11 and 12 months

Month 11 was a big one for Nathan!  On January 28th, a judge in the Henrico County court signed his adoption finalization papers, which means we are completely, totally, name-changingly FINISHED with the adoption process!  It took us a little longer than normal  (usually finalization occurs around 9 months), but we did it!  11 months 060Also of note in month 11 was our gigantic cross-country trip: from Roanoke to Luray to visit Tim’s folks to Maryland for the gender-reveal celebration of Nathan’s cousin-due-in-June (it’s a BOY!) with Tim’s brother and sister-in-law to Iowa (by plane and with thanks to a good friend providing a ride to the airport) for a visit with my sister and brother in law and Nathan’s 16 month old cousin!  What a fun adventure all that was, and so nice to see so many people!  Nathan did GREAT with all the traveling, including the flight to Iowa.  We had plenty of snacks and a few brand-new-to-him toys to keep him entertained, but he actually spent most of the time with his nose glued to the window.  He was especially enthralled when we landed in Washington D.C. at night–ooooooh, the lights!  the lights!!!  He graduated from an army crawl to a full fledge hands and knees scrabble at Tim’s folks, loved watching Uncle N and Aunt A’s pets, and had a wonderful time playing alongside his cousin Hannah.  His least favorite part was the weather–which was coooold, especially in Iowa!11 months 012Nathan’s other big accomplishment this month was learning to pull up on the furniture–starting with his toy box!  :-)  11 months 062

In his 12th month, Nathan did lots of practicing: practicing crawling, practicing standing, practicing taking steps while hanging onto anything he could reach, practicing bigger and bigger bites of dinner, practicing his mamas and dadas and tigger-tigger-tiggers.  We noticed that he understands the words for many objects like fan, light, tigger, bear, ball, fingers, toes, and socks.  He loves to play “fetch”, and crawl to find an object we ask him about.  He has begun to express opinions about more and more things, making his pleasure or displeasure clearly known by his sounds and body language.  He loves to go on “adventures”: walks around the neighborhood, trips to the grocery store, rides in the stroller or backpack, and church.  Speaking of church: Sundays are tough but fun for Nathan.  He won’t nap during church anymore, so his schedule is always a little messed up Sunday afternoons.  But he loves going to church.  He has a few very special church toys that he only sees on Sunday mornings (or sometimes on long car rides). That helps keep him occupied when needed.  We usually keep him in the service for the singing, prayer, and bible reading and bring him to the nursery during the sermon.    He loves the nursery; being there without us does not phase him a bit.

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Although we’ve read to him regularly since he was born, he only this month took ownership of his books.  How fun this was for us, to see him become independently interested in being read to!  He often indicates that he wants us to read to him, and we have to have a few books within easy reach once we start as he breaks into sobs when we finish a book.  He likes many books, but I think his current favorites are “Goodnight Moon” and a book about black bears.  He got some new books for his birthday (YAY!) so we are excited to introduce him to those. 12 months 003

We don’t have his official 12 month measurements yet, but in our opinion he is very, very tall for his size!  He is growing so fast; we notice it more now that he is pulling up on things.  It seems like he can reach significantly more every week!  He loves to stand in front of the mirror and give himself kisses.  He also loves to pull up on the bathtub and bang on it.  We had a trouble for about a week with him pulling up in his crib when he should have been trying to go to sleep, but he has mostly learned to stay sitting or lying down when he is in bed.  He sprouts new teeth daily (okay, not really, but sometimes it seems like it!) for a current total of 4 on top and 4 on bottom.  He still takes two naps a day most of the time, although he’s just at the stage where he can survive on one.  He sleeps well at night, but we still haven’t managed to teach him about sleeping in on the weekends.  :-)  He plays a silly game with us where he shakes his head side to side really fast.  It looks like he is saying a vehement “NO!”, but he does it when he’s really excited about something or trying to make us laugh.  He can feed himself goldfish crackers and is getting pretty good with a sippy cup.   12 months 010I love having a month by month log of Nathan’s progress in this last year.  It helps me remember how far he’s come, especially in the moments when I am impatient with his neediness.  Parenting is the most draining, most rewarding thing we have ever done.  We can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in the next 12 months!

