Friday, March 28, 2008

Cardboard sucks...

...the moisture right out of your hands.

Our main project today at "Work Day" was cleaning out the attic above the garage, allowing us to clean the garage and put away our own boxes. We haven't been able to put our things in the attic because the people who lived here before us apparently thought empty boxes would increase in value if kept in mint condition. Okay, they were nice people. I liked them, but today - not so much. Not much at all. The attic was absolutely chock full of empty boxes for things ranging from vacuum cleaners to baby stuff to cameras. Here is evidence of the insane box stockpile. I started angrily throwing the boxes down the hole about half way through the "clearing" phase. It actually helped speed the process along.

To all of you secret box-hoarders out there: It's not normal! You're not going to move your vacuum cleaner in the same box you brought it home in, and you are certainly not going to need a box in exactly those dimensions to assist you in some strange way in the future. Am I wrong?!

Anyway, after a morning of box cleanup and recycling, we got a lot more work done around the house.

None of that was nearly as interesting...or taxing. We had a great and productive day overall. Sophia had a fabulous day playing, reading and swinging with Grandmary. And now we're looking forward to the rest of our weekend, in which we can be extremely unproductive.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Work Day

I am giddy tonight. Why, you might ask? Erick is taking the day off tomorrow, and Grandmary is taking Sophia. What fun and exciting things are we going to do with this rare freedom? Our attic, our garage, organizing, cleaning and other such nonsense. Most of these are projects that I was too pregnant to help with when we moved in, and since we have been too distracted by Sophia. We are actually looking forward to getting a lot of these projects done that are otherwise impossible when Sophia is awake...or asleep.

It is a sign of our life. This is the day we've been waiting for. Work day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Take Me the Way I Am

This song really grabbed my ear the other day; so when I looked it up, I was so pleased to find this video. I think it's perfect for the song and the message. Enjoy.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Always Something

Sophia has been healthy and extremely funny lately. However, she has been having some trouble being too excited and having too much to say in order to sleep. I've done a lot of driving in the afternoons because she won't sleep in her bed. So I think she is definitely trying to go down to one nap. Also, last night she talked in her bed from 8 until 10.

Anyway, I say all that to tell you this afternoon's story. She went down just fine for her nap, saying "Amen!" at the end of her prayer as always. About the time I got to the bottom of the stairs, she started talking. That's pretty normal, so I ignored it. Fifteen minutes later it turned into a fuss, then a cry. I walked through the door without turning the light on, and she started saying "shirt." When I got to the bed, I figured out why. She had somehow managed to get her shirt completely off and wipe her nose on it. She can't even get her arm out of her sleeves usually, so this one will be a mystery for a while.

It's always something.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our Easter Weekend

We have had a wonderful weekend of celebration and family. Friday my parents came for a visit, and Sophia loved having Grandma and Grandpa to play with. Saturday, we took the van for its maiden voyage to St. Louis to visit the Art Museum. Sophia really enjoyed it, although her favorite parts were the indoor and outdoor "mountains" (fountains). She is in front of Monet's Water Lilies above. I called it "You know, the flowers on the pond one." I guess Sophia isn't the only one with trouble remembering specifics. You'll be happy to know the van was a great ride.

When we got home, we colored Easter eggs with Sophia. She didn't really have much interest in it, but it was still a lot of fun for us to start this Easter tradition as a family.

As I mentioned, last night we watched The Passion with David and Casey. It was incredibly moving and thought-provoking, even action-provoking. With those images freshly in our minds, we really enjoyed the Easter service this morning.

Easter dinner was enjoyed with Grandmary and David, Casey and the boys at Grandmary's house. She always goes way overboard and this time was no exception. Sophia discovered a natural affinity for sweets that she inherits honestly from me. Sorry, Sophie.

It has been a wonderful weekend, and while I will be sad to see it end, I am hopeful that the entire weekend will serve as a fresh reminder of God's greatest gift and sacrifice.

Happy Easter

We watched The Passion last night with David and Casey. It was our second time to watch the movie, but it was more moving if anything. We have already had Sophia open her Easter basket this morning, and while it is wonderful to celebrate in that way as a family, it is important to remember the somber reason that must precede today's celebration. He is alive! The Passion makes it so clear how Jesus became sin for us. I am just glad there is a happy ending to this story! I hope everyone has a wonderful day celebrating the Resurrection!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Toddler In Spring

Sophia is in her natural habitat in the mud and this is how she ends up every time.



