Six Months of Madelyn

Yesterday our Lylee Girl would’ve been 9. I’m so sad she’s not here, but I do feel her presence in both Mads and Bristol. It took a baby and a puppy to mend that big ol’ bearsize-hole in our hearts. 

And today I’m here to share M’s 6 month update.

Let me repeat that… 6 MONTHS. akjsdkfsjdhfjnsdkjfhsd. W H A T ! ! ?

Who took my baby and left me this adorable, cuddly, animated child?

*sigh*

Nicknames: Maddie, Mads, Moo, Moo Shu, Lou

Stats: She had her wellness appointment last Thursday. Our little chunk is 18.5 lbs and just shy of 28 inches long (& that puts her in the 97th percentile). Yeah, she’s wearing 12 month clothing. UGH.

Likes: Her puppy siblings; she is obsessed. Baths and splashing in the water. The breeze and Daddy gently blowing on her face. Watching Dad mow the yard back and forth. Walks. Bright colors and music on TV shows. Putting things in her mouth.

Dislikes: Being too hot or having the sun in her eyes too long. Being overly tired, but also being forced to take a nap. Mom taking away the things she’s trying to put in her mouth.

Sleeping: M goes down around 7pm and sleeps until 5am, takes a small bottle, and snoozes until 8am. Sometimes she sleeps right on through until 7 or 8am.
She’s supposed to take three naps but sometimes she fights (& wins) when it comes to that third one… She does great in her crib for naps now!

Eating: Formula still, but we’ve added in adult food! M has tried broccoli, mashed potatoes, avocados, bananas, peaches, strawberries, and sweet potatoes. I think broc & ‘cados are her favs.

Development: She has learned SO much since her 3 month update! She rolls like a champ, grabs at everything, and smiles at us all day long. She laughs, but we’re still waiting on that deep, hard belly laugh. She babbles (“dadadadada”) and squeals and watches everything around her. She can sit up but still needs a spotter. (Balance is hard.) She can stand with help, but no steps. She wants to crawl SO badly but she hasn’t figured out how to get her legs under her and use them yet.

Personality: Man… she is so happy most of the time. A do-it-myself attitude is starting to come through, but she’s the sweetest little diva. She snuggles in at night and she definitely has a special love for her dad…but when she’s tired or fussy or just moody she’s a momma’s girl.
I love how chill she is. We can go somewhere and she’ll just sit on my lap and people-watch. All she needs is some shade, a comfy lap, and sometimes to suck on. She’s a happy girl. I love it.

Travel: L O L Ugh. By this time she should’ve been to Dallas, Texas and Dayton, OH. Possibly South Carolina, too. But we’ve been at home in Ohio.


Mom’s Summary: These past three months have been the absolute best. My hormones have sorted themselves out, we’re all getting a decent amount of sleep (albeit restless because I still wake up & check on her), and we’ve banked extra time at home watching M grow.
COVID-19 wreaked havoc on our lives and business, but it’s given us extra time with M and it was time I didn’t know I needed & wanted. Don’t get me wrong- there were stressful and awful moments- but it was a special opportunity for us to spend a month and a half with just her. I love being her mom more and more every day.

And that’s it for six month! Will we have a walker by 9 months? Only time will tell, lol.

**All photos by the insanely talented Jackie Beachy ♥**

Baby Talk: It Didn’t Work Out

In my opinion, admitting one’s failures is humbling. I think it also shatters the perfect image that’s so easily fronted online. I will never ever claim to be perfect (although I’m plenty arrogant… cue the humbling).

Before M was born, I had a plan. Then we brought our fresh baby home and realized plans are meant to be ditched. Back up plans are also good for ditching 🤷

If you’re a parent and you find yourself having to alter your course, I’m just here to tell ya you’re not alone or a failure or wrong. That’s just how life goes sometimes.

