Saturday, December 10, 2011

Our Trip to Hong Kong

Last month, as you may remember, we went to Hong Kong.  Well, I'm finally posting about it!  I've also updated the entry from our first day there with a few photos.

On our first full day in Hong Kong, we decided to visit Hong Kong Disneyland.  We had heard from a lot of people that the park was pretty small, and that's true, but it was just the right size for us with Sophie in tow.  We took the subway out to the park and got there around 10:30.  The subway has its own special Disney line, complete with Disney-themed trains.

Mickey everywhere on the train to Disneyland.
We spent the day exploring the different themed areas of the park and enjoying a lot of classic Disney rides like "It's a Small World" and the spinning teacups.  I think Sophie's favorite was the carousel, which we rode twice.  She kept signing "horse" and saying "neee!  neee!"

On the carousel with Dada
She also enjoyed the Small World ride but was scared of the Winnie the Pooh ride, which had a really creepy dream sequence in which Pooh bear encounters all kinds of garish smirking toys.  Eeek.  Still, at the end of the ride, as she unburied her face from my chest, she signed "again! again!"

After lunch, we put Sophie in her rented stroller and walked her around until she fell asleep for about an hour.

All this fun is exhausting!
During that time, Keegan and I each got to ride Space Mountain, and I tried out the Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters.  Sophie woke up just in time for the afternoon parade, which I thought was a pretty good spectacle.  Sophie loved watching the floats and the dancers and clapped and bounced in my lap the whole time.

Sophie meets the dancers from the Lilo and Stitch float.
I have to admit that I was a bit wary of introducing Sophie to the hyper-commercialized world of Disney characters, but once we got to the park and especially during the parade I found myself super nostalgic and sentimental about my own childhood and all of the classic Disney songs and movies that I enjoyed as a kid (and an adult).  Even the jarring sight of four white Disney princesses waving from a sea of lesser Asian performers to the mostly Asian crowd during the parade barely dampened my enthusiasm.  We even considered buying Disneyland t-shirts but refrained in favor of buying Sophie a Pooh bear doll, which is now a treasured possession who sleeps in her crib every night.  Overall, I would definitely recommend Hong Kong Disney if you have toddlers, and I think it will be great for older kids too in the next few years when they open three new areas in the park.

Sophie loved Donald and quacked whenever she saw him.
No one is happier than a kid at Disneyland.

We barely had the energy to get back to the hotel and get down a conveyor-belt sushi meal before we tumbled into bed, ready for day 3.

On day 3, we spent the morning on Hong Kong island, taking the famous Peak Tram up to the Peak for great views of the city.  Sophie enjoyed all the escalators leading up to the viewing platform.

The family on The Peak

Hong Kong?  Yeah, been there, done that.

Back at the bottom, we swung through gorgeous Hong Kong Park for a session on the fantastic playground and a brief walk through the aviary.

Back at the hotel, I took Sophie to the hotel restaurant for a disastrous lunch (not much was eaten, a great deal ended up on the floor, and there were tears), while Keegan headed to the spa for a massage and soak in the hot tub.  I'm not sure who enjoyed their afternoon the most, as Sophie and I both got three-hour naps in.

In the evening, we tried went to the Temple Street Night Market, which we had heard was a must-see attraction.  Well, I'm not sure what we missed because it was terrible!  Stall after stall was filled with cheap plastic junk and tourist knick-knacks.  Most of the people shopping there were clearly tourists.  None of the food stalls looked remotely appetizing or toddler friendly, so we gave up pretty quickly and went back to the hotel area.  We found a Chinese restaurant for dinner, but it was a bit late to eat, and we spent most of our energy trying to keep Sophie happy while we scarfed our food.  We'll have to try authentic Chinese food again another time!

Sophie had her own special bamboo booster seat at the Chinese restaurant.
On our last day in Hong Kong, we decided to go to the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Garden.  We were definitely impressed with the gorgeous parks in Hong Kong.  The zoo was even nicer than Hong Kong park!

