luca love, at one year + five months.

two ways i know i've been hanging out with luca a lot:

one. we were playing catch phrase and i was holding it when the timer stopped, which meant the other team gets a point, and i made a super dramatic pouty face and whined a little, the same way luca does sometimes when he's told no.

two. J started singing a song i've never heard before but was mentioned in a round of catch phrase and i started dancing/swaying to the tune, involuntarily, just like luca does when he hears any kind of music.

and then, one day i was sitting on the couch and thinking about him and all the things he does and says and i feel like when i go for weekend trips, i get to see a day and a half window into his life, to see him and see his new tricks and how he's grown. sometimes (a lot of the time), i feel like it isn't enough, but i'm really grateful for those quick trips because i'm able to experience it all. the month he learned how to give kisses, the month he could wave, the month he was crawling, the month he was walking, the month he ate something other then just cereal, the month he started giving high fives.

he's the best, but i feel like those words don't hold the weight of it. so i wrote it all down. things he does, things that are new, things that are not new, things that make me laugh or make my heart happy, things that are my favorite, things he says. he's constantly changing and growing, and i want to remember it all.

he's very vocal these days. he says "mo" when he sees, hears, or thinks about motorcycles. also when he sees my dad, because he knows my dad will never not bring him out to the garage to visit the "mo" and the lawn mower and weed whacker. whenever he sees J's car in the driveway or you ask who's home or who's car is that, he says "JOSH" and it's the only real, solid word he says like he's sure of it, even though the j sounds a little like a d and he doesn't really get the "sh" part out.

he sometimes tries to repeat what you say. mostly it's just sounds coming out of his mouth, but the look on his face lets you know he's trying. sometimes you know he means it, or he thinks he's saying it, like how "love you" is a soft sound, mimicking your tone. it sounds nothing like the real words, but it melts my heart into a puddle. other times he makes the right sounds and you know he's saying car or truck or blue, but it's not quite the actual word.

non-word related, but he also thinks he can wiggle his nose like a bunny (like T does when she gets to the bunny part of goodnight owl, but he's really just squinting his eyes shut. it's the cutest, and one day when i was giving him cheddar bunnies for a snack, i kept asking him to do it every time i handed him a bunny.

it took a few tries, but he can now climb up and slide down all on his own. usually he climbs up and sits there for a minute, like once he gets into position he is suddenly unsure if sliding down is what he really feels like doing in that moment. or, he'll make eye contact with each person in the room to make sure they are paying attention and cheering him on as he slides down.

the other thing he likes to do with the slide is put his cars down it, so they speed down and crash at the bottom. he likes crashing into things in general, like if he's riding his bike or pushing the lawn mower or watching the car zoom down the toy roller coaster track. he's always been a fan of knocking over any block towers, but crashing is taken to a whole new level. he'll say "boom!" or "whoa!" and laughs like it wasn't intentional.

his favorite toy this christmas was probably the lawn mower. he races back and forth with it, occasionally stopping to put more gas in it. it's the only other thing i've seen him react to the same way he does with the motorcycle. he points and smiles like it's his great prized possession, and every time he sees it across the room, he gets excited and pauses like maybe he'll stop doing what he's currently doing so he can go mow the lawn some more. it's also one of those things you can use to distract him from whining. "hey, where's your lawn mower? why don't you go mow the lawn some more?"

he likes throwing balls, which is great except he hasn't quite gotten to where he understands the difference between the plastic bowling ball that's not great for throwing and the soft football that won't hurt if it hits you in the face. he has a pretty good arm and gets excited when you make a big deal about how you caught his throw. he doesn't quite catch yet, but T and i taught him how to put his hands out. sometimes he does it and puts them up to his chin, which is adorable but not ideal for catching.

he likes to read and has a longer attention span for it. he's always been pretty good about sitting and listening, but i think he's reached a point where he understands that reading a book is a fun activity in itself. he's less likely to get bored half way through now than before (or, at least in my experience), and it's a bonus if it's an interactive book. although, you can really make any book interactive by using different voices or sounds and being overly animated. he loves that and likes joining in.

i've also noticed he's more into bringing you a book and then sitting with you as you read it. which, he's done that for a while, but he does it more frequently now i think. mostly because he brought me the elf dvd box and lee the senior living

 flyer (see above photo) and expected story time to follow.

he does this thing where he'll hug his stuffed animals and pat them on the back. i don't know how or when he learned to do that, but he does it without you prompting him to and it's the sweetest.

he's also pretty fresh sometimes. he's not afraid to hit you or bite you or kick his feet if you're having him do something he doesn't like or want to do. T does a great job reacting to this and his fits never usually last that long, because he knows better.

he whines if he wants something. it usually involves him saying "eh eh eh" and pointing to whatever it is that he wants. other times he's just frustrated and fake crying and T usually tells him to "work it out."

generally, if you're taking something away or taking him away from something, having him wave goodbye to whatever it is does the trick. he likes waving and he does pretty well with saying goodbye, even if it's to small things. the other things he knows to do is to "do nice," which essentially consists of him petting your arm or hand or whatever part of you he can reach. i believe this started back when he used to think it was cool to pull your hair, but T is always quick to point out when his hitting is "not nice" and when his gentleness is.

side note: i got my hair done while i was there, and that afternoon he was all about petting my hair and putting his fingers through it. it was so cute, and i so appreciated that he knows that pulling hair is not a fun activity.

he does things like put his hands over his eyes and pulls them away with his mouth wide open. he knows how to say "boo" and sometimes he says it, but sometimes he doesn't. probably because he knows we will.

he also folds his hands when we pray.

he nods his head "yes" except it's not just your standard up-and-down head motion, it looks more like he's ducking his head and then letting it back up, and it's the cutest. T likes to ask him yes or no questions just so see him nod and i don't blame her.

the biggest thing is probably his love for dancing. he's always been into music. he liked (basically, required it) when you sang him to sleep as a baby, calmed down more when there was music playing and he was fussy, and liked to move when he heard a beat. t-swift's "shake it off" was a big hit for him. but i mean, any time he hears music of any kind, whether it's a song on the radio or a tv show theme song or a jingle from one of his toys, he immediately stops what he's doing and dances. usually it's moving his head back and forth like he's saying "no" or moving his hips side to side, but he's got some pretty good moves if you give him some space.

he discovered his belly button one night while having a shirtless dance party in the living room. T happened to be taking a video the moment he realized it was there, and it's the funniest thing. at first he was shockedexcited, like OMG YOU GUYS WHAT IS THIS. but after we put a name to it, he would keep his finger on it or keep looking down at it or look at us excitedly like, look at this neat thing i have. for the next few days, he'd keep re-finding it and getting excited all over again. it was also one of those mood changers, where all you'd have to do was ask where his belly button was and he'd be distracted, and then excited.

he says "sarah" which at first sounded like "yay-yah" but he has since started saying "yyyyah" which sounds a lot like yeah, but i promise it's the second half of my name.

i'd been working on "auntie" or "aunt" the whole time. usually in the car, but recently i notice when he's focused, or into repeating after me, and i jump at the opportunity. a lot of times it ends with him saying "mo" because motorcycles are far more exciting than his auntie. but this one day, i noticed him repeating "mama" after me, so i tried the "auntie" thing. someone else in the car suggested "sarah," so i tried that. AND HE SAID IT. TWICE.

i'm pretty obsessed with this kid. i mean, obviously. but all the words in the world can't encompass what it feels like when i'm holding him and he hooks his arm around mine, or grabs my hand just to hold it, or lays his head on my shoulder.

my love for him is too great for words and could never be captured in a photo. but i guess i'll never stop trying to describe it.