Saturday, September 27

"Mommy Cards"
I was talking to a friend of mine awhile ago about how hard it is to meet people as a stay-at-home mom. Now, there are lots of groups and things to join, but most are costly and there is always the issue of scheduling and commuting which doesn't always work. Now there are those 'great' days when you are at the park and you happen to catch the right moment when several other moms decide to go that day and you can actually have some pretty good conversation. Not to mention the fact that these are the people who live close to you, so the chances of play dates and things are really good.
The problem comes in when it's time to go; no one actually has a pen and paper with them and since we can't remember each others names, who really has the guts to say, "Can we meet here again tomorrow?"
I don't know. I bet lots of moms out there do have that kind of confidence, but I know for a fact I don't. My friend agreed that it makes leaving weird sometimes. So, since she is a former graphic designer and loves the craft stores she came up with these:

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(FYI--the markers are not actually on the cards--they have been "picnicked" in to hide my phone # and address.)
These are "Mommy Cards" that she designed specifically for me based on the colors from my blog and what she knows of me as a mom. She made some more for another friend of hers and I can tell you all of these cards are completely unique and match the mom behind the card. They are so cool!!!!!
Now when I go to the park, music class, open gym, or even the health club--if I happen to meet someone I would like to talk to again--I have all of my info with me in a nice little convenient card that fits in my pocket. Who said you had to work for a 'company' to have a business card? This is perfect!
I told her she should go into business. She's so creative--I almost hate to actually hand these out to people because they are sooooo cute! I guess I will just have to 'order' more from her soon. I just love the sparkly gems put on mine along with all the pink flowery stuff. WAY cute!!!
So, if you are interested--she's still in the experimenting phase, so cost is flexible and negotiable-all you need is a blog--or simply to be a 'stay-at-home kid-caretaker' in need of some friendships.
Just leave me a comment with your email and I will pass along the info to her.

Saturday Summary Part 1: 9.20 to 9.23

Last weekend: September 20
Buying a new car takes forever. We've been looking and looking and looking for weeks--and we still spent several hours over a two-day period at dealerships before we finally found the one that works for us. I wanted to be a 'green' mom and do everything I can to help the environment and save the polar bears. Well.........................

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Yeah. BUT--and I do mean BUT, they are giving away these giant gas guzzling beasts at the dealers for practically nothing (seriously this was the same price that my new Camry was 8 years ago!) and we really need a second car AND I have always loved driving the big giant truck mobile.....AND--we literally drive about 50 miles/week--maybe 75 if we go to the zoo. So, the way I see it? I am helping the planet because I am taking this dirty pollutant emitter out of the hands of someone who will drive it the average 230+ miles/week, thus preventing almost 75% less gas emissions on the environment PLUS since we don't drive much we won't need to spend too much at the pump. It is only 2 miles to the grocery store.
It's a really pretty truck too and Sophie LOVES the fact that she can sit in all sorts of places in the back and still have lots of room for her giant dog and all of her toys. Now, if I can move along the growth of this family and actually have more children--we're all set.
Monday, Sept. 22, 2008
We had to grocery shop in the morning, and I let Sophie help me bag the fresh fruit and work on getting the twist ties around the bags. It's hard for her to manipulate the twist ties, but she's getting lots of practice. Then she was being so good at the store, I felt compelled to take her to open gym for an hour before heading to the health club. By dinnertime we were both exhausted and feel asleep very early. It was a great day though and the elliptical machine is getting easier!
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008
There is something about Tuesdays. I don't have a clue why they are so trying, but they really are. Very. This was no exception. I have been behind on our schedule since last Friday, the day after the tea-party, so I feel a little overwhelmed with trying to come up with activities Sophie loves to do that will actually teach her something. On Tuesday mornings they have story time at Barnes & Noble so we headed over there, but we were late and missed most of the stories. We stayed for awhile though and read some books together and played with a couple other kids for awhile with the train set they have out. It's kind of a fun place to hang out when we don't feel like going to a gym.
When we got home, Sophie was itching to go outside so we decided this would be a great day to decorate the front porch for Halloween. Well, after about 10 minutes of trying to tether down the blow-up ghost and succeeding mostly in losing the tethers in the ground, Sophie got bored. Unfortunately for me right before she got bored she opened all of the boxes containing the 'stuff' and dumped it all out on the porch. I quickly changed the front screen to the glass door and let her decorate the door with window clings. This gave me about another 20 minutes of frantic 'let's get the stupid lights up and plugged in' time. Once she was done she gave up and went inside to watch Underdog for the trillionth time-leaving me to finish the front porch--or so I thought.