And Oh-So happy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Convenience Meet Creach

Well, yesterday we sealed our fate and bought a minivan. No, I am not pregnant. Just wanted to get that out of the way. This all started when we wrecked the Jeep at Christmas of '06. We rented a minivan to replace it, and have rented one a couple of times since. Every time we do, we are amazed at the level of convenience and creature comfort that a minivan offers compared to our Jeep Liberty. When we purchased our little SUV, we didn't have Sophia or really consider that factor. It's small and no room for the ridiculous amount of cargo that comes with a kid.

So last night, we purchased a Kia Sedona. We are completely in love with it and have no buyer's remorse whatsoever. I would encourage anyone with a child, children or friends who like to be comfortable to just go ahead and do it because as my brother said, "Sooner or later, everyone caves to the convenience." And, boy, does it feel nice.

The photo above obviously isn't ours, but it does look like this. Black 2007

Monday, March 17, 2008

Guinness - A Special Friend

In March of 2001, I took a two-week trip to Germany with my school, College of the Ozarks - a Christian liberal arts college. The administration held firmly to a zero tolerance policy for alcohol. That policy rarely conflicted with my own. My trip to Germany was one of those rare occasions. (News to my mother. Oh well. Seven years and many more interesting transgressions later, I feel free to admit my consumption of a couple German alcoholic beverages.) I was 20, and could drink legally - as long as it was not in the presence of C of O staff. On St. Patrick's Day, a couple of rebellious girls joined me on my covert quest to drink a Guinness in an Irish Pub in Munich. After all, I was a whole five months away from drinking legally in the states. To the best of my recollection, the pub we chose was Kilian's Irish Pub. Being the weak-stomached girls we were, we ordered only one Guinness among us. I believe I enjoyed the lion's share. They, and many others since, have not understood my taste for the drink. It is a bit thick and sometimes difficult to go down, but we share a bond now. I always fondly recall my moment of rebellion as I enjoy it. I really only drink it once a year because, Man, is it strong.

'Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!'
(Happy St. Patrick's Day!)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hope everyone is wearing their green today! I would definitely pinch you if given the opportunity. Here is one of my favorite Irish quotes, from Gulliver's Travels author Jonathan Swift: May you live all the days of your life. Simple, right? It is definitely hard to live out, although I do my best.

Tonight, we are going to enjoy a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage at the home of the O'VanDykes. We are responsible for bringing the traditional Irish beverage. Guinness o' course.

Here is a picture of Dad's Lady Luck.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Another Fabulous Weekend In Progress

On the heels of the melancholy season change thoughts, I always have a surge of gratitude for the life that Erick and I share. This weekend is a perfect example of how much I have to be grateful for. During our miniature heat wave yesterday, Sophia and I spent the afternoon out front with all of our neighbors. Just laughing and enjoying the company. Today was a wonderful day for all of us. Our little family had a wonderful morning just hanging out and having lots of toddler fun. Sophia is in a very challenging phase right now where she spends a lot of time alone because of something completely rude or aggressive that she has done. My Parents as Teachers educator assures me that this is completely natural and that we will all survive. Still. . . we are even more grateful for the moments of happiness and tranquility with our little girl.

After a wonderful morning, Sophia went to David and Casey's to play while we went to Houlihan's and watched Vantage Point. I would recommend Houlihan's, but not the movie. Vantage Point was a pretty good movie, but it didn't surprise me as much as they thought it would. Houlihan's was really interesting. It was very hip and happening, and the food was delicious. It was delightful to enjoy a meal without concern for the location of the cutlery or beverages. We are looking forward to returning the favor tomorrow and hang out with the boys for a while. It always makes Sophia's day to hang out with her cousins. So I can end the day feeling grateful for our own adventure, even if it all takes place in the familiar.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Granny

Today is my granny's birthday. Growing up, I always called her Grandma. Now that we all have kids of our own, it's more fun to have a granny. Here are a few reasons that I couldn't live without my Granny.

She is smart, although she doesn't believe it.
She is genuine.
She is tough, although she'd never admit to it.
She is generous.

She gets tickled by odd things; when that happens, she can't stop laughing.
She likes to have tea parties.
She believes in fairies.
She wrote a book about naming kittens.
She doesn't realize that she's the best cook in the world.
She loves to talk politics.

