Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Cold Winter Walk

As everyone knows, Oregon winters have very little to do with snowmen, jack frost, or sleigh rides of any kind, and more to do with soggy clothes, soggy shoes (unless you are wearing puddle shoes, that is), and windshield wipers.  (I almost threw in "umbrellas", but people out here don't carry them.)  So any time the sun decides to show it's ever-elusive face, we are all surprised at the appearance of a "nice day".  Even Claire will comment that it is a beautiful day if the sun is out.  Just such a day presented itself on December 1st, and so we quickly unpacked the stroller, bundled up the children, and took a walk.  Being as rare as they are, this sunny day and the accompanying walk seemed occasion enough to take pictures.  And I love my cute family, so I am showing them off.

Can you tell Claire is in a "Fancy Nancy" stage?  She was looking ever-so-fabulous for our walk!


Henry got this hat from his Grandma and Grandpa Hensel, and it only just became cold enough to warrant a hat.  I realize it's a little small, but he had to at least wear it once!

I sure love em!


And look at this little beauty!  I couldn't believe I had a rose bud on December 1st!  Nothing has come of it yet, but we'll keep the vigil going! 



I'm always trying to catch the perfect picture of my children smiling, or deep in thought, or at play.  But sometimes I forget how cute a baby looks when they are crying, and the sweet things they do to try and soothe themselves.  So the other day when Henry was feeling sad/frustrated (I believe I had just taken away a printer cartridge that he had just gotten a hold of and was curiously trying to eat), and the pouty lip just killed me.  He looked so dejected.  Forlorn.  Sad.


By the time they get to age 3-ish, the frustrated cry is no longer cute (because usually there is a tantrum attached), so I thought I would try to photograph a time when Henry's cry is still cute and compels me to pick the little guy up and smooch him, instead of sending him to a corner to calm down.



Monday, December 17, 2012

Transfer of Power II

Because my children are exactly 3 years apart, I will admit I forgot a lot.  There were quite a few details that got lost in the 3 year time span between Claire's infancy and Henry's.  I couldn't remember how I went about introducing solids, for example.  How much infant cereal did I need to prepare?  When did I introduce table food?  What foods are safe for the under-one set?  And the list of questions continued.  

How I approached these parental quandaries has changed from when Claire was a baby.  With Claire, I checked out a lot of books from the library.  A lot.  I perused blogs and asked friends who also had small children.  I tried to gather as much information as I could before tackling the roller coaster that is child development.  I constantly had questions, like "when is the appropriate time to do such-and-such?", or "is this behavior normal?".  I guess I took a more academic approach to parenting.  

With Henry, it is a little different.  While I do still have the questions, they are not as frequent.  I am less worried about whether or not I'm doing something right or wrong (at least when it comes to things like napping and eating). I suppose that lack of fear comes from experience, even though I don't remember a lot of the details from my last experience.  

Really, the difference between my parenting style and attitude this time around vs. last time is the amount of forethought.  That's pretty much it.  Things kind of jump up on me, and it doesn't phase me like it did last time around.  

Case in point:  the handing over of the spoon.   


With Claire, I thought about it beforehand.  Probably too much.


I was nervous.  I had visions of potential messes.  


And then she put the spoon in her mouth, and I chalked it up to a successful parenting and development moment.


With Henry, this was literally my internal dialogue:  "Henry's 11 months old now.  I'm pretty sure I let Claire try to feed herself by this age.  This bowl of cottage cheese is just about gone, so I guess I should let him try to feed himself with a spoon.  Today's as good a time as any."  Really, that was it.  So I very unceremoniously handed over the spoon.


I gave him the spoon the first time with cottage cheese already on it.  He kinda got it into his mouth, and then decided he would rather play with the bowl and spoon than try to eat with it.


And then eating with his hand seemed a better option.


And then he started putting the spoon into the bowl!  No matter that it was the wrong end of the spoon...



And after that, he started to rub his cottage cheese-laden fingers in his hair.  And like any self-respecting mother, I cleaned it out with a baby wipe.  Because I knew that he'd just get into another kind of mess at lunch.  One thing I learned - getting cottage cheese out of fine baby hair is not fun, nor is it easy.  If we have another child, I'll have to make sure that cottage cheese isn't on the menu the next time I hand over the spoon for the first time.

If I remember, that is.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend

Well, I've done it again.  

I've hosted guests for Thanksgiving another year, and neglected to take decent pictures of everyone.  

