Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"We Love Our Friends"

It's the latest release from the Singer/Songwriter Sophia Creach. It definitely has a folksy feel to it, I just don't know what's up with the background vocals about halfway through.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

If only she could carry a tune

Well, I don't know if Sophia will ever display musical talent, but when looking at myself and Erick, it's at least safe to say that her voice will not be her livelihood. This doesn't stop her from singing at every chance. I have tried to catch video evidence of such, but I always catch the last line. Plus, her current favorite places to sing are the car and the bath. Not excellent places for me to use my hands on a camera.

Her favorites to sing are "Rock-a-bye, Baby," "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and of course, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

Yesterday in the car, she actually brought a tear to my eye. She asked me to hand her Lulu and then told me how they were "Snuggle Bears." That's something we call her when she wants to 'nuggle us. But then....she began to sing "You are My Sunshine" to Lulu while holding her. She actually got most of the words right, too, but that didn't matter. Really, what I loved most about that moment is knowing that she actually listens and obviously feels loved in those moments that I hold her and sing to her. What a special moment!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Funny Faces

I don't know what happened to me! Five days with no posts! Honestly, Sophia and I have just been having THE best time, and I can't pause to write it down. Here's a little summary of our week - as told through her funny faces.

Here is Sophia having too much fun at the Stephens Lake Spray Park with Ava. They had a blast.

Thursday night we took Sophia to the Boone County Fair. It was relatively uneventful, but I just love the feel of a fair. Food, animals, carnies. Not to mention tractors.

Sometimes it doesn't take much to amuse us. Here is Sophia playing in the van.

Yesterday was an impromptu trip to the zoo. I had better pictures, but to keep with the theme, allow me to show you how the zoo made Sophia thoughtful.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reading Fancy Nancy

Here is Sophia reading Fancy Nancy, which is, by the way, a fantastic book for little girls. With every book she reads, Sophia latches onto to a few phrases and repeats them with each page. This particular day, she went from talking about being posh, which Fancy Nancy references, to talking about having a "long, long head." I'm not even going to venture a guess as to what that's all about. Then Sophia randomly starts saying the alphabet starting with "P", although we're pretty sure she says P, O, S, then continues. That is a first. She has never really shown an interest in saying the alphabet with us, although she encourages us with many "Good job!"s.

Also, this is the first video posted from the new camera. Better quality? I hope so.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Something to watch for

Sophia is a flirt. We have known it all along, but it just becomes more and more evident all the time. Last night we had dinner with my friend Tracey and her friend (*wink, wink*) Ben. I told Sophia that they were coming and she immediately started asking, "Where Ben?" Never mind the fact that she had never met the man. It was a man; particularly a man who was of some interest to a woman. That seems to be key. She can sense the competition.

When Erick came home from work last night, Sophia screamed, "Hi, Ben!" So we were not surprised that she seemed to be smitten at first glance. Tracey tried to bring things back around to Jim for a moment, but Sophia was not swayed. After dinner, Sophia held my hand and walked up to Ben and said, "Come p'ay with me p'ease, Ben?" Then she ran with her face in her hands to the other room. Of course what choice did the man have at that moment?

Anyway, I'm just saying. We've got to watch out for this kid. I suppose Erick's such a good daddy that she just feels safe and happy when she's around men. That's what we'll assume until proven otherwise. Of course she was happy to Tracey last night too. But when they were leaving, they both got hugs, but only Ben got kisses blown to him. . .

Current Favorite

Here's my current favorite picture. It's just so detailed. Sophia has been spending nearly every moment in a tank top with her hair down, so this is pretty representative of our summer. I keep meaning to do pigtails again, but she screams and then is just so ridiculously active that they're out again in 20 minutes. Not worth the effort. Also, this is my favorite little tank top of hers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Longest Post Ever?

I tried to narrow the pictures from the weekend, and you'll be surprised to learn that I did! I can't help the fact that I snapped pictures of anything and everything that came near me this weekend. Some of them were bound to turn out. I also discovered that this camera is wonderful for the self-portrait because the screen flips out for view from in front. I have always loved the self-portrait, and now that I can do it without getting a full view of the nosehairs, get used to it. What can I say? I like me.

