Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lucky niece!

Sonia's Auntie Niki, in her quest to attain craft-goddess status along with my Aunt Janet (whose creations have been mentioned on this blog numerous times), recently sewed Sonia, Charlotte, and her other niece, Maisie, some gorgeous circle skirts.  Sonia was the lucky recipient of a fantastic blue poodle skirt and a beautiful flowered skirt.  I tell you, the day that Sonia wore her poodle skirt to school, we couldn't walk 5 feet without someone gushing about how adorable The Great Sosini looked!  Unfortunately, I didn't get my act together to take a picture of her in the poodle skirt, but I will rectify that the next time she wears it.  Charlotte wore one of her circle skirts on her first day of preschool this year (see Niki's blog for some ridiculously cute pictures), and Sonia wore her flowered skirt to her preschool a couple of weeks ago.  This time, I remembered to get out the camera:

Sonia couldn't stop dancing!

Grooving to her own beat....

You have to love a girl in a beautiful circle skirt AND cool Cars movie tattoos.

Thank you, Niki, for all that fabulous home-sewn items that you have made us!  Sonia worships her table tent, camera case, dance shoes bag, car tote bag, pool stuff tote bag, flowered circle skirt, long flowered skirt, poodle skirt, and curtains.  I absolutely LOVE the purse and little makeup bag you just made me out of an old pair of jeans and some cool fabric you had on hand....  They are so ridiculously awesome.  We use the snuggly blankets you have crocheted us far more than we should (they are getting to look "well-loved"!). Even after typing this long list, I know there are several hand-made gifts from you that I am forgetting to mention! I officially nominate you for craft-goddess status.  Oh, and best sister EVER status, too.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Labor Day weekend fun

Sheesh, I'm ridiculously behind in posting about Sonia's adventures....  No excuses this time.  Sheer laziness. Oh well!

This year, we got to see a bunch of ND friends during Labor Day weekend.  The first get-together was with the Mullens (both ND Band clarinets), who recently moved back from the DC area to a house that is about 3 miles away from us.  THREE MILES!!  So awesome.  Since they moved away from Chicagoland, they have added 2 handsome little boys to their family and now they have another little boy on the way.  So many potential future husbands for Sonia!!  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any pictures, which is horribly tragic because Sonia and James, the oldest Mullen boy, became best friends within about 30 seconds and proceeded to run around screwy-louie for several hours.  We're so excited that the Mullen family lives so close...  The western suburbs rule!!

The next day, Emily Borlik came over to hang out.  Sonia loves Emily!!!  We played inside and out, drawing with chalk on the driveway and scootering around the neighborhood.  Emily was recovering from being the maid of honor in a wedding the night before, so I promised not to post any pictures (though she looked perfectly beautiful as always) on the blog.

That same day, we got to see Tim and Jack Schank, too!  We hadn't been able to see Jack since before he got sick about 2 years ago (right after he turned 1 year old) and received a liver transplant (donated from Tim!).  It was so wonderful to see them, and Jack and Sonia became fast friends.  They both love Cars and Dinosaur Train, and they wasted no time getting right down to some serious fun.

It didn't take long to do some crazy chasing and giggling, too!

Tim & Andrew built the kids an epic fort in the basement using couch cushions and blankets.

Playing on the Island of Sodor!


Sir Topham Jack, the Sodor train line overlord


Back to the trains....

We also failed to take a picture during the lovely Labor Day barbecue we had with the Rieths, so you'll just have to imagine Sonia and Ikey splashing in her inflatable pool and playing with Sonia's resin animals. Suffice to say, we had a great time during the whole weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fort Wayne trip, part 2

After the park, we went to Kevin, Amanda, & Anthony's house to await the arrival of more members of the 3rd & 4th generation of the Hornbaker/Lowe clan.  Kevin's little brother, Ryan, wasn't able to come join our little party, but Brittany (Ryan's wife) and Brendan (Ryan's 2-month-old son) drove in to see us.  Thank you again, Brittany!!!!  You are so awesome.

While Anthony napped, Sonia soaked herself at his water table, so she changed clothes before getting comfy in Anthony's easy chair.

Grandma Sue loves her grandchildren!

Brendan is such a snuggle bug!!!  So handsome....

Sonia loved jumping on Anthony's trampoline and playing in his cardboard house.

Uncle Kevin loves to snuggle his little nephew!

