When my parents stayed with us after Elliott was born, my mom made up a little song for him one day as she was holding him and singing to him. Elliott's full name is Elliott Todd, and the song goes like this, to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me":

E-L-L-I-O-T-T, that's the name they gave to me
And I'm named for Grandpa Todd
For these names I thank you God.

Elliott goes through phases of what his favorite song is, and currently, this one takes the cake. So after singing it to him over and over, I figured it was time for him to chime in:



Field Trip!

My wonderful college friend Sarah is back in the US after many years of working abroad, and I am lucky enough to have her living only a couple of hours away from me! We've gotten to spend some fun afternoons, weekends, and evenings together in the past few months. Sarah has gotten into discovering the gems of Southern Alabama (where she's living right now), and in her research, she discovered a local cheese farm! So a few weekends ago, Kelly kept Elliott for an entire Saturday so that I could escape for a fun girls' day with Sarah visiting the farm. It was cute and quaint and the cheese was excellent!

Old milk truck on the farm.

Sarah and I, happy after purchasing some delicious cheese and bread.

At the cheese shop, we overheard a customer talking about another great farm she had just visited four miles down the road. Intrigued, we asked about it. She told us it was a small farm where you could get homemade ice cream, among other things. Yes, please.

The chicken coop.

The residents.

Our delicious lunch!


Cold water spearfishing

This year, I've had the opportunity to go out spearfishing from a boat a couple times in the cold months, rather than swimming from shore. It's been chilly to get into 53 degree water, but with a wetsuit and hot cocoa beforehand, it's definitely worth it.

Me gearing up with our makeshift dive flag in the background

Any time we're out in the bay, there's always a chance of seeing some Common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), and these ones were pretty close.


[Lunar] Eclipse of the Heart

Kelly and I watched a total lunar eclipse in December (Fun Fact: the eclipse coincided with the winter solstice -- only the second to do so in the Common Era. The first was in 1638.) Watching eclipses always seems nostalgic to us, because we met in an astronomy class during which a total lunar eclipse occurred. We didn't watch it together that year, but there is a little bit of sentimental feeling toward the event anyway. I know; we're saps.

Another fun fact: Kelly took this photo with our little point-and-shoot camera. Yup, he's awesome.


Catching up on some family photos

We recently had the chance to spend a little time with some of my family, first when my parents visited us in October, and then when we visited my brother and his family in November.

Of course some beach time was to be had!

There were quite a few Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) feeding in the shallow water near the beach.

Elliott likes to wear daddy's shades at the beach.

Of course there was an abundance of mutual entertainment between my parents and Elliott.

Grandpa Jones was more than willing to get down to Elliott's level to play...

...and to help Elliott with his shoes!

It's unlikely that Elliott remembered being in Grandma Jones' arms at sunset on the beach from when he was only a month or so old, but Grandma certainly did.

As the light fades, the sounds of the water begin to take center stage in our awareness. It's really a nice time to relax on the beach.

We were able to spend a few days with my brother Chris, sister in law Jess, and Henry and Esther following a work trip I had to Blacksburg, Virginia.

Lions and...


and bears, oh my! (I couldn't resist the cheesiness.)

The kids (perhaps the big kids too) enjoyed all the sights of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

We had never seen Esther in person before, so it was very special to see her and begin getting to know her. In this photo, Esther was dancing with Daddy to a good Arcade Fire song. I have it playing as I type this, and Elliott is dancing to it! It is pretty catchy.

One morning, Chris, Henry, and I went out for a walk in a nearby park. Wildlife didn't exactly abound, but we found some earthworms under a couple logs.

It was fun to play silly games with the kids!

A homemade blueberry muffin breakfast was even more fun when shared with cousins!

I'll end with this photo that wasn't taken during any special visit time, but was just a funny moment of Elliott finding another use for his bowl of oats that he was otherwise done with.