Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking Bets

How long do you think the Christmas tree will survive the Sophinator?

Sophie's first haircut

Sophie behaved like an old pro in the salon chair. It may have been the marshmellows Mommy fed her, or perhaps it was all the attention the cosmotologists lavished on her, but she sat still while her stylist trimmed those baby curls away--okay, straight, fine baby hair that resembles her father's.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween

The biggest difference between Halloween of last year and this one is that Sophie has acquired a taste for chocolate. I don't know from whence it came nor how she learned what lies beneath those brown wrappers, but she knows.

We carved Jack-o-lanterns and hung ghosts from the porch. She loved the pumpkins, mainly because they look an awful lot like big orange balls.

Our friends Shala and Darrell bought the giraffe costume for Sophie while on a road trip. They found it in a thrift shop and just couldn't resist. We're glad they didn't.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

To Claire Marie

Beloved friend, one time flower girl, sister of my heart, and all around rockin' chick, we sure wish we still lived near you. You would be Sophie's most beloved babysitter and confidant (think you could handle hearing butterfly, butterfly, butterfly over and over again?) We miss you and your family so much. Not a week goes by that we don't think of you and pray for you and wonder in amazement over the fact that you must be 17 or 18 now. Say it isn't so! Maybe we will try to visit you over the holidays. xxo

Sophie Goes Camping

It wasn't her first trip to the Rocky Mountains, but this time she roughed it in a tent with bears roaming nearby. Okay, there weren't any bears, but we did see a rattlesnake, and our friend Eric swears he saw a moose. We pitched tent a little south of Breckenridge--or maybe it was west, frankly, I have no idea--but as soon as we got there, Carl discovered that his hiking boots has disintegrated from disuse. Literally, the soles fell off. He found a fishing hook in the dirt around our campfire, a bit of string from his camping kit, and knit the soles of his boots back onto the leather. We feel he deserves a badge, so if any of you former Eagle Scouts have a "knows how to sew boots back together" badge, send it our way.

This backpack looks cool but hurts like heck!

At Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs and where we saw the rattlesnake being prodded with a stick by a German tourist. Or maybe he was Swedish. Frankly, I have no idea.

Poor Casey and Eric had to do all the heavy lifting, while Sophie sat around doing this:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Recent Acquisitions

As Sophie nears seventeen months, her vocabulary is building slowly. Here's the current inventory:

Mama: applies equally to her Mother and her baby doll
Baa Baa: bottle
Book: pronounced "Bok"
Hot: pronounced "ot"
Hat: pronounced "at"
Ball: any round object
Bye Bye: also means good-night
Uh Oh: applies to food dropped on the floor purposefully as well as accidents
Quack, quack: pronouced, "ack ack," meaning duck

Sophie and me on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Wheaton Pictures

The Wardrobe

Sophie and I are in Wheaton, Illinois, a picturesque suburb of Chicago, visiting my sister and her family in their new home. One of the attractions of Wheaton is the Wade Center, a museum and library devoted to the works of C.S. Lewis and his contemporaries. The main attraction of this attraction is that it houses a Wardrobe, which inspired THE Wardrobe in The Lion and the Witch and the, well, you know. They've hung fur coats inside, but when we pushed through these, there was no magical winter to be found. I suspect once Sophie is old enough to read the books and we return, that will all change.

Below Sophie searches through one of the drawers in C.S. Lewis's writing desk, looking for a lost manuscript of course.

Here she is hiding underneath the desk upon which Tolkein wrote The Lord of the Rings.

Don't say you weren't warned:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Milestones Missed and Miles to Go

Sophie started walking at 13 months (yes, two months ago).
She said her first real word around the same time: Ball
But don't worry, you haven't missed anything: she's still toddling around and saying Ball.
That's what it sounds like.
Morning, noon, and night.
Nothing but Baaaalll. Baaallll. Baaaaaaaaall.

She also enjoys taking objects out of one container and putting them into another container. Including herself.

Declaration of Independence

Yes, the price of gas has risen sky high, violence has escalated in Afghanistan, people are losing their homes due to the mortgage crisis, but you've been up at night wondering why Prairie Cate has remained mum for so long. Well gentle readers, it's summertime, time for playing outside until the fireflies light up the woods and filling up the kiddie pool with the garden hose, not time for sitting inside in front of the computer (so yes, basically, I've been lazy and apathetic).