Keegan and Sophie at the zoo
The cages are a bit old-fashioned with bars and mesh grating, but the enclosures were clean and stocked with plenty for the animals to sit on/hide in/play with, so it wasn't a depressing experience.  There are a lot of birds, a few reptiles, and many kinds of monkeys.  Everyone's favorite was definitely the monkeys, who were swinging around like crazy in their cages.  I told Sophie that the monkeys were playing, and she said over and over "pay! pay!"  We had a great time watching them.

Then we found the zoo playground and had our own fun playing.

On our way back from the zoo, we took the famous Star Ferry from Hong Kong island back to Kowloon and saw the super-fancy center of Hong Kong with all its jewelry stores and high-fashion boutiques.  Then it was back to the hotel for my spa treatment.  I had a fabulous 45-minute massage and 45-minute facial and almost fell asleep.  Ahhh.  Then I met Keegan and Sophie for their post-nap trip to the pool.

In the evening we made a cardinal mistake in traveling with a toddler:  we left waaay too late for dinner.  We also seriously underestimated the crowds in the Mongkok area.  The restaurant we were aiming for, a vegetarian dim sum place, was closed, and every other place we tried had a long wait to be seated.

The bright lights and bustling streets of Hong Kong
So we trudged back to the hotel and ordered room service, which was a good recovery.

On Sunday morning, we headed back to the airport.  The early afternoon flight was a good time for us to travel because Sophie fell asleep fairly quickly and slept for most of the trip.  All in all, we were really happy with our relaxing vacation, and we felt pretty good about our first real tourist trip with a toddler.  Now we have to plan the next one!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Greatest Hits from Sophie's Sixteenth Month

Still trying to catch up!  Here are some videos from October:

This silly laugh was all we heard for a few days.  I kind of miss it.

This is Sophie's absolute favorite video ever.

Sophie and Eloise are two peas in a pod.

Here is Sophie reciting many of her earliest words and signs.  Too bad Mommy had her hand over the microphone for the first half of the video!  Sorry all!

Proud and Not-so-Proud

Sorry I've been so absent.  Things have not gotten less interesting around here, but they have gotten hectic as we prepare for our trip to Hawaii for the holidays and Sophie decides not to nap well in the afternoons. Poor thing has a nasty cold and is getting her canine teeth.

I was very proud of Sophie earlier this week when we were playing at the toy library with Sophie's friend Daniel.  Sophie was playing with a toy bus that Daniel had abandoned, and Daniel, in true toddler fashion, decided that he desperately needed it back.  Sophie looked on in bewilderment, still holding onto the bus, as Daniel started to cry.  She looked at me and said and signed "cry! cry!"  I told her that he was crying because he wanted to play with the bus.  And she immediately picked it up and gave it to him!  I was so proud of her!  I'm sure this generosity will not survive the inevitable terrible twos, but I hope it will make occasional appearances from now on.

I am not so proud that we have inadvertently taught Sophie to say "gross!" every time she coughs.  She has a horrible raspy cough with this cold, and it is indeed gross.  So now she goes "hack, hack, GROSS" and grins like crazy.  If you're going to be sick it's good to have a sense of humor.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Rewards of Extended Breastfeeding

I wasn't sure we would still be nursing well into Sophie's second year, especially when we had to supplement with formula starting at around five months.  But here we are, still going strong at sixteen months!  Sophie is going through a phase where she likes to say "hi" to various objects in her daily life (the paintings over her changing table and the penguin statues in Deokpo Beach in particular).  This morning when I pulled my shirt open to nurse, she looked at my breast and said/signed "Hi, milk!"  It was a good start to the day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

See-see speaks!

