The First Year

Nearly 3 months have passed since our last blog and it’s certainly not due to a lack of things to tell you about!  From 2 stays in the hospital, Charlotte’s first Thanksgiving and Christmas, to standing, cruising, crawling, and even a couple of wobbly steps, to 5 new teeth (7 total), diaper blowouts that rival those newborn explosions and lots of babbling, we are absolutely blown away that our baby girl turns 1 this week!  How did all these little moments turn into a year?!

As we scoop Charlotte (all 20 something pounds of her!) up into our arms, we see a little girl, so different from that tiny 6 lb 1.5 oz baby we welcomed into the world last February.  She’s provided much joy and laughter and she’s inspired much awe – at first for her tininess and now her “hugeness”. We cannot stroke her soft, chubby cheeks or tickle her ribs (which results in belly laughs) enough. Exhaustion comes, but the beauty and joy always surpass our weariness.

I can’t talk about how much Charlotte has grown and changed without recognizing that we too have changed.

I suppose it should seem obvious that becoming a parent will change you.  Perspective. Priorities. There were some defining moments along the way…  Taking your baby to the ER and being admitted into the hospital takes what you know about parenting to a whole new level.  So does both parents being down with the stomach flu with a very active 11 month old…  And that was all just last month! Yes, as time has passed we have definitely been initiated into a new level of parenthood and I can only imagine what that will look like in the years to come.  But it’s not just the crises and major events that have changed us- it’s the choices you intentionally (or often subconsciously) make day to day.

The day to day choice to TRUST that God loves your baby more than you. The choice to BELIEVE that His grace is enough to fills the gaps of your own human inadequacies. Choosing to RELINQUISH the illusion of control you think you have over your life and your child’s life.  The choice to FIX YOUR EYES on Him when more things than every before threaten to draw your focus. The choice to EMBRACE the chaos and BE THANKFUL.

And with time, I believe all those little choices help us reflect the beauty of Christ a little more. For us, it all started with the beauty of the arrival of our Charlotte Quinn on February 6, 2015.

Then….

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And Now!

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9 Months

I think it’s safe to officially say we’re moving into monthly instead of weekly posts. Charlotte is still changing like crazy each week – in fact, I think it’s safe to say she’s changing so much that we are too busy chasing after her to write any blog posts!  Our nine month old (!!) is growing like crazy – she weighs 20 lbs 1 oz (she jumped from the 31st percentile at her 6 month appointment to the 80th at her 9 month appointment!) and is 28 3/4″ tall (90th percentile). Proportional and sturdy are 2 word the doctor used to describe her. Quite the contrast from the long skinny baby in past months. And to think she was just in the 2nd percentile for weight at her 2 week appointment…

I think Charlotte could be described as a determined explorer these days. I hope that determination and curiosity/love of exploring are two things that will stick with her as she grows.

Charlotte’s latest adventures include…

  • Climbing a couple of stairs (with Mom very close behind her).
  • An obsession with her Peek a Who book
  • First ride in the shopping cart at Target. She held on for dear life the whole time.
  • Giggling like crazy!
  • Standing up and taking little strolls around the perimeter of her crib when she should be napping.
  • Making her rounds cruising around all of our living room furniture.
  • Helping Mom and Dad figure out very quickly what a bad job they did babyproofing!
  • Got her first pumpkin (a tiny one) which she loves to gnaw on.
  • Turned on the TV (possibly by accident?) – got to keep those remotes out of her reach!
  • Watched her first episode of Barney due to the time change. We were desperate!
  • Is currently fighting her first cold.
  • Had a fun visit with her Auntie Steph, Uncle Mike and cousins Maddie and Josie.
  • Took her first trip to Disneyland! I think it’s safe to say we all had a great time. Charlotte didn’t even flinch on the little drops (that get my stomach every time!) on Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Dressed up like a penguin for Halloween.
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Bundling up for fall.

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37 Weeks

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Charlotte’s 1st Pumpkin

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She loves to eat it.

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And gnaw on it…

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Our little penguin!

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38 Weeks

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So proud of herself!

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Constantly pulling herself up on the furniture.

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39 Weeks

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We can’t believe we have a 9 month old!

36 Weeks Old

Clearly I have some catching up to do! Baby girl is 36 weeks old today! She was born at 36 weeks and 6 days – hard to believe in another week she’ll have been in this world longer than I was pregnant. October has proven to be a very busy month around here which is why blogging has been a low priority on my to-do list.

