Tuesday, July 31, 2007


We've been so busy lately that I haven't had the chance to post very much. For the past three weeks, I taught a bunch of gifted students science for a special summer program. I really enjoyed it! My mother watched Vanessa while I was at work, and I also really enjoyed having her around every day. Vanessa's been taking really long naps since I've been at home again, which is very nice. Today, during an abnormally long nap for Vanessa, I'm posting three posts to catch up!

Last weekend, we visited my friend Sara and her husband Lee and new baby Aryana in Lexington, Kentucky. I am so glad I finally got to meet Aryana! She is such a beautiful and well-tempered baby.
I could tell that James was also very excited to see Aryana. Well, she really was so sweet!
Vanessa really liked the nursery that Lee and Sara had created for Aryana. She kept pointing to all the exciting books and toys. I only wish that Vanessa would stay in one room a little better, though. It would make it easier to finish conversations with friends!
Vanessa was pretty gentle with Aryana, I'd say. I think she's getting better at not poking other babies too much.
A beautiful Aryana and her beautiful mommy!

Vanessa checks out the new R2D2 mailbox in Lexington.
We all went on a horse farm tour. Here were are at Keeneland Farms race track.
Vanessa's favorite part was seeing the horses at Millenium Farms! These horses were all worth more than I could easily imagine! Here are Sara, Lee, and Aryana next to one of the horses.
Vanessa was SO excited to see the horses!

I almost forgot to mention that Vanessa has been learning a lot of new signs lately! Most of them look similar, but they include: doggy, bird, all done, music, and bye-bye. It's also very clear to me that she actually says aloud: ball, mama, and dada. Well, her nap is over so I've got to run!


During the weekend before last, we went to Memphis to see James's family. We were especially excited to see Vanessa's great-grandmother, Grammy Dee!

Vanessa loves her Grammy Dee!
Grammy Dee was excited to see Vanessa too!
Vanessa had fun playing with her great-uncle Greg. (Oooh, "great-uncle." That sounds really old, Greg!)
Vanessa spent a good deal of time running around and playing with her great-aunt Lynn.
Memphis is the home of the famous Peabody Hotel, where a procession of ducks marches to music from the elevator to the fountain in the presence of roughly 300 people each day. Vanessa LOVED this. She could barely contain her excitement. Here, James is restraining Vanessa from jumping into the fountain.
I also had to try to keep Vanessa from trying to pet the ducks!
James, his dad, and his uncle Greg are giving Vanessa a tour of Beale Street.
I was there too!

Vanessa and her grampa on the trolley. For a few comedic reasons, the trolley took about half an hour to go one mile. They had a little trouble with the wheel chair lift, which looked like it hadn't been used in several years. Combine that with an unexpectedly large crowd of tourists that really should have taken two or three trolleys, and you have yourself an interesting ride!
James and Vanessa played in the model of the Gulf of Mexico that was part of the miniature Mississippi River, situated on Mud Island in the middle of the Mississippi. James is holding onto Vanessa's hands to keep her from running quite so fast, and to keep her from sitting in the water!
Well, eventually we realized that Vanessa was going to sit in the Gulf of Mexico one way or another, so we stripped her down and let her splash to her heart's content. James kept the sun off her and Greg went in to play too! This was the first time I had let Vanessa play in the water with just a regular diaper on. They really do absorb a lot of water!
Vanessa hasn't been smiling too much for pictures lately. She usually has a face of concentration instead. But James's aunt Helen got her to smile here!
Four generations of Maxteds -- Vanessa, her daddy, her grampa, and her Grammy Dee!

James's cousin Alex was really wonderful at entertaining Vanessa. Too bad she lives so far away!
We saw MORE DUCKS at a park nearby. Vanessa was in heaven.
Daddy and Vanessa went down the slide and played all over the playground equipment. Vanessa is starting to be big enough to enjoy most of the parts of a playground!
Vanessa really loved sitting in her other great-aunt Lynn's lap. (Besides Lynn being very nice, she also had extremely exciting pearl bracelets!)
Another picture of the four generations!

San Diego

I probably should have left this post for James to do, since it was he who went to San Diego a couple of weeks ago! But anyway, here are a couple of pictures I really liked that he brought back.
A shark at Scripps Institute.
Three sea dragons at Scripps. Can't see them? You're looking right at them! They look like seaweed.
A sea turtle at Sea World. My favorite animal!
James actually managed to capture a picture of a dolphin leaping up in the air! I'm impressed, since I seem to have trouble even catching Vanessa's fleeting facial expressions.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Independence Day!

We enjoyed our first July 4th with Vanessa! We spent the day at John and Liz's, since it was John's birthday. Lots of friends were there to help him celebrate (and to watch the Transformers movie!).
Vanessa played so much with little two-year-old Lucy that she was all worn out. Needless to say, we didn't stick around late enough to watch the fireworks.
Vanessa and I went to Oxon Hill farm (also a national park) with some friends last week. Vanessa got to see lots of interesting animals, including horses and cows.
Vanessa with Revie and Abigail outside the hen house at Oxon Hill.
Daddy and Vanessa being cute!
We tried fingerpainting with Uncle Terry and Aunt Heather last weekend. Vanessa wasn't sure what to make of it yet. Well, at least she didn't try eating the paint!