Sophie has learned to say her name.  I noticed her saying "she-she" or "see-see" a few times in the past few days, but I didn't figure it out until today.  I did manage to capture it on video:

Monday, November 14, 2011


I have started reading the floor numbers to Sophie as we go up and down in the elevator.  She loves this and reminds me to do it by saying "aye! aye!" and pointing or looking towards the number display.  She likes to repeat "ten!" after me when we get to the tenth floor.  This evening when I was putting Sophie to bed, she started saying "aye! aye!" and pointed to the wall hanging over her crib.  It's a cross-stitched picture from my mom with the numbers one through nine on it.  I guess Sophie recognized at least one of the numbers!  So I read out the numbers one through nine and pointed to each one, and after I said "nine," Sophie said, proudly, "TEN!"  I know every parent thinks this, but my daughter is a genius!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

First Day in Hong Kong

Here's my first post from Hong Kong, which I started on Thursday morning:

We arrived in Hong Kong yesterday afternoon. Sophie was full of energy for the whole flight until I decided to nurse her during the landing. Then she promptly fell asleep. I don't know how she slept through the landing as we had a bit of excitement: the pilot had to pull up from just above the runway because of bad wind shear. The engines were absolutely roaring as we quickly gained altitude. And Sophie slumbered peacefully on, oblivious. Fortunately, we landed successfully on the second try.

The highlight of the day for me was our bus ride to the hotel. Sophie was thrilled to have her own seat by the window, and she spent the whole ride looking out and talking or signing about the things she saw.  She saw other cars, boats, and lots of umbrellas, which she noted by shouting joyfully "lela! lela!"  I'm not sure if the other passengers enjoyed our ride as much as Sophie, Keegan and I did...

Our hotel is quite nice.  We're staying at the Langham Place Hotel in the Mongkok neighborhood.  It has an absolutely gorgeous pool on the roof, a beautiful spa which Keegan and I will be taking advantage of later, and a very nice lounge with an excellent breakfast and lots of other goodies.  We got a chance to explore the lounge a bit while we waited for our room to be made up, and it was great!  There were a few toys for Sophie, a TV, and all kinds of tasty snacks on offer.

Sophie enjoys the view and the video games in the lounge at the hotel. 
Keegan enjoys the view, a beer, and Sophie's free Langham Place hat.
Once we finally got into the room, we put Sophie to sleep for a while and took a short nap ourselves.  In the evening, we took advantage of the pool (a bit chilly up on the roof, so we swam in the huge hot tub instead) and then went to the mall across the street for dinner.  We had a very tasty Thai meal, ordering waaaaay too much food and doing our best to stuff it all in.

Sophie's first taste of coconut milk at the Thai restaurant.  It was a hit.
World's Weirdest Oatmeal Flavor, as seen in the grocery store at the Langham Place Mall.
Sophie was fairly well-behaved considering our long day of travel, but I think all of us were happy to wrap the meal up and head home to go to bed.  Today we head to Disney!

Monday, November 7, 2011


Yesterday at the rainy Geoje Flower Festival Sophie started saying "lala" for umbrella. She also accidentally tried her first piece of kimchee. After it was promptly rejected, she spent the rest of the meal guzzling water.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Words

Today when we were reading Ten Little Babies by Gyo Fujikawa, Sophie started pointing to one of the pages and saying "kai! kai!" and pointing to her face.  I knew she was trying to both say and sign something but I couldn't understand.  Finally, she pointed to the picture she was looking at, a baby who was crying.  She was saying "cry" and using her pointer finger to sign the tears.  That's the first time she's said "cry," although she has been using the sign for a while.  Shortly afterward, she signed and said "help" to ask me to pull out a big book wedged in the back of her book basket.

She's also started trying to jump, but she can't actually get her feet off the ground.  She just stretches and bounces and tries so hard.

The Sophie Journal

After a conversation with my friend and awesome mom Marina, I decided that I wanted to keep better notes about Sophie's day-to-day accomplishments and development, like she does for her kids.  Being attached at the hip to my laptop and iPhone (whenever I'm not attached to Sophie, that is), I am trying to figure out how to do this well on the blog.  I realize that many (ok, most) of my blog posts are about Sophie anyway, but I am hoping to keep a more detailed record of how she's growing and changing.  These details may not be so interesting to anyone other than me and Sophie's grandparents, but I think it will be wonderful for us to have a record of her growing up.  These posts are going to be labeled "Sophie Journal," and a click on the Sophie Journal link in the sidebar should bring up just those details.  Bear with me as I tinker.

