Monday, October 12, 2015

Vivian: 6 Months

Vivian Pearl:  You are 6 months old!

As of yesterday, my little angel girl, you are half of a year old. Half of a year. Hold the phone. Stop everything. Slow your roll. I literally remember shaking with nerves on a hospital bed exactly six months ago, when they told us that we would be having a baby that very night (which we really didn't expect). And now, you're here. And you're beautiful. And you're perfect. And you're so big. That night seems like it was forever ago, and yet it could have been just last night. Funny how time does that.

At six months old, you, my sweet Vivian, are just the most precious little muffin ever. You are constantly smiling, squealing and burbling. For the most part, you are still a calm, go-with-the-flow kind of gal, content to hang out wherever we are. Everyone just loves you, and are always commenting on how absolutely beautiful you are with your big blue eyes and dainty little features. Your daddy and I think you are the most gorgeous baby girl in the world...but, we may be a bit biased;)

You haven't had a doctor's appointment in a couple of months now, but on a visit for a cold you had about three weeks ago, you weighed in at 14.9 pounds. So my guess would be somewhere in the 15 pound range now? You have your 6 month well-check tomorrow, so I guess we will see then! You've definitely grown a bit, as the 3-6 month clothing you were wearing perfectly just a couple of weeks ago is already getting more fitted. Your 6 month clothing is still a bit roomy, but I know it won't be long before it fits you perfectly. You are still in a size 2 diaper, but we will likely be moving you up to a size 3 soon, as they seem to be getting a bit small too. Your cheeks have filled out a bit, and your little thigh rolls are just the most scrumptious things ever!

*Update:  As of your 6 month well-check on October 13, 2015, you are 16 pounds on the dot (50th percentile), 26.5 inches long (50th percentile), and your head circumference - which I can't remember right now - was also 50th percentile. Right on target for normal growth, sweet girl!

Despite my best efforts, sweet girl, there has not been a significant improvement in my milk supply over the last month. I still bring you to my breast to nurse several times a day, but each time, you finish both and cry for more, so we end up preparing a bottle. I still try to pump at night, but only get a couple of ounces, so I can't even keep enough bottles prepared to do a bottle a day of breastmilk anymore. I will keep nursing for as long as you will let me, and am hoping that we can keep going with the mixture of breastmilk and formula throughout the day for at least a couple more months. After nursing, you take a 5-6 ounce bottle of Similac Alimentum. We tried to move you to Similac Sensitive to see how you handled it, but you broke out in bumps and eczema, and cried like your tummy hurt, so it looks like your protein sensitivity is still going strong. I am still going easy on dairy - though I don't totally avoid it anymore - to avoid upsetting your little system after you nurse. Starting to wonder if this is going to be a lifelong thing for you.

After the go ahead from your doctor tomorrow, we will start introducing some solids into your diet. And I have a feeling you are going to love it. You are always trying to reach for our plates and cups during meals (and have SUCH a strong little grip!), so we are excited to see how you react to your first taste of "real" food. Wondering if you will be a fruit lover like your brother, or if you will like veggies and meats too?

Speaking of your brother, sometimes I feel like you look just like him - albeit it a girlier version of him. Your faces really resemble, and of course, your big blue eyes look a lot like his. 

But then, there are other times when I feel like you look so different. Your little features are smaller than his were, and so is your body (which has been smaller since birth, actually). Your forehead is shorter than Caleb's, your fingers are long, dainty and tapered while his are big and wide, and your feet are super narrow with long toes, while his are very wide with average toes. Your hair is still darker than his ever was, and so are your little eyebrows, so I don't know what to expect. You may still lighten up, or I guess you may just always be a couple of shades darker than your brother. Time will tell!

