Kate is 13 months old

Dear Kate,

I feel like you have changed a ton since you turned the big O-N-E. You're becoming more and more independent and changing your patterns and tastes. It takes a lot to keep up with you! Here's what's been going on this past month:

- It's been harder to feed you lately. You used to be happy getting jarred baby food for the bulk of your meals. Now you block your mouth with your arms when the spoon heads your direction. I try every trick in the book to get you to take some bites, but you insist on eating foods you can pick up yourself. You also don't like help with your sippy cup, even when you have it turned the wrong direction or don't tip it back and are just sucking air down. Mama's just trying to help... promise! Meal times take much longer these days.

- Here are the foods you're eating: chicken, scrambled eggs, toast, blueberries (you LOVE these), strawberries, fake cheese (you also LOVE this even though Mommy tried it, and it's disgusting), turkey, diced cooked carrots, diced apples, plain bow tie pasta, Pirate's Booty (veggie flavor; another favorite), soy or coconut milk yogurt, and soy milk or water to drink. Every item's ingredient list is carefully inspected for any form of milk protein before we buy it for you. Thank goodness for a rise in the popularity and availability of soy and other "vegan" foods or I wouldn't know what to give you!

- Over the month, you transitioned from three to two to one bottle per day. It has still been soy formula since we still have some left. You get your one 8 oz. bottle right before bath time. The doctor said you should be getting about 16 ounces of "milk" per day now. You're definitely not drinking 8 ounces worth of milk from your sippy cup during the rest of the day yet, so we mix some in oatmeal or rice cereal some days for breakfast and you eat a 6 ounce container of your yogurt each day (expensive at nearly $2 a pop!) to get your required daily calcium.

- You have discovered how much fun cabinets are to open and close. You love to pull all the DVDs out of the TV cabinet. This keeps you entertained for a good 5 minutes, so I let you go at it. The kitchen cabinets are a new fascination. I'm thinking we'll need to baby proof all of those now, too.

- Your nap times have been the same for MANY months, but now you no longer want to go down at 9 or 9:30 for a morning nap like you used to. If you take a morning nap, you go down around 10. I've started putting books in your crib with you so that if you choose not to sleep, you have something to do, and Mommy still gets a baby break to get showered, etc. Most of the time, though, you do fall asleep for at least an hour, sometimes an hour and a half. This complicates things for the afternoon.  You just won't fall asleep again most times which makes you crabby in the late afternoon and evening before bedtime. If we skip a morning nap, you will sleep for an hour and a half whenever I put you down. Never longer. I thought when we switched to one nap that you'd sleep at least a couple of hours (or more!) but that's not the case. It's just that your mama likes routine, and it'd be nice to figure out what that routine should be so that you are your happy, well-rested self.

- You are a little sponge. You are learning SO much, and you often surprise Mommy and Daddy with new signs that you understand us. For instance, when we play peekaboo, we tell you to cover your eyes. Now anytime you hear the word "eyes" (in a different context) you start playing peekaboo! You follow many simple commands like "drink your water" or "where's your milk?" You also know what "socks" are, and you try to put them on your feet. Or my favorite, when you see the cow page of your favorite farm animals book, you say, "mmmmm." Yes, Kate, the cow says "moo!"

- Although you understand much, you still don't say words we understand yet (except for Dada... you say and understand that one!) You are trying, though. You often will repeat the first sound of a word (like "mmmm" for "moo" or for "sock" it's "sssss"). We're working on your sounds, and you're learning how to repeat more of them. I think you're attempting to say lots of things, but I just don't understand yet. You'll get it! No worries.

Here are some more pictures capturing what you're doing lately. With Mommy doing Project 365, I find I have my camera ready for action! Picture overload about to commence (captions beneath):

We lowered your crib to its lowest setting. There's no escape. Don't try.
Ways we find you sleeping (or not sleeping). The books keep you happy when you choose to just "rest" instead of nap.
You love Kirby's tags. She is SO patient with you.
You stick your pinky out when you're doing lots of things. Mommy does this too!
You had your blood drawn for your allergy testing. I'd rather forget that altogether. It took me, Daddy, and two lab technicians to hold you down while you screamed bloody murder. I cried too. My baby was hurting!
You are always into cords. That's a big "no-no" in this house! (Look at that runny nose, too! What a mess you are.)
And melting down when you hear "no" and don't get your way.
You love to play with flip-top water bottles. We can actually hold you for several minutes when you have one!
You play with Mama's purse whenever we're out. You don't seem to tire of it.
We had LOTS of cold weather this past month. Here we are, bundled up and ready to get out of the house on one of the ice days.
"At work" with Daddy in his study.
Calming down after church one Sunday. You haven't been doing well in the nursery. I have to spend 15 minutes in there with you, then sneak out. You always notice when I'm gone. Things are looking up, though. You didn't cry nearly as much today! 
Your hair is growing! It's just so light that it's hard to see.
Update to the fake cheese trial...
(Left) Not so sure about this.  (Right) I LOVE IT!
In reality, the stuff is disgusting. Absolutely no resemblance to real cheese. Poor Kate.

We love you, sweet girl!
Mama and Daddy

Weight: 23 pounds (my guess)
Length: 30.25 (my guess)
Clothes: 12-18 months, 18 month PJs
Diaper size: 4
Sleep: 6:45pm - 7am
Naps: ???????? Sometimes two a day, sometimes one. Times vary.
Teeth: 8 through! (4 top, 4 bottom - nice and symmetrical now!)