Thursday, October 30, 2014

nine months old!

I find it very annoying that Charlotte's well visits are always AFTER she turns a new month. It's for insurance purposes, which I understand, but I don't like writing her monthly updates without official stats. So just stay tuned for her weight/height measurements in a week or two :) [edit: Charlotte weighs 18 pounds, 4.5 ounces and is 29.5 inches tall. She is in the 95th percentile for height and 50th percentile for height. Way to grow, Charlotte!]

Charlotte has had two colds in the last month. They don't seem to bother her too much, but she really doesn't like getting her runny nose wiped. Can't say I blame her...

On Wednesday of this week, I noticed her top left tooth is peeking through. It's barely visible, but I can spot it if the angle is just right.

"Charlotte is on the precipice of crawling" (says Joel). She is incredibly close, but also incredibly frustrated that she can't do it fully! She often plays in her crib for 20-30 minutes before falling asleep. We can hear her talking to herself (or maybe her owl...?) while she sits up, then flops onto her tummy, then rolls, then gets up on her hands and knees. Sometimes she cries a little bit before trying it all again. Today I found her (NOT napping!) kneeling in her crib, scratching her little finger nails on the wall and grabbing at the paper banner that's hanging there. Tonight we lowered her crib :)

Charlotte can stand on her own for long periods of time, and even knows how to pivot on her feet while holding on to something stable (like our coffee table). Her legs are strong!

The BEST thing Charlotte learned this month is giving kisses! She started doing it with Joel (wide, open mouth, leaning toward his nose!) but now she gives kisses to me, if I ask her for a kiss and she's in the mood. SO precious and hilarious!

We had about 10 days of very bad night-sleep with multiple wake-ups. Lately, though, we're back on track with Charlotte sleeping from 7pm to about 6:30am. She would probably sleep longer some days, but we usually wake her up so she can play with Joel a little before he goes to work.

Charlotte is eating solids at lunch and dinner, with an occasional breakfast thrown in (if she wakes up early!). She nurses about 6 times a day (sometimes 7) and her schedule is very similar to what it was last month.

Her morning nap is very consistent, and the afternoon nap was solid for a good long time, but it's been tricky a few times lately. Sometimes she plays so long in her crib that she isn't sleepy any more. A few times I've had to meet a student in the afternoon and Charlotte is so wiped that she takes a quick snooze in her car seat. Fortunately, as long as she gets at least a cat nap each afternoon, she still goes to bed relatively easily.

In preparation for the time change this Sunday, we've been pushing her bed time back 15-ish minutes for the last couple of days; we hope that on Saturday night she'll go to bed around 7:30pm and sleep 12 hours, which would hopefully have her waking up at 6:30 (due to the time change). Keep your fingers crossed for us ;)

Awesome stuff!
As always, Charlotte adores being outside. She will sit and pick up leaves for a while, then watch the cars go by, then scoot onto her tummy to reach an intriguing blade of grass.

Charlotte is also quite good at eating & drinking. She can hold her little glass really well & gets this look of satisfaction when she gets a big drink of water. She smacks her lips and grins at us :)

It's been fun to have guests visit our baby girl recently. We've had company every weekend so far this month and Charlotte really loves the social time :)

Charlotte has begun to show specific preferences and she voices her opinion loudly, especially if she disagrees with something. A couple times recently we've taken away something she shouldn't have and she immediately breaks into this mad/sad/surprised cry. Fortunately, it doesn't last long and we can redirect her. Unfortunately, it makes me laugh. Ha.

Charlotte loves: leaves, balloons, cell phones, straps and buckles, watches, keys, and books (but only her favorites, which are "Charlie & Lola," "On the Go," "Faces," and "Where's Spot"- a lift-the-flap book).

Some of her favorite activities are: playing with her dad, swinging on baby swings, looking at herself in the mirror, standing up, eating solid food, rolling around, nursing, going for walks, "playing" with other babies in the nursery, listening to me singing in the car, taking all the toys ( out of the wire toy basket in her room and inspecting each very carefully, and putting all sorts of things in her mouth.

There are many tiring days, being this girl's momma. Sometimes I wonder if I was crazy to stop teaching and spend all my waking hours taking care of Charlotte. But I am truly honored and humbled to have this job.

We've seen a little bit more sass from Charlotte lately; we're often torn between wanting to correct her quickly and just turn our heads to hide our laughter. Joel and I are both trying to be consistent in our correction and discipline. We're also praying for wisdom and patience.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

some photos

It's been great fun capturing Charlotte (my favorite subject) on my new camera lately. Her brilliant blue eyes and the way she looks when trying to crawl. Gorgeous!

