Levi: 13 Months

This sure has been one long, eventful month! It’s strange to me to be writing an update on Levi for a full month. I feel like I have to think back so long ago! He has been such a joy this month. Seriously, he has just been full of life and happiness and fun. Brian and I literally go to bed every night and talk about how we can’t believe how we just love him more with each day that passes. What’s crazy is that Brian is usually the one to initiate these conversations–Brian, the least sentimental, least mushy, person that I know. He also asks me if he can go wake him up and just wrestle with him one more time for the night; to which my answer is always NO.

Levi has just blossomed this month! I mean, he was always a pretty happy, social little guy, but this month we have really noticed his love for people–especially kids. He is usually the best little sidekick if we are out and about (even during his nap time), because he loves to observe people with that inquisitive little mind of his.

Here’s a semi-quick recap on this past month:

FEEDING
We are officially no longer nursing! For a few weeks, we were just down to his 7 AM feeding. A few days ago, however, he actually refused to nurse (I think because my milk supply was nearly dry) and we switched over to full sippy cup feedings that morning. It has been a bit of an adjustment (more so for me), but it is going great. I’m loving the freedom! And Levi…well, he is loving his cow’s milk! That little dude gets so excited when I pull his sippy cup from the fridge. He is now drinking about 5 oz of whole milk, 4 times daily (every 3.5-4 hours). And he has certainly put on some weight to prove it!!

Solids are going great as well! Not much of a change here. I still make him oatmeal every morning, but his lunch and dinner are straight up table foods (usually the same as what Brian and I are eating). Levi is an eating machine and he will pretty much eat anything he is given. Oh, we have officially introduced him to his own utensils too! He doesn’t quite grasp the concept yet.

His favorites include:
Grilled/breaded chicken
Waffle fries (of course!)
Mandarin oranges
Bananas
Any type of pasta
Beef stew
Taco soup
English muffin pizzas

SLEEP
Nothing new here, which is a good thing! Levi is still sleeping consistently from 7 PM – 7 AM. Some mornings he will even sleep until 7:30 AM since its been dark at that time. I’m so thankful for his good nighttime sleep!

Naps are great as well! Some days can be hit and miss, but normally he will take a 1-1.5 hour nap in the morning and a 1.5-2 hour nap in the afternoon. Most days, he rarely needs his 3rd nap in the late afternoon–especially if we are running errands.

MOTOR SKILLS
Levi has become a super crawler! This past week, he has been a man on a mission to get what he wants and get to it quickly. We think that he’ll be lucky to walk by 15 months, because he seems so perfectly content with crawling now. Time will tell!

He is also beginning to pull up on things much more. He hasn’t quite mastered pulling up to his feet yet, but he pulls up to his knees all the time! In fact, instead of laying down when I put him in his crib now, he’ll pull up on the front of his crib so his little face peeks over the edge. This makes it very hard for me to leave him there to sleep!

