Thursday, December 29, 2011

As it worked out, it was just the 3 of us on Christmas Eve. We headed to mass 30 minutes early knowing the Chreasters would have the placed packed to the gills, ending up with some quiet seats in the back row. As we are a bit of a traveling show with the diaper bag and car seat, this was a perfect spot for our little group. Halfway through mass Henry decided to fuss briefly but was soon fast asleep after a quick walk out to vestibule. Becky and I went up to communion only to end up standing right behind Jackie Purcell, a local celebrity here in Anchorage.  She's the undeniable #1 weather reporter in the state and we got a chuckle out of it. The saying up here is that Anchorage is a small town, which we have proven by crossing paths with the Palins at Costco and Target (Honestly, it's not all Palins all the time). Even though he was due to eat, Henry made it through church as a model of quiet peacefulness and saved his hunger cries for home. It may have been his Christmas gift to us.

Henry seemed to enjoy the It's A Wonderful Life dvd that flickered in the living room, which probably has a great deal to do with the endless contrasting of light and dark on the screen. Black and white is probably a perfect level of visual excitement for him these days. We explained to him very clearly that Santa would not come unless he went to bed like a good boy. He drooled, smiled, and happily squealed a great deal, though in the end he made it to bed smoothly and quietly. Santa would indeed be stopping by our home.

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I don't know how many gifts were under the tree in total, but it seemed liked 90% of the pile was for Hank. I believe this will happily only get much worse as the years tick by. After a nice morning bottle and some carols we tried to get Henry to start tearing into some gifts. He tried a bit, but seemed to descend into the crinkling of paper once he had a decent enough piece in his hands. The present would end up half open and mom or dad would have to finish the job.

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He made it half way through his gifts and then become suddenly overcome by yawns and general fussiness. We quickly sprinted through the second half of gifts and gave this little guy a nap. There was just so much Christmas that the poor guy was all worn out!

(as always, more pictures here)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We are in remarkably good shape in terms of preparing for Christmas. The cards were off in the mail about 2 weeks ago, the decorations are completely in place, the packages have been mailed off, and the elves came by this past weekend and baked their way through almost uncountable cookies.

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Here is Hank at 5 months of age exactly, happily anticipating the moment when he can grasp and crunch the mountains of wrapping paper under the magnetic, glittering tree that he cannot stop gazing at. He's pumped, even if he doesn't know anything about this time of the year yet. His personality has been coming out stronger and clearer over these past few weeks, and it seems composed completely of laughs, smiles, inquisitive grabbing, giggles, coos, and joyous shrieks (see the video below). He has just become able to roll himself over (and over, and over), so the happy days have begun for Henry and a new door has opened for Mom and Dad.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

St Nick stopped by

Henry may not be much of a talker yet, but he is all about Christmas. He loves gazing and reaching for the lit tree, fiddling with hanging ornaments, and giggling along with mom's voice as she croons Christmas in Killarney and Melaka Liki Maka. However, he was able to whisper to us that we needed to make sure his shoes were set out for St Nick's day, and we were not about to disappoint little Hank. Sure enough, he found his shoe filled with a gift from old St Nick.

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As you can plainly see, he's one excited little boy!

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I don't think he much cared about the stacking toy he received, but I do know he LOVED the wrapping paper. Aside from holding onto a wet, used burp rag, crinkly paper is the greatest thing in the world this young man knows. He'll have his fill of paper to crunch and lick within a few weeks.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I make no promises regarding how well we will finish the Christmas season, but we are currently doing a bang up job. We snapped off a half dozen pictures of the three of us on Thanksgiving, picked a good one, and promptly had Costco print up our Christmas cards. Out came the decorations from the crawlspace, up went the newly purchased tree, and back into the crawlspace went the empty boxes. Upon mailing the cards and tweaking the decorations a bit here and there we'll be in tall cotton as they say.

