One Year of Elise in Photos (x2)

I suppose this is a bit of a continuation of the birthday post, but this is basically all photos. Throughout the course of the year, I took two series of photos each month. One was the "real" set with a legitimate camera, and the other was in our Moses basket and with my phone. I was much more consistent on the date of the photos with the camera, but the basket ones are fun to see exactly how much she grew! And so here you go: the basket photos first, then the others. 

And then the camera photos!

I'm just milking all the birthday stuff over here. Don't mind me. You can expect at least one more...because she only turns one once, after all!

One Year of Elise

Elise turned one on Memorial Day, and we spent the first half of the day up in Vermont and the second half driving home. But while it wasn't the most celebratory day of all time, we still had a good time, and her real birthday party is next weekend! No doubt I will recap that as well. In the meantime, I did still take my normal volume of month stat pictures, and then I tripled that amount for good measure.  

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Within the last month, she learned things in leaps and bounds! The most exciting one is that she is walking all over the place, and she seems delighted with her newfound ability to walk without holding on to someone's hand. I suspect she will move on to running in the next week with how fast she still likes to push her little cart. 

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She's added some more words to her vocabulary, and uses them with great frequency. If you visit our house, you'll likely hear her say, "Uh oh," "Duck," and "Wowwwww!" The last one is most often employed when hearing, seeing, or thinking about the construction vehicles that are currently working on replacing our formerly rotten wooden retaining wall along our driveway. That's another story for another time. If you were hoping for a visual of her saying her favorite word, look no further!

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In addition to the spoken word, she has also created her own version of the sign for All Done. She makes this sign when she has finished eating a meal, wants to get out of her car seat, or has woken up for the day and would like to get out of her crib. 

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Since the weather has gotten warmer at long last, we've spent more time outside. She loves being out there, and this month she's discovered the singular joy of feeling the grass on her bare feet. She loves it, and we've already had several baths on non-bath days thanks to having dirt on her knees. I consider that a sign of a day well spent.

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Her favorite food lately is cardboard. Yes, you read that right. While she often refuses tasty things like fruit, she will chow down on tags, board books, boxes, and church bulletins, and within seconds will tear tiny pieces off and swallow them if I don't catch her in time. Fortunately for the board books, she also likes reading, so I don't have to be quite as vigilant around those as I do around other pieces of paper. Nevertheless, most of her books have bite marks, evidently indicating to the world that they belong to her and her alone.

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Her animal sound repertoire has increased, and in addition to lions and monkeys, she'll reliably tell you what owls and birds say when asked. Occasionally she'll remember what a cow says, so we'll be working on that one next. 

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Her sleep has also improved lately, which has been wonderful. It had been rather terrible between 10 and 12 months, with a typical night including two or three wake ups and getting up for the day around 5:30. In the last couple of days she's only been waking once and sleeping in a little later, so I'm hoping that will continue. 

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It's quite odd to think that this is the last of her month by month posts, since it seems a bit unusual to continue reporting beyond a year. Cue a barrage of thoughts about the speed of time. However, in lieu of actually writing those out, I present to you a stream of photos of Elise with a party hat or five. What could be better than that?

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Happy very first birthday, sweet girl! We love you forever and can't wait to watch as you continue to grow.

Eleven Months of Elise

Elise is 11 months now! That came up quickly thanks to the fact that I didn't write her 10 month report until two weeks into the month. But a lot of things happened between 10 and 11 months! Time for an update.

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In recent days, Elise has become slightly pickier in her eating habits. She's a big fan of spitting things out, but I read somewhere on some moms' message board - the best source of quality information, right? - that this particularly delightful habit is sometimes related to teething. That doesn't seem too far fetched because between 10 and 11 months she cut three teeth all at once! She's up to eight total, and it's changed her little smile quite a bit. 

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She must have hit a growth spurt as well, because we used 12 month onesies for about two weeks before she needed the 18 month size. 

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Last month I mentioned we were working on some animal sounds, but the lion was the only one that was consistent. Well, shortly after that, she mastered a monkey's sound as well! She's learned a lot lately - she's clapping, raises her hands when she hears us cheer, and if you ask her where your nose is, she'll point to it without fail. 

