Penelope Marie – 8 Months Old

Dear Penelope,

You are now 8 months old!! I don’t know where the time is going. People are so right when they say the days are long but the months/years are short!

Your little personality is really starting to shine through and I see more and more of your Papa in you. No stranger danger for you – you love to be around people and ham it up with tons of smiles! Everywhere we go you make friends and show off your teeth with the biggest smiles.

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You are such a wiggle worm right now. Changing your diaper has become quite the task! I’m starting to wonder if we should start changing you on the floor because i’m terrified you might fall off your changing table!

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On April 2 you finally sat up on your own, unassisted! We’d been waiting for this day as you’ve been so close for a while now and sure enough, you did it. Over the course of the month you’ve gotten stronger and stronger and now you don’t even wobble anymore when you’re sitting up. This has been a game-changer for you as I could tell you were getting bored being on your back and belly all the time. Now you can play with your toys all on your own.

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You love to bounce, swing and be thrown up in the air. We just love to hear you laugh and giggle. You are much more interactive these days. You love your stacking cups, rattles and any toy that plays music or lights up. You aren’t much of a snuggler, but we’ve noticed that when you get tired and one of us is holding you, you’ll lay your head on our shoulder or chest and completely relax; it’s so sweet.

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We are still struggling with solids. You have a sensitive gag reflex and will not take a spoon. So we let you feed yourself which takes foreverrrr and gets quite messy. If you end up eating half a cracker or a small bite of fruit, we’re happy. We hope to make some more progress though. You seem to like the food, but it’s just the chewing and swallowing we’re working on. You definitely still prefer to drink milk and if you see a bottle around when we’re trying to feed you solids then it’s game over. You are drinking between 25-30 ounces a day and I continue to pump. My supply has taken a little bit of a dip and I am barely keeping up with you now. I’m hoping that we can increase your intake of solids a bit so that we don’t have to dip into our freezer supply, but we shall see.

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You are sleeping like a champ. You go to bed between 6:30-7 every night and wake up between 6-6:45 every morning. You take 2 solid naps during the day – usually the first around 8 or 8:30 and the second after lunch around 1:30. This is the most consistent we have ever been with your sleep and it’s been great! You sometimes cry when you change positions during the night, but it’s usually fleeting and before we even notice you’re passed out again.

We had a rough week of teething this month – really rough. Your two top teeth came in at the same time and we could tell you were really uncomfortable. Your nose was all stopped up; you were running a low-grade fever; not sleeping well and just fussier than usual. Thankfully, it passed after a couple of days but we felt so bad for you!

We were fortunate enough to have some great weather and since you love to be outside so much, we took full advantage! You even went to your first baseball game!

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It’s been another great few weeks and we’re looking forward to next month!

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Penelope Marie – 7 Months Old

Dear Penelope,

You are seven months old! I’ve gotten a little behind on these posts (#momfail) and I’m the worst at taking your pictures close to your monthly birthdays (oops). But I try so hard to remember as many detail as I can about each month. Time is flying by and I want to make sure I remember every sweet memory. It’s amazing how much you change from week to week. It’s so fun watching you grow!

This was a busy month. We got some new living room furniture, enjoyed your first visit to the park, went to see your great grandma and your twin friends Parker & Miles AND celebrated Easter. We are so thankful that you are an easy-going baby because the next couple of months we will be on-the-go more than ever!

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You hit a couple of milestones this month – you are sitting up on your own (just for a couple seconds at a time), but gaining more and more strength by the day. You love to roll around. You’ve been able to do this for a while, but it’s like you’ve recently discovered how to do it and now you can’t stop.

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You got your first teeth; your two bottom teeth, right in the middle! Your little smile is so sweet with your teeth poking out, but I’m also going to miss your gummy smile!

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You love to be outside. We have had some really beautiful Carolina weather this month and Miss Merritt has taken you out many times to enjoy the sunshine. You’re not quite sure how to feel about grass, but I think you’ll get used to it over time.

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You also love to babble and play with your voice. You squeal, squeak, grumble and make the funniest sounds and we can tell you’re experimenting with your voice and making new noises. Although you’re not technically talking yet, you are able to make some sounds resembling words like “papapa” and “bababa.” When you see something (or someone) you like you squeal with excitement. Chloe is your absolute favorite and you love to watch her and pet her.

A couple Sundays ago we decided to take advantage of the pretty (albeit chilly day) for you to experience your first trip to the park! You had a blast on the swings…laughing and happily kicking your feet. We have now started calling you “happy feet” because every time you laugh or have fun, you enthusiastically kick them around! You weren’t too sure what to think about going down the slide, but maybe you’ll enjoy that more next time.

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We are continuing to give you pureed solids and rice cereal although you’re not really taking to food the way we thought you would. I think you enjoy the new flavors and textures, but you’re not quite sure what to do with the food once it’s in your mouth. You are still playing with your tongue and sticking it out all the time so most of your food ends up all over your face. It’s quite messy feeding you, little one! We will continue trying to give you a little bit every day and hopefully one day you’ll figure out this whole feeding thing.🙂 For now, you’re drinking four seven ounce bottles a day and that’s filling up your tummy.

