First, she finally learned how to eat small finger foods. I'm not sure what finally worked, but I think I just started giving her a couple Cheerios each day, and she eventually picked it up on her own. Once she learned that skill, there was no stopping her! She loves eating peas, pieces of whole wheat bread or pasta, scrambled eggs, cheese, bananas, and of course, Cheerios. She's really good about eating one piece at a time, but she usually doesn't eat enough finger foods for a whole meal. So I still give her mashed sweet potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, beets, plums, etc. I found that turkey meatloaf was a healthy finger food option for her which she loved.
Avery also started walking this past month! She has been pulling up and cruising around on the furniture for about 3 months now. We continued to encourage her to let go and walk on her own, and eventually she realized she could do it. She usually gets going so fast that she trips herself up, but she is getting much braver about letting go of the furniture on her own and takes many steps each day. She has even started standing up on her own or bending down to pick up a toy and standing back up again without holding on to anything. I have a feeling that once she gets more proficient at walking, she'll be running all over the apartment!
Avery also had four top teeth pop through this month. I'm so thankful to have such an easy teether. For each tooth so far (or group of teeth), we notice one or two days of clinginess and being a little more sensitive than usual at random times. For example, a couple weeks ago she burst into tears when the ball rolled away from her. But other than that, it doesn't seem to affect her eating or sleeping.
She is still sleeping 12 hours at night. I thought she was about to give up her morning nap, but this past week, she's back to sleeping for about an hour in the morning. She sleeps from 2-3 hours each afternoon, depending on whether she's had a morning nap or not. Thankfully, she is very flexible and can easily skip her morning nap without any fussiness if we are out somewhere (shopping, at church, etc.).
Speaking of church, she has recently started letting anyone take her from me or pick her up from the nursery. Several of the teen girls love bringing her down to the nursery or getting her for me, and Avery loves it, as long as she doesn't see me. I'm grateful for such sweet girls at church who take good care of her.
Avery has become much more vocal this month, and talks almost non-stop throughout the day. She laughs often, and enjoys playing and "wrestling" with us on the floor. She still loves looking at books and will pull them out of her bin and look that them by herself for quite a while. I love hearing her giggle as she pulls off all her stuffed animals and pillows from the top of her toy chest. She will say "Amen" at the end of our prayers, and does her best to copy sounds and words that we say. She can usually say the correct animal sound for the cow, sheep, and owl. And she knows the motions to "If You're Happy and you Know it, Clap Your Hands" and "This Little Light of Mine." I am so blessed to get to spend my days playing and laughing with her!
We're looking forward to celebrating her first birthday while we are home in Greenville with family in a couple weeks. But for now, we are truly enjoying each moment and trying to hold onto the memories of this stage of Avery's life.