Friday, March 29, 2013

Fun in Sun and Snow

Perfect combination of remaining snow and spring sunshine!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Break, so far

Spring Break will end with Easter. I'll post about that when it happens. So far, our break has been fun and full, combined with lazy and quiet.

It started with this. Sledding and slogging through the snow.

Lucky for us, they cleared the roads well so we could get to this. An egg hunting good time with lots of friends.

And a lot of fun with a couple of Sophias.

Sophia has her own special way of enjoying snow melt. Mixed with dirt. I imagine there will be more of that today.

I hope everyone else's spring break has been as great and fun-filled as ours. Still more to come with Easter back in Columbia!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Good News and Bad News

We had Sophia's parent/teacher conference last night.

It was our first genuine conference with the teacher, so we weren't sure what to expect. Sophia had to come with us, and we were very surprised at how much of the conference was actually driven by her, the student.

First, she read through her self-evaluation with us. She got to choose "yes" or "sometimes" for things like "Listen to the teacher," "Do my best," and "Keep my hands to myself." Then she got to rationalize her thinking aloud to all three of us. The only "sometimes" was keeping her hands to herself. When asked why she has trouble, she told us that she sometimes feels "trapped in the learning and just wants to have fun with her friends." Fair enough.

After her self-evaluation, she got to read a story to us. A story from her real life that she had written and drawn out in book form. It's one of the things they do in Kindergarten these days. And it's the one thing that Mrs. Wilson went out of her way to tell us that Sophia does really well. She does the rest of school well, too, but this seems to be a strong point. She was very proud to read us her story (and the rest of them when we got home.) 

Mrs. Wilson then asked Sophia what should be done again in Kindergarten next year and what could be different. Sophia leaned back in her chair, looked around carefully and said that she "would consider" doing more with what they call the "toy store" on the bulletin board. I was impressed that the teacher would ask these kids and genuinely care about the answers. I love that, in Kindergarten, they are already learning that what they have to say is important and valuable. I would love to hear what all the others had to say. I certainly do not want to teach Kindergarten, but I would love to hear more of what happens in their brains. 

At the end of the conference, Sophia left to put something away and Mrs. Wilson said, "She's a very social child, as you know. That will be the good news and bad news of her school career." 

I wonder how many times, over the next decade, we'll hear that statement. Honestly, I hope it's pretty often. Then, summing up the good news/bad news scenario, Mrs. Wilson said, "She is just so.... Sophia." After which, I was very confident that Mrs. Wilson knows our girl. Only once you truly know her do you realize how fully she defies description. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Old School

I have been going through all the stuff in our basement. That pretty much consists of Sophia's toys and my old pictures. It has made me a little sad that, with digital cameras, we don't print every picture we take. Doubles, actually. I used to always get doubles of everything. One for me and one for someone else or a frame.

This meant that as I was going through pictures, I was getting rid of at least one of everything. Even once the digital camera age arrived, it took me a while to stop printing at least one of everything. I guess I didn't trust the computer to actually store my memories reliably.

As Sophia was looking through the pictures with me, she sighed and said, "You didn't really take a lot of pictures of me as a baby, did you?" because all she was seeing were pictures of younger me and Erick and our friends and family pre-Sophia. The reason that is funny, as you can guess, is that I have literally (I'm using that correctly) taken thousands of pictures of Sophia. For the most part, however, these are safely in the computer and online. I did find a few books of pictures of baby Sophia, taken before I stopped printing every picture, and she was happy with that.

I can certainly see the value in digital storage of pictures, but I do miss flipping through a stack of pictures and having no idea if the one you were excited about turned out. The fact is, however, it rarely did turn out, and that's why I love my digital camera. Also, I love that we can click self-portraits all day and not settle for a blurry one. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Wide World (and beyond) Awaits

Sophia is a reader.

She's been very close for a long time. She's been reading words and short, simple books but hasn't cared much to push herself farther than that. I haven't pestered her about it. I knew that she'd take off when her timing was right.

The time seems to be right because she's reading great now. Chapter books, small books, whatever she feels like. It's so much fun to watch. It's even more fun to hear her tell us about what she's reading. It's a habit I, for one, have never been able to shake. Just ask Erick. The other night, our conversation included, "Well, you're going to tell me anyway, so you might as well just do it." And my response, "If you don't want to hear it, I'll try my hardest not to say it anyway." But he didn't put up a fight, so I told him the entire plot of what I'd been reading. Lucky, lucky fellow. Just kidding. Again, I'm the lucky one in that particular tale.

