Friday, December 27, 2013

St. Louisans Never Forget

Today the kids and I took advantage of the warmer temps to venture out to one of our favorite places -- the St. Louis Zoo.  While they never tire of viewing the butterflies at the Insectarium or hanging with the chimps at the Primate House, today we spent most of our time at the River's Edge exhibit.  We came to wish Raja, the first Asian elephant born at the zoo, a Happy 21st Birthday.  Every year zookeepers remember his special day by throwing him a party.  They fill half a dozen cardboard gift boxes with his favorite foods including peanuts, popcorn, melons and bananas.

Raja's gifts.  We sang Happy Birthday to him, but due to the crowds -- quickly headed out.

We had a much better view of Raja's daughters enjoying their party favors.

Raja is proud papa to four girls - Maliha, age 7, Jade, age 6 ½, Kenzi, age 2½, and Priya, age 8 months.

With crowds quickly rolling in, we opted to skip the cupcakes and cocoa in favor of trying a new local confectionary to hit St. Louis  -- Strange Donuts.  A friendly shop nestled in the growing business community of Maplewood. The shop features a dozen different flavors both classic and fanciful creations like Campfire, Fat Elvis and Strange Bacon.
They were all out of the "white fat Steve" (classic long john) so Nat chose a black fat Steve

With my chocolate lover son -- he had no problem making his selection - a chocolate cake with Nutella and chocolate drizzle icing.  I chose a peanut butter and jelly for Steve who eats PB sandwiches every single day.  For myself, I ordered a maple bacon glaze.  It was the last one -- apparently they run out of it every day.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013 Wrap Up

The day before Christmas Eve, our family was thrown a bit of a curve ball.  Noah began the day vomiting -- something I don't remember him doing since he was 2 years old. In fact, he was so surprised by the occurrence, all he could do was sit on the bed in shock and say, "What is this?...I don't do this." 

With Christmas plans hanging in the balance, I stocked up on 7-Up, Saltines, Jell-O and Lysol and prayed Noah would make a speedy recovery and that no one else would come, up with it. 

Christmas Eve Noah was feeling much better, but wasn't eating much more than dry toast.  Natalie was bouncing off the walls in anticipation for Christmas.  She wanted to go to bed at 6 p.m. in hopes that Santa would stop at our house earlier.

The kids left out cookies, a letter and a box filled with two of their prized possessions - a crystal and a glass bead.

In case you aren't well versed in 1st grade writing - the letter reads "Dear S.C - We are giving you something very good. We hope you enjoy, Love Natalie and Noah."

By 9 p.m. both kids were sound asleep. But, it was more than an hour later before Steve and I had our Christmas morning scene set...
presents under the tree - check
Santa sacks and stockings filled - check
Santa letters written and signed - check
cookies eaten - check
coconut wrapped - check

Yes, a coconut.  For months, Natalie, with her zany humor, has been substituting the word coconut into topics of conversation.  For example, "Natalie, what do you want for breakfast?" - "A coconut." "Natalie, how'd you sleep last night?" - "Like a coconut."  So, Steve and I decided to buy one, wrap it and give it to her for Christmas.

At 2:50 a.m. I awoke to squeals of "Santa came!...He was here!"

I told the kids I wasn't getting up until the first number on the clock was a 6.

At 3:30 a.m. Natalie came into our room to tell me her stomach hurt.

I bolted upright, "What!  Are you going to throw-up? Where's a trashcan?!"

"No.  I'm hungry," replied Natalie.

(Phew!...followed by Grrr)

"Then go pour yourself some cereal," I said.

This was followed by an audible sigh from Natalie.  I think she thought if she could just get me up, then she could convince me to let her open her presents.

4 a.m. Natalie is back with "Noah pinched me!"

"That's it! Everyone back to bed," I barked.

Both kids got in their beds without complaint and it was "Silent Night" for Steve and I til 6:55 a.m.

Reading their letters from Santa. 

Santa sacks - a few years ago the kids received the sacks and a letter from Santa that in an effort to be more green, he wouldn't be wrapping presents.  Instead, they are to put out their sacks for him to fill.

A pink scooter for Natalie and Skylander Wii game for Noah

Coconut -- $3
Look on her face when she opened it  -- Priceless

A Yoda clock it is.

Natalie smirks as Steve opens the gift she bought him with her own money.

Obviously thrilled with Steve's reaction to her gift to him.

We spent the day at my folk's house chowing down on a variety of red meats, deviled eggs, pies and cookies.  Diets be damned til the first of the year.

Mom cuts into one of my sister-in-law's pies -- coconut cream with a chocolate coconut crust and the other a peanut butter and banana pie with vanilla bean custard. 

Natalie was so excited to show everyone her coconut and insisted on having Steve cut it open at Grandma's house.  Having not ever opened a coconut before, Steve sought advice from the Internet.  Turns out 2 or 3 whacks on the "equator" of the nut and voila! It split in two. 

After we had all had our fill of food, we opened gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.  Here -- Jack only mildly affected by receiving a couple of new Skylanders.
Ethan, my teenage nephew, a sweetheart and very happy with receiving an iTunes gift card.
Ella -- very excited about learning to sew.
Dad had her guessing...he added one of his weights to her package.
L-R  Jack, Ethan, Ella, Natalie and Noah
Missing my sister's family in Colorado -- love to John, Renee, Olivia, Hayden and Griffin

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Musings From Natalie #85

"Mom, can I have a candy bar? are so close to being the best mom in the world."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Musings From Natalie #84

Me: "How is it all of your clothes are so dirty with holes in the knees?"
Natalie: "Oh!  That's because I crawl around on the blacktop. We play cheetahs at recess."
Me: Sigh...Can you still play it without crawling on the ground?"
Natalie: "I know!  I could  put my coat on the ground and crawl on top of that!"

Me: "Nat, your's filthy."
Natalie: "That's because we use it as a friends do it, too."
Me: "But then when you put your coat back on it's caked with dirt."
Natalie: "Mom, but I love nature and dirt is definitely involved in it."

Monday, December 16, 2013

I Know What You Mean #20

Natalie: "Mom, have you seen my happy sack?"

Happy Meal?
Sleeping bag?
Hacky Sack!
Ding ding ding! We have a winner

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How to Have a Good Time in the Snow -- Mom Versus Dad

Comparing Playbooks:

1.  Good health and fun go hand in hand. 
Every inch of skin must be covered in layers of clothing labeled "Thinsulate"

2. Safety is #1.  Repeat these 3 phrases a hundred zillion times:
"Not in the face.  Not in the face!"
"Feet first.  Feet first!"
"Water is not a good idea."


1. They have a "Tim the Tool Man Taylor" attitude and can be heard saying things like "With a little water this hill..."
2. They encourage creativity. They give their sleds names like "the rocket" and "the blue bomber"
3. Fun is where you find it.  Catching air while sledding is NOT an accident. 
4. They believe in teaching their children about other cultures like sledding "Australian style"

Today I am thankful my kids have the benefit of enjoying plays from both books.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Deep Thoughts From Noah #40

"I don't like cold weather, but I like snow.  I like it when it snows and we don't have school.  I also like it when it's warm weather and we don't have school.  When it's cold I hibernate.  I'm a hibernator."

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Musings From Natalie #83

While tucking Natalie in with more than two dozen of her closest stuffed furry friends...
Natalie: "Mom, you don't have any stuffed animals, don't you get lonely?"
Me: "No.  I've got your Dad."
Natalie: "He's like your stuffed animal...only he snores.  Too bad he doesn't have an off button."

"Mom, I am SOOO itchy.  I think I might have the Chicken Bawks!"