You are still not the best napper, although, this month we've seen you get a bit more regular about naptimes. You like to take a good morning nap, but don't always get to with all of the activities that we have going on with your brother every day. When we are at home, you nap in your crib in the morning, and if I am lucky, I can get an hour out of you. Then, in the afternoons, I can usually get a two little cat naps at some point, although that seems to be quickly disappearing. I know soon you will probably do just one little nap and then eventually go to one nap a day like your brother. You are STILL sleeping in our room, Little Bit. And in our bed on most nights! Eeek! I've loved having you so close, and with your reflux and spit up issues, I've felt more comfortable having you close by and knowing that I will hear you if you spit up or aspirate. But now that you are getting to be a big girl, we are trying to transition you to the crib at night. I know it won't be easy, as we went through this with your brother. But that's ok. I know it will happen eventually, so I am trying not to stress out about it.

You've continued to become more and more interactive this month - as you have every month in the past. You love to sit and play with your toys, and whichever of his toys your brother feels like sharing at the moment. You love your little pop-up infant toy, your soft rattles and dolls (which you gnaw on), and any and all small little trinkets - which is terrifying, because they all go straight to your mouth. Another thing that's in your mouth a lot lately? Your feet! You found your feet on 9/11/15, and have been grabbing them and munching on them ever since.

You love to roll all around, and if I leave you on your tummy for just a minute, I can come back and find you all the way across the room. You try desperately to crawl, and will cling to the carpet and attempt to pull yourself forward to get to what you want. I know it won't be too long before you'll figure out what you need to do to start scooting forward.

You still play in the exercauser quite a bit, and have loved the Johnny Jumper, which we pulled out of the attic a couple of weeks ago. Your little legs just go, go, go in that thing - it's so stinkin' cute. You also still sit in your swing and your bouncer, but neither of those will be around much longer, as you've about outgrown them both. Sad mama. You also still hang out in your Bumbo seat, which goes wherever we go. We load it up with toys, and it takes you approximately .7 seconds to throw them all on the floor:) You love being outside, and are still a great car rider, which we are so thankful for, seeing as how we do a lot of running around with your older brother to school, play dates and such. Mommy is very thankful that you are so easygoing in that respect!

Lately, you have been all about Mommy. I remember Caleb going through a similar stage, so this is not totally unexpected. And I'll admit - I love it. Love. Every. Bit. Of. It. At night, Daddy tries to put you down to sleep, and most nights, you will just NOT be satisfied until Mommy comes in to lay down next to you or hold you. And then, you are out in five minutes or less. I know how fleeting this stage is, so I am soaking it up while it lasts. It's nice to feel so needed.

Likes: Playing peek-a-boo, being outside, playing with brother, being held, sleeping in mommy and daddy's bed, riding in the car, eating, listening to mommy sing, bathtime

Dislikes: Having your nose cleaned, being hungry, being tired, being hurt by big brother

Nicknames: Vivi, Viv, Vivvers, Baby Pearl, Pearl Girl, Baby Girl, Sweet Baby, Muffin Girl, Pooter Scooter, Sissy Girl, Sissy, Mimi (by Caleb), Sis....obviously, you have a ton of nicknames. Hopefully you'll know what your real name is one day;)

This month you:
-Found your toes (9/11/15)
-Started holding your own bottle (9/13/15)
-Tried to sit up unassisted, a bit shakily (9/14/15)
-Laughed out loud while playing peekaboo for the first time (9/15/15)
-Had your first cold and fever of over 102 degrees (9/17/15)
-Fell of the coffee table in your Bumbo after Caleb pulled you off (you were scared and crying, but you were fine, thank God!) (9/18/15)
-Visited the Atlanta Zoo for the first time with Mommy, Daddy, Caleb, Mimi, Poppy, Aunt Jen and Uncle Chris (9/26/15)
-Sat up for the first time unassisted, and not shakily! (9/27/15)
-Fell off your Boppy on the couch; you flipped yourself right over it! (and again, were fine) (10/6/15)
Lesson from this month: never leaving you alone again! Even for 2 seconds!

