Thursday, November 15, 2012

Up to Speed

So, a few things have happened since the last time I posted:

1.  We found out that we are returning to the U.S. so that Keegan can start a new position in Newport News, VA in February.  (Can I still call my blog Honeymoon in Korea when we return to the U.S.?)

2.  I am 14 weeks pregnant with Sophie's little brother or sister!

3.  Sophie has developed a rock-star sense of style, even if she needs a bit of work in the lyrics and melody department.


4.  Sophie learned how to pedal on her friend Eli's bike!  She is hoping that Santa Claus will bring her her own bike to practice on this Christmas.


5.  We took a mini-vacation to Jeju Island - more on that soon.

Jeju Rocks!
It's good to be back!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Imagination

We are back in Korea after a fabulous, refreshing trip to the U.S.  We are all still suffering from jet lag, which is quite unpleasant, but our batteries are recharged and we are happy to be back in our own home and to see our friends here.  Sophie is alternately overjoyed to be back amongst her familiar toys and super-grumpy because she is tired.  Nonetheless, her imaginative side has begun to shine through.  Here are a few recent examples:

Sunday, while eating lunch with her Mickey Mouse fork, she held the fork to her ear like a phone:  "Hello, Mickey Mouse!  I want pizza crust!"

Later during the same lunch:  "I singing the "I Love This" song.  I love thiiiis, I love thiiiis, I so happeeeeeee, I eating my dinner!"

This afternoon, trying to capture Mommy's attention while she is absorbed in a book:  "Mommy, hold me up to see that little girl [in a picture on the wall].  Otherwise, I gon go pee pee on you!"  I did not manage to keep a straight face, although we did later discuss the correct way to request favors and the fact that it is never okay to deliberately pee on your mother, even if she is ignoring you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Constant Comment

We have decided that if Sophie were a tea, she would be "constant comment."  She talks non-stop these days!  Here are a few of her recent gems:

Sitting on the potty, apropos nothing:  Guess what, Mama!  You a sillypuss!

Riding in her stroller during this afternoon's run (repeatedly, for about 10 minutes):  My put on my running shoes, run all the way to BUDDHA PARK!

In reply to my asking whether she'd like to swim like Mama and Dada when she is older:  When my two, my go swimming!

Discussing Keegan's absence at dinner a few nights ago:
Sophie:  Dada go to work.
Mama:  No, Dada is going to a restaurant.
Sophie:  Dada have meeting.
Mama:  That's right.  Dada is having a meeting at a restaurant.
Sophie:  That really silly, Mama.

Her three current favorite things to talk and wonder about are:

  1. When are we going to go to another hotel?  (We stayed in hotels for the past two weekends, and apparently hotels are waaaay better than home.  The chief attraction seems to be that during bathtime at the first hotel, Mama put her feet in the bathtub with Sophie. At Sophie's request, this was repeated at the second hotel, further adding to the hotel magic.)
  2. When are we going back to the Rainbow School?  (We visited Sophie's playschool last week, and she loved it!  This is a very good sign, since she'll start two days a week in September.)
  3. When is it my birthday? (One week from today!  But it is very hard to explain that concept to a toddler.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Love You

Today, after eating lunch in the food court at Home Plus, I was holding Sophie on my lap and loving on her.  After she looked up and gave me a kiss, she said "I love you."  It was pretty great.  It was the first time she has ever said "I love you" unprompted.

This evening at bath time, Sophie was playing with a blue submarine toy.  She thought it was an airplane, so I explained how it was a special boat that goes under the water.  Then I started singing a particularly rousing version of "Yellow Submarine."  When I finished, Sophie looked at me with concern and said "Submarine blue, Mama."  It's very hard to explain things to your poor, ignorant mother sometimes.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Springtime in Korea

One of the best things about living overseas is the opportunity to adopt the rhythms of a new society and perhaps even a new geography.  As we enter our fourth spring in Korea, the changing seasons and yearly holidays are beginning to feel more natural to us.  Here springtime starts late, well after backpacks and packages of pristine school supplies proliferate in the aisles of the local department stores to mark the start of the school year in March.  Here early spring means cherry blossoms and azaleas in April instead of daffodils and crocuses in February or March.  I have never seen the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., but I have been to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Jinhae, South Korea and seen the whole island erupt with snowy flowers for the briefest beautiful spell each April.  Keegan and I have tried and failed twice to catch the peak of the azaleas blooming at the azalea mountain not far from our house - maybe next year will be the charm.

