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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Baby Margaret - Five Month Update

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Margaret at 5 months. She's at a stage where she doesn't want to stay put - she wants to lunge forward when I do these posed yet candid photos with her for her monthly update pics - I love those stickers - hers are iron-on but here is a sweet set of reusable stickers for clothes. Her eyes are just so gorgeous in these photos in our living room!
Last summer when she turned 5 months old, we ran into the realization that our girl was growing up so quickly! Due to her continued slow weight gain, we started some solids with her on the recommendation of her Pediatrician. We started on baby oatmeal which she didn't like at all at that point in August 2017 (and still doesn't as of May 2018). She took to apple compote and peach compote immediately though! Gradually increased solids in small portions while I continued to give her mostly breast milk directly from me or expressed and in a bottle. She does both very well without much fidgeting or fighting me or her Daddy about "eating."

Worthy Style Baby MCVA 5 months Pippin Hill Farm Scout bags Bumbleride Indie stroller
Margaret at age 5 months, Pippin Hill Farm & Winery, Albemarle County, Virginia.
August 22, 2017. Beautiful evening with Scout Bags and the hydrangea bushes were absolutely resplendent!
In the photo above she is in her Bumbleride Indie in the Camp edition color (we purchased it from Baby Blossom in Fairfax, Virginia). She loves this stroller. With baby number two we will likely get the bassinet insert as well just to make it easier, since I may be prone to smaller babies... maybe. haha. Maybe future number 2 will be massive in comparison! Anyway, the Bumbleride Indie is made from 100% recycled PET - and folds up beautifully to fit easily in our car trunk. We recommend it to everyone we know as it can go on trails, gravel, sand and sidewalks. Easily maneuverable!
Margaret at five months on August 22, 2017.
Pippin Hill Farm & Winery in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Five months in, we got to a point with Margaret that we were more comfortable taking her out and about with us, so we enjoyed lots of outings and events such as: a family reunion, meals out on patios in and around Cville and RVA, my birthday long weekend in my hometown with family, a blogger event at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards with Scout bags, and other outings. She was our little social butterfly and she loves people!

Like I said, our little social butterfly just loves being a little ham for the camera, and for our friends (and strangers)!
So if my calculations are correct, the window of 5 months old is from 121 days to 150 days old, or 12 weeks, 1 day and 15 weeks, 6 days (approx.). I have to write these out before I do these posts so when I go through the Photos and iPhoto app on my laptop I can skim through and find the most applicable photos. I also have to go through the Ovia Parenting app, which helped me track the different developmental moments for our sweet girl. I used the Ovia Pregnancy app when I was TTC and during fertility treatments (have I talked about this on the blog?). Both are pretty convenient resources and you can save profiles for multiple kids, which will come in handy down the road.

Baby MCVA on my 32nd birthday wearing a sweet smocked bear bubble that was mine as a baby, and a new bonnet from The Tipsy Bunny which we got for her in gorgeous white eyelet lace. 
Developments for Month Five:

  • Holding head straight up while lying on back
  • Blows raspberry/making wet "razzing" sounds
  • Reaches for utensils while being fed (tip: give baby a second spoon to play with and hold while you feed. She'll fight you less!)
  • Gets in crawling position
  • Babbles enthusiastically
  • Tries to lift head while on back
  • Expanded sounds: gurgling, growling, giggling.
  • Recognizes bottle and breast.
  • Can have conversations of mimicry - we especially noticed this pattern when we would go to events or when we would be in church and she would mimic us saying "Amen"
  • Holding objects with both hands.
  • Repeating one-syllable sounds.
(Some of these may possibly have been duplicates of previous months, haha)!

I hope you have enjoyed my continued (UBER DELAYED) monthly updates for this kid. She really is amazing, and I love sharing her with you all. If she wasn't such a ham and social person, I probably would never share these posts, but she definitely loves being around people so much more than you all may realize unless you knew her yourself. We are so lucky to have a happy, loving, kid (esp now that she knows how to hug and kiss back #HeartEyes).

