Homemade ketchup and a baby to eat it on

I made homemade ketchup!  Seriously, it is pretty cool.  I had been kicking around the idea because Henry, like all toddlers, loves ketchup.   I think he would drink it straight from the bottle if I let him.  You can get ketchup without bad stuff but they still have a lot of sugar.  Of course, I think up all kinds of crazy things to try that I don't always get around to actually doing.  The ketchup probably would have fallen into this category.  However, I was lucky enough to get a bunch of cracked and ugly tomatoes from our CSA.  The kind of tomatoes that demand immediate attention.  The crap part is I got these little loves on the same night we were having some friends over for dinner.

This is what my sink looked like . .


These were on the verge of going bad so I had to do something with them the day I got them.  I found myself blanching, peeling and chopping tomatoes while cleaning the house, working on dinner and taking care of my kids.  At one point I called my sister the tell her that I was insane.  INSANE.  No one in their sane mind would set about making ketchup.  See, even I think I am weird.  I did manage to get all the tomatoes peeled chopped and in the crockpot in time to straighten up the house, cook lasagna, make bread and get myself and the boys presentable.  No. Small. Feat.  I let my ketchup cook on low all night. You have to cook the excess liquid out.  In the morning I took to canning them up and I ended up 8 pints worth of ketchup.


It turned out a little twangy.  Almost a little more like BBQ sauce.  Henry loves it, which is really all the matters.   I mashed together two recipes (this one and this one).  I followed the cooking directions of the later.   I mixed them up because I was working with the spices I had on hand.  I had to estimate anyway because I had no idea how many pounds of tomatoes my sink holds. I used brown sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cumin, garlic and onion. Overall it turned out pretty good for my first attempt at ketchup.

Now as to what to do with all the ketchup?  I might just use it to gobble all of Alex's baby cuteness.  He is in that delicious perfect baby window.  It is before teething and crawling but after the newborn 'need to eat every two hours' phase.  Babies are so perfect in this window that you fool yourself into thinking that you want to have a 100.  I remember going through this with Henry.  When those first giggles and grins start coming it is like this high that can't be explained.  It has got to be one of the best feelings in the entire world.  Then, Mother's natures way of population control, they start teething.  That ends the desire for tons of babies.  And, if that doesn't do the trick there is always a two year old tantrum to make you want to schedule your husband for a vasectomy.

Here is Alex licking his own lips because he knows how cute he is.


For further proof, I have a video. I will warn you, this is so explosively cute it may make you want to run out and get yourself pregnant (or if you are dude impregnate someone). Don't worry though, Henry shows the beginning of a two year old melt down at the end of the video. This should help curb baby fever.

This is crap ipod video, but don't worry you can still witness the cute.

PS.  When he isn't cooing and smiling he likes to catch up on current events by reading the paper over a cup of coffee at Starbucks.  He is very well rounded.

Enjoying his morning coffee and paper at Starbucks


Cheese Baby Alex

I think all parents are worried that when the second child comes along that the first born will resent the baby.  I am happy to say that Henry has nothing but love for "baby Alex."  At times, maybe a little too much love but love all the same.  In fact he is fascinated with him.  He ask for him in the morning and he tells him goodnight before bed.  Yesterday he even drew a picture of him.  It just looked like a giant scribble but according to Henry is was baby Alex.  Don't get me wrong there has been a time or two that Henry has been flustered by having to wait for something because I am dealing with Alex.  However, he channels his resentment towards me instead of the baby.  Getting one's juice in a timely manner is apparently a high priority for a two year old.   I am sure one day the boys will have their fair amount of angst with each other but right now it is nothing but love.

The current and most adorable way that Henry is showing his love for his brother is by wanting to have his picture taken with him.  It started when Jason was snapping photos of Henry painting. All the sudden he boldly proclaimed "cheese baby Alex."  We thought he just wanted us to take a photo of Alex.  In toddler "cheese" means "to take ones photo" (incase you weren't down with two year old vernacular).  However, as a paint covered Henry rushed towards Alex it became evident that he wanted his picture with Alex.  It was kind of adorable.  With a little help from mommy, we got this . . .


