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the beat goes on.

25 Nov

Dear Henry,

Earlier this week, I shared something hard here–one of the darker parts of this year and certainly an experience that has colored our lives (and our life with you) over the past number of months. I want you to know that in the midst of hard things, you have been the shiniest light.

Today marks nineteen months since our family grew to have you in it on this planet, gracing this world. I thumbed through a photo album of your first eight months earlier this afternoon, and I can’t believe how much you’ve changed from that little person we brought home and hardly knew. It’s honestly a challenge to throw back to days without you in them–while life was sweet in many ways before you came, it is that much more rich and textured with you here.

At nineteen months old, you are steady, strong, still resilient. As you gain your sense of self and determination in this season, we are both active participants and bystanders to your precocious, humorous, stubborn, steadfast, and loving ways. You have us laughing one minute and bracing ourselves the next–just as you should as a toddler on the verge of two, with every bit of *both of* your parents in him. “Run for our money” doesn’t describe every moment with you, but more and more of them all of the time. You are witty and quippy and discerning, capturing the joy of circumstances in perfect ways and seeing through our attempts to tag team your discipline when your two-some side reveals itself. We are constantly on our toes with you, and yet, I think we’re learning you well. You have given us much to discover.

My favorite Henry-isms these days are both actions and words. Today, for example, you showed immediate remorse when you did something wrong, and did your best to correct the issue by hugging me tightly and patting my back with your chubby little hand. It’s terribly hard to stay stern for very long when you understand consequences and communicate that understanding with a loving, gentle action. Even when you’re in “trouble,” you’re our little buddy–we know there’s a sweet spirit behind your personality, and it blesses us as your mama and daddy.

More actions?

You get right down to eye level with all of the pups in your life to say hello… “Hi! Hi Kruger!” you exclaim like his very best friend in the world. “Hi Rika!” you say as you lay down on the floor to get close to her face. “Hi Peyton! Hi Callie! Hi! Hello!” You are impossibly friendly and darling in your efforts.

You wake up in the morning with a whole list of things you’ve dreamt about or are thinking about that must. be. discussed. right. now. Goats! Pigs! Cows! Tractor! Wagon! Engine! Traaaaaaain! Thunder…Boom! Boom! Raining! Cars! Downstairs…Kruger…Water! Your morning train of thought is a far better wake up call than coffee.

You see everything from your backseat, rear-facing view. And I do mean everything. There is chatter from the car seat for miles as we pass cranes, ambulances, police cars, pick up trucks, flags, kids, bicycles, trees, clouds, the moon, sunshine, lights, animals, COLORS! Who needs the news when they can have the Henry Report? I am taken with your little voice and the way you notice the important things, distracting me from the unimportant and causing me to appreciate the world right where I am. Right where we are.

You tell me things. More than just words, you’ve begun to truly articulate your thoughts and needs and wants, and it’s so beautiful. As your mama, I love knowing what you’re thinking. Today you’ve said things like, “Mommy do it.” “Henry do it.” “Kruger did it.” (Uh, oh. How did you figure that one out so fast?) “Henry tired.” “Henry’s water.” “Funny.” “Laughing.” “Go get it.” “I need it.” And so forth. As your ideas string together and your words develop into sentences, I’m watching you become so self-sufficient in ways I never expected at this stage. I love how bold you are, but I wish the clock would stop advancing so quickly at the same time. Keeping up is an adventure.

Anything else that’s changed over the past month? You’ve gained two new teeth this week, bringing the grand total to eight. It’s amazing what you can manage to eat in one sitting with just eight front teeth, but you let little get in your way, and your pearly whites have been no exception. You LOVE to color. You liked it before, but it’s a daily activity now. That, along with lining up your cars, playing trains, running through the house chasing Kruger in hysterics, and reading your favorite books (Paint Pig, Construction Sites, Pantone Colors, your children’s Bibles, Dr. Seuss’ ABCs, Moo Ba La La La (still:), Little Blue Truck, and Let’s Go) a dozen times a day. You like to sleep with two blankets as of late, cuddle up with Giraffe-y to sleep, and often pray for our meals and at bedtime when you’re in the mood. You love going on a “hike!” and checking out all things in nature. Whew! You are a busy and growing boy.

