Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Camper

We took the nugget to the annual Humbert Family Camp-out Extravaganza this weekend and I have to say, it was an amazing time!  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about taking a baby into the woods for a day and a night without any cell phone reception or running water.  I briefly considered just driving down with her for the day, then driving the three hours back home and leaving Sylvain there to play with the boys.  Then I remembered the campfire, the food, and the sing-alongs and decided we had to be there.  Besides, Dad was there.  He's good in emergencies, right?  There's not a whole lot that good ol' Grandpa can't handle, especially when it comes to camping, so we packed her up and headed to Laurel County for the greatest weekend of her life!

When we arrived, we unpacked the car which included four bajillion baby things, including the baby.  I sat the bumbo down on the picnic table with all the other camping gear, and then decided that was as good a place as any for her to hang out.  I plopped her in there, shoved a toy in her hand, and she was good to go!

She sat there for over an hour just staring at all the uncles, the trees, the fire.  I've never seen such wonder on her face before and I thought it must be remarkably exciting to be in a place like that for the very - first - time.

Then we ate.  Ohhh, did we eat!  There are no designated meal times when we're camping, just a steady stream of culinary delights coming from the fire.  No "lunch" or "dinner," those are for wimps!  We just constantly eat and clean, eat and clean, eat and clean.  After round one of good food, we took a little hike.  Except there is no such thing as a "little" hike when you have a 15 pound baby strapped to you.  One mile, straight up the side of a rocky hill, to the sweetest lookout spot in Kentucky.  Totally worth it.

Sylvia loved hiking in the Moby wrap.  John helped me carry her for part of the way up, but the way down was much easier and she even fell asleep while I was carrying her!  LOVE that Moby!

After our hike we returned to camp for some more great food and some play time.  Dad wanted to get a good picture of him and Sylvia by the campfire, and as I snapped this photo, my heart just melted.  My Dad is a happy man to begin with.  Always positive, always upbeat.  But the smile on his face when he's holding his new grandbaby - well, it's just priceless.  How do you make a happy man happier?  Put a baby in his lap! 

Finally it was time for the Nugget to go to bed, and although I was nervous about skipping the bath, I was able to get her into her pajamas, give her her vitamins, swaddle her, nurse her, and put her to bed without any fuss.  Here's her crib in our palace of a tent.  I used to camp in a one-person backpacking tent.  Now I sleep in "The Condo."  It fits eight people - or two people on a queen-size air mattress and a baby's crib.  Who says you can't "rough it" in luxury?

The little girl slept just as well as, if not better than, she does at home.  Once she was down and I returned to the fire, I couldn't help but feel extra warm and cozy while Jordan played some songs for us on the guitar.

I've always loved listening to the family sing around the fire, but singing together and knowing that our baby was sleeping soundly...well, I just felt really proud of us.  What a special trip.

The next morning we woke to find chillier temperatures than we've been used to, which amplified that cozy, "I love my family camping trips" feeling that accompanied pulling on my sweatshirt.  I also got really excited about the hoodie and knit cap I packed for Sylvia.  Isn't she the cutest little camper you ever did see?

She really did remarkably well for her first trip in the woods.  She's always loved being outside.  When she was a newborn and cried for no reason, I would rock with her on the front porch and she'd immediately calm down.  I knew she'd enjoy our camping trip, but I didn't realize how much I'd enjoy watching her.  Aside from a few pesky neighbors in the adjacent campground (don't even get me started on the nerve of some people), the whole trip was a roaring success!  I'll leave you with one more important picture - the guy with more camping experience than all eight of us combined and the sweet little nugget on her very first trip.  The things he has to teach her...what a lucky girl!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A New Favorite!

You guys know I'm all about the blogs.  I love following friends and family to peek in on everyone's lives.  I love sharing the "tedious" details of my own journey through the world.  And even though there are a thousand other things I should be doing tonight, I've enjoyed catching up on my blogs.  There are many types of blogs out there, but I boil all of them down to three categories:
1.  People I Know
2.  People Who Know People I Know (I check in on Laura's family every once in a while and I found some great mommy blogs from ladies who are friends-of-friends)
3.  People I Don't Know But Wish I Did

Until tonight, category number 3 included nothing but a bunch of designer mommies who I like to check in on every now and then.  Heather Armstrong has been my hands-down favorite, but ever since she got all famous with HGTV I've been a little bored with her.  So, I was delighted when I checked Erin's blog and found a link to this guy:

