Raven Rock

IMG_0181(1)Raven Rock is one of the better state parks we’ve been to – particularly being less than an hour from all parts of the Triangle. It has a great, new visitor’s center, copious trails, intriguing scenery, and the Cape Fear River. Sarah and I actually came to Raven Rock in November of 2014. At this point in my life, 5 years does not seem like that long of a time on the one hand – we both totally remembered the hike, and how we discussed/argued about wedding planning for most of it. On the other hand, life couldn’t be more different now than it was then though – two rings and two kids later.

IMG_2810The most memorable moment of the trip happened before we even got out of the parking lot. I had put Harvey sitting upright in his pack and turned away from him to rummage through the car, while Sarah readied Della and we both heard a thud and a cry. I’d forgotten to adjust the bar frame out so Harvey wouldn’t be able to teeter, and he had fallen straight back onto the concrete and hit his head and elbow.

IMG_0195(1)Though he quickly stopped crying, and we started the hike, I was so awash with guilt and dread that he might have a concussion (though in retrospect it was clear right away he didn’t) I didn’t really take in as much of the hike as I would have liked. But I remember enough to know we descended about a dozen flights of stairs in order to visit the park’s namesake, “Raven Rock” rock-cliffs just off the shore of the Cape Fear river. I have a feeling if we visit again in 5 years with a couple of elementary kids, life then will seem as different as life now seems to our last visit.


IMG_2831Hike Info:

  • Strava Link (For some reason the last half mile didn’t register)
  • Starting Point: Park Office (3009 Raven Rock Rd, Lillington, NC 27546)
  • End Point: Same
  • Length: 3.0 Miles
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 1 Hour, 30 minutes


Other Activities:IMG_2818

  • Vicious Fishes Brewery (Fuquay-Varina Location)
    • Neat brewery and restaurant in downtown Fuquay
    • White Russian Strong Ale tasted exactly like a White Russian – it was a little freaky. Sarah was a huge fan.




Our story from the day!


William B. Umstead State Park

Having grown up just a few miles from Umstead, and having driven past it literally thousands of times, it is a bit odd to think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually visited the park in my life. I will say, it does have a bit of an “ITB” vibe (will only make sense if you are from Raleigh), and we were definitely a Falls Lake family growing up.

IMG_2556On this Memorial Day, 33rd Birthday, been getting our ass kicked by two kids, weekend – finding something new, but close to home felt like the perfect choice. The thing that struck me first was just how huge the park is, being in the heart of the Triangle. I looked it up and it is nearly 7 square miles. As Raleigh and the Triangle have grown over the last few decades, this park which was once just a forest among forests and farms now stands out a reprieve from concrete and civilization. What an important reminder so close to home of the importance of conservation!

As expected, the park was very busy as compared to almost any other state park we’ve been to – but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t feel crowded. We chose the 2.8 mile Sal’s Branch loop (part of 20 miles of trails within in the park) and while the trail was heavily traveled, it was also very well maintained and a very pleasant, shaded hike. We were lucky to be joined by our friends Pete and Lindsay, with their little guy Luke! Della slept on her momma the whole time and Harvey rode on my back and took advantage of having a friend by singing and yelling for most of the hike.img_2581edited.jpg

We will no doubt be back again!


Hike Info:

  • Strava Link
  • Starting Point: Park Office – Highway 70 Entrance (8801 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617)
  • End Point: Same
  • Length: 2.8 Miles
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 1 Hour



Other Activities:

  • Namu
    • A new Durham spot (in the location that formerly housed Straw Valley Cafe) we have been meaning to check out and finally made it happen.
    • This place is a coffee shop, beer bar (looked to be over 40 beers on tap) and Korean BBQ restaurant with both an awesome (and contained) indoor and outdoor space.
    • We loved the food, the space, the drink and will most definitely be back soon and often!
    • The only down sides are the location is a bit difficult to get to, and they aren’t open Sundays.



Weymouth Woods – Sandhills Nature Preserve

For our first new state park adventure as a family of four, we wanted to find a place that wouldn’t be too far of a drive, but a also a place that felt new to us. We landed up Weymouth Woods, a Nature preserve in the heart of North Carolina’s sandhills, a little over an hour away from us.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A place like this is a perfect example of the geological diversity our state has to offer. Much of the trails were comprised of crisp white sand, with a view of towering pine trees. Watch out for the roots though – we all almost took a spill more than once!

The park has a nice visitor center, connected to 4.5 miles of trails. In all we hiked about 3.5 miles, a nice loop surrounding the park. We would highly recommend this park. It’s unique views and terrain stood out, and the trails were very well marked.


Hike Info:

  • Strava Link (For some reason the last half mile didn’t register)
  • Starting Point: Park Office (1024 N Fort Bragg Rd, Southern Pines, NC 28387)
  • End Point: Same
  • Length: 3.5 Miles
  • Approximate Hiking Time: 1 Hour, 30 minutes (2 kids slowed us down a bit!



We also found some other fun activites to do in the area! We would definitely recommed a visit to the Sandhills! (Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen)

Other Activities:

  • Pinehurst Track Restaurant (NC Weekend recommendation).
    • This was a cool restaurant on a racetrack, which Harvey loved. Food was fine – would compare it to a wafflehouse! Cash Only.
  • Railhouse Brewery
    • This place had more beer offerings than we were expecting, neat spot in an old warehouse in downtown Aberdeen. Favorite beer was the FCA IPA. Don’t miss out on the cheese curds!

Our story from the day!



California Trip (Los Angeles, Visalia, Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Park)

Can’t believe it’s been a year since our last cross-country trek, which also happens to be the last time I posted… enough time that it is tempting to hang it up, but I’ve really been feeling recently how easy it is to lose all of the details of parenthood and travels that seem so unforgettable at the time. Pushing through.

Hilariously, I just read the post I wrote last summer for our Colorado Trip, and it reads much like this one will. Taking a kid on trips can be hard, but its worth it and here is a list of what all we did! The difference between a 2.5 year old and a 1.5 year old is the 2.5 understands that they are being difficult and can sometimes be reasoned with. It wasn’t by any means a relaxing vacation, but it was exactly what we were looking for!


I will forever most remember the Sequoia trees. More spectacular than their size (which you actually get used to relatively quickly when they are everywhere), was their age. Sherman was the oldest at 2,200, but the rest of the big ones are at least a millennium old. That is an amazingly long time to be alive. They showed it too. Sequoia’s are naturally not exactly symmetrical and their branches can look a bit off kilter. But in edition to that these incredibly old living creatures, while being enormous and amazing and beautiful were by no means perfectly sculpted. With life comes trial, and these trees had been through it. Burns, knobs, scars, kinks were living and visible proof of a long life lived, and still they persist… I am so deeply worried we will ruin them though, and sooner than any of us realize. We have a unique responsibility as humans to protect these trees and our environment and we are failing.