TEETHING
Levi gained another 2 teeth this month! Just after his top central incisors cut through, his top right lateral incisor as well as his bottom left lateral incisor joined them. He had two bad napping days in a row–he would fall asleep just fine, but wouldn’t sleep more than an hour each time–so I knew something was up. Turns out the next day, he had some new little chompers! Total tooth count as of today: 7.
VOCABULARY
Little man hasn’t learned any new words this month (still just “hey” and “Da-Da”…sigh), but he is most definitely trying! Everything he does or sees, I give him a word for and he does a pretty good job of mimicking me. I’ve started saying words like c-c-c-cow (making the “c” sound first) and Levi will almost always learn to mimic the first letter sound of any word, whether he can say the entire word or not. It’s fun to listen to! I can tell his wheels are turning.
PERSONALITY
I know I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but Levi is just smitten with his daddy! I’m not offended in any way–I actually think its the sweetest thing. If Levi sees Brian coming from a distance, he’ll yell for him: Daaa-daaaa! This happened the other night across the Qdoba we were eating at…and at Brian’s Starbucks…and across our backyard…everywhere. They can’t get enough of each other!
The guys have started “wrestling” together after dinner every night–just to expend some energy before bedtime. I’m pretty sure this is Levi’s favorite time of day! He’ll egg Brian on by hitting him (gently) and laugh hysterically and drop his head into the floor as his way of saying “daddy, flip me!” I just love watching them. And sometimes I join in on the boy madness too ๐Ÿ˜‰
Of course, I know Levi loves me too! But it’s different. He knows I’ll make him his food and change him and bathe him–you know, the stuff he needs. But he definitely knows his daddy is all about the fun!
SCHEDULE
7:30 am- sippy of milk, oatmeal for breakfast
8:45 am- nap
10:15 am- bath time
11:00 am- sippy of milk, lunchtime
12:30 pm- nap
2:30 pm- wake
3:00 pm- sippy of milk, snack (baby cookies, fruit puffs, etc)
3:30 pm- errands if necessary
5:15 pm- nap if cranky
6:00 pm- sippy of milk, dinner
7:00 pm- family time, PJ’s, bedtime
OUTINGS/EVENTS
Levi had his 12 month check up earlier this month. Super healthy guy and he weighed in at 18.5 lbs and 29 inches. He really hadn’t gained too much weight since his 6 month appointment, but I just know his 15 month appointment will show a huge change. The dude is chunking up! He got two shots that day and took them like a champ.
His new big boy car seat arrived in the mail! We’re keeping him rear-facing for sure, but we’re just loving the new style. Especially Levi. He loves that he can see out of the car window now and he has even fallen asleep in it a few times (he hasn’t done that in months!)
Oh man, I can’t say it enough: Levi is officially getting into everything.

 

He all of the sudden learned to drink from my Camelback…and he adored ceramic baby Jesus.
We made Christmas cookies this month with Carly and Peter!
As well as hand print ornaments with Cherish and Seth!
Two of Levi’s absolute favorites: visiting daddy at work and bath time!
Obviously, we celebrated Christmas this month! Read more about how we celebrated here. For fun, here are our pictures last year and this year before putting Levi to bed on Christmas Eve.
Obviously, my “semi-quick” recap didn’t really turned out as planned. Lots to cover this month! Thanks for reading, friends!

Our Christmas Celebration.

I feel like it’s been an eternity since I last wrote here. I’ve literally been writing at least one post per week for almost a year now, so to go several weeks without writing is odd. Since Levi turned 1, I have decided to just update on him monthly now, instead of weekly. He is doing new things and developing a ton, but not nearly as quickly as he has the past year–so no need to update every week anymore.

However, I did want to dedicate a full post to our Christmas celebration this past week! We had such a nice few days remembering the birth of our Savior and praising Him for His goodness to us. On Christmas Eve, Levi and I went to church at 4 PM for the service. Unfortunately, Brian ended up having to work until 5:30 that day, so he wasn’t able to come with us. I was bummed, but was glad he at least had Christmas Day off.

Our friends Carly, Josh, and their baby Peter ended up coming with us since their church didn’t have a Christmas Eve service. That was fun and I was glad they joined us! Here are some photos of Levi in his Christmas Eve outfit, before we left for church. He got the outfit from his Grandma and Grandpa for his birthday.

After we got home from church, Brian arrived shortly after. We ate our dinner together–a special request from Brian, eggplant parmesan. Then we proceeded to open a couple of presents, one for all of us and one for just Levi. My parents got us a cute “house” ornament to represent our new home and Levi opened his Christmas PJ’s to wear that night!

 

Since the ornament was wrapped in bubble wrap, we also took the opportunity to introduce Levi to the wonderful creation. He was not a fan! At one point (before we really knew how scared of it he was), Brian picked him up and sat him down onto the bubble wrap, proceeding to pop tons of those things at once. Levi was petrified! He screamed and nearly jumped into Brian’s lap. We couldn’t help but laugh! This picture was taken right after and may be my favorite of the night. Levi was looking down at the bubble wrap with such disdain!
The next morning, we planned to just let Levi sleep until his normal time. I would feed him breakfast, Brian would make us some coffee, and then we would head into the living room to open our gifts. Well, Levi decided to gift us with some extra sleep and he didn’t wake until 7:45! It was a very nice surprise. After our morning routine, we opened our presents! Levi was at a great age this year and seemed really excited/curious when he opened up each new toy. His favorite things seemed to be a touch-and-feel lion book that Brian and I got him, as well as a puzzle step-stool that my parents got him. The step-stool was a really special gift because my brother and I each had one growing up, with our names on them. I’m really glad Levi loves it!

