Friday, March 30, 2012

Could it be spring?

I found this floating around on facebook (unsure of original source) and it begged to be shared.  This is Alaska weather, undoubtedly.  It's starting to feel like spring and break up might actually be starting... but I hate to get my hopes up because the chances of us getting dumped on again are high. It was actually above 40 degrees yesterday, and the sun was shining so bright I was essentially blind driving my way to work. I can't complain and get all road-ragey though, because it has been a long wait for that sun to come back in full force. I am going to enjoy it.  


Today is our very last day with an 11 month old Henry, tomorrow his his official birthday! I'm hoping the nice weather sticks so we can go outside and do something fun.  We are planning to take him to breakfast because the kiddo loves to go out and loves to eat... and then maybe a fun walk outside and something else! The imaginarium at the museum, maybe? I can't believe we are already here, a year into parenthood. More on that later, it was such a whirlwind my thoughts are anything but organized.  All I know is, I adore being a mother.  And more specifically, being Henry's. 




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Home.

Well, I have officially become obsessed with our trip home in April.  I booked the tickets a bit ago, for Henry and I to go back to Iowa for nearly two weeks (!!) but now that it is just a few weeks away, I'm  being taken over by excitement.  I am always excited to go home and visit, but this time there seems to be a level of desperation.  It has simply been too long, and I'm craving the company of my family.  I want to have no plans, just to spend regular days surrounded by them, to watch Henry play with my nieces and nephew, and just to enjoy some of my favorite places.  Though it's warming up a bit here in Alaska, it's nothing compared to the spring that the midwest is having, and I have been daydreaming non stop of the fun Henry and I will be able to have in the lovely warm weather.  He hasn't been to play at a park, he hasn't been able to crawl through grass, or toddle down the sidewalk to get a treat, feed the ducks, or any of the things that are so great about warm weather, and I know he is going to be overwhelmed with happiness when he gets to do those things.  It's too early to pack, but the trip is too soon to wait (patiently, at least.  In waiting for the actual trip it seems I have no choice) so to pass the time I have been running around daily finding things I "need" for the trip.  Henry needs warm weather shoes!  He needs more warm weather clothes! (this part is true) Must have coral nail polish to reflect a season other than winter! Oy.  I bought a new bag to double as a carry on/diaper bag to schlep Henry's things around in, and it took nearly all of my control not to get all of my carry on things packed up in it and ready to go the moment I walked through the door with it. Somehow three and a half weeks seemed premature.  For now it is just being used as the very large diaper bag, and I feel a bit like Marry Poppins when I dig in it.
I am hoping to hold out a tiny bit longer before I sit with bags packed, twiddling my thumbs by the door ready to go.  Its so unusual!  I'm generally chucking clothes in a bag the day I leave, so let this be proof that I've been away too long. Henry, has been away TOO long.  We haven't seen my family in eight months, I cringe just saying that.  I can't believe that he was just a 4 month old little squirt the last time they saw him in person, thank goodness for skype!
Soon this blog will be bombarded by stories and photos of this trip to wonderful Iowa, but for now I will just be done.  Anxiously awaiting vacation is causing word barf (above) and no one needs to read on for ages about my excitement.  Thank you for listening though!

Oh wait, okay I lied-- I guess Henry has been to a park, but he was so tiny he didn't really enjoy it.  The little love couldn't even sit up alone let alone crawl around and really experience it!  This photo was that last time we were back with my family on vacation.

He has changed so much!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Buggy Birthday

We celebrated Henry's birthday a little early this year.  On Saturday, we had some family and friends over for a little bug-themed party for our own little love bug.  Eric's parents were at the very end of their month long stay here, and we thought we should celebrate before they left town!  I already told you all how I leave things to the very last minute, so I was not feeling very confident about the party and how it would come together but, sure enough, it did.  It was small and simple, and exactly as I had hoped!  We did nothing over the top, but had just a few small touches to make it special and fit our little bug theme.  Before I go on and on about things you've already heard, here are some pictures from his big day! The camera was passed around and things were chaotic, which the photos show by being a little blurry, but that's ok.  They are still memories of a very wonderful day where Henry was the happiest boy.   It was so nice to spend the day with people we love!


 I hung each of his "month pictures", so everyone could see how he has grown over the year.  Look at that sweet little baby chub up there!!

