DIY: no-sew nursing tank top

Firstly…how cute is our new blog…I love it because it connects to Archer’s LOVE of animals so well (and the little fish swim while you scroll – adorable!). I’m thinking of renaming the blog, but can’t think of anything brilliant, so if you have ideas, let me know.

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I’ve been meaning to do this blog post for months, like we’re talking double digit months. I posted a nursing tank-top tutorial before, which explains why you would even want one of these (if you don’t already know), but it required sewing, and who has time for that!? Not I, said the tired Mama. So without further ado, I bring you the no-sew, diy nursing tank top…

1.Start with a spaghetti strap tank top – I’m not sure if it would work with the tank tops that have built-in bras, but since the point of this is to attach to your nursing bra anyway, it’s best to use one without one – I like the ones from Cotton On.

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2. Make a loop at the front end of the tank top strap. Now, I started by using this loop around the bra clip, but as you’ll see, the next step makes it a whole lot better.

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3. Pull the part of the shirt that meets with the strap through the little loop, which will create another loop.

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4. Now this is the loop which goes around your bra clip. The difference between which loop you use can be seen below. You can cut the rest of the strap off of the tank top if you want, I do on some, and not on others.

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Left: the first loop, Right: second loop

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And there you have it! The easiest, and cheapest nursing tank top that you can get! Happy Breastfeeding!

The Hunger Games: 1-year-old style {and unrelated pictures}

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Archer refuses to eat.

Lunchtime today is the perfect example of the food battle we’ve been fighting over here…

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…Archer’s whining because he’s hungry, so I head for the kitchen to try and come up with a healthy meal; this in itself is difficult, because I’ve never been one to have actual breakfasts or lunches, so coming up with real meals is challenging.

Attempt #1: a tortilla with honey on it, rolled up. He licks it, then puts it down, and proceeds to avoid even looking in its direction while continuing to whine. I try to offer it to him, but he does the concrete-mouth, hit away thing.

Attempt #2: crackers. while I’m cooking attempt #3, I give him some crackers, which he has a lot of fun breaking into tiny pieces, but I’m pretty sure none of those pieces are ingested.

Attempt #3: zuchini… I actually planned to serve this with the tortilla (sounds gross now), but they were cooking while the tortilla battle raged. I hand him a little spike of delicious looking zuchini, and he takes a bite!!! I’m rejoicing, but that’s the only bite he ever takes.

Attempt #4: I’m having tuna, so I offer Archer a bite, he opens his mouth a tiny tiny bit, and I shove a microscopic piece in his mouth…he spits it out straight away…and now I’ve angered the beast. He begins to pick up all of the rejected food scattered over his tray, and throws them on the floor, laughing all the way (Ho, Ho, Ho).

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So to recap – I think he actually swallowed one, tiny bite of zuchini.

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You may be wondering, does he eat at all? why yes, yes he does; grapes. He will eat grapes all day long, I’ve never seen him reject a grape, and funnily enough (my tired mom brain only just put this one together) he will eat raisins/sultanas too. So grapes…whatever their form are the only food my child will eat.

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No wonder he asks for boob every few hours day and night.

gah!

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The Birthday

We’ve had the party, and the update, now for the actual day…one we really won’t forget…

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I was up feeding Archer at 1:15am, and feeling emotional because it was his birthday, and then ‘click’ - off went the power! The room immediately began to heat up without the fan going, and I kind of panicked, but after waking J up, the power came back on, only to go off again 10 minutes later and stay off for 10 hours!

All of Darwin, and all the way down to Katherine had lost power. Archer couldn’t sleep because it was too hot, and too quiet, so we were up for awhile trying to get him back to sleep.

We had planned on having a nice breakfast and presents together before taking J to work, but without power, we resorted to granola bars by torch-light.

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After a harrowing Daddy-drop-off, without any sort of traffic lights, we came home and went for a walk to feed the ducks. We had planned on going to the wildlife park with Alex, the birthday twin, but it was closed due to the power outage (and it was too dangerous to drive to their house or vice-versa – so disappointed!), so we had to settle for ducks.

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When we got home, it was time for a nap, and Archer was tired, but it was too hot and he wouldn’t sleep, so we went outside to try and keep cool with some water play.