On Friday night, we watched Aaron and William so David and Casey could go see Batman. Their review was very favorable, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it. We had a lot of fun with the boys as we always do. William enjoyed my new camera, too. We sat on the couch taking pictures of Aaron, who was less than thrilled at being the focus of our entertainment.

William, however, was happy to oblige. He's also easily distracted, so here he is without his rehearsed photo smile. That's cute too, but I love how much William and Aaron actually look alike in these shots! That seems pretty rare.

Last night, David and Casey returned the favor while we went out to eat with our friends the Canli:

and the Townsends:

Here are a few of the finer shots (non-alcoholic) of the evening.

Highlight Yellow on Chelle:

Highlight Blue on Suspicious Erica:

Posing as the fabulously happy couple that we are. (Yes, I had us pose this way because the Townsend picture turned out so well when I caught them like that. So sue me. It worked.)

Happy weekend, all! Hope your weekend was as weekendy as it should be. Tonight another trip to Shelter Gardens for the Concert in the Park series. Don't be surprised if I have the need to post again. Until then. . .

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sand and Sea (or chlorinated water)

I don't plan to post every 24 hours just because I have a new camera, but I guess I won't rule it out. It's been a very photogenic day. Yesterday, I had to make a trip to Sam's. When I have an errand like that to run, I have several strategies for success, each of which typically has an equal chance for disaster. Strategy #1: wear her out. Immediately before going to Sam's, I took Sophia to the park to swing and play in the sand. She does typically get dirty, but I figured it was worth the risk. As soon as she walked into the sand, she plopped down on her back in the sand directly in front of a mom, dad and baby boy. You would think she gets NO attention at home, this one. You can see the baby legs in the background of this one.

Anyway, between that and pouring sand directly on her head, she STILL has sand coming out of her hair, even after two baths!

Here's a little artistic shot I learned from Casey. It just picks up the one color - in this case, pink. Casey's nearly perfected it, but I'm starting with very bright colors. Seems easier.

Just so you know, Strategy #2 is buying BBQ Baked Lays for the cart ride. No pictures of that, but just imagine the red BBQ dust mixing with the flecks of sand already on her face....

Today's fun was bittersweet. Our friends Mike and Gena and their baby Jacqueline (also known as Grand Columbian) are preparing to return south to Springfield. They have been living in Broadway Village, which, as most of you know, Erick and I started out. Sophia and I finally made it to the pool today. The girls are so different in nap schedules that we simply haven't been able to make it work until now. I was glad we finally did, though. Baby Jax was mesmerized by Sophia's constant blur of activity, and Sophia would make frequent stops to check on "Gena's baby."

At the pool, Sophia was hilarious! Honestly. She hasn't spent any time this summer in an actual swimming pool, so she was very confused why she couldn't just walk in it. Once she figured that out, she just started kicking like a joyful maniac! I swear my thighs are going to be black and blue tonight from her rapid fire kicks. I couldn't find her floatie thing from last year, so I just swam her around the whole time.

She loved it. She blew bubbles and laid back and just had a lot more bravery and natural understanding of the water than I expected. Anyway, it was a very good time. I'm sad to see them go, but it's just another reason to visit Springfield. If only we could ever drag ourselves away from our house....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Back and Better than Ever

In spite of my insistence in this post a couple of months ago, I plan to take this camera with me everywhere and capture everything. Who knows? Maybe the camera will get it better than I could possibly remember it myself!

Anyway, I bought my new camera yesterday. After a lot of online and in-store looking and research, I ended up with pretty much the same camera as David and Casey. It's a Canon, so I have pretty high expectations for it. If only I can learn to use a few functions... I played with it a lot yesterday, but I haven't snapped a single shot today.

Here is what the new photos look like.

I'm very pleased.

Oohh. Artistic. These are the party lights on our back porch. We have parties frequently...our lights are proof.

Super focused.

Back to the beautiful subject, who happens to be a chef.

Be prepared to be bombarded with many various pictures. I have a lot to learn, but I definitely just charge ahead anyway. So wish me luck and prepare for a sometimes questionable show. Any requests?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mystery Update

My camera is broken. This leaves me short on inspiration. Unless we replace our camera in the next few days (and I hope we do), I'm going to have to start being more creative. I know. Scary.