When it was time to say goodbye, Anthony and Sonia happily hugged each other and posed for the cameras pointed in their direction (well, everyone's cameras except for mine... oops...)

I can't tell you how happy I am that my pseudo-cousins, Kevin and Ryan, married such fabulous women.  Amanda and Brittany are welcome additions to our two-family love affair.  I can't believe I failed to get a good picture of either one of those ladies or their coolio father-in-law, Greg.  We were too busy cooing over the cuteness of the 4th generation to point the cameras at the grownups.

Speaking of the 4th generation....  This past spring, Kevin and Amanda added a daughter, Adrienne, to their family, but we lost her to a birth defect at only one month old.  Losing a grandchild was never something that my mom and her life-long best friend, Sue, thought they would ever have in common, but I am glad they are able to comfort each other.  I am not religious, but if there is a heaven, I would hope that Zach and Adrienne are best buddies just like their siblings here on earth.  Kevin and Amanda are strong people, and I am so impressed with the grace with which they handled their tragic loss.  It was very cathartic to discuss our lost children, and I will forever link my Zach with their Adrienne in my memories.

Hornbaker/Lowes, you are some of my favorite people in the whole wide world!  Thank you for being so awesome and showing us a great time back in June!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fort Wayne trip, part 1

It is tragic that I have not yet posted about our fun trip to Fort Wayne in June....  Time to right that wrong!

The day after the cousin convention ended, my mom, Sonia, and I took off for a short little visit with our good friends, the Lowes.  The Hornbaker/Lowes have been friends with the Scotts/Evanses/Malahowskis/Stringers for 4 generations now.  It all started when my maternal grandparents (Meem & Pop) started hanging out with Rosalind & Gayle back in the 1950's, and it has continued unbroken since then.  Seriously, these people are more like family than friends.  I refer to Kevin & Ryan as my "pseudo-cousins" and their parents as "Auntie Sue and Uncle Greg".

This June trip to Fort Wayne cemented the friendship between two of the members of the 4th generation (Sonia and Anthony), and Sonia decided that Greg and Sue are the coolest people with the coolest doggy.  Sonia had last seen Sue two summers before, so there was no way she remembered her, but within 5 minutes of arriving at the Lowe house, Sonia disappeared with Sue into the family room to play with cars, leaving my mom and me to unpack in peace.  That is highly unusual for my stranger-danger/separation anxiety-ridden little girl!  She could tell right away that Sue is an experienced grandma (who has cool toys).  And, when Greg got home from work, Sosini warmed to him instantly.  In fact, he was the one who snapped this crazy-awesome picture of The Great Sosini:

Kevin (Sue & Greg's eldest son), Amanda (Kevin's wife), and Anthony (Kevin & Amanda's super-handsome son) came over for dinner that night, and Sonia & Anthony wasted no time in getting down to the business of running around screwy-louie.

Nutter butters!  Sadly, I failed to get pictures of Sosi with her other new best friend, Gracie (Sue & Greg's schnoodle).  Suffice to say, Sonia and Gracie had a blast together, and Sonia is still talking about that gorgeous little doggy three months later!

The next morning, we met Amanda and Anthony at the coolest park I have ever seen.

And this is only half of the park!  It is seriously awesome.  If anyone ever needs to know about an awesome park in Fort Wayne, Indiana, let me know and I will point you toward this one (after I consult with Amanda because I can't for the life of me remember the park's name).

More park shenanigans:

Sue and Sonia are bestest buddies!

Still more to come....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ballerina girl

I am seriously behind on blogging about Sonia's adventures....  A visit to Fort Wayne in June got completely missed, two fun playdates with former ND band members' kids need attention, and Sonia and I just took a fun trip to Michigan to visit her beloved cousins and check out their new house.  But first, I MUST post these pictures of my little dancer.

Yeah, yeah-- I know what you're thinking.  OVER-SCHEDULED!!! Sonia is now in preschool, playgroup (although now we're down to meeting once a week), gymnastics, library story time, AND dance class.  But trust me-- she is begging to go to all of these events, and now that she doesn't nap anymore, we have a lot of time in the day to fill.  Sonia and I both get a little stir-crazy if we stay around the house too long.  Speaking of crazy....