Daegeumsan, 2010 - Too late for blooms.
Daegeumsan, 2012 - Still a bit before the peak.

"Ummmm....yeah.  You guys brought me here too early for the full effect."
When we eventually get it right, we will see an entire hillside carpeted in purple.

Living in Korea, and especially out in Deokpo Beach, we are able to watch the less glamorous members of the plant world as well.  All of the local gardens look neat and fresh, with orderly rows of stakes and seedlings.  The garlic has begun to sport its puffy purple blossoms; soon we will see it drying by the side of the road or hanging in clumps from the eaves of traditional houses.  The ripe scent of fertilizer graces the infamous "stinky spot" on our running route, much to Sophie's delight.  (Well, she likes to say "Stinky spot!"  I don't think she likes the smell.)  Right now, the rice paddies are being cleared and plowed for the spring planting.  We've had a few good, soaking rains, long leisurely afternoons good for nothing but napping while the water pours down from the sky to fill the waiting rice fields.


Spring is also the season of windy afternoons and yellow dust storms bringing dust from the Chinese desert and pollution from Chinese cities.  The yellow dust is foul and can force people inside when it is heavy, so I won't linger on it.  But how about that?  We live close enough to China that the sands of the  Gobi desert can affect our lives.

In the parks and at the playgrounds, eager mothers and children swarm, enjoying the first few days of short-sleeve weather after the chilly winter.  In our parking lot in the evening, a gaggle of schoolkids and toddlers run wild and pedal all manner of bicycles and tricycles while their parents chat and welcome hard-working shipbuilders and inspectors home from work.

Enjoying the gorgeous azaleas at our apartment playground.
Deokpo Beach is beginning to have a festival atmosphere on weekends, complete with sunbathing English teachers and intrepid children braving the chilly water with enviable joy.

Here's hoping that pleasant weather endures for a while before the steamy days of summer begin.  Especially since my mom and dad will be here in two short weeks!

Someone is ready for summer!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Latest Words and Skills

While watching Sesame Street, anytime there's music:  "Mama, I like this music!"

While exercising with Mama:
Mama, counting:  "Eight...Nine...Ten."
Sophie, to Mama's complete surprise:  "Eleven!"
I was only going to do ten leg presses, but Sophie is a demanding coach!

New physical accomplishments include putting pants on by herself (still pretty hit or miss) and jumping off of things.






Sunday, April 29, 2012

Greatest Hits, 19-21 Months

Here are a few more recent videos of Sophie's antics.

Sorry the blog is funny-looking these days.  I am in the process of picking a new design, so it may continue to be out of whack for a few days while I finish updating things.


Sophie acting wild before naptime.  The funny thing is that she fell asleep within about two minutes once we sat down to nurse.  Thank God for nursing!


Wish I had gotten more of the dancing.  But she loved this hippo!


I think Sophie has a new favorite sign.


What would my toddler do without "her" iPhone?

And here is a bonus video of Keegan's antics:


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our Bluesy Girl

Sophie has a couple of important new skills:

1.  Walking on her toes - She prefers tiptoeing to things like getting dressed, putting on her shoes, helping Mommy with anything, taking a bath, etc.



2.  Playing the harmonica.  Keegan has been trying to get her to do this for ages, but there was a lot of confusion between the harmonica and the kazoo.  Now she can blow without also squealing along.