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I thought that surely Archer was sleepy enough for a nap after a walk and swim, so we went inside, but he wasn’t having it. We had a lovely neighbor check in on us, and then we played inside for a little while, then he finally went down for a sleep around 10:30, and the electricity came back at 11:00; so while Archer kept sleeping, I watched mkr, and ate the bacon that had begun to defrost in our freezer.

After waking up, we played inside for a little while, and then we had to go pick up our surprise visitor, Meema! She decided to pop up for Archer’s birthday, and was here for about 20 hours! We picked her up from the airport, and brought her home, where Archer showed her all of his toys, and Darla, before J got home and we opened presents!

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After playing with them for a little bit, we headed out for dinner (fortunately the power came back with enough time for restaurants to serve dinner!)

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Meema & Archer on the beach

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Daddy & Archer

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and with an episode of The Block, the birthday came to a close…

…but not the Meema visit!

In the morning, Meema and Archer had some cuddle time while I drove J to work, then I came home, made the rest of the defrosted bacon, and then we headed out to show Meema Archer’s ducks.

We got way more than ducks! There were about 20-25 cockatoos, and three different types of ducks (as well as all of the neighborhood dogs) – it was like Archer’s paradise!

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We came home, and both managed to get showers while Archer had a nap. Then we played around the house, and Meema read Archer some of his french books (that his father refuses to read him), before heading out to lunch, and then off to the airport.

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Thanks for coming to visit, Meema!

12 months

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I’ve said it before, but I’ll {quickly} say it again – I can’t believe Archer is one! I don’t seem to be able to fully grasp or describe how I feel about this, but I know that all of the feelings, even the sad ones, are coming from a place of bliss.

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I think I’ll continue to do updates, but probably only quarterly from now on, and we’ll be changing up the format a little bit.

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i got Archer to sit for the whole shoot by giving him sultana/raisins!

Most precious Archer,

One year ago, to the minute of this being published, I pulled you onto my chest, and my whole life changed. That was the best moment of my entire life, and it kicked off the best {and fastest} year too.

You have become a little boy right before my very eyes. You are mischievous, curious, and hilarious. The times when you seem to slip back to being a baby are growing fewer and fewer. As you shed each younger skill/habit, and replace it with something more grown up, I both celebrate your brilliance, and long for it to just please slow down! I am trying to soak up every single second, of every single stage, but it’s impossible; if mothers had time machines, they wouldn’t use them (at least not primarily) to visit great moments of history, or peek at the future, they (or at least I) would use them to travel back and spend more time snuggling their hour-old babies, sniff their baby scents, watch the firsts over and over, and just spend a bit more time living in the most precious moments of life.

This month, you’ve just continued to shed your baby-ness and shock me with your new toddler ways.

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~Eat~

first up, I am so freaking proud of myself, and of you for making it to a year of breastfeeding! This was my big goal, and we made it! I still hope to go for as long as you want to, but it is getting to be a pretty big pain; you try to be a ballerina/gymnast while eating (ouch!), and you pop on and off and on and off (annoying!). You can now ask for it (by climbing onto my lap and pulling my shirt down), but you haven’t been asking as much during the day – you certainly make up for that at night though (ugh!).

Solids…hmmm…you’re not exactly picky, but you aren’t a great eater. Mostly you just push your food around on your plate and then take great joy in throwing it on the floor. Fruit is really the only thing that you will actually just eat – you didn’t even really want any of your birthday cake. You will eat if I sit there feeding you though, or if you’ve stolen someone else’s food; your friend, Ollie, had banana muffins one day, that you stole and devoured, so I made you some, and you barely took one bite. You do eat better if you are just walking around, as opposed to sitting in your seat.

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~Sleep~

WHY!? why won’t you sleep!!?? you slept through the night (10pm-6am) twice this month, and it was just enough to make me feel alive, and get excited for more sleep, and then suddenly you’re back to every 2 hours! WHY!? if you never slept through the night, it would be easier to take, but occasionally sleeping through the night just drives me insane wondering why you won’t do that every night. We would all be so much happier if you just slept, you included!

Naps are much better though. I’ll probably jinx it now, but most of this month, I’ve just been putting you in your bed and you go to sleep yourself; thank goodness, because you’re way too big to fight to sleep anymore. Most of the time you’re have two 1 1/2 – 2 hour naps!

