Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Maiden turkey.

I am a spring chicken. I do not like winter at all. But I do love Thanksgiving. My mom can make sweet potato casserole like nothing I've ever tasted. With all that sinful brown sugar and pecans on top. My gosh. I think about that sweet potato casserole the whole other 11 months of the year. So good.

This year we hosted our family's Thanksgiving dinner in our new home. This house is never more amazing than when it's filled with people we love, making messes and making noise. On Thanksgiving, our family starts early and goes late. The kids play. The adults cook and talk and wash dishes and referee the occasional kid dispute. Christmas music sneaks its way into the background. The whole day is slow and satisfying. And Mr. Zuill's maiden turkey in the new kitchen- well it was was pretty darn amazing.

Earlier on during Thanksgiving week, our home was definitely full of life. It seemed like we were long overdue for a visit from our two favorite cousins, and so it was decided upon that they should spend a couple of nights with us. Henry is undeniably happy when these two are in the house. They are at such a great age to play together. Minimal fussing between the boy-cousins and little mama hen (Ella Grace) has a knack for keeping the boys in check! But all bets are off when the cheese-sneaking starts during pizza time.

Sometimes I just like to see how crazy I can get the kids to act. ha! It's fun! So we challenged them to a group dance-off. We, of course, were participating too- and the winners were rewarded with glow stick dancing rights.

Thanksgiving week flies by like the blink of an eye, doesn't it? Before we knew it, it was December 1st and time for "Shelf the Elf" to arrive. This is a fun thing to do as a parent. As long as you remember to move the elf every night. And as long as you keep in mind that it will prompt your child to get out of bed extra early every morning for the majority of December. But really, it's fun, right? Henry thinks so. His new "Shelf" pajamas sealed the deal.

Next up is the atrocity known as the gingerbread house. Except this year it was a gingerbread train. I told Will that I was going to claim Henry did the icing. We all know better.

Now we approach the time of year when things seem to slow down. Will and I are both counting down the number of work days left in the year, anxious for time with each other and our family. Henry wakes up every morning, looking for Shelf and opening doors on advent calendars. Christmas is coming and we are enjoying the wait for it's arrival!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Song in the Key of Life.

Music has become our new cable TV. It fills our home about 80% of our waking hours. Henry knows more Beatles songs then I knew when I was 20. He knows which songs belong to Michael Jackson. There's nothing more adorable than when he busts out some Benny and the Jetts. I truly do love music- as most people do. But I've never been much of a concert girl. For me, music has had just the same meaning whether I was listening to it from the 3rd row of the Ryman or from my jambox while I'm cooking dinner.

All that changed last Saturday night.

I can't even remember when I started liking Stevie Wonder. In my mind his music has always been around. My parents listened to him when they drove us around in their plymouth station wagon. And even when, in my teens and twenties, I listened to other questionable musical artists, Stevie never left my playlist.

Mr. Zuill knows exactly how much I love Stevie Wonder and for the last 6 years has had this on his radar. For the first time in 7 years Stevie Wonder would be touring- and stopping in Atlanta! So I got the amazing surprise of two tickets and a weekend date!

The concert was amazing. Stevie Wonder's beautiful voice filled the air as he celebrated and story-told with his music. I truly soaked every second of it in (hence only the handful of phone pictures). The concert was even more than I could have imagined- as was my weekend with Mr. Zuill! Thank you SO much Will!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

henry is four.

Dear Henry-

My gosh, Henry Zuill. How are you already four? Four. That doesn't even sound so little anymore, does it? Three year olds can still claim to be toddlers, but at four? You're encroaching on big boy territory, my sweet boy. You have grown so much and so quickly. You are full of opinions and ideas and life. Sometimes you are full of answers too, like when I quizzed you, last week, about life as Henry the 4 year old.

what is your favorite color? green
what is your favorite toy? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
what is your favorite animal? giraffe
what do you want to be when you grow up? A ninja turtle police officer
what is your favorite breakfast? pancakes
what are you best at? coloring
what is your favorite thing to do at school? clean windows
what is your favorite holiday? all of them

Right now, Henry, you are so much fun. Even though you never want to get up in the mornings, you love school once you set foot in the door. You love the pets (the jury is still out on them). You love music and cooking. Last week we spent an entire afternoon making pizza dough and sauce from scratch and making a pizza that looked so beautiful but that was cemented to the pizza stone. ha!

And child, you sure do love legos and ninja turtles. It worked out so well that costumes were encouraged for your 4th birthday party. It pays to have a birthday so close to Halloween.

This year you had a joint birthday party with our sweet friend Sofie. The best part of all this was Sofie's mom (and one of my favorite people in the world!), Jen, and I doing all the fun prep for the party. Sure we griped a little along the way, while dotting tiny mustard eyes on mummy-dogs and mummifying juice boxes, but it sure did turn out cute!

Your gift this year from your Daddy and me was a big boy bike. Daddy and I learned to always take the time to wait for in-store assembly, but we managed to get your bike put together in time for the party. Your little hands held out to receive your gift was almost too much.

The day of your actual birthday was on a Sunday. And on Sundays we always Skype with Uncle Andy & Auntie Cheryl in the UK- which meant they got to watch you open your birthday gift from them!

The following week you got to have your birthday celebration at school. You walked around the sun four times this year.

I'll tell you what, Henry Z.- you sure do make me one proud mama. And although we all have our moments- you spend most of your moments spreading joy. You go into the world and you are kind and open and loving and curious. You make me happy from the inside out. Happy birthday, my Henry. I love you.