Charlotte’s 6 Month Professional Photos… Prepare Yourself…

In honor of Charlie’s 8 month birthday today, I will be sharing the CUTEST PHOTOS THAT HAVE EVER EXISTED. I’m exploding inside from the ridiculous amount of cute captured in these photos…

Thanks to Pics by Nic for taking such amazing photos of my sweet baby girl and our little fam.

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Charlotte’s Second Sleepover & Our Night in Madison

With our 2 year anniversary coming up on Tuesday, Mark and I decided to take a little getaway to Wisconsin’s capitol city, Madison. It was our first official post-baby date (excluding weddings and baby-friendly events) and Charlotte’s second time sleeping away from mom and dad.

Of course, the whole thing gave me anxiety.

While I was confident that Charlotte would be in good hands with my parents, I found myself stressing over Charlotte’s behavior. Would she refuse to go down for naps or bedtime easily? Would she wake up screaming in the middle of the night? What if?

Now, these occurances would be totally out of character for Charlotte, but I still felt worried. I didn’t want Charlie to be a bad house guest because, let’s be honest, it’s much more likely my parents will volunteer to take her for more overnights if she isn’t a total terror.

Anyway, in preparation, I typed up instructions and a packing list for my mom. I did the same thing for the first overnight and it seemed to work really well. This time was actually even better, because Charlotte’s on MUCH more of an actual schedule these days.

Here’s what I sent to (and printed for) my mom…

Babysitting Charlotte Packing List – Take 2

Babysitting Charlotte Guide – Take 2

We definitely overpacked milk. The first time we left her, 40 ounces was perfect… this time, now that she’s eating solids, it was just way too much.

In fact, I think she went on a bit of a milk strike, because she really did not drink much… OR poop for that matter. Literally NO poop while we were gone. We dropped her off around noon on Saturday and met her, my parents and grandpa for brunch around 1 on Sunday. No poop that whole time. BUT, once reunited and back home, the little one pooped… twice. And now she’s pooping like normal.

Anway, all in all, the sleepover was a success and Mark and I had a GREAT time.

Here’s what we did…

Saturday

12 pm: Dropped Charlie at Mom & Dad’s

1:45 pm: Stopped at teh gas station for a GIANT diet pepsi and popcorn… we’re on vacay!

Mmmm!

Mmmm!

2:45 pm: Arrived at hotel and checked in. We used name your price using priceline and did 3.5 stars and got the hotel for $100 including all fees! We stayed at the Hilton Monona Terrace. Because hubs called and told them it was our anniversary, they upgraded us to a delux room on the top floor facing the lake and gave us two free drinks at the bar and free breakfast. Not a bad deal at all!

As I was freshening up, I noticed I had baby barf on my shirt. Quick clean up time.

3:10 pm: Time to cash in our drink coupons for some vacay martinis.

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Dirty martini… extra dirty, extra olives! Mmmm… it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

So of course, we’re enjoying a nice adult cocktail, planning our afternoon, when suddenly I notice that my milk machines feel super full. I make a comment to Mark, look down, and realize that I leaked through my shirt. Time to chug my cocktail and return to the room to pump.

You can take the mommy out of the nursery, but... you're still going to end up with barf on your jacket and a milk-soaked shirt.

You can take the mommy out of the nursery, but… you’re still going to end up with barf on your jacket and a milk-soaked shirt.

4 pm: Time to pump and freshen up again, then it was off to State Street. The weather was gorg, so we walked from our hotel (about 6-10 minutes to the start of state street). It was so fun. We went in and out of little shops, looked around, soaked up the weather.

5:30 pm: Back to the hotel for more pumping and changing for our night activities.

6:15 pm: We headed to Tempest Oyster Bar where we literally had the BEST waiter ever. We are not big oyster people, so he helped us to order appetizers. We got an oyster tower with 6 oysters, 4 gulf shrimp and clams… then we ordered a plate of mussels in the most delicious broth ever. And oy. They had this sourdough bread. Mmmm. Needless to say, I took a break from my Charlotte diet. She’s been doing so well, it was time to test the waters a bit. So after 2.5 hours, seafood galore, a couple glasses of wine for me and a couple of cocktails for hubs… it was off to our next stop!

