A Letter To My Baby (5 Months)

HMT,

Yesterday was the 17th, which means no matter how unbelievable, another month has passed. You're officially a cereal-eating, toe-lint hoarding, 5-month old that doesn't stop jumping, chewing, smiling and giggling.

Harrison Mark

You're our inquisitive, sometimes-silly, sometimes-serious boy and my, you're growing quickly.

Harrison Mark

Last month was a whirlwind of new faces. You met your Auntie Kimmy and Uncle Cory for the first time. You met Great Aunts, Great Uncles, and lots of cousins. As per usual, you greeted all of these new faces with smiles and your expected pleasant demeanor. You make it so easy to love you.

I didn't get much done in the home-improvement department last month. The house can wait, I suppose. It would be nice if you'd entertain yourself for just a few minutes while I get laundry done, but you like to tag along...

Harrison Mark

My to-do list continues to grow yet I continue to spend my time with you instead, and I'm happy I do. There's nowhere on this Earth I'd rather be than by your side in our quaint country home. Nowhere.

Just two weeks ago, you were Baptized in front of family and friends.

It was a very special day and we'll remember it forever. You're officially one of God's children now and I bet he's just as thrilled as we are to know you.

We continue to bring you everywhere we go. You loved checking out the book fair near Nan and Gramp's house.

Harrison Mark

So far you seem to love books and that makes us so, so, so happy. Mommy and Daddy love to read and we hope you'll carry a love for reading with you throughout your life.

At your 4 month check-up, the pediatrician thought you were very active and in need of a little more than just milk. She recommended we start you on cereal. Fast forward to now and you're eating like a champ.

First Cereal!

Before you came along, my hands had never been callused before... now I have tiny calluses at the top of my palms from carrying you in your heavy bucket seat. They don't bother me. Just like the scar on my left hand from the delivery room IV, I look at them and think of you.

Your relationship with Griffin continues to evolve.

Griff can't walk in the room without you tracking his every move, and he yours.

A boy and his dog.

A boy and his dog.

When I put you to bed each night, Griff fights to squeeze by me in the doorway, trying to get to his spot on the rug next to your crib. One day, I'll let him sleep in your room but for now, I'm too nervous that his frequent sneezes will wake you in the middle-of-the-night.

Speaking of middle-of-the-night-stuff... you're sleeping much better than you were four weeks ago. You've given us about half a dozen nights where you've slept 6:30p-7a with just one night feeding in between. This makes Mommy and Daddy soooooo hopeful that you'll be continuing this behavior down the road. In the crib, you roll around like a maniac - switching posotions every few hours and putting yourself back to sleep each time. As of last night, you're rolling back and forth on your own and settling in for sleep on your stomach. Sorry if you notice me standing cribside while you dream... I'm a total Mommy creeper and I can't help it.

Just before your 5 month birthday, you had quite a few "firsts." You had your first walk out of the car seat bucket. We put you in the regular stroller and WHOA did you look like a big kid.

Big boy!

You also had your first restaurant experience in your table chair. I think you loved it.

Big boy!

We took you to the toy store for the first time... your eyes were focusing on everything in sight.

You left with a ball popper and an arch to attach to your car seat/stroller. I'll try to make toy store trips into special occasions... we'll stop in for an exceptional behavior reward or a birthday gift that you get to choose yourself. You know, so you aren't completely spoiled. Your father, however, may take you more frequently. He had a bit too much fun in there with you...

We are so excited for the next month... there are so many things we want you to see and there are so many places we want to go. We're excited for more neck kisses that lead to loud, shrieky squeals and more open mouthed toothless (for now!) smiles. We're excited to work on having you sit up on your own and continue to introduce you to new and exciting foods.

We love you more today than we did yesterday, and have absolutely no idea how that's possible.

Keep smiling and continue to make happy your default mood. 

All our love forever and ever, 

Mommy & Daddy

 

The Cheapest Flower Arrangements Ever

Harrison was baptized last Sunday and because it was a crazy week, I realized at the last minute that I didn't have time to run out to grab flowers to arrange for the table tops.

I was bummed because I looooove fresh flowers at a party. No matter how casual the affair, (the brunch following worship was very casual) I think a vase or group of small vases elevates any table scape.

Naturally, I did what any normal person would do... I strapped my baby to my chest and went walking in the yard to find something inspiring to throw in a vase or two. I'm happy with the result.

Cheap Flower Arrangements

Griff isn't tremendously impressed, but he's hard to please.

Cheap Flower Arrangements

I ended up using some Queen Anne's Lace, Hosta leaves, (I got the idea to use Hosta leaves from a July wedding that had the most beautiful bouquets ever!) dried Hydrangea, Astilbe blooms, (that were once pink but had faded to brown) Allium blooms, (also faded to brown) and some Iris leaves and seed buds.

Cheap Flower Arrangements

It's not super colorful, but when I paired it with fun tablecloths for the party, they worked pretty well. When my trendy friend came by and I showed her what I created with some spent blooms I found in the yard she reassured me, "Oh Amanda, dead is trendy." How perfect for me.