For now, I'll update you on the mystery green glob on our windshield. It's still there. Some people recommended the off-the-wall idea of using some sort of cleaning product on said windshield. So tonight (weeks later, I might add), Erick finally tried. It didn't work. It's hanging on. It might have lost some of its eery glow, but it's definitely still a glob. So this strange method was unsuccessful. Any other motions and seconds?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Old Friends Good Times

This weekend, we enjoyed a visit from my college roommate and her family. Risha, Paul and Lilly (3yo in September). They live south of St. Louis in Ste. Genevieve, which is 3 hours away. With sick kids and busy schedules, we went practically a year without a visit! That is the longest we have gone since college.

Risha and I simply lucked out in the roommate department. As first semester freshmen, we didn't expect to find a lifelong friend in a roommate, but we did. We were odd 18 year old girls. We both had serious boyfriends in Springfield (that we each ended up marrying). We typically went to bed around 8:30 or 9:00 every night. We didn't have cars for the first two years. All in all, we were incredibly boring, but it worked out so well for us. After spending literally every waking, non-class moment together for a year, we had developed quite a bond. She helped me study more, and I helped her study less. She helped me stay grounded, and I helped her get goofy. It was a good arrangement. Erick and I have talked a lot about the fact that having Risha as my roommate probably kept me out of a lot of trouble, as well as helping Erick and I to stay together through those typically tough years.

After our junior year, Risha and Paul got married. My last year felt like an entirely different experience. Partly because of that change, but also just because I was ready for marriage and life myself. I am so grateful that we have managed to stay friends over the years. That is largely due to the fact that Erick and Paul get along so well too. Now Lilly and Sophia seem to be good friends. When they left today, Sophia looked broken hearted when she couldn't get in Lilly's van. It is a friendship that I plan to keep for the rest of our lives. These are the years it will be the hardest. Risha is expecting their second little girl in November. These beautiful princesses certainly fill our lives and hearts, but they also make it difficult to keep our friendships strong. It is worth all of the work, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Here is a video of our morning together. Lilly is singing and playing the guitar while Sophia dances in some green heels. Wow. They're girly girls.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Friend Laddy

My first ride on horseback was around the time I was four. My cousin Carrie and I were the only girls in the family (mom's side). She was three years older and came up with a lot of clever ideas that I was more than willing to help her execute.

It all started when my grandpa put us up on Laddy, a large white Arabian gelding, and let us ride him around Laddy's stall. It didn't take Carrie long to figure out that adults were an unnecessary part of that equation. By holding a handful of grain, we could easily coax him close enough to the feedbunk for us to slide right onto his back. Laddy was, by all accounts, one of the most intelligent and obviously easy-going horses known in Central Illinois. So, for a while - I don't remember how long, weeks or months, we were satisfied to "ride" Laddy in his stall from feedbunk to water bucket, all the while us bouncing uncontrollably, as if that would make him want to do more laps.

From there, we began riding him in what seemed to be much larger pastures. Still bareback, with only a halter and leadrope. Those pastures don't seem so large any more, but as long as we could get him up to a gallop for a couple of steps before we reached the opposite fence, we were content. More than content really. Laddy tried his best to dissuade us from our new hobby. He frequently rubbed against fences so we had to raise our legs on one side, then he'd start to trot. Off we tumbled. We got wise to that after a few falls. Then he tried the clothesline. I was the one in back, so I think I fell victim to that one a time or two more than Carrie, but it stopped working after a while too. Double bareback is tricky, and he knew it. When he was getting bored with us, he would sometimes just make a quick, unexpected turn. Off we went. Still, we persisted. Even falling was fun, really.

Without exaggeration, my fondest memories of childhood take place on that dear horse. After years of bareback riding, we learned of a thing called a saddle! Imagine our delight at the decreased falls and bumps. Of course, then we had to take turns on Laddy's back or one of us was relegated to a less cooperative horse. Being younger, I almost always rode manageable Laddy. Carrie and I were nearly beside ourselves when Grandma and Grandpa offered to load up the horses for the short trip "up north," where the four of us rode along Cedar Creek and between growing corn fields on our own little trail ride. Those were the most beautiful of all beautiful afternoons. There were many times when I visited the farm without my cousin. I always missed her, but it also meant no taking turns and much longer rides. I know she would agree with the mixed feelings. Those days alone on horseback were filled with freedom and independence. Laddy was a good companion. When I had a story to tell, he was kind enough to turn one ear to me with one alert for all the dangers of an Illinois farm (the occasional sparrow or gaping posthole). It was a lovely relationship. All the advantages of a listening ear and none of the disadvantages of another's input.

