Monday, July 30, 2012


Becky’s 6 month dental visit was coming up and it thankfully coincided with Henry’s 1 year birthday. Our dentist wanted to see Henry starting at a year so we put together a swapping plan. I would meet Becky and Hank at the dentist, hold him for his 3 minute appointment, and then take him home in the car seated vehicle while Becky finished her checkup with my truck keys in her pocket. Simple swap.

Henry quietly  absorbed the machines, furniture, and lights all littered around him. When the doctor donned a set of glasses and a head light Henry’s interest intensified. New things were afoot. Moments later Henry had a chart noting his 4 teeth, at which point we leaned back in the chair and prepared for the tough part – watermelon flavored fluoride applied directly to each tooth. I held the arms still, fussing ensued, and then 10 seconds later a happy boy literally smacked his lips between smiles. The goal of the whole appointment is to take the mystery out of dental offices, and the mild fluoride is a bonus.

The doctor even mentioned how well he did. “He’s a real stoic little guy.” I could never guess where Henry gets that.

Hank collected a new toy for his bravery and we zipped home to enjoy the sunny Alaskan day remaining.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

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Summer is in full swing and our one year old dude is getting closer to walking everyday. He stands at times when randomly distracted, before plopping to the floor after remembering that he is no longer holding onto something. He’s physically ready to walk, but mentally cannot visualize it yet. The one thing we are certain of is that when everyone chants, “Walk! Walk!,” Henry only wants to sit down and play with a toy. He has his own schedule.

July is ending with a flurry of warm days and Henry has been enjoying them all. When it’s sunny, clear, and in the high 60’s, you need to get out and embrace it here in southcentral Alaska. We’ve even hit the low 70’s once or twice this month. Henry loves moving fast in the jogging stroller with Daddy pushing away or zipping along in the bike trailer as Dad churns down the bike trail. Becky’s knees dictate that her journeys with Henry in the stroller are a more leisurely affair, though she covers the same ground around the neighborhood. Hank loves it all, especially because most excursions end at the playground with the swings and slides (there is often fussing when we have to leave the beloved slide).

Last week Becky rounded a quiet street on the path with Henry in the stroller when an oncoming jogger stopped to remark, “If you keep heading down Patterson be careful. A Sow and three cubs just crossed the street a moment ago.” This was a block ahead in the direction Becky was traveling. Sorry Henry, but mother bears with cubs are strictly on the do not fly list. Becky and Henry turned around and headed towards home. We often get moose in the neighborhood and every year or so we hear of a bear. We once had a black bear at our garbage cans, but this is the new high water mark. Sadly, the bears were too acclimated to humans and garbage so they were put down this week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Since his first birthday last week Henry has taken a turn towards bigger things. As is obvious in the photo below, he's dressing for his new job as Cruise Director.

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As your Cruise Director Henry will be providing the following shore excursions: he'll sit in the backpack for hikes, relax in the stroller while you jog, or doze in the bike trailer as you pedal away. All excursions may be cancelled at any time due to unforeseen naps and diaper changes. The director also reserves the right to fuss if Cheerios snacks are not present at critical times.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Henry can stand for a few moments with confidence and even appears to take a few steps before remembering that crawling is easier. He inevitably flops to the floor and crawls along. He's physically ready to walk but mentally cannot visualize it. This has not stopped him from smiling, yelping, and pushing his plastic lawnmower around the house. He's mobile and wants everyone to know it. This confidence flowed right into his first birthday on Saturday.

Our townhouse is a bit tight for parties so we loaded up the 4Runner and Ranger with food, balloons,  a high chair, pack n' play, and the plethora of gear that Hank needs to get it done and headed for Randy and Kelly's in Chugiak. He does not travel lightly on big days like this.

The Italian Beef (as close to Chicago style as I could approximate in a crock pot) and cole slaw were gobbled up and soon we were off to the big show, which is also known as the ceremonial placing of the cake in front of the birthday boy. The red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting was a bit firm due to its refrigeration, but you can plainly see that Henry muscled through it.

He ended up with plenty of wonderful gifts and the big plastic dump truck was the star. Plenty of photos are here.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

While I was back in Alaska, Henry and Becky began their furious tour across hot and humid Wisconsin. When Henry gets older and asks about visiting a certain town or region of Wisconsin, we'll probably be able to say ,"You were there when you were 11 months old and you loved it." Grandma and Grandpa Barnes' new Corolla got broken in as Henry zipped through Wautoma, Madison, Wausau, and Waushara county.

One of his bigger trips was a long day in Edgar visiting Mandy's and Ben's dairy farm as well as a neighboring hobby farm. Henry encountered calves, ducks, rabbits, and rolling fields of hay. He loved playing with Mandy's boys and everyone soon worked up a sweat in the 90 degree heat.

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Off the group went to Marathon Park for the water playground, a playground all the better because the squirting water was heated as well. No subtle shock from chilly water here. Henry came alive as he had never done before.

He found a wheel that when spun would aim the center water jet wherever you'd like. He promptly aimed it towards his mouth and face and gobbled away. Becky reports that his smiles and laughter were overwhelming and that other kids nearby even paused to notice. Hank had found his paradise.

At the end of the day Henry crashed very hard in his car seat and dozed with he look of satisfaction and happiness. Becky accurately proclaimed that he seemed to have had the happiest day of his life.

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