We got the best ornament ever from Grandma Kathy and Grandpop Dave - it's a wreath MP3 player that plays different snippets of christmas songs in different genres. It might just be Sophie's favorite toy ever - she loves to sit with it and look at the lights and dance along to the different tunes. Rock on, sister!!
Today we go in for Sophie's 9 month check-up at the pediatrician's office. Sophie seems to be in less pain from teething though we haven't seen or felt the tooth come through yet. We are enjoying a nice relaxing week together with Jim off from work and not so much hustle and bustle as last week.
Her sleep routine is not going well. We seem to have hit some major road bumps over the holidays which she seems to not be able to recover from quickly. Good thing we kept the appointment with the sleep specialist next week!
Sophie is pointing at everything these days. She points at the trees, lights, mommy, daddy. Sophie is like a sponge right now using her pointer finger to ask what surrounds her in this crazy world. We are loving every moment of each new discovery.
Sophie's growth and development - both physically and mentally - is really blowing our minds lately. She is really enjoying her time learning how to stand up and to scale some of the furniture and got not one but two walking push toys for Christmas and she loves them both.
She has also really started pointing at things. She points at the Christmas trees multiple times a day. She knows what they are and when her Daddy reads a Christmas story to her and mentions the Christmas tree, she looks up at our tree and obviously knows what it is. She also is a waving champ and waves bye bye and hi all the time when waved to first. She also waves at the cats when they walk by and she also waves when you just say the words bye bye. You don't even have to wave, she just waves on hearing the phrase. It's pretty amazing to see these changes and new discoveries. We are trying to teach her more baby signs because she obviously can understand a lot right now. She knows the signs for milk and we've started teaching her "all done" in addition to "o's" to represent her cheerios. She has also started to very much dislike her diaper changes and we are convinced that with all the new discoveries of standing and scaling and moving around, she just hates being so confined.
She is still having problems falling asleep. She was doing really well for a few nights there but then we knew Christmas would be hard. Her routines were thrown a bit out of whack and she is definitely off her schedule now. She has a lot of trouble falling asleep on her own again and is crying a lot when we put her down. She also is teething still. This is all a pretty lethal combination all in all. We've had some rough nights these past few nights (4:30am wake up two nights ago and last night we were up at 3am.) It's all sort of a blur. BUT, she is also sweet and adorable and happy for much of the day so for that we are so very grateful. Even with the exhaustion and post-holiday wind-down we are thrilled to have this week to ourselves to just chill out and relax. Jim is off until Jan. 5th so while we may not be getting as much done as we'd hoped we sure are having a wonderful time just being together as a family all day.
Opening a preview present a few days before Christmas to help ease the awful day of teething. Hanging out on Christmas Eve day getting into the Christmas spirit. Christmas Eve at Dee Ree and Pop Pop's. Look what Santa brought me!!! Christmas Day at our house Sophie had a wonderful 1st Christmas all in all. On Christmas Eve, she had her first taste of "A Very Stumpo" Christmas Eve by heading over to Dee Ree and Pop Pop's house. Dee Ree and Pop Pop have all the kids and lots of seafood and presents galore. We weren't able to stay late enough to see all the Stumpo aunts and uncles which was really too bad. But, we were able to have a nice visit with Uncle Bubba and his girlfriend Theresa. We also heard great news that Uncle Bubba and his girlfriend are expecting so Sophie will have a new cousin to play with who is very close in age - how exciting!!
On Christmas morning, Sophie and Daddy and Mommy had fun unwrapping some gifts Santa left under the tree and then we got ready to have everyone to our house for Christmas dinner. We had Nanny and Poppy and Aunt Pat and Cousins Caely and Colin and Amber. From Mommy's side we had Dee Ree and Pop Pop and GGMom. (Unfortunately, Aunt Dee and Uncle Jerry and cousins DA and Sarah couldn't make it because Jerry's dad went in the hospital. We hope he is feeling better soon!) Nana Mary also stopped over for a surprise visit which was so much fun.
We felt very blessed to be able to have so many of our loved ones at the table with us for Sophie's first Christmas dinner. It meant a lot to us and was a great way to enjoy Sophie's first Christmas together. For our family in South Carolina and Arizona and other parts around the country, although we were not able to see you this year, we love you very much and you all were with us at the table in spirit, as were Sophie's two great-grandpops who we all miss so very much.
Our very warmest wishes to all our family and friends, far and wide, for a happy healthy 2009! We love you!!
Videos of her on Monday playing with her gift bags and staring at the tree.