Oh yeah, and we're also potty training.  Whew!  Is there anything this girl can't do?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Surprises Every Day

Sophie has many amazing skills and abilities these days, but my favorite moments come when she improves her speaking. First of all, she sounds adorable (my current favorite words: blue (ba-looo), splash (sp-lASH), noodles (guh-loooos), and wow), but more importantly I get a glimpse into her mind as she communicates more effectively. Here are a few recent surprises from Sophie's mouth:

While playing with a set of farm animal magnets, excitedly: "two chickens!" (I had no idea she understood numbers and counting that well.)

Upon seeing Mama wearing a shirt she hadn't seen before:  "Mama new shirt!"

Instead of getting worked up into a crying fit on the diaper table:  "Mama, I want durse."

When asked whether she would like to sit on Uncle Tim's motorcycle:  "No want motorcycle."
(I want and I no want are both new additions to Sophie's vocabulary.)

After nursing one morning:  "Snuggle mama!"  (This is my favorite new word, but unfortunately, it has quickly passed out of use.)

Sophie's favorite new game involves her panda and rabbit puppets from Nana.  She is overjoyed when panda and "dee-dee" cheer for her as she goes through her usual routine.  She requests their cheers at every turn:  "Time durse.  Panda, Dee-Dee Yaaaaaaay!"  "Diaper change.  Panda, Dee-Dee Yaaaaaaaaaay!"  She likes to see Panda and Dee-Dee clap when she behaves well.  I wish she would like to behave well for ME, but I'll take what I can get.

Also, that naughty monkey Alex has expanded his repertoire of misbehavior to include jumping on the chair.  Now I have another thing to reprimand him for, much to Sophie's delight.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Weekend Adventures

Keegan had to work this Saturday.  There are many reasons that Saturday working sucks for both of us, and one of them is that our usual playmates are often busy with their families and not available to entertain us.  So I try to be creative and do special things on Dada's working Saturdays.  Keegan had suggested months ago that Sophie would probably enjoy riding the bus from our apartment in Deokpo into town.  So around 11:00, we headed out from the apartment to the bus stop across the street.  Waiting for the bus was the hardest part.  Sophie did not like to stand inside the bus shelter where we were protected from the wind, preferring instead to sit on the sidewalk and wait.

Will the bus come soon?
At last the bus arrived and Sophie and I got on and found a seat.  Sophie was really excited to be on the bus.  She really liked watching the doors open and close and the people getting on and off.

Riding the bus!
Once we made it into town, we got off the bus and headed towards the playground at the foreigner's club.  As soon as we got close, Sophie started asking to see the chickens - I don't know how she remembers these things!  So we got a chance to look at the bunnies and the chickens that are kept penned up in a little park just inside the entrance to the DSME compound.

How we managed to complete this visit without finger nibbling I'll never know.
Then it was off to the playground, where we survived a brief meltdown at the swings to enjoy the rest of the fine playground activities.

A playground!  Let me at it!
Showing off her darn good climbing skills.
When we were all played out, we took a taxi back to our apartment after a fine morning.

Today we had another adventure!  Last weekend, Keegan bought a toddler bike seat for his shipyard bike, and this weekend we got a chance to try it out.  We didn't go very far, but we had a lot of fun.  Sophie loves wearing her "helmet hat."

At the Buddha Park in the middle of a fun ride.
When we got back to Deokpo Beach, Sophie had a grand old time throwing rocks into the water and playing on the apartment playground with her friend Daniel.  Mommy and Daddy had a grand old time soaking up the sun and Sophie's smiles.  I hope all of your weekends were as much fun as ours was!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Imagination

Sophie is talking more and more, so she's able to give us the tiniest peek into her busy little mind.  I was amazed at the park the other day by her active imagination.  We were sitting on a bench that looped around a tree trunk.  The bench was in poor repair (maintenance of public areas is not a strong point here), and there were several missing planks.  Where the planks were missing, you could see the double metal rails that supported the wooden slats of the bench.  Sophie was apparently reminded of train tracks, because she started saying "Choo choo!" and scooting around the "tracks" on her butt.  Being able to see the world through a child's eyes is priceless.

