Seven Months

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Miss Mary Mac turned seven months old on March 25th!  She has become quite the mommy’s girl over the last month and I cannot tell you how much I LOVE that.  She doesn’t want me to put her down or be anywhere out of her sight.  She will easily go to her daddy and loved ones, but she seems to really light up when I’m around.  :)  It certainly makes my heart swell!  Although, it is important to note that I still don’t hold a candle to her big sister as far as the excitement level she displays when Emmy walks in the room.  Her grin and giggles when she sees her big sissy are just precious!  She has grown so much and is just  the sweetest baby.  I tell people all the time that I thought Emmy Mae was a sweet baby, but Mary Mac is even sweeter!  She smiles at everyone she meets and is just such a precious, darling girl.  She has the best, most complementary personality to her sister’s and I am so thankful she is ours!

For the better part of the month of March, I spent every bit of my free time enjoying this sweet little baby and the last few weeks we had together with me working part time and taking care of her part time.  We did a lot of visiting daddy at work,  bringing him his favorite lunch (Jersey Mike’s) and taking walks around the pond at his work. I even kept her big sister home from daycare a few days for me to spend some time with both of my girls before I returned to work full-time.  I have been so very blessed to have a husband who was willing to work full-time and maintain our health insurance so I could work part-time for the last 18 months.  It was and will continue to be a big transition for us as a family when I go back to work full-time, but I’m excited for the new career opportunity I’ll be starting!

Mary Mac accomplished a few milestones this month including cutting FOUR MORE TEETH.  She has a grand total of 6 now and is still going strong! She went to the beach for the 2nd time, but felt the SAND at the beach for the first time!  She seemed mostly overwhelmed by everything but I think she is going to be a water baby just little her sister and my sweet husband. She is holding more things AND started her first solid food – smashed bananas, which her sister quite enjoyed helping with.  Emmy was SO excited to feed her food for the first time.

MM has started expanding her vocabulary and now says “Momma,” “hey”, and makes the “dah” sound so “dada” is right around the corner.  One other big milestone is that I successfully survived being away from her and Emmy Mae for more than a night.  Their daddy kept both girls while I went on a girls only trip to Nashville and had a BLAST.  I am so thankful and grateful for the women in my extended family and for an amazing husband who was willing to “hold down the fort” while I was gone.  Considering I get overwhelmed at the thought of keeping them by myself for more than a few hours, I was super impressed by his ability to manage everyone alone.  I married Super Dad :)  In all honesty, I couldn’t begin to do this job of parenting without him… I am truly blessed!

One of the biggest “firsts” this month was that MM started daycare. I was not terribly nervous sending her because the same sweet ladies at daycare kept Emmy when she started at 6 months and we love them dearly.  In fact, one of the ladies actually kept me as a baby at daycare 20-something years ago.  So, I know she is in very good hands!  So far, she has seemed to handle the transition really well.

Sweet memories:  You know, you always hear about how amazing a newborn smells.. and it is true. There’s just something about a baby’s head.  I have taken to really smelling and savoring that smell of my sweet Mary Mac’s head because I know all too soon I won’t be able to experience that.  I have decided that my darling girl’s crown smells JUST LIKE a waffle cone.  Silly?  Maybe.  Accurate? Absolutely.  I just love this girl so much…!

Weight: ~19, 5oz lbs

Likes: Her thumb for naps, being rocked to sleep after finishing her nighttime bottle, walks outside, sitting up like a big girl.

