Monday, November 26, 2012

The Flip Side of Independence

We had a fantabulous weekend. Full of relaxation. Laughing. Playing. Resting. Snuggling. General perfection. So it always makes me sad to see Erick head off to work and Sophia walk into her classroom on the following Monday morning.

This morning when I told Sophia how much I'd miss her while she was at school, I thought maybe I shouldn't. I thought perhaps she'd see my admission as permission to stay. I envisioned her clinging to me an extra long time this morning and saying, "Mommy, I don't want to leave this morning. Can I please stay here with you?"

My fears were misplaced. When I uttered my confession, she turned to me and gave me her "Kinda-sorta" face and hand wiggle. I just squeezed her again and said (mostly truthfully) that I was glad that she loves school so much. She said, "Well, I just have so much fun with my friends that sometimes I forget about the weekend."

I'll have to be sure to remind her of how awesome I can be... Legendary fun is in the making.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Great Start to the Holidays

We have already had a fantastic start to our holidays. If the rest of this season is anything like the start, we are in for a really good time. 

Last weekend, we went to Springfield to see my family. While there, we visited Silver Dollar City during my favorite time of the year there. The Christmas lights are the perfect way to really get into the spirit.

Sophia had a wonderful time with my parents.

And during the Thanksgiving holiday, she had a wonderful time with Grandmary.

Thanksgiving morning, we went to watch the Thanksgiving parade downtown St. Louis. It's chock full of great high school marching bands. Here is Sophia snapping along to one of the passing songs.

Today has been a full and fantastic day, too. Shopping this morning, but not till we had hung out for a while at home. Once we got home, we decorated our apartment for Christmas. Here is the teamwork to get the star on the tree. We have so much fun.

Here's our apartment all decked out in its Christmas apparel.

The rest of the day was spent as the beginning - relaxing. Our plan for tomorrow is more of the same. Erick and I bought Jenga last night, and it's been the hit of the day. I expect we'll be stacking and dodging a lot this weekend. Hope everyone's holiday has been filled with food and laughter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The First Thanksgiving


Last night, the Kindergarten cohort of Captain hosted a Thanksgiving Feast, which included performances by our children dressed as Wampanoag Native Americans and Pilgrims. They got to choose for themselves how they dressed.

This whole unit, which has been the entire month, maybe even before Halloween, has just been so much fun to hear about. Sophia is way into this thing. I hope she hangs onto this interest in history. The story itself is so compelling that I don't blame her for bursting through the door in the afternoons just aching to tell me some additional nugget that she learned today. I'm going to miss hearing about Squanto, Massasoit and Samoset now that it's all over...

Anyway, last night was a great time. The food, which was the whole Thanksgiving deal, was surprisingly delicious! I loved hanging out with Sophia's classmates and their families.

Erick got a couple of videos of the songs, so if we get those into accessible form, I'll be sure to share!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Coolest Place I Knew Nothing About

If one grew up in St. Louis, one has undoubtedly learned of Cahokia Mounds. I did not and had not. It's quite an amazing place. It was a civilization of Mississipian Native Americans that thrived for about 700 years, with it's peak in the year 1200. During that time, between 15 and 20,000 people lived there. That was actually a larger population than London had at the same time.

Anyway, we went there with the Kindergartners today. It was a great field trip, but we were all very tired by the time it was over. And I'm a little pooped still.

The most unique and recognizable feature of the Cahokia Mounds site is called Monk's Mound. It is 100 feet high and has 156 steps leading to the top.

At the top, the settlement's chief ruler lived and governed his people. The area around this main structure has 120 other mounds upon which other people of the upper classes would have built their homes. While most of the economy was based on agriculture, some families would have focused on tool building and even decorative or spiritual items and traded for food.

Obviously, I learned almost as much as the kids did. And Sophia wants to take Erick back on Saturday. Since we'll have about 59 fewer kids, I might be willing...

Here, Sophia and Emery are looking at a marker. Can you see the faint outline of St. Louis over Emery's right shoulder?

