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.
Hi Erin and happy birthday Henry!
This probably sounds so creepy but based on some of your posts it seems like we live near each other and I have a baby boy who just turned one- three weeks after Henry! (Tear, tear!- where does time go?) I stay at home but we’re always looking for new playmates. If you would ever like to meet let me know!
This just makes me so happy to read!
Like some other commenters noted, the Easy links don’t work – could you re-post the Easy URLs? I’d love both of these items for my daughter’s birthday in January.!
Happy Birthday Henry! And thanks so much for the “most used baby gear” section. Our second is on her way and I was looking for some great recommendations on baby gear to replace all the stuff that didn’t work or we didn’t use with our first.
Henry is so dang cute! My babies all look like E.T. or some other non-human for so long that I am totally impressed with gorgeous babies that look like boys or look like girls! :-) And Nov. 13th made me LOL. My bestie shares his bday and she informed me it is the most popular bday simply because St. Valentine’s Day is 9 months prior. It is a good thing that our memories fail after a bit, and that love we have for our child is all-consuming or nobody would ever have a second child. My friends who were only children (all for various reasons) are so grateful for their lives and their parents, but all felt jipped in the sibling department and that they felt extra pressure to be the son, the daughter, the athlete, poet, scholar and musician for the parents, and then the pressure of what is to come as their parents age and health begins to fail. I am so happy to hear you desire a sibling for Henry as that truly is the greatest gift you can give him. A friend of ours, a veterinarian, jokes that his four children (two single births and twins) are “litter mates”. Praying for a much easier go-round this time – my first landed me mulitple times on I.V.s in the hospital and none the other times, so maybe…??? It is amazing to think that Henry’s siblings are already there…and as you mentioned, that was the toughest part! Good luck and happy implanting! xoxo
What about your friends who never speak to their siblings? Friendship and closeness aren’t guaranteed. I wish people would stop pressuring parents to “give” their kid a sibling. You don’t gift someone a person.
Anya, I am sorry to have offended you. It sounds as if you are wounded by relationships and I am sorry that you have experienced pain. I am speaking on the “normal/healthy” side of relationships. In 41 years of living on the west coast/mid west, grade school, high school, college, professional school and current friendships, I don’t know of a single friend who doesn’t speak with their siblings. My friends and I all share and love our families and admit to fighting like the best of the Irish and loving like the best of the Italians. But I can honestly say that I don’t know of a single estranged relationship. Friendship and closeness are not guaranteed…you are correct. But where healthy relationships are possible b/c the individuals are themselves, healthy, respect and appreciation are very possible. I’m closer to one sister than to my other, but the second sister and I would be across the country within 24 hours for each other if needed. Same for my two brothers. And as for gifting a person, I beg to differ. People are not possessions in that sense of the word, but again, in healthy relationships, one does give oneself to another (time, energy and effort) and depending on the relationship, one gives wholly of them-self to another. Erin opened herself up beautifully to all of us who struggle on many levels. She mentioned a desire to potentially have another child. Whether she and her husband actually decide to “go for it”, is not my business but she mentioned it and I was encouraging her to really be open to that desire. All people are a gift!
Congratulations to you for getting through this first year – it’s a great accomplishment! Little Henry has obviously brought you much joy – here’s to a joyous second year!
Happy birthday to your handsome Henry! Thank you for taking us all on this journey – I became a mom in January and your candor had always been so appreciated!
Would you mind updating the Etsy links, they’re not working 😭
Love this post!! I just registered for everything you recommended :) Henry is so freaking adorable, Happy Birthday sweet boy!
Happy birthday Henry and excellent timing on the post!
I’m due with my first in 2 weeks, I definitely added a few items from your list to my amazon baby list.
Erin, just adorable photos! I swear he is the cutest little man I have ever seen. Always smiling, as parents you both should be so proud of yourself! Thanks for the baby gear tips, I should have my expectant daughter look at this post!
