Tuesday, June 29, 2010

4 Months Old!

Last Thursday, Charly turned 4 months! On Friday she celebrated by visiting the doctor and having two needles slammed into her little thighs. Ouch!

She blows us away each and every day with the things she is able to do. I'm sure all parents say things like that, especially all NEW parents! But its true. Babies are so smart, so early, there's so much to experience and so much to be amazed by . . .

Charly has so many different faces, so many different expressions, and so many different sounds. We couldn't seem to get enough of her sweet coos and stories so naturally this month Charly decided to surprise us and try out a new voice . . . a growl. It's this soft rumble that comes from somewhere deep in her throat, and she makes it all the time! The coos and giggles are still present but it's obvious this growl is so much more fun to make! It's hard to imagine such a cute little blue eyed thing making such a vicious sound!

Kelli and I love pictures. We waste days away taking our own pictures of Charly but it was important to us to get some good professional pictures taken of her as well. Kelli made a connection through her school and set up her "3 Month" photos. We were excited. It was an opportunity to show her off. She's cute. She makes fun noises. She smiles. She giggles. What could go wrong? She's the perfect baby!

Turns out Charly doesn't like anyone other than her mom and dad behind the camera. The day was a semi-disaster. She was an absolute bear. The photographer did really well and the pictures turned out fine, given the circumstance, but it taught us a valuable lesson: When plans involve a 3 month old, be prepared to alter your expectations quickly! We actually had 4 month photos recently taken as well, by a different photographer, and Charly behaved much better!

Other 4 Month milestones . . . Charly outgrew her vibrating chair so we needed to find a new place for her to sleep at night. She still sleeps through the night so we were a little nervous about this. We slowly transitioned her into her pack and play so she could be near us (a little apprehensive about trying the crib just yet). It didn't seem to phase her. She still sleeps the night away! She often snoozes until late in the mornings (9:00!) but she's also a night owl so Kelli and I are rarely in bed before midnight.

She giggles a lot. She loves to grab her toes. She rolls over from her back to her stomach quite a bit (which we're told is difficult) but cannot for the life of her get from her stomach to her back (which we're told is easy). Go figure!

She stayed overnight with her Grandma and Grandpa Henrichs (and Uncle Taylor), her first ever overnight. They loved having her and said she behaved perfectly while we were away. The night we returned from Minnesota, she was tired and kind of crabby! Another lesson learned: Babies like routines, no matter how much they love their parents and grandparents!

Charly turning 4 months is bittersweet in a way. There are times that Kelli and I can't wait for her to be older, so she can enjoy and remember some of the experiences we try and provide for her. Yet when her face lights up as we walk into a room or while we lay on the floor, singing and growling along with her, it's difficult to imagine her any other size or shape than she is now! Time goes by so fast and we are both very thankful our jobs as teachers allow us the summer off to enjoy her.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Power of Marketing

I had a perfectly good half-gallon of ice cream at home in the freezer. But slap a Twins logo on just about anything, and I'll buy it!

Kelli's not quite the sucker I am. But I'm curious to see if I'm the only one . . . Has anyone else out there purchased something solely because of a marketing technique?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Thank You Daddy!"

I thought I'd give Jordan the day off from writing for our blog and share this poem Charly and I wrote for him on his first Father's Day.

Thank you for my dark, thick hair
And caring for it after my bath.

Thank you for loving baseball

And for teaching me the Minnesota Twins starting lineup.

Thank you for holding me high in the air

And serenading me to the Lion King song.

Thank you for sharing your side of the bed

And for comforting me when I feel sad.

Thank you for your wonderful taste in music

And for downloading special playlists just for me.

Thank you for putting together my crib and dresser

And for painting my beautiful birds above my crib.

Thank you for your sweet kisses

And the way your beard feels against my skin.

Thank you for all of the photo shoots and pictures of me

And capturing all my many looks and smiles.

Thank you for your passion for children's literature

And for reading your 5th grade novels out loud to me.

Thank you for your encouragement when I roll over

And for your sweet words when you put me to sleep.

Thank you for your arms that wrap around me

And for cuddling with me while watching television.

Thank you for taking an active role in my life

And for changing, feeding, talking, loving, singing, kissing, playing, and reading to me.

Thank you for being patient, calm, nurturing, and sensitive to my needs.

But most of all thank you for being my daddy and loving me so much!

Happy First Father's Day, Daddy!