We typically start getting you ready for bed around 6 or 6:30 every night. We’ve got a good routine going; usually in 15-20 minutes you’re completely out and you don’t typically wake up until 6 or 6:30 the next morning. Even after you wake, you’ll sit in your crib and play with your feet and talk to yourself for a few minutes if we can’t come and get you right away. You quite enjoy sleeping on your belly these days. This scared me a little at first, but you’ve gotten so good at rolling around it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. Your naps are still inconsistent. We’ve given up on trying to get you on any resemblance of a nap schedule. It just doesn’t work for you and we’ve accepted that. Merritt does her best to get you to sleep a little every morning and afternoon; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But you’re a great sleeper at night so we really can’t complain.

While we are so thankful that you are sleeping so well now and we even have a little bit of down time in the evenings, but I hate how little time we get to spend with you when we get home from work. It’s one of the toughest things about being a working parent and some days feel so rushed that I don’t get to play and snuggle with you nearly as much as I’d like. That’s why we try so hard to make the most out of our weekends; we want our time with you to be special.

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This past month I feel like we finally got into a really great rhythm as a family. Mornings don’t feel quite as stressful – your Papa and I have figured out what our individual responsibilities are and now we’ve got it all down to a science. Same with evenings. I’ll admit, it took a long time for us to get to this point. My first couple of months working after maternity leave were some of the toughest ever. But over time we’ve figured out what works for us and we are all happy and going strong!

I’ve had your Easter dress picked out since January so I was anxious to see you all dressed up in your sweet outfit! You looked so adorable. I fully intend to enjoy dressing you up for as long as possible. I know the day will come when you’ll want to pick out your own outfits so I’m going to take advantage for as long as possible.🙂

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The Easter Bunny came and dropped off some fun treats for you. Most of it was practical – some new bibs, snack containers, baby food, etc. but we also added a few fun things in there like some new bath toys and Aladin in DVD even though I know you can’t watch it yet. (I try to buy all the classic Disney movies as they come out of the vault.) Our families also spoiled you with some cute toys and outfits also so you had quite a special day!

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My goal for the coming months is to try and get more pictures of us as a family! We are looking forward to warmer weather and lots of fun family time coming up these next few weeks!

We love you sweet P!

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Palm Sunday

Penelope Marie – 6 Months

Dear Penelope,

You’re half a year old! When did that happen?!

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I think this month was my favorite yet. After you came out of your sleep sleep regression and we got you on more of a schedule, you’ve been the happiest baby ever. You’re sleeping well, eating well, very rarely fussy and overall a complete joy. How lucky are we to be your parents!?

This was a big month for you – you tried solids for the first time (sweet potato on February 20); you’re very close to sitting up (I think it’ll be any day now!); you’re rolling over from both sides; you love your jumperoo and can now reach the floor and bounce on your own. You are constantly reaching for whatever is in front of you and you love to grab and pull mama’s hair/jewelry/glasses. You love your stuffed animals and lovey; you get a big smile on your face anytime we put them in front of you. You notice Chloe all the time now and follow her with your eyes as she walks/runs around the room. You are so interested in her and love to pet her (and occasionally pull on her fur). Much to our surprise, she doesn’t seem to mind all that much.

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It’s so much fun to see your personality starting to develop. You’re already very much like your Papa in that you’re outgoing and seem to enjoy being around lots of other people. You’re such a ham – you smile at everyone! You definitely don’t mind being held by new people or passed around. Not only do you love being around adults, but kids, too – even bigger kids. You love to observe them with a big smile plastered on your face. Going to church has become one of your favorite activities because you get to see some of your friends and you have a blast watching them goof off in the pew in front of us.

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My goal in the coming month is to try and plan some play dates with your baby friends. Now that you’re a little older and more observant, I think you’ll get a kick out of it. The weather is slowly starting to warm up which means we can spend more time outside enjoying the sunshine.

Right now everything you touch goes straight into your mouth. I wouldn’t be surprised if you start teething here soon because you love chewing on some of your teething toys.

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We had a sweet surprise this month when your Auntie Ally and Uncle Casey came to visit us for my birthday weekend! They miss you so much and you had a great time playing with them.

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You continue to do so well with Miss Merritt during the day. She is always bringing you along for fun adventures with the kiddos and I think you have a blast being along for the ride! Josie their sweet dog is your little guard dog and she loves to keep an eye on you every day. You two have become fast friends!

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You are a wonderful sleeper right now. We are now putting you to bed around 7 every night (if you’re really tired, sometimes even 6:30) and you sleep soundly until around 6 or 6:30 in the morning. You usually wake up on your own, but every now and then we have to wake you up. Sometimes you’ll fuss or cry for a minute at night, but you almost always put yourself back to sleep. There have been a handful of times that we’ve caught you sleeping on your belly (gasp!) and although it’s not a big deal at this point because you can roll over all on your own, it still catches me off guard! You sure are a wiggle worm at night though – you usually end up at the opposite end of the crib and turned the other direction by the time morning rolls around!