Sizes: Size 4 diapers still! :) Miss Mary Mac still drinks around 4-5 oz per feeding and we send 5 bottles  to daycare. She usually drinks 3 of them there, and the remaining two we will give at dinnertime and then before bed.  She has started baby food now which they also give to her at daycare.  Mrs. Eula told me the very first day she was at daycare, she quickly found her “friend in the mirror” and was content and happy, laughing at her image in the mirror on the crib for the rest of the day. :)

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Six Months

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Our precious girl Miss Mary Mac turned 6 months old on February 25th.  I cannot believe we have celebrated her half birthday already! I remember so well when Emmy Mae turned 6 months old.  A lot of her first year was a blur for me, but something about Emmy turning 6 months old stands out in my mind. Certainly, it is no different for her little sister.  This month marked more milestones and the beginning of the second half of her first year of life!  What a big day for my little one. :)

Mary Mac is growing and developing her sweet little personality.  I am still enjoying my time home with her part time, though that is soon coming to an end as I will begin a job transition in a few weeks and go back to work full-time.  This also means daycare is right around the corner for our girl.  For now, I am just savoring this time and holding her closer than ever!  The days can seem so long, but the years are most definitely short.

Our little MM is becoming quite a fan of her big sister.  She loves to watch her every move.  She smiles so big when her sister barrels into her room in the mornings.  I can remember being so gentle when I would wake up Emmy in the mornings when she was an infant. And, truth be told, her daddy was the one to wake her up and put her to bed more often than not that year. But when I would get the opportunity to wake her up, it was with a soft, sweet voice and gentle back rubs and lots of “good morning my little angel” and snuggles and such. I would let her stretch, and take extra caution to not turn on the lights too quickly. I would start with just turning on the hallway light, then her room night light, and then the bright overhead light once she looked “ready” for the brighter light.  She would stretch, make funny noises, and wake up nice and “gently” I suppose you could say.

However, this is not the case for my darling Mary Mac.  Try as I might to extend all the same courtesies and allow her several minutes to wake up “gently,” this just doesn’t seem to happen for her.  Right about the time that I’ve started my “good morning little angel” routine and started a soft back rub, in comes my 3.5 year old toddler who walks as softly as a stampede of horses and has only one speaking voice volume: LOUD. I always look at Mary Mac and then say  “sorry sweet pea, your big sister is up so get ready…”  And Miss Emmy Mae barges in with her loud proclamations: “HEY MARY MACKY IS UP! MOM, MARY MAC IS UP!!!”

Mary Mac, and her ultra laid-back self, just smiles and laughs at her big sister and seems to actually enjoy this monstrosity of a wake up routine. She really is the perfect fit  to our little family, God bless her.

Miss Mary Mac celebrated her very first Valentine’s Day this month and also  gained two adorable bottom teeth.  She is almost sitting up without assistance and starting to really kick those feet and arms when she is on her belly, almost in the “crawling” stance.  Mary Mac also enjoyed celebrating her daddy’s birthday and sending her big sister off to a fancy daddy-daughter dance. MM is already looking forward to joining them in a few short years. :)

Weight: 18lbs 5.5oz (83rd percentile)

Length: 26 inches long (50th percentile)

Likes: Baths – she starts to smile and kick her feet when she sees me get her bathtub out!  She is also an outdoors girl like my first born.  She can be ultra fussy but will immediately relax when she gets outside.  She loves to take it all in and has serious FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) like the rest of us Gurley girls.

Dislikes:  NAPS!

Sizes: Size 4 diapers!! :) Miss Mary Mac is still fitting in some 6-9 months but has graduated to a few 9 month things.  She still drinks around 4-5 oz per feeding but is feeding a bit more frequently.

Happy Half Birthday, beautiful girl!

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Five Months

PicMonkey Collage 1On January 25th, Miss Mary Mac turned five months old!  Here’s a look back at her fourth month journey as the newest Gurley girl…

Shortly after Christmas, while we were still enjoying the new toys but settling back into a more normal routine, our sweet and precious girl decided to throw us a curve ball.  Just a couple days before a big ice/snow storm was scheduled to hit eastern NC, our little Mary Mac started having the sniffles.  The sniffles turned into a junky sounding cough, congestion, and yep…RSV.  Her symptoms were the worst the day the ice storm hit. We live an hour away from the closest Pediatric ED and so when she started showing the least bit of difficulty  breathing, we hit the road.  We couldn’t bear to think of what would happen if we had waited.  People constantly approach me for advice on their children’s illnesses or assume that I know how to treat my own children.  First, I don’t work with kids at all – so I am probably  the last person you’d want medical advice from for your children.  Second, all that training and experience can go out the window when it comes to treating your own family.  Which is exactly why medical boards don’t allow it. Sure, I can use some of my medical knowledge to support my decision to go to the Peds office vs ED vs staying home.  But most of the time, it boils down to good ol’ “mother’s intuition” — something every mom innately has and requires no medical training whatsoever! Momma really does know best.