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This is what happens when you leave a 3 year old unattended. She's done this before too--and I guess I just didn't learn my lesson the first time. She went out to the porch in the back--OK, no big deal right? I figured she could play out there until I was done out front. We have a fenced in yard so she's perfectly safe.
Anyway, when I first saw the chalk I quickly decided no use in getting mad and frantically trying to clean it up--I just let her be. I would have to clean her up anyway, so I might as well let her enjoy herself while I got dinner in the oven.

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When I went back out to check on her I noticed that she had not only covered herself with chalk but had also decorated Jack with a bucket of yellow chalk. Poor guy, he just got over a round a antibiotics from an allergy to shampoo and here he was covered in chalk. My frustration level is quickly being bumped up to explode mode. But I hadn't blasted yet at this point.
I simply dusted out as much chalk as I could from Jack and then brushed his fur really well. I got it all out and let him back inside before she doused him with the bucket of bubbles she found while I was brushing Jack.
Now I should go back and say that I had made a homemade lasagna that day for Nate and the two guys that also work out of our house right now and part of the whole process was cleaning up the giant mess--including washing the kitchen floor--after it was all assembled and in the oven.
This is after an entire day of B&N, porch decorating, dog grooming, and now Sophie was a giant mess on the back porch.
I did what any normal mom would do and hand Sophie the hose and ran back in the house. I gave her the pleasure of washing off all of the chalk and bubble juice off the porch. Of course, her dress apparently needed cleaning too as well as the side of the house and all of the windows.

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I had to yell at her through the back door to put down the hose, before I came back out.
Then I realized that Sophie needed a bath and some dry clothes before dinner and I only had about 20 minutes before it was done.

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I'm exhausted but "kept moving forward" as the Robinson's encourage and just got it done. Once Sophie was all cleaned up and changed, I was able to run downstairs and make the salad and get the bread out and set the table and serve the lasagna. I had given Nate and company a 10 minute warning. Then I had Sophie go downstairs and announce dinner. 10 minutes later I sat down to eat with Sophie. 20 minutes after that I had her run downstairs again to remind them that dinner was ready and getting cold.
They finally came upstairs and my top was literally boiling over with steam. I was super p/oed and wanted to scream--but couldn't do that in front of Nate's business partner. He knew how pissed I was though by the look on my face and the fact that I said nothing to either of them when they first came up. I sat with them though and chatted anyway while they ate their nearly cold lasagna before tackling again-cleaning the kitchen. I figured the best way to diffuse my frustration was to at least talk to adults for a little while, before the Wonder Pets came on.

At this point I was beginning to wonder if I would ever see my computer again--I'm just too jammed packed with things to do, and now I was too tired to even fire up the laptop in bed. At least Sophie was ready for bed. I can't remember how quickly we fell asleep that night, but I do know that both of us were in bed by 7:45 that night. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before Sophie.

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This picture doesn't do it justice--it almost looks better during the day because of the giant spider web--but it still looks pretty cool.
I think I just love this picture because of the possessed dog --his ears are sooo funny!

Saturday Summary Part 2: 9.24 to 9.26

Wednesday, September 24
Music Class and some Lemon Cake
We had music first thing in the morning and it is by far the best class we take. I'll be so sad when Sophie is too old to go. It's just that much fun. I wonder if they would let me go without a kid? Probably not-that might be a little creepy.
ANYWAY--we were feeling our usual post-music let down because we can't seem to get enough of our Miss Joan, so I decided we should make a quick trip to Walmart and peruse the Halloween stuff for a perk-up. On our way Sophie mentions that she wants lemon cake. I thought about for a minute and decided OK--as long as you make it yourself.
It was a success--even though we made a giant mess and managed to set off the fire alarms. The only downfall was the fact that she didn't want frosting (which REALLY surprised me) and lemon cake really needs frosting.
Here are the pics from the process......

