Monday, February 27, 2012

As you would expect, it's mostly all Henry all the time around here. However, we do get out at times and manage to keep our lives interesting. For a Christmas gift, Becky had the opportunity to take a few classes at the Viking cooking school here in town. After an extremely useful (but not visually exciting) course on knife skills, Becky went for a "Julie and Julia" themed class. Below is the Beef Bourguignon Becky prepared upon the conclusion of the class. As I believe firmly that mushrooms are poisonous and deadly, I will have to wait to taste a truncated version. She assures me it was absolutely delicious.


A week later, with a head full of cooking steam, Becky put together completely delicious Eggs Benedict utilizing her newly honed poaching and hollandaise skills. The dish was so delicious and rich that our full bellies had us happily skipping lunch that day!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Henry does new things every day, whether they are grabbing something a little stronger or becoming slightly more aware of the world around him. The world is getting progressively larger and clearer to Hank. The truth is that these new things are often far too miniscule for even the doting parents to notice on a daily basis. However, last night he started a completely new sound with his mouth, undoubtedly trying out a new vocalization. It was very funny and probably a small step towards eventually speaking. Out came the flip camera.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It was not planned, but it seems that we may be raising a cowboy.  Henry loves hearing us sing "Ragtime Cowboy Hank/Joe" as we bob him up and down on our knees. I'm sure he just loves the motion, but mom and dad keep telling him that he's riding the range on a horse.

Whenever I feed or play with Henry I tend to have music playing, which means I usually have some vinyl spinning away -- usually it's Johnny Cash or Neil Young. I often hold Henry up and enjoy his smile and fixation as he watches the arm swing and drop onto the spinning record. His favorite these days seems to be Johnny Cash's "Ballads of the True West." Aside from being populated with plenty of great songs, this record is occasionally interrupted with Johnny reading a poem or speaking a bit about the old west. Hank loves deep voices and genuinely responds to Johnny Cash's voice. While feeding him last night I had to keep dropping the needle on "Hiawatha's Vision" repeatedly to keep recreating the smile and interest on Henry's face. The young man likes his Johnny Cash, and he prefers it spinning in front of his eyes.

Add in the great Wyoming gear Henry wears often, and you have a cowboy in the making.

Here is Henry's new "Supervisor" pose. He continues to love supervising and quietly observing us while we fold clothes or complete any other menial task. He always seems to be carefully checking off a list as we correctly completely the task at hand, though he has now added this pose where his hand rests on his hip and he seems to gaze with a deeper satisfaction than before. We can't stop laughing when he busts it out.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentines Day here was a very quiet affair. We enjoyed a Costco pizza, gave Henry a bath, and watched The River. Henry splashed up a storm, jammed most of the floating toys into his mouth, and smiled away as long as we did not scrub his face. For reasons unknown, he did seem to love the bath more than usual. He must be a hopeless romantic.

Thanks to the Lachs in Prentice, WI we have some wonderful new Badger gear. Valentines Day was a perfect opportunity to sport the Big Red colors and take a family picture, and after a few attempts with the timed camera we ended up with a passable photo. Hank's gut is hanging out a bit, but he doesn't seem to mind. We're thankful and proud to have some Badger gear here in Alaska, as there are so many Wisconsin expatriates afoot. Thanks again, Stan and LuAnn!

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Grammy and Grandpa Turek sent along a book and card for Henry's first Valentines Day. Henry pronounced the book delicious in taste and has given it his full attention when it has been read to him. It wins on texture and content! The card was the immediate star though. As you can see from the picture below, the card is proving more interesting than the puff treat in front of him. That is saying a great deal as those puffs get snatched in a blink by Henry's increasingly accurate fingers. When you beat the puffs, you've got a real winner.

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Thanks so much, Grammy and Grandpa Turek! Here's Henry enjoying his card.

Monday, February 13, 2012

When I (hopefully) head out moose hunting later this year, I will need Henry with me. That might not be practical so I'll have to ask him to bless my lucky hat. I say ask loosely, knowing that all I need to do is dangle my cap within his grasp and Hank will promptly slobber all over it. Whatever it takes, because Henry can undeniably sniff out the moose.

Saturday found south central Alaska in a full blown heat wave. It wasn't quite breakup, but 35 degrees is extremely pleasant. We layered up Henry, pulled out the sled, and headed off to do a lap around the bog behind our home. Henry is always a good sport and made no fuss when he was carefully strapped and snapped into his sled. We tugged him along through the patted down snow and smiled and greeted the dog walkers that were out enjoying the day.

Thanks to the Alaskan winter we were able to take a few scenic short cuts across the pond in the center of the bog.

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As we neared the halfway point of our loop we had a spring in our step due to the warm weather and Henry's happiness and curiosity at the surroundings. Despite our best intentions, a full loop around the bog was not to be. Henry sniffed out another moose. After a few pictures we decided that passing the moose would put us in a proximity to potentially create a stressed moose. Nothing doing on that front so we turned around and enjoyed the scenery all the same.

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Moments after we began crunching across the snow towards home, Becky noticed that the party animal had hit the wall. Becky and I had hoped Henry would return home exhausted and prepared for a long nap as we settled into preparing our steak dinner. As is always the case, we can encourage and hope that Henry's schedule best fits with ours, but in the end any and all flexibility comes from our end of the equation. The nap happened on the trail and no amount of scraping or squeaking of snow would disturb it. After the moose, all of the excitement had deflated.

More pictures here (as always).

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

We have well over 100 inches of snow here in East Anchorage. Big Hank isn't even on the ground in this picture.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We found ourselves out in Chugiak at Randy and Kelly's for the superbowl. It was uniformly decided that even though most of our teams were not playing, we'd wear our gear anyway. I went with a Badgers hat, Becky wore a green sweatshirt to approach some Packers colors, Lesley wore proper Packers gear, Hailey flew the Brady jersey, and Henry wore his Bears Urlacher jersey. It was a conflicting day. Many in the room held a bitter taste for the Giants based on their exorcising of the Packers, yet those same fans just couldn't get too excited about Brady getting yet another ring. Most of us jumped on the underdog bandwagon and cheered for the Giants.

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Hank had a great time. His Johnny Jump Up swing had some good use, he was repeatedly held by everyone, and ultimately he was a good sport with all of the attention. He even cracked a drooling smile while on his hands and knees in the center of the room as we all chanted "crawl! crawl!" for several moments. There was no crawling, but he was happy to have a room full of smiles directed his way.

Henry only had his bottles during the day, but everyone else feasted like death row inmates on the spread. Freshly fried chicken wings, a nacho station, sweets, meatballs, chips, dips, cheese, crackers, pop, Alaskan White beer, Rainier, etc. We're all still recovering from the food coma.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Who needs Saturday Night Live for their humor? At our home we get our laughs from eating pretzels.