By the end of five months, someone was such a pro at tummy time! She loves this play mat from Infantino so very much. And it folds up nicely for storage if you need to (the top part even detaches quickly if you just want the mat out and the dangling toys loose).

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Baby Margaret - Four Month Update

Baby MCVA - July 22, 2017
This post will include affiliate links.

Our sweet girl has reached four months of age at the time of this photo - so July 22, 2017. She loved being propped up on my Boppy nursing pillow at this point, sitting up with some support behind her and playing with toys, putting them in her mouth. She loves this frog, which is part of an Infantino play mat we were given as a shower gift. The play mat is great because you can take down or put up the toys - she still loves the toys (some have crinkle paper, others have rings that clink together, another has a teething-friendly surface) now that the mat is put away! Here it is:

The Boppy pillow cover is not one of the standard ones, the one pictured is a Classic Plus cover. A cousin gave me a Classic Plus one in pink polka dot with stripes on the other side. The material is softer, more like a microfiber material than the basic cotton of the original. They also seem to not shrink or stiffen up when machine-washed, and fit onto the pillow much more easily between washes. I definitely have found that the Boppy Classic Plus covers are better long-term purchases, especially if you are exclusively or frequently breast-feeding!

Between her third and fifth months, things were a blur due to busy summer activities and comings and goings. So as I share things for her fourth month of life and things that have happened, please don't blame me if I post some duplicates of events that I may have mentioned last month, haha!

  • 11 pounds, 6 ounces
  • 25.5" long (officially over 2 feet tall/60 cm!)
  • No more swaddling due to Margaret's mobility
  • Started her on oatmeal due to her continued low weight gain (but still showing general growth and good diaper output)
  • Reaching for dangling objects (like on tummy time or on the mat)
  • Brings both hands together
  • Her first laugh! Finally!
  • Can see across the room
  • Vowel-consonant sounds
  • Sits by self with minimal support
  • Opens mouth for spoon - she hates/hated oatmeal. We diluted it with pureed apples and it still was a struggle bus for our girl. She knew right away we were tricking her. It made getting her to gain weight hard. Having to have her go on some solids so soon was my first moment of "Mom guilt" - you question yourself - is my breastmilk not enough? Did I do something wrong? It was one of those moments where I had to tell myself that guilting is silly and does not solve anything. Don't let yourself drown in anxiety of things you cannot control. I tried my best to help her gain by EBF but it didn't pan out, at least she still was able to enjoy breast milk! This point was just another stop on our journey of mommy-daughter time. Plus, adding some solids this early was great for M as he could spend more time bonding with our girl!
  • Rolls over and back
  • Makes two-syllable sounds - MAMA was her first word!!
  • First babysitter happened at this point in time - our cousin Emma - she is one of Margaret's favorite people now! We are so lucky she is in college nearby and hope she can have fun with Margaret some this summer.
  • She started trying to hold her bottle herself.
  • Peek-a-boo fascinates her
  • Loves to chew on objects
  • Sleeps on average 12 hours a night and two quasi-naps a day (more like 1 and only occasionally)
  • Rolls all the way around!

So many developments happened during those four weeks of time! Babies are amazing little humans learning so much so quickly. As I said above, the summer was busy. Our good friends The Lins finished his medical fellowship at UVA, so they returned home to Mississippi which was super sad. We were happy that their life would follow a more normal schedule, but we knew we would miss them and having them around Margaret! MCVA's first July 4th happened which meant typically we would go to my hometown for fireworks and fun, but M had to work so I made us country style ribs, bought him some Pearl's cupcakes for his birthday (the 5th) and dressed MCVA in a cute outfit. Lemons - lemonade! I got a weird summerlike flu bug and it happened to hit when M's childhood friends were passing through town. Since the wife has Stage IV metastatic breast cancer I didn't want to give her what I might have which was heartbreaking but they had a lovely time meeting our sweet baby girl and having a nice lunch visit. Another group of friends got to see us when I was feeling better - the husband was a childhood buddy of M's and the wife (might as well be a professional runner!) came over with their daughter to meet MCVA on her 4 month bday. Lastly we enjoyed a weekend at my parents house to have a quasi-belated birthday for M and to visit my Grandmothers. We felt like at this point in the summer she was in the clear and ready to socialize! It was wonderful to hear from everyone that she appeared to be social and didn't dislike being passed around the room which made me so happy. Apparently not all kids are like that and that's fine, but since I am social it definitely made me feel good to know she wasn't having a hard time around strangers.

