Mollie arrived to us on July 6, 2010 at 10:42 AM. She weighed in at 6 lbs, 6 oz and 19 inches long!
We could not be more in love and can already see the start of our little family blooming!
Thanks for your continued love and support ~Leigh Ann, Matt & Mollie

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa's on his way!

We've been having such a ball decorating for the holidays, shopping, listening to Christmas tunes & eating sweets...and Christmas isn't even here yet! I realized very early on in Mollie's life that I was going to be shopping for her more often than myself! Now with our first gift-giving holiday upon us, I realized that it's not just me. I have in turn given gifts based on Mollie to possibly everyone on both sides of our family. Example: Matt received a new stroller. I know what you all are thinking, 'a stroller?!' Oh joy. But he loved it, as I knew he would!! For the record, he also got other 'cool' stuff so don't poke fun at me. My sister Julie, told me I was lame..maybe so, but I've come to accept it, haha! Don't worry Julie, I didn't get you anything a stroller:)

I love my new stroller, too!
This past weekend we hosted Matt's parents (GiGi & Poppy) and did our Christmas with them. M could not get enough of their dog, Raleigh. She thought he was a hoot and just wanted to keep grabbing at the fur ball!

Not only do I purchase things to give based around Mollie, but we also receive! Not that I can think of anything I'd rather get than things for her, but it is pretty funny:) Although, maybe a nice spa day certificate thrown in for me is awesome- thank you Matt, you're the best! One gift from Matt says 'To: Leigh Ann' and inside is a Lands End tote with Mollie's initials. Another says 'From: Santa' and it's a steamer basket for making Mollie's food--actually that one was FROM Matt TO Matt, in reality! Sneaky..
GiGi & Poppy gave her a sweet new high chair seat, which we of course put to use that day. Special on the menu that day: Avocado--her new favorite! The girl ate 1/2 an avocado Saturday and the other 1/2 Sunday! Yummm I adore them too.
Lil bird

Matt, Mollie and I are all headed in the direction of Beech Mountain, NC (just outside of Boone) this Thursday. Mom, Dad & Jane have been there for a few days and Julie & Stephen are arriving today! They arrived with 4+ft of snow on the ground and it's not going anywhere. We can't wait...forecast is calling for snow mid-week and then big time on Friday. Yayyy for a White Christmas! We're keeping our fingers crossed & how cool for M's 1st Christmas!! I look forward to snuggling in with all of my favorite people, laughing, making memories and cooking yummy stuff.

Merry Christmas to you & your family. Have a blessed holiday and safe New Year!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A new world is born!

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”  Anais Nin

As I opened my email this morning, I read this quote. On so many levels this was perfect timing. Our dear friends welcomed a new baby into their lives yesterday! Some might have thought maybe they would never have children & heck, they might have even thought that themselves. When Matt & I learned of their pregnancy we were, of course, beyond excited. Mollie wasn't even born yet, but we just knew that including a child into our lives would make a new world possible and we were so happy our great friends would share in that experience with us.

The Haskins have been such wonderful friends to both Matt & I over the past few years. I love that in due time, people meant to be together do find each other. Mike & Kendra met 'later' in life and have such an awesome, authentic relationship. They are best of friends and work well together in so many different circumstances. As wonderful as they are just the two of them, I truly believe that sweet baby Colin will take their love for each other to the next level.

The day Mollie was born, Matt & I looked at each other with a mix of emotions, mostly tearful smiles of pure happiness knowing our lives would forever be changed. We were so blessed to be given a perfect newborn baby girl and to be given the responsibility to be her parents.

As Kendra & Mike got to experience that first moment of pure love with their new baby yesterday, I cannot WAIT to see & hear about what's to come for them. Friends, it only gets better & your new world has just been born when Colin Michael Haskins arrived:) Congrats!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's December!

November sure did come and GO! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday in Myrtle Beach with us 3, Matt's parents, 1 brother, aunt & uncle, sister-in-law & 2 nieces..and a partridge in a pear tree:)

Mollie enjoyed her first turkey day and celebrated with some yummy sweet potatoes! As I told my co-workers earlier this week, I'm not sure Molls will meet a food she does NOT like. 2 for 2 so far and going strong!!
Who took my sweet 'tators away?!
 Matt created her first menu last night of roasted squash & zucchini. Think we'll try that this weekend!

Mollie also got to meet Santa last weekend!!! Luckily (as of now) we have no issues with friends, etc holding Mollie or her being weird about who she gets held by if not mom & dad, so that's good! We didn't quite know what she'd do with Santa, but her classic expression of 'What the &^%$' came to face...

My parents arrive in Charleston tomorrow & we cannot wait for them to see M and show off all of her new tricks! It's just insane how quickly babies learn things and these early months it almost seems like daily something new happens or changes. Tuesday the girl will already be 5 months!! Wowsa.

Lately she has been sleeping less & less-- Over Thanksgiving & now this week too, she wakes up multiple times in the night just talking or laughing even! It really is funny, but not necessarily after the 4th time..Matt went in there the other night about 4:30am and she just laughed at him. Literally laughed at him. We joked that Matt had to bust the after-hours party she had going on, although it was a party of ONE! I've heard babies have some sleep regression before a new skill or a not sure what her poison will be, but momma is ready for some decent shut eye:)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Time to Reflect

"Don't pray when it rains, if you don't pray when the sun shines."  

As we get older, responsibilities change, as do our priorities. Thanksgiving is always a wonderful reminder to look back on the year and be grateful for all that we've been blessed with and the people in our lives, more importantly. Praying when things are good is not my strong suit. I've always been the one to lean on God and ask for help or strength when I need it, just bad with saying thanks for when I do actually have the answers!

