It's time for a general update so that I can get past my feelings of being too far behind and once again start posting more regularly! My apologies to the grandparents, but I don't have any pictures to share right now; I'm typing on Ted's laptop, as mine needs repair. (There is something wrong inside the place where the charger goes--it isn't recognizing the charger. The battery was down to around 40%, so I rescued what I needed for the immediate future and shut everything down.)
In no particular order...actually, I think I'll break this down into separate posts! This one will spotlight Baby Zaden, as Lucan will probably call him for at least a few more years:
Our "baby" isn't such a baby anymore! At nearly 17 months old, he FINALLY has taken some steps on his own within the last week! He has been perfectly capable of walking by himself for awhile now, but he simply was not inclined to do so. It was almost a game to him...he would slowly rise from a squatting position so that he was standing by himself, clap and grin while we cheered for him and urged him to walk toward us, and then plop right back down on his knees and scoot over to us as fast as he could. Stinker! Man, that little guy can move FAST on his knees! He still is not walking consistently, but that should change pretty quickly now that he realizes he can do it. Here's a very brief video of him toddling around our room.
To further identify himself as a "big boy," he has given up nursing. He was doing so every morning probably up through Christmas, and gradually the sessions just got shorter and shorter, then sometimes every other day, until at one point I realized it had been a few days...and decided we were both ready to move on. I'm so thankful that we made it 16 months! Who would have thought we would have even gone that long given the struggles we had in the beginning!
Zaden still sucks his thumb and twirls his hair, especially when he is tired, which has endeared him to everyone he meets. He is a great little sleeper and is transitioning from two naps a day to one longer afternoon nap, which has been helpful as we move to a more structured school schedule now that we're settled in our home. He adores all of his older siblings--even Lucan now, who has decided that maybe Zaden isn't quite such a pest after all. He lights up when someone plays silly games with him and is on his way to being the center of entertainment wherever he goes.
Some of Zaden's favorite things: "Mr. Chubb-Chubb," the fat gray cat who hangs around our house for no apparent reason other than the fact that the kids seem to adore him. Zaden exclaims when he sees the gray furball outside the windows, and if he can pat him, all the better. He loves Daddy's homecoming times at lunch and dinner, melting Daddy's heart as he scurries down the stairs or across the tile to meet him at the door! A favorite food right now is a clementine from Alfredo's fruit stand--I do believe that boy could eat the whole lot every time we bring home a new bunch. (Bananas are so two months ago.) Any kind of pizza is hailed with delight, as is pretty much anything Mom or Dad happens to be eating. Grits and couscous are yummy but terribly messy, and let's just not mention what happens when the boy has refried beans or Texas stew.
Zaden isn't yet talking, although he does a good imitation of a cat sound (probably because of his affinity for Mr. Chubb-Chubb) as well as something that sounds reasonably like "hi," and a definite "mama." He signs clearly for "more," "milk," "food," "eat," and "all done," with an accompanying "please." Actually, he gave us some creative communication in the commissary today after church, when he was CLEARLY ready to be OUT of the cart, telling us, "all done, please!"
His left cheek has a darling dimple that thrills my soul...I don't know where in the gene pool that came from, but I'm so grateful that it surfaced! (Lucan has a less-pronounced dimple in the same cheek, so I assume they stopped by the same dimple counter on their way out!) His eyes still invite comments from strangers, although he seems to have grown into them a bit more. His thumbs both have blisters on them from sucking them, sigh. He has I don't know how many teeth, but probably at least 7-8. I have no idea how big he is; we never made it in for his 12-month check-up, and at this point I'm just inclined to wait for the 18-month point, which he'll reach Feb. 24. But he's a happy, healthy kiddo, giving us no cause for concern, other than the typical toddler propensity for ramming his noggin into, oh, walls, for example.
We are so grateful God knew better than we and sent us Zaden Ezekiel 3 months into that year-long deployment!