Thursday, December 15, 2016

Advent: Joy

I skipped right over peace, didn't I? We had some good, but not surprising conversations about peace last week. But, I was tired. That's all I wanted. Extra sleep.

Now, we've moved onto Joy before the big fella: Love. So, here are some things that bring me joy:

my new hat (see picture)
getting a paycheck
telling a story
hearing a story
ice (for beverages, not on roadways)
snow (everywhere)
fluffy blankets
hot cocoa
the smell of baking

Just to name a few. Joy to the world!

Friday, December 2, 2016


Going back to work has been a big adjustment for all of us. The changes for Erick and Sophia have been more subtle because I'm still at school drop off and pick up every day. However, I'm not able to do all the housework and errands that I normally do throughout the week.

The biggest changes have been felt my Leo and me. Poor little Leo has to stay in his crate from 8:30 to 3:00 every day. Two reasons. The first is that Gabriella hates him, and we worry that either the cat or the dog would wind up hurt at the end of some long day. Second is that even if I close Gabriella in her own room, Leo is anxious the entire I'm gone if he's not in his crate. He stays on the same patch of couch watching the door, but I know in his crate at least he calms down.

It's been a bigger adjustment than I thought it would be for myself. I'm just working during the hours that Sophia's in school, but the shift it has made in my mentality is pretty significant. In some ways, I'm more efficient during the time I have at home, and in other ways, I seem to be a bit adrift. I haven't found the patterns that will make this all work together. The really good thing is that I'll probably get to adjust back down at least somewhat. A person is being hired to take on quite a bit of the job I'm doing at the moment, so that will be a relief. I just have to push through till then.

Regardless, it's the holiday season, and I'm focusing on hope.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Advent: Hope

Something new that we have decided to bring into our house this year is the discussion of Advent. Advent was not something we observed or discussed as such while I was growing up, but I have come to see those types of traditions as meaningful and a way to connect to Christianity's roots.

I wasn't on the ball enough to get an Advent wreath, so we've just been discussing the various parts of the season. The candle that would have been lit at the beginning of this Advent week was the Candle of Hope. It's been nice to talk with Sophia in the evenings about things we have hope for and what we can do to give others hope. It's also been nice just to keep hope as part of my daily routine and thought.

Christmas is such a beautiful time of year, and in some ways it's easy to find hope. In others, the season lays bare the hopes of the past year that simply haven't been fulfilled, for ourselves and others.  Regardless, it's a great way to spend a few minutes with the people you love - talking softly about hope.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016!

I know it's been two months since I've posted. I'm still getting used to this working thing. So, please be patient. I do think I'll get back to the point where I can post once a month instead of once every two months. Maybe.

For now, let me just tell you about our Thanksgiving this year.

It was relaxing and fun. Not a lot of time outside, but just a little to work up an appetite after the Macy's parade. Grandmary was with us, and we all enjoyed the family time.

Sophia wore herself out practicing goalie in the park. So Erick generously carried her back up the hill.

The rest of our weekend was more of the same time of relaxing and fun. We got up all the decorations, and put our tree into our newly orange room.

Sundays at the Art Museum are Family Fun Days, so we try to go there when it works out. This Sunday they had the chance to decorate ornaments for their tree and ours. I couldn't think of a better way to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon in St. Louis.

Tomorrow, it's back to work and school. Just like every other family in this stage, we're all a little melancholy. We have a longer break to look forward to, of course, but it feels like it might be a long month. Hopefully I'll have the chance to tell you something more in the meantime!

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Happy Birthday, Sophia! YOU'RE TEN!!!

Dear Sophia,

It's been a decade since we brought you home to our house on Timbers Court. I remember it better than I do lots of things - not the moment walking through the door, but the many moments of staring down at your sweet, new-to-me face. I remember how lucky I felt. And responsible. I wanted so many things for you. I still do, of course. And now you're ten! Most of my desires for you have already come true.