A less inspiring game that has taken hold today involves Sophie's favorite sidekick, Alex the dress-me monkey.  Today Alex was doing all sorts of things he wasn't supposed to do, such as sitting on the shelf beneath the TV (Sophie is, coincidentally, also not supposed to sit there) and climbing on Sophie's easel (Sophie is, coincidentally, also not supposed to climb there).  Every time Alex winds up in one of these forbidden places, Sophie says "No no Alex sit shelf!"  "No no Alex climb board!"  Then she looks at me expectantly so that I will also scold Alex and then thank him for getting down.  Nice to know that she's internalizing the things we tell her not to do.  Not so nice to spend most of the morning reprimanding a stuffed monkey.

Sophie also scolds Pepper frequently for climbing places he shouldn't and shushes him when he mews.  Keegan says it's a classic case of %*@& running downhill.  Now I've got to go scold Keegan for his potty mouth.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Trip to E-Mart

Last weekend we filled our Saturday by taking a trip to Tongyeong (just over the bridge from Geoje Island, on the mainland) to go to E-mart.  For those of you who have never been to a Korean discount department store, here's a firsthand account.

The store usually opens mid-morning, around 10, maybe 9 a.m. at the earliest.  This means there are two or three hours before noon, the witching hour when all activities in Korea become hopelessly mobbed.  Because the shopping carts have no fixed wheels, they become incredibly difficult to steer as they fill up, and navigating them through dense crowds of shoppers can be a challenge. We tried to get to E-mart early, but we were unsuccessful.  So we decided to try a special cart to entertain Sophie and hopefully escape cart steering problems:


Unfortunately, this cart was nearly impossible to steer, mostly because it now had toddler diving in and out of the car attachment repeatedly.  Still, we somehow managed to complete grocery shopping on the first floor of the store and make our way to the much more interesting second floor, where we purchased the best finds of the day:  the tea set for Sophie's Valentine's Day present, and a new shelf to hold the exponentially growing toy collection.

After we finished with our shopping spree, Keegan took Sophie to the play area while I paid for our purchases and took everything out to the car.  The play area was extensive, and Sophie had a blast, especially when she got to ride the train!

video

On the way back from the car, I noticed that the E-mart management has gone to great pains to make sure you really can do everything you could possibly want to do within their one-stop shopping experience.  For example:

You can buy a live pet!  Perhaps finding a dead pet would be more difficult...

You can participate in the Robot Club & Science Club!

You can start your courtship off right at the romantic Finance Cafe!

You can also eat lunch, which is what we did next.  We went downstairs to the large food court and got a huge lunch set.


After lunch, Sophie decided to commemorate our exciting trip to the department store with a few self portraits.  Here's her finest work:


We look forward to wiling away more hours at E-mart in the future, but hopefully not too soon....we need time for our wallets to recover.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I had a lot of fun making Valentine's Day special for Sophie this year.

Last week, we made Valentine's Day sugar cookies:

Cutting out heart-shaped cookies with Mommy

Adding sprinkles with Daddy's guidance

Trying out the finished product always leads to smiles.

Proud of our baking exploits
On Valentine's Day, we gave Sophie a new tea set, and she got a new book, Snuggle Puppy, and a corresponding stuffed puppy from Grandma and Grandpa.  All of these gifts were big hits:

Giving Snuggle Puppy a kiss.  She doesn't know how to purse her lips, but she does make a smacking sound.

Stirring her tea
Happy Valentine's Day to all the friends and family who are in our hearts.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hawaii, Part 2

The weather was much nicer during our second week in Hawaii, so we were able to do more fun things outside.  One day we went north to Waimea to visit Aletta, the mother of Keegan's best friend from childhood, Bruce.  We had a nice breakfast at Starbuck's in Waimea and then went to the Spencer Beach Park on the west side of the island.

Spencer Beach Park
It was a gorgeous beach, and the weather was warm and sunny, but boy was it windy!  We got sandblasted on the beach but enjoyed snorkeling in the water.  There were a lot of fish and some coral and sea urchins.

