Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Musings From Natalie #158

Natalie: Can I have a hug?
Me: What kind do you want?...dinosaur T-Rex?...butterfly? or bear?
Natalie: All of them!
Me: (pinching myself inside that she's days away from becoming a teenager and still wants hugs from her mama) Ok!
Natalie: I don't know who invented hugs...but I'm glad they did.
Me: (me, too)

Recently I took this pic of Natalie and sent it to my sister. I think it's hilarious that Nat is in plays and dresses just like her Aunt Nae did in high school.

Deep Thoughts From Noah #96

Recently Noah was invited to have lunch with his Best Buddy and another pair of Buddies. While driving to the restaurant, I reminded him to use his best table manners.

Me: Noah don't forget to use good table manners.
Noah: Mahhhm! I already know that.
Me: Don't forget to use napkins and...
Noah: Ok... Hey, wait, are napkins REALLY neccessary?
Me: sigh...

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Pushing Past Panic to Find a Passion

June 17th marked 17 years of marriage with the Big Steve-O, yet the two of us never took/made time to celebrate. This summer has been fraught with a lot of heartache and anxiety over parenting Noah. I've lost weight, my hairdresser noticed my hair was thinning and I've felt extremely fatigued. Last month Steve signed me up for a one day, pet portrait watercolor class because he always seems to know what I need even if I don't always agree with him...kinda like that one time nearly eight years ago when he signed me up for a writing course.
Me: "Why would you do that? I have no idea what to write. I have nothing to say."
Steve: (no words - just an unwavering belief in me)

Steve may not be everyone's cup of tea, but he is honest and fair and his faith in Jesus is strong and has carried our family through tough times. While his words are few, his actions speak volumes. His passion is in making me happy...mostly -- though there's a reason, as a little boy, his mama called him Steven the Heathen.

I love you, Steve -- you big lug.

I began painting -- mainly out of fear... because I hadn't held a brush for 10 years and didn't want to look like a complete fool at the class. So, I practiced as much as I could and although I nearly had a panic attack during the class and had to leave early -- I have found joy in the process.

My first one I created for a friend who lost her beloved 2 year old Belgian Malinois this past spring.
Meet Indie

A few weeks ago my niece had to put down her 4 year old dog unexpectedly.
Meet Sadie

Last month my Barb, my sister-friend, celebrated another trip around the sun. Someone who over the years has talked me down from more ledges and lifted me up more times than I can count.
Meet Cocoa Bean

When I shyly showed my paintings to my former boss, Ellen Rohr, someone who I have always admired for her can do, glass half full attitude, she immediately offered to pay me to paint her own two pooches...a gift for her husband. My heart nearly burst...not for the money, but that I could bring joy to someone from something I created.

Meet Molly and Sox

Our Truvy dog's breeder, Theresa has been a lifeline and been available to us any time we have called on her with a question about our pup. For her, a rendering of her beloved, 3 year old labradoodle.
Meet Dusty

My latest rendering is for a lovely lady who lost the dog of her life to cancer.
Meet Rusty

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Changing Times

The summer season...
A time of growth when the days are longest and the nights are shortest. For Noah he has spent many of those long days worrying about the changes he will experience by attending a new high school this fall. The nights extra short as he's up before the sun because for him change is synonymous with impending doom.

Summer is also the time when kids seem to grow the most both physically and emotionally. With only two more days til the start of a new school year, I have begun examining the ways in which Noah has grown this summer:
* he held a part time job
* he can independently walk to and from the park near our home
* he has a "long-distance" girlfriend he face times every day

 However, some things do not change.
..Noah's desire for sameness. Keeping the status quo in a world of never-ending change, is near impossible and stressful. I try to control "unexpected" things by serving him foods he is comfortable with and can tolerate. Keeping up with routines and schedules -- even in the summer months.

...Noah's short term memory difficulties. I make him lists, but he refuses to use them. I try not to lose my patience when he forgets and brushes his teeth without paste or can't remember which trash can is for waste and which is for recycling or has misplaced xyz...again and again.

...Noah's love for repetition and imitation. He is not only good at learning piano pieces by ear, he is also pretty terrific and imitating inflections/mannerisms and phrases from people he has met or movies he has much so it sometimes feels as though there are other people living in our home.

...our need for support from Action for Autism St. Louis. This summer through AFA Noah received private occupational therapy twice a week. On Tuesdays he and his beloved therapist, Cindy, worked on sensory issues and keyboarding skills. On Thursdays the two of them walked to our local city center to work out or played Foosball. She helped him devise a simple exercise plan that included using the treadmill and other equipment. They walked to a local eatery to order, count out money and pay for an item on his own. Through it all she has been his sounding board and counselor and helped him work through frustrations about being picked on at the pool this summer or worries about attending a new school.

