Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Group Hug

This picture just makes me so happy. I thought it might bring a smile to the faces of others as well. Sophia loves her friends. She enjoys every minute they get to spend together. And this right here makes me willing to share her as much as she needs.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm back

It may not seem like that long since I've posted a blog. To me, though, it seems like it's been weeks.

Erick was sick last Monday when we were traveling. He really didn't feel better until about Thursday, mostly because he still had to go to work because he had things to catch up on from our vacation. Thursday was the first day that Sophia had a fever. So I had just finished putting away all of the vacation stuff and the laundry in order to spend the rest of the week and weekend snuggled up to my sweet and sad little princess. I'm not complaining. It's just been quite a roller coaster start to our year.

Anyway, I've still been looking through our pictures from the trip. Sophia was a little less willing to be on camera than usual. I'm really not sure why. No, really, I don't know.

I got a lot of pictures like this. She's smiling into Erick's shirt. And it's not even like I'd been snapping them all day like I do sometimes! 

Honestly, I don't know where she learned it. Erick and I are always ready for our pictures to be taken. We happily obliged when it was her turn behind the camera...

Always ready with a smiling face. That's us!

Maybe next trip I'll have a camera that doesn't need a flash so I can be more sneaky...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Disney Vacation

I'll be honest. I'm really unsure how to sum up our/my Disney experience. I have a few observations and some pictures. They don't necessarily go together, so I'll start with the observations. 

Disney World is incredible. It really is magical. So much so that I had to wonder if there was some sort of narcotic being filtered into the park. That's how euphoric it felt and how difficult the feeling is to explain. Of course, being that I'm a romantic and love being a child, it should come as no surprise that I fell in love with a place where dreams become reality and everyone is happy. Still, I was very surprised by just how much I enjoyed my Disney experience.

The Disney people - the imagineers - have thought of absolutely everything. Any time you think to yourself, "Boy, I could really go for a drink right about now," a drink stand would be in your path. There was never a line for the restroom. Never. And it was packed! There were foods to suit all needs. If you didn't feel like eating a meal, you could just buy a piece of fruit or some veggies and hummus! Fresh food in an amusement park. Strange. When we found ourselves distracted and almost ready to feel bored, a parade would come by, a show would start or someone would offer a suggestion! Disney had professional photographers at every great spot. They'd take a picture with your camera and one with their own. For $15, I can have a copy of one of these. Expensive, yes. Brilliant, definitely. I'm just saying, it was unreal how perfectly Disney World meets the needs - known and unknown - of its guests.

There are other observations, too, but maybe they'll fit into the pictures. We'll see.

We started out by going to the Animal Kingdom. I fully expected to enjoy myself, but I didn't know just how unlike a zoo the Animal Kingdom would be.

After a couple hours spent walking around and riding the Safari ride (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!), Sophia managed to snag her first autograph. She was thrilled to get Pocahontas's autograph, and it was just the beginning!

After Pocahontas, Sophia caught the bug. She then got Donald Duck, Chip and Dale, Rafiki and Minnie at the Animal Kingdom. Erick and I had fun with it too!

The next morning was our big splurge. We had breakfast with the princesses inside Cinderella's castle! That was definitely a highlight for all of us. It was completely worth it. Here is Sophia as we waited for our shuttle to the Magic Kingdom that morning.

When we got to the Magic Kingdom, we got to see the Opening Ceremony. It actually brought tears to my eyes. I was just so excited to see what the park held, and I was touched to see how excited Sophia was, too.

It only got better. Once we got into the castle, Sophia was greeted by Cinderella herself!

After our breakfast with the princesses, we just wandered through the park. We happened onto these two. Woody and Jessie are two of my absolute favorite characters.

We took a break on that long Magic Kingdom day. We went back to the hotel to swim. Just because we could. And because Sophia was not going to be happy if we didn't take advantage of having a pool. I couldn't blame her! 

After a little rest, we headed back to Magic Kingdom to enjoy the park at night. It might have been an even more spectacular place at night. Regardless, it was magical.

The fireworks were everything I hoped for. Sophia really enjoyed seeing them, although she did not enjoy hearing them.

We stayed at the park after the fireworks, wandering through the park and making a plan for what we wanted to do the next day. Another stroke of luck ended up with Sophia getting autographs from Tiana and Naveen, who chatted with her for several minutes!

This brings me to another observation. The characters at the park are eerily similar to the characters in the Disney movies. Seriously. They look and act EXACTLY like the prince/princess/random character that they portray. I know that's the idea, but how is it possible that they found just the right person for everyone? Genetic engineering, perhaps? Plastic surgery, maybe? I'm not sure, but I know it's incredible. These people were fantastic.

Our last day was just more of the same: swimming and wandering around the Magic Kingdom. It was an even more beautiful day and even more crowded at the park. I cannot wait to go back to Disney World, although I'm more than willing to give Disneyland a shot since it's so close to the beach. I have fallen completely in love with all that Disney has to offer. I am a hopeless romantic who has found a place to call home -- while on vacation, at least.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What a Weekend!!