As I've come to see with Mollie, material items sure do mean a whole lot less than being able to spend time with each other. I love that Matt is an awesome dad and looks forward to spending time with his wife & daughter. I think it's safe to say it might be his favorite thing to do. I for sure can say, spending time with those 2 people sure is MY favorite thing to do:)

2 years ago this week, I was sleeping on the floor of the ICU waiting room with my mom & sisters, watching my dad cling to life. I always knew my family was the core of my existence, but going through something so bad, sure can bring you closer to one can sharing your Thanksgiving meal in a hospital cafeteria. No fancy serving ware. No cooking in the kitchen for days. No real holiday decor. We were just grateful to be with each other. We were grateful to be eating warm food and have chairs to sit on. We were grateful that our dad was going to make it at least one more day. Those simple joys in life that don't cost a dime will ALWAYS outshine anything that has a dollar value. Nothing will ever compare to those moments and honestly, I'm glad it happened over Thanksgiving to really let us see all that we have been given in this life, all that we've worked towards & then be the most humbled I've ever known.

This past year at Thanksgiving, my family & Matt's family were all gathered in Myrtle Beach. Dad was also still a living miracle at that time, too! Thanksgiving day, Matt and I had the great honor of announcing to our families the coming addition to our family, now affectionately known as Mollie:) Only then, we had no clue boy/girl or anything else-we hadn't even been to the doctor or seen an ultrasound! We had known for a couple weeks if I remember correctly, but we stayed hush hush about it until we knew they'd all be together. It was one exciting day that's for sure!

Here we are in 2010 & we'll actually be able to celebrate Mollie here with us & also feed her her first REAL food-yummy sweet potatoes! My dad is truly a miracle. He survived 3 major surgeries and 74 days in the hospital with doctors not knowing exactly what would come next.

Not only does Thanksgiving bring us the natural meaning of thanks, but it's also a nice reminder to not only pray when it rains, but also pray when the sun shines! Be thankful everyday of the year, not just Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to you & all the wonderful people in your lives!

Its easy to pray when times are tough...and just as easy to pray when life is good and say, "Thanks" :) ~compliments of my friend Alaina

Monday, November 22, 2010

Grub time!

I swear Mollie was born a foodie. First, she took her sweet time rush, just wanted to savour every bit. Then, with a bottle she wants to chug it. If you take it from her and she is not done or you might by chance need to wipe her face a bit, she'll cry and/or squeal to let you know you better give that back to her ASAP. Don't mess with this chick at meal time.

Now, onto the food!! Matt and I had no clue what to expect when feeding her for the first time with a spoon. Would she open up? Would she eat/swallow it? Would she love it? YES to all of the above!!
She already wants to 'help'
She seriously opened her mouth and ate her rice cereal off the spoon with no hesitation--she did make a slight squirmy face when she first tasted the rice cereal, but it could not have gone smoother. She polished off her entire (little) bowl and just loved it!!!

So, we'll be on rice cereal for a little while, but Matt's dad 'Poppy' is going to fix her some sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving!! YUMMMMY! Haha, we cannot wait to see the look on her face when it's actually something delicious she's eating:)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

4 month update

Mollie is technically 4 months & 12 days, although we had her 4 month Dr. appt today, which included her 2nd round of vaccines:(
Took her shots like a champ!!
Of course as the Dr is talking to us, Mollie is just squealing and smiling at his assistant & it's hard for any of us to focus! Last weekend she began rolling from tummy to back and now is a pro, hardly staying on tummy for 2 seconds. Now today at the Dr office, she has learned to roll from back to tummy!! Haha, show off! So she is now a true roly-poly...No stopping her:)

Pediatrician said she is of course very healthy & yayyy ready to start some solids!! Well, that term is used lightly as 'solids' in the beginning is 1 Tsp rice cereal to 4 Tsp breastmilk. Hmm doesn't seem too SOLID to me! It will as time progresses, but either way, Matt and I are pumped to start trying to feed her this weekend. Here we come big girl spoon & bowl! Per Matt's request, we also got the go-ahead to try sweet potatoes or squash for Thanksgiving--she is def her dad's daughter! Don't worry, pictures and probably a video will come with a story I'm sure:)

Some stats, as of today 11/18/10
Height: 24 3/4 inches (75th percentile- Must have gotten our recessive genes!)
Weight: 11lbs 14oz (10th percentile- I couldn't believe she's not 12lbs yet, but Dr says she's great, just long & lean!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How things change:)

I received this list of  '42 things that change when you have a baby' in an email & felt the need to share. Most of these I totally related to and many sure did bring a big smile to my face:)

What changes when you have a baby? A better question may be: What doesn't change? Here, writer and mom Rebecca Woolf lists her most notable post-baby observations. Then scroll down to read our favorite comments from readers about how their babies changed their lives.

1. You finally stop to smell the roses, because your baby is in your arms.

2. Where you once believed you were fearless, you now find yourself afraid. [See a reader's perspective in #37, below.]

3. The sacrifices you thought you made to have a child no longer seem like sacrifices.

4. You respect your body ... finally.

5. You respect your parents and love them in a new way.

6. You find that your baby's pain feels much worse than your own.

7. You believe once again in the things you believed in as a child.

8. You lose touch with the people in your life whom you should have banished years ago.

9. Your heart breaks much more easily.

10. You think of someone else 234,836,178,976 times a day.

11. Every day is a surprise.

12. Bodily functions are no longer repulsive. In fact, they please you. (Hooray for poop!)

13. You look at your baby in the mirror instead of yourself.

14. You become a morning person.

15. Your love becomes limitless, a superhuman power.

And from our readers...
16. "You discover how much there is to say about one tooth." — Ashley's mom

17. "You finally realize that true joy doesn't come from material wealth." — Anonymous

18. "You now know where the sun comes from." — Charlotte

19. "You'd rather buy a plastic tricycle than those shoes that you've been dying to have." — Sophie's mom

20. "You realize that although sticky, lollipops have magical powers." — Roxanne

21. "You don't mind going to bed at 9 p.m. on Friday night." — Kellye

22. "Silence? What's that?" — Anonymous

23. "You realize that the 15 pounds you can't seem to get rid of are totally worth having." — Brenda

24. "You discover an inner strength you never thought you had." — Ronin and Brookie's mom

25. "You no longer rely on a clock — your baby now sets your schedule." — Thomas' mom

26. "You give parents with a screaming child an 'I-know-the-feeling' look instead of a 'Can't-they-shut-him-up?' one." — Jaidyn's mom

27. "Your dog — who used to be your 'baby' — becomes just a dog." — Kara
[Many readers begged to differ, saying things like, " I disagree with this. My dogs are my additional children," "Nothing about previous babies, whether two- or four-legged, changes when a new miracle comes along," "My dog will never be 'just a dog," and "This is sad to me. My dog is still my baby too."]

