Monday, June 26, 2017

Ellis at Five Months

Ellis is 16 lbs. and 10 oz. and in size three diapers!

Each month sees his personality more and more set. He's our little observer; he's not going to rush into anything and he's so serious. He's set on taking everything in and making sense of it. Because of that, he seems to put how things work together quickly; he seems to get cause and effect! One funny example is, he has realized it is himself in the mirror. He also likes to be facing forward as we walk, so he can see what we're walking into. He also went through a bit of a shy period this month. Strangers make him wary, even such "strangers" as grandparents who went on a trip for a week. In those cases, he likes to make sure Mom is in sight! He can also get bashful very easily. Daddy can draw out laughs like nothing else, but when it gets overwhelming, he'll turn and bury his head in my shoulder.

I tease him that serious boys need silly parents. He does like to laugh though. He makes you work for it, but when he grins, whoo-boy! Stand back. That grin threatens to spill over the edges of his face, it's so wide.

Mommy and Daddy are still the best playthings; generally speaking, he still doesn't care about toys all that much. Except- for his teddy bear. He lights up even just seeing this thing. I have the bear talk to him in a funny voice and give him kisses. We play the song "Teddy Bear's Picnic" and dance around. This baby and bear- it's a lifelong friendship and it cracks me up because, while we had been trying to get him interested in a lovey as per some sleep advice, this wasn't the lovey we'd been pushing. Love at first sight, that's what it was. He also likes to read; he likes to turn the book pages and I've noticed he even has preferences on what are his favorite books (I Kissed the Baby, The Hungry Caterpillar, and Goodnight Moon).

His other great love- or loves, as it were- are puppies. (Well, any dog. He's not picky about age, but baby-talk. They all get called puppies.) He watches our two with keen interest, no matter where they are in the room. His tracking abilities are so much improved to be able to do this! His grandparents' dogs are equally interesting to (and interested in) him. My dad thinks it's because they are close to his size. Yesterday, he went to play fetch with our fox terrier Stella. He was laughing at all her antics, so I think a new daily ritual might have been born.  

This probably isn't that interesting to anyone else, but, as all parents discover, everything from their temperament to your sanity is dictated by a baby's sleep. So. Prepare for some number crunching.

Between being sick with an earache and several (very fun) visitors, any semblance of a nap schedule was in shambles at the start of his 5th month. So, with school out for summer and me home for several months, my focus was on getting sleep back on schedule. I can't recommend the book Healthy Sleeping Habits, Happy Child enough. It is a little heavy on the academic research, which is fascinating but can be hard to plow through when you are tired and desperate for solutions. But it is all good advice.  We've developed a more through bedtime routine and moved that bedtime forward, based on the book's advice, which works well. Because he goes to sleep so much earlier, there is still typically one "dream feed" before I go to bed and one (or two if we are unlucky) wakings at night.  We've had a few nights here or there of sleeping through the night; if your babe was sleeping through the night let us know what your secret was! Naps have gotten better too,  with a nap in the morning, and a nap in the early afternoon and- sometimes- a nap in the late afternoon (those are followed up by a later bedtime too). The darling thing is, he is such a calm morning baby. He will wait quite patiently in his nursery till we are up and he gives the biggest grin when you walk in!

Still all formula, all the time, though we've been given the go-ahead that he can start on foods anytime we think he needs more sustenance daily, for when just milk wasn't cutting it. That said, they did recommend waiting as long as possible to avoid food allergies. Well, food before one is just for fun.

Summertime finds me a Stay-at-Home Mama. Whether this will be the case come fall is still up in the air. One interesting shift this has created is seeing how absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Ellis loves seeing Daddy and will instantly light up at the sound of his voice. Mommy he can see and play with any ol' time; Daddy-time is rarer and therefore more fun. It would bother me a bit, but they are so adorable together, and Amos is the really the best dad and the best partner I could ask for.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Film Flick: The Seven Year Itch

It sometimes happens that a part of a movie- a great line, a costume,  a soundtrack- can outshine the overall product and become ingrained in our cultural conscience. Such is the case with a white, billowing skirt over subway vents. It helps of course that said dress is on Marilyn Monroe; the picture of her pushing down her skirt is instantaneously recognizable. But to only remember that does a disservice to the film that created such an iconic image.

The sweltering summer heat has people fleeing crowded New York City for cooler climates, if they can, or to air conditioning, at the very least. Richard Sherman (a role reprised from the play by Tom Ewell) sends his wife and kid off to the country, but stays to toil at his job. He derides those men who use similar situations as an excuse to go a bit wild. He promises to not smoke or drink.... but soon finds a bigger temptation when he meets his new upstairs neighbor. The Girl, played by Marilyn Monroe, is subletting an apartment for the summer, but, with no air conditioning, it is less than ideal. Sherman invites her into his air conditioned apartment and proceeds to daydream about seducing The Girl. His vivid imagination, which conjures up images of both delightful indulgences and scenarios involving a vengeful wife, are what makes for the base of this film. It is comedic gold, even if his daydreams never seem to become to reality....or do they?