Before we went to Hawaii, Sue had discovered that there was a very nice community pool in Pahoa, so we headed there one morning to swim a few laps.  Unfortunately, it was cloudy and drizzly, and the pool was unheated, so we were pretty chilly.  After we dried off and warmed up, we headed into Hilo to check out the shopping mall and see if we could find a place there for Sophie to play.  We had a great time!  We ate lunch at the Maui Taco Company, which was fantastic, and then Sophie had a chance to play in a big playground with all kinds of inflatable slides and bouncing areas.  Keegan and I did a little shopping, and when we were almost finished Sophie and I took a ride on the mall train.  Sophie was thrilled.

Riding on the train at the Hilo mall
As we spent more time with the grandparents, Sophie got more and more comfortable, and we knew that she was ready to stay on her own with them so Keegan and I could have some time to ourselves.  Our first outing was to check out the lava fields near Kalapana.  We hoped that we might be able to walk over the solidified lava out to the hot, still flowing lava from Kilauea.  When we got there, though, we found out that we would have to hire a guide to take us across the lava fields, much of which is private property.  We were disappointed, but we made plans to return another day for a guided walk.  And we made up for the disappointment by visiting the old black sand beach at Kaimu, which was beautiful, especially with the dramatic sunset that evening.  We had a lot of fun taking silhouette pictures in front of the setting sun.

Beautiful sunset at the old Kaimu Beach
Later in the week Keegan, Dad, Steve, and I were able to take the lava hike.  It was definitely a difficult walk over rolling, uneven and sharp lava outcroppings with our guide, who set a blistering pace.  The payoff was pretty amazing, though.

With Steve overlooking hot lava flowing into the ocean
Not only did we see red hot lave pouring over a cliff and into the ocean, but we also walked over scorching hot lava that had solidified only the day before.  We could even see red hot rocks glowing through cracks in the cooler lava on the surface.  I was happy to leave the hot area, where I could hear the lava cracking and popping.  The walk back was pretty arduous, and  when we finished all of us realized that the soles of our shoes showed the wear from miles shuffling over rough lava rocks.  My dad published a much more detailed account of our hike on his blog.

We also had a chance to do a much, much easier walk to see Akaka Falls, a tall waterfall cascading into lush green rainforest.

Akaka Falls
We saw some amazing bamboo and huge, prehistoric looking banyan trees.  One the way home, we stopped at the Hilo zoo again and gave Sophie a chance to play on their fantastic playground.

By this time, our trip was winding down, but we still had a lot more fun to cram in.  Keegan and his parents discovered an amazing hot pond, accessible only by Jeep.  It was toasty warm and a great place for snorkeling and swimming.

Keegan ready to swim at the tidal pool
We spent a relaxing morning there while my mom and dad enjoyed some time with their granddaughter.  Keegan and I had a chance to go out for dinner at a great little restaurant in Pahoa called Kaleo's.  We tried poke, a Hawaiian sushi salad with fresh avocado and raw tuna.  We had fresh fish and tropical cocktails and a bottle of wine and dessert.  There was live music and even a hula performance by one of the waitresses.  When we left, our waitress told us "You guys came to enjoy.  I like that."  And she was right!

Mom, Dad, Keegan and I heard about a New Year's Day Fun Run in Hilo, so the first day of 2012 saw us suited up in our running gear, ready to push Sophie in her stroller for a 5k run.  Keegan darted ahead of all of us with the stroller, and we all followed on a nice course along the bay.  After we finished, we walked out to Coconut Island to wade in the cool water, and then we spent the late morning/afternoon at the Richardson Beach Park.  It was a relaxing, fun way to end our trip.

