Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Away we go!

Vacation starts tomorrow. It seems surreal to say that, but it's really true! Tomorrow afternoon we're starting our vacation the way we did before Florida this summer - at the Kansas City Airport Marriott. We'll get relaxed and we'll get to swim. hopefully we'll get a decent night's sleep. Friday morning we fly on Southwest to LAX, where we will head out to see G.G. (Erick's grandma).

We are so looking forward to this trip. It's a week long vacation, in which we'll spend the last five days with friends (and the Timbers VanDykes) in a house on the beach north of San Diego. I can't think of a better way to spend a week in February.

The visit with Erick's grandma will be lots of fun too. It will be nice to catch up with her, and Sophia is always taken with her. We haven't been to her house since Sophia has been walking. She loved the lemon tree on our last visit. I can't imagine how much fun she'll have in a spring-like environment after being cooped up in this year's frozen tundra of Missouri. For that matter, I can't imagine how much fun I'll have getting to be outside!! I really can't wait.

Anyway, I'm not trying to rub it in. But I will try to update the blog if I can, as a journal of our activities if nothing else. I won't blame you if you don't read it. We'll be back next weekend and I may be back to normal blogging the next week. Who knows.

No more blogs from Missouri for over a week! Yippee!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Magic House


Saturday we had planned to meet my college roommate's family (Risha, Paul, Lilly and Nora) in St. Louis at The Magic House. Unfortunately, Nora came down with something on Friday, and given our travel plans next week, they decided not to risk exposure. Not to mention, it probably wouldn't be a lot of fun for them with a sick 16-month-old. Since Sophia was so disappointed about not getting to see her friends, we decided to go ahead and go to The Magic House. We had never been, and it was a lot of fun!

They currently have a Curious George exhibit with lots of fun little activities and such. The picture at the top is next to George's NYC apartment building.

This picture was taken about a minute before Erick and Sophia came out of this very passageway and Erick wrenched his back. So we'll remember The Magic House for a while...


There were lots of things for kids Sophia's age. Sand tables, slides and play equipment. And water. She stayed here about 15 minutes and would have stayed longer if we didn't remind her that there was a whole building still left to explore.


We had to make one more stop at the Curious George room before we could leave. Sophia really loved this rocket ship for some reason. She wanted to stay just so she could keep hanging out at the top...


Since we didn't have friends to hang out with, we ended up doing a little shopping. No substitute for quality catching up, but we still had fun - in spite of Erick's injuries.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why there aren't as many pictures...


This is Sophia's idea of her best side. Here, Mommy, let me stand halfway on the arm and the back of the couch while making a silly face. Even this is an improvement, to be honest. Typically, if I get the camera out, she begins to twirl and say cheese while closing her eyes and never looking in my direction. Have I mentioned that she's three?

She thought it would be even better if I got a closeup of her crazy face.


Then she wanted one of just her lips, but I couldn't get it without highlighting the runny nose. She also wouldn't get off the side of the couch, even though she knew the rest of her wasn't in the picture anymore. Somehow that added to the silliness of her face.

Since we are spending so much time inside, and the flash becomes necessary for a shot, it's nearly impossible to capture anything in a natural state of sweetness. I promise that she's had lots of those moments, though. You'll just have to take my word for it until the Spring, I suppose...

Friday, January 15, 2010

The School Career

I've been quiet this week because my mind has been stuck on one track. Preschool. I visited four and researched several more. That doesn't sound like many, but when you're going around with a 3-year-old who wants to participate in each and every activity she sees these incredibly lucky kids doing, it gets a little tiring. Not to mention the prospect of handing my baby over to one of these people in the fall. Anyway, it's been a good process and a lot of fun in some ways. In others, I'll just be glad to have it over with and move on.

I meant to start this all in the fall. I have several emails in my box that prove the process started in October. I've been stalling and pretending like it would take care of itself. It hasn't.

