Charlotte Frances {9 months}

Charlotte Frances, you are NINE months old!

Weight/Height: You had your 9 month well-visit on Monday, October 9, and you're a healthy, growing girl! 16lbs, 7oz, and a little over 2 feet, 4 inches long.

Nicknames: Lovebug, Peanut, Tootie, Lovey, CC

Clothes: You're at the end of fitting into your 3-6 month and 6 month clothes, and we're moving into 6-9/6-12/9 month sizes! You fit into the length more than anything, so I'm picking and choosing where we transition (no baggie pajamas but a little wiggle room during the day is okay). I've ordered all of your fall clothes in 9 months and so far that sizing seems to be working well. 

Mama is VERY excited that fall is here - I've waited years and years to dress a baby for Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas and you are at the most fun age right now and just look so darn cute with your pumpkins and kittens! Your Halloween costume is TBD - I've picked up a pumpkin costume, am debating between an elephant or a sheep for your "official" costume, and really want to DIY something for you - maybe a mama rite of passage?
Sleep: You've given us a run for our money in the sleep department this month. It breaks my heart because I know you're struggling with teething and have been battling this stuffy nose from your cold - on the days that you're feeling good, you sleep relatively well. Still waking up at least once a night (usually around 1:30 a.m.) and around 5 a.m. but you nurse very briefly (definitely just for comfort) and go back to sleep. The 5 a.m. wake-up is new and has thrown us for a little bit of a loop, because you fall back into a deep sleep and we have to wake you up to get ready for the day around 6:30 a.m. I'm looking at different sleep-training solutions but I feel very strongly against "cry it out" - I know a little crying is okay, but I still struggle. 

We're moving you to your crib this month - I've (selfishly) insisted that you stay in our room in the pack n play, but I think that it's time, so we're spending afternoons in your room getting you comfortable with the space, and are starting to push naps to your crib as well. We'll get there! In the meantime, I'm going to be there to offer whatever late night snuggles that you need from me, sweet girl.

Schedule: You're on a pretty good schedule, but this is one of those areas where I wish there was a parenting manual to tell us when to do what. When do you lose a nap and have playtime increase? Do we keep bedtime/your bedtime routine the same as it's always been? We're figuring it out as we go and mainly just doing whatever works best for you.

Up at 6:30 a.m. Diaper change, nurse, and get dressed for the day
6:30-8:30 a.m. Play  
8:30 a.m. Breakfast (oatmeal + fruit puree during the week with the nanny; scrambled egg yolk, YoBaby yogurt, applesauce, pancakes, french toast on the weekends with Mama and Daddy) 
9 -10:30 a.m. - Nap
10:30 a.m. 4 oz bottle 
11:00 a.m. - 12 p.m. Play 
12-12:30 p.m. Lunch (HappyBaby or Plum Organics vegetable pouch + fruit puree for now)
12:30-2:00 p.m. Nap
2:00 p.m. 4 oz bottle 
3:00 p.m. Mama's home! Diaper change, play (go for a walk, play outside, play on your mat/in your room), nurse (usually just briefly, for comfort)
3:30-5 p.m. Busy time! We play or run errands. Depending on your day, you sometimes nap but I make sure you're awake by 5 p.m. or we're in trouble with bedtime.
5:00-6:00 p.m. Play in your highchair/on a blanket in the kitchen while I start dinner. We talk, listen to music, play with spoons/pots and pans/Tupperware, FaceTime Gigi and Papa - I love this time with you!
6:00 p.m. Daddy's home!
6:30 p.m. Dinner (A mix of purees and solids - trying to hit all of our food groups every night)
7 p.m. Tubby time
7:30 p.m. Nurse, books, sing songs, say prayers and bed time

Health: You had a good little cold this month, which was inevitable - Daddy had it, then Mama had it, and then you unfortunately came down with it. You ran fever for two days and while it was very low grade, it was scary for us - you were so worked up and uncomfortable that you wouldn't keep any Tylenol down, so I sat up holding you for two nights. You were miserable and it just broke my heart. Around 2 a.m. one morning you finally let me get a dose of infant Motrin in you and after a good sleep you seemed better by the morning. Aside from that, you've been healthy and happy.
Crying: You're definitely in a phase of crying whenever I'm out of your sight... and I don't hate it. You've also definitely learned how to make your little voice heard if you're unhappy about something - a diaper change, being strapped into your carseat, etc. but you can be easily distracted with your Wubby or a toy and are right as rain again. This has been the first month where we've ever heard you cry in pain (teething and when you were sick) and it was awful. 

