Friday, December 31, 2010

Steps in the right direction

I love the holidays - the true spirit of giving, the chance to spend time with friends and family and, of course, the yummy food!

This year, as we always do, we headed down to CT where both of our families are/were for the holidays. First stop was at my parent's house where Sophia was treated to a host of fun presents and goodies - her favorite (and probably our least favorite) is the little push toy that sang "Do you know the muffin man" over and over. She quickly found the button to play the song and all I have to say if you're ever of Drury lane and see the muffin man, please smack him upside the head for me.

Happily, this little gem is staying at grandma and grandpa's house. But she was spoiled with so much, both in material things (toys & clothes) as much as with love and kisses. Seeing the joy she brings to my parents makes me so happy. She is a little burst of sunshine for them, no doubt. Here she is enjoying some lovey time with Grandma.

Christmas is also my Grandma's birthday - she turned 88 this year. It was a great opportunity for the whole family to get together and get a 4 generation picture.
The picture includes: My Grandma, my father and his sister, my two cousins, myself and Sophia. It is so rare that we all get together in the same room, so this was truly what the holidays are about.

On Christmas Day, we did the shuffle up to Dave's dad's house, about an hour from my folks. It offered Sophia the only nap of the day (way too much excitement with all the family around - including my mother-in-law who came down from Cambridge and my brother-in-law Barney, who flew out from Seattle).

Sophia stole the show, though, with a late afternoon walk. Yup - 4 steps from her Uncle Cameron to me. Grandpa Ahouse caught her in action: (there were cute black patent leathers that complemented the outfit, but alas, like any good party, the shoes came off!) Note that we aren't considering her a "walker" yet - just a little one who has taken steps. She's still tentative about actually walking without holding on, but each day gets a little braver.

Finally, after the food was eaten and presents were opened, I was able to get a picture of the carnage as Sophia systematically exhausted the Ahouse men - Dad, Uncle Barney and last but not least, Uncle Cam. What a day! Bring on the New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Cause you gotta have friends...

'Tis the season to give thanks, so I'm going to be doing different posts about what I'm thankful for.

I am forever thankful for my friends. I am lucky to have such wonderful men and women in my life. Lately, though, I am especially thankful for my fellow baby mama friends. I am blessed with a group of women who I have become increasingly connected with since being pregnant and having Sophia. These women are all so very different from me and from each other, but they have been my "rocks" for the past 13 months. Some I've known since high school, some I met in the past year. Some live close by, others across the pond. What I know is that they have been there for me in so many ways.

Having children that are all the same age is very convenient for comparisons:

That 8am phonecall that starts with "Sophia's is being amazingly stubborn and not sleeping at all? Is it wrong to want to trade her in today? Oh, Frances is doing the same? Want to swap kids?"
"Sophia had a massive poop that destroyed multiple outfits. Will did too? That's so reassuring that our children are really talented!"

Seriously. These are real conversations. But above and beyond the discussions about our children's sleeping, bowel movements, mobility and teeth acquisitions, it's the conversations about ourselves as women, wives and mothers. The reassurance that no, we aren't crazy, yes it is entertaining to watch our husbands make a fuss about something that we do multiple times a day with nary an eyelash batted and maybe it's not the worst thing to snuggle on the couch in silence after the baby has gone to bed with a nice glass of wine and some bad TV.

So ladies, you know who you are. I just want to say thank you for being there and being amazing. I couldn't have made it through the past year with out you. Because you gotta have friends.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The great transition

I've quickly learned over the past 13 months that raising a child is all about transitions. They (or you) are always moving from one stage to the next: Eating every two hours to spacing it out. Sleeping on and off through the whole day/night to consolidating their sleep to the evening. Laying around like a sack of potatoes to crawling to walking.

Right now, our big transition is from 2 naps to 1 nap and from bottles to sippy cups. The nap transition is a big deal, more so for me, I think, than Sophia. She has been showing signs for the past month or so that she's kind of done with her morning nap. This used to be my precious down time to get things done - email, check the football pool, cook, for at least 45 minutes if not a full 90.
But it is really nice to have a full chunk of time in the morning with her to get out and play, do errands and not feel like we're racing against the clock to get home or can't leave until 11.

Sophia is also in a very mommy-centric mode (despite the fact that she only says "Da Da" - you can ask her - where's MaMa and she looks at you with this big smile and says "DaDa!"). This focus, though, makes me putting her down for naps really difficult. She just wants to stay and snuggle and not have me leave her. It's really tough, as I know she is exhausted and needs to sleep, but the excitement of me being around is too much to handle. She is quite a trooper though.

My sitter has been a rockstar in helping her to handle the transition and can put her down in a snap. Dave, too, has had good luck with it. It makes me feel really special that all she wants is to play with me :)

We'll make it through the transition, just as we have the others. There will be some tears, but in the end, we'll all grow up as a result.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gobble Gobble...

This year, I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time. Last year, technically, I hosted, because it was at our house, but in reality Sophia was all of 15 or so days old and my mom did all the cooking and heavy lifting. And not until I hosted this year did I truly have an appreciate for her flawless delivery of all the courses and components on time and properly cooked! (Note to self - not the best idea to run a 5 mile road race in the morning before a big holiday cook and host!)

We had 12 people (including Sophia and our friend Frances, a fellow 1 year old) and 1 small lovable dog. It was quite the experience with lots of excitement between the Patriots game, all the people (especially her Grandpa Ahouse, Aunt Hayley and Uncle Cameron spoiling her rotten with love and attention) and the food.

Sophia took it in stride (or crawl - however you want to call it). Charlie the dog was quite happy about the array of food that ended up on the floor by Sophia for his consumption, but Thanksgiving really offers the perfect menu for babies:
Sweet potatoes - check
Mashed Potatoes - check
Stuffing (yummy bread!) - check
Cranberry Sauce - (the real stuff, not the scary canned crap my husband likes)
Bread - check
Pumpkin pie & apple pie - double check

Now as for the actual Turkey - forget about it. Sophia has no interest in eating meat in general. Or I should say, in attempting to swallow it. She'll chew it for ages but when it comes to swallowing it she spits it out. So I guess she's getting some protein out of it! Her favorite part of the day came when it was time to load the dishwasher. She's a master at getting the jet dry cap off and in her mouth in less than 10 seconds.

By 7:15pm, though, Sophia was toast. She took her bottle and curled into a nice little ball in her crib. Which is, essentially, what I wanted to do too. At least it's not for another 12 months.