Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Real Zoos Don't Have Kitty Cats

After a few trips to the Austin Zoo (which we LOVE, but which is really more of an animal rehab center for tigers whose drug dealer owners have also been shipped off to rehab), we decided that Sophie might enjoy the "real" zoo. The one in San Antonio, with giraffes and elephants instead of kitties and chickens. So we went...and we did not see one stinkin' giraffe. But we saw elephants!

Sophie's favorites seemed to be the rhinos, the monkeys (two different monkey mommas had babies and she really liked that), and (she is her father's daughter) the snakes! We also saw hippos and a hopping kangaroo. She loved that, too. It's tough to get pictures of a kid AND a wild animal, so our best Sophie shots from this adventure are the posed pics:

The San Antonio Zoo has an amazing "Little Tots Adventure Spot" with all kinds of discovery areas like a wall of fish and a water play area and giant room of tunnels so you can first pretend to be a prairie dog...then you can poke your head up through a bubble and you really ARE in the prairie dog habitat!

But the most memorable part of the day was our close encounter with the cheetah. Okay...I guess real zoos do have kitty cats. Big ones. Hungry ones. Thank God for plexiglass ones. Precursor: We do realize that this video is wrong. We shouldn't use our child as bait. We shouldn't tease the big kitty. We shouldn't sound so nonchalant about offering up Sophie as a kitty treat. We shouldn't scare the baby for the sake of a great video. But you'll be glad we! (And just so you know, we started cracking up and Sophie's initial cries quickly turned to laughter, too. And we bought her a cheeseburger. Don't call CPS.)

Happy Father's Day!

(A little belated, but...) HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to Frank, Pa-pa, Granddad, Grandpa Jo and all the other great father figures in our lives (Grandpa Jud, Willie Nelson, Brian Hudson, etc.). I cannot begin to describe what a wonderful dad Frank is. He does SO much (such a modern Dad!) and never gritches or groans about it. I love you, Frank, for taking Sophie on early morning bike rides so I can sleep in, for being willing to change even the nastiest of diapers, for all your silly voices during story time, for every little thing you do.

This Father's Day, we drove out to the Funky Cold (Lake) Medina and spent some time with Pa-pa and Lupita -- my Dad was trying to get Sophie to call her Pi-pi...pronounced peepee, but she's up for the multisyllabic challenge. Today she said "Lulipa." We had a great time playing at the lake and eating the famous Allen roast!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Road Trip!

It's been a long time since we've seen R.B.'s side of the family, so this week we took a little road trip to East Texas. As we drove to Aunt Lois's house in Lake Jackson, we tested out our anti-scream/anti-fidget device (a video ipod, some headphones, and some downloaded kid shows). We have a MUCH longer road trip in our near future (24 hours to Myrtle Beach, broken up into 3 days), so I thought it prudent to test out the system. Initial results were positive, but Old School Sesame Street will not do. It brings back fond memories for Frank and me, but Sophie kept searching for Elmo.

Sophie loved meeting four generations of family: Great Great Aunt Lois, her daugher Cousin Linda, her daughter, Cousin Joy, and her sons, Hayden and Connor. There were lots of giggles and tickles and tumbling and playing on the boys' playscape. Sophie wanted to do everything that the boys were doing, and when they performed cartwheels and headstands for us, she joined in right away with somersaults.

Lake Jackson is only ten minutes away from the coast. It was pretty deserted on a Wednesday morning, and after I cleared away some glass and sea-trash, she happily played in the sand and waves. I found a really neat shell right before we left and we tossed it into the back of the car. I almost peed my pants later in the day when I went to collect our wet towls and found a little (expired) crab hanging out of her beach memento. But I don't feel too bad about killing sealife by abandoning it in the deathtrap heat of our car...I DID do some beach clean-up, after all!

We had a fantastic time visiting family. See more pics by clicking here: SUMMER SOPHIE.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Frank Always Takes the High Road

Especially when he's wearing hiking boots and carrying Sophie in the kidpack. But I was wearing my water-friendly Tivas so I decided to take the low road that would let me splash through a puddle. We've walked the greenbelt behind our neighborhood several times since we moved in a couple of years ago, but this was the first time we'd seen water really flowing through the usually dry creekbed. So, OF COURSE, I slid in the mud and went kersplash -- right on my arse -- and then slid further into the creek. I had to hike out wet and muddy, but it was worth it -- the water was clear and cool and we saw turtles as big as pizza pies!

