Friday Favorites!

It’s been so long since I’ve had a chance to do one of these posts that I’m excited to get back into the groove again.

(1) Did you catch our exciting announcement from last week? Click here to read all about it! I also plan on sharing the remaining photos from our sunflower session soon.

(2) I know that not everyone enjoys soup this time of year, but this recipe has become a favorite of ours. My office is always freezing so I love packing it for lunch and it tastes even better the next day! Not to mention, a one-pot meal that can be made in less than 30 minutes is always a win in my book.

 (3) Speaking of easy meals…I’d love to get some advice on your favorite toddler meals!  The other night I put Penelope’s entire dinner on toothpicks (turkey, cheese and edamame) and she gobbled the entire thing up. I’d be lying if I didn’t feel victorious as I’d been trying to get her to eat turkey for a week with no success. So presentation is everything apparently! How do you spruce up your kids’ meals? Also – I’m thinking about moving her from her high chair to a booster seat at our kitchen table. She doesn’t seem to be loving the high chair right now; maybe one of these cute placemats will make eating more fun?

(4) The hubby and I recently started watching The Keepers on Netflix; we were drawn to it because we love a good murder mystery (and we’ve been hooked on the podcast Up & Vanished). This is definitely  not your everyday murder mystery; the murder is just the tip of the iceberg and this series goes much deeper than that. The content is heavy. I’m not really sure how else to describe it, but Netflix has done it again with their docuseries; we’re hooked.

(5) Miss P and I had a mommy/daughter day last weekend so I took her to her first toddler gym class and we had such a great time! She loved it. We we were both having so much fun that I only had time to capture this one sweet photo of her. I think we’ll definitely be enrolling her for future classes but probably not until the winter months when the weather’s cooler and we can’t spend as much time outside.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Baby number two is on the way!

We have some exciting news to share…

We are expecting our second baby in December! I thought I would take this opportunity to share a few details about the pregnancy so far.

How did you find out you were pregnant? 

One Friday night in mid-April I started experiencing severe cramps. It was much worse than I ever experience during my typical cycle and it reminded me of the back labor I experienced when I was having Penelope. I worried that it might be the start of a miscarriage, but never experienced any bleeding. Randy thought I should call my OB, but I decided to wait until the morning to see how I felt. I eventually went to sleep and woke up early the next morning and the cramping was gone but I still felt “off.” Randy still thought I should call the OB, but I told him not until I took a pregnancy test. Unfortunately we didn’t have any in the house so he had to run out at 7:30 on a Saturday morning and buy one for me. Poor guy! Within seconds of peeing on the stick I saw the positive line!  Yay! Another baby!

How far along are you? And when is your due date?

I’m 22 weeks; over half-way there! We are due December 11.

How have you been feeling? 

I’ve been feeling good! Much like my first pregnancy I was extremely nauseous and definitely experienced morning sickness. I did take some anti-nausea medicine but not for long because it really didn’t work this time around. Once that finally ended around week 17, I started feeling like myself again. I still don’t have as much energy as I would like, but it’s definitely improved since the first trimester.

How has this pregnancy been different from your first?

There have been a lot of similarities so far; the morning sickness, the nausea, the heartburn all of which I experienced pretty badly with Penelope. This time around the morning sickness wasn’t quite as bad, but I’ve been much more fatigued. I didn’t have a toddler to chase around my first pregnancy either so I’m sure that has something to do with it. 🙂  Now that I’m well into my second trimester, I’m feeling pretty good! I’ve got some of my energy back and only occasionally get sick or feel nauseous. I do keep Tums with me everywhere I go because of my heartburn but other than that, I have no complaints!

Have you been craving any crazy foods?

No! This has been one of the biggest differences so far. I had such strong cravings with Penelope (fruit – especially strawberries and watermelon, ice cold milk, Asian food), but not this time around. In fact, I’ve been gravitating towards really plain foods and carbs. I feel like I ate so much healthier with my first pregnancy, but food is  still very “meh” to me.

How does Penelope feel about a little brother or sister?

