I'm Back...?

I'm not 100% sure which direction this blog is going to go, but I've found myself missing the creative outlet that I used to have in writing and sharing and connecting with other women (several who have since become real life friends, whether it be via text or phone or play dates). And while I haven't written in QUITE awhile, I've continued to keep up with everyone whom I've always loved following. Call me old school, but in the world of Instagram posts and stories, I find it refreshing to sit down and read about the daily in and outs of other moms who are in the same season of life that I am, rather than racing through catching up in an Instastory. And it was nice to have this space serve as a journal, especially throughout my pregnancy with Charlotte and her first 10 months (last time I blogged, and she's now 2.5 - whoops!). I mean, I stayed more current here than I did in her baby book which THANK GOODNESS because I was able to go back and pull all of my pregnancy + Charlotte info and flow it over into her book.

Regardless, I feel like I'm back, to some extent. I'm going to say I can I almost promise I won't be here daily, but Charlotte is growing so fast and doing and saying the funniest/sweetest/terrible twos things all day, every day, and I want to have a place to download that. If I've learned anything in the past 2 1/2 years of parenting, it's that time is flying by and I want to soak it up in the moment and hold on to the memories as much as possible. 

I've also definitely fallen victim to spending our days trying to capture things on my phone, rather than living in the moment. That's not particularly easy to admit, but I know that I can't be the only one out there! Rather than going all-in to play with Charlotte or watch her dance and be silly or soaking up snuggles, I'm trying to catch a picture of it or post it on my own Instagram. My ideal would be to snap those pictures throughout the day, put my phone away, and recap our day + pictures here in the evenings. Let's see how that goes!

So, if you're here - welcome back! Life has changed a bit since I last blogged, but it's good to be writing again. If you're new, welcome to the crazy :)

Charlotte Frances {10 months}

Charlotte Frances, you are TEN months old!

Weight/Height: No official weight or height update, but your 9 month clothes are starting to get a little snug. You consistently grow out of the length of your clothes first before the tummy is too snug.

Nicknames: Lovey, Lovebug, Tootie/Tootie Fruity

Clothes: Starting to grow out of your 9 month sizes in Carters, but are pretty comfortable in Gap/Old Navy 6-12 sizing. A lot of your Christmas dresses and pajamas were ordered months ago at size 12 months and I was nervous they'd swallow you, but you seem to have had a little growth spurt because they're starting to fit perfectly and we've got a good month to go before the holidays!

Sleep: Always a struggle. You're a great sleeper during the day, still taking two solid naps, but you're up at least twice a night - usually once around 11 p.m., and once around 2-3 a.m. I'm lucky because you go back down quickly after snuggles and rocking for a bit, but you refuse anyone but me, so Mama is tired, my girl!


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, Greek yogurt + jam, applesauce, pancakes, french toast, waffle 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)
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've been in perfect health this month.
Crying: Your teeth have been giving you a run for your money, so any crying that you do pretty much relates to teething (can't blame you there). You've also started to cry if you've been in your car seat for too long, and definitely when you get over tired.

Feeding: You're still loving pretty much anything that we offer to you to try, which makes your picky mama very proud. You've dropped one of your midday nursing sessions so we're pretty much down to nursing when you wake up, having your two bottles during the day, and nursing before bed. If you don't drink much of your afternoon bottle, you'll nurse a little bit when I get home from work, but you've become pretty uninterested - you're very busy!

Your favorites include brown rice and avocado, ravioli, peaches, any kind of cheese, turkey chili and chicken soup that I made. You still do not love peas and beets.

Likes: Playing with your baby dolls (your Cabbage Patch Doll and Bernita are two favorites), you carry Noah from your Little Tikes Noah's Ark EVERYWHERE, and you have taken quite the liking to Daniel Tiger - you have a little stuffed Daniel that you snuggle while you watch the show! You love to be on the move, and squeal and wave at everyone when we're out and about. Remote controls and iPhones are still high on your list of "must touch and put in mouth" items. And you love your Molly!
Dislikes: You do not like the words "No" or "Please don't touch that." We've had a couple of meltdowns when I've had to redirect you or stop you from doing something, and you've got a mean side-eye down already!
Milestones: You're crawling EVERYWHERE, pulling up on everything and starting to furniture walk-you have no fear! You started officially sitting in the front of the grocery cart and you love it! We celebrated your Daddy's birthday, did our first round of crafts with cousin Shirley, and went apple picking for the first time! We celebrated your first Halloween - you and Shirley wore cousin costumes for one fall day event and were matching old ladies, and then on actual Halloween you were the cutest owl that I've ever seen! You started clapping this month, which is the stinking cutest thing that I've ever seen, and you contemplate giving kisses.
Faces and Places: We were out and about for lots of  fall fun! Weir River Farm for a fall festival, Scituate for trick-or-treating, and an apple orchard for apple picking. We went to the New England Aquarium for the first time on Shirley's birthday to celebrate!

Molly: You've definitely shown more of an interest in Molly - you constantly grab for her and want to touch her fur. You get so excited when she comes into your room to see you in the mornings, and you wave at the painting of her that's on the wall in your nursery - cutest thing ever!

Things I Want to Remember: You are growing so fast and are so busy, but when I go in to get you up in the mornings, you just want to snuggle before we do anything else, and I soak it up, baby girl. You have the brightest personality and are always smiling, even when it's your "I'm a little nervous but I'm still going to smile" face - I hope that you always keep that positive light as a part of the person that you grow to be. You only want Mama right now, and I'm so okay with that.

Charlotte Frances, you are just my best girl. I can't get over how fast you're growing and changing - I know that that's how it's supposed to go, and I'm beyond grateful for how healthy you are, but time is flying and it catches me by surprise at the most random moments. I'll look over and you've mastered a new skill or are babbling a new word and I'm caught between my heart exploding with feeling so proud of you... and breaking because you've moved on to a new milestone. You have changed our lives for the better and your Daddy and I truly can't remember what life was like before we had you. I am so excited to celebrate your first Thanksgiving next month and see the month of December through your eyes and just soak it all up. Your first birthday is around the corner and that may put Mama in the bed with all of the emotions, but we can't wait to celebrate you, sweet girl. We love you more than you ever will know, my girl.

To the moon and back, 
Love, Mama

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!