Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Girl!

I have never known anyone to buy in so completely to the "because it's my birthday" schtick as this girl did. Of course, I have no idea why I was surprised.


After our Open House on Sunday, we went to St. Louis to spend the night in a hotel to celebrate Sophia there the next day. Hotels may very well be Sophia's favorite thing. The Millenium is a crappy hotel. Clean but crappy. Half of the lamps had no shades. The other half didn't turn on. I'm not exaggerating. The beds were on makeshift frames and the walls were paperthin. But Sophia thought it was fantastic! She wanted to stay again tonight... Today, Erick and I had made plans for two move-related activities. One apartment visit to The Marquette and one preschool visit to South City Community School, with a visit to the Public Library in between (as seen below). Both official visits went well but weren't homeruns. So we'll continue the search.


After those two visits were complete, the day was Sophia's. She decided the bookstore was her first choice. We spent over an hour in the bookstore, strictly in the kid's section. She ended up buying three books after reading nearly every one on the shelf. It's a good pasttime, but it can wear one out.

Next was lunch at P.F. Chang's, her choice. Followed by Crate and Barrel, her choice. Seriously. Weird kid. Next followed a more normal kid choice - the St. Louis Zoo.

All in all it was a perfect day to celebrate a well-rounded four-year-old. We have, however, decided that she won't be joining us on future apartment and school visits. Not surprisingly, it seemed to get to her pretty quickly and wear and stress her out. So we'll save her the stress in the future.

I just can't believe that she's only been in our lives for four years and that she's already four years old!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Smells like cake


No reason for that title other than the fact that currently our house smells like cake. We're having an Open House on Sunday, and now I wish I had the guts to make a cake just before the doors open because it smells soooo good and homey. Sophia and I made cake because she has a birthday coming up. I have been trying very hard not to let her birthday get swallowed up by this whole moving thing, but it's a challenge to say the least.

I am so excited to celebrate Sophia tomorrow with our friends and family. Every time I think that, the thought immediately follows, "...for the last time in Columbia." There are many things we are planning that precede that statement. It is such a weird feeling and one that I have never experienced before! We have lived in Columbia for our entire marriage. Our whole adult existence. We are not the same kids who moved into Broadway Village eight years ago, but the people we meet in St. Louis won't know that.

On a side note, eight years is the longest I have ever lived in one city. Galesburg, Illinois, and
Columbia, Missouri, now tie for that record.

When I think about the fact that people will only know what I tell them about myself, it really freaks me out. It also makes me look at people that I meet for the first time very differently. Of course I have always been aware that every person has a very long and winding path before I meet them, but it has never felt quite so glaring. Who were they five years ago? Ten? My friends know who we were. My next neighbors won't. Weird.

See, this is what happens when I try to think about Sophia's birthday party. I don't have compartments...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Address Change


Let's just say that yesterday was a hell of a day for Sophia to learn her address at school...
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

With Good Reason

I have been incommunicado lately, and there is a very good reason. I've had one thing primarily on my brain, but I have not had the time or energy or freedom or something to get my thoughts down about it.

Erick interviewed for, was offered and accepted a position with a law firm in St. Louis. There, I said it. Since I chose him and we chose this path together, I'll be joining him. Sophia is too young to stay in Columbia by herself, so she's coming with us, too. Hopefully we'll all be there together before 2010 is out.

As you can imagine, and as many of you have experienced, this is a consuming and emotional process, to say the least. I will do my best to come up with more words at some point in the near future. For now, I thought it would be helpful just to break the news to those who didn't already know and break the ice with those who did.

I found myself this morning finally changing the "We are probably..." to "We are moving to St. Louis." That was a big barrier that has now been knocked down.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gratuitous Posting

I clicked on "New Post" without having anything in particular to say. It's a dangerous thing, that. We had a very good weekend with a few random and unusual things sprinkled in with the norm. The most random thing I've done lately would have to have been going to a movie with a nearly complete stranger...

