10 and 11 months!

  (I wrote this a long time ago, but just added the pictures so I'm just now posting, but back dating!)
Oh my, how many times I have thought to sit and write the memories of these months down...now I'm racing to finish before our baby girl takes those first steps!  She's oh so close.  I rocked Selah and sang to her before putting her to bed tonight, which was such a treat, as Daddy often does it. I sang our whole list of songs, including "Baby Mine," and thought of how true those words will always be no matter how big my sweet girl gets.

I remember when Selah turned 10 months and I thought - wow, she has changed so much this past month!  Then 11 months came and I look back and think she just grew and grew more into quite the little girl.  This past month often feels like a blur.  Just this morning at breakfast I looked at her as she so carefully put one cheerio at a time in her mouth and chewed it up...and thought about how much she is starting to look like a 1 yr. old.  So incredible.  Almost immediately after she turned 9 months I found her one day in her crib sitting up and clapping!  It was the neatest thing for me to see, as it was the first time she got into a sitting position on her own and clapped by herself.  I loved it.  What a blessing it is to watch your child grow and discover.  So amazing.  Shortly after that I found her pulling herself up to standing in her crib.  I am convinced that babies learn everything in their cribs. ;)  Plenty of alone time to practice!  Now it's hard for me to remember when she would play in there after naps without being able to sit up or pull herself up to stand and holler for us to get her out!  Right around this time she also seemed to go quickly from 2 to 4 to 6 teeth!  She's held steady with 6 for awhile now.  Those days seem like forever ago as we now almost have a walker!

Selah has started doing several new things in the last two months....like following me around and being able to find me by my voice.  She loves it when I get on my hands and knees and crawl towards her...she hurries right up to me, giggling all the way.  She is super ticklish, just like her daddy.  She does make you work for a laugh though, but it's totally worth it.  She is also our little pointer.  I'm trying to figure out if this is something I do a lot when I'm being silly, but it's so funny how she points at you and smiles when she's happy to see you or is just being cute.  She loves to sort clothes and cloth diapers, moving them from one side of her to another, seeming so serious and intent about it.  It's hilarious.  She's a big fan of these little plastic balls we have, and just recently likes to crawl around with something in at least one hand, often two.  Wooden puzzles are a favorite of hers as well, and even though we only have two right now, she's fascinated with the pieces and wants to play with these nearly every day. She also remains such a fan of books.  Her attention span has grown enough that she'll sit and be interested while you read a short book...as long as it's somewhat entertaining.  Her main focus now is turning those board book pages...she can't get enough of that!  She also enjoys her shape sorter toys, and loves turning those little plastic shapes in her hands.  And she's really interested in any toys that make noise.  Like the adorable little tea set her Nana got for her.  I personally love how well-mannered the little British teapot is as she says, "More please!" and "Why thank you!"  So cute.

Something else sweet Selah has learned...how to throw a bit of a fit.  It's pretty amazing at first, I have to say.  Kevin and I always cheer each other on to remain calm and firm.  I'm not going to deny that I've had a few, "I'm the mom, I'm the mom" silent self reminders run through my head when I need some encouragement.  And if you act like it doesn't phase you it only lasts a few seconds for now.  Today in the bookstore was one of those times I decided teaching her that she doesn't always get what she wants was more important than caring about what anyone thought around me!  Kevin and I were just mentioning today about how we need to reread the Duggers' "Twenty Kids and Counting" book - one of our favorites.  Kevin Lemen's "First Time Mom" is another one we've found helpful. 

She's also a little danger to herself on our photo shoots, especially if they're on a chair.  At 10 months it was the first time I had to have Kevin assist me so she didn't crawl right off onto her head!  We definitely spent a lot of time swimming in the month of June, and I've enjoyed being able to get exercise while kicking up and down the pool and pushing her around in her little float.  Though this past month I started sitting her on the side, counting to 3, and having her "jump" to me.  Now she practically spins herself around like she wants to swim to the side and I have to hold on tight.  She wants to do this over and over, or stand on the steps and play with toys.  Miss Independent.