Amidst the beauty, it was impossible to escape the fact that we were in an area that was clearly suffering hard from the impacts of climate change. Fires rage across the state (and prevented us from visiting our planned destination of Yosemite) and despite being hundreds of miles from where we were, the smoke from the fires clouded our view of the surrounding mountains and countryside during our visit. The irony and deep sadness to see signs to re-elect climate change denier (not to mention known liar and Trumpeter) Devin Nunes, who represents the district of Visalia,hit me hard. Real hard. It might be too late to stop entirely, but we need to adapt and stop the bleed. This isn’t about politics. The environment should not be a political issue. Wake up people!! If you want to still vote Republican with any kind of clear conscience and soul make your leaders acknowledge and act!! Or, maybe its time to stop voting for them.


Here are some of my other favorite, most notable memories from the trip, mostly in chronological order

  • Delta has the best in-flight entertainment setup. Everyone gets a personal TV with tons of new movies & TV for free. Will always try to fly with them in the future.
  • Being told by the woman sitting in front of us on the flight (as we were exiting the plane) that “just for future reference” we should have apologized to her because Harvey was bothering her during the flight. And no, she said nothing nor gave us any indication that she was inconvenienced and Sarah and I both thought he did great!
  • Watching tar bubble up at the La Brea Tar pits
  • All of the “Hepicopters” in LA
  • Playing at the York Park playground in Highland Park with some very hipster parents & children
  • Galco’s which had the worlds best selection of non-alcoholic carbonated beverages
  • Being dumb tourists and leaving our backpack at the public beach entry by the Santa Monica Pier. Realizing 10 minutes later and returning to the bag, now devoid of my phone, wallet (though they kindly left my ID and membership cards), Harvey’s snacks, headphones & tablet, and Nikon Camera. The kind folks at the Sprint store who were happy to upgrade me to an iPhoneX as a result.
  • Eating out for delicious meals is always a treat – some of our favorites La Fuente (Highland Park), Grand Central Market (Shrimp Fried Rice was amazing!), Gloria’s Cafe in Palms (apparently we just missed Guy Fieri), Pita Kabob (Visalia), Sequoia Brewing Company (Visalia), Burger Lounge (Culver City)
  • Getting to spend time with dear friends Amanda & Brian and James & Shanna!
  • Beautiful views of all of LA via the Hollywood sign hike at Griffith Observatory
  • Bringing the only baby into a brewery that had probably 200 people at 5 o’clock on a Saturday
  • Driving through Skid Row and being very glad we decided not to walk
  • Driving 45 minutes straight up the mountain into Sequoia National Park and getting so nervous that we would run out of gas, turning around and going all the way back to the closest town (Three Sisters) to fill up before returning.
  • Harvey’s cuddle, whisper and awe in Crystal Cave
  • Going on “abventures” as a family to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park
  • Copious methods we used to get Harvey to behave – promising a “special treat” at the end of the day (always Popsicle), saying the Horse would bite him, toy cards, fake crying (as in Sarah and Nick would cry to get Harvey to behave).
  • The perfect Airbnb on a farm in Visalia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Until next time!


Colorado, August 5th – 14th (Denver, Estes Park, Boulder)


So back in March, we booked a summer getaway to Colorado, thinking it would be a fun, relaxing trip to go somewhere new for us both, and take advantage of Harvey still being free to fly. At that time Harvey was just shy of a year old and just starting to walk. We didn’t have a clue what we were getting ourselves into. As the spring and summer passed and Harvey fully morphed from a sweet well-behaved cuddly baby into a biting, running, throwing, hitting, screaming, demanding wombat, I was certainly feeling some apprehension towards the impending trip. We can’t get Harvey to stay put in one room of our house for more than 5 minutes, how will we get him to sit on our of our laps for a 3 hour flight? He’s so drilled into his 5:30 EST wake up time, does that mean he’ll wake up at 3:30AM every morning we are there? Are there enough veggie straws in the whole state of Colorado to pacify Harv for 9 days? What if he starts having a fit when we are out to eat? What if he gets another ear infection while we are out there? Will we even have a fun time?

The answers would turn out to be: 1) through snacks, Moana, but mostly brute force and ignoring the squealing and jeering eyes of fellow passengers 2) more like 4:30AM 3) plenty of veggies straws, but more importantly plenty of open spaces to roam 4) that’s when you have to tag-team it – one in, one out 5) fortunately, he didn’t 6) Yes, we had an absolute blast, and made memories Sarah and I will never forget, and took lots of pictures to show Harvey one day.

Don’t get me wrong, when we both work full-time, being with each other, let alone Harvey for 9 days, uninterrupted was definitely a change from our typical routine – and there were some rather stressful moments. On a few occasions we would have loved to drop him off at childcare, so we could have fully enjoyed a meal, beer or a conversation without the constant distraction that is having a one-something year-old. But, we found time to do things we love, found fun things for Harvey, and overall felt so extremely thankful for each other and our life. We were able to notice things with Harvey and witness his growth in ways I don’t think we would have without the dedicated family time. While I had planned to fully day-by-day document all we did, it didn’t happen. I tried for the first day or so, but it just became overwhelming and not what I wanted to do at the end of a jam-packed day of vacation. So, instead, I’ll simply leave a list of some of the highlights/most-memorable moments and pictures from the trip.

  • Visiting dear friends we don’t get to see enough – Matt & Liza, Whitney & Nate, Amanda & Jonathan
  • Lots of gorgeous hiking
    • Bear Lake, Dream Lake, & Emerald Lake at Rocky Mountain State Park
      • One of my favorite hikes of all time, even on an overcast day.
    • East Inlet Trail/Adam’s Falls at Rocky Mountain State Park near Grande Lake
      • A beautiful trail, made all the more scenic  by the family of Elk having a drink
    • Mount Sanitas Trail in Boulder
      • A spectacular view of the city, but I was always remember it for how hot and exhausted I was carrying Harvey straight up the side of the mountain, coupled with the smell of Elwood’s poop in Matt’s backpack.
    • Flatirons Vista Trail in Eldorado Springs – easy trail right next to where we were staying with great views of enormous wind mills at the National Wind Technology Center.
    • Ceran St. Vrain Trail – A nice trail along on a beautiful river, down the street from Whitney & Nate’s new house
    • Lily Lake – Nice like 3/4 loop on a gorgeous lake