Cute as a button in a bow made by my cousin LCJP and an outfit that was both my brother and mine growing up!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Vacation 2018 - Day 2 at The Sea Pines Resort

Well the RBC Heritage weekend has come and gone for about a week, but during our recent family vacation last month we enjoyed a few days on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and more specifically at The Sea Pines Resort! We arrived right after they had put up the bleachers for the tournament. Baby Margaret was a champion (albeit a tired one) from the long first leg of our family vacation, but we had wonderful weather and time outside to make up for it. From RVA metro it takes about 7-8 hours to get to Sea Pines (including going through the gates to actually arrive at your residence, and depending on if you pay the toll/have a pass to take the Cross Island Parkway).

While I have spent lots of time here over the years, it was M and Margaret's first visit and they both would definitely like to return. I'm assuming that for our baby girl as Margaret was smiling and loved being pushed in her stroller under the canopy of the Legacy Oaks! My gluten free picks while you are on the island? Mellow Mushroom is of course a hit if you want a reliable chain restaurant (but very popular as usual). For local eats you cannot go wrong with The Salty Dog Cafe, yummy smoothie spot Delisheeyo, Truffles Cafe, and Coast at the beautifully situated Sea Pines Beach Club. These are all restaurants "behind the gates" of The Sea Pines Resort. We were there during an unusual cool snap, so be sure to bring a cardigan and some warmer pieces to keep your "Spring Break" or family trip outfits more flexible. I was so glad I had my Lilly P long pants to grab when we headed out in the morning before it warmed up!

We know of many places to stay as well as know people who live full time or part time on the Island, but there is a big difference between Sea Pines Resort and Hilton Head Island as a whole. There is a high end resort, rentals of homes and villas and even a few AirBnbs to choose from when at Sea Pines Resort. There are many more options at all price points on Hilton Head Island as a whole. We just liked the idea of a lower traffic, more quiet private community environment on this leg of our vacation. If you are a homeowner or house hunting for a place at The Sea Pines Resort or on Hilton Head Island and are needing a property management company to keep an eye on your home when you are out of town, please contact my college classmates and business owners, The Smiths of Caretakers HHI! Their team manages homeowners residences to ensure maintenance, inspections, and care for your home is continually monitored and keep you up to date on any changes!

While we love golf, that is not a Hilton Head Island or Sea Pines Resort requirement! You can enjoy a lazy beach visit, boating, live music, historical landmarks, bike rides, horseback riding, great food and drinks, or just curling up with a good book while you get that needed Vitamin D. The entire scene is beautiful and full of activities for people of all ages. You can really enjoy yourself and set your own schedule. Seeing all the wildlife and having your camera on you helps when you go for sunset walks.
What's your favorite spot on Hilton Head Island, or in the more private paradise of The Sea Pines Resort? We cannot wait to return sometime soon so Margaret and M can make more memories with me at Sea Pines!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Baby Margaret - Three Month Update

