I decided to take a break from gift guide craziness (it’ll be back on Wednesday- Under $100) to reflect a little on a big event that happened last month as Henry turned ONE on November 13th! I realized I had not blogged about this huge milestone and wanted to briefly wade into mommyland and talk a little bit about the big guy as he changes from a baby into a little boy. :)
Of course, we celebrated– with a party on his birthday with close friends and family at our house. While I went overboard with the cake ( an otomi-inspired masterpiece from Oakleaf Cakes that basically was the price of a wedding cake) I kept things pretty low-key otherwise. Some cute Etsy decorations and adorable party hat, seriously yummy food and drinks, but not all Pinterest-perfect and themed down to every last detail.
Because really it was all about this guy. :) And the fact that we kept him alive for a whole YEAR! Yay us!
He’s a wonder. Truly. Everywhere we go people comment on how happy he seems, and the awesome thing is-he is! Full of joy and smiles, this little guy is just the best. I don’t know how we got so lucky, but we are grateful beyond words. He’s smart and funny, sleeps fantastic, is eager to learn and explore the world and BOY does he love attention and meeting people (except Santa- he totally lost his sh*t with Santa). Even now, while teething like crazy, he’s just happy. It’s awe-inspiring!
Motherhood has been quite a journey, as it is for everyone. But one full of unexpected joys for me. I am so much happier and calmer and find myself feeling like it’s Christmas morning every afternoon when I’m driving home to work to see my boy. Don’t get me wrong, as we enter the exhausting, non-stop toddler stage Andrew and I are finding ourselves missing our weekends of lazy tv watching and long brunches, but I wouldn’t trade those 800 trips up and down the stairs every day (Henry’s favorite thing to do) for the world.
(Homeboy really got into the cake smash thing- although not a big fan of eating said cake!)
I do feel pangs of guilt daily about not being with him every day now that he’s developing a personality and is aware of me leaving. Not getting to take him to his classes and see him interact with other kids is hard. But I know that being a working mom is what works best for me. And I’m trying to find more mom-friends with babies the same age so that we can have time on weekends and after work to share in experiences together (below is Henry with Joyce, a lovely little lady who lives on our street. Don’t they look like an old married couple?) We want to find a swimming class we can take together as a family and other such things that I think will help me feel more involved as a mom.
But I have to be doing something right as it is because this boy is just incredible. Happy, healthy and growing like a weed. Before his birthday party we had Andrew’s sister Ashley, who is a reverend, come and baptize him at the house. We are not religious people, and Ashley does such wonderful spiritual ceremonies based in what is important to us as people and parents- so we spoke about this ceremony as more of a celebration of what Henry is and what we hope he becomes. We chose to baptize him in the name of curiosity, kindness and courage- three traits we wish for him to carry with him in life. And he’s already off to a great start.
And now the discussion has turned to a second baby. As you know, we are no spring chickens and we would love to give Henry a sibling so we do need to act fast, but the thought of going through fertility treatments again is daunting, especially with a little guy keeping us on our toes AND insanely busy jobs. I think I have a little PTSD from it! But we do have three “beautiful” embryos frozen from our last cycle (“Frosty Henry’s” as we call them) so at least there is hope of not having to do the whole cycle all over, and let’s be honest, that was a hell of a good batch! :) And I do actually crave the feeling of being pregnant again (somehow, I seem to have forgotten the 23 weeks of daily barfing!? How does that happen?) We’ll see what life brings us, I am just so deeply grateful to have Henry, so a second one would just be a magical bonus if it does happen. If not, I’m okay with that too.
Just look at that face. :) (And yes, this is our Christmas card- thank you Sarah Winchester!)
Thanks for all the support, words of encouragement, advice and welcoming into the community of moms. I get it now. You all have been such cheerleaders for us as a family and for that I want to say thank you.
I also have been asked many times if I would write about the baby gear I love and items I thought I needed but ended up not using- so here you go! Also, this is almost a gift guide for those buying for soon-to-be moms. Maybe not the prettiest stuff, but certainly the most practical!
- The UPPABaby VISTA Stroller– when I was pregnant and asked for advice on strollers, this was the overwhelming winner amongst you readers (and I see zillions every day walking around!) I tried two others before I settled on this one and it is the BEST. Not only can it be customized to fit two kids easily (and has a fabulous bassinet for the early days), but it’s got a HUGE basket underneath, is easy to use and fold and is comfortable for Henry. I also love that they are a local company (based in Hingham, MA!) started by two parents keen on making the safest, best stroller on the market. The new 2017 version has awesome leather details on it (sooooooo jealous- there is even a color called HENRY!!!) and they are doing a Tune Up tour offering free maintenance!