8:30 pm: We were off to Graze, an awesome locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant. They don’t take reservations and by the time we got there, the wait was 1.5 hours. We put our name in and went to Heritage Tavern, down the street, to get a drink. I had a glass of wine and Mark had some bitters drink with egg whites in it. Weird, but pretty good!

9:20 pm: Our table was ready! We headed back to Graze to get our eat on. Of course, we needed ANOTHER app. We ate a giant pretzel with a cheese dip and three kinds of mustard. Mmm. Then, for dinner, we decided to split two entrees: Artesian Farm Trout with the best coconut curry sauce and the Graze Burger (fresh ground bacon, sirloin, ribeye & short ribs, caramelized onions, Worcestershire-cabernet jus, Swiss Emmental compound butter, SarVecchio sesame brioche, with fries & aioli). We ended up eating the trout and taking the burger to go!

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10:25 pm: We scooted off to make it to a local comedy show featuring Robert Kelly. He was definitely not politically correct, but goodness was he funny! We were both in tears. It was so much fun!

SUNDAY

12:30 am: Since we hadn’t eaten enough in the previous 24 hours, we decided to make a stop at the famous Ian’s Pizza for a late-night slice. I ate the most heavenly piece of mac and cheese pizza. Mmm! AND, we ran into my brother-in-law’s brother and his sweet girlfriend there. The four of us had a great time mowing on late night snacks and catching up. Then, it was time to crash.

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9:15 am: WAKE UP! I woke up at 7 and was so scared I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep… I mean, I had to sleep in on my morning off. So, I was super pleased when my eyes woke again at 915.

After our Madison adventure, we headed back to Milwaukee for brunch with my parents and Grandpa where Charlie had her first french fries (oy… she enjoyed them too much). Then, it was naptime for the fam and once we woke up, headed to an anniversary dinner with Mark’s dad and stepmom.

All in all, a GREAT weekend!

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Who’s going to give me more french fries??

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Stay away from my fry.

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Mmm! This time with a little ketchup!

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Baby Comparison

Before Mark and I got married, I decided to use some crazy software online to see what our babies would look like. Now, before you start judging, this was done for comedic value… not to ensure he would provide me with adorable children.

Anyway, I’ve been going through some old pictures and came across the two baby pics and thought it would be funny to compare them to our sweet Charlie girl.

This fake baby is a little funny looking...

This fake baby is a little funny looking…

This fake baby kind of has a Charlie vibe... kind of...

This fake baby kind of has a Charlie vibe… kind of…

And now, the real deal…

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The real Miss Charlie Gitel is WAY cuter than her fake counterparts.

PHEW!

As of 8:30 this morning, my 48-hour “holy-shit-I-might-be-pregnant” panic was over. On Sunday morning, I woke up feeling really uneasy. Later that afternoon, my nausea was accompanied by a splitting headache… both of which have been desperately trying to ruin my week ever since.

At first, I assumed I had a bug of sorts. Then, on Monday, my mom asked, “You aren’t pregnant.. are you?” Well shit. I don’t know… I mean, probably not. We’re pretty careful, but I’m not on the pill or anything…

As I started to dwell over the idea of being pregnant and panic over the similarities of my current symptoms to those symptoms of early pregnancy, I decided to take a home pregnancy test. The test came back negative, but somehow I felt no relief. That night I literally sat up from around 2:30 until 5 am just freaking out.

Tuesday I was still feeling sick. Super uneasy, headache, sleepy. So, I decided to go to my doctor. “Are you pregnant?” she asked.

My doctor decided to take a blood test to determine whether or not I was with child. The test results would be in Wednesday morning.

I spent the remainder of the day feeling severely anxious.