At 23 months, she still doesn’t completely understand what’s going on, but we do talk frequently about the baby in mama’s belly and she’s been gradually more curious about that. We frequently ask her if she wants a baby brother or baby sister and she says brother! She loves babies right now  so I’m looking forward to seeing her interact with our little one later this year. Her teacher told me the other day that she was referring to herself as “big sister” which warmed my heart!

Will you find out the gender of this baby?

Yes! We didn’t with our first and the surprise was one of the best things we’ve ever experienced. But this time around, I’d like to feel a little more prepared. We plan on doing a small gender reveal with our family when they come to visit in August for Penelope’s birthday.

We are so excited for this journey and all that we have to look forward to later this year!

Summer Fun – 2017

It’s so hard to believe it’s already August. My heart has been so full this summer as we’ve had countless adventures, trips and fun times with family and friends. I thought I’d share a little bit about what we’eve been up to. I’m giving you fair warning…this post is a long one. 🙂

We kicked off Memorial Day weekend with a birthday party, a cookout in our backyard and lots of time splashing around the pool with friends.

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Remember my post back in January that hinted to some changes coming to our family this year? We were so happy this spring when Randy accepted a new job offer! This has been a long-time coming and something we’ve been praying about constantly. We we so grateful when the right job came open at just the right time. We took a leap of faith after him being at his previous company for over 7 years; change can be scary, but it’s been so worth it!

The hubby took some well-deserved time off in between both jobs and was nice enough to tackle a couple of home projects that have been on our list for years. The bushes in our front yard were overgrown and completely overpowering the house so those had to go. As it turns out, removing 20-year old bushes is a lot tougher than we thought so this took quite a bit of time, but the end result was worth it! This is how it looked before…

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He then planted some new (smaller) bushes and a bunch of flowers. Once those were in, we spruced up our front porch a bit, too. We took down our porch swing and replaced it with rocking chairs, added a cute outdoor rug and some accessories which made the space feel welcoming and comfortable. We already use this porch way more than we used to!

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He also used this time off to go on a youth mission trip with our church and for our mini-vacation to Asheville at the beginning of June.

Miss Penelope started swim lessons for the first time this summer…

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We had a visit from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kara.

karaAfter that we had a VERY special visit from my sister, Ally and her fiance Casey! Penelope talks about Ally & Casey constantly; and she can’t mention one without the other which makes my heart burst. We had such a great time while they visited.

We took trips to the park.

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And Casey taught Penelope how to catch raindrops on her tongue.

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We played in the backyard.

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We visited the local petting zoo to pet and feed the animals.

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And we even managed to sneak away to one of our favorite restaurants in Durham for a kid-free night out!

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The family fun continued the following weekend as Penelope and I hopped on a plane to visit my parents in Ohio for the July 4th holiday. Since Randy had just started his job, taking time off wasn’t in the cards for him so we decided to go solo. We typically drive to Ohio but since it was just the two of us (and she’s under 2 so we didn’t have to buy her a ticket…) I took her on her first flight. She rocked it!

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Penelope loved running wild in my parent’s house chasing their dog Nike and exploring every room, closet and cabinet door she could open.

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We visited the Columbus Zoo (which is amazing!!).

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And we visited the local splash pad.

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Needless to say, Penelope had a blast being spoiled by her grandma and grandpa!

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We started a new tradition in our house called “Papa & Penelope Saturdays.” With Randy’s new job, he doesn’t get to see Penelope as much during the week (he leaves right after she wakes up and gets home a little later now) so some Saturday mornings he takes P out for a fun activity! Sometimes it’s breakfast and playtime at Chick-fil-A, sometimes it’s a trip to the trampoline park or a trip to the museum. No matter what, they always have a great time and I get a few minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee while watching my favorite cooking shows. Everyone wins!

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As you can see, it’s been a fun-filled summer! As we wrap up the next few weeks we look forward to more splashes at the pool, lots more family time and celebrating Miss P’s second birthday. I hope your summer has been as great as ours!

Asheville Trip – 2017

Since we hit up the beach for a few days last summer, this year we decided to spend a few days in the mountains. While I certainly enjoy the beach, I really love the mountains.