28. "You take the time for one more hug and kiss even if it means you'll be late." — Tracey

29. "You learn that taking a shower is a luxury." — Jayden's mom

30. "You realize that you can love a complete stranger." — Dezarae's mom

31. You find yourself wanting to make this world a better place. — Arizona

32. If you didn’t believe in love at first sight before, now you do! — Ciara

33. You start to appreciate Sesame Street for its intellectual contribution. — Anon.

34. You have to quit watching the news because you see every story from a mother's perspective and it breaks your heart. — Brooke&Boys

35. You just plain love life more - everything comes together and becomes better because of one tiny person and your love for them. — Anon.

36.. You finally find out the real reason you have those breasts. — Anon.

37. In response to #2 [above], I'd say that where you were once afraid, you're now fearless. I was always very timid and shy and let myself get walked all over … but now where my kid's concerned, I'll speak my mind and really connect with my inner "b"! — gummismom

38. The support you get from other people surprises you, because the people giving it are not always the ones you'd expect. — japanese_macaque

39. Nothing is just yours any longer. You share EVERYTHING! — DylanLsMom

40. No matter what you've accomplished in life, you look at your child and think, "I've done a GREAT job!" — Anon.

41. You want to take better care of yourself for your child. — Treasor

42. You can have the most wonderful conversation using only vowel sounds like "ahhh" and "oooo." — littlehulk2008

Monday, November 15, 2010

Milestone weekend!

What a super fun & exciting weekend we had! Mollie has just been an absolute angel (what's new?!) during the days and nights. For all new parents, or seasoned ones for that matter, a good night's sleep for baby AND us is soooo lovely! On occasion she'll wake up once at some point, but just need to be patted and loved for a second, then she goes right back to sleep. For the past week at least, she has slept straight through the night...7pm-6:30am!! It's been awesome. So awesome, that I've now taken to waking up about 5:30 for the day and enjoying some quiet sofa time & news time with my cup of coffee.Ahhh.

So, Saturday morning Molls wakes up after her 11.5 hr slumber and we go into the living room to play for a bit. The girl was on her stomach for just a few seconds and she ROLLED OVER! After the first time she did her new trick, of course we had to video it:)

Some of you without children might be saying big deal, but really, when you have this little tyke that doesn't make any movements other than kicking legs, swinging arms and laying on back or tummy time, anything new in their development is exciting:) And it's a proud moment too...your little one is growing up & learning!!

We also ventured downtown on Sunday for '2nd Sunday', where they close a large part of King Street to all cars making it the perfect place to go with a stroller! Another brilliant Charleston happening, just doesn't get enough PR! Second month in a row now, the only place I hear about it is on the early AM news ticker.

Mollie and I ran into some friends, had some frozen yogurt at this new shop (well I did, M just watched in awe), danced to some fun tunes and then a couple hours later, she zonked out in the car on the way home. All that socializing can wear a girl out:)

I so wish Charleston would do this every Sunday or even twice a month! The weather could not have been more perfect or the people nicer. Shops had racks of items or tables outside, some places had little nibbles or drinks set out, it was just wonderful. We had a great time & of course Mollie was a ham to just about everyone who came up to her, young and old...smiling and squealing- just stealing hearts of course:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

A True Partnership

I recently read an article in our local newspaper The Post & Courier titled Unfair Labor. Please read for yourselves, but the premise is that women carry a heavier load of duties at home than their male counterparts. As I read into the story a little bit, I was quickly reminded (yes, I already knew) that I have a very helpful husband and really don't feel like I carry a heavier load. Although I honestly will say that I think women in general do tend to do more around the house, such as cooking & cleaning, although in the Garrett household we are a true partnership.

It's pretty much always been this way, but since Mollie's arrival, we've had to be more specific in our duties and who does what, as to be as efficient as possible. Matt has always cooked for me, I think from the moment we met. I know, I know, he's a doll. His culinary degree sure does come in handy in our home or else we'd be having cereal every night or maybe a grilled cheese on a special occasion! I'm really not THAT bad, just don't enjoy cooking or being in the kitchen much. I do all of our laundry & sheets, as Matt hates that chore. He unloads the dishwasher, as I hate that chore. We have always been very considerate of each other and feel grateful for that type of relationship.

Our good friends & neighbors have a daughter 2 months older than Mollie. He's a doctor, therefore on call a good bit, which leaves the mom to do just about everything, whether weekday or weekend! On the rare occasion it's been just me for a full day/night I quickly realize how hard that is. I cannot even imagine how a working single mom does it--how do things even get done and where do you find the money to do it? The only time you'll be able to get any work or something else around the house done will be when your child is napping or asleep for the night. That's not much wiggle room. They've had such a hard time adjusting to that lifestyle that she is now going to be working just part-time so she is able to 'pay the bills, clean the house and go to the grocery store without their child!' If that's what works for them and will help her feel better about the balance in their life & relationship then go for it!! I'm happy that my friend's 'hamster wheel' will finally get off track a bit & she'll have some time for herself.