 I am not a baker.  I definitely cook better than I bake, and decorating is even worse.  But I was ok with that, I like that they are homemade and not professionally done, although part of me wishes they had been as cute as I had imagined. The cupcakes are just simple chocolate, and we had planned to make cute little grass frosting with bugs on top but that obviously didn't go as planned.  The frosting was too thin to stand up like grass, and we couldn't get the color right, and essentially we were fools when we saw the cupcake book at Michaels and thought "oh we can do that!" ha! Oh well.  We made "dirt" and such on top of the cakes and put little gummy worms because I couldn't find but toppers in time.  I was bummed that they look kind of creepy crawly and less cute bugs but that's ok! They are just cupcakes, I can get over it. They tasted like chocolate so what is not to like.  Henry's cake I wanted handmade because I didn't want to load him with more sugar than he needed.  I wanted it to be sweet and delicious, but not just empty sugar.  It's an apple cake.  Cinnamon, apple chunks, etc. with a cream cheese frosting.  He had way more fun squishing the frosting than eating the cake... he probably ate a few bites.

 "Pill bugs" were chocolate covered acai/blueberries and I've enjoyed eating the leftovers since...

 I cut out little tags and attached bug stickers for little drink tags.  They were one of my favorite parts!
 Grubs in a blanket instead of pigs in a blanket. mmm!
 The framed print is Henry's birth announcement that my sisters had made for us (from Etsy) after H was born.  I love it, reading over the details every day.  The little book is Henry's baby book, which I need to do some more work on now that his first year is almost over!
 I made the most simple birthday banner out of cardstock and scalloped labels...

 He thought that everyone singing to him was just the most wonderful thing!





 After a quick bath, he was ready to play with a new toy-- our friends got it for him because he loves their so much, this face comes when he pushes the on button.  He is just so proud when he turns things on!  See the end of the post for a quick video of this moment!
 Pure joy.


The end of the video just obviously proves how great of a videographer I am :) 

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Imaginary Room for Henry

I've been fixated recently on decorating our next home in my head.  I think party because where we will be living after our current rental is completely up in the air.  As in, we have no idea where we will be in the coming months.  It's both exciting and impossibly frustrating.  I want to have a clue of where we will live, both location and actual living space, so that I can start to plan a space that will feel like home.  I use pinterest and my imagination to take care of the decorating itch in the mean time.  I have to admit, I'm so tired of moving around.  I love changing locations and having new spaces, but I just want to fall in love with a place that will be our long-term home.  I want to finally be able to decorate a home to reflect us.  Anyway, when I think about wherever that place will be, I always start with Henry's room.  It will be the first room I start with, and I cannot wait!  When he was first born in our previous house, we set up a nursery for him that was simple, and full of owls.  For some reason, I just felt like owls fit.  But we didn't use the nursery much and I didn't put too much time into the space, since we moved when he was only 6 months old or so.  When we got to this current place, the room was already decorated for a baby, and since we only rent, there really was not much I could change.  I also knew that it was very temporary, so we didn't even unload all of Henry's things into that room.  Just the basics, crib, dresser, clothes.  I am just so looking forward to his next room that will hopefully carry him from baby to toddler and beyond.  I want a clean, bright space, that has fun little nooks for him to play in, and artwork and photos to liven it up.  I want everything to be in his reach, since it will be his space, after all.  Here are some of the photos inspiring my plans,
I hope to make each one of these things appear in his next room.  Oh how I hope that happens soon!
All of these photos are via Pinterest:
I love the bright arrows.


A little reading/play nook will be a must
I've been begging Eric to build a shelf like this, but it doesn't make sense to acquire big furniture pieces when we have to move.



This is Henry.  He has a contagious energy and enormous smile! I think of him whenever I look at the picture of this print.  So I say we give it a home in his room. 
Baskets for stuffed toys!

I feel like arrows and teepees are all over the place right now, but the cuteness is undeniable!  I also think the teepee or a tent is something I could actually make, and that is important because I don't sew or really build much.  Something simple like that is doable which is exciting!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A birthday party no matter how small, makes for very tired people.

