Wednesday, May 28, 2008

GA Aquarium with Uncle Stephen & Aunt Alicia

Congratulations to Uncle Stephen on his acceptance to UT Southwestern this fall! We look forward to being only five hours away by car -- after we move to Little Rock and they move to Dallas. We are glad we were able to show Stephen and Alicia around Atlanta before we move, and of course their visit included the Georgia Aquarium.

Annabelle and Melissa

In front of the new alligator exhibit

Looking through the bubble to see river fish

Stephen's favorite: the sawfish

Alicia & Stephen pose next to a Black Velvet Ray

Stephen alongside a Leopard Ray

Annabelle towers above the Garden Eels

Tropical Reflections

Standing (with support)

Bella and Daddy

Ooh! Colorful, swimming fish!

Happy in my stroller

Annabelle and Melissa with the Sea Turtle

Watching the Sea Turtle

Ocean Voyager

Shark & ray touch pool

Goofy guys

Gabi certainly enjoyed the extra attention from her aunt & uncle!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Uncle Stephen and Aunt Alicia visit

Uncle Stephen and Aunt Alicia came to Atlanta the last weekend in April. We certainly enjoyed having them here! They were excellent guests and very helpful not only in entertaining the girls but also in keeping the house clean -- and I was lucky to have their help when a real estate agent arrived unannounced to show our house. (Fortunately she came 30 minutes before her client, so we had time to prepare the house and get out the door.)

Gabi with Uncle Stephen and Aunt Alicia

Gabi riding on Uncle Stephen's shoulders

Uncle Stephen borrowed Gabi's stethoscope to listen to Annabelle

Bella at the window

Pictures from the aquarium will be in the next post.

Mandarin Fish

World of Coca-Cola
We took Stephen and Alicia to the World of Coke before they had to head back to Texas. We saw most everything except the collection of radio and television advertisements, and we tasted plenty. I miss the 1980s jingle for Coca-Cola Classic upon its return after the failure of New Coke. ("As long as there is ___, there'll always be ______.") My brother Scott and I actually taped it off the radio at one point.

Entryway to the World of Coke

Annabelle meets the Coca-Cola polar bear

Alicia and Gabi before the 3D video

The 3D video was a complete brainwashing with a very odd plot (starting with the talking tastebuds during the intro before you enter the theater). The moving seats and sudden splashes of water really scared Gabi, so she spent most of the movie cuddled in Uncle Stephen's lap with him reassuring her that it was "just like a really bumpy car ride." She refused to wear her 3D glasses anymore and cried at every abrupt movement. After the show, she jumped out of Stephen's lap and happily declared, "That was fun!" We all laughed.

Gabi created this with Daddy in the Coke Art room

Mommy and Bella in the Coke-as-Artwork room

A wall of Coca-Cola Santas

"Coke" = Coca-Cola
Filipino ad, November 1945

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

G is for Gabi

The other day while I was feeding Bella, Gabi was coloring. She put her hand on the paper and traced it beautifully. Later she turned the paper 180 degrees and traced it again, on top of the first, so it is a bit hard to see what a fantastic job she did. (She calls these hand tracings "handprints.")

Then she amazed me even more by writing the letter I and showing it to me. Her second letter I had the crossbars a bit off, but still a very good job. After that, she announced that she was going to write the letter E, and she did. I praised her with enough excitement that she then wrote two more Es and also a G and an O. I had no idea that she could write letters on her own, as I'd only seen her trace letters. Can you find all that in the picture below?

Gabi's letters and "handprints"

FYI, in learning to trace hands, the first step (at least for Gabi) was drawing a line between each finger -- just one line (separating the fingers), not two lines (one along the side of each finger). Then she added a line across the base of the palm after she removed the traced hand from the paper (since you can't trace that part because your wrist/arm is in the way). Gabi had a tendency to miss the curve at the fingertips. Note that these "handprints" are full hands, though! In addition, Gabi has been "writing words" by drawing a bunch of short vertical lines. You can see some examples in this picture.

Another day, Gabi decided to write her name. She wrote a G in the corner, and then an A next to it. Her B is really more of a backwards D. When we were tracing letters, she wanted to trace the outline of the B (which is kind of like a D) and then go back and add the middle line as an after-thought. She wrote an I and then used a different color to "dot" the i. It might not be legible just yet, but for a three-year-old only two-and-a-half months after her third birthday, it is excellent. (I think I ought to have rotated this picture 180 degrees -- here the A is upside-down and the word is spelled in reverse, but I think the G is actually the letter she wrote upside-down and she spelled it in order.)


I highly recommend clicking on the above images to see the larger versions.

Gabi has been able to spell her own name and give us the first letter of other words for awhile. Now she is very interested in spelling more words, especially names. She sounded out and spelled "Bella" and "Mommy" and "Daddy" (with a little help -- when to double the letters, a clue that Mommy doesn't end in an i like Gabi, and a sound-alteration for the a in Bella). Gabi is so smart!

I did want to add that my parents are awesome. Mom volunteered to drive five hours to Little Rock sometime during the first two weeks of June to paint our new house for us before we replace the carpet, and Dad offered to spend his 4th of July helping me replace the kitchen sink.

Braves Baseball for Daddy's Birthday

Daddy was working night shift his entire birthday week, so we celebrated a week late. We took the girls to a Braves game, and Gabi and Daddy did the Tomahawk Chop together.

Annabelle and Daddy outside Turner Field

Annabelle chants the Tomahawk Chop "Aaaah-ah Ah-ah-ah..."

Gabi really does enjoy the Braves games
(just not turning around to take a picture)

Annabelle enjoys being outside and watching all the people

Girls running the bases in the kids' area

Daddy chasing Gabi to first base

After the game -- Braves won!

Annabelle likes to find herself in mirrors almost as much as she enjoys playing with her toes. She also is at the stage where she puts everything in her mouth.

Mirror kisses?

Annabelle really wants to stand up and walk. If she's sitting, she'll pull up and try to let go. If you try to put her down, she locks her legs straight so that you are just holding her in standing position instead of sitting. The day she turned eight months was the first time I saw her pull up in her crib (but not the first time she pulled-up -- she's been using me as a crutch before). We've had to lower her crib mattress for safety.

Bella's first "pull-up" in the crib
(she just sat back down before I got the camera)

One thing Bella doesn't do yet is babble. She coos (vowel sounds: "aaah" and "oooh"), and she does make one consonant ("mmmm"), but she doesn't yet put them together to make babbling sounds ("baba" or "dada"). Maybe that's because Big Sister is always talking for her, so she doesn't need speech. Maybe it's because she has had so much fluid in her ears. We'll have to ask Dr. Tim about it at her nine-month check-up next week. She's probably fine, but you know us Mommies have to make sure. Bella does communicate with lots of arm flapping, though; sometimes I almost expect she'll lift herself off the ground and fly.

Gabi loves her butterfly room

I'll probably paint Gabi's new room a lighter lavender and then paint some butterflies on unframed canvas to hang on the wall rather than painting a border again. I think it will look more modern and also make the house easier to sell. (No, I will NOT paint over my butterfly border in this house just because we are selling it!) I hope she likes her new room as much as she likes her room here.

Happy birthday, Daddy!