Since that last update on December 22nd, we've taken our first big trip east (an annual winter event before last year) with Pete. Two and a half weeks and 2,800 miles later, we're back, enjoying getting used to our house again, and trying to catch up on a lot of things at once--including notes to some people who might be reading this. Soon!
Pete has gone through one of his phases of hyperdevelopment. When we left, he couldn't climb a stair; now, he can climb a flight. (Only up--he's eager to go down head-first, so we have to work on that.) When we left, he was eating prepared baby food and some training puffs, perhaps with a Cheerio here and there; now, we can hand him a hunk of bagel, and he'll cheerfully pick away at it on his own. When we left, he was babbling but seemed not to have the sound of words yet; now, a set of words--prominently "mama," "baba" (bye-bye), and "light"--are contending to be the first that he definitively and exclusively connects to their referents. He stands himself up with ease and releases his grip for quick moments without falling. If someone playfully falls from a sitting position, he falls too, and laughs. It's a whole new world for the whole new year, with a first birthday approaching in less than two weeks.
One great trip moment: we walked outside of our hotel building in Allentown, PA to get some breakfast. We were surprised by a sunny morning (rare on the trip) and a big flock of Canada geese making its way across the sky above us in a series of groups. We directed Pete's attention upwards, not knowing whether he could see or would notice the squawking birds, but he did--he pointed up, tracked groups of them, grinned, and squeaked himself, making a sound generally reserved for sightings of cats and dogs. Sky puppies! Every morning should start so well.