Take this week for example, I've had a couple things before AND after work which inhibits me from dropping or picking up Mollie. If Matt had any different schedule than he does, we'd be in trouble. How would we function and what would we have to sacrifice? How would we afford babysitters all the time outside of work hours? At night when I'm putting Mollie to bed, Matt's in the kitchen fixing our dinner. I just have to walk out and it's ready on the table. Maybe even a beer or glass of wine to accompany it as well:)

As the article states, "Men spend about 1hr and 10mins per day on all household activities, and women spend about 1hr and 55mins." To argue both sides, sure, I know some men who don't lift a finger...and I know some women who don't either! I'm so blessed that Matt and I both participate to what we feel is equal in our home. I love that Mollie will see her dad cooking in the kitchen and creating his weekly menu on our chalkboard. I love that she'll see me out in the yard trimming hedges or fixing a broken door knob. We do what we needs to be done around the house and help each other out, whether it's a coined 'mans job' or a 'woman's job.'

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

Time to switch our AC to Heat. Time to switch from iced morning coffee to hot. Time to use our fireplace and fire pit! Our weather suddenly got pretty cold, which means Matt & I had to break out the winter gear, as well as Mollie. I felt like this bundle of joy needed a post about her being all bundled up:)

I've always hated dressing for winter. It takes too long & you miss the days of just throwing on a summer dress and being done. You can't leave the house without a jacket, obviously, but as soon as you begin to enter indoor locations, the temperature is consistently different everywhere you go. So if you layer, which most of us in the South know we must do, then you might start out in 4 layers, then go down to 3, back up to 4, then down to 1. This could be because of the drastic temp change or because people don't understand what a 'comfortable' AC/Heat setting is....

Now, dressing an infant in general is pretty tough. Arms are a flyin', legs are a kickin', sometimes there is laughter, sometimes crying. It's a feat to get a full outfit on a child, I swear. And then if you're lucky, they can stay in that outfit for a few hours at least before it gets soiled one way or another:) Layering a child takes forever. Then they'll have a dirty diaper and you have to go through that whole process again. Guess that's why time management starts to have a whole new meaning for moms. I've definitely learned to give myself a few extra minutes here & there and prepare for the unexpected. Not that I have this all figured out or are always on time, don't let me fool you!

To put us all in that cold weather snuggle mood, here are some pics of Miss Molls ready for her first winter:) Cannot wait to see her look like a snowman when we're in Boone skiing for Christmas!!

My precious

Lazy Saturday in front of the fire

Lil gangsta..

Rosy red cheeks:)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Getting so fun!

This child is so funny!! She's growing and getting just more wonderful by the day. As incredible and absolute miracles as newborns are, Matt and I have realized we love the interaction that an infant and beyond brings..Those first 2+ months were hard!! I know you seasoned moms are shaking your heads saying, 'Just you want until they can walk and say No!' Haha, when that times comes we'll probably be like, Man remember when we could just lay Molls on her playmat and she'd coo or squeal and stay in that one spot for a while??' The squeal gets me & Matt every time. It's the cutest sound ever and she is just in hog heaven.(I really hope this video below works, but might not) I love a happy baby!!! Her personality is starting to show & so look forward to seeing more.

Here are a few updates on the Mollster:
Favorite thing to hold: Still babydoll that she cuddles with in her swing or Matt's chest hair, haha!
Best Friend: Gunna have to say Matt on this one.. :)
Favorite toy: Toss up between playmat and Jenny jump-up
Favorite sound to make: Oh, the SQUEAL!
Favorite sound to hear: Mom, seriously, really. I don't know what's wrong with her, but she loves to hear me sing! I just need to learn more verses in all the children's songs so she doesn't start to learn my made up lines!
Favorite Food Network host: Ina Garten
Favorite (current) Song: 'Stuck Like Glue' by Sugarland. We love to sing along in the car:)

We celebrated Halloween in style by playing with our friends across the street and hanging out in costumes. Well sort of. Poor Mollie had this HUGE bumblebee outfit and she was not having it.
Mad as a bumblebee:)
The rest of the day we were in our Halloween onesie & Frankenstein bib and socks.

She's getting great at holding her head up and wants to see all the action happening around her (not that that's anything new!) Think that's why she loves the Jenny jump-up, she gets to hang out with us with us in kitchen and still do her own thing. We're also on the hunt for a good jumperoo or excersaucer. Just another large item to add to the living room..What do people with kids do in cramped spaces?! Pretty sure our living room (or entire house) will never look like the adult place we had in the past, but we have no problem with it as long as Mollie is happy in her home:)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We did it!!

We left Mollie with a babysitter....and it was a success on both ends! Matt and I were co-hosting a baby shower for our dear friends, Mike & Kendra, last Saturday night and my parents were not in town. That means we needed outside help. While my parents have been great about watching Mollie here & there for a little bit, this was the first time we'd be leaving her full bedtime routine and putting her down for the night to someone else. Our very sweet intern at work, Sarah, was the perfect girl for the job. I'm thankful we didn't wait any longer than 3.5 months to hire someone for an evening. It really helped me let go of some of that nighttime control and feeling like everything has to go EXACTLY as planned for Mollie to go down for the night correctly AND sleep 10+ hours as she consistently does. Mollie & Sarah both did excellent and Molls didn't make a peep all night! Whew. It was a great learning experience for me & another thing I can check off my list as being nervous about, but accomplishing:)

I'd typed out contact numbers and other important notes/information to keep on our fridge. As many years as I was a babysitter myself, I tried to remember what it was that I liked to know and have ahead of time. We put together a great list of all of our doctors, local emergency people, neighbors, etc. Then another list of Mollie's feeding info, tips for things around the house, nighttime routine all spelled out (haha) and the list goes on. I don't want a sitter or family member to feel they have to follow it to a 'T', but I do want them to know what we do & it seems to work fine:) I also need to be better about leaving planned dinner options for the sitter. That always bothered me when I couldn't find anything to eat at someone's house. Glad we have a fridge full always!!