You had a chance to visit me at work one afternoon which was super fun! You loved seeing all the people in my office and were smiling at everyone – you’re such a ham!

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You’re still taking a bottle for most all of your meals and we’ve just started to introducing pureed solids. At this point you are more interested in the spoon and the bowls than you are food. But right now, we’re just trying to get you into the habit of eating. You seem to really like rice cereal, but that’s probably because we mix it with your milk!

Your quite small for your size so you’re still fitting well into your 3-6 month clothes. In the coming weeks I’ll probably start slowly buying some 6-9 month clothes for spring and summer. I’m looking forward to all the cute dresses and outfits, as usual! You’re also still wearing size 2 diapers and I think you’ll continue to stay in those for a couple more weeks.

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The weather is starting to slowly warm up so I am anxiously waiting for the days when we can take you outside. The time will also change soon so we’ll have a little more daylight to take quick walks around the neighborhood in the evenings. As always, you’re such a joy and we are looking forward to your next month!

And no surprise here, but bath time is still your favorite.🙂

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Can’t wait to see what’s in store for next month, Sweet P!

Penelope Marie – 5 Months

Dear Penelope,

You are now five months old! Once again I find myself having trouble keeping up with how quickly things are changing.

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I am going to be honest here, this last month was a bit of a doozy. Shortly after we returned from Christmas you went through a major sleep regression. We’d hadn’t heard about the four-month sleep regression until we were knee-deep in it and let me tell you, it was something else! You have been such a good sleeper since the beginning so this definitely threw us for a loop. I think you hit so many milestones around that time and it caught up to you all at once. With rolling over we couldn’t swaddle you anymore so that was a huge adjustment. You also became so much more alert and aware of what was going on around you; why would you want to sleep at night when you could play instead?? Unfortunately during this time your Papa traveled for work back-to-back weeks making this an even tougher time.

We also noticed that your days of sleeping on-the-go are long gone. You are way too interested in what’s happening around you to sleep. You used to fall asleep within seconds of being put in your car seat, but not anymore! And sleeping through all those trips to Target or quick dinners out? Nope, not happening anymore.

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We decided it was time to start sleep training. We never wanted to be those parents who’s entire existence revolved around sleep and nap-times, but we have officially become those people. And thankfully, after a few weeks it’s finally “stuck” and we have a set routine and you’re back to sleeping through the night. We wake you up around 6:45 every morning (even on weekends) and your first nap starts around 8 or 8:30 for between 2-2.5 hours. Your afternoon nap starts around 1 or 1:30 and lasts around 2 hours also. You take a brief catnap after we pick you up from daycare and then the bedtime routine starts at 7:30. For the first time ever this month, we’ve been able to consistently get you into be between 8-8:30 every night (sometimes even earlier than that!) which is huge! Oh how I don’t miss the days of you not going to sleep until 10 or 11. It was a tough couple of weeks, but now we’ve established your schedule and all is right with the world again. At least for now!🙂

You are officially in size 2 diapers and wearing your 3-6 month clothing now. It’s all a little big on you so I suspect you’ll be wearing these sizes for a little while. I had so much fun going through all your 6 month clothing and dressing you up in all your fun outfits!

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I love your disposition; you laugh all.the.time and it’s the best! You laugh at people, at your stuffed animals, at yourself. It’s hilarious and we love to laugh along with you. You’re still very easy-going and enjoy being around other people. You don’t mind it when others hold you or take a peek at you in the car seat or the stroller – in fact, I think you enjoy all the attention!

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You are starting to grab and reach for things now. You have been using your playmat more than ever and now you can play with the toys all on your own. We introduced you to the jumperoo we got you for Christmas. You’re a little small for it so we put a box underneath so you have a place for your feet to rest. Right now, you are only happy in it for about 10 minutes but I think as you get a little bigger you’ll enjoy it even more. Your lovey comes with you pretty much everywhere right now. We even let you nap with it sometimes.

You have started to notice Chloe which is pretty adorable. Sometimes we’ll bring her over to you and you’ll just start laughing  or smiling! You reach for her and you love to gently pet her; sometimes she even starts purring. We give her a couple of treats every time she lets you pet her so I think that helps a little, too.🙂

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Everything you reach for goes right into your mouth (of course). Your newest favorite toy isn’t even a toy…it’s your little toes! You LOVE your feet. You are a baby yoga rockstar and enjoy nothing more than getting your little feet into your mouth. It’s adorable!

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This month you also experienced your first ever snow day (well, it was more of an ice day). It wasn’t the pretty snow that we would have liked…instead everything was covered with a thick sheet of ice so you couldn’t really enjoy it, but at least I got a day to be home with you snuggling while I worked.

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Bath time continues to be your favorite. You’re growing out of your infant tub so as soon as you’re sitting up on your own, we’ll start giving you a bath without it which I know you’ll really enjoy. You will have so much more room to splash around and we can introduce you to some fun bath toys!

