I've been doing a fun personal challenge on Instagram focusing on one color per week for the photos I share. I wanted a challenge that would force me to be more thoughtful in what I photograph but that I could also do with a 10-month old in tow. The only rule (admittedly self-imposed) is that whatever photos I share in a given week have to feature whatever color I've selected for that week. I don't have to post everyday or a certain number per week. I just have to stick to the color chosen for that particular week. I'm working my way through the rainbow (with the addition of pink because, pink!) and so far, I've really been enjoying the process. It's forcing me to be more observant in the day-to-day and more creative with my shots. Here is what I captured for red.
You can follow along (or join me!) on Instagram with the hashtag #SCPDoesColor. This week's color is orange and coming up next week - yellow! And for those curious, these were all captured on my iPhone 6.
The little guy is off to the sitter's for the afternoon and I am sitting here at my desk, editing photos and getting lost once again in Kendra & Dan's gorgeous San Francisco wedding. Their special day was rainy and gray, but the clouds broke long enough for us to capture a few lovely moments like this one. Can't wait to share the rest with you soon!
Giving kisses (to himself in the mirror, his toys, even the piggies) but only when he feels like it. Ask him for a kiss and you're gonna get dissed instead; eating everything; walking with his learning walker; Thomas the Train; bath time
Having "toys" taken from him, and by "toys" I mean wires, choking hazards, and basically anything dangerous but super fun looking; strangers
A few days before Rico officially turned 9 months, we had a photo session with my friend Cristal of Cristal Veronica Photos. I thought his update would be the perfect opportunity to share some of those with you! We started off at Shakespeare Garden in Golden Gate Park then explored the fountain at the Music Concourse and the pretty cherry blossoms near the Japanese Tea Gardens. Our original session date got rained out so even though it was a little chilly, we were just happy it was dry!
Upside-down baby! His favorite thing ever right now. That and doing backflips.
As far as toys go, he's into anything that makes noise, especially little wooden animals that click and clack as you bang them together.
The buttons on his shirt are far more interesting than Mom and Dad making silly faces at each other and ... kissing ... ew!!!
Any opportunity to get up on two legs is considered the best thing ever. He pulls up on furniture, while holding onto the wall, and holding our hands. His legs and core are super strong but he still needs a little work on the balancing thing. His favorite thing right now is using his Sit-To-Stand learning walker to go from one room to the next. He walks with it to his corner of the living room to play with his toys, then uses it to walk over to the piggy cage for a little visit, then grabs it to walk into his room and play with toys there. This kid wants to walk soooo badly! The Husband and I even have a bet going as to when he'll start walking on his own. The Husband says before 10 months and I say between 10 and 12 months. Considering he'll be 10 months in about two weeks, it's looking like I might win! But I have mixed feelings on this - my mom ego wants to be able to say "My son starting walking at 9 months!" but the competitor in me wants him to wait until 10 so I'll win the bet!
"Still taking pictures, huh?"
He was totally over pictures by this point and not fully willing to smile, but he looked like such a big boy, sitting on that little tree stump all by himself. ♥
Stranger danger started around 8.5 months and he sometimes gets a little overwhelmed with new faces or loud noises. But he warms up pretty easily and smiles instantly when he sees a face he recognizes. He also wants to be a part of every conversation. Every.single.one. If you're chatting and not including him, he will make himself known with his babbles and squeals, which means it's nearly impossible to make a phone call outside of nap time.
He eats pretty much everything (except plain broccoli) and is really great about hand-eye-mouth coordination. Food still ends up on the floor during mealtimes but it's there intentionally now since gravity has recently become the most fascinating thing ever. The Husband and I have both said that baby-led weaning has been the best parenting decision we've made so far (well, that and sleep training - he still regularly sleeps 11-12 hours a night!). Every food is interesting and exciting to him. He usually squishes new foods between his fingers and gets a feel for the textures before eating it but he does at least taste everything we offer him. His favorites include everything from plain boiled carrots to spicy polenta with bell peppers to chicken enchiladas and he eats almost as much as I do at meals. I make minor adjustments to seasonings when cooking but he basically eats whatever we eat. I'm planning to do a more in-depth post on BLW soon since it has been such a great experience for us.
This month, he also learned to gives kisses - to himself in the mirror, his stuffed animals, and even the piggies. I've caught him hanging out at their cage kissing the bars when they come over to check him out! On the other hand, I have received exactly ONE kiss. One. Uno. Totally unprovoked, too. He just crawled over to me one afternoon and planted a slobbery wet one on my check, then crawled off back to his toys. If I actually ask for a kiss, though, he just smiles and looks away. It has to be his idea, initiated by him, or it's no kisses at all. He's a coy one, that Rico.