Okay, momma isn't looking so hot in this photo (it was a bum day) but Henry couldn't be happier.  This started a chain reaction.  Henry now wants his photo with Alex all the time.  Whenever he gets close to Alex he starts asking to have his picture taken.  He will even do cute things like give Alex his "BearBear."


Then, I had a mommy epiphany.  I can use Henry's picture taking desire to get a good photo of the boys.  Yes, yes.  My plotting got me this . . .


There aren't words to describe how happy this makes me.  When Jason looked at this photo his first questions was "how did you get them to do that?"  I then explained my evil genius of exploting Henry's love of photos to get the boys together.  It took a little coaxing but I got Henry to sit still and not try to pick Alex up.  Here he is thinking "holy crap I can't belive mom is letting me sit this close to Alex.  I could totally pick him up."


This is when I swopped in and started telling Henry to say cheese.  And, just like that he is focused on the camera and not of the baby he wants to lug around the house.  This is the "cheesy" face.  And, this is Alex's "what are you doing to me" face.


While we are on the subject of the boys I wanted to share this photos with you. It is blurry because I didn't exactly want to encourage shoving things in the baby's mouth.  I was putting up laundry while Alex chilled and Henry sang a song.  Henry is constantly making up songs.  All the sudden I hear say "sing baby Alex."  And I turn around to see this . .


Yes, that is a microphone shoved into Alex's mouth. While he wasn't singing, Alex was drooling and sucking all over the mic.  I quickly told Henry he was sweet to play with his brother but that he was a little too young for singing.  They keep me on my toes.

PS.  Just for fun, here is another shot of Henry painting.  The more messy, the more fun!



Gnome is where the heart is

The sentence I am about to type garnered me a decent amount of teasing from my husband and friend. I follow an embroidery blog that has monthly stitch alongs. Yes, I am a crafty nerd. Laugh if you must. But, the stitch along at feeling stitchy proves that I am not alone in geeking out about embroidery. In the few months that I've followed feeling stitchy I haven't been able to play along but I decided this month I was up getting my stitch on.

Originally, I was just wippin' up a little gnome for fun. But, while I was working on it a cute little toddler took interest in it. Every time he saw the project he started yelling "gnome!" Hearing a two old say gnome was so adorable that I couldn't resist making him something with the gnome on it. I decided on a little backpack for preschool .


It is a simple quilted and lined draw string backpack. When I showed Jason the bag his first response was that he needed to teach Henry to fight because he is gonna get his butt kicked. Of course I informed him that in preschool I am pretty sure gnomes are bad ass.


When I wrapped up the bag up last night I decided it would be sweet to take a photo of Henry wearing the bag.  However, Henry is very much two these days.  In addition to emotional out burst he is also teething.  This is what I ended up with (he had been helping me rearrange the totes on the changing table, hence the mess behind him) . . .


He was pretty miserable.  When I tucked him in last night he grabbed my face so sweet and pulled me close.  I thought he was going to give me a kiss.  When our faces were almost touching he said "Jaime Mommy* night, night. Bye."   Needless to say, he must have been very tired.  He made up for his gnome hating in the morning.  I hung the bag on the back of a chair in the dinning room last night.  He grabbed it first thing. When he came into the room to wake us up (we don't miss the crib at all) the first thing out of his mouth was "gnome mommy, gnome!" as he proudly showed off the bag.  On our way to preschool he even let me snap this photos of him.

