Brynlee’s 10 Month Update

This is such a fun age! Brynlee is constantly amazing me by what she can do and how quick she learns and her personality is coming out more and more as she grows. Last night we taught her how to high five and she just thinks that is the greatest thing in the whole world! Seeing the joy on her face once she figures something out is second to none! We played high five most of last night and she laughed and laughed, more than I’ve ever heard her before. She was so proud of herself. She’s also been pulling herself up on everything and shimmying her way around things. She is still pretty wobbly on her feet so I don’t think walking will come anytime soon, be she is fearless when it comes to trying things (which scares this mama to death). She has finally gotten the butt fall down pretty well, so I am not as concerned about her falling and smacking her head on the tile. Landon and I are both still following her around constantly just to make sure though.

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She’s also learned how to do kisses and it is the cutest thing! We will kiss her or blow her kisses and she will start making kiss sounds back to us. She sucks her cheeks in like she is making a fish face when she does it, I love it!!!

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This poor girl has so many teeth coming through… as soon as one breaks through, another is on its way. I feel so bad for her, she can’t catch a break. Thank goodness for Tylenol and teethers!!! She’s up to six teeth now, four up top and two on the bottom, with another one on the way.

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She has also turned into quite the mama’s girl, which part of me really loves, but I also want her to feel comfortable with our family and friends too.

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Brynlee is such a sweet girl. We were recently in Utah visiting with family and they could not believe how smiley she was and how she rarely cried. They kept commenting on how she was the most smiley baby they had ever seen. She loves when people pay attention to her and talk to her and will smile every time. And those smiles melt my heart!! I love seeing them, so big and bright!

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Weight: I would guess that Brynlee is probably around 20 pounds right now. She continues to grow and she definitely loves to eat, so we really have no worries there. It’s so cute watching her plump out then grow taller and then start the process over again.

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Health: Ever since she has been out of day care she has been the picture of good health! Not even a runny nose (knock on wood). It has been such a blessing to stay home with her. I am so grateful that we able to do what is best for her. So here’s hoping that she will stay healthy and will not have any more ear infections so we can avoid getting tubes in her ears.

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Sleep: We have taken a step back when it comes to sleep and I’m not sure if it has to do with teething or something else. She used to sleep through the night most nights and if she did wake up, she was able to easily put herself back to sleep. But the last few weeks she has been waking up at least once every night and can’t or won’t self soothe so one of us will have to go up there and put her back to sleep. She really likes it when we rub her back and sometimes that will work. But others I will have to rock her back to sleep, sometimes I’ve had to give her a bottle, although I don’t want to start her on the habit of eating in the middle of the night again. Hopefully this will stop soon, it definitely makes for two exhausted parents in the morning.

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Social: Like I said before, Brynlee is definitely becoming a mama’s girl. Whenever she is tired or hungry or feeling uncomfortable all she wants is me to hold her. When we are with family and friends she will eventually warm up to them and will go to them, but usually she wants to stay right with me and will still have to keep me in her eyesight or she will start to cry and fuss. I’m not sure if this is part of the stranger danger or just a faze she is going through…

Diet: Brynlee loves to eat! She still eats a lot of the baby purees I make for her, but we have been introducing more and more solid foods to her and she seems to take them really well. I’ve been putting strawberry chunks in her oatmeal in the morning and she loves it! I’ve been thinking about trading her morning oatmeal out for greek yogurt with fruit, but she loves her oatmeal so much that I’ve had a hard time pulling the trigger on that. I’m sure this runs true for most babies, but she absolutely loves her Happy Baby Puffs, I’ve gotten a few different flavors and she can’t get enough of them! We have to be careful when we give them to her because she will stuff her mouth with them.

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Clothes: Brynlee is still wearing some 6-9 month clothing, but mostly she is wearing 9-12 month clothes. Whenever I buy her clothes now, I always get the 12 month size. Sometimes it is a little big, but at least she will be able to grow into them. I’ve also been on the hunt for shoes. She has really small feet, she is just barely growing out of the 0-3 month size shoes and I’ve had a hard time finding any that fit her now. I am usually only able to find 2’s or bigger and those are way too big on her still.

Crying: For the most part, Brynlee is an extremely happy baby and rarely cries, with the exception of at night when she wakes up and sometimes when she gets over tired. She has started a new thing where she will do a fake cry when she doesn’t get what she wants. Like when we close a door to a place that she has decided she wants to go, one of her favorites is the fridge, every time we open it she makes a bee line for it and when we close the door before she gets there she will cry for about 20-30 seconds every.single.time.

