NOVEMBER 11, 2006 GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT As I mentioned in the last entry, Frank is out of town for five days in a row. The first night of being a single parent was a breeze because I took her to the musical at Austin High. She made it through the first act, bobbing her head to the music and clapping at all the right moments. Dialogue doesn’t interest her much, though, and she squirmed through all of those scenes. When the second act started, one of the characters screamed. Sophie screamed right back. The character screamed again. Sophie screamed again. The character screamed again, and the annoying lady with the screaming baby down front grabbed her stuff and made a beeline for the side exit, praying that emergency alarms would not sound when she pushed it open. Friday night was fine, but Sophie was a bit grumpy at bedtime. Her Dad usually gives her a bath, and she didn’t like the way the new towel-girl was rumpling her hair. Now it’s Saturday. We got up and went to the Farmer’s Market to get out of the house -- I bought some zinnias that she happily mangled as we drove -- then we came home and played and played and played. After reorganizing the tupperware cabinet fourteen times, I decided it was time to get out of the house. Our Chuck E. Cheese plans with Nini and Adam and Lucy fell through because they’re in the process of opening a brand new one (Ikea and Anthropologie and a new C.E.Cheese coming to Austin?!? We may never leave town again!)...so I went to a place that Frank and I both kinda hate: the MALL. But it was a lovely mother-daughter outing. We had dinner at Chick-fil-A and I didn’t even pick off the fried breading for Sophie. She had her first Hi-C Fruit Punch, and accompanying red lips; we bought cookies at the Cookie Co. even though we had just eaten junk food for dinner; then we played with toys that we had no intention of buying. A grand evening, really. Here’s our tea party at Pottery Barn Kids. I love that Sophie takes the time to wash off her wooden apple.
NOVEMBER 9, 2006 JUST WAIT ‘TIL YOUR DAD GETS HOME Frank is on a five day camping trip to Big Bend -- his first big adventure away from Sophie. I promised that I would document the most documented child in history while he was gone. So on Thursday night, when she went out to eat with Sean and Brian and I before the high school musical (which was High School Musical, incidentally) and started to squirm and whine and snarl, I grabbed the camera and said, “I’m telling your Dad.”
NOVEMBER 1, 2006 HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Sophie, it seems, has inherited our Halloween spirit. She LOVES dressing up in costumes! She wore her peacock outfit several times before the actual day -- even rolled around on the floor hugging it when we took it off her. Then she wore it to two block parties (one that we accidentally crashed and left our plate of cookies at, and one we were really invited to), the neighborhood Boo Bash, the church carnival, and finally...her first Trick-or-Treating experience on Halloween night! She and Laney had fun all week long playing with the Miss Scarlet wig and boa and the Colonel Mustard hat. Check out the picture pages (click on the Wee Webster button or click on the peacock pic) to see more of our Halloween adventure. Oh, yeah...and Sophie says the word “orange” now, but only to her friend Kate. Or maybe only on Halloween. Kate swears that Sophie said orange three times, but it hasn’t really entered the conversation since. She doesn’t say milk or ball or dog or cow or any of the other things that she encounters on a daily basis, but I do have to admit, I did witness one whispered but clear “orange” when Sophie was hugging Kate (and her orange necklace) goodnight. I think there’s an amazing vocabulary just lurking under the surface. We’re going to work on ecru or fuchsia next.
OCTOBER 26, 2006 MIGRATION TIME IN TEXAS The Peacocks have landed.
Click on the peacock to jump to our picture page and see MORE fall images.
OCTOBER 19, 2006 BULK TP and TEEPEE You know how you go to Sam's or Costco just to stock up on toilet paper and coffee, and then you leave with tp, coffee, 3 lbs. of hummus, a year's supply of frozen dumplings, a cake, and a TEEPEE?!? We do.
Our latest purchase for Sophie was one of those spur-of-the-moment Costco splurges. It’s a whole kit, complete with teepee, tent, and two crawling tubes that are perfect for Laney and Sophie but a bit frightening for Mama and Nini. It was cheaper than the hummus, but might not last as long.
