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Mother + Daughter Photographs

As the main photographer in my family, it is rare to find both Chloe and I in the same photo. Luckily, a couple months ago my talented friend Greta took some wonderful, keepsake-quality shots of the two of us. And check out that watermark – I am proud to say that her new logo is one of my designs!

Here are just a few of my many favorite captures:


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Dear Chloe, 9 months old


A little grass never hurt anyone… right?

Dear Chloe,

Today you are 9 months old. What a milestone! Nine months ago you were born, and nine months before that you were barely two cells joined together. And now look at you, sweeter that a summer peach and apple of your mama’s eye.

These days you are bounding around like a curious and troublesome puppy. You crawl everywhere, like a magnet drawn to everything we wish you wouldn’t play with. You pull yourself to a stand on anything that will support you. It started with a diaper box left in your play area (read: living room), but now you just use it to dangle over on your tummy. Sadly, falls and tumbles are par for the course. Sometimes you land safely on your bottom, but other times you land hard, bumping your head and making the whole house shake. I cringe. You cry. I always want to comfort you, but I’ve found on light tumbles that you recover quicker on your own. It is a fine line, treading between your fledgling independence and my desire to protect you from everything.


I don’t need the box anymore, I can use the sofa now.

Your diet is steadily becoming more varied, but I worry that you don’t seem to eat or drink enough. This month you’ve tasted green beans, turkey, blueberries, broccoli, cottage cheese, apricots, wheat, barley, brown rice, cantaloupe and grapes. You’ve even begun finger foods! Besides diced fruit, frozen wild blueberries and crumbled egg yolk, you love puffs, baby mum-mums, and yogurt melts. You still have no teeth.

I guess I’ll also mention that you’ve had a few food-related incidences this month, too. That time you found an m&m on the floor, which Daddy caught you eating, and just yesterday when the dog didn’t eat his food right away. I was prying the kibble out of your clenched fists when I realized your jaw was working. You must have popped a piece into your mouth before I got there. Horrified, I hooked it out with my finger and immediately yelled for your father, while breaking out in a cold sweat at the same time.


Yes, but I don’t know what thorns.

This past month we enrolled you in a baby pool class. At first, you didn’t know what to think and were pretty skeptical. Then you decided it is a lot of fun (as long as you get a good nap beforehand). This is an activity where Papa really shines. He’s taken you several times, all by himself, so mama could have a precious hour of alone time. This month you’ve also tried a couple Gymboree classes, which you also love.


Pool class is fun!

You are realizing a lot more now – how the paper bin is so fun to tip over, that there is water to play with in the dog bowl, that the light switch next to your changing table makes a pleasant snapping sound and can turn the lights on and off. Your daddy has taught you several things, too, like how to “sing” in the toy microphone that amplifies your voice, and how to clap, which you do spontaneously on occasion (but rarely when we want to show our friends).


I can stand up! Now what?

You’re quite a clever little girl, and keep us on our toes, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Love,
Mama

Chloe’s 9-month specs: 26.75″ lengths (25%) | 17″ head (25%) | 15lbs 10oz weight (5%)


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Dear Chloe, 7 months


Barkley and Chloe in the backyard

Dear Chloe,

Happy 7 months old sweetie! Is it possible for me to love you more and more each day? You’re still my baby, but I see signs of you becoming your own person, developing your own preferences. You are certainly ready to move, pushing your current motor skills to the limit. You have this funny habit of pumping your arms and legs, sort of like swimming, but more floppy, like a fish out of water, when you are tired of laying on your stomach and want us to sit you up. Sometimes it freaks me out when I set you down for a moment and come back to find that you are not where I left you. You’re not scooting yet, but you are becoming a champ at pivoting, pushing off objects (like me) with your feet, or pushing yourself backwards with your hands – that combined with a roll or two really gets you going places. Places beyond my current comfort level. You are also really into tags. Tags on your soft books, stuffed animals, toys, and play gym all go straight into your mouth.


