Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Busch Gardens!

We took Abigail to Busch Gardens for the first time yesterday. Matt and I haven't been in NINE years - neither of us can really believe it's be nine years, but it has.

Abigail had fun with her cousins (Mason, Melina, Marisa & Alyssa), Great-Aunt Sharon and friends (Lilly, Rachel & Sheila - Aunt Sharon's family). The weather was quite chilly by Tampa standards but there were still a ton of people enjoying time 'outdoors' at BG.

While there Abigail rode the carousel and she didn't scream like she did a few months back at the zoo! Abigail pet some birds, and even rode on two other "big-kid" rides. She also watch Tigers roam...both real Tigers and also several Auburn Tigers, who are in town to play in the Outback Bowl. Matt was all giddy hoping to ride a few roller-coasters with some of his fave players or even Coach Chizik, but they seemed to be dispersed all throughout the park and ended up riding only one roller-coaster anyways. Oh well, we now have an annual pass, so we will make a few more visits to the park in 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Christmas Catchup!

The long holiday vacation continues for us as we now work into our last week in Tampa, as well as the final days of 2009. First off, let me just say how nice it has been to have some time off and distance myself from my normal hectic schedule. As Jill has explained in multiple postings, I have been putting in some long hours lately for a consulting project at work. It's a good gig to have, and should really help my future career, which makes it hard to complain. However, I can't say that I have been pleased with spending less time at home and being away from Jill & Abigail as much. That's why this vacation away from home has been so nice. I'm getting to spend time with my girls and the 3 of us are spending a lot of time with family here in Tampa during Christmas. If anything, I'd say it's giving us time to recharge our batteries before 2010 arrives. And we've still got plenty planned for our remaining time here, but before I go into that I figured I would catch everyone up on how the last several days have went.

Christmas Day - 12/25
Abigail's 2nd Christmas was an absolute blast. We know she doesn't understand Santa or even Christmas morning yet, but there was no mistaken her smiles when she was opening up her gifts. And so we got up early Friday morning and made our way to the living room so Abigail could see what Santa had brought her. Since she's walking, Jill put her down outside of the couches and from there she walked in to find a shiny new slide. With pointing finger extended, she let all us know there was a new toy there. It wasn't long before she was climbing all over it, and with the help of her Nano, she was sliding down over and over again. Later after Abuela and Wesley arrived, we all swapped gifts with Abigail definitely getting some great new toys and clothes. Even Toby enjoyed a few gifts including a new dog snuggie.

A little while later we headed over to Grandma & Grandpa's for the big family Christmas where we first ate lunch and later opened more gifts. This time Abby got to open gifts with her cousins, Mason & Melina. With those 3 at the center of the living room, we all watched their faces light up as every box was unwrapped. Of course, Abigail racked up again with gifts including more clothes, a toy camera (to take photos like daddy), and a Radio Flyer rocket car. We received an ornament for our tree, a wine making kit and a couple restaurant gift cards. Matt received what's become the traditional stocking stuffer items of meat (beef jerky & a huge pepperoni stick). And might I also add, I got two vintage toy wooden airplanes. I honestly don't remember when the last time I played with one of these, but on Christmas afternoon all the 'boys' opened their planes and went outside to throw them around.

RJ & Alana's Engagement Party - 12/26
Back in October, our good friend RJ finally popped the question to his girlfriend, Alana....obviously she said yes since we helped host an Engagement honoring the two of them. It was a small group of RJ's family and close friends. We enjoyed great conversation, delicious food and lots of wine! The wedding is set for next December. (sorry no photos...Matt took the night off)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Our animated family Christmas card. Enjoy!

Meeting Santa

I took Abigail to sit with Santa on Thursday, December 17th. We have a little Santa doll and she now relates HOHO with Santa. She watched all the other children sit with Santa but when it was Abigail's turn, she was not happy. I think she was more upset that mommy walked away than actually upset or scared at Santa. Honestly, Santa seemed more bothered and scared of the crying baby than Abigail of Santa.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


(Think Frank Caliendo's Bush impersonation of PAUSE.)