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~Speak~

You seem to have very little interest in speaking english. You babble all day long, but none of it is actual words. You might say dog, duck, and dad, but it’s not totally consistent, it’s just based on the fact that you seem to make the same ‘duhg’, ‘duhk’, ‘duhd’ kind of sound when you see these things, but I guess you could throw Darla in there too because she also starts with D.

At least we know that you {kind of} understand; when we tell you to kiss your baby, you find your doll and then kind of lick/bite/eat its face (you refuse to kiss us though – most painful rejection of my life). You also point when we ask where Darla is, and you put the phone to your ear (or face) and babble when we make it ‘ring’.

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~Favorite Activities~

Walks – We have ‘lakes’ by our house, with a path running alongside, so we go walk along and look at the ducks and dogs in people’s yards some mornings – you LOVE our safari walks.

Showers – we have to shut the doors to the bathrooms now, because otherwise you would spend all day crawling in and out of the {dry} shower, and playing inside. We’ve replaced your after-dinner bath with a shower because you like it better, and it’s easier for us.

Swimming – we’re starting to get a pretty good backyard set-up and you really love playing in the pools and with your water table that we got you for your birthday.

Friends – you get SO excited when your friends are around, which can sometimes make you a little bit rough, but we know that it’s just because you’re SO happy to see them!

Chase – oh boy, playing chase with you is SO funny and cute. You start to ‘run’ away and we come after you, but then you get so overwhelmed by the excitement of it, that you stop, turn around, and come charging back at us, all while shrieking with joy – insanely adorable.

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~Favorite Things~

Babies – real ones, stuffed ones, books about ones, mirror image of yourself, etc.

Animals – always. you will quietly watch a bird in the yard for as long as it will stay there, actually, that can pretty much be said for any animal that you see.

Trucks – you have a lot of cars/trucks now since your birthday. You push them around the house, making appropriate noises with your mouth – so cute

Books – maybe I’m just pushing books on you, but you seem to like them. Books about animals are obviously your favorite, and we have a lot of them (and even more are on their way!).

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~Signature Moves~

When you bump your head (and it isn’t bad enough that you’re screaming), you grab onto the spot and look at me with anger and confusion.

You lean up against the couch, and then throw your body backwards against it with your arms stretched out.

You climb onto the back and arms of the couch and chair in your room, and then look at me like it’s hilarious.

You clap now! Super cute

You also play peek-a-boo, whenever you ask ‘where’s Archer?’.

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I could go on, and on, and on (and I kind of have). To fully capture your essence, Archer Beck, I would have to film you all day every day, and while I do try my hardest, it just isn’t possible, I just hope that my memories, and what I have managed to capture, will be enough to remember all the stupendous little things that make you shine.

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You will not understand how I feel about you until you have your own child, so I won’t even try to put it into words – it is impossible (and you will be up from your nap in a minute), and so I will simply say that you make my soul sing, my heart dance, and that you are truly, superbly, unconditionally loved.

Happy Birthday, my boy.

Love, Mummy

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the day before a year ago

Exactly one year ago, I was desperately trying to get my contractions to stick around because I had called J to come home from field.

As this day ticks by, and I catch glimpses of the clock, I will travel back in time, and reflect on where I was a year ago.

It was the end of a chapter; of just the two of us, of that big, amazing belly, and of the speculations associated with the unknown creature that I could feel but not see; and the start of an even better one; where we became a family, and learnt that our son had no hair and a BIG personality.

It all started on this day, a year ago.

Tomorrow may be Archer’s birthday, but today is labor day, and it’s for me to travel back and try to live in that life-altering moment; my favorite day; the day I became a mum.

The one one-year-old to rule them all. {party photo dump}

On Saturday, we had Archer’s first birthday party! I’ll give you some stats, and then shower you with photos, mostly taken by Alex (Archer’s birthday twin)’s dad, Tom (thanks Tom!). If you don’t know Lord of the Rings, just skip to the pictures, haha.

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Theme: Lord of the Rings

Guests: about 36, including about 15 children

Food: Breakfast casseroles, which were great because I made them the night before, and then just had to put them in the oven in the morning. I didn’t want to miss his party by cooking the whole time. The savory one was yum, the sweet one was gross not for me. There was also a cake, made by me.