  • Driving along Trail Ridge Road – A road along the side of a mountain, with very few guardrails, and an endless drop over the edge. Most terrifying, yet exhilarating driving experience of my life.
  • Delicious Food & Beer
    • Vine Street Pub & Brewery – Yummy, kid-friendly place in Denver. Leave the card at home – cash or check only, or they’ll send you a bill in the mail
    • Rock Cut Brewery – Awesome Estes Park Brewery – Interference IPA was a winner.
    • New Belgium Brewery –  I think we preferred Asheville’s, but loved that we were only people on the tour that had been to both! Our guide was jealous.
    • The Mountain Café – Fort Collins brunch spot. Not much to look at, but the best breakfast burrito of my life.
    • Odell Brewery – Great brewery in Fort Collins, lots of run around space for Harvey, who made a friend that shared his exact same birth date.
    • Estes Park Brewery – Loved this place. Been making beer for over 20 years and they keep it simple, not a lot of fancy stuff – more for locals than tourists. Best pizza I’ve had in some time.
    • Avery Brewing Company – One of Boulder’s most famous breweries. We got there nice and early to beat the rush and were totally blown away by both the food and beer.
    • Centro/Bar Taco – A couple of delicious Mexican spots across from one another in Boulder. Harvey made it through about half of dinner at Centro and exactly zero at Bar Taco.
    • Wild Wood Brewery – We noticed lots of breweries in industrial parks all around Colorado. This was one of them, in Boulder, and a great spot with a sweet garage door open just enough for Harvey to crawl under. Favorite was the S’mores Stout.
    • Hapa Sushi – Simply delicious sushi spot in Boulder.
    • Upslope Brewery – Loved their beer both in a can and on draft! Their Pale Ale was a favorite,
    • Beau Jo’s Evergreen – Stumbled upon this pizza lunch buffet place on our way out of town. Great find!


  • Mary’s Lodge – Our home in Estes Park
    • Gorgeous view of Prospect Mountain
    • Our free upgrade to suite with a 2nd 

  • Holzwarth Historical Site – An early 20th century dude-ranch.
  • Alluvial Fan – Awesome rock formation along a stream in RMNP. We kept trying to give Harvey the chance to run around, but all he wanted to do was jump in the stream which was probably 40 degrees.


  • Moana – I can’t believe it costs $20 to download a movie, when DVDs are about half that price, but it is true. Still, so worth the money. Whether it was on the plane or while we were out to eat, Moana had the ability to pacify a restless Harvey unlike anything else.
  • The Great British Baking Show – Perfectly relaxing, predictable reality TV, where everyone is super nice and very British. Great way to spend an hour before bed each night on vacation.


  • Harvey talking – During the trip he started to speak in short sentences, sounding like the Swedish chef. “These blueberries” sounds like “deesch bwuberriesh”. “It’s a doggie” sounds like “Isha dogesh”. “Sit” sounds like… well, hopefully he was just saying “sit”… Also learned the meaning of “hot” and whispered “walk” into my ear as we hiked through RMNP. The best though, him yelling repeatedly “I LOVE YOU!” the loudest he could as we drove around.


  • Swimming & going down the slide at the El Dorado Springs Swimming Pool – opened since 1905, and fed by a constant flow from an artesian spring with a beautiful mountain back drop.IMG_6835
  • Driving through residential Boulder while Harvey napped in the backed. The houses were completely unique and gorgeous and also unbelievably expensive.
  • Constantly being surrounded by natural beauty – Especially in Boulder, where you can’t believe the natural beauty around you in the middle of a city. It is so open feeling, with a breathtaking mountainous backdrop. I could see how people get very used to that view.IMG_6891 (2).JPG

Until next time Colorado!

Harvey – Months 9 – 12

Month Nine – Harvey the Lion

Harvey is officially on the prowl; he has teeth, and is an expert crawler. With his pincer of death, there isn’t a piece of fuzz he can’t wrangle.

Harvey Nickname: Harvopotamus (As in – I want a hippopotamus for Christmas)

What’s New: Harvey brought us lots of new gifts this holiday month. He finally had a tooth pop through! So many times DSC_0321.JPGbefore, during times of mild fussiness or malcontentness, we had said “oh, he must be teething”. Then over a Friday and Saturday he was a real mess. Slightly feverish, very grumpy, fussy, and constantly pulling at his mouth and ear. Surely, this HAD to be his first tooth coming through? Sure enough, during a morning breastfeed, Sarah screamed in pain. “That hurt!” She put her finger in his mouth, and sure enough the long awaited tooth had popped through overnight! Harvey, has also taken to crawling this month and we haven’t found that any amount of baby-proofing can guarantee he doesn’t get into something he shouldn’t. The days of plopping him down in a boppy while taking even a 2-minute crap in peace are gone. Fortunately, I have two hands, one to wipe with and the other to hold onto his foot.

Harvey’s not quite to standing, but he’s working on it. Here’s a fun video of him trying to do just that.

What’s Working: The biggest development this month was that Harvey started sleeping in his crib through the entire night. This was extremely bittersweet for us, because we really did enjoy our nights with him, and waking up next to him in the morning. Co-sleeping was a hugely defining pIMG_5761.JPGart of our life as a threesome, and we do miss it. Harvey had been waking up earlier and earlier, excited by our presence, and it was clear to us he was ready, even if we weren’t sure if we were. We decided one day to just “pull the band-aid” so to speak,  “Cry it out” understandably has a bit of an negative connotation as a method of sleep training, but that’s basically what we did. When one o’clock came, and Harvey started crying, we just didn’t retrieve him. That first night, he cried several times, from 15 – 30 minutes each. It was rough, but we made it through. After just a few nights, he slept through without crying. We were both rather shocked it wasn’t more difficult. I’ve also been unpleasantly surprised, that with Harvey’s move to the crib, I haven’t been able to go back to my pre-baby restful 8 hour nightly slumbers. I wake often throughout the night, sometimes because I hear Harvey in the next room… and sometimes because I don’t!

What’s Worrying: Now that Harvey is crawling, he’s like our own Roomba. An019394b41a7a65e4bded76e6a9fe40a03097c61b89.jpgything he is able to find be it toys, dustballs, fuzz or crumbs, he tries to eat. Sometimes he’s successful. With any new phase for Harvey, there seems to be a corresponding anxiety for me along with it, and my fear of him choking right now is extreme. The phrase “it’s all a wing and prayer”, one of my mom’s favorites all these years, is really resonating.

Favorite Memory: We took Harvey to see Santa. We did this 100% for our own amusement and entertainment, obviously, as Harvey certainly won’t ever know the difference. We had to wait an hour and it cost $20, but was well worth it. Harvey did not disappoint and hammed it up.

Month Ten – Harvey the Koala Bear

He’s a cuddly little thing. He loves to pull up, cruise, and hold onto whatever he can get his hands on.

Harvey Nickname: My Squishy (As in – I shall call him squishy, and he shall be mine, and he shall be my squishy )

What’s New:  It seemed like as soon as Harvey started crawling, next thing we knew he was also pulling up and cruising. Some of his favorite things to practice on are the couch, the coffee table, his IMG_5990crib, his toy shelf, and mommy and daddy’s legs. He loves to crawl all over us and tossing him back and forth is one of our favorite past times. We are now also feeding him two to three actual food meals per day . He is a curious little dude, always on the move. I often think back to the days where we could sit him down and he’d stay, but no longer. It can be quite exhausting having to constantly monitor and watch his every move! Making up for all the exhaustion is that he very affectionate and frequently gives his mama and I kisses. It’s sloppy.

