Luke’s Breakfast

MIKE: (smells the baby food that he thawed for Luke’s breakfast) ugh what is this, it doesn’t smell like peaches
SYD: I didn’t make peaches, which ice cube tray was it in?
(Mike shows Sydney the tray)
SYD: you’re giving Luke butternut squash for breakfast.

(While holding Luke she dances around the house with him singing “butternut squash for breakfast… butternut squash for breakfast”)

Thankfully Luke enjoyed the squash and wasn’t phased by eating it for breakfast.

Warm Moments

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Luke and I have a favorite spot. It’s probably the ugliest spot on our property. In fact, before Luke was born I just pretended that it wasn’t there because it faced a fairly busy street and was in sorry shape. But when I’m sitting out on our front steps with Luke (sometimes others join us), on the crappy old concrete steps with tiny patches of green carpet that must have been there before we bought the house, it becomes the best seat in the house.

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We watch the cars, calm down if one of us is getting cranky (Luke), and wave to passers by. The steady stream of cars provides audible and visual meditation. It’s a nice place to just enjoy being.

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I’d say on average we spend about 30 minutes each day sitting on the steps. Sometimes it’s early the morning as we watch the traffic pick up, late morning when people are out walking, early afternoon when Luke’s somewhere between awake and ready for a nap (there are days when the nap starts on the steps), and evening as we watch the sun fall behind the trees. Never mid-late afternoon though, the sun is just too intense on the steps during those hours.

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This morning Luke and I were on the porch bright and early. It was a little bit crisp outside in the mid-50s so we wrapped a blanket around us. Luke drank his bottle while I observed a tree that had been taken down yesterday several houses away (we saw them sawing off the branches as we sat on the steps yesterday early afternoon). The cars were just starting to appear, the whole scene was perfection. I started to feel a warm sensation when I knowingly looked down and noticed that Luke had just peed through his diaper onto us. Ah well (insert a knowing grin here), I took that as a signal that it was time to go wake up Mike.

Seasonally Confused

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It’s smack dab in the middle of July, and I walked to work – chilled – wearing a blazer, humming Christmas carols (Oh, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… good luck getting that out of your head for the rest of today).

In theory, the temperature drop can be explained easily enough. Word around the internet is that the “Polar Vortex” from the endless winter of 2013/2014 has returned, bringing highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Personally, I LOVE it. Seriously, the 50s to the 70s in the Chicagoland area are absolute perfection. And they definitely beat our typical July weather, which usually has me sweating by 7am.

Which leaves the explanation behind the Christmas carols playing on loop in my brain: while the rest of the country doesn’t get bit by the Christmas bug until the day after Halloween (or in some extreme cases, October 1st), crafters and retailer buyers are in full holiday swing by July 5th. Ever since early July, when I finally came up with the idea for my card line for Holiday Season 2014 (the late start was probably due to some combination of new-mom-brain and a busy wedding season), I’ve been feverishly painting (yes, painting) my card designs in any spare time that I can find… and all the while songs like Silver Bells and It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas have been dancing like Sugar Plums through my head.

Once the cards are finished and pitched to their respective retail buyers/loaded onto the Etsy and the soon-to-be-open shop on Studio255’s website, and the heat (regrettably) returns, I’ll have a few months to enjoy summer and early fall before the Holiday 2014 busy season kicks off.

A little bit of holiday

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My two favorite holidays as an adult are Thanksgiving and 4th of July. Both are centered around social gatherings with family and friends and plenty of good food. Unlike Christmas, there isn’t a ton of preparation with a month’s worth of shopping and decorating (I do enjoy the Christmas season as well). As a kid, my 4th of July consisted of watching (or marching in) the local parade in the late morning/early afternoon, a gathering at my parent’s house, and an evening topped off with a private fireworks show in the backyard. Now that Mike and I are married, we’ve merged our 4th of July celebrations to be inclusive of both families – so we spend the late morning/early afternoon at a large town gathering in the park with his family (a longstanding tradition for Mike), and then have dinner and did fireworks with my family. Last year was the last year for the firework show in the backyard, it had gotten quite large and we’ll just say that it rubbed someone nearby the wrong way, so that was the last year of that. Not that I would have been awake for fireworks this year anyway.

With Mike working the entirety of the long weekend, Luke and I were on our own for the day. He took a stellar early morning nap, during which time I was so excited for the rest of the day’s festivities that I laid out our clothes, our back-up clothes, and everything else that we’d need for the day. Since Luke concluded the “4th trimester” as some call it (basically the first three months when a baby sleeps a bunch and doesn’t do much else), I’ve learned that days when we’re off of our usual routine (we’re not on a schedule, but there’s a usual flow to our day) the goal becomes to keep Luke happy on what little napping he’s willingly going to do (my Mother-in-Law correctly labeled him a Party Baby, aka doesn’t want to miss out on the action when lots of people are around). I’d hoped that he’d stay awake long enough to us to make the 1 minute drive to CVS to pick up bug spray that would be safe for him (which we didn’t even end up using hah) and then for him to fall asleep for the rest of the drive to my in-laws.

