Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 22, 2008 Playing with Birthday Presents

Here is my darling one year old the day after her first birthday party.  She has recovered from the icing overload incident and is settling into a fun day.  She is checking out some of her new toys.  First, she watched her favorite furry red monster Elmo on TV in her brand new baby sized Elmo chair courtesy of her dear grandmother. 

Then, we had to play Zoo with the cool Fisher Price Zoo toy that her Uncle Mike gave her. She loves the little zoo and plays with it everyday several times a day.   I think this is one of Sophia's favorite toys. Thanks Uncle Mike.  It keeps her busy playing for a while. 

Next, Sophia decided to be adventurous and crawl under the kitchen table.  She crawled underneath that table and then pulled herself up to a stand.  She clearly underestimated her height though because she got stuck under the edge of the table and started crying because her head was caught under the lip of the bottom of the table.  Poor girl, rather then help her immeidately, I grabbed the camera which was next to me and documented this funny moment. I couldn't stop laughing for several minutes because she kept trying to get loose from under the table. 

After the table incident, I decided that I should let Sophia open a present from her friend in our playgroup, Ayla.  Ayla and Sophia's birthdays are only a couple days apart so we often have fun comparing notes on the growth and progress of our girls.  Ayla had a little gift for Sophia that Sophia opened here on our floor.  She received these neat crayons from Crayola called Tadoodles.  The were created with a toddler in mind. They are somewhat egg-shaped crayons that Sophia really enjoys. I did take a picture of her first bit of artwork she made with these crayons but have not had time to upload the picture to the website yet.  Ithink Sophia is going to get a lot of use out of these fun colors.   They are washable and I am thankful for that.  A side note to share, I can remember when my brother, Sophia's Uncle Mike wrote all over my bedroom walls with some beautiful crayons while I was at school one day that I left out when he was only a toddler. I am sure my parents will remember that little event.  Visions of my newly colored walls came to me when Sophia opened this gift.    That is the reason I only let her draw with them while seated in her high chair with me standing right beside her.   

I love you my dear little Sophia.  

Monday, September 29, 2008

September 21, 2008 - Sophia's 1st Birthday Party

Sophia had her First Birthday on September 21, 2008.  Pictured here are just a few photos from the party with family.  

Sophia was excited to the be the center of attention on her birthday. She entertained all of us with her silly antics. The first being opening gifts.  Sophia opened her first gift which was wrapped in a gift bag. She pulled out the colorful tissue paper and did a little dance around the floor on her bottom.  She waved the tissue paper around as she scooted around in a circle on her bottom on the blanket on our basement floor.  It was hilarious.  Not only did she love the wrapping for the presents, she danced around with it. 
  I was surprised at how silly she could be.  Once she actually removed the tissue paper from the gift bag and did her dance, she found her gift which was a pack of miniature rubber ducks.  If you know Sophia, you know that she is very fond of rubber ducks. It is the oddest thing but adorable as it could be. As of this past week she can say "Ducky" and tell you the sound they make, "Glack Glack!"  

Not only does Sophia love ducks, she also really loves balloons.  Her daddy brought this small bunch of balloons for Sophia.  If you ask her where the balloon is, she will indicate with her eyes looking in that direction as she does when she identifies things you have requested. 

Sophia had a lot of fun so much fun in fact that she tried to share her party hat with Elmo at one point and even helped put a party hat on our dog Brandy.  Brandy tried to get into the act, but we couldn't let her out of the crate for long because I was afraid she would gobble all the appetizers on the coffee table.  

Sophia was very excited about all the Elmo decorations that were scattered about the house including the Elmo cake that I made for her.    As you can see in the photos, she got right into the
moment and stuck her face right into the big Elmo cake after sticking one hand in to sample the icing.    Sophia made a very funny face when
 she tasted the sugary sweet icing because she has not had much sugar up unt
il this point in her life.    Covered in icing she passed out in her highchair sitting upright shortly after the cake tasting because it was way past bedtime.  No worries, I made a separate cake for all of us to eat. 