Charlotte's love for her dad just breaks my heart. They are unbelievably precious together and Joel is crazy about her. What an honor to have these two amazing people that I can call my own. 

Here are two great photos of her looking intently at her "da da da" <3 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday favs

In the course of Charlotte's two hour afternoon nap, I've made two separate batches of cookies for our church's 40th anniversary celebration on Sunday. I've also checked Facebook multiple times, read a bunch of blog posts, and sampled more than my fair share of aforementioned cookies. Ahem.

I figured I should pass along some of the awesome reads I've found lately. So, without further ado:

1. This blogger's baby is just a bit older than Charlotte and she's doing a great job documenting their journey with baby led weaning.

2. What a beautiful, breath-taking account on bravery, parenthood, and faith. Wow! This site often knocks it out of the park, but this post in particular... wonderful.

3. One of the cookie recipes I used. Delicious!

4. Tucking away these tips for taking kids to the grocery store. Right now my only tip is to switch Charlotte from the cart seat to the ring sling if she gets antsy partway through. Well, that, or just leave her at home asleep with Joel while I go shopping alone :)

And now for some Friday favs that aren't blog posts. Just photos of my beautiful babe.

5. The photo below (Things to note: the death grip on her play gym, the surprised/slightly nervous expression, the stretched neck of a onesie she JUST started wearing, the high-waisted-diaper-bootylicious jeans...)
6. This photo: ever so curious!

Hope y'all have a gorgeous fall weekend <3 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

the apple orchard

On Saturday Charlotte had her first visit to the apple orchard.

She napped in the car on our way there, so she was bright eyed & bushy-tailed for the whole experience. We rode a wagon out to the trees and wandered around to do our picking. Charlotte mostly sat on the ground, or in our arms, gnawing at pieces of three different types of apple. 

She was elated.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Charlotte's days: 8.5 months

It's not time for a new monthly update, but Charlotte has been busy lately and I want to remember the little details of our days together.

Lately Charlotte is into:
  • Standing, leaning on the coffee table, and pushing all her wooden blocks onto the floor
  • Knocking over the towers I build for her
  • Trying with all her might to crawl
  • Scooting & spinning in circles on her tummy
  • Banging toys together to make a noise
  • Giving open mouth kisses to her reflection in the mirror
  • Seeing friends!
  • Being outside- either in the stroller or just in the back yard
  • Reading books! We recently started reading a big pop-up book together. It's the first non-board book that we've introduced and she is SO into it. She touches the pages and tries to pull on the tabs to make them move.
  • Balloons! OH MY GOSH- this girl thinks balloons are God's gift to the world. It's hilarious to watch her get excited about them!

Charlotte really only naps in her crib these days. We expected she'd nap last weekend in the car but the stop & go of city driving didn't quite lull her into dream land.  She seems exhausted by the time her second nap rolls around and often falls asleep nursing and I transfer her quietly into her sleep sack and then into bed. She naps for 2 hours most afternoons; it's hard work being a baby!

The other night after dinner, Charlotte sat in her chair for over 10 minutes, quietly exploring the straps with her little hands. Joel and I just watched-- mesmerized by her concentration and her very impressive attention span.

Today Charlotte was in the nursery at church and my friend Melissa went down there to change her baby's diaper. She told me that when Charlotte noticed her, she got the BIGGEST grin on her face and started making excited noises. It makes me so, so happy that Charlotte recognizes the people she knows and loves <3

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


In college we watched (and re-watched) the movie, "13 Going on 30." The movie is funny, as chick flicks go, and my friends and I can quote most of the dialogue by heart.

One silly line is, "I'm thirty, flirty, and thriving."

Well, if we get rid of the "flirty" part, that sums me up right about now: thirty and thriving.

My marriage is healthy and my husband is the absolute best man on the planet. I've got this beautiful eight month old daughter, who I could never have imagined loving so much. I recently started a new job working with middle school-ers and I totally love it (it's flexible and I can bring my babe along to hang out with the kids!). Our extended family lives far away but we really get to see them pretty often, considering the distance between us.

It's fall and our house is cozy and most days are moderately paced. We get pretty consistent sleep at night and a few quiet napping hours during the day.