Greatest Hits from Sophie's Fifteenth Month

I know, I know, Sophie is sixteen months old already.  But it's not always easy to find time for posting, and unfortunately, Mom is a perfectionist about doing things in chronological order.

Painting at our friend Mika's house.  This video is short for obvious reasons.

I kept thinking "Show Mommy how the piggies eat!"

This is about the longest amount of time that Sophie spends on her bike.  I hope she'll be more interested as she gets older!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Things to Do with Kids on Geoje - Rainy Day Edition

The weather is cooling off, so we are enjoying lots and lots of great outdoor playing weather.  Every evening our apartment's playground is packed with kids, and Sophie grins from ear to ear when she arrives to join all of her neighbors out playing.  Unfortunately, rainy days can be challenging.  Here are a few places we've found to go when it's too wet for the playground.

1.  The indoor playground in Gohyeon
Our friend Amy introduced us to the Kid's Cafe in Gohyeon.  I was very impressed with this playroom the first time we went.  For a nominal entry fee (which is waived when you order lunch or coffee), you and your kids can play on big and small play structures and with all kinds of toys.  There are little cars, a kitchen area, a book corner, a huge Lego table, and even a wading pool, which is open in the afternoons.  A staff person is always walking around looking after the kids, and there's also a little coffee bar and a casual lunch menu with different kinds of fried rice and breaded pork cutlets, as well as waffles and sweet bread.  Sophie really loves the ride-on toys, climbing up to the slide, and jumping on the trampoline.

Daddy and I enjoy a few peaceful moments with our coffee and tea while she plays!

2.  The Geoje Shipbuilding Marine Cultural Center
The center consists of two museums: the Fishing Village Folk Museum and the Shipbuilding Marine Museum.  I visited both for the first time with Keegan's parents when I was pregnant, and I really enjoyed both museums.  The Fishing Village museum has some interesting displays about fishing methods and equipment on Geoje, and the Shipbuilding Museum is a great place to take visitors who are curious about what goes on in the shipyards here.  But the main attraction for kids is the kids' play area on the first floor of the Shipbuilding Museum.  There's a big indoor playground with tunnels and slides and a trampoline, plus some little interactive games so that kids can pretend to row a boat, steer a ship, and move cargo with a crane.  Older kids might also enjoy the big aquarium and several smaller tanks that are part of the fishing museum.  Sophie likes to look at the fish, but her attention span is pretty short...
Sophie and Mommy enjoy the big fish tank at the Geoje Fishing Village Folk Museum.
3.  The pool at the Hotel Art in Jangseungpo
We haven't been to this pool in a while since the weather has been warm and we've been enjoying the pool at the Geoje Sea Spa.  But this was a rainy, cold day go-to in the winter.  I think the facility is pretty nice, and the pool is usually relatively uncrowded.  There is a very shallow baby pool, a slightly deeper pool for older kids, and a big pool for lap swimming.  They have swimming classes there for kids, too, but I think they don't start until the kids are older - around kindergarten age, maybe?  Anyway, I'm looking forward to swimming more with Sophie this winter.

If all else fails:

4.  Put on boots and play in the puddles!
I just ordered a bunch of rain clothes from L.L. Bean because I don't want to be trapped in the apartment all day on rainy days.  Let me tell you, there is not much cuter than a pair of toddler size 5 yellow rain boots!  I was quite pleased that it rained this Friday and we got to try them all out!

5.  Get creative at home.
I always think of coloring on rainy days - I remember my mom suggesting coloring to me when I was bored, and it always seemed to be such a great idea!  "Wow, how did Mom ever think of that!"  I am planning a messy fingerpainting day someday soon, and I also want to make some Play-Doh.  Here is a fun activity we tried on a dull weekend morning recently:

And here is one Sophie came up with herself:

Hard at work stuffing voluminous quantities of toilet paper into the toilet.

