Wednesday, November 12, 2014

some days everything clicks

It's the little things that make a day great. Some days it seems everything is working against you. Other days it feels like everything clicks.

Our morning sitter couldn't come today, so I took the morning off. Levi woke up happy. We drove Aaron to school and headed straight to the park, where Levi happily played for two hours under the golden trees and warm sun. We came home, opened all the windows, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch. Levi fell asleep on his own without a fight and without being rocked just a bit before his sitter arrived. I got to work and crossed a lot off my todo list. Three and a half hours later (!), Levi woke up. As I wrap up my work day, the sun is setting and the crisp air and cricket sounds stream through my window. I have plans to meet up with a friend to watch our kiddos play and share dinner. This rested boy should have a great time. So should I.

Some days everything seems to click. Today is one of those days, and I'm so thankful.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

kitchen vignettes

Well here's another PBS related post. While flipping through our PBS Roku station looking for the latest Antiques Roadshow and This Old House (Charlestown!), we came across a series of shorts called, "Kitchen Vignettes." Sourced from a food blog by the same name, it features 5 minute videos of recipes being made. There are no words or directions- just the the most beautiful food, kitchenware and music you could imagine. They are incredibly inspiring and calm. Usually food-related shows/books/blogs make me want to get in the kitchen. This does too to a point. However the extensive farm-to-table efforts (grind your own gain for a cookie?) and attention to each beautiful detail are bit defeating. Which is fine - it also inspires me to curl up on the couch and just enjoy the art. No wonder it won the 2012 Saveur Best Food Blog award for Best Single Video and is nominated for 2014 James Beard award. Take a look!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Chef and the Farmer

 Vivian Howard and Ben Knight of Chef and the Farmer, from PBS website

I don't know why I haven't been writing lately- so much has been happening! Some good (Levi walking and sleeping through the night), some bad (plumbing woes and busy new schedule) and some great. Last week Aaron and I took our first night away since Levi was born. Our regular sitter who we trust so much offered to give us a night away as a birthday present a few months back. We finally took her up on it.

We've been watching this show on PBS called A Chef's Life. It profiles a chef from New York who moves back to her hometown in eastern North Carolina to open a farm-to-table restaurant. It features daily life in the kitchen and in NC, her farm suppliers, and a cooking segment. It's a great show and has really contributed to me liking it more down here. They even feature Maple View farms, the local dairy farm that makes the ice cream we love.

The restaurant, Chef and the Farmer, is about two hours from here in Kinston, NC, and not a kid friendly spot. So Aaron and I cleaned ourselves up, headed out Friday after work, and enjoyed the drive. The meal was incredible (wood smoked trout - yum!) and the town was fascinating - all boarded up, a time capsule from a different time. We hit up their oyster bar, The Boiler Room, first. That was real highlight. Never have I had oysters that tasted so fresh and crisp.

Then we drove back to Chapel Hill and stayed in a local hotel, slept in until 9, and grabbed brunch with friends. I didn't worry about Levi at all. He knows our sitter so well and is really an adaptable kid. However I was bouncing with excitement to see him as we drove home at 11 the next day. For the rest of the weekend we felt so relaxed and moony over Levi and each other.

Monday, August 11, 2014

normal day...

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” ― poem by Mary Jean Irion

Saturday, August 9, 2014

one year

About a week ago our Levi turned one year old. It seems our little baby is long gone, and an almost toddler has emerged. While he's not yet walking (so close!) he seems like such a kid, with his own agenda, mobility, and preferences. He's talking up a storm in his own little language, and quickly losing his baby fat already (hasn't gained much in the past few months) resulting in a very boy-like face.

We spent the day sticking to our normal routine - going to church, lunch at home. We did however host some friends for grilling and cake (vegan cupcakes for the babe!) and it was really lovely. I'll never forget the look on Levi's face when we sang Happy Birthday. It read, 'this is for me?? why, thank you!' I tried my hardest not to make a big deal of the day - he only opened gifts people sent him. I didn't decorate or buy a large gift. I just wanted to remember his face on that day, and not worry about the stress of hosting and planning a big thing. But it also seemed important to mark the end of this beautiful, challenging, awe-inspiring, exhausting, precious year.

I had been mourning the loss of the baby phase for the past few months, but now I just can't wait to see him walk, to hear him talk, and to teach him. I'm excited the experience the person he'll be, and help him along the way. Recently I've been showing him things around the kitchen, explaining what I'm doing or letting him help in some small way. He watches so intently and smiles wide when he sees he's doing what I'm doing. It makes me so excited for days to come as he learns to interact with this world in even more meaningful ways.

I'm so happy that I became this boy's mamma. I'm so ready for this next year. I'm so excited for the many years to come. I love you Levi Joseph.

Monday, July 28, 2014

home - crossing off the to do list

We have been in our new place for three months now and we've made a lot of progress. I had wanted to share each step of the way here, but somehow taking pictures and walking through each step has seemed overwhelming and burdensome. I keep thinking I'll go back and post about each project, but that's becoming less and less likely. I thought I'd do a little run down of the list we've been working from, as both a look back and something to move toward:
  1. Paint all walls white (previously they were all various shades of yellow - primarily the mustard variety)
  2. Paint inside of front door black - currently yellow
  3. Paint kitchen french doors black or white (?) - currently yellow, of course
  4. Remove faux-copper paneling in kitchen and re-mud walls (thanks Jim!)
  5. Remove sagging shelves in kitchen
  6. Replace shelf over pass-though in kitchen
  7. Paint or replace kitchen cabinets (currently debated)
  8. Tile kitchen
  9. Remove faux-plaster texturing effect in eat-in kitchen area
  10. Repaint patio off kitchen so it is no longer McDonald's colors
  11. Potted plants, bench or chairs for main patio
  12. Chairs for back deck
  13. Remove orange dining light fixture and replace with Ikea Ranarp Pendant Lamp (first anything electrical we've ever done!)
  14. Remove orange/brown glass shields from around all the many can lights
  15. Build floating shelves in living room
  16. Patch can light hole or replace can light above floating shelves
  17. Install outlet under stairs for chest freezer, purchase and install chest freezer
  18. Replace mirrors in bathrooms
  19. Rug for Levi's room
  20. Hem curtains for Levi's room
  21. Wallpaper headboard wall in bedroom
  22. Hang art (mostly complete)
  23. Put most of the baby stuff in the attic (sniff!)
  24. Garden front patio green space
  25. Create backyard garden space
I know this list is ever changing and growing, but besides the big kitchen overhaul (we're hoping to tackle this in the fall - budget willing), we've completed a lot! It's been a lot more fun than I expected to take on some of this. Though I know much of what we've done has been pretty straight forward and cosmetic, I can't think of a better way to get our feet wet with this whole home update thing. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

eleven months

I just can't believe my little boy is 11 months today. He has grown so much in the past two months (I was running so behind on the 10 month most, I decided to skip it). He is a happy, cheery, smiley, energetic, rambunctious, strong-willed boy. I can tell already he'll be a handful, but I think in the end what I'm going to love most about this person is his passion, strong sense of self, and energy.

These past couple months Levi has been on the move. He is a fast fast crawler, loves to cruise along furniture, and even took a few fleeting steps a few days ago. He's like a little energizer bunny, put him down and he's across the room in a second, if he wants to be. If not, he will cry in an instant, cry 'mamma' and hold his hands up. This boy's mood can change on a dime. He's also getting used to his five teeth, resulting in some biting (tough on this breast-feeding mom!) but we're through the worst I think.

He's developing such a great sense of humor - I love when he cracks up at something I would have never expected. I hope I never forget that sweet smile he gives me when I walk in a room.

Levi is a big eater - not slowing down on the nursing but also eating three large meals a day. He loves meat and veggies and savory dishes. Unfortunately we also confirmed this month that he's allergic to milk and eggs, so it will be a tough few years watching his diet like a hawk (his reaction to dairy really is quite scary!) but we're hopeful he'll grow out of it. Sleep also continues to be a challenge, but it's improving and Aaron and I are learning! He's finally fallen into a routine (nap at 9:00, nap at 1:00, and sometimes a later nap too), which I find really helpful.

It's been so fun this month to watch Levi learn- from baby signs (panting like a dog- too cute!) to toys (it was so sweet to watch Aaron teach Levi to use the Pound and Roll Tower), Levi is really catching on. He's also really begun to look to Aaron and I for different things, and it's so lovely to see him bonding with each of us in different ways. I am his comfort and quiet companion. Aaron is the lively playmate and king at naptime.

I love him more each day, and as I now begin to mourn the loss of this sweet baby year, I'm also so excited to continue to watch as he grows and comes into his own.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

the pull

I can't believe another month has passed without a post. So many good things have been happening - A new home with lots of updates to share; a growing boy that teaches me something new each day; new explorations in North Carolina as the weather turns from spring to summer; great home-cooked meals. In many ways life has been good these past few months, and I've wanted to share these things.

Yet, I'm feeling the pull and tensions of this new life in new ways. I want to be a good and hard worker. I want to be an attentive and loving mother. I want to be a caring and available wife. I want to explore my creative side with settling in to our new home. Pursuing all of these things leave me with little time for the blog. I'm working on handling this balance, and I'm so grateful for all the wonderful roles I get to play in my life. I'm hoping to share more besides monthly posts for Levi, who is 10 months old today!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

nine months

This has been a big month for Levi, and it's becoming so very clear to me that I no longer have a little baby. After army crawling for a few weeks, one day Levi decided he could crawl and pull himself up, and the rest is history. Now he's every where and so happy about it- under the table; up the stairs (!!); in the kitchen; to the bath. He's determined and mobile and we'll never rest again!

Levi also started clapping, which may be the cutest thing I've seen him do, got his first tooth, and started saying mama and dada. He started using a sippy cup, eating puff snacks, and just about everything else we give him. He loves all the ceiling fans in our new home and playing in the grass. It's also becoming clear that he's not such a good sleeper, which is a challenge. I'm trying to stay positive and patient, not get bogged down with advice and opinions, and follow my own instincts.

Levi has an incredibly happy disposition that I hope he never loses. I know Mother's Day is to appreciate moms, but on my first Mother's Day I felt overwhelmingly appreciative of Levi, and appreciative of being his mom. He's truly a sweet boy.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day friends! The azaleas are just beautiful in NC right now. The white ones are from in front of our rental. The fuscia are on UNC's campus. Enjoy the day!

Monday, April 28, 2014

something big

Something big happened. We bought a house! Well, a townhouse, but it still feels like a big deal. Honestly, owning a place was never a big goal for Aaron and I. We like to have the freedom and flexibility to move at the drop of a hat and we're both pretty debt and responsibility adverse. However down here in Chapel Hill the rents are pretty high compared to the cost to own, so we decided to pull the trigger. We don't have a lot of spare time these days, and the last way we want to spend what little we do have is mowing lawns, cleaning gutters, and repairing roofs, so we bought a townhouse.

The housing stock isn't great down here- not a ton of the old character like what we're used to seeing in Chicago or Boston, but I do sort of like some of the 1980's more 'modern' style I see a lot of down here. We ended up buying something very similar to our rental, just a street over. It had everything that we were looking for, and we knew we liked the neighborhood. We wanted to live somewhere walkable to town, but it just wasn't in the cards.

There is a lot of work to be done. The previous owners did some nice updates to the windows and floors- the kind of thing we don't have the time or money or really desire to do ourselves. They also had a VERY strong aesthetic that is pretty much the opposite of ours. Think under the tuscan sun italian villa in an 80s condo. They were very detail oriented and consistent- much to our dismay. But that will leave us some good projects, most of which I hope to share here. We spent the past few days painting every mustard yellow room white and ripping fake copper paneling out of the kitchen, and already it feels like a new place.

There is a lot we want to do to make it our own, but we have to weigh all that with the realization that some of the updates and cosmetic improvements just don't make sense in a place we may only live in for a few years, so we're looking for inexpensive ways to personalize the place. So far the paint has done wonders. I'll post some before an after pics soon. I'm excited to finally get my hands dirty with a place we can all our own- and am excited to see Levi take his first steps here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

eight months

Levi, I love how you smile and kick your legs when I walk in a room. I love that little cheerio face you've been making recently. I love how excited you are to see the cats walk by. I love that your favorite things to wave at are the fan and the cats. I love that you hate asparagus but eat it anyways. I love your enthusiasm. I love your smile. I love your smell. 

You're getting so big so fast. You're not a little baby I can rock in my arms anymore. I can't lay you down and leave the room anymore - you're across the floor in an instant. You're so fun these days. It makes me so excited for the future. Thank you for the joy you bring to your dad and I everyday. 

thank you Jordan for the beautiful picture.

Monday, March 31, 2014

growing old

I saw this quote today and it made me think of my mother.

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.” ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Something that I loved about my mother was that I don't think she ever thought of her self as a 'grown-up.' You can attribute some of her best qualities to this - she was playful, ever hopeful for the future, adventurous, able to re-make herself at the drop of the hat. The other side of the coin was that she was irresponsible, too quick to fall in love, and sometimes selfish. I loved her young heart, though. While it could make for a difficult parent when I was young, it made for a great friend as I got older. I loved how she could read through a stack of books on anything in one night. I loved that she was always thinking about what she wanted to be when she 'grew up.' I love that the last few years of her life, she was learning to play the djembe drum (inspired by her love of Rusted Root) and had just ordered a slack line (inspired by the movie, Man on Wire). She would see something that interested her, and her mind would immediately resolve that she could do that too. Granted it often didn't result in much, but sometimes it did. When she had the chance to move to South Carolina, Sardinia, and Maui, she jumped right in with little trepidation. She was always a dreamer... she was never 'done.' And because of this, she never grew old.

I've been thinking about this a lot. Now that I have a child, am in the process of purchasing a home, and Aaron is pursuing a PhD that could result in a very long-term career position when he's done, it seems we're finding ourselves settling into adult decisions that could set us on a track for the rest of our lives. Not very long ago I was still thinking about the next move, the next career, the next country, even. I suppose it's good to be content, but what I love about this life are it's possibilities. I want to remain open to them all, just as my mother did, while still providing my children the stability that my parents often couldn't.

I hope to instill in Levi a wonder in the world, just as my mom instilled that in me. I want him to feel that anything is possible. That he can always change, if he wants to. To have hope.

I'm thankful that I'm excited to tell Levi about her. I'm so thankful for who my mother was.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

seven months

I was thinking about skipping the monthly post this month (I'm already two weeks late) but when I told Aaron that, said how much he loved looking back at these little monthly snapshots. So I figured better late than never.

It's funny- every time I write these I look back on the month and struggle on how to describe Levi. The boy at the beginning, middle, and end of each month is very different. In general though it's been a very physical month for him. Levi is standing up all the time (he still needs help getting up, but, once up, he stays). He's also working on crawling. I thought he had no interest in crawling, then all of the sudden he seemed to take to it and tries all the time. He has trouble getting that big head up, which means he scrapes his poor face across the carpet, resulting in some very red cheeks. I think this morning though he had his first true crawl! We also installed a hanging jumper and he LOVES it. He smiles big, then gets a very determined face as he starts jumping, then stops and smiles again.

His eyes are so alive this month. When he looks at you, he communicates so much. He's a laugher and engages so much with the world. It's such a joy to see his sweet personality come through.

Sleep has been a roller coaster this month. He is consistently up once per night to eat still, which is fine by me. Some nights that's it and it's great. Other nights he's up a midnight or earlier screaming, only to be consoled by me. These are tough nights. Naps have been up and down too. Sometimes he goes down like a champ and sleeps for an hour 3-4 times per day. Other days its an hour fight to get him to sleep, only to find he's more awake than ever at the end, ready to take on something new.

The past couple of weeks have also brought something new - clingyness. If Levi is with his babysitter during the day and sees me, he starts to scream. He's started to only be consoled by me at night. I'm usually more successful at naps than anyone else. I love that he feels so bonded with me, and I miss him like crazy too, but it makes for a challenging work day. I hate to hear him cry and know that if I just went to him, he'd be comforted, while also trying to maintain boundaries at work.

I had a few more flights with Levi for a trip to Florida to see my sister. He did great with the flights and loved the trip. Everyone asks if the travel messes him up, but I swear he is happier and sleeps better on quick trips - I think the excitement and distractions tire him out in a really good way. He loved the sand and the waves and the pool. It makes me so excited to share the summer with him.

It has been a wonderful month. Between his sweet kisses, how he hangs on when I hold him, and how his face lights up when I walk in a room, I feel my intense love for him reciprocated in some way for the first time, and it's so rewarding. It also makes the work/life balance all the more challenging. It is so hard to try and ignore that constant tug I feel towards him during the day. But I'm trying to savor my work, savor time with Levi and Aaron, and appreciate all I have.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

everyday gold

(jewelry dish for my most worn)

I love jewelry but I tend to forget to wear what I have. I seem to always wear the same pieces, tossing on my same to-go items. What I love most about jewelry is that you can keep little trinkets with you at all times. I guess that means I'm a little sentimental, but if I can be sentimental with a little ring or locket, I suppose that's better than an attic full of keepsakes. Though I'm probably headed in that direction now that I'm a mother.