I wanted you to know who you are. You are more aware of the big things that make you who you are than many adults. That's not to say you'll always feel so confident, but I  You relish the fact that you are a natural leader. Instead of using it to get your way, you use it to help your friends find their gifts and use them. I see that on the soccer field more obviously than anywhere else, but I hear about it in the classroom, too.

I hoped that you would be curious and clever. Those two go hand in hand, and you embody them both. School isn't always your favorite, but learning is. You love to dive into something that interests you. Then you write about it, tell us about it, sing about it, or blog about it. You have moved into the phase of your childhood where your questions are usually bigger than our answers, but that doesn't stop us from digging.

I wanted you to be brave and adventurous. Bravery, remember, is not about an absence of fear. It's about facing that fear and not letting it rule you. That's you. You are afraid of some things because of that last wish I had. You're clever and curious enough to know that risks sometimes have unpleasant consequences. However, your bravery and adventurous spirit usually win out and lead you into amazing things like climbing back on a horse or trying crazy foods or running into a crashing wave. I love watching your mind work and picking a winner between spirit and caution. Whichever one wins, it's usually the right call.

Ten is a huge milestone. One that I haven't been entirely ready to mark off, for lots of reasons, I suppose. But as I write this, I am reminded that you are who you are. I am lucky to get to share you with the world that you're determined to make your own.

Happy birthday, Sophia! May this year be your best yet.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Green Demons

Here are the dominant and sportsmanlike Green Demons! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Fall On The First Day of Fall

Hey guys this is Sophia, and I wanted to tell you about the first time  I fell off a horse. It all started here on a beautiful day. I was having a good day and jumping at a canter for the first time...

Then I went around the outdoor area and came over the jumps on the outside line. Then I came down the line of jumps  to a corner. Dude (the horse I am riding) was ready for the turn, I though was not...

So I just simply flopped to the ground it a groaning painful heap. This is a picture... 
After it all went down. Yes I Sophia Monroe Creach after I fell got back on the horse.  (not metaphorically speaking. Literally I got back on the horse, Dude) I did not terribly injure myself I just landed on my tail bone. Of course I had to have my first fall on the first day of fall.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A willing learner and effective communicator

Sophia started school last week. With the return to our routine, I also started something new - job hunting.

It's not just any job that I'm hunting for. It's a job with purpose. I want to be in a position to make a difference, and I can wait a while or take a completely entry-level job to make that happen. 

Over the last couple of years, I've been the co-president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Sophia's school. She is lucky to go to one of the best schools in one of the best districts in the state. 

Along with the commitment I made to Sophia's school, I've been volunteering at a school in the Normandy District, which is in a much different position than Clayton. It's unaccredited, and its students can transfer out to other schools in the area as long as it remains that way. The two schools can be seen as completely different in some ways. However, in many ways, they are the same. I spend most of my time in both schools in the office. The administrators of both schools know all the kids by name. They are happy to see them in the morning, although in Normandy, there is a pushback on the kids who come in late too often. In Clayton, that's not really an issue. In both schools, the needs of the kids come first, and every step forward is celebrated. The difference is in the steps.

All this to say, I have grown a passion for equity in education. The kids in both schools are bright and sweet and want to do the right thing. They want to go to college, and for the most part, they still believe they can do just about anything. And, for the kids in Clayton, even the ones who don't live in the district, almost anything is within reach. For the kids in Normandy, it's going to be tougher. They shouldn't have to work twice as hard to get the same result. But they do. It's not only one problem - money or teachers - it's a thousand problems. Just because it's huge, doesn't mean it shouldn't be tackled and chipped away at. 

Lots of organizations are working on different aspects of these issues. Food, supplies, extra reading help, behavioral intervention to name a few. There are organizations working toward fixing the gaps at the high school level, so kids can come out and get a quality college education or get connected in the workforce. I have some ideas about which areas I want to invest in, but honestly, I just want to get the clear to jump in and I'll figure it out.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

First Day of School

Sophia is a little less giddy about the first day of school, but having friends around certainly helps! Can't wait to hear about the first day of fourth grade.

