Monday, December 31, 2007

Ott Seven

Well, it's the last day of 2007. On to another year of making history. This year was really one of maintenance and survival, void of any huge happenings or events. I simply made it through the year of sleepless nights and milestones and lived to put the year under my belt (perhaps more literally than figuratively.) 2006 was full of so many life changes and drastic measures that we earned a little rest (that one is more figurative than literal.)

My greatest accomplishment this year, outside of watching Sophia grow into a sweet and loving toddler, was leading a group of incredible young women in self-exploration and discovery this summer. It was a very rewarding experience and left me wanting more. That is why I am going to spend this year reaching out and helping where I am needed. I believe I was blessed with a season of reflection and restoration this year in order to make me a deeper vessel of God's love in the coming year. I am honestly excited to see what is in store for the coming year. There will be plenty more sleepless nights and situations to survive, but now I am ready for more than just survival.

Bring it on, 2008!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The New Stage

At my large family Christmas (not really sure what large refers to there, but I'll leave it vague), we came home with a storage ottoman from the gift exchange. I had all kinds of plans for its utility and style. Instead, it has served as a stage and pulpit for Sophia to sing and dance. The video quality isn't the greatest, but it's just a sampling of her dancing talent, as inspired by her new friend Lily Leappad Frog. Enjoy! video

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!






After the weekend travels, our Christmas Eve was ever so relaxing. We really didn't do a thing other than give Sophie good naps and hang out together. We did go to Christmas Eve service at our church. That was really a good experience. We have never been able to go because we've already been in Illinois. Sophia stayed with us during the service, and she did a wonderful job. I think that will be a new Christmas Eve tradition since she loves Christmas Carols.

Last night, Erick and I stayed up until midnight. When Santa was done filling our stockings, we opened our gifts and had a midnight Christmas toast. Of course at 5:30 this morning, I regretted that decision just the slightest bit. Sophia must have known it was Christmas. Oh well. She had a wonderful time opening her gifts this morning. My favorite is her ballerina tutu. She's so cute in it and just struts around. She is playing with all of her new toys. She apparently thought she had a secret Christmas surprise in the back room when Daddy accidentally left some gingerbread boys out in a bag. When we noticed that she had gone quiet back there, we went back just in time to see that she had managed to get all three out of the bag and into her mouth. What can you say? It's Christmas! (We did manage to sneak a couple of them away from her in a couple of minutes)

This evening, we're going to Mary's house for Christmas supper and gifts. We're very excited for that celebration as well. I hope that everyone has had a lovely and meaningful Christmas so far with more to come.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas in Avon



This weekend, we went to my grandparents' farm in Avon by way of Carrie and Ben's house in Normal. It was a good weekend, but because of traveling with a 1-year-old, it wasn't everything we hoped. We went into the weekend just thinking of how much fun Sophia has with lots of activity going on around her and how much she loves her family. What we forgot to factor into the equation is how much work she can be when she doesn't nap. So she didn't nap well at Carrie's and didn't nap at all at Grandma's. Still, she was very sweet and not misbehaved. Just a challenge for us. What more can we ask for?

We still had a very good time with Carrie, Ben and their guest Devonte in Normal. It was good to visit with them a little. Not as much as I would have liked...because I got sick while there. Isn't that priceless? Then we had a lot of fun at Granny's house, where Sophie exchanged gifts with Aaron, William, Jacob and Jeffrey. Then the whole family showed up for a great meal and a crazy gift exchange. Erick and I are very pleased with what we came home with - an ottoman and a luxurious bathrobe! Mmmm. Since Sophie hadn't slept a wink since 6:30 a.m., we left before the Snack Challenge. It's a new tradition in our family to make a snack or drink that you think will receive the largest number of Lock (or in-law) votes in order to take home the prize of a lovely Santa cookie plate. It's a good time, and we were sad to miss it. Especially since Abby, my 13-year-old cousin, took away the prize with what must have been some delicious zucchini bread. David came in second with Erica's recipe Caramel Corn. Maybe next year, David.

Anyway, we are glad to be home today. Sophia especially. She has done nothing but grin and giggle all day. I guess I should just lower my expectations when it comes to our holiday plans. She is, after all, just a baby! Because of my craziness, I didn't get too many pictures. So here's one of Sophie at Carrie's, riding her old horse Topper that we used to "ride" when we were kids! She was bouncing, so her head got chopped off a little bit. And a great shot of Jeffrey and me. He ALWAYS smiles like that.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

She's Cheesy


Sophie has learned to say "Cheese!" It's really pretty funny. I snapped this quick shot right before nap, so she's not in the sweetest of spirits. That's all right, though. It's still pretty funny to hear her say "CHEEEEEEE." Of course followed by a mad grab for the camera to see the lovely result. I guess I should just do a video of it some time.

