything you write you feel like you are leaving out so much. A big hole is missing from our lives and I think we have all been feeling it since she passed. I love my mum and I shall miss her dearly. All the Zuill's will. But we will get through this difficult time through the strength of our family. A strength that we shall forever draw from her.

Mum - on her Wedding Day...

The Zuill Family - 2009

My proudest day...mum meets Baby Henry....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not a baby.

Turning 1 means you're not a baby anymore. You're a toddler. Officially. And there are certain rights and privileges that should come with being a toddler. Mess making is one of those privileges.

The actual day of Henry's birthday we decided that he should be given the opportunity to make a proper mess at dinner time, so we turned him loose on a plate of spaghetti. And of course we had the camera right there to capture this sauce-covered face.

Followed directly by capturing this cookie-covered face.

We also decided last week to have a large pitiful looking tree removed from our front landscaping. It just so happens that our landscapers came to remove the tree while Henry was having Spaghettifest 2011 in our kitchen. It also just so happens that they accidentally broke a water line while removing the tree, leading to Henry getting a baby wipes bath in the kitchen sink.

A little earlier that same day I took Henry out for a little "1 year Old" photo session in his birthday shirt.

Henry wasn't the only one who got lured in front of my camera this week. I was also able to get a few images of Henry's sweet playmate, Emerson, and her brother, Hayden.

This year, as it seems it does every year, fall has really snuck up on me. It's always as though I know the time is getting close, the weather gets a little nicer, and then before I know it the leaves on the trees are ruby red. There's no turning back at this point. Fall is here.

Last fall I was curled up in the house with my newborn. This year I chased my toddler around the pumpkin patch.

We lead Henry in and out of the rows and rows of pumpkins, waiting for some indication from him about which pumpkin he wanted to take home. Turns out, he was there for the gravel.

We did, finally, sway his interest towards the main attraction.

We managed to leave with a pumpkin of perfect proportions. And a couple of days later, on Halloween, I was absolutely sure I was going to butcher it beyond recognition trying to carve it. I have to say, for a pumpkin-carving rookie, I surprised myself just a little.

My Brit is really into Halloween. And by that I mean that he carved his own tombstones from styrofoam using a sautering gun and created a self-stirring foggy witches' cauldron with paper mache and a windshield wiper motor. Now that's geeky. And it makes for a very spooky Halloween yard.

Henry, however, was not all that intimidated.

We have such a good neighborhood for trick or treating. There are so many houses within the radius of a just few blocks and most everyone gets into the spirit of Halloween. You never know who is going to answer the door when they hear "Trick or Treat!".

This was Henry's first year of actual trick-or-treating. He was actually just kind of along for the ride with his two older cousins who came to hang out with us on Halloween. Ella Grace was our perfect little Pocahontas and Cohen was our brave little Batman (complete with Doberman ears).

Will and I were dressed as pirates for Halloween (Arrrghhh!). And what's a pirate without a parrot?

Henry's attire was pretty much the most appropriate costume he could have worn. He is quite the parrot these days, repeating so many of the words that we say on a regular basis. And his newest trick is the pointer finger that he so precisely uses to motion us to the direction we need to go to do his bidding, or to which bite he wants next from his plate. Sweet chubby finger.

A busy, wonderful week. And next week promises more of the same!