We typically prefer to rent a condo or Air B&B when we travel with Penelope, but this time we decided to splurge and use our credit card points to stay at the Grove Park Inn. I am happy to say we had wonderful experience and couldn’t have been happier with our stay. And I have to give them a special shout-out because they were very accommodating to families with kids.

We left Raleigh at about 9 on Sunday morning and got to the Grove Park around 1:30 that afternoon. Penelope had taken a short cat nap in the car, but was still tired after we arrived so we got her down for a nap while we unpacked, ordered a late lunch from room service and relaxed for a few minutes at the hotel.

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Then we spent a few minutes exploring the property and commenting on how gorgeous the views were.

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There were a few local breweries the hubby wanted to try while we were there so went downtown to Lexington Avenue Brewery so he could try a few beers and sampled some of their delicious appetizers.

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Then we headed back to the hotel to explore more of the property before putting Penelope down for bed that night. Lucky for us, our room was located directly above a beautiful patio so Randy and I were able to head down there for a few minutes to enjoy a small dinner and still keep an eye on P through our baby monitor! Parenting win!

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The weather forecast for Monday wasn’t great so we knew to expect some rain. We decided to get an early start with coffee and breakfast at High Five Coffee Bar and walk around downtown while the weather held off. We went into a few shops and bought some gifts at the Mast General Store before heading back to the hotel for my much-anticipated spa appointment.

When we booked our stay at the Grove Park, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take advantage of their award-winning spa. I got a massage and took advantage of their pools; such a treat!

That afternoon we headed to the Pinball Museum; this was on the hubby’s Asheville bucket list and since he was kind enough to let me spend a few hours at the spa, I indulged him with this. (Pardon the bad photos but it was really dark inside.)

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For dinner that night, we headed to 12 Bones Smokehouse after hearing rave-reviews. It was so delicious and our favorite meal of the trip! I’m still dreaming about those ribs…

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Tuesday morning we all slept in a bit, got our breakfasts to-go and headed straight to the Western North Carolina Nature Center. We loved the nature center and seeing all the different animals. The bears were our favorite! The center was really nice – not too big and not too small;  there were lots of mini-play areas throughout to keep toddlers entertained and moving around. We were there for about 1.5-2 hours and it was the perfect amount of time.

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After naps and a little relaxing that afternoon, we headed to my husband’s favorite part of the trip, Highland Brewing Company. He took a tour while Penelope and I played outside. I am happy to say that one of the things I love about Asheville is how kid-friendly it is, especially the breweries! Penelope was entertained the entire time by playing with the other kiddos. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.

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By that evening Miss Penelope was pooped so we got some dinner in her belly and put her straight to bed while the two of us enjoyed another mini-date out on the patio. While the hotel was lovely and we enjoyed our stay thoroughly, my one complaint is that the food on-site was just so-so. I guess you can’t be good at everything, right? Regardless, we enjoyed the time together and the beautiful views.

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On Wednesday, we got up early, checked out of the hotel and headed straight for coffee and a delicious breakfast at Liberty House Coffee & Cafe (my favorite breakfast spot of the trip.) It was the most beautiful day so we took advantage and headed straight for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We drove for about 45 minutes and got to Craggy Pinnacle where we hiked a short .7 miles to reach the top. I hate that these pictures don’t do it justice but the views were truly breathtaking.

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Then we drove a little further down the Parkway and passed the signs for Mount Mitchell and figured – why not? So we drove as far up as we could and then took the paved trail up to the top. It was much more crowded so it was tough to take any decent photos, but once again, we were blown away from the beautiful views and so glad we stopped! It’s hard to believe we were at the highest elevation point east of the Mississippi!

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After our detours, it was early afternoon and we were all hungry and tired so we grabbed a quick lunch and headed home. Penelope slept for the majority of the ride home (in fact, we had to wake her up!) so I think that was a good sign of a successful trip. 🙂

Spending a few days in Asheville was the perfect way to start our summer and we all look forward to our next family adventure!

20 Months with Penelope Marie

It’s been so long since I’ve done a Penelope update! I recently realized that the last one I published was from when she was 10 months old…a lot has changed since then!