Next year we will have to remember that children like to play with tissue paper and boxes more than the actual gifts inside.  We spent more time watching her play
 with the wrapping paper and boxes and balloons than we did watching her
 play with all the gifts she received. 

For more Sophia photos, view the slideshow below. I was unable to put all the pictures in the slideshow because we have several hundred thanks to the shutterbugs of the family.   
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

September 20, 2008 Fall Swimming Lessons

So my little swimmer Sophia was a star shrimp in swimming class. She loves swimming as you will notice from her huge smile in all the pictures.  Now, that she is almost walking she enjoyed playing in the water play area with the toys.  In the Lazy River she relaxed as she floated on her back and even waved at her daddy as we floated by the side of the pool. She remembered to kick her feet and wave her arms while we practiced the forward crawl in the Lazy River too.  She squealed with delight as she jumped off the side of the pool into the water. She had fun splashing mommy and everyone else while patting her hands in the water.  She loved going down the slide with her instructor and splashing down into the water and my arms below.  The parents were asked to sing the "Wheels on the Bus" and moved the babies to the lyrics in the water.   It was a great time and we look forward to going back to swimming every Saturday for the next 7 weeks.  I love swimming class because Sophia takes a 2 hour nap on days we have class.  Yippee for some quiet downtime for me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

September 19, 2008 Talk Like a Pirate Day

Our playgroup sponsored a fun event for International Talk Like a Pirate day.   As you can see from the slideshow, some of the children even dressed up like pirates.  One of the moms, Emily, planned and orchestrated the whole event.  She had games for the mighty toddler pirates and even chocolate covered banan pirate ships.  They were adorable and yummy.  Sophia was too young to make a pirate hat or do the pirate crafts but she still enjoyed talking with the other Mates.  She was so good that day that she did not have to walk the plank and that is a good thing, because she would likely have fallen in, although she did walk along ground holding onto the park bench a few times.  Argh! Land Ho Matey!  

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 17, 2008 Mini Olympics with the Playgroup

September 17 we celebrated the Mini Olympics in honor of 2008 being an Olympic year.  For this event we had several activities for the toddlers and babies.  I chose to have it be really laid back since it is hard to get toddlers all interested in the same activity at the same time.  I put out several stations that the children could check out.  The kids played a little basketball with multiple balls thrown into a laundry basket.  A favorite of most of the kids was carrying the golf ball in a large spoon. It was challenging and made for a very funny activity for the kids.  We played frisbee and also raced across the park.   The kids enjoyed breaking through the finish line made of crepe paper.  There was a hula hoop available for anyone who was brave enough to try there skill at keeping the hula hoop up as well for the crawlers to crawl through. The babies had an activity that included rolling the balls on the ground while getting dirty in the mud.  That was Sophia's first time getting all muddy and dirty in the dirt.  The favorite event that all the children seemed to love was the surprise event ribbon dancing. I brought several ribbons and let the kids tape them to sticks and swirl them around like the ribbon dancing event in the Olympics.  The kids all seemed to want to try this activity.  Each child who participated in the day was given a simple gold medal because they were all winners.  

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September 13, 2008 - More Six Flags

Here we are taking a quick rest in the Bugs Bunny National Park sitting area at Six Flags. 

We are riding the Marvin the Martian Camp Invasion ride in the Looney Tunes area of Six Flags. 

September 13, 2008 Six Flags

MasterCard holds their employee and family picnic at Six Flags each year. This year we took Sophia. She seemed to enjoy the day meeting various fuzzy characters and riding the children's rides with mommy and daddy. Sophia's Uncle Mike, my brother came along too. He wasn't really into the rides too much, but he really enjoyed watching Sophia's animated reaction to each ride.

First we took Sophia on the Moon Cars. I guess we neglected to take any photographs of that but she did enjoy it.

MasterCard provides a very nice buffet picnic lunch which we ate at around lunchtime.
Sophia's met Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo near the mystery machine.

Sophia loved Porky Pig and shook his hand here. She sat down on the ground and spun around which she is doing here as she shakes Porky
Pig's hand. She likes piggys so Porky really made her smile.