Whew! It has been a really crazy weekend, friends.   Henry's first birthday party has come and gone and I have to say, it went a lot better than I thought it was going to!  I told you all before that planning is not my thing exactly.  I had some ideas that I wanted to try, but of course waited until just days before the party and wasn't happy with the supplies I was able to find.  I was frustrated immediately.  With a clearer mind and a calmer attitude, I went out with Henry the next day and had much better luck shopping for everything we would need.  Slowly but surely I made a few decorations, organized my thoughts and plans, and Friday (the day before the party) Eric's family came over to help me get things in their place.   And it came together in a way I was really happy with!  It was simple and cute, exactly how a first birthday should be in my mind.  We had a house full of family and friends (I missed my family so much, wish you all could have been here!) and it was just relaxed.  Eating, playing, chatting, watching a little boy soak it all up.  Henry was so beyond happy the entire day.  I would have thought that all of that commotion could be overwhelming but not for this social boy.  He just hammed it up all day long, and crashed hard afterwards.  It made for his longest nap to date!  Fitting, I think.  It was a special day and we had a great time.  I'll be going through pictures tonight and posting soon!  Henry isn't officially a year old until Saturday (31st) so we are off to enjoy the last few days of his very first year.  My gosh it has been a good one!
-V

Monday, March 19, 2012

Toys

I'm thinking of what I want to get for Henry's birthday... I know that he's a very easily entertained baby who doesn't need loads and loads of stuff, but still as this babyhood chapter closes and the busy boy toddler stage begins, I want to purge some of our old toys and get him a few new things that he will love.  Writing that, I realize I'm not quite ready to say toddler just yet, I think even though he's about to be a year he'll still be a baby for a few more months.  But much more toddleresque.  Anyway, I'm looking for suggestions.  What toys did your babies, or babies that you know, love at this age?  If it were Henry's choice, he'd probably pick a new shelf of DVD's and fragile CD's to unload and destroy, a handful of nightlights, and a few rolls of toilet paper.  He'd also appreciate full access to the dog bowls that we currently keep out of reach when he's awake.  Yes, that is Henry's list of favorite things right now.  But since I don't want to encourage him to eat dog food all day or play with nightlights/outlets (the kid is obsessed.  We have a few that change colors and he spends so much time trying to muscle his way through the bathroom door to get to them), I need to come up with something!  He hasn't gotten to spend much time playing outside, since he was just a small squirt who could barely sit up when winter came to Alaska.  So I would love to get him some outdoor toys like a little car he can ride on while we push, but the reality is that we are still months away from all of this ice breaking up and snow melting, and warm enough temperatures for him to get on the ground and spend much time outside.  That's one of the hardest things for me when it comes to living up here-- the fact that H hasn't played at a park yet, or crawled in the grass and felt the dirt below him.  He will love it SO much when he gets the chance. (Melt ice, melt!!)  So onto plan B, indoor toys that are loads of fun.
A few things I'm thinking:
A ball pit.  He tried his friend Brody's new ball pit and it looks like he enjoyed it :) There will be balls all over our house for the rest of time, but it's worth it if he loves it!

This Fisher Price house.  A girl I used to watch had this little house, and I am pretty sure Henry would love this.  He loves to open and close doors for us, turn the lights on and off, and I think this would be perfect!  I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can find it somewhere used, because it's a pricey one, and is a little large to move when that time comes for us.

So what else do you think would be a fun option?  I would love to hear!