Single Dad Laughing

First, I read his post on Perfection, which I have to admit, was really quite powerful.  But then, I wandered around his blog and found the post I just linked called, "Noah: An Adoption Tale."  You know I'm a sucker for birth stories, but the story of his son's birth is by far, hands down, no contest, the BEST birth story I've ever read.  And I've read a lot of them.  Maybe I love it because we don't usually see the perspective of an adoptive father.  At any rate, it's remarkable and I suggest you read it, then browse through his blog like I did, and I bet you'll have a wonderful time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sophie the Giraffe

Tonight, Mamie came over with Sylvain's cousin Laurianne and we had a lovely time together.  My pot roast was...okay.  Not great, but not terrible.  Good enough for a week night, that's for sure!  I got home around 5:30, we ate at 6:00, and after dinner Laurianne gave us a few gifts for Sylvia.  I luuuuuuuv getting gifts from France!  She gave us an adorable sweater dress for Sylvia to wear this fall and another DouDou (the bunny/blanket that Mamie gave her which she adores) and Sophie the Giraffe, otherwise know as - THE GREATEST TOY ON THE PLANET!!!!

Sylvia grabbed ahold of that silly giraffe, and wouldn't you know, she hasn't let go since.  It's the only squeaky toy she has, and the neck is just the right size for her little fist to wrap around.  And the ears.  Ooooh, the ears.  She can stick that giraffe's head in her mouth and gnaw on those glorious ears until her gums are numb, which given her current state of congestion and slight temperature, is probably just what the doctor ordered for her poor, teething self.  We might as well have given her a block of crack.

Sylvain, Laurianne and Brigitte were all talking about how they each had a Sophie the Giraffe when they were kids, so I picked up the little brochure that came with it and read the following information.  Sophie was created in 1961 as a new toy for teething babies, and her design has never changed.  She's basically the equivalent to the American rubber duckie!  She was intended to be an alternative to the farm animals and pet figures that were the only available toys back then, and she quickly became popular due to her squeakiness and her ability to be grasped by small fists.  Now, almost every child in Europe has a Sophie the Giraffe and I totally know why!  Sylvia loves it and we will treasure it forever....until Sylvain squeaks it in my face early on on a Saturday morning, at which point I might tear it in half.  Other than that, we'll treasure it always!  Sylvia absolutely loves it, and I'm so happy that she has (another) original French toy to add to her collection.  We are so blessed!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Five Months

Dear Sylvia,

You went to your very first wedding last night and I'm so glad we decided to take you.  I was worried about keeping you up too late, but as usual, you were an absolutely perfect baby.  One question people kept asking us was, "Is she always this good?" to which we responded, "Yes, of course!" But another question someone asked was, "How old is she?"  Daddy and I looked at each other and I said, "Oh, she's about....five months?  Yeah, she's five months."  The lady walked away and I thought, "Holy Crap!  Our daughter is totally five months old, as of three days ago, and I completely missed it!"

Oops.  Sorry.  You're five months and four days old today, so I'm not that off.  It's just that you've been so good lately, and you've been growing and developing like every good baby should, that I kind of lost count of the months.  Not to mention, we've been a little busy around here now that school's started.  What is school, you ask?  Well, it's the place where Mommy and Daddy go every day to take care of other kids and make sure they know all the things they're supposed to know once they grow up.  Meanwhile we send you to your own school where someone else takes care of you and teaches you all of the things you'll need to know once you're big enough to go to Mommy's school and eventually to Daddy's school.  It's all very weird and complicated when I really stop to think about it, but that's the way it works.  We all go to school every day and come back home to be together every night.  It's exhausting.  We're all tired.  But darn it, we love it, and so do you, so we'll keep doing it every day.

Nugget, you are such a beautiful baby.  The ladies at your daycare constantly tell us how wonderful and happy you are.  You're starting to get big enough that we can really toss you around, tickle you, and play with you until you laugh and laugh, which makes everyone's heart melt.  You're eating a little bit of solid food these days.  Mostly rice cereal and squash.  You loooove squash and soon we're going to try some green beans!  Yum!  You're starting to sit up for a few seconds on your own, but it's really just a balancing act.  You love your jumparoo and your play mat.  You love to roll onto your tummy but you still don't like to roll from your tummy to your back, for some reason.  Every once in a while you'll do a few barrel rolls across the floor, but usually you just scrunch up your legs and pull yourself from one side of your mat to the other, rotating around on your back and having a dandy ol' time.  You're a lot of fun to watch.   