In the time since I’ve written, Charlotte has changed so much. She’s growing in size (we keep saying we need to start lifting weights – whew!), is gaining so many new skills, is very generous with her toothy grin, and brings much joy and laughter into our lives (all while keeping us on our toes – she is always moving unless she’s sleeping – and even then she moves a lot!).

At 36 weeks, Charlotte…

  • Loves pulling herself up on furniture and loves to be in a standing position. In fact, she often refuses to bend her legs when you want her to sit down! She’s so proud of herself when she’s standing up.
  • Is getting more and more clever. She loves to escape her play area and I’m amazed at the small spaces she can squeeze her body through.
  • Is learning a few baby signs. We don’t know how much she’s understanding, but she sure does get a huge smile on her face every time we do the sign for milk.
  • Is mesmerized by the reflection of the swimming that shines through on our ceiling on the sunniest of days. Very few things take this little girl away from her food, but that rippling reflection on the ceiling does it every time.
  • Has tried lots of new foods lately, including quinoa. I think the quinoa will have to grow on her but we’re grateful that she’s no longer on a veggie strike and is eating a good mix of fruits and veggies. Oh and puffs and mum-mum crackers. She loves feeding herself and I think it’s about time we start giving her more opportunities (and more nutritious foods) to feed herself.
  • Enjoys her daily walks to the park. She still loves going outside and riding in her stroller and Mom is happy to get some extra steps in (the latest motivation is the FitBit she received for her birthday!).
  • Cries and smiles all in the same breath (or wail…) on a daily basis around here. Fortunately the crying usually doesn’t last for long (but these new teeth coming in are rough!).
  •  Took a trip to Catalina Island to celebrate Mom and Dad’s birthdays.
  • Had a fun visit with Grandma and Grandpa from Indiana!

And before we jump in with the pictures, let me just share with you my latest #MomFail.

I spend my Monday’s down in Long Beach for work. It’s the longest period of time that I’m away from Charlotte each week. I arrived home a couple of weeks ago to find that Charlotte was snoozing in her crib. She’s always excited to see me and I figured that today would be no different. I heard her begin to stir and I walked over to her door, peeked my head in and said “Peekaboo!”. Well poor little Charlotte had her head turned the other way and my enthusiastic “Peekaboo” absolutely terrified her! She turned her head, mouth dropped wide open and she let out a startled “Ahhhh!” It’s a wonder she didn’t cry and still was happy for me to pick her up. The look on her face…. It’s a terrible feeling to give your child such a fright!

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Climbing over EVERYTHING. Nothing gets in this girl’s way!

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34 Weeks

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Catalina Island 

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Catalina Island Take 2

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Love her baby jeans.

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Charlotte and Daddy

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The view from our hotel balcony.

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Woke up to a cruise ship in our view.

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8 Months Old and moving way too much to get a good pic!

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Future Model

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35 Weeks

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Grandma has arrived!

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So serious.

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Fun with Grandpa!

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Blue eyes!

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Someone can’t get enough standing!

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36 Weeks

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Before sending Grandma off to the airport

Weeks 32 and 33

Charlotte is keeping us on our toes these days. She is a very busy little girl. That’s probably the reason I didn’t have time to update our blog last week!

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32 Weeks

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33 Weeks

At 32 and 33 weeks, Charlotte….

  • Is getting up on her knees and starting to push herself up (mostly against us). She’s definitely not standing yet, but fully crawling is definitely in her near future.
  • Said goodbye to her dear nanny who had to leave for college. We will miss her so much!
  • Sits up like a champ now. And boy does that make our lives easier! Wow! We are working on rolling a ball back and forth with  her. She loves when the ball arrives right to her and sometimes (probably by accident) returns it!
  • Seems to be getting another tooth. I may have said that a couple of weeks ago. No new teeth yet. Lots of drool and fussiness and gnawing on things. Anytime this seem a little off, I automatically think she’s teething, but who knows!
  • Loves striking a pose like a little model. She pushes herself up on her side, hand above her head – hilarious. Even the nursery workers at church commented on her little pose.
  • Went to MOPS for the first time. Ok, Mom went to MOPS while Charlotte played in the nursery with her friends. I think we both had fun, but she sure was glad to see me at the end!
  • Is super into cords, straps, HAIR… At this rate Charlotte’s first word is going to be “Owww” or “Nooo” based on the number of times I say that when she pulls me hair. I can’t help it – it hurts! A lot. She’s highly amused – both by my hair and my reaction!
  • Gives the biggest smiles when you sing and dance for her!
  • Finds great entertainment in throwing her toys for Mommy and Daddy to fetch for her.
  • Currently is on a veggie strike. She refuses to eat veggies but gobbles fruit down like crazy.