 Here's a closer look at what we could see from the top. It was a little surreal to have the modern in view while surveying the ancient. A humbling slice of reality about our place in time.

Just because they're cute. And once we got into the museum itself, they got a little more difficult to follow and impossible to capture on film...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Making a break for it


Monday, November 5, 2012

My Schedule

Many weeks ago, I had mentioned that I might share what my weekly schedule looks like now that Sophia is at school all day every day.

Up until now, I haven't wanted to share, nor have I been entirely sure about my schedule. I'm still not sure, but I'm more willing to let you in on what I do know.

I know that time is a lot like square footage. The more you have, the more crap you get to fill it. I am not complaining, mind you. Just making an observation. In other words, I have been blessed with a lot of time that I can fill more or less as I choose. However, when I'm not intentional about carving out specific time to accomplish my goals, I find less and less of it available to use. In other words, crap starts piling up with no open space for breath and art.

Every week, on Thursday, I volunteer in the morning in Sophia's classroom. I do everything from work on the decorations to hearing the kids read to playing bingo. It is something that I have really enjoyed and feel very grateful for the chance to do while Sophia is in Kindergarten. However, for the past month or so, this commitment has combined with field trips and parties and other requests to put me at the school at least two, often three, days a week instead of one. Again, I'm happy to get to know the kids that Sophia is with all the time and become familiar with her routines, but it's not what I planned. Also, I have within me the power to say no... I'm aware.

I have actually been cooking! For those of you who know me well, you know it's a big deal for me to say that ever since school started, I have consistently been cooking at home significantly more than I've been serving prepared meals or eating out. Even more surprising is that I really enjoy it! Well, I enjoy it a bit. Really enjoying it might be a stretch.

And I've been keeping the house clean, which is not my favorite thing. So, let's recap: Kindergarten, cooking, cleaning. Plus, I love my life.

What I planned on doing during Sophia's Kindergarten year was the following: write. Not blogging. Writing. Something. Who knows what? Really. Do you know what?

Actually, never mind. I don't need your ideas. I have plenty of my own.

So the plan has been writing. For the month of September, I was a writer. Each day, I was getting some good things onto paper. Plots, characters, themes. None of these necessarily went with any others, mind you, but they were there. Then October came along. An illness, a wedding and previously mentioned commitments. I wasn't a writer any more. Or at least I was a very frustrated one.

It's November now, and I am hopeful. I am not hopeful that I will make more time. I only have the square footage that I have. However, I am hopeful that I can see myself as a writer and as a creator whether my time is free or occupied. I am hopeful that I will be more intentional with the time and energy that I do have in order to make things happen. If I can volunteer, cook and clean with a writer's mind in action, then I don't need time at the table with a pen and a cup of coffee. I am selling my mind and my creativity short.

This is actually more sharing than I intended to do, but there you have it. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween (yesterday)

Halloween is a lot of fun for us right now. Sophia is at a great age for it, and our neighborhood really takes it seriously. As I said last year, the kids who trick or treat in St. Louis have to have a joke ready when they get to the door. Sophia loves the extra minute of face time this gets her. I imagine it's a good confidence booster even for the less outgoing kids. Since they're in costume, they all seem to be a bit braver to speak up.

Sophia's joke this year as she put it: What do you get for crossing Bambi and a Ghost?     Bam- BOO!
She got lots of laughs this year. And plenty o' candy.

Erick and I decided to get festive this year too. I like just pulling things together to see what happens. Erick went with the Leprechaun look... Sophia dressed as Gabriella from the movie High School Musical. It's also where our cat  got her name. Here we all our with our carved pumpkins behind us.

Another one of our favorite parts about Halloween is the neighborhood party. Hot dogs, drinks and cupcakes, all while looking at our neighbors in costume. It was even more fun this year for Sophia because with school, she has many more neighborhood friends, so she could join in the games of chase that preceded the Trick or Treat all clear...

Anyway, it was all great fun. I'm not a huge fan of Wednesday night Halloween, but what are you going to do?