Ideas Please?

I’m panicking!  Help please???  My youngest princess is turning 15 tomorrow and I need to come up with something to make this year special.  Here’s why…  From experience with all my other girls, I’ve learned that this, year 15, is really the last year she’ll be mine 😦  *cue tears*.  Everyone knows that Sweet 16 is something very special for a girl.  15 is very special for Mommy!  

I’ve always made birthdays for my girls special and we’ve tried to do parties or weekend trips.  We’ve pretty much done anything the girls wanted to do within the limits of our financial situation.  SO… Julia’s the baby.  I’m struggling with  empty nest syndrome and I think sometimes, I’m not the one winning.  I’m trying to be graceful about losing my mind to the “empty nest”.  After all, FINALLY, after FOUR kids, I’ve realized that these girls were not born FOR ME!  They are little beings so separate from me and I have so very little to do with their lives  – except to give birth and pay for them.  They don’t need me after a certain age.  My job was to shape and mold them and HELP them to be the decent human beings that they were born to be.  Now, I want to celebrate Julia. 

So here’s the dilemma.  I’ve done a lot of cool things to celebrate her birthday already.  Last year, we had a bunch of friends over (her friends) and they spent the night.  We spent one day in downtown St. Louis and packed a picnic lunch.  We spread a blanket out on the ground at a park and looked up at the Arch.  We fed the ducks and geese at the pond we sat near.  Image

~Here’s everyone eating by the pond under the Arch.  It was a pretty cool idea and inexpensive to pack our own lunch.  The girls had a blast even though we didn’t spend a bunch of money on dinner reservations~

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~Here’s the view of the downtown buildings from our little picnic spot~

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~Here they are walking in the rain.  They did their best to ditch the parents (Ben and I) but I managed to catch up with them AT LEAST to get this shot.  lol~

After eating, feeding the mean geese who took our food and then attacked us, walking around under the Arch and people watching, we took a horse drawn carriage ride all along the riverfront.

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~Here’s the whole group of us!  The girls had the choice between going up IN the Arch or doing something else.  They chose the carriage ride and were SO giddy at being able to wave to the tourists.  We laughed so hard and just enjoyed the moment.~

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~Here’s the St. Louis Riverfront… view from the carriage ride~

We were done kind of early with the Riverfront and the girls weren’t ready to leave yet.  They’d decided to spend the rest of the day at the City Museum on Washington Ave.  This was a tough decision because it wasn’t in the budget BUT how could we say no?  The cost is $12 a person and $20 a person if you want to go to the Aquarium, which we did NOT.  It was particularly scary that day because a tornado went through the city of St. Louis and there were even fatalities right down the road.  Thank God the girls were all safe and it missed us.  They had a BLAST (despite the crazy howling winds outside) and they closed down the place 🙂

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~All the materials used to make everything in the City Museum came from recycled garbage!  Basically anything you’d throw away NOT food or sewage related.  lol  Here’s one of the ceilings.  I’m loving the mosaics on the column.  Not sure what the ceiling material is made of.~

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~This isn’t a good picture but I put it here to show you that there are other aquariums that are free to see.  There are fish and turtles everywhere.~

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~Here’s my oldest daughter Sumo wrestling a statue at the City Museum.  So you see, there something fun for ALL age children.  lol~

After the museum, the girls came back here and made their own pizzas.  They stayed up all night and left late the next day.  We got a LOT of birthday celebrating in that weekend and Julia and her friends are STILL talking about it.  So how do I top that?

One year, we took a FEW of her friends to the St. Louis Magic House.  We were supposed to go to SixFlags but as luck would have it, and as it seems to do EVERY birthday for Julia, it stormed so they couldn’t ride the rides at Sixflags while there’s lightening happening 😦  

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~here she is pretending to be a judge.  They learned all about the judicial system… among so many other things.  Again, having WAY too much fun pretending~

Looking back on it, we’ve done so many things for her birthday.  I’m running out of ideas and here’s where YOU come in handy 🙂  I need some ideas!  Keeping in mind that we’re only going to have 1 maybe 2 friends this time AND that Julia loves the city.  I would absolutely LOVE to get on a train, just Julia and I and go to Chicago for a few days.  We won’t be able to do that, most likely, because we just bought her first car.  I realize a car should be enough but she’s going to be paying us back for that and to me, it’s all about the experiences we share.  Memories need to made AND, like I said before, this is probably the last year that I’ll have her to myself.  I fully expect that NEXT year, when she’s 16, I won’t get to be even a little part of her party… well except to pay for it.  lol

I’d really love to hear from you guys on this because I’m at a loss.

On a Sunday Drive and in appreciation of “Earth Day”!

I realize “Earth Day” was actually yesterday BUT, as usual, I’m a little late.  It took me FOREVER to go through over 200 photos that I’d taken on Sunday!  I absolutely LOVE going on little adventures with my only real goal is attaining peace, spending time with a good friend, listening to music (mostly BAD music), laughing AND (here’s the biggest goal) looking through the lens of a camera to appreciate the beauty around me.

It’s no secret that I’m not the best photographer in the world.  I just only love it.  I don’t seem to ever find the time to REALLY practice or read manuals or even go to the classes that Hubby pre purchased for me to fine tune my skills. I just want to have fun!

Here’s some of the beauty I found through the lens of my camera.  I think it’s pretty appropriate for “earth day” because, mostly, it’s all nature.  Remember when I talked about appreciating your everyday surroundings?  Like what makes America great to you?  Sunday was one of those days where I found ALL kinds of average things that I see on a regular basis but it’s also representative of what makes America special to me.