On August 24th our family will be participating in our 11th annual AFA Family Fun Walk. If you feel led, please make a tax deductible donation here. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Family Fun Walk from the drop down list and type Felgenhauer in the Donation Notes bar.

Thank you to all who have supported us in the past and those who are able to help this year.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Scaredy Cat

The other day Truvy and I set out earlier than usual in an effort to beat the grotesque humidity. We did our normal loop around town, however, as we inched our way up the remaining incline, I was feeling overheated and felt it best if we shortened our route. As we walked along I noticed a black cat sitting still as a statue at the edge of a driveway. Truvy didn't even notice him. Her eyes were trained on several squirrels scurrying among the trees. I quickly glanced at the cat and in response, he puffed up his shiny coat. While Truvy and I were already in the street (because there were no sidewalks) I steered her into the middle of the road. I wanted to communicate to Puff-Kitty we had no interest in him and he was safe. Oddly enough as Truvy and I continued, I felt like something was following us. I looked over my shoulder and there was that cat. I couldn't believe it. So much so, I actually said aloud, "I can't believe he's following us." At this point Truvy turned and noticed the cat. She cocked her head in curiosity, but the manner in which he walked --low to the ground, I felt an urgency to pick up our pace and keep moving, but in that instant, he pounced....not in the cute way that cats jump on a toy mouse or bat a feather tether toy -- his back arched, his mouth opened and were claws out. In response, Truvy yelped and jumped backwards -- trying to get away. I got tangled up in her leash and landed hard on the pavement. As I scrambled to get up, the cat lunged again. I felt like we were in an episode of the Twilight Zone. My arms and legs swinging wildly as I tried to shield the two of us. My voice shrill. Was anyone seeing this? I wondered. Truvy and I nearly ran down the rest of the street, stopping only to cross the road. I looked back and in the distance could see a small, dark furry figure -- still except for a flitting tail.

Since this experience, Truvy has become afraid of Natalie's black, stuffed toy dog. I've tried several desensitization techniques, but she isn't buying it. She barks at it and backs away...refusing to go in her room. I don't blame her. The experience shook me up, too.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Deep Thoughts From Noah #95

Noah: Mom, I have nothing to wear.

Me: How can that be? I've done all the laundry.
(I head upstairs to his room. Not only is his dirty laundry basket half full, but he has dirty clothes strewn all over his bedroom floor.

Me: Noah, you need to bring your dirty clothes down so I may wash them.

Noah: Oh. I forgot.

Me: Why are all of your clothes on the floor?

Noah: I don't know

Me: Noah, you have to have a better reason than "I don't know."

Noah: Well...because if I put them in the laundry basket I was afraid they would overflow.

Me: Touche

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Truvy's Birthday Pawty Wrap Up

I think it is fair to say we are a little over the top with our pup...and I'm okay with that. Her entry into our home required more than a year of planning, research and 100+ allergy shots. However, nothing prepared me for the level for which I would love her and the positive affect she would have on our entire family. Steve and I spend more time together and we both have better health (Steve's lost 20 lbs!) thanks to daily walks. Noah's confidence grows as he practices commands with her and is always happy to take her out for potty breaks. Natalie just loves having a furry companion to sit with her while she reads.

While I was hoping to train her to become a therapy dog, I think she may be better suited as a circus dog. She knows lots of tricks -- sit, down, stay, spin, rewind, peekaboo, shake, left paw, right paw, high 5, high 10, take my arm and walk and most recently -- jumping through hoops. Her favorite games are find it, Frisbee and tug.

We socialize and board her at Silver Maple Pet Center. Each month they celebrate birthdays. They threw Truvy a fun-filled pawty with more than a dozen of her friends. When I picked her up, pet attendant, Lauren said, "I just wanted you to know -- Truvy now has a boyfriend."

Say what?!

Everyone -- Meet Don.

Natalie has been dreaming about Truvy's birthday party for months. She didn't think a "friend" party  was enough. She wanted her to have a family party, too! She found a recipe for a layered dog cake (Ask me if she's ever made a cake for her ol' mom...hmmmm). She made a photo prop (I taught her well!) and we invited my friend Christy, her daughter, Jessie and their pup (4.5 month old, Teddy -- Truvy's half bro) over to celebrate. We nearly melted under the 90+ temps, but did our best to keep cool with popsicles and iced tea while we watched the two dogs romp around the yard. Jessie presented Truvy with a large, decorated birthday cookie which the two pups happily shared. We took lots of pics and made lots of memories.

Nat was so fired up  -- after the party she opened up an Instagram just for Truvy. I don't have an account, but it seems our dog does.  #groovy_truvy