**This letter was updated to include pictures.
Oh Grif. Where do I even begin? You are a few days shy of eight months old. Eight months! Are you proud of me for writing your letter on time? Never mind the fact that I totally skipped month seven, which is a crying shame because I was so excited about filling you in on all of the totally awesome and brilliant things you were doing when you turned seven months old. But the truth is there was literally no time for things like writing or sleeping or eating because we spent 87% of the past two months on the road. And I don't want you to get a big head or anything, but you are the best baby on the planet when it comes to traveling. You are a baby road warrior and have made all of our out of town trips so very pleasant. You deserve a big ole' bowl of pears or peaches or something as a reward for being so easy these road trips.
Griffin Aaron Rice, I just love everything about you. You are growing so big and strong and I can't figure out exactly why you are always so happy. Clark might decide to throw a heavy Lightning McQueen car directly in your face and after a 2.5 second cry, you will immediately show us your big two-toothed grin and laugh about it. I don't understand? How are you so perfect? Do you have any flaws? Because I'm thinking at this point in your life there is absolutely nothing imperfect about you.
Within the last two months, you have learned to do a lot of adult-ish things that make me giddy. You started sitting up by yourself about a week after you turned six months old. You grew two pearly whites in June and judging by the oceans of drool under your feet at all hours of the day, I'm assuming there are more on the way. I'm so impressed by how well you have handled the teeth-growing process. There were times when I supposed you were uncomfortable, not because you were irritable or grumpy, but because you just weren't laughing or smiling. That's how amazing you are.
You also started doing big kid things like taking your paci in and out of your mouth, holding your own bottle, and enjoying a good wrestling session with your daddy. You have so much control over your movements now that I can put little finger foods on your tray and you have no problems feeding yourself. Don't get me wrong, I still have to feed you 16 boxes of baby food per day to stay on top of your growing belly, but finger foods such as cut up cantaloupe, pasta, bread, and baby puffs can keep you entertained for at least 30 minutes. I only slightly exaggerated about feeding you 16 boxes of baby food. When we started our Tour de South travels a couple of months ago, I had to retire my Ninja blender and not make your baby food anymore. It would have been impossible to stick to homemade baby food while traveling every week. So when I started feeding you store bought food, I was surprised when you would go through four boxes AND a banana AND a bottle PER FEEDING. Jeez Lousie, son. Where does it go? Well, straight through you is where it goes. You poop more than is allowed. I always act surprised when you have another poo diaper, but when I think about the fact that you eat the equivalent of a five course steak dinner for every meal, it makes complete sense.
Griffin, you have a blue blanket. It is our lifeline. Without it, both of our worlds might crumble. Your great grandmother, Yaya, made it for Clark and it got passed on to you because he never really paid attention to it. But the first time you saw it, I could tell there was magic between you two. It is a simple crocheted little blanket but it is indeed your happy place. You fall asleep within five minutes of being laid down as long as you have your blanket. When you get upset about anything at all, I just show you your blanket or let you chew on it for a minute and all is well again. As I type this right now, you have it wrapped around you and you are poking your little fingers through the holes as you watch a riveting episode of Curious George. I politely demanded Yaya to make a few more blankets as a life saving device should your blue blanket get lost and she is in the process. Bless her 92-year-old soul.
Everything you do makes me smile, but there is one particular thing you do right now that I believe to be the absolute sweetest thing I've ever seen any baby ever do. You've been doing it for about three months now and it hasn't gotten even the slightest bit old. When I am holding you (or anyone for that matter) and chant "Go Griffin Go!" you bury your toes into my hips, stick your nose up in the air, hold your arms out start flapping your wings as you jump up and down. Not to mention you get the BIGGEST grin on your face every time. It is precious. You are precious. You are perfect.
Let me talk about you and Clark for just a minute. You are truly best brothers. He loves you so much and he is highlight of your world. He makes you laugh in a way that nobody else on this earth can. He loves running in your room when he hears you wake up and shouting, "Hey Buddy!" One of his favorite thing to do is to run laps around the house pushing you in your walker. This activity pleases both of you the same. He's your typical toddler who will just grab things right out of your hands if he wants what you are playing with, but he won't do so without replacing it with another toy first. He loves to say "My see a Griiiffffffiiiiinnnn!" because he knows it makes you laugh hard. He has a special Griffin voice that he only uses when he talks to you and he has a ton of Clarkisms that get repeated multiple times throughout the day in hopes of making you happy. The two of you get along so well. Watching y'all interact is a dream of mine that came true the second you were born. He is so rough and so gentle with you and loves you dearly.
