Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Historically Fun

"I'm gonna miss this place," said Natalie

And, I had to agree.

For the past four weeks, Natalie and I have had so many wonderful adventures together.  We took a ride on a horse-drawn carriage.  We explored up to our elbows with containers of polymer crystals, rice and oats.  We discovered half a dozen ways to play with tree gum balls, pipe cleaners and modeling clay. We took a ride in a pretend hot air balloon fashioned from a laundry basket and an extra large helium balloon. We dressed up in fancy hats and crowns.  We pretended to pack for a trip to the World's Fair and decorated a paper parasol and top hat.  We learned about other cultures - from Japan to Africa.  I never would have guessed we could do all of these things and MORE... under one roof... and for only $20 bucks for four - 2 hour sessions.

Although The Missouri History Museum has been offering "Parent & Me" classes for years, until last month, I had never heard of them.  I guess I had stereotyped the museum to be a stuffy place for retirees to hang out and meander through the displays. I never imagined it could be a place where young children would be welcomed to learn and explore, too.  I'm so happy my friend, Ritika, shared this "best kept secret" with I can blab all about it -- to YOU!

Not only is the museum beautiful and well maintained, but the folks who work there, absolutely LOVE their jobs as evidenced by their warmth and enthusiasm for teaching kids about days gone by.  Whether we painted or pretended to be animals -- they got down on their knees and got dirty, too.  They listened and encouraged and invited questions from all the children. They even took pictures and developed them and then provided all the materials for us to make and take home a keepsake photo album to enjoy.

If you are interested in learning more about The Missouri History Museum, call or visit their website  . In addition to the Parent & Me courses, they offer lots of other family-friendly events like storytelling, family tours, gallery activities and Twilight Tuesdays.  The best part is that many of these offerings are completely FREE of charge.

Nat and Kiran take a ride.
Caring for balloon animals.
Nat cares for her baby elephants.
The girls loved the polymer crystal sensory area the best.

Nat makes an American Mommy and baby ghost from clay 
Throughout the sessions - they took pictures and asked the kids questions and created story boards. 
So many little time!
We learned about the 1st Olympics held in St. Louis. Nat shows off her mad weightlifting skills. 
Kids just wanna have fun!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All About Leafy by Natalie

My kids are like most -- they just love animals.  But, for Natalie, her love extends to include all of God's creatures...even those with up to 100 legs.  A few weeks ago she found a caterpillar in our yard and was all too happy to snatch it up and take care of it.  She was so in love with her new wormy friend, that she decided to write a book about him. However, after several days of feeding him leaves and rinsing out his jar, she announced, "Caterpillars are so much work!", if taking care of the needs of a pet the size of my pinky finger are too much for her, I'm pretty sure we aren't ready to add any furry friends to our family.

And, after reading her book, I realized -- caterpillars and kids have a lot in common.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Know What You Mean #9

"Mom, what is root beard?" asked Natalie.

I don't think she was referring to facial hair.  I think she meant to say root beer.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Overnight Success

Last Saturday I spent the afternoon helping Steve and Noah pack flashlights and long underwear for their overnight camping trip with the Cub Scouts -- a first for Noah.  I admit I was a bit anxious about how it would all play out.  I wanted so badly for it to be a good experience for both of them.  That night, as the temperatures dipped down into the 40's, I was sure I'd hear them come through our front door any minute.

However, it was 9 a.m. before their car pulled into our driveway.  When they entered, I braced myself for a barrage of complaints.  I was unprepared for them to arrive home happy and full -- from a hearty campfire breakfast and tales of their adventures together.

"So, everything went OK?" I hesitated, "He did good?"

"Andrea, he did great," Steve assured.

And, while both my guys aren't one for sharing details, Steve was happy to tell me all about his introduction to s'm-oreos and the joys of eating roasted hot dogs.

"How many did you eat?" I asked

"Oh! I wouldn't even want to try to count," Steve replied.

He and Noah laughed as they re-enacted the skits the boys performed the night before.  Then, it was back to talking about food -- especially the bacon and eggs they enjoyed before packing up to return home.

Eating and joking...joking and eating --that's what it's all about, right?

Noah and friends performing their skit.
Eggs and bacon enjoyed 'round an open fire.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Musings From Natalie #21

With the recent death of Natalie's friend's grandmother, she has been inundating me with questions on heaven and God.

Natalie: "Mom, what kind of food is there in heaven?"
Me: "I don't think you'll need to eat."
Natalie: "Well, I hope they have Jelly Bellys."

Natalie: "Mom, are there bathrooms in heaven?" asked Natalie.
Me: "Not that I'm aware of?" I replied

Natalie: "Mom, do they have telephones in heaven?"
Me: "Who would you call?  Me?"
Natalie: "No."
Me: "Daddy?"
Natalie: "No... I would just call Noah and Tigger and Bailey."

