Thursday, April 28, 2011

I love school pictures

A couple of weeks ago, Sophia had school pictures. I forgot about it until a few days afterward, so I was just hopeful that Sophia did a good job dressing herself that day.
I should never have doubted her sense of style.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


We went for a walk.

One of us wore pj's and sunglasses.

We both brought our cameras.

And it was one of those days that I caught a picture that completely captured Sophia's current being. I just haven't decided which one it is. This one:

Or this one:

Reality is a constant epic battle between the two. But she sure is cute!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

In spite of the move, we continued this year with our Easter tradition of going to Mary's house with David, Casey and the boys. As always, it was a great time with lots to eat and plenty of reason to celebrate.

Before the weather turned even worse, we sent the kids out to hunt for Easter eggs. They were all pretty pleased with their haul.

Henri got right into the mix and was hard to convince to come inside. Once he got inside, however, he discovered chocolate....

Erick was the grill tender, so he observed some festivities from outside. He's the creepy guy on the other side of the door.

So our tradition holds strong. It was a great time for us, and since getting home, we have managed to clean the apartment to start the week off right. Hope everyone stays dry and toasty in this last week of April!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Going Back Ain't Easy

Sophia and I have made regular trips back to Columbia since our move five months ago. Erick has come with us on the weekends that he can. Each trip is a little different, as far as who we visit and what we do. Every trip is the same, though, in that nothing is the same. It's a statement of the obvious, I know.

There is no way to explain to someone who hasn't been there what it feels like to reenter a picture that you're no longer a part of. This is particularly true of our weekday visits. To hop back into an everyday reality that we're no experiencing ourselves is confusing - for me, for Sophia, and I can only assume for those we visit. It's a tension that I am completely willing to live with because I care so much about maintaining real and lasting friendships. I am willing to feel uncomfortable and a little out of place in order to find a new place in the picture.

It's funny that I use the picture as a metaphor. Because I never take my camera on these visits. Or if I do, I leave it in the van. I had written this off as accidental until my drive home this last time. A big part of me still fights the need to take pictures because that's something "guests" do when they come for a visit, and I so don't want to be a guests with my family and my friends. But I am. Maybe a guest with some history, but a guest all the same.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jazz Night

Last night, Erick and I had a lovely date night, thanks to Grandmary and jazz.

For our dates, we have tried to either stay in our neighborhood for entertainment and food or to try places that we haven't tried yet. Last night, we went to the Triumph Grill. It was a very interesting place, maybe a little confused in its identity. The clientele and expectation of a reservation indicated a fancy restaurant. However, the restaurant itself is decorated in motorcycle paraphernalia and the servers wore motorcycle brand t-shirts and shorts. It was kind of confusing, but the food was great. They serve a buffalo chicken queso dip that is absolutely fantastic!

After dinner, we went to the Blanche Touhill Center for Performing Arts at the University of Missouri-St. Louis for the second night of their Jazz Festival. The evening there started with the Jazz Ensemble of the university. They are a very talented group. The last couple of numbers of their set, the ensemble was joined by Jazz legend Clark Terry. He is 90-years-old, and his stage presence was strong, and his talent as a jazz musician is still very clear.

The feature act for the evening was the Ron Carter Trio. They were an incredibly talented and skilled group of musicians. Erick and I both so enjoyed their performance. Their trio was piano, bass and acoustic guitar. Erick would have been more satisfied had the third instrument been a horn, but I loved it just the way it was.

The evening reminded me why I love jazz music, particularly when performed live. For me, as a form of music, jazz invites the audience into it in a more significant way than any other mainstream music. When listening to jazz, I feel the same as when enjoying a work of visual art. I am invited to bring my own feelings and experiences to the performance and let it take me to a place of my own. When listening to jazz, I find myself under a streetlight in New Orleans, having a conversation with friends or strangers. The next piece could take me to an open field in summer or to a place that I've never been. The notes and rhythm of jazz just speak to me in a way that no other music does. That does not mean it's my favorite music, but it certainly is the most absorbing for me. I just love it.

The other great thing about watching a live jazz performance is watching the musicians interact with one another. Some jazz performers are charismatic and full of movement. The Ron Carter Trio were subtle and stationary. When I wasn't lost in my own world of the song, I loved watching the appreciation that the musicians showed for one another, after having performed together for years. Sometimes, it seemed that one of them could get so lost in another's solo that he would forget to jump in when needed.

The thing about jazz is that each listener is having their own experience interacting with the music. It's a room full of people hearing the same thing and experiencing something very personal. I love that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Inner Hillbilly

Since our trip to Nashville, Erick and I have both rekindled our fondness for country music. We've always enjoyed some George (Strait, NOT Jones) or Willy, but a few years ago, country music just got SOOO irritating with every song being about being from the country and being 'Murican that I couldn't handle it anymore. I'm not opposed to patriotism or being from the country, but I don't need every song to identify the fact that the singer was born and raised on a farm. And drives a truck. And loves dogs.

During the week since our return, it seems better. This morning I heard a song that I immediately didn't like but begrudgingly identified with. Enjoy.

Monday, April 11, 2011


It seems like I'm only writing about weekends these days. I promise that things are happening during the week! I have actually started a couple of blogs but got distracted. Maybe I'll get around to sharing some other stuff soon.

For now, I'll just tell you about our weekend. As you probably know, it was a summer weekend here. Fantastic. Sophia prefers cool weather for some reason. She has inherited Erick's sweatiness and my red-facedness. The combination makes the heat a little difficult for her to bear, I guess. We had fun in spite of the sweat.

Saturday was spent driving around St. Louis, running a couple of errands and such. The early afternoon we all reclined in the breezy apartment. Then we walked to Sasha's, one of our neighborhood eateries, and ate a late lunch on the patio (in the shade, of course). It was delightfully followed with a stroll around the neighborhood.

Sunday was equally enjoyable. We rode the MetroLink downtown to see my friends Michelle and Emily as they finished the St. Louis Half Marathon. By some stroke of luck, we found them in the throng of 17,000 runners and their families and friends. Then, we went to the City Garden to play. It was the perfect day for it because one of its features is a splash park. Sophia and Erick had a ton of fun getting cool. It's a huge area for a splash park. Perfect for tons of kids!

After getting cool, we wandered around the rest of City Garden looking at and climbing on all the sculptures

and getting our pictures in different spots.

It was a very fun time.

After the ride home, we spent the evening relaxing. Again. At bedtime, Sophia thanked God for a family that has such fun together and "Please help us to always remember how to have fun." Amen.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Picnicking Weather

Sunday, it got up to 90 degrees here! It was windy, but magnificent! So we decided to make use of a wedding present (arguably for the first time) and have a picnic in the park. Now that Sophia knows about our picnic basket, we'll be getting a lot of use out of it, I'm certain. When Erick brought it out, she said, "Wow! Fancy!" That's all she needs to say to clue us in that it's a keeper.

So we packed up our lunches and headed to the park. Erick made himself an apparently tasty salad. And, as happens with most of Erick's food, it was tested and devoured by Sophia.

Then, we played a little ball. By the way, she's not going to play t-ball this year. As we looked at the calendar, we're going to miss at least three (probably four) of her eight games. That, combined with her insistence that she made a mistake when she decided to do it, and the offer of the team to refund our money because another kid wanted her spot, made the decision pretty easy. Anyway, she still likes playing baseball with us. She is most definitely the only pitcher I've ever seen who throws with her other hand on her hip...while offering advice.

This one is here just because she's pretty. I like taking pictures so much more in the sunshine!