Daddy took Sophia on the baby carousel as pictured here.

Scott insisted on taking his daughter on the Log Flume.  She seems as though she was really scared stiff in this ride if you zoom in to see her expression of fear.   

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 9, 2008 Evening Homemade Playdough

Today I made some playdough for Sophia. She loved it as you can see.

I used the old traditional playdough recipe but I added a teaspoon of vanilla to make it smell better which is as follows:
> Traditional Play Dough
> * 1 cup flour
> * 1 cup warm water
> * 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
> * 1 teaspoon oil
> * 1/4 cup salt
> * food coloring
> Mix all ingredients, adding food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from pan and knead until blended smooth. Place in plastic bag or airtight container when cooled. Will last for a long time.

Sophia had fun smashing the balls of playdough and breaking pieces of the playdough into different things. I tried to make an Elmo face and she had fun taking the nose off and smashing the Elmo head into a mushy mess. I guess she didn't think that I was a good sculptor of her buddy Elmo. Well, at least I tried to make Elmo. She did laugh at it but maybe that was because it was pretty sad.

All of a sudden a huge silly grin spread across her face and I knew what she was thinking, "How does this taste?" She took a big old chunk of playdough and took a big bite out of it. Well, as you can imaging it didn't take long for her to make a nasty face and start gagging on the salty dough recipe. She spit it all out. Yuck! I wasn't really worried since it is all edible ingredients. I don't think she will be trying to eat playdough again anytime soon.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September 9, 2008 Magic Basket Ride

Sophia is cruising around the house on her Magic Basket Ride.  I am really trying to come up with daily learning activities which teach her something or create a new experience.  Today we did some dramatic play by riding around the house in the laundry basket.  Today we used our imagination while we drove around the house in the magic basket.  We also tried to sing songs along with her children's songs CD while doing this activity.  Sophia even tried to stand up in the basket and wave to Brandydog in the kitchen as we rode down the hallway.  

Dearest Sophia I love spending time with you and wouldn't trade our experiences for the world.   We have a great time together whether it is dancing in the family room to our own singing or riding in a magic laundry basket through the house.  I know someday we will both be able to look back at all these things and laugh together at all the silly things we did.   Just wait Sophia, someday you will understand how cool it is to have your own kids and experience all the things just as we have. I love you my sweet Sophia.  Love, Mommy

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What a beautiful smile! Sophia, you just melt my heart when I see that big grin across your face. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

September 7, 2008 Grandparents Day

Today was Sophia's first-ever Grandparents Day! We had to mark this day especially for the grandparents since Sophia is their very first grandchild.

Sophia wanted to use her great new-found skill of getting really messy so we put that to paper and created finger paintings for the grandparents. Sophia made finger paint pictures for Grandma and Grandpa.

Inspired by my new hibiscus plant’s exotic bright red flowers we created the first project a red flower for Grandma because she was coming to visit for Grandparents’ Day. Sophia and I sat on the floor with red and green construction paper on the floor, a bowl of water and lots of paper towels for clean-up. I squirted a drop of Crayola finger paint for each hand onto the paper and held Sophia up and let her move her hands around the paper making swirls and painting. She loved it. Even our dog tried to get into the act because there was so much excitement coming from Sophia as she made her creation for Grandma. After the page was full of paint I cleaned her up and put her down for a nap while project one dried.

While she napped, the paint dried and I cut the construction paper into the shape of a flower and stem. When she awoke, she was so excited to see how cool her picture was she did a little dance spinning around on her bottom on the deck. Around and around she kept going spinning delighted with her project holding it up for the camera and acting as though she was kissing and sniffing the exotic flower. The reason we chose a flower for Grandma is that she was the first person to really point out flowers to Sophia. She taught Sophia to look at pretty flowers while we were at the Lake of the Ozarks this summer.

For round two, I sat her in her highchair in her diaper and a bib. I removed the sectioned eating tray from the highchair so that she would have a smooth surface to create her picture for Grandpa. I gave her some yellow colored construction paper and two squirts, one for each hand, of Crayola finger paints and she started working her magic.