Sweet Vivvers,
We love you so, so much. Our world feels more complete with you in it, and we can't imagine our lives without your sweet face and precious presence. You're growing so fast, as evidenced by the fact that you are already 6 months old! And though Mama is loving watching you grow and change, it makes me sad too. Because, as I've said before, it means you are no longer my tiny newborn and never will be again. I hope you'll always let me hold you and cuddle you, and just wish I could keep you small for longer. My hip will always long for your weight resting on it, and my arms will always wish to cuddle you within them. We love you so much, sweet muffin! 
Happy 6 months!

To see Caleb's 6 month update, click here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sexy Shoes,Toddler Troubles & One Month! {Friday Link Ups}

Hello Weekend | Kercia Jane:

1| I Miss You
Yes, you! All of you - especially those of you that I'm accustomed to chatting back and forth with daily via our blogs and emails. I am still here. Still posting and trying to interact as much as possible. But I miss you all! I miss the daily postings and interactions, and feel so behind on everything that's been going on. Is that weird to admit? I feel like I've been a bit removed from blogland - which, in all fairness, I have been. And for good reason, but still. I miss you. Just thought I'd throw that out there:) And if you'd like to fill me in, I'm down. Email me. Text me. Comment. 

2| Sexy Shoes (and Sheets) Are ALWAYS a Good Idea
Soooo, remember these sexy heels we talked about earlier this week? Yes? Well, I finally bit the bullet and bought the darn things. In both the leopard and the black. I knew I had to have the leopard. But then I realized that I don't own a single pair of classic black heels. What??? How that's possible I don't know, but I decided to right that wrong immediately. I mean, for that price, how could I not? Such a good deal, and honestly, they fit great and look a lot more expensive than they are (which is always a good thing, am I right?) On top of that, Target is currently running an online special of buy 2, get 20% off or buy 3, get 30% off on all shoes and accessories right, so scurry over and take advantage. Caleb may or may not have also gotten these cute little boots. My child will never have to run around in the rain without boots again;)

Also, I admit...I went back to Target and snagged these adorable sheets. Target wins again. I am officially done shopping for, like, weeks. They make it impossible to resist buying things! #targetallthethings 

EV Holiday Flannel Sheet Set - Multicolor

3| Toddler Troubles
Remind me to share some more on this at a later date, but long story short, Caleb got into trouble again - for the second time in less than three weeks - at preschool this week. Apparently, he was pushing and even hitting, which really shocked me, as he doesn't behave that way at home. Needless to say, it was very upsetting for me to hear that, but the way it was handled at school upset me even more. Like I said, story for another day, but I can honestly say that my first milestone as a mama - the milestone where I called my husband crying over how my child was treated - was reached. Mark that off the list, eh? It happens to every mom at some point, right? 

4| A One Month Surprise!
Y'all. Next week will mark one month of business ownership for me! How is that possible? It's been a great - VERY busy - 30 days. God has blessed this first month beyond my wildest expectations, and I am so, so, so grateful to Him for that. And to all of you, too! You have been so amazingly supportive and excited for me, and it has meant the absolute world to me. To celebrate the one month mark, I have some very exciting things planned for this coming week over at the boutique. Stay tuned for that! And if you're not already following Pearl & Monroe on IG, find it @pearlandmonroeboutique.

5|  Weekly Photo Dump

 Hey Mom, is Scandal on?

 My happy place. I'll make it easy and just take one of everything, please.
 One of my favorite items to hit the boutique so far:)
 Two, going on twenty

 What I'm doing at 11 pm every night.
 Little fuzzy head.
 Say, what???

 The most comfortable dress ever. I definitely kept one of these;)

 Feeling a bit more professional now

Linking up with my favorites for the Friday fun! Visit any of the blogs shown below to participate. Happy Friday!

*Affiliate links used in this post

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

So, What Do You Guys Want to See? And Hear?