OCTOBER 16, 2006 BINGO! While Sophie has long conversations with herself or with CowMoo in this sweet, babbling Sophese language that she has invented, she has been a bit slower on the uptake with English. Her current vocabulary consists of (in order of utterance): Da-da, Uh-oh, Arf Arf, Hi, Momma, Bye, Pitty (Pattycake), and Rrrrr (Roll ‘em up). But a couple of days ago, she woke up and looked at Callie Dog and said, “Hi, Ca.” A sentence! (Sort of)
Then, when we were driving around yesterday, she was babbling along and said something like: “shebbamayabshesh ullapittypitty yabecksha BINGO.” We tried to get her to say bingo again. We even sang the song. But she just grinned back at us. I know that someday we will beg her to STOP singing the B-I-N-G-O song, but right now it’s so, so cute.
Here’s Sophie, making up stories for Callie:
OCTOBER 9, 2006 RUB A DUB DUB, THREE SKETTI-EATERS IN A TUB Magpie heralded the return of the Sunday Dinner (a long-standing tradition at the Suganahoe’s until we ate them out of house and home). Sophie had her first “No, you eat over there at the kid table” experience, and it was mostly pleasant except for the fact that Lucy and Laney are both fork pros and Sophie is still gnawing at things like a Neanderthal. Oh well, that lead to some “sketti” antics and a fun bath when it was all over. And wigs. But you’ll have to go to the Picture Pages to see those antics.
OCTOBER 7, 2006 PADDLIN’ ALONG This weekend was the Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo -- all kinds of fishing and hunting and conservation activities. You know, everything from a booth that allows you to shoot at mechanical moose to a long-haired falconer who teaches why we should love vultures as much as we love eagles. And cockroaches -- but I think he was just on a tangent. Still coming down from his Renaissance Fest High. Sophie’s Uncle Jeff and Cousin Christopher were in town with the Boy Scouts, so we headed out to the Expo for a few hot, dusty hours. Here’s a parenting conundrum: do you ignore the part of the sunblock bottle that tells you to avoid the eye area or do you allow your child’s eyeballs to get burned? I avoided the eyes, mostly because she was squirmy and it was easier to acquiesce, but she ended up with little rosy rings underneath each eye. Back to the Expo, though...Sophie was too young to bass fish or load a muzzle or kill anything, really, so our favorite part was the tent that let you pretend you were an outdoorsy family. Here we are sitting in our kayak in the dust!
SEPTEMBER 14, 2006 HELLO, LOVEY! We think we have a winner! We’ve been wondering which toy Sophie will latch onto as her “lovey” -- it seems that most kids we know have something that they drag around for comfort. Madeline has Gus, Max has his blankie, Lucy has Duck and Laney has Cow. We tried to make Floyd (a pink elephant blankie thing) her lovey, and she did snuggle with it at naptime for a while. Then she loved Pangloss (a penguin) more than any other, but if it dropped out of her crib, c’est la vie. But we think we have a definite winner now, and it’s COWABUNGA. She carries it around and whines if Cow has been left inside her crib or placed on a table and she can’t quite reach him. He’s kinda big to stuff into the diaper bag every time we want to go somewhere, but hey...it’s Sophie’s choice.
NUDE, LEWD SOPHIE Whenever our friend Lucy (who is 2) drops her drawers for bath time or the potty parade (the whole gang is well-trained to cheer when Lu uses the big girl potty now), her parents sing a lovely little jingle: Lu is nude and she’s totally lewd! So that’s stuck in my head right now. I just had another one of those Oh-my-God-where’s-the-baby-she-was-here-just-a-second-ago moments. I was draining the bathtub and cleaning up all the toys and such, and noticed that Sophie had abandoned her rubber ducky and gone exploring. I found her on the kitchen tile, reading a bedtime story to herself and playing in the pots and pans cabinet.
And she’s BUSTED:
AUGUST 31, 2006 GOT MILK? Sophie is drinking cow’s milk now and she LOVES it! Like almost everything nowadays, milk is controversial. All the baby books say whole milk only, but our doctor says two percent is okay. What to do? Maggie brought over organic milk for the babies, but then read somewhere that organic milk isn’t really all that different -- just more expensive. Hmmm. Frank read some article about hormones in milk and thinks that Sophie will grow boobies by the time she’s in second grade if we give her milk. Honestly, this one is the scariest of all. I mean, I don’t think she’ll really grow boobies, but I’m afraid that Frank will buy a dang cow and put it in the back yard. The article was that convincing. And my take? I don’t care if Sophie drinks milk, apple juice, or Diet Coke...Momma wants her body back preferably before 2007. So as she gets more used to cow’s milk, we’re going to slowly begin the weaning process. Yes, yes, I know. Many women around the world nurse until their kids are three years old. I say: God bless America.