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31 Weeks

The weeks are flying by with our giggly little girl!

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31 Weeks

At 31 weeks, Charlotte’s adventures include…

Turning 7 months old – and hardly laying still for a pic!

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Beach day! With our new beach tent!

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Extreme interest in a s’more at a Labor Day pool party. (No, she didn’t get a bite!)

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Doing anything and everything with her feet. She’s constantly moving toys and books around with her little toes. Hilarious.

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Beating the heat (multiple days of 100 degree weather here) with lots of time in the pool. She’s a pro at relaxing in her little “boat” (floatie raft).

The start of some separation anxiety… Screaming and more screaming when Mom and Dad walk out of the room. Let’s hope it’s a very short phase!

A borrowed exersaucer!This has provided hours of entertainment for Charlotte. See her many expressions in the exersaucer below!

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Not exactly it’s intended use…

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But she sure was proud of herself!

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Yum!

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Hmm…What is this for?

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Thanks Jude for letting me borrow your toy – I love it!!

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Striking a pose.

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So much excitement!

30 Weeks

It’s a new month and we’re learning some new rhythms as Charlotte is more mobile than ever before and we’re transitioning from having some part time childcare to doing it on our own! We’re spend more time outside as the weather has (thankfully!) cooled down a bit. Charlotte loves long walks around the neighborhood and is even content just walking outside of our building to watch the cars goes by.

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30 Weeks

At 30 weeks, Charlotte…

  • Loves swimming in the pool at our apartment complex. She also likes watching some of the kids who live in our complex as we get to know their parents.
  • Got her first sippy cup – sometimes she likes it, sometimes she doesn’t, which is fine – we’re in no hurry to get rid of the bottle.
  • Was a serious trooper when we went car shopping. In case you’re wondering, we did not get a new car. We were just looking around at something bigger but are totally undecided about what to get.
  • Can’t get enough of knocking over towers of blocks. Next step – teach her how to build the towers up again herself!
  • Has been a total sleepyhead. I think she must be going through a growth spurt because she is eating and sleeping like crazy.
  • Is getting a little better at sitting up but she still prefers being on the move instead of just sitting there.
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Giggles like crazy!

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Loves her blocks!

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Teaching her the importance of exercise at a young age. She was highly amused watching me do a Jillian Michael’s workout video.

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Our little escapee…

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Sometimes she gets stuck… We help her after laughing a little bit at her!

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Cheese!

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So many smiles and giggles when Daddy swings her through the air!

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This was all her… She rolled herself right up like a little burrito!

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Figuring out the sippy cup…or trying to!

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A fun new toy if nothing else!

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Yum!

29 Weeks

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29 Weeks!

At 29 weeks, Charlotte…

6 Months!

We’re home from vacation with our favorite 6 month old who now has 2 teeth! She’s growing like crazy, weighing in at 15 lbs 4 oz and 26 3/4 inches long! Despite those chubby leg rolls you see in her photos, Charlotte is actually only in the 31st percentile in weight while landing in the 79th percentile for height! She enjoys eating her fruits and veggies (not so much a fan of baby cereal) and hearing the sound of her own voice. She loves people – particularly other kids and had a great time with her cousins on vacation! I think she might be a little bored now at home with just Mom and Dad.

On vacation Charlotte had all sorts of adventures. She rode her first carousel, went to the Indiana State Fair, spent time with family, went swimming (for the record, she definitely prefers pools over lakes), met almost all of her aunts and uncles and cousins, and much more. Charlotte loves to be outside and especially loved the porch swing at Grandma and Grandpa Northcutt’s house. She’s super snuggly and will inevitably wiggle her way over to snuggle if she’s laying near you.

I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story, though certainly this selection of photos hardly begins to capture all the fun and wonderful people we spent time with!

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Great Aunt Patsy

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Chewing on Lauren’s book from when she was a baby!

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With Mom’s Cousin Michael

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Peek A Boo with Great Aunt Joyce

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Steph and Charlotte with a special photobomb by Joyce 🙂

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Charlotte was VERY interested in the colorful cake!

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Charlotte’s not looking at the camera – probably b/c she’s eyeing someone’s cake!

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A lap full of babies!

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Charlotte and cousin Erica

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Had to hold Charlotte back from attacking her new cousin Mason (with love of course)

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Snuggles with Grandpa

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The Porch Swing

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Fun with Grandma

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So sweet

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Meeting Grandpa Veltman

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Gorgeous Lake Michigan Sunset on our 3rd anniversary

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Happy baby – in spite of her rash

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We couldn’t get enough of these sunsets

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Special delivery!

