Sunday, August 29, 2010

9 (or 10) Month Pictures

Dreading a drive over to the Brandon Mall Picture People (who really do take simple and lovely pictures), I decided to just stay at home and take Grace Louise's 9 month pictures myself. (I'm a month late, so technically they are 10 month pictures :-) Traditions are powerful... feeling that I must have this child's pictures taken four times (at least) in the first year can be a burden both on the wallet and the schedule. So backyard here we come!

I also told myself that I would like to wait until Grace Louise was standing more comfortably on her own before our next professional photo shoot. (Perhaps you know what is coming next). I take Grace Louise in the backyard... we try a white sheet first.

Doesn't work out.

I'm hooping and hollering, jumping up and down, making funny faces (and noises)... all in the name of a good picture. I stand Grace Louise up with one hand. Try to take pictures with the other.

Doesn't work out.

I think she could sense the desperation in my voice (and the perspiration on my face) as I asked her "Just stand right here for mommy, like a big girl!!! Okay??"

And hot diggity dog, she did. Bless her little soul.

I got several shots of my baby girl squatting and standing over and over for the first time! How often do you catch those kind of firsts on camera!? Thank you, Jesus (in a truly grateful kind of way). That made my day... and made our homemade photo shoot really special in the end.

The pictures didn't turn out half bad. I was feeling quite proud of them, like maybe I missed my calling. That is until Jimmy so honestly told me that they looked like really good amateur photos. Huh. Thanks.

The best ones (of her standing and squatting) will have to make a later debut. I have to get the neon green archery target digitally removed out of the background. (a slight oversight on my part. oops)

this one makes me laugh. like she's too good for the grass.

she's teething that top left tooth like crazy.

By the way, her 9 month check-up (again, at 10 months) was great. 20 lbs 7 oz and 29 inches long. Still high on the charts, but weighed 3+ lbs less than what we had her pegged for.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Summer Highlights

Even though I'm not teaching away from home anymore and Grace Louise is not in school yet, I can't seem to get away from the mindset of the school year calendar. (I guess that comes from being in school one way or another for 20 years).
The summer (weather) here in Florida is by no means over, but since most of our friends and family are back in school, the fast pace of summer is starting to wind down. With the fall season in the Sunshine State comes the occasional long sleeved shirt, dreams of places where leaves change color, hunting season, pumpkin and cinnamon (preferably in a pastry and Starbucks coffee), and of course, Gator football, Gator football, and Gator football!!! Did I mention Gator football?!?! (We're really excited about that in the Hurst house).
We've had such an exciting first summer as a family of three, I thought I'd highlight a few activities from the past month.
Addi- The Birthday Princess
One of Grace Louise's best buddies, Addi Fann, turned "1" at the end of July. We enjoyed her pool party princess birthday and were so thankful that she graciously shared her new toys with Grace Louise. It's hard to believe that we too will be planning a first birthday here very soon! (I think Grace Louise has put in for a bouncing turtle like the one she was riding at Addi's party!)

Meeting Renee
I was so excited to finally introduce these two very special girls to each other! I met Renee when she was only in the second grade through the CHAMPS (Collegiates Helping As Mentors in Public Schools) mentoring program at the University of Florida in 2002. I visited Renee every week for the four years I lived in Gainesville and developed a great relationship with her. Now she's going into the 10th grade and is growing into a smart and extremely kind-hearted young lady. During her visit she played Big Sister to Grace Louise (and was a tremendous help, by the way). We did a little school clothes shopping, went for a picnic and swimming at the lake, kayaked, and really enjoyed our time together.

Englewood Beach Trip
We left daddy at home for this one and went to the beach with LaLa for our second summer vacation adventure! This was all about fun in the sun; it was nice to take a break from the hard work of fishing and just enjoy the beach and pool. Don't worry... daddy will have us back out there wettin' a line in no time!

It's kind of like fetch for babies...

And she got it!


Sweet time with mommy. These moments are abundant. Pictures of us together, however, are hard to come by.

Uncle Bubba's Birthday Celebration
Lake Clinch

Somebody is not paying attention to the baby...

My Baby Can Read (but my SD Card Reader can't!)

I was beginning to think that I would have to endure seven plagues of technology failure before I'd ever get back to this blog! (I think I was on #4). Nevertheless, my FIL came to the rescue and now I have a card reader that actually works! As for the first part of the blog post title... yes, what can I say, my daughter is a genius! Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard of the Your Baby Can Read program or seen the infomercial with the three year old reading the Declaration of Independence (or Brown Bear Brown Bear, whatever). And you've probably been pretty skeptical about whether or not it truly works... (I was).

The learning program is pretty basic, teaching babies to memorize sight words, which will ultimately help them learn phonics. Okay, sounds good to me. I'm in. I've been showing the short video to her once a day for a couple of months (though I do miss some days here and there). I also show her the flashcards and books that come with the program.

First, and most importantly, she enjoys it, clapping along, waving, and interacting with the children on the video. Secondly, it works!!! She responds to the word/picture combination for many of the words (mouth, clap, wave, hi, tongue, eyes, nose, dog) and for the first time last week, she actually "read" her first words. I showed her the flashcard with the words Arms Up and she put her arms up in the air!

Though I'm sure Grace Louise will be a great reader, regardless, I'm giving the Your Baby Can Read program two thumbs up for starting kids off early with a love for reading and learning.

Catching up from my technology woes, here are some random pics of the past few weeks.

Learning how to walk with her new push toy!

And already standing on her own! As you can tell, she still doesn't have her sea legs, but is getting more and more confident every time!

This is why crayons are non-toxic!

Right now this is Grace Louise's favorite place to hang out- on the sliding glass door. She walks in and out holding on to the door and gains great satisfaction from conquering the ever so daunting obstacle that is the threshold.

"Sister Golden Hair"... not sure if that is her Indian name or her nun name. Sounds like it could be her hippy name too. You'll have to ask her LaLa.

Grace Louise and two of her Papas! See where she gets those good looks?!
Even though you can't tell by her expression in this picture, riding in Granny DuBose's wheelchair is another one of Grace Louise's favorite things to do. (Maybe she's mad because Lizzi is taking up all the room!)

Pops has a hot date at Norby's!

Yes. Yes. That is my child in the dog kennel. We've got to find her some better role models!