5 years 9 months/ 8 months!

Posted: April 9th, 2015 | Author: | 1 Comment »

Sophie and Enoch are buddies! He thinks she is very exciting if sometimes a bit overwhelming, and she is very loving and patient with him (though she does tell me she “has no time to relax these days” because he wants her attention a lot and I ask her to entertain him now and then so I can cook or whatever). Here they are watching Mister Rogers together for a few minutes. Yes, Enoch has seen a screen- Ryan says he is a different experiment than Sophie, who really didn’t until she was just shy of 2.

He is a different experiment, and a very different experience. I still rarely have free hands, but we are all at peace and happy, including the baby. :)

So, I started writing this post almost a month ago, and there’s some new news: we have a crawler!

And an eater of solid foods!

(In the photos, you can see his favorite eating method – a piece of solid food to dip in some puréed mush. In this case, a beautifully messy roasted beet wedge dipped in puréed pear with ginger. Mmm?)

And relatedly – today I took Enoch to the allergist to talk about how to proceed with feeding him, given Sophie’s allergies. She examined him and said that he doesn’t look atopic at all (meaning, no outward signs of allergy and inflammation such as eczema, sinus or cough issues, etc.) and because of that, her advice is to just proceed with feeding him assuming he is a typical baby who can eat whatever. That is because allergy testing has a high rate of false positives, and cutting foods out unnecessarily has many drawbacks, including a greater likelihood of allergy down the road. So…now I have to work up the courage to offer him eggs and nuts, and figure out exactly how that is going to go. She had suggestions about that, too, and we are developing a plan. So, that’s some exciting and only slightly terrifying news!

Sophie, meanwhile, continues to be a cool kiddo. This month I took her to her first rock concert – a kid-oriented show put on by a bunch of local bands as a benefit for a local school. It was a fun date for us, even though we both found it a little bit intense volume-wise. There were glow sticks and temporary tattoos, good music,  and we even got to watch from the balcony for a while!

We visited the elementary school this month too, and came to the decision that Sophie will try out attending art and music with the first graders there in the fall, and homeschool the rest of the time. She is excited about all of the above.

For now, she’s enjoying her art time at the studio. This is her self portrait from this week, and the expression it is based on:

A few of Sophie’s bon mots from this month:

“If we go on a journey this year, can I pick it by spinning the globe and pointing with my finger?”

“When you feel anxious, it is good to make a plan.” She proceeded to explain what she would do if pirates wanted to “bound” her up, and also how she would handle foxes who…wanted to get in the house or something? I lost the thread, honestly, but it was something like that!

“If I saw an animal in a trap, I would chew through the ropes so the animal could be free. Because maybe the hunter was going to kill and eat the animal, and if I free it, it could live. And…living life is the most important thing. Right Mom? Like, you might not be able to walk or like maybe you think words are more important than numbers or numbers are more important than words or maybe you like dancing or…but, living your life is the most important thing.”

Enoch doesn’t have brilliant sayings yet but he did make the sign for “all done” for the first time a couple of days ago, so that’s pretty cool too. ;)


We’re back! Plus one.

Posted: December 28th, 2014 | Author: | No Comments »

The blog was broken…but is now fixed! Don’t worry, we only missed updating about, you know, THE BIRTH OF OUR SON and 5 months of his and Sophie’s lives! But hey, be here now, right?


For posterity, Enoch Ambrose Michael was born on July 29th, 2014 at 8:39pm. That morning I went to my 39 week checkup and found out I had been leaking amniotic fluid for possibly a week or more, so Sophie and I went and got Ryan and our stuff and went right to the hospital for an induction. Pitocin got things going, and he was born after about 6 hours of labor. Sophie was there the whole time and it was awesome. It was really great. Kelly stayed with me in the hospital overnight while Ryan and Sophie went home for some sleep, and I got myself out of the hospital about 27 hours after checking in. :)



So, there’s your birth story redux. Here’s the Enoch rundown: he is such a friendly, happy baby. He is so responsive and cheerful so much of the time, and that’s a huge change from our, ahem, previous infant experience! He does have reflux, and despite being medicated he has to be held semi-upright for a while after eating, and he is sometimes fussy about it – but seriously, given that our last infant experience was a 24/7 scream fest this really does not seem like a big deal at all. He’s doing so well and we are all enjoying him so much. Sophie loves him and is adjusting well, though she does say there are hard things about having a baby (less attention, fewer free parental hands, more having to be quiet). She adores him though, and says she will always be with him – that if he wants to move out and live on his own one day she will live across the street. They are going to own a hotel together, she says, it’s a whole thing. He thinks she is wonderful and amusing, and he likes to hug her (sort of by leaning into her and allowing himself to be hugged).