Anyway, back to Sophia. I am so excited for her to uncover all the promise that is held inside of a good book. I keep trying to direct her toward things like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, but I know that she'll dive into worlds just as magical on her own. I really hope that she keeps up the practice of sharing what she reads because reading is an adventure of its own. Mystical, tangible and, above all, memorable. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

So close

Spring is so close I can hardly stand it. On mornings like this, especially. I can't enjoy being warm and cozy from a cold day when it's supposed to be a warm one. Oh well.

We enjoyed our day of spring on Saturday. Shopping, followed up by a trip to the driving range and putting green. Sophia and Erick had lots of fun with their golfing sticks, and I read my book and basked in what sun I could find.

Yesterday was spent inside: cleaning, sorting, playing. General Creach merriment. I know it's ridiculous, and everyone is tired of hearing it, but I hate Daylight Savings Time. Well, I hate that we go back in the fall. I like having more sun in the afternoon. I think it should always be this instead of Standard time. Why would we want to go back in the fall? What possible advantage could there be?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Saving the Day

Last night, the family had big plans. Erick and I were going to the Jazz Under the Stars event at the Planetarium, and Sophia was looking forward to an evening with her favorite babysitter. She was particularly excited about showing off her new fish. (A story for another day.)

Things didn't work out as planned. About twenty minutes after we planned to leave, I got a text from our reliable and awesome sitter that she'd been in bed sick all day, except to get up to throw up...and had forgotten to call.

In that intervening twenty minutes, Sophia had been despairing in her room. Crying and telling Corol (pronounced Coral) all about how she felt forgotten and alone. I can identify with those feelings, of course. Any time someone forgets a commitment, it's hard not to take it personally. Still, as the person most often forgetting, I can't say much. Sophia, on the other hand, forgets nothing and has a hard time understanding those who do...

Even after we had heard the truth from the sitter, Sophia was sad and disappointed. As were we, but we're adults, so we saved our emoting for later. We painted a canvas together to lighten the mood. That worked for a few minutes. Then it was back to bed for Sophia, where this time she was despairing over the short amount of time left in the evening and a lack of decisiveness on her part that would likely result in no more fun before bed!

I was hanging out in there with her, although she offered, "Mommy, you can go have fun in the other room. I'll just be sad alone." I declined after making sure she didn't really want me to leave. I was about to just give up, when salvation walked through the door.

Erick handed Sophia a rolled up piece of paper, which she discovered to be a treasure map. She looked at me and the clouds were gone from her eyes. She almost tried to hang onto her sadness for a minute, but it couldn't win over the mystery and promise of a treasure map.

They tromped around the house, past the Spinning Discs of Doom (the record player) and other obstacles and landmarks made up of household items. They found the treasure after a search that lasted just the right amount of time. The treasure was the last cookie. A treasure that Sophia had coveted all day, so it was a good one. Sophia's feelings of sadness were lost to the fun with her daddy and guide. A daddy who knows just how to lift the heart of his sometimes desperate girl.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cure for Cabin Fever

It looks like we may get some spring temperatures next weekend, but we couldn't wait till then to get out of the apartment.

Yesterday, Grandmary was with us for our trip to the Botanical Gardens. The outdoor areas were not yet in bloom, but we enjoyed the Climatron. I also enjoy saying Climatron. Sophia spent most of our time in the Climatron complaining about the heat. She's really a cold weather girl.

The Temperate House was -- well, it was more temperate. And it's by far my favorite. It feels English and Mediterranean at the same time.

In order to get our fix today, we headed to the zoo. We were bundled up, but Erick and I were not quite as stylishly bundled as Sophia.

In other news, Sophia has started to read. Apparently, when one begins to read, one wants to read everywhere. For example, one might want to read in the Sea Lion Tunnel. And a sea lion might just want to read with you!

Since Sophia had spent most of our zoo time either reading or climbing on rocks, we decided to add a trip to Turtle Park, where she could get her climb on.

P.S. Creaches look great in layers.

Ridiculously cute.