Thursday, June 29, 2017

Musings From Natalie #145

Hey Mom, I just made up a new joke...

What do you call facial hair on a cow?...a MOO-stache.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fishing is not a Lesiure Activity

We left our house so early I never even had a chance to gulp down a cup of tea.

"But the derby doesn't even start until 8 a.m., Steve," I whined.

No response.

Steve had his game face on.

Every summer he and Natalie participate in the Des Peres Fishing Derby. Several years ago Natalie won in her age division for most fish caught. She and Steve were looking for another win. However, when we pulled into the park at 7:12 a.m., we saw that our lucky spot was already taken.

I could tell he was on edge, but determined as the park quickly filled with more than 50 young anglers -- each looking for the perfect spot. Many armed with wagons-full of gear. Steve grabbed our supplies (two rods, a small container of hooks and some hot dogs) and began searching for a new spot.

At 8 a.m. Natalie cast out her line and within minutes had her first bluegill. She continued to cast and catch more than 30 bluegill over the next 90 minutes. All the while Steve serving as her dedicated coach.

"Come on, Nat!"  "Nice cast."  "Keep it up!" "Watch your line."  "Are you drinking water?" "Aim for the lily pads." "Bring it in, easy." "You got it!"

With only 15 minutes remaining in the contest, Natalie's determination never waned. I watched as she cast out again and again. Only stopping to grab a sip of water or to bait her hook. While many of the young angler's interest was fading, Nat was in a groove. Her casting skills stronger as the morning went on. Then it happened. She cast out into a patch of lily pads and as I watched her rod bend, I knew this was the one she'd been waiting for...a monster.

In the end she slayed the competition by catching the biggest fish of the day -- a 20 inch channel catfish and she also earned the award for catching the most fish (22 feet of fish).

Natalie has never played on a team sport like soccer, softball and volleyball, but she's a sportsman nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Snapshots Weeks 1 - 3

While summer doesn't officially begin until tomorrow, the kids and I have packed in plenty of activities since school let out three weeks ago. We kicked off our carefree days with a party to celebrate Noah's 14th birthday. He and three friends enjoyed playing arcade games, taking in the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie and enjoying pizza in the kitschy drive-in diner.

Natalie had her bands replaced with something appropriate for the coming 4th of July holiday.

Several times we've taken advantage of the Zoo's early hours to get up close and enjoy crowd-free time with some of their favorite critters.

 Boxes -- the single best way to spark imagination and creativity in kids. It was so fun to hear Noah and Nat work through their ideas. While Natalie was focused on what to name their ship, the license plate and food they would eat on board, Noah was more concerned that it had a base for landing and an engine. "It doesn't need an engine, Noah -- it runs on imagination," said Natalie.

Finding innovative ways to keep kids occupied beyond video games and T.V. can be a challenge. We've been making multiple library trips and Noah discovered a cool way to incorporate his love for Minecraft with some fun, educational activities. He followed the instructions in Minecraft Lab for Kids to create a sweet little castle made out of sugar cubes and frosting.

 Nat and her friend Ella enjoyed a fun week of VBS camp at Webster Gardens but they still had plenty of energy left over. To keep them occupied we got out Nat's stash of Sculpy clay and together created a tiny adorable addition to any potted plant.

Rockhill Library hosted a fun event that had kids reading to and petting therapy dogs and making pet toys for Open Door Sanctuary - the largest no kill shelter in the Greater St. Louis area and state of Missouri. Together our group created more than 200 braided, pull toys.

Another day at the zoo...but it also marked our 15th wedding anniversary.

My sister and her kids came to visit from Colorado. In the time since I'd last seen them they all had grown taller than me (wah!)...except Griffin, but he's 8 -- give him another couple years and I'll be looking up at all of them.

Happy Father's Day! We celebrated Dad's 77th birthday, too.

Steve hadn't planned on it, but he ended up giving two of his nephews the fishing bug. We had to practically drag them from the pond.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Deep Thoughts From Noah #78

Natalie: "Mahhhmmm! Noah told me to shut-up!"

Noah: "But I said please...I asked her to please shut-up."