So how did this story become the movie that, as its tagline boasts, tickled and tantalized? The Seven Year Itch began life as a Broadway play. When turning it from a play to a film, the playwright George Axelrod brought his playscript to his first meeting with Billy Wilder to use as a guide. Wilder famously replied, "Fine. We'll use it as a doorstop." And in reality, the film bears less of a resemblance to the play than director and co-writer Billy Wilder would have liked, due to movie censorship.

Wilder called the movie "a nothing picture because the picture should be done today without censorship . . . Unless the husband, left alone in New York while the wife and kid are away for the summer, has an affair with that girl there's nothing." However, I would argue that the story is funnier for that lack of consummation. The Girl (the Sherman character never learns the name of The Girl, but jokes that she "might be Marilyn Monroe") is so obviously is just interested in cooling off- not heating up. But the daydreams of a mild mannered, middle aged man allows him to imagine becoming a casanova. We get a peek at this ridiculous inner life- as ridiculous as all our inner lives are. Some might argue that the comedy is too stylized, too staged, but I liked it. Tom Ewell carries the show, but his bashful performance makes Sherman likeable even as he dreams of committing adultery. Contrasting against his more stylized performance, Monroe's breathy, natural way of speaking shines all the more.

So, where does the dress fit into all this? Less prominently than one might think! A full body shot of the dress billowing- the image that is so iconic today- is never even used in the film. We only see her legs; the full body shot came from stills used to promote the film. The scene is short, only a conversation as the duo exit an (air conditioned) movie theatre. However, it was to have big repercussions. Not only was it the image used to sell the movie, thus sending that dress on its way to pop culture fame, but it arguably broke up Monroe's marriage to baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. Huge crowds came to watch the scene filmed; an unsubstantiated but fun myth includes the idea that Wilder set up stands for people to watch from. Interestingly, a very similar scene can be found in the 1901 short What Happened on Twenty-Third Street, New York City, featuring actress Florence Georgie.

So, whether you are just seeking an escape from the summer heat or looking to heat things up with a sexy bit of comedy- The Seven Year Itch is one itch you just have to scratch!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Motherhood Musings: Getting Dressed

If you're reading this, it should come as no surprise that I love clothes (hey, it is a style blog, after all). But outfits and talk of clothes have been notably absent these past few months. For one very cute reason, of course! 
Okay. Not fair to blame that on the baby, especially when it is only half true. Having a baby means dealing with a changed body, a wardrobe that doesn't quite fit and new demands on the outfits you wear.

In all fairness, my body has returned to pre-pregnancy weight, thanks mostly to my diabetes, for both good (healthy eating) and not-so-good (hello, fluctuating insulin needs) reasons. But fitting back into the clothes I had had before wasn't as much of a relief as I thought it would be. What I needed my clothes for had changed.

I needed to be able to get down on the floor to play. I needed comfort. I needed everything to machine washable. I mean, I wanted all those things for my wardrobe before, but now its necessity.  There's a temptation to just roll out of bed and be in T-shirts and pajama pants all day, but that's not living. So here are some of the outfits I've been trying out as a mother. Documenting what both Ellis and I are wearing has been a reason for me to stretch my sartorial creativity just a bit more and wear clothes that make me feel like myself, while still meeting the needs of my new role as mama. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Dog Eared Page: To Kill a Mockingbird

Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.

People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square,shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.

- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Father's Day Gift Guide

1. Carnivore's Club Subscription | 2. Tacos Cookbook | 3. Doctor Syn (book and film) | 4. Pour Over Coffee Maker | 5. Pocket Tool | 6. Tintin Memory Game

1. Carnivore's Club Subscription - Both my husband and father are very into barbeque, and, well, meat in general. This fun subscription is a gift that keeps on giving. 

 2. Tacos Cookbook  Do you have food in your marriage where one loves it and the other doesn't? Tacos are that for us (Yes, I'm the weirdo who doesn't like tacos!). This and permission to go crazy and make tacos to his heart's content might be a fun surprise for my husband. 

 3. Doctor Syn (book and film) - One of my favorite memories as a kid was my dad sharing a favorite series from his own childhood: Disney's The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. So wouldn't it be fun to bring a new twist on an old favorite with not one but two different versions of the tale? The original book here is paired with a classic film of the same name. 

 4. Pour Over Coffee Maker- My husband loves to try new things and pour over coffee peaked his interest as there was a lot to learn. But he's held off, claiming we don't need it or that it would take up too much space. Maybe letting him indulge would be great! 

 5. Pocket Tool - What man doesn't love feeling like he's got the tool for the job. He'll always be prepared with this. And it takes up minimal room. 

6. Tintin Memory Game- Tintin is a perpetual favorite at our household, especially for my dad. It might be a few years off yet, but he could tackle his new Grandfatherly duties by playing a game of memory with his grandson if he had these. 

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