Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Thanks to my good friend, Susana, we have a few pictures from a Memorial Day BBQ with several of our friends at the neighborhood pool. Unfortunately Jack was sick, so Eric offered to stay behind with him while I took Sophie to the pool for her first swim of the season. Sophie enjoyed swimming with Mommy for a short time, but quickly gravitated towards the more "reckless" adults who brought her down the big slide again and again...and again.

Eventually she asked me to go down the slide all by herself. After borrowing some "floaties" for her arms and asking her repeatedly if she was sure, I sent her off with Rhiannon's brother Trevor who planned to walk her up the steps and release her, while Rhiannon waited at the bottom of the slide to catch her. I felt a slight bit of panic as I let her go - mostly because I knew Eric would most likely not have agreed to this plan (or at least would have wanted to be the one to receive her at the end of the slide), but also because I realized I needed to let her experience this for herself so as not to squelch her desire to be adventuresome.

At the top of the slide, Trevor yelled down to me, "Here she comes...and she's backwards!" I couldn't help but laugh, but that of course was followed by a little more panic. Rhiannon was right there to catch Sophie, but it was inevitable that she would hit the water first. Here's the outcome...

Fortunately, she quickly recovered and did eventually go down the slide again. When I asked her the next morning what her favorite part of the day was, the slide was at the top of her list. The hot dog was a close second!

We are so lucky to have such great friends to spend these fun times with!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Braving the Elements

Eric won a lottery last week at work for 4 tickets to the Braves vs. Mets this past Tuesday. While Rhiannon and Lorraine held down the fort at home with Sophie, Jack and Kiki, we headed downtown with Cynthia and Amir for a bite to eat before the game. During dinner, the sky became dark, the rain started to fall, and Cynthia's phone started to ring (more than once!). It was Meemaw (Kiki's grandmother) telling us about the tornado watch for Atlanta. Eric called Rhiannon to advise her to bring the kids to the basement should she hear the tornado siren (thankfully this wasn't necessary), and we headed to the bar in the restaurant to wait out the storm. Eventually the sky cleared and after we saw the first pitch on TV(almost 2 hours behind schedule), we headed over to Turner Field. On the way to our seats, Eric and Amir tried to impress us with their pitching skills. They each had several chances to hit the target as the speed of their pitch was measured. Eric was proud to demonstrate for Amir, who is from Israel and had never thrown a baseball.

We couldn't have asked for better seats - we sat about 7 rows behind home plate and had a fabulous time. After a lot of laughs, some peanuts, and even a little beer, the Braves won the game and we headed back home for what we knew would be a short night of sleep.

Early (actually, VERY early) the next morning, Sophie and Kiki proudly flaunted their manicures and pedicures that Lorraine pampered them with. The girls did great and enjoyed yet another sleepover, this time with Kiki on an air mattress next to Sophie's bed, and a much more comfortable night for both! If only they could learn to appreciate the beauty of sleeping in once in awhile!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Kiki Spends the Night

By now you all know about Sophie's best friend Kiki. This past Saturday, Kiki spent the night with us while Cynthia and Amir went to a wedding shower. It was Kiki's first night away from home without her parents, but she didn't even bat and eyelash as her Abba said goodbye.

The first thing Kiki said (Rhiannon - you'll appreciate this), was "let's play music and dance on the fireplace". For those of you who may not know, the safety of our fireplace is an ongoing discussion between me and Eric. It's a stacked stone raised hearth, and though we've got a rubber safeguard around it, Eric enforces (or at least tries to enforce) a strict no climbing on the fireplace policy. Our babysitter Rhiannon wasn't aware of this, and about 5 months ago she captured a hilarious video of Sophie and Kiki dancing to the "Twist Around" song on the fireplace. Kiki clearly did not forget this and knew exactly where she was headed. So we let them have a little dance on the fireplace until Eric's blood pressure started to escalate.

Dinner is always an adventure with these girls, as Kiki tends to get distracted and not want to eat much, and Sophie is usually a member of the clean plate club. Typically what happens is that Kiki will start feeding her meal to Sophie once Sophie has finished. This time they actually fed each other...

After dinner they played hide and seek, but their rules were a little different from the ones we all know. Once one was done counting to 10, the other one would yell out from her hiding place..."I'm in here!!". Then the rules changed again and whoever was supposed to "seek" would tell the "hider" where she wanted her to hide, before starting to count.

The evening was capped off by The Little Mermaid movie. Kiki decided she and Sophie would sleep on the couch, so she tucked Sophie in, and then had me tuck her in.