Monday, August 15, 2016

dog walker walkin' dog

Hey guys this is Sophia! I wanted to tell you about my experience walking this dog. This dog's name is Beau. He belongs to my neighbor. She is letting me walk her dog for $$$$$$! I don't just do it for the money though. Although the money is great.  I do it because I love dogs. Dogs are the best creatures on the planet. This was the first time I walked Beau. Beau is so cute!!!!! I REALLY like walking dogs now.  Even though I also have to be on "doody" duty.  It's 100% worth it. Also this was my last day of summer :(. Well lets end on that happy note. Bye!!!!!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Farewell, Summer!

School starts for Sophia on Tuesday. It's so hard to believe that another summer has come and gone. I love summer. That's an understatement. This summer, especially, has been one to remember.

I haven't had PTO work, and I decided at the beginning that I was going to wait until school actually starts up to pursue the next phase of whatever life will bring me. So, Sophia and I have been living completely and totally in the moment together.

Our huge list of things we wanted to do this summer is almost entirely checked off. We got more accomplished than we have in several summers. We've also had more time just hanging out at home - playing video games and watching TV, yes, but also lots of outdoor time and creative play. I have fully enjoyed this summer with Sophia. She turns 10 in September, and I just don't know how much longer she is going to want to spend her summer with her mom. I also don't know how much time there will be to spend together next summer.

Anyway, it's been the best summer I can remember, honestly. I am sad to see it go.

Here are a few highlights.

Tea for the ladies

Flo Rida and fireworks!

Feeding birds at Grant's Farm. (I was outside the cage because I do not like birds.)

Ah, the Circus!

Lots of fun with the Boysies, too!

And an adventure at City Museum.

This is just a slice of the fun we've had this summer, but it'll have to do.

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Vacation Post

I truly intend to post more than once a month, but the summer has been so full and fun, partially full of couch laying and snuggling, that a blog post seems like way too much work. This does not bode well for my or Sophia's productivity in a few weeks, but I guess we'll deal with that when it comes.

We have been back for almost a week from our vacation to Portland and Seattle. That was one of the best trips we've had yet, and we've had a bunch of good ones.

We had a couple great beach days in Seattle. Erick and I got a little sunburnt. I always forget that the Seattle sun packs a little extra punch. It was worth it, though. I had my face sunscreened up, but my arms were sorely lacking. So at least I hope I didn't add any new cancer cells to my face. Downer.

One evening, we left our totally responsible and always surprisingly older kids (15, 12 and 9) at home to play video games while we headed out for some live music with our friends. Oh, did I mention that for our week in Seattle, we were staying in our friends' home? Because we did. And we still didn't tire of one another. Always amazing. But look at these faces! How could you lose?

Before we did Seattle, we did a bit of Oregon, and we loved it. In this picture, Sophia is actually quite congested, but she was a good sport. The higher we went (up Mt. Hood in the background), the more stuffy she got. But it was so beautiful!

This was a really strange landscape and riverbed called the White River. It's so interesting because the rocks here are different than they are anywhere nearby. We were fascinated. And Mt. Hood is hidden in the cloud behind us. Tricky guy.

All along the drive, we stopped at many picturesque locations just to see what they were all about. Water is always Sophia's favorite, and she can probably tell you about each water source we found and compare the temperature and speed to all the others. We saw all three of these and many more in our one drive through Oregon. There is so much exploring to do out there!

And now we're home and getting ready to start getting ready to start getting school supplies. Sophia is not looking forward to going back. This is the typical dread that settles in and dissipates on the first morning of school, kind of like the cloud over Mount Hood. That morning, she'll remember at the last moment to look back and say, "See ya!" 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Music Man and more

Our summer is more than half way over. That's so crazy to say out loud. For Sophia and I, this has been the best summer ever. I've not had PTO or anything else to worry about. She and I have gone and done almost everything on our very long list of summer things to do. Just generally, we've gotten along marvelously and had fun together. This age is just about ideal, I think. Sophia is hilarious and thoughtful and a great listener. She's always been all these things, I suppose, but now she can make her own snacks!