Excitement filled the air once again as I told her to put her hands in the squishy paint and spread it all over the paper. Her face lit up when she discovered she was going to get to make another mess and not get in any trouble for it. (Has mommy lost her mind letting an almost one-year-old paint in the kitchen over white carpet? I am sure that is what she was thinking.) She loved every minute of her artistry. She swirled the paint around and up and down and covered the paper as best she could with the bright colored paints. I bet she was thinking I don’t want to stop this messy fun.

Sophia smiled as the bright blue paint spread around the yellow paper. When she was through, the paper was soaked with paint. I had to let this one dry overnight before I could cut it into the shape of a balloon. I chose a balloon for my dad, her grandpa, because it reminded me of when I was a child just slightly older than Sophia. My dad used to tie the helium balloons that I received onto my arm so I wouldn’t lose them. It only takes one lost balloon and lots of tears for parents to realize how important a helium balloon is to a child. I loved balloons as a child and still do, although now I prefer hot-air balloons especially when they land in my backyard just missing my house and deck.

(FYI, the finger paints are non-toxic so no need to worry grandma and grandpa when you read this. She didn’t try to eat the paint at all. )

Displayed above in the slideshow is some of her work.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

September 6, 2008 Clayton Art Fair

Today we took a trip to Clayton to the Annual Clayton Art Fair.  I enjoy going to the Art Fair for a change of pace and to broaden my experiences with art. I never realized before that there were so many things for children to do. They have a whole area dedicated to children’s arts.  Sophia was just a bit too young this year.  Next year, I think the children's area will be a huge hit for her.  I am looking forward to bringing her to that area of the Art Fair next year.


Sophia was very well-behaved and even enjoyed some of the exhibitors.  We spent a lot of time watching the glass blowing as seen in the slideshow.  There was a mobile glass blowing unit hosted by SIUC.  At SIUC they have a Masters’ Degree program in glass blowing.  Who knew you could get a Masters’ Degree in glass blowing?   It was fascinating to watch beautiful colorful glass being blown into fabulous works of art.   Striking glass jars, and bottles were made. The most challenging and bizarre thing the glass blower graduate students made was the monkey turtle.  It was the kids in the crowd who came up with this idea and the glass blowers had fun creating it. I have to admit it was very fun watching them figure out how to make a monkey turtle.


There were many eccentric exhibitors displaying various styles of Art ranging from paintings and prints to sculptured forms and even jewelry.   I was amazed at the peculiar abstract artists’ works.  My favorite things displayed were the huge vibrant colored glass jars.     It was truly a gorgeous day with the weather being so cooperative. We couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable day.  Sophia had so much fun that she didn't fall asleep all afternoon.  She finally gave in to sleep when we got back in the car to go home.

Friday, September 5, 2008

September 5, 2008 Sippy Cup/Bottle

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We have been having some trouble with Sophia rejecting the sippy cups lately. She has been throwing them around the house. It has been rather frustrating not to mention dangerous when she clocks me in the head with them. I guess it was a backlash to giving up nursing or maybe the bottle had just become a comfort thing for her during the transition away from nursing. There was another thing on my mind too because she recently learned how to ask for a bottle when she wants a drink. She says "Baa Baa!" I love that she can ask for a drink when she wants it. She will increase her volume until you listen to her. I feel bad changing her new word on her to sippy cup right after she learned to ask for her bottle. I think I also feel a little guilty making so many changes on her at the same time. I told myself last week that I just have to commit to getting the sippy cup thing down by a certain date and get rid of the bottles. Well, that sounds great in theory but it is harder to do especially when your baby is the one you have to stand strong on this issue. So, I went out and got the interchangeable Avent sippy cups that you can mix and match with the Avent bottles. I did check and they are on the BPA free safe list so we have no worries there. I started mixing and matching the bottles to confuse her in some ways but achieve my goal of getting her to use a sippy cup. It seems to be working. This was a second try after putting the bottle nipples on the sippy cup top. Now, I tried putting the sippy cup top on the bottle. She is not throwing these as much as the sippy cups that we were using before I discovered these. Hopefully, this is a promising sign we are making progress.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September 2, 2008 Pudding Face or Painting with Pink Pudding