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Ahhh there's our sweet girl. Three whole months at this point, last June 2017. Less than a year ago. It was a beautiful time of day when I took these photos. She was in a playfully mellow mood, learning to wave. The sun was filtering in so nicely through the nursery window (room has since been rearranged). So I could place her safely in her changing table for photos from time-to-time. I documented on this day how she still had this funny bald spot across the back of her head where she had been moving her head from side-to-side when looking around in her crib. Her muscular arms and back developing from tummy time, like a miniature swimmer. Her wrinkly tushy in the newborn diapers - still seeming a bit too small for the cloth diapers we had bought (now I know how to fold them down for next baby!) - and still too small for typical sized diapers of her peers... long and lean. How her onesie with her month on it was just SO big in the middle for her... incredibly baggy (made for her by one of my friend's as a shower gift - all from Carters bodysuits!). She loved looking at the shapes, animal friends, and colors on those soft muslin Aden and Anais changing pad covers (her latest fave is one with foxes on it).

I was still struggling with swaddling at this point, while Michael was a pro. I was successfully breastfeeding still, but as I noted in my previous post, had started to pump before bedtime so I could get a full night's sleep without feeling too full due to my PCOS medication. Margaret's three month 'birthday' came at an extremely hard time for me, as it was when my Grandfather, JAJ III, was finally laid to rest one year after his passing. It was just impossible to consider flying with a barely 8 week old, in Florida, in mid/late June. Just too much for me post-partum. So we didn't go, and so that month is kind-of a blur for me. I know I went to the store and bought a bunch of his favorite flowers and filled our house with them (tropical ones you'd see in FL gardens). My brother JAJ V met Margaret on his way home after the services and his subsequent road trip afterwards. I discovered the fun of Snapchat filters when used with your infant. She really enjoyed chewing on things at this point - her hand, various toys esp. this frog that came with the Infantino play mat she was given. She was a sweet doll baby one day when M and I took her with us to the Lilly Pulitzer store so I could get a couple outfits for summer.

Baby MCVA laying on a blanket someone made her, wearing a bow from my cousin's bow business, wearing my vintage Feltman Brothers gown [updated version here].

I really felt like the days were starting to melt together, especially since Michael had returned to work and Margaret and I were starting to learn what being together ALL DAY LONG was like. I got swept into Bravo and E! shows like never before - and that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I tried to get back into cooking again. But breastfeeding was a lot more time consuming than I had ever anticipated - part of that was PCOS medication but also anatomically complicated. But I need to revisit that in another post later. Anyway, I wasn't necessarily depressed (at least not yet) but I was overwhelmed but how days could run into another and I really needed to find an outlet. I think that's why blogging fell to the wayside. I didn't want to do the work at that point in time to blog, I wanted to do something quick and easy like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. Texting with friends. They were great outlets. Margaret was changing everyday and it was wild to witness the transformation. Here are some of the things that happened that month for our sweet girl:

  • She started holding her head straight up while lying on her back
  • Finally over 2 feet "tall" aka 60+ cm long
  • Napping 1-2 times a day. But not really. Little cat naps throughout the day on and off. Not a reliable set napper unless she is in her Rock N Play.
  • Can hold her bottle up some when she has it if she isn't too sleepy!
  • Enjoys peek-a-boo!
  • Chewing on all kinds of things!
  • Sleeping 10+ hours a night, sometimes 12 hrs with maybe a brief milk top off moment that makes her go right back to sleep. Surprisingly not leaking a lot, rarely ever spitting up.
  • Rolls all the way around.
  • Grabbed my phone and made her first accidental selfie - put my phone away more often after that - terrified me how easy it was for her to figure out!
  • Opens and closes her fists.
  • Grasps and shakes her toys.
  • Loves spotting things from a distance (like Dada coming in the door after work) and imitating expressions/sounds/movements/arm gestures.
  • One of my favorite things is hearing her amuse herself in her crib with new sounds and noises first thing in the morning or when she wakes up from a nap.
  • Spots and fixates on small objects.
  • She had her first laugh! Which for her is more of a high sweeping sound and a giggle than other kids who have a haha or hee hee laugh. Very cute.
  • Pushed herself up onto her elbows while lying on her stomach.
  • Rolled from front to back.
  • Reached to grab her toy from Dada, Mama, and her grandparents.