And here are some things that just didn’t work out…

B R E A S T F E E D I N G
We tried. We went all in and registered for the pillows and bags and pads and creams. We got a pump from our insurance company and we spent $$$ on a lactation consultant both before and after M’s arrival.

And you know what? It just didn’t work out.

It took me a week to make that decisions and I struggled HARD for those 7 days (and I wrote about it), but once the decision was made I never looked back.

C O – S L E E P I N G
According to the internet, co-sleeping and bed-sharing are different. Regardless, I mean sleeping in the same room.

We started M in the bassinet in our bedroom for her first 3 weeks. During week four we put her in her crib to start, then brought her into our room after her first middle-of-the-night bottle. Then we did it after the second feeding. Eventually she just stayed in her crib all night.

We HATED sharing a room. Every time M made a noise I woke up. I laid there terrified that K or the dogs would make a noise and wake M. We had to keep our room warmer than we typically would’ve. And truly, I just needed “my space” back in some part of my life. So we kicked her out.

Listen… we have a video monitor, I check her often, and we’ve done all the other steps to reduce SIDS. I am a paranoid momma and I wouldn’t put my child at risk. Also… from the start she slept (and sleeps) SO DAMN WELL on her own in her room. We’ve noticed she’s got a slight independent flare to her (holla ‘atcha girl!) and she does very well by herself.

D A Y C A R E
Once I headed back to work we thought M would spend half her time with family and half her time at daycare. Two things derailed this plan. First of all, we have almost NO daycares around us… and the ones that do exist have 3 out of 5 stars. I wouldn’t send the dogs to a daycare with that rating.
Also, turns out I am TERRIFIED of M getting RSV or Hand Foot & Mouth Disease soooo….. sticking her in a room with a bunch of other children is a hard no from me right now. I’m fine with parks and family and all that, but I know people send their sick kids to daycare and I’m not all about that. She’ll learn to share and socialize some other way for now.

*(I am very grateful that I have the privilege to make this call- our family is AWESOME for keeping M during my work days.)

N O   S C R E E N T I M E
Hahahahahahahahahaha. I’ll just go ahead and see myself out.

M loves Mickey & The Roadsters, Puppy Dog Pals, & Sesame Street. She typically only gets an hour or less of TV when we’re home, but I imagine that will change over time, too.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say this will not affect her likelihood of graduating high school. I think we’re safe.


Parenting is effing hard. When things don’t work out, don’t beat yourself up- spend that valuable time with your kid(s) and find an alternative.

Fortunately, we’ve had some things work out beautifully. M is on a pretty decent (sleep) schedule. We’ve had much success with cloth diapers. We’re about to start baby led weaning & I can tell M is excited about food.

I struggled with quitting breastfeeding and I cried the first few nights M wasn’t in our room… but things pan out how they’re supposed to and you’ve got to go with the flow sometimes. I’m proud of us for the things we’ve stuck to- those decisions have shaped our parenting journey.

I Was Scared to Become a MOM

When I found out I was pregnant I had a major identity crisis. I feared becoming a single label: “mom.” It seemed like that mom life would be the only life I’d get to live.

I was so upset by that. I didn’t want to lose myself or sacrifice the person I was. I didn’t want to be so consumed with my daughter that I was no longer the wife / friend / employee / person I was before…

And that fear caused a problem. It took a while to enjoy my pregnancy. I wanted to be pregnant, but I didn’t know how to connect with what was happening. I adjust to new people and new experiences slowly. It felt weird and distant. M was born and the weirdness didn’t instantly go away- although it changed.

After sorting out my ppd and taking care of my health, I had the realization that M was mine. Everything she did and all her care was my job- I didn’t have to seek approval or validation for my actions from anyone (in tandem with K, of course). And that didn’t scare me at all- I started feeling more comfortable referring to her as my daughter.