Gnome bag and little man doll

He is holding his little man doll, which he has taken to calling baby doll (said with the cutesiest toddler slur).  I love that he is all decked out in handmade goodness.  I know he would look a bit more grownup sans pacifier.  With the teething, I just don't have the heart to take away his comfort.  I wanted to ween him off the paci but I didn't think is was such a good idea with all change little brother has brought.  Even with the paci, he rocks the gnome bag.  Because nothing says rock and roll like a hand embroidered gnome.

*  Isn't Jaime Mommy the hilarious?  A couple weeks ago he has an epiphany.  One afternoon he looked up at me, turned his head to the side and after a few moments of deep thought he pronounced "your Jaime."  Since then, from time to time, he calls me Jaime Mommy.  I love it.

PS.  You have got to check out this gnome, he puts my little guy to shame.  Amazing stitching!


Chicks dig musicians

A video of Henry serenading his friend Tessa Jane.  I didn't choreograph this, I just happen to turn around at the right time and had my camera handy.  Here is a video of these two last year around this time.  It is crazy the difference a year makes,


A coat rack of sorts

Oh to have an entry area.  I have envy of people who have entry ways to their homes.  You know lovely little nooks for coat, keys and shoes.   Unfortunately our tiny house doesn't exactly provide us with that luxury.  So, I am always looking for ways to maximize our space.  We have a major issue with our "bags" in this house.  We don't really have a place for them.  I am terrible about hanging my bag and Henry's on a door knob.  Any door knob.  Often in the most inconvient of places, making Jason slightly nuts.  One night I was laying in bed pondering this dilemma (am I the only person who ponders such things?) when inspritation hit.  I remember and old window we had and some old door knobs.  A week later, we had this . . .

Window Coat Rack

Yes, it took a good week to get this painted, knobs added, shelf on and hung on the wall.  I consider a week excellent time considering the fact that our life is constant chaos right now.   I had actually started painting this window a year ago.  I painted the glass cream, the frame gray and then I lost inspiration (motivation).  A year later, I got the window out of storage and on the wall.  The project is pretty straight forward.  I painted the design and then waited patiently (nagged) until Jason could add the shelf and the door knobs/hangers.  In theory I could saw and drill but Jason tends to get all antsy when I touch his tools (that's what she said).  He hoovers and offers more advice than I need (or want).  It is kind of what I do to him when he cooks. I papered the shelf and touched up some paint.  Then Jason mounted the window with some heavy duty mounting brackets.  This allows it to be flush with the wall and withstand a bit of weight.


Okay, I know it is a 100 degrees out and the last thing I would need is a scarf and blue jean jacket.  But, a girl can dream can't she?  I am so over summer!  Also, do you see the level Henry put on the door?  Do you know how hard it is so take a photo with a toddler?  That is is why these aren't the best quality.  I was moving too fast to worry about lighting.  I had to snap the photo quickly before a two year old invaded with toys and cracker crumbs.


Here is a detail shot of one of the window pains.  I "scratched" doodles into the glass.  It was so much fun, I've never painted on glass before.


Here is a shot of the living room.  Henry left all of his "babies" on the couch.  We are finally starting to get around to finishing our living room/ dining room remodel.  We finished construction but up until last week we didn't have anything on the walls.  I am currently on the hunt for some fabric.  We are going to build from cornices for the windows, which I am super excited about.  Also, I think I need to do something to the floor lamp.  I am just not feeling it.  Maybe different shade?  Anyway, lot of plans but we are taking it slow and easy.


This is a little bonus project.  I made a mail holder.  This is to solve another Barks family clutter problem.  We tend to drop mail every wear.  I made it from some thick card board, a lot of mod podge, left over fabric from our throw pillows and this glorious little tool:


This little tool is the new love of my life .  Jason got it on sale from Ace.  They are heavy duty electric scissors. I mocked him when he brought home.  I think my exact words were "like we need another tool."  But oh, we needed this.  Everyone needs this.  It is magical.  If you are even just a little crafty you MUST own this.  It cut crazy thick (like matte board) cardboard like butter.   It gave me such lovely, clean, smooth cuts.  I can't express how amazing it really is.  So, in closing I owe Jason and apology.  Jason, I am sorry.  Thank you for getting yet another tool.  I am also sorry in advance for all the crazy crap I am going to attempt to make using this little guy.

