currently · penelope

Currently… July

I haven’t checked in here all that often – I’ve been doing my best and keeping up with books, if nothing else! Every day I think it will be less crazy when Ellie hits whatever milestone, but every day remains crazy. Things are awesome and I wanted to update; I haven’t been purposely hiding but sometimes during any downtime I get, I want to zone out and read or play on my phone.

I am constantly reading posts from my birth group on Facebook, because it’s easy to pick up my phone every now and then rather than settle down for a long time. I highly recommend finding one if you have a baby – I ask a ton of dumb questions I don’t feel bad for asking because we are all in the same place, as far as baby age goes. I found my group via Reddit.

I’m still pumping 2x a day, which is way less than I was before – I am ready to kick the breast pump out of the house. It’s a gradual process, though. Can’t wait to be done with it! Ellie has already weaned from nursing, on her own through teething and she does better with bottles. Finding time to pump with a baby who is constantly crawling around is not easy.

Life update-wise, we have been living with my mom in SC for a while and it’s helped us out a ton after moving from Delaware. Ellie has so much more space and it gives us time to find our own place.

Ellie turns 9 months old tomorrow! She’s getting so tall; we think she might be around 28 inches from our measurements but we will find out at her doc appointment tomorrow.

We have been job searching for a while, and I found a job a few weeks ago and Greg recently also found a job, which he will start next month. Moving to a new state and job searching is no fun so I couldn’t wait to be done with it. My job is literally a mile or two away, which is fantastic. I feel like I’m living in Mayberry, sometimes, but it’s a good thing. We are in a really small town and we are getting used to everything being 20-30 minutes away in SC. My hours also give me Friday’s off, which is perfect to have some flexibility and extra time with Ellie.

The pics above are my desktop background at work – I love having her face smiling at me.

We played twinsies the other day and we put my shirt on her. Then she came at me like a baby velociraptor.

We took her out for her first storytime yesterday and she did great. She was totally wary of everyone the first 20 minutes but crawled out and explored for the last 10 minutes.

She was still pretty “WTF” about the whole thing.

She makes this squinchy face and breathes through her nose loudly ALL the time. It’s her favorite expression. Also, look at all those teeth! She has six, now.

I’m pretty sure she’ll be standing on her own soon. She can do it for stretches of a few seconds right now and she can stand up holding onto something with no problem.

Greg’s also being an awesome SAHD right now, until he starts work and Ellie starts daycare next month. I’m reallllly nervous about it because she’s wary of strangers and generally doesn’t like being around a lot of people, but hopefully she will adjust.

Today, Greg and I went out to Chipotle while my mom watched her for the first time since we moved here. Ellie did great! She didn’t want to eat much but I think she’ll get used to being watched by my mom.

This picture cracks me up.. she’s got such a goofy, happy grin in it.

That turned out to be mostly baby updates but that’s what my life is right now. We take her out shopping with us, she eats out with us sometimes and sits in a high chair and is generally pretty cool about things besides wanting to wake up at 5 am every single morning and not quite sleeping through the night.

Work is good so far – I wish I had full time hours sometimes for the pay but not really because I’m home more with Ellie, and Greg is going to be working long shifts, so a few less hours will stress me out less with me taking care of her a large portion of the time.

It’s buckets of hot outside every day and wickedly humid. Welcome back to the South, I guess! I know lots of you are in the South, as well, so you already know what the summers are like.

Hope you’re having a great summer and staying as cool as possible!

penelope

Penelope: 7 Months

Happy Mother’s Day! I haven’t updated a ton because literally almost all I take are baby photos. And her nap time is usually chill and read time. It’s been a while since I’ve done a baby update, so why not? She’s SEVEN. MONTHS. OLD. She’s going to be 18 and I’m going to be wondering how it happened so quickly. Hopefully not. There are lots of years in between. Babies grow ridiculously fast, though.

