Friday, June 20, 2014

Postcards From the Peanut Gallery Wk. 3

6/9/14  I'm doing a happy dance as today marks the first day of camp!  Noah is returning to Camp Happy Day - a place that has not only served to keep him from falling behind in his schoolwork during the summer, but has encouraged him to try so many new things like climbing a 30 foot ladder and playing basketball! During the five week course, he'll receive 1 on 1 speech and language support, reading and math instruction, swimming lessons twice a week and weekly field trips. We could have never sent him to this camp without the generous support of Action for Autism. For Natalie, she is enrolled at Camp COCA for a 5 day session called "Best of Broadway. 

6/13/14  TGIF! Natalie had a wonderful experience.  At the end of each day she hugged her teacher, Ms. Boneau and told her she would miss her.  I was really impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism of both her instructors. Janne Boneau, has been working at COCA for 15 years and holds a Masters degree in music and Jess Ruhlin, professional ballerina, painter and writer for Alive Magazine and Bodies Never Lie, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Pedagogy.  Natalie and her fellow campers enjoyed showing off the songs and dance skills they learned throughout the week.

That evening, we invited my folks to join us for Webster Groves' 10th Annual Gazebo series. For six consecutive Fridays in the summer, the events offer free live music followed by a movie. On this evening, the air was actually a bit cool. Another bonus -- no mosquitos! We brought blankets and chairs, but didn't have time to pull together a cheese tray.  McDonald's is located across the street -- we made do with a couple orders of the Golden Arches finest fried potatoes.  The band was called Bible Belt Sinners - a rockabilly group with lots of personality and lyrics that really made you LOL.

Pre-party duel
All the kids loved jumping and crawling around Bob Cassilly's apple chairs. I think it would have made him happy.

     A couple of Hoopster fitness instructors were on hand to show off a new way to make exercise more fun.
Hoop Fit classes offered Thursdays @ 5:30 p.m. on the Shaw School lawn.  $5 drop in fee.

Bible Belt Sinners belting it out.
6/14/14 We had an exciting morning.  After many months of preparation, Edgar Road School can now boast to have not one, but two, Buddy Benches on its grounds. I learned about the concept back in December when I read this in the Huffington Post. Thankfully our principal and fearless leader, Dr. Retzlaff, agreed.

But how?

Serendipidiously, Mark Curtin, a former ERS student came to visit Dr. R and happened to mention he was seeking Eagle Scout status. don't say?

About the same time, I contacted my friend/Webster Groves Garden Club member, Sarah Whitney, to see if her group had any grants available.

They did.

And, our proposed project was completely in line with their group's mission.  It was truly wonderful because it offered an opportunity for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to work together.  While Mark  learned how to manage a team project and earned his wings, the girls devoted their time to learning all they could about gardening.  Under the direction of, Sarah, they examined the proposed Buddy Bench areas to decide which flowers would be best suited for the therapeutic gardens that would hug each bench.  They considered color, height and blooming seasons.  They selected lavender and lilac for their sweet smelling properties and velvety leaved lamb's ear along with butterfly bushes to attract a fluttery friend or two.

We even received a little press.  I hope it serves to inspire more Scouts to build Buddy Benches on playgrounds across the planet!

A heartfelt thank you goes out to the Webster Groves Garden Club without whom none of this would have been possible.  

And, I'm happy to report that the Buddy Bench movement has really gained momentum.  Today five other countries now have benches and there are more than 300 confirmed benches in more than 40 states! Christian's parents now have a website providing step by step instructions for other schools to attain a Buddy Bench. 

The Dirty Knees Club
That afternoon we headed out to Gray Summit, MO for Purina Farms Blue Grass Festival and Kids Country Carnival.   While we had been out there a few years ago for their annual Easter Village, the kids had no memory of the visit so everything was new again for them. We arrived just in time for the dog agility show but missed out on the opportunity to milk a cow.  After the show we listened to the band and enjoyed a snow cone.  Later we headed to the barn to visit a few furry friends.  We finished our tour with a tractor ride around the grounds.  Good times. 

This is one of my favorite cakes.  I love Charlie Houska's art - so bright and fun.

6/15/14  Happy Father's Day! My brother and I gathered our families to celebrate at our parent's house.  With our Dad's birthday on the 19th - we also observed his special day with cake, ice cream and an exchange of gifts.  Steve and I bought him a poker table topper and Brian taught us all to play Texas Hold 'Em.  It was a good time but we learned a few things. 1. Jack has no poker face. 2. If we had a farm...Natalie would risk losing it any chance she got!


  1. Looks like you had an awesome time! You have a beautiful family :) And I LOVE dog shows! And horse shows...and pretty much any show where trained animals show off their skills haha! :)

  2. Thank you! and thanks for stopping in.

  3. Look at you LIVE!!! Your life is soo full of such great things, sweet friend! I love seeing you writing about it all. :) I really want to get working on the Buddy Bench project at our school. Such a wonderful idea!

    1. Let me know if you need any help with your Buddy Bench endeavor. I've got lots of ideas.