Our arms are usually full and we are totally in survival mode, but we are happy and it’s good. Look at these sweeties!


Hopefully, you will hear from us again before he’s a year old. ;)


5 years old!

Posted: July 27th, 2014 | Author: | Comments Off

Sophie is five!

On her birthday, we had a picnic in one of her favorite parks with Ryan’s family – here she is wearing butterfly wings Kelly gave her and being chased by Grandad.

We celebrated all week, with trips to Burger Night and Summervale, our first Circus Smirkus visit, and a party with her friends (which was supposed to be at the pool but ended up at our house because of rain – it went surprisingly well for a lot of 5ish year old people in a small space!

Sophie in the kids parade with Mister Chris at Summervale

Ryan and Sophie enjoying Circus Smirkus

Sophie’s birthday is surrounded by the birthdays of her friends, so we have been celebrating a lot lately. We had watermelon and carrot cake with Arlo, and picked blueberries with Zinnia for their birthdays. The next birthday we are anticipating is Raspberry’s. :) Last week I had a lot of contractions in the night that didn’t go anywhere in the end, but Sophie woke up very excited – “Is it time?! I am so happy!!” I managed her expectations and she handled the disappointment pretty well, but we are feeling very Ready around here.

Big sister practice! At a sibling celebration class where she got a doll sling and a big sister t-shirt.

5 year old Sophie sings with dramatic abandon in the car, and I get a kick out of it when she dramatically sings along with things that sound incongruous coming out of a small child – which she does a lot. She often exhibits fangirl behavior when exposed to live music, dancing right by the stage, singing along even if she doesn’t know the words, and “woooo!”ing. Her favorite Pandora stations (ha!) are the Mary Poppins stage show one (it’s a balance of Disney songs that I have curated a lot for minimum annoyance and some Broadway stuff that is also curated for her interest, plus music from the parks that we still feel mutually nostalgic about) and Robyn, with a side of various indie stuff. She loves her water table – now instead of being about dumping and playing with water, it’s about dramatic play for the Playmobil people who are usually the Boxcar Children. She collects sticks everywhere we go and loves to help tend the plants on the deck. She hopes for thunderstorms and longs to watch lightning, but somehow she hasn’t gotten to see any this summer – it’s always too minor and mild or after she’s asleep if it happens at all. She loves her binoculars and her notebooks and pens, and her favorite stuffed friends are Fawn and Bunny (recent acquisitions from my parents).

At 5, Sophie’s as always a big reader, and she’s got various writing things going on too. I took her to the library on Friday morning and when we are home, I have hardly heard from her since! She has very serious reading to do. Her favorite things to read right now and mystery and science-oriented, though she does also just enjoy a good story. She likes Magic Tree House, Boxcar Children, the Magic School bus, and Cam Jansen most. I am often surprised by the things she knows now, and it’s because she’s learning about things from books all on her own – a thing that is not entirely new, but is becoming more common and noticeable. It’s pretty cool! Steven Kellogg and Jon Sciescza also got her into math ideas a little bit more with “Millions to Measure” (I thought it was the one about big numbers when I grabbed it for her, but it’s actually about units of measurement – still interesting apparently!) and “Math Curse”. We also have They Might Be Giants to thank for a lot of the things she is interested in and knows about – they have albums called “Here Comes Science”, “Here Come the ABCs” and “Here Come the 123s” that she really likes. She enjoys playing scientist, taking notes about the world like Jack and Annie do, and collecting things outside (acorns are a favorite). Writing plays a role in a lot of her pretending lately – and now, in addition to the art all over our walls, there are signs about the circus and wet floors and museums and things. For about a week, she was obsessed with making newspapers:

Another thing she really likes: building very tall towers with Ryan and then pretending to be Yoshimi (of the Talking Heads song “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”) and “battling them down”. Yes, I am proud of that one. :) Right now at Echo, they have a room full of the plank blocks we have at home, so you can build as huge a tower (or other creation) as you want. We took Ryan one morning for maximum enjoyment.

