There have been a million reasons why we have SO enjoyed having the opportunity to move back to Arkansas. But by far, the biggest and best reason has been the close proximity to family.
Sophie has always loved being around her grandparents and cousins, and now instead of only getting to see them twice a year, she is able to be around them multiple times a month.
It has been such an amazing answer to prayer, and something that would not have been possible without the help of some key people at Russ's work. Again and again, we thank you, guys!!
Last weekend, Russ's family came up to visit...
*Baking Russell's birthday cake with Nana. Can you tell which part Sophie was in charge of decorating (and which part she wanted to eat immediately - as soon as she was given the Go Ahead from Nana that the cake was cool)?
The girls, plus one, getting ready to go shopping. No, Nana is not completely inept when it comes to babies. Nor did she mistake Dax for her purse. He actually enjoys being carried around like a football. In fact, he has a tendency when tired to make a lot of noise when he's NOT in this position. Nana toted him all around the mall, face-down, slung on her hip, just like this. The kid was so happy and relaxed - he was limp as a noodle and snoring! The people we passed gave Vicky some strange looks though. We knew what they were thinking: "That woman hasn't the foggiest CLUE how to hold a baby!"
Talking to Baby Dax. Sweet Sophs - standing at attention, ready to poke his pacifier back in his mouth the second it falls out.
JC Penny was a tad confused about the weather that Saturday afternoon. They had their heat blasting when it was seventy degrees outside. While we were waiting for the cousins to have their pictures made, we were all trying not to spontaneously combust. Dax, having been joyfully stripped of his sweater, was the only comfy one in the group.
Ella and Sophie -- having a moment of Cousin Cuteness
They got a tad bored waiting for their turn. Near the Portrait Studio was a display of hand-held foot massagers. They turned them on and took turns jiggling each other's legs. As you can see, it was FUNNN-NY.
Then last Monday Sophs and I went to Mena for a couple of days, while Russ was back in Albuquerque...
Cheeeeeeeesing with Fafa and Moomsie, while enjoying a delicious dinner of condiments. Sophie's meal was butter, ketchup, and sour cream - licked off of her fingers.
Cooking Chicken Ole' with Mooms.
Stirring the cayenne pepper into the bread crumbs . Mmm. Spicy!
Adding some salt. (Look at the absolute GLEE on Sophie's face. She loves to help cook!)
Flying high with Uncle Walt. As you can tell, the child is NOT afraid of heights (or anything else).
In keeping with the "more dangerous the better" theme that Sophie tends to live by, we decided to move outside to avoid rendering her unconscious on the ceiling. Here she is flying so high she's a BLUR. (I swear he could have thrown her up into the trees and she would have been just thrilled to pieces. She gave herself the hiccups, squealing with delight!)
Racing Mooms. Yep. Like grandmother, like granddaughter. They both have that special, oh so unique little-arms-flailing-little-itty-bitty-steps running style. Fafa is in the background waiting for them to make the loop back. He was the Finish Line.
Racing Uncle Walt, curls just 'a boinging!
Cheek-to-cheek with Moomsie. (Here is mom wearing her old glasses. Compare them to her new snazzy glasses in the cooking pictures. Niiiiice. Almost like a whole new cool face, huh?) =)
Then Walt and Annie came up here on Monday to visit us for a couple of days...
(No, I know, that is not Walt and Annie. While we were awaiting their arrival, I took this picture. I just thought these two looked kind of cute and festive. Sophie calls them the "Pumpkin Buddies".)
Walt and Sophie getting their groove on. (Walt and Annie both definitely burned off the big pre-Thanksgiving dinner that I made. Sophie had them dancing non-stop! Oh, and can you tell from the trademark Dress and Jeans Look who dressed Sophie that morning?)
Hey, hey! You go, Walt! Bust a move!!
At one point Sophie started saying, "Go, Uncle Walt. It's your birthday. Get busy!" I about HOOTED.
Man, it's a shame nobody likes this kid.
Big squeezy hugs for Auntie Annie.
Walt, Sophie, and Annie - saying goodbye. (Sophie got a little teary when they had to leave. "Why do they have to go?" I told her they had to go back home to work, but that we would see them in a week for Thanksgiving. "That's too LONG!" she said. "Mom, we should just go with them now."
Uh huh. It seems our little socialite has gotten used to being around super fun people. Boring 'ole mom just doesn't cut it anymore!
To wrap up the visit, here's a special treat - a video of Walt and Sophs, showcasing their super smooth dance moves. Notice how Walt modified his Smack-the-Butt move to something more appropriate for dancing with his three year old niece? Hee. Love it! (And as always, ignore the mad, cackling hyenna woman shooting the video. I always forget to duct tape my mouth closed before filming. Ugh.)
Tomorrow we're off to Little Rock to visit Adam, Carol, and Ella. Adam has four tickets to the Sugar Plum Ball. The daddies and daughters are going to have an evening out. A classy evening out. The girls are wearing fancy, fluffy fru-fru dresses, and the daddies are wearing tuxes. They're going to dine and dance and do pinky-raised type things. It should be sufficiently cute to cause me to have to snap off a couple hundred pictures.