Love, Charly (and Mommy, Kelli)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Goodbye Rug Burns, Hello Grass Stains

I have to admit, as a Twins fan, I was never really anti-Dome. Sure, a slight pang of jealousy would surface while sitting in Kauffman Stadium or Coors Field, watching other baseball teams play outside in picturesque ballparks. But to me, the Metrodome has always been the Minnesota Twins.

In 2000, when talks of contraction were sweeping throughout the major leagues and the Twins' name was coming up in conversation regularly, the Dome was used against them. It was unattractive. It was low-rent. It was not a place for baseball. When the Twins survived the contraction issue and went on to dominate the American League Central, the Dome survived too. The little engine that could, of sorts. I couldn't help but cheer the Dome on!

When talks of Target Field began taking shape, I may have been in the minority of Twins fans. Amidst all the hope and excitement, I was a little sad. The Dome was where I had become a Twins fan each and every summer as a boy with my family. The Dome was home of Kirby Puckett, my childhood hero. The Dome was home of TWO World Series Champions! Sure there were Hefty Bags hanging in right field and sure the purple and gold of the Vikings clashed with the navy and red of the Twins, but the Metrodome was Twins Territory as I knew it.

Seeing Target Field on television, has been surreal. It feels like watching and cheering on an entirely different team. A team and a stadium that garners respect, not the opposite. I've been waiting to see it in person since Opening Day and on Wednesday, Kelli and I left Charly with Grandma and Grandpa Henrichs for her first ever overnight and made the three hour trek up north.

It was slightly eerie riding the train past the Metrodome and into the Warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis. I had been there before and I was having trouble envisioning a ballpark in the midst of all the busyness. Stepping off the train, the seemingly endless wall of slate stone behind left field, did not look like much. However after walking along the outside of the stadium on our way to the front entrance, the surreal images I had become accustomed to on television, slowly started becoming reality. By the time we reached the front entrance, I was beginning to feel like a lifelong Cubs fan on their first visit to Wrigley.

Despite looking like it's own version of the Starship Enterprise, Target Field is rather impressive. The right field Plaza is bustling with vendors and personal Twins touches yet the entire area feels quaint and welcoming. Kelli and I browsed the Twins Majestic Clubhouse and looked at the bronze statues of Kirby, the Golden Glove, and Harmon Killebrew (we totally missed Rod Carew's statue!). We admired the numbered gates honoring past Twins like Tony O. - 6, Hrbek - 14, Carew - 29, and Kirby - 34 (didn't see Killebrew's - 3), then we bought a beer and chilled on one of the many benches in the Plaza. By 5:00, two hours before first pitch, the area was packed with people.

We filed into the stadium around 5:30. Our seats were on the first base side, 12 rows up in the lower section. Instead of finding them, we took a lap through the concourse. We found Hrbek's bar and made our way to the upper deck to check out the view from above. Seeing the skyline behind right field was truly awe-inspiring and it was the moment I began to forget about the Metrodome entirely.

40,814 people (the largest Target Field crowd to date) found their seats as Scott Baker tossed the first pitch. The Twins scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning thanks to Danny Valencia and Nick Punto singles. Scotty Baker struck out a career-high 12 batters. The Rockies closed the gap by scoring a run in the top of the eighth off a Matt Guerrier wild pitch. Jose Mijares came in to strike out Todd Helton, pumping his fist and screaming as he came off the field and into the dugout. Twins' closer, Jon Rauch made short work of three Rockies batters to record his 17th save of the season. The Twins won 2-1, going to 11-4 overall when Kelli and I have been in attendance (since 2003)!

I surely will miss the Metrodome and the memories I have from it. But after singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame into the open, Minnesota air, watching the sun fall behind homeplate changing the sky from blue, to orange, to black, and admiring while victory fireworks fill the night sky behind the glorious video board in left-center field, I understood just what we Twins fans had been missing out on in the Dome. This is what summer is all about. This is how baseball is supposed to be played. I can't wait for our next visit!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer To-Do Lists

School's out for Summer! With most of June and August and all of July to enjoy, Kelli and I wanted to get organized for Charly's first summer ever!

