Saturday, October 31, 2009

Treats Galore

Since Sophia has been wearing her Cinderella dress for months (and spreading around the glitter...), I guess I expected her to be somehow less excited about dressing up for Halloween. I was very mistaken.

Just before nap tonight, she told us, "When I wake up, it will be Halloweee-een!" That gave us a good idea that she was up for some fun tonight, and she really was!

First thing, we got her dressed up in her gitup and headed downtown. It was a little windy, so she needed daddy to hold her for a while.


We met our friends the Chandlers and hit all the stores. I love Trick or Treating in the District. You get to see lots of great costumes and families and all the people in the shops are great about showing lots of interest in the kids. It's fun.


We went to Hy-Vee for some more treats and for supper. Yum on both counts. Then headed home to trick or treat at the few houses on our cul-de-sac. Since our kids, plus one, are the only ones who come to the houses around here, they make quite a haul. The family on the corner bough 7 ounce Hershey's chocolate bars for all four kids (except Henri) on the street. Here are three of them.


Needless to say, it was a heavenly evening for Sophia. She so enjoyed being a princess, although with all the super heroes and strong boys around her, she would often flex her muscles and say, "I'm a strong princess!"


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Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dance Class Open House


This is Sophia's dance class with their instructor Miss Hallie. Today was the big day I've been waiting for. I got my camera batteries all charged up for the Open House. Sophia was so excited that Erick and I would get to actually watch her dance today. It was so sweet. At first, she was really distracted by our being there, but it didn't take long for her to get into the groove.

Getting to see it in person makes me SO pleased that we signed her up for this on my whim. Her face just beams with pure delight at every moment! Even when she has no idea what Miss Hallie is asking of her, she is just beside herself with happiness at giving it a shot.

She works really hard at everything, although her lack of coordination does show a bit. She's the second youngest in the class, and she has my gracefulness...


It's also fun to watch the other kids flit about and look so thrilled just to be doing something on their own, so grown up.


Really, though, I still think that for Sophia, at least, it comes down to the fact that she loves, loves, loves being a ballerina. As evidenced by her constantly checking herself out in the mirror...


There are other videos on my YouTube channel from today's class too. Check them out if you like!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Techno Sabbath Experiment

You wouldn't have even known it really, but I took the day yesterday to intentionally not participate in my usual web-based activities: Twitter, Facebook, Blogger and anything else on the computer. There are days that I don't get to the computer until late at night, but that's not intentional. I'm usually out most of the day or something. Yesterday, we stayed home all day long...

I regretted my decision for a while when Sophia woke up at 5:30. I figured with it being such a long day, I would miss it even more. That was occasionally true, but I was surprised at how little I missed all those things! So, I've decided to make it a weekly ritual. I don't know if it will always be Tuesdays or not, but I think it's a good idea. I was more engaged with Sophia and I definitely got more done around the house. Like I said, I didn't miss it all that much, so in order to actually feel some pain from it, I think I'd have to go two or three days - even a week. Maybe I'll do that some day. For now, it seems like a weekly techno Sabbath is effective enough.

Do any of you practice something similar? What has been your experience? Positive? Negative? Not a big deal at all?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shopping Day

Sophia and I had a great Monday today in spite of the gray skies. For months, my mom and I have been trying to get a day to meet at the Outlet mall at Lake of the Ozarks, which is right about halfway. Because of her vacation and some random scheduling, she hasn't had a half day in several months, so we couldn't make it work.

Finally, we were able to arrange it today.


Imagine our delight when Dad happened to be serving jury duty this morning, finishing just in time to come with her!! We couldn't have scheduled it that way if we'd tried, but Sophia and I were both thrilled to have him along on girls' day out.


I love shopping with my mom. It really cracks me up how the flare for the sparkle and the drama in clothing selection has (mostly) skipped me and headed straight from my mom to Sophia. They nearly always agree on clothes, while I tend to think they're a bit . . . much? I've been reining my mom in for years on her clothes, although we almost always agree on my clothes. Now I'm going to just continue the battle the other direction. Oh well. Just another way to keep things interesting.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homecoming Festivities

Homecoming Weekend has been fun, save the one particular disaster which will not be mentioned here...