Also note in her left hand the tiny book. She found this in her closet one day a couple of weeks ago. It is now a constant companion. She has to kiss it goodnight and place it somewhere herself. We are not allowed to wrest it from her grasp. She is obsessed with tiny books. Any insights on that?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Showers of Blessings



I have had days that I was grateful for a shower, but never as much as today. Allow me to explain. For reasons unknown to us, Sophia was awake last night from 12:30 to 5:15 a.m. Boooo! At first we took turns with her, thinking that she just needed a little help getting comfortable since she's still a little sick. Then we realized she had no interest in going to sleep, so I took over the crazy duty. Around 5 o'clock, she got crazier and louder, so I was about to just call it a morning when she finally gave in. We slept in her room until 8:15. When neither of us has slept well the night before, we always having trouble. But this morning, she was still obviously not feeling well, and was displaying that through a series of adolescent rages. Oh boy. We had fun.

Anyway, after her incredibly short morning nap and a visit from Daddy, we visited Casey and the boys across the street. That really picked up her spirits, and she took a much better afternoon nap. During said nap, I finally got a shower. As the hot water poured over me, reviving my less than perky spirit, I thanked God out loud for hot showers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Booooo to the Flu!

Well, we have had a very eventful couple of days. Really just 15 hours, but it all started Saturday afternoon. Sophie had a low grade fever starting Saturday afternoon, and the highest it got was almost 103. So I was keeping in touch with the nurse hotline. Just the kind of mom I am. Anyway, it seemed like she was doing much better yesterday and it never got above 99 again...until 5. That was when she woke up from her afternoon nap, and it was almost 103 again. By 7 o'clock, it was at 106.5, so we took her to the E.R. on the advice of the nurse. Poor thing had quite a time there. They couldn't get a vein with a lot of failed effort. We felt incredibly helpless as she lay wrapped up on the table looking at us screaming "Up!" They inserted an i.v. to give fluids after they took the blood samples. Apparently after a while, it infiltrated or something because her little elbow swelled up like an apple. Another trauma. This happened just as she had dozed in my arms. Anyway, long story short, we left around 11 o'clock last night, not knowing anything other than it wasn't pneumonia or a urinary track infection.

This morning, we went to her doctor, who asked if they had tested for flu. After a q-tip in the nose and an hour later, we found out that she has flu. Wow. That was pretty anticlimactic. She's had a flu shot, so she didn't get it as badly, and it probably won't last as long. That's why it only showed up as a high fever. So we're home now. Just hoping she recovers quickly. She's mostly just a lump on the couch. But what a cute lump. She made lots of new friends last night. After they shot her in both legs with a dose of antibiotics, she put her hand up to her mouth to say "Thank you." Broke our hearts a little. Also, she kept standing at our door, pointing at one of the young male residents and named him "Fo fo." She was confident that he could make it all better, but he never noticed his little admirer.

Like I said....Booooo to the flu.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Early onset Road Rage?



Sophia is starting to be able to ride around on her little truck. It's still hard work for her, and she doesn't get very far. Maybe that's why she gets frustrated at the traffic - like the FisherPrice train that is apparently blocking her way. Surely she's never seen any sort of frustration from her carseat. Nah. Like I said, it's slow going, and she still occasionally has a little crash. Am I a bad mother for recording it? No one was injured in the making of this photo.

Another Snowy Day




This time it's just snow. Of course I discovered the very present layer of ice beneath the snow as I was trying to capture the moment on film. Fortunately no one caught my moment on film. We are still getting snow here this morning, so we decided to get out and enjoy it just a little. Since it was just ice before, Sophia really hadn't been able to walk around in it. We were excited to see what she would do. It didn't take her long to realize that snow is prettier from Daddy's arms.

Happy snowy day, everyone. Hope you're safe and warm with lots of yummies to keep you occupied.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas with Friends




We have been close friends with one particular group for several years now. The past two years have been a little different as we have started to reproduce. We are four couples, four kids under 20 months, plus two buns in ovens. It is always fun when we get together, although it doesn't happen enough.

