When Jake and I went on our recent epic adventure to Florida, we spent nearly a week in the Tampa area catching up with family who live there. I have family on both sides who live relatively close to each other, and they were all eager to see Jake again since they hadn’t seen him since late August last year (and he has changed so much since then!).
We also went to visit my grandparents’ grave, which I hadn’t had the chance to do when I came last fall. It may seem a bit macabre to be taking pictures in a cemetery, but I wanted to take Jake with me to put flowers on their headstone. As I side note, I was also proud of Jake for being able to stand up by himself to take this picture (even if he does have a silly grin that’s not entirely appropriate for a cemetery ;-)). This is a relatively new trick of his. He’s been taking steps here and there, but we’re still hesitating to say that he’s officially “walking,” since he prefers to crawl most everywhere.
One of the most exciting things we did while we were in Tampa was visit the Lowry Park Zoo. Jake had been to the zoo in Knoxville once before, but he stayed in his stroller (and even slept for some of it), so he wasn’t really that aware of what was happening. While I know he won’t remember this trip to the zoo, he was at least aware of what was going on and excited to see the animals. He’s at a stage now where he likes to point at anything interesting and he needs to see that I’m following his gaze and looking at it too. As you can imagine, the zoo provided a lot for Jake to point at!
The zoo was also in the midst of a Chinese Lantern Festival, which sadly required an additional ticket to return to at night. I didn’t end up going back to see it, but there were quite a few Chinese decorations that could be enjoyed during the daytime, and I went on camera overload taking pictures of everything (don’t worry–I won’t share all 52 of them here). It really made me miss living in China!
It was so nice to visit with family, reminisce about old times, and make new memories with Jake. It’s strange to think about how much different he’ll be next time I get back down to Tampa (even if that is only a few months from now!). I have one more post to share from my Florida trip, about the time that we spent at the beach. But I’ll leave you with this video of my brave little man petting the sting rays at the zoo (stingers removed, of course!). The thing that constantly amazes me about Jake is that there’s NOTHING he’s not willing to try. He is a CHAMP! 😀