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Her hair continues to grow as well, which is good - she doesn't get random strangers referring to her as "Baldie" anymore. But the best part about it is that as long as her hair dries right after a bath, she ends up with a single curl right on the top of her head. I'm just hoping it doesn't eventually descend down to the middle of her forehead, because there's a rhyme about that. 

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Within the last week or two she's gotten especially good at standing independently, and now it's much more often on purpose than it was before. It's hard to capture in a picture since she's always on the move, but every once in awhile, I get lucky:

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Her favorite activities include opening and emptying drawers, pulling all of her books off of her little bookshelf, pointing at anything she finds interesting, cruising around with her push cart, and, more than anything else, holding on to our hands and walking around the house. She'd do it for hours if she could, and she gets rather sad when we have to let go and do something else. In that case, she'll go back to her push cart, which she recently learned how to steer!

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But her biggest accomplishment this month is that a couple days shy of her "month day," she took a step! It was only one, and at first she wasn't too happy about it, but she did it and she has done it several times since. 

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We keep cheering her on with each new development. It really is amazing to see how a baby can go from being completely and entirely dependent on you in the first days of life to a little independent person all within the space of a year. I mean, let's be honest...she's still very dependent in most ways. But it's so much fun watching her personality reveal itself every single day. What a blessing.

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And next month, she'll be one! Prepare yourself for an onslaught of pictures of Elise in a white onesie...with a birthday hat. 

Ten Months of Elise

We've made it to another month day! Happy 10 months, Elise!

Also, a note: a took her pictures on the actual day, but I have been remiss in my chronicling duties and am posting about it a week late. Alas! 

The most notable thing to occur this month was the big trip, of course. That included several milestones for Elise: first international trip, first passport stamp, first croissant, etc. But she's glad to be home now, exploring her familiar things and places, and she's growing like a weed. Her 9-month clothes are getting too short, and I'm packing up some of my favorite outfits in favor of ones that fit. While I normally start with the standard white onesie shots, I decided to first pay homage to her hedgehog pajamas with the matching hat, since they're going to end up in the storage box after their next washing.

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She's been practicing standing all on her own more and more lately, usually when she's absorbed in something (like removing all of the books from her bookshelf). She has also expanded her vocabulary a bit, using more consonants and speaking in what sound like full sentences of gibberish. 

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We also discovered that she has sprouted yet another tooth, bringing the total up to five. I suspect that the same tooth on the other side is on its way in as well, but she hasn't been complaining about it. As a result, it may be a little while before her mouth gets into a symmetrical state again. She's totally pulling off the look though. 

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She has also been sampling a ton of foods! She'll eat whatever is on my plate, and so I've tried to become more intentional about making her a little miniature meals at mealtime so that she gets a substantial amount of solids each day. That works some days and other days she subsists entirely on milk, but since food is more for exploration than nutrition at this point, I think she's doing just fine. 

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As of eight or nine months, she began playing games with people, usually with Chaz, where she leans all the way over to one side when she's sitting or standing and expects you to reciprocate. Once you've leaned over to match her, she'll lean the other way and wait for you to follow. She thinks it's hilarious and the game is typically accompanied with lots of smiles, babbling, and giggles. 

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And whenever she's in the presence of a light blanket, you can be sure she'll play peekaboo with you. She pulls the blanket up so it's covering her face, and when you ask where she is, she'll pull it down with gusto and grin. 

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She has also developed a strong affinity for climbing anything and everything that she can, so stairs hold a particular fascination for her. However, when stairs are not available, the nearest chair suits her just fine. 

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Fear not; I rescued her immediately once things started heading that direction. 

When not climbing, her preferred activity of late has been reading, which I love. She sits on our laps to read, and when we get to the end of the page, she'll reach with her left hand (only - never the right) and turn it. She really loves lift-the-flap books, and her absolute favorite is Dear Zoo. She gets very excited when we begin, and her excitement culminates on the page with the lion. So much so, in fact, that when you ask, "Elise, what does a lion say?" at any point, she'll roar. It's the best. We're still working on monkey and elephant noises, since those are some of the other animals in the book, but having the lion noise down pat is pretty great. 

I think that's all I have to report for the moment. See you next month for another report!

