Levi: 14 Months

Our sweet Levi is officially 14 months old (well, tomorrow he will be)! And this past month definitely had some challenges! We were away for the first two weeks of January, so it took Levi a full week once we got home to recuperate. I think he was also still battling a stomach bug and a possible Wonder Week at that time, so that made for an extra fun (note my sarcasm) week for us all. He was super grumpy and clingy and whiny when he didn’t get his way. But, like clockwork, 6-7 days from when we returned, he was back to his normal self. Cheerful, taking great naps, and altogether pleasant to be around! Here’s a summary for his 13th month of life:

EATING
Not much new here! Levi is still drinking 5-6 oz of milk, at 4 set times per day. He. Loves. It.

Solids are pretty much the same as well. Oatmeal for breakfast and then table foods for lunch and dinner! During his bout of sickness while we were in Florida, he basically survived on milk alone. He refused to eat any type of solids at mealtimes and I didn’t force him. This month he tried for the first time:

Grilled cheese (super love, just like his mama!)
Turkey, Kale and Brown Rice Soup (surprisingly, he really enjoyed this too)
Mellow Mushroom pizza
Fish sticks
Pastina (teeny, tiny pasta)
Fried Grouper (holy, moly he loved that!)
Cheese grits
Dried mango (the best pacifier I have yet to find)

*A note about the dried mango: I gave Levi a large piece one day as a snack, just to see if he could handle it. Brian had his doubts because it’s really tough to chew. Well, one hour later (I kid you not!), Levi had sucked on that one piece until it dissolved inch by inch. He figured out how to keep it in his mouth and go about his normal business–he doesn’t even hold it. Since then, he has had it every day as a snack and gets so excited about it. I love it because it’s healthy for him…and it keeps him pacified during his sometimes cranky afternoon hours.

SLEEPING
The first 5 nights of our Florida trip, home boy had some issues. It all started the first night we were in Pensacola. We didn’t get to our hotel until 2 AM, so we weren’t able to get the pack-n-play from Brian’s mom until the next day. The hotel did provide us with one, but that thing was nasty. I was willing to look past the staining, because it was 3 AM by the time we got settled and ready for bed (he would only be sleeping in it for 4 hours), but then one side of it wouldn’t lock into place, rendering it useless. So…Levi had to sleep in our bed for the night. I’m usually very anti-bed-sharing (besides with my hubby, of course), but we had no choice. From that night on, if we were sleeping in the same room as him, he would not fall asleep unless we were in the same bed cuddling him. Grrr…it was frustrating. That is so not like Levi. That dude usually needs his space and loves to sleep in his crib!

Luckily, by night #5, we were staying with our friends Ethan and Anna who have a new baby girl. Their baby was not yet using her crib, so they offered it to Levi for the night. It was like magic! He went to bed with a bit of crying, just because he heard us in the room over, but he slept through the night until 7 AM–just like at home! The rest of our trip, while we were at my parents, we put him in a different room than myself and he slept through the night every time as well.

When we returned back to Louisville, his nighttime sleep stayed the same, but it did take a while to get his naps back in order. He did nap on our trip, but usually they were very short 45-60 minute naps or in the car from point A to point B. After a week of short(er) naps once back in KY, Levi finally got back on track and continued with his 1.5-2 hours in the morning and 1.5-2 hours in the afternoon. He did officially start extending his first nap (most days to 2 hours) and we’ve pretty much eliminated his 3rd nap altogether. Some days he seems to want to rest, so I’ll put him in his crib while making dinner (5 PMish). If he does sleep, its usually for 15-30 minutes at the most.

MOTOR SKILLS
Levi learned how to pull up to his feet this month! One day, he just figured out how to use those things and has been perfecting his stand ever since. It’s fun to walk into his room after nap time and to see him standing up in his crib! Maybe he’ll reach our prediction of walking by 15 months?

His fine motor skills have increased this month as well! Levi has learned how to hold his brush and bring it to his noggin, he can also [somewhat] brush his teeth, and he figured out how to put his “little people” in their cars. He sure does love those little people.

COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
It’s been so fun to watch Levi discover how things work and how to respond to us this month! He figured out that a brush is used for hair, he knows the word “book” (although he doesn’t say it) and he will crawl to his bookshelf when we ask him if he wants to read, and he has also surprised us a couple of times with his response of “Yea, yea, yea!” when we ask him a question. This morning, for instance, I asked, “Are you ready to eat breakfast?” to which he responded, “Yea, yea, yea!”
In addition to all of these super cute little things he is learning, Levi is also figuring out to test boundaries and will do things he knows he isn’t supposed to. This includes opening cabinets without permission, throwing his food on the ground, or touching breakable items. Brian and I are trying to be consistent with sternly, but gently telling him “no” and redirecting him to something else. Sometimes when we do this, he’ll get flat out mad, like he is complaining about the situation. And other times, he’ll get the most shameful look on his face, pout his lip and start crying. It’s been a new adventure–this discipline stuff–but I can definitely see that Levi is understanding more and more of what we’re telling him.

TEETHING
Another little chomper popped on through this month! His right lower lateral incisor, to be more precise. This one is taking a WHILE to come up–only a tiny bit of the corner has emerged so far. Total tooth count: 8.

SICKNESS
Levi got really sick toward the end of this month. He got some sort of viral bug and ran a fever of 103* for two days straight. He wanted to sleep almost non-stop–one day he even napped for 7 hours total. I felt so bad he was sick, but I have to admit, that was a nice break! Other than his fever, he didn’t have any other symptoms and he still ate and drank fluids like normal. I did enjoy the snuggles those two days, that’s for sure!

OUTINGS/EVENTS
I’m pretty sure this was the coldest month in the history of Louisville–I think I can count on one hand the number of times the temperature was above 40. So, we’ve been going a little stir-crazy since I really don’t want to leave the warmth of our house unless truly necessary. I already wrote about our Florida trip earlier in the month, and especially since Levi was sick the last half of this month, I really don’t have too many “events” worth noting here.
We did walk around outside in the snow.
And lounged around Sunergos.
Watched cars drive by…while eating mango, of course.
Bathed in the sink, due to frozen pipes.
And Levi played indoors with his friend, Peter.
That’s all this time around! Keep warm, friends.

Eucharisteo.

I began reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp on Thanksgiving Day, 2013. A friend recommended it to me, shortly after my miscarriage. I didn’t really know what to expect–frankly, I didn’t even know what the book was about–but it was recommended with such enthusiasm that I knew I should give it a shot. 




I read the first chapter or two in November and I was truly impacted by the words. The book is unlike anything I have ever read–the words are poetic, gorgeous, heavy. Voskamp’s writing just draws you in to a different place, a different time. I put the book down throughout the month of December, not because I wasn’t loving it, but because I didn’t have a ton of motivation to read and One Thousand Gifts requires full attentiveness. I picked it up again a few weeks ago on a weekend when I just really needed some rest. Five hours and 160 pages later, my heart had been given new life. 

Now, I am a firm believer that the Word of God alone can change hearts and change lives, because it is God Himself who speaks through Scripture. However, I believe One Thousand Gifts is one of the most life-changing books that I have ever read, in addition to the Holy Word. The main premise of the book is based on the understanding of the word eucharisteo which is seen in Luke 22:19:

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them…”
 
In the original Greek, “he gave thanks” reads “eucharisteo.” A short delve into the makeup of the Greek word eucharisteo reveals its root word is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus gave thanks for the bread because he recognized it was God’s grace, God’s gift. Eucharisteo also holds a derivative of chara, meaning “joy.” 
 
In a recent interview, Voskamp explains this concept best:

“Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy. 

Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo; the table of thanksgiving. The holy grail of joy, God set it in the very center of Christianity. The Eucharist is the central symbol of Christianity. Doesn’t the continual repetition of beginning our week at the table of the Eucharist clearly place the whole of our lives into the context of thanksgiving? 

