Thirteen Months: A Snapshot.

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I chronicled most of Miles’ first year through (in part) a series of letters that I’m sharing on this blog. It’s important to me to document his little adventures, his growth, and our memories of him.

I’m hoping to continue doing it throughout his second year. This post is particularly overdue and I wobbled about whether I should post it at all. But one of my ultimate goals for these posts is to print them in some kind of photo book and I don’t like the idea of always seeing the missing 13-month note. (OCD much?)

So, here, so close to his fourteen-month birthday, are a few notes about Miles at 13 months. (Take it or leave it.;-) If this bores you, jump to this post instead.)

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DEAR MILES.

Thirteen months was a crazy couple of weeks, wasn’t it? You and Daddy and I were all over the place this summer, spending time in Dallas for Daddy’s internship, visiting family, taking fun trips, and pretending like you slept just as well in a porta-crib as in your own bed. (You don’t.)

You are a great little traveler though, and you act like switching time-zones and houses and beds doesn’t faze you even a bit as long as you can still cuddle with Mommy and Daddy early in the morning.

So here a few things that I really want to remember about you at this age.

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I want to remember that you are ALWAYS ON THE MOVE. You never seem to stop wiggling. Even when you are cuddling or quietly listening to Mommy read to you, you are always wriggling.

I want to remember how much you love your books. You would sit and listen to me read for hours. You will even sit by yourself and flip back and forth through the pages by yourself, fascinated with the pictures.

I want to remember the look on your face as you watched airplanes from the front yard of your great-grandparents’ house. Once you put the quiet buzz and the movement together, you would drop whatever you were doing, wherever we were, to trace the path of the plane with your finger and make a little “buzzzzz” of your own.

I want to remember how cuddly you are. You love to snuggle with Mommy and Daddy – you love to be held and tickled and hugged and kissed.

I want to remember how excited you were when you finally met a dog that would let you pet her (instead of a cat). You frantically pet Sophie while we bribed her to sit still with peanut-butter pretzels.

I want to remember your strong little over-hand pitch when you enthusiastically hurl a ball.

I want to remember the sheer delight on your face when you empty suitcases or drawers or baskets of laundry, dumping piece after piece on your head and arms and face.

I want to remember your sheer delight when you discovered cold water flowing out of the hose on a hot morning.

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I want to remember the things you are doing and loving and learning too. I want to remember that you are

cruising everywhere. As long as you have a hand on a piece of furniture, you can move with the speed of light around a room.

trying grownup food like spaghetti, oatmeal, and eggs.

climbing down the stairs. You terrified everyone for a few weeks by hovering dangerously at the top of the stairs until you let your grandmother teach you how to climb backwards. Now you can go up and down by yourself all day long!

singing along to nursery rhymes and baby praise music. You sing very gently and rock your head back and forth to the music and it is THE SWEETEST.

playing  with wheels, wherever you can find them – your stroller, your tractors, other children’s toy cars.

using words – or at least trying out new sounds and assuming Mommy knows exactly what you mean.

I love watching you grow, sweet boy! Never stop.:-)

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12 Months: A Snapshot.

12 Months | The Orange Slate

  12 Months | The Orange Slate

12 Months | The Orange Slate

I chronicled most of Miles’ first year through (in part) a series of letters that I’m sharing on this blog. It’s important to me to document his little adventures, his growth, and our memories of him.

My overall goal for this project has been presence, not perfection, and honestly, I’m thrilled with the collection of memories and pictures I’ve documented. Even if none of the other billion pictures that I’ve taken and edited of him are appropriately archived, these letters and the accompanying pictures will have captured important highlights of his year.

DEAR MILES.

12 MONTHS! A YEAR! You’re one year old! (I keep saying it to myself – “I have a one year old!”) I can’t believe your first grand year is behind us. What an adventure it was. I know I’m supposed to be sad that you are growing up so quickly, but I am THRILLED at every new milestone. I know every baby and every family has different challenges, but for me, for us, your first three months felt so hard, so exhausting.

But your next three months were so much better, so much less terrifying and so much more exciting and fun, and every step after has been better still. So keep growing, my wonderful little guy! I’m so proud to be your mama.

