View all posts filed under 'Sophia'


Wednesday, 16. September 2009 14:42

We finally have an update on Sophia’s hearing problems.

After waiting through the summer as her pediatrician recommended, we visited another Ear-Nose-Throat doctor today to see what he thought. He checked her out and then asked if either of her parents have allergies. Yes, that would be Joe.

So today I found out that children who have a parent with allergies have an 80% chance of having allergies themselves and that this can affect their hearing. It wasn’t a total surprise because we have friends who had a similar situation. He gave Sophia a prescription for a variety of allergy medications and I’m supposed to get back to him next month to give an update on her progress. If she’s better after three months then he will refer her to an allergist so that we can find out exactly what she is allergic to.

What that really means is that we’ll be dealing with this in the US and that I need to get off my butt and figure out our health insurance situation.

Category:Sophia | Comments Off | Autor: Erica


Friday, 21. August 2009 13:27

La canicule is upon us. Canicule means heat wave and can also be referred to as the dog days of summer, but for our area it means that the temperatures are at or above 35C (95F) during the day and don’t cool down below 20C (68F) at night. For us it’s been closer to 36C (97F) and the kids’ room has been staying around 27C (81F) at night.

Now, I grew up in Los Angeles so I am familiar with heat and had often complained that the San Francisco Bay area was just a little too cool for my taste. I don’t know if it’s the humidity here or just the lack of air conditioning, but it is flippin’ HOT here right now. Like, hard to sleep hot.

Our main mode of climate control is to open up all the windows, doors and shutters first thing in the morning to let in the cool morning air. As the sun makes its way along the house, we close all of the windows, doors and shutters to keep out the heat. Add a few fans to that mix and we usually have a decent temperature in the house. I knew we were in for trouble yesterday when I opened up the shutters only to find that it was the same temperature outside as it was inside.

And since we, unlike Joe, don’t get to hide in our air-conditioned offices during the daytime, we have to find more creative ways to beat the heat.

On Wednesday, we enjoyed the pool.
The Pool

On Thursday, we made our way to Fun City in Cannes La Bocca. It’s an indoor, air-conditioned playground.
Fun City

We are still in the midst of the canicule, but we actually had a bit of cool air when we opened up the house this morning. Phew!

Category:France, General, Julien, Sophia | Comments Off | Autor: Erica

St. Tropez

Thursday, 20. August 2009 17:50

Joe’s sister, Ali, and her family were here last week for a visit. It was great to see the kids playing together and we took a couple of trips to the beach during their visit. We also made it out to St. Tropez last Saturday.

Tyler and Sophia in St. Tropez.
St. Tropez

Art installation at the Citadel in St. Tropez.
Meninas by Manolo Valdés

It turned out that August 15th is the anniversary of the liberation of St. Tropez during World War II. We were treated to an air show in honor of the 65th anniversary.
Air Show

Category:France, Sophia, Travel, Travel: France | Comments Off | Autor: Erica


Monday, 10. August 2009 10:13

Continuing with my musings on The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule, one of the chapters that I found particularly inspiring involved being present in family life.

I have mentioned before that I often find that hard to do. Sophia will ask me to wander the garden with her or play in her water table and, while I do it, I find that I either put it off first or that I easily wander off to the next thing on my list of Things To Do.

The author suggests that we slow down at meal times by taking a deep, cleansing breath before we begin the meal and/or by reciting a poem or a prayer. I read this passage about slowing down and connecting with the family and the meal and thought, “Yes, this is something that I need to do.” I often feel very frantic when I sit down to eat dinner — frantic from preparing the meal and the table, frantic from getting the kids to the table and hoping that they don’t make too much of a mess, frantic from watching the clock while we’re eating for the countdown to bedtime. The idea of taking a moment to remind myself that this is a good time to connect with my family was an important one and I shared it with Joe.

We sat down to lunch after our conversation and I took a deep breath (I don’t think Joe did). Joe and I started having a nice conversation when I heard…..

Sophia: Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!

Me: Sophia, please wait just a moment. Your father and I are talking.

Sophia pauses for an instant and then starts again: Mom! Mom! Mom!

Joe and I finish our current topic and I turn to Sophia: What do you need?

Sophia wrinkles up her nose, points to her lunch and announces: I don’t like this!

And I started to wonder if I really need to be present all the time….

Category:Books, Sophia | Comments Off | Autor: Erica

The Creative Family

Thursday, 6. August 2009 15:39

I recently finished reading The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections by Amanda Blake Soule. I’ve been reading her SouleMama blog for a while and wanted to see what this book was all about.

