Friday, December 2, 2016

Work

Going back to work has been a big adjustment for all of us. The changes for Erick and Sophia have been more subtle because I'm still at school drop off and pick up every day. However, I'm not able to do all the housework and errands that I normally do throughout the week.

The biggest changes have been felt my Leo and me. Poor little Leo has to stay in his crate from 8:30 to 3:00 every day. Two reasons. The first is that Gabriella hates him, and we worry that either the cat or the dog would wind up hurt at the end of some long day. Second is that even if I close Gabriella in her own room, Leo is anxious the entire I'm gone if he's not in his crate. He stays on the same patch of couch watching the door, but I know in his crate at least he calms down.

It's been a bigger adjustment than I thought it would be for myself. I'm just working during the hours that Sophia's in school, but the shift it has made in my mentality is pretty significant. In some ways, I'm more efficient during the time I have at home, and in other ways, I seem to be a bit adrift. I haven't found the patterns that will make this all work together. The really good thing is that I'll probably get to adjust back down at least somewhat. A person is being hired to take on quite a bit of the job I'm doing at the moment, so that will be a relief. I just have to push through till then.

Regardless, it's the holiday season, and I'm focusing on hope.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Advent: Hope

Something new that we have decided to bring into our house this year is the discussion of Advent. Advent was not something we observed or discussed as such while I was growing up, but I have come to see those types of traditions as meaningful and a way to connect to Christianity's roots.

I wasn't on the ball enough to get an Advent wreath, so we've just been discussing the various parts of the season. The candle that would have been lit at the beginning of this Advent week was the Candle of Hope. It's been nice to talk with Sophia in the evenings about things we have hope for and what we can do to give others hope. It's also been nice just to keep hope as part of my daily routine and thought.

Christmas is such a beautiful time of year, and in some ways it's easy to find hope. In others, the season lays bare the hopes of the past year that simply haven't been fulfilled, for ourselves and others.  Regardless, it's a great way to spend a few minutes with the people you love - talking softly about hope.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016!

I know it's been two months since I've posted. I'm still getting used to this working thing. So, please be patient. I do think I'll get back to the point where I can post once a month instead of once every two months. Maybe.

For now, let me just tell you about our Thanksgiving this year.

It was relaxing and fun. Not a lot of time outside, but just a little to work up an appetite after the Macy's parade. Grandmary was with us, and we all enjoyed the family time.



Sophia wore herself out practicing goalie in the park. So Erick generously carried her back up the hill.


The rest of our weekend was more of the same time of relaxing and fun. We got up all the decorations, and put our tree into our newly orange room.


Sundays at the Art Museum are Family Fun Days, so we try to go there when it works out. This Sunday they had the chance to decorate ornaments for their tree and ours. I couldn't think of a better way to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon in St. Louis.


Tomorrow, it's back to work and school. Just like every other family in this stage, we're all a little melancholy. We have a longer break to look forward to, of course, but it feels like it might be a long month. Hopefully I'll have the chance to tell you something more in the meantime!

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Happy Birthday, Sophia! YOU'RE TEN!!!


Dear Sophia,

It's been a decade since we brought you home to our house on Timbers Court. I remember it better than I do lots of things - not the moment walking through the door, but the many moments of staring down at your sweet, new-to-me face. I remember how lucky I felt. And responsible. I wanted so many things for you. I still do, of course. And now you're ten! Most of my desires for you have already come true.

I wanted you to know who you are. You are more aware of the big things that make you who you are than many adults. That's not to say you'll always feel so confident, but I  You relish the fact that you are a natural leader. Instead of using it to get your way, you use it to help your friends find their gifts and use them. I see that on the soccer field more obviously than anywhere else, but I hear about it in the classroom, too.

I hoped that you would be curious and clever. Those two go hand in hand, and you embody them both. School isn't always your favorite, but learning is. You love to dive into something that interests you. Then you write about it, tell us about it, sing about it, or blog about it. You have moved into the phase of your childhood where your questions are usually bigger than our answers, but that doesn't stop us from digging.

I wanted you to be brave and adventurous. Bravery, remember, is not about an absence of fear. It's about facing that fear and not letting it rule you. That's you. You are afraid of some things because of that last wish I had. You're clever and curious enough to know that risks sometimes have unpleasant consequences. However, your bravery and adventurous spirit usually win out and lead you into amazing things like climbing back on a horse or trying crazy foods or running into a crashing wave. I love watching your mind work and picking a winner between spirit and caution. Whichever one wins, it's usually the right call.

Ten is a huge milestone. One that I haven't been entirely ready to mark off, for lots of reasons, I suppose. But as I write this, I am reminded that you are who you are. I am lucky to get to share you with the world that you're determined to make your own.

Happy birthday, Sophia! May this year be your best yet.

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Green Demons


Here are the dominant and sportsmanlike Green Demons! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Fall On The First Day of Fall

Hey guys this is Sophia, and I wanted to tell you about the first time  I fell off a horse. It all started here on a beautiful day. I was having a good day and jumping at a canter for the first time...

Then I went around the outdoor area and came over the jumps on the outside line. Then I came down the line of jumps  to a corner. Dude (the horse I am riding) was ready for the turn, I though was not...

So I just simply flopped to the ground it a groaning painful heap. This is a picture... 
After it all went down. Yes I Sophia Monroe Creach after I fell got back on the horse.  (not metaphorically speaking. Literally I got back on the horse, Dude) I did not terribly injure myself I just landed on my tail bone. Of course I had to have my first fall on the first day of fall.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A willing learner and effective communicator

Sophia started school last week. With the return to our routine, I also started something new - job hunting.

It's not just any job that I'm hunting for. It's a job with purpose. I want to be in a position to make a difference, and I can wait a while or take a completely entry-level job to make that happen. 

Over the last couple of years, I've been the co-president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Sophia's school. She is lucky to go to one of the best schools in one of the best districts in the state. 

Along with the commitment I made to Sophia's school, I've been volunteering at a school in the Normandy District, which is in a much different position than Clayton. It's unaccredited, and its students can transfer out to other schools in the area as long as it remains that way. The two schools can be seen as completely different in some ways. However, in many ways, they are the same. I spend most of my time in both schools in the office. The administrators of both schools know all the kids by name. They are happy to see them in the morning, although in Normandy, there is a pushback on the kids who come in late too often. In Clayton, that's not really an issue. In both schools, the needs of the kids come first, and every step forward is celebrated. The difference is in the steps.

All this to say, I have grown a passion for equity in education. The kids in both schools are bright and sweet and want to do the right thing. They want to go to college, and for the most part, they still believe they can do just about anything. And, for the kids in Clayton, even the ones who don't live in the district, almost anything is within reach. For the kids in Normandy, it's going to be tougher. They shouldn't have to work twice as hard to get the same result. But they do. It's not only one problem - money or teachers - it's a thousand problems. Just because it's huge, doesn't mean it shouldn't be tackled and chipped away at. 

Lots of organizations are working on different aspects of these issues. Food, supplies, extra reading help, behavioral intervention to name a few. There are organizations working toward fixing the gaps at the high school level, so kids can come out and get a quality college education or get connected in the workforce. I have some ideas about which areas I want to invest in, but honestly, I just want to get the clear to jump in and I'll figure it out.


I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw