8 Months

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While Luke’s physical growth has naturally slowed down (he’s still getting bigger, but no longer at a growing out of onesies in a week pace), his developmental growth during June and July has been amazing to watch unfold. Not only can he stay seated, now he’s picked up getting himself into a seated position, Army crawling to get to a toy is now darting across the room to follow a person, and he’s actively working on pulling himself up to his knees. Luke is quite vocal and has been piecing together how to communicate with us. A lot of that communication entails patting things (usually one of our backs or the floor) to get attention or to indicate that he wants something. As of the past couple of days he’s also taken a new interest in his hair (see photo above). Another big area where we see daily development is Luke’s interaction with his toys. Some of them take a little more time to figure out (like the cash register that’s probably meant for a kid older than Luke), but we’ve yet to introduce something that he couldn’t eventually figure out. I was floored when he started hitting the correct buttons on the cash register toy and spinning this dial on one of his toy guitars.

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Luke has a healthy appetite and strong desire to try new foods. He and Mike have a dinner ritual where they sit next to each other while Mike shares tiny pieces of food from his plate with Luke. It looks like so far the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, Luke has tried a few of our dinners that have had a little bit of Franks Red Hot mixed in and loves it (don’t worry, it’s not too spicy if I’ll eat it). In addition to trying new foods, Luke has gotten to eat at new places. My grandmother Mimi has been in town and twice has gone out to brunch with Luke, Tory and myself (Mike tagged along the second time too). Taking Luke to public restaurants with indoor seating has been good practice for our upcoming vacation. We’ve learned a few helpful lessons: start packing smaller spoons in the diaper bag, ask the waitress to bring out Luke’s food (so far it’s been yogurt) before our food arrives, and that his attention span lasts until just before the check comes – so we’ll stick to one course for the time being.

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Taking the 8 Month Trumpet photos was an adventure (much like Month 7). Now that he’s so active, getting similar shots month to month is getting increasingly difficult. I think I took about 30 photos total today, instead of the 70+ from the months where he just laid still next to the trumpet. I just have to stay 3 steps ahead of him and work around whatever Luke decides that he’s going to do. For example in the image above, I got about 3 photos of Luke in that position before he wanted to sit up on his own and touch the trumpet (like in the two photos below). He’s a very ‘busy baby’ and is pretty much only sitting still when we’re watching the street traffic or sleeping haha.

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I did manage to snap a few shots of Luke sitting next to the trumpet like in Month 7. In order to keep him from repeatedly knocking the trumpet over (I don’t want Mike to nix using this silver trumpet which isn’t as nice as the the trumpet I was originally using, but apparently still a much nicer trumpet than the other two brass trumpets that we have), I gave Luke an extra trumpet mouthpiece to play with while he sat. It worked, phew! The only thing I need to make a mental note of for next month is to watch the angle that I take the photo, I think the camera was up higher this month than it was last month.

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The other evening after Luke went to bed I reminisced to Mike about how far we’ve come since Luke was born. How we had to wake up every couple of hours to feed him, how it took 45 minutes to wake him up enough to get him to drink. How we used to try to get him to stay awake for 10 minutes after he was done drinking, just so we’d have a little bit of ‘awake time’ with him before falling back to sleep. Mike was astonished at how quickly he’d developed ‘baby amnesia’ to the zombie-like state that we lived in those first couple of weeks. One of my favorite bloggers to follow frequently says that the age her daughter is currently is the most fun age yet, and now I get it. Each milestone brings a new level of fun and interaction to your relationship with your child, making each month that passes “the most fun age yet”. When you’ve got a newborn snuggled up in your arms you wonder how it could possibly get any better than that moment, then your 3 month old is smiling at you (or gas), then your 5 month old is hysterically laughing with you for a reason neither of you know, then you’ve got an 8 month old whose face lights up when you come in the room and reaches out his arms for you to pick him up for a hug.

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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.

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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Baby Clothes

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As I was giving Luke his bottle this morning, I was absentmindedly playing with one of the little orange horns on one of the monsters on his feet. A thought popped into my head as I further examined that monster, and then the rest of the garment. This is well made. There’s embroidery, other fabrics sewn on, lots of seams, snaps, edged in navy blue, soft material and tons of detail, like the little monster faces with horns on each foot.

It’s Carter’s brand, so you know the price was totally reasonable (Carter’s has good prices and quality clothing). The creeper’s (No joke, that’s what they’re called. It’s a one-piece outfit with short sleeves and short shorts that snaps all the way down) from Carter’s thought I bought Luke for summer were $4.99, the most expensive thing that I’ve bought him from their website was a onesie + pants set, for $12.99. What I’m getting at is this impossibly cute onesie must have cost less than pretty much anything I was wearing at the moment (a t-shirt, pajama pants, socks and underwear), except for maybe my socks and underwear – which both consequently cost more than the aforementioned creepers. But even the creepers have more going on than a pair of underwear. There’s more fabric, more sewing, snaps and fun patterns.