"What will I look like in heaven?  Will I still be a kid?  I want to be a kid in heaven," shared Natalie.

"Who are God's parents?" asked Natalie

"Why do we call him God?  Why isn't his name George or something?" she asked.

Dear George:
There is a special place in heaven for me, right?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Deep Thoughts From Noah #7

Convo between Noah and Natalie:

"I don't know what I want to be when I grow up...maybe a vegetarian and take care of animals or a singer, but I wouldn't sing in front of people -- only on the radio.  I just can't decide!" shared Natalie.

"Noah, what do YOU want to be when you grow up?" asked Natalie.

"Myself," answered Noah.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Musings from Natalie #20

Natalie sighed and then announced,  "My yawns are tired!"

As soon as Natalie got in the car, I heard, "Mom, find a smoking girl song."
While I flipped through the radio stations, she suddenly said, "Stop!  This is just what I had in mind."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Deep Thoughts from Noah #6

"Aren't you going to help me with my homework?" asked Noah.

"Noah, I've been listening to Daddy...he's not only been helping you he's been doing your homework for you," I said.

"No, he's not.  I'm doing it.  He's just telling me the answers," replied Noah.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Know What You Mean #8

"Mom, when I grow up I want to be a vegetarian and take care of all the animals," said Natalie

(Hmmm...I don't know of anyone who gets paid to not eat animals.  I think she meant she wants to be a veterinarian.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rapunzel and Stinky by Natalie

Once upon a time there was a princess that lived in a tall castle.  Her name was Rapunzel and she was so pretty that every son of every person wanted to marry her, but she said, “No, no, no!"  
Rapunzel with her true love -- Stinky.
Stinky is the tiny, green guy next to her.

She looked and looked, but she couldn't find her favorite friend. 

All the girls didn't want to marry him, he was ugly and stinky.  He had bugs in his hair and slime coming out of his nose, but he loved God best.  So, Rapunzel wanted to marry the one who had the most love. His name was Stinky.

Stinky kissed the princess Rapunzel and his lips were so gross she had to wipe off her mouth because his kiss tasted like worm poop, but she loved him anyway.

The End

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Golden Leprechaun by Natalie

Golden Leprechaun
Not so long ago there was a leprechaun with a pot of gold.  He dropped two gold coins in the bucket then another one so he had three coins in the bucket.  Then he dropped more and more and more until finally the bucket was full of coins.  All the leprechauns began fighting over the gold. So they made a deal and gave 10 by 10 coins to each leprechaun, but the smallest one wasn't good with math problems so he got one egg instead.  It was a fake egg.  There was nothing inside the egg.  Just a sticker on the outside of it that said, Boo hoo! You lose!

The End
Grabby Leprechaun Hands

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Know What You Mean #7

"Maahhhhhhhhhm! I'm banished!" announced Natalie while she eyed the hot dogs roasting on the BBQ pits at the zoo.

I don't think anyone was going to send her away for coveting nitrate-filled sausages. Rather, I think she was very hungry and famished.

"Mom, what kind of zoovenir should I get? asked Natalie while passing the endless zoo gift shop displays.

(Hello!  She's a marketer's dream...everyone who visits the zoo needs a zoovenir souvenir.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I"m So Happy...Scouts Honor

A few weeks ago Noah came home waving a "Join the Cub Scouts" flyer in my face.

"Mom!  I want to join Cub Scouts!  Jacob is in it and he told me I should join so I can be in it with him," shared Noah.

"Ok," I replied.

While my face and body remained neutral, my insides were doing flip flops.  Suddenly, Jacob was my new favorite name.  Since Noah began 3rd grade, I've been bracing myself for his social life at school to become increasingly more difficult.  For years I've been warned that social challenges typically become even more pronounced in 3rd grade. However, knock on wood, this has not been the case for us.  Sure...his school work this year has been fraught with more tears and anxiety over spelling tests and science tests.  And, because of his dyslexia and other learning challenges he's reading below grade level, handwriting is difficult and math is a constant source of frustration, but none of that matters because the other day Noah told me, "Mom, I think Jacob is a little bit my friend."