The parade on Saturday morning was lots of fun. We waited for what seemed like forever, but finally it was coming. This was Sophia's reaction to hearing it was close...

Marching Mizzou is always a highlight for me, but Sophia covered her ears for every marching band, even the ones with a total of fifteen marchers...

The rest of the morning was a lot of fun just walking around and eating lunch downtown with all the excited fans, students and parents. Homecoming weekend is one of my favorites.

Then before the game, oops. Scratch that. Before bed, we had a tailgate on our street. See, an actual tailgate.

The best athleticism of the day right here. I'll cheer for this Tiger any day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Spelling Perspective

Not literally spelling the word "perspective." I'm just saying perspective can be influential when one is learning to spell... Sophia knows how to spell her name. Ask and she will (usually) dutifully respond, S-O-P-H-I-A. We've been working a lot on her letters lately because she really seems to enjoy making and connecting the sounds.

The other night, she and Erick were talking before bed about letters and spelling names. She asked how to spell her friend Ava's name, and he made the sounds and asked what letter it sounded like. She lit up and said "A! I will spell it!" Erick was understandably impressed with her confidence when she spelled, A---O-P-H-I-A.

Okay, well that's understandable. So she asked how to spell Daddy. Again, she answered with the correct first letter. "I can spell daddy! D-O-P-H-I-A!!"

So, clearly we have to work on a little perspective. Seems like Sophia tends to think the entire world has names that are all spelled the same with the first-letter exception...That would definitely be confusing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Concert in the Park

Sophia has been to many concerts in the park by now with all of our visits to Shelter Gardens. The other day, I was lucky enough to get my own concert performance. She keeps her songs simple, but gives it gusto. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Christmas Idea

If anyone needs a Christmas idea for me, I've got one. I was just flipping through the channels and saw a little bit of Anne Hathaway in Becoming Jane. I truly love the story. I find Anne Hathaway, although I love her and think she's cute as a button, pretty unconvincing as a legendary British novelist or a spinstress or, did I mention, British? That's a big pet peeve of mine. I really can't stand it when actors are supposed to portray an accent or dialect, and they are just a little bit off. I still have nightmares about Nicholas Cage's "southern drawl" from Con Air.

Anyway, back on topic, in the movie, Jane Austen was up in the night writing with her pen and ink. Love it. Her handwriting is beautiful. It seems to me that words would flow more easily and beautifully if they came from the tip of a fountain pen like that. Am I wrong? So maybe I should give it a try. Pretty sure I'd just make a mess, but it can't hurt...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Who are the creepy old people? Oh, it's us.

Last night we went out to dinner and such with some great friends. We used to go out weekly with these same friends back in the day. A mere three years ago. What's different now? Kids. Lots of 'em.

Anyway, we tried out the new Broadway Brewery downtown where Uprise Bakery was located under America Shoe on Broadway. They use local ingredients and brew several good beers. Erick and I shared the most fantastic pizza I've ever eaten. Erick didn't like it, and this would be the first pizza he has ever been ambivalent about. It was called the green bean pizza. Local green beans, local blue cheese and walnuts - I don't know their origin... So delicious.

It was a lovely evening downtown.

After a lovely dinner, we walked down the street to HotBox Cookie Shop. We sat, ate our fresh cookies and played UNO. Quite a few people from campus came in and out while we were there. The only other group present was a large group of teenagers. At one point, when we were in the midst of our game, I looked up and said, "Hey, guys, do you realize that we have become the creepy old people hanging out downtown?" Yep. That's us.

Playing UNO. Being goons.

After a few games of UNO, of which I won zero, we headed to Addison's because we just didn't want the night to end - even though it was 9:30!! Did I mention we're old?

It was a lovely evening. We've lived a lot of life together, and I still love hanging out with these old friends of mine.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall in the District

This Sunday was one of those fantastic days for our family that I hope will be repeated but really can never be duplicated. Our morning was relaxing and fun. Church followed by a walk around the mall.

When Sophia woke up from her nap, we decided to bundle up and go for a walk downtown. Sophia wanted to ride in her big brown stroller, which keeps her snug since she's outgrown it. Of course, I'll not object since it keeps her warmer than an umbrella stroller and Erick and I don't have to carry her around the city.