Truthfully, I’ve only just starting thinking of myself as a mom. Maybe Mother’s Day helped a little? I resisted the all-consuming title for a long time… even though I was, by definition, A MOM. I admire other moms, I wanted to have a kid from the start, I look up to so many amazing mothers out there. It’s not the fear of being old or having that soccer-mom-mini van-driving,-lob haircut-vibe…….. it’s just the uncomfortableness of a new and limiting name.

When I announced I was pregnant the MOM CLUB showed up in full force and I felt like such a phony. People offered me clothes, toys, meals, advice, their kitchen sinks, etc. It felt weird… It felt fake to be accepted just because I was now “one of them.” I truthfully hated the idea of it… but secretly loved the support and help.

(I realize now that being a parent is tough and the so-called MOM CLUB is actually just women who have been there/done that/are still in trenches who want to help someone else that’s wandered into this war zone of untold horrors and blessings. Lol.)

A lovely blog friend shared with me that she felt very distant from her pregnancy, too, and only connected with her daughter once she was born. Another blog friend told me that the “instabond” moms have with their babies is sometimes a myth and for good reason. It makes SENSE that getting to know your baby and bonding would take time. They are a person after all- someone with their own wants and needs and likes and dislikes and personality and feelings. It’s a relationship that takes a little time.

M is five months old now and I love love love being her mom. Having a child didn’t make me love kids. I’ve never been a big kid person. But now that I’ve gotten to know my baby I am sure that I was meant to be her mother. No regrets, no hesitation, no second thoughts. I live for the day she calls me “mom.”

And life was unclear at first with a new human in the mix. Our days and priorities have changed accordingly… but I’ve found that deep down, I haven’t. I might be a little more distracted and usually covered in spit up, but I have a good relationship with my husband, I try to support and love my friends as much as I always have, and I still enjoy and excel at my job- although I work less days and sometimes long to be home with M when I’m in my office. I read a little less but I’m still a reader. I blog a little less but I’m still a blogger. I’m still a type-a perfectionist but things are a little more lax around here. I’m still me. I’m just a mom, too. And I think I had to go through that stage of insecurity to fully and gratefully accept this role.

This feels like a raw confession of sorts. I’ve never not loved M… I just didn’t know how to serve her and stay true to me. And I feel happy that we’ve figured this out a.k.a. I’ve realized the joy and fulfillment I have in being HER mom.

It’s tough to struggle with your identity. Whether it’s a job or a hobby or a label… it’s weird and uncomfortable to be sorted into a category by default. I feel lucky that I’ve ended up enjoying this new role. I’m embarrassed by how much I doubted myself, but thankful for those who built me up and helped me transition into motherhood. I don’t take the people in my corner for granted and I will teach M how important “our people” are- not least of all her incredible dad.

If you’re struggling with something big, reach out for help. Someone to talk to, an outlet to share your frustrations, prescribed medication to stabilize your mental health. It’s important. Your quality of life matters- don’t dismiss it when something feels wrong. ♥

Baby Talk: Recommendations (0-5 Months)

I know not all of you have kids/want kids/plan to raise any more small humans. BUT chances are you know someone who’s pregnant. Or someone who might get pregnant some day. Or maybe you do, in fact have small babies or are expecting one. Regardless, this post is for you.

Use it as advice, use it as a gift guide. Whatevs.

These items have been the BEST & I would 100% recommend them to any new
mom or dad!

M is a swaddle-loving baby. We were all sad when she started rolling and we had to leave her arms out. We still haven’t switched to a sleep sack yet because she likes the swaddle around her chest. Fortunately the Ollie Swaddle is versatile. It can wrap both arms, one arm (for the transition), or no arms. It’s a little pricey, but M sleeps the BEST with this swaddle- and trust me, we’ve tried others.
*here’s a referral link so you get 10% off and I earn $5

We were blessed with a verrrrry sleepy newborn. She would snooze at home, in the car, at restaurants, etc. Our portable Hushh sound machine was SO handy when we were on the go. (She has a sound machine in her bedroom, too.) Now Moo tries to fight sleep so we don’t get as many naps in public, but this was a life saver during the first few months. Now it goes with her to the baby sitters’ houses for nap time.