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm a Mess Today

My husband would say I get annoyed more easily these days, but I think day to day I'm fairly laid back-ish. Well, enough, at least.  Patience in frustrating situations or when wanting things to get done isn't always my forte, and if family is reading this they probably snort-laughed at the fact that I said I'm laid back.  But really, I'm not overly high strung... except on days like today.   Days like today when things that shouldn't be a big deal just frustrate me to no end.  Like sitting on an open puree pack that Henry threw from his car seat and ending up with liquid pumpkin/banana all over my pants.  Like walking into the door wearing said pants as the dog trails behind me (tongue stuck to my leg obnoxiously licking the puree off ) with mud on his paws leaving marks on the white carpet.  Taking off these pants, noticing that we have to do laundry so badly that I must either wear capris, work pants, or leggings because none of my jeans are clean.  Then the frustration over the never ending laundry and the clothes thrown about begins and that always gets my pulse up a bit.  Showering Henry and myself off after our morning at the pool, wrestling him to get him clothed, and then eating lunch where he proceeds to soak his clothes and rub avocado through his hair so it's a crusty mess.  That type of thing never bothers me.  I am never annoyed at his messy eating because obviously he's a baby.  But today I just thought, of course I would choose to bathe the kid before feeding him, just to make life more difficult apparently.  Then the dogs are looking at me wrong or following me too closely, I'm feeling smothered by them and the mess around me,  I'm being clumsy and annoying myself most of all.  A few deep breaths and big baby grins later, I'm feeling much better.  Henry is napping, I found some jeans in the dryer, the laundry has been put away, house straightened up, dishes done... and I feel once again laid back and am silently laughing in my head about how carried away I was with the annoying chain of events.  Days like this happen, they are bound to here and there, and I am learning to quickly turn them around.  I must be growing up!  But really, I think parenthood will do that to you, it can turn the less patient into patient people in no time at all, because like I said days like this will happen. And after the temporary and minor fit and pity party, all you can really do is laugh.
This picture isn't from today but it seems fitting.   It was earlier in the week as my friend and I were making popcorn.  We both make it almost daily without issue and for some reason it proved to be a struggle that day.  Moments after she did this,  I did the exact same thing.  We laughed like little kids at the ridiculousness of it all. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On!

Henry has been playing with a toy bike for weeks.  He's a bit too young to use it but the past week or so he just wants to stand at it turning it on over and over.  He is so proud and excited every time it turns on and he has been reacting with this new face, his mouth open as wide as it will goes and a little yell of delight as the music begins.  It cracks me up each and every time, and just makes me ridiculously happy.  The night Henry started crawling, he was scootching around naked before bath time and he was crawling on his hands and feet like a little bear, and I was so disappointed in myself for not getting video of that precious move because moments later he got the crawl down and never did that little walk again.  I have since learned my lesson and when a cute minute strikes (293874 times a day), I grab a video.  I was so glad I got video of this little face he does with the bike because now in the past day or so his reaction is getting a bit more mild.  I suppose he has worn out the excitement of the on button as much as he has the actual button itself.   I'm sharing the short version, but just imagine him doing this same reaction about 10 times over each time he approaches the bike.  It makes for some pretty happy moments around here!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where We've Been

Hi.  Remember me?  I hate abandoning the blog, and it stresses me out a bit every time I do it.  But we have been having so much fun up here and each night I throw myself down to rest after things wind down without much time to write.
We spent the weekend in Talkeetna, a small town north of Anchorage.  Living in Anchorage is such a different experience compared to where I've come from.  I used to drive from town to town in Iowa every single week, leaving the state for various trips when time allowed.  But up here it's hard for us to get out of Anchorage, it takes some effort to plan trips because we are sort of socked in on all sides like a bowl.  I get stir crazy, and crave a full car, on the road and heading out for new sights and experiences.  Moments outside of town I feel so refreshed, the drives are almost the best part!  We went with friends and their baby boy, to a gorgeous cabin up on a hill with a direct view of the mountains.  Seeing Denali outside the window was such a treat.  We had huge open spaces to snow shoe, a cozy small town that takes up one street to walk, and a famous breakfast to eat at the Roadhouse.  Anyone seen that episode on Man vs. Food?  Holy yum.
I have to admit that trips are a bit less relaxing for us with a baby who has naps and bedtimes that have to be considered, but it's so worth it to take him to new places.  He loves it, and it's important to us that we give him those experiences.  Traveling with Henry is one of the things I look forward to the very most and though we come home tired, we have such fun. (We have to work on being adaptable at bedtime though, because he ended up smooshed in a twin bed with me, tossing and turning most of the night)  We had the most perfect weather, which gives me more excitement than ever about the sunshine that is gaining on us by minutes every day.  One of my favorite things about Alaska, undoubtedly.












Now that we are home, it's on to planning for Henry's first birthday. (Ah!!)  I just have to say I admire you incredibly organized, great planners out there.  As much as I wish that was me, it simply isn't.  Things like planning events overwhelm me, and mostly just because I have so many ideas that I love, but can't make them happen in the end.  I so badly want to have an adorable party and wonderful pictures as memories of his first birthday, but I just have to remind myself, that it's celebrating him that is most important, not how perfect the party is.  I don't want something like this to stress me out and make me feel inadequate, I just want to celebrate my boy, and the most amazing year of life since he's been here.