Two quick questions today. One for the blog and one for Pearl & Monroe:

1|  What do you want to hear about on this old blog? Anything you wish I would address more? Less? Anything I've never talked about, but maybe you wish I would? Now's your chance to let me know!

2| What do you guys want to see in the boutique? Anything in particular? Let me know! I need style inspiration. I will be going to market next week in Atlanta, and would love to know what to look for!

On another note, to those of you that saw my post over on the boutique IG yesterday and responded - thank you! Owning a business is a process, and one that is ever evolving (well, if you want it to continue to grow and flourish, that is - which I do!) I'm constantly searching for how to do things better and more efficiently, and with your input, I think I have done that today. As a result of your feedback, from this point on, you can expect to see new items from Pearl & Monroe on a daily basis at 11 am and 3 pm. This time frame is one that will hopefully work for everyone, including all of my west coast friends and customers. If you don't seen anything posted by around 11 in the morning, you can assume that I won't be posting. But be sure to check back again at 3. It's my hope that having a bit of a time frame will help you all know when to look for new items over at P&M, have a better chance to snag items you like in your size, and to know what's going on at the boutique.

I will continue to make a concerted effort to show modeled photos of the styles I am selling whenever possible. However, that said, it is not always possible to get good modeled shots before the product becomes available. I shy away from posting a plethora of selfies on the boutique IG - trying to keep the aesthetic as clean and visually appealing as possible. But I am absolutely open to sending you a quick DM or email with a photo of any items you may be questioning and wish you could see on someone. So feel free to ask! In fact, feel free to approach me with any questions you have. The business email is Love to hear from you!

Okay. Whew. Sorry for this very business-like post today. Back to fun stuff tomorrow. Promise. But don't forget - tell me what you'd like to hear! Comment below and let me know:)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Let's Talk Affiliate Links {And My Pet Peeves}

YES PLEASE Money Balloons - a cool way to present money as a gift, esp for a young person (as opposed to a boring check in a card). I have a friend whose parents blow up a balloon and put a one dollar bill in it and have the number of balloons for how old their kid is on their birthday and then after they open their presents they can pop open the balloon and get their $. very cute.:

Today, I'm going there. To a topic that, for some reason, seems a bit taboo in the blog world. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Affiliate links.

For those of you who do know what that is, you know what I mean - how hush hush this topic seems to be, even though so many of us are doing it. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, well, here's the gist: there are all kinds of companies out there that offer affiliate programs to bloggers. As a result of being signed up with one of these programs, bloggers like yours truly are able to use affiliate links for products that produce a small return - or commission, if you will - when our readers click on the links to products we think they might be interested in.

It doesn't sound like anything to be covert about, or to keep so hidden. But, for some reason, it is. People don't discuss it. They don't share their sources. They don't disclose their affiliate partners. They're sneaky about their links. It's rampant. And I say this because I've been privvy to it - and guilty of it, too. But, as a blogger who places a huge emphasis on maintaining a following that feels they can trust me, both as a legitimate person and as a blogger, and who expects the same from the blogs that I myself follow, I thought that I'd put it all out there today. So, here we go.

On my blog, I use the ShopStyle affiliate program. There is a disclosure on my sidebar to inform followers of this, but lately, I've wanted to make it a little more clear, so I've recently started including a little disclosure in any posts in which I do use affiliate links. I've noticed a couple of other bloggers doing that lately as well, and I applaud them for it. It's actually an FTC regulation to disclose that information - something that I don't think a lot of people know - and something that I've seen a lot of discussion about lately.

What's the point of using affiliate links? Well, honestly, it's a good little (and by little, I do mean little - I am not banking from affiliate links some big name blogs) source of income; especially for our little family, where every penny counts right now. And it's truly easy for me to use when I have something that I want to share with you all. To those of you that click on the links I include - thank you! I try to do the same for my fellow bloggers, as really, isn't it a great thing that we can all help each other by simply clicking on some links? So easy! Imagine how much more successful we could all be, if we made a concerted effort to support one another in this way. It could be mind-blowing.