Finally, Bedtime! After having a small argument over which side of the bed they wanted to sleep on, they each grabbed a stuffed animal and cuddled up for a story, before receiving my mini lecture on how late is was and that they needed to go right to sleep. Believe it or not, they actually listened and adhered. I stood outside the door for a minute and could have heard a pin drop. Here are the before and after shots (only 25 minutes later).

We really enjoyed the night and morning with Kiki. Eric and I loved watching the girls talk to each other. They speak in complete, articulate sentences, full of logic, negotiation and humor. It's obvious how much they love each other...we look forward to many more sleepovers with Kiki!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

It's hard to believe that yesterday was my 4th Mother's Day!! Although I always wanted to have children of my own, I had no idea how truly gratifying it would be to experience the adventures of motherhood and the depth of love I have for Sophie and Jack. After Sophie was born, I quickly learned how complex the emotions of motherhood can be, and I'm admittedly overwhelmed at times by the huge responsibilty of nurturing such precious children who are so dependent when it comes to most everything. At the same time, I'm amazed at how much joy I get out of simply watching them interact with their environment and each other, especially now that Jack is old enough to respond to Sophie. They are truly becoming friends and it's so fun to watch. Here's a couple of pictures of them riding around the house on their toy car...

Sophie's pre-school class held a Mother's Day Tea last Friday and she presented me with a beautiful flower that her teacher helped her plant. Sophie didn't feel like posing for too many pictures that day, but here's a shot of her with the flower she planted and Jack enjoying the big kids at school.

As each day goes by, I realize how fortunate I am to have this amazing opportunity, and I'm thankful for the "fresh start" that each new morning brings. I also have a much better understanding and appreciation for how hard my own mother and Eric's mother worked at loving, teaching and protecting us, and how deep their love goes for their own children.

We celebrated Mother's Day for the 3rd year in a row with The Dekel Family. Sophie and Kiki have been best friends since they met each other at only 5 months! And I'm thankful for Kiki's Mommy, Cynthia, who was my first friend in Atlanta and has connected our family with so many other wonderful families in the neighborhood. We truly adore The Dekels. They have always treated Sophie (and now Jack) as part of their own family. It's so nice to be surrounded by other families who are in the same stage of life, and to watch each others' kids grow up right before our eyes and share the joy with one another.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Grammy and Grandpa Nick's Great Adventure

Grammy and Grandpa Nick had their first (and hopefully not last) experience babysitting Sophie and Jack for a few nights while Eric and I took our very first (and much needed) trip together since before Sophie was born. It's hard to believe that it's been that long since we were alone together without having to worry about the ins and outs of childrearing. We drove down to the beach in Sandestin, Florida for a few nights of R&R.

Grammy and Grandpa Nick came a couple of days before we left so we could break them into the kids' routine - and perhaps give them one last chance to back out should they decide that it's all just a little too crazy. But anyone who knows them also knows that their OWN lives can sometimes be described as crazy, so why not add a couple of toddlers to the mix?
The week consisted of lots and lots of fun for the kids. It all began with lots of time playing outside in the front yard. Grammy and Grandpa Nick had several "tricks" up their sleeves, including a bag of plastic frogs and lizards that they hid throughout the yard and had the kids discover them. Even the neighborhood kids loved this game. When my Mom and Nick pulled out 2 chairs to sit in while the kids played, I smiled to myself as I thought about how miraculous it would be if they could actually sit in those chairs at the same time. While Sophie is finally into the swing of the outdoor thing, Jack is in that adventuresome stage that requires someone following him most of the time. This is no easy task as he tends to "run" (especially away from the person who's chasing him) wherever he goes rather than casually enjoying the great outdoors.

Sophie enjoyed a day all to herself with Grammy and Nick at the zoo, while Jack hung back with his favorite babysitter Rhiannon. Some of the highlights from the zoo were seeing the giraffes, petting and the goats, riding the carousel, and, of course a little ice cream at the end!
The crew visited a few of our local playgrounds and even ventured out to Target for a change of scenery, where Sophie got gardening gloves and a small trowel to help Grammy plant flowers.

Needless to say, Grammy and Grandpa Nick were pretty exhausted (yet very fulfilled) by the time Eric and I returned (Thank Goodness Jack slept through the night the whole time we were gone!). They said 3 nights and 4 days was "just enough"and I quickly gave them a pitch about how much easier it will be in just a few months.

We love our kids dearly, but I must say that one of the most pleasurable aspects of getting away was knowing that we could have a real conversation rather than exchanging the sound bites that typify our usual day to day communication. We had a great time and we know we left the kids in great hands. If Grammy and Grandpa Nick are ever hard up for cash, we could probably rent them out to several of our friends in the neighborhood and this could become a retirement gig for them :).