Where is the pause button? Okay, if there isn't a pause button (or even a slow-mo), can I settle for no more fast forward? Matt and I always seem to stay busy, I usually have a running calendar of events and upcoming travel plans. This has never changed, even back when we dated there was always a ton of stuff happening. While this year has had it's share of family gatherings, weddings, births and travel, I think 2009 has managed to disappear quicker than the rest. Abigail has been such an amazing blessing to us. We have loved every second, every stinky diaper and I cannot believe how fast she has been growing and changing before our eyes each and every day.

November was a whirlwind of heres and theres and December is almost over. It's been a very busy month... (Sorry for the lack of blogging.)

Matt + Work = Overtime
Since November, Matt's been putting a lot of hours working on a huge project for a huge client. While it's a great opportunity (and possible portfolio piece), and Matt seems to enjoy the project, the long hours at work means less time at home with his girls.

The First First Birthday Party
Pictures were posted from Abigail's home party and everyone had a great time. This party was also our first large gathering of this sorts at our house. We still are amazed (and some were disappointed) at how docile Abigail treated her smash cake. Abigail received lots of new toys, puzzles and books, our house is slowly becoming a toy store. She is a huge fan of balloons and can actually say 'balloon' now, in her own motorboat sounding way.

The night before Abigail's Atlanta pary, PawPaw Crenshaw was admitted to the hospital and, as most of you are aware, has since had open heart surgery (on the 14th). It's been a crazy time for all the family, not to mention an insane roller-coaster ride of emotions full of highs and lows. Currently, PawPaw is still in ICU and we are patiently waiting the healing process. The cardiac doctor is optimistic of his recovery. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Early Christmas
Even though PawPaw was/is in the hospital, we were still able to have early Christmas family gathering with both the Barnes and Crenshaw families. It gets more and more difficult to get everyone's schedule align each year as 'the kids' (Matt's generation) get older but it's great that we are still able to get everyone (or most of everyone) together when we celebrate holidays.

The Second First Birthday Party

The second party was more of an adult gathering, with minimal children. (Some people need to hurry up and create some more friends and cousins for Abigail - you know who you are.) Abigail was even more docile with her smash cake, barely touched this one at all! She played and played with everyone in the bouncer and had fun in her new swing from Nina and Nano.

Hello Toddler
Slowly over this last month, we're seeing less and less baby and more toddler. While she is so much fun and seems to surprise us with something new each day, I almost don't want to think too much about it because as a first time mom I am still in a bit of denial. Not only has Abigail become a walker, but she can reverse and turn and almost run as if she didn't just learn this new talent barely a little over a month ago. Abigail signs 'more', 'hungry' and 'all done' with ease and now that her two top teeth are dropping fast her menu is expanding with more textured foods. Just last night, I saw that her two top incisors have broken through the gums. If she sees someone eating she'll let you know she wants some by signing 'more' or 'hungry', she's becoming a little moocher. Upon seeing a Santa decoration she will say HoHo (only two, not three HoHoHo's). My current favorite is her spontaneous kisses, because she wont always give a kiss when we request one. She can blow kisses and can do an Indian chant. She will try to put her clothes on by herself and can say shoes, but it's more of a 'shush' or 'shosh' sound. I could go on and on...we are so in love with our little girl.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fun in the Waiting Room

Abigail and I drove down to LaGrange today because Matt's grandfather is in the hospital. We bought PawPaw Crenshaw a Feel Better balloon, and Abigail had lots of fun with the balloon. I'm glad she could bring out some smiles. Please add PawPaw Crenshaw to your prayer list, he'll be having heart surgery soon. We'll try to add more information as we know it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Post Birthday Party Fun

After all the festivities on Saturday, we decided to keep Sunday nice and mellow. We had a wonderful lazy day and played in the bouncer with Abigail.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Abigail's First First Birthday Party

Abigail had a wonderful first First Birthday Party! Lots of friends and family came to celebrate with us. She was very dainty with her cake, enjoyed opening presents and loved walking around with the balloons.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Getting Ready for Christmas

We'll be spending Christmas in Tampa this year, and will be gone about half the month. For that reason, we have minimal decorations this year. (And because we have a walking, almost one year old!) Our tree is up and lit, but no ornaments - didn't want Abigail to be tempted with the pretty ornaments. The singing Santa is out (he sings Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and shakes his hips) as is the reindeer that sings Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer. Abigail enjoys the music and we've been teaching her to say "Ho Ho Ho."