Charly's To-Do List:
  1. Talk mommy and daddy into buying me a mini-swimming pool so I can splash in the sun!
  2. Rolling from my back to my tummy is a piece of cake. I want to be able to roll from my tummy to my back!
  3. Mommy and daddy are designing a flower garden in our backyard. I want to put my footprints in stepping stones for mommy to use.
  4. Watch a lot of baseball with daddy. I want to go to a Waterloo Bucks game with all mommy and daddy's friends. I want to go to an Iowa Cubs game with my cousins and maybe even my future boyfriend Jace. And of course, I want daddy to take me to Target Field to see his Minnesota Twins play! It's Target Field's Inaugural year and mine too!
  5. Go to the Zoo and see a live elephant. I love elephants!
  6. Get a picture taken with all my cousins. Cooper, Brooks, Jackson, and Griffin. Jackson, you have to sit still!
  7. Pick strawberries in a strawberry field with mommy.
  8. Go for a boat ride with another one of my future boyfriends, Ethan and his brother Ryan.
  9. I want to learn how to read. Mommy and daddy have these DVDs they play for me. I love watching them, but the gorilla is weird!
  10. Go to a parade. I can't eat candy yet, but I want to see what parades are all about!
Kelli's To-Do List:
  1. Plant a flower garden where our large bush is in the backyard and add Charly's stepping stone as the main attraction.
  2. Spend a lot of time by the water. Take Charly to The Falls, go to the beach, swim at Clear Lake, and play in Charly's future pool.
  3. Go shopping with my little side-kick! I want to go to Williamsburg, Jordan Creek, and venture to the Mall of America with my new shopping partner. I may be setting us up for some serious issues in the future and more money out of our savings account!
  4. Become a runner. I need to be motivated this summer to get back into shape and shed some of my Charly weight!
  5. Learn how to cook! I would love to try 3 new recipes each week and not be overwhelmed by ingredients! I would also like to become a hostess. I was raised in a family where our weekend would not be complete if my mom didn't host friends and family while cooking a feast for everyone. I want to be more like that...a pantry (my tiny cupboards) stocked full of food and ready to entertain at anytime!
  6. We have taken over 600 pictures since Charly's been born, and this summer I would like to get caught up and start filling up our photo albums. I also need to develop pictures to add to Charly's baby book, so I can check that off my list!
  7. Learn new songs to sing to Charly. I seem to continue to sing the same songs over and over; I have even tried creating my own original songs...maybe part of my to-do list should be to market songs!
  8. Re-decorate the living room. I don't mean an overhaul...just buy some new things for our sofa table, rearrange the pictures behind our couch...add some Charly pictures to the shrine of Jordan and Kelli, and buy some new pillows for our couch...pillows are my weakness!
  9. Organize the basement and have Jordan build me a closet downstairs. Can one of my to-do items be something that Jordan has to do?????
  10. Take time to relax and spend time with my beautiful and wonderful family. Enjoy all the goodness summer has to bring...picnics in the park, laying out and soaking up the rays, going for walks and bike rides, grilling, reading children's literature, and spending lots of time with family and friends!
Jordan's To-Do List:
  1. Get our yard back in shape. Last Halloween, a large portion of our front yard was dug up as a result of some serious plumbing issue. Clay takes a long time to settle! This summer, my lawn is going to look pristine, with thick, green grass and simple, clean landscaping. I also have to dig up an oversized, ugly bush in our backyard and replace it with a flower garden.
  2. Go to Target Field, not once, not twice, but at least three times. I want to experience it with Kelli and Charly first and foremost. But I also have to experience it with Dad and Taylor, and Shawn and Kali. Three great excuses!
  3. Learn how to grill something other than burgers, brats, hot dogs, and chicken breasts. It seems as if I always throw the same ole' same ole' on the grill. So I bought a 500 page How-To book and may need to enlist the help of a certain brother-in-law . . .
  4. Finish handyman projects around the house. Our living room needs crown molding, our fairly new remodeled bathroom still needs odds and ends touched up, the basement floor needs a second coat of paint and sealer, the stairs leading downstairs need to be re-carpeted, and I'd love install a new kitchen floor. We'll see how it all goes!
  5. Play at least 10 rounds of golf!
  6. Read a lot of books. A while back I started a blog project that went astray due to an abundance of schoolwork. I'd like to revive it and get back to reading some of the older Newbery Medal winners.
  7. Begin writing a novel. I have a few ideas for juvenile fiction novels that I think could win me my own Newbery Medal someday.
  8. When June rolls around for a lot of teachers, they want to close the door to their classroom and not think about it until the end of August as the new year begins. Call me crazy, but I don't want to mentally check-out from the school year. I want to plan a day or two each month this summer to spend time in my classroom and get ready for next year. That way, those few days before kids return in August are not so stressful!
  9. Host a party! Our friends host parties all the time. We never have. Besides the get-together we had following Charly's baptism, Kelli and I have never had a substantial amount of people gathered together at our house. I want to grill, drink, play games, and build a fire.
  10. Take lots of pictures! Someday (soon) I would love to begin laying the groundwork (maybe even this summer) for Kelli and I to start our own photography business. So this summer, I intend to practice, practice, practice!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Ever since he could weeble-wobble, our nephew Cooper has had some kind of ball in his hand. Our brother-in-law Blaine has been working on Cooper's throwing motion and batting stance for years. Believe it or not, our polite little nephew, has grown into a 4th grader (soon to be 5th grader) and the time to begin enjoying his baseball talent has come.