I'm sure there are many Santas to be had across Anchorage, but given some existing errands at the snazzy downtown mall, we decided that Henry would have a grand time with that Santa. I suspect some lower end locations throughout town have 150 lb Santas with poorly fitting fake beards, which is something we'd really like to avoid. Not the fifth avenue mall! They've got a jolly guy with a legitimate beard and stomach. We're talking A list Santa here. Henry never cracked a full blown smile, but remained very content as he always does when being held in a position where he can endless gaze at new places and people. If he even has a personality or disposition at this age, it is undeniably one of quiet interest and wonder at the wide world opening up before his eyes.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Video Dump

We take videos of Henry here and there as we discover new, cute activities. Here are 3 that at the very least capture much of the current excitement in our house.

The greatest toys around the household these days are often sale papers. It also very exciting to put the sale paper in your mouth (somebody believes it has milk in it).

Here is Henry's first exposure to rice cereal. After a few more feedings it seems that squash is his big favorite. (Notice the ubiquitous sale paper on the right of the screen).

After his final bottle of the night, but before we dress and put him to bead, there is a window of 30 minutes where a scantily clad excited boy laughs and giggles wildly. He always heads to bed tired and smiling.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

After a week of numerous snow dumps ending in a near 20 inch accumulation we were given a a 20 something degree Sunday with plenty of sun and a clear sky. That is as warm and comfortable as it is going to be for the next 5 months around here so It seemed wise to suit up Henry and take him to the bog behind our home. I believe the loop around the bog is just over a mile, and it is certainly very pretty and quiet. Along with the elementary school that borders our property, the bog was a selling point when we were considering the purchase. The only downside has been that our temperature in the winter is usually 5-10 degrees lower than the rest of the Anchorage due to the cold air settling in the bog (ie. Last night on the news they said Anchorage lows may hit 7 degrees, while a quick glance at our outdoor thermometer showed 0 for us already).

It was 24 degrees and Henry was soon geared up with gloves, a Jughead Jones styled crown hat, and some cowboy boots. The moment he gets in the carrier he becomes an extremely happy boy -- he loves being in motion and having plenty of new world to look at.  I planned on a quarter loop through the bog with a turnaround at the observation deck (I've taken some nice pictures here before as well) because his  tolerance for the cold remains unknown. As soon as we found ourselves underway it became clear that his clothing was keeping him plenty warm as he cooed and happily chirped away. He's an eager, interested little guy.

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As we turned back toward home Henry continued happily cooing and I was pleased that he remained comfortable (I feared that he would get extremely fussy and we'd have to quickly scoot back to the house). He's a mellow guy 99% of the time, but when he does eventually hit the wall of his tolerance, it's game on. All seemed perfect until our path on the way home had a large cow and calf moose in the middle of it.

"Uh oh, Hank. Looks like a few Moose in the way."

"Geeeee," Henry announced.

"We're going to need to find a different way back, buddy." I smoothly back pedaled away from the munching cow.


"Got it, Henry. You called that one."

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A quick glance down found Henry returning my smile so into a new direction we trudged, stomping into 15 inches of fresh snow, eventually popping out in a different section of  the neighborhood. We worked our way back home via some side streets and ended up with a longer walk than expected. Henry had some rosy red cheeks and a big nap moments after returning home. It was a big day for the little guy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Deep, deep sadness. That is what the snow brought Henry upon his first exposure. He started by being propped up against the single stair on our deck in the hopes of a quick snapshot. He was happy enough and stable so upon stepping back to snap the shutter it was a great surprise that he slid a few inches to his right and promptly found a clump of snow in his face. At best it could be described as a gentle lurch, but given the shock of snow on his face it became a traumatic, shocking fall. The picture below captures the moment immediately following the tumble. Hopefully he learns to enjoy the snow and we do not end up raising a boy that endlessly inquires about the date we'll be moving to Hawaii.

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After a week passed we decided to attempt another exposure to snow. I don't know how long his memory retains isolated experiences, but hopefully it is less than a week. We geared him up, snapped him into a small sled, and tugged him around the snowy field behind our condo. He never came close to crying or fussing, though the look of suspicion is undeniable.  He's willing to learn to love snow, but as parents we remain on notice.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Henry is a very lucky guy when it comes to outfits. Here is his charming Halloween ensemble, with a onesie thanks to Aunt Mary and Uncle Tim. He wore this the previous week for his first campfire in Chugiak as well.