Nine Months of Elise

So we're really late to the party here. Two weeks after the fact is a new record, I think, but it'll be documented nonetheless. This delay has been brought to you by a heaping dose of traveling with a baby, to be recapped in the near future. Hold on to your glutes.

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9-month-old Elise is lots of fun. One day she woke up and started pushing her walking cart, stood for a moment by herself without holding on to anything, and figured out how to climb the stairs all within the span of a couple of hours. We bought a gate for the stairs that weekend, because if she's left to her own devices, she'll find her way there within minutes and make her way up. 

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She is infinitely curious, and loves exploring details, often on things I'm wearing. Buttons, necklaces, and (rather unfortunately for me) glasses are items of particular interest, and she'll spend many a minute poking at them with her pointer finger. 

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She continues try new foods in the form of whatever is on my plate, and seems to be particularly fond of eggs of and oatmeal. She also continues to be the most talkative member of the family, and has expanded her consonant sounds beyond mamamama, dadadada, and babababa to include nananana (we're still working on BATMAN). She also enjoys clicking her tongue and opening her mouth over and over, which almost makes a whispery papapapa sound.  

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When she's especially excited, she inhales with a raspy sort of gasp that sounds like a mix between hyperventilation and wheezing, which seems somewhat alarming, but really she's just so thrilled with whatever she's come across that she can't help herself. 

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She's started to think that toots are funny and giggles whenever they occur, and she also cut her top two teeth. We're up to four! All her developments this month have come with a side of separation anxiety, most often evident when she needs to sleep in her bed, so we're working on that. She very much has opinions about how things should be, and isn't afraid to show some displeasure when they don't go the way she expects. I think that will be a good quality later in life, but right now it's going to keep us on our toes. 

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I really can't believe that we're already approaching her first birthday. This year has gone by in the blink of an eye, and even though everyone tells you that ahead of time, there's no way to know what it feels like until it's happening. But I guess we still have a couple of months before we get to that point, so I suppose I'll savor these last couple of months before her first birthday as much as I can. 

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And that's all there is for this month! 

Eight Months of Elise

Another month has gone by, so yet again it's time to document!

This kid's middle name should be Active. She very rarely wants to sit still, because there's so much to explore and she's developed a bunch of skills to do so. She was crawling awhile ago, and shortly thereafter learned how to pull herself up, and she has never looked back. She pulls herself up on e v e r y t h i n g, ranging from our media console to the coffee table to the kitchen island to the couch to her crib rails to our legs, etc. She's gotten really good at balancing and it's not an uncommon sight to see her loosely pressing a single hand against her latest support. Pretty soon I suspect that she won't need the support at all and will stand up anywhere! 

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She suddenly developed a fondness for eating solid foods, which is great, and for most meals she wants to be in my lap, eating whatever is on my plate. So far she has yet to encounter a food she doesn't like, although she was a little surprised the first time she tried a green bean. She proceeded to chow down on a few more after that, so that apparently didn't hinder her appreciation for them. She's a big fan of eggs, oatmeal, broccoli, guacamole, and prunes, of all things. She also very much enjoys every flavor of Puffs, which is a great way both to get her used to different textures and also work on her pincer grasp, even though they have very little actual nutritional value. When she's not eating food, she's trying to eat everything else, so she might be on teething round 2...

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She seems to have hit another round of somewhat unpredictable night wakings, so we're all a little tired. However, she makes up for it by being a napping champ during the day, so that, at least, is great. I'll take what I can get when it comes to baby sleep! Eight months of this parenting gig has taught me that everything is a (usually short-lived) phase if nothing else, so we grin and bear it when it's sometimes a little tougher, knowing it won't last forever. 

She's also discovered some very fun tricks, including kissing (albeit very wet and with a wide open mouth) and dancing to music. She'll stop what she's doing and start bobbing her head along with the beat. We think it's one of her more adorable stunts, and it makes me remember to turn music on more often while we're at home.

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She quite despises getting dressed and having her diaper changed these days, presumably because both activities require staying still more more than 0.5 seconds. She's generally become rather skilled at voicing her opinions over such things, but she counters that by being delightfully content and smiley when she's doing almost anything else.

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I feel so lucky to be her mom. I hope she always knows how loved she is, and that we think she's the bees knees, forever and always.