One confession though..I had told Sarah ahead of time that Mollie spits up a LOT, but forget to mention to bring an extra shirt or change or clothes. And no, I am not exaggerating, we have multiple outfit changes a day & should have prepared Sarah better! Of course throughout the night, she is texting me updates (this is why I adore her) & she did tell me M had a HUGE spit up after her bath. I didn't ask too many questions at that point, as I knew I'd be home soon and she'd tell me what I needed to know. After all, spitting up big time is just Molls' MO. So, we come home and Sarah has her cardigan all the way buttoned-up, proceeds to walk to the laundry room & show me her camisole that's hanging on the door handle drying. She had to wash it in the sink. Then next to that is a pile of clothes/towels that came from earlier in the evening..Mollie spit up on her bunny bath towel, then Sarah had to use it to wipe the floor where some spit up occurred, as well. Welcome to our world. To create a visual, this is a picture from a 24hr wash load (of just Mollie's stuff!) Sat- Sun. Probably about 10 burp cloths, 8 outfits, 10 bibs. Yeah....that seems about right:)

We're grateful to have Sarah as a sitter and also look forward to another night out. Although, I'll also confess that I look forward to having my parents back, as we don't have to pay them nearly as much;) It did Matt & I great to get out of the house for a night, spend some time solo with friends, but really, at the end of everything, we are 100% happy spending our time together at home, sitting on the back porch together after Molls goes to bed and having our alone time then. Much cheaper, comfortable and like they say, there's no place like home.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hello Fall!

Molls is growing so fast it's almost unbelievable! We are blessed with one very happy baby I will say..She smiles a LOT and always if someone is talking to her and/or smiling at her (guess I can't capture on camera though!) She loooves to be a part of the action!! She is getting even better at holding her head up, loves to sit up & see what's happening. I swear the girl doesn't miss a beat. She will coo and talk so much, sometimes we hardly get a word in. It's just awesome to see that kind of development literally occur before your eyes.
I'm so in love with how she will follow Matt with her eyes and head alll the way around a room or when he's sitting next to us and gets up, she turns and looks like she's really about to talk and say "Dad, where you going?" It's so darn cute and melts him, I know.
Word up, sista
Last weekend we took Molls to the pumpkin sale at a local church, where our friends belong. Granted, I had about 3 cute outfits for her to get different photos in, but we ended up with just this one due to sleepiness...and also got called 'handsome.' Shucks..guess it's back to the pink & purple for this one!! Haha!
Two buds
My little pumpkin!!

Almost 2 weeks ago we also got the first real laugh!! It was everything and more, that I'd been waiting on. Just the sweetest chuckle ever. And of course, once you hear it, you want it all the time--but she only indulges me sometimes, though we're on a pattern of at least once a day! A friend and I were talking the other day about all these baby milestones & how they have so many accomplishments this first year. I'm not really one to take the time to scrapbook, although I do enjoy crafts, and honestly don't even have a baby book for Mollie! I have gathered some pictures and at least will write on the back her age, etc. But I also figured, I'm not doing a baby book because I have this blog! I can't wait to share with her all those old entries of Matt & I first knowing about her existence, her growing in my tummy and even more importantly, how much we LOVE having her with us and how much fun we are having! Each day brings a new smile to our face and we anticipate getting to see her each morning. Even this am, I brought her into our bedroom to say hey to Matt...although he would've seen her in just a few more minutes, I just couldn't wait:)

Matt and I did have our first dinner date sans Mollie last week. Mom & Dad were in town so they watched her for a couple hours.
Mimi, Pops & Mollie
It was lovely, but we were anxious to get back to see her before she went to bed!! I do remember the times before Matt & I had Mollie, there's no lying and saying I don't, haha!, but in all honesty, I'm not sure either of us smiled or laughed on a daily basis as much as we do now. Guess that's what parenting is supposed to be. Building joy upon joy. I'm pretty certain there's more joy now than we ever expected..and I hear it only gets better!
Family pic..complete with spit up!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy 3 months, Mollie!

Oh my, Mollie is already 3 months today!! This age seemed so far away!! She is honestly getting sweeter and more fun by the day- Matt and I cannot get enough of her and that precious face:)

Sweet, sweet girl!!
A few things we've recently realized..
  •  I'm not sure if we'll ever have the need for an alarm clock again
  • When she gets up in the AM's, we both race each other in the room, as that first daily sight of her all swaddled and smiling is truly priceless. We just stand over her & laugh it's so adorable! (see pic)
  • She is a 'happy spitter' - the girl spits up more than we thought possible, but smiles and it doesn't bother her, so no need to worry! I'm keeping burp cloth and bib companies in biz.
  • Pretty certain Mollie will love cooking and/or helping dad in the kitchen. She can sit in her bumbo and watch dad cook forever..he tells her about all the tips and ingredients! We cannot WAIT to talk solids with the Pediatrician next month!!!
  • When she catches a glimpse of the TV her eyes just get locked in..she seems to prefer Food Network, but maybe that's because it's all we watch:)
  • She is getting so good at sitting up and having strength. She loves to look around and is so alert- but really, she was alert from Day 1! We of course have to help her sometimes, but guess rolling over is next on her agenda, so we'll see!
  • Her likes and dislikes are becoming a bit more obvious each day. Likes= swing, taking walks, being outside, talking, reading, lovey blankets, babydoll, bathtime and MUCH more. She is a very happy baby. Dislikes= getting hungry is pretty much it. Ha!
  • Pretty sure Mollie's a morning person, which is fine by me! Matt and I are by no means night owls..Although this AM I did have to go in and wake her, which I hate doing as she needs her sleep, but the girl had been asleep for 11+ hours!!!
  • Somehow each night she moves from one end of her crib to the other IN her swaddle (see pic). Little inchworm we have I guess! What will happen when we don't swaddle her?! Will she learn to crawl?!
  •   Matt & I are blessed everyday to have a wonderful and healthy child- we could not ask for more!
All wedged down at the end! Haha
Seriously, makes our day to wake up to this! Wish I awoke this happy:)
I also want to take this opportunity and say THANK YOU to all of our blog readers...I run into people all the time who reference the blog & I also get the most amazing emails or facebook messages from best friends and even long lost friends sharing their highs & lows of parenting, providing support, telling cute or funny stories and I really appreciate it!!! Y'all are awesome:)  xoxo

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reality Hits (& Bites)

My maternity leave is officially over. Well, today is my last weekday at home with lil peanut:(
Our last weekday AM walk..
Beginning July 6 when Mollie was born, fast forward 3 months and now it's time to go back to work. Early on I was overwhelmed with emotion & life and it definitely took me a good while to make sense of our new life and learning all these new ropes. Ha, not like I have it ALL figured it out yet:) But feel I sure could use some more time. I'm staying realistic and thinking, who could NOT use more time?!