I love how Selah acts shy and puts her head down while smiling if someone smiles at her in public.  And she still loves the nursery at church.  She seems to be a pretty flexible and social gal so far, which I'm thankful for considering we spend a lot of time at home.  She is making all kinds of sounds now, "talking" to her stuffed animals, and "reading" her books, and sometimes looking at us and having so much to say.  Though the only discernible words still remain "mama" and "dada" though they're not intentional enough that she's calling it out from her crib just yet.  Oh, and between 9 and 10 months she started "dancing" to music, which is the best thing ever.  We crank up our worship playlists on the ipod and she starts smiling and bouncing....so cute.  Selah also remains a fan of bathtime, which is also storytime.  Daddy often enjoys sharing this time with her, especially if it's been a long day for me.  Between 9 and 10 months we stopped using the newborn insert, which I delayed as long as possible, though she was hanging off the end.  Now she sits in the bottom of it, playing happily with her toys and getting frustrated when we refuse her desire to stand up in there.  That's something new that we're trying to squelch pretty quickly. :)

Selah also quickly increased her enjoyment of lots of foods after that 9 month blog post.  She still prefers baby food which I'm trying to slowly transition out of, (as I can't say I love making it - though it's totally cost effective!), and she loves puffs, cheerios, and graham crackers.  She seems to be a fan of all veggies and fruits except for peas, she likes rice and oatmeal cereal, and really wishes I would let her eat an apple whole.  The girl also loves herself some shredded cheese.  We are still somewhat messy eaters at times, and Selah still faithfully shares with her puppy dog Chai.

In the past couple months Selah also transitioned from the army crawl to the regular crawl, only reverting to the army style if she wanted to move super quickly.  Though now she is speedy on her hands and knees.  Just yesterday and today she stood on her own for the first time, almost not even realizing it.  Of course then we get so excited and she gets really proud of herself, then laughs when she falls down.  Two Sundays ago after church was the first time she felt big enough and heavy enough that I thought I should be able to put her down and she should walk.  It was such a crazy feeling.  I haven't had it since, but I must have been extra tired and had my hands full that morning!  Though I know only too soon that will actually be true!  In the past couple weeks she's begun to hold on and walk along things.  I'm not really one who looks up or reads about milestones and when developmental things are supposed to happen, and I'm not much of a pusher, just because I'm so afraid of rushing or missing these sweet precious moments and stages they grow out of so quickly.  I can't even bring myself to read those emails Baby Center and What to Expect send me.  But each milestone truly fascinates me and it's why I am trying to keep track of how she is growing.

The last two months also brought along the celebration of her first Father's Day, her cousin Kaydance's birthday, her Uncle Chad's birthday, her first 4th of July, and the birth of her newest little cousin, Harper!  We also took our first family vacation, which included Selah's first plane rides (thanks to earning free vouchers from getting bumped on our babymoon last year!), and an opportunity to spend a week with friends in Florida!  We were so thankful to stay with our friends who recently moved to Fleming Island, FL and have a 3 yr. old and 1 yr. old, both little girls.  Needless to say, Selah was so fascinated with them.  It was adorable to see her have little "friends" for the week.  She definitely came home more intentional about playtime than ever!  Selah didn't love the sand on the beach, and really only liked the ocean if we were standing and holding her tight.  It did help on the days that other little ones were playing near her.  She did like when mommy swam with a dolphin though!  Oh my, now that is a blog post I need to make myself write!  Kevin surprised me and it was such a fun and unique experience that I've always wanted to have.  We are so thankful to our friends Jason and Stacy for their hospitality and graciously hosting us for the week.  It is no small task to welcome a family with a little one into your home for that amount of time!  We are truly grateful for the opportunity to take a vacation this year as a family.

I have peacefully surrendered in my heart that she's almost 1.  What a year it has been.  I can still feel and remember every emotion from those first moments holding her in the hospital, that tiny squishy body laying on my chest.  Kevin and I couldn't get enough of her, breaking out into random tears as we were overwhelmed with gratitude and love.  I will never ever forget one afternoon when Kevin had gone to get something to eat and I was alone with her...and I wept while thinking of my whole 30 years of life and how hard I had prayed for that one moment.  More than I can even comprehend now.  We still can't get enough of her, and love to watch her sleep, and love to make her smile.  We are humbled in realizing how desperately we need God to teach us how to raise her to love, follow, and serve Him.  That is our hearts' desire.

Now I feel fully initiated into motherhood.  Fully absorbed in praying over my family, asking God to lead me as I desire to lead Selah and our future children well, reflecting over moments of the day, hoping I'm enjoying her enough, wondering if I'm building a good foundation, and soaking in that lingering baby goodness whenever I get the chance.  I knew the day would come, and it definitely has, as more often than not when she's finished nursing, she wiggles her little body off my lap.  I remember months ago trying to enjoy my still little one content just to remain on my lap.  I was so determined to remember the last time Selah fell asleep after nursing but I can honestly say it happened so long ago that I'm not even sure.  But growth is good...and a gift.  When people tell you it only gets better they don't mean to say right now is not the most amazing wonderful time...just that the next stage will be the most amazing wonderful time in a different way too.  Thank you Lord for the 11 amazing months we've been blessed to share with this special little girl you created.  We give you the glory for her life and we are honored to be her parents.