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.


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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

First Day of School

Sophia is a little less giddy about the first day of school, but having friends around certainly helps! Can't wait to hear about the first day of fourth grade.

Monday, August 15, 2016

dog walker walkin' dog

Hey guys this is Sophia! I wanted to tell you about my experience walking this dog. This dog's name is Beau. He belongs to my neighbor. She is letting me walk her dog for $$$$$$! I don't just do it for the money though. Although the money is great.  I do it because I love dogs. Dogs are the best creatures on the planet. This was the first time I walked Beau. Beau is so cute!!!!! I REALLY like walking dogs now.  Even though I also have to be on "doody" duty.  It's 100% worth it. Also this was my last day of summer :(. Well lets end on that happy note. Bye!!!!!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Farewell, Summer!

School starts for Sophia on Tuesday. It's so hard to believe that another summer has come and gone. I love summer. That's an understatement. This summer, especially, has been one to remember.

I haven't had PTO work, and I decided at the beginning that I was going to wait until school actually starts up to pursue the next phase of whatever life will bring me. So, Sophia and I have been living completely and totally in the moment together.

Our huge list of things we wanted to do this summer is almost entirely checked off. We got more accomplished than we have in several summers. We've also had more time just hanging out at home - playing video games and watching TV, yes, but also lots of outdoor time and creative play. I have fully enjoyed this summer with Sophia. She turns 10 in September, and I just don't know how much longer she is going to want to spend her summer with her mom. I also don't know how much time there will be to spend together next summer.

Anyway, it's been the best summer I can remember, honestly. I am sad to see it go.

Here are a few highlights.

Tea for the ladies

Flo Rida and fireworks!

Feeding birds at Grant's Farm. (I was outside the cage because I do not like birds.)

Ah, the Circus!

Lots of fun with the Boysies, too!

And an adventure at City Museum.

This is just a slice of the fun we've had this summer, but it'll have to do.