Ok, so we let Sophie open one gift yesterday because she had a horrible horrible day of teething sadness. She had fun opening it and playing with the wonderful gifts from her Snediker godfamily - homemade wooden blocks and a fabulous stuffed monkey.
Today she seems to be feeling a bit better so far. Tonight we will go to Dee Ree and Pop Pop's for their Christmas eve dinner and tomorrow we will have folks here for dinner.
Is it Christmas yet, mommy???? I'm tired of waiting!!
Sophie seems to be teething these past few days. (Generally sort of miserable, waking up at odd hours, fussy, etc). So we are all singing "All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth" around these parts.
Other than that, we're putting the finishing touches on our presents, running our last errands and then tomorrow we begin to get ready for the big feast here on Christmas day!
The lure of prettily wrapped packages under the tree might be just the thing that gets this little girly really crawling. She has been super mobile this weekend. Mostly she still does a mean backwards crawl but now has also started to move forward toward bows, packages, low hanging ornaments, etc. Christmas is going to be such a blast!!!
What's that sound you hear??? Angels from above singing their jubilant Hallelujah?? Yes, I hear them too!!! Because Sophie is going to sleep on her own!!! I almost feel like somehow it was a dream that when we would put her down before she would cry and cry - did I make that up? was it just a sleep deprived hallucination? But, for the last two nights and now going into her second day, her Daddy will take her upstairs and put her in the co-sleeper and she is sleeping on her own with only minimal crying (under 10 mins except for the first night). It's astonishing. It is blowing my mind. She is asleep upstairs RIGHT NOW as I type this. And, I am not up there with her. I'm not driving her around for an hour. I'm not holding her rocking her or nursing her. She's just sleeping. Obviously, it's really blowing my mind. We're certainly on to something here.
What happened was, my friend Reni (who just had a baby herself a few weeks ago, the beautiful Willa who is just a sweet little gorgeous baby girl) mentioned that someone she knew was going to a sleep specialist to help with her baby's sleep issues. I thought oh maybe we should try that since we've been having so many issues. In the meantime, Jim ordered another book on sleep this one called "sleeping through the night" by Jodi A. Mindell. Turns out Dr. Mindell is the Sleep Specialist my friend Reni's friend was going to!! She is a local psychologist with a sleep disorders clinic at CHOP. Well, I called to get an appointment for Sophie and the appointment scheduling is so esoteric that I had to call back in a week on Wed. morning starting at 8:15 and according to the person I spoke with it would likely be very hard to get in. So, I wasn't sure if we'd get an appointment but in the meantime, we read parts of the book (no, not the whole book but we read the key parts). We were going to start is this Friday night but two nights ago when she wasn't going to sleep easily Jim decided to start it so he took her upstairs, told her it was ok and it was time for bed and put her in the cosleeper and left. Well, this was very stressful. She cried and cried. Wailed and screamed. I got very very upset. This made Jim upset. It was um, stressful to say the least. But we didn't take her out of there. Jim went in to check on her a few times but we didn't pick her up and we didn't take her out of there. She cried for a good 20-30 mins or so which was so very hard but then, it got quiet. She was asleep! Then, yesterday Jim tried it for her daytime naps (he stayed home so I could go run holiday errands all day). She went to sleep for her naps on her own in usually 5 but not more than 10 mins. AMAZING, right? Then, she did it again last night for bed and again for her morning nap this am. Seriously, I am so impressed and so proud of her (and of Jim for being so strong!). We seem to be on the right path now for helping Sophie finally learn how to self-soothe but of course, we will be ready for some set-backs if they happen. I am so proud of my beautiful baby girl for falling asleep on her own like a big girl and I am so proud of and so grateful for my strong and patient and kind husband for his ability to be such a fantastic parent that he could do such a hard thing that we knew was right for her and for the whole family. Thank you, honey!!
Here she is making one of her unique sounds at Nanny and Poppy's house a few weeks ago. The sweet laughter and "You Silly" comments are our amazing and wonderful niece Caely you hear in the background. Jim calls this particular noise Sophie is making "riding her motorcycle".
We have had a wonderful fun holiday weekend. Yesterday was fantastic! We went downtown to the Macy's holiday lightshow. Sophie LOVED IT. She kept looking up and squealing and she clearly had a great time. Well, that is until she started to get tired but up until then she had a really fantastic time. This lightshow, for those of you not from Philly, is the quintessential holiday tradition/rite of passage for Philly kids. It was started by the old John Wanamakers, a great local department store, now owned by Macys. Many of us were pretty darn upset when Macys took over the lightshow (and frankly we went in the early years and it just wasn't the same). I'm happy to say that now they may have made it even better!! They seemed to have upgraded all their lights (looks like to the LED lights) and they now having moving spotlights circling around the walls and ceiling of snowflakes, trees, trains, and stars. Truth told, this was probably Sophie's favorite part. It was just great. Then, Sophie put her letter to Santa in the mailbox (which by the way for every letter that is received Macy's makes a $1.00 donation to Make A Wish Foundation).