In theory, affiliate links should be an easy, simple way for bloggers to make some coin while sharing things they love with their readership. However, there are some big no-no's when it comes to affiliate linking. Please note that these are things that drive me crazy, personally, and may not be things that bother anyone else. I'm not going to claim that I've never done any of the following things, but I do strive not to.

Here are my top three pet peeves when it comes to affiliate links:

1) Links Thrown Around Like Word Vomit
I have seen blog posts in which it seemed like every other word was an affiliate link. What the what? I can tell you right now, more links does not mean more money. Most bloggers will simply exit right out of your post if they feel like you are simply trying to sell them something or a make a buck. Or at least, I would. If you got a new pair of shoes, and you want to share them with me, great! I'd love to know where you got them (especially if they were a good deal.) But if you're going to put 700 other shoe options in your post, and then include some accessories to go with your shoes, and maybe add in a men's bag just for the heck of it....well, bye.

2) Random, Meaningless Linking
Here's another thing that is red flag to me with affiliate linking - and an indicator that a blogger is solely linking for money and likely has no real investment in sharing the product:  linking to random stores or products. For example, let's say Jane got an item at Target, but was unable to find an affiliate link for that certain product at Target, so she pulls in a link from some random store from Ding, ding, ding. If you don't actually shop at a store, but are suddenly linking to it, well, your readers aren't dumb and will notice it for the money grab it is. If there isn't an affiliate link to something, and you still want to share it - well, then just share it! Link directly to it. Shocking, I know. On Friday, I shared a link to a monogrammed sweatshirt that I liked. No affiliate link - just a direct link. I try to follow my own advice:) But again, I'm sure I've been guilty of this is in the past. We live, we learn. 

3) Like It or Nothing
I'm am not going to badmouth this program, because I do understand that it's likely a good source of income for a lot of people, and I am all about supporting fellow women and mothers in finding ways to generate income for their families. But I will tell you, there are certain people that drive me nuts with this program. I get that the point of the program is to garner likes - and that, in order to be successful (ie bring in money), ou have to do so.  But, if you are so focused on getting the likes that you refuse to share one shred of info on what you may be wearing in a certain photo without referring someone to like your photo and then get an email with the product info, well, you killed it for me. I just wish people would use common sense and some kindness with this.

So, there's my thoughts on this topic. I do want to emphasize this this is not directed at any blogger or blog in particular, but is a conglomeration of things I've learned personally, and of things I've seen done in blogland and tried to remember NOT to do. I'm sure we all know blogs that may fit the bill for some of the pet peeves mentioned above, but let's be kind and not share anyone in particular! xoxo

Monday, October 5, 2015

Potatoes to Peaches {Weekend Review & Blate}


I just came off of the best weekend in, like, ever. And now, it's Monday morning, and I am off traipsing around a farm in the mud for Caleb's first preschool field trip. Which, theoretically, was a great idea when it was planned several months ago because, small children and animals. But, which, after all this rain, is now the worst idea in history because, mud. I realized last night that Caleb doesn't own rain boots, so the whole experience ought to be super fun.

On Friday night, I put on some makeup and curled the little bit of hair that I have left (does post-partum hair loss EVER end?) Just look at the blonde hairs clinging to  my shirt in this photo.

Then B, Vivi and I dropped Caleb off to play at Pop's house, and went on a super fun dinner date to Biergarten in Atlanta with one of our couple friends, and another surgeon that B works with. If you couldn't tell by the name, the restaurant is German, and serves only German food. It was my first time trying sauerkraut (not impressed). And also my first time trying a Moscow Mule (very impressed). Vivian did great, and loved hanging out with everyone. I got only one measly photo after the selfie taken in the car on the way there. But I love this photo - real mean aren't afraid to show they love their babies:)

On Saturday, B was on call, and Caleb ended up going back to Pop's house to watch the Georgia versus Alabama game (which I'm sure glad I didn't plan my day around since it ended up being such a slaughter).  So I did what any mama in her right mind would do with the sudden freedom of only having one child to care for. I popped Vivian into the car and we headed out. 