Bathroom Moves

The time has come to make some moves. Bathroom moves.

That sounds a bit suspicious and a bit gross, but I assure you it's not. 

We've been living with our bathroom in its current state (very un-upgraded and very un-inspiring) forever. I like to call it "80s Builders Grade."

80s Builder's Grade

We've done very little to this space. Seriously, I can probably name 5 things we've done. Total. We've...

Okay, maybe that was six. But still.

80s Builders Grade

Aaaannd that's where we find ourselves, nearly five years after closing on the house.

We need to rid this space of the brass/gold overload. We need to replace our shower. We need paint, a new vanity top, new knobs, a different medicine cabinet, clean grout lines, a new light fixture...

I'm over this light fixture...

Cheap Bathroom Design

Only mine has six bulbs. Lucky me. So show business. So 80s. So over it.

We're going to tackle this space in two phases. While Matt and I deliberate on what exactly to do with our shower, (can we somehow convert it into a tub? should we tile? can we change the footprint somehow to allow for a bench if we keep the shower?) we'll tackle the first phase: updating the vanity, replacing the light fixture and medicine cabinet and getting a new faucet. We've been living with a broken faucet for two years. I have no idea why. I guess I've been waiting to kick start the bathroom mini-haul.

The floor tile and the wall tile are white and in excellent condition so I plan to keep them. I'd like to update the whole bathroom for somewhere around $2,000. The main chunk of that will be in phase two when we tackle the shower.

So, it's time to shop. I'm thinking that I'd like a neutral vanity top to go on our existing white vanity and add interest in things like the accents. I played around with Olioboard and came up with this general design idea for Phase 1.

Cheap Bathroom Design

Our vanity doesn't have legs like the one above and the sconces may end up being different but at least it's a jumping off point.

Simple, clean, elegant. When we outgrow this house, hopefully the next buyer will appreciate the neutral palette.

What has lingered on your to-do list for years?

A Letter To My Baby (4 Months)

Harrison boy!

We're more than halfway through July which means you, my love, are 4 months old. How can I possibly have a 4 month old? That can't be right.

Harrison Mark

You're way past the point of being a newborn and although that saddens me a bit, I know the fun is just getting started. In the last month, we did so much.

Nan and I took you on your very first road trip: we ventured to Cape Cod to visit your Great Nana. You were an absolute champ. You didn't cry at all. I was and still am completely impressed and very thankful. Great Nan came to see you when you were just ten days old, but you're much more interesting now. She marveled at how strong and sweet you are and loved hosting you.

Harrison Mark

I loved showing you off. The two of you hit it off immediately. 

 

We celebrated your first Fourth of July this year and it was a blast. Mommy and Daddy opted to skip the barbecues and play at home with you all day. And play we did.

Harrison Mark

We pulled out the jumperoo and although your toes barely touched the floor, we have great hopes for it soon as you continue to stretch and grow. 

Mommy and Daddy had our first ever date night. It was quite lovely to eat a meal at a leisurely pace but we missed you terribly. We grabbed dinner down the road and left you with Uncle Nick & Aunt Emmy during a crazy thunderstorm. I was nervous the whole time and made Daddy rush home after dinner so I could see for myself that you were in fact okay. That night was an eventful one but that's a story for a different day.

After Daddy went to work one day, you and I drove an hour upstate to visit Mommy's friend. You napped on the way there and upon entering Kathleen's home, you showcased what a polite, charming and respectful baby you are. I bet you didn't know babies could be polite, charming or respectful... they can, and you are. Kathleen marveled at what an "easy" baby you are and how she hopes Everett will have some of your qualities. Everett is Kathleen's newborn that was born hours after we left her home... I suppose you just have that effect on pregnant ladies.

I continue to be in complete awe at how well you go with the flow. Whether we toss you in the car for an impromptu shopping trip or pass you around from friend to friend, you never complain and keep your happy attitude the whole time.

Harrison Mark

I hope this is something you'll carry with you forever. I'm doubtful it will last when you're two or three, but let Mommy dream. (The picture below was taken at the car dealership - when fixing the car, they took twice as long as they said they would and you and I sat in the dealership for TWO hours. You didn't complain once and I love you for that.)

Harrison Mark

You enjoyed your first outing in a restaurant this last month and you were amazing. No crying or whining or shrieking... I'm going to go ahead and say part of this is Mommy and Daddy making sure your needs are met but the other part is definitely you being you. 

You also enjoyed your first outing to church this last month. You enjoyed the music and people-watching.

You had your first pool day at Miss Stacey's house and although you couldn't actually go in the pool, you made the best of what you could do... lounge under sun protection and look adorably cool and cute.

Harrison Mark

Not a minute goes by without a finger or your whole hand in your mouth. We are taking this as a definite sign of teething although the actual tooth may be months behind.

Harrison Mark

The drool is also a pretty good indicator of what's to come...

Harrison Mark

Try to keep those teeth down for a couple more months because we're not ready to say good-bye to your toothless smile...

Harrison Mark

From the beginning, we marveled at your range of expression. For the record, your expressions are still pretty killer.

There's the "pursed-lip quizzical" expression...