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Overall, we feel like we hit the jackpot with you and I cannot even fathom that in a couple of short weeks you’ll be 6 months old which just blows my mind. Half a year gone…already!

We love you, Sweet P!

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30th Birthday Wishlist

I cannot believe that my 30th birthday is just around the corner. I’m not dreading the big 3-0 as much as I thought I would; in fact, I really feel like I’m embracing this new place in life. I had some really good times in my twenties, but I am also excited to see what’s in store for my thirties.

Pre-baby, I would have wanted to go BIG for my 30th birthday celebration…either a party or a weekend getaway. But at this phase of life we are in right now, it’s not feasible and that’s just fine by me. In my mind, the best birthday would consist of the following: sleeping in (duh), lunch, a little shopping and then spending the rest of the day snuggling with my hubby and sweet Penelope. Oh, and not having to wash any bottles. That’s huge (you think I’m kidding? I’m not.)

My birthday is on a Monday this year so my husband and I are both taking a day of PTO so the three of us will head to lunch and do a little shopping at most favorite store ever (Nordstroms). Here’s what I have my eye on:

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  1. Barbour Jacket. I’ve been looking at this jacket on-and-off for months now. A co-worker of mine got it for Christmas and after seeing it in person, now I know I really want one.
  2. Jo Malone Perfume. I ran out of perfume during my pregnancy and didn’t buy any more because my sense of smell was so out of whack. But now I’m ready to wear perfume again and I’m all out!
  3. Gloves. I love this cute pair. I think the pop of red would go perfectly with my black pea coat.
  4. New shades. My Gucci sunglasses are looking pretty worn. It’s time for an upgrade!
  5. Clutch. I desperately need an oversized clutch that will contain my wallet, phone, keys and other small essentials without taking up much room. I want to be able to transfer it to/from my diaper bag and this option is cute and affordable.
  6. Alex & Ani. I received a couple of these bracelets for Christmas and I wouldn’t mind adding another to my collection.
  7. Diptyque. I would love one of these dreamy candles.
  8. Hunter Boots. I’m pretty sure I’m the last person in the world who doesn’t own these boots. Maybe it’s because we’ve been experiencing so much rain lately, but I’m finally ready for a pair. I love the look of these boots in a classic red.

Now comes the tough part…deciding what’s going to come home with me!

What’s on your wish list?

Penelope Marie – Four Months

Dear Penelope,

You are 4 months old! You are the happiest little baby and we have had so much fun this past month. You have changed so much over the past couple of weeks and we have had so much fun watching you grow. You are such a happy baby and so easy-going; your personality is starting to come through more and more and we are loving every bit of it.

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This has been a big month for you, Miss Penelope. I went back to work so you started going to see Ms. Merritt during the day. I cannot tell you how difficult it’s been leaving you every day. I tried to prepare myself as much as possible, but I don’t think you can truly prepare for that. The first week was filled with lots of tears (from me), but you handled it like a champ. Ms. Merritt loves you so much and I know that you’re in good hands. You have a blast with her every day and her kiddos love you, too. They put on shows and sing for you; little Brady greets you at the door most mornings and refers to you as “My Penelope.” It’s the sweetest thing!

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There are (still) a lot of emotions that I deal with when it comes to leaving you. I love my job and work for a great company and genuinely enjoy working. But I miss you like crazy and experience so much jealousy when I don’t get to spend time with you during the day. This is my struggle to deal with and I know that eventually it will get easier (it has to get easier, right?). I count down the minutes until when I get to see you again and look at your pictures on my phone throughout the day so that I always get to see your cute face.

About a week after you started going you came down with your first little cold. Poor thing! It wasn’t terrible and we didn’t even need to put you on any medicine; just lots of sleeping and doing a saline treatment for your runny nose. Thankfully it just lasted a couple of days and you were back to your happy self.

You gave us an early Christmas present this month and laughed for the first time on December 4. Your Papa was holding you on his shoulder and I was hiding behind him and playing “peek-a-boo” with you when we heard your first sweet giggle! Now we are always trying new things to get you to laugh. You love it when we make funny faces and sounds at you. Your Papa is especially good at making you laugh with his hilarious facial expressions. Trying to catch all this on camera or video though? That’s a different story! As soon as we whip that phone out you go straight-faced – I guess we’ll have to start being sneaky!

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Unfortunately Papa caught your cold and with his allergies and asthma suffered for several weeks. It was quite a time for him, but he’s finally better which we are so thankful for! It did make him feel better to see your sweet smiles and hear your little giggles though!

You started reaching for toys this month so we’ve gotten a lot more use out of your play mats. You have been playing with lots of rattles and soft toys and of course, everything goes straight to your little mouth. I love watching you play. You’re having such a blast exploring new textures and shapes. You got some fun new toys for Christmas so we’ve enjoyed adding those to the mix also.

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You’ve been eating like crazy. I’ve noticed a significant increase in what you’ve been eating this past month. You’re now drinking about 5-6 ounces every 4 hours. I nurse you every now and then (sometimes it’s the only thing that calms you down), but you’re primarily bottle-fed right now. You prefer it that way because it’s much faster and you don’t have to work as hard. This has been a little difficult for me to accept…on one hand it’s nice because bottle feeding you is easy, but I also miss that special time that only you and I had together.

