Monday, September 28, 2009

Dreams Come True

This morning, as Sophia was watching Sleeping Beauty, she pointed out Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip dancing. "Look, Mommy! They're spinning around and around! That's what I would do if I had a prince like that to twirl me around!"

Little does she know that she already has one.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Three Sophia!!

Dear Sophia,

Happy birthday, Sophia! I cannot believe that it was three whole years ago that I first laid eyes on you. It seems like I've known you forever.

This birthday has been made extra special by the birth of your baby cousin Henri! Having that tiny beautiful baby come so close to your birthday has brought back so many meaningful memories for me. I will never forget the first time I held you in my arms, and amazingly, you feel just as good to me now when I can get you to hold still. There are times I walk into your room while you're sleeping, and I still catch my breath at the sight of your peace-filled and innocent face.

I really love getting to know you. You are an original. As frustrating as it will be to others (probably a future partner), I love the way you scoff at the rules that govern play and life. You don't need a reason to be. You just are. You just do. You are completely free to love and be loved.

From all the books and from the advice of those who have gone before, I am ready for this year to be a challenging one for you and for me. But I plan to make the most of it. I fully expect to learn as much about myself as you learn about the world during this year. So far being your mother has been the most educational experience of my life. Thank you for being patient with me. I'll do my best to return the favor.

I love you, Sophia. I hope your birthday is as beautiful as the little girl we're celebrating!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Birthday Weekend

In case anyone had lost track, as I had, Sophia turns three on Sunday! Tomorrow is her Fancy Nancy party. She is thrilled beyond compare. I am excited, but I know how toddler birthdays can be, so I am maintaining very low expectations. Let's hope we can just manage to meet those.

Sophia and I have been working on her birthday cake today. Baking it after nap and frosting it tonight after a quick visit to Casey. Here we are working hard.

Can't wait to celebrate my baby becoming a big girl!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Proof of Henri

Here he is. Love this little guy so much. I'm going to have a lot of catching up to do once we can get our hands on him. Of course, that is contingent on getting him out of Casey and David's hands. I'll give them a while to make up for their own lost time.

Making an Entrance

Well, I guess it's safe to say that Baby Henri likes to make an entrance. It's not my story, so let it suffice to say that after a little drama and some chaos, Henri David VanDyke has arrived, all 5 pounds, 9 ounces of himself. I haven't talked to his Momma today, but she has held him, so that's enough for me.

He'll spend a little while (I'm being vague because I don't know today's answers) in the NICU to have some help getting his lungs fully developed. He's beautiful. You're going to have to trust me on that, though, because all the pictures I took of him were on David's camera. So all I have is a picture from the night before.

Niki, Lori and I stopped by for a few minutes before bed (Niki spent the night) so we could have one last visit before Henri arrived. It's not Henri, but it will have to do...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Comedy of Errors

It has been one of those days. A few bright spots have made me glad that I left the house, but the rest of the day has just been one "doh" after another. This is one Friday to which I will gladly bid "Adieu."

It started when Sophia woke up at 5:40 a.m. - in the morning - before dawn - even before her usual early start of 6:15!! Groaning would not accurately represent my displeasure at that particular turn of events.

Our morning at the gym went fine. Just like normal except I glanced into the Kid Zone, where Sophia spends her time during my workout, just in time to see her "playing" with one of her friends and pushing her down with the other girl's own stuffed animal! Ugh.

Then we headed out with our friends to an apple orchard in New Franklin. It was a perfect day for picking apples and hanging out with friends. The time at the orchard is definitely the bright spot in the day.

Here are all six kids.

Ava and Sophia enjoying the fruits of their labors...literally.

That was when things stopped going our way. Sophia was getting tired, so rather than waiting to follow someone home, since this was my first time out there, we just left. Anyone who knows me knows that was a bad idea. Long story short, a wrong turn cost twenty minutes on the trip home. That twenty minutes turned out to be just enough time for Sophia to grab a power nap, which prevented her from being able to sleep at home. Sigh.