I don't feel obligated to send Sophia to preschool. I realize there are benefits and detractors to every choice. It's my belief that preschool will provide a good balance to the environment of our home. We operate fluidly. Structure isn't my thing. I value it highly, but I can't sustain it, so I don't try - that would be counterproductive. But I do think Sophia would benefit from exposure to a more structured environment, so that's my main criteria in choosing a preschool. Well, structure and gut. In visiting the schools we did, we didn't encounter too many core differences. There were a few, mind you, and I liked some things better than others. Still, when it came down to it, I had to admit that it's more important to me how I reacted at a gut level to the people to whom I'd be entrusting the development of my own preschooler.

Sophia has been in heaven through all this. The first preschool we visited is still her favorite. Every time we visit a new one, I ask which is her favorite. She responds, "Remember, Mom? I already told you I like William's school." Yep, her favorite is the school that her cousins have attended. She knows that the boys won't be there while she's there, but she still likes it best. It didn't hurt that they had a table filled with rice in the room that she'd be in. Digging and pouring have been her favorite things to do since she was a baby.

Even though she's biased to that school, she has fully enjoyed being the center of attention in many new classes. She isn't shy. She has scored a couple of art projects and a free book out of the hunt. However, even she is through with the process.

Anyway, I'll have lots more feelings and thoughts about the preschool thing when it approaches. Just wanted to let you know what's been keeping me distracted. The good news is that I plan to have a decision made and a spot reserved very soon. That way my brain can get back to things like relationships and cooking dinner...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rhythm of Life

I am feeling grateful today, and the reason is simple. Today life is good. I'm not saying that I am grateful because tomorrow promises to be good or yesterday was good - or even that yesterday's over. I am grateful because I'm living in the moment and can honestly say that today is good.

Erick, Sophia and I have met one another in a holy rhythm lately. I don't know how else to put it. While we are all together, we are synched. We are playing the best games, having the most creative play and even the most serious and funny conversations. It's not due to any one of us. We're just really great together for the moment. Sophia is three, so this rhythm could derail at any moment. That's why I'm gratefully living in the moment.

I have always looked forward to the time in the evening when Erick gets home. On the bad days, I just need a little relief. Or maybe I want someone in the house that it's okay for me to gripe at. Poor guy. He does sometimes get the bad part of mine and Sophia's bad days. Lately, though, it's been different. We have been looking forward to his arrival differently. He adds the capstone to our enjoyment. A good day becomes a happy day. A great day becomes the best.

All that to say I'm grateful. I know it won't last forever, but it sure is fun for the moment. I think I'll go live in it now. See ya!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cabin Fever


Apparently cold weather and being trapped in a house with a 3-year-old makes me grumpy. I'm actually feeling much better today, but grumpy is an accurate description of me yesterday.

Yesterday, as I was trying to meet a "request" (I use that term loosely) of hers and wasn't proceeding at the pace dictated by her needs... she asked repeatedly when it would be ready. Finally, I said in a less than kind tone, "Sophia, can you please be patient?" She looked me in the eye and responded in a sweet tone, "Sure, Mommy. How about you? Can you be patient?" Ouch. I could only answer that I was trying.

Today is a much better day, but I still think we'll have to get out or I'll have trouble being patient again...

Good luck to all the moms stuck inside four walls with their kids!
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010



This is Lulu today. She's held together by spit, some white yarn and lots of love. I'm thinking about this because when Sophia gets up from her nap, I'll have to sew up another hole.

If you haven't met Lulu, you need to go to this link to catch up on her life story. It's heartwarming.

I'm sure I'll post another one here in a month or two saying that she's still with us. She seems to be indestructible, although at the same time I think she may unravel with the slightest tug. That Lulu continues to try to sneak out of the house into the van, and when we catch her, Sophia laughs and says, "Oh, that silly Lulu! She can't come with us!" Then there are days that leaving Lulu in the house is possibly the hardest battle we'll fight. Sophia loves that doll.