My early birthday present was the camera of my dreams and I have time and energy to play around with it and figure out all the bells and whistles. My husband and friends threw me a sneaky surprise party last Saturday night while Charlotte slept upstairs (!!).

We are healthy and have a great community and we make each other laugh. Charlotte lights up our world and brings us incredible joy. The days are not without challenges but our faith is strong and our God is sovereign.

So, here's to 30. I can't wait to see what the next decade brings.

#oldanddirtymirror :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

happy weekend!

Charlotte is napping so she can be well-rested for the weekend ahead. Tonight her my friends Ashley, Jonathan, and Judah will arrive from western NY, and we are going to party hard!

Here are a few sweet photos of our busy eight month old girl this week. Enjoy your weekend!

She is SO close to crawling-- it's unbelievable!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

the end of oktoberfest

Five years ago this month my friends and I were in the midst of planning our first annual "Oktoberfest."

Unlike most celebrations with this name, ours was intended to be a family friendly event, complete with apple picking, pie baking, yard games, and high quality beer.

Ours was also the first time I introduced Joel to my other friends.

He and I had only recently started spending time together. He'd gotten home from Michigan a month before and we'd gone out maybe 3 or 4 times. I hesitantly called him at the last second to issue an Oktoberfest invitation, under pressure from my friends who (of course) had heard all about him.

Joel's parents were in town and he wasn't able to join the apple picking part of the day, but said he'd come in the evening. On the way home from apple picking, I became mysteriously car sick. My stomach was in pain, I had a headache, and I felt really nauseous.  I couldn't figure out the sudden carsick-ness until I realized it was really just nerves. Having this guy I was into meet all of my other friends made me equal parts anxious and over the top excited.

How would I introduce him? What would he think of my friends? What would they think of him? Would we be able to talk comfortably? Did he like groups and parties? All these questions ran through my mind as I waited for him to arrive.

The evening went smoothly. I became far less anxious once Joel actually showed up and we started hanging out. My friends were impressed. He was easy to talk to and didn't judge me for not knowing how to pour my beer from a keg. He didn't stay too late; I had time to debrief with my roommate afterwards and we declared the whole thing a big success.

For the last five years we've attended at least bits and pieces of each Oktoberfest.

This year our group made a collective decision not to host the party and while I'm not disappointed, it feels a bit sad and a bit strange for the tradition to die. I hold such sweet memories of that first party and will never forget spending time with Joel that night.

I'm so glad the story didn't end there and that we get to do life together still. With or without Oktoberfest. xoxo.

Monday, October 6, 2014

what Charlotte eats, 2

Something has been awry with Charlotte's digestive system lately and she had diaper rash for almost a week. Poor thing! Interestingly, she's still very enthusiastic about eating solids, so we've been having fun at meal times.

One funny thing: in the nursery last week, the teacher asked if she could give Charlotte Cheerios. I said that she had never eaten Cheerios, but agreed to let her try. Charlotte grabbed them in her fist (like she does all other food) and struggled to get them out of her first and into her mouth. The teacher said she needed to work on her fine motor skills and I immediately got defensive. I came home and defrosted some frozen peas & carrots and gave them to Charlotte for lunch. As she ate, I settled down and remembered that she's still young to have developed her pincer grasp. She isn't behind or lacking in any important skills; it just takes time to learn how to grab tiny things. Charlotte was the youngest in the nursery that day; all the other babies were at least a month older. I'm going to keep giving her tiny things to try, but I'm not going to get defensive about her fine motor skills again ;)

Charlotte has been eating...

Sunday- mashed potatoes, cucumber, one strip of steak (just licked off the seasoning, haha)
Monday- butternut squash soup, biscuit
Tuesday- roasted sweet potatoes (loved them!), asparagus, small pieces of chicken
Wednesday- homemade chili (LOVED it!), spinach, peas&carrots, avocado, corn muffin
Thursday- quinoa chicken broccoli casserole
Friday- cucumbers, mandarins, leftover quinoa
Saturday-cheese pizza, cucumbers, cheddar cheese chunks

Here are a few recipes we've enjoyed lately.
All are BLW-friendly and all were quite popular with our little foodie: 
1. Quinoa chicken broccoli casserole (crock pot!)
2. Pulled pork sandwiches (also in the crock pot!)
3. Greek yogurt biscuits
4. Crockpot Quinoa turkey meatballs (unfortunately, I cooked these on HIGH instead of LOW, so they were very dry. Charlotte didn't seem to mind...)
5. Dinner tonight: crock pot chicken parmesan (Anyone else sensing a crockpot theme here? No? Just me?)