Starting the new year right at Coconut Island

Runners and one rider after the New Year's 5k in Hilo
I hope we'll have a chance to visit Hawaii again when Sophie is a bit older - I think there is still a ton left to see and do.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Snorks

Sophie is speaking more and more clearly, and her vocabulary grows every day.  Keegan and I wanted to write down a few of our favorite Sophie-isms before she stops saying them.  In fact, a few of her cutest words have already been replaced with more correct versions.  Sadly, Curious George is no longer referred to as "Tatum," and the doctor is no longer the "ga-gok."  But we have some new funny words:

Noodles remain goo-goos
Garbage is ga-gops
Pajamas are na-nums
Bunnies are "dee-dee-dee" in a very high-pitched squeaky voice, sometimes but not always accompanied by a hopping hand sign.

Another funny language item:  When Sophie says "uh-oh" or "oops" I always ask her "What happened?"  So now she saves me the trouble and says "Oops!  Happen."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Video Highlights from November

Yes, I'm still really behind.  But there are no more big vacations coming up for a while, so I am going to get caught up and start posting more recent things soon!  In the meantime, I couldn't resist sharing these highlights from Sophie's seventeenth month:

Playing the harmonica with Daddy is a bedtime ritual these days.


She is more likely to say "cheers" instead of "clink" now.


One thing Sophie has learned in her Mommy and me classes is to bow when she says hello in Korean.


That's our exuberant little girl!


Reading Carl's Masquerade in our hotel room in Hong Kong

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Trip to Hawaii, Week One

Most of my regular readers probably know that we were lucky enough to spend our holidays in Hawaii with my parents and Keegan's parents.  We rented a house near Pahoa, on the Hilo side of the Big Island. The house was right on the water, and the views were stunning.  Each family had a bedroom, there was a huge living area and kitchen on the third floor, and the roof was a wonderful deck for star-gazing and ocean watching.  We spent hours up there reading in the sun and looking for sea turtles.

Grandma and Nana enjoy Christmas afternoon on the roof of the vacation house.
The view from the roof - see the rainbow in the spray from the waves?
Sophie enjoyed looking in the windows on the roof deck and waving to family members in the kitchen below.

The first week in Hawaii was pretty rainy.  Even the locals we chatted with said that our first week was the end of a particularly rainy period, even for Hilo, which is one of the rainiest places on earth.  We spent a lot of time driving around looking for places to explore again when the weather got better.  Our visit to the Volcanoes National Park was pretty miserable.  We saw steam rising from the caldera, but the weather was miserably windy and wet, so we spent most of the visit skulking around museums and gift shops.  All of the hiking trails in the caldera were closed due to hazardous gas levels.  We rallied later in the week, though, and we found some great places.  Keegan and his family got to go horseback riding in the Waipio Valley, and Mom, Dad, Sophie and I explored Hilo, which is a beautiful city with gorgeous parks and a quaint downtown.  We enjoyed the Japanese-style garden and then found a tiny beach on Coconut Island where Sophie could wade in the water.

Wading at Coconut Island
We ate a picnic lunch at the Richardson Beach Park, where we got a good view of a mongoose and later found a huge sea turtle trapped in a tidal pool just off the shore.

Up close and personal with a green sea turtle
We had a chance to go swimming in a geothermally-heated hot pond, and I tried snorkeling for the first time.

We also spent a lot of time closer to home.  We (or I should say Keegan and his mom and my mom) cooked some great meals.  We were able to get some great fresh fish - mahi mahi, tuna steaks, and a whole huge red snapper that we baked for Christmas dinner.  I enjoyed letting the others work in the kitchen while I entertained Sophie.  We got some great ingredients at the extensive Hilo Farmer's Market.  Mom particularly enjoyed the tea booth, while I was happy to buy enormous fresh avocadoes and delicious homemade pineapple salsa and pico de gallo.  The crafts available were interesting as well.  Suffice it to say that there are a lot of aging hippies and their ilk in Hilo.  We even saw a man and woman doing "street yoga" for donations on the sidewalk in downtown.  The man was on his back with his feet in the air, while the woman balanced on her belly on top of his feet.

We were lucky to find a small playground in a well-maintained, grassy park only about 1.5 miles from the house.  Sophie had a blast playing there with her parents and her grandparents.  She particularly liked to swing from a bar and to make Mommy ride down the other side of the double slide with her.