Here are some shots of a DWT (drinking while toddling) and one of our little milk drunk.
AUGUST 25, 2006 THIS LITTLE KITTEN LOVES HER MITTENS GramKat sent Sophie a birthday package in the mail, and her favorite gifty was this cute pair of mittens. We put them on her and she threw her head back and cackled. She likes to wear them as she marches around the house clapping.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY! I’m a little late in posting this (blame it on the first week of school or the fact that Sophie’s much more mobile and involves a lot more chasing around these days), but we did celebrate the “Happiest Year!” (so far) with a little Happy Hour for our friends on Sophie’s big day (August 19th). It was mostly a party for grown-ups, but Sophie did have a few special guests: Laney, Lucy Sugawa, Lucy Kuhn, Caroline, Joey, and Eva -- all kids age 2 or younger. The house was NOISY. And still, Sophie slept through the first thirty minutes of her party. Hey -- we NEVER wake a sleeping baby, even on her birthday. Otherwise, our sweet little girl turns into the screamin’ demon. So she was a bit groggy for the first part of the festivities, but soon warmed up when folks started singing to her. She applauded for herself many times and delighted her peeps with babbling and dancing. If you go to Youtube you can see a very, very compressed (read: blurry) video of her special day:
AUGUST 6, 2006 SOPHIE’S STEPPIN’ OUT! A couple of weeks ago, Sophie took a tiny, tentative step in the grass, then fell on her rear. I was the only one who saw it -- no video camera or Dad or grandparent in sight to back me up, so I decided that it didn’t really count as her first steps. Just a fluke. Unless, that is, she took off walking one day when I was at work and Nini got to see her first steps. Then, of course, I would explain how there had been this one, beautiful first step in the grass. Last weekend at her grandpa’s house, Sophie took three more stumbling steps. She was sitting on the floor in Aunt Claudia’s lap and stumbled over to me as I reached down to pick her up. She wasn’t trying to walk, only trying to get up into my arms. So, again, did these steps count? Frank decided that since he was on the back porch and missed the event, they did NOT count as her first steps. Poor kid -- will we never grant her accolades unless we are there to witness them? Over the last week, she has taken two, three, sometimes even FIVE steps before flopping on her bottom. While I cannot pinpoint for you the exact day and time when her steps started “counting,” I can assure that she is, indeed, taking steps. Since we have only caught them on video and not on the still camera, you’ll just have to take my word for it!
Pay no attention to the Daddy that’s helping this little girl walk. She can do it all by herself!
JULY 23, 2006 DID SHE JUST SAY WHAT I THINK SHE SAID? Sophie has her own telephone already. It doesn’t have any batteries so she can’t call China, but she likes to crawl around with it and bang it on the floor. She prefers it to anything that actually looks like a toy, of course. The other night, she held it right up to her ear and said “yeah yeah yeah yeah.” Where did she learn to do that?! And while we’re on the subject of Sophie talking -- she’s been experimenting with sounds lately. She started many months ago with bah, bah, bah then progressed to Bob (everything was Bob, even the dog), then on to Dadadadada (everything was Da-da, even the dog), and then a cute “Duh!” punctuated each and every time with a head bob, almost as if she’s saying “Yep!” Then, this week, she started experimenting with new sounds. My apologies to aunts and grandmothers who read this journal, but her new sound is quite clearly “shit.” (No apologies to Aunt Jill who helped her hone this new skill.) She says it ALL THE TIME, much to our chagrin. Shit, shit, shit. After my promptings to say “shoot,” she says “shup” but with a grin that lets me know that she really means “shut up.” Honestly, I didn’t think we’d be dealing with that kind of attitude until she was 12 or so. Shit, shit, shit.
