Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving at Randy and Kelly's in Chugiak is always a warm and festive event. Aside from bringing green been casserole and pumpkin pie, we were tasked with bringing winter clothes. There would be a fire and the highs for the day were slated to be 9 degrees.

In what is becoming an annual tradition, we end up snapping the Turek family Christmas picture on Thanksgiving. The picture below was part of that effort, though it did not make the final cut. However, we do look very happy in the single digit temps. Hey, the sun is out and the roads are dry so there is little to complain about.

As for the final picture choice, keep an eye on your mailbox.

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They key in taking the Henry show on the road is being dynamic and flexible. We brought the pack and play along with the high chair and arrived at noon where we promptly fed Henry to maintain his eating schedule. Dinner was slated for 2:30 or so which put us in the sweet spot for Henry's 2pm nap. Henry went down on time at 2:15 but thanks to the new surroundings, he woke up right in the middle of dinner. Fair enough. He didn't want to miss the big dinner. Full set of pictures are here.

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Thanks to the remnants of an old dog house and a plethora of varnished trim, the fire roared with warmth and crackling noises that effectively killed the 3 degree temps for a comfortable 10 foot radius. Henry didn't even develop rosy cheeks.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Sometimes Henry is a bit overzealous when it comes to helping Daddy. He's not old enough to have a filter that properly balances desires, abilities, and teamwork. He lets it flow when the spirit moves him.

He learns new things everyday and we praise 99% of them. For the 1% of things that garner a "Mommy and Dad say no" response, he merely stops and tries those things again later with a more sneaky approach. The good things are encouraged and tend to make random appearances in Henry's repertoire.

On Wednesday night I cinched up the kitchen garbage bag, announced that I needed a helper to get the bag to the door, and then promptly handed the bag to a smiling Henry before watching him pull it to the door. It was 0 outside and even though I was in a t shirt, I decided not to put on a jacket -- it's only 30 feet to the garbage cans. 

I shuffled to the cans, dropped in the bag, jogged back to the door, and found it locked. Henry can reach the doorknob and knows that when the door closes, Mom and Dad lock the door. So he locked it. Becky soon realized the issue and we had a good laugh as she unlocked the door.

Henry can now lock the doorknob, quickly. Duly noted.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

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It is all about pointing and helping here.

When I arrive home I crack open the door and barely peek my eyes into the room as I hear Becky prepping Henry with numerous "Who's coming?" questions. I step in confidently, smile, and say, "Hi Henry!" He may or may not smile in response, but he will certainly point. This pointing is often in a random direction -- the snow outside, the stereo, the kitchen light, etc. He notices something and needs immediately to share it. He'll then walk up to me, smile,  let me give him a hug and a kiss, and finally point to the smoke detector above the door. He loves anything that beeps.

Yesterday he sat sweetly in my lap, paid close attention to the story I was reading (fifth story in a row actually), and then turned up to me with a warm smile. It was extremely charming. He then reached up with his finger quickly and aimed in such a way that it went right under my glasses and nailed my eye cleanly. I flinched and was fine. Thanks, Hank. His world is getting more identifiable and he wants us all in on the journey.

He's also a big helper these days, though often helper is defined as touching and getting in the way of as much as possible. It's the price of doing business. Anytime we are cooking, have tools out, or are even paying bills at the table, Henry is an integral part. He's involved and 99% of the time that is great. As shown below, if I empty and cinch up the garbage and verify that nothing is leaking or apt to tear the bag, I simply tell him to take the garbage out. He quickly drags it to the front door.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Becky kept asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday -- anything special, a certain food, a certain cake perhaps? We were in the midst of a glut of leftovers and Halloween candy, so I pushed a birthday request for yellow cake with chocolate frosting to a following weekend. As for an activity, I chose sledding at the small hill at the neighboring grade school.

The sled was new and needed to be broken in. Also, Henry's snow pants aren't getting any looser, so we need to use them as often as possible.

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The hill is very mellow and he loved it. After about 6 runs it became obvious that the hill was very smooth and steady, so we decided to push our luck. We laid him flat in the sled, gave a gentle push, and watched him zip solo down the hill. Call DCFS if you'd like, but he smiled the whole trip down.

After some time on the swings and the slides at the playground, coupled with endless pointing at the planes buzzing through the sky, we called the hour complete. After having his gear stripped off back home, within minutes he had his burp rag in hand and a finger pointed up the stairs. His nap demand was quickly met.

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Monday, November 5, 2012

There were many ways to measure success on Henry's first Halloween (we're not counting last year because it consisted mostly of Henry drinking his bottle while wearing a bear suit as The Thing From Another World flickered on the tv). At a base level, he kept the spider suit on, did not try to eat any of it, and refrained from jerking on any of the legs. He even ran around Randy and Kelly's home wearing it with a certain spring in his step. The evening began with some momentum.

As much as I was enjoying watching Son of Frankenstein on TCM on the HD tv, dusk was threatening and we soon found ourselves gearing up for our march through the Chugiak subdivision. It was 20 degrees outside yet completely wind free -- as comfortable as it will get for an Alaskan Halloween.

As we shuffled up snow patched driveways we settled into a routine. I would set Henry down in front of the door, Becky would thread his arm through his trick or treat bag, I would then step back in support of a teetering Hank (his boots, while warm, are currently a little large), and finally Becky would give the doorbell a poke.

"Trick or Treat!," the proud parents said. Henry stared up politely.

"Oh you are such a cute little spider." Henry stared up politely.

"Thank you," we would say. Henry just continued his gaze up towards the new, smiling adult.

I would then produce the warm blanket and wrap him up as if he was James Brown himself at the slow point of a big song. I would pick up our little Godfather of Soul and hold him close, warming him up as we walked to the next house. Becky kept a handle on the candy, visited with the neighbors she knew, and praised how good a sport Henry was being.

Overall Henry enjoyed the travel and new faces. He may not have been bursting with glee, but the guy was obviously being a great sport.

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After about 8 homes we found ourselves hitting the 16 degree/ 45 minute mark, so we decided to wrap it up and not tempt Henry's demeanor too strongly. However, the largest test remained -- Uncle Randy.

Henry has warmed up to Randy a great deal and no longer fears the mustache, though I still wouldn't bet too heavily on that phase being gone for good. We propped Hank up solo on the Barnes porch, rapped on the door, and stepped back with digital camera in hand.

Despite the glimmer of trouble in the photo below, Henry did not produce a trembling lip. He ended the evening a champ through and through.

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To the winner go the spoils.

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All the Halloween pictures are here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Even if the snow and single degree morning temperatures were not enough of a sign, the cooking around our home is a clear indicator that winter is here. The Alaskan winter is long and dark, so you ought to have a few indoor hobbies to get you through. We cook quite a bit, but in the winter we drift towards longer recipes and more experimentation.

Becky has enjoyed a few cooking classes here in town and set out to remake the Beef Bourguignon from her Julie and Julia class. The results were fantastic and we enjoyed the dish for several days. It's now firmly in our rotation of meals (though I will continue to pick out the mushrooms, thank you).

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