 

 

 

 

After opening presents and a bit of playing, Levi needed to go down for his morning nap. So Brian and I made our Christmas Day breakfast–brioche french toast. It was quite delicious! We began a 24 marathon and got a few episodes in before Levi woke up. It was nice to just relax and sit in our PJ’s for most of the day.

 

 

After putting Levi down for his next nap, we then began our lunch preparations. We debated for a long time about what we wanted to make for our Christmas lunch. Brian isn’t much of a ham person and we kind of wanted to do something out-of-the-box anyway–so we decided on a shrimp boil. We normally wouldn’t make a shrimp dish (buying fish in KY is expensive), so this was something special and it reminded us of home. It was our first boil and we thought it turned out pretty yummy!

 

By 4 PM, we were all showered and dressed (I mean, that’s pretty much the norm on Christmas, right?) and we had made our red velvet cake for dessert. Some CG friends invited us over to hang out, play some video games, and eat BLT’s and dessert! We had a great time at their house, watching the kids play with their new toys and just having sweet fellowship together.

 

 

Overall, we had such a memorable and lovely Christmas, just the three of us! Sure, we missed our families, but it was really nice to relax together and just savor this year with our 1-year-old boy. We hope that your Christmas was equally as joy-filled!

A Labor of Love.

For some reason, it helps me to write about hard stuff. Like, the stuff that no one usually talks about except [maybe] with a trusted friend or two. But it is therapeutic for me to write. I write it here, because I find it can help others as well who are dealing with the same issues, but are afraid to voice their feelings.

Well this past week, I couldn’t help but reflect on my labor experience with my Levi.

I mean, I feel like it’s pretty normal to reflect on birth events when it is a child’s actual birthday.
One year ago today, I…ย 
Three years ago today, you…ย 
Six years ago today, Daddy…ย 

But I dwelt on it a lot over the past couple of weeks.

Maybe it is because tons of my friends have had babies lately, so I’ve been able to google over their adorable fat rolls and sleeping faces and tiny newborn clothes. Or maybe it has to do with losing baby Grace, because, yea, I’m still dealing with that day by day. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because I’m still wondering why it happened the way that it did.

Should I be surprised that God is still using that experience to speak to me and teach me? No.
Should I be surprised that the very week that Levi was discharged from the NICU last year is the same week that a close friend’s baby was admitted to the NICU this year? For the very same reason. No.

God is working. He is still working in me. Even when I thought I had recovered, gotten over it, moved on, He brings up all these restrained feelings that I had never worked through.

Things like:
God, why did I never have the experience of getting to snuggle and hold and love my baby the minutes and hours after his birth?
God, why didn’t I get to really spend time with him until he was nearly 6 hours old?
God, why does my husband have to go back to work after 2 days?
God, where are You in all of this? Why do I feel alone?
God, what is Your purpose for this experience?

Yes, I know the practical answers to most of these questions. And those are the things I told myself at the time.
Levi can’t breathe…and they need to take him away to help him.ย 
Brian can’t take an entire week off of work. We have bills to pay.
God tells me He is always with me and that His plans are better than my own.

December 6th, 2012: The day Levi came home from the NICU–after 5 emotional days of asking myself these questions over and over.
December 6th, 2013: I’m still asking.

I’ve been talking to my dear friend all week as her brand new baby boy deals with the same struggles. And as she and her husband deal with the same pain that Brian and I faced. I’m confronted with these emotions all over again. Why, God, why?

And I truly believe that now, one year later, he has revealed some of the answer to me when he says:
I am the Great Physician. I sustain life and I end life. I gave Levi breath in his lungs and I helped those same lungs to develop rapidly over the course of 5 days. I am the Great Physician.

