Wednesday, October 31, 2012

PEF Fall Retreat!

The last weekend of October, we all went on the PEF fall retreat!  This was the first fall retreat in years -- I think the last one was the fall of my senior year, 2002?  There was enough interest among the students (and enough energy on the staff side!) to reinstate this tradition this year, and it was such a good weekend!

This was also our first time bringing *both* kids on a trip.  I was a little nervous about how they would handle the disruptions to our normal routine, and whether I would be able to do anything other than childcare over the weekend, but as it turned out, I had nothing to worry about.  The retreat was up in the Poconos, about a 2-hour drive away in good traffic.  Of course, driving north on Friday during rush hour is anything but good traffic... But thankfully, the kids did well with the car trip!  And at the retreat itself, Joshua had a BLAST playing with all the students.  He loved having so many energetic friends to run around with -- and this tired mama was glad to have others take on the task of running after our little ball of perpetual motion!  And little Sophia was such a trooper.  She hung out in the baby carrier with me for most of the weekend, eating and sleeping regularly, and just rolling with all the changes.  She really is such a mellow little girl!

So for the first time in weeks, I was able to sit through some good PEF teaching.  The retreat theme was busyness and rest, a topic that is always apropos for Princetonians.  The format of the meetings was a bit different -- instead of having two or three main messages, there were a series of mini-messages, interspersed with times of directed prayer and sharing.  I very much appreciated hearing the messages -- though my current season of busyness is different from that of the students, the message of God's rest is just as applicable, if not more!

And of course, I took a ton of photos.  I do love being the PEF photographer and capturing the sheer fun of hanging out with college students!

One of the many amenities of the retreat center: Gaga Ball!  And the students graciously let Joshua in on a very brief round.  :)

Meetings in the rustic lodge:

While Joshua played (relatively) quietly in the back:

And one of the retreat highlights: a campfire!

What an incredibly fun and refreshing weekend away!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sophia's birth announcement!

As I'm pretty sure almost everyone on our list has received this by now, I'm going to go ahead and post our very pretty and very girly birth announcements for little Sophia.  :)

Like I did the first time around, I started designing the template for Sophia's announcement well before she was born.  I'd hoped to take some photos of her, plop them into the template, and get the announcements sent out very soon after her birth.  Of course, adjusting to life with two kids took a bigger toll on us than I thought it would, and then Sophia's second hospital stay threw another wrench in my Martha Stewart / Emily Post plans.  But better late than never, right?  We sent out the announcements a couple weeks ago, using photos from when Sophia was just a week or two old -- and it's crazy how much bigger she is already!

The front of the announcement:

And the back:

We had to include Joshua as well, of course.  :)

It's so much fun making such happy announcements to our family and friends.  Thank you all for sharing in our joy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sophia Watch: Two Months

Little Sophia is two months old!  I know this is a cliche, but I really can't believe how quickly the time is flying by -- more quickly, it seems, this second time around.  In the midst of all the craziness of caring for two little ones, I'm trying to savor every moment and milestone... And we've hit a few fun ones this month!  Sophia continues to grow and thrive (further dispelling any worries about her immune system, thankfully!) -- at her two-month checkup yesterday, she was 12 pounds, 5 ounces, and 23 inches tall!  And you can see the extra pounds and inches when you compare her one month photo with this month's comparison shot:

I love those deliciously snuggly arms and her imminently nommable cheeks.  :)  [[Beautiful blanket knit by our dear friend Melissa H., as a gift for Joshua -- it's a gift that keeps giving, as both our kiddos love it!]]

Sophia continues to fit right into our family routine.  She's a relatively easygoing little baby -- she sleeps well in her crib, only occasionally needing us to come and comfort her with a pacifier and some light shushing and belly-patting.  And she sleeps really well in our Beco baby carrier -- I bring her along on all of our planned outings for Joshua, and I'm really thankful that she doesn't seem to mind these disruptions!  So before she hit two months, Sophia attended her first music class, her first tractor ride, her first kids' storytime... I suppose early exposure is one of the perks of being a younger sibling!