JULY 9, 2006 WHAT A TROOPER We have returned victorious from our 10 day vacation to Tennessee (32 hours in the car and that baby was happy as a clam for most of the ride). We stopped off to see Schof and Sarah both coming and going, and it was wonderful respite and relaxation -- for us, anyway, although their poor dogs are probably still recovering from Sophie’s loving smacks. Pigeon Forge is a mecca of pancake houses and theme dinners; Gatlinburg was cozier, we thought. We loved driving around the “artist loop” and our day trip through the Smoky Mountain National Park with Rob and Lauren. We saw a BAR (ahem...bear) right outside the window, but of course it went all Loch Ness on our cameras and just looks like a blur. The highlight of the family vacation was the Dolly Parton “Over the Hills” party we threw for Laura’s 40th b-day. Balloon boobs everywhere...now that’s a party.
Sophie developed (or at least refined) a few new skills on her vacation. She applauds whenever she hears other people applauding, so as we drove along listening to a comedy routine on the ipod, she would clap whenever the audience laughed. She also claps right on cue when you as her if she’s happy and she knows it. She is and she does. By far, the cutest thing she started doing on vacation is throwing her head to the side when intentionally flirting with someone or being photographed. It looks like a Taylor Hicks “Soul Patrol” head toss. I think it’s her way of saying, “Not only am I happy, but I’m CUTE and I know it, too.”
Here’s a small sampler of the vacation photos -- check the photo page later and I’ll post a gallery of the Gatlinburg pics:
JUNE 18, 2006 HAPPY FATHER’S DAY For Father’s Day, Sophie painted her Dad a masterpiece -- the original Sophie Grace Webster original, if you will. Sophie, here are just a few of the reasons your dad is so great: he “buzzes” your head with his thumb and makes you crack up, he has splash fights with you in the bathtub, he rocks you in the rocking chair on the back porch, he reads your Gaspard book in a heavy French accent, he has named all of your finger puppets (I’m fond of Tabitha, the Elephant Queen), he lets you touch his guitars, and he has changed LOTS of diapers.
KERRBABIES IN LOVE Ah, Kerrville. Dust, sweat, beer, and babies. For Frank, Kerrville is staying up until 5 a.m. playing amazing music around campfires. For me, Kerrville has taken on a whole new level of stinkiness and stickiness, with mashed fruit bits and snot to deal with on top of the standard heat and hippies. This year we tried “Kerrville Lite,” and just headed out on a Sunday afternoon to see the final show (rather than camping for 18 days straight like the diehards or for 3-4 days like we used to do). We arrived early enough to hang out in the campgrounds for a while, and listened to great jazz music for a couple of hours. With a constant flow of Cheerios coming her way, Sophie was happy as a clam. She even clapped after a few particularly moving numbers. Up at mainstage, we put down a blanket and took turns hanging on to her ankle as Sophie tried to crawl away into the dirt and ants.. One little boy, a four-year-old who later explained to us that he was really a robot, walked up and asked, “Can I pet your baby?” Sophie lit up and gave him a few love-smacks on the face, but Robot-Boy assured us that he was strong and could endure this fierce kind of love. He kept cooing and awwwing at her -- it was really cute. When we got ready to leave, a toddler behind us started to howl and cry, and his parents told us that he had been watching Sophie all evening and was upset that she was leaving. She’s already a heartbreaker, that Sophie.
Sophie knows how to show the love, too. She winks like Pop-eye and wrinkles that nose and flirts with everyone. And every now and then she picks up one of her stuffed animals (particularly her Click Clack Cow or her lion) and gives it a hug.
P.S. Sophie doesn’t need any more stuffed animals! :)
June 1, 2006 MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND Sophie was baptized on Sunday, May 28th, surrounded by family and friends who love her. She was very stoic during the actual baptism, but grinned her head off when Pastor Sue walked her around the church to show her to the congregation, and she splashed in the baptism font while we took pictures. We had a fantastic weekend of cook-outs and brunches with family and friends (and graduation and Senior Celebration -- a senior class sponsor’s job is never done!) At 1 in the morning I remembered white shoes, or rather, I remembered that I had forgotten to get white shoes to go with her baptism outfit. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but thank god for the 24 hour Walmart. A mother’s job is never done, either. I try to keep this journal light and funny, but I have to be sentimental for a moment. I was so touched by how many people love this baby and love us. So many people traveled so many miles to watch a 10 minute ceremony and spend a little time with us. We are so blessed.