Monday, November 30, 2009

So Tired!

Daddy has been working on a big project for work, late nights and early mornings. Abigail is working on a forth tooth.

Remember when...
January 27th

May 6th

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We Got a Walker!

It's completely official, Abigail's walking. She hasn't even been 'practicing' for an entire week, it's hard to believe. What's even crazier, she's not always walking - when she gets excited, it looks like she's almost running. Today we've even seen her make a few U-Turns. It's easy to see that she's very proud of herself.

Enjoy the videos, there's over 12 minutes...so I hope that will get us out of the dog house for not posting since last Thursday. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Step, Two Step, Three Step, Four

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Trick

Abigail just figured out how to take apart the tray of her highchair.

Monday, November 9, 2009

a Tiger Homecoming

We stretched this past weekend to a full 3-days and two of those were spent mostly in Auburn since it was homecoming weekend. On Friday I attended Design Interaction, a student-alumni one-day event, which is hosted by the Industrial Design Dept. It was great catching up with some of my professors and meeting some of future Industrial Designers.

On Saturday, we headed back to Auburn for the homecoming football game against the poor little Palladins of Furman. As typical for homecoming games, Auburn picks a weakling that is willing to come down to the Plains and take a brutal whipping in exchange for a big paycheck. This was our 2nd game of the season and Abigail's attendence went much as it did earlier in the year when we traveled down for a night game...short. This time it wasn't rain that had her running for cover with Momma. Instead we were battling a hotter than expected sunny afternoon that had our little one all flushed. To prevent any sunburn, Jill took Abby into the shade while I stayed in the stands with Emily and Z, who had joined us at the game. We did eventually leave (early in the 3rd qtr), but Auburn finished off Furman with a convincing 62-31 victory.

After the game we headed to Buffalo Connection for dinner with Emily & Z and some of their friends, but we also got a to spend some time with one of my former Griffin coworkers and her husband. On Friday I had found out that her hubby had decided to go back to school for Industrial Design, so we got in touch and actually got to see them as well. And so I guess you could say that between getting back to our old campus and seeing former professors and old friends, this definitely was a homecoming weekend on the Plains for us. :-)

By the way, we attempted to take a photo of Abigail that was similar to the one we had taken during the Spring A-Day game 6 months ago. It's not exactly the same, but it's fun to compare the two photos of our baby girl @ Jordan-Hare stadium.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fun with Nana & Great Myra

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Sunday was a beautiful fall day, so we packed up the kids and headed to Marietta Square to take some family photos. This video is a compilation of a few of the images we took that fun afternoon. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Fun

Last Monday when we got back into town my Mom helped put out our Halloween decorations. Abigail and Mommy got a little silly with wigs and Daddy pretended Abigail was a witch flying on a broom.Abigail dressed up with her Cowgirl Hat and Boots, I cannot believe they almost do not fit!
Friday, we went to a Halloween Party with my friends here in Marietta. We dressed up as Fred, Wilma and Pebbles - it was a lot of fun! I was very shocked/bummed that none of the kids actually knew who we were dressed as.On Saturday, we hung out with The Cooks so the girls (and parents) could play together.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tampa Finale: Mason's Birthday!

Sunday, October 25th: Mason's 4th Birthday Party at Pump It Up

I was not the one everyone was waiting for to take the picture, but I don't have a pic of everyone smiling - the party wasn't lame as this picture might suggest, see for yourself with these videos!

Later that evening we went back to Mikey & Marisa's house for a family dinner to continue celebrating Mason's birthday! Melina and Abigail had lots of fun. Melina sang to Abigail and they played with Melina's princess kitchen.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Being Silly with Daddy

Video from October 28th

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Get Up, Stand Up

The title of this particular blog is titled appropriately since Little Miss Abby has entered the "stand-on-her-own" stage. She has the balancing act down pat and can even do a little dance or clap while standing now. Of course, not to far away is probably her taking full steps and walking. Right now she's only able to take a small single step, but we have a feeling it won't be long before she really gets going. And with Halloween this weekend, could Abby be ready to show off her walking before trick-or-treating?? I guess we'll just have to find out. :-)

In the meantime, here are some recent photos and video:

Daddy coaching those first steps:

10-28-09 Balancing and One Step from Abigail Barnes on Vimeo.

Abby trying to climb around her chairs, and a little dancing at the end:

10-28-09 The Climber from Jill Allison on Vimeo.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Much Fun in Tampa

Monday, October 19th: We had lunch with Janet! Janet, how is it when we actually do see each other I never remember to get a picture of you and Abigail together!?!

Tuesday, October 20th: Hanging out with Ty & Ava

Wednesday, October 21st: We ventured out to Wiregrass, a new shopping area in Wesley Chapel. It's nice and was much needed in that area of town...and we were able to visit with Vanessa (a friend of the family) and I didn't get a picture of Abigail and Vanessa either. (I'll have to work on my photo documenting during future visits.)

Thursday, October 22nd: Lunch at Grandma & Grandpa's House

Friday, October 23rd: Playing at Nina & Nano's House

Saturday, October 24th: Mason's Soccer Game and Keel & Curry Winery

Mason as the goalie.

Quick pic after the game.

Melina, the sleeping fairy.

With Abuela, Teddy and Uncle Buddy:

**Reminder: Abigail's middle name is the password for the videos.**

Heinz & Hunts

...you've guessed it, more catching up!...

From October 1st, Abigail has learned that if an object can slide she doesn't actually have to crawl with her hands. We've seen her do this maneuver using books, toys, clothes she's not wearing...she isn't picky as long as it slides!

From October 2nd, bedtime stories while daddy was in NY/CT.

From October 7th, eating her first string cheese.

From October 9th, more sharing with Toby.

From October 10th, our little Auburn fan. As you can very well see, it's getting more difficult to take photos because she doesn't ever want to stop!

From October 12th, taking a snooze in the carseat. Sometimes she looks like she poses in her sleep. (And yes, in case you were wondering, the car was stopped while I took this picture.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Downtown Disney & Dragon Boat Racing

We drove down on Thursday, October 15th so we could drive over to Orlando the following day in preparation for my dad's Dragon Boat Race. We weren't going into the parks, but we did have lots of fun at Downtown Disney!

My favorite picture of the entire weekend:

We spent some time with my friend Celia, we are friends from Auburn and AXiD days. Celia moved to Orlando over 2yrs ago to work for a Disney resort and now is working at Epcot! I haven't seen Celia since her farewell dinner in Birmingham with Emily & Sarah. She doesn't get a lot of vacation days, and we moved to Nashville shortly after she moved to Orlando, so it was nice to finally see her again. This was obviously her first time meeting Abigail and Celia just loved her, it's hard not to love her!

My dad is on the TECO Dragon Boat team, they have two teams actually. Dad's boat (TECO Red) did well and even made it into the semi-final race. Here's a video of TECO Black winning one of the earlier heats. Of the three boats in the video, the TECO Black boat is the one on the right.

Unfortunately, the weather was super windy and the person steering had a hard time fighting the current and they didn't make it to the finals. Overall, they had some great heat times for their team. (My dad is wearing the black hat!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Squirming Sleeping Baby

Abigail is currently napping on the floor in my parent's bedroom since the A/C isn't working upstairs where her crib is located. Nina placed her in between two pillows so she wouldn't be able to squirm off the blanket. Abigail's squirming prevailed because she's been laying on one of the pillows and seems to be thoroughly enjoying her nap!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Abby Warhol

Hello everyone. Just wanted to post this real quick. Tio Wesley had fun playing with Abigail and used his iPhone's Photoshop mobile app to create this masterpiece of Abigail. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Abigail has been saying 'ut-oh' sooo much recently. Matt had been saying it a lot with her, and my dad started saying it this week too...and it's definitely caught on!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Here, There & Everywhere