What’s Working: We can’t eat anything these days without Harvey making it cleaIMG_5981.JPGr that he wants in on the fun. So, we’ve just started obliging. As I mentioned earlier, we’ve been giving him two to three meals a day, and for the most part we just give him what we eat. It’s a blast watching him try all kinds of foods for the first time, and giving him what we eat, makes the preparation that much easier. Additionally, seeing how well he does with food has really helped me curb the fear of choking I mentioned last month. When he really can’t swallow something (as I learned the hard way when I tried to share some Kale salad with him one time), he gags and spits the food out, and that’s simply the body doing what it was designed to do. Harvey loves pasta, especially spaghetti, which he loves to slurp up. See a video below of him and his mama lady-and-the-tramping it.

What’s Worrying: Donald Trump. Yeah, I’m going there. I’m completely sick over this past election and it has no doubt effected my ability to be the best parent I want to be. As a means of getting through the next 4 years, I made a pledge to myself to focus more on local politics, helping the earth and others through volunteering, and supporting quality journalism. While, I have been doing those things (though not to the extent I’d like just yet), with Trump’s inauguration this month, it’s frankly hard to feel good about anything. Most of you reading this probably know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t, I’ll do my best to explain.


Sarah and I made the choice to try and become pregnant very deliberately (winky face) and we had several reasons. Of course there was plenty of vanity in wanting a little carbon copies of ourselves. But also, because of our own luck and circumstance we have a very comfortable life with the means to provide a safe healthy and happy home for children. We also have a lot of love to give. We thought our child would inhabit an earth capable of sustaining itself. We thought our child would have every opportunity in this world regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. We thought our child would see a world where truth is validated and recognized, and knowledge revered. We thought our child would see a world where people not only look out for themselves, or families, or people who look and think like them, but all of their fellow humans. I no longer have confidence Harvey will know the world his mother and I had pictured for him. But we are more determined than ever to teach him through our own example and community. So thankful for Durham.DSC_0424.JPG

Favorite Memory: Sarah got me the perfect gift for Christmas – a backpack for wearing Harvey while we hike. For the first hike, we decided to go to our favorite, the Eno River. Harvey loved it! He spent the first half of the hike staring off into the wooded scenery. The second half he snoozed, laying his face forward. The facial reaction of the fellow hikers was quite amusing, as they ranged from awe, to hilarity, to genuine concern. Looking forward to putting many miles with the pack and our family.

Month Eleven – Harvey the Porcupine

Thanks to some well-placed cowlicks and static, Harvey’s hair points out in all directions. He is on a mission to get into every crevice he can find and will prick you if you try to get in his way!

Harvey Nickname: Harvey E-NO! (As in – Is there anything you won’t get into?)

What’s New: Play-time with Harvey is super fun these days. He’s standing on his own now, has four teeth, and is super curious about everything. He loves to play catch, play with all kinds of toys and mimic our words and noises. That’s the good part. The bad is, he seems to require even more attention and focus on our part than ever before to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself. Even though he’s stopped trying to eat everything quite as much, he just wants to get into everything – cabinets, toilets, drawers, trashcans. Needless to say, there are lots of bumps and bruise these days. IMG_6087

I’ve been realizing that with a lot of “firsts” its actually hard to pinpoint the exact time something happens. Did he just say that word? Does he know what he’s saying? He’s saying enough words now that we realized we had never really knew what his first word was. We retroactively decided it was “dog” , since that was the first word he said on his own and seemed to know what he was saying at least. What has also been interesting to me is that everything isn’t totally linear.  He might say something one day, and then have no interest the next. One day he’s standing on his own and looks like he’s about to take a step and the next he has to hold onto something. The one thing that has been totally constant, is his ever growing obsession with his penis since its initial discovery a few months ago.  Between his wiggles and desire to grab his jewels, changing him has become quite the task, particularly with just one person.

Harvey saying “neng neng neng”. No idea what it means, but one of our favorites.

What’s Working:  Harvey’s play area. Thanks to generous friends and family, we’ve stockpiled quite the toy collection. In thDSC_0437e carpeted downstairs, it’s Harvey’s territory. Its the one part of the house that is basically baby-proofed. If we need to fold some clothes or do some computer work, just chromecast some Sesame Street, plop Harvey down there, and he’s got all kinds of activities to chose from and can’t get into any mischief. We’ve also had some of our favorite family memories together playing  together in this room – learning how to use his toys, playing catch, and practicing to walk with his toy walker.

What’s Worrying: On the one hand, I am so ready for Harvey to be one – put the bottles, formula and other baby stuff away. On the other, I can’t believe time has slipped away so fast. It sounds and is so cliche, but Harvey isn’t a baby anymore, and it just felt too fast. I am enjoying this time of his life so much, but it is actually quite sad to see pictures of him as a newborn and feel like I legitimately don’t remember what that was like and can’t relate to i0158f08b2e05e89e56200c44d6d3509af2a86c57fat anymore. Part of the reason why I try to take so many pictures, videos and write stuff down I suppose!

The other somewhat tough thing this month is that Sarah went back to coaching soccer for the girls season. To be perfectly frank, the start has been a little rough. For the first time, more than half of the parenting responsibilities have fallen to me, and I’m feeling a lot of resentment. At the end of the day, we talked about it plenty before hand, I agreed to it, and the biggest actual issue is my attitude. I’m hopeful I can start to relish the extra opportunity I have with Harvey and be grateful. Otherwise, its going to be a long 2 and half months.

Favorite Memory:  Two memories stick out to me. One was when Harvey was playing in the living room while I was getting some things together in the kitchen. I DSC_0483could hear him banging some things, and realized I hadn’t heard anything for fifteen seconds or so. I went and checked on him, and he had been banging a tube of Puffs, managed to get them open and had stuffed his mouth completely full. The other was one evening I had Harvey to myself for the night, and right after I got home, I plopped Harvey in front of some toys, and sat immediately on the couch and starting checking emails on my phone. I was distracted and hadn’t really left “work” mode yet and a little disgruntled I was going to have to do nighttime by myself. A few minutes later, Harvey crawled over to me, pulled up on my legs and laid his head gently in my lap and looked up at me. It was the reminder I needed at that moment of how lucky I was, and what was important.

The below, I wouldn’t really call a “favorite” memory, but is certainly a vivid memory from this time period, so I wanted to share.