Seven Months of Elise

Well, we've arrived at yet another month marker. This one snuck up on me. In all other months, I've started thinking of Elise as the upcoming month's age a week or two prior to the actual date. But this time? I thought she had a couple more days to go at least before she graduated from a half a year to a month plus a half year. 

This month brought with it a host of changes! She started crawling at six months plus three days, something I only remember with such specificity because the month change had happened so recently prior. While very exciting, I had rather been looking forward to the "potted plant" stage where she would happily sit on a blanket while playing with toys. No such luck for me. We went from stationary lying to very non-stationary moving in the blink of an eye, and there was no turning back. 

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Our house converted from being quite safe to extremely hazardous overnight, and we're in the process of baby-proofing everything at the moment. In the meantime, we watch her like an overprotective hawk while she zooms around every conceivable area all the live long day. 

Within a week or two of crawling, she also decided she'd like to pull herself up to a stand, and we lowered the crib mattress ASAP. In lieu of having an easily accessible crib rail, she finds many a surface with which to serve her standing needs. The current favorite is a box of Costco wipes waiting to be stocked away.

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She babbles all the time, alternating between syllables and growls to her heart's content. She's also sampled some "real" food this month, trying her taste buds at such exotic flavors as plain yogurt (with a touch of maple syrup), peanut butter (hooray for no allergies!), Thai massaman curry (hey, the doctor said to mash up whatever we were eating...), butternut squash and apple soup (sampled at our work's Christmas party), and avocado (which she despised). It seems that she appreciates many a flavor but hates any and all textures other than liquid, so we'll be introducing textured things later. That said, she does enjoy a good chomp on a whole carrot when the time is right. 

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When she wants to sit still for long enough, she loves to read books, and I frequently watch her crawl over to her bookshelf to pat each book on the binding, apparently to signify her approval of the contents. As a result, several baby Bibles have made their way to the most easily-accessible shelf. 

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She has a few favorite toys at the moment, and thoroughly enjoys time spent on her play mat.

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However, she typically finds the tag on said play mat as interesting (if not more so) than the actual toys. 

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She had her very first Christmas this month, and in spite of dealing with a bit of a cold during the festivities, she enjoyed herself and loved having her Nana, Papa, and two uncles around for the occasion. 

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As previously stated in every month post since she's been born, we love her to pieces. She's the most marvelously delightful little girl and we think she's just the best. 

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Six Months of Elise

At this exact moment a half a year ago, I was lying in a hospital bed with a 16-minute old baby in my arms. Upon her arrival sixteen minutes prior, she had been whisked over to the warmer to be evaluated by the neonatologist to make sure all her bells and whistles were in good order, and when she was declared perfectly healthy, they handed her to Chaz, who handed her to me. And after that turn of events, our little family's world has never been the same, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

It's hard to believe that was only six months ago. Every single parent on the face of the earth says, "I can't remember what life was like before Baby arrived," and we all just chuckle and carry on, but as with almost every saying that is repeated 'round the globe, it's completely true. That IS why it's a common saying, after all. But that doesn't stop me from repeating it once again. I can't really remember what life was like before Elise arrived. Heck, what did we DO with all of our spare time? 

In other news, Elise is six months old and is a ball full of energy. 

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She's gotten significantly better at holding herself in seated position once placed there, although she hasn't quite mastered getting there herself. She's trying on the regular though, so I suppose that will come in no time.

She rarely cries, but she has zero tolerance for being on her back and will flip herself over on to her stomach and get up on her hands and knees before you can say Jack Robinson. 

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She's pretty proud of herself, too. 

She talks most of the time, and has expanded her vocabulary to "Babababababa," "Bwahbwahbwahbwah" (I promise that's different from babababa), "Mamamamama," "Dadadadada," and "Brrrbrrrbrrrbrrr." She still enjoys both squealing and growling, although more often than not those sounds include syllables as well. What excitement!

Speaking of excitement, when she finds something particularly thrilling, she'll make a funny sort of inhaling gasp/squeak, accompanied with curling up into a ball and enthusiastically clutching the shoulder of whoever is carrying her. This combination of actions is usually brought on by walking down the stairs after waking up for a nap, going outside, or whenever someone says something excitedly. 