First of all, here is her looking extremely unimpressed at Chick Fil A. That wine list is not up to par. She sits in high chairs now. She also whacked herself in the eye with my salad lid after this and promptly had to be carried out of the restaurant, but she was okay soon after.

She’s growing into a toddler – AAAHHH! That sums up my thoughts on it.

Even further back.. this week, two days old, and me 40 weeks pregnant. She used to be so tiny!

Okay, all recent pics now. She is wiggling all around this week and almost crawling. She gets everywhere somehow without actually crawling. It has something to do with her rolling around like a turtle.

We fell off the cloth diaper wagon but I’m trying to get back on and we are doing them part-time. We’re trying pockets and I just got in a Harry Potter one and a Doctor Who one, yesss. Here’s her rainbow butt.

We call this chillin and Black Books. We watch a little Netflix every now and then. Mommy needs entertainment.

Family portrait. Also, I found her H&M dress at Once Upon a Child and was really excited.

She passed out on the way back from Target and I could not stop laughing at her. She was too adorable.

After bathtime is naked butt time and pile things on baby time.

She loves looking in the mirror and at our phone cameras. We bring her up to the door mirror after every nap to put her in a good mood.

Hope you have a fantastic Mother’s Day and weekend!

life · penelope

Moving + Baby Update

Things are a little crazy around our house but maybe I can share a quick update, and spam everyone with baby pictures. We decided to move – we are going to be moving from Delaware to South Carolina!

We had planned for Ellie and I to go there anyway, while Greg was in training, but since we are still waiting on news on that, we are all going down to my mom’s house. Our apartment is getting too crowded and we both need a break from the schedule we were following. If we hear back that Greg’s application went through, he’ll go to military training, and if not we will probably stay in SC and look for a place down there. Either way, we will be moving this weekend!

Ellie has been up to so much, lately. I can’t believe how much she changes so quickly.

She loves taking selfies with me.

She can stand pretty well on her own, with a little help for balance!
She can rotate 360 degrees on her play mat and tries really hard to crawl. Babyproofing will be needed as soon as we move!
Sometimes Google Photos makes gifs for me. She’s trying to crawl!
The Exersaucer is her favorite thing. She will jump around and babble all day in it.
She loves her Sassy zebra and giraffe toys, and Greg loves to stick things on her head.
She also loves to rip out chunks of my hair, so it’s up pretty much all the time.
She does really well sitting up on her own, until she falls over.
She’s more interested in eating her bib and playing with her chair than actually eating her oatmeal cereal.
She loves to smile.
Sometimes she is SUPER happy to see me in the morning.
She saw her first snow storm and was very interested but wasn’t a huge fan. I’m glad we had one big snowfall before we move!
She keeps growing! She’ll be 6 months in 2 weeks, and we just bought 9 month jammies yesterday because she’s too long for her 6 month ones.

Our sleep has improved, although you never know when babies are going to change things up. We may have to work on it again once we move – we’ve been doing some sleep training, which has helped us all get a little more sleep. If only I could sleep train my cat so she would stop clawing the door at 5 am for me to feed her.

penelope

Things I Didn’t Know About Having a Baby

+ The sleep deprivation is real. Like ‘haha, new parents get no sleep’ is something everybody knows. But I did not know why sleep deprivation is a good form of torture. Now I do. Just saying.

+ Just when you think you’ve got the hang of things, baby says, “Nah. Let’s completely do everything differently.” Again with sleep – great, we’ve got things figured out. Oh wait, here comes the 4 month sleep regression. Will life ever be the same again?

+ Life hits the extremes – I’m extremely happy or extremely sad at times.

+ Everything she does is totally amazing. I never thought I’d be so excited to see someone roll. She can now roll at will. This is as close to proof as I have.

+ She can drive me crazy overnight and then be totally adorable in the morning.

+ I will now cry at anything remotely parenting related in a movie or TV show.