And don't even get me started about how much daddy loves you. I couldn't believe that at seven months old, he would hurl you up in the air and you would let out the loudest cackle that I had ever heard. And I don't just mean a little toss up in the air. I'm talking a big HURL...like, 10 feet up in the air. Every time the two of you connect eyes, you both break out in huge smiles. He loves to narrate what you are probably thinking and it is always hilarious. At eight months old, you have totally bonded with your daddy and love being held by him. My heart hurts when I watch y'all play together.
I think you are pretty close to crawling, but I'm not positive. You can scoot yourself backwards with ease, but it appears you have no desire to go forward. That is ok. I'm perfectly fine with you staying as much of a little baby as long as possible. You recently started laughing all the time. It doesn't even necessarily take any prompting to get you to laugh. We will be in the car and nobody will even be talking to you and you'll laugh out loud. Your laugh is HILARIOUS. I've gotten it on film and will post it on the blog so you can hear it when you are all grown up. I hope it never changes. I hope you are always has happy as you are right now.
You've had a couple of minor ear infections in the past two months and neither of them were very dramatic. You weigh 20ish pounds and wear 9-12 months clothes. You are fascinated by things that roll and you are very easy to distract. About a month ago I quit hauling you around in your car seat. It became much easier to get you out of the car and carry you on my hip rather than lugging that ridiculously huge carrier in my arm. You sit in the front of the buggy in the grocery store and Clark hangs out in the big part and sits on all the groceries and eats the food as we shop. We have a good little set up going in that department so far. I can't believe how easy it is to take you places. You never cry, always smile. I get so many compliments about how content you are, how beautiful you are, how happy you are, how big you are, etc. Everywhere I go I can expect an old lady or two to grab your huge Rice cheeks and gush about how handsome you are. It is so true. You are a very pretty baby boy. When Clark was your age, he was also very pretty and people often mistook him for a little girl. That is not the case with you. I could dress you in a pink tutu and you would still look all boy. I cannot wait to see what you look like as a two year old. You have finally started growing a little bit of hair and it is coming in pretty light, so it looks like you and Clark will definitely have that as a common denominator. You have the most beautiful complexion and dark skin and you have deep blue gray eyes. And you are not a fat little baby, but pretty dadgum heavy. Recently your Aunts Audrey and Haley visited us, and I laughed out loud when Audrey sent me a text message two days after the visit that said, "My bicep is really sore from your 21 pound baby." I mean, holding you for extended amounts of time isn't easy. Fortunately, I am ripped so it's not a problem for me. (That is a huge joke. Trust me.) So it is a good thing you don't mind sitting in your walker or bouncing in your Johnny Jump Up for hours on end.
You started taking baths in the big bathtub with Clark and that is probably the highlight of your day. Well, every third day because that is about how often I get around to bathing you and Clark. Don't judge me. You love to splash around with Clark and eat the bath toys and hold your hands under the running water. It's a really sweet moment for me. Last time you had a bath, which was...hmm...I can't really remember, I had a very specific thought as I watched you and Clark playing together. I remember thinking to myself that this was the happiest I have ever been and couldn't imagine life getting any better than this. Every possession I own could be ripped out of my hands, and as long as I have you, your big brother, and your daddy, I would still be as happy as I am right now.
Griffin, thank you for making me happy. Thank you for being you. I hope I can make you as happy as you have made me. I pray for you everyday. I pray for your eternal soul. I pray for your health and for you God to grow you into a little boy that loves to sing and talk about Jesus. And then one day, as a young adult, that you will have the courage to be a beacon of light in a dark world and talk about Jesus to your friends who might not know Him. I am praying even now that when you are a man with your own family, that you would be a godly husband and father and lead your family to Christ. Really, Griffin, nothing is as important in this life than that. I hope that with God's grace, your daddy and I will help you learn that at a very early age. I love watching you grow every day. I love watching you chew on the tv remote, laugh at yourself in the mirror, and make a huge mess eating sweet potatoes. I'm grateful for ever minute I get to spend with you. I'm looking forward to writing you a nine month letter because I can foresee lots of hilarious moments to come with you little buddy. Keep it real, Old Man Grif.