PS.  I almost forgot the best part . . . I finished it up while Henry was at preschool.  When he walked in he looked and the window and said "ohhh, wowwwwww, nice."  Toddler approved.


Cabbage and Cookie

Do you know what makes a momma happy?  Well, there are lots of things but high on my list hearing my toddler beg for a veggie.  Henry has fallen for cabbage.  And, if veggie love wasn't enough we are talking about locally grown organic produce from the Greenway Table (I followed through on my resolution and joined a CSA)! Why yes, I do have a video to prove that my two year old eats cabbage.

Of course, as anyone with any experience with a toddler knows, they take things in whims.  One day he loves something and the next day he doesn't.  But, for this moment I am considering this a victory.  Also, it is adorable.  He actually asked for cabbage for breakfast the other day.  If I had anymore, I probably would have gave it to him.

If you want to eat something less healthy . . . .

I made this skillet cookie recipe that I found on Pinterest.  Holy crap, it may change your life.   It  is kind of like a cookie brownie.   The best (or worst) part is that it is so easy and you mix everything in the skillet.  Hooray for less dishes.  I also made some flat bread from Smitten Kitchen, also very yummy and very easy.

P.S. My level of productivity today is embarrassing low.  Seriously there doesn't seem to be enough coffee in the world to wake me up.  It is just one of those days.  Since I am so unproductive, I thought I would share someone else's productivity with you.  This little video below is a promotional video from an ecourse that Regina Lord (the lovely lady behind Creative Kismet) is putting on.  Usually, I find things like this kind of cheesy but I think this class looks lovely.  I love her art.  She always inspires me.  Anyway, if you are looking for something to spark your creativy and appreciation of life this class might be a fun place to start.  You can get all the details on her blog. 

the Art of Giving e-course from Regina Lord on Vimeo.


Barks Dance Party

Despite the fact that we can't dance, there is a lot of dancing in the Barks household.  Besides the fact that dancing is just plain fun, I happen to live with a music aficionado.  Jason takes music very seriously.  He is always turning up with new music.  Basically, he works to keep me hip.  Well, as hip as a mom with two can be.  Anyway, I have a little glimpse of the dancing fun in our home.  You can also get a really good look at our floors that need to be refinished from our little remodel, arg.  You might also note the dinning room clutter, I had been working on a little art project when we spontaneously broken into dance.  I look at clutter as a sign that we are enjoying life.

Incase you are wondering, Henry is wearing one of Jason's Ace shirts.  He insisted on wearing it and since it was WAY to big we just tied the back up with a rubber band.  Toddlers are crazy.  Henry is really starting to have very strong opinions about just about everything.  For example, he has developed a love (addiction) for Yo Gabba Gabba.  He roams around the house singing the songs from it all day long.  When I do turn it on, we have a two a day limit ( I really try to stick, for my sanity), he goes bananas.  He acts like a tween age girl at a Justin Bieber concert.   Below is an unedited video of him watching the opening credits.  This is a little mellow for his normal Yo Gabba Gabba freak out.   The cutest is at the very beginning, as soon as he sees the camera he says "cheese." You will hear me ask for help (and notice the really wobble camera), I was silly enough to think I could record and hold Alex at the same time.

If you want to have your own dance party, the music in the video is from AWOLNATION Megalithic Symphony.  It is amazing!  Jason found it and told me it was cool and he was right.  I love it.  It has a fun summer feel to it (or at least it does to me).

You might notice I am not in the video . .  . as editor I reserve the right not to post embrassing videos of me dancing on the internet.  Jason and the boys I have no problem exploting.  I did ask Jason to snap a photo of Alex and I.  You know a proof mommy was here photo.  Here is what I ended up with.  Have an awesome weekend.