Dear Penelope,

Around 14-15 months we noticed a big change in you. You went from being a ‘baby’ in our eyes to a real toddler. You took your first steps on Thanksgiving Day, but preferred cruising and crawling for about another month. By Christmas you were taking more steps at a time and within days after that, you were on the GO. There is no slowing down for you, little girl. You are on the move all the time and you love to keep us on our toes, too! Walking has certainly been a game-changer. We have done lots more baby-proofing to the house although you hate it when you can’t get somewhere (like up the stairs). Walking also means you get to chase Chloe around the house; she acts like she hates, but I think she secretly loves it. She has learned to be very gentle around you (even though you accidentally get a little rough with her). You two even play together sometimes.

We have seen your little personality start to shine through more and more. You are very outgoing and personable like your dad, but we knew that already. You never shy away from other kids (or adults for that matter) and love to be included in what’s going on around you. You love to be outside! Whether it’s taking a walk, blowing bubbles in our backyard or a trip to the park, you love exploring the great outdoors. We are so thankful that the weather here in North Carolina is pretty mild and allows us to be outside a lot!

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Your eating has improved remarkably over the last several months. We saw a feeding specialist 1-2 times a week for 9 months and just recently had our last visit. I’m going to be honest and say this journey has been tough. We started you with a feeding specialist and then their practice closed abruptly leaving us without therapy for you. We had to scramble to find a new practice (and a therapist who specialized in infant/toddler feeding) which was a feat. Thankfully through recommendations from friends and friends-of-friends we found a wonderful practice and therapist (Ms. Shannon) who we will probably never forget. She was amazing with you! This practice was located 30 minutes away (in the opposite direction of where we live/work), but that’s the price you pay for the best treatment. Every bit of time and energy was worth it though because you have come so far in your eating!

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We no longer depend on food packs and purees anymore which is huge! You still seem to love milk a little more than food, but that is slowly changing as well. Your favorite table foods are: green peas, pancakes, hummus, cheese and “treats” (i.e. chocolate chips or mini M&Ms). You are still not all that wild about fruit and meat, but we’re working on that. Breakfast is your favorite meal of the day. We’ve been out to breakfast a few times recently and you always eat so well! You love bacon (your papa is so proud), eggs and all the other yummy breakfast fixin’s we get when we go out. We are still working on some behavioral eating habits (you often throw food you don’t want to eat), and you still get stubborn sometimes and spit food out even when we know you like it. Trying to feed you when you’re especially tired is really tough – you’d rather just drink a glass of milk and be done with it. We’ve been able to work through all this though and have seen enough improvement in your weight that we haven’t had to take you back for weight checks!

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You stayed on a bottle much longer than we would have preferred but at 18 months we were finally able to transition you to a sippy cup. The sippy cup is one with a silicone spout, but at least it’s not a bottle; we are still a work in progress. 🙂

You went through another big transition over these last few months – we moved you to a full-time daycare! Our beloved Ms. Merritt  ended up going back into the workforce so we found an amazing facility very close to our house that came highly recommended. We have loved it so far! Your teachers are amazing and we’ve been so impressed with the staff there. We’ve seen remarkable progress in your language and motor skills and we know you have a blast there every day! It’s so sweet to walk into your classroom and see you having fun with your friends. They all call you “P” or “ell-o-pe” which is so darn cute. We’ve also noticed further improvement in your eating now that you sit with a bunch of other kids during snacks/lunch time. Overall, you’re doing so well and we’ve loved watching you grow! The only downfall is that by 5:30 you are exhausted which makes dinner interesting. But with time, that will get easier. We still miss Merritt and her family dearly, but thankfully they live down the street so we still see them often.

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You love to talk and sing – especially Twinkle Twinkle Little Star which is your favorite song (second place goes to the Itsy Bitsy Spider). You now know the names to lots of animals (you are partial to doggies, kittens and bunnies) and a lot of your body parts. You love lifting up your shirt and showing us your belly. You aren’t using full sentences yet, but we’re definitely getting there. You are saying short phrases like “more cheese” or “all done,” “let’s go” and “night night mama.” You love Mickey Mouse and baby dolls. You especially seem to love putting your babies to bed. You cover them with a blanket, put them on their bellies, pat their backs and say “night night babies.” It’s so sweet!

