Thursday, February 28, 2019

To Middle Age...and Beyond

For months I have felt stuck or maybe a little misplaced in my mothering role. Putting down my thoughts and sharing "ah ha" parenting moments futile.
Don't get me wrong -- my kids still call my name multiple times a day -- to find their favorite shirt or to know where I've hidden the Nutella, but I've felt a shift that feels both unsettling and freeing at the same time.

This is what I know
1. Though my kids think 47 makes me "beyond middle age", age is only a number and my feelings of displacement are normal and are preparing me for the next phase of life. There is lots of life and adventure waiting for this old lady.
2. The frequency with which I require help from my kids to sort out techy things is on the rise. Also, I know my age is showing when I find it almost impossible not to say "please" and "thank you" to Suri.
3. Music favorites of my youth are now part of the oldies station.
4.  As my age number has increased, my social circle has decreased. I've become more choosy with whom I spend my time.
5. Though I think I want a crystal ball to show me what happens next, I've learned surprises can be a good thing. If someone had told me five years ago my allergies could be put to rest and our family would have a dog -- I never would have believed it. Although we got a dog for the kids...because for years Nat had been creating Power Point presentations to communicate her desire and Noah just needed a faithful friend to help him cope with new places/situations - I now realize I may have needed her most. Training her has sparked joy...something I had felt in short supply. She has also offered me mental challenges to mix up the mundane chores of running a household. In addition, her need for exercise has required me to get off my butt and move. Because of Truvy I have more energy, less jiggle and better health. When we got her, we knew we wanted to travel with her -- for her to be a support to Noah and just for fun. However, she had trouble with carsickness which led to anxiety. Because of this, we have spent months trying to reshape her feelings about riding in the car. For weeks I would lure her with treats to sit near the car -- not inside it, just near it. (her fear was so great). Once we were successful with that, Steve and I would bring her into the car and sit and feed her step involved turning on the engine. Finally we moved up to driving up the street and then to a local park. We stopped and started this process at least three times because she'd get to a point and then would have an episode (ie. vomit). I worried we'd never get to take her anywhere. Last weekend we had our first full-fledged successful car adventure with her. We drove to Rockwoods Conservation area. Not only did she do great in the car, but she adored the trail. And, Noah who had moaned about going...who vowed "I'm not leaving the house!" settled down once Truvy was successfully loaded in the car. Her presence soothing to him. Together our family walked a 1.5 mile trail called Through the Trees. It was windy, but it was wonderful.

To middle age...and beyond.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Musings From Natalie #157

Natalie: "Mom! Next week is your birthday! You'll be 47...that's really close to 50! You should should just start telling people you are 50 now!"

Me: "Hmmm..umhmm."

Natalie: (excited tone) "Mom, you just need to embrace middle age...oh wait, 40 is middle are way past that."

Me: "I'm an overachiever."

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Happy 12th Natalie!

Natalie's wishful heart wins again. Last night Mother Nature dumped 4 to 6 inches of white powder on St. Louis, whereby Nat scores a snow day on her birthday. It's not often we get snow in November much less enough to sled and play in. Normally a late riser and slow to move, Nat was up and dressed by 7 a.m. and ready to go on a birthday scavenger hunt created by Noah. Shortly after she romped around our yard with Truvy and walked to our neighborhood hill to sled with her Dad.

We love our girl. She's smart, empathetic, witty and joyful...always seeing the glass half full.

Happy 12th Birthday Natalie Grace!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Musings From Natalie #156

Me: When you are an adult then....blah blah blah

Natalie: I'm an adult...ish. I'm almost a teenager!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Puppy Parenting week 8 -11

If I only had three words to describe our first three weeks with Truvy they would be LOVE, FUN and EXHAUSTION.

In a time when I thought I couldn't do one more thing...Truvy has shown me how adding a fur ball to our home can truly enrich our family's life. In the first week she LOATHED her crate. Steve and I took turns camping outside her crate on a sleeping bag to keep the whimpers at bay. Just like a crying baby we tried everything to keep her happy. Once in the middle of the night -- at a loss for how to stop her from whining and barking, I ripped off my own nightshirt. It worked...that one time. Other nights she only rested when Steve or I squeezed our fingers between the bars to let her sniff us. Thankfully a friend suggested putting a sheet completely over the crate and just like a bird -- night night. Our second week together she was still getting up quite frequently. We also noticed that when we took her out she squatted to pee multiple times. Turns out she had a UTI.

She's now 11 weeks old and weighs about 11 lbs. She's destroyed two nylabones and a nylabone teething key ring...along with several stuffed/squeaky toys. We were (continue somewhat) to be challenged by her high prey drive. She sees Natalie's swishy skirt and can't help but lunge. We've lost a few items of clothing to tears but our trainer has been invaluable. She recognized the reason for Truvy's behavior and turned her desire into something we can use to play with her. Truvy loves playing tug with an untreated, chamois leather cloth or rope toy. It wears her out and allows us to develop a play relationship with her. Liver treats and food in general is her favorite. We've been unable to convince her that rabbit turds are yucky.

She is a smarty pants. She rings a bell to tell us she wants out. The only accidents we have are when she gets overexcited when a new visitor comes over. She knows come, sit, down, climb and shake commands. We are working on roll over.

To date she has met about 50 new people. The books recommend she meet 100 before she's 12 weeks during the critical socialization window of 8 to 12 weeks. If you would like to meet her this weekend or through the week -- please PM me or text me.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

You Might be an Autism Parent If...

You might be an Autism Parent If...

1. Your child has no problem putting together a 500 piece LEGO set, but tying his shoes is a challenge.

2. Your child is a Star Wars trivia master, but naming all 12 months of the year in order is difficult.

3. Your child can hold more than 20 pieces of music in his head, but he can't remember if he fed his gerbils.

4. Your child can play complicated music by John Williams on his keyboard, but printing out his first and last name takes real effort.

This month Action for Autism St. Louis will be celebrating a decade of serving St. Louis families with their annual Family Fun Walk. Our family has been supported by this wonderful group since it's inception. This past summer AFA helped us bridge the often difficult time between school and summer break by sending Noah to two different summer programs -- 1. an intensive 2 week, academic boot camp which he actually loved. He and one other student received one-on-one instruction in reading support and math skills. The teacher found creative ways to reinforce math concepts through cooking. He also took part in a group sports class that focused on social skills and being a good sport.

As a recipient of Action for Autism support, it is an honor to help them generate pledges to help more children and their families who are affected by Autism.  If you can, please make a tax deductible donation to Action for Autism. Click this link and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. There are three fields to complete. Please put our last name - FELGENHAUER - in the donation notes field. Or, message me privately to make arrangements.

Thanks so much!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Hope Floats...and Sometimes Wags

"Mom, I found this paper. I don't know where it came from," said Noah.

I took one look and immediately knew he wrote son who loathes writing, sat down and painstakingly penned a letter on Truvy's behalf.

While his penmanship may lead many to have preconceived notions of his abilities. I see his creativity and know his brain is strong even if his fingers aren't.

His creativity again shines through.

Truvy isn't even living with us yet, but already she is making a difference.

Hope floats...and sometimes wags.

Dear Felgenhauers,
I am excited to meet you.
I am a good girl.
I hope that you will play, walk and feed me.

See you in...well...home!
From: Truvy