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Likes: She has a new obsession with balls, one will keep her entertained for a good 5-10 minutes (which is basically a miracle). She will roll it around or throw it and chase after it. When she catches it she is so proud of herself. Sometimes we will both sit on the ground and roll it back and forth between each other. She doesn’t quite have the rolling back down yet, I usually do it for her, but she’s done it a few times and I’m sure she will catch on soon. She still loves Lola of course, now that she is on the move I think Lola probably likes her a little less, but overall she is still pretty good with Brynlee.  She loves to explore and get into everything! She likes to go on walks and spend time outside and she loves to swing. Whenever we got to the swings she is all smiles and seems to have the time of her life! Sadly, it is starting to get pretty hot here now, we go on walks in the evenings and when there is a breeze it is actually pretty nice, but in the next month or so it will probably get too hot to stay out for long.  She also really enjoys pulling my dish towels off of the hook or oven door to play with them. I can rarely keep them there anymore. She loves it when daddy comes home after a long day at work and she loves when we all spend time together. Her favorite is when we are sitting on the couch and she will keep going back and forth between us, she laughs the whole time and it works out that it is usually in the evening because it really tires her out and gets her ready for bed.

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Milestones: She is constantly learning new things, like kisses, or pulling herself up on things and shimmying around. Did I mention that I am so grateful now that we have a cushioned ottoman as our coffee table instead of one with sharp edges??? We can no longer keep the tray on it very often, but it is definitely worth it to protect her from hitting her head. We’ve started calling her our little noise maker because she is constantly mimicking other noises. Last night she was blowing air through her lips making motor sounds for a good hour. She definitely makes us laugh!

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I’ve truly enjoyed watching Brynlee learn and grow over the months. As sad as I am that I no longer have my tiny little baby to cuddle in my arms it makes up for it watching her personality grow and the pride she has when she learns something new.  She is so precious to me and I am so thankful to call her mine. I love the age that she is at right now and being able to watch her try new things, it seems she wants to touch, tastes and smell everything. Oh, yes, she has also started to pick up everything she can find and immediately put it in her mouth… I am constantly pulling things out of her mouth and I can tell you right now that our floors have never been so clean! I’m really hoping she grows out of this soon…

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Candied Walnuts

Have you read The Honest Life by Jessica Alba yet? If not, you should! It’s a great book full of information on the hazards of chemicals and toxins out there that companies are putting in the items we use every day and she gives great ideas on ways to limit your and your children’s exposure. The book is broken up into different areas of your life, such as food, style, home, babies, etc. While reading the food section, I came across her suggestion to roast brussel sprouts with bacon and candied walnuts. Now, I DO NOT like brussel sprouts, at all!!! But my husband does and so I am constantly trying different recipes in hopes that I will find one that I like. And let me tell you, I loved these!!

Ingredients:

One pound of brussel sprouts

¼ c. candied walnuts

4 slices of bacon

2 tablespoons olive oil

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Preheat your oven to 400*

Clean and chop your brussel sprouts and put them on a baking sheet.

Then chop your candied walnuts and sprinkle those over the brussel sprouts.

Next dice up you bacon and add that to the baking sheet.

Drizzle olive oil on baking sheet and toss to coat all ingredients evenly.

Bake for 20-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until crispy.

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Enjoy your delicious brussel sprouts!!!

(Wow! I never thought I would say that!)

Quick and Easy Spring Wreath

I love making wreaths and always have one on my front door. They are so welcoming and it is fun to be able to change them out with the season. They also make great presents, this would be a great idea for Mother’s Day coming up, and no one likes homemade presents more than Mom, right?

Last time I was visiting my mom, she sent me home with a grocery bag full of artificial flowers and a request for a spring wreath. I’m pretty sure she picked these up as part of one of those mystery grab bags at a craft store for only a couple of dollars.

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After a quick run to Joann’s to pick up a grapevine wreath (using a coupon I got it for $2.50) I opened the bag of flowers and started picking out all the ones that caught my eye. There were a lot of great colors, which was perfect, because I wanted to make this wreath very colorful, one she would be able to use all season and into summer if she wanted. My method for making a wreath like this one is to just start placing flowers around on the wreath, rearranging and adding or taking away until I get an arrangement I like. Then I take my hot glue gun and carefully put a dab of glue under each flower and leaf to secure it into place.

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*Craft Tip- if you have a lot of hot glue strings running all over your wreath, just blast it with your blow dryer and they will magically disappear!