As I mentioned, with Harvey approaching his first birthday Sarah and I both have been having intense feelings that he’s growing up too fast. This all came to ahead for me while I was having a crown put on my tooth.
A tooth had been bothering me for months and I guess I had assumed it was the result of a recent filling. I finally got it checked out and turned out the problematic tooth, was one that had had a very deep filling when I was as a teenager and it was now starting to deteriorate. I would need a root canal and a crown.
I scheduled the root canal for just a few days later. I really just wanted to get it over with, as I had a root canal due to trauma in middle school which was one of the more traumatic childhood memories for me (story for another day, but probably not). Several times I had to recall the past experience during my current situation and definitely think that played a role in my fragile emotional state (I’m getting to it) following the crown.
The root canal went great. Much shorter and less painful than I remember. The next day I went to my dentist for the crown. He said some words about what he was doing but I wasn’t really paying attention or just didn’t let my brain process them. As he was putting the drill in my mouth I was kind of thinking to myself “What exactly is he doing? Seems like a lot of drilling…” My tongue grazed passed my tooth at one point. I had a moment of panic. It felt like my tooth was barely there. I convinced myself that I had imagined it. The dentist said the drilling was complete and I copped another feel of my tooth with my tongue. My tooth was in fact a little more than a nub.
I was livid. “They just circumcised my tooth against my will!” I thought to myself. I dug into my brain about my prior knowledge of crowns and to what the dentist had said not long earlier. Of course they have to shave down my tooth to have a place to attach the crown. The procedure was medically necessary and I had consented.
My anger turned to sadness. I’m old and my body is failing me. I’m already having parts replaced. Then I remembered my mom who was incessantly telling me I needed to take better care of my teeth so they don’t fall out when I was older and if I had listened to her I wouldn’t be where I am today. Sadness turned to guilt.
Next came thoughts of Harvey. Our nearly 1-year-old, who is the sweetest creature I could ever imagine. But, he won’t always be, and it feels like it’s slipping away too fast. One day even though I know what’s best for him, he won’t listen. And he might have to get a fake tooth one day and pay $1,500 (even with insurance!). My eyes watered and for the remainder of the procedure I wiped tears from my eyes when the dentist looked away. Fortunately,  he didn’t seem to notice.
As the dentist was finishing up he said the hygienist would show me how to floss the tooth in such a way that the (3 week) temporary crown wouldn’t come out. “That won’t be necessary” I said, “I think I’ll just take a few weeks off from flossing”. He let out a genuine belly laugh. “Most people aren’t so honest”, he said.
“That’s just how I was raised”, I thought to myself. Harvey will see me and hear me, even if he doesn’t always listen.

Month Twelve – Harvey the Baboon

DSC_0647_LI (2)
Harvey is constantly standing and just when you look away will take some steps. His butt is inflamed and bright red, thanks to diaper rash, or is it acid burn?

Harvey Nickname: – Harv (We think this one will stick!)

What’s New: All month long, we just keep saying that it feels like Harvey is turning into a toddler. He gets upset or frustrated and isn’t afraid to let you know. And then he gets distracted and is totally fine. His cry, which used to sound like nails on a chalkboard to my ears, barely phases me anymore.  We’ve definitely learned, based on the sound of the cry, to tell when there is something actually wrong and when he’s IMG_6280.JPGjust being a booty. He took his first actual steps (that we saw) on March 7, and by his first birthday, he was walking regularly, up to 10 steps at a time. Our favorite is his squatting. Up and down he goes, butt never touching the ground. We’ve been transitioning from formula to milk and from bottle to cup. The formula to milk was no problem at all, but ole Harv does not want to let that bottle go! Especially first thing in the morning or right before bed, he will kick and scream if you try give him milk in a cup. Put some in a bottle and its the tastiest concoction he’s ever seen. One of the neatest developments is his apparent understanding of what we are saying or doing. It’s kind of hard to explain or verbalize, but its kind of like a dog. He responds to his name, expresses emotions, and is testing limits. If we tell him not to do something, like open a drawer, his favorite reaction is to stare at us with a smile and slowly do it again. I grab for a wipe, and he starts shaking his head ferociously, knowing I’m coming for his nose. When I pull out a baggie of veggie straws he lights up, making grabbing motions with his hands, which will shortly devolve into screaming if he doesn’t get any friggin’ veggie straws in his hand right this minute. He’s also big into hugging. When I pick him up at daycare he crawls over to me and gives me a big smile and a hug. Holding him is a two way affair these days as he rests one hand on my chest, and puts the other behind my shoulder. It is truly my favorite thing in the world. Sometimes, when we are apart, I will think about him and have phantom Harvey sensations where I can feel him in my arms. Thankfully, I never have to go that long without seeing him. If he’s anything like I was, the separation anxiety that is starting to rear it’s head is going to be brutal.

What’s Working: Dermacloud aka “Fanny Cream”. See why this is necessary below. Also, retired grandparents. My dad, or “Pop” these days, retired a couple months ago, and we’ve been able to utilize him several times for childcare. It has been a huge help! Saving us from having to take time off of work, pay a babysitter, and enabled me to continue the bowling league, even during soccer season.

What’s Worrying: For one, Harvey had his first real temperature this month. He was at Rochelle’s and I got a call that he had a temperature of 103.5. Honestly, I knew a day like this would come, and I had been dreading it. I just didn’t know if I had what it took to take care of my sick child. Rochelle and the doctor both helped keep my mind at ease, and thankfully, it was just an ear infection, which cleared up quickly with antibiotics, and Tylenol kept the fever at bay.  This is the video of him I took that morning, thinking it was rather funny, and not realizing he was acting so lethargic because sickness was overtaking him.

I had to make another trip to the doctor just a couple weeks later because Harvey developed some really intense, open-wound, diaper rash. I’ll spare you the picture on this one. It was the third time this happened in the past couple of months (though this was by far the worst). Everyone has an opinion on what is causing it and how to prevent. Not sure we will ever know totally for sure, but we do thing acid in his stool from eating fruit has something to do it. Possibly certain diaper brands as well…  For now, we are just limiting fruit and keeping to just the one diaper brand that he used before any issues developed.

Things got a little worse before they got better as far as the soccer stuff goes, but Sarah and I are both feeling good with where they are at. Her team is 11-1-1, so they are playing great. Games are only 2 days a week now – before they were 3 – and that really was tough on both of us… Not quite sure how I did it, but I think I had finally had enough of my moody self and had a much needed attitude adjustment about it. Sarah is doing something she loves, and it makes me very proud, knowing what a difference she makes on so many kids’ lives.  And if it means I get to spend some extra one-on-one time with Harvey for a couple months of the year, that is hardly something to be aggrieved about. Everyone knows relationships are hard, with or without kids. Adding a kid to the mix, especially when both parents work full-time and have extra-curricular activities, adds a very predictable strain. For us, planning ahead with things like meal preparation and making detailed schedules really helps keep surprises and frustrations at bay. But, the more you run a relationship and family like a well-oiled machine, spontaneity and passion can wither. I oIMG_6287.JPGbviously don’t have the answer here. I’m not sure there is one. But if there is, pretty sure it lies somewhere near the intersection of attitude, expectations and communication. I do know that Sarah and I’s relationship has reached levels not possible without Harvey, and we are a better team and partners because of him.

Favorite Memory: I had some very special times with Harvey this month, and have definitely felt like a good dad. Feeding him dinner and entertaining him on the soccer sidelines is actually a real treat. Also, I really tried a few times to get him to drink milk out of his cup. He was throwing a bit of a temper-tantrum one evening over the cup. Mostly hoping he would just copy me, I took a few gulps of the milk from the sippy cup. Harvey started giggling. He then grabbed the cup himself and held the cup to my mouth. He then brought it back down and drank some. Smiled. And back to me again. Whether it’s a cup or bottle, “sharing” his milk with me, or any food really, always makes him smile.