And here’s Sophie in her pentacostal moment (reaching up for her new bear that GramKat brought her, actually). She’s wearing a tiny cross that Jack and Erica gave her, and in the background you can see the heirloom brush from Granddad and Mamaw, a tiny bible from Uncle Rob and Aunt Lauren, and a Noah’s Ark piggy bank from Aunt Laura, Uncle Hazen, Madeline, and Max. The dress she’s wearing in this photo is one that Frank’s grandfather wore when he was a baby. The Walmart shoes have been kicked off, of course. Happy Baptism Day, baby.
May 19, 2006, NINE IS A MAGIC NUMBER Sophie is 9 months old today. Frank just walked in the room and yelled, “Happy Nueve! Feliz cumplemeses!” It’s amazing to think that she has now been alive for as long as I was pregnant. In only nine months in the womb she morphed from this tiny bean to a sweet newborn with delicate features and a very observant gaze, and she squeaked at us instead of crying. Nine months of oxygenated life goes by more quickly. Our tiny brown-haired girl is now a busy, busy baby with platinum blonde hair that sticks straight up on her head like duck fuzz and chubby thighs that everyone want to bite. She races around the room and pulls herself up at the back door to shriek a greeting at Callie (who goes by “Bob” at the moment, as do we all, since that’s the only intelligible word Sophie utters). She has SIX teeth (!) so let’s just say I may not nurse her until my original goal of one year. When she can gnaw on a chicken bone, I think my nursing work is done. I have developed some new skills in the last nine months, too. My one-handed, one-wipe technique rivals the masters of origami. From 20 yards away I can detect the difference between a Cheerio and a leaf being popped into her mouth. And I’ve got mad rhyming skills. There is this fear, too, which I didn’t expect. A fear that she might fall or choke or get a fever or get her heart broken by someone, someday, and I still find myself shaking a fist at people who cut me off in traffic, exclaiming, “Don’t you know I’ve got a baby!?!?” And Sophie, you’ve got me, too -- wrapped right around your little finger.
Here are a few pics from May 19, 2006...
A DAY IN THE LIFE, continued: So the evening routine goes like this. Frank gets home around 5 p.m. and has playtime with Sophie until I arrive (usually around 5:30, but sometimes later). Lately Sophie has been grinning and laughing at me when I get home, which is a great feeling. I nurse her right away, then she goes onto the new rug in the living room and we play. She has a wooden catepillar, a stuffed penguin, and her taggies blanket -- some of her favorite toys -- but mostly she wants to play with the branding iron next to the fireplace. She can pull herself up now, so Frank and I spend most of the evening pointing her into a new direction, away from some danger. Around 6:30 she goes into the high chair where she eats some baby food. Her favorites right now are tiny cheese cubes. She also likes green beans and mashed potatoes. Not separately. Mixed. It’s a Gerber thing -- they mix the most bizarre things together, like wild rice and peaches, or winter squash and apples. I guess it’s preparing her for a lifetime of leftovers. After dinner she goes right into the bath, out of necessity. She LOVES the bath and splashes around quite a while, then we put on pajamas, read a book, say a prayer, and sing some songs. Mostly I make up words to songs and they’re pretty dorky. Frank is afraid I’m going to forget them if I don’t write them down, so here’s one of our standards (to the tune of Undying Love):
Grace, grace. Say goodnight, Sophie Grace, as I plant a kiss upon your face, and you slip into your dreamy place. I thank the Lord for all of the days....that I get to spend with Sophie Grace.
And then we turn on the blessed vacuum/hair dryer cd (Frank’s brilliant “suck and blow” recording) and she goes down for the night with her arm thrown over her pink elephant, Floyd.
May 3, 2006: A DAY IN THE LIFE I logged on to a friend’s baby site yesterday and was disappointed that she hadn’t updated since last week. I know, I know. It’s been weeks since I’ve updated my own. Here’s why. Welcome to a day in the life.
6:30 a.m. Sophie wakes up, stands up, and hollers her good morning to us. Frank is up already, so he gets her and brings her into the big bed where she nurses and then crawls around trying to get to the dog’s tail. I keep one hand on a baby ankle, one eye open, and try to rest for a few more minutes.
7:00 a.m. After a diaper change, we move into the living room or study and have play time. There are TONS of toys, but her favorite things right now are a cardboard box, a plastic drink coaster, and shoes. She’s determined to lick the bottom of every shoe in the house. Most of the time we stop her from doing so.