And although we haven’t spent as much time on it as we should be, she is mastering the art of biking (especially to the left):

18 seconds of bike riding for your viewing enjoyment!

We are enjoying our 5 year old and anxiously awaiting our 0 year old. We hope to be posting with news very soon!

4 years, 11 months!

Posted: June 21st, 2014 | Author: | Comments Off

I better this get post posted before she’s officially 5, huh? We’ve been very busy summering. Here are some things we’ve been up to:

Burger Night! Nothing says idyllic Vermont summer evening like going to the farm, sitting on a blanket, and eating (black bean) burgers while Sophie explores the greenhouse and dances to local music.

T-rex faces! With Sue the T-rex

The Montshire Museum! Sophie and I went with Erin and Tavi, who go all the time. We’d never been before, and it was really fun. We got to see Sue, the largest/most complete T-rex skeleton ever found, and also check out all the other cool stuff the museum has. We’d like to bring Ryan back there sometime, as he is a little envious of our Sue encounter.

The water area was one of Sophie’s favorite parts. She and Tavi played and got soaked, despite the fact that it was cloudy and like, 60 degrees. But that meant we had the place mostly to ourselves!

Shelburne Museum! We all went for a day, and we mostly revisited Sophie’s favorite parts, but we also visited a couple of things we’d never gotten to before, like the blacksmith shop. Here we are on the boat!

Taking a rest on the Ticonderoga

Sophie went on the carousel with each of us once, then on her own about 70 million times or so.

Sophie riding the merry-go-round for the 20th time ;)

How big is your eye? (I think that is what they were checking on here.)

An owl program at the Audobon! Sophie and her friends learned about owls and we went on a hike looking for owl pellets. They didn’t actually find any, but the teacher had one with her so they got to take one apart anyway. Ew/awesome. Note Sophie’s hiking outfit.

Sophie and Tavi adorably peer at each other under the dugout

T-ball spectator-ing! Tavi played t-ball this year, and we went to see him. Sophie was mostly only interested in the game when Tav was at bat, otherwise she spent her time picking dandelions and lining them up on the bleachers. Still fun.

"I will always remember this moment with the flowers", she was saying.

Various parks and playgrounds! Though lately, she’s been as much about the flower picking/leaf collecting/stick management as she has about the playground itself. Sometimes we go play for 15 minutes, and then walk to the trees by the bakery while she “makes a fire” (picks a lot of grass and makes a pile) to “cook breadfruit” (finds a round seed or unripe fruit or whatever to place on top of the pile, poking it with a stick now and then). In the photo she is harvesting flowers from a tree and picking old dry cherries off of it. She did that, alternating with walking around the bench saying “chug a chug a choo choo” for like half an hour.

So yeah, busy times. Right now Sophie is out practicing her pedal biking with Ryan – I went out to observe and found her pretty much doing it! So far she is a Zoolander sort of bike rider – she really only turns to the left. She is uncertain about starting (though she can) and she doesn’t seem entirely in control of where she’s going – but she can stay up and she can stop, and it’s just a matter of spending a bit more time doing it. So, yay!

This month we’ve been preparing a bit more for the birth, and for Sophie’s planned presence during it. We have been reading and talking about it, and my doula and Kelly came over to watch some birth videos with Sophie the other day. She was so excited and nervous that she couldn’t really process in the moment, but we’ve had a lot of good talks since then and I think she’s on her way. Obviously the sticking point for her is that she will have to see me in pain and she’s worried about that, but she still feels she wants to be there as long as she can do something different if she feels scared (hide, leave the room, get a hug from Kelly, etc.). Since one can never be sure how this sort of thing will really play out, it’s a tricky one to prepare for and I don’t have all the answers, but we’re trying to be as ready as we can! Tomorrow, we are taking her to a sibling celebration/preparation class, which her friend Leanna is also attending (her mom is due about 2-3 weeks after me), and she is excited about it. I’m 34 weeks tomorrow, so…it’s feeling pretty soon! And also pretty darn far, because I’m still very uncomfortable and having major skin issues, but an action plan is in place for that (one I am not super comfortable with that involves stronger steroids and things, but, it shouldn’t be for too long at least).