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using her pouring skills

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using her stirring skills with her hands

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using her stirring skills with a spatula

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using her tasting skills once her hair is finally back

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and finally, the finished products....a pumpkin, leaves, tulips and daisies. These would have been AWESOME if she wanted to frost them, but that's OK. I really don't need to be eating any cake anyway--especially with Halloween just around the corner.
Sophie was so happy that I let her make cake she decided it would be OK to go to the health club. She's starting to hate it and getting her to go is turning into a challenge.
That night instead of TV we decided we needed to start learning the music for music class better so we got out the instruments and the book and started jamming away. There is a really cool song about a canoe that Sophie and I loved. It has a really simple little beat and I can play it on her little recorder. After singing it for awhile Sophie suggested that we make a canoe to paddle down the river. So, a canoe was built!

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Here she is trying to paddle the canoe with her pink recorder.
Once she got tired of playing music Sophie decided to take her toys for a ride on her canoe-turned-sailboat. She goes, "Bye Mommy! We're off to Egypt! Love you!"

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I think the Little Einsteins had been to Egypt that day.
Thursday, September 25
Painting Pumpkins
With super-human energy I decided to invite my neighbors over to paint some of the pumpkins we had picked up last week at the pumpkin patch. My usual peppy self was starting to show signs of tiring though once the paints were out. I think at this point I had officially run out of steam and I even forgot to take pictures! The pumpkins got painted with as little effort from me as I could get away with. They are cute and I'm pretty sure the kids had a good time painting-so that's all that really matters.
My friend and I just ended up chatting for a couple of hours before she took her little ones home for a nap and Sophie and I snuggled upstairs and watched a movie. I was beat. So was she because it was another GORGEOUS day outside and neither one of us felt like doing anything. She even choose to take a nap after the movie instead of going to the health club with me. I was grateful for the day off the elliptical. I'm a little sore anyway.
Friday, September 26
Yesterday I dropped Sophie at my mom's for the day and headed over to the gym for a stress-free workout. Not sure if it was just my busy week or my fuzzy brain but I got a huge case of the clumsies yesterday. I tripped, dropped my towel, almost had my ear ripped off when I stepped down to retrieve the towel because I forgot about my ipod, then TWICE I came dangerously close to falling over when my hands slipped on the handlebars while trying to take my heart rate. I . was . horrified!!!!!!
I spent 73 minutes (1 hour 13 min) on the elliptical yesterday burning a whopping 750 calories. My legs are really hoping I gain some confidence soon. I literally could not even look in the mirrors much less get off the machine until I knew for sure that no one who might have seen me would even remotely still be there. Like anyone is looking anyway right? Oh and I came home too exhausted to even shower again, so I sat around and watched a movie and TV for the rest of the day--until bedtime.
Yeah, I think I'm going to actually lose some weight here. Oh and speaking of tired, I totally forgot to post not only the wordful wednesday the PhotoStory Friday as well! jeez--I had better try to get a little more organized this week. AND schedule some reading time. How did I get so busy so quickly? I can't even figure out what changed!

Thursday, September 25

Thursday, September 18, 2008
"Tea Party Breakfast"

Because we are doing these activities at home and there are no other children for Sophie to play with-I am trying really hard to make all of the basic Montessori lessons I find as fun for her as possible. When we sat down to have this tea party breakfast, I had already made her crust less toast in little heart shapes with her favorite strawberry jam. I put the crust in her crown plate and added a few dollops of jam to dip in if she preferred. (I also stuck in her little box of cookies she wanted from the store that week because they were pink and looked cute on the table.)