A few months ago, I got called in for jury duty. I sat in the jury room and the court room for about nine hours. Then I wasn't chosen. The good thing that came from it was a new friend. A preschool teacher who happened to be chosen for the jury, which served for eight days! Anyway, after that day we said we would have to get together some time. We've been texting and messaging now and then and decided it was finally time to make good. So Friday night, we went to see Going the Distance, with Justin Long and Drew Barrymore. A very cute movie. At first, I was terribly concerned. I was beating myself up for going to a movie with someone I didn't know! I had no idea whether or not she was a movie talker. And at first, it seemed like the answer was going to be yes... This is one of the very few things in life that I cannot abide. Fortunately, the chatter was confined to the previews, so our friendship can continue.

This week will be Sophia's second week of school. She's already excited about going back, and I'm looking forward to the time by myself. Here's to a speedy week full of sunshine and cool breezes!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of School!

Today was the day that Sophia started preschool. She was so excited that I couldn't help but be excited for her too! I just hope it lives up to her expectations. Anyway, I got her picture in front of the house, and this is how she looked at me. Definitely hiding her giddiness...

When I told her to show me her lunchbox and a smile, this was the response.

However, here is all the proof I need that her excitement was untempered. Honestly, she didn't hold my hand for a second (but she did look both ways).

So I followed her inside, hung around for a minute or two, hoping for some show of her desperate need for her momma. She allowed me to take the obligatory shot of her. Again with the fake smile.

Then I asked if she was ready for me to go. "Yep!" So, here I sit. Waiting to hear if her hopes were fulfilled. I have a feeling they were. It's a whole new world for my baby girl.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What makes my family work

A year or so ago, our friends, the Chandlers, who now live in Seattle, had read a book called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families. In reading this book, they discovered and shared with us the value of developing a family mission statement. At the time, I just thought that was a great practice that maybe would come in handy some day. That time has come for us, as we have found 2010 to be a year of significant decisions.

So I got the book from the library and was immediately taken with the idea of the family mission statement. There are lots of ideas in that book that would be great in application in a family. The development of a family mission statement just seems to be the one that makes the others come into clearer focus. By coming up with some solid priorities and qualities that shape your family, the rest of your family's life - activities and pursuits - seems to fall more clearly into line with the purpose already defined.

So to get started, Erick and I just brainstormed about things that we want to be sure maintain value in our family. Things like security, creativity, laughter, generosity. Then we talked to Sophia about it. Her first response was that we should be a family of princesses. Not exactly the insightful tidbit we were hoping for, but then she came back with, "We each get to be who we are." Seriously, those were her words. My eyes flew open, and I said, "Yes!" So we added that in and came up with something over a date night. It took me a while to figure out why, but I never really liked what we came up with. Then I realized that I didn't like it because it didn't sound like us. It read like the mission of a corporation, and we're anything but business-like. So, I restructured it a little, and now I'm unveiling our family statement.

In our family, we each get to be our own person, expressing our individuality while respecting one another and recognizing each person's contribution. Our family works hard to show compassion and responsibility for ourselves and to others. We want to live in a home filled with love, security and laughter. Most of all, our family loves one another and loves God out loud in action and word.

I think that's all pretty self-explanatory. It is to us, so that's all that really matters, I suppose. Sophia absolutely loves it. We have read it to her several times, and she talks about what the words mean. Of course she's most excited about the first sentence since that was her contribution.

The beauty of this is that it will change and evolve as our family changes. As Sophia grows older, she will likely add a few adjustments, as will we... But it feels good to have some clarity about who we are.

I highly recommend the book, largely because this process has been so meaningful for our family. I am pretty sure that it would bring similar benefits to most families. And even if it was a harder process because of differences in priorities or understanding of them, it seems like a good idea to be having those discussions while still in theory rather than in practice.... I'm just saying. If you do, let me know. I think it would be fascinating and revealing to know exactly what our friends' families are about. It would help us all understand one another just a little better. That's never a bad thing.

So, to continue my feel-good message, let me add a little Roots Love My Family for your listening and viewing pleasure.