Finding things for babies to play with is hard. Fortunately, they just sleep & eat (& sometimes cry) most of the time. We found this play mat for M early on and it’s been a hit. From the start she loved the black and white images & mirror. Now she chews on the crinkly raccoon and kicks at the melodic porcupine. And it washes up so well! (Ask me how I know, lol… #spitupQueen)

These blinds have completely changed the game. We have cute striped curtains (as seen here) but they didn’t block the light for crap. I had a dark towel hanging in the window 🤦🏼‍♀️ These are paper & you cut them to the width of the window. They block ALL the light.

I wash a lot of bottles. I wish someone had thought to gift me latex gloves, lol. They cost $2. (I bought myself some finally.)

So far we’ve found two teethers that M absolutely loves. This strawberry teether is great because she’s able to grab on a very basic level and she can hold into this and bring it to her mouth. She can’t hold her Teething Egg yet, but it brings her SUCH relief when we hold it for her to rub her gums on. They actually have a grippie stick that I might buy so she can hold it herself.

(Not So) Pro Tip: SNAPS vs. ZIPPER Sleepers
People feel very strongly about this- mostly claiming zippers are best. I don’t completely agree. If you have a baby that HATES being cold, snaps are lovely because they allow you to open the bottom half of the outfit without freezing the baby. And they don’t bunch up like zippers sometimes to do… (A double zipper that unzips from the top AND bottom is the creme de la creme IMO.)


So right now, with the first five months under our belt, I can confidently and enthusiastically recommend these items! Did you have something that saved your sanity in the early stages of parenthood? Did I convince you to gift an expecting mama any of these things?

Baby Talk: Nursery Tour

Yay! It’s finally here! 😊

M’s nursery was not finished before she arrived. Everyone told us it’d be fine because she wouldn’t use it right away. They were right…

…but we DID end up moving her in around week 3 or 4. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends moving baby to his/her own room between 6 months and one year. Turns out 3 weeks was the magic number for us. I mean, who wouldn’t want to sleep in this room? It’s the best decorated space in our house! (We have a video monitor so I can see her at all times & our pediatrician was a-ok with the decision. Ok, I’m done justifying this now.)

A few important notes…
My pictures are not professional by any means- lol.
I’m going to link the stuff pictured but nothing is affiliated.

We went with navy blue paint & one “wooden” wall. It’s actually laminate flooring. A family friend/contractor did it. We wanted a very subtle outdoorsy vibe in the nursery.

The dog pictures were taken during our maternity photo shoot by Jackie Beachy Photography. Obviously we’re in love with them. Our name art is from Hickory Hollow Designs!

The curtains aren’t blackout (I got these blinds to go behind them) but they matched the room so well and were so cheap, I didn’t care…

Curtains | Glider

I love her little crib set up. Simple and clean but very personalized.

Crib | Sound Machine | Clock | Artwork

I’m also so so so in love with her changing table gallery wall. She loves it, too. She looks up at the wall and smiles while I change her. I love that.

We have two trash cans because we cloth diaper. The large one is for diapers, the small one is for trash, and then a laundry basket on the right.

Art from different places | Changing Table *we replaced the knobs
Video monitor *we only have a single camera

The frog is a humidifier but it’s old and not great after 6+ years of hard water and minimal maintenance. We just purchased this humidifier for her room and I love it already!

This was a splurge gift from my in-laws. It was way too much money for a bookshelf but I’m so glad they got it for us. I love it.

Bookshelf | Bear Basket

Some day, before I start selling/packing up the too-small outfits and toys, I’m going to count how many fox items M has…

I love M’s room. I love that it’s slightly feminine but with dark colors- especially the orange & blue together.

I realized I forgot to photograph the closet after I took the pictures & started editing. It’s very neat and organized in there… so I think it might get a post of its own. I’m strangely proud of that space. Haha.