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ONE day!

Yesterday Nathan turned one year old.  How can this be?  Wasn’t he born only a few months back?  And yet I can barely remember life before he came.522702_10151988261491917_433976101_n

We have much to celebrate, and celebrate we did.  Two weekends ago, Tim’s cousin hosted a dinner for Nathan in Richmond, and we ran with a Winnie-the-Pooh theme (with an emphasis on Tigger, who is Nathan’s current favorite animal in the world ((followed closely by black bears))). 556861_10151988260791917_460381635_n 269314_10151988262436917_2130252627_n Tim’s Aunt even made a Winnie-the-Pooh cake, which Nathan delved into rather timidly (Tim would like me to note that Nathan was NOT timid about delving into the vanilla ice-cream). 374488_10151988261756917_749765641_n It was so fun to do a big birthday bash with people who know how special Nathan is.  That was important to me since we are still getting to know everyone in Roanoke, and few here appreciate what this past year has involved for our family.  We celebrated again last weekend when we met Tim’s parents and another Aunt, Uncle, and cousin for a half-way-in-between dinner.  It worked out well; Nathan slept the hour to and from the restaurant, and we still had plenty of time to spend with family over the meal.  12 months 012His actual birthday was much quieter compared to our “official” celebrations, but it was still very special and filled with all of Nathan’s favorite things: pumpkin pancakes started the morning off right, as did delving into a tub of new bath animal toys (thanks, Ben and Maria!) and running the dishwasher (we tease Nathan that he is our resident dish-watcher…he is transfixed by the running dishwasher).  A yummy lunch, a long and windy walk, floor play time, some special phone calls and cards, park swings, cake, and more presents made for a whopping good finish to the day.  12 months 004 12 months 014 12 months 020 12 months 023 12 months 041 12 months 067Tim was able to get off work just a tad early and go with us to the park, which thrilled Nathan to no end.  We saved a few special activities and presents for this evening, too, in order not to completely overwhelm him yesterday.  I loved having a low-pressure day, and Nathan seemed to really enjoy the simple things we did.  We also spent a lot of time remembering the past year, letting it all sink in.  We’ve gained some small bit of perspective in 12 months, and we can look back and see God’s hand at work in many ways and in many lives.  We don’t know what He’ll do in the coming year, but we’re excited to find out!

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Months 8, 9, and 10

Well, someone really fell of the blogging bandwagon, didn’t she?  Here’s my attempt to get back on:

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The past three months are a blur in my mind.  When Nathan turned 8 months old on November 19, we were smack dab in the middle of a crazy little thing called moving.  We’d technically already moved, as T started his new job mid-October just after Pop’s funeral.  But we were back and forth between Roanoke and Richmond every weekend so we could: 1) keep our legal residence in the house where we completed our homestudy until Nathan’s adoption was finalized for good (it’s not quite done yet, but almost!), 2) get the house ready to go on the market, and 3)finish teaching the first semester of our (okay, my) homeschool co-op classes.  It was tough, but we made it.  Nathan was a real trooper through it all.  He enjoyed the variety of having two homes, got really good at sitting all by himself in both of them, added a tooth or two, and developed a voracious appetite for all things solid food, with a bottle (or 4) on the side.

8.5 months 008I didn’t get official 9 month photos, but this one is from right around December 19.  After a long, late fall, winter finally hit Virginia…but Nathan was ready.  :-)  We were still traveling every weekend, including over the holidays–once to Tim’s parents and once to mine.  Nathan loved spending time both places, and he had a few rough days of grandparent withdrawal in early January!  On January 7 we finished up everything keeping us in Richmond, got our house on the market, and made the transition to Roanoke permanent.  While we were sad to say our goodbyes, we were also relieved to settle into one place for awhile!  Thanks to a new friend from the church we’re visiting here, we found a great doctor for Nathan and he had a successful 9 month check-up.  According to the stats, he’s tall and healthy–86% height, 65% weight.  Right around Christmas, we upgraded him to a roomier car seat, which helped him enjoy our travels more comfortably!  We went with a Cosco Scenera (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Cosco-Scenera-5-Point-Convertible-Car-Seat-Black-Santee/13004563), which was both cheap and highly rated on consumer reports.  We’re happy with it!