My happiness meter reading was off the charts that day.  Though he's been invited to parties and I've arranged play dates, this is the first time he's spoken of having a friend at his own classroom.  Most often I hear from him how much he wants a friend, but doesn't feel like he fits in or that kids don't understand him.  And the blessings have continued to pour in.  Without prompting from me, Steve suggested that he attend the Cub Scout informational meeting with Noah himself.  When he returned, I learned that not only had he enrolled Noah to become a member of Pack 314, but he also signed himself up as a volunteer.  Suddenly, my two boys had a means to connect and spend quality time with each other in a way that they hadn't before --something they both sorely needed.  Since Noah is not a sports kid and did not inherit his Dad's hunting and fishing gene, recreation between the two has been quite limited.  Also, joining the Cub Scouts would provide Noah with an opportunity to interact with kids his own age, outside of a school setting.

Fast forward to today, Steve and Noah have had quite a few adventures together including; building a tool box, target shooting with BB guns and slingshots and participating in a few science experiments to earn his first badge.  He's even built up his courage enough to begin selling popcorn for his pack.

I just love a man in uniform.

Noah is ready to hit the pavement with his lovely assistant.

He was nervous at first, but after a few successful sales,
he began offering his opinion on popcorn flavors.

We couldn't keep Natalie away.  

If you are interested in having Noah come to your door to give his spiel on the yummy flavors of popcorn offered for sale by the Cub Scouts, drop me an email at andrea (at) therapyonwry (dot) (com).  For those who live outside of the St. Louis area, online ordering is available.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Musings from Natalie #19

Natalie: "Mom, I don't like my name.  Why did you name me Natalie?"
Me: "I think it's a beautiful name.  What would you rather I have called you?"
Natalie: "I wish you had named me Sugar and you could call me Plum for short."

"Mom, did you notice that you are the best mom ever?" asked Natalie
(She said this after I gave her a tortilla filled with Nutella...coincidence? Hmmm)

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Food Ran Away by Natalie

Once there was a boy named Kevin and he liked to play with his food.  One day his food came to life and wriggled to his neighbor Molly Lolly’s house and then they danced in the cabinets and met other foods like onions and squash and potatoes, too!  There was an apple and an orange and maybe even a grape, too.  They danced till dawn.  When it was dawn Kevin was sad because his grapes and his oranges and his apples were gone.  Then he boo hoo’d all the way to bed.

The End.

Kevin's Fruity Friends

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Know What You Mean #6

"Did you have fun with Daddy while I was gone?" I asked.

"Yea! He took us to see Diarrhea of a Whoopie Kid," replied Natalie

I don't think Steve took her to see a kid with gastrointestinal problems.  Rather, I think he took her to the movies to see the third installment of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Dog Days"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Girls Getaway 2012 Wrap-Up

By the time Barb's van had pulled in front of my house, I'd already showered the kids with lots of good-bye hugs and kisses.  However, just as I turned to close the door behind me, Natalie suddenly reached out her arm to hold it open.

"Wait!  I want to give you one of my stuffed animals to take with you so that you don't forget me!" said Natalie.

She returned a moment later with her beloved night time pal, Twinkle.

"But, she's your favorite.  Are you sure you want me to take her?" I asked.

"Yes! You can even sleep with her," replied Natalie.

Twinkle turned out to be a great traveling partner..even if she consumed most of my Nutella during our weekend retreat.

Twinkle enjoying breakfast on the deck.

We waited for the rain to clear before heading out to the outlet mall.
Twinkle was a little possessive with the remote.
Thankfully, "There's Something About Mary" was something we could all agree on watching. 

 Paint Box Cafe is now our new favorite lunch spot.
It has become a pinning sensation for it's recipes and decor.
The cafe offers half a dozen little nooks to nosh in.
An old door and silverware are re-purposed into a cool mug rack. 
Blake's Choice Sandwich
Panini with turkey, Monterey Jack & Cheddar
& "Paint Box bacon"
A house specialty featuring pecans pressed into the pork.

After lunch we headed to the outlets.  

Twinkle tried to be helpful, but since she only sees in black and white she often chose
some crazy outfits for us to try on.

Our little companion turned out to be a shopping good luck charm. 

Twinkle offered to help me with my digital scrapbooking, but
her little claws kept getting stuck between the keys. 

No cooking is our #1 rule while away.  We enjoyed a quiet evening in
with some yummy, thin crust pizza from JJ Twiggs.
Turns out Twinkle is a bit of a lush.

Here's how we found her the next morning.
What a lightweight.

In the 6 years Barb and I have made this trip - this is the first time
I thought to take a photo of us together.
It will be fun to look back on when we're 80.

I'm back home now...and have finally caught up with the laundry.  The kids had lots of adventures with their Dad, but seemed happy to have me back...especially my "Big Kid" aka husband. After the kids went to bed, he told me he was going out to fill up our cars for the week.  But, when he returned, he presented me with a cherry stolen and my favorite tea to enjoy in the morning.  He also bought me a bag of Godiva chocolate, as he had noticed my stash had been depleted.