Stylin’ with your new sunglasses

Physically, you seem pretty similar. You’re still petite for your age, with tiny feet and tiny toes, but you might be lengthening out and putting on a bit more weight. Last month we noticed that the cute, fuzzy hair at the tip of your ears has disappeared.  Your eyes are still dark grey, but there is a little patch of brown creeping out around your pupils. Sometimes they look hazel depending on the light. It is unusual because your eyes are darker than mine, and mine are brown. Every month your hands and fingers seem to grow more precise and nimble. Even when I think something is out of your reach, you manage to stretch out just far enough and quick enough to surprise me.


Chloe hanging out with Lorenzo and Ania

You are now eating several solid foods. In order, you’ve been introduced to rice cereal, banana, sweet potato, pear, peas, apple, avocado, prunes and squash. You prefer banana and sweet potato, and don’t particularly care for avocado or prunes. I have to hide the prunes in some banana to make it more appealing to you. We are also having more success in getting you to drink water or watered down apple juice from your sippy cup.


With your Grandma Sandy and Grandpa Alan in Colorado, and playing in your room

This past month we flew to Colorado for the first time to visit your Dad’s side of the family. I know you had a great time (as did your dad and I). We also went on your first trip to the zoo. I don’t know that you saw very much this time, but I’m sure we’ll visit again soon.

And then there is sleeping (sigh). We moved you out of our room and into your room, and adopted a bedtime routine, hoping you’d sleep more and wake less. There have been a few days of longer sleep stretches, but also many, many days where you’d wake up a lot more than before. Sometimes I doubt whether we’re doing the right thing. I also sometimes wish we had gotten a video monitor, even though you are only one room over. On the flip side, nap times have gotten much easier. Sometimes you’ll go down right away, or just fuss briefly before drifting off. I am grateful for that.

Looking forward to another wonderful month with my darling baby girl,
Your mama


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New Mother's Breast Pads Review

Rachel‘s comment on this post reminded me that I’ve had this breast pad review sitting in my drafts folder for months. I don’t know why I never got around to posting it. Anyway, after breastfeeding for 6 months, my need for pads has certainly lessened, although I still use them  regularly. Here are the ones I’ve tried, and my personal opinion and recommendations:

DISPOSABLE BRANDS

Medela Disposable Nursing Bra Pads ($9.99/60, 4.75″dia)
♥
♥♥♥♥ (5 stars)
Overall: Discreet and comfortable
These are the pads I use most often. They are comfortable, but more importantly, they are thin and discreet. There are two pleats which helps contour the pad (place pleats below the nipple) and the design tapers to the edge. There is only a small square of adhesive toward the top, which is just enough to keep it from shifting.

Evenflo Comfort Select with Lanolin – ($7.99/60, 4.75″dia)
♥
♥♥♥ (4 stars)
Overall: Soft and comfortable
These are one of my favorites. They are large but thin, and packaged in pairs. The inside lining (which is inexplicably purple) is soft against skin, wicks moisture away and contains a layer of lanolin. Their large size helps keep shifting to a minimum. They are nicely absorbent and after being used you can feel it’s gel-like core. These pads are less likely to be seen under clothes, although they do show occasionally since I favor thin bras and tees.

Gerber Ultra-Thin ($5.99/60, 4″dia)
♥♥♥♥ (4 stars)
Overall: A perfectly basic and affordable pad.
I love how simple and basic these thin pads are, with a breathable moisture barrier and nicely defined edges. For a while, I would alternate between this brand and the Evenflo brand, above. No frills, but economical, slip resistant, and comfortable (although probably not the best for heavy leakers). They are not individually packaged, which I liked because there was no wasted packaging and I could access them quickly straight out of the box.

Playtex ($7.99/60, 5×4″oval)
♥
♥♥ (3 stars)
Overall: Probably better for heavy leakers.
These pads are contoured with a thread of elastic gather on the top and bottom. They are bulkier than the ones above, but provide a decent fit under clothing, despite a bit of lumpiness. They come individually packaged in a soft, quite wrapper which is nice when I need to change them in the middle of the night and don’t want to wake my husband and baby. The large adhesive section on the back bugs me, though, because the adhesive backing is attached to the packaging. This makes it easy to remove, but doesn’t give you the choice to leave the backing on if you don’t want to use the adhesive. They feel like they have an absorbent core which feels like gel after it has been used.