Obviously I want more babies, but a few things were really throwing me off…

1) Because of my c-section, my doctor told me to wait at least 18 months between deliveries to avoid complications.

2) I’m not ready for Charlie to share the spotlight. The whole idea makes me feel guilty and I want her to have more time with just us.

3) I’m not ready to be pregnant again. As selfish and childish as this is, this was probably my biggest hang up. I’m enjoying this non-pregnant time. We have a trip to New Mexico planned for May and for some strange reason, I really don’t want to be pregnant when I turn 30 this May. I want to throw back some wine and have a carefree celebration. Not to mention the fact that I’d like to have a non-pregnant summer. I want to camp and drink Sangria and enjoy… without being pregs. Selfish? Duh. I’m okay with that.

Anyway, I was very… VERY relieved to hear that I just have some weird virus of sorts. But with my relief came a level of guilt. I mean, I’m sure that after the shock wore off, I’d be really happy and grateful and excited to be having a little babe.

Future baby, know that whenever you arrive, we will be SO happy to welcome you into our family and I will very happily give up wine and sushi and deli meat. But tonight, I’m drinking wine.

Weeks 33 & 34

I’m feeling totally behind on my weekly updates. I haven’t been keeping up with taking photos on Wednesdays and I’m all out of whack. But I swear, I’m going to get back on track… and, while I’m at it, tackle the mountain of laundry I’ve been ignoring… but that’s besides the point.

The past two weeks, which have blurred together a bit, have shown more big changes for the little one.

  • Charlotte is officially rocking 6-9/6-12 month clothing (SUCH a big girl!)
  • Everything is grounds for a round of applause. Walk into the room… Charlie claps. Smile at Charlie… clap, clap, clap. Charlie crawls 3 feet… big claps. You get the picture… LOTS of adorable clapping going on in this house. And not to be THAT person, but she’s a good clapper. Not any of that sissy, noise-less clapping for our girl… she’s got the sound down pat.
  • She is a professional crawler. She’s really quick and makes the silliest panting noise (with her mouth in a cartoon-like, excited oval) when she’s crawling towards trouble (ie: outlets, cords, space heaters, computers, danger).
  • Charlie appreciates the glory in a high five. Well, a high 75. She pretty much always gives you 8-35 high fives in a row, but she does each one with passion behind it… and a smile on her face.
  • She’s been doing this crazy shaking excited thing where literally her whole body quivers. I’ve done some googling… supposedly this is due to her immature nervous system. It’s pretty cute… and very silly.
  • SMOOCHES! She’s sooooo stingy with her kisses, but when she gives them, they’re melt-worthy. When she doesn’t give them, it’s embarrassing. Ask for a kiss when she’s not giving them out and she will either a) pull your hair or b) slap you in the face.

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  • She’s been pulling herself up to a kneeling position and has pulled herself to standing (for a short period of time before wiping out) a handful of times.
Oooo, what's this??

Oooo, what’s this??

  • She’s been going down for her naps really well. She coos and has full conversations with her stuffed animals in the sweetest little voice.
  • She’s been mommy-sessed. If you’re not familiar, that’s a clinical disorder where one is obsessed with their mommy. Charlie’s got it bad. She will literally crawl across the room to get to me and then starts trying to crawl up my leg while whining and/or crying. I secretly love this. I mean, I did carry her inside of me for 43 weeks… I’m okay if she plays favorites once in awhile.
  • I’m baby-sessed. Nothing new…
  • She’s been doing SO well with solid food. She now eats sweet potato, peas, apples, applesauce, carrots, rice pasta, chicken, lamb, rice and lentils, grapes (just the meat… no skin), beets, potatoes, oranges (although they were a bit acidic for her), toast (rice flour)… she loves to eat!
  • As for talking, she’s a total chatterbox. She does a LOT of dadadadada… and some mooommmm. There have been a couple of times I thought she was saying dada to Mark, but I’m not really convinced. Words she does know… although, she does not say them, include “Toby” and “Milk.”
  • Charlotte takes great pride in CHUGGING her sippy cup. She literally chugs and half the time, pulls away from the cup with serious amounts of water pouring out of her mouth as she gasps for air. So special.
  • She waves!! I love this. It’s the cutest thing ever. She always has a huge smile on her squishy face and just waves away.
  • Favorite book: Tiny Puppies or Touch & Feel Farm Animals
  • Favorite toys: Piglet, Minnie & her Bun Bun… oh! And the orange string my dad swings around in the office. AND… how could I forget? Toby & Ollie, her kitty and puppy.

