Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Having spent many years in Chicago, I have a healthy distaste for large crowds. I deliberately avoided the Taste of Chicago and shied away from the lakefront path on summer weekends. Anchorage has a handful of large events, but none are on par with anything in Chicago, so we always head on down with a spring in our step. Fur Rendezvous is in full swing and will last another week, but we were only concerned with the snow sculptures, fireworks, and the model train exhibit. This added up to an hour or so on Saturday evening with a a plan to include the train exhibit as a warm up spot.

The snow sculptures are always impressive. In the past we have seen them at the end of the festival, which leaves them a bit worn down. This time most were brand new and a few were still being tinkered with. My favorite two are below. More pictures here.

Henry had a great time in the 23 degree snowing dusk -- he always has fun when they are many, many new things and people to look at. Mommy just brushed him off now and again and we kept cruising along.

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I think this video best captures the charm of fireworks in winter Alaska (no fireworks in the summer -- too much daylight). It doesn't have the multiple "Boom!" and "Wow!" declarations Henry was giving before Becky clicked on the camera though. He gets camera shy it seems.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Location: Henry's Bedroom, 2nd Floor
Time: Before breakfast
Status: Trouble brewing

Last Thursday Becky embarked on a normal morning routine -- greet the arisen and babbling Hank, get a few things ready, and finally head downstairs to have some breakfast before traveling to the Spenard Rec Center. Thanks to the baby gates positioned on the 2nd floor along with the closed bathroom door, it's safe to let Henry run around in a closed space while Mom gets a few things together. He ran around with his usual morning joy and giddiness. When it came time to get dressed, Mom brought him into his room and closed the door -- it is always easier at this stage to keep him in one room. Henry was dressed and ready so Becky turned the doorknob to head downstairs. No luck.

It seems our growing boy clicked the lock on the doorknob a few minutes before Becky unwillingly pulled it shut. Yes, the lock is on the outside of the door.

Status: No cell phone. No land line. No food anywhere for Henry. tick-tock. tick-tock. Locked inside.

Henry was immediately placed in his crib where he quietly and seriously watched a very calm Mommy dig in the closet for a hanger with a malleable end. 15 minutes later the deadlatch was defeated and Henry rejoiced along with Mom.

Daddy soon received a call at work and made plans to stop by Home Depot on the way home.

Status: New doorknob sans lock.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

As our Maui trip begins to drift into memory and becomes sadly replaced by day to day concerns, I'm attempting to find an image or moment that crystallizes the trip. I believe the picture of Henry in the bubbling, jetted tub holding a plastic cup is that image. He's relaxed, full of joy, and hoping this moment will never end. I agree.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Times change and activities shift, but you can always count on Henry being happy and wigglier by the day. His new discovery is the tie blanket from Aunt Kelly. He loves to sit underneath it and hide from us, only to have it lifted up quickly in a great reveal of static extended hair. We often wrap him into a fleece cocoon and announce that this package is ready for Coloma or Rensselear. He loves it all as he wiggles out over and over.

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When it comes to anything Daddy is doing, he wants in. Case in point -- flossing. If I'm cleaning my teeth he will immediately grab the dangling piece and apply it to his teeth. This is always followed by his smile at finding a minty aftertaste -- it amazes him. Consequently, he's happy to sit still and allow his teeth to be flossed. He's happy, and his dentist is happy as well.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Henry is a boy, through and through. Without any prodding he's become infatuated with planes, trucks, blocks, throwing things, and swinging things. He's a full blooded little guy.

At the hotel in Maui children were invited to feed the fish at 4 pm each afternoon. We penciled this into our dinner plans -- let Henry feed the fish, after which we would head to the restaurant. We anticipated that the fish feeding would be very fast because little boys fling things by the handful without grace or poise.

I obtained a handful of about 100 fish pellets and squatted behind Henry to prevent him from going straight into the pond. I slowly showed him how to fling a pellet into the water and then placed a single pellet into his hand, after which he threw it properly into the pond. He giggled knowingly at finding the rhythm, then he went to work.

You might expect that the handful of 100 pellets would get attacked by Henry's paw in the same way he claws for cheerios and goldfish crackers. You would be wrong. With surgical precision he would select a single pellet and throw it towards the swirling fish. He'd pause, enjoy what he'd done, and then start for another single pellet. He loved it but our dinner plans started drifting towards midnight dinner plans. Thankfully Daddy started throwing a few extra pellets here and there and several minutes later the 100 were gone. Henry was a smiling little boy and the fish had very full bellies. Our rambunctious little boy returned after his short, delicate sojourn to fish feeding for surgeons.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Becky and I went to Maui to visit family, relax, and simply enjoy the sunshine and beach. We believed that Henry came along because we packed his bag and told him to. I am now realizing that our belief is incorrect.

I've played enough Dungeons and Dragons and watched enough Lord of the Rings to know a quest when I see one. It usually involves a need to acquire some magical objects (swords, rings, jewels, staffs) and then use those objects to defeat some larger evil, almost always in front of a beautiful, natural backdrop.

Henry spent plenty of time in the toddler wading pool. He loved walking around, splashing and smiling, and ultimately ended up enjoying the waterfall that lined the rear of the pool. The other side of the waterfall bordered on the rear wall of the 5 foot pool, allowing the water to trickle into the toddler pool. Henry endlessly rooted around the waterfall, held his hands and head under the water flow, and eventually ended up with 2 small stones in his hands -- a white and black stone (yes, like Lost). He then wandered again around the toddler pool, firmly grasping the stones. He did drop them a few times, after which he quickly got our attention so we could reach down and retrieve them. At the end of the hour Becky and I both agreed that these stones were very important and needed to be safely stored. They are now securely back in Anchorage.

I won't pretend to understand the exact nature of their importance, but Henry knows. I'll consent that he knew Maui was the tropical paradise we needed to visit whereupon he could find the mystical black and white stones hidden near the Westin waterfall.

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The other important activity for which we traveled to Maui was to satisfy Henry's need to pull and slap canvas awnings in Lahaina. How this fits into his quest is unclear at this point.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

We're doing our best to get settled back into snowy Anchorage after a wondrous week in Maui as guests of Uncle Tim and Aunt Mary. We were in the air for the entirety of the super bowl and finally walked into our home around 10 pm, just past Henry's bed time. As expected, he entered the door shot out of a gun, rapidly inspecting, moving, and rattling all of his toys. His smile beamed and it took about an hour to finally wind down and ease into a bedtime story. He had such a great time in Maui, had an even better time no longer being stuck on the plane, and was just happy to be home.

Mom and Dad are in the same boat. We are left smirking at our tans in the bathroom mirror while still trying to put together the chronology and geography of our week in Hawaii. It'll take some time to snap the legos together in our brains and recognize all of the interesting things we did.

Here is a perfect personification of Henry's tropical joy, not to mention Henry looking pretty sharp in plaid just like his old man.

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Here is the full Maui photo set.

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