And we love you like crazy. Oh, man, do we ever! You will never have any idea how fortunate and blessed and lucky we feel to be your parents (at least until you have a little buddy of your own). We thank God for you a million times over and we pray to honor Him as your mommy and daddy. All of this time with you is a taste of Heaven on earth–even on the hard days.

Keep being you, and keep acting two (if you must;), and keep chasing after everything good.

you heal my heart, Henry David. it’s true. xo.


520 wondrous days later.

25 Sep

520 days. 17 months. Today’s milestone and a little bit of my own disbelief, all at the same time. You are growing, growing, growing, my dear boy, with no sign of slowing any time soon. I knew this was the risk we’d inherit; having you of course meant watching you take flight from day one, just the same as it means 519 days later. I cringe at this a little bit sometimes, but I love being your mama so much that it hurts, and I’d take the growing pains over anything else, any day.

I’m not so much “Mama” these days as, “Mommeeee!”, and oh, how you squeal my name with such energy and delight, it’s contagious. I liked being, “Mama,” for certain, but “Mommeeee!” comes with a sense of intention–a need expressed, attention wanted, sheer joy at the discovery of something new, love for this person who loves you more than anyone else ever could (although I’m sure if you checked with your dad on this one, he might argue, and that’s fair.) Your shift from mama and dada to mommy and daddy comes at the exact same time as a verbal explosion under our roof and you, Henry D, are at the helm. Your little voice fills up the empty spaces and wafts over and under our daily everything, heightening our senses to the sweetness that you are and the enjoyment you have always been. “Flower,” “hop top,” “bippo,” “Elmo!” “Go, Go, Go!” “Kwoo-guh (Kruger),” “Pease!” “Emma!” “Amen!” You are abuzz with chatter.

This past month cradles so many firsts…your first sentence (“That’s a cow!”), your first gondola ride in the mountains, your very first and oh-so-adorable cousin, Emmelia! Not the best month yet health-wise, your first split lip, hospital visit, CT scan, and tummy bug, along with new bumps and bruises from all of the running around you’re doing at this adventurous stage. You’ve taken two airplane rides, traveled to Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver, Breckenridge, Boulder, and back, and you’ve mastered the art of art-viewing at ArtPrize 2012. As of late, you’ve taken to leaf picking and rock collecting and Kruger chasing, too…all of the things I’d expect from a boy and all of the dirt and scrapes to go with them ;) You are so very good for my soul!

Henry, as I watch you grow, I’m reminded over and over how our Great God knows exactly what we need, when we need it–and how He meets us there in all of His power and love and gentle compassion at every turn. We are so small, Henry, but the God we serve is Mighty and Big and Powerful and Attentive, and He will always guide us on the path He has set for our lives if we seek Him and desire His presence in the daily. I pray this for you, sweet child. That you will seek Him in the daily. Being your mama has taught me this–more than anything else ever did before you came. I need God so that I can be the best mama I’m able, for you. And I need God so that I can love and serve your daddy well, and so that I can continue to become the woman that God intends for me to be. I hope that as you grow even more, this will be apparent and encouraging to you. God has amazing plans for your life, and I get to watch them unfold every day. Even now, while you’re still so small, His hand upon you is evident in every bit of who you are.

I loved you before I knew you, and today I love you 520 times more. I pray that my longings–to keep you small and to protect you always, never get in the way of your growing and changing and adventuring in all of the ways that God will call you to on this earth. You are a miracle in our world, Henry David. Nothing will ever change that, I am sure.

to infinity and beyond,



this is the day…

11 Mar

…that the Lord has made! We will rejoice and be glad in it!

It was a surreal, out of doors kind of day for this time of year, and we were so thankful to be able to enjoy it. Henry was a bit small last year to take advantage of swings and slides and things, but if mom and dad have anything to say about it this time around, he’s not going to miss a one:) We ventured out for an afternoon walk with the stroller and Kruger in tow, and Hank made his park playground debut. From the pictures, it’s clear that the grown-ups in the fam appreciated the experience more than HD, but we trust he’ll warm up to the idea before long. With all of the spring, summer and fall stretched ahead of us, there’s no doubt we’ll have a jungle gym junkie on our hands before the year is out!

