Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Musings From Natalie #99

Natalie: Mom, I just made up a joke.
Me: Let's hear it."
Natalie: What's a deer's favorite place to shop?
Me: Where?
Natalie: Starbucks.

Her bedroom door...I wish she could stay 7 forever.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Musings From Natalie #98

Natalie: "Can girls be president?"
Me: "Sure! You could be the first one."
Natalie: "But, I don't know where to begin?"
Me: "Well, most presidents began as lawyers."
Natalie: "How do you become a lawyer?"
Me: "You go to law school to study about laws...and how to bend them."
Natalie: "I already know all about laws...no hitting, no pushing, no kicking..."

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Musings From Natalie #97

Natalie: "Why is Dad going to Ohio?"
Me: "To attend our niece's wedding."
Natalie: "When I get married, I'm going to have him wash his face really good...especially his lips."
Me: "Oh, so he's clean when you kiss him at the wedding."
Natalie: "Yes.  Hopefully he won't eat a dirty snack."
Me: "What is a dirty snack?"
Natalie: "You know...like hot wings or something."

Dear God: I've already started praying for him.  I think he's gonna need it. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Musings From Natalie #96

Me: "Natalie, go and clean that mess in your room."
Natalie: "It's not a mess...it's a masterpiece."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Musings From Natalie #95

"I LOVE school...just not the work part."

Natalie: "Mom, will you tell me Santa's phone number?"
Me: "Sure, I'll tell you when you have your own kids."
Natalie: "So, like when I'm 14?"

Monday, July 7, 2014

Postcards From the Peanut Gallery Wk. 6

6/30 - 7/3/14 Camp Fun
While a little apprehensive at first, by day two, Natalie was nearly running into the building to participate in "104 Days of Summer" at COCA. A half-day camp devoted to developing skills in dramatic play, team-building and creativity through art and games.  Cardboard boxes became time machines.  A piece of foam board was transformed into a bumper car. On the last day, Steve and I attended her group's culmination program.  During the 15 minute performance, the kids pretended to blast off to a new planet in a ship of their own design and venture into a new time and place.  They weaved their hand-made bumper cars through an obstacle course and more! With applause, Natalie's smile stretched from ear to ear...I know we'll be looking at programs for the fall.

7/2/14 Visitor's Day at Camp Happy Day
While this is Noah's fifth year attending camp, I am continually impressed with the staff and programming available at Camp Happy Day.  Getting kids (especially those who already struggle academically) excited and engaged with reading, writing and math is a tall order, made even tougher during the summer months when kids just want to "be done" with learning.  Under the direction of creative teachers and loving camp counselors, Noah has thrived and looked forward to going to camp each day.  And, with only six campers in his group, he receives the attention he needs to succeed.  Thank you Action for Autism! Thank you to all our friends and family who have contributed in the past to Action for Autism.  Your donations have made a huge difference in Noah's life.  
In reading class each student had to talk about a favorite toy or pet and then take questions from their audience.
Camp Happy Day has a seasoned art teacher on staff that has them tie dying, creating outrageous 4th of July party hats, plaster stepping stones and more!
7/3/14 Sweet Stop
In between running both kids to camp and grocery shopping, Steve and I squeezed in a stop at Pie Oh My.  Located on Sutton Avenue, the sweet shop, offers a range of nearly 40 made from scratch sweet and savory pies in four sizes. Daily offerings vary and depend on availability of seasonal fruit.  Pie snobs look no further for a slice of heaven.
Cherry Crumble - delish! The owner told me after receiving more than 100 requests, she finally decided to add cherry to the menu.  It is the only pie flavor that is not made with fresh fruit...because she simply could not find a wholesaler.  She uses frozen sour cherries, but so far no complaints from anyone.

7/3/14 Impromptu Play Date
After lunch, Steve and I took advantage of the unseasonably cooler temps to enjoy DesPeres Park with the kids.  When we arrived there were only a handful of kids on the playground. Noah watched as a few kids played tag and asked if he could join in.  But, he was told no and when he asked why - the response was simply "because we don't want to."
As you can probably imagine, Noah was crushed and began spiraling downward - that is until I received a text from my friend, Eraka.  When I shared with her what had just transpired - she simply sent in her cavalry.  Within minutes her husband and three youngest children were on hand and ready to play.  She did this - even though she was expecting out of town guests in a few hours.  She couldn't help...but help.  What could have been a very short and negative outing, was quickly transformed into an awesome, impromptu play date.  Eraka and her step-sister, Megan and her three kids later joined us at the park.  We laughed, we played, we fished...Dear God - Thank you for loving, faithful friends.

Steve caught a catfish and asks Natalie if she can hear it "squeak".
Ava had no problem holding the fish
Eraka...not so sure she wanted to hold Ava's latest catch.
 You can almost hear Rhys' high pitched squeals.
Marissa, wanna give the fish a kiss? Ok.
Because mud is much more fun than any playground equipment.
4th of July Fun!   
While attending our hometown parade is a tradition we enjoy each year, this was perhaps the most pleasant weather we've ever experienced on the 4th.  Another surprise -- we bumped into our friends, the McCullas, once more!  The kids had a ball waving and clapping and diving for candy thrown out by parade participants.  That evening we took the Metrolink into Forest Park to experience Fair St. Louis.  A first for all of us.  We trekked 6/10 of a mile from the Metro station to the fairground gates and then headed for Art Hill.  The place was crawling with people, but my camp was just happy to be in the mix.  Natalie even ran into a friend of hers at the kid's area.  We left before the 10 pm fireworks, but arrived home just in time to watch the night sky light up a block from our house.
Webster Groves 4th of July Parade
There's no place like home.