But never fear, I could never desert you, when there are luscious baby pictures to post. We spent a very laid back fourth of July hiding inside away from the stifling high plains heat, then went to Old Fort Hays in the evening to listen to an Old Western duet on the prairie. We went home early, ate spaghettios for dinner and put the baby to bed. Then when it finally turned dark outside, we woke her up again and watched the local fireworks from our front porch.

Little bitty baby, great big sky.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sophie at the Ritz

Sophie and I spent the past week in Sarasota, Florida, courtesy of Florida Studio Theatre. The theatre brought me down for a play reading and were gracious enough to make it possible for baby to come along as well. We had the weekend off and spent it poolside at the Ritz Carleton, which was a short walk from artist housing. Sophie loved being in the pool, although I had to keep a firm grasp on her, as she kept trying to swim away--an action that did not help to assuage my baby drowning phobia.

The adorable watermelon bathing suit is courtesy of Donno, of course, and I think it's pretty much to die for cute. I used to ponder the existence of God, the nature of art, as well as read a fair bit, but now, I admit, I live for swoon-inducing, adorable baby girl clothes. Yes, it's come to that.

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Sophie's weekend in New York was pretty magical, birthday party aside. She was lovely on the plane trip, despite a three hour drive to the airport and a two-legged itinerary. On Friday, we all woke up late, then lunched in Union Square on our way to Carl's favorite destination in all of Manhattan: The Strand (18 miles of books, for you non-New Yorkers). After the bookstore, we met Martha and Bryan for dinner at Penelope's in Grammercy Park, then I went to the Women's Project, baby in tow, while everybody else went to see Patrick Stewart in Macbeth on Broadway (I was a little jealous, I admit). That night, as Carl, Sophie and I slept in the same room, the bedroom window casting stripes of light and shadow across the bed, I thought how beautiful and fragile it all is: To sleep in the city with my love and my baby, while outside the taxi cabs flick their vacancy lights on and off again.

I returned to Hays to discover that my Mother, superwoman that she is, had planted a lovely flower garden in my front yard while taking care of Sophie. She adorned the front steps with charming planters filled with geraniums, which Sophie immediately tried to eat. It's hard to beat the South in the springtime, with all that luscious, burgeoning color: azaleas, daffodils, dogwoods, magnolias, tulips, you name it. Yet after a long, gray, treeless winter on the plains, the bright green fields and flowering redbud trees seem equally magnificent.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Next, The Party

I admit I haven't attended many one-year-old birthday parties, but surely Sophie's ranks up there as one of the best. Her Daddy flew with her to New York City, so she could spend her first birthday with me. We gathered in Central Park at eleven o'clock with many of my friends and their children (including Barnaby Williams and Harper and Lyra Smith Kois), where we opened presents, ate amazing cupcakes from an Upper Eastside Bakery and basked in the sun for almost three hours. Even the Pope made an appearance (well, he was in the neighborhood anyway, as evinced by the NYPD helicopters buzzing overhead).

Once again, our dedication to the art of photography failed us, but luckily my friend and professional photographer, Jane, was there to pick up the slack. Look forward to seeing some fantastic photos soon. In the meantime:

Sophie was showered with presents, including some great books and Mr. Bacon and Mr. Toast (stuffed creations in the shape guessed it.)

Sophie LOVED eating her cupcake. She went for it with full gusto, grabbing fistfuls of icing and even going down for a nosedive into the yellow cake. Yum!

Here she is with Harper, a few months younger but just as cute.

Any ideas for next year?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First, The Play

My pictures from New York aren't the best, but at least my dear readers will get a small sense of our amazing trip.

crooked opened Off-Broadway at the Women's Project on April 20. I had a lot of visitors over the weekend: Carl brought Sophie up for her birthday (April 19), my sister, Martha, and brother-in-law joined us for the festivities, and friends Shala and Darrell flew in from Hays. So many of my friends in New York came to see the play (some for the third time), and I felt completely supported, encouraged and loved. Thank you everybody for helping to make my Off-Broadway debut so memorable!

With Shala and Darrell outside the theatre.

My good friend Korey came up from Washington D.C. to see the show and to meet Sophie.

And while the show of support from my friends and family truly made the weekend, this review didn't hurt either:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Go Heels!