Favors: we made swords out of bubble tubes (but forgot to get pics of them, here’s what they were like)

Decorations: J hand-made ahhhhmazing decorations for the house, which we used to turn our house into a sort of map of middle earth; the living room was the shire, dining room was Moria, Kitchen = Rohan, family room = Mordor, the hallway to the bathroom was Shelob’s lair, and Archer’s room/hallway was Gondor. It was all free-hand copied from images from the movies – totally in awe of his artistic skills

IMG_0132^^^Gondor banner (and helmet)^^^

IMG_0122^^^Rohan banner^^^

IMG_0121^^^Mordor^^^

IMG_2266^^^The Shire^^^

IMG_2265^^^The Mouth of Sauron mask (our favorite character in the trilogy)^^^

IMG_2264^^^Rohan helmet (a bit smooshed because J crumpled them up and threw them away before I could get pictures of them)^^^

IMG_2263^^^Gondor helmet^^^

IMG_0300^^^next to the front door^^^

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IMG_0297^^^”Shelob”^^^

Now here are the photos…

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IMG_0037^^^Archer was a hobbit…^^^

IMG_0217^^^…complete with hairy feet^^^

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IMG_0040^^^Mummy was an elf, and Daddy was a {terrifying} Nazghoul^^^

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IMG_0156^^^just a little idea of how packed our house was!^^^

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IMG_0182^^^everyone got Archer such awesome presents! He’s a very lucky boy!^^^

IMG_0193^^^he got lots of trucks, and animal books/toys – people know him well!^^^

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IMG_0222^^^forgot to get any of the party on the video camera we charged all the previous night – pretty upset that we missed his first “happy birthday”^^^

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IMG_0229^^^he wasn’t quite sure about the cake, Daddy had to help him get started^^^

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IMG_0272^^^birthday twin, Alex helping him out^^^

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Now for the actual birthday…eek!

thoughts on the impending first-birthday.

it’s here; the last week of the first year. The milk carton has a used by date of March 13th, and my fridge is stocked with party food; we’re there; we’re at the end of year one.

This has been both the shortest and longest year of my life. I cannot believe that it was only a year ago that he was still a big bump on the front of me, because now he’s walking, climbing, talking and exploring. SO much happens in the first year, it’s just unbelievable.

When I say that I feel sick/sad about him turning one, I don’t mean because I don’t want him to. Sure I’d love to visit the squishy newborn days, or go back to when he would stay in one spot, but I love watching him grow, and I feel so grateful that he is turning one, and it just gets more fun every day!

The sick/sad feeling comes from a disbelief at how frickin’ fast it has gone! I blinked and a year passed. My sad feelings stem from thoughts such as ‘did I soak up each stage enough?’, and ‘if that year went SO fast, he will be gone before I know it!’. I didn’t soak it up enough, and I think I tried pretty hard. It’s never enough.

In this last week of the first year, I will continue to try (and fail) at soaking up enough Archer moments, and I will spend a lot of time remembering all of the amazing times we have had this year, and looking forward to all of the ones to come. I am so excited to celebrate the best year of our lives, and hopefully that my fears don’t dampen that excitement too much.

part two of two: activities with Archer

I have this board on Pinterest (basically a list if you aren’t familiar with Pinterest) of awesome activities that I want to do with Archer. The problem is that he just puts everything in his mouth, and most of the activities are just too old for him. So I’m patiently waiting, but today, because I knew I’d have to get some uni done, I wanted to do something special, so I tried a couple of the activities.

First up was what I will dub colored fizz – we filled a container with baking soda and then dropped colored vinegar into it and watched it fizz. Archer loved watching the fizz, but sure enough, he wanted to eat it (and managed to have a taste a few times – yuck!) His favorite part was when I put baking soda in his hand and then let the fizz happen right on his hand – so cute! Wish I would have gotten some photos of his big, awe-filled eyes, but I was too busy stopping him from eating it.

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The second activity we tried was mess- free painting. Plastic bag filled with paint, taped to the table over the top of a white sheet of paper – simple, fun, and he couldn’t eat it! I thought we had a winner – but he wasn’t that interested until I brought his car over so he could make tire prints.