Once we finally got home, I did have her lie down a few minutes, but that was quickly determined to be pointless. I decided that since she couldn't sleep, a bath would be a good way for her to relax and get off the orchard dust. It was a great idea, but I should have thought first about all those apples she ate at the orchard... Do I need to say more? I will anyway. I sat down in the chair in her room to let her play and shortly heard a "Mom, there's poop in my tub!" Ugh.

So after I got her cleaned up, I turned my attention to the tub and the toys. I was well into the process of cleaning her toys with bleach when I looked down to realize I was still wearing my new brown shirt. Dang. Bleach is not my friend. I have ruined many a good shirt because I'm too distracted by cleaning whatever it is that requires bleach to think about what's on my person.

The night's still young. But hopefully this is all the crap (literally and figuratively) I'll have to deal with today. Looking forward to Saturday!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Realtime Blogging

I sat down at the computer to check some stuff and I heard Sophia in the living room saying, "Blech, plah, blech!" So, I asked what happened. She started saying something about licking something. Then she said, "I tasted my butterfly chair because I thought it would taste good. Sadly, it didn't."

She's my favorite thing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This is going to get difficult

Sophia is going to turn three in a couple of weeks. Surprisingly, she has developed a new attachment issue with me in the last week or so. She doesn't like the idea of leaving me. She has fussed at the gym when I leave, and she complains when I leave for meetings and such. This is incredibly unusual for her. Normally she's thrilled with the gym once she gets there and she doesn't notice once I'm gone.

I assume that because she's getting older and more independent, this is her way of checking back in to be sure it's okay that she's doing stuff on her own. This is where it gets hard for me. I am so excited that Sophia is becoming independent, doing things on her own and creating her own identity already. But if she is the one coming back saying, "Mommy, I want to go home and snuggle with you," where inside of myself am I going to find the will to say no? She'll be independent eventually! She doesn't have to do it right now! That's what my insides scream while my lips say something like, "Sophia, you can try this for five minutes. If you want to go home after that, we'll go." I have never had to honor that commitment. Once she gets started on something by herself, or in a class, she runs with it and loves it. So who am I to give in to that little side of herself that wants to hole up with her mama when there is a whole world to explore?!

Case in point. This morning was her second Movin' and Groovin' class at Tryps. I got the feeling last time that the teacher would like to see what Sophia would do on her own, without me around. She's the oldest one in the class, as I mentioned, so all the other parents stay. But Miss Hallie was confident in Sophia's need for independence. So today, even after Sophia had asked if I would please stay with her the whole time, I said I needed to do some birthday shopping for her and she could stay with Miss Hallie. She didn't hop off with her usual bounce, but she didn't scream either. Pretty sure I wouldn't have the guts to leave Miss Hallie with a screamer, even if she insisted that it would be fine. Fortunately, Sophia didn't test me on that one.

After I left her there, I was a bit of a nervous wreck for about the first ten minutes. I only leave her at the gym, church and with babysitters. This was a whole new experience for both of us. She had a learning commitment that in no way involved me. I went to Panera and got a coffee. Then I sat with a view of the door of the class (Tryps is in the mall across from Panera). Drumming my fingers on the table, looking very suspicious, I'm sure. I couldn't handle that any more, so I went to Target and bought a couple of clearance shirts. It helped a little. That left about 20 minutes left of the 30 minute class. So I sat and watched, waited and fidgeted. I have no idea what I was worried about. I even recognized that fact at the moment I was worried. I laughed at myself because I am not typically tightly wound, but I was in such unfamiliar territory. For the last five minutes of the class, I stood outside the door trying to see what was happening but trying to stay out of eye contact with Sophia and the teacher. Neither of them needed to know that I was hovering.

As the class ended, Sophia bounded to me and then stopped abruptly. Ran back to Miss Hallie with her finger up and said, "Oh, I almost forgot! Goodbye and thank you!" Sigh. She's got it together so much better than I do. I just hope she doesn't figure that out.

Oh yeah, and next time I'm taking a book. It will be cheaper than "waiting" in Target.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sometimes I...

...just feel shallow. I don't mean shallow as in I only make friends with people who look a certain way or have a certain status. I just mean shallow as in I'm not sure I had a thought deeper than "Is that laundry still in the dryer?" in the last 24 hours.

