A few days after Joerg's return from Indiana, the girls and I took a train to Kansas City to visit my family there. Anni was so excited to spend time with her cousins Darcy, Rayna, and Audra Jo. Grandma and Grandpa Bond, and my Aunt Vonnie and Uncle John were also there, so it was a full house of fun all around. Our train was terribly late getting in, though, so we were all suffering from a serious lack of sleep (the entire Cochran household was up at 2 a.m. to greet us!). Annika got to ride in a rickshaw that Grandpa Cochran had made for Darcy and Rayna, and she got to do her first sparkler, and see her first fireworks, although she was so tired by the time it was dark that she actually requested to go to bed--a sure sign that she's beyond exhaustion! We spent 3 nights with the Cochrans, and then we spent our last night at Grandma and Grandpa Bond's house. I hadn't seen their house since they rebuilt after their house fire (before Anni's first transplant), so it was lots of fun to see my old home all fixed up. Annika loved Grandma and Grandpa's garden, and she especially loved finding all the frog statues hiding around their yard.
Before we left the Cochrans, Anni suddenly had a little breakdown when she got into a little trouble. As she melted into convulsive sobs, I was at a loss, as this was pretty out of character for her. My mom said, "I think she's missing her Daddy..." and I said, "Oh, no, that can't be it." But once again, my mom might have been on to something. Since we have gotten back home, Anni's been like Velcro to her Daddy's side. I mean, it is all about her Daddy. Every time he's about to go anywhere, there's little Annika saying, "I want to go, too, Daddy!" And every time he goes to work in the morning, I am subjected to rather long interrogations as to his whereabouts, until she's satisfied that he'll be returning soon. Between his trip to Indiana and our trip to Kansas City, she was away from him for about 3 weeks, which was evidently too long for her taste!
The weekend after we got back from Kansas City, Joerg took Anni to the Children's Discovery Museum here in town. That evening, as I snuggled up with Anni under her bed tent getting her ready to go to sleep, I asked her, as I do every night, what was her favorite part of the day. No surprise, she said, "Going to the museum with Daddy!" I was surprised, however, when she gave me the same answer for the next 3 days! I kept reminding her of the fun things we had done that day ("What about playing with Sabrina in your clubhouse? What about going in the sprinkler with Mommy?"...), but she stuck to her answer.
Frankie is now crawling like a pro, and also pulling herself up on anything she comes across. It is especially cute when she pulls herself up at the windowsill and gazes outside. Oh, it seems like just yesterday that Annika was doing the exact same thing. Our little backyard neighbors shrieked in delight the first time they saw Anni peering at them through the window. Now it's Anni's turn to run to me in awed joy, shouting, "Look, Mommy, Frankie's looking out the window by herself!!" Frankie really is the sweetest, cutest little baby (since Anni, that is--and gosh that's a pretty high standard, isn't it?!). In Annika's ballet class this week, one of the little girls, Lily, had to leave early. Of course, when you're 3 having to leave a fun time early is always a tragedy. As she was tearfully putting on her shoes, Frankie reached out and grabbed her arm. Lily looked up at Frankie, who was grinning her big old baby grin at her, and amazingly, Lily smiled, too. That just delighted Frankie, who gave a little giggle and reached for her hair. "Oh, she likes my hair, mommy!" and Lily left class with a little smile. What a great baby!
Frankie is no longer at the top of the growth charts, as of her recent 9-month checkup. She is officially an average-sized baby now. I guess all that crawling around and pulling up means that those roley-poley legs I love so much will soon be gone. Sigh. I do hasten to add, though, that she is getting cuter by the day. Her hair is beginning to show the first signs of curliness, and her eyes are the most amazing confusing shade I've ever seen: a mixture of blue, gray, brown, and green.