Sure, there is expensive baby clothing out there. At the hipster baby clothing store at the mall you can buy a pair of baby corduroy pants for $50 (Luke only owns things from that store that were gifts or on sale, and no, he doesn’t own $50 cords). But I’d hazard to guess that the majority of Luke’s clothing costs less than a generic adult t-shirt. I guess what I’m getting at is this, why does a basic adult t-shirt costs more than a footed onesie with more seams, more stitching and way more effort involved in making it.

Side by Side

I noticed today after Mike dressed Luke, that Luke was wearing the same onesie that we dressed him in the morning after his first night at home. He’s probably worn it more than any other onesie that he owns, which leads me to wonder why we dressed him in a onesie that was clearly too large for him so often. There really isn’t anything special about this particular onesie, it’s a hand-me-down from Luke’s cousins, basic blue stripes, well worn.

Since the light today was similar to that of Luke’s first morning at home, and he happened to be wearing that same onesie, I decided that it would be fun to snap a comparison photo. This particular photo of Luke at 3.5 days old was the one that I deemed the most accurate portrayal of him at that time. So accurate that it was the first photo of him that I had printed.

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Everyone says that baby’s faces change a lot after they’re born. At the time, I couldn’t believe that Luke would ever not look like the Luke that we first met back in December. Well, I got news for you, everyone was right – his face has dramatically matured. I’d say most notable would be that his cheeks have finally given up their hold over his nose. His eyes are still blue, albeit a few shades lighter, his hairline is relatively the same, though the hair he was born with has been mostly replaced, he’s still got that little button nose, and of course, he’s still got my grandfather’s chin – a hallmark that my siblings, my mom and myself all sport.

Star Wars Day

What happens when your Dad is a Star Wars fan and your Mom is a graphic designer? You celebrate Star Wars Day in style:

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In the May the Fourth Be With You image, I kid you not, Luke posed himself. Here’s the original image:

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And because the fun doesn’t stop on May 4th:

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Original image below (the reason behind the freaky eyes):

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I left the original artists’ watermarks on the images, gotta give credit where credit is due 🙂

Side note, Luke LOVED being a Sith, mostly because it meant being wrapped up in my sweatshirt. He was the happiest Sith there ever was!

one, two, three, four, FIVE

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Can we take a minute to take in the fact that I’ve got a five month old. Holy cow! I remember before Luke was born, when people asked if I was excited I usually replied that I’d be excited in March, once we were all sleeping and I was all recovered from having the baby. Looking back, I really overestimated the chaos of the first couple months. I was pretty much physically recovered by my 6 week check-up and for the most part we’ve all been sleeping since the beginning of February. Luke remains a very happy and content baby, and has been that was since well before March.

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Anywho, it’s well passed March by now. Easter and Luke’s baptism have come and gone (I keep meaning to post about that day, but in the meantime I’ll state that Luke handled his baptism like a boss – I think that’s the term that the cool kids are using nowadays). Easter also meant that Luke’s Auntie (Aunt Tory… Aunt-T… Auntie) and Uncle Ian were coming into town. But, again, more on that in the Easter/Baptism post that I have yet to write.

In the photo above you see Luke’s mouth is open in a purposeful way. If there was sound with that photo, you’d hear a loud excited yell. Luke has traded his soft coos and babbling for loud, excited shouts and sequels. We often joke that he doesn’t have an indoor volume. He mostly likes to excitedly shout when he’s standing on a lap, making eye contact.

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We try to give Luke plenty of tummy time, but honestly, the kid really just likes to stand (and shout). Perhaps he’ll take after his dad and run before he does anything else. In the meantime, when we do work on tummy time, Luke has been perfecting the roll, off of his tummy and onto his back. He’s also mastered grabbing. Grabbing his toys, grabbing blankets… grabbing my hair, grabbing Mike’s beard.

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This past month or so, Luke’s hair has really started to fill in. He still has the swath of dark hair on the back of his head that he had at birth, but the rest of his dark baby hair has been replaced with light brown/blondish. Above, you might also see a couple of tiny scratches around his forehead. That’s because, 1. he tries to scratch his head when he’s tired (and we try very hard to keep that from happening), 2. we’re still dealing with the cradle cap (which went away for his baptism… only to come back the next day). He’s also got a little bit of stubborn eczema on his left cheek. Thankfully, we’ve found something that’s been decreasing both the forehead cradle cap as well as the eczema, so hopefully those will clear up soon.

Another big focus for us this past month has been crib naps. When Luke was smaller he’d take the occasional nap in the crib, but would nap much longer if napping on someone. Thanks to a device that is strapped on the side of his crib that has soft lights and music, he’s more likely to focus on that and drift off to sleep than before when he’d cry upon being placed in his crib for a nap. I was worried that the device would become a sleep prop and negatively affect bed time, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. He still goes to sleep awake at night and drifts off to sleep naturally sans help from any lights or music.

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Month five also marks a wardrobe change for the trumpet photos. Luke’s grown out of the original onesie that he wore, as well as that same onesie in the next size up. Mike and I wanted to continue with the grey stripes, orange details and navy, so we selected this outfit and purchased it in two sizes. But since his pants now blend into the blanket that he’s laying on a little bit, I’ve also included a pantsless shot, because who doesn’t love baby legs!

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