It sounds lazy for me to say that, but often when she asks for something, I'll get up at the same time just to prove it's not laziness that is making me say no. "No, I won't fill your water, but I'll get up when you do just to prove the point that I'm doing it so you learn to take care of yourself." That's probably much more about my own self-consciousness, but the fact remains that she does give me an eyeball if I seem to just be taking the easy way out.

Anyway, in the picture here, we are all headed to see The Music Man at The Muny. We all three love that musical, and we all three love The Muny. This wasn't our favorite version we've ever seen, but it was still just great. Marian and Harold are one of my favorite couples. Their song "Till There Was You" is so incredibly sweet and descriptive of new love.

In just over a week, the three of us will fly out to the Pacific Northwest to see some of our very bestest friends. Erick also has a full list of things he wants to do, particularly in Portland, so we're excited about that.

Meanwhile, Sophia's in advanced horseback riding camp. She's loving it, and she's mostly happy to be one of the youngest kids there, though I think she wishes she were farther along with all her skills.

And the summer begins to wane. I plan to squeeze every ounce of fun out of it that I possibly can. I hope you're doing the same!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

hi guys this is Sophia. I wanted to tell you about the summer weather here in St. Louis. Spring weather more like. It has been pouring down rain... But it has been humid as well. Right now, as I am typing, thunder is sounding and rain is pouring down. So as I say at times like these "Darn you Missouri!!!!!" Yes that is a straight quote from my book. Or at least it would be if someone would write me a book!!!!!!!! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sweating in the Garden

Yesterday was a lot like today: hot. Very hot. Missouri mid-summer hot. Yet, we're not in mid-summer. Oh well.

Our goal for the summer is to live in the moment and stay busy. To that end, Sophia and I have tried to get out and do stuff every day. Yesterday morning, we were tired and dreading the heat. However, the MO Botanical Gardens are free to residents on Wednesday mornings, so...

We had the best time in the Garden. We walked around to all the areas that we miss when we go for the summer concerts. The Japanese garden is my favorite and Sophia's too. I was taking a picture of that particular garden when Sophia photo bombed it. The result is very cute.

Here we are glistening as we walk. I'm not sure how much water we drank because we refilled our water bottle at each water fountain. The shade was so lovely, though. The breeze cooled us just enough to feel like we could make it all the way.

Another place we don't normally go is the house of the garden's benefactor, Henry Shaw. This time, however, we went in and did the whole tour. Sophia loved it! She said how great it would be to live in a house like this some day. It is a great house. They have a great deal of original furniture and such, too, which makes it all the more interesting and, according to Sophia, a little creepy.

We made it all the way through the garden, with the final stop at the Children's Garden splash park. It was a lovely way to pass a morning with my girl. This summer is turning out to be quite lovely, in spite of the heat.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

weekday workout switch off

Hey guys. Sophia here. I am going to tell you about my Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 1. Here I go.  So, on Tues. and Thurs. My friends come over to play for 3 hours. There mom goes swimming, when my mom watches us, and when their mom watches us, my mom goes boxing. This is the cycle of my Tuesdays and Thursdays. Today one of my friends got stuck in my bed twice. In-between the crack of my bed and the wall, and another time in-between the railing of my top bunk and the wall. So my bed and the wall where not her friends today. Today is Thursday, and when we where outside I met my new neighbor. Yesterday I started a show called: The Stork Show. I am The Stork. I have already had 3 special guests on the show. 2 of which wanted to pretend to be people they weren't, so it is a very interesting show. Today is a little bit I will go to the pool for the 5th time this week. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hey guys, this is Sophia.
Today is the sixth day of Summer Vacation. I have already gone to the pool twice, and I went to my friends pool yesterday. I went to the pool the two times, THIS WEEKEND! I went to my friends house/pool this weekend too. This weekend was Memorial Day Weekend, so it was a 3 day weekend. We went to Sports Authority on Sunday. Because the location close to my house is closing, they had a sale. I don't know when they are closing, but I know they are. Today is Tuesday, and I got up at 6 o' clock. For no reason at all. I just did. Then I played games until 7 o'clock, and watched TV till 8. So as you can see I have had a V-E-R-Y busy morning.