I hope this list and the previous hot weather list can be useful for other families in Geoje - it can be hard to find some of these places without help!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Video Birthday Card

Today is my dad's birthday - Happy Birthday, Dad!  There's not much that has made me appreciate my parents more than becoming a parent myself.  Not only has Dad turned out to be a fantastic grandfather, but he has also been a terrific dad to me.  I find myself thinking all the time about the ways he's influenced my life for the better, from teaching me skepticism and critical thinking to introducing me to Monty Python.  I love you, Dad!  I hope you enjoy these videos of your granddaughter from her fourteenth month (still catching up on posting!).

And here's a bonus video from last week, for Barb.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Korean Potpourri

Here are a few odds and ends I've been meaning to post.

First, here's a video I took at Deokpo Beach.  I was up early on a morning walk with Sophie and was feeling quite sorry for myself because she had slept poorly the night before.  And then I came across this interesting dance and got a little lift.  It's exciting to live in a foreign country, even after three years.  You never know what you'll come across!

Second, here are some photos of amusing gift sets for the Chuseok holiday.  Chuseok is "Korean Thanksgiving," and it's a time for families to gather for a big meal and perhaps also honor their ancestors through a special ceremony or by cleaning their graves.  It's also a time for gift-giving, and the grocery stores have been packed with special gift sets.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Sophie surveys the Chuseok goods.
Would you prefer the dried fish gift pack OR...
...the dried seaweed gift pack?
Rice puff candies.  Note Sophie's grabby hand in the corner.
Black garlic gift set - You can see the black cloves on the top of the box, under the 1+1 label.
We enjoyed our Chuseok by visiting Mundong Falls, a waterfall in the middle of Geoje, with our friends Sam, Mika, and Eloise.

Mommy and Sophie on the bridge
Keegan and the girls.  Eloise is exactly one year older than Sophie, and they are crazy about each other.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fun Weekend

Keegan wanted to do some "different" things this weekend, so we had a few new family adventures. On Saturday morning, we took Sophie to the soccer stadium to run and play. She enjoyed kicking a ball around and spinning and running with Mommy and Daddy. In this video, you can hear her squeaking with delight every time she kicks the ball.

Saturday evening we had a nice time barbecuing with our neighbors.

This morning we took a cable car to the top of a mountain near Tongyeong. I hadn't been there since before Sophie was born, and Keegan had never been, so it was a fun new experience. There were gorgeous views from the mountaintop.

Next weekend is a four-day weekend because of the Chuseok holiday (Korean Thanksgiving), so we'll have even more time to try some new things!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Mysterious Hissing

I would like to share my favorite part of the day today:

I was cleaning up breakfast dishes in the kitchen, and Sophie was amusing herself by looking at her books on the couch in the living room. I was listening to music and not paying much attention, feeling very happy that Sophie was entertaining herself so well with something that did not involve emptying cabinets or begging for a snack. Then I started hearing a hissing sound coming from the living room. I looked over at Sophie, but she was absorbed with her book. I figured I was hearing things, but no, then I heard the sound again. It must be Sophie! What was she trying to say?

I walked over to see what she was up to and discovered her flipping avidly through Pat the Bunny. One part of the book has a "mini-book" pasted in, and the last page says "Shhhh-hh, Bunny is sleeping." Sophie was looking at that page and saying "sssss, sssssss, sssssss!" How does she figure these things out? I was proud and amused by my daughter, the reader.

As an added bonus, she also raised her hands and spread them wide when I asked her "How big is Bunny?" So-o-o-o big! Just like my Sophie.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Things to Do with Kids on Geoje - Hot Weather Edition

Now that Sophie is walking and climbing and very active, we are constantly looking for things to do outside the apartment. This can be a challenge since the weather is H-O-T these days and just going out to the playground is pretty unpleasant. Fortunately, our playgroup friends are kind enough to invite us over for a change of scenery, and they also share their suggestions for things to do. Here are some ways that we've found to beat the heat:

1. Go to the beach!
We live approximately 200 meters from the beach. But before you get envious, please note that this is Deokpo Beach I'm talking about. On days when it's nice, to paraphrase a favorite nursery rhyme, it is very very nice, but on days when it's bad it is horrid! There is often a lot of trash on the beach and in the water, and sometimes the water is smelly (we think it's from fertilizer runoff). So we try to get to the beach here when it's pleasant and to go to Gujora Beach when we have a little more time. We also tried out Heungnam Beach, a bit further north of us on the island with bigger waves and looked cleaner and a bit less crowded. Here are some photos and a video of Sophie enjoying the beach.