One of Christ’s very last directives He offers to His disciples is to take the bread, the wine, and to remember. Do this in remembrance of Me. Remember and give thanks. 

This is the crux of Christianity: to remember and give thanks, eucharisteo

Why? Why is remembering and giving thanks the core of the Christ-faith? Because remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust; to really believe. Re-membering, giving thanks, is what makes us a member again of the body of Christ. Re-membering, giving thanks, is what puts us back together again in this hurried, broken, fragmented world.”

 

So what does this all mean? In short, that a life built upon remembering the graces that God has bestowed upon us and wholeheartedly thanking Him for those gifts, is one that will experience ultimate joy. Voskamp reveals in the book her own personal challenge to list on paper 1,000 gifts that God has given. Ordinary, everyday, beautiful gifts. She reveals her struggle with listing these gifts on the hard and painful and I-just-wanna-snap-at-my-kids days, but how doing so allows her to refocus on the Father and His faithfulness to her. 
 
Since reading One Thousand Gifts, I have been compelled to also begin a gift journal to record the everyday blessings in my life. I haven’t physically begun to write these things down yet, but even just dwelling on them for the past few days has greatly changed my perspective. Times when I wanted to respond harshly to my husband, grow in frustration with my son, or indulge in my own selfish desires, thinking about the graces in those situations has helped me to refocus my attention on Christ and alter my attitude or words accordingly. 
 
I so love this book because it reminds me that even in the midst of suffering, pain, and seeming abandonment, the Creator of this world has lavished such perfect and good gifts on me. 
 
All I have to do is look.

A New Year Vacation.

We were so blessed to begin this year with a trip to visit our family in Florida. On New Year’s Day, we began our 9-hour (turned 11-hour) trek down to Pensacola, where we spent 3 days with Brian’s family. It was such a nice few days as we had our family Christmas together, played with our nephews, and enjoyed so many of our favorite things about Pensacola (namely, delicious seafood).

 

 

 

From that point, we headed 4 hours east to our friends in Lake City! Anna and Ethan moved to Lake City in August, when Ethan accepted a youth pastor position at a local church. We have missed having them in Louisville with us, especially with the recent birth of their sweet baby girl, Norah. We were so excited to spend the weekend with them and meet Norah! We had a great time eating dinner in Jacksonville, visiting their church, and taking a nice walk on Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 

 

Finally, on Monday, we drove an hour south to Gainesville, where my family met us for lunch at Chuy’s. From lunch, Brian drove the 12 hours back to Louisville and my parents took Levi and I back to their house for the rest of the week. It was a pretty relaxed week, which I was excited for after so many days of travelling. We spent several hours with my grandparents one day, went to Scott’s basketball game, and even visited some of my friends in Tampa.

 

 

 

 

 

When we were 15 minutes from the airport on Friday, I began throwing up. Levi had been acting funny all week and he also threw up on Wednesday evening, so apparently I had gotten whatever he had. I considered still getting on our flight, but after the second vomit incident (while sitting in the airport parking lot), I realized that was probably a very bad idea. My mom and I went inside the airport, stood in line for nearly an hour (I was so weak, I thought I was going to fall over at that point), and finally got my flight changed to Sunday afternoon. Delta was gracious enough to change the flight at no charge! So, we drove the 1.5 hours back to my mom and dad’s house, I continued to puke, and once we returned, I didn’t wake up until 8 AM the next morning. I was so grateful that my mom and dad were able to take care of Levi so I could recuperate! I sure wouldn’t have been able to do that at home, since Brian was working.
We’ve been back in Louisville for 5 days now and let me just tell you, it has been the toughest 5 days we’ve had in a while. I forgot how long it takes for Levi to get back to “normal” after a vacation. Add in some residual tummy problems, diaper rash, and the fact that he got whatever he wanted for nearly 10 days straight, and you can just imagine! It’s been a frustrating few days, to say the least. But I’m certainly thankful for a great vacation and I know (pray) things will get back to normal soon enough. This trip was a wonderful way to start 2014!