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Poems

Hey, this is Sophia. Today I am going to share a few poems with you.
The first one is called Idea Bucket Here it is.

My brain
Is a bucket
Full of
Except Now
Of all times

The next one is called Books

Bound paper
Full of

The next one is called Leo

The best dog
The best friend

The last one is called Wave

Sea foam sits atop
A wave
Getting taller than a King's Throne

Third Grade is Almost Over!

 Third grade has not been the best year at Captain. Now, that's not to say it's been bad. The first three years were each special in their own way. This year has been one for significant growth for Sophia, but it's not one that will go down as "special." Nothing more needs to be said about that at the moment.

The end of the year is always jam packed with extra things. Most of these things end up being my favorite things from the year, and that is still true.

One day last week, all the third graders gave presentations on a country or countries of their choice. I say countries, but only one third grader chose to do two - that would be Sophia. There are some conflicting reports about why she chose to do two, but it comes down to excitement and words. She has them both.

As a matter of fact, she didn't do a report on Kenya as she originally planned; however, she says she'd like to spend some of her free time researching it because it seems cool.

Her choices were Argentina and Venezuela. Here, Erick's holding the 13-page book that Sophia wrote about these countries. We were so proud to get to see the result of all her hard work. It really was a big project, and she threw herself into it.

Then there's field day. It's really and truly one of my favorite days every year. Maybe I'm reminded of the day Erick and I noticed each other as 16-year-olds, or maybe it's just that the excitement of the kids is catching. Regardless, I love it. My job this year was to take pictures of the kids. I had so much fun doing it. Here's Sophia with a few of her fellow "Brick Breakers."

And here she is showing off her skills as an egg carrier. She thought it was funny that she holds her mouth like that when she's concentrating. I think it's cute. Also, I'm doing it right now as I type. Sometimes, she really is like me.

The end of this year also brings the end to my administration as the PTO president. I may have more to say about that later, but for now I need to buy stuff for the end of year picnic...

Monday, May 9, 2016


Hey this is Sophia. I am going to also be telling you about my camping trip. It was lots of fun. Yes we ordered pizza, but it was in a kitchen house thing. The only problem was the bugs. We saw everything from beetles to June bugs. All of us are such city kids, that every time we saw a bug you could always count on one of us screaming. So in my mind the only way to stop this was to stomp on the bug. Well it kinda worked. But when I did everyone screamed louder. Then they told me I was the grossest person ever to walk in the cabin, but in the long run, it stopped them from screaming. So I said. " As long as it keeps you from puncturing my ear drums, then I will do it." The beds were somewhat comfortable. But limited, very limited sleep was gained. The adults had a little run in with a mouse that night. The camp fire was very enjoyable. I heard a lot of stories. But none were very scary.

Girl Scout Camping Trip

Friday evening, Sophia and I had an adventure with her friends and mine, since many of them overlap with the Girl Scout troop that she joined this year.

These particular moms, myself included, are not necessarily fans of roughing it. So, when the girls insisted on taking a camping trip this year, we compromised with an overnight stay at Shaw Nature Reserve, basically at a retreat center. A huge cabin is where we spent the night, and a lovely community building is where we our (two) meals.

Regardless, the girls had a lovely time. None of them had expectations of a tent, so that's a relief. All they wanted was some uninterrupted play time and s'mores. These things they got.

I snapped this picture before they shot off into all different directions, and they look so sweet!

After completing some nature activities that kept them busy until the pizza came. Yes, we ordered pizza. We had dinner and started the all-important fire. 