Well, there it is. Harvey is a year old. In some ways it feels like this is the milestone we’ve been counting down to since we brought him home from the hospital and it feels really great, though I can’t help but miss his little baby self sometimes. I look back at who I think I was a year ago and see a lot of differences. I used to feel like there weren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things that I want to do. NoIMG_5887.JPGw, I am jealous of all the free-time I used to have back in those days. I used to be pretty stingy dude, some might say. Between all of the gifts and kindness we’ve been shown in the last year, and experiencing new expenses like diapers, childcare, and formula I have not only found more joy in giving, but can’t really afford (pun intended) to worry about where money goes. When my mom says life brings “peaks and valleys” I thought I had an idea what she meant a year ago, but I hadn’t really a clue. Some of the joys I’ve had this past year, were truly unknowable to me, as were the feelings of anxiousness and worry over another living creature’s life that you would gladly roll over and die for. I’ll never forget the feeling when I first held Harvey. It was just the most amazing, most mysterious, and most NEW thing I had ever experienced. This child in my arms. Today, when I hold Harvey, there is nothing new about it. A world without him is so far out of reach from my soul, he just feels completely eternal and inevitable. It’s like I’m holding a perfectly innocent version of myself. There was never a me, without a him, I just hadn’t gotten there yet.

Harvey – Months 4-8

Well, I had intended to write one of these things every month, but its been a much busier time for the Cainades than originally thought. Things have wound down a bit, and I am finally getting to this. I hate that some of this stuff is such old news at this point, but I will be happy I wrote it down someday. I made some notes along the way, so some of these thoughts do originate during the time period about which I’m writing, though all filtered through my current state. As I mentioned the last time, this is just a sharing of our parenting story for our own purposes, not meant to be advice, nor a source of judgement (of us, or by us on others).

Month Four – Harvey the Meerkat

Harvey is wide-eyed and alert. He knows there is a big world out there and he’s peeking around every corner, ready to see it all!

Nickname: Isama (As in – It’s A My Harvey)

What’s New: We are officially out of the “fourth trimester” and it feels great. I can honestly say up until this point, every month felt a little tougher as the newness wore off and the difficulties increased, but somehow this month seemsIMG_4719.JPG easier than the last. I liken it first to a heightening in our confidence as parents. I think this is a result of understanding more and more what makes Harvey most content and happy. Secondly, we’ve reached even further levels of joy as we watch Harvey take notice in the world around and interact with it as well as seeming to recognize us as his parents. When we hold him, rather than hold his head into our chest, he has started to jut his head upward to take in the world around him (hence the Meerkat). He as also taken a notice to TV screens (more on this later), to the point where we can put him in front of the TV and he will be entertained for 10 or 15 minutes.

Thinking about appropriate “screen time” isn’t something I have even begun to consider, and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to come up this early in Harvey’s life. It is a small reminder of the countless decisions we have to make and think about everyday… For now, sometimes you just need 10 minutes so you can use the bathroom or fix a plate of food, so hopefully a little Sesame Street at 4 months old won’t cause too much damage.

What’s Working: We started getting serious about some infant massage this month, thanks to my mom who has taught infant massage classes the past couple of decades. We found this to be a great age to do the massage, while Harvey isn’t too wiggly yet, and it is an activity we enjoy as parents, and Harvey seems to as well. Plus, Harvey’s skin is so soft and plump, its like massaging a stress ball. It is as much a massage for our hands as it his for his body. Harvey inspired my mom to create some YouTube videos of her doing the different massage strokes with him as a dummy. The clip below is my favorite outtake.

What’s Worrying: Well, for one, we decided to buy a new house and sell our old one. The stresses of this I think are pretty self-evident, not to mention, while trying to care for an infant. Perhaps the biggest fear, isn’t so much the move itself, but that we are losing time with Harvey as a result of all the time and attention the move is taking. The only way I know to calm this anxiety is just to remind myself that, at the end of the day, we are doing all of this for him, and we’re doing our best. We ultimately felt like doing the move now, while Sarah isn’t working and Harvey isn’t mobile, would be easier than if we waited. As much as I wish we could be the kind of people that are good at just relaxing, we aren’t. Taking care of a newborn is extremely time consuming, but can also be quite boring. Having the move to focus on has had the upside of keeping the boredom at bay (particularly for Sarah) and also been a distraction from the huge cloud looming in the near future of Harvey starting daycare. We feel great about the choice we’ve made for Harvey’s care, but are both just unsure how he and we will handle the huge adjustment of Sarah going back to work. If Harvey’s history of being such an easy going, adaptable baby, are any indication (we count our lucky stars every day), the transition shouldn’t be too bad. On Harvey at least.

One IMG_4646.JPGfollow up – Harvey is still not enjoying the car – he either cries or sleeps, nothing in between. This was particularly difficult this month which saw a trip to Ohio. I would say this has been the most difficult part of parenthood so far for us, and really tested our mental fortitude. As a parent you are hardwired to know your child’s cry and do whatever it takes to curb it. It’s not so much the sound of the cry during these road trips that is difficult, but the fact that Harvey is malcontent, and our only means of pacifying him (getting out of the car) is not an option. With the stress-o-meter pulsating past 10, needless to say, pointless bickering is often a by product of Harvey’s car crying. Sarah and I find some peace by turning up the tunes and singing away.

Favorite Memory: On our trip to Ohio Harvey got to meet his great dsc_0655grandmother. Though the traveling was tough, it brought us great joy that Harvey was able to see all of his grandparentIMG_4758.JPGs in his first few months of life. During our time in Ohio, we stopped by a Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. As I mentioned before, Harvey has become really into screens. He was asleep when we got into BWW, but upon awakening his eyes immediately widened and he got a huge grin on his face looking all around the restaurant. There were screens everywhere! He was in heaven. Frankly, so were we.

Month Five – Harvey the Bird

Harvey took a flight to the west coast this month and got to see the Pacific Ocean. He not only flies like a bird, but makes little birdie noises and eats like bird too.

Harvey Nickname: Manuganug (As in manamana)

What’s New: Harvey has really started to discover his own voice. Lots of chirps and gurgles, as well as some laughter. For some reason, I seem to be the one that can make him laugh the most. I have to admit it feels pretty good! So much of fatherhood thus far as been in the background (as compared to motherhood), but bonding with Harvey on such a human level really makes me feel so proud, perhaps even a little arrogant!

