Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tired but Happy

This weekend, we tried to take full advantage of the strangely warm and beautiful weather. Lots of playing and eating and hiking outdoors.

It was perfect since we had the extra day together to enjoy it, too! Monday, we went to Pere Marquette, a beautiful state park in Illinois, right next to where the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers come together. It's quite beautiful. Leo's face in this picture gives you an idea of exactly how we all felt on our hike.

And here's a picture of Sophia on the horse farm at sunset. Because why not?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Just In Time

The weather this weekend came just in time. Open windows, fresh air, even sunshine. The winter gets oh so long.

It's also true, of course, that weather like that makes it just a pinch harder to stay inside when the cold returns, but live in the moment!!

We took a walk to the zoo. Always a favorite thing to do when we must get outside, but we're not sure what to do. And Sophia climbed on the beetle in front of the bug house. She simply cannot walk past it. I must have hundreds of pictures of her on this thing because it's also one of the few things of which she wants photographic evidence.

Back at home with the windows open in our currently being established game room. We had a chess tournament. I lost.

I love weekends like this one, even if they do make the week feel a little longer.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Advent: Joy

I skipped right over peace, didn't I? We had some good, but not surprising conversations about peace last week. But, I was tired. That's all I wanted. Extra sleep.

Now, we've moved onto Joy before the big fella: Love. So, here are some things that bring me joy:

my new hat (see picture)
getting a paycheck
telling a story
hearing a story
ice (for beverages, not on roadways)
snow (everywhere)
fluffy blankets
hot cocoa
the smell of baking

Just to name a few. Joy to the world!

Friday, December 2, 2016


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.