She loves her so much that even when I have to sew her up several times a week, Sophia insists that she feels just as snug. Here's Lulu's backside...


Poor Lulu. But, then again, what better fate to become a doll's, right? Sophia won't think of having another doll while she sleeps. Every time she gets attached to something else for a few hours, she says, "I'll sleep with both of them tonight!" but when it's time to go upstairs, only Lulu is allowed to join her.

One of the days, I'll have to write a goodbye blog. I'm not even pretending to do that this time. I've come to accept the fact that she's just going to hang on by a thin pink thread until Sophia decides they're through. But seriously, that rag doll is a mess!

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Monday, January 4, 2010

What I want from 2010

When I look out at the year ahead, I have a hard time thinking of ways that I want my life to be different in 362 days. I am very content. Of course, like most, I think I could be healthier and a little smarter with my resources, but those things don't consume my thoughts.

There are two things I want to get better at during the coming year: friendship and fun. Now, hopefully those of you who know me know that those are actually two of my strengths. However, when life happens, I think we tend to let down on the things we think "we have in the bag." Don't get me wrong, I have great friends, and I hope they feel the same about me. I've also had a lot of fun this year.

I know that I can be a better friend. I can work harder not to get lost in my own daily grind and pay more attention to that of my friends. I can be certain that the person I'm looking at and listening to is the person I'm thinking about. In order to do a good job of this, I'll have to give up some peripherals. Facebook may suffer because I'm spending more time in actual conversation, for example. Friendship is something that is on my mind a lot as I think about the coming year.

Like I said, I'm good at having fun. But I just think I can do it more often. Maybe I can, maybe I can't. But I am positive that I'm going to try to have more fun in 2010 than I've ever had before. This is Sophia's last year of independence, as we plan to enroll her in preschool in the fall. So we are going to enjoy it. That's the plan. I'm pretty sure I can pull that one off.

2010 is the year that Erick and I turn 30. I've said in the past that, in my opinion, age is just a number. I still believe that. Wisdom can't be quantified. It's not passed out in share according to the year you were born. It's a lot harder to earn than that. But I recognize that we are approaching a significant milemarker in our lives. So I plan to let it through in style. We haven't decided what that looks like yet, but I'll be sure to let you know.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to 2010, and apparently if I count you as a friend, you should be looking forward to it, too!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reminder in the Drive Thru

I had a very thought provoking and hopeful experience this morning. I got home and couldn't wait to share it with everyone. Let me know if you have any specific thoughts stirred by this exchange.

As this is my (self-imposed) last day of dietary freedom, I got out to get McDonald's breakfast, in spite of the slick conditions. It wasn't heavy snow or ice, mind you, just the fact that no road crews had been out and about. Anyway, as I was rounding the intersection, just before McDonald's, an SUV cut me off, just to pull into the same McDonald's entrance a car-length ahead of us. Grrr. Now, there may be some mornings that I would respond with a honk or a shaking fist (or finger), but this morning, all my seething was on the inside. I just thought to myself, "I really hope this bonehead gets his all-important breakfast" and such. I had all but forgotten about the incident until he spent a while at the pay window. Then, much to my current embarrassment, I wondered if he couldn't count or if he was telling them to spit in my food.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the window to find that he had paid for my breakfast. Honestly, I choked up. Just a simple wave out the window was the only acknowledgment he gave and the only thanks I was permitted to offer. But what happened in the drive thru will stay with me. To me, it was a great reminder of the fact that each of us in our separate worlds, which occasionally collide (hopefully not literally), are equally important and equally human. Who am I to assume knowledge of another person's state of mind? The mistakes that we make with strangers, while driving, shopping, eating out, just make us more alike. I'm constantly making mistakes. I do not make up for them for strangers the way this gentleman did.

I'll be looking for a chance to pay it forward. But I feel like what I got from him was more than breakfast. It was a new lease on seeing strangers as friends instead of enemies. That's a great way to start out a new decade. Thanks, guy.