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She seems to be within days of figuring out how to crawl, as she is able to move her knees while on all fours, and often rocks back and forth trying to get herself to move forward. Once she figures out her hands need to move as well, she'll be off to the races.

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And last but not least, she cut two teeth while we were in Washington for Thanksgiving, and she is suddenly back to (mostly) sleeping through the night. Insert praise hands here. 

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Other fast facts to note:

  • She took her first flight and handled it like a champ.
  • She had her first Thanksgiving and ate no Thanksgiving food - still on a fully liquid (milk) diet!
  • She's started sleeping in her own room at night, now that she's more consistent in not waking up. 
  • She's working on moving up a clothes size, and as a result has a rather inflated closet since she fits in 3-6 month but also in 6-9 month outfits.
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And we love her to pieces. 

Five Months of Elise

Somehow, another month has passed already and I'm back here to document. Usually I like to have a few posts between the month by month ones, but...here I am without other filler. Besides, a regular dose of Elise updates is all anyone ever wanted, right? Ha.

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This month, Elise finally decided that rolling from her back to her stomach is her new favorite activity, and if you put her down on her back, she'll be on her stomach within the blink of an eye. Occasionally, typically in the morning when she has the most energy, she'll do a few barrel rolls and go from back to stomach, stomach to back, back to stomach, etc. until she's reached the opposite side of whatever surface she's lying on. Needless to say, it has become even more difficult to get a non-blurry photo of her while she plays, since all she wants to do is move around. 

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She continues to expand her repertoire of sounds, from the bottom of her range with growls, and the very top of her range with extremely high pitched squeals. The growls are particularly endearing, while the squeals could be considered ear-splitting. Upon experiencing them during a 3-hour car trip, Chaz said, "I think it's time to invest in some ear plugs."

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She's got a little more peach fuzz on top of her head, and it looks like she's going to be blond, at least for now. With two brunette parents, I think chances are good that she will one day join the club. 

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She has just started to be able to sit up by herself if put in position, although it's pretty hit or miss whether she'll stay up or tip over on her side. I'm guessing by the time six months rolls around, she will be doing it all on her own. She's also showing some signs of getting ready to crawl, pushing herself backwards in order to get up on hands and knees. 

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All the changes have been pretty exciting, except that she has gone back to waking up a few times a night rather than sleeping all the way through. Nevertheless, we think she's the greatest, even when we're getting a bit less rest.  

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With everything that's changed this month, we're so excited to see what next month brings!

Four Months of Elise

Things have been a little more...distracted around here these days, seeing as I'm writing this a solid two weeks late. Elise is four months old! She's growing like a weed! She's learning new things! Per usual, we must document.

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My photos weren't as good this month because she was wiggling all around, exploring the world around her. Or at least her own fingers. At the four month mark, she is able to consistently roll over from front to back, and occasionally roll from back to front. However, she still prefers to reserve this particular activity for the most special of times, namely when she doesn't want to sleep. As with last month, her most favorite activity while spending time lying on her stomach is to try to propel herself forward, so far to no avail. She is an absolute pro at rotating herself in a full circle when she has the room though, so it's only a matter of time.

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She talks all the time while at home or in her car seat, but when we're out and about she would rather observe everything than say much. Her favorite sounds include "Ummmmm," "Mmmmm," "Maaaaaa," and if we're really lucky, "Mama." I'm 100% sure that she does not associate the word with me at all, but it's rather gratifying nonetheless.

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Her four month checkup revealed that she has grown a full six inches since birth, and she's off the percentile charts for height. However, if there were a percentile chart for hair growth, that would be incremental at best, seeing as she still gets called Baldie every once in awhile by perfect strangers. Let it be known that she does indeed have hair, but it's very light and very short. And it is growing! Just very slowly. 

And last but not least, here's a smattering of non-month-specific photos from the last month that deserve to be published just because we think she's the sweetest. 

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 Is there anything better than a pajama-clad baby? I say no. 

Is there anything better than a pajama-clad baby? I say no. 

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 Blurry, but her face is too good to not post.

Blurry, but her face is too good to not post.

 She thinks standing is the coolest. Some balancing assistance is required.

She thinks standing is the coolest. Some balancing assistance is required.

We love you, little bean!