12 Months | The Orange Slate

12 Months | The Orange Slate

Here are a few things I want to remember about you at this perfect, terrific age of ONE:

I want to remember how much energy you have each day. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, you never really stop moving. If you do pause, it’s because you are studying something very very carefully, holding it close to your face to look at it very carefully or exploring the texture with your tiny fingers. When you are looking at something closely, your face takes on the most concentrated, adorable little frown.

I want to remember that you throw everything. Food that you are done eating, toys, food that you want to share, my clothes, your binky, sippy cups, bottles, balls…you figured out how to hurl objects and want to try out your new trick at every turn.

I want to remember how my good little eater has suddenly become picky. You definitely have opinions about food’s taste and texture now and they seem to change constantly. Meals feel like marathons.

I want to remember how you are starting to discover cause and effect – you bang on your high-chair tray to hear the sound; you love it when I lift you to play with light switches as you watch the room light up and darken; you love to push buttons and hear the resulting sound.

I want to remember how good you are at crawling up the stairs and how afraid you are to slide back down.

I want to remember how you are curious about everything – every drawer, every shut door, every device that adults around you are holding.

I want to remember how fun it is to watch you learn to use language. You try to yell for things that you want, but we’re working on asking for things more pleasantly and you’re learning how to say “please”.

12 Months | The Orange Slate

12 Months | The Orange Slate

I want to remember the things you are doing and loving and learning too. I want to remember that you are

loving pulling up on everything. My favorite is when you pull up at the piano and play the few keys that you are able to reach.

saying “Dada” for everything. 

clapping for yourself. The proud look on your face when you do a trick and then clap for yourself is hilarious.

learning to shake hands with new friends (total strangers) and to give “high-fives”. You’ve thoroughly mastered waving and wave frantically at everyone, even Mom when she comes to get you out of your crib in the morning. 

sleeping, finally, blessedly, through most of the night, on most nights.  Everyone is so much happier when a good night of sleep happens.

reading your board books with Mom or Dad – your current favorite is “Polar Bear, Polar Bear” and, of course, “Guess How Much I Love You?”

learning to love whole milk. You tried it for the first time two weeks shy of your 1st birthday and you’ll drink a little for me every day.

climbing up the stairs – multiple times, every day. It’s your little mountain of adventure!

Can’t wait for the next day, week, month, AND YEAR of adventures, my sweet boy!

Happy Father’s Day: A Love Letter.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

Mark,

Last Father’s Day, I was 36 weeks pregnant, so this is your first Father’s Day with a laughing, rambunctious, squeezable baby.

(And I know you hate Hallmark holidays almost as much as you hate social media, but humor me for just a minute.)

The grace and ease with which you slid into the role of “Dad” never fails to baffle me. Before we had Miles, you’d never spent much time around babies. You’d never changed a diaper. But you were good at being Daddy from the start.

You, so carefree and spontaneous and always making fun of me for being too cautious, are so protective of our little guy. When we first drove home from the hospital, you missed our turn, rolled slowly through an intersection and turned around to avoid turning too sharply with our sleeping bundle.

Our baby is so lucky to have you for a Daddy. Sometimes I get caught up in feeding schedules and sleep schedule and THOSE HORRIBLE NAP SCHEDULES and then you come home and tickle Miles and throw him up in the air and make him laugh so hard that he can’t breathe and you remind me that this parenting gig should be FUN.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

You soak up every second of Miles’ milestones with me like no other baby has ever existed. We spent fifteen minutes the other night simply passing a wooden panda bear back and forth with Miles, over and over and over, laughing hysterically at his enthusiasm for this new-found trick of “sharing”.

I pat myself on the back for my wealth of baby trivia garnered from piles of baby manuals and blogs and websites and my frequent calls to our pediatricians nursing station. But I secretly think you are actually the better parent.

Because this parenting stuff is not for the birds and when Miles gets in a fight or gets his first “D” or wrecks the car, I know that you’ll be there for him, calm and steadfast, like you always are for me. It’s just what you do.

You help Miles scoot and crawl and tackle stairs and I know this is just the beginning. Later you’ll teach him how to be brave about bigger things, harder and scarier things than living room step or the staircase.