Feeding: We're still breastfeeding - one month closer to my goal of one year! It admittedly makes me so sad to think of this little journey ending soon (I'm teary just thinking about it), and while I know it's just a part of growing up and a great milestone that we'll reach together when the time comes and you move on to the next stage, I can't help but overwhelmingly feel that this has been such an amazing connection for just the two of us... and I'm afraid I'm going to lose that and it will be irreplaceable. Gah, tears.

On the bright side, you're making the transition somewhat less painful but showing a robust appetite and love of food, girlfriend! You eat oatmeal and purees with the nanny but we're very much into more solid options for dinner and on the weekends! Some recent favorites include smashed carrots, homemade applesauce (I simmer apples with cinnamon), black beans, mozzarella, cubed avocado, mashed butternut squash, bagel (the soft insides) with a taste of pumpkin cream cheese, scrambled egg yolk, diced homemade chicken noodle soup (you loved the chicken, carrots and "noo-noos" - we used ditalini and they were the perfect size, cut in half), bites of grilled cheese on Shirley's birthday, white rice, yogurt, a taste or two of pizza, nectarine (in your mesh teether), broccoli crowns (you hold the stalk and bite the "leaves")... you're loving it all. We've also tried HappyBaby teething wafers (purple carrot + blueberry), Superfood Puffs (purple carrot + blueberry), and Greek yogis (strawberry banana) - you love them all, and they're so convenient to have on hand for when we're out and on the go and you need something to hold you over until meal time.

You're not a fan of peas or beets, or anything too chunky. So far we've had zero real allergy reactions, although I think your tummy is a bit sensitive to mango and bell pepper.

Likes: Snuggles with Mama, Daniel Tiger's theme song, playing with your tiny Cabbage Patch doll and the bigger babydoll we bought before you were born (even though it's basically the same size as you), your pretend remote control, going for walks, sitting in the "big girl" seat in your stroller, holding a Lovey when you get sleepy, playing with your Noah's Ark toy from Auntie Kay and Uncle Jay
Dislikes: Being overtired, sitting in your carseat for too long if we're not moving, when I don't give you more food fast enough 
Milestones: You are CRAWLING, sweet girl! You made a few hesitant moves before we went to Texas on Thursday, September 14, and you were officially crawling at Gigi and Papa's house by Sunday, September 17. Now you're constantly on the move and we've had to start babyproofing. You also love to pull-up and stand, especially in your Pack n Play. You have a little sense of humor! You laugh at particular things all of the time - Molly gets lots of laughs, and also Peek-a-Boo with Mama. On Monday, September 25, you started waving "Bye Bye" up and down to Gigi and Papa on FaceTime. You sat in a big high chair while out at lunch on Saturday, September 23 - your cousin Shirley's first birthday! On Thursday, October 5, I celebrated a super special day with you - you had been out of my tummy for as long as you were in, 38 weeks, 6 days.
Faces and Places: You had a busy month! We went to Family Day at DeeDee's with lots of family - you, me, and Daddy; Auntie Candice and Shirley; Aunt Janet and Uncle Richard; Poppy and Katka; and DeeDee and Bob! The little old ladies just loved you, with your pumpkin shirt and bow. You and I went on our second solo trip to Texas, and you were a rockstar - you slept through the majority of our direct flight and were all smiles when we landed (I can't blame you - Austin just does that to people!). Gigi and Aunt Linda picked us up and we went straight to Chick-fil-A where you had a tiny taste of your first waffle fry - a girl after her mama's heart. That night, Gigi, Papa and I took you to your first Wildcat football game (mama's alma mater). It may have been the pre-game wine, but Mama felt a little teary having you there where I spent so many Friday nights cheering in the stands and dancing on the field! We had lots of family over that Sunday for Papa's brisket, and finally got to meet your Uncle Joe, Brandon and Jack; Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Bubba; and lots of Gigi's friends! It was hard to say goodbye, but we'll see Gigi and Papa for two whole weeks in December! You were perfect on the evening flight back - you slept the whole way. On Saturday, September 23, we went into Boston with Aunt Candice and Shirley to meet Aunt Janet and Maggie, and we all went to the New England Aquarium to celebrate Shirley's first birthday! You loved watching the fish swim and kept swatting at the glass to catch them. We came home with your first souvenir - a stuffed baby seal. The next weekend was Shirley's First Fiesta and you were loving life with all of the new faces to see in your cute little fiesta dress. 