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And now her 33 and 34 week pictures!

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Beet Red Lips

Charlotte has clearly been taking style tips from Taylor Swift with that red pout…

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Baby’s first lipstick in a perfect shade of beet red… Which also coincides with Charlotte’s first taste of beets & potatoes.

Beet & Potato Mash Recipe
1 lb red beets (this amounted to one decent sized beet for me)
1 russet potato

1) preheat oven to 375 deg F
2) wash beet then put beet in a baking dish (I used a glass dish) and add water so it comes up about a half inch
3) cover baking dish with tin foil
4) use a fork to pierce potato
5) put potato on baking sheet (I lined mine with tin foil because I’m lazy and it reduces clean up)
6) stick the baking sheet (potato) and the baking dish (beet) in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes (I set my timer for 50 minutes, but was putting C down for a nap when the timer went off. I probably had it in there for 60 minutes. Potato was a bit dry, but it wasn’t a big deal.)
7) remove from oven once nice and tender. Let cool a bit.
8) peel the skin off of both the potato and beet
9) chop the potato and put it in the blender with enough liquid to get to desired consistency (I used coconut milk and water, but you can use breastmilk, too)
10) chop the beet and put it in the blender with enough liquid to get to desired consistency (I used reserved liquid from baking, but you can use water or breastmilk)
11) If you’re into “plating” your baby’s food all fancy-like, you can swirl the beet and potato. It looks awesome (according to the photo in my recipe book)… But who has time or energy for that? I just mixed the two together and voila!
12) freeze leftovers in cubes for up to 3 months

Ps: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the coconut milk in the potatoes. They got sticky. But, all in all, it was delicious. Remember, beets stain!

Toby Proves that Male Dogs are Bitches, too

Last Wednesday, I was eating my salad at my desk when Charlotte distracted me. I can’t remember what she did, but regardless, something happened to cause me to abandon my salad.

When I looked back, Toby was munching on some lettuce he had stolen from my bowl. “Toby, NO!”

He got in his psychotic dog defense mode. A new level of crazy that Toby has adopted since Charlotte’s arrival.

Anyway, he started growling and being crazy and I yelled again and shooed him away from the remaining lettuce. He then strutted his 6lb frame past me and directly to Charlotte’s car seat where he proceeded to lift his leg and give me a nice, ammonia-laced fuck you.

Needless to say, I was speechless and Toby was banished.

Can you believe that the day before I had actually said that I thought Toby was starting to like Charlotte?

It’s been a rough few days since then, but I think Toby and I are officially on the mend…

75 Weeks Together

As of last week Wednesday, my sweet girl and I have been together for 75 weeks… 43 as an inside baby and 32 in this wonderful world.

In the scheme of my life, 75 weeks isn’t that significant of a timeframe, but in the scheme of my heart and life, it’s everything.

Being a mommy to my sweet Charlotte over the past 75 weeks has been the most magical and beautiful experience of my life. It’s hard to imagine a time when she wasn’t in my life. My life definitely went from black and white to color. I didn’t know the richness I would add to my life with such a tiny little love.

In just one week, there has been such joy and change. She’s a professional crawler, she waves, she talks nonstop, she has these crazy episodes of excitement that are just absurd (I’ll post a video soon), she grabs onto me like a koala, she’s getting way better with strangers and non- mommy/daddy folk… She’s just amazing.