There are a few things I've worn every day for years. It is so hard to image ever changing that, though I'm sure I will. I'm sure the things I'm sentimental about now will go to the backseat with the first department store mother's day necklace chosen by Levi.

I also love how jewelry can tell a story. Unlike clothing, you can wear if for years and years, and keep that story, memory, or trip with you. It makes for the perfect heirloom, souvenir, or gift that can take you back or keep someone who is gone close to you.

I used to wear a gold mini silver dollar my dad gave to my mom when they were newly married, but I thought I lost it. My mom thoughtfully offered this charm to replace it, carefully selecting a chain from a shop in Chicago to perfectly match the gold. She gave it to me for my 25th birthday the year she died. She purchased the charm in Sardinia when we lived there for a year when we were kids, and is an emblem from the island. It is one of the most special things I own. I did find the other necklace, so now I have both.

I also wear these earrings everyday without fail, unless it's some kind of special occasion. I don't even know where I got them, but I think they were a gift from my parents when I was in middle school. Possibly eighth grade graduation. I vaguely remember that they are from JC Penny or Target. I've had them for so long I feel naked without them on.

 (Western Electric Co. employee appreciation charm bracelet for 20 years of service to the company)

These next two pieces are new to me. My Aunt let my sister, cousins, and I peruse our great Aunt's Jewelry that was passed down to her over the holidays. The charm bracelet is an employee gift from Western Electric I'm guessing from sometime in the 1970s. There is a charm for 10, 15, and 20 years of service to the company, with the larger end charm a heavy gold with a diamond. I LOVE this bracelet. I love that a company designed jewelry as a gift for their employees. I love that people actually stayed at jobs for that long. I try to wear it as much as I can.

The second is a very cheap hammered gold pinky ring. It has little half moon impressions. I also took this from the Great Aunt's stash over the holidays. I had been wanting something just like it, but didn't even know how to go about finding it. So when I saw it staring back at me in the jewelry box, I snatched it right up. She must have had little fingers like me because it wouldn't have fit anyone else anyways.

I have lots of other favorites with sentimental value, but my other go to favorite right now is this little bangle from Madewell. Nothing special, but just my taste.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

six months

I'm a week late on this post, but I've been thinking about it for a while now. I keep thinking, 'oh I need to include that in my post,' and as soon as I take note, Levi is off doing something new again. He has progressed leaps and bounds this past month. Everything has changed so so fast. He started the month hardly rolling, just starting solids, still needing a bit of supervision while sitting, and basically staying in one place when I put him down. He's ended the month with a hearty appetite for so many foods (sticking with all fruits and veggies at this point), sitting up for as long as he wants, dashing around in his walker, holding himself up standing, rolling around all over, and just beginning that pre-crawl scooch. We've gone from sleep regression to sleeping through the night (!) back to sleep regression (sigh). He's become such a mama's companion, loving to be held and carried by me. Naps in bed with me always result in his longest, most restful sleeps. He seems so much older than before. So much more in control. So curious and always the explorer. He loves interacting with books and joking around with us. He loves to splash and roll in the tub. Not only do I love him more than ever, I really like this kid.

The Deets at Six Months 

Levi is
  • 17lbs 12oz, 28in tall. He is average weight but in the 94th percentile for height. Skinny mini. 
  • Eating purred apple, pear, plum, peaches, prune, squash, sweet potato, zucchini, and peas. Eating cut up banana and avocado. He loves them all and prefers to hold the spoon (or drink from the bowl) himself.
  • 'Drinking' water from a cup 
  • Starting to get a tad clingy (which I secretly love)
  • Wearing 9 month clothes
  • Growing out of his infant car seat. After a lot of research, we just purchased the Britax Marathon G4 Convertible care seat.
Levi loves
I'm loving
Getting a handle on this working mom balance will forever be a struggle I think, but I so cherish the time I get to see Levi in the day, even if it means late nights. I'm looking forward to getting out more with Aaron this coming month, and seeing Levi crawl. Somehow I continue to love him more and more, and cannot wait for this next stage.