Friday, October 3, 2014

teething today // 3

(This was written on Wednesday morning, October 1st, 2014. Today is a much brighter and happier day. But on Wednesday morning, I was ready to pull my hair out. So I wrote this... )

Teething today is awful, Charlotte Adeline.

You were up for over 2 hours last night, mostly screaming your head off. A few moments were quiet, as you snuggled onto your dad's shoulder and tricked him into thinking you were fast asleep. A few moments were confusing, as neither of us knew how to help you and we couldn't really help each other. Most of the moments were exhausting and all of the moments were difficult. We were frustrated and we were sad and we were so, so tired.

Teething today is diaper rash and an upset tummy (maybe not related to teething, but we can't be sure) and using disposables with diaper ointment, which you poop out of and roll around in all over your crib. Teething today is washing your sleep sack and your sheets and your PJs.

Teething today is Hyland's natural teething tablets stuck under your tongue, which you find curious and interesting.

It's tucking you in the Ergo because I can't handle the crying / heart break for more than 8 minutes. It's squatting in front of my laptop, typing blog posts and sending emails and scrolling through photos as I bounce to keep you sleeping. It's the sound of your breath and the sight of your sweaty head snuggled up next to your Screech on my chest. It's the quiet squeaks you make as you sleep.

Teething today is hard, Charlotte.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

eight months old!

We don't know how tall or heavy Charlotte is right now so we'll have to update after her 9 month check-up. She doesn't seem to have gained a lot of weight this month; I wonder if her growth is slowing down.

Charlotte can go from sitting to playing on her tummy to lounging on her back in about 3 seconds flat. She has totally mastered rolling in all directions and often ends up across the room from where I put her down. She can reach for toys and hold heavy items and grasp a lot of new foods.  One fun trick is to scoot backwards on her tummy. She has a harder time scooting forward and she isn't crawling, but I think it's in our near future.

Just a few days ago, Joel's mom watched Charlotte pull herself up on the living room coffee table. Looks like standing is a developing skill, too... Watch out, world!

We think there must be more teeth on the horizon because Charlotte has been clingy and fussy lately. There have been a few days with some tears and yelling (on her part!) before finally settling down for naps. She's also been waking up at night quite often... We were pretty sure those days were over, but they're back, so we're blaming the teeth.

Schedule/ Sleep
Charlotte wakes up between 6 and 7am and nurses. She stays awake for about an hour before nursing again and taking her morning nap. She usually sleeps 1.5 or 2 hours, then eats again at 9:30. Because we recently transitioned to two naps, the late morning/early afternoon window can be tricky. We often go for a walk or meet friends or run errands, then come home to eat lunch around 11:30.

Charlotte loves to play outside so we usually take a blanket and some toys to the shady spot in our backyard before she nurses again and takes her afternoon nap (anywhere between noon and 1pm). The afternoon nap lasts for about an hour (sometimes closer to two) and then we play, watch the cars go by, get dinner started, wait for Joel, etc. We eat dinner as a family around 5:30pm and get Charlotte ready for bed around 6:30. She's in bed around 7pm and usually falls asleep shortly after that.

Awesome stuff!
I can't even handle how much Charlotte loves to watch baseball with Joel! She and I don't watch TV during the day but when Joel comes home and turns on a game, Charlotte is mesmerized. Here they are, cheering on the Tigers together... #bestillmyheart

Charlotte also loves:
  • playing in her closet (see photo below! :))
  • being outside (doing anything and everything, as long as she's in the fresh air!)
  • eating delicious food
  • taking walks/runs in the stroller
  • snuggling with Mom & Dad
  • "reading" books (especially her favorites!)
  • showing off her new teeth 
  • scooting toward all sorts of interesting things in the house
  • playing with "toys" (cardboard boxes, plastic shovels, tags on blankets, snaps on her diapers, burp cloths, etc.) 
  • other babies- she gets the BIGGEST grin on her face and tries to give them open-mouth kisses (ha!)

I started a whole blog post with the title "my child is not a robot." I planned to whine about how the inconsistency of our days is driving me crazy. But then the Lord changed my heart. And my daughter continued to blow me away by her awesome-ness. And our days started to have a bit of rhythm again. So I didn't finish the post.

All that to say, parenting this baby is a privilege. We have some hard days and some challenging moments and some long nights. But being this girl's mom and this man's wife bring me such great joy.