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However, we wanted to find some quick costume for the little guy and happily found a bear jacket in the pile of "things that are still a little big." So he was an Alaskan Bear for Halloween, and the cozy, fuzzy suit produced many smiles. Wonderful.

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We had the light on our doorstep but it did not help. Here in Anchorage if the first snowfall predates Halloween, as it did this year, we find that the amount of trick or treaters plummets. Night of the Living Dead flickered on the tv while Henry and I giggled away at the tickling that made it through the bear suit. After some time in the rocking chair with a few books poor Hank found himself all tuckered out and soon called it a night. He had a very happy Halloween.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Daddy Sang Bass

Becky is constantly singing tuneful, warm, and fun songs to Henry. He loves it and responds with smiles, giggles, and cooing. Aside from having an excellent voice, Becky is consistently able to remember the words correctly to a given song. I am not so fortunate, though I never let my forgetfulness slow me down. If I don't remember the words precisely, I just make up something close that rhymes with a previous line and also incorporate "Henry" into the lyrics. It makes for some very silly songs, but everyone seems to be having fun.

At times I do need to actually sing a song correctly, which makes for some truly random selections. "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" gets sung a great deal, albeit with "Henry" replacing "Joe" and Wyoming or Alaska replacing Arizona. Henry loves this song because I bounce him on my knee to capture the beat and horse riding mood.

The home run of songs I sing is becoming the camp song from my Boy Scout summer camp in MI -- The Owasippe Hymn. I like the beat to it and it's very easy to remember so I gave it a whirl yesterday and Henry just went over the moon. I sang it in a deep bass voice and he cooed along with the entire way. I assume his response was because he could feel the deep bass as I held him close. If bass is what he likes, Johnny Cash and the Owasippe songs are what he will get.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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It was a clear and crisp 35 degree Saturday when off we headed to Randy and Kelly's in Chugiak for a fire and some delicious chili. Henry was geared up with a warm hat, a fleece sweatshirt, and his Halloween outfit. We'll need to pick up some gloves soon, but for now he seems plenty comfortable without them (as long as he is held closely ). As is the case for most lights in our home, Henry loves staring at the fire. He does seem to get a touch ornery when he's in a highly stimulating foreign environment -- the young man needs to retreat to his boppy on our couch every few hours -- though he did great on Saturday once he caught a few z's in the car seat.  He has an endless appetite for gazing out into the wide open world, so we'll need to schedule as many walks as the weather will allow.

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Yes, that is his (damp) pumpkin bib!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Henry and his entourage (Becky and I are merely handlers for Henry's bags and needs) rolled through through Indiana, Chicago, and Wisconsin for a 3 week period last month. It was a wonderful trip and we thoroughly enjoyed being able to visit with numerous family and friends. Also, the warm midwestern weather was a welcome delay from the Alaskan winter that is setting in quicker every day (I predict snow within a week). My flickr page has more than a few pictures capturing the trip.

As we settle back into our daily routine, we are left with the undeniable fact from the trip that the women love Henry.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Aside from hanging around the house due to life slowing down and spending time with Henry, fall is nipping in the wind and mornings are poking below 32 degrees. There are more than a few reasons to enjoy lounging around the home on a rainy 40 degree weekend.

Scrabble and other board games are scattered about the kitchen table, Henry is sung and read to for as long as he is able to tolerate it, and I've decided to finally get to some of the all day recipes that have been festering in my mind. Sunday I opted for crock pot granola and the results were promising. I did not burn it, though it was slightly over done. A few minor adjustments should make this a frequent zip locked bag inhabitant of our pantry.

