Liliana turned one last Monday (January 19th). I just cannot believe that a year has already passed since we first got to meet our little girl in person. She has grown and changed so much so quickly. She is starting to test out her legs, but I wouldn't say she is really walking yet. A couple days before Christmas she took a step toward the Christmas tree and then immediately sat down. The Sunday after Christmas we were at my sister, Nicole's house and Liliana let go of the coffee table to take a step toward her auntie. A few days into the New Year (after returning from a wonderful, but short trip to California to see G-ma and G-pa Jovet) Liliana took a step toward me. She has since then taken a single step here and there toward various things or people, but until last night we hadn't seen her try to walk more than that. Last night (Friday, January 23rd) we were at our friends' home for dinner and Liliana was playing with their son, Sean. Sean is about 6 weeks older than Liliana and has really started walking well over the past few weeks. I was sitting on the living room floor, eating a chocolate chip cookie (I know, great diet) when Liliana let go of the little shopping cart toy she was using to walk and started stepping toward me to get some of my cookie. I kept scooting back a tiny bit at a time so she'd feel like I was only another step away and she ended up taking seven little shuffle steps to me (well, to the cookie). David was in the other room when it happened and wanted to make her do it again so he could see, but she wasn't having it. I bet she'll be up and really walking any time now. It's bitter sweet because once she's not crawling around anymore I'll have to admit that she's a toddler, and no long my little baby.
This month has been fairly busy, with David and I starting back at school. David is taking his last class one night a week and will be all done with his graduation requirements by the end of the quarter (mid-March). I'm now doing my early childhood education practicum. I was able to get placed with a wonderful teacher (and friend) at a school near my home. It's close enough that some days I even ride my bike. David's dad, Jim, is watching Liliana in the mornings and my great aunt, Debbie, is watching Liliana in the afternoons when Jim has to go to work. My good friends Cherisse and Betty have also offered their services as back-up babysitters. I'm so thankful for the amazing support we have received from family and friends as we work toward finishing our schooling. It seems like we're almost constantly on the move these days, running back and forth to work, home, the university, church, etc., but we're handling things well and still making sure we're able to play with Liliana and spend time together as a family. I think next quarter may be a little more crazy just because the student teaching is supposed to be a little more involved than the practicum. I know as long as we keep focused on the fact that it is only for one quarter, we'll survive and probably even enjoy it.
We had a little party for Liliana's birthday last week. Originally I wasn't really going to do much because I figured she wasn't going to remember it anyway. However, since David's mom was going to be coming all the way over from Idaho, I figured we'd better plan something. Also, everyone else was celebrating their kids first birthday and I didn't want to have to explain to Liliana why we didn't have any first birthday party pictures when she was older and have to pay for any therapy that may come as a result of her feeling unloved (just kidding). It was a little last minute, but we had a nice turnout. David set up a slide show of pictures of Liliana throughout her first year of life and let it run in the background throughout the gathering. We had balloons and played a couple of games. One of the games was just to answer questions about Liliana (What is her shoe size? What does she do when I tell her, "no"? - she laughs at me). The other game was to line everyone up on one side of the room and see who could get Liliana to come to them. That was really entertaining to watch! We sang to Liliana and let her smush some cheesecake in her face before opening presents. She was most interested in the tissue paper and wrapping paper, but she had fun with the gifts as well. Thank you, to all of you who were able to come and celebrate with us. We had a great time!