7:45-8-ish a.m. Second Breakfast. We start with a few “puffs” (baby cereal that dissolves quickly) as an appetizer, then we move on to a few bites of oatmeal. She likes the first 2-3 bites, but that’s it. Then we start mixing with a little fruit. Lately, she likes to eat bites of my toast. After this meal, she plays with her spoon or a spatula while I unload the dish washer from the night before. Then we go to her room and play a bit more. Again, LOTS of toys in there, but mostly she tries to climb her bookshelf and I try to stop her.
8:45 a.m. Sophie goes into her bouncy seat in our bathroom and I hop into the shower. Her favorite toy to play with while I’m in the shower is an Altoid’s box with one of Frank’s capos in it (metal guitar thingy...it makes a lot of noise). After the shower Sophie crawls all over the bedroom while I try to get dressed. I won’t mention our battle of the iron cord because it will make you nervous. I think the wrinkled look is coming back in style
9:30 a.m. Third Breakfast. As soon as Sophie starts to rub her eyes, we go into her bedroom and I nurse her to sleep singing our naptime song. If I don’t sing, she grabs my lips and pulls really hard and kind of hums to herself until I start singing again. While Sophie sleeps, I check email, get things ready for school, dry my hair, and straighten up a few things around the house.
10:30-11 a.m. Sophie wakes up again and we “play” while I’m still running around getting things ready to go for school. Mostly she rides around on my hip while I try to get things done. She goes back into her high chair around 11:30 and eats a cracker or two before Nini (our nanny, Melanie) arrives and I try to make a sandwich and load my stuff into the car.
And then I morph into a high school teacher for a few hours. (11:45 - 4:15)
Of course, it doesn’t always go down exactly like this. This morning we made it out of the house for a walk, but now Sophie’s napping and I haven’t showered yet and don’t know what I’m teaching this afternoon. There’s no bread in the house but I probably won’t make it to the store in the post-nap/pre-nanny window, so it looks like Chex Mix for lunch! Yummmm. Log in later to read about our evening routine!
Spring Break, 2006: WEST VIRGINIA OR BUST Sophie earned her wings this spring. We braved the friendly skies and took an airplane ride (5 airplane rides, actually) to see Granddaddy Jim and Mamaw Marsha in Parkersburg. Traveling with Sophie was easier than we thought it would be, and we didn’t even have to buy a round of drinks for the whole plane like I had planned. Of course, 17 or so of our fellow passengers got to gander at my strip show as I tried to nurse Sophie during take-off and landing, but other than that it was smooth sailing. We did miss a plane and lost our luggage, but that had nothing to do with traveling with a baby. And we really loved the early boarding -- why didn’t we have this kid sooner? Sophie got searched by the Transportation Security Administration (guess what was hiding in her diaper!), but then we realized that Mom had the asthma puffer in her pocket. Whoops. In West ByGod Virginia we enjoyed days of lolling about the house, eating fantastic home-cooked meals, romping with cousins (Sophie finally met Max, Madeline, and Aunt Laura!) and celebrating Granddaddy’s 71st birthday. We thought Sophie would learn how to crawl over Spring Break, but she spent the trip growing a few more hairs and another tooth. We took our obligatory trip to Gabriel Brothers so Frank could stock up on cheap shirts with one sleeve only slightly shorter than the other, and Laura took some artsy shots of the kiddo (my favorite is poster here). We can’t wait to see them all again this summer!
February 10, 2006: GAINS AND LOSSES This month, Sophie is gaining pounds and losing hair at a rapid rate. It’s so strange to look back at pictures of a tiny little newborn with a head full of hair and then glance up to see our chubby, bald girl. She has new tricks, too. She’s sitting up for a couple of minutes at a time and she reaches out for everything. She was sweetly touching my face yesterday while I nursed her, and then suddenly she grabbed my lip and yanked down as hard as she could and then flashed me a grin when I yowled. Quite the comedian. And she squeals. It started when she was really little and sort of sounded like a cowgirl in a honkytonk yelling out “Ah-haaaaa.” Now it is full-blown “I’m lying on a railroad track and a train is fast approaching” sort of scream. But when you rush over to grab her, she just grins. There are a few other things that make Sophie laugh: getting kisses from Callie, watching Momma dance, getting zerberts on her belly, and sucking on her own toes.
