Dear Nathanael (10 months)

My dearest Nathanael,

You are ten months old! We celebrate your exuberant and always active life. You bring us such joy, son!

Our estimates for your weight and height are around 21 pounds (45-50th percentile) and 29 inches (50-55th percentile). You love your independence and would prefer to eat everything on your own (though we spoon feed you a lot right now). Interestingly though, you are still trying to learn new food textures associated with finger foods, and they're often not to your liking (unless it's a fruit or starch or grain). You continue to nurse four times a day, though you simply hate lying still and would much rather be exploring. Still no teeth!

We flew to Michigan this month, and though you traveled well, you also managed to pick up the roseola illness which made your transition quite difficult. We enjoyed the extra cuddles that came with you not feeling well, but the high fever and rash were definitely scary for us first-time parents! After recovering, you quickly warmed up to Grandmom and Granddaddy and have been thoroughly enjoying the few weeks you have to steal their hearts again.

Your biggest development this month was taking your first steps! You want to walk so badly but haven't figured out how to sustain your movements past a step or two. You are able to stand on your own for as long as nine seconds. You cruise around furniture and walls, climb over objects, and dance (bounce and sway) when you hear music. You are always moving, moving, moving. Despite your crazy activity, we continue to marvel at your long nights of sleep, and so far, to our delight, you haven't shown any desire to drop your morning nap.

You finally added "mama" to your repertoire, though "dada" is still more often heard. You imitate sounds and words constantly and are extremely aware of all the noises around (a train whistle, dog barking, doors closing, water running). We had a few surprise warmer days in January and were able to enjoy the outdoors, including John Deere wagon rides and stroller walks. We are excited to explore the outdoors with you in a few months! Until then, we have a ton of fun during our evening family dance parties; you laugh and giggle and dance along to your heart's contentment! Your friendship with the cat continues to grow, and you've now progressed to kissing/licking her. The dog, thankfully, is learning not to kiss/lick you. You really miss your pet friends here in Michigan.

Nathanael Alim, we sure love being your parents! God has given us such a gift in you, and we are excited to watch as He forms you into a man for His glory. Happy ten months, son!

your daddy and mommy

Your 10 month pictures will be a week or so late. Mr. Bear is stuck in Kansas.

Until then, here you are this morning showing off your ability to stand...

And your cute little wave


Worthy of my Facebook profile?

I finally caved and added Turkish to my Facebook profile. I feel slightly hypocritical in doing so. It's been six long years since I have lived in the country, and my retention is not the greatest. Yes, I still dream in Turkish now and then, I remember and understand most of the grammatical rules, and simple conversations are well, simple. But my vocabulary is embarrasing! Sometimes I cannot remember the most basic of words - like common fruits and vegetables! My pronunciation is dwindling which means my spelling is not always right anymore (it's a phonetical language). And to be honest, sometimes I can't even understand my Turkish friends' status updates! So thus I have resisted adding it to my Facebook profile.

Until I started learning German.

I now distinctly recall the first few months of learning Turkish while at Baylor. I would lie in bed at night and practice the four different "o" and "u" sounds over and over, trying to imitate my tutor's pronunciation and hear the differences. I recall how difficult it was to carry on the most basic of conversations. If someone didn't say a phrase with the exact vocabulary I learned, I was hopeless. I remember how I had to translate all the words and grammar in my head from Turkish to English and then reorganize them back into English word order so that I could make sense of anything.

And here I am again, but this time with German.

I realize that though I am quite limited in my Turkish right now, six years later, it won't require a whole lot to regain it quickly.

So now as I begin to learn German (and I say that quite loosely), I have decided that my knowledge of Turkish is most definitely worthy of my Facebook profile.

German? Definitely not.


Father or son?

Nathanael is definitely his father's son.
I think that was taken of Gregory around six months of age, but I may be off a little on that.

I'm pretty sure I have a picture of Nathanael with that same expression, but I couldn't find it tonight. This one will suffice.


I love you x 3

Gregory and I met in Istanbul. So it is no surprise that we still use Turkish from time to time. People usually look at him strangely when they think he just called me, "John M.". The Turkish word for "my dear" sounds somewhat similar. Sometimes we use Turkish when we want to say something privately. Though I must sadly admit that is getting more and more difficult to pull off the longer we're away from Turkey.

Last night, Gregory was teaching me a few German sentences. (I probably know less than a couple dozen words or phrases!) And as we were falling asleep, he whispered in German, "I love you." I lay there last night thinking about how this language that is so new and foreign to me right now will somewhat quickly become another heart language for me, just as Turkish became years ago. It's amazing and a little overwhelming to think on that. How different our lives will look a year from now... God, we're trusting in You alone.


Treasuring the cuddles

Recently Nathanael has been willing to cuddle from time to time. In general, it needs to be right before or after sleep. And if we can give him a pacifier to hold, he'll often suck on his fingers, lay his head on our shoulder, and hug. (Yes, he actually prefers to HOLD a pacifier -- or the nose of his elephant lovey -- when he's really tired.) It's precious. And I'm not sure if this is a stage he's going through or if it has to do with something else (maybe he's teething?), but we are thoroughly enjoying it and taking complete advantage of it while it lasts.

This afternoon after naptime, Nathanael was cuddling and hugging. I decided to continue the sweet moment by singing him a soft, sweet song. His reaction? He started jumping and bouncing in my arms. Oh well. Cuddle time turned into mother-son crazy dancing time. I'll take what I can get. We had fun dancing around the room.

No pictures of cuddling available, but here's our cutie eating a vacuum cleaner part.