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More than anything (or anyone) else though, you love your special bear. Bear goes everywhere you go. We try not to take him out of the house because we’re so afraid of losing him (this particular bear is discontinued). If he needs to be washed (and he does..often) it usually involves us sneaking into your room at night like a ninja and stealing him from your crib. However, that only works when you’re not gripping onto him for dear life which you usually are. You like to put your shoes on bear, you feed him your food, you put him to bed and give him rides in your mini-stroller. You are truly the best “mama” to your bear and it’s the cutest thing!

We love you to the moon and back and are looking forward to spending this summer with our favorite toddler! We have lots planned including swimming lessons, birthday parties, trips to the museums and visits with family. We can’t wait!

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My word for 2017

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I love the idea of choosing a specific word to focus on in the new year. This ‘word’ can be anything; it’s an opportunity for you to focus on yourself in a deeper, more spiritual way. It serves as a guide or a gentle reminder.

A couple years ago I chose the word ‘commitment’. It wasn’t long after my husband and I got married so it was very fitting; but there were also other things we wanted to commit to – primarily focusing on finding a church home. My husband and I prayed about this and sure enough, the Lord directed us to the church we are still attending today. What a gift!

I’ve been thinking  about what my word would be for this year and I have finally decided on ‘content’.  I think there will be some changes coming to our family in 2017 that will require us to make some changes to our lifestyle. Please understand that we are all happy and healthy and these changes will be good! I think there will just be some periods of adjustment for us. I am also going on record to say that this is not a pregnancy announcement nor do we have plans of making one anytime soon. 🙂

I sometimes find myself in a very dangerous comparison game. This has always been my Achilles heel and it’s something I’ve vow to work on this year. I need to feel content with the blessings I already have.

It took me only a second to find some encouraging words from scripture about being content:

Matthew 6:25-26

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Philippians 4:12-13

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Timothy 6:6-7

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

Luke 12:15

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

Pretty powerful, no? What would be your word for 2017?

Penelope Marie -10 Months

Dear Penelope,

You are 10 months old and summer is in full swing!

It was another busy month especially for this working mama. I haven’t talked much about balancing work and being a mom – mainly because I still haven’t figured it out. And I probably never will, but that’s okay. There is no question that the balance is tricky and the month in June is my most challenging when it comes to work. I plan a huge annual meeting for my Firm and it requires long hours and being away from home for a few days. This month I spent my first ever night away from you. It was tough, but thankfully I wasn’t far and you even came by for a quick visit! Your dad did a wonderful job and didn’t miss a beat.

You went on your first official boat ride! Your godparents Stephen and MG have a boat and invited us for the day. We had a great time and you enjoyed the ride and swimming in the lake!

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Once my big meeting was over, things got so much less hectic and we were able to enjoy our time together more. We went to the pool, spent time with our friends and had lots of family time.

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I can’t even tell you how much I have enjoyed seeing your little personality develop. You have never met a stranger and you make friends wherever you go. You are so outgoing just like your father is and you love being the center of attention. You make us laugh all the time with your funny faces and noises. You talk like crazy! You can say a few words (mama, papa ,dog) but mostly you babble in your own little language and it’s adorable.

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You are crawling around like crazy. You still prefer the army crawl over crawling on your hands and knees. You have even attempted pulling yourself up a little! I think we may need to lower your crib here soon. 🙂

Unfortunately, we have not seen enough improvement in your eating so we called your pediatrician and got a recommendation for a feeding specialist. This has been our toughest challenge with you, by far. You won’t take purees (you often gag and throw up) so we were feeding you primarily soft solids. You threw up after we fed you some soft solids one day and we realized that you aren’t chewing your food at all; you’ve just been swallowing everything whole which was a terrifying realization. So we pray that the specialist will be able to give us the help we need. Your first birthday is quickly approaching and in my head I keep hearing “food is fun until you’re one.” This scares me so much as your primary source of food is still my milk and I’m not sure that is going to change anytime soon. We are anxiously awaiting our appointment.