Then this past Saturday, our doodlebug turned 10 months old!  What a delight he has been to us these months.  A year ago, we didn’t yet know this little man existed, let alone what God had in store for us through him!  10 months 053 10 months 054 10 months 055 10 months 056 10 months 057Nathan celebrated his 10th month with 5 teeth (2 on top, 3 on bottom), lots of “mama’s” and “dada’s”, cheesy grins, snorts and snuffs,  and tons of exploratory rolling/scooting adventures.  Just today he is up on hands-and-feet trying his best to crab walk, with moderate success.  He needs lots of refueling, and even though he likes almost everything he’s tried, I floundered for quite a while before I settled into a good meal routine for him.  He eats 3 solid meals a day at the same time we are eating our meals: oatmeal (I grind old-fashioned oats in a coffee grinder before cooking them up) mixed with fruit (bananas, peaches, pears, applesauce, cantaloupe, blueberries) and some cheerios for breakfast, cooked rice and beans with a vegetable (greenbeans, carrots, peas, cabbage, broccoli, sweet potato) and some crackers for lunch, and a bit of whatever we’re having (or other leftovers) with yogurt for supper (I make my own yogurt in my crockpot, and it seems to hold him through the night better than anything else we’ve tried).  He still takes a full 8 oz bottle of Target brand formula between each meal and before bed.  He usually goes to bed around 8pm and sleeps well until 6:30 or 7am (of course, last night he was up twice thanks to a creaky floor and a dirty diaper, so there are definitely exceptions!).  He takes a morning and an afternoon nap, usually for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  He likes to sleep with a pacifier and a soft fleece Pooh blanket.  He’s still in his pack’n’play, as most of our furniture is in storage until we can find a house.  He is thriving on the routine we’ve finally been able to establish since being here full time!  Since he doesn’t have the “variety” of two houses anymore, we rotate his toys between two boxes.  He gets to play with one box for a week, then it goes into the closet and the other comes out.  He seems to really like having something “new” to play with every week, especially the things he recognizes as his “long-lost favorites”!  We also have a few toys that stay in the car for trips (short or long!).  He listens to alot of music (some classical, some children’s bible verse songs) and loves it.  He obviously recognizes a handful of songs we sing to him every day.  He is fascinated with the stereo remote but does a pretty good job of obeying the “no touch” rule we’ve placed on the stereo.  He also loves to watch the ceiling fan.  His favorite toys include table spoons and Tim’s car keys, a stuffed tigger and a stuffed black bear, and anything that makes noise (electronic-y, crinkly, clangy, or rattly).  He does lots of banging with his palms, hammers regularly with all his toys, and loves to feel different textures (carpet vs vinyl, etc).  He’s starting to do quite a bit of imitation–sounds or motions or facial expressions.  He loves for Tim and I to hold him and chase each other around a room.  He has a delightful belly laugh, and we hear it often in a day.  He’s also started to throw temper tantrums when he doesn’t get exactly what he wants when he wants it.  He’s a pretty stubborn little dude!  He already shows a preference for cars (toys and real-live ones) just like his daddy when he was little.  Tim is just itching to introduce him to Legos, but I’m afraid it’ll be awhile!  Nathan’s not big on putting things in his mouth, but still.  We’ve had a few snows, some bigger than others, and Nathan finds the whole thing fascinating–from the skyfall to the white ground.  We’ve been able to take him out for lots of walks and a few hikes in the past few weeks, which he loves.  He sure is cute when we bundle him up to the hilt!

Well, I know I’ve left out alot about the past few months, but at least this gives you a little glimpse into our lives and will help jog memories for us someday.  We thank God daily for giving us Nathan, and we pray for Him to work in N’s heart.  Parenting is a huge job, and we’ve only just begun.  Thankfully, God works even through our mistakes!

