Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Dress

Sophia loves her Easter dress. I really don't know why we got her one. It's really just a dress and she may or may not wear it on Easter. I think we call it that because that's the section it was in. That and the shoes. Before we went shopping one day, Sophia described what kind of shoes she wanted to look for. "Shiny purple ones with a big flower in the front." I was pretty sure we'd never come across such a shoe, so I agreed. Sure enough, in the Easter dress section, what should we find but shiny "wedding shoes" with a big flower on front. Granted, they're not purple. Thank heavens for small miracles.

Anyway, dress and shoes purchased. For the longest time, she wanted to wear them out and about. Since it was cold, I held her off. Finally on a nice day, she put it on and twirled and bowed and danced.


Then crashed. Right in the middle of the floor...

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Lulu Revisited

She is still around? Yep! Lulu is going stronger than ever to be honest. As a matter of fact, Sophia cried when we left her behind today. This hadn't happened in a while. I can attribute the renewed tears to a few things. We foisted another doll on her recently as Lulu's threads grow weaker, and I literally (yes, I mean literally) could be sewing a new hole each day. There are also the aforementioned transitions happening around her, and I can only assume that she is being ridiculously loyal to Lulu as overcompensation for that.

Regardless, it was a major trauma to leave Lulu behind, even though she got to bring the new doll with her. She was crying and insisting she'd miss her the whole time. So I offered a solution. I'd take a picture of Lulu and another picture of Sophia. We'd have them printed, and each of the best friends could keep the other close even during absences. Sigh. Do other parents work this hard to meet seemingly ridiculous needs? Never mind. Don't answer that.

So here's the picture she chose of Lulu. As you can see, it's only a matter of time before she disintigrates before our very eyes.


And here's the picture Lulu will hold while we're gone.


So we'll see how this works out. I'll be reporting continuously as the situation unfolds...as does Lulu.
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Change Isn't Easy

This spring comes with many changes for people that we care about. Mostly changes in residence. It's pretty complicated. Basically, very good friends and neighbors are vacating two houses on our street this spring, and some other dear friends are moving to the West Coast. This is how I worked through it with Sophia early one morning. Plotting out which families are going where. I'm not sure it helped her, but it did clarify some confusion in my mind at least.

Explaining neighborhood (and Chandler) changes with dry erase... on Twitpic

I knew that Sophia would have some feelings about all of these changes at some point. Tuesday was the first of (probably) many breakdowns.


Ernie is one of the neighbors who is moving. He and Sophia have always had a special connection, and Tuesday afternoon we were at his house for a few minutes. He has boxed up much of his stuff, so it looks very different in there. We hadn't been talking specifically about his move at the moment, though. I mentioned to Sophia that it was almost time for us to go home, and she started to cry. When I asked about it, she let loose into heaving sobs, saying she didn't want to leave, and she didn't want Ernie to leave. Seriously, she was inconsolable, which doesn't happen all that often. (The last time was when her Grandma left after a short visit. I'm seeing a pattern.) Then Ernie asked if she wanted him to come home with us for a few minutes. She blotted her eyes, and responded with a nod. Of course, once we got home, Ernie eventually had to leave again, resulting in the same tears. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but Sophia is a bit dramatic. As she was crying, she was saying "It's not fair when people leave me! My heart will be sad for all my life!" I didn't laugh because I know that it feels true. There's no sense telling her that the pain lessens with time. That creates its own sets of sadness and melancholy.

Sometimes it's just enough to say, "Yep, Sophia. Change is hard."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Preview (Fixed?)

Here is a video of the dance that Sophia's class will be doing for their recital in May at Jesse Hall on the MU campus, where we went to see The Nutcracker at Christmas. I told her yesterday where they'll be holding the recital. Her eyes opened so wide and she nearly trembled with excitement and said, "We have our own ballerina show?!" She's pretty excited about it. Hopefully that sticks around for a couple of months, but I have no expectations. Anyway, enjoy the preview!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another Open House

This post will be a quarterly occurence as long as Sophia continues in Dance class. Once each semester, parents are allowed to come into the dance studio to take pictures, videos and be a general distraction to the dancers. I love this day. Since the dance studio is so close to Erick's office, he comes too. So it's Sophia's favorite dance class too.

I just love watching Sophia interact with the other kids and with Miss Hallie, her teacher.

Here she is getting ready for class. I did notice that she would rather be talking than paying attention throughout the class. I really don't know where she gets that. All of the kids are that way to an extent, but she definitely has more persistence than most...


The quintessential ballerina move (more or less):


I love this one because they're doing the chicken dance while looking in the mirror. She is really working hard at this point. Concentrating everything she has to get her finger beaks to do the right thing at the right moment.


And here is our sweet ballerina. Doing an arabesque, mind you.


Toward the end of May, they have a recital at Jesse Hall. I am excited about it, but I'm also maintaining low expectations for her willingness to perform. She's much more "into" the whole thing this semester than last. I can attribute the turn around to the Chicken Dance, to be honest. This girl LOVES to shake her tailfeathers.
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sometimes I.....

...take trash that I just created - for example, a paper towel or empty container - all the way to the trash can in the garage. I'll do all that just to avoid removing the trash bag from the can in the kitchen. Because why? I don't know. Laziness seems too obvious.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We're celebrating the removal of snakes from Ireland, right? But we all know that St. Patrick's Day is about much more than that. For many, it's an excuse to drink green beer and get a little raucous. For others, it's a chance to remember a heritage that is simultaneously turbulent and charming.

For me, it's just a chance to dig a little deeper into why Irish culture is so appealing.

Rebellion is appealing.

The accent rocks.

The land is gorgeous and wild.

Somehow the Irish people have come to embody spirit and fire.

