Thursday, August 28, 2014

Just Because




I don't know that I'll ever be able to capture the sound that goes with this face, or that I'll ever get a non-blurry picture, for that matter. The sound is that particular laugh that only happens on very rare occasions - or when someone says "fart".


At this stage in my life, I think it's my very favorite sound. Pure joy. How great is it that we have the capability to make that distinctive sound when something funny happens! Just try not to smile when you hear a kid laugh with their whole being.



Friday, August 22, 2014

Celebrating Erick


This has been one of those weeks - preceded by one of those months - where Erick and I seem to catch each other coming and going. A little tired. Getting rundown. Trading stories and information. Not really able to spend much time looking each other in the eye without the inevitable, "Oh, did you remember to...?"

And today is his birthday. It's a full day for us, and we won't all be home together until it's almost time for Sophia to go to bed.

But I know Erick will feel celebrated (especially when we're doing whatever he wants tomorrow) because even when we have these weeks and months, which are inevitable in the 21st century American family, they don't weaken the bond that we share. I don't have a fear that once we get the time that we need together, we'll have to start from a different place.

This year, Erick and I will officially have spent more of our lives together (17 and counting) than we spent apart (17 even). That doesn't mean, necessarily, that we cannot fail. But it means we've already failed and come back. It means we know how to cope when being made crazy by one another. It means that he knows which of the crazy shit that I say deserves a response and which deserves a chuckle and an, "I just love you."

There is never a day (I actually sat here to think about whether or not this statement was true, and it is, to the best of my failed memory.) that I am not grateful for the day Erick was born. Maybe I'm not grateful in that specificity. I'm grateful every day, and it's his birthday. Get it? I love the guy. I need him. More than that, when I have spare time to look into someone's eyes and have a conversation, I want it to be him.

So, happy birthday to my partner. Thanks for growing with and near me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Second Grade


I have several posts that need to be made at some point, but the one that I cannot afford to abandon is the first day of school. Some day, Sophia will look through the archives of the blog and want to put together each and every one of these memories. I would hate to let one slip through the cracks just because I'm tired. 

I am tired, by the way. Although I really couldn't tell you why. I assume it has something to do with not enough sleep, but that hardly seems credible. 

Anyway, school started last Wednesday for Sophia. She is now in the second grade at Captain Elementary. Her teacher is Ms. McD. And, apparently, Ms. McD is the coolest teacher at the school. This is what I gather when I tell people who Sophia's teacher is, and everyone responds with, "Oh. Wow. Sophia is going to have a fabulous year." 


What I have learned so far about second grade, however, is that there is less talking allowed. So, there's that. You can imagine how my Sophia and her classroom BFF feel about this heightened enforcement.

This BFF of Sophia's did not end up in her classroom this year, and Sophia was shocked to see that they are no longer the same height. She actually made me take a series of pictures with their backs together just to be sure.



It does promise to be a good year. I'm excited for Sophia to really get back into the swing of things. Other things that are different this year are: spelling tests, harder math and the principal. So, wish her luck!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Best of Busyness

Since we got back from vacation, we've been busy. We have spent a lot of time at the zoo, as we tend to do in the summer.

Once with these guys:



Once with these Seattle guys:


And we're never very far from Forest Park, especially when the weather is going to insist on being so lovely.


We've also had fun of our own. Just packing it all in before summer comes to an end.


Friday, July 25, 2014

A Few Questions

Why does California have to be so far from St. Louis?

Why did our families settle in the Midwest?

How is California so stinkin' awesome?

These questions were all raised by our recent adventure (vacation does not describe it) to Central/North Coast of California.

Sophia's joy below is her response to our first steps into the Pacific this time around.



It had been a few years since our last trip, and we were very excited to catch up again with the Creaches on the coast. Sophia loves hanging out with those cousins. They always pick up right where they left off. I'm hopeful it won't be another three years.



And the beach. Oh, the beach. After a couple days near San Francisco with the Creaches, we headed south between Santa Cruz and Monterey to a very out of the way condo complex between two state beaches. The rest of our week was spent primarily right there: building in the sand, running in the waves and watching the ocean change while it stayed the same.



A highlight for me was the fulfillment of a dream that many, many people share. Riding horses on the beach. This particular dream had the added bonus of whale and dolphin sightings. I could not stop smiling. Sophia was impressed, of course, but did not love the ride as much as she loved using her own two legs to get into the water.


The sun wasn't our constant companion, but it came out now and again. We didn't mind the clouds. Apparently, the sun makes people crazy...


On our last day in California, we packed a lot in. More beach, the redwoods and more pier fun in San Francisco.


Vacation was lovely. Restful, fun, adventurous, memorable. Happy to be home, but I think I'd be happier with just another couple weeks on the beach. Maybe a month.

Monday, July 7, 2014

First Cantering - by Sophia

Hi I am Sophia and the pictures you see are of me cantering [ A speed before galloping and after trotting]
Anyway I got to canter for my first time .It is so fast it felt like I was FLYING!
 And it was all because of  Karoly the awesome. An all around fun guy/ horse. The reason it was so awesome is Da Da Da Daaaa. He is a lazy horse some times he doesn't trott.Anyway now he is a cantering machine.





Now this is trotting[faster than walking slower than cantering and galloping] I just wanted to tell you the speeds of the horse. Along with a beautiful story. Keep look at creach spot.



Sophia

Friday, June 27, 2014

Illinois Summer

This week, Sophia and I took advantage of our free time and visited my mom's family in Illinois. Well, a few parts of the family anyway.

I'm so grateful that my mom's parents are still around so we can continue making memories with them. These are the ones that Sophia will look back on for the rest of her life. I remember rolling a ball back and forth on the floor with my mom's grandpa. So imagine how vivid the memory will be for Sophia of taking a ride on the farm Mule/4-wheeler thing will be! Grandpa took us out to the pasture to get all the cows moving around. That, of course, was not nearly enough, so he took us up the road and around the corner to where the creek crosses so we could ride through. It was about the mildest ride Grandpa's ever taken me on, but it was just right for Sophia's first ride with him. She would have gotten out and walked back if he got to take us down the hills in their pastures up north.

                                       


Sophia is a dog person, and there were a couple of opportunities to love on some canines during our family visits. I was happy that we got to visit with Carrie and Ben. Sophia was happy to see Bobby. She even cried when we left him.

                                        

On the way home we stopped at the Lincoln Presidential Museum. It was quite impressive. And apparently too intense in spots. Not, as you would guess, around the Civil War parts. It was more just the weird wax representations of Lincoln and other figures that freaked Sophia out. Note to self: no wax museum trips in the near future.


It was a wonderful way to spend a couple of our summer days. I love Illinois, and I do miss it sometimes, especially at this time of year. The skies are so blue when they're pressed so close to the chest-high, tassel-less, green corn. Nothing like it. All those farm houses stand out so cleanly and beautifully right now. In a couple months, all you'll see are the tassels waving. That's another kind of pretty but not nearly as breathtaking.