Our Christmas celebration started early, with Mom and I going for our traditional Christmas Eve Eve run.  From the time I was a youngster just starting to jog up until now, with only a few years off during our time in Korea, Mom and I have gone running on the evening of December 23 so that we can look at Christmas lights together.  We were happy to get a chance to continue the tradition this year.  Although a lot of the streets were pretty dark, we did see palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights as well as a few really pretty houses, so we were satisfied.

Christmas Eve Eve Runners!
On Christmas Eve, we got to visit the Hilo zoo.  I had been particularly excited about seeing Sophie's reaction to all the animals.  The zoo is very pretty, with a huge playground and plenty of places to enjoy a picnic, which we did.  I believe that Sophie enjoyed the big blue parrot that we saw first the most, although she also really seemed to like petting the goats at the petting zoo.

Must keep one hand on Mama at all times!
Christmas itself was quite a blowout.  The adults drew names for a Secret Santa exchange, and everyone did a great job picking out gifts for each other.  Sophie was the recipient of a stocking packed full of goodies as well as a few presents from Mommy and Daddy and two enormous bags of presents from the grandparents.
Investigating the stocking requires a lot of concentration!
Sophie amidst piles of presents with her Papa and Babak
She got present fatigue after the first huge bag in the morning, so we had a second glut of presents in the evening.
Opening presents late into the evening.  It's hard work being the adored only grandchild of four grandparents.
Good grief!  And yes, we did have to haul all of those gifts on the plane back to Korea.  But we are grateful for all of Sophie's new big girl toys.

More to come on our second week of fun.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Carry and Wear

When Sophie wants to be picked up and carried, she says "tai! tai!"  I noticed recently that when she wants to wear an article of clothing or wants her doll to wear something, she also says "tai."  I thought that was an interesting overlap of meaning since there are two distinct words for wearing and carrying in English but only one (porter) in French.  A quick check of Google Translate to shore up my faulty language memory reveals that German and Polish also cover both concepts with one word (although the situation is slightly more complicated in Polish).  When I told Keegan about my observation, his initial reaction was "Why would you ever think those two things would be covered by the same word?" but apparently Sophie hasn't yet been infected with that English-speaking mindset.  Language acquisition is fascinating!

On a further note, "tai" does triple duty in Sophie's vocabulary, also meaning "ride."  She will point to a bike or a ride-on toy and says "tai!"

Also, I think we may be at the start of a "do-it-myself" streak for Miss Sophie.  She has been wanting to put on her clothes by herself lately, but unfortunately, we look to be a long way from successful self-dressing.  The drawback of this phase is a lot of frustration and occasional tears when Mommy steps in, but the advantage is that fruitless attempts to get her head and arms into a shirt keep her entertained for several minutes at a time!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Little Gratitude Goes a Long Way

Sophie has really blossomed in the past couple weeks.  We spent the holidays in Hawaii: two full weeks of fun in the sun with all four grandparents.  It was wonderful!  When we came back, I could really see how different Sophie was from when we had left, even though it was only half of a month!  She's also outgrown a bunch of clothes.  Wow, I guess eighteen months is a real milestone!

One of the aspects of Sophie's development that has really exploded is her language.  She is making a lot more two-word utterances ("Bye Dada," "hot noodles," "See-see turn," "Mama sit"), and her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds.  She can call her friends by name now and can tell Keegan some things that we did during our days.  My favorite new skill, though, is that she says thank you when I give her something or do something for her.  There is nothing more rewarding than getting a "gecks" from Sophie.  During those terrible first few weeks, when my every effort at comfort and care was met with screaming, I could never imagine such sweetness.  But here it is, and I love it!

I was really proud of Sophie earlier this week when she named both the orange and blue markers in her marker box.  The grandmothers report that she was identifying her yellow cup in the bathtub last week, but the markers were the first I saw of her really getting her colors.  She's not terribly consistent yet, but I am impressed nonetheless.

Updates about Hawaii will come soon!