As of lately Sophia has been giving me a lot of grief while eating. She has been spitting out all of her baby food. So I have really been trying to give her lot of regular food to taste. I thought I would try something new to get her interested in eating. I put one drop of red food coloring into vanilla pudding to make it pink to see if Sophia would like it. Then, I mixed it up and gave her the spoon. I think the photographs tell the whole story. She tried to feed herself with the spoon while I was in the kitchen. Well what can I say, she loved the challenge! She had a little trouble with aim as you can see. I am not sure if she was trying to wear it as make-up or maybe moisturizer or just couldn't get the coordination of eating with a spoon right. Either way, she had a blast making a mess. Maybe her motive was altogether different, maybe she was painting the highchair tray, we will never know. Only she knows what she was doing here. I can say that she laughed as hard as I did when I returned back to that side of the room.

The thing that amazes me most about this funny mess was that she didn't get a drop of it on the white carpet. She kept the bowl on her tray along with the spoon which would usually land on the floor to create a reason to say "Uh Oh!" There was no pudding on her clothes. She did have a bib on, but she usually manages to get food all over her clothes under and around her bib when I feed her. I couldn't believe I was able to wash all the pudding off of her skin and didn't need to change her clothes.

Sophia, I love you darling pudding face.

September 2, 2008 Basket/Bucket Ball

Today I was concerned that Sophia would miss her daddy since he has been home for over a week. We had a lot to do today so I hoped by keeping busy she wouldn't notice and cry too much. We ran errands this morning and early afternoon. Then after her nap, I put a bucket and various sized little balls near her. I told her to put the balls in the bucket. She enjoyed throwing the balls into the bucket. She even closed her eyes in one picture as if slam dunking the ball. She also took her stacking rings and threw them into the bucket too like a ring toss. Then, when she ran out of rings and balls she tossed the middle pole that the rings are stacked on into the bucket too.
She started calling for her daddy a little while ago but stopped when he didn't answer because he was at work. He is going to work late tonight so I will have to come up with something to keep her occupied this evening. We will see if I think of something fun for her to do that will keep her occupied for a while.

Monday, September 1, 2008

September 1, 2008 Ride 'Em Cowgirl, or Not!

Sophia received a rocking horse from Santa Claus at her first Christmas. Scott insisted that his daughter had to have a rocking horse even though she was only 3 months old at the time. However, she was much too young to ride the rocking horse. We have put her on it several times, but she is scared of this horse.

Today we thought we would try it again. She just cried...

This horse has live sound effects that make it sound like it is walking with its hooves clicking and neighs. Maybe that is why she is afraid of it. Who knows?

I guess we will try it again another day. Ride the horse cowgirl!

We love you even if you don't love the horse.

September 1, 2008 Home-Made Blocks

Pictured here Sophia is crawling around and stacking and knocking down her home-made blocks. I covered these empty multiple sized boxes with colored paper and scrap craft fabric for different textures. Some of the blocks are made out of empty tissue boxes that have a hole in the tops with a secret surprise inside. Sophia loves pulling ribbons and fabric and crinkle paper out of her discovery box blocks. She can play with them until they are worn and then we will just throw them out.
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September 1, 2008 Sophia mastering the home-made puzzle

Sophia is starting to get bored with the few toys we have as is seen in the background of this picture. I am trying to find new ways to entertain her and this was the result.

This morning I grabbed the rubber muffin pan from the kitchen and some tennis balls from the garage and made a puzzle for Sophia. It appears that she did enjoy putting the tennis balls into the muffin pan. I couldn't believe how quickly she figured out what she was supposed to do. I placed the first tennis ball in the muffin pan and she proceeded to put the remaining balls in the pan. Before Sophia tired of this quick thinking puzzle game Brandy our dog ran up and started to steal the tennis balls because they look like her toys.

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