Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why Is That Person Barking?

I met someone the other day who was decked out in the most adorable outfit. Well, I would have thought it was adorable if it wasn't red and black and worn intentionally two days before UGA's first football game of the season. I would have expected a Bulldogs fan to bark at me and whine about how they deserve to be ranked in the top ten in preseason polls because obviously they could have gone all the way last year if this that and the other excuse hadn't happened. But she didn't. Instead, she asked me if I had a college football team I was rooting for this weekend. I told her that I did, but that judging from her apparel, she probably didn't want to hear who it was. "You're a Gator, aren't you?" she asked. I nodded, with a curious smile. "How'd you know?" I asked. "Well honey," she answered. "First of all, you don't have an accent. Secondly, I can tell that you're smart."

I was speechless. I'd never heard a Bulldog refer to a Gator as smart. But you know what? We are. UF is an incredible school, especially given its public state school status. It becomes more and more competitive to get into; even when I was in high school, only the top 5% of each graduating class got in, and I suppose that was quite an accomplishment when I think about those numbers. It offers a challenging variety of programs to guide students towards a range of prestigious fields. On top of the academic knowledge it provides, UF also provides the cliché "best years of your life" that college promises to so many young adults. It's a very important part of my identity, just as UCF is a very important part of your daddy's identity.

This weekend marks the beginning of your first college football season. College football is very important to our family, but not just because we love to watch the games. College football is about so much more than that. It's about the time we spent at those games with some of our favorite people.



It's about graduating from places that meant more to us than the town we grew up in.



It's about places where we created new lifelong friendships, and gained a deeper bond with old friends who have become more like family.


It's about connecting with fellow alumni in a far-away place that would someday become home.





It's about celebrating our future, the accomplishments of our alumni, and the goals we have yet to achieve.


It's about the places where Mommy and Daddy met and fell in love.



It's about a symbol that will always warm your heart with the fondest of memories.




And now, it's about introducing you to some of the world's greatest traditions.




Today you watched your first football game at a joint watch party with the UCF and Penn State alumni associations. Both groups of people really wanted their team to win, but both groups were high-fiving the other team when something exciting happened, offering to treat each other to a round of beer, and complimenting each other on a great game. It's so nice to see fans who are not only passionate about their team, but polite about the game as well. And I think this is a really good point that you need to remember while growing up in the capital of the SEC: we're all in this together. Rivalries can be really fun, but the best part about a tough rivalry is that those tough fans understand who you are this time of year.

So if you hear someone barking this time of year, resist the urge to roll your eyes and smile instead. Because it's football season and everyone is excited about it together.

Practically an Adult

You've had some big changes over the last week or two! I feel like I just wrote a post about your recent milestones, but I'm telling you some new ones just popped up overnight and now I feel like we need another update!

I know I keep saying this, but I mean it this time: you are so close to crawling. You can get up to all fours and rock, then you can come forward a bit, but you always faceplant after just a few scoots. SO CLOSE. You've also begun to babble:

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It's hard to tell what sound you're making. Sometimes it sounds like a "tatata" and sometimes it's a "dadada" and sometimes it's a "nyanyanya," but it's definitely a consonant sound and that's new!

And probably one of our biggest milestones to date: YOU HAVE TEETH. I've been saying for months that you're teething. "Oh her nose is runny." Teething. "She's drooling an awful lot." Teething. "Wow, she chews on everything!" Teething. But for real this time: teething. Your Auntie Sara felt one tooth last weekend when she was playing with you, but now I can actually see three teeth! Big changes. Overnight.

One of the best thing about living in Georgia is that Daideo lives here, too. He's seen you every week or two since you were in the hospital. With changes so big happening all the time, we try really hard to update your grandparents as much as possible, but it's so great that he gets to see it firsthand! He always comments to me about how much you've grown, even if it's only been a few days since the last time he saw you. You're just changing so fast! The last couple of times you saw him, you really had a lot of fun playing with him on the floor...


...especially when you got to show him your favorite toy: your tugboat!


Daideo loves you so much, he didn't even make a comment about how you were wearing the same outfit two visits in a row (oops)!

You are changing and growing so quickly. It just amazes all of us who are lucky enough to see you so regularly!

A Day in Decatur

Last weekend, we went to Fernbank Museum of Natural History with your friends Alba and Donovan. It was the anniversary of Atlanta's acquisition of the dinosaur skeletons there, so Fernbank had a big birthday party for the dinosaurs. You were delighted from the moment we got there because there was a man outside blowing bubbles! There were big bubbles, lots of little bubbles clumped together, giant bubbles with smaller bubbles trapped inside - you were absolutely mesmerized.



Inside the museum, you loved learning about the dinosaurs...




