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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Baby Margaret - Eight Month Update

Margaret at eight months, taken on November 22, 2017
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We started the month by celebrating Halloween with our sweet little girl, her first outside the womb, and since she is too small for trick-or-treating we had fun dolling her up in this sweet Halloween outfit:

Her outfit was from Toys R Us, RIP, but below is a similar outfit from Carter's!

Fall was an incredibly busy time for our family! M, MCVA and I headed down to Charlotte for a long weekend with family - my Aunt - and it was our longest drive with our baby girl. Even though we live in central Virginia, driving to South Park/CLT took longer than driving to the Outer Banks! So it was an okay drive but Margaret was not enjoying it very much and cried a good bit. We decided on the way back that Michael would sit with her in the back instead of sitting up front with me to see if that would help her feel less alone. Outside of Denton and Lexington, NC we saw the most incredible sunset. It was a bright red-orange sky as we drove around the lakes and it was incredible. We arrived in CLT at around 7:30 so MCVA basically went right to bed after that! The next day we took her around South Park Mall which was perfect for her stroller. It was ideal to get some window-shopping done for the holidays that were barely over a month away, and visited Melissa at Neiman Marcus to get some home decor and gift ideas set aside. We made my Aunt a family favorite recipe (Chicken in the Chips) as she worked that day, and then had really nice family visiting time the remainder of the day. The next day I took M and MCVA to see old family sites - from our Jones Construction Co. days - as well as the family plot at Elmwood Cemetery (My Grandpapa's Father's family).

She had a baby tooth - we think at this point - it did not break through but her drool and chewing at this month was on another level. My Aunt has two children, so she along with my parents helped us see that the new tooth coming in was a great thing and explained so many of her symptoms (attitude change, change in diaper output, feeding patterns, etc.). On this visit she also crawled successfully for the first time across a carpet which was such a thrill!

MCVA and our Aunt M, my Dad's only sibling, in CLT
My Aunt took me to see the Carolina Panthers play the Miami Dolphins - a newer tradition we enjoy together in Charlotte! After a couple more days in CLT we ended up heading back home with a detour to the Hubbard family plot at Greenview Cemetery in Reidsville, NC (my Grandpapa's Mother's Family). We then started that organizing-at-home preparing for the pending holiday whirlwind heading towards Thanksgiving!

Margaret is looking at me thinking, 'oh jeez, we have to hit the road AGAIN??' But sitting up so well!
Outside of one of my oldest friends (MVCL & DL) wedding and this road trip to CLT, it was a pretty quiet month developments-wise. We experimented more with solids - cantaloupe and blueberry compotes from the freezer, fresh zucchini, squash and pumpkin purees with some spices to add to her flavor introductions. We joined the Publix Baby Club at this point, as a series of Publix stores had started to open in the Richmond area at this time. If you haven't joined it - join if they have opened it up to more members! It's wonderful to get some great advice and tips from Publix - plus super applicable and helpful coupons and information (such as this one from their March 2017 mailing).
Margaret was still breastfeeding really well at this point, as well as taking a bottle before bed regularly. I still tried to pump 1-2 times a day, and we had a pretty OK backup supply in the freezer, but not enough where I could donate to friends or strangers (which I HATED, bc that made me feel really good about myself to share milk with others). So my supply had learned to self-regulate a bit, and that was making more of a normal supply mom instead of an oversupply Mom. There weren't any pediatrician visits or anything like that during this month, so I'll end this post here!

See you in the next post! (Parents got this onesie in Quebec but here's likely the same thing on Amazon).
What have you learned or what did you experience when your baby turned eight months old? Cannot believe she was 8 months old here... 4 months until she is a year old, eek!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Baby Margaret - Seven Month Update

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I feel like she is just so joyful and ready to leap off the page here! All legs still, sweet girl. Laying on a Aden + Anais muslin swaddle blanket (similar here and here).
With Fall in full swing, we had a busy agenda for several weeks as we approached our fifth wedding anniversary on October 13, 2017. One of the first weekends in about a month we headed to my hometown of Lexington to visit family. We needed to have Miss MCVA try on the family christening gown. We call it a christening gown as it comes from our French Creole & Acadian leg of the family so it was used for both christenings and baptisms in its lifetime.

My Grandmama and MCVA. Similar gown pattern here.

My Grandmama had it ready for us to try on MCVA. It fit loosely which is wonderful as it has typically been sized to a 3-4 month old and she wouldn't wear it in church until she was nine months old! It has a pretty simple slip and then a gown that is more like a jacket over it. I wonder if it had a hat that went with it 5+ generations ago?
We approximate the gown as being from 1900 when my great-great Grandmother Agnes Diard Styles was born, but possibly as early as pre-Civil War when my 3x great-grandmother Cecilia Victoria Diard was born in 1846.