S'mores and storytelling rounded out the fire pit time, followed by a quick game of Ghost in the Graveyard - a stylized version of pitch black tag.

Then I tucked Sophia into her bunk, which I ended up having to climb into to help her to sleep about an hour or two later - after my own drama with a mouse. I'll save that for another time.

Anyway, some sleep was had, though not much. Then the girls got to work on our breakfast in this very rustic kitchen...

All to be topped off with a hike through nature being recorded by my little filmmaker.

It was a very fun time, and it really made me appreciate those moments with Sophia and our friends. No distractions, just each other and nature. It was a great way to kick off Mother's Day weekend for us. I love getting to share these experiences with her. I might even be willing to try a tent next time.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sophia honors her Kindergarten teacher

We have made no secret of our love for Sophia's school. Captain is a marvelous place that encourages kids to be kind to one another and themselves. Of course, they teach many things for the mind as well as the spirit. All that started, for us, with Mrs. Wilson, Sophia's Kindergarten teacher.

She is a lovely person who gets to know and care for each of the kids that comes through her doors. Sunday was a reception for her and three other members of the Captain community. Sophia got to do the speech for Mrs. Wilson. As with everything she does, she took it very seriously and went at it with gusto. The result is just right. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Typical Weekend at The Creach Residence

Hey guys, this is me Sophia. 
This weekend at our house wouldn't be normal for anyone else. 
Some people may go eat BBQ. I am not saying we didn't do that, because we did. Or maybe they watch Star Wars. We did that too.
But did they watch their cousin play soccer. Or, umm let their cousins friend stay at their house for a night. If you did that's great. But did you, oh nope that was it.
Oh wait, wait, wait, wait, wait did you go hiking with your cousins, walk to the art museum with your aunt, or go to your school's garage sale, and have a booth there. Yay, I didn't think so. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Zoo Time is Family Time!

This Saturday, before Sophia had a sleepover at a friend's house, the three of us went to the zoo. It was one of those perfect days where the weather was just cool enough for all the animals to be active but not so cool as to make us miserable.

We saved some things for another time, of course, but we traveled all over the zoo, including the spot where Sophia likes to climb in and around the scrub trees and bushes.

Some days things just work out right, and it was important that this was one of those days. The previously mentioned sleepover weighed heavily on Sophia's mind all day. Maybe that's part of the reason she got a piggyback ride part of the way home.

The sleepover went better than any of us honestly hoped. We were so happy for her. Then we realized that another little thread of that cord that keeps us so tightly bound just frayed away. Of course it's best! But it's true that our baby isn't a baby any longer. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Break

We've had a lovely spring break so far. Last year's spring break trip was to New Orleans. That was marvelous. Our only trip for spring break this year was to the farm in Illinois. Not as big of a change, but we had a lot of fun.

Sophia is so interested in agriculture. It's really interesting to me. As soon as we crossed into Illinois, she started asking questions about augurs and silos and how they all work together. Once we got to the farm, she spent a lot of time out in the wind with the dogs and the cows and the hay bales.

She also enjoyed the time spent indoors making cookies with Granny. It's something they enjoy each time, and Sophia always earns a little more trust with the process as they go along.

It was never too long before Sophia was headed back outside, though. She was determined to find this particular calf. On our last visit to the farm, Sophia got to name this little heifer, so she has a very vested interest in her progress. The plans for her don't include being eaten, so that's a relief.

In order to get out to her, we had to get onto the gator, a cross between a golf cart and a small tractor. I drove out through the cows, but in honor of my grandpa, I let her drive us back. She did great, and made a wonderful new memory.

I love that Sophia connects so fully and completely to the Illinois farm. It's fascinating to me how much of this stuff really is genetic. I'm grateful that we have the chance to deepen these connections while she's old enough to make memories and young enough to be formed by them. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Because I want to remember this very normal day with my extraordinary girl.