In my defense, I was in the kitchen.  A lot.

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We did take time to get out and about while Adam's parents were here.  We went to the South Store Cafe for lunch and did a little window shopping afterwards at Smith Berry Barn.

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But most of our out-of-the-house excursions were to Home Depot.  Another reason I didn't take a lot of pictures is because there were some projects going on.  Bryant and Glenda are awesome.  They did a lot of good work.  

Adam and Bryant squared off the garage doors and then re-framed it.  You can see what was probably the original color of the garage doors in the corners.  Those brown corners may be there for a while longer...

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Bryant also did some electrical stuff for us - replacing many of the outlet boxes in the house (they were so bad that often we would plug something in and it would easily fall out with little resistance), and wiring a light up to our attic/crawlspace above the garage.

Glenda was our painter-extraordinaire!  After our popcorn ceiling was taken down, the contractor sprayed orange peel texture before hand-applying the plaster texture that we wanted.  But he didn't tape off the walls, which meant there was anywhere from a 1 to 2 inch overspray line throughout the entire house where it hit the wall. (for an image click here, and scroll down to the picture where Adam is painting the ceiling.  You can see a line/border where the ceiling hits the wall behind him.  It was like that through pretty much the whole house, and in many of the rooms the line was much thicker than what you see in the picture).  So Glenda was amazing and touched up the paint through almost every room in the house.  She also painted a couple of additional walls for us so we didn't have to look at the dingy white any more.  She made sure that the leftover paint in the garage still matched and discovered that the color in the dining room is NOT the same as the color in the family room.  But she took it all in stride, and the result is that we have lovely walls and it no longer looks like we live in a construction zone.

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And she was a big help in picking out the accent wall color.  Bryant helped with the last bit of painting as well.

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Instead of watching the paint dry, Glenda, Bryant, Adam and Claire played a rousing game of Simon Says.  Claire thought it was the best game ever.  We had some good laughs.

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And this is the final result!  Looks pretty nice, right?  The room is finally coming together, and we couldn't be happier.  Someday we'll have everything furnished the way we want, but until then, we can at least be happy with our walls!

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We are so appreciative of all of their hard work, and so thankful that they could spend Thanksgiving with us!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

There's A New Cook in the Kitchen

Now that Henry can stand, he's discovered the play kitchen.

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I think he makes a pretty cute chef.

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Now if only he could make his own food...(he already eats a lot).

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Leaps and Bounds

When Claire was little, I think I did a better job of tracking her milestones.  As Henry quickly approaches his first birthday, I'm realizing that I haven't filled out the baby book that I purchased for him, nor have I bragged about his developmental achievements on the blog.  But documented or not, Henry is growing up, moving around, and learning some skills.  All while remaining devastatingly handsome.

A month ago, I attended a book club meeting where friends asked me how I liked our new house.  I happily discussed the wonderful feeling of having space, a yard, and above all, an unfurnished living room that is currently serving as our toy/play room.  I bragged shared how nice it was to have a room in which I could leave my still relatively immobile little guy while I did dishes, cleaned things up, or took a quick shower with little fear of him getting into something that he shouldn't.

Well, the Irony Gods were laughing at me because the VERY NEXT DAY Henry did this for the first time:

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And the DAY AFTER THAT he did this:

So once he figured out how to get over that big step, he was able to do this:

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which in turn has led to this:

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And yes, he has made it all the way to the top of the stairs unassisted.  Just today I was sitting with Claire on the couch, only to realize we hadn't heard a peep from the little man.  As we called and searched for him, Claire discovered he was upstairs.  What joy was mine...

Climbing has turned to standing and cruising.

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Really, nothing is holding him back.  Well, at least that's what he thinks.

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In other news, Henry is now on the hard stuff: cow's milk.

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Let's just say my body was done, even if Henry and I weren't ready to be done with nursing.  I was beginning to feel that the little dude was just thirsty.  He'd gotten a hold of an unattended sippy cup of Claire's, and just went to town.  He seemed okay, but since he wasn't even 11 months old yet, I figured we should wait a little bit.  I purchased a can of formula.  And he wouldn't touch it.  With one taste, he would either push the cup away or squeeze his lips shut.  Henry was NOT having the formula.  So after Thanksgiving, I put him on the real stuff.  And he seems to be doing okay.

Though all these new accomplishments leave him pretty tired...

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Harper Turns 3!

We sure love this little girl, and we were excited to wish her a happy birthday.  But, of course, this little sassafrass decided to have so...