...and you loved partying with them too!


Once we finished touring the museum, you got to play in the play area. You always have so much fun playing with other kids!




After the museum, we went to The General Muir for lunch. Mommy and Daddy had been wanting to check this place out since it opened. They're known for their burgers, and we love a good burger. It was surreal being in that area because it's all so brand new. It's located on Emory's campus, which is where Mommy went for grad school, but it certainly didn't look this way back then. Anyway, the food was fantastic, and the servers fell in love with you. So much so, one server decided to give you an award:

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As you can see, it was a really fun day!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Eight Months Old


You may have noticed that we had a change in scenery with these little monthly photo shoots. It's just too unsafe to keep you on that chair because it's impossible to keep you still these days! We spend a lot of time on the floor, so that you can explore your world as much as you want to.

You've been so busy this month! We started out your eighth month with a visit from Auntie Amanda, and then we visited your Mimi and your Abue in South Florida. You've also had a few play dates, and you've been to the pool several times. Your social personality is shining more than ever, and that's been so apparent during all of this quality time with family and friends. You love making new friends, too; you always enjoy going out to restaurants or even just running errands because it's always an opportunity to meet new people. 


Probably the biggest change this month was moving up to the big kids' classroom at daycare. I think it was a much tougher transition for your mommy and daddy than it was for you! We really liked the teacher in the young infant classroom, so it was difficult to leave her. Plus, moving up meant that you weren't a little baby anymore! Realizing how much you're growing is always exciting, but it's also a reminder that it's happening so fast. It was time, though. You and your friend Ethan were the oldest kids in the young infant classroom, and now you're the youngest kids in the older infant room. This means that you get to watch the bigger kids crawl and even learn to walk. Your new teachers, Ms. Jean and Ms. Barbie, love you already and are always talking about how happy you are! You're also getting on a more strict schedule in this new classroom, which has led to some better nighttime sleep for all of us.


Over the last couple of months, you've really started to show more of an interest in objects. A while ago, you couldn't care less. But now, you play with toys all day at school, and you've even developed favorites at home! Your favorite toy right now is your tugboat. You're also showing a lot of interest in books, and you'll even reach for them outside of our usual storytimes. We always read to you when you request it! Right now, your favorite book is Baby Beluga.




You're a really happy baby at this age. You're always singing to yourself, sometimes even in your sleep. You're so curious about everything, and you always have a look of wonder and delight on your face when you're learning new things. It's really easy to make you smile and laugh, and sometimes you smile so big that you shake!


You spent this whole month on the brink of accomplishing major milestones. You became a lot more vocal, but it was still all vowel sounds up until two days before you turned eight months. Then, all of a sudden, you started babbling! It's hard to tell what sound you're making - sometimes it's a bababa or a dadada or a nyanyanya. But it's new and it's amazing to hear your voice in this new way. You've also begun to pull to stand more actively, and, as always, you love standing.


You're very affectionate, mostly with Mommy. You'll reach out for hugs, and you just love attention.


Chelsea remains one of your favorite play mates. She's especially good incentive for crawling practice! She's very sweet and patient with you, but she's good about running away when she's had enough and needs some personal space.


We're hoping to baby proof soon because you are sooo close to crawling! You army crawl all over the place, and you can come up to your hands and knees and rock.


You've changed so much, and you're so close to growing up even more! We're having so much fun getting to know your little personality as it develops.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

First Airplane Trip

When you were seven months old, you went on an airplane for the first time. Daddy was in South Carolina playing golf with some neighbor friends, so we decided to take a girls' trip down to Mommy and Daddy's hometown of Coral Springs. Traveling with a baby (without the help of other grown-ups) was definitely a new experience for your mommy!


I was a little nervous about how you'd do...


...but I shouldn't have been. You were a champ! The whole flight down, you made friends with people around you. You were nothing but smiles.

Your Mimi was so happy to see you when she picked us up at the airport! She brought us to our hotel, where we had a nice quiet evening together. You had a lot of fun eating puffs...


...and playing with the mirror.


You even got your very own special crib in our hotel room!


The next day, we went over to Mimi and Mr. Jeff's house. They had all kinds of fun toys for you to play with!



We went down to the Intercoastal for a late lunch, and we met up with Abue and Mr. David there. It was so great to see both grandmas at the same time! You were surrounded by so much love!


Next, we went to the beach. I was very excited to watch you dip your toes in the sand for the first time!


To no one's surprise, you loved the beach!






Mimi was so excited to share her favorite place in the world with you!



It was a really great trip. You got to make new friends, spend time with family members who love you, and try lots of new things. But my favorite part of all was the fact that we got a lot of alone time just us.