I brought my camera with me since I've decided that The District, which is what Columbia wants to call the downtown area, is the best place we have access to in which to get some great shots. I was not disappointed.

Sophia was fairly cooperative since we were letting her run around in some cool spaces, climb on stairs and such. I think her profile is my very favorite thing to capture.

We walked down Orr Street off Walnut downtown. It's the newly developed area with Sven's, Orr Street Gallery, and here we're in front of what will soon be a Wilson's Gym.

Sophia wouldn't look at Erick while he was taking our picture. She chose instead to maul me.

We walked down a block to get her picture in front of her dance studio. Yes, after just one week, it's her dance studio. This is her reflection in the door.

Then we walked to the other side of downtown and walked a little around campus. We haven't been to the Quad since before Commencement in May, so Sophia was thrilled that she could actually run on the grass now!

This is when I decided it was time to put the camera away. She decided it was safer just to hide from me.

We continued our walk, talking and laughing the whole afternoon. I really don't think I can remember having a nicer time. Picture perfect.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sometimes I...

...sit around the house wearing a hat. Occasionally I get tired of looking at my messy hair. Combing is not always successful - particularly after a windy day. While I was out, I had on a stocking cap. You know how that goes... So, even though I've got nowhere to go. . . I'll wear a hat. Currently my St. Louis Rams hat.

Also, sometimes I feel sad to be a Rams fan. But I really like my hat. I also like the Rams. I feel like I'm just waiting for them to like me back.

Note: While this is one of the goofiest pictures I've taken of myself in a while, I must admit it's also my favorite. Natural element and all that.

Second Celebrations

My parents were on vacation when Henri was born and Sophia turned three, so we had to have some repeat celebrations to include the grandparents.

Henri is having lots of alert time and giving wonderful attention to his surroundings. Here's grandpa's first hold.

Here is Henri enjoying some awake time with Grandma.

Also, since they didn't get to be at Sophia's birthday party, we had a redo for her. My mom provided the party accoutrements, and Sophia provided the crown.

Happy being three, Sophia!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sometimes I....

wish I had a more accurate filing system in my brain. You know when you meet someone that you just know you've met before, but it's just not coming to you. That happened to me today. I couldn't even narrow a time period. I thought about running through the list of my associations, employment and education just to see what stuck, but I decided that might be too much information for a first conversation. After all, I'm not sure I've ever met her before.

I'm just saying. If I could just reference her first, last or maiden name, I would have a nice little file telling me when and where we met. What was she wearing and what was her first impression on me? Did I make any silly comments during our previous interactions? This would all be helpful information.

Filing system in the brain. Or maybe I would just like my brain to retain stuff a little better. Regardless, I'd like to know how I know Tressa. Any thoughts?

The Next Step

Recently, Sophia and I took a big step toward her independence when I dropped her off at the Tryps Movin' and Groovin' class on Wednesday mornings. That had been going pretty well, but she is by far the oldest kid and seemed to get kind of bored with some of the activities that she was riveted by on the first week. Not to mention some sort of late onset separation anxiety. She cried so much that I stayed with her yesterday. Then she clung to me through the class. Waste of money that day. However, she has been in love with her teacher, Miss Hallie, the entire time. So, since this was the last week of the session, I had a talk with Hallie about next steps. She mentioned that on Thursday mornings she teaches a dance class at DanceArt of Columbia for 3- to 5-year-olds. When I casually mentioned the possibility to Sophia, she began jumping and dancing and insisting on being referred to as a ballerina. So, it was settled.

Last night, we went to Target to buy the dance clothes and slippers. Sophia was nearly beside herself with excitement over the whole thing. I thought by this morning's class time, it would wear off, but it didn't - aside from a couple of "Mommy, will you be with me"s.

She strutted right into her class and sat down next to her "ballerina friends." They all seemed very sweet and just as excited as Sophia about the prospect of dancing for fun.

