so my sweetheart is 18 months old today! happy half birthday!!

if this wasn't such an adorable age, i would probably just curl up in the fetal position and cry. my baby is growing up too fast! :(

we went with some friends to the new children's garden at the arboretum today, so it was a pretty good way to celebrate her little milestone. we went several months ago to a sneak preview, but at that time no photos were allowed, so this time the cameras were definitely out!

this kid loves being outdoors, and today the weather was glorious. like the kind of weather where you can just wear a tshirt, or sweats, and be comfortable either way. we've been having a cold winter so far, so it was a nice break. jia loves being outside though either way. and i love for her to get the chance to run out some of her energy...outside. :)

i've always loved cold rainy weather, and i'm still definitely a fan, but i must say that having a toddler now has given me a new appreciation for warm sunny days!

at this age jia has really started talking. a few weeks ago it was just like a light went on. for months she's been signing and saying a word here and there, but lately she is really using words to communicate regularly. with her new level of communication it's so precious to see her personality blooming!

on the other hand though the tantrums have definitely begun! good thing though that this age is so stinkin' cute. that bad part though is that sometimes even the tantrums are cute, so it's hard to nip something in the bud when all you want to do is laugh! :P

at this age she's also quickly becoming a daddy's girl.
i knew this was inevitable, but i don't know if i expected it so soon. but while it makes me slightly sad, it also makes me incredibly happy. my husband is such a good father to her, and he's absolutely head over heels. i can't blame jia, because i was definitely a daddy's girl myself. there's just something so special between fathers and daughters, and a girl her has a great daddy can count herself very blessed.

so time is flying, but i can't complain because it must mean i'm having a ton of fun!
i love this girl, she has been more of a blessing to us than i ever even imagined.

i hate that i haven't been keeping up with this blog very well! a big part of the reason i do this is to remember all the sweet little milestones with our little girl and our family...and at 17 months, there are so many cute new things happening every day that i never want to forget!

anyways, no point in regrets. i'll try to do better. yada yada.

even though this was technically jia's second thanksgiving, we were actually in india last year for her first one and didn't celebrate it, so this year we kind of celebrated it like her first, and we had a blast!

we were doing our thanksgiving meal for dinner instead of lunch this year, so we started off the day with a little family breakfast at IHOP...still in our jammies.

we actually hosted the meal this year, so it was nice to have a house of of family. there's nothing like family, food, and a fire in the fireplace.

oh, and of course football. jia's great grandma rudy showed her what it was all about. jia absolutely loved having so many people who love her all in one place! plus she got to hang out with her new little cousin coleman!

it turns out that when you host you end up with tons of left overs! good thing the food was yummy...and i think it's safe to say that jia approved!

her favorite dish was the baked mac and cheese. it's a weird thanksgiving staple in our family that everyone goes crazy over, so we know she's definitely related to us!

we really have so much to be thankful for this year. God is good.

where have the past couple of months gone??

my goodness...this is pretty much the epitome of my experience as a mom so's like i blink and months fly by!

jia will be 15 months next week, and with each new age i feel like i've found my new favorite.

it thrills me to see her personality blooming.

at this age her favorite activities are running, collecting sticks, feeding and petting the dogs, reading books, and jumping!

she LOVES to be outside! even in the summer heat! she'll play in her sandbox and water table until she's covered in sweat.

she babbles constantly! most of it doesn't make sense, but she uses all kinds of intonations like it is supposed to! haha. she knows and says a few words, and will repeat words we say some times, but she uses signs much more than words to communicate at this point. she definitely understands more and more of what we say even though she doesn't communicate with words much herself.

she now has 12 teeth...and it looks like some more on the way! getting those molars was no fun, particularly the last one, so hopefully the next batch of teeth will cause less drama! she's got a good mouthful now to enjoy her food with!

oh, and now she's a snuggler! as an infant she was never super snuggly, but now she comes up and wants to snuggle, and we love it! there's nothing more thrilling than baby cuddles and kisses! for both me and my husband she is the highlight of each day!

i really need to try to keep up with this better since she changes so much all the time. it's amazing how many little things i'm already forgetting, so i'm writing it here to remember...and so that maybe some day jia can read it too! ;)

i was initially conflicted about whether or not to even have a first birthday party for my daughter. i mean, of course we would have celebrated, but i didn't know if a party was something she would even be able to enjoy at such a young age.

but then as her first birthday got closer, i started getting bummed about how quickly my baby girl was growing up, and that's when i decided a party was definitely in order! if nothing else, i needed i diversion!

i decided to go for a hot air balloon themed party. the reasoning was that while i was in labor with jia and just about to start pushing, there was a hot air balloon floating outside my hospital window! despite everything that was going on for me in that moment, that made a special impact, and to me is a cool memory of her birth!

so i started putting together a party for jia and her batch of baby friends from church, and drew on some ideas from pinterest. if you look up anything about baby parties on pinterest, expect to be bombarded, and for things to quickly spiral out of control! it's like i couldn't help myself...pinterest projects turned into my therapy. although i must say, not all the ideas were stolen from pinterest...i did have a couple original ones in the mix!

