Friday, February 28, 2014

Deep Thoughts From Noah #44

After biting into one of my homemade cookies...
Noah: "Mom,  do these have oatmeal in them?"
Me: "Yes."
Noah: "Did you also put love in them?"
Me: "Of course!"

I handed Natalie the recycling and asked her to put it in the bin.  Upon hearing this, Noah ran ahead of her and opened the lid...
Natalie: "I don't want him to do it!  I want to do it!"
Me: "Noah, please close the lid."
Noah: "Why doesn't she want me to help her?"
Me: "Because Natalie wants to be independent."
Noah: "Why doesn't she just want to be herself?"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Musings From Natalie #89

Natalie: "Mom, I just made up a new joke."
Me: "Let's hear it."
Natalie: "Where do cows go after they get married?"
Me: "Where?"
Natalie: "On their honeymooooooooon!"

Natalie loves to dance. She enjoys doing moves like "the lawnmower" and "the sprinkler" while shaking her booty to the Cha Cha Slide.  The other day I hear, "Hey, Mom!  I made up a new dance move....I call it "the lifeguard."  She wouldn't let me video it, but it looks like she's doing CPR compressions on herself to the beat of the music.
(Help! Help! I'm drowning in giggles over here!")

Me:  "Come on!  Turn off the iPad. We have to get to the meeting."
Natalie: "I don't want to....I think I'm done with Daisies."
Me: "What? We'll, you can't be because I'm the leader of your troop.  They are depending on us.
(In my head I'm thinking: Besides, I'm not ready to quit!)
While Natalie drags her feet, I probe...
Me: "Well, what would you rather do? Dance? Play a sport? Take an art class?"
Natalie: "Nah"
Me: "Well, you have to choose something to be apart of...some kind of extracurricular."
Natalie: "But, I'm already in an extracurricular activity."
Me: "No, you're not."
Natalie: "Yes, I am."
Me: "Like what?"
Natalie: "Like hanging out with my Mom."

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014 Wrap Up

My day began with...
A scavenger hunt from Natalie

In the afternoon we set out for the Missouri History Museum's kick-off party to celebrate their newest exhibit 250 in 250.  St. Louis turns 250 in 2014! To capture our city's rich history and culture, the Missouri History Museum does it through the stories of 50 People, 50 Places, 50 Images, 50 Moments, and 50 Objects. If you've never been -- it's a great place to visit with or without kids.  And, it's FREE.

When ice freezes a river solid, blocking all river traffic, it's called an ice gorge. When this happened in 1905, adventurous St. Louisans like the woman in this photo flocked to the riverbanks to take advantage of the opportunity to venture across the river on foot. This woman is not alone — if you look behind her, you'll see a line of people who all wanted to say they'd crossed the river without a boat or a bridge.  And, thanks to Step Inside Historic St. Louis at the Missouri History Museum, Noah and Natalie can say they were there as well.
The kids decorated guitars in honor of one of St. Louis' great musicians, Chuck Berry
No party is complete without cake.  They decorated cupcakes and enjoyed hot cocoa.
Carter, Natalie and Jenna rock out.
The World's Fair exhibit was definitely their favorite.
After MO Hist. we headed to dinner.  We've had reservations for weeks!

What parts of the chicken do chicken rings come from? Ask Steve - he has a few ideas.
Say cheese...burgers!

Steve and his harem.
The gang
I came home to find this sweet surprise on my porch.  Thanks, Michelle! 

What Steve lacks in creativity, he more than makes up for in taste.
Handcrafted milk chocolate sea salt caramels
Love at first bite.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Birthdays: The More I Have...the Better

Yesterday was my birthday.

When I was a child, birthdays revolved around presents.  A time in which party themes were simply "Happy Birthday." Decorations were limited to pastel or primary colored streamers and a dozen balloons taped to the backs of chairs with some hanging from the dining room chandelier.  Party fare generally consisted of cake and ice cream.  Though there were times when we went all crazy and ordered a cake half chocolate and half yellow. And, 30+ years ago, it was customary to only invite kids of your gender and to play party games in which not everyone wins.  Classics included Musical Chairs, Pin-the-Tail-on the-Donkey and Hot Potato.

Some birthdays stand out more than others. 

The day I turned 10 was also the day my paternal grandma, Frances Rozkiewicz House, died.

For my 15th birthday, I tried to organize a group of friends to go to the movies or have dinner at a favorite restaurant of the time --TGI Fridays.  Everyone I asked turned me down. I ended up accepting a babysitting gig, but about 30 minutes after the mom left, she returned home saying her plans fell through.  Par for the course, I thought. I walked home slowly with plans to just go to bed early.  So, imagine my surprise when I opened the door and was accosted by bright lights and a half a dozen girlfriends yelling, "Surprise!"

Birthdays from my 20's involved a lot of booze and bars.  Most of my friends were single and fancy free.  My 23rd was spent in a piano bar with a group of college chums and at one point I found myself on stage being serenaded by everyone in the bar. I've since lost contact with many of these friends, but still enjoy reminiscing over the many adventures we shared. For my 27th, my ice skating pal, Claudia and the ladies from our precision team threw me a surprise party.  I hadn't known any of them very long so I was really blown away by their friendship.

My 30th, another surprise party. At this point, you'd think I'd come to expect a party, but I will tell you each time I've been more taken aback than the last.  Most of the partygoers were family members.  At this time in my life my social circle was much smaller...okay it wasn't so much a circle - it was basically Steve. We were engaged and very much looking forward to sharing our lives together.

Birthdays from my 30's are a blur as a result of years of extreme sleep deprivation.  But, Noah and Natalie were worth it and Steve was there for all of them. My 40th...yeah, you may have guessed it, but I didn't. I was completely in the dark...or should I say, dark chocolate.  This time Steve and my friend Barb and several girlfriends organized a surprise wine and chocolate tasting party for me at Kakao Chocolate.  The gathering, a perfect melding of family and friendships both new and old washed down with a glass of merlot and half a dozen milk chocolate sea salt caramels.

This year's birthday wasn't a milestone and I had no expectations other than to not do laundry for the day.  That morning the kids entered into a debate about what to get me for my birthday.  I assured them that they didn't need to buy me anything but shared that I would love a hand-made card.  However, Noah, a practical yet thoughtful soul believes in going big or not at all as evidenced by the following convo:

"Noah, aren't you going to make Mom a card?" asked Natalie.

"A card isn't special," said Noah.

"Sure it is!" I interjected.

 "No. It's not," he maintained.

"Well, what is something special that you'd want to get me?" I inquired.

"An air-conditioner," said Noah.

I think my heart grew three sizes.  I assured him our current A/C was just fine and all I needed from him was a big hug.

Natalie made me a set of cards and sent me on a scavenger hunt with the gift leading to one of her favorite necklaces - a pearl choker.  But, it will be years before she understands the real gift was the joy I received from the hunt and her lovely drawings.

In the afternoon my friend, Barb dropped in to deliver a boxful of chocolates she had handpicked from Russell Stover's new store.  With her now working full-time and juggling four kiddos, our face-time has been reduced significantly so it was really a treat to see her.

Steve, while mostly a "wait til the last minute" kind of guy, arrived home with a Racanelli's pizza, a bag of my favorite chocolates from Kakao and a receipt for us to take swing dance lessons together beginning next week through the community college.

Talk about your surprises.