Friday, January 18, 2013

Dear Charlie, you are five months old.

Dear Charlie,

Five months have flown. And dragged. There are nights when getting out of bed to soothe you for the umpteenth time hurts my exhausted body and my addled brain. There are also quiet, almost reverent mornings when boxing up yet another round of too-small clothing brings a bittersweet tear to my eye.

Five whole months. You are little for your age, below 25% for height and weight, no chunky rolls on you. Plump cheeks, that's all. But you are a strong little devil. You can stand up assisted on your stout Lemon legs and love to bounce and dance. You enjoy playing on your belly propped up on your arms or your hands. You also engage those freakish baby abs and push yourself up on your elbows while on your back. You can sit for a hot second, and your little body is so close to figuring out the whole crawling and scooting business. You roll and roll and roll around the apartment. You really chewed me out the other day for taking the PlayStation cables away from you. Sorry. Take it up with your father.

You chatter incessantly. Mostly mamamas (thank you, thank you!), some bababas, and a smattering of dadadas. Lots of shrieking, both happy and irritated. You love to hear me and Dad sing to you. Favorite lullabies include "You Are My Sunshine," "Tell Me Why," "Hush, Little Baby" and "Baby Mine." We make up lots of verses for you.

Bath time is a cherished evening ritual. As is dinner. A week before Christmas, you had your first bite of Harry & David pear. Only the best for Prince Charles (or Chuck Lite, as your grandpa has dubbed you). You love baby rice mixed with breast milk, apples, pears, bananas, squash, carrots, and peas. You tolerated prunes, but let's face it, no one loves prunes. Don't feel bad.

Grandma earning some serious gold stars here.
We've done a lot of traveling with you. Lubbock, Dallas/Plano, Longview, and California not one but three times. On this last trip, a flight attendant gave us some wings, "for baby's first time in an airplane." She didn't know you've been on twelve flights now. It gets harder each time, in case you were wondering.

"If you slow down, I will bang this spoon in displeasure."
You love your crinkle book, your play mat, and your WubbaNub. You are finding new joy in loving on/harrassing poor old Sammy. It remains to be seen if he'll survive this whole baby thing. You managed to shove him out of his bed the other day. He wasn't very impressed by this trick, but he was a good sport and removed himself to his kennel to avoid further confrontation.

Sometimes we need a little help going to sleep. Also, this apartment is getting a bit cramped.
You always get fussy right before bedtime. Tonight, bedecked in your snowman pajamas, freshly fed and bathed and diapered and lotioned and snuggled, you fussed in my arms until I popped your Wub in your pouty mouth and began to rock you in my chair in the corner of the living room. Fussing stopped, then eyelids began to droop. You love to run your fingers through my hair (which is sometimes excruciating, but I can't bring myself to stop you, it's such a cute new development), plugging away fervently on your pacifier until your breathing steadies and you are asleep. I'm always a little sad (albeit relieved) to put you in your crib in the room we all share. This moment, this size, this phase, it'll be gone tomorrow. And yet every new skill and discovery is such a glorious revelation. I feel like you give me a "Eureka!" look every day now.

I love you. I never said I'd do monthly updates, but I felt like I needed to record where you are these days. You are marvelous, my son. Stay golden.

Your mom

Friday, January 4, 2013

Swanton Berry Farm

Let's talk about Thanksgiving.

Because it's January and I haven't put up any photos of our Thanksgiving trip. And I faux pas'd it up by kvetching about Christmas before saying a peep about Thanksgiving.


So. We went to California for Thanksgiving. You know. Last year.

I applaud my mother who surrendered to the busy condition in which she found herself this year and bought the Thanksgiving feast from Whole Foods. Charlie was happy his grandma wasn't tied up in the kitchen this year. Uncle Stan and Aunt Murlene live about 40 minutes away from the mission home, so they and their daughter Rachel joined us for the turkey dinner. 'Twas a good time all around.

I only took one picture on Thanksgiving day. Though he partook of no turkey, Charlie felt the effects of the attendant coma.

After Turkey Day, we took a day trip to my dad's favorite beach in Santa Cruz. We stopped at Swanton Berry Farm on the way. Swanton Berry Farm is an organic U-pick establishment that grows produce and makes baked goods, hot drinks, and of course, jams. The entire place is self-serve. I love a place that still trusts people to do what's right. For your visual pleasure:

My mom could tell you all about why the central California coast is so fertile. It seems so counter-intuitive to me, since extremely sandy conditions aren't necessarily conducive to growing plants, but the silt that drains into this region is incredibly rich. No wonder so much produce in stores around the nation comes from California.
Mikey and Mom sampling jam. We walked away with a jar of tayberry jam. Scrumptious.
Loving those jugs.
I am quite enamored with squash. Love this rustic basket. I bought something similar for our living room, maybe for blankets or firewood.
Trish, Charlie, and a nude Howdy-Doody.
Old games and a sweet painted picnic table.
Part comic book, part Hostess Fruit Pie advertisement. Sneaky, sneaky.
Forever young....
Mary Jane challenging her soon-to-be brother-in-law Andy to a battle of wit.
The kitchen: clean, cheery, airy. Drool.
Self-serve till.
Annie and Trish in a thrilling game of mancala. Reminds me of growing up in Connecticut and a few epic mancala tournaments between me and Annie in our bedroom. Good rainy day fun.
The throw-it-all-together school of decorating. Just my style.
The scale asks, "Have you gained or lost happiness?"
Even a little reading material for a Wall Street kind of guy.
Games and coffee table books.
Old train toy.
Kissy kissy.
The end.