Sophia wants to be a professional soccer goalkeeper. She wants to own horses and sing karaoke with her friends on the weekends.

She wants a blue convertible or a big, black truck.

The other day, she said, "You and daddy are both biscuit eaters, so I'm the daughter of a biscuit eater, but it's not in the 'b' word way." (This in response to a song called S.O.B.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My Loves

I think I post a version of this picture every winter. I just love how cute these two are when they've been battling it out in the snow.

I love sledding, but Erick will occasionally allow Sophia to "sneak up" on him and smash snow in his face or down his shirt. So, he'll always be a little bit more fun to be outside with than I am. I'm okay with that.

Admittedly, I'm hoping that was our last snow. I can smell spring in the air today, and I'm hoping that's where we're headed.

Monday, February 8, 2016

We sure will miss him

Grandpa passed away this morning. I am so sad. Not for him, of course. He was ready. He was dissatisfied with life away from the cattle and the land.

No, I’m not sad for him, but for the rest of us. The rest of us will miss that strong man. Always ready to wrap a protective and fond arm around your waist and say “we” when he really means “I”. “You know, we sure are proud of you kids.” In the last few years, even a “We love you.”

He was the first adult to teach me what it felt like to be trusted. None of us ever wanted to disappoint him because he gave us the freedom we craved. Freedom in the form of money at the State Fair to spend and a few hours without adults around to do it. The keys to an old car and an open pasture before we knew how to drive. The reins to an unruly pony that he wasn’t sure you could handle.

Trust is what I learned from him. Because he trusted me, I began to believe that I was capable. I was willing to take risks because he seemed to think I wouldn’t fail, or that failure wasn’t the worst thing.

He was a farmer who kept horses and carriages. It didn’t make any sense, but he did it anyway. He didn’t care what other people thought about the things he did. He always knew better than anyone else. It’s one thing that most of us inherited from him, for better or worse. We tend to be the type of people who stick with our plans in spite of common wisdom. Common wisdom has nothing on us.

If you find us unwilling or unable to see when we’re wrong, you have him to thank. Of course, he gave us other qualities. Some got his ability to tell and stretch a good story. Some got his love of the land. Some can judge character in a person with stunning accuracy.

The thing we all got was the benefit of his love. For us, but most of all to witness the love he had for his wife. Over 70 years of starry eyed devotion. It will stay with us always. 

I am so glad I am one of his. We sure will miss him.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Royal Gem

Sophia is almost halfway finished with basketball season. The third grade girls are determined and fierce this year. And Sophia realizes, about half the time, that she is five feet tall. Lots of rebounding and a couple of baskets have made her very proud of her effort.

We've had a lot of fun going to games with all our friends. One of the best things about basketball this year is that we've been at it for three years now with the same families. The girls on the team are Sophia's friends from school, and we all know each other well. That means we know when to cheer. For one girl, we might cheer if she passes. For another, we might cheer if she goes after a jump ball. It's just great to watch these kids learn about themselves, the game, and about being on a team.

Five more games to go, so I may be feeling less joyful about the season in a few weeks. For now, though, it's very fun.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First snow of the Winter!!

Sophia has been incredibly upset that we had yet to get a single snow that would withstand a sled. It was a constant source of disappointment.

To be honest, I have been disappointed myself. So we were both thrilled to get our first real snow last week. While I don't think it was worthy of the snow day that she got from the school district, we certainly used it up!

This was her face after her first roll down the hill. Very, very pleased.

This was on our second sledding trip of the day. Toward the end when she doesn't need the hat any more, and her cheeks get nice and rosy.

On the third time we went sledding on Sophia's snow day, she stayed out for an extra hour with friends. That was the best of both worlds for both of us. 

This picture was taken the next day when we went sledding one more time before the snow was all gone. Like I said, we've only had the one snow, but we made good use of it! On thehat was the best of both worlds for both of us.

Can't wait for the next time that we get to get all bundled out and run up the hill over and over again. Seriously. I still love going sledding.