Monday, February 10, 2014


I'm not really a big birthstone person. Mine is ruby which is terribly expensive, and I think the color is either too girly (pink) or too garish (bight red). Not that I wouldn't mind having a large beautiful ruby ring that is just the right color, but I'm not expecting that to come around any time soon.

Both Levi and my mom have August birthdays, and thus share the birthstone peridot. My mother hated her birthstone, so as a result so did I. She never wore it, and disparaged the stone as an "ugly green" whenever it was brought up. I typically agreed- I usually saw it in bight brassy gold settings that off-set the light limey green in a sort of citrus way or in a silver setting that seemed the cheapen the whole look somehow. 

So when Levi was born in August I didn't even think of the stone. He's a boy anyways and I didn't like the stone. Today though there was a post on Design*Sponge on peridot and it made me think of the stone in a new light. Here's a snippet:

"Peridot is one of the only gemstones that comes in only one color: olive green. Depending on the iron count in the gem, though, gems can appear pale yellow/green all the way to a rich deep olive color (the most prized version). While the origin of the name “Peridot” is unclear (some people think it comes from the Arabic word "faridat", which means “gem”), it’s clear that this particular gemstone has been around – and popular – for a long time. Peridots were mentioned in the Bible (as “Pitdah” in Hebrew) and are believed to have been first discovered in Egypt, though they’re now sourced worldwide. Fun facts? So far, peridot is the only gemstone found in meteorites..."

My grandmother had a beautiful ring that has her and her husband's, and her children's birthstones. I do love it and can imagine having something for me to wear with Levi's stone. Maybe it's worth giving it another try.
                                                                                             *image from Design*Sponge, designed by Max Tielman

Friday, January 3, 2014

five months - overcome with love

My Levi is five months old today and I am more overcome with love than ever before. I'm not sure if it is because of all the holiday travel, seeing him through my family's eyes, or the fact that his personality is shinning through more than ever, but I have never felt so much love. You think you reached your capacity for love, and then it grows.

The past four weeks have been spent at my in-laws. It hasn't been easy being away from home for so long, but Levi has adapted beautifully. We even spent a weekend bopping around Chicago, and it makes me more hopeful than ever that we can continue to travel despite having children. Levi started the month sleeping beautifully, falling to sleep for naps on his own and waking once per night for a quick meal. As the month comes to a close, he is waking more and more and needing more help to get back to sleep. I think we may have some sleep training around the corner but I hope getting back home will reset things a bit for us. He started eating solids this month too- I was planning to wait a bit longer, but he became so interested in what we were eating at the table, it was clear he was ready before I was. I'm trying baby-led weaning and offering purees as well- we'll just see where Levi takes us.

He's also made it very clear that he is no longer content to just chill on his back to play. This baby wants to move! In particular, he wants to walk and will have us hold him up so that he can shuffle his feet to his destination. His mind is much more advanced than is body - there is a will but not really a way just yet. He's not so interested in crawling just yet- seems to have skipped that. He's also taken to quick phases of a new sound - doing it for a day or two and then retiring it all together. He was blowing bubbles constantly for about 48 hours, and hasn't done it since. The past few days has been all about getting his voice as high as it can go.

I love to see him grow and develop around all his family at Christmas time. He liked grabbing at the paper on his many gifts and exploring his new toys. He loved the classical Christmas music that we kept going all season and would reach his hand out to the tree as you walked him close to touch the needles or to take off an ornament. He's become very tactile, running his hands along new textures and patterns.

He is in the next room as I write this and all I want to do is go in and hold him. This has been the first month where he has started to show a real preference for me to comfort him. I know his favorite place when he is tired is in my arms. All season people have offered to watch him or hold him, to 'give us a break.' But I'm more attached than ever. I can't get enough of his bright eyes, sweet smile, gleeful chuckle, and serious furrowed brow. He's growing up so fast - that has been incredibly clear to me this past month - and he's no longer my little newborn. He'll never be as small as he is this very moment and I want to cherish every second.

Favorites from this month include:
Mortimer the Moose - we've had this from the start but it's become a favorite.
Halo Fleece Sleep Sack - It keeps him warm and we zip those little arms in to transition away from the swaddle.
BundleMe - no need for coats - even in Chicago - with this thing (bought on craigslist).