I am the Creator. I created and fashioned that precious boy in your womb for 36 weeks and I told him the time to enter the world. I never left either of you. I am the Creator.

I am Sovereign. Yes, I control all things. I do. Not you, but I.ย You thought you had the plan, the ideas, the vision of how this was going to go–but daughter, I have the control. Relinquish it. I am Sovereign.

I am the Provider. I provided you and your husband with work–work that you both enjoy. Be thankful for it. I’ll take care of you. I am the Provider.

I am a watchful Protector. In those hours that you couldn’t spend with your newborn son, I was there. I held him dearly. I not only kept him alive, but I loved Him more than you even could. I am a watchful Protector.

Seriously. God has been teaching me these things this week. And it’s not any new information. It’s truth I’ve heard since I was a child. But this situation brings new meaning to those words. It’s these very words that I can use to encourage my friend who is battling with the same trust issues with God that I was just a short year ago.

In all honesty, I do still deal with my questions of “why?” and I’m sure I’ll continue to work through them. If things had gone my way, I would’ve been able to hold my baby in my own room up until the day we were both discharged together. I wouldn’t have had to pump milk and deliver it to the NICU around the clock for days straight–I would have instead been able to nurse Levi within minutes of his birth. Instead of arriving home on December 3rd without our son, the three of us would have entered our door together, anxious to begin this new adventure.

But, you know what? Things didn’t go my way.ย And that is okay.

God provided a child for us! An overall healthy, beautiful baby boy. What a blessing! Totally God.

God provided around the clock care for my sick little baby–the best nurses we could have ever asked for. Certainly better care than I could have ever given him at that time. Totally God.

God provided milk that I could pump for him in the hospital. And when he got home, the tiny guy who could barely eat 1/4 of an ounce, nursed for the rest of his first year without any issue at all. Totally God.

God provided me with three days of physical and emotional rest at home, before that little man was discharged and turned our life upside down! Totally God.

I learned a lot from this experience. It’s not something I would have chosen and certainly not something I desire for any future children, but God knew what He was doing. He knew that it would bring us to the end of ourselves and encourage us to fully rely on Him.

Relinquish control, My daughter. Just give it up.

Levi: 1 Year Later

On December 1st, our former 5 lb 15 oz tiny baby became a big one year old. I know its cliche, but this year just flew by. Each day, each week, each month that passed–in the blink of an eye he was with us for 1 full year. Goodness, my heart just gushes with love for him and this year that we’ve spent with him!

 