I've become more of a hockey fan as the years have trickled by, though it is hard to deny the itch for Bears football that creeps back every fall. Coupling that itch with the fact that Bears football is not always shown here in Anchorage, it becomes an event when the Bears are on, as they were this past Sunday night. Henry was dressed appropriately thanks to some generous Bear fans back in Indiana, and I did my best to accompany him. I watched the game, Henry dozed through much of it, and together we enjoyed hanging around a warm home while waiting for the snow to fly.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

With a little prodding from Dad's finger, a nice smile emerges.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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Henry is getting very comfortable holding his head up so I've started short walks around the bog directly behind our home. He seems to love looking around at all the trees and light.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Photographing the Henry smile is still a bit like getting a snapshot of Bigfoot -- many people allege to have seen it, yet evidence still eludes the world. I've had a few smiles sent my way from an awake Henry, but they are too fleeting. They are increasing in regularity so soon we'll have a good picture to post.

For now, here is Henry calmly awaiting placement in the stroller for a walk, while proudly displaying his Wyoming connections and roots. Becky swears he's whispered to her that he wants to be a cowboy. He only tells me, "Geeee." I guess a mother has a special bond of communication.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Henry smiled for the first time today! If I can get a picture of him smiling I'll post it. He has a beautiful smile...his entire face lights up!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Grandma Turek would be up here so it was imperative to schedule the baptism for her visit, and it went off today perfectly and Henry did not cry at all (he saved it for picture time). Due to some scheduling changes we ended up having our baptism after mass. St Patrick's prefers doing it during mass, but an "older family in the parish" bumped us from the schedule. Sorry Henry, your family is merely hoi polloi. We'll try to work on some social climbing in time for your Communion and Confirmation.

It all worked out great though -- I'm certain he would have screamed bloody murder if he was baptized during mass.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I was hustling to get ready for work at 6 am so I did not feel the earthquake here in Anchorage. Becky did and was a bit incredulous at my missing it. Henry snoozed away in his pack and play, remaining unimpressed. Please stay this mellow, Henry.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Henry had his 2 week check up today. He is now 19 1/2 inches long and weighs 7lbs, 15oz...he's growing like a weed! His pediatrician said that he is healthy and is doing great! :o)

I also had my post-operative appointment today and my doctor said things look great. The incision is healing nicely and I've lost 25 lbs!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm emerging from the bunker of no sleep for a quick note. We're doing ok, which is a victory in and of itself. We have a bit of a system, have developed a 3 hour routine, and are dealing with a generally mellow baby. No complaints and if takes a turn towards Hurricane Henry in the near future, we can at least be thankful for the relative calm we have now. Henry is wonderful and the work is a joy. I believe this picture and piece of clothing (with thanks to Randy) capture the facts of the situation perfectly.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Henry arrived at 11:43 am on 7/7/11 and weighed in at 6lbs and 12 ounces. Everyone is happy, healthy and resting!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

We're as ready as you can get, though Henry probably could use a little more elbow room and a little less of a queen size bed hanging around. Hopefully that will change sooner rather than later.

I keep thinking of the great movie "Raising Arizona." We need a "Welcome Home Son" banner somewhere.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


We found out today that our son, Henry Allen Turek, will be born on July 7th!!!

He has been breech for at least a couple months and doesn't seem to want to flip over, so we're scheduled for a c-section. We were given the option of doing an "external version" where they grease up the belly and then push the baby into place. However, it only works about half the time, the baby could move back to same position he was in, and it could cause him distress, so we opted for the safe route with a c-section.

Now comes the guessing big will he be (length & weight)??? Any guesses? :o)

Friday, June 17, 2011

We are currently halfway through our 4 session birthing class and it has proven very worthwhile as it is happily taking much of the mystery out of the stages of labor and putting us at ease for the challenges of the big day. However, the birthing videos can be a bit much at times, though desensitizing us to the raw images is probably the whole point.

Monday, May 16, 2011

One of the many generous gifts we have received is a "Diaper Cake." Yep, it is exactly what it seems like.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

For those who have been asking, click here to view our registry at Target.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Things are slowly starting to come together. We toured the Maternity Ward at Providence on Saturday. Very interesting and useful; we'll know which door to pull to when Becky's labor begins.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011