You are still a great sleeper. You are now going to bed a little earlier (usually between 9-10) and sleeping until we wake you up around 6:45 every morning. Your naps are becoming more consistent also. You typically sleep from 8-10:30 or 11 and then take another 2 hour nap in the afternoon. You also take a couple of small cat naps – usually a little after lunchtime and then again around dinner. You still sometimes get overtired in the evening so we have been trying really hard to get you to go to bed a little earlier – easier said than done!

We had such a great time getting into the Christmas spirit with you. Even though you had no idea what was going on, we had a blast dressing you up in adorable holiday outfits, taking you to see Santa and doing fun Christmas activities with our friends!

We took a train ride around Pullen Park with some of our friends to see Christmas lights which you really enjoyed. You have been all about some Christmas lights this season! We even took you on your very first carousel ride!

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Although I went back to work this month, I did have a short Christmas break to look forward to which made things easier. We decided to go to Ohio so that you could see your grandparents, auntie and future uncle and meet your great grandmother for the first time! We had such a wonderful Christmas and they spoiled you rotten with snuggles, kisses and presents.

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You did so well traveling. You hit a growth spurt a couple of days before we left and we seriously considered staying home instead of driving to Ohio, but thankfully the growth spurt passed and you were a champ the whole trip. You pretty much slept the entire 8-hour car ride (both ways) and didn’t fuss at all!

The day we got back from our trip to Ohio (and also your 4 month birthday!) you surprised us all by rolling over for the first time! You rolled from your back to your belly (still haven’t figured out how to go from your belly to your back yet) and now it’s all you want to do. You’re a little wiggle worm!

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You still love bath time. We have to keep towels handy because you splish splash all over the bathroom.🙂

You are still wearing your 3 month clothing, but you received some really cute 6 month clothes for Christmas and once I get all those washed and put away, we’ll transition you to your new size. Your growing out of your 3 month items more and more every day and I’m sure you’ll be more comfortable with a little more wiggle room. You’re still wearing size 1 diapers, but we’ll probably be moving you over to a size 2 when we finish our last box.

Your four-month check up was at the beginning of January so here were your stats from that visit.

Weight: 13 lbs, 3 oz (33 percentile)

Height: 24 inches (33 percentile)

Head circumference: 16 inches (34 percentile)

You are truly a joy and this has probably been one of my favorite months so far – you are just so much fun! You are the happiest baby and love being around people…just like your Papa!

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Penelope Marie – 3 months

Dear Penelope,

You are now three months old! A lot has happened over the last month – you celebrated two holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving) and at this point, we’ve been able to get you on a little bit more of a schedule. Your sleep has improved and you are getting stronger and more alert every day!

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You are pretty much sleeping through the night now which has been amazing! You are still going to bed around 11 every night, but there have been a handful of times we’ve been able to get you down earlier. Depending on how tired you are, you’ll wake up between 6-8 the next morning. I still love our mornings together; you’re so happy and cheerful. It’s my favorite time to play with you because you’re so smiley! This is usually when we play on one of your playmats and have tummy time.

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You have gotten so much better at napping. You sleep for about 2-2.5 hours in the morning; you sometimes take a little cat nap at lunch and now are sleeping for about another 2 hours in the afternoon. You also take another short nap around the time we start dinner. This has done wonders for you because sleeping throughout the day prevents you from getting overtired/fussy in the evenings.

Halloween was the first holiday you celebrated. Of course we decked you out in a cute little outfit and that evening, you put on your elephant costume. It was pretty big on you (they don’t really make costumes for babies your size) but you were still the cutest elephant ever! I don’t think you were too crazy about your costume though.

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Your Papa walked you around the block and you got lots of sweet comments from all the neighbors while I passed out candy. It was quite chilly that evening so we didn’t keep you out for too long.

You have become a master at tummy time and have been doing such a great job of holding your head up. You love having the opportunity to look around and take in all the views. We usually put a rattle or light-up toy in front of you to keep you interested. You love looking at yourself in the mirror now (and why wouldn’t you? You’re so darn cute!). You’re gradually starting to hold onto things so we’ve started incorporating some bright colored rings and rattles into play time. You are becoming so much more alert and I can just see those little wheels turning in your head. It’s really been fun watching you grow!

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You have definitely found your voice and are quite chatty! You just talk and talk and talk when we’re playing and it’s so adorable. I “talk” back to you and we have little conversations now. I said my first words pretty early so it makes me wonder if you will be the same? I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

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I took you to the doctor towards the end of the month because I’ve been worried about the flat spot on your head. You favor your left side so you’re always sleeping, leaning and looking to the left. That’s why we’ve been so diligent about tummy time and getting you to move your head both directions. Hopefully this will get better over the course of the next few weeks; we’ve got your four-month appointment scheduled for the beginning of January so we will have a follow up then. If it’s not better, then we may have to think about some physical therapy. We purchased a special pillow to help out with this; we don’t use it for sleeping, but when we put you on a blanket on the floor, we use it to rest your head on. It evenly distributes your weight and keeps you from turning to one side.