Last night we got together to have our Christmas party. The kids exchange names so they each get to open a gift. It is such a good time. It doesn't hurt that we eat good food (Thanks Chelle) and have great company. The kids do really great together considering their ages and stages. Sophie's the youngest at almost 15 months. It's mostly controlled chaos, but we do try to slow everyone down a second for some Kodak moments.

For some reason they're a little grainy, but the first is Sophie getting kisses from Jimmy; the second is Sophie, Jimmy, Will and Ava - still for a split second. Finally, all of the mamas with our babies. Erica has Jimmy and Chelle has Ava (but they're switched), then Sophie and I and Lauren and Will. It was an attempt at getting a photo of just us girls (no babies), but that doesn't work these days. It was a really good time, and the guys were there too. I promise.

Random things about me I was tagged to post..............

1. Three jobs I have had in my life:
* US Bank - teller (robbed twice; at gunpoint once)
* Walmart Toy Department (17 yrs old)
* Director of Constituent Services for Gov. Matt Blunt

2. Five movies I would watch over and over:
I love to watch movies over and over, so I'll just narrow it to Holiday movies
* Elf
* Miracle on 34th Street (new one)
* The Grinch (Jim Carrey)
* White Christmas
* While You Were Sleeping

3. Four places I have lived:
* Galesburg, IL
* Coldwater, MS
* Point Lookout, MO
* Columbia, MO

4. Four TV Shows that I watch:
* The Office
* Scrubs
* Sesame Street
* 30 Rock (newly converted)

5. Six places I have been:
* New Orleans
* Milwaukee (to visit Carrie)
* Dallas/Ft Worth
* California
* New Mexico
* Eastern states visiting Civil War battlefields

6. People who e-mail me often:
Erick, Casey, Chelle, Lauren and Erica

7. Four of my favorite foods:
* donuts
* chocolate
* mashed potatoes
* gyros

8. Four places I would rather be right now:
* In front of a fireplace with a book and hot cocoa
* New Orleans
* In the car headed somewhere exciting (with Erick and Sophie)
* In bed asleep

9. Four friends I think will respond: (who are now TAGGED to post this on their blog)
No pressure....
* Ben
* Casey (already tagged, so just consider it double)
* Tracey (I think you might have already done this)
* Lauren

10. Things I am looking forward to this year: 2008
* watching Sophie become more independent
* trying to have another baby (much later in '08)
* growing closer in my relationship w/ God
* moving our bedroom downstairs
* cooking more often
* becoming closer to Erick
* working on Life Coaching curriculum for Woodcrest youth
* watching all the kids I know grow up just a little more
* becoming a better parent through being challenged by Sophia
* spending lots of quality time with Erick and Sophie

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I did it





Sophia has needed a trim for a while now. She has all this baby hair on top that just dangles over her new thick luscious curls and makes for a real mess. I couldn't bring myself to do anything about it. I said I would take her to Goldilocks, a salon just for little girls. She's too young to actually enjoy that. So I did it this morning the only way I could. I let her take the toilet paper off the roll so she would be standing in one spot long enough to take a few snips (notice the pile of tp in the picture with the pile of hair.) I didn't think she could be any cuter than she was, but I may have been wrong. Now she's a beautiful little girl. Ugh. Kind of makes me ill. Anyway, it looks great. It probably won't look like a huge change to most of you, but it feels pretty huge to me!

I haven't tested her pigtails. They're probably gone for a little while. The topknot and crazy frontal hair are still intact. Bangs aren't for my crazy lady yet. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

First Crush



I do believe that Sophia has her first crush. Well, maybe not her first. She already worships her cousins Aaron and William and has attached herself mostly to the men in her life. Still, this was the cutest crush I guess. Yesterday, we got a few Christmas cards in the mail. One of them happened to feature an almost 3-year-old Ben Taylor, a friend. A cute friend. She was immediately smitten. She kept holding the card and saying "Hi." in the sweetest little voice. She also didn't hesitate to offer kisses to his little face. So, be ware, Jake and Molly. Sophie has laid claim, although I'm sure she's not the first. He is awfully cute. :) And good luck, Erick. It's going to be a rough ride.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Meeting a new friend





We had Christmas this weekend with my parents here at home. It was a lot of fun for all of us. Sophia was beside herself to have two people willing to read her any book as many times as she wanted. She basically gave us the cold shoulder in order to cuddle with them all morning. What do you need with mom and dad when grandma and grandpa are around? Smart kid.