Because we Can-can-can

This summer we are getting our canning on.  Oh yeah.  Why would we embark on on this insanity the summer we have two little ones?  Because we became obsessed with pepper jelly.  I mention this addiction here.  Since Jason had fallen in love with pepper jelly he planted a plethora of peppers.  Now, all those little spicy gems are ready to pick which means it is time to can.  I have done a little canning in the past, but this summer I was determined stick to canning things I liked.  I am just not a fan of canned veggies.  So it is jams, jellies, pickles and maybe some homemade ketchup and salsa.  Basically stuff we eat and buy.  Here is what we have done so far , mistakes and recipes included (keep in it real). . . .

Peach pepper jam

Hands down, this is the best tasting jam or jelly I have ever made.  I know, terrible to brag.  But, it is the truth people.  I made up the recipes and I am quite pleased with myself.  That being said, me and pectin are still getting to know each other and it didn't jelly as much as it should have.  I do think I know two things that I did that could have caused this.  One, I should have boiled the fruit, pepper and pectin and then added the sugar. I did the reverse of this.  Two, I didn't cook the jam long enough.  I think that the later is the main culprit.  If anyone has any jelly/jam tips.  Please share.  When I get the technique mastered I will share the recipe. 

Basil Banana Pepper Jelly


Okay, one look at this and you can tell this didn't set up AT ALL.  The recipe called for liquid pectin and after going to three stores looking for some I just used powdered pectin.  But, as I mentioned above pectin and are still getting to know each other.  I didn't make any changes to the cooking of the jam.  And I should have.  However, the taste of this jelly is amazing.   I am going to try another batch this weekend.  I have banana peppers coming out my ears.  This runny jelly is great mixed up with cream cheese and served with crackers.  It also has red onions in it with gives it a great sweet flavor (and the pink color).  You can find the recipe for this here.  This site has some yummy looking canning recipes that I can't wait to try.

Refrigerator pickles


Okay, technically this isn't considered canning because I didn't process them in a hot water bath (which means they aren't shelf stable).  But, they could have easily been processed I just didn't feel like.  They will keep for a long time in the fridge.   Why bother with standing over boiling water?  When dill starts turning up at the market (when is that, anyone know?)  I am going to make a couple more jars and actually can them.  I have made refrigerator pickles every year and this is the first year that I finally got the brine right.  I couldn't find a recipe that I liked so I just winged it.  This continually resulted in super salty pickles.  Now that I have got it right, I am ready to share.  This has been 3 years in the making.

Refrigerator pickles (Barks Style)

Makes two quarts

1 pound (or enough to fill two quart jars) of cucumbers cut to your preference
1 small onion
2 cups of white vinegar
2 cups of water
3 tablespoons of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of dried dill or several springs of fresh dill
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes (or a small fresh chili if you want them spicy)
3-4 garlic cloves

Put cut cucumbers and onion in jars (if you using fresh dill you can put whole sprigs in the jars, it looks pretty).  Put vinegar, water, salt, dried dill, pepper and garlic cloves in a sauce pan.  You can add more or less spice and/or garlic depending on your taste. Heat until almost boiling and salt is dissolved.  Pour over cucumbers and onion.  Let the them cool with lids off, once they are cool put on lids and stick in ridge.  Ready to eat in 24 hours but they are better the longer they sit.

Funny side note . . . I am not a fan of sweet pickles.  Hence the omission of sugar.  However, these pickles seem to taste sweet to me and I couldn't figure out why.  After committing more time than I would like to admit to pondering my pickles I realized why.  I used a vidalia onion. So, if you want a hint of sweetness use a vidalia.  If not, stick with a white onion.

As for the title. . .  it comes from Moulin Rouge.  It is one of our favorite movies and every time I can I get this song in my head.  I think the first cd (old school) we bought together was this sound track.  I wonder if I am the only person in the world who thinks of Moulin Rouge while canning?