When next I write here, Sophie will be 5, and depending on timing, I could have a baby. Whoa. Happy summer!

4 years, 9 and 10 months

Posted: May 14th, 2014 | Author: | Comments Off

I dropped the ball last month, sorry everybody. I was probably busy being itchy.


It’s because of this one here, but I don’t blame him, I blame my misinformed immune system. Apparently it sees the Y chromosome as quite alarming. I don’t think I explained here, but I was diagnosed with PUPPP (a super itchy pregnancy rash) and then my regular dermatologist told me she thinks it is all or mostly eczema, just all over my body instead of in small patches. Either way, it is Highly Unpleasant and I am variably uncomfortable to miserable, depending on whether it’s an on or an off week for the topical steroids. Though I definitely complain, I am also aware that I am fortunate to be generally healthy and have a healthy baby growing in there, though, so…overall I’m happy, it’s just going to be kind of a rough few months until we finally get to meet him!

For now, let’s talk about this kiddo:

Rainy day coffee date (she had steamed milk).

You know that song you totally cannot avoid anywhere on this continent at the moment, “Happy”? Sophie says she loves that song because that is what she is. Whatever a room without a roof is, Sophie has got it going on. She is Happy. And she is overjoyed about her brother – at least, conceptually. I asked her the other day if she thought having a baby around might be hard sometimes, to try and get her to talk about that part of it, and she said “Well, yes. Sometimes when the baby will cry and he doesn’t notice when you do all the baby things for him, that might be hard.” I told her that yes, that was exactly a hard thing sometimes about babies. There are obviously going to be a LOT of things about having a new baby that she won’t be thrilled about and can’t really fathom yet, and of course I am expecting there will be a lot of huge emotional adjustments for her. But I’ve got to say, hearing her talk so happily and supportively about him and to him, and telling me how much she wants her baby brother…that’s pretty intense, sweet stuff.

Decked out...for science!

She’s also pretty excited about learning things, and “doing science” (which to her, right now, basically involves observing nature and the world and writing stuff down about it. I think that’s a fine place to start!) Here she is ready to do some science on the deck. She needs her backpack, which contains a notebook and pen, and in this instance she also had her toilet paper tube binoculars. She wrote down things like “leaves on trees” and “bugs”. The backpack thing is inspired mostly by Jack and Annie of the Magic Treehouse, which is a series she reads and plays about a lot (along with the Boxcar Children, Cam Jansen, Daisy Dawson and Nate the Great.) She has epic treehouse adventures when she’s into a Magic Treehouse book, and she uses board books as her portals to various worlds. We still get a kick out of listening to her narrate her own adventure: “And she took off her helmet and DASHED to the treehouse and CLAMBERED up, then she quickly took out a book and it FLEW open to the right page.” Always very urgent, with lots of loudly emphasized verbs.

Her imaginary world, like most small people, is quite rich and she’s usually got some whole Thing going on in her head, or all over the living room. Here she is driving Fawn and Bunny somewhere or other:

Driving with a bucket for a steering wheel and a flashlight for a...spyglass?

Ryan and Sophie marching in her "circus parade"

(The sign she’s holding says “puride”, aka “parade”.)

PS, she’s four and likes to make silly faces, especially for the camera.

Sometimes she likes to make a face and ask me to take her picture. Here I think she is making a "where has all the miso soup and sushi gone" face. The answer is: in her belly.

Spring is happening! As such, we are busier again with fun outdoor things to look forward to. Ryan and Sophie broke out the bikes for the first time for Cycle the City, but it was so cold and rainy that day that they only made it a mile or so before they turned back to hang out in the warm coffee shop with me!

Bravely trying to bike in the terrible weather.

Mayfest was a bit cloudy and cool, but it was still a good time:

Sophie and Fawn at Mayfest

Taking a pony ride at Mayfest!

And this weekend we saw the Kids Day parade and went to the first outdoor farmer’s market of the year – a big celebration in our house! Perfect weather remained for Mother’s Day, so Ryan and Sophie went on a nice bike ride on the bike path while I did a little shopping for maternity clothes, and then we met for ice cream. We are so glad to have sun again!

In closing, here is a Sophie quote that I think is awesome:

“When my foot falls asleep, it feels like it is full of evil stars.” Sounds about right!