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the big 07

I’m late with N’s 7 month post for one major reason: it’s been a huge month and I’m not at all sure how to write about it.  That, and I don’t have any pictures yet.

Near the beginning of N’s 7th month, Pop broke his hip and had to be taken to the hospital.  He survived hip surgery and seemed to be recovering well at first, but the ordeal was too much for his weakened body and he became decreasingly responsive.  By the time the family decided to move him to a hospice unit, he had fallen asleep permanently.  A week and a half after being admitted to the hospital, Pop’s faith became sight: He met Jesus face to face.  All his children had been in to visit him in the days before he died.  Nathan and I spent hours each day at the hospital with various family members, especially Tim’s Aunt Chris and cousin Mandy, who rarely left Pop’s side.  Tim, Chris, Nathan, and I were with him when he died—it was a Sunday evening, September 30…less than one week after his 88th birthday.

We celebrated Pop’s life with a memorial service of worship to God for His faithfulness on October 4.  That’s what Pop wanted.  All of Pop’s children and grandchildren (minus 1 in-law) and almost all his great-grandchildren were able to attend, plus many of the friends he had ministered to over his lifetime.  I was so blessed to hear many stories of his kindness and love to others.  God truly had accomplished many things through him.

Throughout this time, our guestrooms filled to overflowing, as did our table.  Our house is too big for us, but it has come in so handy on many occasions for hosting family.  We always enjoy these gatherings, and we did this time, too, despite the grief we all shared at Pop’s passing.  Initially, we were so relieved to know that Pop was no longer suffering—he had been in so much pain from his hip.  We still rejoice that he is in heaven, but now it is sinking in that he will never again be a part of our day-to-day lives.  I am so thankful that he got to meet Nathan, and I am sad to realize that Nathan won’t remember him.  One thing I think about is that the hours Pop spent praying for us and for Nathan are not lost with his death—God will continue to work through them in our behalf for the rest of our lives.  In that sense, Pop’s legacy lives on actively and powerfully.

Less than a week after the memorial service, on October 9, Tim worked his last day for Dominion Virginia Power, and we spent the rest of that week packing, loading, and moving to our new home in the Roanoke, Virginia area.  Tim started his new job with General Electric on October 15.  All three of us were sick with bad colds plus Nathan decided it would be a good time to pop his first tooth.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!   We couldn’t have done it without the help of my parents who met us in Roanoke to help us unload.  We are splitting time between Richmond and Roanoke for a few months for several reasons, including the fact that I continue to teach on Mondays through the rest of this calendar year.

Throughout all this, Nathan has been such a champ.  He LOVES people, and he seemed to thrive on all the visitors we had and visits we made.  He has definitely been a bright spot to many, not the least Tim and I!  He has done really well in the car with all the driving we’ve done lately, even though it’s not his favorite place to be.  Also over the last month, he has successfully delved into solid foods, and so far he prefers rice to oatmeal, loves peas, and hates squash.

Please pray for us as we process all these changes!  We are still reeling, but hopeful that the coming month holds at least a little more stability.  God has been faithful throughout, even though at times His goodness seems hidden.

Official 7 month pictures to come absolutely as soon as I manage to have Nathan, the camera, and his 7 month sticker all together in one place!

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6 months

Yesterday marked 6 months for our little Nathan-bug!  He’s not so little as he was: 17lbs, 9oz and 26.5″ as of this morning’s check-up.  At 4 months, he was in the 25th percentile across the board; now he’s up to the 50th.  The doctor said it’s a good thing we started him on rice cereal last night, because he was eating ALOT of formula–a little over 40 oz/day.  Nathan seemed to like the rice cereal pretty well, and he did great eating from a spoon.  We shall see how it goes over the next few days!Nathan’s personality has developed in leaps and bounds this last month.  He loves to smile and laugh at us, especially when we play peek-a-boo with him.  He “talks” constantly during the day–to us and to himself.  No legible words yet, but he recognizes some of the words we say–he knows to look expectantly for Tim when he hears “da-da”!  He loves to touch and manipulate his surroundings–toys, blankets, burp rags, clothes, ears, floor, Tim’s beard…he’s become so much more aware of what’s around him.  He is just barely able to sit alone–he much prefers to be propped in a chair, and his favorite thing is to stand (with our support).  He likes to watch cars driving by on the street–they move, they make noise, and sometimes they even have lights!  So exciting.  We took him to the beach for the first time last weekend (more on that soon, I hope), and he LOVED the whole experience–even the swimming!  That pleased me greatly.