I may go out of town once a year...but I'll always return home.  I promise.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Trifecta Writing Challenge Week 36

This week's writing challenge is to provide a metaphor or simile to help describe what you see.  Make your analogy 33 words or less, and make it clever or witty or unusual enough to grab our attention.  


A vascular bundle of nerves.

A vessel of nervous energy.

Sweating bullets

I'm a wreck.


Musings from Natalie # 18

Natalie: "Mom should I have children?"
Me: "Natalie that is something you don't even need to worry about for 20+ years.  Yes, I would love to have grandchildren some day, however, if you don't want to have kids you don't have to have them."
Natalie: "Yeah, what would I do with bossy children anyway?" she replied.

Natalie: "Mom, what do you think heaven is like?"
Me: "I think it is a place of peace and happiness."
Natalie: "I hope it's a land of Jelly Bellys!"

Upon hearing this oldie but a goodie from Sister Sledge, Natalie deemed it a "rockin' girl song"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Girls Getaway 2012

Well, my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

I'm only bringing the essentials.

It's that time again! Heading to the Lake for some relaxing and rejuvenation.  To read about last year's shenanigans, click here and here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I'm Just Not Cut Out For Porn

Over the past 30 years, I have had many, MANY jobs. Sometimes holding down two or three part-time jobs at one time.  I've collated newspaper ads, served frozen yogurt, and greeted preppy teens at The Gap. I've been paid to give my opinions on everything from fat free Alfredo sauce to selecting a new logo for a frozen pizza company.  Once I was given the task of hanging out in a local Target to interview shoppers about their pet's favorite brand of food. However, none of my previous employment could have prepared me for the job of motherhood.  It's not only hands has required me to be on my feet, too. Day and night I've clocked in countless hours of wiping up spills, scrubbing down walls and bandaging scraped knees; while scaring monsters out of closets.  It has turned me into an exterminator of sorts from ridding the tub of nasty soap scum rings to removing teeny tiny critters from each and every strand of my little darlings' heads.

So, I admit there have been times during my career as a stay at home mom, when I've fantasized about what my life would be like today had I chosen a different path.  I imagine I'd be a much cleaner person.  I wouldn't need to change my clothes so often because someone has accidentally barfed or sneezed on me.  Or, because I've just spent the morning crawling under a bed and reaching behind dusty appliances to retrieve a beloved toy.  My hairstyle would be neater, too since I didn't need to pick clumps of chocolate frosting out of my hair because my lil' helper decided to turn the mixer on the highest setting.

Being a Mom is a dirty job.

Maybe that is why when I recently applied for a "Creative Writer" position, the company thought I would make a great addition to their team...of porn writers.

Yep, you read that right.


I guess from reading the writing samples I sent them, they believed that I, who have spent almost a decade dealing with dirty dishes, grimy laundry and sticky surfaces....would be the perfect person to become a wordsmith of wet dreams.  Even though they were sure to stress that not all of the writing would be porn-related, I just don't think I'm cut out for the job.  I'm mean, it's not that I'm squeamish.  I have done some pretty dirty catching projectile vomit with my bare hands or getting poo out of my wood grain floor, but some dirt is just too filthy for me.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Know What You Mean # 5

"Mom, what are turn lips?"

I'm pretty sure she wasn't interested in the idiom -- talking out of both sides of your mouth. Rather, I think she was interested in turnips.

While picking up new windshield wipers for our car, Natalie said, "I wish they had kid wipers."

I don't think she was referring to me and the other moms of the world who wipe mouths and bottoms and everything in between. Rather, I think she wished that our car came equipped with side wipers for rear passengers like her.

Monday, October 1, 2012

5 Year Olds Do Not Make Good PR Agents

I know that for some of you, everything I write about is old news...that's because you've already heard the story firsthand -- from my 5 year old daughter!  For her, nothing is off limits.  Whether she's making sure everyone within a 20 foot perimeter at the grocery checkout knows my true age or she's telling her kindergarten teacher that her Mommy got pulled over by a police man for "breaking the law".  For the record, I was driving 40 in a 25, but I thought the limit was 35 and there were lots of hills and...sigh.  

I love Natalie, but I don't agree with her PR tactics -- all news is not good PR.  Since there is no way to undue her gift for gab, perhaps I just need to help her with her spinning techniques.

For example, instead of saying, "My Mom is 40 years OLD!" she could say, "My Mom is only 34 years older than me."  My hope being that she forgets to say the "older than me" part.

And, instead of saying, "My Mom got pulled over for breaking the law!" she could say, "My Mom is very interested in my education.  Today’s ‘Word of the Day” is consequences.”

I unwrapped this Dove Chocolate Promise
just hours after the "The Great Pullover"