Sophia was a very good listener and kept up with all the other kids, even though she is a few weeks behind them. I'm really excited for her to find something that she enjoys so much. It was also important to me that this dance studio seems to be very laidback from all appearances. I didn't see pictures of little girls dressed like porcelain dolls, so I'm on board. No offense meant to those particular dancers or parents, of course. I'm just a naturalist. I do love to see kids in their natural state. This coming from a mom whose daughter looked like a contractor yesterday (boy's flannel shirt and work khaki pants). What can I say? Sophia has lots of natural states...

In a few weeks, there will be an open house class, during which I can take pictures during the class. I'm looking forward to that because just from the glimpses I had from the window, it looks like a great time!

When we got home, Sophia had to go across the street to show off her dancing clothes. She will be thrilled to see more pictures of herself on "her website." Oh, and here's a gratuitous Henri shot. He seems impressed by his ballerina cousin, too. The admiration is mutual...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Taking Pictures of My 3-year-old

I can't say this is how it is for someone trying to take pictures of just any kid or 3-year-old, but the other day I had a fun time taking pictures of Sophia at the park. I caught many of her favorite go-to expressions and avoidance tactics.

This particular day, maybe the last really warm one until spring, Sophia felt like being a princess at the park. It was a great time of day, just before Erick gets home from work, so I could get some really nice shots. Good light. Blond hair. Tiara. Memories in the making, people.

Of course when I let her know that I brought the camera and I would like to take some pictures of her, she can't help but try to avoid eye contact entirely. That's her primary defense against the paparazzi. Occasionally, if she realizes that I caught her making eye contact, she'll just throw in a crazy look, trying to ruin my picture. Sometimes those are the best.

The rarest shots of Sophia include a pose. Typically those also include the Cinderella dress. I was actually shocked by this one. I was probably sounding pathetic with my requests for eye contact at this point, so she thought she'd throw me a bone. She stopped digging for a moment to present me with what I can only assume is her picture perfect posed princess smile.

Then we get to the part that is classic Sophia. She can't stop telling the story about whatever she might be creating long enough to even pretend that I'm not there. Here is what our little storyteller looks like when she's really in creative mode. I don't remember for sure which moment this was, but I think she's giving me instructions on how long I have to wait to touch the very hot potato and bacon (mulch & acorn) soup.

Finally, a real smile. I recognize this as a smile she gets when one of us has just said something that really amuses her. Probably her, but occasionally I'll get lucky.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ottertoberfest at the Zoo

We didn't see any otters at the St. Louis Zoo today, but we did have some beer and bratwursts in honor of Ottertoberfest! That's a real thing, by the way. I didn't make it up. We made the trip and had a fantastic day in St. Louis with the Chandlers - Brian, Janelle, Blake and Madilyn.

Sophia was giddy with excitement this morning at the prospect of seeing every animal with her friends. After two hours in the car, she wanted to go home... Fortunately, she and Blake and Madilyn revived quickly upon arrival.

There was no shortage of things to do or see. We rode the train and saw lots of animals. We still didn't get close to seeing them all! Of course, Sophia is always entertained by the simple things.

Here's a picture I took of the Chandlers. Don't be surprised if this is their Christmas card photo this year.

It was cool and breezy today. My favorite weather for doing pretty much anything outside. I think the wind did take it out of all of us just a little. We felt pretty worn out by the end of the day. So tired we could just lie down on a rock...

Thursday, October 1, 2009


At least I'm hoping that with Henri's triumphant homecoming to Timbers Court that he and his family can find some peace in their new routine...whenever that gets started!

I am so relieved that he's finally at home. Sophia was thrilled to get to see him today. She has declined all offers to go to the hospital. She associates that with her hand or something still. So we didn't push. Today when we started across the street, she asked if we were walking there. Then I realized she still didn't understand that Henri was home. When I told her that we were just going to William and Aaron's house because Henri's there, she gasped and said, "Oh! I can't wait!"

She was in love immediately. And seemed to just think this was like any other day. She held him for a moment and then moved on to play. She already apparently can't remember life without Henri. When we walked into our house, she said, "When Henri was gone at the doctor's office, I missed him! Now he's back and I can see him every time!"

I can only hope that she falls deeper and deeper in love with him...before he starts chewing on her stuff. It seemed to work well in her situation with the boys. They put up with that phase, and now they're great friends!

Can't wait to be a part of this beautiful boy's life!