5 years old!

Posted: July 27th, 2014 | Author: Sarah Freebern | No Comments »

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: Sarah Freebern | No Comments »

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: Sarah Freebern | No Comments »

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

Raspberry!

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!


4 years, 8 months

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 | Author: Sarah Freebern | Comments Off

Sophie drew a (LOT of) family portraits including Raspberry! Like, seriously a lot...I think she hung up 6 in our room.

The big news Sophie would most like to share with you (and every postal worker, cashier, barista, store clerk and random passer-by she encounters): Raspberry has a penis! Those are her words, repeated frequently and with great enthusiasm. Sophie, Ryan and Kelly all came with me to my ultrasound this week. The baby was curled up and seemed pretty irritated with the whole thing, so we did not get much of a look at his face, but everything seems to be where and how it is expected to be, and it was really fun to see him moving around in there. We have a lovely printout of ultrasound photos of…an arm, a foot, and a penis. Since the ultrasound photos are not exactly illustrative, I included Sophie’s drawing of our envisioned family instead. ;) A little brother for Sophie! Raspberry just gave me a good solid kick – perhaps in greeting. Hi from Raspberry, folks!

I wonder what gave her this idea. ;)

Yoshimi battling the block robots

Ryan and Sophie have been building robots out of Tinker Toys and blocks recently, mostly for Sophie to “battle them down”. She’s a big fan of the Flaming Lips songs about Yoshimi battling the pink robots, so she’s pretending to be Yoshimi, you see. (She also tried out a drum solo at Tavi’s house to go with the song.) Here is a Sophie quote for you from Ryan:

“Sophie was taking a robot’s temperature, but was unsure where to put the thermometer. I indicated an area under the robot’s eyes and said, “You could put it in the robot’s mouth, under its tongue.” She gave me a look. “Dad,” she said. “This isn’t the OLD days.” Then she proceeded to take a temperature reading by running the thermometer across the robot’s forehead.”

Sophie is working on an elaborate paper city to drive cars on, which we sometimes help with.

She is always working on something: portraits, stories, lists, robots to battle, signs indicating where one should and should not dance, learning the words to “Once Upon A Mattress”…and so on. :)

That’s all we have for right now. Hopefully next time I update Sophie’s blog it will be with pictures that include grass and/or sun and/or flowers. Hey, we can dream!


4 years, 7 months!

Posted: February 18th, 2014 | Author: Sarah Freebern | Comments Off

Looking in the window, on Ryan's shoulders, eating a snowball. It's nice being four. :)

Sophie has begun to document herself much more – she spends a large part of her free time coloring, drawing and writing. “Writing” mostly looks like pretending to be Annie of the Magic Tree House books and “taking notes” in her notebook, or writing books of rhyming words (her current works are entitled “Book to Remember” and “Coffee in a Cup”, I don’t know why.) She’s drawing about her feelings, processing the existence of Raspberry (lots of family portraits with a baby drawn inside me), and recreating Disney memories and Boxcar Children stories. There is also a lot of output from her art class – a canvas now and then, and things like clay bowls and leaves and creatures made out of pipe cleaners and socks….the whole nine yards. She has also started hanging up her own work, so the entire house is basically a preschool art gallery. She also made me a Valentine’s card that says “HPPY VANTI’S DAY SARA LOV RIN & SOPHIE”. It is awesome. :)

I am the small one, then there's Ryan in the middle and Sophie on the right

A lot of this goes on, as well:

Ryan and Sophie have been getting a lot of good snow play in too, since the most recent storms. They went sledding this weekend (Sophie likes to go down the hill by herself now, quite often, sometimes throwing her hands in the air at the bottom!) and they spend a lot of time exploring our yard. Sophie loves to make snow angels, and it looks like it is quite an effort:

It's FUN AND INTENSE

Sophie and I also went to a preschool program at the Audobon Center after one of the big snows and learned about animal tracks. The snow was too deep to see much, but she did have a great time playing in it!

And because we are looking forward to a time when the world is not brutally cold and white, we turned to thoughts of family biking. (I don’t know how much biking I’ll be up for this summer, but y’know, we’re thinking of the next few years here. :)) Sophie has outgrown her beloved front-mount seat, the iBert, and so we’ll be saving that for baby and upgrading Sophie to a new contraption. We considered many options, but in the end I got a great deal on a closeout model of the Weehoo, so that’s what we went with. It’s a tag-along sort of thing, except instead of just a bike seat it’s a full chair sort of thing with harness, cupholders, and stuff-carrying capacity (panniers on the sides) – and Sophie can help pedal or just relax and watch the world go by. Pretty sweet, huh? Here she is trying the seat out when it arrived (it’s not hooked up to a bike yet, but we did assemble it):

Weehoo!

We are looking forward to the not-cold SO MUCH. In the meantime, we are doing our usual indoor activites: yoga, open gym, art, and while I seem to have almost no photos (I know I took some, where are they?) there is an Alice in Wonderland exhibit at Echo right now. You can imagine what a big deal this is to Sophie!

Sophie, Tav, and some other young yogis at yoga class

Quality face-making.

Oh, and in Raspberry news…I’m 16 weeks along, Raspberry is about the size of an avocado according to the fruit comparison standards ;) and I bought maternity jeans this weekend because the pregnant belly is definitely upon me. That’s all I’ve got for now! Checkup next week. We are planning to find out which parts Raspberry has in a month or so. We have been having conversations about gender identity with Sophie as part of talking about this, and the other day she said “So, if Raspberry has a penis, we can make a pretty good guess that Raspberry will feel like they are a boy. And if Raspberry has a vulva, it’s a good guess that Raspberry will feel like a girl.” She is aware that when Raspberry is older, they might feel differently, though. She also discusses that Raspberry might feel more like a “they” than a “he” or “she”. (Her calling a person “a they” is not my ideal here, but it’s her beginning understanding of non-binary gender identity and preferred pronouns.) We will see. :)

At Sophie’s request, we are listening to Walt Disney World music a fair amount lately – like, the ride soundtracks and stuff. Sophie says she likes to “miss Disney together”, and it really does bring back memories very strongly. The nostalgia is often really nice except for how much it makes us want to leave the frozen north and go to Disney like right now! We have told her we will go back someday, and she is already planning to try the rides she didn’t get to experience this time. She might be tall enough for them by the time we get to go again! :) Right now she is sitting in her “cave” (a fort made of blankets and pillows over the top of her tube tent thing) and singing along with the Haunted Mansion soundtrack, while snacking and reading with a flashlight. Good times! A snack and a book sounds like my next move…stay warm everyone!