This month was quite a busy one. We went to dsc_0709Georgia so Harvey could meet Sarah’s camp friends. We took a trip out west to visit some friends in Salem, Oregon and Seattle. We sold our house (and chickens). Bought a new house. Lived with my parents for a cou13938042_10207643532832016_3715417529020390508_o.jpgple weeks in between. Sarah started back at work. Harvey started daycare. Harvey got over his car woes (yay!). And lastly, moved into our new house. We are so grateful for all of the hospitality we were shown during our travels and while we were in between homes. While I’m tempted to feel guilty about some of the time that could have been spent relaxing, staring at Harvey, I’m not. Sharing Harvey with our friends and family has been one of the greatest things about having a child, and our travels and busyness during this time enabled us to do just that. We are so lucky that Harvey has been such a good baby and for the most part goes with the flow on all that we are doing.

What’s Working: Baby led weaning. I’m really fortunate to have a partner who already knows so much about little humans. There are so many aspects of taking care of Harvey, choices to be made, that I really don’t even think about, I just follIMG_4865.JPGow Sarah’s lead. I hadn’t given any thought to when we would start feeding Harvey real food, but one day Sarah decided today was the day. Even though at 5 months, Harvey is really too young to need anything other than milk, but apparently just the act of eating is good practice for both his hand eye coordination and learning how to eat. To do baby led weaning, we don’t so much feed Harvey, but rather put food in front of him and let him play with and eat it, how he sees fit. We haven’t given him anything that he hasn’t taken to, but the biggest hits have been bananas, sweet potatoes and avocados. I can’t recommend this enough as it is highly entertaining for both us and Harvey!

What’s Worrying: On his first day at daycare, Harvey’s daycare provider, Miss Rochelle, asked us to write down his daily schedule. I knew we were in trouble. The boy literally has no schedule. When he cries, we feed him. If he’s not hungry, we rock him to sleep. Otherwise, we either actively play with him or wear him. That’s pretty much been what we’ve done for 5 months. I certainly don’t regret the way we’ve done things so far, but we now realize things will have to change a bit in order for him to be happy with us and at daycare. We’ve only had a few days of daycare so far, but it’s clear there is a lot of adjusting to do. Most frustratingly, Harvey all of a sudden decided he doesn’t want to eat out of a bottle. We hadn’t used bottles too often, but hadn’t had any issues when we had, so never gave it a thought as something he’d need to practice. We got a few different bottle types to try out and are hoping one of these will work out – will report back. Also, by just the second day of daycare, Harvey came down with a cold, and it quickly spread to the rest of us. People had told us this would happen, but we just didn’t want to believe it. I know Sarah is happy to be back in the classroom, but being away from Harvey is hard, and all the more so knowing he isn’t transitioning great. It’s weighing on us heavily. See Harvey’s bottle woes below.

Favorite Memory: I have two favorite Harvey memories from this month. The first was when we were in the Pacific Northwest, eating at an amazing small Pizza restaurant (EVVIVA) in the coastal town of Edmonds, Washington. We were taking turns holding Harvey on our lap while we struggled to enjoy our beers, salad, and pizza. I caught eye contact with a man in the restaurant and he smiled at me, then poked his wife to look our way. “She’ll hold him for you” he said. She stood up and held arms out and said “can I!?” We gladly handed Harvey over while we finished the rest of our meal and they played with him. We were both happy! I didn’t even vet them to see if they were planning on voting for Trump or not.

The other img_4936favorite memory is something that started this month (it has continued many months later). It’s simply Harvey waking up in the morning, always in the best moods, with a huge smile on his face. I have a distinct memory of him waking up next to me smiling and when I looked over at him he just gently touched all parts of my face. The cruelty of the world and people in it can often really get me frustrated, angry and sad. The simple curiosity of a new human discovering himself, the world, his dad, serves as a reminder of all the beauty and wonder right in front of us.

Month Six – Harvey the Teddy Bear

Harvey likes to lounge around and can sit up on his own. He’s a gentle cuddly little guy!

Harvey Nickname: Harb (As in – short for Harvey, and because the “v” in “Harv” can sound a little too harsh for such a sweet baby)

What’s New: Harvey had a complete 180 at daycare this month. Most importantly, he remembered how to eat out of a bottle, which obviously came as a huge relief to Sarah and I. He also (thanks to much patience from Miss Rochelle) started falling asleep on his own at nap time, rather than being rocked to sleep as he had been used to for 5 months. We helped with this to by putting Harvey down in his crib both for naps and at night, both new things for us. We definitely had to endure a couple of agonizing cry sessions for 30 minutes or so, but within a week he was falling asleep within 5 minutes every time. Being with all the other boys at daycare has definitely opened Harvey up as well. He’s starting to say some things – namely “da” on repeat, and loves to hold onto to toys. Since he’s sitting up so great, I can actually set him down, walk away for a couple minutes and know he will be just fine and (for now) right where I left him. This is huge!


Classes officially started for Sarah, which means she’s out the door at 6:15AM every morning, and Harvey is all mine until I drop him off at daycare around 8. Having this alone time with Harvey is both quite special and also quite difficult at times!  Harvey loves to go on runs with me in the morning – he either sits in complete tranquility, or falls asleep. He also loves to spend img_5069time playing with toys in the carpeted downstairs where he is free to roll around as he pleases. When its time for me to shower though, that’s where things get dicey. Sometimes he loves sitting in his bathroom chair, sometimes not so much. Up until this month, I probably hadn’t spent a total of 5 hours with Harvey by myself where Sarah wasn’t with me, or at least in the next room. It has been humbling. We have so many fun times, but when I’m trying to get ready, pack a lunch, get him dressed and he’s fussy – AND there isn’t anyone else around to pass him off too – woo, its tough. There is just no escape and you just have to deal.  It has given me new appreciation for all that Sarah did during his first 5 months, being his sole child care provider while I was at work. Of all that’s happened since Harveys been born, nothing has made me feel more like a parent than this morning time, and specifically dropping him off at daycare. The odd combination of feelings I get when I drop him off in the morning – relief, sadness, pride, yearning – I know I have never felt anything like this before, and I know so many others know exactly what I’m talking about. When I go to work I no longer see myself as Nick, the accountant, I’m Harvey’s dad, the accountant.

What’s Working: Now that we are settled into IMG_5145 (2).JPGour new house, aren’t traveling constantly, we have found some consistency in our life and have developed a nightly routine of sorts.How nice this has been! Since I have my Harvey time in the morning, in the evenings, usually Sarah plays with Harvey while I cook. We then eat as a family, bathe, massage, read and feed Harvey all before his bedtime at 7. The best part about all of the routine, and getting Harvey down in his own bed, is that Sarah and I have some time to ourselves at night. I forgot what it was like to actually be able to put our feet up, watch some TV, and relax!

We also IMG_5089.PNGhave our trusty baby monitor to make sure Harvey is doing ok. It has a feature where you can watch through your phone and even snap a picture. I caught this beauty one time in the early days of trying to get Harvey to sleep in his crib. Whatever it takes!

What’s Worrying: So yes, Harvey is starting the night in his crib now. Once he started daycare and we realized we needed to change some things up with his sleep, we were prepared to do a whole big sleep training thing – get him on regular naps and make him sleep in his crib permanently. We never quite got all the way there. The thing is, he still wants to eat at least a couple of times at night and we’ve been letting him. We just bring him back to the bed with us once he inevitable wakes up around 11PM and let him eat and sleep with us. I only say this is worrying because some day we will inevitably have to peel the band aid off, suffer through some tough nights, and get him to sleep through the night without eating so he can make it all night in his crib.