Fire and Ice

The last few days, we've spent a good bit of time in the kitchen.  I know, it has been blisteringly hot and typlically the last place you would want to be is in the kitchen.  But, you got to get to work while the veggies are fresh.  I think fact that you have to can in the worst heat is proof that god has a sense of humor. But, before we get to canning I thought I would share some other culinary fun with you.

First, behold iced coffee.
(I know this picture stinks . .. but can you see Jason is the background with his guitar?  He taking lessons and I am thrilled.  I don't think there is anything sexier than a man playing guitar.  Even if all he can play right now is "Joyful, Joyful.")


I have seen a bunch of recipes floating around on Pinterest (oh how I love you pinterest - you can find me here) and decided it was high time I tried cold brewing coffee.  Oh, yummy yum yum!  It is fabulous and so simple.  I used the Smitten Kitchen recipe, because I love her.  The only thing I did different is I let my coffee cold brew in my french press.  After it letting it sit over night I pushed down my press and poured it into a mason jar.  My sieve wasn't fine enough and the french press was the only way I could keep from getting coffee grounds in my coffee.  It worked like a charm.  I have been doubling her recipe and storing it in the fridge.  The possibilities are endless.  Chocolate, vanilla, Irish cream . . . an so on.

Now, on to the fire . . .


Why yes, that is me holding my two month old and propane torch.  Oh, and that is a bottle of Irish Cream on the table.  This is responsible parenting at it is finest.  You see, I had to melt my own sugar on top of my creme brulee because Jason wasn't doing it right.


Have you even made creme brulee?  Because it is stupid simple.  Seriously.  Here is the recipe that I use.  I think the reason most people don't make it is because they don't have a torch.  And, for the average cook it isn't really an essential kitchen utensil.  Fortunately, I happen to have a tool obsessed husband who has a propane torch for his shop.  I actually didn't even know we owned one until a few Halloweens ago when this happened . . .


Yes, that is my husband and his friend (hi Adam) using a torch to clean out the inside of the pumpkin.  I should have been horrified but my first thought was "What?  We have a torch!  We are so making creme brulee."  And we did and still do a couple times a year.  Don't worry I was a little horrified when this happened.


Apparently you must have power tools to crave a pumpkin.  I think this might be why I skipped pumpkin craving this year.  Toddlers + power tool = nervous mommy.

Thus concludes my posting halloween photos is July. I think I might just be jonesing for fall.

Please go and endure the heat with iced coffee and creme brulee.


Little Man Doll

Little Man Doll

Since Alex came along Henry has been obessed with babies.   He started pretending that his teddy bear was "his baby."  I love that he has a nurturing side.  I thought it would be sweet to get him a boy baby doll for his birthday.  Then I started looking at boy dolls.  Yuck.  There really isn't anything out there.   The only doll I saw that wasn't creepy was a cabbage patch doll.  But, those things are kind of expensive and I think I am still traumatized by my visit to the cabbage patch hospital.  Seriously, the whole cabbage patch being born bit is creepy (you can watch it here).  Even at 7 I knew it was a little off.  Actually, watching it as an adult it is even weirder than I remembered.   Since I ruled out the cabbage patch doll, I decided to set about making a little doll for Henry.  I actually came up with my own design and ended up with this little man doll.  I was inspired by Black Apple Dolls. This is actually the second incarnation, I had never made a doll before and I attached the arms wrong the first time.  Henry was deeply confused by all the stuffing coming out.  I made him an identical one and told him mommy fixed it.  Henry loves his "baby."  He drags it around the house during the day and sleeps with it at night.  He even mimics the way I take care of Alex.  He will put it in the swing, burp it, diaper it and dress him Alex's oneies.  Once he even got my nursing cover and I think he was planning on trying to feed the baby . . which is kind of weird but very smart.  I explained to him that only mommies nurse babies and he hasn't tried again. I didn't want to him to grow up to be like these dudes (men breast feeding is just weird). Crisis averted.  Jason and came up with a whole series of little dolls . . . there is the hipster (he has black glasses), the mustached man and the douche (he has a goatee).  Maybe I will get around to making them all one day.  But for now, Henry has his little man.