As far as skills go, Sophie practice pouring and was even able to hold the saucer while she poured. She really had fun pouring (I used sugar-free cranberry juice in the teapot and we pretended it was our favorite passion herbal tea from Starbucks) and kept offering me more tea. I ended up drinking a lot of tea that morning, but that's OK, she really had a good time.
We also practiced some manners and used lots of words like, "May I" and "Please & Thank You." She was also getting a kick out of being the 'hostess' and kept offering me and Belle more and more things.
The only flaw was that she wouldn't take 'no thank you' for an answer and kept pushing. Hmmm, I wonder where that came from?
After breakfast I showed her how 'bus' the table and take everything to the sink where Sophie went ahead and washed all of the dishes. She had a ball!
We were spending way more time than planned on this activity, so I jumped in and dried the dishes for her.
I think it was a great success. She has excellent manners AND can manage to pour very well. Every bath time since she's had tea parties with her tub toys and has even added some 'foam' (suds) like they do at Starbucks.

If only I had stopped there for the day....... but oh no, not me............

Sophie grabbed her binkie/bunny right after she finished the dishes and said she wanted to watch TV. Well, I had already planned an afternoon at the pumpkin patch-including a fun little car picnic for lunch. I intended doing this for fun rather than using it as a learning activity. However, the petting zoo was empty and the workers really wanted someone to 'educate' on all of the animals as we walked through--the result was we were bombarded with TMI and by the time we got home we were exhausted and more than a little overwhelmed! We fed goats and pet the baby chicks and saw a giant pig just about to give birth and even pet the little baby horses and tried to feed them some corn as well. It was one LONG day! We did have a good time though.

The hay ride was her favorite part.

She sure does love these giant jumpy things though.

She got a big kick out of the train ride too.

Friday, September 19

PSF and A VERY Important Lesson

If these pictures aren't worth 1000 words I don't know what is......but I do know that everyone in this house has the whole 'dunking of the cookie thing' perfected!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

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Thursday, September 18


OK weird, I am trying to go back and edit the last post and now every time I go into it, the sentence that needs editing is gone.
Weird. Well, I meant to say, DOES this count? not-do this count.

Music class and a leaf blower........

This was Wednesday. (I'm a little behind.)

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This is Sophie twirling in her new favorite dress. I tried to get her mid-twirl with the skirt out, but after several picture attempts chalked this up to the only one-and what happened to the color?

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Then I tried for a close up-but she refused to put down her spoon.

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She thought she was sooooooo funny!

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Spoon or not--I think she's gorgeous. I can't stop staring at her eyes. Oh, and is it weird that I want my hair to look this good?
Anyway, we were both very happy to finally get back to music class today. We have endured an entire long summer without Miss Joan and we needed to see her ASAP!

Of course class was BRILLIANT and we left as happy as two little clams on a warm sandy beach!

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As far as Montessori goes, well, do this count for practical life skills? I was really excited to see that Sophie has picked up on my leaf blowing fascination. It's my thing. I just find it so rewarding to move around a bunch of leaves and look back and see a clean, pretty lawn-instant gratification. (It's almost as great as shoveling snow.)

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Wednesday, September 17

No Montessori happening here.........YET!

I mentioned before that teaching Sophie using the Montessori method is turning into a thing. Well, it is, and I am --for sure-- NO expert! As a matter of fact, I'm not sure at this point if I should even try to continue-maybe just plan little 'mini' lessons that I can do with her in the way I have already been trained as a teacher. **SIGH** Who knew it would be this hard?
Must do more research.
In the meantime there is a really cool book I am going to pick up called, Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives , by David Gettman. There are a couple of more books I can get to help with the whole 'Montessori in the home' thing. I think my biggest problem is that the web subscription I have is geared for the actual classroom-and it's a lot harder to do most of this stuff at home.
In the meantime-while I am still trying to grasp the basic concepts of Montessori-I am doing activities with Sophie based on what I think might be the way to go--a child-driven curriculum, or maybe it's just child-driven activities geared toward a specific curriculum. See? I'm confused. But I think it means whatever she shows an interest in-is what we do at that moment or during scheduled 'classroom' time. I have different activities to go with areas of interest-arts/crafts, language, computer, math, and so on. I think my biggest challenge will be consistency--at least with sticking to a schedule. It's so hard here at home when I don't have a boss breathing down my neck or even a time-card to punch.

