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As a lot of other folks headed east to the beach for July 4th, Katie, Jackie, Baxter, Robah, and I headed west to the mountains. It was our first official nuclear-family vacation, which is notable because we consider our dogs to be just as nuclear to us as Lassie was to Timmy. Plus, going to Boone without the dogs is akin to me winning a skybox seat at Wrigley Field and not inviting my brother to come along. My folks were gone to visit extended family in Indiana, but graciously granted us the run of their property.

The highlights of our weekend included Robah being ambushed by a large buck, Jackie going on her first hike, Katie and me watching scattered mountain fireworks from my parents’ deck, and Baxter making it through the weekend without injuring himself like he has before when running wild in the mountains. Katie also cooked a sublime steak dinner, and we visited my grandmother twice, including lunch at her retirement center on Sunday. Seeing your 95-year-old grandmother hold your 6-month-old daughter is a little surreal and humbling (in a time-keeps-marching-on kind of way).

Here are a video and various pictures from the weekend. The video covers tickle time, play time with the dogs, and bouncing time.






According to our pediatrician, we’ve got a healthy baby on our hands:

  • Weight, 20 lbs. 11 oz.
  • Height, 30 in.
  • Head circumference, an inch bigger than last time

All three of those stats are greater than the 99th percentile. Of course, I know that doesn’t mean anything except that the child is outgrowing her clothes faster than people are giving her new ones (which is pretty fast).

Every year, in mid-June, Vogel State Park in north Georgia is taken over for an entire week by 50 or 60 Burnses from all over the country. It’s the Burns Family Reunion, and this was Jackie’s first experience with Katie’s great uncles and aunts, second cousins, third cousins, sixth cousins twice removed, and so on. She had a blast.

Before we left for Georgia, I didn’t think the week with Katie’s extended family would matter much to a six-month old baby. Boy, was I wrong. Jackie clung to her parents and grandparents the first couple of days, but after being passed around, cuddled, talked to, doted on, and welcomed by every member of Katie’s family for the first forty-eight hours, the child really started to get into it. A child psychologist or developmental expert could have written a qualitative research paper on Jackie’s transformation. She metamorphosed from shy to soaking-it-all-in. By the end of the week, she didn’t care who held her as long as they gave her full attention and praise.

Thanks to Ben and Janet for paying for the Jones family cabin and to Janet for looking after Jackie every night! Thanks to the entire Burns clan for welcoming its newest member!

Here is a slew of pictures from the week:

Since our last update, Jackie has mastered bouncing and parent-assisted swimming. She’s also cut one bona fide tooth and another is about to erupt from her lower gum line. If she inherits her father’s dental genetic traits, one of these teeth will probably need a root canal in a month or so. Here’s a list of the other foods she’s added to her core diet of breast milk:

  • Sweet potatoes (old trusty — if you could only eat one food, you couldn’t choose much more wisely)
  • Bananas (her new favorite — also rhymes with “Nana”)
  • Apples
  • Green beans (not the first thing she would order off a menu)
  • Peas (see Green beans)
  • Peaches (second favorite, behind bananas)
  • Carrots
  • Corn + zucchini (one of the few foods her mother and I don’t steam and puree ourselves)
  • Salt & vinegar pork rinds (only when we feel like spoiling her)

Jackie isn’t quite ready to crawl, so here’s a video medley of her burning calories the only two ways she knows how — by bouncing and swimming:

Image from Raleigh

Urban dirt-biking

I took this post-apocalyptic picture outside Jones Barber Shop in Raleigh last year.