Molly: Now that you're on the move, you are ALL ABOUT Molly and her stuff - her toys, her bed, her fur and ears. We take your hand and gently stroke Molly while saying "Gentle" to try and get you in the habit early on of being gentle. But she's so sweet she really doesn't mind your semi-aggressive showing of love.

Things I Want to Remember: On Sunday, September 10, Daddy left for a business trip and you, Molly and I held down the fort! Your teeth have been giving you a run for your money, but we still don't have any that have broken through - a mesh teether with frozen nectarine or grapes seems to give your poor baby gums a little relief. One night, I was holding you while you were holding the teether and you looked at me with the biggest smile and offered me the teether. I pretended to taste it, you threw your head back and laughed with your big, gummy grin, and tasted it yourself. We repeated this two more times and it made my heart so full to see your little sense of humor. You do the cutest little pant when you get excited - it sometimes sounds like a hiss, which I love. You're very attached to Mama. When the breeze blows, you gasp and squeal while laughing. 

You are just the light of our world, Charlotte Frances. Your Daddy and I fall a little more in love with you every single day and we can't remember what life was like without you in it. Mama struggles with the fact that you're growing so fast, but God had sentimental mamas in mind when he decided that for each stage that you grow out of, something fun, new and exciting takes its place. Over the weekend, Daddy and I were looking at pictures of you from early in the summer and we couldn't believe how much you'd changed and how much more BUSY and engaged you are now. You're constantly looking around and taking everything in, and I just love seeing that. It's like we get to see everything all over again through your eyes, and that makes it so much more special and exciting. We stop and slow down more often to soak up every moment with you because every single day brings something new! 

We're so grateful for such a happy, healthy baby girl and for the privilege of being your parents. 

To the moon and back, sweet Charlotte.
Love, Mama

These sweet Hanna Andersson lemon jammies have been some of my favorites of yours.

Snuggles on the night of your 8 month birthday.

Kicking off the Pats season in your gear! An example of how different sizing is - the red pants are 3-6m Old Navy, and the Patriots onesie is 0-3m. You wore that on Superbowl Sunday!

Riding the "train" at the PG Family Day!

You and Poppy

Nothing like a balloon flower to wrap up a fun fall day with cousins!

You and your DeeDee - 91 years between the two of you and she is just as smitten as can be.

Best Buds.

Sunny day smiles!

Standing up! That would be the day we dropped your Pack n Play down.

So stinking proud of yourself.

Signature "We're Here!" Texas selfie: We Love Austin!

Stopped at Chick-fil-A but you ate your toes.

Getting ready for the Wildcat game with Gigi, complete with your "Go Cats!" onesie.

My best girls.

Papa and his girl at the game!

I just cannot over these T-High bloomers!

Breakfast at Gigi and Papa's.

Let's Go Cowboys!

Taking in the penguins at the New England Aquarium

Charlotte and Shirl

Enjoying a tasty teether before lunch - your first time in a big girl high chair!

A little Sunday morning Terry Bradshaw focus.

My whole world.

Hanging with Mama in the Ergo while I grocery shop.

You with Aunt Bridgie, and Addy with Aunt Janet (Gramma)

Busy cousins at Shirley's First Fiesta!

38 weeks, 6 days in... 38 weeks, 6 days out!

Stopping by to see Mama's coworkers before an office dinner - they love you!

Charlotte Frances {8 Months}

Charlotte Frances, you are EIGHT months old!! 
(Again, written a month ago and never uploaded pics. 
So I'm sharing today just four day shy of C's nine month birthday. Oh well - mama's busy!)