You now use a bottle quite frequently and we are also still breastfeeding. Nursing has finally become a more pleasant (and less painful) experience for me so I can actually enjoy it now. But you’ve gotten picky and there are times when you definitely prefer a bottle (it fills your tummy up faster!). You also have moments where you prefer to nurse so we’re just taking cues from you every time you feed. Next month when you begin daycare you will obviously be bottle-feeding much more but I hope to still keep up nursing because it’s something special only you and I can do.

Speaking of day care…I’ve been getting myself prepared for the transition and soaking up every single snuggle and cuddle I can get with you. While part of me looks forward to going back, the idea of being away from you all day makes my heart hurt. I can’t tell you how much I’ve loved our quiet days snuggling on the couch, taking walks around the neighborhood and running errands around town. The last few weeks, we’ve met friends at the park, had lunch dates together, gone shopping, napped together and binge-watched our favorite TV shows on Netflix. I treasure this time together and it will forever be some of my happiest days. I know it can’t last forever so I’ve been savoring every last minute.

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You are such a darling and I am looking forward to celebrating your first Christmas in just a couple of weeks. I can’t wait to see you have a chance to interact with our family who you haven’t seen in several weeks. You’re going to be so spoiled!

We love you dearly, little one.

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Penelope Marie – Two Months

Penelope,

It’s hard to believe another month has flown by. You have been growing and changing so much over the past couple of weeks; you’re a completely different baby than you were last month!

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You are so much more alert now. Your bright blue eyes are taking in all of the sights around you and it’s so much fun to watch. You love anything that lights up right now…especially your glowworm. When you’re not in the mood for tummy time, we just put that gloworm in front of you and it’s a whole different story. You also love your Baby Einstein play mat. Every morning after you wake up and get fed, we spend a few minutes playing on it; it’s your happiest time of day and I love watching you wiggle and smile.

You’ve started cooing and making adorable baby noises which is quite possibly the sweetest thing ever. You’re particularly talkative during your morning playtime. It’s such a nice treat to hear a noise another than a cry.🙂

Your tummy problems have gotten so much better this month after I eliminated diary from my diet. Getting you to bed every night is a million times easier now and it’s obvious that you’re much more comfortable. We were thankful to hear from your pediatrician that this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a dairy allergy or be lactose intolerant; most likely your digestive system isn’t mature enough yet to break down the proteins. Around the six month mark I’ll start to re-introduce it. I’m not going to lie, I’ll be excited when I can get back to eating my cheese and ice cream again.

This month you went on your first road trip. We drove to DC for a wedding and your grandma and grandpa met us there to watch you while we were busy with all the wedding festivities. Although you didn’t sleep that well while we were there, you were a good baby and your grandparents loved spending all that one-on-one time with you! After the wedding, you and I headed to Ohio to spend a couple other days with our family there. You slept much better and we enjoyed having the chance to recover after the busy wedding weekend.

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You have officially transitioned out of newborn clothes and are in size one diapers. Your zero-to-three month clothes are still a little big on you so I’m thinking you’ll be staying in that size for another couple of weeks (hopefully!). I’ve had a blast buying cute little outfits for you and dressing you up every morning.

I cannot believe how much progress you’ve made sleeping. It’s hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago you were waking up every 2-3 hours for feedings and now you’re practically sleeping through the night! I hope we haven’t jinxed you because we have really appreciated the sleep. We still can’t get you to bed before 11 or 11:30 at night, but once you’re down, you sleep soundly until about 6 in the morning. No complaints here! You nap every morning pretty consistently, but you’re not usually crazy about an afternoon nap and fight sleep like crazy. You typically take a few little cat naps throughout the day which helps but not having that afternoon nap makes for one very overtired and fussy baby. Slowly but surely though we are getting you into a routine and I think it’s been good for both of us.

Shortly after your one month well-check we introduced a bottle so that we could start preparing you for daycare. You took to it right away and we’ve had no issues! We tried a couple bottles before settling on the Dr. Browns because they help prevent gas. It’s been nice to let your dad take some of the feedings, but I must admit, I’m not a fan of pumping. It’s a pain and trying to drag all that equipment with me while traveling? Ugh. But, what’s most important is that I’ve been able to both breastfeed you and bottle feed you successfully so it’s worth it.

You found your hands and tongue this month. We can always tell when you’re hungry now because you’ll stick your fingers in your mouth and suck on them vigorously. And your new favorite game to play is to stick out your tongue and wait for the other person to do the same so you can smile back at them. You’re just so cute!

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This month has been so much fun; we venture out more and more and we’ve loved taking you out with us whether is for an evening walk, a few errands or out to grab a quick dinner. You truly are a joy and we feel so lucky to have such an easy-going baby! We can’t wait to see what’s in store for next month.