On a side note, I want you to know that your post on taking antidepressants last year helped me come to a decision recently. I suffered a terrible bout of Plantar Fasciitis for the last 9 months. As a very active 59 year old, this was devastating for me. I was starting to do much better after a few PT visits… not 100% yet and not back to walking but able to do more. Until recently when getting close to the end of my PT treatments my therapist pushed me too hard and gave me a little setback …also a visit to a Sports massage therapist the following week who was too aggressive gave me yet another setback. Unable to even ride my exercise bike (my stress reliever) and having to rest more & became almost house bound. I have felt all along that stress and anxiety about my condition was hindering me from getting better and I was getting more depressed every day. I have a grand baby on the way…I HAVE to get better! Everything came to a head after I sought the help of a Psychologist last week who recommended I get a low dose of anxiety meds or antidepressants for the short term from my internist to break the anxiety/pain cycle. I had a full blown anxiety attack at my doctor’s office yesterday but am now starting to feel some better even though I know the meds won’t kick in for awhile. I think seeking help was the first step to getting me on the path to recovery. I’m on the lowest dose of Lexapro. I just want to say thank you to you and your readers for making me realize I’m not alone in this. Your blog helps more people than you realize!
I love everything about this post. Henry looks like he enjoyed his birthday, especially his cake! That bowtie…it’s too cute. Can I have your hand-me-downs? ;P
Congratulations to you, Erin and Andrew! You are my role models on how I want to raise my son.
Speaking of which, THANK YOU for your list. I’m expecting my first in March and I’ve been trying to navigate the registry. I basically put all of your must haves on my registry. I too, fell in love with the JA line for Fisher Price and have basically registered for all of his products. But that SNOO! Looks like there is a 30-day free trial and I just might take them up on that. More expensive than any one baby item (or a ton of them), but who can put a price on sleep?
What a beautiful child! Brings tears to my eyes
Happy Birthday, Henry! This post is lovely!
May kindness, curiosity and courage be with you always!
Now…I’m crying like a baby…unlike Henry!! You go you three!!! franki
Henry is adorable! What a sweet little boy!! Merry Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family and Happy Birthday to Henry!
A beautiful post!! Beautiful family!
The links to the Etsy decorations aren’t working :-(. Would love to know the source.
You’re a great mom. He’s adorable. Nice work. Good luck on #2 when you are ready…
Happy Birthday little Henry. Such an important day for you. All the best!
You look absolutely beautiful & happy in your photo. And oh yea, Henry & Andrew look great too!
Stay classy internet.
The bitterness is astounding sometimes, no?
I really believe that happy parents make happy babies. Sometimes when you have waited for a baby for so long, or waited consciously to have one, you enjoy them more. Just my thought, from experience and observation.
Also the baby Einstein music toy was one of my sons favorite as a baby and as a three year old he STILL likes it. He’s taken to lining up his toys and dancing for them while it plays. Too cute. It’s one of my go to add on baby gifts.
Congrats on keeping Henry alive :)
What a great post! Seriously, that Henry couldn’t be any cuter! Such a happy little family. Congrats!
Congratulations! This was a sweet post to read. Nothing ever really beats the first year with your first child. I have a 4 year old boy and 5 month old boy and I can feel your joy just by reading this post. I remember all the feels of that first year…wish we could bottle all of them up to save for later! Good luck with round #2!
What a sweetheart he is! I get that same giddy feeling while racing home to see my little babe everyday after work too. PS-Swim lessons are lots of fun for the whole family, we loved taking our son and will be signing up for round two in another month. Thanks for sharing!
Congratulations Henry, Erin, and Andrew! Love these baby posts even though I am single, childless, and have no prospects for a baby anywhere on the horizon! It’s just a joy to read about your journey as I have followed this blog since circa 2010 and it’s been beautiful to watch your growth, hopes and struggles and to celebrate in your successes. First as a designer, and now as a mom! All the best luck in your try for a sibling for Henry. I hope it won’t be as hard the second time, but if it is, you’re internet family is cheering you on.