Anyway, as you can see, the lace is something else. The family story is that some group from Acadia such as women in a convent made the lace as Ursuline nuns, who brought it or sent it down to New Orleans where so much of my family was from (where there was/is an Ursuline presence as well). That is why it had maple leaves on it. They are known for their needlework and embroidery. It was a delight that my daughter fit in it!

Can you see the relief in my face?? Margaret didn't seem to mind being in such a special dress at all!

MCVA's cactus dress was by The Childrens Place. Here it is on ebaY.
Margaret also got to meet one of her great Aunt and great Uncle who were visiting from Sarasota, so that was an added bonus to our visit to my hometown for the weekend. She really loved Auntie G's jewelry (surprise, surprise).
Margaret similar Carter's onesie here and here. They wash so beautifully and are perfect not only for sleep but also for cool mornings and evenings inside! Maurice the sock monkey is from a shop no longer in business in Lex and the closest I could find that was similar was only 20" tall. Isn't he handsome? Perfect little friend!
My Mom purchased this MASSIVE monkey "Maurice" to share with Margaret on her visits to Bubba and Susu's house. They got along fabulously from the first introductions!
The quilt here was handmade by one of my boarding school professors, so it's one of a kind, sorry y'all!
When we returned home we were able to also enjoy several local, but annually-held outings in the Charlottesville and Richmond areas. It's one of our favorite features for living in a rural area between both metropolitan cities. We can enjoy all of them if they suit our schedule without it being a huge driving haul with the baby. One event is the Fall Fiber Festival, which is held on the property adjacent to Montpelier, the former residence of President James Madison and his wife Dolley Payne Madison (she and I are cousins!). It was later a private home owned by the DuPont family and then was turned over (appropriately) as a museum.
Margaret's green bow here and pumpkin smocked bishop dress similar here. Lamb squeeze toy I cannot locate anything similar (so sorry as she loves it!!).

The Festival shows sheep shearing demonstrations, people working with wool "fall fiber" on looms and selling their wares, and dog herding competitions. Margaret loved seeing the sheep and dogs!

Better shot of that sweet green hair bow.
We had a great time celebrating our little cousin M's birthday in early October as well! She had lots of friends over but little Margaret was the smallest of the bunch. She was shared with everyone who wanted to hold and touch the baby 😍

Bubble is by Rosalina Baby and sold here. It has elephants smocked on it (Roll Tide!). Bow by The Bow Fairy of RVA.
We also were able to enjoy the Goochland Oktoberfest at the Benedictine Abbey just off the James River. It's a beautiful spot with open spaces for people to have community events and it was a gorgeous day outside. M and I don't drink beer and we still had a wonderful time! Little M charmed the pants off of everyone.
Similar plaid piece (on sale!). Bunny sold here.
There was amazing music and good company. There were local merchants selling stuff and they weren't annoying chain brands being generic, it was actual local vendors which was a delight. They were so friendly.

Introducing more frequent solids to her during this seventh month meant we finally had some of those gross and awe-inspiring poops people talk about. Everything about that got more interesting for us, including some messy experiences on these day trips. Thank goodness for wipes and alternative changes of clothing. A cute diaper cover had to be double bagged until we got home on the Dog Trials day as she really knocked our socks off with something gross that day! Amazing what can come out of a little person. Sorry for the 💩rant.

Milestones reached in the seventh month:
  • Can self-feed some finger foods (soft carrots, "puffs", cheese, peas are some favorites!)
  • Sits unsupported
  • Picks up tiny objects (the single dog hair, a small piece of lint, a single crumb, etc).
  • Stands holding on to someone/something
  • Scooting
  • Still hates oatmeal and baby cereal by itself
  • Finally said Dada! So Mama and Dada both feel special. 
  • Waves bye
  • Lets objects go
So, really great moments happened for us in the seventh month! Next up, 8 month update.

Thanks for reading! (Similar swaddle blanket here

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Baby Margaret - Six Month Update

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By the time our sweet baby girl turned six months old, we had the travel-and-outings-with-baby routine down.

During that sixth month we did our first long vacation with my family...

Similar swimsuit here and here. the Outer Banks which you all know is almost a second home for us...

Sunglasses here and here, sunsuit similar here.

...especially in the early Fall when most people are back at school!

My swimsuit by La Blanca is still sold here and here (it is not a maternity suit). Margaret's swimsuit (it has full sleeves and SPF protection rash guard-style with zipper at back and snaps at bottom) still sold here.
Of course that sweet bonnet from The Tipsy Bunny came in handy once again as we spent a lot of time poolside! We wanted to familiarize Margaret with the feel of pool water as we had enrolled her in a swim class to start not long after we returned from the beach (this was mid-September). My family are water people - I was called "Water Baby" by my parents and we wanted to do all we could to diminish any fear and anxiety for her around water! 