It's update time, folks. Sorry for for the lapse in blogging, but as some of you know, we've been insanely busy lately. My travels ended last week when I got back from Vegas, only to have Jill, Abby & Toby pack up and head to Tampa this past Wednesday. As of right now, Abby & Jill are in Orlando with Nina & Nano (Anita & Wayne) for Nano's dragon boat racing competition today. Here's some photos Jill sent:

I'm sure Jill, Anita & Wayne have taken plenty of photos while in Orlando, so I'll let Jill share those in a later blog. As for me, I finished out the week at work and am now spending a very rainy and chilly weekend at home...well, now. I actually have been out of town last night and most of today, but I promise to stay home tomorrow.

So, back to yesterday. On Thursday night I got a call from my cousin Connie who let me know that my cousin, Sarah Beth, would be in town on Friday night and that I should try to come down. Without going into a long drawn out story, let me just say that I haven't seen Sarah Beth in over 10 years (along with her brother and parents). She's the youngest first cousin on my Dad's side of the family, and was passing through on her way back home to Ft. Myers, FL. I didn't want to miss this opportunity, and so I left work and headed south for LaGrange. I picked up Valerie and Gavin along the way and we made it in time to have the reunion 10 years in the making. It was great seeing her, although brief as it was, and hopefully it will lead to all of us reuniting again someday soon. Here's a few photos from last night. (Sarah Beth is blonde and wearing the grey hoodie sweate shirt):

As for today, well I got up around 6am and left the house to meet up with my buddy, Ying. Our plan was to go to the Euro Auto Festival @ the BMW plant in Greer, SC. And so we made the 2.5 hr drive north on I-85 and made it to the festival. Of course, we were greeted with interment rain and a lot of chilly air, but we still had a great time walking around seeing some incredible automotive works of art. One of the other things we did, or actually Ying did was take part in the Autocross. What's that? Well, basically they setup a road course in a parking lot and allowed people to do time trial laps. While Ying did his first two laps, I stood off the course to get some action photos. On the last lap, I actually jumped into the passenger seat of the BMW 1-series with him to enjoy the ride. It was a quick 24 seconds, but still a lot of fun.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Traveling Daddy

Well, here I sit @ McCarran International Airport winding down after a 3-day trip to Pack Expo in Las Vegas, and I can't help but shake my head in amazement at how crazy my schedule has become lately. Since the middle of September, my job has moved into a hyper-speed mode with a blitz of things coming at me from all directions. I've joined our design consulting group to work with non-Philips companies, while also maintaining a growing list of projects within Philips as well. I've attended one sustainble packaging forum in Atlanta, sat down with two big name ATL-based companies (both household names) to pitch consulting opportunities, and traveled to NY/CT and Vegas during this time.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur, but the last week has really been a doozy. It began last Wednesday as we had clients in our office for one final sit down before they made a decision between us and another design firm for a big consulting project. Later that afternoon, Jill & Abby stopped by the office to send me off as I headed to the airport to catch my night flight to NY. I had that 2-day workshop at our Philips office in Stamford, which turned out to be so much more, especially since I was meeting with some big decision makers about issues that were beyond packaging. On Friday while sitting in an afternoon meeting I got a call from our consulting design director in ATL, who gave me the incredible news that we had won the consulting bid that we had put weeks of hard work into. With that news came the plans to go to Vegas to attend the huge packaging exposition better known as Pack Expo in Vegas. I already knew that if we won, I would be going with the reps of that company, so it wasn't a complete out of the blue change of plans, but it still was a crazy deal. Later that Friday evening I caught a flight back home for what would be a two-day weekend home with Abby & Jill (more on the weekend below). So, after 3 days in Vegas attending the show, I'm now sitting here at the airport awaiting my 9:50pm flight back home again.