Girlfriend loves to dance!  I signed her up for the park district dance program, and today was her first class.  Given Sonia's uneven track record with doing activities "all by herself" (the pre-preschool Stepping Stones program, gymnastics, and this new year of preschool), I wasn't sure how she would do.  Parents aren't allowed inside the dance studio (we're too disruptive!), but for the first day, the teacher left the door open and let us peek inside. The class started out with the kids in a circle, introducing themselves to the teacher and the other students.  Sonia barely spoke when the teacher asked her name, and she looked like she might refuse to participate.  But, there was one other little little girl who was crying and sitting at the side of the room in her dad's lap, so I silently congratulated Sonia on being brave enough to at least sit with the rest of the class.  The next time I peeked in, she was standing in a line with the other kids, not doing the movements.  Argh, I thought. The tears are coming soon.  Then, the next time I peeked in, I saw this:

SONIA WAS PARTICIPATING!!!!!! She was totally nailing everything the teacher asked them to do!  In case you can't tell which one she is in the poor-quality picture that I hurriedly snapped with my cell phone, she is the third kid from the left.  (And, yes, there is a BOY in her class.  Hurray!  So cool....)  As far as I could tell from what I saw during occasional quick peeks, Sonia did awesome and kicked some serious booty.  The class is 2/3rds ballet and 1/3rd tap, and even though we don't have her tap shoes yet, she kicked yet more booty in the tap portion.  Here's an extremely low-quality video that I took on my phone (Sonia is the kid with her back to the camera, just to the teacher's left):

Seriously adorable.  After the 45 minute class was over, she came running out of the studio beaming.  "Why do I only take 1 class, Mommy?" she asked.  Huh?  After I questioned her a bit, I realized she wanted to stay and do her dance class all over again.  Apparently, 45 minutes is not enough dance for this little twinkle toes.  She got very sad and said she wanted to stay to dance some more when I told her it was time to leave, so we had to compromise by going outside and having her show me some of the moves she had learned.  What a nutter butter!!!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Preschool begins

After doing so well in her "pre-preschool" Stepping Stones program this past winter and spring, Sosini was very excited to go to orientation for "3's preschool" at Gentle Learning Preschool.

She had a blast during orientation, checking out her new classroom and smiling shyly at her new teacher and teacher's aide.  In fact, after the half-hour orientation, she begged me to let us stay in the classroom for longer.  The bin of dinosaurs was just too much fun to leave behind!

But, on the morning of her first real day of preschool earlier this week, she got cold feet.  "I don't want to go to preschool, Mommy," she said.  "I want to go to the park."  Uh-oh....  I started having flashbacks to the 4-6 weeks that it took Sonia to get used to Stepping Stones.  But, once I started reminding Sonia of all the fun toys in the classroom, the fun activities that the teacher has planned, the fabulous new playground that the park district built for the preschool, and all the friends that she will make, she changed her mind about going.  By the time we got to her school, she was downright giddy, and we had a fun time taking our "first day of school" pictures.

Happy preschooler!

She LOVES her Lightning McQueen backpack.

How cute is the back of this shirt?!?

Let's get a little nutty!

She kept climbing this little hill and then running toward me, telling me to take pictures of her.  These next two pictures remind me of Laura Ingalls happily galloping down a hill during either the opening or closing credits of the TV show "Little House on the Prarie".

Sweetie bug!

My little girl (who still looks nothing like me but looks exactly like her father):

Check out that seriously awesome haircut!  Anyone who lives at all near Kids Cuts (located on the far west side of Downers Grove) should take their child to get his/her hair cut by Miss Kateri.  She is a magician!

Away she goes!

Big girl!

You can't read it very well, but the monkey by her left shoulder says "Sonia".

The parents were allowed in the classroom for about 5 minutes to take a few pictures and give goodbye hugs.  When it was time for me to go, Sonia gave me hugs & kisses, waved happily, and turned right back to her playdough.  Yay!!!!

After school, my friend, Tracy, and I took our big kids to Granny's for a celebratory lunch.  Max also had his first day of preschool that morning, and he did awesome, too!  It was very sweet to share this milestone with Tracy & Max....  Almost 3 years ago (November 2009), when Sonia and I were finally ready to climb out of our self-imposed isolation (it took me over 5 months after Sonia's birth to feel ready to re-join the outside world), Tracy & Max were the first new friends that we made.  I clearly remember that very first story time at the Lisle Library, spotting the other baby in the room who looked about Sonia's age and somehow finding the nerve to introduce myself to his mother.  Tracy and Max (who is just 1 day older than Sonia) have been our buddies ever since.... and those little 6-month-old infants are now three-year-old preschoolers!

Such nutter butters....