He tried a baby gymnastics class this month, which was both a hit and a miss. He was the youngest kid in the class and most of the other babies were already walking, so he had a hard time keeping up when it was free play time, but during the structured part when we were teaching them how to do safe flips over our legs, he was all for it and one of the only babies NOT freaked out about flipping backwards. He also learned how to turn the lights on and off, which is a big help when my hands are full, and he figured out how to turn the volume up or down on the TV. We don't let him just sit down and watch TV all day but we did discover that he's drawn to Thomas & Friends and loves the theme song especially. So I sometimes turn it on for the last five minutes or so and let him listen to the song during the closing credits. On at least five separate occasions, he has approached the TV and turned up the volume when the song comes on, sometimes even coming from a different room in the apartment to turn it up and listen!
Little Rico is showing signs of a little temper, too! If I take something away that he wants to play with -whether it be a toy that I need to clean or a wire he's trying to chew- he balls up his little fists, sometimes pounding them on his chubby thighs, furrows his brow, and grunts. If he's really angry he'll stiffen his legs, arch his head back and scream. I feel like we're already having terrible 2's level tantrums and he's only 9 months old! But he's also sweet and loving and smiles easily. He climbs in my lap and cuddles up, sometimes bringing a book with him as he crawls over, and he understands a few simple phrases. He likes to be helpful and happily hands things to me when I ask him to, he follows if I tell him to "Come here," and understands simple commands like "Put Blue Bear (his pacifier) in the bed for naptime" (drops paci in the crib and smiles proudly).
One big thing for me this month has been learning the difference between tired and exhausted. During the first few months home with a newborn, I was tired all.the.time. It was literally impossible to ever feel rested because the hole of sleep debt was so massive. Now that he's sleeping through the night (and has been for a while), I'm slowly starting to feel rested when I wake up but, by the end of the day, I'm so worn out I can barely muster up the energy to wash my face and brush my teeth before bed sometimes! Rico is far more active and independent than before but that means he requires a lot more supervision, too. Add that to the many decisions you have to make throughout the day as a work-from-home parent (what to make for breakfast? lunch? snack? Do I have time to run an errand before the next nap? Sneak in some emails? Do some editing? etc etc etc) and it becomes pretty easy to see why even the simplest of days spent here at home can be exhausting physically and mentally. On the flip side, he's so much more fun now and we're only just beginning to explore and discover the big wide world together.
WatchingWeediquette and Gilmore Girls. I know, so random. I don't usually talk about politics on this blog (I save that for Twitter!) but I have pretty strong feelings on our marijuana laws. I'm fascinated by the cannabis plant and the way it is used/has been used across cultures, and Weediquette is totally feeding that fascination. Gilmore Girls, on the other hand, is one of those shows I've been meaning to check out but never really have. I watched a few episodes in college because one of my high school friends was on the show but I stopped after the first season. So I'm using my late-night insomnia episodes to finally find out what happened to those crazy Gilmore ladies after Rory's first year at Chilton.
Reading The Way of Boys. Like most first-time parents, I have no clue how this whole "raising a child" thing is supposed to go down. And when I'm doing something for the first time, the bookworm/school nerd in me knows only one approach to being successful - read everything possible and get as much education as I can. So on a friend's recommendation, I picked up The Way of Boys. I'm about six chapters in but can already see how some of the information will be really useful in guiding Rico to becoming the grown-up person he was born to be.
Listening to the birds. The weather has been nice enough to leave the windows open during the afternoon and we're lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of trees in our little urban oasis. That means lots of twittering and chirping fill our days. A few days ago, a little hummingbird even paused for a moment outside our living room window, hovering in mid-air just long enough to catch Rico's eye before flitting away again.
Shooting a lot of film! I first got into photography about 20 years ago and began by shooting black and white film that I processed and developed myself. I would buy bricks (20-packs) of Kodak Tri-X 400 and shoot to my heart's content. I've recently started up again but this time with color film. I'm always trying to emulate the look of film when processing my digital images so now I'm going directly to the source and fine-tuning my film game with my trusty little 35mm. I'm super excited to share what I've been shooting and to *hopefully* begin offering my clients something different and more personal in their sessions, too.
Craving sugar. I have three months to lose the remaining baby weight before Rico's first birthday and I've stalled with the last ten pounds. Desperate measures must be taken. I've cut out processed sugar until his first birthday and, naturally, it's now the only thing I want to eat! Three months sugar-free requires channeling the deepest depths of my will power but I must do it. I must, I must, I must. I know it'll feel so good to have more energy, wear my pre-pregnancy pants, and set a good example of healthy eating for Rico, but now I'm counting down the days to his birthday for a whole new reason - birthday cake!
