Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autumnal Fun

I guess I'm determined to get my money's worth out of this year's costume because Sophia donned it once again for another trip to the zoo. Grandmary came to visit this weekend, so we all headed back to the zoo for Spooky Saturday. More crafts and treats and such. The animals were supposedly out, but we didn't see them. We did however, ride the train and Sophia and Mary took a trip on the carousel.


We are accustomed to being out-fancied by Sophia, so we weren't surprised when she strutted out of her room this morning ready to go to breakfast - like this.


After breakfast, we went to the St. Louis Art Museum because Monet's three huge Waterlillies paintings are there in a special exhibit together. They are here until January 22nd, and I highly recommend making the trip if it fits into your schedule. Admission is $10 for adults. But if you can make it on a Friday, admission is free for everyone! I imagine we might make another visit on a Friday before they leave.

The chill of fall is rolling in this afternoon, and we enjoyed the view in Forest Park, where the trees are still beautiful shades of red and gold.


A lovely fall weekend in St. Louis.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011



Tonight we kicked off the beginning of our Halloween festivities. We went to the St. Louis Zoo at night for Boo at the Zoo. Animals, characters, lights and activities at night. A great time all around.

Halloween - This is the one time of year that Sophia's wardrobe gets to match the rest of her.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Highlight of My Week


It's been a good week. The weather is cool, and the sun came out today. I don't mind the first few days of chilly rain. I actually find that I'm more productive on those days. Once the rain hangs around, my productivity plummits. So, the sun is a good thing.

Anyway, today I got to go to Sophia's school and be the guest reader. Every Thursday, Sophia's class hosts a guest - usually a parent, grandparent or older sibling. This Thursday was my turn. I let Sophia pick the book. Children Make Terrible Pets.

I was excited to go to Sophia's class, but my excitement was nothing compared to Sophia's. When she got up this morning, she was already talking about where she'd sit and how much everyone would like the book. As I read the book to the class, I had a lot of fun. I really like those kids. But the best part was watching Sophia's face. When I would get to a funny part or ask for interaction, her face would light up and she'd look around at her friends with a look that just warmed me right up. I guess it would be pride in her mama.

On our way home, I asked if I did a good job. Sophia replied, "No, mommy, you did a GREAT job!"

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Thursday, October 13, 2011



The last month has included Sophia's birthday, a trip to California and the opening of the Disney store in the Galleria, to which Sophia had a gift card.

All that to say that it's been a lucrative month for our five-year-old. I have a feeling that what I'm about to describe is a phenomenon common among children post-birthday, but I can only speak for Sophia. Basically, the more she has, the more she wants. Now that I say it out loud, it's not just kids, is it? It's a pretty common human reaction. Stuff is cool. New stuff is even cooler. Toys and gadgets are addictive.

Most days are actually without greedy incident, but if Sophia catches sight of the $8.00 she has left to spend or sees a commercial advertising something mind-blowingly awesome, then we're back to, "Please, mommy! This is the laaaast thing I'll ask for." And Erick and I are back to being single-message parents. "I'd like to see some more gratitude, Sophia." It's a constant theme. Gratitude is one of the lessons that, as I'm sharing it, I feel an urgency that it eventually sink in. It's a lesson I so often need to hear myself, and it's a lesson that may be the difference in Sophia's life between contentment and bitterness.

In my mind, gratitude and humility are tied closely together. When I am feeling truly grateful for the blessings in my life, it is generally because I am in a moment of awareness that I deserve these blessings no more (or less) than the next guy. When I lose sight of that truth, I tend to have a bigger appetite for things. Of course, when talking with children about humility, it's a short jaunt over to guilt. Learning to share the importance of gratitude, beyond the "Thank you for the gift! It's exactly what I wanted!," which Sophia is quite good at, is a complicated mine field, riddled with the temptation to throw in just a tiny guilt trip. As usual, the best way to teach her is to show her.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another Fall, Another Pumpkin Patch


I love a pumpkin patch. I don't know why, but I do. Saturday, we headed to Chesterfield to a pumpkin patch with some friends who knew the way. It was a huge farm with tons of things for the kids to do (all of which cost money). Still, a great time. It felt strange to be at the pumpkin patch in short sleeves. I actually regretted not wearing shorts once we got there!

And yes, we have some Jayhawk friends. We are practicing active love. Hoping to convert the kids before it's too late. I just love this picture. It cracks me up that Sophia is so perfectly posed. Obviously I was not the mom who asked to take the picture. Otherwise, we'd have seen the pucker face.
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Thursday, October 6, 2011


Every year, I compile a running folder of my favorite pictures of Sophia, her friends, our family and other stuff that I think might be important. Then, after her birthday each year, I head to a photo site and begin work on a book about that year. The purpose is similar to my blog. I don't want to forget. She loves looking back through the books, and I do too.

It's a process that I look forward to and simultaneously dread each year. This year's favorites folder held over 300 pictures. Not even a third of those go into a book. But it's a lot of fun going through them. I so enjoy reliving our adventures and regular days through pictures.

Here are a few of the ones I have to choose from.

One of our last visits as residents to the little park on the hill in our Columbia neighborhood.


A spring walk around our St. Louis neighborhood apparently made Sophia too tired to go home.


A trip to the St. Louis Zoo, and our first visit to the Sea Lion show. It was hot!!


That would be a silly face.


Working on a project in our dining room.


You can see why it's such a challenge! But I love doing it, and I especially love getting that fresh book in the mail!

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Coastal Cousins

Quite a few things fell together to draw us to San Francisco and the Bay area last weekend. Redeemable Southwest points, a San Jose Earthquakes match and, most of all, the promise of getting to know some cousins better than we did before.

Erick's cousin Andy lives in the Bay Area. In adulthood, our families have mingled a handful of times, and every time we wish it could be longer. This last weekend, we decided to test the truth of that statement. Fortunately, we found that neither of us was just being polite.


During our visit, we filled our time with lots of play, soccer matches and even a couple of naps. We were very lucky to get to visit the winery where Andy and Bridget were married eleven years ago - almost to the day!


The weather was perfect, the conditions were restful (except a little stomach bug for Dylan), and the weekend went too quickly! Connor and Dylan wanted Sophia to stay and be their sister, which I'll take as a vicarious complement (yes, I just invented that phrase.) I have a feeling Sophia might have taken them up on the offer if we'd given her a chance!


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Monday, October 3, 2011

Big Weekend


Just so you know, we went to San Francisco for the weekend, and I got my hair cut. More to come!
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