Philips AVENT Disposable ($4.99/40)
♥ (1 star)
Overall: These suck.
This was the first box of pads I bought, and they turned out to be the worst. At first I wondered if I had a bad experience because it was the time when my nipples were sorest, but no, I’ve read other reviews with my same complaints. First of all, they are thick, so they show through clothes. The perimeter of the pad was very itchy, and I found that the pad itself would often stick to my skin, leaving tiny fibers behind that I then had to wipe off so that I didn’t feed them to baby. At night, they shifted quite a lot, despite a tiny patch of adhesive, and I ended up leaking. The funny thing is, I thought this packaging looked trustworthy. Hah!

WASHABLE / REUSABLE BRANDS

Dr. Brown’s Lace Washable ($10.95/4, 4.75″dia)
♥♥♥♥ (4 stars)
I like to wear these when they are clean, which only seems to be immediately after the laundry is done. They are 100% breathable, soft, absorbent cotton and are contoured for a comfortable fit. The outer side is lace, which provides slip resistance. They are puffy, but look okay under clothing, except in certain lighting situations where their round shape can be seen. Comes with a net washing bag.

Philips AVENT Washable ($5.49/6, 3.75″dia)
♥♥ (2 stars)
These are smaller than the Dr. Browns, and tend to shift more, especially at night. They look similar, although the cotton material that lies against the skin on these has become more pilled, despite less washings. The only real benefit I’ve had from this brand is that the smaller size fits in the front of my only padded nursing bra (I prefer nursing tanks, or thin material bras). I would not buy these again.  Also comes with a net washing bag.

Lillypadz – ($20/pair, 3″ dia.)
I got a pair of these re-usable nursing pads early on. They are an alternative to traditional pads, as they are made from non-absorbant silicone. One side of the pad is slightly tacking and adheres to the breast with what feels like a bit of suction, while also pressing against the nipple.
Pros: Lillypadz are thin, flexible and comfortable, washable and re-usable, and practically undetectable under clothing.
Cons: After a short while it seemed as if skin oils and some clothing fibers were collecting on the pad and not washing off. Silicone is not breathable (air circulation is necessary for maintaining skin and nipple health), and occasionally small pockets of air can collect around the nipple, which then can fill during let down. If on too long, the milk can force its way out and leak. One pair costs about $20.


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Mother's Day Card

Okay, this isn’t exactly a mother’s day card, but it will be what I’ll be sending out this year. I originally designed this card for Chloe’s Great Grandma Rita. Her birthday was right around Easter and even though we have a family calendar listing everyone’s birth dates (thanks Andrew & Aundrea!), we still missed it. Plus, this little mini-album fulfills my need to finally make a birth announcement-type card, without having to make more than a handful.

The inside shows monthly photos of Chloe from newborn to her current 5 months, and the back has a personalized line listing who it is for and the date.

It is kind of funny how projects like this start – I saw the baby feet stickers at the craft store and had no idea what I was going to do with them. I just thought they were so cute, and voilá, a project is born! 🙂


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Dear Chloe, 3 months old

Dear Chloe,

You are 3 months old today. Even though you have only been a part of my life for a short time, you’ve had a remarkable impact upon it. You are my own little miracle, and I am honored to call myself your mother.

In a mere 3 months, you’ve grown from a tiny, vulnerable, 6 pounds 15 ounces to a happy, healthy 11 pounds. Every day something about you awes me, inspires me, humbles me. You’ve passed out of cradle cap, projectile vomiting and you’ve outgrown your newborn clothes. You can go three hours now between nursings (it used to be only two) and you can grasp a toy in your hand if we help place it there. You lift your head, tracks us as we move around, smile charmingly, and can even roll from your tummy to your back. Your eyes are still the gorgeous grey you were born with, though, and I wouldn’t mind at all if they stayed that way. Did I mention your fingernails grow like weeds? They’re like miniature lethal weapons, especially where my cleavage is concerned.

The weather is changing along with your growing self. In Greek, Chloe means “blossoming,” which is quite appropriate as the seasons pass from Autumn (your middle name), through winter, and soon into spring. I see evidence of it all around. I am looking forward to us learning and growing together, and fervently hope that I will be the nurturing guidance you need me to be as you continue to make your own way in this world.

Love forever my sweet girl,
Mom

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