After our (brief) trip to the park, we stopped by to visit with a few friends in the neighborhood, met an oh-so-sweet brand new baby, checked out a few “for sale” signs here and there (inquiring minds. nope, we wouldn’t think of abandoning the little blue house), and rounded out the walk with a pink lemonade purchase from a few budding entrepreneurs (they even gave Kruger a complimentary dog treat:). Arriving home, we hopped in the car for a trip to our favorite local ice cream establishment (how we’ve missed it over the winter!) and headed out to the beach for a little gazing. Who knew March would bring so much in the way of warm, wonderful days spent doing the things we love most?!

It was such a treat to catch a glimpse of the months ahead, and such a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. A little Spring in my life does this chica one whole heck of a lot of good!

A few of my favorite (and our silly) moments from the day:

What a blessing!

headed to bed all the better for fresh air and sunshine,


ten (plus ten).

6 Mar

Hanker Tanker,

Well, little mister, you are officially ten months old. Ten months and ten days actually, but things were a little offbeat last week when you turned double digits. Will you forgive your well-intentioned mama? As the calendar rolled over to your ten month mark, you were busy spending precious time with family and  loving your mommy well when the days were hard. You never cease to amaze me, mini-gentleman of mine. With less than a year under your belt, you teach me plenty about grace most days–always serving as a reminder for me to be my best self, always cuddling or smiling or needing me in a way that says, “I forgive you,” when I don’t quite get it right.

At ten months old, HD, you have proven yourself a most patient and accommodating child on more occasions than we could expect. You have your moments of course (when the days get long and you’ve been away from your own bed too many nights in a row), but in all fairness, I do the same and I’m almost 29 years your senior. I’m not sure that changes much with age, darlin’, and I’m thankful that you’re at least honest with us about your needs. Truly, there are times when I wonder whether I could inherit a smattering of your miniature wisdom; you seem to have a keen sense of what everyone else around you is feeling, and you act accordingly. I don’t know how it’s possible for someone your age to have such sensitivity or awareness, but remarkably, you do. You continue to be a most incredible and undeserved gift to us.

I have never been more grateful for–nor more proud of you, than I have been these past few weeks. I keep thinking that my love for you couldn’t possibly grow any more, and just when I’m convinced of it, my heart stretches even a bit further. You are a light to the people around you–just ask anyone who spent time with us in Gramma’s hospital room. God shines through you into our lives in a tangible and holy way, and as your mama, I’m just humbled over and over to have the privilege of caring for you in this season of your life. I hope I can somehow do you justice.

In as many ways as you bless us, Henry David, you keep us on our toes just as much:) You are crawling, cruising, scaling, standing, reaching, tip-top-toeing your way to everything you can get your hands on. We agreed just tonight, in fact, that caring for you throughout the day has grown exponentially more challenging in the past week and a half. You’re doing absolutely nothing wrong, mind you. You’re doing everything exactly as you should be. It’s every corner, edge, stair, wall, object, and turn that are the problem, really. Effectively, we could blame the house–or perhaps it’s lack of true baby-proofness (That is not a word, by the way, but I’m your mother, so I’m using it. In time, you’ll learn all about my penchant for making up words;). Needless to say, we are doing our best to save you from the major falls and scrapes and bruises that would cause unnecessary pain and/or tears on our watch. And we’re making note of every angle requiring immediate or near-immediate attention, planning a thorough and vigilant elimination of said culprits in the days to come. You did try to scale your dresser yesterday, Oh Adventurous One, and while it’s tempting to remove all furniture from your sphere of influence until you truly get your sea legs, we will not be stacking soft piles of clothing on the floor in its stead. The thing is heavy and not going anywhere–it’s you I’m worried about. What do you say we don’t fall off the front of the dresser anytime soon?