How can you not love that sweet face?! Cardigan (similar) and dress with bloomers set (similar). Changing pad cover: aden + anais muslin.
Not long after we returned from the beach I got to take Margaret into town to meet my cousin B and his longtime GF A. It was gradually becoming Fall so she needed that sweet cardigan with her outfit. That said, it was warm enough to diaper change her on the tailgate before we went in to lunch. They loved meeting Margaret and it was a nice lunch even if Margaret was going through a growth spurt and went through all of her food I had brought with us... I ended up giving her bites of my sweet potato tots to keep her full!

The next weekend was a beautiful day. The humidity of summer had left central Virginia, so our family of 3 (puppy dog safely at home) went out to enjoy some trails in our county and do some light "hiking" with Margaret in her stroller! We were going on a trail that had some high grasses (natural rain garden on the flood plain along the James River) so we wanted to avoid mosquito bites on our cutie. Thankfully she didn't mind the filtered view of this stroller mosquito netting we had bought prior to the beach trip at all as you can see here. I highly recommend any parent or friend of parents to get this kind of item as its an inexpensive add on gift for a baby:

Our little ham loves to put her feet up whenever she can - she has been all legs since she was born!
MCVA's growth and development stages were big here at HALF a year old already. We had a big Pediatrician appointment on this month visit which were as follows:
  • 13 pounds, 4 oz; 5.5%ile
  • 27" long; 89%tile
  • 16.5" head circumference; 40%ile
  • More foods can be introduced:
    • 2 handle cups of unlimited H2O
    • low sugar anything possible
    • 5.5 - 6 oz breastmilk per feeding goals
    • 2 solid meals a day
    • Stage 2 foods good to start
    • Whole milk yogurt, cottage cheese (we love YoBaby yogurt by Stonyfield Organics)
    • Meats - introduce a variety at 7 months with a tablespoon or so
    • Flouride supplement MWF (we live in rural area with well water so this is to protect her enamel as M and I did not get this growing up and had sensitive teeth issues!)
    • Start babyproofing with cabinets/cords/hearths/stairs/etc.
So as you can see, that was a LOT to take in on that day with the Pediatrician. Now for her personal development that I tracked on Ovia Parenting were as follows:
  • Experiments with cause and effect and tests gravity by dropping objects (she loves to take something, put it back; take something, put it back. Or drop something and try to retrieve it).
  • Use hands in raking fashion for toys. This works out well on our carpet and hardwood although it is at this point that we realize our dog hair really is a problem around the house!
  • She finally doubled her birth weight at 6 months, which is a huge stage for a baby. It took much longer than we had hoped but so pleased and her output had continued to be really healthy.
  • Made her first friend when we did more socializing with family. She adores her older toddler cousin M, who is the daughter of my first cousin L!
  • She was able to drink from a cup with help pretty much right away. She picked it up within one evening which was great as it was one less thing we had to guide her with (and meant we could eat dinner at the same time in an easier fashion!). She loves using her cup. She loves these cups in particular. To be able to move from bottle nipple to sippy we got the Philips Avent cups and she loves to talk to her friends on these cups - esp the penguin - during her entire meal. Sometimes she would be upset when they would get put away for the night, haha! 
  • Can tell emotions of person or thing by tone of voice. I think this came about when we started reading to her more and more frequently throughout the day, as well as visiting all kinds of different family members. Sometimes we let her watch a clip of Sesame Street or Daniel Tiger which may also have helped her figure this out.
  • Has different reactions for different family members. She would sometimes see my Mom but not see my Dad one or two times in a month and that would make a big difference for her on how she would react when she saw them.
  • Shows anxiety when removed from parent. This really has only happened one or two times when at home. It's more when we are out in town or at a social event that it even pops up.
  • Reaches for toys - including her mobile which we had to raise up higher so she wouldn't try to grab it!
  • Transfers objects from hand to hand - whether a toy or book, food item or washcloth - fun to see her trying to figure this action out.
  • Her first word was something we had thought we had heard but waited until the rest of family heard it while we were at the Banks to confirm it - her first word was Mama! And Mike was such a sweet husband by saying it to her all the time. We would try to call each other Mama and Dada when around her to build up the association. That seemed to do the trick. Her first word came in mid-September but while at the beach she said it all the time. Then came the fun of working on Dada and trying other words and also THINKING we heard other words (my Mom is bad about that, haha!!).

She really is so photogenic - but knowing where to find lighting and a great lens also helps document her at these stages. Try to take some time each month to take quality photos of your baby. It'll be so special to have later on!

We celebrated her turning 6 months on September 22, 2017. My goal is to use this holiday long weekend to catch up and have her all caught up before June 1 (so a week from today). Then I can print them all out to put in a book for her (always nice to have a backup). On Monday we may go to the Virginia Historical Society's Virginia Museum of History and Culture who will be appropriately commemorating World War I here in RVA. What events do you have planned for the holiday long weekend?

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).