Weight/Height: Daddy got on the scale and held you a week or so ago and you clocked in at 16.2 pounds but you're definitely getting longer. Still our petite little girl - if you grow up to be tall and thin, I will have NO IDEA where you got those genes from, sweet girl.

Nicknames: Little Love, Sweetness, C, Lovebug, Tootie/Tootie Butt, Sugar

Clothes: You're just about growing out of most of your 3-6 mos and 6 mos clothes - when you stretch in your 6 month sleepers, the toes are pretty darn snug. I went on a buying spree and stocked you up in 9 month play clothes and sleepers for the cooler weather, but you're so small I'm hesitant to start shopping for Christmas clothes! I ordered one 12 month outfit in the batch and right now, it looks like it will just swallow you up.

A few of the clothes that have been my favorite in this stage are your Carter's kitten sleeper, your Hanna Andersson blue lemon pajamas, your Cat & Jack aqua overalls with the coral and white striped shirt, your Cecil and Lou pink and white monogrammed bubble, your Janie & Jack two piece strawberry outfit, your pink Ralph Lauren bubble with the ruffle on the bum, and your Baby Gap bow-back leggings (blue and white stripes, and the sweet pink that you wore with your strawberry top).

Sleep: My dear, you have become quite the iffy sleeper. You're still in the pack n play in our bedroom which we think is a part of the problem, so we're going to work on transitioning you to your crib in your sweet nursery soon (I feel like I've written that before...). You love your routine and are ready for bed by 7:30 p.m. every night, and you go down easily for a good three hours... and then you wake up. If I catch you right when you stir, I can give you your Wubby and you'll go right back out. But if you have time to really wake-up, you're totally up and ready to play and have the hardest time settling back down. It's exhausting and as much as I love every minute with you, I know that you (and Daddy and I) really need a good night's sleep.

I keep telling myself that this is just a phase, and that there will come a day when you don't wake up and need me in the middle of the night (and that breaks my heart) so I'm soaking up every night that I can for these Charlotte-and-Mama snuggles.

You do take good morning and afternoon naps, but tend to want an extra nap in the evenings around 4 p.m., and I can't help but wonder if that's what's hurting us when it comes to a good night's sleep. We'll get there, my girl.

Schedule: During the week, your schedule has remained pretty much the same for the last couple of months.

Up at 6:30 a.m. Diaper change, nurse, and get dressed for the day
6:30-8:30 a.m. Play  
8:30 a.m. Breakfast (oatmeal during the week with the nanny; scrambled egg yolk, YoBaby yogurt, applesauce 
9 -10:30 a.m. - Nap
10:30 a.m. 4 oz bottle 
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Play 
1:00-2:00 p.m. Nap
2:00 p.m. 4 oz bottle 
3:00 p.m. Mama's home! Nurse, diaper change, play
3:30-4:30 p.m. Nap
4:30 p.m. Nurse
5:00-6:00 p.m. Play in your highchair while I start dinner
6:00 p.m. Daddy's home!
6:30 p.m. Dinner (purees - butternut squash, peas, carrots; avocado, pasta, roasted apples with cinnamon)
7 p.m. Tubby time
7:30 p.m. Nurse, books, sing songs, say prayers and bed time

Health: You've been in perfect health, and we're so thankful! We used Tylenol for the first time this month to help with teething pain - it breaks my heart to see you hurting.
Crying: You've started to whine and scream if you're frustrated, but it's very quick and usually followed by a big grin - you're such a mess! You only really cry if you're struggling with teething pain, or if you wake up at night.

Feeding: We're still breastfeeding several times a day (and on demand on the weekends), but as we've introduced more solids, you're slowly cutting back on the amount of times that you nurse and the length of each session. You tend to nurse for the longest first thing in the morning, and when we snuggle once I'm home for the day during the week - I like to think it's our sweet moment to reconnect after being apart all day. I've started to think about how weaning will change things and it honestly breaks my heart - mama's not ready, and I'm still aiming to make it to your first birthday before we totally stop nursing.