On a last, but certainly no less significant note, you are pronouncing WORDS, my dear. Real, certifiable, recognizable words. When did you learn to say things like, “Clock!” ??? Clock. Really. Of all things. I’m not knocking the probability of your being our punctual child, I’m just saying. Duck and dog and car and dada and mama were all so much more predictable when they happened. You’re still missing a few K’s and R’s here and there, but I truly appreciate the way you say “Kruger” in your own, special vernacular. It is certainly helpful to know what you want, who you’re looking for, and what’s on your mind. Someday we’ll have entire conversations, and I look forward to those. Still, I’ll take all of the “clocks” and “Krugers” and “cars” I can get while they’re blooming. (I’ve learned so much more about human development raising you thus far than I ever did in biology, psychology and all of the other classrooms combined.)

Thank you for being a bright spot even on the dimmest days, precious bug. Ten months and ten days with you, and we’ve needed sunglasses on every one of them! Don’t let anyone ever tell you differently, sweet boy. YOU are a marvelous creation!

all the love in the world,

your mama

from my vantage point: nine months.

25 Jan

Darling Boy of Mine,

The days are passing like minutes on the calendar; where have nine months come and gone so quickly? Today you are the same in age as the amount of time you spent tucked inside my belly, growing into that sweet, small, dependent babe we met face to face just three quarters of a year ago. Still the same Henry David we named you in those very first moments, now you are coming into your own in new ways all of the time.

What do I want you to know about where we are in this very moment? I wish I could capture so much more of you who are than I’ll ever be able–wish I had a replay button to catch every little expression you make. But then, who could keep up?! One of the things I marvel at most about you these days is your ability to light up any room. It only takes a moment, but with one funny face or laugh or nod you have us all softened and attentive to your next entertaining act. You pull me out of a bad mood or a sour day like nothing else can: a blessing to my spirit in a way only God could fashion…

On a lighter noter, you are outgrowing all of your pajamas!…and your socks and onesies and nearly anything else you’ve been wearing as of late. Your army crawl is getting to be more of an army run–nothing gets in your way if you’ve set your eye on something across the room. There are still no teeth in your sweet little mouth, but we think they’re very close. I doubt you’ll make it to your first birthday without a few pearly whites to show off when you dig into cake. You’ve added breakfast in the highchair to your repertoire, making that three square meals a day and milk inbetween. You will eat nearly anything we put in front of you, and finger foods have quickly become regular entertainment. Kruger is also a source of interest all day long. The poor dog loves you and doesn’t know what to do with you all at the same time. I hope you’ll both soon learn to play well together, and I trust a best friendship isn’t far down the road.

When dad gets home from work each day, we eat together at the table, play on the floor, splash around at bath time and always make sure to read a story (or stories) before the end of the day. We continue to pray health and safety and faith and joy over you, trusting that God will look after you and care for you in ways we can only supplement as your parents. When we say goodnight, you always look behind you and over your shoulder to see us leaving–not so ready for our time to be over but tuckered out after a busy, play-filled, action-filled day. Life is never boring with you as we mark your new discoveries and celebrate what a delightful little boy you are becoming.

I’m not ready to give up on you being a baby just yet, and as our first, I probably never will be. You are still cuddly and cozy and dependent and hesitant in all of the right ways, while fiercely independent and curious and adventurous in others. The contrast is striking to me as your mama, honored to have a front row seat as you change and grow so remarkably in this all-too-short amount of time. I’m so thankful to have three months between us and your first birthday, because I still want to take in “Baby Henry” for as long as possible. I don’t want to rush it along or wish it away or think too far ahead. You are marvelous just as you are, right at this very moment.

Nine months feels significant, because you’re surpassing the amount of time you lived in-utero by the amount of time you’ve been in the world. Suddenly, you feel bigger to me than I can contain, although I’m not sure why I’d want to try. You get better and better with every day (and I never thought it was possible!)

I love you beyond my ability to express it. So proud to be your mama. So blessed to watch you grow.

on the other side of a different kind of 40 weeks ;)


weekend list.

20 Jan

Since I just ordered my 2012 planner yesterday (realized I can’t live without one after all, even with a smartphone lingering), I’m forgetting more than normal and feeling like I’ve maxed out storage capacity in the organizational compartments of my brain. As there’s a whole host of things I’d like to fit into the weekend, I thought I’d just plod through them here tonight. Then, I’m less likely to forget them, and besides, it’ll gear me up for a fun/busy/productive (maybe)/restful weekend. How can it be all of those things at once? Well, as things get checked off the list, there’s more room for rest. And as I prioritize resting (or relaxing here and there), I’ll be better fueled to find energy for the other things :)

It’s a grand plan. We have a (n almost) 9 month old. We’ll see how this goes:

1) Continue going to bed before midnight. If my fingers fly fast enough, I can make it!