Parade Posse
 Fair St. Louis - Forest Park

Blue Bunny gave out free single serving tubs of Bunny Tracks. Mmm
Bricks4Kidz were on hand to engage children with fun projects.
Noah and Natalie try out Purina Farms' agility course.

The Flying Wallendas had us holding our breath.
7/5/14 Birthdays and BBQ
We celebrated our neighbor's grandson's 1st birthday. I love this shot of  Ethan and his expression as he glimpses his green grin.

7/6/14  No Bones About It - A Good Time
On Sunday we headed south for a new adventure. Though I've lived in St. Louis all my life, I've never been to Mastodon State Historic Site.  Located about 20 miles south of the city, the site is the home of the Kimmswick Bone Bed, one of the most  extensive Pleistocene ice age deposits of fossils, including a number of mastodon bones. Interpretative trails and picnic sites dot the park and a museum tells the story of the Clovis culture, which existed in the area between 10,000 and 14,000 years ago. Afterwards we stopped in at The Blue Owl for Sunday dinner of fried chicken with all the fixins. The last time I had been to Kimmswick was as a kid for their annual Apple Butter Festival.  The kids really enjoyed meandering through the small town shops.  We had planned to walk off our meal and then enjoy a slice of the Blue Owl's "Levee High Apple Pie" made famous after it made Oprah's list of favorite things, but when we returned, the display case was nearly empty.  We settled for a slice of Death by Chocolate cake. We'll be back!
"Another cake!"

"I bet the Tooth Fairy would leave a million dollars for these teeth!"
We took the half mile, Wildflower Trail, but the park also offers a 3/4 mile hike and another trail that is just over two miles.
Smartphone users can enjoy an audio tour.

Pies, Cakes and Cookies, Oh My!
Steve was in fried chicken heaven.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Postcards From the Peanut Gallery Wks. 4-5

6/16/14 Natalie began VBS camp at Webster Gardens Lutheran Church.  Though we aren't members, each summer they welcome our family with open arms.  Their team is not only ultra-organized, but creative and come up with inviting, colorful decorations and fun activities to teach children about God's love. 
Each time they brought in money, they could add a balloon to the container.  By the end of the week, the kids had raised $800 to fund clean drinking water for children in India.
Natalie with her camp counselor, Caroline.
6/17/14 Celebrating 12 Years with new coverings for our 85 year old home.  We are only the 2nd owners.  The original dweller called it home for 73 years!

6/19/14 A fun GNO with my friend, Terri.  We attended a Home Depot Do It Herself Workshop to learn how to build an occasion table and I won a cool lantern in a drawing.  The free, monthly workshops are held in the store, last about an hour and include dinner and a chance to win a prize.  At this workshop there were four prizes...with about 25 women in attendance.  So, odds were good one of us would win.  But, no one went home empty handed, we were all given loot bags filled with chocolatey treats.

6/21/14 Together Natalie and her friends, Megan and Lindsay caught a combined total of 461 1/2 inches of fish at the 11th Annual DesPeres Youth Fishing Derby.  

6/22/14 Sunday evening we gathered at the Braun's house for a long overdue fiesta.  Barb served yummy Tilapia Tacos with fresh, homemade salsa.  She invited two other families to join us -- the Browns and the Mccullas -- whom Barb and I met through MOPS.  I was part of a MOPS group for nearly 10 years.  The group served not only to help me through some tough mothering times, but taught me how to have a closer relationship with God.
The hostess with the mostest
The girls approved of my Tres Leches cake.
Nancy - the Baby Whisperer
Eraka and Rhys.  Rhys really enjoyed my salted pretzel caramel brownies. So easy but really good!
6/25/14  I was so happy when I received an email from the library stating that Noah and Natalie had moved up on the wait list and were officially registered for their Candy Science program. However, not everyone in our camp felt the same way...
Noah: "I am NOT going...I hate science."
But, within minutes, Noah was very much engaged and excited to participate and answer questions posed by the librarian.  They performed several experiments based on the book, Candy Experiments by Loralee Leavitt. 

6/26/14 With Noah at Camp Happy Day, Natalie enjoyed a fun morning at the zoo with her best friend, Alex.  The two share a gift for the gab, a zany sense of humor and a love of animals. We checked out the three new exhibits in the River's Edge (Sun Bear Forest, Purina Painted Dog Preserve and Andean Bear Range) and met a new edition - a 3 week old camel named Presley.
Mama, Papa and baby Presley
Something you don't get to see at the zoo every day.
I love an artist with a sense of humor.
Andean Bear Range exhibit.
The new preserve offers viewers an up-close look at the Painted Dogs.
While they didn't see the sun bear, they did find a new place to hang out.
 6/28/14 Due to the kids' bout with stomach flu followed by a series of scheduling conflicts - we had to wait nearly a month to celebrate Noah's birthday.  But, it was worth it, as this was the first time in 11 years that it didn't storm on his party day. Another first...he asked for party decorations.  Of course, he didn't share this with me until the day before his party and none of the local shops had anything Lord of the Rings.  Thankfully I was able to find a free, downloadable LOTR font and created a small banner and sign.  The result?...He was happier than a Hobbit enjoying second breakfast.
I found edible wafer paper LEGO LOTR cupcake toppers on ebay from a baker in England. The best $5 I ever spent.
Noah with his new friend, Ben.