Yesterday Lydia turned 11 months old, and while I realize that many moms continue to speak of their childrens' ages in terms of months through the second year, this is the last time that it is more or less necessary. She won't be "zero" years old anymore. The next step is the big ONE YEAR.

I'm excited and anxious at the same time. So much has changed in this past year. Lydia has grown into an adorable, fun, sweet, joyful, and downright entertaining toddler. I can't get enough of her! As will be the case throughout her life, I find myself thinking about all of the stuff that is over, as well as all that is to come.

We continue to move slowly but steadily towards weaning. Now that she is 11 months old, I have backed off to just 2 nursings a day: first thing in the morning & last thing before bed. Pretty soon the morning one will switch to an after-breakfast thing, but we'll keep with 2 nursings for another couple of weeks at least. I've moved gradually from 4 down to 2, but the last 2 will likely both disappear in the week or two before her first birthday. Lydia does pretty well with finger foods, but gets pretty involved playing with it rather than eating it. She doesn't care for milk very much, so she'll probably be getting her dairy needs met with yogurt and cheese. I really wish she would get more teeth so she could do better eating some of the things the rest of us eat. It can stress me out sometimes trying to come up with enough things for Lydia to eat to provide both nutrition and variety... as well as being easy enough for her to pick up to feed herself.

Discipline is another item on my mind a lot. It's so hard to figure out how much she understands! She definitely can throw little tantrums now, and she obeys often enough for me to believe she understands what we mean when we tell her no... but boy is it difficult to decide how to handle things when she disregards our instructions!

The house has undergone a major babyproofing overhaul as of late. It still looks like a house in which civilized adults live (we are not going to be those parents who clear the entire house out so the kid can't touch stuff), but we've added in a few more precautions. Brent installed cabinet locks on the cabinets containing harmful items (though Lydia still has not shown much interest in opening cabinets anyway). We bought a gated playyard (6 connecting gate panels) and have used these to gate off the entertainment center so Lydia can no longer get into all of the cords. And finally (my favorite) we got the playroom set up upstairs! The bonus room above our garage is one of the largest rooms in the house, and now it is cleaned out and full of toys and activities for Lydia. She loves it! She has lots of room to crawl around in there and space to push her walking toys also. I still want to add some things to help organize all the toys, and also a child-sized table, but I'm so pleased to have it be functional for now.
It has occurred to me lately that passion is something you simply cannot manufacture. You can't pretend to be passionate about something. Sure you can pretend to like things, maybe even to love them, but you can tell when someone is TRULY passionate.

This thought has put me in kind of an uncomfortable spot. Namely because I am not feeling very passionate about a number of things that I WANT to have a passion for. Try as I might to muster up some intense emotions, it just doesn't stick. I'm not quite sure what to do.

I've heard a lot of people say how having children brought them so much closer to God. They suddenly realized what unconditional love really was. Instantly they became aware of how much God loves us. I really wish I could say I have had a similar experience, but if I'm going to be really honest here, I don't feel any closer to God now than I did a year ago... before Lydia was born. Perhaps despite this experience of knowing the intense love a parent has for a child something still keeps me from accepting that God can feel the same way about me. I know it to be true, but it's like it still isn't real to me (if that makes any sense). I keep thinking back to the phrase from the Truth Project: Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?

I know this stuff. I know the facts. I've been raised in a Christian household. I know the stories, I've read the books, I've heard countless sermons. I've even dug deeper into the history of the Bible, all of the history and facts that give us reason to believe that this book is all that it claims to be. So why do I still feel so empty? I want to be passionate about Christ and all that He is. He has changed my life, no doubt about that, but too often I feel like that gets forgotten.

How can you get passion back when there is no way to manufacture passion?
Lydia is all over the place these days! Just a couple of weeks ago she began to "army crawl" on occasion (still mostly rolling to move though). Now, she is full blown crawling! Still not super quick, but gaining speed every day. She finally got the hang of crawling movements a few days ago while we were in Cincinnati celebrating Christmas/New Years with my family. Additionally she became an expert at sitting up this week (going from lying down to upright position). Lydia just loves to hit all of these milestones away from home!

There's no stopping her anymore. She can sit, she can crawl, she can pull herself to standing, she can cruise along the furniture, she can walk with assistance (holding hands or a walking toy), she can bend/reach from standing to grab toys on the floor, and she can (not gracefully) sit down from a standing position. If I want to leave her for even just a second to do something, I better be making sure she can't get to anything she shouldn't... because otherwise she will!

Lydia was doing very well for awhile with the "no mouth" and "no touch" commands, however we have noticed in the past few days that she doesn't obey them much anymore. I have to believe that she understands them because she used to listen... so perhaps she is testing us? Trying to push those boundaries? Yikes. I am so not ready for that. We're trying to be firm, use stern voices, and take things away when she doesn't obey. Anyone have any other suggestions for disciplining a 10 month old? It's just so hard to figure out what she actually understands!

In addition to all of the wonderful new skills in the realm of mobility, Lydia is getting better at sign language too! At last! I've been trying to remember to do several simple signs to her since she was a newborn... it's so fun to finally see her using some of them! She is improving at "more", sometimes doing it correctly but still sometimes clapping instead. 7 times out of 10 I can get her to do the "all done" sign after meals. I see the sign for "milk" a lot, but I'm not sure she really associates it with nursing. That's probably one of the signs I did with her most frequently, so she might just be using it as a default sign for any type of communication. When I am getting ready to nurse her and say "milk" along with doing the sign, she definitely knows what I'm talking about. But when she does the sign herself, she does it for just about everything. Not to mention that it is similar to how she waves. We are working on "eat" and "drink" as well... what are some other signs that would be good to start with her?

One final note of other random Lydia things: She waves hello and bye-bye. She shakes her head no. She loves to be bounced and will continue bouncing on her own if you stop. She knows how to dance. She points at things. She is still a great traveler. Her babbles and squeals and laughs and noises fill our house every single day. :)
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