Walking in the waves at Deokpo Beach, on August 3, Keegan's birthday.

Trying to sit in a bucket at Heungnam Beach, August 5. This was her idea. I'm only holding the bucket up.

Playing with Daddy at Gujora Beach, August 13.

2. Go to the Geoje Sea Spa.
The sea spa has a really nice outdoor pool on the roof, complete with water slides and an indoor baby pool that is warm as bathwater. Although many Korean kids are outfitted in life jackets and inflatable tubes in the baby pool, it is still fun to swim there if you can go when it's not too crowded. Sophie loves riding the water bobsled on Mommy or Daddy's lap - I wish I had a video of her ear-to-ear grin coming down the slide. I can't get enough of it! After swimming in the pool for a while, you can visit the spa restaurant for ramen or spicy soup and rice.

Chilling at the sea spa, July 20.

3. Play in the fountain near the ferry terminal.
One of the consequences of the new bridge from Geoje to Busan is that the passenger ferry no longer runs from Okpo, so now the ferry terminal is just a relic. But there is a small park next to the terminal with a playground and a fountain that runs in the summer. Kids can run around in the jets and get soaked - perfect for sweltering summer days!

Playing in the fountain with lots of friends on August 4. She was actually having a good time, even though she looks miserable. Also, no babies were harmed during the filming of this video, despite the spill you see at the end.

4. Put a wading pool out near the playground.
This is only semi-successful with Sophie, since she likes to climb in and out of the pool and try to run into the hot parking lot in her bare feet. But it's nice to have a way to cool off right outside the apartment. There are inflatable pools for sale everywhere these days, and we're lucky to live somewhere where it's easy enough to fill one up.

Sophie swimming with Anna-Lynn on June 12. We miss Anna-Lynn and her family, who are in Florida for a long vacation.

Look for the rainy day list sometime soon - we have been busy, busy, busy!

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Skills and Experiences

Sophie is growing by leaps and bounds and learning new skills every day. Here are a few of her latest tricks and new experiences:

Trying corn on the cob for the first time. Korean corn is TERRIBLE, but she seemed to enjoy it.

Trying on Mommy's clothes. She often brings me a t-shirt from my drawer and is thrilled when she can wear it around the house.

Climbing on anything and everything.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One-Year Photo Session

I will post more on Flickr eventually, but until then, here are some shots from our photo session this Saturday. Our albums and frames will be ready in two weeks - I can't wait!

Sophie in her birthday hanbok

World's Silliest Swimming Costume

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sophie's First Birthday

I've always accepted the conventional wisdom about how fast kids grow up, but I never really understood exactly how fast until I had one of my own. The first six months sometimes felt like they would last forever, but now I look back and can't believe how much things have changed since then. One year ago today, our little girl looked like this:

Sophie says hello a video by filozofia31 on Flickr.
Now she looks like this:

I also underestimated how excited I would feel about our baby reaching her one year milestone. I feel only a miniscule bit of regret for leaving behind baby days and huge anticipation for what lies ahead.

Sophie's party on Sunday was a great way to celebrate these feelings. We decided to have a Korean-style first birthday party, which means we made a big deal out of the occasion! We rented a room at the Admiral Hotel in Okpo and invited all of our friends and neighbors and co-workers for a giant buffet lunch.

The head table, with traditional Korean decorations.

Sophie wore a hanbok, traditional Korean dress, for the occasion.

Sophie loves walking with Mommy and Daddy in her pretty dress.