If I were to add much to that thought then I would not be shallow any more. So maybe I'll just leave it alone until tomorrow. Because after all, shallow is not always bad. The fact that I even notice it is probably a good thing. That means I'm used to living at a certain level of depth and sincerity and feel that something is off kilter when I'm not. Uh oh. That was not a shallow thought. So my 24 hours of shallow is officially over. It was fun while it lasted.

I also really like the word shallow. It has so many meanings and it sounds pretty.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Own Cinderella

I know Sophia well enough to start early in preparations for Halloween. She tends to have my personality in many, many ways. One being that she gets really excited about something, i.e. a Halloween costume, only to tire of it before it's time to wear it.

A couple weeks ago, Old Navy put out their Halloween costumes, and Sophia immediately attached to a very cute tiger outfit. I asked her many questions, offering other options like princesses, fairies, robots, the works, but she stuck with it. "No. I'll be a tiger. You'll be a mommy tiger." So we got the costume, but I left the tags on and kept the receipt.

A couple days ago, out of the blue, Sophia tells me she wants to be Cinderella for Halloween. Huh? She's never seen the movie. The only interaction she's had was in Florida months ago. She didn't want to be just any princess. Cinderella. So I told her we'd keep an eye out for a costume.

Next trip to Target, we found it. Cinderella dress. Last one in her size. So, we did it. Now I'm very glad we did. She tried it on when we got home and appeared to be the happiest little girl in the world. It's really a reminder to myself how good it feels to feel beautiful. That's what she felt. It was so apparent on her face as she beamed at us - especially at Erick.

She also felt like dancing.

Then she told Lulu that she could be Sophia's Prince.

Her final move was to sit down in her chair and actually pose like a princess. Apparently this is how she thinks princesses should have their portrait made.

I took the tags off. This is it. Sophia will be Cinderella on Halloween. That will be about the time I get the glitter cleaned off the floor from her twirling demonstration...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Girls Love Football

Our outing to The Zou without Erick and David was successful. If you followed the game at all, you know about the time I turned to Casey and said, "We should have just gone to a movie or something." I hate to admit that I said that, and no, I didn't really mean it. Not when it turned out to actually be a good game, and we actually ended up winning.

Tailgating was fun. This is the picture we got of the two of us together. Not terribly flattering, but it's going up anyway...

We tailgated with some friends of mine from the old workplace. None of us work there anymore obviously (as Governor Blunt didn't run for reelection), so it's great to get together now and then and catch up. This is Gabby. She wasn't around when I worked with her daddy, but I wish she was. She's awfully cute.

Just before we went into the game, we stopped by another friend's tailgate. Too late for food... But I took her picture anyway. Here's Casey with Alicia.

In the game, we sneaked past the ticket checkers at the top of each aisle so we could sit with my brother Seth and his wife Angie and their friends. Here they are. This must have been in between one of Seth's frequently chanted "I believe!"s from the first half.

There is a noticeable gap in picture taking because I decided the camera was pointless. Now I've decided the camera was bad luck. No more cameras at football games. Remind me of that. Obviously, my camera was jinxing us...

Because I didn't get it out again until I could capture the Tigers celebrating with the students!

It was such a stressful game. Unexpectedly so. I wasn't prepared for that, so I am pooped out beyond reason. My voice is gone. But I'm very proud of the way the Tigers battled back, even if it was Bowling Green. And the fans! Seriously, I've never been more impressed with a Mizzou crowd. They were seriously there to support the team. That was really a great feeling.

Donuts are no substitute for Daddies

Erick and David left this morning before the crack of dawn to drive to St. Louis to catch a train to Chicago to see U2 in concert tonight. It's U2's first U.S. date on the current tour. They're giddy like schoolgirls. (I don't really know why we say like schoolgirls. Have you ever seen how giddy schoolboys can get? Equally so, in my opinion).

After their whirlwind trip and concert high, they will be home tomorrow evening. Until then, Casey and I are charged with entertaining children who happen to be extremely attached to their daddies and who happen to know what the weekend usually means. We decided to start out slow and easy this morning. Donuts and TV. That should work, right? For some reason, the TV didn't have its normal numbing effect on the kids. So, when the sugar kicked in, chaos ensued. They sure seem happy about it!