The Creative Family

What I found was a very readable book full of ideas to inspire and celebrate both creativity and the family. I was especially pleased to find that many of the activities could be done with young children and that they showed how everyday activities can really be seen as a creative outlet. I’ve been inspired to say, “Sure, let’s do that.” rather than, “Maybe later.” when the kids ask to do some activity that in the past I might have thought took a bit too much effort.

In one section, the author discusses her passion for knitting and about how she always has a project going. I, personally, have found knitting a difficult craft to do with the kids around since I never know when I’ll have to quickly put it down and then have to figure out where I was when I come back to it. Having said that, Sophia’s now at an age where I can knit around her and not have to worry about her playing with my needles or yarn. The book shares instructions for finger knitting which I thought Sophia might enjoy.

I was mistaken.

As I was knitting the other day, she asked to play with my yarn. I instead gave her her own yarn and tried to show her how to finger knit. She wasn’t interested at all since it didn’t involve the needles. And here’s where I found some inspiration from the book. The week before, I probably would have put away my own knitting and been disappointed that this craft didn’t work. This week, I decided to go ahead and let her play with a set of needles (since Julien was asleep) and her own yarn.


She had a great time. I got to keep knitting. We were both happy.


Category:Books, Sophia | Comments (1) | Autor: Erica

Overheard: The Alphabet

Saturday, 25. July 2009 21:25

Julien points to a letter and says, “S!” I am amazed to find that he is actually pointing to a letter S. It starts to dawn on me that my kid could be a SuperGenious when I am jerked back into reality as he points to an F and says, “S!” and then to a T and says “S!” I then realize that, no, he isn’t a SuperGenious, he’s just been listening to his sister who constantly points out her letter — the letter S.


We are driving to Turin. Eilene and I are in the front seat, Sophia and Julien are in the back. From the back seat we hear Sophia singing.

Sophia: A – B – C – D – E – F – D

Julien: S!

Sophia: Q – R – S – A – B little T

Julien: S!

Sophia: Now I know my A – B little C’s. Next time won’t

Julien: S!

Sophia: you sing with me! (pause) A – B – C – D

Julien: S!

Sophia: babyJulien! You don’t say “S!”

Julien: S!

And so on, and so forth, for more kilometers than I could count.

Category:Julien, Sophia | Comments (3) | Autor: Erica

Sophia’s View: Rome

Saturday, 18. July 2009 22:54

Once again I handed Sophia my camera a few times while we were visiting Rome. This is what she saw.

Mom at the Colosseum



Palatine Hill

Category:Sophia, Travel, Travel: Europe | Comments (1) | Autor: Erica

Overheard: The Bike Race

Tuesday, 7. July 2009 15:06

I was getting Sophia ready for our trip into Monaco last Saturday and trying to get her excited for what was sure to be a long day.

Me: We’re going to take the train to Monaco to watch a bike race. Won’t that be fun?

Sophia: Yeah! Why are they racing?

Me: Well, they want to see who is the fastest. So they are going to be riding their bikes really fast.

Sophia: As fast as Dad?

Me: I think they’ll be riding even faster than Dad.

Sophia: No. They can’t go faster than Dad.

I tried to convince her otherwise, but she was pretty adamant that no one could ride their bikes faster than her Dad.

Category:France, Sophia | Comments (1) | Autor: Erica

Sophia’s View: The Tour de France

Monday, 6. July 2009 15:18

I let Sophia use my camera a few times while we were at the Tour de France on Saturday. I didn’t bring hers along because I was already feeling a bit like a pack mule. Just thought I’d share the 4-year-old’s view of the Tour.

Taken by Sophia

Taken by Sophia

Taken by Sophia

Taken by Sophia

Category:France, Sophia | Comments Off | Autor: Erica

Last Day of School

Thursday, 2. July 2009 13:12

Today is the last day of school for Sophia. Fortunately, she’s been feeling better. She had missed school on Monday and Tuesday. I would have hated for her to miss the very last day.

I had asked her to draw some thank you cards yesterday for her teacher and the class assistant. It’s pretty customary to give a gift also. Since Sophia has missed the last few days of school, I haven’t been able to talk to any of the other parents to see if anyone was doing a group gift. I talked to one person who suggested giving a bouquet of flowers, but I can only imagine how many bouquets these women would be getting from their students today.

So I dropped Sophia off at school this morning and forgot the cards that she drew. I promised that I would bring them in the afternoon. I also noticed that everyone had gifts with them for the teacher and that she had already received two orchid plants. I came home and talked to Joe about it and mentioned that I had been thinking of doing gift cards.

Me: Is that too American?

Joe: But you are American.

Me: That’s right! I should celebrate that!

And now I’m off to purchase some gift cards.

Category:France, Sophia | Comments Off | Autor: Erica