Fortunately, MM’s first hospital ER experience was a smooth one.  She got some great suction, rest, and tylenol for her fever that was ever climbing and we were finally sent home with instructions for supportive care.  She really didn’t start acting like herself again until 4 or 5 days after the ED trip.  But I am thankful that is over.  And even more thankful our four-month-old was able to handle that virus like a champ, despite the loss of appetite and disrupted sleep. Not many four-month-olds can handle it without hospitalization, especially this RSV season. I am grateful to be able to give her little body plenty of breastmilk to help build her immune defense.  Emmy Mae never had RSV or even so much as a cold when she was an infant.  She didn’t have her first ear infection until 18 months.  But, things are certainly different when you’re an infant with a big sibling that’s a toddler in daycare. Poor Mary Mac! Thankfully she is on the mend…

Aside from the sickness we had to overcome this month, Miss Mary Mac also managed to overcome some developmental milestones!  She finally rolled over from back to front!  She figured out how to roll from front to back a couple weeks before 4 months. She struggled a bit, but finally made it!  She also started reaching and grabbing for toys and has found her TOES!  She is the cutest, sweetest little cuddle bug.  She also sat in the high chair for the first time while we all sat and ate dinner together! :)

We brought in the new year with Miss MM in Wilmington with her Aunt JoJo and Uncle Drake! Her big sister opted to stay with MeMa and Papa.  We ended up doing the “Polar plunge” and Mary Mac loved watching her mommy and daddy run out into the (not so) freezing water on New Years Day!

Mary Mac did get to experience something pretty neat this month.  She went  to her first event at the Dean Dome!  I’m not a Tarheel fan, but my better half, aka “the Tarheel” obviously is a fan. He jumped at the chance to take photos of the JV UNC basketball team and so we loaded up our littlest Tar Heel and headed to Chapel Hill for the evening.  She may end up loving Carolina just like Emmy and their Daddy, but I can still hold out hope she ends up at NCSU like me.  At least she is the cutest little Tar Heel you ever did see! ;)

Weight: ~17.5lbs

Length: ~25 inches

Likes: Walking around with mommy in the Baby Bjorn carrier, watching mommy washing bottles, watching big sister Emmy’s every single move!  The bond these two are developing is just priceless to me.  Emmy is ready for her to “grow up” as she often reminds me, but she also enjoys engaging with her by making her laugh.  Emmy will dance, hop on one leg, make silly faces, whatever it takes to make Mary Mac laugh.

Dislikes: She is a baby who loves to be held when she wants to fall asleep, but is otherwise rather independent and wants to do her own thing – whether that is stretched out on her activity mat or in her jumper!

Sizes: Size 4 diapers!! :O MM is now much more comfortable in 6/9 months clothes.

Sweet memories:  I am incredibly blessed to be able to stay home with her on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  This time together is slowly coming to an end, however, as I will return to work full-time in a few weeks.  I have so enjoyed spending these days with her. We drop Emmy off at daycare, usually run to chick-fil-a for breakfast, and then come back home to clean up or she may even attend a few meetings with me.  I usually have a doctors appointment or massage therapy appointment scheduled for these days and she is the best little sidekick.  We often meet daddy for lunch and then I head back home and we nap or watch Mickey Mouse clubhouse until it is time to pick up big sister.  On Thursdays, we head to dance class. These days are flying by and I know I will one day long for these moments with my girls.  I am trying to live as “presently” as possible to soak up all this love, chaos, and joy in the indescribably wonderful season of life.