Luke was out cold by the time we got to CVS (seriously, 1 minute, 2 if there’s traffic) and I carefully held him as we made a bee-line for the bug spray. As expected, he woke up in CVS – but thankfully was back asleep for the next 15 minute leg of our journey. The goal was to then transfer him into his stroller and let him take the rest of his nap at our picnic site. But he was awake by the time we reached the rest of the family. He held out as well as could be expected for a baby who had only taken a fraction of the nap that he would have usually taken, and we lasted long enough to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday with gifts and cake.

After he peed on me (somehow that never happens at home or at my parent’s house… where I actually have clothing readily available – though I thought I’d packed an extra pair of pants for myself, but apparently I just packed shirts) and eventually became quite whiny (we got a solid 2.75 hours in), I decided it was best if we made our exit and went home instead of straight over to my parent’s house. I drove as slow as possible and took a less-than-direct route to ensure as long a car nap as possible (sometimes he’ll stay sleeping after a car ride, and sometimes his eyes will pop open upon reaching our destination). After the 20 minutes that I made it take to get home, Luke stayed asleep for another hour (!!!) and I puttered around my bedroom trying to figure out the parental logic of: if you have two pairs of jeans that currently fit, and your baby has spit up on the first pair (this was before we even left the house) and peed on the second pair, which pair do you wear to your next event? The answer ended up being neither when I noticed that the chocolate ice cream on my sleeve wasn’t coming out (I gave Luke a couple of tiny tastes of ice cream and he wiped his mouth on my sleeve) and I changed into a maxi-dress.

Luke was a bit of a roller coaster the rest of the evening, but that’s par for the course starting around 5pm each night. He ate bananas while the rest of us got to dine on delicious BBQ grilled chicken + sides, and we dipped a cheerio into the BBQ sauce (not spicy) to see what he’d think – after a thoughtful/pensive face at first, he seemed quite okay with it (though that was the only taste of that that he got). As we were leaving my parent’s house I noticed how light it was outside. It felt strange heading home so early (8pm), but honestly, after I put Luke to bed, the tired set in and I doubt I could have made it out and about much longer myself. So after I wrap up this entry, I’m going to go listen to the fireworks from my bed, hope that they don’t bother Luke, and thumb through Martha Stewart Living before falling asleep.

Seven Months and Nothing Was Ever the Same Again

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In the span of a week and a half, Luke mastered sitting up, crawling and using his vowels (insert what’s sounding suspiciously like dada here). With those new skills his curiosity for the world around him has heightened. As I write this, he’s occupied examining and scratching every square inch of our new living room carpet, despite his toys being readily available. He’s also babbling to the carpet – it sounds like a very engaging conversation.

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If Luke could will his own teeth to sprout, I think he’d be sporting a full mouth of them by now (he currently has none). Every night at dinner he looks longingly at whatever we’re eating (especially if there’s meat on the plate) and then looks up at us with the biggest sad eyes as if to say, “where’s my plate?”. With the exception of a few things that either need to be a certain temperature per his tastes (peas), or that he flat out doesn’t like (beets), Luke’s a great eater. This morning he wolfed down the bananas and Greek yogurt that I made him, getting fussy if I didn’t have the next spoonful ready for him before he finished swallowing what he already had (with non-banana foods it takes a little longer and there’s no fussy impatience).

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We’re finding a good balance around the house thanks in part to consistent cat napping (usually 3-4 a day) and being able to entertain himself, I’m able to accomplish more for Studio255 and around the house even on days that Mike isn’t around to watch Luke while I work. There are still times/days that I feel overwhelmed (who wouldn’t with a baby, a job, a company to run, and a house to keep up), but more often than not Luke and I are now starting to function as a well-oiled machine. Part of that might have been the recent cleaning spree that I went on, which made things easier to find, easier to just straighten up in passing and overall more calming.

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I knew before I even set up for this month’s trumpet photos that it was time to stop using Mike’s fancy trumpet (thankfully, he’s got 4 trumpets for me to choose from). I pulled one of the older silver trumpets so it would look similar to the one that we used for months 0-6. Since Luke’s sitting up on his own now, I wanted his trumpet photo to feature him sitting up. After I took the first photo (which is also the first photo on this blog post) I decided that the trumpet needed to be more next to Luke instead of behind him. Well, that was the first and last photo that I got of Luke calmly sitting next to the trumpet. The rest of the photos pretty much all look like this:

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and this:

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It’s a good thing I thought to switch out the trumpet! I also tried moving it to the other side of him and in front of him:

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And even shot a few of him laying down – though he no longer just lays there and smiles like he used to (note how far the trumpet has to be away from him to keep him even remotely in the spot that I put him down):

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So I ultimately decided that the Month 7 photo would be what best represented where he is developmentally:

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