Monday, June 4, 2012

So much love

Henry has been a first for much of my family. Obviously he's the first baby to come into our family. He's making Jon and I feel oh-so-very grownup with all of the firsts that we've been experiencing with him. (More on those later.)

He's also the first nephew that my sister has known since he was born. She's a biological aunt for the first time, although we both have three other wonderful nephews. My mom's a biological grandma for the first time as well. And he's also the first in this next generation to be able to carry on the family name, a first for Jon's folks. Along with all of these firsts comes a lot of love. This kid is loved all around, and I'm so grateful for that.

My sister has really jumped into the role of aunt for a newborn really well. She was the first out of the family to see Henry, and she brought clothes and crafts and toys and books. She loved on and cuddled him and was just so great with him and with me. She allowed me time to nap, she reminded me to eat, and she gave me opportunities to shower during the day. Hurray!

 I look back on those early days with amazement and through a fog. I can't believe how tired and perpetually worn-out I was in those days. I can't believe how proud I was of myself for getting showered, dressed, and fed before noon (on the days that I did, which was not every day). It was with my sister that I took Henry out for his first walk around the neighborhood in his stroller. Oh, and how proud I was when I went out on a walk with my sister, Henry, and the dogs. That was a big day for me. I'm so glad that it has gotten a little easier since then. And I can't wait for Jess to visit again so that she can witness a more interactive, smiley Henry.

Aunt Jess and TINY Henry

Our first walk

Poor peel-y Henry
(I'm so glad THAT phase is over!)

The hike we took with Aunt Jess down to the Virgin River

A couple of weeks went by and then my mom came out for a little while. She was and is completely enamored with Henry. She just wanted to hold him and cuddle him and walk with him all the live-long day. If I wasn't feeding or changing him, she was happy to just be with him. She sang him Polish lullabies (which just about melted my heart), she laughed SO hard when he'd giggle, and she kept marveling over every little thing about him. We went out on a few adventures nearby on our own, and we ventured out a little further when Jon had the time. It was great to leave the house a little by then, even if it took a whole long longer to leave the house than I ever could have imagined. Who knew that such a tiny person could disrupt so many of your daily patterns and habits? (So worth it, though.)

Somehow though, we managed a few things-- like a short hike through Kolob, just she, Henry and I. Yay for the Ergo-baby! It made the hike possible and even pleasant. Snuggled up against me, he slept for nearly the entire hike. We timed it just about perfectly-- he didn't start getting hungry-fussy until we were nearly back to the car. We also went on longer hikes with Jon-- Pine Mountain and the Columbine Creek trail just outside of the Oak Grove campground. It was really nice to stretch my legs, to walk around in nature, and to experience more firsts with little Henry and his Babunia (grandma in Polish).

One of my favorite days with my mom around didn't have anything to do with us leaving the house, however. It was a day where we just hung out with Henry and talked and talked, and I got to hear all kinds of family stories about my grandparents and her childhood that I'd never heard before. It was one of the best gifts ever.

Little man, big yawn
Pine Mountain
This was pretty much all the snow that was left. Jon and I did a portion of that hike two weeks previously and the whole thing was covered in a foot or two of snow. It was a much easier hike when we could walk on the ground.
A hike around Oak Grove
Henry smiling for his Babunia
A couple of more weeks passed by and then we had Jon's folks come for a visit. They were so great. And I don't think that they realize just how much they helped us out. I ate out with them for lunch pretty much every day. That may not have been all that great for me getting back down to a reasonable weight, but man was I glad to have something to look forward to every day, and they really helped out by giving me a hand with Henry so that I could get ready to leave the house. Likewise, watching Nancy with Henry was just so heart-warming. I think that there is just something so special about watching your mothers with a grand-baby, especially when that grand-baby just so happens to be your child. Nancy was just so cute with Henry, talking to him, asking him questions, and saying things when he was crying like, "Oh, tell me your story. Are you having a rough day? Are you telling me a sad tale?" She wasn't flustered by his cries, shrieks, or fussiness, she just talked through it and let me do my thing to calm him down.

Both Nancy and Dave were a real help. And they were just delightful to talk to. As Nancy put it, it was a great time for all of us to get to know one another better. Before, we've always been surrounded by lots of other family members and other commitments. This trip was all about getting to know one another better. Nancy even said that she felt like she was getting know this current version of Jon better -- this adult, married, father, pet-owner version of her son. I am so thankful for Jon every day of my life, and my mom was likewise totally blown away by how amazing Jon is and especially by how much he's done for me and Henry to make our lives easier. I'm so thankful for Jon's parents in all that they did to help raise him to be the man that he is today. And I was humbled to hear that Dave and Nancy were likewise happy that Jon found me. They say that they see a lot of positive changes in their son and they say that I'm a part of all of that. I still say that I got the better end of this deal.

Anyway, with Dave and Nancy, we got in quite a few outings. We hit up antique shops, we went on walks and hikes, and we went out to eat, a lot. Besides our nearly daily lunch outings, we also ate dinner somewhere new pretty much every night as well when Jon got home from work. We went out to some of our favorite spots and we also got to try a couple of places for the first time with them. They have had a lot of practice with some of their other grand kids, so there wasn't really anything new that we could throw at them. They took everything in stride and were really understanding when I needed a nap or some extra time to get ready. And like I mentioned earlier, they were just good company. It was really neat for me to hear some of their stories about Jon's childhood, both the stories about Jon as well as Nancy's experience with motherhood through the years with her three children.

And now all the visitors are gone. I'm waiting for my sister's next stop as well as Jon's oldest sister and her family. Anne and the rest of the Peter gang will be seeing Henry in person for the first time. I never thought too much about how far we live from any family until now. But I'll be the first to admit it, I have had really been missing all the family. I've loved every single visit, and I have cried a bit each time one has come to an end. I wish that we could all live closer, but since we don't, I'm thankful for technology that allows us to talk and to video conference so that we can all stay in touch as much as possible.

Some of the best burgers to be had are in Hurricane.

Walking along the Pa'rus trail in Zion 

Multi-tasking! Eclipse-watching and baby-feeding at the same time. 

 By the way, Henry really does love to see the temple. Both times that we took him to the temple grounds he started to get fussy, and both times when we turned him to look at the temple, he stopped crying and would just stare at the temple contentedly. No joke.

 And I'll leave you with one last shot of Henry, who has recently discovered how fantastic his own fist is. He loves ramming it into his mouth as much as he can. Sometimes, though, he likes to suck on his thumb and pointer finger at the same time. Don't ask me how he does it. He just does. Talented, my boy is. :)