I realize how incredibly fortunate I was to have such a gift. Freedom. Peace. Danger, although never as much as in my imagination. In my horseback daydreams, Laddy was a half-broken cowpony. I was the cowgirl destined to tame him. Another day, I might be a fair maiden, graciously astride my noble steed. We had many adventures, and even though he was often reluctant (his grain and hay were always more appealing than a jog with a kid), I like to think that he enjoyed his role in them. Winston Churchill was right when he said, "When you are on a great horse, you have the best seat you will ever have." From his back, I could see everything and had to think of nothing.

When I was 13, we moved away from Illinois. Instead of being 30 minutes away from all that Laddy meant, I was 8 hours. Less than a year after we moved, Laddy died. He had gotten old and foundered several times. Grandpa found him one morning and buried him on the farm. That is far from the norm, and I'm grateful for it (even if it happened to be a story told to spare some of our tears). I did cry, but recently I realized that I only cried for the horse. Looking back, I cried again - this time for the freedom and the friendship. Sappy, I know, but how often does one actually get to live out a childhood fantasy? Because, after all, he really was my noble steed.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sophia's Young Love

Just wanted to update everyone on Sophia's romance. Last night, we went to Jim's house to hang out with a few other couples and their kids. It was a really good time. Jim has lots of great toys and a great yard to enjoy too! Almost as soon as we arrived, Jim whisked Sophia away to the garage to take a ride in his Corvette.

Then it was over to push her on the swings. Anyone who knows Sophia very well knows that the way to her heart is directly through a good swing. So he was definitely on the right track.

By the end of the night, Sophia really wanted to hold Jim's hand, but he said no. So she held Matt's (Jim's dad) instead. Really, the two of them are just so cute in their little friendship. It seems like they are kindred spirits in their running and yelling and outdoor activity. So I do actually look forward to watching them grow up together, but I have a feeling that by the time they're dating age, they might be too close for comfort on that front. While she was getting ready for bed, she and Erick were discussing how much fun she had at Jim's house. Erick asked if she had fun with Jim. She responded with her sweetest smile and "I really like my friend." So, at her unspoken request, I'll lay off.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

How could such a lazy day leave me so tired?

That's the one question I have after a fabulous day yesterday. It was perfect weather here to celebrate outside and just enjoy the company of the neighborhood. A large part of the entertainment for the kids came in the form of water guns. We were all very impressed at how good they were at keeping it to themselves, although they were more than willing to oblige should you request a cool-down blast.

They quickly found other uses for the refill bucket.

Because of various naps and resoaking, Sophia went through about four outfits through the day. She loves a good fashion show.

She also went under water in the pool a couple of times. Once while in the pool, and once from outside. You would be amazed at how quickly that daddy of hers can jump and run. Of course she's fine, and still not afraid of the water. *knock on wood* Here she is with her hero.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Workin' for the 3-day Weekend

I have nothing to say this week because I've just been waiting for the glorious nothingness that awaits us this weekend. Happy Eve of Independence, Americans!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I don't know where she gets it.

In spite of Erick's opinion that I'm a bit nutty myself, I really don't know where Sophia gets this side - well, it's really more than a side, it's more of an all-encompassing circle - of her personality.

The other day, my friend Michelle said that she was describing Sophia to someone else and said, "She's a bit quirky." I couldn't have put it better myself. I can only assume that Michelle might also describe me in the same way.... I hope so!

Riding in a doll stroller, saying "Mommy, push you!":

Floating in the "boat":

Funny faces on glass by Sophia. Again, I can't imagine where she got this idea...

Back to the bucket hat. This has to be my favorite smile:

Then she has a moment like this. Thoughtful, quiet and beautiful. This is the part I wish I could claim. But I know. It's the quirkiness she gets from her mama. Oh by the way, not fishing for compliments there.