PS.  He is a little fellow, the book he is sitting on is a pocket edition.  The pipe is there for size reference and because it help the little man reflect on the meaning of life at the end of a long day.


A boy and his bow tie


I made Henry a bow tie!  I used the second method shown in this tutorial from Prudent Baby.  I did make one big change, I made it a clip on tie.  I love the neck strap she used in the tuorial but I though a clip on would be more toddler friendly.  Even with a more comfortably tie.  He was still trying to get out of it.


Aren't he and his friend Stella adorable in their little red, white and blue outfits? Here they are in a tree.  Yes, we put them in a tree.  Don't worry, we were close by and they loves it.  What kid doesn't love hanging out in trees?


I am now resisting the urge to make 400 bow ties.  They are easy, fun and cute!

Hope everyone had a fabulous 4th of July!


Two Cute

Can you believe that we have been parents for two years?  Nutso. Not only two years, but now we have two kids.  I still can't believe how fast the last two years have gone by.  There aren't words to describe how much we love our little Henry.  He is infectiously adorable and hilarious.   Last year, I wrote a quick list of 12 things that I loved about Henry at age one.  I thought it would be nice to do it again.  Maybe I will make it a little birthday tradition.  First, here are a few photos from Henry's breakfast party we had this morning. Thank you to our nephew in-law Johnny for snapping these photos.



The look of joy as Henry opens one of his many gifts.



This face cracks me up, he is looking at his candle.  He was literately in shock and awe.

Now 12 things that I love about Henry right now . . .  .

1.  I love that he thinks we are saying "note" instead of "nope."  I hear "note" all the time.  Do you want a nap? Note.  Do you want to brush your teeth?  Note.  He has also started to say "no way."  This is funny, but not as cute when you are try to put clothes on a naked baby.

2.  Bugs.  He loves them and hates them.  Today at his party he got a preying mantis finger puppet that he immediately start saying "shoo, no bugs."  One minute he will be telling them to go away and then next second he will be looking for them.

3.  I love his sweet cuddles.  When he gets sleepily he will beg for me to cuddle on the couch and watch TV (or as he says it "I  T.B.") with him.  Those sweet sleepy cuddles are the favorite part of my day.

4.  How he has learned everyones name.  He knows all our friends and family.  It is so sweet because when you say they are coming to visit he will start calling their name and telling them they can come in.  He also asks for people by name.  A few people he has even given special names to.  His uncle mike is Mikey and a friend (whose name is Ben) he insists on calling "guy."  And of course we both love the way his face lights up when he sees us.

5.  Story time before bedtime.  He has really embraced this tradition and it is such a special time.

6.  Dance time.  He has started busting a move all the time.  There is nothing more fun than having a dance party with your toddler.

7.  The songs he sings.  Henry is always making up little songs. I can't tell what he is talking about but it is the sweetest thing ever.

8.  How he repeats everything.  EVERYTHING.

9.  The way he loves his brother and how he says his name.  I love hearing him say "Hi Alex" first thing in the morning.

10.   The way he has started to form his own little opinions about the world.  He has gotten to the age where he can tell you what he does and doesn't like.  While it can be frustrating, I love getting a glance into the kind of kid he is gong to be.

11.   How polite he is.  How he always says thank you.  Sometimes, he even uses it in advance.   For example he will ask for a cookie and tell you thank you before you give it to him.

12.  Huh?  I hear "huh" 150 times a day.  It is his go-to response about everything.  I love it.

Henry, thanks for letting us love on you.  You have added so much to our life.  We love getting to watch you grow.
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