After the lightshow we went up to the toys (not much selection but fun) and if the line were shorter we would have maybe gotten her photo with Santa but lines were way too long. Good thing I got her photo taken with Santa already so we didn't have to worry and wait in the line. Then we went to Reading Terminal Market, the oldest indoor food market in the country. We love Reading Terminal and being there reminded us that we need to go more often. We got roast pork and beef sandwhiches from DiNicks and yummy cupcakes from the Flying Monkey. We also picked up some walnuts and other items for the cookies.
Today, Jim put up the outside lights and we started our cookie baking. Unfortunately, Sophie is afraid of the mixer so Cookiepalooza didn't quite happen. (She also was up at 4am so is a little tired and "tender" today, too). But, we have successfully made a batch of chocolate chip cookies so that is a start, right? We also managed to make it out for Trey's birthday bash at Jumpers for a little while. All in all a wildly happy weekend for all!!
Sophie loves her tub time and especially is enjoying her California Baby lavendar soothing bubbles. Click on the photo to biggify and see her two bottom teeth! Sophie had sort of a tough week sleep-wise this week. Most of you know that Sophie has always had a bit of a problem with falling asleep. In the "dark days" she was very hard to sooth and needed some serious rocking, white noise, bouncing, you name it to get her to stop crying. As she got older, that lessened but she still had problems falling asleep for naps and falling asleep at night. We were able to get into a routine that usually worked for us but lately (ever since I've been home and not working) it has been very difficult to get her to take her naps. So, we have tried new methods. I've done a lot of drives with her out to Chadds Ford and back (because at least she would nap in the car for an hour). I've tried napping with her, I've tried to start sleep training her to get used to her crib but while I have spent 20-40 mins in there with her singing or trying to sooth her to get used to her crib, I haven't been able to last longer than seven mins max (my earlier record was two minutes) of crying and screaming and wailing when I walk out of the room. So, a week or two ago we decided to try and put her down much earlier than usual, thinking that maybe we were just letting her go to bed too late after we missed her real sleepy window and that maybe this was affecting her naps, too. So, we put her down at 6:30pm. She went to sleep. And, then she woke up at 2am. And, was up till about 4:30. Then, she got up again around 5:30 for the day. SOOO, that didn't quite work out for us and it threw her schedule even more out of whack. We started trying to get her to sleep a little earlier but not quite as early as 6:30. And, it seemed to be working. We had some luck getting her to go to sleep around 7 or 7:30 (instead of 8:30 which is when she was going to sleep previously). She would sleep till about 6am or so which is not bad. And, the big success is that after a couple of nights of us being in the room singing to her and rocking her which she was in her co-sleeper we were getting her to fall asleep on her own. But then this week, that all changed again. For the last couple of nights, she has been freaking out when we try to put her down to sleep. Wailing at the top of her lungs no matter what we do. Bouncing, rocking, singing, nursing, massage, you name it. It's been quite tough. And, very demoralizing after our "success" of getting her to fall asleep on her on with minimal crying for a few nights. So, for now we are back to the old routines. We will give it a few days and I guess try again. We have many many infant sleep books. Ironically, we don't have time to read them. We pick up bits here and there (like getting her to bed earlier). But, I guess we'll figure it out soon. She seemed to have a pretty good day today so I can't ask for more than that... Everyday is a new adventure with our little angel girl!!
Daddy showed Sophie how to hold her baby that Nanny Oxenford gave her on her little mini-boppy. What a good mommy she is! Though I did hear this AM that the same baby was thrown on the floor. Oh well, learning how to be a good parent is an ongoing process. She'll get there (so will we I hope)...
Sophie is a girl on the move these days. Pulling herself up on things like her carseat, the table, our arms. It's happened so quickly. I still can't tell whether she's going to skip crawling and go straight to walking or whether she'll be crawling any day now.
My goodness Christmas is going to be SOOO fun this year!! Yesterday Sophie and I went to a Christmas party where she got to meet Santa and sit on his lap (she actually didn't freak out too much). She got to wear her pretty holiday dress her DeeRee gave her. She made new friends and drank apple juice from a juice box straw like a big girl!! When we came home from the party, I had a little photo shoot here in the house using the Godsneds' present as a prop. She loved to touch the paper on the package and play with the bow so much! Just wait till the real thing, kiddo...