I've worked from home throughout my leave and then in September I went into the office 2x a week. It's now October 1. Guess what that means- full time for me in the office starting this month. Ohhh has the day really come?!  Reality hits and tears fill my eyes.

Being home a few days a week with her for sure had it's pro's & con's. I wasn't rushed in the mornings. We got in our regular neighborhood walk & I was able to just snuggle with her for as long as I wanted. On the other hand, it really was non-stop. When she did nap, I could then get things done. I am not the cook of the household, Matt is, thank goodness. While I do clean, I could do a better job:) Between feeding her, pumping, washing things in the sink, laundry, playing with her, straightening the house, I was sometimes lucky to even get myself lunch made on time or close to it. That kind of hecticness I won't miss...but man, I will miss those snuggles:) With her bedtime about 7pm, and we get home around 5pm, that's not much time to spend with her! I think that's been the toughest part on my office days..I feel like I never get to see her. Although, P.S. Mollie, I don't NEED to see you in the middle of the night, so keep up the great sleeping!!

We adore Mollie's caregiver- she is with a wonderful lady (JoJo) and her family who all love kids! We've been transitioning into our routine for September and all seems great. Matt & I are working on the AM routine of feeding, quick nap for Molls, getting us and her dressed, bags packed, milk transported, dropping her off, etc. I am now questioning will I ever get my car and personal space back?? My thought is no. What used to fill my car was trashy mags, sunscreen and beach chairs has now been replaced with a stroller, carseat and an overfilled diaper bag. To be honest, I wouldn't trade that for anything! Even when Mollie isn't riding in the car with me, I glance in my rearview mirror, see her carseat and just smile ear to ear. She warms my heart through & through.

I always knew and assumed I'd be a 'working mom' and never thought I'd consider anything other...until I met my daughter. Don't get me wrong, I love to work and I love my job!! I know for a fact that staying home with a baby full-time would not satisfy me--at least not for very long I don't think. I've loved having best of both worlds this past month, but really, that's not for me either. It was very, very hard to work a whole lot at home and stay focused, so am confident that if I'm to work, I prefer the office. So what IS for me? I'm not sure 100%- but I know what it is for now and for a while.

As Oprah says, 'what I do know for sure' is...I love my daughter more than I ever thought possible and want the best in life for her. Mollie will grow up seeing her mom as an independent, confident woman who took her children and family's interests seriously and appropriately. Nothing less. She will see me laughing with Matt and us spending quality time with each other. SHE will grow up an independent & confident woman, as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where has the time gone?!

So apparently, 3 months marks the transition from a newborn to an infant. We have a few more days, I'm not jumping the gun quite yet. It's so hard to believe how much these little beings change in just a few short weeks! My newborn will soon become an infant...wowsers, where has the time gone?!
Lounging poolside at Kiawah
Just Playin'!

One week I'm stressing that I need to be better apt to handle her wants & needs, I mean, the girl does communicate but I just doing speak 'baby' very well sometimes...At least she only cries when she needs something and once I go down my short list of what those things could be, I stumble upon the correct answer. Whew crisis averted. Once she hit about 2.5 months this was soooo much better!!

As much as it makes perfect sense, Matt and I have to constantly remind ourselves that babies are just 'miniature us's'. Some days we're more hungry or less hungry than others. Same with babies. Some nights we sleep well, some nights not. Same with babies. I could go on & on.. We're still trumped at certain moments, but for the most part, we're getting the hang of this! And loving every second of it- she really is super fun!!

Her personality's really starting to come through. There are times when she needs her alone time & doesn't want to be held. I hear ya. She'll wiggle and whine and as soon as you put her down, she's fine. I've always been one to enjoy time by myself as has Matt. I think that's a great attribute in a person when they enjoy spending time with just themselves. I bet she'll like her independent time to play and just chill when she gets older, too. When I would worry about her napping, my mom would remind me, 'when she's tired, she will sleep.' I really didn't quite get that & thought I had to tell her when to do it and coax her into falling asleep. Not the case. If I provide her the opportunity to fall asleep she will (in most cases) fall asleep. I got so wrapped up into having her 'be by the book' that I was missing her messages and her individuality. I've learned my lesson & will let her be her OWN person. As much as I wanted a schedule, we pretty much have one without me forcing anything. For that, I am grateful and comfortable.

Her smiles are out of control! The girl will crack me up. We finished feeding a few days ago and I started singing Bad Romance by Lady Gaga (don't ask) and the girl LOVED it. Oh great. Yep, she is def the niece of Julie & Jane Szteiter, the biggest Gaga fans I know:) I cannot wait for Mollie's out loud laughs to start!!! They are almost there & I am dying for a real giggle. While she can 'talk' up a storm, and seriously at times we can hardly get a word in. Matt and I just look at her and laugh. What in the world could she be trying to tell us? Something very important and useful, I'm sure:)
She was all smiles then stopped once the camera came out!