We hiked a little further down and found some small falls. Callie was a brave dog and jumped in for a swim but the current was strong and really freaked her out. She spent the rest of the hike/swim trying to herd me back towards the shore.

Today we went back to the Greenbelt swimming hole, but with swimsuits and floaties and lifevests and friends. It rained last night so the water was quite a bit colder. We swam and floated for a couple of hours before Jack spotted a water moccasin high-tailing it through the water along the opposite shore. Brian, Jack, Sophie and I got OUT of the water and decided we'd rather go out for brunch and drinkies while Frank tried to sweet-talk, cuddle, and count the teeth of said snake. We finally convinced Danger Boy to drive us to Maudie's for margaritas. This is a swimming smooch pic -- I'm not sucking venom out of Sophie's cheek. And from now on, we HIKE the greenbelt but we SWIM at the lukewarm, snake-free baby pool in our neighborhood.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Kerr-azy Kamping Trip

Kerrville: dust, heat, music, hippies and hicks. In the past, Frank camped out all three weekends of the festival. When we started dating, we went out for four or five day stretches. The diehards camp for 18 days in a row. When Sophie was 10 months old, we went out for a day-trip and drove back the same night. This year, though, was Sophie's REAL introduction to being a Kerrbrat. We survived: intense storms our first night there, intense heat the second day, being awakened by drunk teenagers banging on the side of a schoolbus at 4:30 in the morning, being awakened our last day there by someone shouting "Severe Weather Warning!" and stumbling out of our tent to see yellow, churning clouds. But what's not to love? We also got to hang out with our great friends Judy and Joe-John and Stuart and Hil, we listened to great music, we watched a film in the middle of the woods, we waded in the Guadalupe River, and we watched Sophie entertain crowds of people. She had them all howling like wolves at one point and oohing and ahhhing over the rock she found and eating olives and chips right out of her hands.

Click here to see the KERRSTORMS.
Click here to see Sophie playing the guitar with her dad: GUITARMOVIE
Click here to see more pics of our trip to Kerrville: PICTUREPAGES

The End of an Era

We're confronting the next big step. For the first two years of her life, Sophie was at home with Momma in the mornings, then "home schooled" with her pal Laney and our nanny, "Nini." They shared so many milestones...and lunches and boogers and punches and play-doh and the piano bench and tickles and books and songs and NO SHARING on Mondays and germs and bike rides and hugs and eskimo kisses. But next fall they're going to diffent pre-schools. With different kids. And I've discovered that I don't really like other people's kids that much (unless you're reading this blog and then you're a friend or a relative and I ADORE your kid). It's time for me to go back to work full time, and it's time for Sophie to interact with those different kids, but it's so sad to end this...this PERFECT scenario that we stumbled into. Who will love Sophie as much as her Nini did? If Melanie wasn't married and wanting to have her own kid (so dang selfish), I'd ask her to move into our guest bedroom.

We had a little party for Nini to say thanks. You can see pics if you click on our PicturePages.

We also shot a little video of the swim party -- the maiden voyage of our bumper cars!

Click here or on the video play button below: BUMPER CARS

Friday, June 1, 2007

Things I Don't Want to Forget

Sophie's vocab is growing exponentially each day. She repeats almost anything, even if the comprehension isn't there (like "Snickerdoodle" or "mango sorbet" or "James Brown says Hey!") and I see her grasping more concepts each day, too. Like today, when I turned off a video that she was watching (Veggie Tales) and she made the signs for "more" and "veggies" as she spoke the words. We've only made the vegetable sign a few times, and always in the context of eating. Many of her words have a toddler twang to them, and while I try to repeat the word with correct pronunciation, I secretly LOVE her Sophie-isms. Here are some things I hope I never forget:

She says "flowber" instead of flower.
She says "eyebrown" instead of eyebrow.
She calls my uncle "Bug Juice" instead of "Jud Bruce."
She doesn't know who the Curious George character is, so she points to the image on her band-aid and says, "Boo boo monkey."
She also points to the freckles on my shoulders, pronounces them boo-boos, and then kisses them. I've never been so glad to have so many freckles.