I have been a reader for years but have never commented. However, I had to offer my birthday wishes to Henry and my congrats to you and Andrew for surviving this year! ;) Our little boys share a birthday (our first as well!) and your blog has been an invaluable resource for me- from the baby gear to the post-maternity fashion to the honest (and hilarious) posts about the less glamorous realities of motherhood. Thank you for taking us on this journey with you! It truly does keep getting better and better. Merry Merry Christmas!
How wonderful and exciting! Happy Birthday to you previous Henry!
Congrats on such a big milestone! It just gets better…even the crazy toddler years balances out with their silliness. Thanks for the list! I find myself pregnant with #3 and we thought we were done at two, so things were got rid of this summer. That baby shusher looks interesting!
What a lovely post, Erin!!! Happy belated birthday to your handsome boy! I love his take on the birthday cake, he’s such a cutie :)
Happy birthday to Henry and well done you for keeping him alive! I hope you toasted yourselves that night!
Check out Goldfish Swim School for lessons. I think there is one near you in Needham. We go to the Burlington location and its been great for my girls. You can start with family classes and they gradually move them up to going it alone. All while you can watch behind the glass wall ;) Totally worth the money and super fun!
Congrats on Henry’s first year. He looks joyful all the time; it’s no wonder he brings you such happiness I’ve followed your blog for awhile and know the struggles you shared about having a baby. Motherhood could not agree more with you so keep enjoying it!
You look so happy. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Henry is the most beautiful little guy. He looks joyful! Happy birthday and happy holidays!
He is too cute!! I love his little smirk in the Christmas party pic! I also agree with you on all of your baby gear tips! Unrelated-where are your lanterns from on your front door?
Oh, Erin. I found myself nodding along to everything you said. My baby girl was born a few days after Henry and this past year has just been magical. These past two weeks have been even more magical since she’s finally decided to sleep through the night…ha! I’ve so enjoyed reading about your motherhood journey. As a working mom among a sea of wonderful SAHM friends, your words and watching you kick butt in your career have encouraged me several times.
Also, that Baby Bjorn bouncer was and is still amazing and the most used baby item in my house! Funnily enough I use a grocery cart cover (I really don’t know why at this point, I’ve never wiped the thing down), but every time I feel judged by everyone–other moms, bag boys, the fish behind the seafood counter, etc. And probably rightfully so.
Congratulations and good luck!
Happy belated Birthday, Henry! And happy one-year anniversary of being a mommy, Erin! Can you please give us details on Henry’s high chair? Thank you!
It’s the 4 Moms chair- it’s good! Now a little snug for him, which was surprising as he’s only 25 lbs! We just got the Tripp Trapp and hope that grows with him!
INCREDIBLY beautiful! I love the “baptism” and applaud all you do as a working Mom! Just look at you and Andrew raising such a sweet boy already – exactly what future generations will need more of! Kind, supportive, loving parents and children like yourselves! You’re invincible and it shows! Look at those SMILES! Blessings!
What a good post. Henry seems so happy- you totally nailed it with him! My Ophelia is about a month older, so it’s so fun following along!
Warm winter looks for mama & babe on my blog today!
That last photo of the three of you…..just beautiful! What a lovely Christmas card to receive, if only I was on your list here in the UK!! Your blog has been such a joy to follow this past year (am new in 2016!) and yes I love the interiors, but that little boy, his smile and growth throughout the year has brought such joy, I can’t even tell you. Wishing him all good things for his future and maybe (hopefully!) exciting times ahead for your family in 2017! xx
Baptizing him in the spirit of curiosity, kindness, and courage is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard!
Agreed on so many of the baby essentials (the shusher! the rock n play!) – that’s great list!
Happy Birthday, Henry! I love his bow tie. A second baby is a whole new ballgame. I don’t know why nobody told me that. Do you mind sharing where your wrap is from? I love it!
J.Crew but it’s sold out!!!! :(
I just bought one yesterday at J Crew on 5th Avenue in NYC. Call them and they will ship it to you.