On Monday she was interested in painting so I brought out the finger paints and let her experiment for about a half an hour.

I tried not to 'teach' her but just to show her how to finger paint. Seeing as I have absolutely ZERO artistic abilities, no actual pictures were drawn. She did love playing with it though and she definitely loved getting messy! Then I went a little further and let her "clean up" in the kitchen sink, cleaning the tray and washing her own hands. Made a huge mess for me, but Sophie was so content when she was finished that she didn't throw a fit when I said it was nap time!

Yesterday was a different story. I have yet to master the whole 'circle-time' thing, considering it's just the two of us, so I thought that before I get out the calendar and teach her songs I would get her used to sitting with me and 'planning' her day by having her set up a schedule. First we needed to put some Velcro on the pieces that I already had made-she seemed to enjoy this, but wanted to keep going after we were done.

She did a fantastic job of picking out the activities to do yesterday and put them on the schedule board herself. We have to work on order though. That's OK. It's only our first try right?

She was so proud of herself when she was finished. I love that she put lunch first and wanted to take a bath before dinner and go shopping afterwards. It was cute.

I rearranged it to fit our actual schedule, thinking that maybe sometime I could follow her way of doing things and let her be in control. Not yet. I will be snapping some new pictures to make some more cards over the next couple of weeks. (I made this board after Sophie's first birthday, so all of the pictures are old, but she got a huge kick out of seeing herself doing things as a baby!)

I was starting to feel stress at this point because she started to play with all of the Velcro and then found her scissors. I got out the scrap paper and her 'fancy' pink sparkle glue and we cut and paste for about 20 minutes. Again, I attempted to make a dog, but with my lack of artistic abilities, it looked like a giant bunny. At least Sophie got some fine motor skills tuning time and giggled in the process. She is getting very good at working with the scissors. I think I'll try to get her to cut in a straight line next time.

Coming up later this week: music class (YEAH!), window washing ("practical life" skills to put up some Halloween decals,) and a tea-party breakfast. I might throw in the pumpkin patch if time just because it just opened and won't be that busy yet. We'll see.

WordFul and WW: Proof that Sophie is normal!

This was taken last Saturday when Sophie announced she needed to "soak my sore foot-there's a thorn in it!" (the wonder pets had just saved a Bengal tiger with a thorn in her foot as well--must be an epidemic!)

All Better! Only after she decided to take the bucket and try out all of her new housekeeping tools on the kitchen floor, family room carpet, and dog. Yeah, Jack got nice and wet too. This is about 20 minutes after I finished cleaning the house-including washing the kitchen floor. grrr.-but still, how can I get mad when she was only trying to help PLUS she really needed to heal her foot? She is one master manipulator. Sophie loves to play in her bed with her dollies and stuffed animals. Too bad this is actually a department store display I found her in. I'm not sure the store meant for her to actually get in the bed? Yeah, I no longer worry about this one so much. She's growing up into a completely brilliant yet perfectly normal kid. Sure do love her!

Come play Wordful Wednesday hosted by Angie!

Monday, September 15

Precor Elliptical cross trainers are my favorite machine to work out on: I sweat profusely which makes me feel like I'm getting a good workout, I can maintain a cardio heart rate without the potential heart attack feeling, and when I am done I've burned a billion calories.

Now, at the new gym I thought maybe I should try a new machine seeing as how this gym is so big and all, and there are about a million different kinds to choose from. Here's a new one..............................................Meet the A**Kicker.