January 1, 2006: HAPPY NEW YEAR, BABY! We’ve returned safely from all of our travels -- this year we went up the I-35 corridor (first to Belton to see the Allen family, then up to the farm in Weatherford to see my mom’s side of the family). Sophie was quite the traveler -- she slept most of the way and whenever she cried we put on the vacuum cleaner cd and belted out Christmas carols to get her to fall back to sleep. She doesn’t really get the whole Christmas phenomenon yet -- not even the ripping of paper or playing in boxes (maybe next year), but in her complete and sweet cluelessness, she still managed to give us the best Christmas gift ever: giggles. It is the funniest, goofiest sound, and we LOVE to hear it. She had a giggle fit on New Year’s Eve, and it was a far better high than champagne ever gave me (without the headache, too!) It goes something like this: heh heh heh hyuck, heh heh heh hyuck. Amazing.
November 28, 2005: It’s been a while since I last updated the journal -- probably due to the fact that I have...gasp...returned to work. It’s actually going quite well, thanks in large part to our fantastic nanny, Melanie. She takes care of two tiny babies every afternoon, and so far I haven’t found her hunkered down in the corner shaking or crying or anything when I get home (which is exactly what my reaction would be). I mean, I know people have twins and survive, but don’t ask me how. Our sweet puppet-master Sophie yanks our strings from the moment we get up to the moment...HA...I was going to say until the moment she goes to bed, but that’s another thing I should mention. Sophie likes to sleep in her swing. Sophie likes to sleep in the car. Sophie likes to sleep in the Baby Bjorn carrier, especially if I am vacuuming or drying my hair. But Sophie really likes to sleep in the big bed, with Momma on one side, Dad on the other, and Callie at her feet. Gary the cat occasionally jumps into the equation, too. Here’s the punchline, though: the “big bed” is a full-sized bed. Who named it that? If you put more than one person in it, it’s already a more-than-full bed. Add a dog and a baby and a cat with gas and you’ve got antics, I tell ya. For Christmas, I think we’re going to invest in a king-sized bed.
Speaking of holidays, Sophie has enjoyed the festivities so far. On Halloween, she was the cutest shark in town (check out the photo pages), and I only suffered a couple of burns from the hot glue gun I used to make her costume. For the Thanksgiving break we traveled to Weatherford to see Grandma Jane (who was feeling pretty good this trip -- radiation is over for a while and three rounds of chemo are done). We also went to Clyde, TX to see the entire Allen clan and she met her first cow and sheep. Sophie got to spend more time with her cousins Michael and Christopher who kept referring to her as “him.” That’s okay -- their Dad did the same thing when I was born. Next holiday tradition? The Christmas card. I picked up a baby Santa hat and some reindeer antlers at Target (okay...they came with dogtreats, so technically I guess they are dog antlers), and we had a photoshoot this morning. The results will be in your mailbox soon!
October 3, 2005: Before I had Sophie, I would call up my friends with a baby and ask, “What new tricks can she do?” Sophie’s act is fairly minimalist right now...she eats, poops, and sleeps. People ask, “Does she sleep through the night yet?” Nope. “Is she on a feeding routine by now?” Nope. “Can she sit up? Roll over? Lift her head? Fetch the paper?” Nope, nope, and nope, and she prefers Go, Dog, Go over the Austin American Placemat. Actually, she can lift her head up, she just can’t sustain it for very long. She ends up head butting my shoulder three or four times really quickly before she finally gives up, turns her cheek, and lays her head down again.
Our baby instruction manuals tell us that newborns love to stare at their parents’ faces. Frank has decided that she’s blind, because she won’t look him in the eye. I think she’s just a daydreamer. That or she’s hiding something...The books also tell us that she will break out into a “real” smile (not the “I just filled my diaper for ya” grin that we’ve been seeing) any day now. She’s been really close the last couple of days, and I’ve been breaking out all my good material to try to get a chuckle from her, but so far I get a slight smirk. Maybe that’s something else she inherited from her momma.