 

Once I was done, I took it for a test run on my door and I couldn’t help but think there was something missing…

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I liked all of the flowers and how colorful it was. I still had left over flowers, but I didn’t really want to add any more. I thought about adding her monogram or maybe the word spring to it, however, I didn’t really love any of those ideas either. Then I remembered, while I was at Joann’s picking up the wreath I had seen a wall full a butterflies and that would be the perfect thing to add to this spring/summer wreath. So back to Joann’s I went and lucky me, they were all 50% off, so for $2 I got my butterfly! I really think it makes it look so much better!

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All in all, this wreath came in and under $10, but even if you can’t find a mystery grab bag full of flowers, this really wouldn’t cost much more, maybe $20 tops, just make sure you go on a week when your craft store is running a 50% off their floral department promotion.

Pesto Chicken Gnocchi with Green Beans

This is a super easy recipe that is perfect for a weeknight. It only has 4 ingredients and comes together super fast! Plus, it tastes delicious!!! This is also great without the chicken if you want to use it as a side, although it is still filling enough to not use the chicken and still have it as your main meal. In the past, I’ve made my own pesto for this dish, but after winter my poor basil plant isn’t doing too well so I decided to go with store bought and while I still love homemade pesto, this was so easy I know I will be doing this again!

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Ingredients:

1 box Gnocchi

Pesto

Green Beans (fresh or frozen, but if using frozen thaw them first)

2 Chicken Breasts

Prep: Add 2 heaping tablespoons of pesto in a bag with your chicken. Massage around to thoroughly coat chicken. Refrigerate for 30 minutes up to overnight.

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Directions:

-Preheat oven to 375*, bake chicken for 30-35 minutes. Shred or dice up cooked chicken.

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-While chicken is baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi, after 2-3 minutes, the gnocchi will start to float, add in the green beans. Boil for an additional 2-3 minutes, drain and return to pot. Add desired amount of pesto and your cooked chicken and enjoy!

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Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Recipe adapted via

Brynlee’s Easter Basket

I was so excited to be able to pick things out for Brynlee’s Easter basket and had so much fun shopping for everything. Even though I know that she will not have any idea what is going on this year, I still can’t wait to give it to her! I found the majority of the items I purchased at Target, but also got a few on Amazon.

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*Clockwise from left

  1. Peekaboo Sophie– When we were walking through Target, I picked this up and started showing it to Brynlee, she immediately started laughing and smiling and I knew it had to go into the basket.
  2. B. Blocks– I like these because they are small enough for Brynlee to pick up and play with plus she can chew on them. Right now Brynlee has a ton of teeth coming in and tries to chew on anything and everything so I think she will really like these.
  3. Indestructibles Books: Mama and Baby and Flutter Fly–  Brynlee is exceptionally hard on her books, I’ve heard that these are great to let them play with and are virtually impossible to destroy so I’m hoping these will be a good alternative for her.
  4. Sun hat- Living in Arizona we need a lot of protection from the sun, I was looking everywhere trying to find a hat that fit Brynlee’s head, they were all too big. Then I finally found this one at Target, it has elastic around it so it fits well, but will grow with her throughout the summer.
  5. Outfit– Also from Target, this was just too cute of a summer outfit to pass up!
  6. Sunglasses- Just like with the hat, I wanted to find Brynlee some sunglasses to protect her eyes when we are on walks or at the pool. She hates it when the sun gets in her face!
  7. Easter basket- was a Target find, I think it was only $1 or $2 which is great in my book!
  8. Happy Baby Organic Fruit and Veggie Pouches– I usually always make Brynlee’s baby food, but sometimes when we are out for the day or on a trip we have to use these as an alternative, so I guess they are really more for my convenience than a gift for Brynlee, but she really enjoys them!

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Instead of using grass (I know that would end up in her mouth immediately!!!!) I used some of the B. blocks.

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I really can’t wait for her to find her Easter basket come Easter morning, I know that it will just get better and better from here on out, especially once she starts to understand it. We will be spending Easter with my husband’s family this year. Everyone gets together at his Aunt’s house and we have Easter dinner potluck style. Then there is a giant egg hunt for all of the kids and the Easter Bunny even makes an appearance!

And the win goes to…

There is a definite possibility that this is one of those situations where I am just the last one to the party… And if that is the case, please just use this as a friendly reminder. For me, this was just too amazing not to share! Those who know me know that I love all cast iron and enameled cookware. If I could, I would own ever item made my Le Crueset, unfortunately, they are a little out of my price range… I do how ever have this pretty yellow enameled pot that my mother in law got me for Christmas.