Although eating has been a challenge, sleeping has not! You are a champ when it comes to sleeping. You take 2 naps during the day – usually around 8:30 and then again around 1:30 and  you sleep between 1-2 hours for each nap. You typically go to bed between 6:30 and 7 and stay asleep until about 6:30 the next morning!

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Thank you for being such a sweet joy and a bright spot in our lives. We love you more than you could ever know!

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Penelope Marie – 9 months old

Dear Penelope,

You are 9 months old! We are getting closer and closer to your first birthday and I’m feeling so conflicted about it. I love watching you grow and change, but hate how quickly it’s going by. I never thought I would say this, but sometimes I miss those newborn days! And then I remember how much sleep I wasn’t getting and it brings me back to reality. 🙂

Summer is in full swing so we’ve been busy going to the pool, birthday parties and being outside. I think the days that we spend resting at the house you get a little bored – you’d rather be doing/seeing things! So even if it’s a quick trip to the grocery store or a walk around the block, we try and take you everywhere we go.

There was a time when taking you out was a little tricky – with naps, feedings, etc. it was tough and unpredictable, but that’s getting easier now. While we still work around naps/feedings, we can be a little more flexible which has been wonderful. We can take you to restaurants now and you sit in the high chair eating puffs and watch everyone around you.

This was  a big month for you. First, we traveled to Ohio to see your Uncle Casey graduate with his master’s degree! When he walked across the stage we held you up and screamed “way to go, Uncle Casey!” You stayed to see Uncle Casey walk across stage and then your dad took you home for the night. The next day we celebrated him at his graduation party!

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You did surprisingly well on your trip, but I think we may give flying a try next time. Eight or nine hours in a car with you at this stage is tricky. Understandably you get bored and want to move around and with all the stops we have to make it stretches the trip out longer.

The weekend after his graduation, your grandparents and auntie and uncle came to Raleigh for your baptism. What a treat to see everyone two weekends in a row! Your great-grandmother Omi also flew into town and your great-grandma Mildred and great aunt Michelle came also! It’s not very often we get both sides of our families together so it’s always special when we do. You handled the baptism beautifully and I think you loved all the attention you were getting. 🙂

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You are so fortunate to have such loving Godparents, grandparents and friends in your life! You wore the gown that both my sister and I wore at our baptisms; I can’t wait to continue using this family heirloom of ours. After the ceremony we had everyone over at our house for lunch. We had bar-b-que catered from our favorite place (Johnson Family BBQ, if you’re local) and kept it very casual and simple. It was sunny and warm (but not too hot) and the perfect day.

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We celebrated Memorial weekend with your first trip to the pool. No surprise here, but we’ve got a little fishy on our hands and you loved the water! We can’t wait to take you again! We also learned that an hour or two a the pool makes for a really great nap, too. 🙂

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At your 9-month check-up you weighed 15 lbs 14 oz (5th percentile)

Your were 27 inches tall (22nd percentile)

And your head circumference was 17 inches (32nd percentile)

We talked to the pediatrician about your eating and decided that if we didn’t see enough improvement by the time you were 10 months old then we would consider seeing a food specialist. You’re just a little behind for your age and although we have seen some improvement over the last couple of months, you still aren’t eating solids as much as we’d like you to. So your Papa and I are going to be very strict about feeding you at least twice a day (preferably 3 times) and will also incorporate solids into our morning routine when you’re most happy and rested.

You starting crawling at the beginning of the month! We knew this was coming as you’d get on your belly and wiggle like crazy without going anywhere, but now you’ve mastered an army crawl! And we’ve seen you pop up onto your hands/knees a handful of times so it’s only a matter a time before you get going full-speed ahead! We’ve got some baby-proofing to do that’s for sure.

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This month was unusually busy, but also super special! Thank you for another wonderful month, Miss P. We can’t wait to experience the rest of the summer with you!

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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.

8 months

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.

mama

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.

smiling

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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durham bulls

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

swings IMG_3180

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!

Penelope Sofa

Penelope Rug

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.

Belly 1

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!

teeth

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.

Tongue Out

Swings 1

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.

Elmo

Park 3

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.

P and Mama

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. 🙂

Easter dress

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!

Easter Basket

Easter bunny

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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Granny

Palm Sunday