Plan B was the park. Turned out to be a much better idea, but now we're all exhausted. When Sophia wakes up, Grandmary will be here and a babysitter will be across the street so Casey and I can go to the football game! Yep, all by ourselves. I am really excited. Home opener. New scoreboard. New quarterback. Should be a good time. Maybe I'll get some pictures posted later. So, we don't have to entertain them all on our own this weekend, but it's still rough!

Tomorrow will be the challenge. Wish us luck.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Tryps

Today was Sophia's first day of class at Tryps. It's a youth theatre organization, and they start with classes from ten months and up. Originally, I had wanted to get Sophia into an afterschool acting class of Fancy Nancy design, but she's just not quite old enough. The irony is that she is at least nine months older than the other kids in this new class. Movin' and Groovin' is what it's called.

This morning before we left, Sophia had a meltdown because she didn't want to go to her school. I am never sure with her how much information to give. If I overload her with details, she seems to misunderstand and freak out. If I spring something on her at the last minute, I feel like a bad mom. But I guess I'll have to go with the latter from now on. She just had too much time to think about all the reasons she wouldn't like her class - the primary was my distance.

So I bribed her - with ice cream. She did have to agree to eat Taco Bell first, but that's not much of a demand. Anyway, I figured it was worth it. I did notice the long sideways glances as my not-quite-3-year-old was eating ice cream in the food court at 11 a.m. But she went to her class and loved it, so I guess I don't care.

It really was a success. She's looking forward to going back next week and told Daddy all about being the "big and oldest" one in her class. It's only four more weeks, so if anyone wants to join us after that, let me know!

Oh yeah, and she is singing "Cheese and macaronay" because I asked her to say "Cheese." Obviously. Isn't that how everyone responds to that request?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Becoming her mother

I suppose it's inevitable. We all eventually become our mothers, right? I guess sometimes it happens sooner than others.

Sophia put my glasses on the other day, and, while I thought she looked really cute, I was surprised at how much she looked like me. Is it just me?

Apparently, part of "being mommy" is having a nasally voice? Because she began to hold her nose while saying, "I'm mommy!" Either that or someone in this house stinks. I don't know which is worse.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

He IS that into her

Friday evening I had a sleepover with some girlfriends. We had a lot of fun together as always, but as it was my third night in a row to leave before Sophia went to bed, I wasn't thrilled to leave her.

Erick made up for it for Sophia by taking her on a date. It came about because Erick wanted to go to Bangkok Gardens (a nice Thai restaurant) for dinner, and I said if he was going to take Sophia there, he might as well call it a date. Sure enough, he took Sophia out on their first date. They were both excited about it. Particularly when I told Sophia that if someone eats a good dinner on her date, sometimes she gets ice cream afterwards. That seemed to sell the whole idea.

She wanted to put a little makeup on, so I helped out with that. Then she decided to wear her fancy pink shoes. She knows that simple is chic, so she didn't get too fancy for him. She has a very keen sense of matching style with location. Anyway, they had a great time, and she did, in fact, get some ice cream.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gigi's Roadtrip

Erick's Grandma Charlotte lives in California (the state, not the Missouri town), so we don't get to see her nearly as often as we would like. We call her Gigi, which is short for Great Grandma. Once a year seems to be the running standard for a visit with Gigi. So when she and Erick's uncle Bill decided to make a road trip from California back to Missouri for Bill's high school reunion, we were excited to have the chance for a quick visit.

On Monday, the beautiful day that it was, Erick and I took Sophia and Gigi to lunch at Upper Crust. As always, the quiche was heavenly. The conversation was fun. Sophia loves to have a new audience, and she has always had a keen interest and admiration for our grandparents' generation. I'm so glad that Sophia has the chance to see and relate to her great-grandparents. I still remember a few interactions with my mom's grandparents, and that is a very special memory. Interestingly enough, one of Sophia's favorite topics of conversation with Gigi was her recent visit to Granny and Papa's farm.

Maybe we won't have to wait another year to see her again, but after this three-day road trip, I'm guessing that we'll be the ones traveling next time.