She also recently loves to hold things and touch things. Hence this precious picture of her holding her babydoll! She naps with her over her face and blankie in other hand. We knew she was a snuggle bug from DAY 1-- Melts my heart!!
Loving on babydoll

We have daily tummy time & while she is awesome at holding her head up, no signs of her attempting to roll over yet, but we're working on it. 
Roll Tide Roll!!
She's been sleeping great. She basically tells us what she wants and we follow. Guess we already know who is in charge here, right?! Her naps are pretty consistent and even if brief at times, she gets what she needs. Her fave afternoon nap spot is on her tummy (supervised, of course) in our living room leather chair. It's adorable & she always looks so content!
We were trying different bedtimes to see what works and think we've ended up with right about 7pm. She has been doing down like a champ! We bathe her, have massage time, pj's, then read Goodnight Moon, eat a touch more, then bed. As we're reading Goodnight Moon, she always starts to fuss right around the page of 'Goodnight mush' because she knows her bedtime snack is right around the corner- haha! I usually get up once with her about 3 to eat & I also pump then we're all good:) Looking forward to her spacing that out til wakeup time!! A few nights ago it was ALL night, 8pm-6am, then the next night it was, lets keep that up!!

So, we're going to have our last little while with our newborn and then she grows up into a new category. So very hard to believe and I know she'll be crawling before I can even blink my eyes. For now, we'll enjoy our little tiny Mollie:)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Matt & I are celebrating 4 years of marriage today!! I remember that magical day like it was yesterday and relive it often. The day he proposed to me in Asheville and it was snowing, the moment I called my family to share the good news, the day I walked down the aisle in my dad's arms to wed my best friend.

4 years? How could so very much happen in just 4 years? An amazing wedding, a couple weeks after my mom falls down and busts her teeth out, my sisters go off to college, my dad is in the hospital for 74 days, my parents sell their house and probably 95% of everything in it and then we welcome Mollie into our lives:) Whew. That exhausts me just writing it out.

I can only imagine how wonderful all of these many more years will be with our little family. We've taken some awesome trips together, laughed so hard we've cried and cried so hard we've laughed. What is in store for the next 4? I don't know, but I will say excitement is sure to be had:)

I'm lucky he chose me. I'm lucky we were blessed to have a beautiful little girl together. I love you, boo and Mollie does too!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

She's growing!

Yesterday we had Mollie's 2 month vaccine Pediatrician appt. I will honestly say that I had no clue what to expect nor how she would react. I was dreading the shots! I've only heard one pain cry from her and it was the other night, when my ring either scrached her neck or she got a scratch elsewhere & I just rubbed it. Either way, I knew that was a pain cry. When I heard it, I just snuggled her real hard and hoped it would go away ASAP whatever it was! I knew we'd hear it again with the shots. She did GREAT! Was snoozing in my arms at the time they were ready to do them, so I woke her a bit, had to lay her down, the sweet nurse was quick and she cried a few good wails, but that was it! Then I scooped her back up, snuggled with her & rocked and presto, back asleep...for almost 3 hrs!!! She fell asleep in her carseat and I even ate lunch in my car, in the driveway so I would not disturb her!
Check out my boo-boo's :(
I actually ADORE our Dr, so it's been nice to go to him and he really spends time talking with the patients about what baby is doing, how the family is doing, milestones, what we need to look ahead at doing/not doing, etc. It's wonderful to have him as an important resource and he's been helpful from Day 1.

Also at this appt they do measurements and look at percentiles/averages. She is exactly 10 lbs!!! I knew she was close to that a couple weeks ago and Matt & I even thought she'd be a touch more, but nope -10 even. That puts her in the 50% percentile, so exactly average--although I think she is waaayyy better than average:) Big improvement as at 2 weeks, her weight was in the 10% bracket. She is now 22 1/2 inches in length, putting her in the 80% bracket. Where is she getting this height?! Not me or Matt, haha, must be my side as the rest of my family is pretty tall. I knew she might be lengthier than usual, as some 0-3 month outfits are so wide on her, but pull a bit in the length. Go girl, get you some height!!
Gah, I'm so big!
I don't know if it was the vaccines or not, I am hoping not, but she had an awesome night's sleep last night. We currently have a consistent bedtime routine, just not really consistent bedtime. We made the effort to put her down earlier than usual last night, when showing tired signs and she went to sleep without even a wimper! Woke up at 12:45 and I needed to pick her up, pat her back & put her back down. She didn't wake again until 4:30am!! She ate pretty well & then back down (which she is always good about, thank God). I went in there this am at 6:45 to start our day!! She was stirring, but not totally up. Had the BIGGEST grin on her face too!! Guess that's what happens when we get a good night's sleep, huh?! Yay, hope we're on to something, I've known she needed more nighttime sleep hours, um as do Matt & I. Day sleep issues will be next:)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Information Overload

“One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There’s always more than you can cope with.”
Marshall McLuhan
“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”
Gertrude Stein

I've always felt like a pretty confident woman. Confidence in myself & confidence in my choices. It's always been a priority of mine to build up others self-esteem, especially women, as it's sooooo important and we all know why.

When Matt and I were first talking about starting a family, there wasn't a whole lot to do or 'study' ahead of time, per se. We wanted children together and that's all there was to it. So, of course, once you find out you are pregnant, the mass of information becomes out of control. I mean,you immediately want to read up on what you as a child-bearing mother should do & more so, what we should NOT do-- Matt likes to say the book "What to Expect When You are Expecting'  is full of 'all things you cannot do.' In all honesty, he's spot on. When you are pregnant you tend to worry about what you are eating, your size & what's normal and more so, what's going on with this baby inside of me? Well, there are plenty of books, websites and people's opinions out there to last us a lifetime! I don't even think I read through all the pregnancy books I had.

Fast forward to the present & we have a beautiful and sweet 9-week old little girl:) Almost the moment she arrived, I then moved onto the books and websites of parenting. A whole new genre at Barnes & Noble, if you will. Now...I really didn't stress or worry much during pregnancy, I knew it was all in God's hands and as long as I did what was healthy for me and baby, that's all I could do. Ha, not the same way I feel now that she is here!!! I wish it were that simple. Maybe it is and I'm just suffering from information overload.