And I suspect that when Miles is older and I still want to be controlling and protective and crazy (like I do), you will be the voice of reason and will make sure our little guy stretches his wings when he needs it the most.

And then when he has screwed up (like kids and teenagers and young adults do), you will still love him without reservation and extend him that same cheery, carefree, heartfelt grace that has always drawn people to you.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate1

Father's Day | The Orange Slate3

You show him how to feed the ducks and how to push his red ball back and forth and later you will show him how to plan a backpacking trip into the wilderness and how to leave home. And you will remind him that real adventures can’t be planned and that you can wash clothes in a sink and that we are better people when we take on the unknown.

Having a tiny baby and moving away from everyone we know isn’t always fun and games. When Miles still refused to sleep at 5 weeks and I melted in the middle of the night into a soggy puddle of tears and hysteria, you took over and let me rest even though you were the one who had class the next day.

Sometimes it drives me crazy that I spend almost every shred of sanity I have on this parenting thing and yet you somehow manage to take Miles to a happy hour without a diaper bag, a bottle, or a single piece of additional paraphernalia and you still both walk in the door smiling two hours later.

You are a daily reminder to me that this is not about schedules or instruction manuals or doing it right or being better at it than fill-in-the-blank.

We get to watch this precious little guy grow up. You take on the role of Daddy with such joy and excitement and wonder and you remind me every day what an utter privilege it is to be a parent.

And I am so grateful that I get to do this job alongside you.

Happy Father’s Day, love.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate2

Eleven Months: A Snapshot.

 11 Months | The Orange Slate6

   11 Months | The Orange Slate2

I am currently chronicling our little guy’s life through (in part) a series of letters that I’m sharing on this blog. It’s important to me to document his little adventures, his growth, the changes I notice in him, and our memories of him.

This one is a bit late in the month – I can’t believe my baby will be 1 year old in just over two weeks! For me and this project, late is much better than never. My overall goal is presence, not perfection.

11 Months | The Orange Slate1

11 Months | The Orange Slate5

DEAR MILES.

You are 11 months old! It’s sort of your last month as an infant – next month, I can’t just count your life in months anymore. This first year with you has been such a fantastic adventure.

We spent quite a bit of the last month with Mimi and Grandpa in Kona and you had such fun! Now we’re spending time with Daddy’s parents – you love all of the attention you’ve gotten from both sets of grandparents over the last few weeks!

Here are a few things I want to remember about you at this age:

11 Months | The Orange Slate4

11 Months | The Orange Slate

I want to remember how aware you are. You seem to know everything that is going on – you know when it’s bedtime; you know when Mommy has been gone on errands; you know that strangers in the grocery store love it when you flash them your enormous smile. You also know when Mommy’s not around to enforce bedtime and you give whomever is putting you down quite the bedtime battle.

I want to remember how, ever since you learned to crawl, you’ve been working so hard to get UP. You started pulling yourself up to your knees on stairs, chairs, rocks at the beach and now you can pull yourself all the way up to standing on just about anything!

I want to remember what a fantastic little traveler you are. I was terrified to take you on our scheduled red-eye flight back from the beach, but you were a champ and slept the entire way. You also adjusted to jet lag so quickly!

I want to remember how you crawl like a baby gorilla, swinging your shoulders back and forth. It’s so cute!

I want to remember how your hair got bleached by the sun at the beach and turned you into a strawberry blonde.

I want to remember the things you are doing and loving and learning too. I want to remember that you are

11 Months | The Orange Slate3

loving water and your turtle pool. You are so brave in the water now! You visited tide-pools with Grandpa and splash wildly whenever you sit in a calm pool. The waves still scared you a little, understandably. Now you spend time every day in your turtle pool and love spraying water everywhere.

trying to tackle the stairs. You’ve tackled a stair-step just a few times and somehow one day managed to make it up onto a table. I can tell that I’m going to need to block the big stairs soon.

chasing Papa’s cat and trapping him under the bureau. You are less fascinated with petting the cat and more with simply crawling after him as fast as you can possibly go. If you disappear suddenly, I know that I can normally find you sitting by the dresser where the cat likes to hide, patiently waiting for him to come out.

