Saturday, December 30, 2017

Musings From Natalie #153

With school out and St. Louis temps in the teens Noah and Natalie have spent a lot of time indoors together. Sometimes too much togetherness can lead to squabbles while other times they seem to appreciate one another.

"Hey, Mom -- Noah is kind of like a toy.  If you give him a little squeeze -- he farts."

Christmas 2017 Wrap-Up

Just three days after Christmas and my tree and decorations were packed and put away. I love the holiday season -- watching classics like White Christmas and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, listening to crooners Bing Crosby and Andy Williams on the "all Christmas" stations, but after a month of baking (and eating!) countless peanut butter blossoms and agonizing over the purchase of "perfect gifts", I'm ready for something new.

Recently I saw an allergist. It had been more than 20 years since I have seen a specialist for my asthma and allergies. According to my testing I'm allergic to the outside world (grasses, trees, hay, molds, ragweed) and animals -- anything with fur from hamsters to horses. Grr.

Animal allergies are toughest because most people have pets. Typically after I've visit a friend who has a cat or dog - I go home and get into a shower because my ears and eyes are itchy and I'm beginning to cough and wheeze. My kids are also expected to strip and shower after visiting friends who have pets.

What a pain.

For years Natalie has been researching furry things. She has spent countless hours reading books, researching online and making her own slide show reports about "excellent pets for people with cat/dog allergies" -- gerbils...hamsters...guinea pigs...rabbits and rats.


Last year we got two gerbils and while Noah loves to feed them and talk to them. They really don't like to be held and frequently bite. Not much of a pet.

In the spring we almost got a bunny. Natalie found a local rabbit rescue -- we visited, I held some and interestingly enough -- didn't react to their fur. I returned a week later to begin "Bunny Training 101" and while sitting through a lecture on proper nutrition and cage selection began sneezing and coughing like crazy. It seems although the rabbit fur did not immediately affect me -- the hay they feed them does.

Natalie spent weeks reading everything she could get her hands on about rats because she had read somewhere "they were really just like little dogs".

"Mom, please read this book. It's really good."


Sometimes I'd find little post-it notes on our door handles or my bedside table with things for me to ponder...

"A pet would allow me to learn responsibility."

"Rats are really clean animals."

"How long will you have your allergies?"

This year for Christmas my gift to the kids was to begin rush immunotherapy (one half day session equals six months worth of shots) in hopes that we may add a doggie to our home this summer.

Natalie reading her "Santa" letter and trying to take in that she may soon have a pooch to call her own.

Brian and Steve sizing up the prizes.
Alicia chose a jar of Steve's homegrown pickled peppers as her Bingo prize.
They aren't that hot...wait for it.
Nat's wins the moose this year.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

11 Trips Around the Sun

Natalie turned 11 nearly a month ago, but still I write this post because I can't really believe it. The months leading up to her birthday we said good-bye to her Barbie doll house, her vast collection of Littlest Pet Shop critters and dress-up clothes -- all of which were a huge part of her every day world.

I miss it.

Her bedroom door is located right off the kitchen and while I fixed dinner I relished listening to her speak in different voices as she brought her toys to life in her imaginary world.

She's growing up -- but as I read her birthday wish list, (conveniently tacked to her bedroom door) I realize while she may have left some of her dramatic play behind, she will never lose her wonder.

This year was also the first year she did not have me create a themed, birthday party with friends.

Her choice.

She felt she was too old for one.

While I breathed a bit of a sigh as her parties tend to stretch my creative abilities -- I also felt sad as I realized I really enjoyed the process.

I can feel the strings loosening.

She's growing up.

She did however, ask for a scavenger hunt.

Ah ha! I have a role. I'm going to play it to the hilt. I set about creating clues that would lead her to the places where we could purchase her presents together. The end result being a truly fun family day making memories.

In the end - her birth-day became a multi-week celebration as we met up with family and friends on various days as their schedule allowed.

She's growing up...but she's not growing away.


At Fantasy Comic Shop she selected a timeless Calvin and Hobbes book. I think she's read it three times already.
After watching a KMOV news clip on Sammy Soap - she decided she wanted a gift card from the store.

If you haven't been to Sammy Soap in Kirkwood -- you must! More than 100 varieties of handmade, all-natural soaps.
They offer free tours that are FABULOUS and include lessons in history, geography and chemistry!

Sammy Soap was started because a mother who was raising an adult child with special needs, was looking for a way for her son to be a contributing member of the workforce.

At the end of the tour - the kids got to create a bar to take home.
Our friend-mily - the Braun Bunch - surprised Natalie with a visit to Culver's. Schedules are tough but they made a mid-week party a priority.

She was so happy to receive so many pre-sharpened pencils

On her actual birth-day, my mom and dad surprised Nat with a visit, a fancy cake and her favorite pizza - Imo's!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Musings from Natalie #152

School mornings can be rough sometimes...

"Mahhhhhhmm...can I take a personal day today?"

Friday, November 17, 2017

Musings From Natalie #151

Natalie sent me this email in response to me asking her what extra-curricular activity she would like to do next semester...
Hey Mom!
I have an idea. What if we invited a bunch of preschoolers (doesn't have to be yours) to come over and we could put on a play with them! Since they can't read, they could just act things out and we could do it every Friday 4:30-5:30!  It would be great for the kids and they could get early experiences with acting, dancing, etc.!
(Plus it would be so fun for me)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Deep Thoughts From Noah #85

While driving to school, Noah notices a man walking his dog....

Noah: I like dogs...but I like cats better. Dogs are kind of barbaric, you know?.
Me: Barbaric?
Noah: Yeah, they jump up on you and stuff.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Deep Thoughts From Noah #84

Noah: I don't want to go to school.
Natalie: Yeah, but Noah that's how you learn.
Noah: I wish we could all be robots...then we could just get programmed and wouldn't need to learn anything at school.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Being Present and Thankful

As a native St. Louisan one would think I'd be used to our town's yo-yo weather, however today's near 80 temps still came as a pleasant surprise. Steve and I traded our family's usual routine of attending church services, for the opportunity to relish a bonus, summer-like day at Forest Park and later enjoy Dia de los Muertos at The Missouri History Museum.

As we walked the paths and took in the kaleidoscope of color, Noah and Natalie pointed out their discoveries -- a ladybug, leaves shaped like hearts, pods filled with seeds and a willow tree perfect for climbing. I took some time to breathe, to hold hands with my husband and to Thank God for all He has given us. In those moments I felt more connected to Him than I have in weeks. A reminder that He is always present and patiently waiting to hear from us.

Yay - not too big to enjoy the Variety Wonderland playground.
It's been awhile since I've seen him smile this much.

Circus Kaput were not only talented but FAST! They created Nat's half sugar skull face in under 5 minutes.
Nat shares a colorful grin with our favorite MO Hist personality - Lindsay Newton, manager of Youth and Family programs

We enjoyed viewing the striking, eye-catching alters created to celebrate the lives of friends and family who have passed on.

Nat stands in front of an alter to celebrate Veterans

Breads and fruit and nuts are often part of the alters.

My brother's family lost their beloved, 13 year old boxer last week. Nat left Dozer a note at the pet alter.

She also wanted to remember my kitties - Bailey and Tig.