Anyway, my mom and dad got Sophia a new doll. Reagan. She's a bigger baby than Sophie has seen before. She is about the size of my favorite childhood baby. So I know Sophie will love her once she gets accustomed to her somewhat imposing stature. When she opened the package, her face told the story. It was really funny. She just stared and stared. Then wanted the baby out, but wasn't quite sure what to do with her. Mom thinks part of it may be that the baby looks a little too familiar...she does look a little like Sophie. After a little warm up, Reagan got kisses, and she's been excited to see her ever since. It was just fun to watch the progression on her face. Hopefully they'll be good friends.

Mmmmm...


When you're iced in, what more is there to do? Play outside a little and come in to a warm and comforting cup of hot cocoa...with a smidge of whipped cream. Aaahhhhh.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Snow What?




This has been Sophia's first real snowfall since last year, she was just an infant. She has loved it! She giggles to herself as she looks out the car window and babbles to herself about "no." It's very sweet. I have enjoyed watching her explore it. Since it's already melting away, I had to get her in it quick to get a picture. So I snapped a few shots on the way in and out of the gym this morning. She loved playing in it. She's an outdoor girl...sometimes.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Being a One Car Family


It seems like a good idea on most days... But on the day that Sophia coughs through her 40 minute nap and wakes up looking for a fight, I wish for a way to get us out of here! It just always happens that she and I have our bad days together on the day that we don't have a way to spread the love outside the house! Lucky for everyone else. Booo for us!

It's amazing what a little outing does for her attitude, not to mention mine! Well, an outing and a large Mountain Dew. Mmmm. What I'd give for some good ol' Dew right about now - as Sophie is randomly shouting what I can only assume are toddler cuss words from her spot in front of the baby piano.

One car. Saves money. Costs sanity upon a rare occasion. Erick's coming home on his way back to work...so I can get my sanity back! :) What a nice guy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Representin' the (573)


I'm sure you all will recall the aforementioned RAIN benefit in which Casey and I mistakenly purchased our orchids. At the same benefit, I purposely bid on and won another package, containing a couple of nice gift certificates and tickets to the Blue Note. I didn't notice until after the auction that the tickets were for a Ja Rule concert. Now, I enjoy hip hop as much as the next girl, but I didn't really know that Ja Rule was a solo artist. I only knew him from collaborations with other, more famous stars, lending his deep, raspy voice to their songs. So, imagine my surprise!

We went to the concert last night with our friends Niki and JP Harris, the coolest people we could come up with on short notice. Just kidding, of course! About which part, I won't say. Anyway, we had a lot of fun. We enjoyed watching the other concert attendees just as much as we enjoyed watching the concert. The spectrum of hip hop fans was stunning! Unfortunately, the Creaches pooped out early. Sophie will be up at 6:00 a.m. no matter what we're doing the night before! So the Harrises were kind enough to play old folks too. Plus, I have a renewed appreciation for hip hop! It really is a fun genre, but not one that I will listen to very much with a young mimic in our midst. The mind-numbing sound was just what I needed to relax. Strange, but true.

This is JP, Niki and us representin' the 573 (area code). That's right. We're cool. Oh so smooth.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas Tree




We normally do things the old fashioned way...trek out into the tree farm and chop down a tree for our very own. With the weather this weekend, we decided to make a new tradition...staying dry and warm. So Erick and Sophie went out Saturday morning to purchase a lovely artificial specimen. They decided to go with a cheaper white tree, so we can use it in Sophie's room next year. We put it up and decorated it during Sophie's nap. She was so thrilled when she got up. It was sweet to see. She loves her tree and giggles every time she sees it. Sometimes, she even walks up to give it kisses before going to bed for nap or the night. Of course, she's already broken an ornament, but fortunately, we didn't spend any extra money on those this year.

We can't wait to see how her excitement just grows and grows as we get closer to Christmas. We are having so much fun preparing this celebration for her. It really does make Christmas that much more special.

And no, we didn't ask her to lay under the tree. That was her way of connecting with the tree, I suppose.

Top Ten Reasons to Stick with our Tigers


10. An 11-2 season ain't all bad.
9. Most of our team comes back next year.
8. We still have a bowl game to win. (Hopefully BCS...unless we're robbed)
7. I look great in black and gold.
6. We beat Kansas.
5. Tailgating.
4. Chase Daniel.
3. Big XII North Champs - for the first time!
2. Coach Gary Pinkel - 'nuf said
1. Sophia still loves her Tigers.