One thing I've found out after being out here is that A) I really miss my girls back home, and B) I am officially an old fogie who wants to complain about a bad hip and needing more sleep...even though I'm in Vegas, baby!!! Yeah, being here on business and not having the family with me makes this place seem almost...um...boring? Anyways, Jill and Abby have been troopers throughout this and know that all of this should hopefully lead to bigger and better things later on. When you consider where my job status stood just a few months and even weeks ago, this is all welcomed change. This consulting project in particular has now locked me into a project at basically 100% from now through March. That's some much welcomed job security. And now that I'm a wanted man again I really look forward to making the most of the opportunities that have been given to me.

Alright, so enough about the job. This past weekend was a short one due to all my traveling, but we did manage to get out and about a little bit while I was home. On Saturday (10/3), we visited the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to see the "Scarecrows in the Gardens." It was fun seeing all the different scarecrows different businesses and organizations had setup on the premises. Abby was a little puzzled at times, but I think she had fun overall, and most importantly we got some photos of her with pumpkins. Speaking of photos, here are a few we shot that day...

As if Saturdays adventure to the Gardens wasn't enough, we decided to visit the Atlanta Zoo on Sunday afternoon. With camera in hand, we walked around and showed Abby all the fun animals that we had missed on our last visit on that hot summer day.

And so that's what has been going on with us lately. Before I end, let me just say how thankful I am to have such caring family and friends out there. All of your thoughts and prayers over the last several months has been felt and I just can't even begin to say how appreciative I or Jill & Abby are. Life is a roller coaster ride with plenty of ups and downs, but having support especially when you're down is such a blessing. Best wishes for a great Thursday and Friday, and then a fun and relaxing weekend!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Abigail's First Auburn Game

Saturday we drove down to The Plains to enjoy some Auburn football, compliments of Emily & Mike Zieman - THANK YOU!!!

It's been 2 or 3 years since Matt & I attended a game in Auburn. (Matt attended the AU-Vandy game last year, but it's a bit of a sore subject.) It was a bit wild to see how not only the campus has changed, but the entire city itself! Matt has a great old man voice when discussing "when we attended Auburn", it kept me laughing. We drove around town and were able to meet up with some old friends before the game.

The weather was very rainy but we managed to stay mostly dry. There was a crazy downpour before the game, which caused the game to be delayed 30mins. We very much enjoyed the pre-game happenings, Abigail enjoyed looking at everything going on around her.

She used up all of her energy before the game and passed out sometime between the National Anthem and Waaaaaaaar Eagle! kick-off! The rain started again right at kick-off too, so Abigail and I headed to the concession area to watch the game in a dry area. It was very loud, even under the stands! Abigail took a nice long nap throughout the first quarter. The weather continued to stay yucky the entire first half so we decided to leave at half-time since the rain stopped. We watched the rest of the game at The Buffalo Connection and were happy for another Auburn victory. Overall, it was a great trip to The Plains and we are looking forward to doing it again for Auburn Homecoming.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Abs & Tobs

I must be honest, I really was a bit concerned with how Toby would handle not being the only child. He was bumped aside by a tiny thing that cries at night, his stress led him to create a new lick wound. As Abigail has grown bigger and become mobile, I became more concerned - because well, he was never fond of children. His 'protective' nature to warn me when the mailman is delivering, when a neighbor walks by or heaven forbid he needs to tell me about the squirrel in the front tree is all fine and dandy, unless it's when Abigail is napping. But with Abigail, he's funny! He'll let us know when she's getting too close to his couch, she likes to pull up on the ottoman. It's not the same protective tone, as with the mailman or squirrels, it's a playful tone. Toby has started to want to play with her! He's has a playful bark (which sometimes startles her) and I have to tell him she's not big enough to play with him yet. I will play with him instead, but he'll go back to her. He has stolen objects from her (a pacifier for example) and gallops off with it!

I've mentioned previously how Toby is thoroughly enjoying Abigail eating, since she shares her food with him. I'm transitioning Abigail from the Puffs to Cheerios now that she's 'chewing' better. Toby likes the Cheerios much better than the Puffs. Abigail giggles each time Toby licks her hand, unfortunately she wont always open her hand for him to get the Cheerio and in this scenario she giggles too.

Beets, they were for dinner.

Here are two videos from last week, we used up all our Vimeo.com memory last week so we're a little tardy in posting these.