Once you have that new life in your arms, the decision has automatically been made that you will do ANYTHING & EVERYTHING in your power for them. It's so true, it's almost frightening. In thinking and feeling that, you want to try and do everything right. Well the problem is, what is 'right?' What's right for one baby and family is not for another.

I heard the cliche 'Babies don't come with instruction manuals' time & time again and I really thought it was so lame. Now, um yeah, where IS my instruction manual?! After 9 weeks, we are for sure figuring things out. Books, websites and friends have helped, but there is an overabundance of information out there to 'help' you & at times it for sure has. On the other hand, sometimes all it does is confuse the heck out you and make you question yourself. I think that's the hardest part. I never really squabbled in my confidence or my choices, but I swear these past weeks sure have tested that. What if we do this, will that help? How do I help her sleep better? How do we get her on a schedule? The list goes on...On that note, I sent Matt to go out and get a particular baby sleep book for me. He comes back and informs me that the book was at B&N in the 'Problem Children' area. Great. Now, my child has a problem..just one more thing to worry about. Yeah right.

I know I'm the only mom Mollie will ever know & I think I'm a pretty darn good one I will say:) I want to make her the happiest baby possible and do everything 'right.' I think I'm starting to let go of the obsessive need to read into things too much and question our choices. I want Mollie to lead us and let us know what she wants. Hun, we're listening- tell us what you want! I promise to put down all the books and delete some of the bookmarked websites & just spend time with you. Not a whole lot of information, just good ole' quality time:) Our newest favorite past-time.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy 2 months, Mollie!

How could so very much happen in just 2 short months?! Our lives have been changed forever and we're so grateful for that:) I figured now would be a good time to recap things that have happened this month & see Mollie's progress of growing up to be a big girl! It really is amazing how quickly they develop and learn!!

Here are some basics to catch you up to speed: She is 21 1/2 inches long (was 19 at birth) --she is stretching out!! We have no scale, but I'm guessing she is pushing 10 lbs (was 6.6 at birth)...also heard that was the magic number to help her sleep through the night:) Wooohoooo! We also go to her 2 month pediatrician appt next week to do vaccines..I think I'll cry as hard as she will!
Look how long I am!
Mollie has grown out of 'newborn' sized clothing and into 0-3mths. Some of those are even too big on her, but as I've learned real quick with a baby girl, there is never a shortage of clothing. Isn't that with all females?! Thanks to spit up, etc we have multiple outfit changes a day, so we do get to wear everything! She also moved out of newborn sized diapers around week 7 and into size 1. I did a pretty darn good estimate on diapers when couponing and only had to buy 1 extra package of newborns! I just restocked a pack of 1's on the changing table and have 2 more packages..can we make it with those until she reaches 12 lbs?! Haha, I think no, but they are big packages, so we'll see. I also got a TON of wipes (or so I thought a ton) on clearance at CVS months ago. Matt sort of laughed at me at the time, but he knows I love having back-ups of things..and especially those must have items like diapers & wipes!!

Her bedtime routine consists of given her a bath around 6:30ish, which she LOVES, then lotion and massage time, then pj's--we then chill for a bit and maybe read a book and then have our bedtime milk between 7-7:30. She is usually asleep around 8pm. We are not doing a 'dreamfeed' with her, although I know it works for sooo many people, but rather letting her wake on her own in the night and it's usually just once around 3am. Last night was 4:30!! I figure if I have to get up around then to pump regardless, I might as well do everything at one time.We still swaddle her at night, as her arms would still most likely wake her up..actually I don't know, but not willing to take the chance quite yet! When she wakes up, she has somehow inched her way down to the other end of the crib. I guess the girl can move- Eeks, may have an early crawler and walker, we shall see:)

She has gotten so strong, too! She will really push her legs and put pressure on them, which feels so funny for being so small! We've also been having daily tummy time and she's getting awesome at holding her head up-- we're so pumped for that & cannot wait to sit her in her Bumbo seat at the table & elsewhere with us to chill. She already wants to know what's going on & not miss a beat.
I'm getting so strong!
 She and I have been getting out and about a good bit & each time gets a bit easier. We do daily morning walks in the neighborhood, usually after her morning cat nap, so she is wide awake and looking all around at the trees, hearing the birds, etc. I've been laying her flat in the stroller, but a few days ago I sat her seat up and she did great! Matt had his first solo excursion with her this weekend. They ventured to Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and World Market. They both survived just fine:) Sunday, we took her to her first Riverdogs baseball game and then today we had an awesome picnic at the Mt. Pleasant Waterfront Park.

My mom and dad left Charleston about a week ago. It was so sad, as they've been here since the middle of May! They'll be in Point Clear for September, October & November, then on to Boone, NC for December. That's also where we'll all do Christmas so that should be super fun! They bought a VERY cute cottage just around the corner from our house and have spent every minute of free time fixing it up. I'm not lying when I say every free minute. The place looks amazing and has so much charm & character. I'll need to post some pics once they get back up here. Guessing come January they will be here for a bit. I mean, who can stay away from Charleston or your only grandchild?!

Now the bittersweet part...I start back in the office tomorrow. Just 2 days a week however in September, then full-time in October. I said the other day, just as I'm getting the hang of this & getting into my groove, time to go to the office! But hey, my time with Mollie has been amazing and will make weekends with us 3 that much more special I think. At least that's what I'm telling myself:) We have a great lady that will be watching Mollie out of her home & we are thankful for this arrangement- we also have a friend who's little boy will be there starting in January, too! So fun:)

That's us in a nutshell these days. Matt and I are just in awe of Mollie each & every day. We've been having such fun with her! Her coos and smiles get us every time and just make us smile that much more. Cheers to 2 months Mollie and cheers to us surviving and thriving- it's been a wonderful ride thus far!