Thursday, November 29, 2012

Deep Thoughts From Noah #12

"Careful, the pizza is hot," I warned

"Well, people who like hot should live on the sun," shared Natalie

"They should also wear sunscreen," added Noah.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Musings from Natalie #25

Natalie: "Mom, when am I going to get a baby in my belly?"
Me: "Not for a long, long, long, long time. You have to be married, too."
Natalie: "Mom, do dogs have to get married?"

Pointing to a loaf of Great Harvest cinnamon bread Natalie asked, "Can I have more of that magical bread?"

Natalie: "Mom, can I have a Dum Dum sucker?"
Me: "Sure."
Natalie: "Mom, I think I have a habit."

"Mom, find me a smokin' girl song," she asked.
Here's her defintion.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bertday Love

On November 15, 2006 at 9:24 a.m. we welcomed Natalie Grace into the world.  She weighed 7 lbs. 5 oz. and was 19 1/2 inches long.  

Today she is a funny, quick-witted kindergartner who sometimes forgets that I am the parent and she is the kid.
"Look at this chubby bunny! said my OB.
Below are some of my favorite photos and things she's said to me over the years:

Chocolate Pudding Showdown

“A chocolate chip would cheer me up.”
Natalie, age 2 1/2

Coon Cap and Crumpets

While I applied my make-up, I let Natalie put on some Chapstick and told her it would protect her lips.  She replied, “You mean from monsters and bats and stuff?”
Natalie, age 3 1/2

While viewing the live beehive at Powder Valley Conservation Center, I pointed out the queen bee to the kids to which she replied, "Look at all her husbands!"
Natalie, age 4

Look what I caught!

"Mom, now that I'm almost 5...I'd like to talk to you about getting my nose and ears pierced."
Natalie, age 4 and 2 weeks

"Mom, why do boys have a penis? asked Natalie
"That's just how God made them." I replied
"Does God think he's funny? asked Natalie
Natalie, age 4 1/2

"Mom, what did you dream about last night? asked Natalie
"I didn't have any dreams because I was just too tired," I replied.
"That's ok, Mom.  Next time just put faith in your pillow," she said.
Natalie, age 4 1/2

"Mom, I'm ready for our walk," she said (Nevermind that it was sunny and 80 degrees)
"I'm bored," said Natalie
"Why don't you make a card for your Aunt Joanne.  It would make her day," I offered.
"No, I want to make my day," she replied.
Natalie, age 5

"Natalie!  Why are you screaming in the house?" I asked.
"Oh, sorry Mom.  I was just trying to break glass," she explained
Natalie, age 5 1/2

On Thursday we marked her special day with a trip to Claire's Boutique to have her ears pierced.  She's been begging to have it done since she turned 4. Initially she was nervous and requested that Noah be the one to hold her hand.  She selected her "bert-stone" for starters and in the end had me hold one hand while Noah held the other. She was brave and only uttered a small single, "ow" during the entire process.  


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Remembering Keith

Until yesterday this post was called "Sixtastic Years" in celebration of Natalie's 6th birthday and was filled with photos and funny things she has said to me over the years.  However, all that changed when I received a call from my brother that would remind me just how fragile and fleeting life can be.  He called to tell me that someone my family loved and cared about had passed.  Although death is a part of life, when it happens to someone you know and care about, it is always shocking...especially when that person was healthy and young and full of life.  His name was Keith.  He was 41 years old and the greatest joy in his life was being a husband and spending time with his 13 year old twin boys, Joey and Charlie.

I met him nearly 25 years ago in my high school Spanish II class.  I called him Diego and he called me Anita.  He was a fun-loving guy with a zany sense of humor and a passion for playing soccer.  He went on to marry my cousin, Molly, and has been a constant in our family's life for more than two decades.  Joking around and poking fun at himself was like breathing for him.  He doted on Molly and was always active in the boys' lives.  He was like a big kid himself.  He loved to play sports and video games and dressing up at parties...oftentimes he put on a red suit and a jolly grin to entertain kids at Christmas, but one of the funniest times I remember is when he dressed up as Cousin Eddie at my cousin, Liz's annual holiday party.

It's hard to believe he is no longer with us.  He was loved by so many.  Below are some photos that capture his zest for life and laughter.  Rest in Peace, Keith.

Shi**ers Full says Cousin Eddie
His pride and joy

Calendar pose
Molly and Keith aka Flava Flav
Keith and the boys on vacation
Keith with the love of his life.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Deep Thoughts from Noah #11

"Mom, I want to change my name," shared Noah.

"Fine.  When you are 18," I replied.

"Great!  I'm going to change my name to Frodo," said Noah.

(Awesome...I don't know why I didn't think of that name first.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Musings from Natalie #24

"Mom, I have too many friends.  I'm going to give some of them to Noah," shared Natalie.

Natalie: "Mom, how old is Ainsley?"
Me: "She is 5."
Natalie: "But, why is she taller than me?  I'm almost 6.  That doesn't make any sense."

"I wish I may I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight -- I wish that everyone was happy with what they had and that all kids' wishes came true and that trees would walk and talk and sing and dance," whispered Natalie from the backseat.

Natalie: "Mom, can I have another piece of candy because I didn't like those candy sticks at all."
Me: "Why did you eat all of them if you didn't like them?"
Natalie: "Well, I didn't want to be wasteful."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Last Night I Met An Angel

Last night I met an angel...from a little town just south of Chicago.

No, I wasn't dreaming.

No, she didn't have wings...that I could see, but I think it's just because she is the earthly-variety.