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I absolutely love it and use it so frequently that it permanently resides on my stovetop. Anyway, back to the story… Wednesday night I was making another batch of baby food for Brynlee, this time I was doing a broccoli, spinach and pear mixture. Well, I had my spinach steaming (my broccoli had just finished) and my pears boiling in my beloved enameled pot. I was also talking on the phone to a friend that had just called and chasing after Brynlee, who now has an obsession with Lola’s food and is constantly crawling for it. Anyway, I’m chatting away and running after Brynlee when I start to smell something burning, then I realize it had been a while since I had checked on those pears and when I do, the bottom layer had burned to the bottom of the pan. I immediately, without thinking, fill a cup of water to throw in there effectively caramelizing the pears and scorching the bottom of my enameled pot. Fortunately,I was able to save the majority of the pears to finish making Brynlee’s baby food. The pot on the other hand was a whole other story. One whole side of it was scorched black and no amount of scrubbing was getting it off… I decided to let it soak in overnight in hopes that would loosen some of the gunk, but that next morning it was no easier to get off. Then I remembered reading in a magazine that salt is a great abrasive for cleaning so I decided to give that a try. That sort of worked, as in it got of a very small amount of gunk off. By this point I was losing hoping, I had put in a ton of time and elbow grease trying to get this pot clean to absolutely no avail! So I turned to my trusty friend google… and you know what he told me??? Use BLEACH!!!! Seriously, post after post was people suggesting bleach and to soak it anywhere from overnight up to a week!!! There was no way that I was going to use bleach on a pot that I cook with constantly and let it soak for a week!!! This is where the despair set in, I thought the pot was ruined, after only 4 short months with this favorite enameled pot, I was going to have to say goodbye… Then it dawned on me, I know I’ve read somewhere, maybe Pinterest, about the awesomeness of baking soda and really, at this point what did I have to lose? I was ready to try anything. So out comes the baking soda, I pour a pretty generous layer in the bottom of the pot with just a little water so it forms more of a paste and I let it sit for probably about 30 minutes while I play with Brynlee. I go back to my poor, scorched pot and using a damp dish rag start to scrub it. And then, the most amazing thing happened!!! The black scorched part scrubbed right off!!!

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*The entire left side of the pot was completely black

 I wasn’t even scrubbing all that hard, it was so easy! I couldn’t believe it. I really wish I would have thought to take a before shot of the pot, but I really wasn’t planning on posting anything about this story until I saw how amazing it worked and just had to share. So, I guess the moral of the story is: Don’t try to do too many things at once, but if you do and happen to burn your enameled pot, don’t waste time scrubbing it, just pour on some baking soda and you are good to go!! Now, I’m off to find what else I can use this new (to me) found cleaning supply on to make my house sparkle!! Happy Friday!! I hope you have a great weekend!!!

9 Month Update

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but Brynlee is officially ¾  of a year old! And she is always on the move!!! She has officially graduated from her army crawl to being up on all fours determined that no one will stop her. I never realized how exhausting having a baby on the move would be, but I am constantly chasing after her. As a result, we knew that baby proofing had just moved to the top priority list and so that is what we spent the weekend doing.

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In other news, she has at least four if not five teeth coming in and let me tell you, that has been an interesting experience. Her first two teeth came in like it was nothing, but these ones have been nothing but trouble. Her top two have finally broken through, but it looks like she still has two more to the right and one more to the left that still need to come in. Needless to say we’ve had a lot of sleepless nights, some days I feel like I have a newborn again.

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With all of that though, Brynlee is so much fun! She interacts with you so much more now and loves to babble back when you have conversations with her. Now that she can crawl she loves to explore every corner of our house. She has found our arcadia door and loves looking out the windows, especially when daddy is out there BBQing or doing yard work. He will wave at her from outside and her face will light up with excitement!

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Aside from the bad teething moments, she is such a happy baby with the best personality. I love watching her grow and seeing the little person that she is becoming (however I am totally open to time slowing down just a little for me!).

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Weight: At Brynlee’s 9 month Well-Check she was 18 pounds 10 ounces. She is growing really well and is in the 50th percentile. And she has the cutest little leg rolls! I absolutely love them and will miss them so much when she’s older.

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Health: Unfortunately, ever since putting Brynlee in day care she has been sick a ton! We had a pretty good February, but other than that we’ve had to take her to the doctor every month. She’s had two ear infections in March alone, that’s 4 in the last six months. The doctor said that if she has another one we will have to see an ENT to talk about the possibility of putting tubes in her ears. I’m really hoping that it doesn’t get to that. It is getting a lot warmer here, so hopefully that will dry out a lot of the colds that are currently being passed around non-stop. At the moment though, she is perfectly healthy, not even a runny nose. But she just got off antibiotics for her last ear infection, so I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before it comes back.