Wishing Rico's teeth would just come already! He had one new tooth break through the gums this week and it looks like there are about three more just beneath the surface waiting to make their appearance. It's those three beneath the surface that are giving him trouble, though. He handles teething fairly well but you can still tell it's hurting him a bit, and that just plain ol' breaks my heart.
Dreaming of vacations soon to come. The Husband and I have a trip to San Diego on the books for later this summer and we're making plans for a European vacation next year. Travel is the last piece in the "feeling like my normal self again after having a baby" puzzle and we're excited to have some family vacations finally on the books.
Loving everyday. The fog of parenting a newborn sometimes made it hard to remember to find love and gratitude in the everyday. I've been making a concerted effort to focus on the positive and absorb the goodness each day brings and it feels pretty darn good.
Every year when Lent comes around, I routinely give something up. Whether it's sugar, caffeine, meat, or laziness, the forty days are an exercise in will power, self-restraint, and (to a very mild extent) sacrifice. This year, I did something a little different. I gave up Facebook for Lent.
Yes, Facebook. Forty days of no Facebook. I allowed a few small exceptions to check in on my professional groups once in a while but even on those occasions there was no scrolling through the newsfeed or glancing at my notifications. Admittedly, I thought I was kind of cheating on Lent this year. It seemed like I'd given up something that wasn't really going to be that hard to give up. Not like my drug of choice, sugar. Apparently I underestimated the level of my social media addiction.
The first few days were actually quite a challenge. In order to minimize temptation, I removed the Facebook app from my phone, turned off email notification alerts, and deleted the little F icon from my bookmarks toolbar. And yet ... I still found myself reaching for my phone and mindlessly navigating to the spot where the app was previously saved. I'd grab my phone and almost instinctively, as if finding my way to that blue and white F was ingrained in my muscle memory, I'd click on over to where it should've been then stare at my phone for a few seconds before I remembered, "Oh yeah. No Facebook right now." I'd sit down at my computer, open my browser to work or check email, and find myself hovering the little mouse in the area where the F used to be on my tool bar before giving myself a mental slap on the wrist. No Facebook right now!
After about a week or so, I didn't really miss it as much. The little pockets of time previously wasted on mindless scrolling were now gloriously free. Instead of reaching for my phone during the bits of downtime I had here and there, I found myself reaching for my book instead. I actually managed to finish the book I'd been reading since October and start a new book that I'm now about a third of the way through. I watched new photography tutorials and stayed caught up on emails instead of frantically stressing about them after Rico goes to sleep for the night, and found time for exercise. I even found little bits of time to unwind with my favorite grown-up* coloring book. All those things I thought I didn't have time for were now becoming a part of my daily life. Turns out, I did have time after all. I was just wasting it all on Facebook.
I also, admittedly, watched a little more TV than I usually do. My old buddy Netflix, the only one who kept me company during late-night pumping sessions months ago was keeping me company once again during bouts of insomnia. But I noticed a difference even in my show preferences. Instead of being drawn to all the reality TV shows I previously knew and loved, I was repulsed by them. My favorite Real Housewives of Beverly Hills annoyed the crap out of me the last six weeks! I wanted interesting plot lines and deep, well-developed characters. I wanted to see fascinating new perspectives on real life situations and experiences. I wanted fiction and documentaries. As if eliminating the reality tv-like noise from my online life meant I didn't really want it as part of my real-life downtime either. I didn't want tidbits and snippets of other people's crazy or chaotic lives. I wanted to more.
Now that Easter has come and gone, Lent is officially over. I hopped back on Facebook Sunday evening and sifted through six weeks' worth of notifications, messages, and friend requests. I'm still working my way through some of it. The one downside to being off Facebook is that I missed out on a lot of things happening in my friends' lives. There were pregnancy announcements, new babies born, business changes, engagements, and other life happenings that may not have been huge milestones but were still important and worth noting. And I missed most of them because I wasn't on Facebook (the Husband updated me on some of our mutual friends' news bits though). It's sad to think that taking time away from one social media platform to have a richer and fuller experience in real life means that I'm out of the loop when it comes to announcements and special occasions, but that's the world we live in now, isn't it?
After this forty-day social media experiment, I've decided not to add the app back to my phone. And I'm not adding the bookmark short cut either. I will still check Facebook from time to time and peep in on friends here and there, but I'm not going to make it easy for myself to get lost in that blue hole again. Going forward, it will now have to be a conscious decision to open a browser tab, type in the web address, and be conscious of how much time I'm actually giving away to such a passive form of socialization. But honestly, isn't that how it should be anyway?
*I prefer the term "grown-up coloring book." "Adult coloring book" sounds like a porn coloring book to me!