She is still in love with my Grandpa.
Everything we do pleases her.

Happy Birthday Granny!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring Thoughts

Can spring finally be just around the corner? It certainly feels like I have been waiting years for this particular spring to stick around, rather than teasing us and leaving us with weather nastier than before. Erick and I got outside on our quiet Sunday afternoon for just a few minutes while Sophia slept. The air is still crisp and cold, but the sunshine warmed us as we skittered around chasing the Frisbee, reminiscent of the day we fell in love. Of course he fell in love first. Who can blame him? I got a very bad sunburn on that day eleven years ago, just before David's law school graduation. I had ill-fitting sandals for the occasion that made me regret my lack of sunblock.

Back to the present...what a gift. An early spring afternoon just to enjoy God's goodness in nature and each other.

At each season's change, I feel the need to explore and seek answers to questions that I haven't even yet asked. As a mother now, I'm not as susceptible to the urge to "get out of Dodge" that used to come over me after a crisp encounter with nature. At least I fight it off more quickly. It is rooted in a spirit of adventure and a desire for knowledge that I hope to pass along to Sophia. I just dread the day that she chooses to answer its call. As I am becoming more mature (slowly, but surely), I am able to satisfy this deep longing through exploration using resources at hand - discovering truths about myself, nature, God, others. It is far healthier, but I will understand and secretly shout with joy if someday Sophia decides to explore the world outside of her reach by "getting out of Dodge."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Couple Days to Forget

This week ended with a bang...and a crash. Here comes a shocker - Sophia is sick again. I took her to the doctor yesterday (and waited over an hour) to get her newest wheeze checked out. No pneumonia this time, but they put her on an antibiotic for an ear near-infection and another steroid for her cough. After I waited another hour for the prescriptions, I gave Sophia a dose of each, which brings me to the second day to forget. When they prescribe steroids for children, they should also prescribe something helpful for the moms. Wow. Tell me you don't see the crazy in her eyes. I have a video I will keep trying to post that is an example of the lighter side of Crazy Town. During the less pleasant side, I was too busy trying to dodge little fists or thrown LuLu to pull out the camera. Have I mentioned Wow? Anyway, I don't remember the last time I was so happy to see Erick come home. Two days down, three to go - then she's off the steroids. I'll let you know if she starts getting a deeper voice or lifting and throwing me. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Playroom Ambiance

I finally put up the wall decals yesterday. I had been putting it off because the challenge is really to come up with a design that isn't boring or random. So after a lengthy brainstorm session, spreading the decals out on my bed, I finally came up with a design I could live with. The pink rings were originally full dots, too. That was maybe the hardest part - cutting dots into rings without completely destroying them. Here's a photo of the room. Lulu jumped into the photo right as I was taking it. She's always causing trouble for me. I can never find her when I need a little assistance. I didn't think Sophia would really notice a difference, since she didn't seem to notice when the room went from a gray bedroom to a green playroom....But she notices "stickers." I have had to watch closely for picking.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Beautiful Tease

This weekend was so pleasant that I'm not even going to be angry at the nastiness that has ensued on this blustery Monday. We had a wonderful time getting outside as much as possible. It was really a tease of what our Spring will be like, and we could not be more thrilled. Walks, climbing, "running," playing catch and all of that in two days! Of course, when we were inside, we were hearing Sophia wistfully asking about going outside and visiting our neighbors or the park. So hopefully yesterday's beauty won't make today's ugly even uglier. Sophia is such an outdoor girl, but we had both forgotten that fact in the last few months of indoor entrapment. So we are very ready to be able to get days, weeks and months of nice weather to enjoy.

I hope you all enjoyed our balmy hours as well!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Value Volume

It's true what they say, "You don't miss it until it's gone." As parents, one very mundane privilege that we miss is getting to go on with life at a regular volume, without thought of waking the beast. Anyone with napping children can appreciate the loss of the ability to cook, clean or otherwise complete any necessary task during the daily nap(s). The irony is that nap time is really the only time that a toddler's parent can get any of those things done without someone constantly wanting to help or needing something so desperately that it can't wait for the laundry to be moved.

So, if you are at home right now, without a napping child - let it rip. Just sneeze loudly, yell to someone in the other room, drop a fork, anything noisy. . . for me.