However, I know the signs when I see them.

An angel's hallmark is to drop in on your life when you least expect it, but need it most...when your night time worries begin to creep into your day time living...when you need a physical reminder...a nudge that you are not alone...that there are others who know your heart and want to help.

Her name is Amy me, she is a mother to a son on the autism spectrum.

Amy is also an author whose self-published teen paranormal romance novels have quickly become best-selling books across the planet.  She recently made a pledge to earmark .50 cents from every sale of her book, Reckoning, the sequel to Forbidden, with a goal to raise $2,500 to purchase 5 iPADS to give away to children with autism.  She and her husband, Rick, partnered with Action for Autism St. Louis and I'm happy to say that our family was selected to receive an iPAD.

Their timing couldn't have been more perfect...maybe because it was a divine intervention.

It is my hope that their gift will help reduce Noah's struggles with schoolwork or at least boost his confidence.  He's a smart kid, but learning difficulties often deflate his self esteem.

Thank you Amy, Rick and Landon for dropping into our life at just the right time. And, a special thank you to all of Amy's fans who helped to make this possible.

To learn more about Amy and her wildly popular books, visit her website at

Amy and her family traveled more than a 100 miles to hand deliver the iPADS to us.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Deep Thoughts from Noah #10

"Noah, that was just a story.  It's not real," I said.

"No!  I saw it in a real, live movie," he replied.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Musings From Natalie #23

"I think God is my great, great, great, great, great, great, great Daddy," said Natalie

Natalie: "Mom, why is that lady just standing there?"
Me: "She's waiting for the bus."
Natalie: "Why doesn't she drive?"
Me: "Probably because she can't afford to buy a car and put gas in it."
Natalie: "Why don't we just stop and pick her up and take her to her house?"

Me: "Tuesday you guys are off school because it's election day."
Natalie: "What does that mean?"
Me: "It means everyone will be voting for the next president -- either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney."
Me: "Have you been talking to your Dad?"
Natalie: "Nope...I just like RAM-en noodles!"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Deep Thoughts from Noah #9

After asking Steve and I for the umpteenth time whether we were going to church today and not getting the answer he wanted to hear, Noah then asked, "Is it because we've already paid for it?"

(Hmmm...more like Jesus paid for it.. very close.) 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Deep Thoughts from Noah #8

Noah's Reason #822 for why he should be allowed to play his new Nintendo DS game -- Mario vs. Donkey Kong without time limits:

"But, Mom...the girl in the game really needs me to help her," explained Noah.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Musings from Natalie #22

Natalie: "Mom, what happens when you get sent to the principal's office?"
Me: "I imagine if you did something wrong, you'd get a talking to."
Natalie: "And?..."

While in the car, The Outfield's song - "Your Love" came on the radio.  I never really paid attention to the lyrics before...that is, until Natalie piped up during the song and asked, "What is it that they mean by that?"  She was referring to the line:

I just wanna use your love tonight
I don't wanna lose your love tonight

Sigh...maybe it's time for us to go back to listening to The Wiggles.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Candypalooza 2012

Phew...we made it.  

And, judging by the amount of candy in our house -- I'd say we were successful.  Though I love Halloween and enjoy watching my kids dress up and tell jokes (It's a St. Louis thing), I am ready to put the costumes and decorations away til next year.  When I was a kid, Halloween was a one night celebration.  Today, there are often so many festivities centered around all things spooky that the party train starts somewhere mid October, but doesn't stop until November 1.

I do love the traditions though that we've developed over the years -- like visiting a pumpkin patch, roasting the seeds after carving the pumpkin, watching "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown", listening to jokes my kids have learned or made up themselves and just spending time together -- even if it means I have to contend with weeks of "Can I have a piece of candy?" 18 times a day.

One trunk or treat
"I know all of the Star Wars music," shared Noah. -- with Princess Leia 
Two school Halloween parties - I did my best to hang out with both kids.  Not easy to be in two places at once!

Noah's class played a spooky memory game. 
Natalie with her candy crazy classmates.
Pumpkin Designing

Both kids were super pleased with their pumpkin creations. 
For the past five years, our family has been celebrating Halloween night with the Brauns and the Browns.  While the Brauns always host and provide the main dish (usually Bab's famous "slop" a concoction of Velveeta and chili), we bring a dessert and side dish to share. With eight ramped-up kids among us, the volume level can sometimes reach an 11.  However, this year it didn't seem as loud.  Maybe because the kids are older or maybe it's because we, the adults, just don't hear as well as we used to. This year Babs added some games to the mix - like "Monster Poop" -- in which she melted various candies and then told the kids to examine the piles and guess which monster had done its the "Snicker-saurus", "Big Butterfinger-foot" and the "Baby Ruthless".

Smelling the "monster poop" was allowed...just no tasting!

Elvis (aka Kevin) enters the building.
We enjoyed fresh fruit and veggies 
 Bab's cauldron of slop
The F-Gang

The Browns
The Brauns
Megan the sweetest Halloween Fairy
And...they're off!

Here's the jokes they told:
Noah: How many wizards does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: None!  Wizards don't need electricity.

Natalie: Why couldn't the skeleton cross the road?
Answer: Because he didn't have any guts!

Megan: What is a ghost's favorite food?
Answer: Boo-berry jam on toast 

Lindsay: How did the bee get to school?
Answer: On the school buzzzzz

Jason: Where does a bat brush his teeth?
Answer: In the bat-room!
Batman and Princess Cat
Ta Da! Look at us! Aren't we cute?
We didn't stop until our containers were full .