It's nice to be writing to you all again. We are settled in San Diego and finally feeling a bit normal again. It was a terrible trip which lasted almost 2 months and I won't say another word about it except to say we won't do it that way again when we go to Virginia in December. We've sold our house in Michigan which is a financial relief but which makes us sad, too. San Diego is nice. Adam is enjoying his "visit" at USD and there is a lot of great stuff to do right near us. We live across the street from the ocean and walk out on to the cliffs to watch the sun set quite often. There is a dog park and a dog beach for Toby nearby. There is supposed to be a lot of great stuff to do with kids, but I haven't had time for much of that yet.
Now on to the news you're all waiting for. Samantha is doing great! She seems to get more adorable every day. Since I last wrote, she has started signing about 6 words. (We've been teaching her sign language to help her communicate before she can speak.) She verbally says "mama" and "dada" and "ball" and is really working on some others like "Jinx," (our cat) but I think she's a bit too ambitious there. She definitely gets frustrated when she wants something but can't express it or do anything about it. She throws temper tantrums by flinging herself backwards (hitting her head on the floor quite often) and screaming. This may not sound adorable and when it happens I don't think so either, but I do know that it's just part of her development and I smile about it at the end of the day when she's asleep. It's difficult to know how much to help her and how much to let her be, but I'm enjoying trying to figure it all out.
She is still not crawling or walking, but apparently that is not too unusual. Here's the interesting part, though. We're renting a guest house from the Martins, a family with 3 kids, one of whom is just a month younger than Sam. Charlie was crawling like crazy when we got here and Sam was doing nothing but reaching and leaning. She had never even turned herself around or given any indication that she wanted to move. But once she saw Charlie, she started trying for the first time. Now she scoots around on her bottom and slides around on her tummy. She can go in all directions but forward, poor girl, which often leads to the tantrums I mentioned. Sometimes she'll spin in circles a few times and end up where she wants to go, which is quite cute. She's doing pretty well with the standing with support, but still hasn't figured out how to pull herself up or take steps while holding on to things. We put her a bit behind with the travels - she didn't get to practice any of this stuff for most of those 2 months (would you put a baby on a cheap hotel room carpet...yick!) - but she's having a lot of fun with it now.
The three Martin kids, Sierra (almost 6), Jack (4), and Charlie (11 months) are sweet, wonderful kids. I feel so lucky that our Sam gets to spend time with them while we're here. We've been doing some things with them here and there - going to the park or to dinner or just swimming or hanging out.
Sam cut her first tooth just a few days ago - I was surprised at how sharp it is, and also at how excited I was to see it. She eats just about anything that is soft, and it seems like I'm feeding her all day long. She's still a tiny girl, though. I guess she was doomed to be small and slow since both Adam and I were that way as babies.
For Sam's first birthday, I started a tradition of putting helium balloons on her ceiling in the middle of the night so she would wake up to them. She LOVES balloons. She calls them "baaa" just like balls, although sometimes it sounds more like two syllables: "baoooo." She recognizes balloons in books, too. We spent her birthday with my parents in Temecula, where they were staying at the time. We swam and opened presents and had cake. It was a really great day.
*Disclaimer: The Sam Update began as a series of e-mails sent to family and friends starting when Sam was less than a month old. To keep the chronology I've faked the dates here on the blog to reflect when the updates were actually written. They were really added to the blog in May 2008, with just a bit of editing. All subsequent entries will be posted directly to the blog.