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Sleep: I have determined that Brynlee is a night owl… When I talk with a lot of my other mommy friends, their babies usually go to bed around 7:00, Brynlee usually stays up until 8:30-9:00. I’ve tried getting her to go to bed earlier, but she just plays around in her crib until she eventually gets bored, then she cries until we go get her. There are even some nights when she won’t go to bed until almost 10:00. The good news is that she is really good about sleeping through the night and on the weekends she usually sleeps in until 7:00-7:30.

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Social: Brynlee is an extremely social baby. At her 9 month Well-Check the doctor even commented that he was very surprised that Brynlee was okay with him touching her as he checked her out and that she would even smile at him when he talked to her. He said most babies start to get the stranger danger fear around this age and are especially have it towards men, but she seemed to be just fine with him. When we get into a larger group setting I’ve noticed that she prefers to be with either me or Landon. But after a while she starts to get more comfortable and will easily go to other people to check them out. We were at a baby shower a few weeks ago and she was on the floor playing when she spotted Landon’s aunt (she’s only met this aunt once before when she was a newborn) and she immediately took off crawling towards her and tugged on her leg to be picked up. It was the cutest thing!

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Diet: Oh, having Brynlee try new foods is so fun and entertaining. I love the faces she makes when she tries something new as she gets used to the texture. Currently her favorite food that I’ve made is a spinach, kiwi, pear mixture, she can’t seem to get enough of that. However, I have to mix her chicken with sweet potato in order to get her to eat that. I don’t think she likes the texture very much… She also really likes cheese now. It took a few tries before she seemed to really want to eat more, but now whenever I get it out she gets really excited. She does NOT like eggs! I keep trying and she wants nothing to do with them, even when I sprinkle cheese on top. Hopefully, if I keep at it she will eventually come to like them. I’m trying to give her a large variety of things so ideally she will not be a picky eater, but we will see how that goes. She still drinks bottles too, we usually alternate a bottle then a solid, starting with a bottle in the morning and ending with one right before bed. We also always keep puffs on hand, she loves the Happy Baby Sweet Potato puffs and one of her favorite things to do is to share them with Lola. Lola has found it is very beneficial for her to be under Brynlee’s highchair and now comes running whenever we put her in it.

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Clothes: I just washed all of her 9-12 month clothes over the weekend because she is starting to grow out of some of the 6-9 months. Most if the tops or onesies still fit, but the pants are getting way too short. Plus, it is really warming up here and most of her 6-9 month clothes are long sleeves and Brynlee is already a hot baby as it is.

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Crying: Brynlee has been crying a lot more than usual, but I attribute that mostly to the teething. There are days when you can’t even look at her without her crying. It breaks my heart to know she is in that much pain, but sometimes she doesn’t even want to be snuggled. I think that she is just so uncomfortable she doesn’t want anything and the only thing we’ve found that will soothe her is to lay her on her tummy and rub her back. She loves that and will often time fall asleep while we are doing that.

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Likes: Brynlee likes to go anywhere! We’ve started putting her in her stroller facing out instead of keeping her in the infant seat and she just adores that! She loves to be able to see everything and when people passing stop to talk to her. Since she started crawling she has this new infatuation with the stairs (which is why we immediately had to baby proof and put up baby gates), she hasn’t really tried to climb them yet, she just likes to pull herself up on them and touch the carpet (our entire downstairs is tile, but the stairs and our upstairs is all carpet). She has a favorite doll, this one from Eric Carle, it has to go everywhere with us. We’ve found that she has started getting bored with her toys sometimes, so I’ve starting trying to rotate them so she doesn’t always have them all out all of the time. I especially like that it helps with the mess that has taken over our living room and the chances of stepping on a rouge toy has diminished significantly since. And of course, Lola is still her favorite and can always get her to smile.

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Milestone: She is crawling everywhere!!! You cannot stop her when she wants to get somewhere. She is so determined. I repeatedly tell her no and move her somewhere else whenever she tries to get into something she shouldn’t (like Lola’s food bowl). But the moment I put her down she immediately starts back in that direction. Needless to say, I get quite the workout constantly chasing after her. She is also getting a mouth full of teeth right now and I will be so happy when they are all finally through! She’s starting to try to pull herself up on things, but she is very wobbly still and it worries me that we will fall and hit head. Landon or I are always right behind her with our hands out just in case we need to catch her. So much has happened in the last month with her development, it has been so fun and exciting to see. I know that she will continue to learn and grow in the coming months and while I wish time would slow down and I am excited to see her learn new skills and watch her personality develop even further.