+ I never know if I’m doing anything right. Should I keep breastfeeding? How long should I keep the swaddle? How long should she go between naps? My questions never end in my head.

+ I think babies already have a personality at birth. She’s always wanted to be close to us and seemingly has no interest in personal space, although she will put up with it if we are at least in the same room.

+ When she laughs, I laugh. It’s scientific fact.

+ She’s almost 5 months old and I still don’t know all the answers and am always looking for the next milestone. I keep looking for the next stage when things get easier.

+ People will give you lots of unneeded advice. Today, someone told me that their baby never napped after three months and slept through the night. That’s unhelpful as well as unlikely. My mom has no memory of me waking up during the night. I’m pretty sure we forget these things as kids get older.

+ Life is great, but also really hard. There are lots of ups and downs. Ellie is totally amazing in all ways. I don’t want to sugar coat it and say that taking care of a baby + balancing life is easy, though. It’s crazy! Totally bananas. Some days are better, some worse. But at the end of it all, I’ve got this sweet baby beast AKA Stormageddon, because what else would she be called.

I had a sleep deprived night if you can’t tell, but on the bright side, Greg has taken to making me pies while he’s at home with Ellie, so there are many good things in this world – pie being one of them. Tonight I will have a slice of strawberry pie before going in for another round.

penelope

Our Experience With Cloth Diapering

When I first found out I was pregnant, I spent months researching baby gear and how to prepare. At no point in those first few months did I consider cloth diapering. I knew other people did it, but I was so overwhelmed by baby stuff, I thought no way was it for us. It wasn’t until a couple of months before Penelope was born that I really started getting into it.


What got me into it? I’m not going to lie – it wasn’t the earth-saving factor, it was the cost-saving factor. I was really interested in saving lots of money. Other things I like about it are that it’s better for the environment and makes less trash for our tiny living space, and the prints make your baby’s butt look so cute! I also think it’s softer on her skin and is less likely to cause diaper rash.


There are lots of ways to cloth diaper, and it can be overwhelming deciding what you need. We are still figuring out what works for us, but we’ve had a good experience so far and I wanted to share what we’ve been doing.


What we use:
– Green Mountain Diapers Cloth-eez prefolds*
– Blueberry Capri covers
– Thirsties Duo Wrap covers
– Diaper sprayer
– Diaper wet bag

*This is their website, where we bought everything except for the diaper sprayer. They have pics of the diapers on babies so you can see how they fit (click “see this on a baby” on a diaper page; here’s one example) – it’s really helpful.

Why we use prefolds:
There are different types of cloth diapers, which you can find explanations of on sites like Fluff Love University. We went with prefolds after I did some research. They are basically a thick absorbent cloth that you place inside a diaper cover. They are cost-effective, because most times you only need to change the diaper and can reuse the diaper cover. So instead of buying a lot of pocket diapers or similar ones, which could be slightly costly and have to be washed after every change, we bought 24 prefolds and 5 covers from Green Mountain Diapers.

Here’s a pic of how we set up our diapers to explain what I mean. It’s super easy! There are other folds you can do, but this one is simple. We might have to change it up soon since she’s getting a bit bigger.

I change out the white fabric in the middle, and unless she’s had an explosive poo, I reuse the cover.

The prefolds are also great to use for other things like burp cloths. We leave one on the changing table for when she pees/poops between changes.

Our routine:
Our current routine looks something like this:

  • Change diaper, put old diaper in wet bag if just pee.
  • If there’s poo, we put the diaper in a plastic bin on our changing table, and as soon as we get a chance take it to spray it off in the toilet (we sometimes collect a few in the bin before we spray it off).
  • Wash diapers once a day, usually when wet bag starts filling up. Our wash routine is: wash once on cold with no soap, wash on hot with soap, and then throw them in the dryer.

And that is basically it. We do laundry daily, and for us that is okay.