We love you more than we ever thought we could.  When I see the way Daddy looks at you, I know that we've been given the perfect baby girl for us.  My Mom used to tell me, "If God lined up all the little girls in the whole wide world and told me I could pick any one I wanted, I'd still pick you."  I always loved hearing her say that and now I know it's true, because I'd do the same for you.  Every time...

I'd still pick you.  You're the coolest.  I love you.

Forever and ever,

Saturday, September 4, 2010

For Grammy

Okay, so here's the deal.  My Mom is all about putting bows on little girls and I am not.  There, I said it.  I'm not a fan of bows.  I think they look adorable, but from the perspective of the baby, it seems like torture.  I figured I would just wait until Sylvia's big enough to tell me she wants a bow before I put one one her.  But then...she turned out to be bald.  Drat!  She has a few bows that I acquired as shower gifts, so every once in a while I put one on her head just to see how long I can stand it, and I always take it off after five minutes.  They make her face look fat.  And they make impressions in her skin, thus confirming my torture theory.  So, no bows for us.  Until...

I tried to dress her up for the UK game. 

Here's what she wore to day care yesterday:

I know, it's totally adorable.  It's the first time she's worn a t-shirt/jeans combo and the pink belt is the only indication that she is a girl, which to me, is not a big deal.  I thought it was totally precious, so I put it on her this morning.  We went to Lowe's and I was holding her as we walked into the store, super proud of my sweet little Kentucky Wildcat.  A pack of boy scouts stopped us to sell us some popcorn and one of the parents looked at Sylvia and said, I kid you not, "Hey, there BUDDY!"  Hmmm.  I tried to ignore it, but finally gave in.  Her big old bald head was just screaming for a bow.  And, like I said, the tiny ones we have at home make her head look fat, so I decided she must need a BIG one, like I've seen on other chubby-cheeked babies.  Something proportional or slightly larger than her own round face.  And something that would make my Mom shriek with delight when she saw it.  So I ran around town this morning looking for the perfect bow, and although I couldn't find exactly what I had in mind, I did find this...

I think she looks like a flapper, but darn it, that blue headband and giant flower are pretty freakin' cute, okay MOM?  ARE YOU HAPPY NOW???  It did make marks on her head when I took it off, so I decided we'll just wear it for UK games - when she's decked out in her sports gear that would otherwise prompt strangers to call her "buddy."  No one will call her buddy in this get up!  No sirree!

And on that note, THE CATS WON!!!  We had some friends over for the game and Sylvia loved it.  She had a blast watching TV (aka: the flashing light show).  I made hummus for the first half and a giant pot of chili for the second half, and we had boatloads of fun.  GO CATS!!

(Feedback on the giant flower headband would be greatly appreciated.  I do love it, but that first picture up there is just the cutest thing I've ever seen, although it might be because of her jazz hands.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fall Preview

We threw open the windows tonight and let the first hints of fall waft through our house.  It's just a tease, I know.  It's supposed to get back up to 90 degrees next week, but I'll take any open-windowed night I can get!  As I was putting Sylvia to bed, we heard the local high school's marching band less than a mile away.  Far enough away that it wasn't going to wake her up, but close enough that it might be playing in her dreams.  I hope.  The big UK game is tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited about a long, relaxing, three day weekend.  I love summer, but I live for fall.  The beginning of a new school year; cool, crisp weather; apple pie; and of course, UK football.  It doesn't get better than this! 

I looked back through my recent posts and realized I did a lot of complaining and whining about how crazy life can be with a four month old.  I also noticed there was a severe lack of pictures of the wee nugget.  So tonight I'll just say that the rest of our week was smooth and easy.  Sylvia sleeps like a champ, eats like a champ, and the three of us are rolling along as happily as any new family of three could be.  So, without further ado (there's been much too much ado around here lately), here are some pictures of our visit with Sally's side of the family last weekend.  Sylvia had SO much fun with my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
Here's Grandma, Katie, and Carrie playing with sweet Sylvia.  It was one big girl party over there, which is probably why I didn't get any pictures with Grandpa, even though it was his birthday!  Oops.

Sylvia and Molly.  Two pretty girls!

Carrie, Sally, Sylvia and Katie.  There's a good chance I might be mixing up Katie and Carrie, but I really think I've got it right.

I love this picture!  Grandma looks so pretty in pink.  I guess she'd be Great Grandma to Sylvia.

It was a wonderful weekend visit.  Now we're sitting at the beginning of another lovely weekend, so I'm going to do my best to enjoy every second of it!  GO CATS!!