We went to TJ Maxx first, where I picked up a bunch of new baskets and things for some organizational projects I've been wanting to get started on around the house. And Vivian got a couple sweet little outfits, including the outfit shown on the left in this picture. I mean, the fur? Dying. 

Then we headed to Hobby Lobby to pick up a few things for Pearl & Monroe, and ended up browsing the Christmas aisles for a good thirty minutes - which made me so happy, though I am proud to be able to say that I managed to leave without picking up any holiday items. Yet. I may be heading back soon though, to snag one of each of these little 2 foot trees for the kids' rooms. I love that they are not full of branches, and think they would be so cute with some fun little ornaments and lights on them. I'd love to cover Vivi's in sweet treat ornaments, like donuts and cupcakes and little fairies, and then let Caleb pick his own ornaments, which would likely mean lots of planes, trains, trucks and cars:)

Our last stop was Target. The mother ship. I did some serious damage in there - they really just make it too easy.  Picked up some flannel sheets (in the snowflake pattern) for our bed for the cool nights on the way, and am planning to return and grab the deer set for Caleb's bed. I mean, how cute are these?
EV Holiday Flannel Sheet Set
I also took advantage of a 30% Cartwheel coupon, and grabbed these amazing flats, which I think will up my stay-at-home mom game. I tried on these pretties as well, but left the store without them, as I don't wear heels very often. But, now I can't stop thinking about them -  they were SO sexy. And Target is offering a buy two, get 20% off or buy three, get 30% off online right now, so they may end up coming home to mama anyways. I think B would sure appreciate them for a date night, am I right? And they do have some Paw Patrol rain boots I could grab for Caleb while I'm at it...

Women's Lainee Pumps

After all that errand running, my little sidekick was worn out. But we had such a good time - it was the first time we'd been shopping together that Vivian hadn't ended up crying me out of the store. Milestone! Hopefully we will have many more shopping days to come:)

Sunday, I was super excited, and also super nervous, to meet my sweet friend Karli, of September Farm. I have only gotten to meet one other blog friend in real life so far (hi, Lynn!) but there are SO many of you that I'd love to connect with. So, when I found out that Karli would be in my neck of the woods - all the way from Idaho - I just knew we had to meet up. And guys, if you need an indicator of how it went...Well. We met at 11 am for brunch at Murphy's (best brunch in Atlanta). And we were there until 4 pm. Five hours. Five. Hours. I have never had a five hour brunch! You were my first, Karli:) The time really flew though, we had so much to catch up on, and - shhhh - we may or may not have over indulged in a few too many mimosas. I mean, hey, we were ladies who lunch without kids for a day. We had to take advantage. We did manage to completely tick off our waiter, who I'm sure just wanted to turn over his table to make more money, which I understand. But telling him that it may be years or longer until we see each other again held no sway with this man. Between every mimosa, he attempted to bring us a check. Ha! We forgot to get a picture until the very end, so please forgive our rain ruined hair, and our rumpled appearances for sitting for so long! Love this girl! So sad to know that she is headed back home to her farmer and family across the country today, but loving that I got to meet her in person. 

After leaving brunch, I headed home to my little family. B had worked an all night call shift Saturday night, and had then agreed to watch both kids all day Sunday on no sleep while I was brunching. I have a good man in that one, I really do. We had dinner together, and Caleb got to open his little Halloween surprise - most of the items shown from the $1 Spot at Target:) He was so excited for this little treat.

He was especially excited about his "big boy" Paw Patrol cup!

I did a quick grocery run while B did bathtime, and then when the kids went to bed, B and I spent some time together, and I spent some time updating things for Pearl & Monroe. Here's a sneak peek of a couple of items that will be hitting the shop this week:) Love.

Happy Monday!