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Four Months

Miss Mary Mac turned four-months-old on December 25, 2016!  This year, Christmas was extra special with our newest babe here.  Just two days before Christmas of 2015, we had our first positive pregnancy test.  I had prayed that we would get pregnant before Christmas last year and the Lord blessed us with an answered prayer. :)  We were so grateful to have our wonderful Christmas present from 2015 here with us at Christmas 2016! Having Mary Mac here with us happy and healthy made celebrating our Savior’s birth all the more meaningful and special. It is my steadfast prayer that each of our girls come to know and love our Lord Jesus Christ and tell others about His Love for us all as well.

Before Christmas, Miss Mary Mac did a lot of growing from 3-4months.  She started interacting more and more with her big sister and was a wonderful side kick to all the lovely holiday gatherings.  She even made the trip to Raleigh to see her first ballet performance with the Carolina Ballet, the Nutcracker.  She also made her own on-stage debut as Baby Jesus in the Christmas play at church.  Her big sister had the very same role in 2013, and she was perfect, just as her big sis had been as well.  We also enjoyed getting to see friends and family for the holidays and especially enjoyed seeing our good friends, the Johnsons.  Their son is only 11 days younger than Mary Mac and seeing the two of them interacting was sooooooo sweet!! I’d be lying if I said I don’t hope those two end up marrying each other some day. ;)

Miss Mary Mac met Santa twice this year, once at the church play and again at Bass Pro Shops as is tradition now.  She wasn’t the least bit bothered by meeting the big man in red and I think she actually helped her big sister be less afraid as a result.  She started showing quite an interest in her fingers and thumbs and began showing signs of teething this month. Lots of drool, loose stools, irritability and fussiness was more commonplace for our normally laid-back girl.  She continues to sleep fairly well for us and we keep praying this is a continued trend. I do love watching her eyes light up when Emmy enters the room and I love that Emmy asks to see her little sissy first thing in the morning. I pray they grow to be very close as sisters and develop a bond with Christ and each other.

Weight: 16lbs, 4.5oz

Length: 25 inches

Likes: Watching her big sister’s every move, strolling around in the car seat or baby bjorn, being close, mama’s milk :)

Dislikes: Tummy time still isn’t our favorite although we are certainly getting better at it!  Being left alone, even if mommy just needs a potty break, is becoming not-ok in the eyes of MM. ;) She did get shots at her 4 month visit and that is never fun. Her daddy took her to this visit, though so I didn’t have to watch this time. :)

Sizes: Size 3 diapers!! Still squeezing into some 6 months clothing but starting to feel a little more comfortable in 6/9 months.

Sweet memories:  Mary Mac still loves bath time, and even if her teeth are giving her a fit she still barely fusses over anything.  She has the best laugh and loves anyone who will try to make her smile.  Her daddy puts her to bed every night and they have their own sweet routine together.  He holds her a certain way in the rocker and makes sure she is comfortable every night before she drifts off to sleep.  I am so grateful to have married such a kind, loving man who has easily extended that same love to our daughters. I don’t ever do enough to tell him or show him how much I appreciate him, but I really, really do.  He is amazing to us!

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Three Months

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Our precious baby girl turned three months old on November 25th.  I will likely make this comment in every single one of these monthly posts, but I simply cannot believe how fast times flies.  We are starting to enjoy more and more sleep, but learning that with better rest comes busier days and fuller schedules and lots to do.  My baby girl is taking it all in stride – she has such a delightful demeanor and is so easy going (at the moment).  She had a busy third month of life. We celebrated our first Halloween as a family of four which including dressing up as a butterfly for Mary Mac and two different costumes for Emmy Mae (a bumble bee at school and a cat for trunk-or-treat).  Our little one is doing great with her tummy time and holding her head up for longer and longer periods of time. Although, she isn’t  totally a fan but she is not nearly as defiantly against tummy time as her big sister was. :)  She has started “talking” more and more and smiles SO BIG when her big sister is around!