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Both of these things were slightly too old for him, but they will be so much fun when he’s a bit older. I have such a hard time coming up with activities for him! It all just goes in his mouth or bores him – I can’t wait until he’s older and enjoys doing these things.

part one of two

I actually have 2 separate but related topics for today, so I’m going to write 2 separate posts…

Today is officially the first day of my semester – eek! I’ve been getting organised, and I’ve even started doing some of the readings, but now the clock (to assignment due dates) is officially ticking and the pressure is on.

Which brings me to the point of this post…how to parent and study this semester…

This semester, I’m attempting to be more mobile; I’ve downloaded all of my readings and put them onto my iPad, and I have all of my notes in easy to move binders. The goal of this is to enable me to follow my little tornado around the house and still be with him while I’m working. In my head this looks like me reading and taking notes while Archer reads books, does puzzles, and generally entertains himself, and I occasionally look up, tell him I love him, and he blows me a kiss before continuing to play happily – is that too much to ask? I figure that if he can let me get some good solid work done, there will actually be more time for us to play together…

Archer doesn’t seem to share this vision.

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I don’t know how, but Archer seems to know when I’m doing uni. I will sit down to play with him, and he will run away, completely ignore me, and play on his own for ages, but the second that I sit down with my uni stuff, he’s hanging off of me, yelling, crying, trying to grab my pen or iPad, or hitting me in the head with toys. There is some sort of chemical reaction that takes place in my child when I attempt to do some work. (my ‘women’s studies’ teacher would probably argue that as a male, he is trying to maintain my oppressed and marginalised position within society by discouraging my education).

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It’s so tough because obviously I would rather be playing with him, than reading feminist propaganda!

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his first drawing! so cute!

This brings me to my second post (which will be up in a few minutes) – I feel like since there are times when my attention can’t be on him, the times that we do get to play together should be extra special…hence today’s activity explosion!

11 months

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Precious Archer,

You have transformed from a baby into a toddler this month, and it was amazing to watch!

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The biggest change this month is that you now walk! You took your first steps around Christmas, and you slowly gained confidence and took more and more steps, but I can say that you became a walker on February 1st; we were in your room playing, and the RSPCA ad came on the tv in the living room, and as soon as you heard it start, you just walked right on out of your room and up to the tv – incredible! You proceeded to do that 3 more times (when the ad played) that morning, and ever since, you walk instead of crawl! Not long after you learnt to walk, you learnt to get onto your feet without pulling up on something, so you are well and truly toddling.

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You’ve also taken a leap forward mentally, and you can now manoeuvre blocks, balls, puzzle pieces etc into their designated holes/places. You get so excited that you can actually do it, and you look at us every time for appropriate praise, haha. Your little face beams when you master a new thing, and I’m pretty sure mine does too.

You point all.day.long. Seriously, it never stops. You walk around the house pointing from one thing to another and saying things like “doof” and “dill”. There are no real words, just sounds that sound like words. The only sound that you make within the correct context is a car – weird but insanely adorable.

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This month you have also {sort of} worked out waving (you wave after the person has left your sight), how to lick your lips (I die from cute overload every time), and how to play peek-a-boo (you’re killing me, kid!).

Not so fun things this month are teething (7th tooth = tired Mummy), and your new found temper – you now throw fits. When we stop you doing something, or take you away from somewhere you want to be, you stiffen your whole body, throw your head back, and scream – fun! I currently have a {very sore} fat lip from you tantrum-ing into my face, thanks for that.

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You continue to love the vaccum cleaner (now that you walk, you try to help me vacuum, which is so sweet, but takes forever), Darla, birds, dogs, really wildlife of any kind, the book Dear Zoo, the bottle of vanilla essence (you grab it from the pantry every morning and then carry it around the house all day), being outside, and mumma-milk (you can now pull my shirt down and get it yourself – funny or embarrassing depending on the situation).

You definitely dislike the lawn mower, getting dressed, going to sleep, lettuce, and being ignored.

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It’s your last month as a 0-year-old, and while I’m obviously so grateful and thrilled by that, it also makes me feel so sad (that’s the wrong word, but I can’t think of a more appropriate one). This year has just been so indescribably amazing, and I don’t want it to end! but, of course, year 2 will probably be just as great! So let’s end year 1 with the best month ever (the previous 11 will be hard to top!).

You bring me joy every single day, baby boy. I am so lucky to get to be your Mummy. I love you more than you will be able to understand until you have your own child one day (when you’re 30).

Love, Mummy

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