The Tank is 1!!!

It's hard to believe that this little boy....
... is now a year old! We celebrated Gabe's birthday on Father's Day, which was actually perfect because we had most of the family together. We were in Virginia visiting Ross's family, so we had a get together at Ross's parents house. My sister and my dad were there as well, so it was quite the party! My in-laws made a big German feast for dinner, and then we cleared the table for the cake annihilation. I put the photos in order from blowing out the candle to the final hose-off, so you'll see how messy he got. It was so fun to just let him just have a heyday with the cake, and he loved it!

The feast. I love all the different facial expressions.

Blowing out the candle...

Dipping his finger in the cake for his first taste...


He kept sharing with Poppy. He'll be such a good big brother:)

He'd get a fistful of cake in each hand and make this cheesy, super-excited face.

Power to the baby!

Posing with Mama.

Poppy made an elephant noise and it scared Gabe. He's pointing at Poppy like "Why would you EVER do a thing like that???"

Hosing of the Tankster. Luckily it was so steaming hot in Virginia that the cold water didn't even phase him.

Gabe kept trying to drink from the hose. He loves playing with water!

The Graham fam in its entirety.

Opening presents with a clean baby. He got some bath animals from Ellen Young, my 10th grade English teacher. Gabe is obsessed with elephants, so he was excited to see an elephant in the mix!

Poppy got Gabe a fandangled swim vest. It was hard for him to walk around with it on, but it'll definitely keep him floating when we go to the pool!
At a year old, Gabe continues to amaze us with his intelligence and personality. Here are a few fun facts about our little dude:
- He took his first steps two weeks before turning one, and by his first birthday he was a well-seasoned walker!
- He points at EVERYTHING. He used to point with his entire hand with the palm up, but now he points with his pointer finger.
- He can say a few words, including Mama, Dada, Papa (which he uses for both Poppy and Grandpa), bah (ball), beebee (baby), uh-oh, and dah (dog). Most of his vocabulary consists of NON-STOP baby babble (that we love to hear). He also makes an elephant sound when he sees anything having to do with an elephant or when he wants to read his elephant books, and he'll bark when sees a dog. Smart kid:)
- He loves anything with wheels, and he gets mad if one of his cars turns on it's side and he can't push it as easily.
- He's a pro at climbing the stairs. I can turn my back for a minute and he'll already be at the top of the stairs. He also likes being chased up the stairs, which is fun for me because he has a cute, high-pitched squeal whenever he's being chased.
- He loves babies, but we don't give him full access yet because he's still working on being "soft". He gets so excited when he gets close to a baby that he waves his arms up and down, and it's not too baby-friendly.
-He loves being outside and he's a champ when we take him for hikes. He'll sit in the baby backpack for hours without complaining, and he'll usually fall asleep before the hike is over.
- He's transitioned perfectly from formula to regular milk.
- He's the least-picky eater I know. He'll eat just about anything and is always willing to try new things. Some of his favorites are bananas, chicken, Cheerios, green beans, and rice cereal.
- The only thing he'll sit down and watch is Baby Mozart. Other than that, TV doesn't really interest him.
- He'll "conduct" whenever he hears music, whether it's on the radio or in church. He'll stand on our laps when we sing the hymns at church and conduct right along with the chorister. He'll also sing along to ANY music (hymns, ringtones, commercial jingles, Ross's opera, etc), and he sings while he plays the piano. And when it's all over, he claps :)
- His favorite 'toys' include phone chargers, computers, remotes, and anything that shreds easily (newspaper, toilet paper, paper towels, dryer sheets, etc.).
- He sleeps about 10 hours at night and takes a 2-3 hour nap during the day.
- He LOVES books! He'll put a book in his lap and run his fingers over the words and babble away like he's actually reading it. And I can sit with him for 30 minutes at a time and just read to him. I think he'll be an early reader :)
- He loves bathtime. He'll splash with his feet and will stick his head under the running water.
- He's the sweetest little cuddle bug. He gives awesome hugs and is now giving kisses. He'll also lay his head on my shoulder and pat my arm whenever I pick him up. Melt my heart!
- Gabe has no fear of animals. See my last post for examples :)
- It's hard to get angry with him because he gives us the cutest little scrunch face if he's doing something naughty. He listens well and knows what "NO" means, but it's hard not to smile when we scold him. He's just too cute!
- He's the ultimate charmer. Most who've met him are smitten by his sweet face and good-natured attitude.
- He's got a pretty sweet mohawk :) It's actually the only thing we can do with his hair that'll stay. Anything else just doesn't cut it.
We love Gabe so much. I feel very blessed to be his mommy and spend my days with him. He's always making me smile and he teaches me the importance of not sweating the small stuff. When it comes to amazing kids, Gabe is definitely at the top of the list! We love you, Bug!


Animal Adventures

I think it's safe to say that my son is obsessed with animals. No matter the size or species, Gabe loves them all. My parents have a yellow lab, and Gabe will be the first to crawl to him and yank on his ear or pat his head. My grandparents live next door, and they have two cats. Gabe has watched them sprawl out on the ground and roll onto their backs, so whenever Gabe sees the cats, he'll crawl over to them and try to roll over them. He doesn't do it do be mean (obviously... he's not even a year old), but those cats usually run when they see him... which he then thinks is an invitation to play:) Lately, we've been trying to indulge his love for animals. In the last month, we've gone to Hogle Zoo, the Dino museum, and Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point. I was unsure how he'd react at the zoo because I wasn't sure he'd understand it, but he proved me wrong! He was very alert and loved seeing all the new animals. His favorite animal/animal sound lately has been the elephant. He'll walk around puffing air through his lips and he laughs out loud whenever I read him his elephant books. It amazes me how smart he is and how quickly he picks up on things! Here are a few pictures from our recent animal adventures:

Gabe saw his first real elephant when we went to Hogle Zoo. He made elephant sounds the whole time we were at the exhibit.

We met at the zoo with our friends Brady and Chelse, and their son Logan is 3 months younger than Gabe. Logan didn't quite get it, but Gabe loved it!

This is a perfect example of how fearless Gabe is with animals, no matter how big. This cow would stick it's head through the bars right where Gabe was, and Gabe never even flinched! We actually had to catch him a couple times because the cow would get so close that it almost knocked him over. Maybe Gabe will be a veterinarian...

Gabe found a baby dino at the dino exhibit, and they were fast friends:)

My Aunt Tammy has a HUGE bloodhound named Metro, and Gabe was amazed by him when she brought him over to visit. Gabe's a really big kid, but you can tell by this picture that Metro is one massive dog!

I love how adventurous my son is. He loves climbing, rolling around on the ground, and he LOVES playing outside. I'm so glad the weather in Utah is finally warm enough to allow us some outdoor playtime! Gabe may have a handful of bruises across his forehead, but nothing stops this little tank! He is ALL BOY. Believe me, I'm constantly chasing him and keeping him from further injury, but I love being his mommy. He keeps me smiling all day long =)