Everyone started to arrive around 12:00, and we had some time to mingle and to eat. After lunch, our emcee announced that we would speak a few words and then cut the cake. Keegan welcomed everyone and then proceeded to say almost exactly what I had planned to say. Darn! I was able to squeak out a few words of appreciation for our friends and to thank them all for their support during the often difficult first year of Sophie's life. I have to say that I did get a little teary. Sophie lightened the mood by squirming in my arms and waving to all the guests. After a toast to Sophie's first birthday, we blew out the birthday candle and sang Happy Birthday. Sophie relished being the center of attention and clapped and smiled the whole time, much to everyone's delight.

She's acting shy, but you can see the huge smile - this girl loved being center stage!

Next we cut the cake with a huge, swordlike knife.

Cutting the cake. Wedding flashback, anyone?

Finally, we put Sophie down in front of a tray of objects for the doljabi. According to tradition, the object the baby picks predicts her future. Sophie could have chosen string (long life), a paintbrush (intelligence, creativity), a stethescope (doctor), or money (riches), but she picked the toy microphone.

Sophie chooses the mike!

She was a bit frightened by the loud cheer that came up from the audience after she made her choice. Everyone said that she picked the mike because it looked the most like a toy, but after watching her ham it up in front of all the guests during the birthday song, I thought it might be an omen after all.

After the ceremony it was time to eat some cake and just enjoy being with our guests. Sophie did remarkably well considering all the excitement. She was thrilled to be able to chase around after the older kids at the party (with Mommy's help, of course). When we finally made it home, she was exhausted and slept like a champ while Mommy and Daddy opened her many gifts and made a long list of thank-you's to write. Our house still looks like a day care center - we have to find room for all these big toys! But Sophie is very happy to have new things to explore. And I think she's very happy to be one!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A First and an Almost-First

As Sophie approaches a year, the number of things she's experiencing for the first time is getting somewhat smaller. I wanted to post about our trip to the beach last weekend, and I was thinking "Sophie's first trip to the beach!" but it wasn't. We took her down to the water here in Deokpo last weekend. Then I thought, "First trip to Gujora Beach," but it wasn't that either since we went last September. We had a good time, though! Maybe I will call it "Sophie's best time at the beach." I think that's accurate.

Life's a beach when you're eleven months old!

We set up on the beach around 11:30 and ran into some friends of ours from the Wednesday playgroup I've been going to. It was nice to meet Stephanie's husband, and I know Keegan enjoyed talking to him. Then Sojung, Matt, and Anna-Lynn met us. It was Anna-Lynn's first time at the beach, and everyone was anxious to see how she would like the water. We thought the girls might not be too interested in swimming because when I dipped a toe in, it was so cold that I believe I almost lost the toe. But when we got closer to the waterline, Sophie really wanted to get right in.

"I love you, frigid water!"

We had to do a last-minute stripdown at the water's edge and let her in naked. She marched right along until she was up to her chest and didn't protest at all, although photographic evidence shows that she may have had some second thoughts.

"Hmmm, what is that strange numbness in my legs?"

Anna-Lynn followed not too far behind and also seemed unfazed by the cold.

Sojung & Anna-Lynn

Anna-Lynn and Sophie, the bathing beauties

Meanwhile, we adults moaned and groaned about how we couldn't feel our feet.

After the swim, Anna-Lynn got some sand in her eyes, and Sojung and Matt decided to take her home. Keegan, Sophie and I lingered for a while longer, enjoying the overcast day.

"Why am I so gritty?"

Sophie fell asleep on the way home and took a long nap in the afternoon. When she woke up, we had a barbecue with our Kisan Harborview friends. What a great Saturday!

So, we've established that the beach was an "almost first." The "first" I mentioned in the title was Sophie's first time painting. We had playgroup this morning at our friend Amy's house, and she provided paints, brushes and big pieces of paper for the kids. I was eager to see what Sophie would think. She was amused by the paintbrushes and the egg cartons that the paint was in but didn't really make the connection between the brush and the colors on the paper.

You can't pretend that your kid didn't try to eat a paintbrush. The evidence is very clear.

Future Georgia O'Keefe?

I think she did enjoy watching the other kids, especially Reagan, who decided it would be much more fun to paint herself.

Thanks for the fun activity, Amy!