Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beach Babe

Sophie has been to Ocean City, NJ twice now. Once for just a quick walk on the boards and to stick her feet in the ocean and then this past weekend for an overnight with Dee Ree and Pop Pop. Unfortunately the weather was bad on Sunday (it actually hailed!) so she never did make it to the beach, but she did get to sport her red bikini inside for a while.

Mommy, when can I stop wearing this silly hat?

Getting some shade on the music pier with Daddy

Riding in her stroller on the boards

Bikini babe


Still working it

Chillin with Dad

Friday, July 25, 2008

First Rice Cereal

Tonight we gave Sophie her first taste of rice cereal. We mixed it up with some milk and fed it to her with a spoon. I wouldn't say she loved it, but I think she found the whole experience of putting the spoon on her mouth and eating sort of mildly entertaining at least. Tomorrow is Sophie's four month birthday. I'm not going to say "I can't believe it" because I feel like I'm always saying that. I will say that mothering Sophie has been and will continue to be, I'm sure, the most rewarding and most enjoyable experience of my life. She is the most amazing little person and it truly is a miracle to watch her learning and growing and becoming more of who she is each and every day. As all these big "milestones" are whizzing by (first smile, first laugh, first cereal, etc.) I am continually reminded of how precious each moment with her really is and how sure I am that Jim and I are truly the luckiest parents in the whole world.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Have we mentioned the drool???

According to our pediatrician, Dr. Soppas, all the drool doesn't necessarily mean she is teething or pre-teething. Simply this is the time when babies start to make a lot of saliva and they don't know what do with it all just yet so it just drools out. I'm sort of glad to know it's not that she'll be cutting teeth soon.

Today Sophia had her 4 month well-baby check-up. She is 13 lbs., 15 ounces and 24 and a half inches long! She got another round of the DTAP and Rotovirus vaccines and was such a trooper through it all. Tonight she hasn't seemed to have had any negative effects from the vaccines this time. (Not sure if I posted this or not but at her 3 month vaccines we had quite a scare when she had a 105.4 fever - it was so awful! We're not sure what happened but a fever that high really scared us to death. We got some Infant Tylenol in her and rushed her to the doctors and her fever was down quite a bit after that and then she seemed fine the rest of the day.) The funniest thing happened in the doctors office today though... The Dr. was feeling her abdomen and pushing in here and there and Sophie started to laugh! The doctor did it again and Sophie cracked up again. That got Dr. Soppas laughing, too. It was incredibly cute. Sophie really had a great day today (even with a vaccine!) Jim is on vacation this week so he's getting lots of extra time with Sophie and I think it's really making for happy times for all!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Being Sophie's Daddy

People always tell you that having a child will change your life forever.  Well, on the surface that's a pretty logical statement.  Of course having a child changes your life forever.  No more dining out, no more concerts, no more this or that at the drop of a hat are always mentioned with a kind of "oh-you-cannot-even-imagine-the-agony-of-it-all" tone of voice or with the look of someone imprisoned is some hellish diaper infested baby drool smeared prison cell.  Some parents hear of your pre child escapades will often say "HA! Wait until you have kids." with a wicked glint in their eye.  It's now been almost 4 months since we welcomed Sophie to the world and life certainly has changed.  We live for our little girl now.  Her comfort and happiness are all that matters.

Sophie amazes me everyday with her excitement and wonder with all things. I can say her name from across the room and she will look at me and smile the biggest smile you've ever seen.  Her eyes will light up and it just melts my heart.  It's like nothing I've ever felt before.  Pure, bright white, warm love fills my entire being when my little girl smiles.  Unconditional, knee knocking, goose bump inducing, head to toe love.  

I love, love, love being Sophie's Daddy.  I feel lucky to have such a wonderful,  healthy, smart baby girl to father.  She's teaches me something new about myself and about life everyday.  She taught me to try and be a more patient, kind and thoughtful person.  She's taught me to approach life with a lot more love in my heart. Sophie and I are also lucky to have Jen. She continues to inspire me with her beauty, kindness and compassion.  She is a fantastic mother and a great wife.

Sure, we don't eat out as much as we used to but life now is so much better.  I wouldn't change it one tiny bit.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Busy Times

It's been such a busy time lately... Lots of visiting and lots of work!