Looks harmless right?
Looks just like the elliptical EFX machine that I love right?
Wrong~! Ipicked it because it looks relatively the same as the elliptical.
Right from the start I knew I was in trouble. This is why you NEVER judge a book by its' cover.
First, this machine talks to you. Seriously, if I stopped using my arms and just concentrated on the legs-it said over it's digital keypad "ONLY GETTING LEG WORKOUT MUST USE ARMS."
Fine-so I added the arms back in.
What does this machine have against legs and how does it know I need to focus on my arms anyway?
Oh, and I'm on level 1 because this machine is stupid and when I went higher it told me, "HEART RATE TOO HIGH-SLOW DOWN." No sh*t!
About halfway through my workout the machine literally stops itself and makes me go backward. I came really close to falling off.
So, here I am going backward, barely moving because the resistance is soooo hard, and what happens?
Dumb 'hard core' workout guy has to jump on the machine right next to mine. Seriously, what is up with that? There are a million empty machines all in a nice neat line and he has to be next to someone? Is he looking at my machine and seeing how slow and weak I am to make himself feel more manly? WHATEVER!
At this point I took a drink from my water bottle and swallowed wrong-provoking a violent cough attack that I was desperately trying to stifle.
No such luck. I ended up practically coughing up a fur ball while somehow swallowing my gum? at the same time making me gag a little on top of it because swallowing gum is gross.
I'm in hell. I'm convinced. This is exactly what hell looks like.
All the while I'm still trying to look cool, like I know what I am doing and I am totally into this workout--just like hard-core workout guy who is cruising on the machine next to mine.
Then I noticed that my shorts have ridden up in the middle area and my T-shirt came un-tucked making me look like I was wearing just a t-shirt and no shorts.
Now in my own head I'm convinced that the entire gym has their eyes focused on my machine that is not only in the front row, but also has a spotlight on it.
I'm so horrified and that I wait at least another 30 minutes for all of the people behind me to finish their workouts and leave before I turn around and show my face. Plus, I have to show the work-out champ next to me that I am more than a conqueror!

Well, either I will grow some balls and gain a massive amount of confidence to Just Be ME, or I am going to lose a mega-ton of weight because I'm a big chicken.
It's a win-win either way.

(I do know that no one in the entire gym even noticed me-this is all in my head. I get that. Just my super-ego playing games with me-trying to get me to believe that the world does in fact revolve around me. **heavy sigh** )

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Friday, September 12

PSF and a bit of evidence.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

This picture was taken on one of those days that makes me feel so unbelievably lucky to be a stay-at-home mom. Sophie and I had a chance to do a little shopping at a really nice outdoor mall. Seriously, this was a day that if something could go our way--it did and was simply perfect.

It's hard for me to express just how great the day was without going through every boring detail. It wasn't the act of shopping that made it so great (although the stores did have just what we needed) but more like there was an aura in the air: sweet, content, calm, and relaxed that made everything we did seem somehow choreographed or intentional -like there are no coincidences, it's all part of a plan. Sophie and I were able to have some 'grown-up' girl bonding time (she was so excited when I mentioned that we were doing just what Giselle and Morgan did in the movie Enchanted) and finally connected to each other in a way that we hadn't since the beginning of summer. Her and I are finally getting back on the same page and I am so grateful.

I've missed just spending time with her. It's almost like I have been perpetually distracted in my mind for about a month now that I haven't really been aware of our relationship--even though we had been physically together still doing 'summer' things.

I know I sound weird, but really --when we left the mall that day -- I felt --important. Important to myself because I was (am) a good mom, important to Sophie because she needs me and still likes to hang out with me, and important to Nate because I was taking care of his little girl. It might very well have been the first day I actually felt important just because I'm here.

It was also important that I be myself-goofy, relaxed, silly, and dorky. We ate hot pretzels for lunch and fed the birds when we were full. That's when I snapped the picture. Sophie thought it was hilarious when she threw an entire pretzel stick to the birds and watched the pick and fight over it. Not one bird was big enough to take it away, so they all had to share it. We talked a lot about working together and teamwork while we ate lunch-it was really sweet. (see what I mean about choreographed? Did someOne plan this? or should I say someThing?)

These are the kinds of days I will crave when Sophie is all grown up, tell my grandchildren about when they see this picture, and make the hard days as a SAHM more than worth it. These are the kind of days that show me evidence that a higher power, the Universe, God- whatever you want to call it exists--and exists for the greater GOOD not bad.
Thank God Sophie is here. Thank God.


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