2) Wake up, take care of Henry, enjoy breakfast, drink coffee, work out. (No expectations on the exact order in which all of this takes place.)

3) Vacuum and wash the floors. Snowy boots+driveway salt+Kruger+day-to-day routine=necessary. Plus, it’s too big a job during the week with the peanut in tow.

4) Start (um…) and finish thank you notes from Christmas. We’re not perfect around here. Nope. But we are thankful. Now just to let people know about that…

5) Read a few chapters in my book club book. I keep telling myself I’ll do this while nursing. Then, of course, the book would have to be on the right floor of the house when I decide such things. If I’m up, it’s downstairs, and vice versa. Two copies? The ability to remember everything when going up and down the stairs?

6) Relaxed time with the boys on Saturday night. We can make this happen. Already on the calendar :) Ok, well…on the agenda. The calendar, as I mentioned, is still in need of an update. It’ll happen.

7) On the subject of calendars, write down Henry’s milestone-ish moments in his calendar. Because there’s a whole lot that changes quickly at his age, and because I’m starting to forget what was when. I really don’t want to make it up. In fact, I refuse ;)

8) Something delicious (and perhaps new?) for dinner one of two nights. One of us has to make a grocery store run anyway–may as well pick up something interesting.

9) Church on Sunday morning. Love it. Need it. Gotta have it. Done.

10) Sunday afternoon family nap. We did this last weekend, and besides the whole gang waking up close to dinnertime, it was wonderfully uplifting. Problem solver: set an alarm.

11) Laundry. Perhaps. You know, as other things are taking place. Like playtime with H in his room or a half hour spent galavanting in the snow. Something delightful to get my mind off the laundry.

12) I dunno. Throw in a random something else that I’ve forgotten here, and that will inevitably come up. Mostly because I’m an even numbered person, and an 11 point list would leave me wide-eyed awake in bed tonight. 12 it is.

And that is all. Seem like a lot? Not enough? Just right? Only the weekend can tell. But if I don’t plan (or at least hope), the odds of any number of listed items making their way into the next two days become drastically reduced. Who knows. Maybe tomorrow we’ll scratch the whole thing and make snow forts all weekend. Maybe we’ll take a random adventure somewhere and ask the dog to handle the laundry. Regardless, I like having a list.

a little less cluttered for the exercise,


snow much fun!

15 Jan

We didn’t take full advantage of the generous heaps of snow this weekend because Hank is still a bit too little, but we did spend a short time yesterday goofing off in the backyard. Should have had the camera on manual focus to dodge the gigantic flakes as they fell. The result was a host of outtake-type photographs that, well…I love anyway. Can’t wait for future sledding dates with ALL of my boys (even the pup–he’s the biggest winter weather fan in the family!).

Hope you had the chance to enjoy a bit of the winter wonderland this weekend, even if for a short while!

walkin’ in a…


toothless grin.

10 Nov

You never cease to inspire me, HD–you, with that beaming, wide, toothless (and contagious) grin. Over the past few weeks, your sense of humor has blossomed. Add the right intonation or pitch to any random word and away you go, squealing and giggling away. I love how you always pick your chin up when you laugh; how you arch your back off the floor and kick your legs in excitement, assuring me of your approval. Your toys are funny. Rubber blocks are funny. The number “fourteen!” is funny. You continue to light up our lives.

As of late, you have quite the opinion, my dear. Your delight or disapproval is clear as day. You love bath time, story time, jumping in the jumparoo. The baby in the hallway mirror is fascinating. The baby lotion bottle? Even better. You are decidedly not a fan of putting a shirt over your head, waiting an extra few minutes to eat, or hearing the bark of a small dog. Your winter coat? No thank you, mom. The evidence before me would suggest you are exactly your age. Indeed.