Miss Emmy Mae has become quite the big helper. She loves to fetch diapers or wipes and giving her baby sister a “hug and kiss” is top priority first  thing when she wakes up in the morning and just before bed at night.  She loves to be the one to “fix” her crying, whether from providing a pacifier or just talking to her and engaging with her while she is (im)patiently waiting for her mommy or bottle.  We also celebrated Miss Mary Mac’s first Thanksgiving, and it was so great to have her tag along.  At one point after lunch, both Jerri-Rae and I were pumping in the Taylor’s living room and I remember thinking this would probably be the last time either of us would pump over Thanksgiving for our babies as both of our families are likely now “complete.” We also enjoyed a lot of fun festivities around Thanksgiving.  Just a few days before turkey day, we loaded up as our little family of four and headed to the mountains for our second annual trip to get our Christmas tree and, for the first time, experience the Polar Express.  We had SUCH a fun time on that trip! The girls did so well driving there and back and we thoroughly enjoyed the first class experience on the polar express. Mary Mac was mostly in awe of it all and trying to figure it out, but Miss Emmy Mae sure did enjoy herself and allllllll the candy involved!  We also ended up driving straight home and skipped the whole stopping to cut down a tree because we had to soundly sleeping babies on  the way home and it saved us a lot of time. We hope to resume that tradition next year.  We stayed in Asheville this year and enjoyed a lovely trip to Biltmore Estate where we took our family photos.  This was the last time we had been to Biltmore since my 25th birthday (as documented here) and things are certainly different with a toddler and infant. :) But we wouldn’t change a single thing!

Mary Mac is still taking in around 4-5 ounces during the day per feeding and is feeding almost every 4 hours, with the exception of nighttime when she will go about 8 hours between her nighttime and morning feeds.  She has adjusted to mommy being away on Mondays and Wednesdays like a champ and enjoys her time with Daddy during the week as well.  She is a wonderful little shopper, hardly ever fussy and loves to be on the go. She even attended a meeting for Bridge to Hope when mommy needed to make a conference call and we didn’t hear a peep out of her for over 2 hours.  She does have a pretty big intolerance for caffeine and caffeine-containing foods (including chocolate) and so I have had to eliminate those products from my diet.  This was difficult initially, but definitely much easier to make the dietary changes than seeing her in pain from horrible gas due to not tolerating the caffeine. She is one of my biggest blessings, and I am desperately hanging onto every one of these “firsts” because I know they are likely the “last firsts” for our family. She is so perfect in every way and I cannot imagine our lives without her.

Weight: ~14lbs

Length: ~24 inches

Likes: Cuddling, nice long naps, baths, lying on her activity mat all stretched out, walking around the house together, her mobile over her crib (she will literally light up and giggle when it starts to play).

Dislikes: Not getting milk fast enough, being “overtired” when she doesn’t get her full nap out. Can’t say I blame her though!

Sizes: Size 3 diapers!! :O Cannot believe my big girl is growing so fast. She has moved out of 3/6 months and into into 6 months clothing.

Sweet memories:  Our girl time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, her running errands with me and everyone making a big fuss over her adorable self :)  There are so many things I want to remember about this time. Her soft skin, her “dredlocks” from where she rubs her head back and forth and creates a little knot in the back of her hair, her wonderful smell, her precious smile and sweet sounds, how she tries to talk back with everyone when we are all talking and I get the impression she doesn’t like to be left out.  She is always so good at bath time, loves looking around and figuring out where the water is coming from and giving her little massages with the soap.  I love the way she looks at me in the morning or when we are nursing and she holds one of my fingers so tightly like she doesn’t ever want to let it go.  She will also hold my shirt or stare at the patterns on my clothes until she is almost cross-eyed!  She loves my LuLaRoe tops because of the bright patterns and colors.  She is the perfect addition for her and I cannot thank God enough for her!

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