I have recently started using disposables at night since she’s been soaking her newborn diapers and I haven’t moved her up to the smalls yet. The disposables keep her a bit drier for extended times.

I dug around and watched YouTube videos and read things here and there about cloth diapering before deciding what to use. You can find lots and I love looking at the different kinds of diapers. I would still like to try pocket diapers and other kinds once we have a little more expendable cash. This system works for our small budget right now, and I am a fan. I would also like to get some more covers once she sizes up – I am crazy about prints.

Tiny Penelope!


One other good thing about cloth diapers is that they retain some value. If you don’t want to keep them for if you have more kids later, you can resell them to get some of your money back.

We started using them around week two, and I’m glad because although it was scary to start, we are now comfortable with them (until she changes her routine up on us or grows, of course – then we have to adjust, but that’s baby life). I think with either disposables or cloth, you get used to what works for you. Every baby has a different fit/brand that works better for them.

I have also heard the advice that when starting with cloth to buy a few different kinds to see what you like before buying an entire set. I think that’s definitely a good idea, too, although we went ahead and bought a small set of what we wanted.

penelope · photos

Penelope’s Newborn Photos

We recently got back Penelope’s newborn photos. These were taken over two and a half months ago! It’s a nice comparison for how tiny she was vs how big she is now.

I talked to the photographer about ideas we had for her photos beforehand and she was willing to work with us on all of them. I was so happy since I knew I wanted some nerdy ones for her nerdy parents.

 Her stats – 20 in, 7 lbs 6 oz, born Oct 3 at 1:02 PM.

Our little circus lion.

Future Harry Potter fan, I hope. I’d love to read it with/to her one day. We have more Harry Potter themed ones and are waiting to get the full library of our photoshoot on a flash drive from the photographer. This is just one of my favorites! I’m so happy my set of Harry Potter books made it into the photos.

Doctor Who was a theme I was really excited about, and I think this might be my favorite photo. We had a bunch of Doctor Who items already, like the TARDIS and sonic screwdriver, and our photographer brought in her own Dalek and made a little tutu.

We did some classic style baby photos, which I’m glad for because she looks so sweet.

 Tiny hobbit feet!

The day of her photographs was a long day but totally worth it! I’m so happy with how they came out. Our photographer said it was the highest number of successful sets she had done for a newborn shoot. I felt like we really put her to work, but we were working hard, too. The first week of having a newborn is exhausting, and this was just a few days after she was born. I plan on keeping these to remind me how tiny she was.

penelope · photos

Two Months with Penelope

First of all, can we have a Blogger app invented for iPhone 7 soon? I don’t know how people get things done with babies. My bedtime is 8 PM after Penelope goes to sleep and I am not willing to give up any precious sleep.

Penelope is two months already! Two and a half, now. I am so excited for her first Christmas, but it’s also nerve-wracking prepping for her first big trip (long drive) and being somewhere other than home for a bit.

Walking with dad when the weather was still nice.

Boba trying to get some snuggly time, since I spend all my time snuggling baby now.

She was really excited about bicycle legs for a while. We are waiting for her first laugh, but she smiles all the time!

Being silly and cute.

First time we tried her sitting up on the Boppy by herself.

I’m addicted to Snapchat-ing my baby.

Getting ready for Christmas by trying on her hat.

Her first encounter with the wild house beast.

We found out her weight and length at her two month appointment.

Our attempt at tummy time. She tried to eat the mat and then promptly began crying.

She smiles at me in the car seat and it is the sweetest thing ever.

Looking like such a big baby. She can hold her head up really well now, although she doesn’t have perfect control.

She cracks me up with her faces. She was looking at me like this – guess I must have looked funny to her.

We are at 10 weeks and every week has its challenges. The past couple weeks have been figuring out naps, which we are still working on. There’s so much she wants to look at, she doesn’t always want to sleep. She’s so sweet and adorable. I will love when she can play toys with us. Right now our faces are interesting enough for her.