i made a hot air balloon fruit basket, with rainbow fruit skewers, and photo "clouds." basically i used the walgreens app to print the instagram pics i've been taking like crazy for the past year, and i taped them to the end of balloons. it was a sweet little photo gallery.

we just did all different types of sandwiches and snacks foods...and my husband did a few kabobs as well. i wanted to stick to mostly finger foods for the kiddos...and plus it was a backyard picnic so it just worked!

the picnic part didn't quite turn out like my vision though. we were supposed to have a couple balloons on each picnic blanket, tied to lanterns with little citronella candles in them to keep the mosquitos away...but alas, the wind blew us all away. we had to resort to weighing the blankets down with random stuff...but at least the wind also kept the mosquitos at bay...and you can't complain about a breeze when it's 100 degrees! and i totally recommend a picnic for little makes the clean up so much easier!

we did cupcakes for everyone instead of regular cake...and since a lot of the guests were under 1 year old, i actually made healthy(ish) chocolate zucchini cupcakes so we wouldn't feel as bad about the kiddos chowing down! and contrary to how it sounds, they are delicious! for party favors i had goodies in some little bags with a pinwheel and balloon on kind of looks like little hot air balloons, right? maybe?

jia's smash cake was really just 5 and 1/2 cupcakes put together into the shape of a cloud, and iced over! on top i put an actual pic of the hot air balloon that we took while in labor. it's kind of like it's floating on a cloud, right? as with all smash cakes...cuteness in sued.

one of my favorite party pinspirations was a little hot air balloon photo area. i mean, does it get any cuter?

please! the cuteness!!

but of course the babies would have been just as happy if the whole party had only consisted of the little splash pool. (water is a necessity at all texas summer parties!)

at the end of the day, we all had fun i think. jia was too wiped out at the end to really appreciate gift opening, but the next morning was pretty much like christmas for her!

so even though the fullness of it all was a bit lost on jia, it was still fun to celebrate our little girl, and reminisce a year that all too quickly flew by! and i gotta say...kid parties are fun!

**a big thanks to Akshay Harshe Prasad Photography for the pics!**

so my baby is now a one year old.
i know. it's crazy hard to believe. please don't tell me about how they grow up so quickly.

i'll be honest...this was a little bit hard for me. i'm happy and sad to see my little baby grow up all at the same time! it's very confusing folks! :P

anyways, in order to give her a fun first bday, as well as divert myself from the danger of getting into a sad funk of wondering how the days passed so quickly and where my baby went, we took a family outing to the zoo!

this was jia's first trip to the zoo, and at just 12 months old, i wasn't too sure if she would be that interested honestly. but she's fascinated with dogs, so we hoped she'd get a kick out of other animals as well...and she did! it would be safe to say that she LOVED the zoo!

it was mostly the big animals that fascinated her...particularly the lions and giraffes. i wish the elephants had been closer for her to see, because i'm sure she would have loved those too.

there was also a petting zoo, where she made friends with some goats and horses. she's definitely not afraid of animals! good thing those goats are pretty chilled out!

but perhaps her favorite thing of all was the little water play area that the zoo had for kids. she's been pulling up and walking around with support for several months now, but watching all the big kids running around in the play area inspired her to take her first independent steps!
she's been taking a few more each day since then, so we'll be in trouble soon!

so at the end of the day, we all had a blast. my husband and i just enjoyed watching her have so much fun. it's exciting now that she is enjoying different experiences more. i hate seeing my baby disappear, but each new age brings so much excitement and joy of it's own!

one year old...or 12 months...however you want to say it, i can't believe that it's here!

hopefully i'll crank out a few posts this week about jia's birthday fun, but for now i'm just going to tackle my last monthly baby photo and update. maybe in the future i might do some every 6 months or so, but i probably won't try to replicate the whole laying down on a blanket in a white onesie bit.

do you have any idea how hard it is to get a 12 month old to lay down on their back and be still? the past few months it's gotten increasingly challenging! here's a few out takes from this month...

actually they're kind of all out takes this time...but alas, she was done, so i just picked the one i liked best.

so as you can tell, this month she's been all over the place! she would run around everywhere with her little walker, even though we could tell she would be able to walk if she tried. she also got pretty skilled at running around on her knees, which was kind of cute! but then on her actual birthday she took her first independent steps! since then its been a few more each day.

she's in the 80% for height and weight, so she's trimming down a bit! lol. must be all that exercise!

baby girl LOVES to be outside, but unfortunately she is also a mosquito magnet! must be because she's so sweet!

these days she is learning new things so's fun watching the little light bulb go off in her head! she is getting better at using a couple signs, and she's learning how to actually play with some of her toys the way they're meant to be played with! haha.

she is full of non-stop chatter these days...once she has command of more words we'll be in trouble!

getting to know her and watch her grow this year has been one of the highlights of my life! 

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