Cooper's club team is the West Des Moines Bengals. Blaine is one of three coaches on the team. With a weekend tournament in Cedar Rapids, Kelli and I thought we'd cross something off Charly's Summer-To-Do-List (to be posted soon) and make the hour long drive up Highway 20 to cheer Coop on.

We showed up fashionably late, halfway through the second inning of Game #1. Charly's oldest cousin was pitching for the Bengals and had already fanned 6 batters in 2 innings. Because these little boys' arms need to be protected, the boys can only pitch 3 innings a game, and no more than 6 in a week or weekend. In his final inning of pitching for the day, Coop struck out 2 more, for a total of 8 batters in 3 innings. The Bengals were up 7-1.

Brooks is the bat-boy for his older brother's team and sadly we come to find out that winning is not something the Bengals do very often! We immediately thought their inspired play had something to do with the presence of their starting pitcher's youngest, and only girl cousin. The Bengals went on to win convincingly in only 4 innings with Brooks chanting "Mercy rule! Mercy rule!" from the dugout!

Their second game of the day began at 4:00 and after the Bengals batted in 12 runs in the first inning of play, even Blaine thought there might be something to the team's newfound good luck charm . . .

The Bengals went on to win 17-3 in only 4 innings once again, their second win of the day. While the boys celebrated, the coaches cried "Act like you've been here!" The boys couldn't help it. Two wins in a day. A hotel stay and pool party to come. Two more games the following day. They felt like little major leaguers and who could blame them? Even I was secretly wishing I could be 10 again, just for the day! It was a blast to watch and it was easy to be excited for them. Watching Cooper and Brooks smother Charly with sweaty kisses in-between innings and games, we couldn't help but think maybe we did bring the boys a little bit of luck!

Watching and enjoying baseball is one of my favorite pastimes. I spend the months of October through March each year, eagerly anticipating Opening Day. Poor Charly doesn't have much choice in the matter; it will be a sport she will love as well. She has already begun learning the Minnesota Twins' starting lineup and positions, she watches Baseball Tonight with me and loves "Web Gems", and now she's officially taken in her first live, doubleheader.

Target Field, here we come!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Last Christmas I decided to weigh myself at the in-laws house. I hadn't paid attention to my weight since sometime in college and at that time, I weighed around 150 pounds. I expected something similar now, give or take a little bit. Imagine my surprise when the needle on the scale pointed itself to 186!

I spent the next month or two (or three or four) in a mini-depression, devouring bags of chips in single sittings. Putting down 12 packs of Pepsi in a few days' time. Kelli swears I ate more than she did while she was eating for two! (I think I just took on all the cravings she was supposed to be having at the time!) I even double-checked it on a scale at school, to no avail. I spent the time from Christmas to May whining and talking about doing something about my eating (and grazing) habits. On May 1st, I actually did something about them.

I decided to give up pop. I was drinking 2-3 cans a day (and those are just the ones I admitted to Kelli). I decided I didn't need it. I was going to quit cold turkey. So I did.

One week into my mission, I realized that those Family Size bags of Nacho Cheese Doritos I could eat whole during an episode of LOST probably weren't good for me either. And since I hadn't eaten any chips since May 1st, I decided to add them to the list. What's another three weeks?

In the middle of May (two weeks in), a coworker asked if I wanted anything for lunch from McDonald's. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't eaten fast food since May 1st either! With only two weeks to go, why not add that to the list as well?

Today, June 1st, I can officially say that I have successfully completed my mission! I learned that I can definitely live without fast food. I didn't miss McDonald's near as much as I thought I would. Chips are also something I discovered I can do without eating as ravenously as I had been. Pop is another story. I can't even begin to describe how badly I craved a can of Pepsi or Mountain Dew. Fast food and chips I can stay away from. Pop, I discovered, I cannot.

On Sunday I hopped on the in-laws' scale again, and smiled as needle settled on 170.