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Baby Snacks

Our streak of good eating has continued. Charlotte is doing SO well! This past weekend, I made her red lentils and brown rice “soup” (it’s pretty thick) and I made lamb.

Before I share the recipes, I’ll preface by saying that I’ve been looking for food-based sources of iron for C to ensure she’s getting enough, as she has not been eating any sort of iron-enriched cereal.

I did a lot of research and decided I didn’t want to give her the iron drops and instead would make sure to incorporate a good amount of iron into her diet. With all of her crazy food/poop drama, she was tested at 6 months for anemia… The results came back totally normal, which leaves me with little concern.

Anyway, I haven’t been ready to introduce beef because of her many other allergies, so after the chicken success, I decided to give lamb a try. It’s another great iron source.

I’ve literally never cooked lamb in my life, but was ready for the challenge. Thankfully, hubs suggested cooking it in the slow cooker so it’d be nice and soft, which worked perfectly.

I didn’t have a recipe, but here’s what I did…

1 big container of low sodium organic vegetable broth
.5 sweet potato chopped
1 onion slices
1 stalk celery sliced
.5-.7 lbs free range lamb shoulder (bone-in)

I literally just tossed everything in the crock pot and cooked it on low for 5 hours. It was perfect.

I pulled out the meat, got rid of the bones, shredded the meat into small pieces and saved the meat and sweet potatoes in some gravy for C and used the broth and other veggies for soup For Mark and I.

The meat is great on its own – Charlie loves it – but it’s also been mixing perfectly with the red lentil and brown rice soup I made. I just mix the two together and she goes wild.

The soup recipe is from my baby and toddler cook book.

Here is the recipe… FYI, I added about 1/2 cup of water once done cooking and the froze it in tiny portions. As I’ve been reheating, I add a little more water or broth from the lamb. It’s tasty!

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C has also been loving millet cinnamon raisin toast, apples (of course), sweet potato puffs, and just about anything and everything.

Guess who else has been living Charlotte’s new diet??

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Best. Kiss(es). Ever.

Every day for the past couple weeks, I’ve been checking in with Charlie, asking her if she’s learned to kiss yet. Every day she’s been saying “nope!” Well, “saying”… Ie pushing my face away with her hands.

Thanks, baby.

That is, until today!! Today was the day… The most wonderful, glorious, magical day that I’ve been waiting for since I saw a friend with a similar aged babes say that she got smooches.

We took Charlotte to the children’s museum with my grandpa today – which as a side note was amaaazing! – and when we got home 1.5 hours past naptime, I fed little C and was hanging out with her in her room. We were in a pre-nap routine, but I couldn’t help but be wildly distracted by her uber sweet demeanor.

She was chatting in the sweetest little tiny voice. Being so gentle. Giving me koala hugs (as of today, my second favorite thing ever). Then, as she was loving on my face, it happened. She grabbed onto my cheeks and pulled me in for the sloppiest, tonguiest baby kiss ever.

I literally melted! Like… In that moment, if she could have asked for a pony, it would have been hers. I would have Amazon primed her a pony without a thought. “Of course, honey! Two days, free shipping. Pony=yours!”

She kept her sweet going and literally gave me kiss upon kiss.

After I finally put her in bed for the napski (yes, I delayed naptime and got in as many smooches as I could), I skipped out of her room, full grin on my face.

What a perfect string of moments.

Later that evening, her daddy asked for a bedtime smooch, and she literally leaned in and gave him two.

More melting.

Really, what could be more amazing?

And now, back to the museum, here are a few pictures and advice to anyone traveling to Milwaukee… Stop at the Betty Brinn Children’s museum! It was the coolest place ever.

It was set up as a little community with different stores and businesses… A full grocery store with fake food that scans at the checkout area, a post office and mail to deliver to all of the businesses, a city bus that the kids can “drive”, an auto body shop for the kids to fix cars… Even a news station with a green screen for the kids to deliver the news and weather. It was amazing.

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