Last Sunday we went to a high school graduation party for my cousin Doris Anne. Here is a photo of four generations!

And, here is Sophie with her Great Grandmom (her "GG Mom")

Sophie also got to hang out with her godparents, Heather and Christian, and her god brothers who were in town Sat-Mon on their way up to Maine for the week. I also don't think I ever got around to posting any photos from the 4th of July but Sophie also finally got to meet her Federwitz god family, too!

Godmother Heather

Godmother Dani

Sophie actually really liked her Godmother Dani so this was sort of bad timing to catch her looking so unhappy with her. (Sorry, Dani!)

Godfather Christian has a slightly different style (of course, she liked Godfather Christian too)

Sophie now has a Bumbo and a new exerciser toy which she seems to be really enjoying though her feet don't quite touch the ground on the exerciser and she has a tendencey to lean slightly to the right when sitting in her Bumbo. But still, it's just amazing to me how quickly she is growing into these "big" toys. It's all going by so fast!

Sophie is doing really well with my working from home arrangement on the days I'm not in the office. For the most part, I either hold her during meetings and conference calls and videoconferences or sometimes I can put her down and have her play in her Bumbo or on her play mat or her bouncy seat. Occassionally she gets fussy but I can usually quickly help her get past it by shaking a rattle in front of her while I'm on a call or otherwise try to distract her. By the end of the day, we're both ready for quitting time for sure and then I like to take her outside for some fresh air and to water the plants or just walk around the back yard so she can see the world a bit instead of being couped up inside all day. When Jim gets home, she is always thrilled to see her Daddy and we all really enjoy our time together in the mornings before work and at night as a family. Lately, she has not been going to bed very early. She seems just too interested in everything going on all around her so we have been playing with her or helping her "walk" or even sit up to look all around. It seems like she is 3 and a half months going on a year already - she's just so curious and active. Because of this new extended nighttime playtime, she has been sleeping later and later in the morning. It was great before because we loved not needing to set an alarm but now she is sleeping till 8, 8:30 and even 9am if we let her now! So, we are having to set the alarm to make sure we all get up on time. We're all happy it's almost the weekend and look forward to a quiet summer weekend home together.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sophie and Ollie Playing on *Their* Mat

Ollie just doesn't seem to understand why this crinkly play mat with dangling toys is not his, too...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Meeting MacDougalls

This week Sophia got to meet many relatives that she never gets to see. That's one beautiful thing about sad family events... seeing your relatives when you least expected it.

Sophie got to meet her MacDougall family and the Schranks and the Deerings and all sorts of other cousins and family friends. While she never got to meet her Great Grandfather MacDougall in person, she will know him through our love and our stories and memories of him as she gets older.

Getting to Hang Out With Great Grandmom MacDougall

Three Generations

The Entire MacDougall Family

Sophie loving her Daddy

Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 2, 2008

On Wed. July 2nd, my wonderful grandfather, and Sophie's great grandfather, Howard W. MacDougall, passed away after a long struggle with illness. We are incredibly and overwhelmingly sad and missing him so very much already. Grandpop MacDougall was a truly unique and amazing man - a wonderful husband, an excellent father and an even more special and wonderful grandfather. Sadly, he has been battling a very serious illness, spinal cerebellar ataxia, for many years now and so while we all are missing him more than words can possibly describe, he is not suffering anymore and there is some peace in knowing that his long brave battle is finally over. This week, our MacDougall family will gather in New Jersey for services and many family members will be meeting Sophia for the very first time. There is some small solace in knowing that she will get to meet her great grandmother and her great aunts and uncles and second cousins that might not have seen her for some time now. I last saw my grandfather in December when we flew out for the holidays. He was so excited for us that we were expecting his first great grandchild. I wish that he and Sophie could have met here on this earth but they will meet again someday. What I will always remember most about Grandpop is his amazing laugh, full and hearty, and the twinkle in his beautiful blue eyes. I miss you so much Grandpop. You are always in our hearts...

Here is a link to an article written about him by a reporter for The Post and Courier newspaper in South Carolina.

Grandmom and Grandpop MacDougall at our wedding in October 2005

Jim and I with Grandmom and Grandpop at our visit to Arizona in Dec. 2004

The MacDougall Family in the hospital with Grandpop on Christmas Day 2007