One of the big 6 month milestones for us is that it marks the end of the post-supervisory period we’ve been under through our adoption agency.  All our post-placement visits are done, all our monthly reports are in the mail, and starting tomorrow, our social worker will file the final legalization papers in court!  It will still be a few months for all the legal documents to process, but this is a big step in wrapping up the adoption process.  We’re happy for that!

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5 months

Here we are at 5 months.  N started off the month by rolling over from back to front for the first time!  He was SO proud of himself, and continues to enjoy this newfound ability.  He graduated from swaddling and now enjoys the freedom to kick and wiggle all night long.  He’s upped his food intake considerably, adding 10-15oz a day for a total of 35-45oz each day.  One week ago, his weight was 15lbs, 13oz.  He smiles when he sees us, showing off his dimples.  His laughs have also become more frequent and his “conversations” more energetic.  His favorite game involves walking slowly toward someone.  The anticipation of arrival cracks him up EVERY time.  He is enjoying being read to more and more.  He also loves the feel and taste of stuffed animals.  He has found his thumb (and all his other fingers) and utilizes it when a pacifier is not readily forthcoming.  He is reaching and grabbing things he is interested in–usually Dad’s face or something brightly colored.  Due to some health issues, Pop moved out from our house into Tim’s aunt’s this month.  We all miss him, and he misses Nathan especially.  We visit him several times a week.

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4 months

We’re a third of a year into this whole Nathan thing, and wow.  It’s been a big month for us in many ways, including:

Our “little baby” isn’t so little anymore–he outgrew his 0-3 and 3M clothes this month and is well into 3-6 and 6M outfits.  He’s putting on more inches than pounds–today at his 4 month check he was 24″ and 14lbs, 8oz.  That’s 25% weight and height (at two months, he was 25% weight, 15% height).  His head circumferance is also 25%–we have a very well proportioned baby on our hands.  No wonder he’s so cute!

Unfortunately, Nathan got his first ear infection(s) this month as well–in both ears.  Poor little guy was pretty miserable a few evenings last week and he’s been off his feed and his sleep schedule since.  But we’ve got him on an antibiotic and he’s returning to normal, slow but sure.

Before getting sick, Nathan had dropped his middle of the night feeding!  (He’s since picked it back up, but hopefully not permanently).  He was going 8-9 hours between bottles at night.  He wasn’t sleeping that whole time–but we were still able to catch a few extra winks for a week or two.  On a normal, healthy day he was eating 5-7 oz every 3-4 hours.  We still have him exclusively on formula and will try to keep it that way for another month or two.  We’ll see if he’ll let us!  He hasn’t expressed interest in table food yet, so I think we’ve easily got a few more weeks before he’ll notice anything but his bottle.

Nathan is smiling often these days and laughing, too–what fun!  His eyes remain in the 99th percentile.  :-)  He loves to lay on the floor and kick or “stand” in our laps and bounce.  Picture books have captured his attention, as have stuffed animals.  He is strong enough to sit now if he’s supported by an armchair or a pillow.  He has become increasingly vocal–both with happy coos and caas of protest.Naptimes still fluctuate some, but usually Nathan eats (he cut his feeding time in half this month when we upped him to a bigger nipple!), gets a diaper change, plays for an hour or two, and sleeps for an hour or two.  This cycle usually takes 3-4 hours, and it works pretty well most of the time.  During the day, he usually naps on his side or in his carseat.  At night, we still swaddle him and put him on his back in his crib.  He’s starting to fight the swaddle in the wee morning hours, so usually we swap it out for some snuggly pajamas around 5am.

We love our Nather-bug!

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