- I thought this Baby Shusher was a gimmick, but it’s NOT. It actually really worked at soothing Henry when he was crying as a newborn! We used it for months with him at naptimes!
- When people see us fold this travel stroller up (in two seconds!) they always ask what it is- the Baby Jogger City Tour is so light and compact and fits in overhead bins on airplanes for travel! It’s really amazing and handy!
- Hanna Andersson jammies are the best. The zipper is easy and they last forever. I also am obsessed with Roberta Rollerrabbit’s two piece jammies now that Henry’s big.
- This Skiphop diaper clutch is a MUST have!
- I bought what seems like 73 kinds of sippy cups and this one is MAGIC and the only one Henry likes to use.
- This was the best bath seat for infancy– fits neatly in the kitchen sink, supports fully and is easy to store away. Once older and sitting, this ducky tub is the bomb.
- This silicone feeder is EVERYTHING. Henry loved it when trying solids for the first time and now with teething it’s amazing (we fill with frozen peas or apples and he goes to town- it make shim so happy!)
- The Bumbo. Essential for when they are learning to sit. Use the add on tray when starting to eat but too small for a high chair still.
- Sweet mother of all things musical- this little toy STILL delights Henry to no end. Also these cups have been a big hit.
- The sleepsack! Fleece for winter, stretchy cotton for summer. And when H was a tiny little lump of not sleeping– the swaddle version was the best. I tried every kind of swaddling contraption out there and this was the winner.
- These spoons turn white if food is to hot for baby. Brilliant, cheap and cute!
- The Rock-n-Play. MUST MUST MUST have. Henry slept in this for the first four months. Amazing. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, Jonathan Adler designed a version that is so adorable! I also am fascinated by the new Snoo– so expensive, but man is it gorgeous and sounds like the unicorn of baby items.
- The music from this zebra walker haunts my dreams. But my little speed demon loves it. And the Alphabet Train too.
- This noise machine still helps Henry sleep and blend the screeching of our dogs into the background.
- The bongos! Henry loooooooved these (and still does from time-to-time even though he’s a too-cool big boy.)
- This puppy may look creepy/heinous but he’s a Henry favorite. Unfortunately Baxter has decided to take him as a lover (and also ripped an ear off) so Mommy needs to get another one so they can BOTH have one now.
- I am SO FREAKING ELATED this thing is out of my living room now but man was it awesome when we needed a 5-10 minute break from being responsible parents. Whatever you like to call it- Baby Vegas, The Circle of Neglect, etc.- it’s great and a must have. Just try not to get into heated debates with your significant other about what the animals are on it. We almost got divorced over the bee/butterfly/dragonfly and also the parrot that Andrew insisted was a fish (which made me question the man’s intelligence-I mean, a fish?!)
- We had some other bouncy chairs, but this simple one a friend loaned me was the BEST. Get the toy bar to go on it!
- This whale cup makes rinsing soap out of baby’s hair so much easier with it’s rubber edge that keeps soapy water from running in the eyes.
- We tried a zillion bottles, and although the multiple pieces are a total pain in the ass and they do tend to leak more than others, Dr. Browns wide neck bottles were/are the best bottles.
THINGS I GOT BUT DIDN’T USE:
- Diaper Bags- I have several- and found myself totally not using ANY of them and instead throwing the diaper clutch above into my larger handbags- works MUCH better for me instead of having to switch all my stuff from purses to a different diaper bag or carrying two bags.
- Doorway Bouncers- Maybe we didn’t get the right one, but we never used these, they never seemed to work right. The Jumperoo was the clear winner.
- Nursing Pillow– In the beginning I used it because I was nursing so often and had no idea what I was doing, and then it found it’s way under my bed never to be seen again. Too cumbersome to lug around.
- Shopping Cart Cover– bought one, never ever have remembered it nor have the desire to try to stuff it in my purse. Just use the wipes they have by the carts.
- Baby Food Maker- currently taking up valuable real estate in my pantry. Not once used it. I don;t have the time nor the desire to make baby food with all the amazing organic pouches out there. And if I do, I’ll just use a blender.
- Pee Pee Tee Pees- Stupid. Useless. Don’t bother.
- Pacifiers– He never really liked them, and now I have 600 of them.