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Monthly stats…

Weight: 10 lbs, 10 oz (43 percentile)

Height: 22.25 inches (44 percentile)

Head circumference: 15 inches (40 percentile)

Favorite things: your glowworm; your Baby Einstein play mat; lamb play mat; Snuza movement monitor; Dohm sound machine.

We love you!

Penelope Marie – one month

Our dearest Penelope,

I can’t believe you’re already a month old! Where have the past few weeks gone?! I feel like we’ve finally come out of the newborn fog and we’re all finally getting into our own rhythm. You are an absolute joy and overall, you’re a very happy baby!

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You went through a week of fussiness that was really tough. This also happened to be the first week that your dad went back to work and I had you all by myself. It was a time of adjustment for us both, but we survived and ever since then, you’ve been the happy baby that you were!

We are starting to venture out with you more and more. You have been out to eat at a few restaurants, tagged along to countless trips to Target and already been on many walks. You love your car seat and your stroller which makes things very easy. We limit the time we’re out with you since we are still feeding every 2-3 hours, but as we all get more comfortable, we’ll start venturing out for longer periods of time.

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You attended a wedding a couple weekends ago and you were a perfect angel. You and I attended the ceremony (which you slept through) and then your Papa went onto the reception without us.

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We have never had more visitors to the house and it’s all because of you! Everyone wants to meet you and have the chance to hold you. Everyone comments on how beautiful you are – especially your big blue eyes and we couldn’t agree more!

Breastfeeding has had it’s challenges – not so much for you; you latched on right away which we were so thankful for. This mama has been the one who’s had the most trouble. My milk took a little longer to come in which meant your weight dropped more than we would have liked. Your first week at home we were at the pediatrician’s office three times for weight checks. But thankfully, once my milk came in, you started gaining weight very quickly and everything was good again.

Breastfeeding has been the most physically and emotionally challenging thing I have ever done. There were days when I was very tempted to quit, but I’m so glad that I didn’t. There is something so special about feeding you and even though it has it’s difficulties; it’s rewarding and I treasure our time together. We will probably start to introduce a bottle here in the next week or two. I still plan on breastfeeding you as often as I can, but since I will be going back to work eventually, you will need to learn to drink from a bottle, too. This will also mean that your Papa can take part in feedings which I think will be a special time for you both as well.

Speaking of Papa…you are already a daddy’s girl through and through. There is nothing sweeter than watching the two of you interact together. You love sleeping on his chest and he’s the best at rocking you to sleep. I think part of your fussiness that first we were home together was due to Papa going back to work; you missed him! I know that he really misses you too so we try and send him sweet pictures of you throughout the day while he’s working.

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I have loved shopping for you these past few weeks and our family and friends have, too! You now have quite the wardrobe, little one. You are still wearing your newborn clothes (which is primarily gender neutral), but we’ll have to transition you to the zero-to-three month sizes in the next week or so. I’m dreading and looking forward to this at the same time. Packing up your newborn clothes already brings tears to my eyes, but I’m also excited to see you wearing all the cute new clothes we’ve got for you.

On your one month birthday you smiled at me for the first time and it was one of the sweetest moments ever. Sure, you’ve smiled before, but they were usually sleep or gas smiles. I was making faces and giving you kisses and sure enough, a big smile came across your face and I was lucky enough to have my cell phone close to capture it on camera.

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Once you fall asleep at night, you’re a great sleeper, but putting you to bed has it’s challenges. You fight sleep and as tired as you are some nights, you just don’t want to go to bed. Your ‘witching hour’ seems to be from 8-11 at night (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter) where we get into this vicious cycle of you feeding, falling asleep, waking back up and then doing it all over again. You tend to be quite gassy during the evenings and I don’t think that helps either.

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Here are your one month stats…

Weight: 9 lbs, 2 oz (41 percentile)

Height: 21.75 inches (70 percentile)

Head Circumference: 14 5/8 inches (47 percentile)

Your one month favorites: the rock ‘n play; being worn in the Boba wrap or Baby Bjorn; going to the bathroom while we change your diaper (little stinker!); taking baths; going on walks; your glowworm, sleeping on Papa’s chest, the Lifecake app for sharing pictures with friends and family, Summer Infant Swaddle Blankets.

Dislikes: being hungry (no surprise there!), sitting in traffic (when we’re moving, you’re fine), bedtime.

We have loved watching you grow over these past 4 weeks and can’t wait to see what the next month brings!

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Penelope’s birth story

It’s hard to believe that our sweet Penelope has been home with us for a couple of weeks already. In such a short amount of time, our world has changed so dramatically and now that she’s finally here, we cannot imagine our lives without her.

A friend of mine recommended that I bring a notebook and pen in my hospital bag to make notes throughout the labor and delivery process. I am SO glad that I took her advice because even after a couple of days, some of the details started to get blurry and I was so grateful to be able to look back at the notes we made.

So without further ado, here is Penelope’s birth story…

Our little princess was 8 days overdue; she must have been so comfy! I was lucky enough to work from home the few days before she arrived which was such a blessing. I was so uncomfortable at that point; my whole body was sore and achy. We even had a false labor scare (I thought my water had started to break) so it was nice being home and in a comfortable environment.