Sophia is also pretty strong and wriggly for a two-month-old.  (Our pediatrician commented on her neck and leg strength, and said it's likely we'll have another early crawler on our hands...)  She does this really cute peering thing when you put her up on your shoulder to burp her -- she lifts her head waaaay up and stares intently above her.  We call this move the meerkat, because she totally looks like she's surveying the skies for predators (much like in this video, courtesy of Wikipedia).  So of course we've taught Joshua to pretend to be an eagle.  :)  Sophia will meerkat over my shoulder, and then Joshua will spread his arms and cry out like an eagle... It's okay to teach your kids to do weird things to make you laugh, right?  ;)

And Sophia has also started to smile at us!  Her smiles are still small and fleeting, but they're definitely social smiles in response to seeing our faces.  It's wonderful seeing her grow more interactive!  I managed to catch one of her smiles on camera during our two-month photo session:

What an infectious grin! She's such a happy little girl.  :)

And just a few more favorites from our little photo session (which took place during Joshua's nap, so no big brother cameos this time around -- sorry!):

Bunbun is sooo comfy...
Already working on a cheesy camera grin!
Tonight, we ride!!
Happy two month birthday, little snugglebug!  We love you so much!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Like brother, like sister

We've said ever since we first saw Sophia that she's the spitting image of her big brother, an opinion that's been shared by many.  So I figured I would go through our old photos of Joshua to see if they bore out my memory of baby Joshua looking exactly like Sophia now does... Let me know what you think!  On the left of each pair is Joshua, and on the right is Sophia.

So Joshua had less hair, and Sophia has "stork bites" on her forehead and eye, but still -- there's definitely no denying the family resemblance!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Put Joshua in the crib?"

In a funny turn of events, Joshua has stopped demanding that Sophia be put away in her crib, and has taken to asking instead that he be treated just like his baby sister...

I've been involving Joshua in Sophia's naptime routine, in an effort to make him feel more useful as a big brother.  So we all go upstairs together, and Joshua climbs up onto the daybed in the nursery as I wrap Sophia in her green SwaddleMe blanket.  Joshua's watched the process often enough that he now narrates as I go: "First the bottom, and then the left side, and thennnn the right side!"  Then Joshua starts jumping up and down on the bed and sings "Twinkle Twinkle" with me, at the top of his lungs.  Surprisingly, this very exuberant lullaby actually does put Sophia to sleep... So I put her down in her crib, tell Joshua we have to start whispering now, and we tiptoe out of the nursery to let Sophia rest.

The other evening, I was upstairs with Joshua getting him ready for bed while Sophia was downstairs hanging out with David.  He saw Sophia's SwaddleMe on the daybed and started begging me to wrap him up in it: "Joshua in green blanket?  Put Joshua in blanket?  First the bottom??  Pleeeease??"  Now, Joshua is a giant compared to Sophia, and is manifestly too large to be swaddled in any of the baby blankets we own, let alone in the tiny swaddler.  But because he was asking (relatively) nicely, and because I thought it would be funny, I told him to climb up and we would give it a try.  Once the blanket was kinda sorta wrapped around him, he started directing me through Sophia's bedtime routine: "Mama pick up Joshua?  Sing Twinkle Twinkle?"  And we sang the lullaby together, me slightly out of breath as I cradled my giant toddler in my arms.  Then Joshua grinned and asked to be put in the crib.  Laughing, I said night-night to "baby Joshua" and let him lie down in the crib.  And then I took him out and went through his proper bedtime routine in his big boy room.

The next day, right before Sophia's first early-morning nap, Joshua asked again to be wrapped in the green blanket.  So we did it one last time, and I snapped some cell phone pics!

Silly little bear.  :)  (Though seriously, look how HUGE he is compared to his baby sister!)  He was pretending to be asleep for the picture, but we were both giggling too much to make it look real!  I love that he's coming up with funny little bits like this now.  :)