Harrison Mark

The "take-this-damn-hat-off" expression...

Harrison Mark

The "what-the-heck-are-you-doing" expression...

Harrison Mark

The "arched-eyebrow" expression...

Harrison Mark

The "that-camera-phone-again" expression...

Harrison Mark

And the "this-store-bores-me" sleep expression...

Harrison Mark

I love them all. You are smiling, cooing and cackling all the time. If I ever had doubts about how Daddy and I were functioning as first time parents, those smiles, coos and cackles give me hope that we aren't totally helpless.

You're quite close to rolling from back to belly. You get all the way up on your side and then chill there. In fact, these days, you're sleeping on your left side just like Momma.

You still aren't sleeping that well but that's about to change. Sleep training is starting soon for you, my boy. Hold on tight.

Speaking of holding... when I hold you during a feeding, I can really tell how big you're getting. When I held you in my arms months ago, your tiny feet would rest in my palms, and I played with your toes. When I hold you now, your bottom rests in my palm, and your legs and feet extend way past my hand.

I can't let another month pass without mentioning your Daddy time. Every morning, Daddy wakes up with you and you play and play and play until I wake up and join you. This lets me sleep a little bit in the early morning and it allows for you and Daddy to enjoy each others company without distraction. This is Daddy's favorite time of day and you love it, too. Seeing you interact during this special time together absolutely melts me.

Harrison Mark

We just got back from our first family vacation to Maine - for Uncle Mike & Aunt Kate's wedding. It was close to a six hour drive, but you slept and entertained yourself and didn't complain a bit. We had a great time and you came everywhere us. Hiking, walking, shopping, eating out, swimming... you name it - you came along. You slept well (Harrison standards...) despite being in your travel crib in a strange house. We couldn't be prouder of you.

Harrison Mark

This summer has been the best summer ever. Harrison Mark, you continue to light up our days and make us look like complete fools as we coo at you, shamelessly try to elicit laughs and capture an embarrassing amount of pictures.

Harrison Mark

Raise your bottle to four months of neverending, fascinating, sleepless bliss.

Love you to Maine, back, and beyond.

Mommy & Daddy

P.S. If you want to catch up on your other letters, here is your 6-week letter, your 2-month letter and your 3-month letter.

Entomophobia (Sorry 'bout it...)

If you ask anyone that knows me, they'd tell you I suffer from a *touch* of entomophobia. (I'm a *bit* scared of bugs.)

To give you a better idea...

  • I'm that girl that embarrassingly screams and flails her arms at a chill summer BBQ when a bug flies by my ear.
  • Before I had my stud of a husband to handle my bugs for me, I would sleep in a different bedroom altogether if I found a big spider, wasp or unidentified bug in my room... even if the different bedroom didn't have a bed...
  • Since most bugs are attracted to light, I literally DO NOT use my porch ceiling light from May-September to avoid walking through flying insects as I enter and exit the house. I also shut off the overhead light in my car from May-September for fear of something nasty slipping in while the door is open...

So yeah, I have issues.

My mom used to describe it as a love/hate relationship. I'm terrified of them being on my skin or in my hair* but at the same time I'm fascinated by them. I even like looking at them... with a barrier of glass or netting between me and the bug, of course. 

As far as extermination goes, I'll kill most spiders and ants smaller than my fingernail. I won't go near flying insects or anything that can jump unpredictably. If I can, I'll trap the entom-offender (see what I did with that prefix?) under a drinking glass and leave it for Matt to exterminate. On a really bad day in the summer when the doors are opening and closing all day, Matt may come home to three or four bugs enclosed under these makeshift bug traps.

In a particularly embarrassing recent episode, I came downstairs with Harrison at 3am because there was a bug in his crib. I woke Matt up to handle it, and he begrudgingly followed me upstairs with a drinking glass and piece of paper (who said my method of trapping wasn't genius...). Upon closer scrutiny, Matt determined that the entom-offender (ha, again) was really a small sticker that had fallen off my shirt when I laid H in his crib. Yes, I woke him up for a sticker. At 3am. He definitely made fun of me for a few days, but I think he's since forgotten about it... until he reads this. Oops.

So that's my story about bugs. And me. About bugs and me. I started this post after spotting a ridiculous-looking bug on my front porch that I later identified as a male whitespotted sawyer. Go ahead and Google it. I'll wait.

Okay, how disturbing is that?! That antenna! You're welcome for not letting that pop up in your news feed. After reading "when improperly handled, the whitespotted sawyer may nip and draw blood," I had Matt handle it. I can now enter and exit the house as I please, without being attacked. Until the next one pops up.

I bet you had no idea someone could ramble on for so long about bugs. What's your stance? Love 'em or lose 'em?

*I have had bugs in my hair. One night during high school, I threw my ocean-soaked wet hair up into a messy topknot and headed out the door to hang out with friends. It was a summer night and I mistakenly walked through a swarm of Japanese beetles (the water-loving kind). I freaked out (of course) but went about my night. Later that night, when I returned home to shower, much of that swarm flew out of my hair when I let it out of the messy topknot. So yeah, now you know why I have issues.

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