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I think she’s going for the beard…

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26 Weeks

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27 Weeks

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24 Weeks

I’m slacking! Charlotte is almost closer to 25 weeks than 24 at this point, but better late than never! Work is in full swing around here and we are preparing for vacation. It will be a much needed break and we are excited – but very busy in the meantime.

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24 Weeks

At 24 weeks…

  • Charlotte weights 14 lbs, 15 oz. She’s wearing bigger clothes, bigger diapers and is drinking a lot more milk!
  • Met Uncle Greg for the first time. She can’t wait to meet the rest of her aunts and uncles and cousins soon.
  • Started pretty much sleeping through the night again – hooray! Let’s hope vacation doesn’t throw that off…
  • Every night when we put her in her crib she rolls to her right side and scoots herself to the upper left corner of her crib.  It’s become her spot.
  • Loves trying different purees. Peas, carrots, applesauce and pears so far. The pears are her favorite, though she still loves gnawing on her spoon more.
  • A tooth is JUST about to pop through! We’ll keep you posted.
  • Spends a huge amount of her summer days watching the fan. She is fascinated by it.
  • Startles every time someone sneezes – you should see the look on her face and her little flailing arms.
  • Wore shoes for the first time – she loved them. We might have a problem when she gets older!
  • She’s very generous with her smiles and is starting to giggle more and more!
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So many fun toys!

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Getting SO big.

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Looking so grown up.

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Meeting Uncle Greg!

And now…for the funny faces! I don’t remember it being so funny when I took these photos, but I was cracking up as I quickly clicked through them tonight. She looks so tough until the very end when we get a smile!

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22 and 23 Weeks

It’s time for another 2 in 1 post. You know what that means – we’ve been on the road and there’s just no time for blogging on the road. Just wait, next month we’re going on vacation which means I might have to combine 3 weeks into one post. Be ready – 3 weeks + vacation means a LOT of pictures!

So much is happening with Charlotte that I hardly know where to begin! She’s had many new experiences in the last couple of weeks and is still growing like crazy.

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22 Weeks

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23 Weeks

On the 4th of July Charlotte took her first ride on the Metro. We ventured to downtown LA for the festivities and fireworks at Grand Park. Charlotte loved the crowds and watching the people, as well as the fireworks. The first big boom startled her, then she was happy as could be watching the bright, colorful lights flashing across the sky. She also went into a Porta potty for the first time, as she was asleep in the Ergo and waking her up seemed like a bad idea. I’m just surprised that she slept through the stinkiness and heat in the confined space!

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Daddy and Charlotte

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Mommy and Charlotte

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Such a happy girl – in spite of the rash on her face!

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Charlotte couldn’t stop watching all the people!

On July 6, we celebrated (and by celebrated I  mean we took a picture) Charlotte’s 5 month birthday! I can’t believe she’s already 5 months. Being 5 months old, means Charlotte now loves to roll multiple times in a row and if you turn your head even for a few moments you’ll find her on the other side of the room (often pushed up against a piece of furniture that she can’t quite maneuver around).

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5 Months Old

Charlotte also took her 3rd trip on an airplane – not bad for being 5 months old! I had a work trip in Nashville so we flew through Indianapolis to pick up Grandma who spent some quality time with Charlotte in the blazing heat and humidity of Nashville while I was at a conference. Flying to/from Indiana also meant Charlotte got to spend some time with Grandpa who couldn’t go to Nashville b/c he had to work.

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It’s fun to watch Charlotte become so much more engaged with her surroundings. Her eyes light up when she sees us preparing her bottle. She loves to hold onto her bottle on her own (which sometimes is VERY convenient!). She learned how to knock over stacks of blocks this week too. She was quite proud of herself! Of course, being more engaged with her surroundings has a downside too. She’s becoming very aware when I walk out of the room, which is usually followed by some tears and screaming (from her, not me).

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She loves playing in this! And I think it’s good exercise because she’s been taking some good naps!

She loves to cuddle and be held. She loves touching our faces and holding onto our fingers while she’s eating, or sometimes just resting her hand on our arms. She’s also figured out how to put her toes in her mouth – another skill she’s very proud of!

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Solid foods is another new thing in Charlotte’s life. We’ve given her some oatmeal and peas so far. She’s not quite sure what to think and makes the funniest faces, but she loves the spoon and bib. We’re not in a hurry, but are enjoying introducing her to new textures and flavors.

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The first taste

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She loved holding the spoon herself.

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So messy!

That’s all for this week! See you again next week – and congratulations if you made it all the way to the bottom of this post. I am impressed!