loving pesto, quinoa, and strawberry yogurt. You have always been a pretty good eater, but when I pull out the quinoa, pesto, or strawberry yogurt, you wiggle with excitement. I waited until just recently to introduce you to strawberry flavoring and you eat like you’re trying to catch up from 11 months of missing out.

cuddling your elephants. You have quite the collection of stuffed elephants for bedtime and nothing makes you happier than cuddling with them. Mostly, you like to chew on their noses.

shopping anywhere that I will take you. Stores and lights and the strangers there fascinate you.

playing with Mommy and Daddy. You laugh wildly at being tickled. We can also play little games together now, like hide-and-seek. You can help me put blocks IN the bowl and pull them OUT on command, with a little encouragement.

recognizing faces on screens. You love watching videos of yourself. While we were away from Daddy, you laughed when I showed you pictures of him and you wave at Mimi on FaceTime.

Can’t wait for your first birthday party, my baby boy!

11 Months | The Orange Slate

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Home Tour: Apartment Baby Nursery

Nursery Room Tour | The Orange Slate

Stuffed Elephant | The Orange Slate

I’ve mentioned before that we live in an apartment. It’s not small enough to qualify for some kind of T.I.N.Y. prize (like this one). It is, however, under 900 square feet – small enough to mean that every room serves at least three purposes.

So when I say “nursery”, I’m really referring less to an entire room and more to a dedicated half of a room. When Miles was tiny, he slept in a cradle in our room. At around 6 months, he migrated into his crib and about a month later finally started actually sleeping in his own room (now dubbed “the nursery”, which also doubles as “the guest room”).

When we first moved into our apartment (when Miles was 3 weeks old), I knew the he would be in our room for a while, so I didn’t stress too much about having The World’s Most Gorgeous Baby Nest perfected.

But even before Miles was born, I approached the choices I made for our baby furniture and nursery set-up much the way I approach other choices: I prioritized the major needs/wants and let the rest take its course without agonizing over it too much. Here are the priorities that guided our nursery design (beyond safety, of course):

  • Reasonable investment. Mark and I aren’t trying to reinvent the art of raising a human. Our baby needs to be safe and comfortable in aesthetically pleasant surroundings, but he’s going to spend less time with all of the baby supplies we buy him than I spent in my college dorm room. Dropping thousands of dollars on the finest baby furniture and decor in the universe is just not my thing. (I don’t mean this critically. This is a choice thing. If you like to spend money on baby furniture, that’s completely within your rights.)
  • Space-friendly. Our apartment is very small. Doors are narrow and we move pieces around a lot to accommodate changing needs, guests, my early-morning decorating whims, finals week study sessions, etc. Baby furniture needed to take up as little space as possible and pieces needed to serve various functions.
  • Aesthestically minimalist. The more visual clutter I can eliminate, the better. Small and slender was the name of the game for picking furniture. For colors, I love LIGHT, whites, and light neutrals. Our apartment carpeting and paint colors (not our choice!) are neutrals just on the darker side of cream, so I’m constantly trying to brighten up our space. No heavy dark woods for us, at least not now.

Nursery Tour | The Orange Slate1

That’s it. Those were the three guidelines. Our nursery layout is so very simple and I love it. Our crib is light and small. I obsessively use baskets for storage and have baskets of all sizes in all of our rooms. Storing Miles’ toys in one basket and his bath-time/diaper gear in another underneath the crib was an easy way to hide clutter while efficiently using space and also keeping it within easy reach.

His clothes, towels, and sheets are kept in one small dresser across the room. When he outgrows a size, I remove the pieces and store all of those clothes elsewhere so that he’s actually using all of the pieces in the dresser.

The baby furniture also includes a rocker and a cool mid-century table that we’ve collected. The beautiful hand-lettered canvas and engraved metal piece were gifts. I picked up the wooden letter at Hobby Lobby (although I’ve linked to a similar one below).

Lindsay Letters baby print | The Orange Slate

Sources for pieces are as follows:

If you have questions about our setup or about living with a young baby in a small space, let’s chat in the comments!