Because our little princess was overdue (and showed no signs of wanting to come out) we decided to proceed with a plan for induction. Our doctor recommended that we check into the hospital on Thursday night to start the process and then Friday morning, we’d start a dosage of Petocin to get contractions started.

Because we didn’t need to check into the hospital until Thursday evening, Randy and I were able to spend one last day together as a family of two. We went out for coffee and breakfast and then went for a stroll around the park. It was an unusually beautiful August day – not too hot, no humidity and lots of beautiful sunshine.

Late that afternoon my parents and sister arrived into town…that’s the beauty of an induction, we at least got to make sure our family arrived in time for the delivery! That night we enjoyed a delicious dinner together and my sister and I went on another walk around the neighborhood. While we were walking, I got the call from the hospital requesting that we arrive to check-in at 9 p.m. After packing up the car and saying goodbye to our family, we were off to the hospital!

After being checked in and getting settled into our room, my doctor performed a small procedure to help get me further dilated because I was barely 1 centimeter (they inserted a balloon to mimic the baby’s head on my cervix). By mid-morning the next day, the goal was to be at least 3-4 centimeters along. After the procedure I experienced my first real contractions (they weren’t terribly painful, but noticeably different from Braxton Hicks). They hospital gave me an Ambien so that I’d be able to get at least a few hours of sleep. I remember sleeping pretty soundly from 12:30-3:30 but after that, it was just on/off sleeping throughout the night.

Both Randy and I woke up around 6:30 the next morning and the Petocin started right at 7 a.m. After that, it wasn’t long before the contractions started coming. They were uncomfortable (like heavy menstrual cramps), but not painful yet. Around 10:45 the balloon they had inserted the night before fell out indicating that I was dilated further. By this point I was 4 centimeters along so it was nice to finally make some progress! The contractions continued at this point and got more painful. Just before 11:30 a.m. they broke my water which really got things going.

After my water broke, the contractions became painful and they were coming fast – about 2 minutes apart. I was having terrible back labor and the contractions were so close together I knew I wouldn’t be able to last much longer without the epidural. My nurse dialed back the Petocin to slow the contractions down and called in for my epidural.

An hour later the anesthesiologist was in the room and I was more than ready to not feel pain. I remember hearing conversations happening around me, but was so out of it I couldn’t comprehend much. It was really, really tough to keep completely still while the doctor administered the epidural. I did feel a little pain while it was administered – I also felt this weird pressure in my spine which I can’t really describe. Once I got the epidural, every contraction seemed to hurt less and less until I wasn’t able to feel the pain any longer. I remember Randy telling the anesthesiologist that we would add her to our Christmas card list because she was able to relieve my pain so quickly. She was certainly a godsend!

Having the epidural was one of the most unusual sensations I’ve ever felt. It was like both my legs were asleep – I could still wiggle my toes and move around a little, but I wasn’t able to feel pain. I could feel the contractions in my belly, but again no pain. Once the pain was gone, I was able to relax a little, visit with family and even get in a few cat-naps while my labor progressed.

By 2:30 that afternoon, I was still only dilated to 5 centimeters and 80% effaced. They inserted an IUPC to measure the strength of my contractions to make sure that the Petocin was working the way it should. It was at this point that the doctor realized that the baby was in a posterior position. She was head-down but facing my abdomen which is why I was in such bad back labor. At that point, the nurse rolled me to my side and used a peanut-shaped exercise ball to put in between my legs to get the baby to change positions. About every 30-45 minutes I switched sizes and kept the peanut in between my legs to get the baby into the right position.

Well the peanut worked because after just two hours, I went from 5 to 8 centimeters dilated. By 6 p.m. I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing! Considering this baby seemed to be taking her sweet time coming out, once the pushing began things actually moved really quickly. Throughout the day, the doctors and nurses kept reminding me to get my rest and to save my energy because pushing would be the most difficult part of labor. As a first-time mom with an epidural, they expected me to push for 2-3 hours. Well, I can tell you that I was NOT going to accept that. I was determined to have my baby within the hour. After 15 minutes of pushing, I remember the nurse running out of the room to make sure that the nursing station was ready for baby because she was coming. I pushed with all my might and after 40 minutes of pushing we heard the precious cries of our sweet Penelope Marie.

We had asked the doctors and nurses not to reveal the gender of the baby – we wanted Randy to do that. I will never forget the moment when Randy so excitedly said, “It’s a GIRL!” We were both crying and laughing; our hearts bursting with joy and surprise. We were both convinced we were having a boy so this was especially surprising. I had immediate skin to skin contact with our little princess and from there, we were just drowning in happiness.

We feel so much joy and pride in the fact that we’re Penelope’s parents. God chose her to be our daughter and it’s been the greatest gift we’ve ever been given. It’s true what people say – after being her parents for just a few days now, I can’t imagine not having her in our lives. She’s completely transformed us in the best of ways and we couldn’t be happier.

We love you, Penelope!