As all things have gone so far on this parenting journey, when I feel sad about one thing ending, something awesome takes its place - this month, it's your love of food! You are seriously loving solids and have so much fun playing and experimenting with everything. Right now, you get two meals a day and when you hit 9 months we're going to up it to 3 meals a day. We're doing a very loose mix of baby led weaning and purees - we basically give you purees to start and gradually work up to super soft, smashed versions next. Your favorites include butternut squash, avocado, apples, pasta, sweet potato, blueberries, egg, oatmeal with peanut butter, and yogurt; your least favorites are peas and sweet potato. 

We've also tried a YoBaby mango flavored yogurt a few times (spaced several days apart) and each time you have a little bit of an upset tummy, but aside from that we haven't had any issues with reactions to any foods we've introduced, thank goodness!

Likes: You LOVE jumping in your jumper, FaceTiming with Gigi and Papa, tubby time/splashing and kicking in the water, and playing on your new playmat. You snuggle your Bun Bun (tiny Peekawho bunny) and always hold a Lovey up to your face when you sleep. You still love your Wubby and we don't go anywhere without one plus a backup. 
Dislikes: You don't like sitting in your highchair for too long and really don't like if someone isn't paying you attention. You really don't like when I walk away from you and will let us know. 
Milestones: So many big things happened this month, sweet girl! You sat up unassisted for the first time on Wednesday, August 16. I happened to be home with you and it absolutely was one of the best feelings I've ever had - you looked so, so proud of yourself! The next day, on August 17, you went from laying on your tummy to sitting up fully on your own for the first time. On Saturday, August 19, you started really kicking your feet with a purpose and noticed that you can kick things away from/off of you. You scoot on your tummy and army crawl everywhere, so I have a feeling that actual crawling isn't too far away! You also reach for me and have started experiencing some stranger anxiety, but we're working on that because I want you to feel comfortable with our friends and families. But I would be lying if I said I hate that you're a stage 5 clinger with me - I love that you want to be with me. 
Faces and Places: You spent lots of time with your cousins this month - Colin, Meredith and Evelyn were visiting from Maryland, you saw lots of baby Addy, and Shirley (plus Aunt Candice and Uncle Ricky) moved back to Massachusetts from Illinois! We hit the ground running with beach days and swinging at the park, which you loved - you enjoy being outside in the sunshine and love feeling the wind blow. We went to a festival in Plymouth and you, Daddy and I also went to your first golf tournament - your Daddy was in heaven!

Molly: Molly girl is definitely taking more notice of you, especially with your new shrieks and squeals. Now that you're getting closer to being more mobile, there've been a few times where you grab her fur and smile, but we're working on teaching you "Gentle" and nicely petting her. I swear there's a connection there already because anyone else she would react to and get annoyed with, but you can kick, swat, squeal and grab away and she just hangs out and ignores it. Y'all are buddies and it makes my heart happy to see you start to snuggle.

Things I Want to Remember: The proud look on your face when you sat up for the first time. The panting sound you make when you're hungry and see that we're about to feed you. How excited you are to see me when I get home from work in the afternoons. The way your face lights up when you hear the sound of FaceTime calling Gigi and Papa. 

The first of many matching cousin pajama photos!

Your first beach day... which you happily snuggled and snoozed through.

Wednesday, August 16 - You sat up totally unassisted for the very first time! The next day, Thursday, August 17, you went from laying on your tummy to sitting up for the first time.

You and Daddy at lunch during our staycation - lunch at Plaza Azteca!

Swinging like a big girl for the first time.

Your cousin Meredith LOVES YOU big time, sweet girl. She liked to tell me "When baby Charlotte is here, she's my baby, but when she's at your house, she can be your baby."

Playing in our backyard on a cooler day - you love touching the grass and feeling the breeze!

You, Mama and Daddy in Plymouth after the Waterfront Festival!

My blue-eyed girl, you're just the sweetest!

When the nanny is sick and Mama has a deadline, into the Solly at my desk you go! 

Your first golf tournament! We spent the day with Daddy at the Dell Technologies Championship on Saturday, September 2 - your Daddy was in heaven!

I've been waiting so many years to share a picture like this! Your Uncle Ricky (holding cousin Shirley), you and Daddy, and your Uncle Jeff (holding cousin Addy) - same boys, same order... with their three daughters! Love it.

My sweet smiley girl.

You still love to snuggle with me and deep in my mama heart I know that these days are somewhat numbered, so I sit and soak them up for as long as I can.