In recent days, you’ve hiked dunes (with a little help), proven a perfect backseat travel companion, conquered rice cereal and oatmeal, attempted to crawl (but it’s still kind of a scoot in circles on your tummy), grown even more enamored with our big black pup, and learned to sit up like a pro. Mommy would be so tempted to start growing another little person like you, because you are such an absolute joy…but really, I selfishly want to soak up some more Hank time one-on-one before anybody else comes along. I just love everything about you.

I’ve never made friends with as many strangers as I do now with you in tow. I love how you strike up a conversation, igniting connection and community around us without even saying a word. It’s the most beautiful thing. You make this world a better place for being in it. You do. And I don’t just say that because I’m your mom.

smile away, my babe. smile away!


p.s. Fourteen!

oh, poop!

2 Aug

If you’re not into “gross,” this may not be the post for you. Read at your own risk ;)

We (I) had an interesting morning at home today. In short, Henry started things off with the biggest display of diaper fireworks he’s ever managed (cloth diaper, onesie, swaddler and mom’s pj’s all at once); when I cleaned him up, I found evidence as far north as his shoulder blades. Whoa. I managed to stay on the phone with Grandma K throughout the entire process, so it wasn’t devastating or anything, but record-breaking in Henry’s book, for sure. Once I had him all clean and down for a nap, I gathered up cloth diapers for the wash (read: bag full of diapers=hands full coming down the stairs) and only narrowly missed stepping in a large pile of you-know-what left thoughtfully by the d.o.g. If I hadn’t smelled it first, the next few minutes would have been just that much more thrilling.

Thank you, Kruger. You should really consider moving out for a few days, or at least, never doing that again.

Cleaning things up was just a bit of inconvenience on the day, and admittedly, left me slightly disgruntled with the dog (who I had let out to go the bathroom not an hour before). But hey, I’m home, and things happen, right? I’m still trying to forget the close call on the kitchen floor (I don’t even like picking it up in the grass outside), so all I can hear in my head while I’m getting rid of the evidence is “Ew, ew, gross. Ew, gross. Ohhhhh, gross! Ew!”

On the flip side, I’m kind of tickled at how little the diaper event made an impact. I’m am decidedly un-phased by gross baby things, with the exception of wearing Henry’s meal down my back when I’m dressed to leave the house. I’ll keep working on that one. The rest of the day was relatively poop free, and I’m not complaining.

I know how much photos add to the blog and all, and I considered a few–if only for a second, and only to make myself laugh as I scrubbed away any probable germ-y trace. It’s possible I captured one image with my phone and text it to Jason, just so he didn’t feel left out while at work, but I will spare any and everyone else from all but this post. I have subsequently deleted all evidence, anyway. I mean, I do like to maintain a little bit of decorum and class and such;)

thoroughly disinfected and considering a small stock of rubber gloves for the little blue house,


early birds.

15 Jul

Henry fell asleep last night around 10pm and slept straight through the night! I first went in to greet the babe at 5:10 this morning, and in between his “I’m hungry and wet. Someone come to my rescue” cries, he was alert and smiley after a long rest. I nabbed about five of those precious hours, which felt great (although I’ll admit, I could still use a few more). And of course, I was happy to see him at such an early hour when he’d not woken me at all through the night.

Naturally, with seven hours of sleep under his belt, our little bug was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after a diaper change and feeding. Unlike his usual 5 am-ish awake time, Henry was up and ready to go for the day after he ate. Hooray! He was also ready to dirty two fresh cloth diapers in a twenty minute period, to play for a while, and to head down for his morning nap at 6:30am. I’m not sure whether to be excited or nervous about what the day will hold :)

At any rate, since we’re up anyway, I’ve folded some laundry, fed and let the dog out, pumped milk for a future bottle, eaten breakfast, gotten dressed and am now blogging, and it’s not yet 7am. Maybe we’re early birds after all…

Henry and I are supposed to head out for a walk with a friend in about 15 minutes, and he is fast asleep in his crib. Sweet little bug. Hmmm, now what? I’ve learned better than to wake a sleeping baby (of course), so the contents of our morning at this point remain to be seen. He could be up again in a few minutes, or he could sleep ’til nine. Life with Henry is one choose-your-own adventure after the next!

no worms this morning. i’m still waaaaaay tired ;)



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