I mean, look at that face. What’s not to love?
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FEEDING
We are currently down to only 1 nursing session per day and 3 sippy cups of milk per day. My plan was to wean him by 1 year, but with my miscarriage earlier this month, I really just wanted to keep that closeness with him for just a tiny bit longer. He still nurses for his 7 AM feeding, which is my favorite because I bring him to bed with me and we snuggle for a little while after he finishes, before I make him his breakfast. It’s a special time for us! So maybe another week or two of that before I wean him altogether.
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Levi is also almost completely eating finger foods now–very little purees anymore! For dinner, he is strictly eating whatever Brian and I are eating. For lunch, I still give him 2 oz of puree plus finger foods until he is full. That is only because I still have a few more days worth of homemade baby food from back in September that I am trying to finish up. After we get through those purees, I will officially start making him a “real” lunch everyday. Yikes!
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He has tried a lot of new foods in the past two weeks! Among his favorites are minestrone soup (not really much broth, just the soup contents), a full Thanksgiving meal (he devoured some turkey), deviled eggs, and his birthday cupcake (more info on that below)!
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SLEEP
We have been totally blessed in this area lately! Levi has been sleeping consistently from 7 PM-7 AM every night for the past month. Even through sickness and teething, which really surprised me. I am so grateful!
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His naps have gotten very consistent as well. I would always put him down around the same times everyday, but the lengths of his naps would vary. In the past two weeks, he has become way more predictable! One thing that has changed, however, is his need for his 3rd nap. Some days he acts really cranky, like he needs to sleep, but then he’ll never actually go to sleep when I put him down. It doesn’t seem to be affecting his nighttime sleep, so maybe he’ll just gradually get used to not napping in the late afternoon.
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MOTOR SKILLS
At one year of age, Levi is finally crawling on all fours! Once he got confident in himself, he just took off and never looked back. Now he’ll roam around the house and get into all kinds of mischief if I don’t keep close tabs on him. Since doing so, he has discovered our staircase (which makes me a bit nervous) as well as where his toy bins and all the electrical outlets are located ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s been fun, to say the least!
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TEETHING
Well, the moment we’ve been waiting for, for nearly two months–Levi’s top two teeth have cut through! It’s been a long time of fussiness coming and I’ve watched them get closer and closer to cutting through by the day. He already looks older.
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PERSONALITY
I’m trying to think of how to best describe Levi. I’ve mentioned before how stubborn and strong-willed he is…and boy, that is true. When he is determined to have something, he will not let up until that thing is either given to him or he gets it himself. That should make things interesting once he hits 2 years old. On the other hand, he really is laid back–if the two can co-exist. As far as being on-the-go or having a change in his schedule, he really bounces back quickly or is unaffected at all. That is a great quality to have in a baby!
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We have seen even more of Levi’s personality shine through within the last two weeks. He has discovered his voice and he sure does love to use it! He’ll yell at inanimate objects (like his socks) in a fun-loving way and he has even started holding a conversation (through babbling) with Brian and I when we speak to him. He also has a mischievous side (as I’m sure most boys his age do when they finally become mobile) and he is loving being able to explore new territory. Throughout the day I frequently have to redirect him or tell him not to touch certain things. When I do so, he’ll just give me this sly look that says, “Yea, I know you are telling me I shouldn’t do that, but I’m really wanting to test the limits here.” Welcome to toddler-hood, I suppose!
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SCHEDULE
7:00 am- nurse
7:30 am- breakfast, independent playtime
8:30 or 9:00 am- napย 
10:00 or 10:30 am- bathtime
11:00 am- sippy cup of milk, lunch, playtime
12:00 or 12:30 pm- nap
2:30 pm- sippy cup of milk, light snack, run errands if necessary
4:30 or 5:00 pm- catnap if cranky (usually just 30-45 minutes)
6:00 pm- sippy cup of milk, dinner
7:00 pm- PJs, family time, bedtime
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OUTINGS/EVENTS
While this has been an emotional and painful couple of weeks, we have been blessed with so much goodness and reasons to celebrate!ย 
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Thanksgiving was last week and we enjoyed a relaxed day at home–just the three of us. After a lot of debate, we decided to spend the holiday at home (rather than going out to eat) because we wanted to make that our tradition. I cooked for hours that day, but it was so worth it to sit down at 5:00 PM and enjoy our delicious feast together. Levi loved everything, which was flattering. I’m not surprised though–he’ll eat just about anything we put in front of him.ย 
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We also went to Bass Pro the day before Thanksgiving to get Levi’s photo with Santa! It turns out the line was about a mile long, so we just explored Bass Pro for a bit (I mean, why not?) and then Levi got some lovely pictures with us instead. He seemed cool with that.
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Lastly, we threw a pretty low-key party for Levi’s first birthday! Just a few close friends, a bit of food, and lots of fellowship. It was a fun time–as fun as a 1-year-old birthday party can be anyway! I chose a simple green and blue theme, since he really doesn’t have any super “loves” yet to theme a party around. I was pleased with how it turned out!
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The way Levi ate his cupcake is worth noting here! Once it toppled over, he barely even looked at it. He was just leaning back in his high chair, he would lower his hand (only one hand) to his cake and then bring bits of cake and icing to his mouth. It was like he was trying to act all cool, when he really knew that was the best thing he had ever eaten in his life!ย 
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He received so many great presents for his birthday, including: 4 new books, a mini soccer ball, a new outfit and PJ’s, a Thomas the Train toy, some Veggie Tales DVD’s, a new leather covered Jesus Storybook Bible, and money to buy some new shoes and a big boy car seat! He didn’t know what to play with most!
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Well, that concludes this post (finally)! There was a lot to mention for the past two weeks. Happy 1st Birthday to my Levi Hudson!