Month 4 Recap (Levi at about 14 months-old): It's hard to believe that as I write this, Month 5 with Levi is already full steam ahead. Month 4 had some significant firsts, walking being at the top of the list. Just as Levi began his 4th month home he took off. At first just a couple steps that he didn't even realize happened, but by May 3rd he had left crawling mostly behind. It is especially exciting as it shows how strong he has become. His weight and muscle tone have improved significantly and he is quite the strong little guy. (Watch out if he grabs anything you don't want him to grab.) However, I still have people comment on how "tiny" (or, in one case, "scrawny" - whatever!) he is. But he now weighs over 20 lbs and his height and head circumference are both well in the normal range. All that whole milk and olive oil paid off!
Other big firsts included meeting my dad (a.k.a. Papa!), his first Easter (when he also saw me perform for the first time), being baptized and having a party, traveling to TN to meet my mom's family, he started turning pages in books (Books are by far his very favorite things, aside from the dogs. Brown Bear, Brown Bear is at the top of the list.), wore tennis shoes (and had his first untied shoelace), can tell the difference between the dogs and started calling them "Dag!"
Sleep was about the same, and I think I had a mini breakdown halfway through this month, but what can you do about teething? The pressure to make sure he never feels a lack of our presence or has a true need (which would therefore reinforce negative brain development from the orphanage) feels weighty in the middle of the night. Nothing like jumping out of bed thinking, "He can't form a negative synapse! Hurry!", haha. On the flip side, we pretty much switched to one nap during this month and he naps for a bit longer now. That gives us a bit of a break in the day from trying to chase him down!
Easter dinner at Nana and Grandpa's house. Learning how to negotiate stairs with Grandpa.
Sitting in Brad's old highchair! So retro. Love it.
Bubbles on the porch!
Visiting the Beckendorfs in TN! Levi got to meet my aunt Jennifer, Great Aunt Anna May (who in her 90's still lives on her own and danced us under the table at our wedding), and Aunt Molly. We started our fun at our favorite BBQ spot, Witts!
Aunt Jen, who has a close Ethiopian friend and even experienced her Ethiopian wedding! Jealous!
Playing with Mom and Dad's dogs, Odie and Mollie
Chatting with Anna May
Fun with Aunt Molly. Thanks for making the long drive to see us, Molly!
Eating at Pancake Pantry in Nashville. Always a line (unless you get there crazy early like us!) rain, snow, or shine.
All the grandparents together for the first time! Spontaneous picture after lunch near Zionsville.
We all went to that month's adoption gathering at the Ethiopian church here in Indy. Afterwards, the church treated us to a wonderful meal. This is us waiting in line to eat.
Levi's baptism at Zionsville United Methodist Church on Mother's Day, May 8th. He wore his traditional Ethiopian outfit, which we bought on our trip. He looked very handsome and VERY Ethiopian.
All of the family were invited to come up
We joke that Levi actually was baptized about 5 times. He couldn't stop playing in the water! The whole congregation was chuckling.
Rev. Linda Johnson, who married us at Zionsville Methiodist 7 1/2 years ago and worked with Brad all through his days in youth group, performed the baptism. So special to have her do it.
That afternoon we had a cookout to celebrate Levi's baptism, but also just to have our first big party since he's been home. (We all remember the 1st birthday picture. Big parties weren't a good idea in the beginning.) I was amazed that about 35 friends, family and kids were able to join us on Mother's Day. It may have to become an annual event.
Maggie Rawe and Hudson Bell were fast friends. Here they are twirling around the backyard.
Sammie Rawe making use of the giant chalk.
Taryn and Steve
The Bell family (Who will soon be welcoming their twin girls home from Ethiopia!!!)
The Yancey family
Jen and Maggie Rawe
Picture with "Aunt" Elizabeth
Hanging out with Papa
Brad recently had a business trip back to our old stomping ground, San Francisco. While there he met up with our dear friend, Meghan Boots and her husband (then fiancé - congrats, guys!), Lew. Meghan sent home some fantastic gifts including this T-shirt. Adorable. Incase you can't read it, it says, "I Hella Love SF".
We have a new tradition going. We discovered that Roche has quite a nice park on their campus. On nice days when Brad is available we meet him for lunch there and have a picnic. These pictures are from our first lunch. Levi was obviously thrilled with the new plans. (Much better than a high chair in a restaurant!)
Levi's first time wearing tennis shoes! Thank you, Bells, for the fantastic hand-me-downs.
Bob and Bonnie watched Levi for a couple hours one night so that Brad and I could take Gracie to a charity event. The event benefited the organization through which we do our therapy dog work and Gracie was in their doggie fashion show! She modeled a blinged out collar and leash. Ha!
Lunch with Heidi and Kirstin Brueckmann, family friends and Kirstin is also a voice student. We'll miss them as they go to college next year!
Mid-May was a very big month of singing for me as I did the soprano solo in the Verdi Requiem with Hendricks Symphony. Maybe the most difficult singing I've ever done. After practicing it for six months (almost all with Levi crawling all over me - hence the video from Levi month one!), it turned out to be a lot of fun. Thanks to Mom and Brad for doing lots of night duty that week so I would be well-rested!
Singing with Andrew Lunsford, my dear friend, Elizabeth, and Cody Medina, in my senior year prom dress. Ha!
Celebrating after the second performance with our favorite pizza - our neighborhood spot, Delullo's! (It burned down last summer and had just reopened. Great way to celebrate. Oh, how I missed that fantastic, made from scratch pizza.)
Lots of playing with the dogs in the yard these days.
While Levi was getting used to walking and crawling was no longer cool, the "crab walk", as we called it, served him well.
After seeing Mom and me watering plants with the watering can it became his favorite object for a few days. However, instead of watering he would just throw it onto the plants. Not quite the idea.
I realized I never posted pictures of Levi's room! I painted Ethiopia above his crib, there's a needlepoint prayer from Brad's childhood, and canvas photos of our first time meeting him. It all had to be done in quite a hurry! And thank God we kept the twin bed in there for us. Thankfully, it is pretty comfy.
It's truly comical trying to get a 14 month-old to stay still in a chair to take a picture, especially as the chair has lately been a new favorite object to explore.
Couple videos this month:
Levi walking to Dada shortly after being able to cross entire rooms. Mollie, mom's schnauzer, really wanted to help.
And one of Levi sitting in his favorite spot, on Luke's bed with Luke. When we took this we were trying to capture Levi taking some of his first steps. We were hoping we could get him to walk to Luke. Levi wouldn't humor us, hence the video ending. Sigh.