We returned this morning from our long-awaited Disney vacation. It was so much more awesome than I could have imagined. I'll try to post more images and words. For now, I'm still on the second load of laundry - out of a bajillion. So, you'll just have to settle for this picture of Sophia and Snow White. Sophia is as happy as she looks - I think.

More to follow! Probably tomorrow. Hope you have a magical day. Sorry. I couldn't help myself.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Average Weekend

 A weekend at the Creach house is pretty average if it includes lots of dancing.

A mustache or two.

Some butterflies, perhaps, maybe even on the face...

And it ALWAYS. Yes, always. Ends in a slow dance.

And some snoring.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Judo Warrior Princess

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but Sophia has decided to give martial arts a try. Each semester, I try to give her the option of having one activity for the brain and one for the body. She chose martial arts for the body. It may turn out to be for her brain, too.

She is one smart cookie, but like her mama (yes, I'll completely own this one) she has some difficulty translating verbal instruction to physical response. I would give anything to be able to have better body control and understanding. So, I'm hopeful that she can learn some useful tools from martial arts.

She had her trial class yesterday, which went so well that she committed to going again today and even got the outfit. Convincing, isn't she?

First class or not, she and her friend Ryan (the one in jeans) learned to throw their opponents. She said she felt bad at first about throwing this guy, but then she got thrown and felt much better. This is SO good for Sophia.

I'm thrilled that she's so interested in martial arts. Discipline, respect, strength. What kid couldn't benefit from learning these qualities in a fun and safe environment? The sensei has kids of his own, who are also in the class. I assume that it's for that reason that he only asks us to pay a month at a time, with the expectation that their interest will ebb and flow. I'm glad he sees that coming because this is Sophia we're talking about. For now, she wants to go every time they have class, but we'll see...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Just Because

I'm going through all our pictures of Sophia in order to select a few for her week as "Diamond of the Week" in Kindergarten. While I was looking around, I came across this little gem. It was just a little over three years ago. Henri didn't make it into the picture because he was being carried. It's so hard to believe how much these kids have grown and changed in that amount of time.

That's all. Just wanted to share in the cuteness.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Disney Revisited

The last time we went to Orlando, Sophia was two. She was sweet, hilarious and obsessed with princesses. So the second sentence is still true.

We did not actually go to Disney World last time. We just did Downtown Disney and Typhoon Lagoon. This time around, we're headed for the Magic Kingdom. In two weeks, we'll be there enjoying all its glory! Just thought I'd give you a heads up...

Muscle Confusion

One of my gifts for Christmas from Mary was Come on All You Ghosts, a book of poetry by American poet Matthew Zapruder. I love poetry for many reasons, but I think all the reasons: entertainment, education, introspection, insight, beauty, pretty much all come back to one big appeal for me. Muscle confusion.

You know how cross training is such a successful workout because your body doesn’t know what’s coming next? Your muscles get used to doing one thing, then those muscles increase in power, but the rest maintain their flabbiness and flaccidity. Cross training confuses your muscles, causing them to burn more fat and develop more steadily - or something. I really don’t know much about cross training, having never done it myself. But I think that’s the general idea, and that’s what applies to poetry. Follow me?

Reading novels and biographies, watching movies and having conversations all establish our language patterns in a relatively set way. Very rarely are we surprised by the construction of dialogue or text, although the content occasionally astonishes. I know that I will note a well placed metaphor or turn of phrase, but nothing throws my brain into quite a different gear as does poetry. I love to be surprised by someone’s creativity with words. I like not being able to anticipate what’s coming next. Unpredictability in language is one of my favorite things. I like stretching the brain muscle in its language capacity. I imagine it’s how some people feel about complicated mathematical equations.

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from this particular book of poetry.

from "Pocket":

Saying pocket makes me feel potentially
but not yet busy.

from "April Snow":

I feel like a mountain of cell phone chargers

and finally my favorite from "Poem for Ferlinghetti":

That constant humming sound is time
coming to take us
away from each other.
Or the refrigerator,
keeping the milk cold
and pure.

In case you’re wondering, context does little or nothing to change the tone or meaning of these excerpts. They can stand alone or be experienced in a creative symphony of felt words.

All that being said, I don’t love poetry the way I love reading novels or memoirs, nor do I love it as much as a lengthy
conversation. I don't think it’s any more or less valid as a vehicle for communicating thoughts or feelings via word. But it can be a refreshing and invigorating change of pace for the noggin now and then. If you like - and you can comment - you can let me know what you use to exercise the brain. 

Or you can tell me more about cross training for the body.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sledding Adventures

Sophia and Erick went sledding three days of our break. I went twice. All were big adventures. The first day, we barely had enough snow. Second day was perfect snow for building, so we didn't sled as much as work... Last day was mostly ice. So very fast down the hill, but Sophia has become a confident and independent sledder - a relief for all of us.

All three were followed by hot chocolate, of course. What's the point of sledding and teapots if not for hot cocoa?