One of my favorite things about Hays, America, is the little bakery located just five blocks from our house. I often go there in the morning to write and partake of their lovely cups of coffee and cherry pastries. Chad Augustine, the owner along with his wife, has never set foot in North Carolina, yet has more Tarheel spirit than many actual Tarheels. His enthusiasm every March for Carolina basketball awakens my own sleepy school spirit. Today, he sported his national championship shirt, mocking all his Jayhawk customers, so I wore my UNC hat too, for solidarity. Chad sports a true blue Carolina tattoo and plans to gets another if we go all the way (something I won't be doing for solidarity, but applaud him all the same.)

Any cross-country traveling Tarheels, you gotta stop by Augustine's Bakery and thank Chad for cheering us on all these years, and whenever he manages to make it to North Carolina, we need to roll out the red carpet.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Easter, baby

You pick up the egg out of the basket...

Open the egg...
And eat the Cheerios inside!

And you manage to do all this while wearing a big, puffy and pink dress. Now that's talent!

Thanks for the dress, Granny. And thanks to Aunt Phyllis and Grandma Sallie for the Easter bunnies.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Yesterday our daycare provider unceremoniously and without warning dumped us. She said Sophie had been having trouble taking naps due to the all the commotion of the other kids and had therefore been pretty fussy and unhappy for the past couple of weeks. She then "let us go". She gave us no warning and no time to find another daycare provider. This announcement came completely out of the blue (especially since she has without fail told me how great Sophie's been from day one) and felt pretty much like being dumped by my boyfriend in the eighth grade. I went the following stages:

1) Shock. I had no idea she'd been unhappy in the relationship.
2) Sadness. I really thought we had a good thing going.
3) Anger. It is really unprofessional to withdraw services without due notice, after all.
4) If only. If only I had known sooner, I could have helpfully suggested ways to help Sophie nap at daycare. She naps very well at home, you know.
5) The other woman. Apparently, the daycare provider had another older, easier child waiting in the wings to replace Sophie.
6) And back to anger.

It took me about a week to get over my eighth grade boyfriend. I'm hoping to get over this one in a weekend and move on to someone better by Tuesday. Cause anybody who can reject this:

Clearly doesn't know a good thing when she's got it!

11 Months

Dear Sophie,

The past two months have all been about greater mobility for you. You've gone from sitting in place for the majority of time, occasionally rolling towards an interesting flash of color that has captured your eye, to constant on-the-go movement. You are a master crawler and climber, and you scamper out of your room whenever we leave your door open. You are very interested in the bathroom, perhaps because we don't let you explore that territory very often. You're also very keen on the piles of electrical cords coiled underneath the computer desk. You seem to think there is no greater pleasure than picking up an extension cord with your grubby little hands, placing it in your mouth and biting down.

Speaking of biting, you have sprouted a mouthful of teeth almost overnight. Eight new teeth to be exact. Teething has been a little painful but you haven't let it slow you down. In fact, you've grown into a champion eater, which is pretty funny because you remain in the tenth percentile on the baby growth chart. You have been known on occasion to down two pancakes, half a banana, peas and corn puffs all in one sitting. If your speedy metabolism keeps up, you will be one lucky girl indeed!

You are beginning to communicate and interact with people with a little more intention. You love to pull Daddy's glasses off of his face, then return them to him when he asks. You pause whenever Mommy says "no" sternly, although you generally return to the forbidden activity immediately afterwards. You're starting to lift your arms upwards when you want to be picked up, which isn't very often, because you'd much rather be off exploring the world by yourself.

Your favorite thing to do at the moment is to pull yourself upright into a standing position. You do this on the porch.

On the bookshelf in your room.

On the window ledge.

You'll stand there as long as you can, grinning our way whenever we come near, so proud of yourself.
And although babies have been pulling themselves up since the dawn of time, we're pretty darn proud of you too.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Talk to the Bib.

I don't know about you, but I have very wonderful memories of Valentine's Day through the years; however, they have nothing to do with boyfriends or even my husband (whose gifts tend to run along the lines of supporting my writing come hell or high water, even if it means taking care of Sophie alone while he has the flu, rather than say, roses and candy). My memories of Valentine's Day are so lovely because of my mother, who used to hand-craft Valentines with us the night before and wake us up to heart shaped waffles and little piles of red wrapped presents in the morning; and my father, who one year when I was away at college sent me a dozen red roses. As result, I've never felt any of the requisite loneliness associated with the holiday. It's just an excuse to throw a little party with your loved ones, whoever they be.

So here's a special thank you to Grandmothers Donno and Sallie who started Sophie off right with sweet Valentine care packages. Whether single, married, or broken-hearted, she will always know she's loved on February 14th.