Category Archives: Gavin

Gavin’s 2nd Birthday Weekend Extravaganza – part 3

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January 3, 2010 started off the same as most days in the Highsmith house. Gavin watched the Disney channel in Mommy and Daddy’s room while eating a light breakfast.

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Being a Sunday, we all headed off to church (and he actually sat through half of the service!). We returned home and played with Gavin and all of his new Christmas toys for a while.

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Then, it was time to open the first present of the day. This one arrived from his Florida grandparents.

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Whatcha got in there?

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A Nemo book!

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It’s Pearl! Gavin’s favorite Finding Nemo character by far is Pearl, the little flapjack octopus.

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Also included was There’s No Place Like Space, an updated version of Cat in the Hat book with Pluto demoted from planetary status. Poor Pluto.

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… and Tag Junior. Sit the little device on the animals in the special book and it talks and makes animal sounds. Woah!

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Of course, the box the gifts came in was nearly as fun as the gifts themselves! (his pants were lost in an oatmeal-eating incident)

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We continued playing until Gavin was ready for his nap.

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After naptime, we headed to the GG’s place to see the rest of the family and eat cake. Gavin got a few more gifts from his North Carolina grandparents that continued the fishy theme of the weekend.

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With so much practice over the past week, Gavin is a real pro at opening gifts now. Daddy’s birthday next week, when none of the wrapped presents are for Gavin, should be very interesting!

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Gavin was mesmerized by his new fish tank.

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Cake time! This was Mommy’s first attempt at making a cake from scratch (the basic chocolate cake recipe in the red Better Homes and Gardens cookbook is incredible!) and cake decorating. The theme wasn’t a tough decision. Gavin loves Cars!

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We didn’t care that it was 30 degrees outside. We needed some Goodberry’s frozen custard to eat with cake!

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Gavin was upset when we told him he couldn’t play with his new Lightning and Mater until we sang Happy Birthday and blew out the candles…

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Here you go, Son. Mommy will give you Lightning and Mater…

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Just a few more seconds, Babe. We need everyone to gather ’round and sing to you first…

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It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to! I want my new cars!!!

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So we sang really fast and gave Gavin his new cars! Gavin was happy again.

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Unlike last year, when he just poked his cupcakes suspiciously, Gavin wanted to eat lots of chocolate cake!

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He’d never had ice cream before and was startled by the temperature of that first bite but quickly became a fan and ate more. I mean, really, even if you’re not a big ice cream fan, you’ve gotta love Goodberry’s custard!

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We headed home where one more gift awaited. Aunt Kristen’s present was too big to transport to the GG’s and I have no pictures of him opening it because he immediately tore the paper off when we walked in the door before Mommy had a chance to get her camera ready!

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He shoots! He scores!

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Eventually we’ll put this basketball hoop out back, but he’s not playing outside anytime soon with the unseasonably cold weather we’ll be having for the rest of the month!

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I can make baskets all by myself! (as he sends the ball through the hoop in the wrong direction)

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Happy Birthday, my big boy! We can’t wait to see what your third year has in store for you!

Gavin’s 2nd Birthday Weekend Extravaganza – part 2

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After a brief stop at the beach, we proceeded to aquarium. The aquarium at Fort Fisher, one of three on North Carolina’s coast, primarily features plants and animals found in the Cape Fear coastal waterways. As soon as we walked into the conservatory, Gavin ran to the first big tank, pointing and giggling at the fish swimming inside.


I think he could have watched that one tank for an hour!


… but there was so much more to discover!

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Days like this are documented in still photography and motion pictures, as usual.


The staff must have been anticipating Gavin’s arrival…

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Inside, there more many more tanks with lots of smaller fishies.


… and BIG tanks… with lots of big fishies!


This smile rarely left his face. We definitely made the right choice by taking him to an aquarium!

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Aunt Kristen gave him a boost to gaze at the reef tank.

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Nemo fish!


This is one of my favorite shots of the day. He’s so calm and almost contemplative. So few things can quietly keep his attention like this!


Of course, Gavin had to point to almost every fish in every tank… just in case we didn’t notice one.

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In awe…

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I’ll just wait here, Mom and Dad. You can pick me up in a week.

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Back out in the conservatory, we tried to convince Gavin to take a nice group shot with Mommy and Daddy.


He gave Gmummy a quick smile before Mommy and Daddy were quite ready…


… and was off. You snooze, you lose. I’m outta here!


We tried again outside…

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… but I’ll happily settle for a giggling boy getting raspberries from his daddy!

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Gavin’s 2nd Birthday Weekend Extravaganza – part 1

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Shortly after seeing those two lines on the home pregnancy test back in April of 2007, I calculated the baby’s due date and immediately felt like apologizing to little Chickpea when I realized he or she would likely be born within a week of Christmas Day. I was a bit relieved when Christmas came and went, and Gavin ended up being born in January. Still, having a birthday so close Christmas can be quite anticlimactic and I never want him to feel gipped on his birthday or wish he had been born another time of the year when kids get more attention on their birthdays. Simply showering him with more gifts barely more than a week after Christmas doesn’t seem very special so I thought it would be better to take Gavin somewhere special each year for his birthday.