My favorite thing is that Irish people have become known as great story tellers. They have some awesome stories to tell, and many Irish people really do seem to have a gift.

What do you like about Irish culture? What appeals to you about this holiday?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Picking Up where we left off

This weekend, we went to Farmington to visit with Risha, my college roommate, and her beautiful family. Because of sickness and crazy schedules, we haven't seen them in a year!! That is way too long, and we've renewed the commitment to not let that happen again.

Fortunately, though, we have all done a good job of keeping each other in our conversations and as recipients of the occasional art project. Because for Sophia and Lilly, it was like they were never apart.


Lilly is nearly exactly a year older than Sophia, and they have a lot in common as to what they enjoy playing and doing. They are also both two incredibly sweet and loving girls. However, the way in which they go about playing and doing is nearly opposite. Lilly is very reserved and delicate. . . Sophia is not.


Nora is one, and she joins right in with the big girls when she feels like it. Much of the time, she was happy just to wear around Sophia's sparkly red shoes. When she couldn't find those, mine did nearly as well.


In Paul and Risha's new house, they have beautiful wood floors. And two dogs. In order to reduce frustration and cost, the dogs have stylish paw-wear as well....


Anyway, it was great to catch up, and I'm very glad that we won't have quite as much catching up to do next time...

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Three going on Fifteen

I think I have blogged before about the fact that Sophia goes through occasional stages of "teen-ness." Being obstinate, opinionated, moody and silent by turns. I can't know for a fact that she'll be this way as a teen. I guess I'm hoping that by dealing with it appropriately now I might do away with it little by little in the meantime. (Don't crush my dreams.)

Anyway, last Friday was one of Sophia's teen days. Her behavior all day was actually fine. It was simply attitude and the look in her eye. Asked to do a small task or movement, she would respond with a smirk and denial. I knew that if I asked often enough, it would get done, but I'm not about to beg for action from a preschooler... So consequences came fast and frequently that day. Once I thought we had both had enough, I decided to go for an outing. It was the worst and best idea I could have had. She had moments of sweet temperament and agreeability, followed by bursts of stubbornness only matched by the grittiest and grumpiest.

One such moment came in Old Navy. In the girls' section, there was an entire wall of dresses on sale for $10. I found a very cute little dress and held it up. I was greeted with a sour face and "It's not pretty, I think." Then Sophia proceeded to point out every other single dress on the wall, probably close to twenty of them, and tell me how much she liked them. Again rejecting the one I liked. Sigh. Of course, later when I reflected on the interaction I saw it from her perspective. She just pointed out twenty dresses to my one, and I didn't like any of them...

Perspective could be helpful when this one's a teenager.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Worn Out from the Weekend

Maybe it was the warm temperatures and long-missed sunshine, or maybe we just wanted to capitalize on the momentum gained from changing Sophia's room. Regardless of the unknown motivation, Erick and I decided to do some major work outside this weekend.

He replaced all of our front lights, and he's very proud of having fiddled with the electricity of our house without incident. It looks great. Now I just have to do away with the rest of the brass fixtures inside the house...

While he was doing that, I was tearing out shrubs that I have scowled at all four years we've been in this house. I am so happy to have those plants gone. I really can't explain it.

In addition to that, Erick added windsor stones to border the flower beds we kept and to retain the grass we plan to grow in replacement of those nasty bushes.

It was very hard work.


Sophia did incredibly well during our steady hours working outside. She was very happy with her new balance beam, although she's going to be pretty disappointed that the mud pit won't always be there...


This is an example of the work in progress, but I know that many of you have no point of reference.


As a reward for all of our hard work and a fulfillment of a week's long craving (thanks to my friend Michelle), I made us lettuce wedge salads for supper.


It was a great start to spring. We have a few more projects to complete but probably nothing quite as extensive for a while.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Beginner's Luck?

Erick picked up the bed yesterday. He came home, and the two of them got right to work putting the bed together.


It was quite a bit easier than we thought at first, considering it has so many parts to put together. Fortunately all the individual pieces came put together, so we just had to assemble the bed itself and then put it all together. Sophia was immediately thrilled with the result.


Then came the true test. Ever since we got back from vacation, Sophia has been having trouble with sleep. Either going to sleep to begin with or waking in the middle of the night. We chalked it up to vacation, then she got sick, then we took away the crib. So to think the transition to the bed last night would go well seemed like way to much to hope for. I thought even if she went to sleep okay, she'd still have trouble in the middle of the night when she realized she was asleep...

Nope. No trouble. She did wake up in the middle of the night, but she went right back to sleep. When she woke up this morning, she was as surprised as we were, I think. She said, "A big girl never knows what she can do until she tries!"



She does this often. It's like muscle confusion or something. Almost every "first" night we try a change, Sophia does great and sleeps all night. I'm thrilled that she did so well. I'm just not sure that we can hope for the same for the next few nights. We'll just see.
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tennis Pro

This weekend, we took advantage of the temperatures above freezing. We made our 2-car garage actually a 2-car garage again by cleaning and organizing. When I say "we," I mean "Erick." The garage is my nemesis. I get overwhelmed really easily in there. I was focused on the inside of the house this week in order to get ready for Sophia's bed. That should be here tomorrow, by the way. Assuming we get it put up in a timely fashion, there will be pictures soon.

Anyway, after the cleaning, we took Sophia out to our basketball courts to hit around the tennis ball. A very surprising fact about Erick and me is that we used to play a lot of tennis during college. It was free. We're not typically the sporty type. When I say "we" in this context, I mean "me." Anyway, it was a lot of fun for all three of us. Sophia just enjoyed being outside, I think.


At one point, she said, "I just love this game because I love chasing balls!" That's pretty much all she did. That and get hit by them.


I think she's starting to realize it's not as much fun as she thought...

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