While her repertoire is small, we still get a huge kick from just sitting and watching her grow her little eyelashes. And there are a few things that Sophie is really good at: She can down a bottle of expressed milk in two seconds flat (The other night, Frank said, “If they made a milk bong, Sophie would slam it!!” What a proud Poppa.) When she’s in her Baby Bjorn carrier, she catches all the crumbs from Momma’s snack. Sometimes she keeps her legs raised in mid-air to help out with the diaper changing. And she’s very patient as Mom tries to remember the lyrics to lullabies long forgotten... “Farah Fawcett...Farah Fawcett, dormez vous...dormez vous, salmonella martinis...salmonella martinis, ding dong dang-it.”
September 23, 2005: We have the cleanest floors in town! Turns out that Sophie really likes the sound of the vacuum cleaner. Lord knows I hardly vacuumed when I was pregnant with her, so it must be all the Mexican food I ate that made the lovely roaring sound in my belly that she seems to love so much. We discovered the vacuum cleaner trick on one of Sophie G’s fussy days -- someone was coming over that evening and she had me confused with a 24-hour snack bar. Every time I’d feed her and try to put her down, she’d look right back at me with that open-baby-bird mouth that she gets. I finally just stuck her in the Baby Bjorn sling and listened to her whine a bit while I did some chores. As soon as I turned on the vacuum she settled right down and fell asleep all snug against my chest. Since then, we’ve used the vacuum trick many times (sometimes just leaning down towards her face and imitating a vacuum cleaner, which makes me look really cool in the middle of an H.E.B. aisle). I’ve grown weary of vacuuming, so now I just turn it on and we sit in the same room with it. I’m sure we’re going to wear down the motor or clean that one patch of carpet right down to the foundation, but it’s worth it!
September 2, 2005: She’s here! Sophie Grace was supposed to be arriving tomorrow, but she decided to show up a couple of weeks early. On August 19th at 9:28 in the morning (after 30+ hours of early labor at home and a night of fairly active labor in the hospital), this tiny little being entered our lives. For so long I’ve been trying to imagine her face and guess what her personality would be like. Words cannot even describe her -- she’s absolutely breath-taking. Most of the people who saw her in the hospital said she looks like Frank, but her hair coloring is more like mine. It’s a light brown that looks lighter day by day, and she has tiny blonde strands around her face. She also inherited my cowlick -- poor baby! Sophie has long fingers and toes, and loves to touch her face. She often throws a hand across her forehead in a very melodramatic gesture -- prepping for those teen years. The Websters came and stayed with us right after she was born; Marsha kept us fed and happy; JimDad worked on projects that would have taken Frank ten years to get around to... we really miss them! Now I spend my days staring at this beautiful girl (and occasionally poking her to make sure she’s still breathing.)
August, 2005: Wow...things can really change in a year. Last summer we were buying succulents and searching for the perfect sage green to decorate the wedding. This summer, we’re buying a “Mom car” and searching for the perfect green paint for a baby’s nursery. It’s been a crazy summer -- we took 42 kids to Europe, traveled to Rob and Lauren’s wedding in Alabama, spent some quality time at the beach with the Webster fam, outran a hurricane to make it home to Texas, moved into a new house, and sold the old one. School starts up again in a few days, and it just might be relaxing to go back to work! (Until, of course, the Wee Webster arrives -- then our practice with sleep deprivation may come in handy again.) Check out the photo page for pics of our summer adventures.
July, 2004: Frank and I are back from our honeymoon travels (first to Schlitterbahn -- it really is the hottest, coolest time in Texas -- and then to paradise...ahem, Costa Rica). Now we’re enjoying a couple weeks of down time before the school year begins. This summer has been the most hectic and wonderful experience of our lives. It was a surreal and thrilling thing to have all our families and friends in one place -- it seems really empty without all of you around now! Most people don’t have to WORK when they’re invited to a wedding, but our friends and family morphed into an “event crew,” and helped us pull off a spectacular wedding and reception. Thank you so much. Thank you for climbing up ladders in July and suffering small heat strokes to hang lanterns. Thank you for tying raffia around silverware and gluing matches to sparklers and planting succulents assembly-line style. Thank you, Amy and Amanda, for hauling gerbera daisies around in your cars; thank you, Jason, for the amazing invitations; thank you, Chad, for putting a drink in my hand every time I turned around! I could go on and on, but the point is this: Some people have asked, “What’s the best gift you received at your wedding?” It was seeing all of you come together and work so hard because you love us so much. Frank and I already knew that we had the best friends and family in the world, but thank you, again, for your generous and loving spirit. We are so blessed.