For his second birthday, seeing how much he loves Finding Nemo and is so happy just to watch the fish swim in the tank at the doctor’s office, we decided to take him to one of North Carolina’s aquariums. Yesterday, we headed out on I-40 to the aquarium at Fort Fisher. The aquarium is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean near Wilmington so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show Gavin the ocean for the first time.

Gavin loved walking in the sand. North Carolina sand is much coarser than the Florida sand we’re used to and is much easier to walk on.


Man, that’s a big bath tub.

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I wonder how many truck squirter toys I could fit in this tub…

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It just boggles my mind…

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Gavin thinks standing on one leg is funny…

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Anything for that sweet smile…

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Mommy probably shouldn’t be doing things like this anymore, but I can’t resist the joyful smiles and exhuberant laughter “flying” creates!

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Gavin’s laughter is by far my favorite sound in the whole wide world. 🙂

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Gmummy and Aunt Kristen came along for Gavin’s special day. Here, he almost tolerates a group shot…

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Swinging with Mommy and Daddy…

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OK, now it’s Daddy’s turn…

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Family of three-and-a-half…

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Off to find the aquarium… blog entry coming up next…

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Gavin will soon be chomping M&Ms – he now has teeth! Today, while changing his diaper in the car in the Babies R Us parking lot (nice setting for such a momentous occasion, eh?), the little goober smiled at me and I first noticed two little tooth buds on his bottom gum line. The left tooth is in just bit more than the right so it probably broke through a day or two ago. Click on the photo above to see the little teeth in all their glory!

We have no idea how he’s hitting milestones like this early. Both Jeff and I cut our first teeth around 6 1/2 to 7 months old and here Gavin is a week shy of 5 months. Aside from being a little more clingy and adopting a high-pitched whine in the past week, we didn’t suspect that he was teething. The flood gates of drool opened over two months ago so that was nothing new. He’s still sleeping through the night and isn’t crying any more than usual. He really is such an easy baby!

Sitting - medium

In other Gavin news, he is able to sit for 5-10 seconds unattended now. It’s fun to watch him start to lean to one side and he’s strong enough to correct himself by pulling himself upright again. We still always keep one hand an inch away so he won’t hurt himself by falling over too hard. We (Gavin included, I’m sure!) are looking forward to the day when he can sit and play with his toys. He loves to do that now while we hold him up.

Robo Nursery

With all the research and thought we've been putting into what sort of diapers to use (cloth or disposable), we haven't given much consideration as to the actual changing of the diapers. In order to fulfill my duties as a responsible father, I've whipped up a quick sketch of an automated system to facilitate the timely and thorough changing of our little poopBot's diapers.

First off, there is the none-too-casual task of determining when the fruit is ripe for the picking. To this end, I already have a robot that is pretty good at finding and tracking slow-moving mammals. We'll just outfit the little guy with a methane snooper. Upon finding a target, he'll now check the possible baby for what we determine to be a malodorous level of methane.

Now that we've determined the baby is ready for processing, we need to convey the cutie to the diaper changing station. Off the cuff, you may suggest some sort of baby scooping robot to carry the baby into the nursery. Although that would be really fun to build, it would be a tad expensive, so for the time being, we'll just stick with a more simple baited trap. Upon detection of gross gas levels, C-Bot will alert the bait station, which will turn on the baby's favorite Teletubby episode, or some similar gratuitously merry collection of bouncing blobs. The intrigued infant will crawl, toddle, walk, run, or fly to watch the TV, unknowingly placing his- or herself directly in the target zone of the ceiling-mounted gantry crane. A diaper-gripper/remover will extend from the stand of the TV, while the crane will lower and lift the baby right out of the offending diaper.

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Robonursery 3So, we've got a baby with a dirty bum suspended in the air – where to now? A wash tub, of course! The crane will gently lower the bottom half of the baby into a warm tub of water mixed with Johnson's Baby Shampoo. What could be more comfortable? Perhaps some Jacuzzi-style jets, but we'd better keep the system simple for now 🙂

Robonursery 4Alright, wet baby, time for a little blow-dry. We'll have some sort of small jet engine mounted to the floor, ready to blow every last H2O molecule off of our baby dearest.

Finally, we need to reapply a diaper. For simplicity's sake, we'll just lower the little guy/gal right into a fresh Pampers.

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Now, I understand that my proposed system may not be perfect yet. I still have some design work to do on the crane-to-baby interface, for example. The jet engine dryer may also have to be downsized in order to save on fuel costs. Those minor points, along with maybe a few more safety features (grill over the spinning fan blades, force sensors on the crane) put us just a few weeks away from a working prototype. Of course, I'll need an increase in my monthly robot budget…