Favorite Memory: As I mentioned, Harvey has started to say “da” this month. For the first couple of weeks when he started to say “da” it would come out of nowhere and he’d stop as suddenly as he started. We could never seem to capture it on video. One Saturday morning while entertaining Harvey, he started saying “da” on repeat and wouldn’t stop for several minutes. Plenty of time to capture it on video (below). Though I don’t believe he had association with the sound “da” and anything it all, my heart melted nonetheless.

Month Seven – Harvey the Caterpillar

Pretend this is what caterpillars look like eating.

Harvey Nickname: Tinky Winky Pinky Minky Stinky (As in – no real explanation, its really just as many iterations of “inky” we can think of strung together. Perhaps there is some Teletubbies nostalgia going on as well)

What’s New: Post 6-months, it seems like all the 01b39740d6014a3a9f25268c7c1f31214f817eff0echanges with Harvey are finally slowing down a bit. For the first time, I can look at a picture from a month earlier, and not really notice a difference. Harvey is officially on the move, though. Not crawling or anything like that, just lots of rolling. He has opened up even more and has started laughing at people other than me (see clip below.) He’s started making lots more “talking” sounds like “ma” and “ga”.

Harvey in Target

img_5441What’s Working: Wild Wednesdays at Whole Foods. $2 *quality* pints. $2 Slices of Pizza. It’s a deal that can’t really be beat. We’ve officially made it a Wednesday tradition at this point and its a great mid-week treat that the whole family enjoys. It’s been a fun way to keep up some of our dear friends during their late pregnancy and early parenthood, and for Harvey to meet his future best friends – hey Theo & Luke!

What’s Worrying: Sarah’s original goal was to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months and reevaluate. We were very lucky to achieve that goal, and the new goal became 12 months. This is Sarah’s story to share not mine, so I won’t dive into a lot of detail, but this month it has become a concern that that goal might not be feasible and it has been difficult to accept. For now, we are weighing our options, and have started to try out some formula with Harvey to make sure he tolerates its ok – which thankfully, he did.

IMG_5271.JPGFavorite Memory: There was not one special moment that I can point to this month as my favorite memory. I just adore this little man more than I ever thought would be possible. It sounds so cliche, but I don’t know how else to describe it. What really hit me this month, is that the best “memories” I have of Harvey are in fact, not one single moment at all. It is something much more esoteric, a collection of experiences. The beauty in children doesn’t come from one “cute” or special experience or moment, DSC_1032.JPGbut its watching, experiencing them grow and change everyday. When Harvey was born, the love I felt was more of a wondering love, a love based in awe. As we have more memories together, as I see Harvey grow, watch myself change, the love shifts to one based on the relationship itself. A relationship that grows each day. I say this, and I only have 6 months under my belt as a parent – 1/36th of Harvey’s childhood. I look at anyone with kids, especially grown kids and just can’t imagine how they can even concentrate on anything, after so many years, the love for their kids must be so big. Maybe that’s why teenagers are such a horror – natures way of keeping their parents’ love from becoming debilitating.

Month Eight – Harvey the Monkey

Harvey, the expert pat-a-caker, is constantly clapping his hands together like a toy monkey. He climbs all over his parents like his own private jungle gym.

Harvey? Is that you?

Oh, there you are!

Harvey Nickname: Panky (As in, Panky Bottom)dsc_0101-2

What’s New: Harvey is not one to sit still these days. Not only is he rolling all around, but he’s starting to lift his butt in the air and even take a crawl or two before flopping over. See the video below of some of Harvey’s first crawls during our trip visiting Sarah’s dad in Arkansas, which prompted the phrase, “Learning to crawl in Arkansas”. He still often loves to be held, but rather than relax in our arms, he finds it to be more of a game – lunging around, and trying to crawl up myself by putting his feet on my chest and lifting up. And when he wants to be most difficult, he’s discovered the advantages of arching his back, usually while screaming and also kicking his feet. Getting dressed and changing diapers, which used to be rather tame affairs have turned circus events. Just when you almost have one pant leg on, Harvey turns his body entirely completely covering the other side, often while humming “da da da da da da”. I can’t tell if he just doesn’t want to sit still, or gets a thrill out of being difficult.


What’s Working: Do you need a high chair? We said no to that question many times. For meals out, we pretty much had to take turns shoveling food into our mouths, while the other held onto Harvey. We finally recently realized Harvey was big and coordinated enough to sit in a high chair at restaurants. Now, he still expects attention and to be fed along with everyone else, so its not a totally relaxing experience, but its a big step up from before!

What’s Worrying: When Harvey started rolling around, I joked to several people it was only a matter of time before he rolled himself off of the bed or couch. Well, it happened and it was the bed. Sarah and I were both in the bedroom at the time, hanging some stuff on the walls. We both simultaneously assumed the other had a closer eye on him than they actually did. At the last second, I saw him nearing the edge, but it was mostly too late. I did manage to get a foot under him to break the fall a bit, but he landed on his back nonetheless, and we both felt completely disgusted with ourselves and worried about Harvey’s well being as he cried for the next minute or sdsc_0067-2o. We did monitor him for any concussion symptoms throughout the day and fortunately, he was totally fine. Also fortunately, our bed is quite low to the ground as it is. I was proud of both of us for letting the feelings of guilt wash away from us rather quickly, and instead be thankful nothing worse happened, and learn from the mistakes. Needless to say, with Harvey on the move, the baby proofing is in full swing. The fireplaces have pads on the corners, all the electrical outlets have covers, and we have a baby gate to install shortly.

The only other prominent worries are sleeping and teeth. His sleep patterns seem to have gotten a little worse if anything… he used to sleep in occasionally, but not anymore. He’s awake by 5 or 5:30 (sometimes earlier) every morning, regardless of when he went to bed. He also seems to be even hungrier at night than he has been, which keeps us both up, but especially his mom. Not so bad that we’ve done any major steps to try and improve his sleeping… one of these days. His teeth are worrying because, well, he doesn’t have any yet! For about 6 months it seems whenever he’s fussy we assume he must be teething, but those teeth are no where in sight.

Favorite Memory: Harvey can’t talk or sign yet, but he can communicate. When he was born, crying was about his only form of communication (obviously pretty common among newborns), but as he grows, his repertoire of means of conveyance grow as well – smiling, kicking, laughing, cooing, outstretching his arms, etc. I set all this up because each time some new thing happens, as a parent it just blows you away. Where does it even come from? An example from this month was Harvey, after having his stomach blown on, returned the favor and began blowing raspberries on his mom’s stomach. What’s more, he appears to be quite pleased with himself and found the whole thing quite humorous. Fortunately I caught most of the exchange on video.

Thanks for reading! Until next month.