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Americana – this is a lot of what you’ll see everywhere in our Midwestern town.  We live in the country so this is normal and I LOVE it 🙂

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Just another red bud tree – When Spring begins, I can’t get enough of the vibrant colors of nature.  Soon the red bud tree buds will turn into green leaves and we won’t see the purple.

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Like I said, bff and I drove around looking for things to photograph.  This is a picture of her – I made her go “fix” the American flag so that it would look better so I could shoot  it. lol We didn’t know the people who owned this property… we just made our selves at home and did what we wanted!  lol

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As you can see, bff failed at her task of “fixing” the American flag.  Don’t worry, I fired her!  Buwahahahaha!  But here’s the little outhouse anyway.  I loved how it turned out 🙂  Another shot of Americana!

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Bff, Beth aka Flashychick, looking for a crawdad (or crawfish for the Yankees reading this).  This is her favorite thing to do when we walk along a creek.  She always finds them too!

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And like I said, she found one.  It can barely qualify as one but I’ll go ahead and give it to her THIS time.  Next time, I want to see a crawdad in a non embryotic  stage.  lmbo

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Not sure why I love this pic so much?  Beth and I just found a spot on the bank of a creek where we could sit and talk with only the sounds of nature to interrupt us.  I guess this pic makes me feel the peace that I felt that day 🙂  Our chairs were just waiting for us to sit and relax.

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The creek bed rock was solid granite.  In the Ozark Mountain area of Missouri, we have tons of granite!  I just think it’s so beautiful.

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Me and my chair again 🙂  This is actually funny because I was trying to practice “positive visualization” here by writing down how I was definitely going to win a lot of money on the scratch off lottery tickets that I saved to scratch off at “just the right time”.  Did it work, all that positive visualization?  Nope.  It did not.  Maybe I was supposed to write my positive affirmation BEFORE I purchased those lottery tickets and not after they were already bought and paid for?  IDK.  What I DO know is that I’m still poor.  lol

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Time to leave our peaceful little creek and go find MORE beauty!

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LOVE this one… NOT because my photography was so wonderful cause yeah, it’s not.  lol  But check out those little baby lambs running and jumping and playing!  I took about a hundred pictures of these little guys but this one the best.  This was part of a “hippie farm”.  Some old lady who I KNOW was a Hippie, back in the day, grew her own food (plus who knows WHAT else) and looked completely self sustaining.  Kind of cool!

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Here are the Hippie guard dogs.

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And here’s the Hippie bus (the same kind of bus I’m positive the Charles Manson hippies lived in) and the Hippie llamas and the Hippie chickens.  Pretty cool, eh?

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Traveling down the road, away from the Hippie farm, to an area called Charter Church Road.  This is a road rumored to be haunted and to have a devil worshiping church located somewhere that I didn’t want to find.  It’s kind of cool, really.  One day I’ll find the church and tell you some of the local folklore that goes with it.  Halloween sounds like a good time to do that!  lol

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Just a beautiful field on Charter Church.

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Reminds me of Little House on the Prairie where Laura and Mary Ingals are running through the prairie?

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Confessions of a bored housewife…  you KNOW I’m bored when a picture of wheat fascinates me!  lol  But I really did love the way this turned out 🙂

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Practicing shooting in macro here.  This is the prettiest to me.  It reminds me of  a Victorian garden or wedding.

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More Americana.  Even in Missouri, we don’t see very many old churches like this left.  Especially a church with a cemetery attached.

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Here’s one of my favorite barns in Jefferson County.  I could live inside that barn.  lol

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Bff hiding in my favorite tree in Jefferson County.  This tree is at one of my most peaceful places.  A place we call “The Slab”.  As a teenager, I used to bring my lawn chair and hang out on the bank just to listen to the water run.

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Here I am sitting on “the slab”.  I used to bring my baby daughter here when I was 19.  This is where I taught her to swim on some of my rare days off of work.  It feels like a thousand years ago… but then it feels just like yesterday.

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More of the slab.  I can’t wait until it gets warm enough for me to get into the water 🙂

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They try to discourage traffic at the slab now because the kids trash up the place.  It’s a shame how some people who don’t respect nature have ruined it for the rest of us.  Pick up your trash people and we can ALL enjoy the beauty again!  Even as teenagers, we knew to pick up our beer bottles… I have very little patience for people who don’t pick up their trash now.

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Here’s BFF looking pretty but the MAIN reason I wanted to show you this one is to show you the trash by the tree behind her.  I’ve always taught my kids to leave nature better than when you arrived there.  So, if you see trash, pick it up even if it’s not yours.  I’m proud to say that they live by this even now that they’ve left my house and live on their own.  It’s become second nature for them to keep the trash picked up 🙂

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Whirlpool on the way out of the slab.

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Goodbye slab!  I’ll see you soon 🙂

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I have to close down the day with yet another picture of yet another barn!  lol

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It’s been an awesome day!  The best I’ve had in a very long time so to celebrate, BFF and I wrapped it up with our favorite local Mexican Restaurant.  BFF won’t admit it but she lives to text 😉  So while I sit, all alone, waiting for my food, with nobody to talk to… Beth is being entertained by her phone!  Yeah, that’s just how she is!  lol  She’ll probably kill me for this but you only live once, right?

So how did YOU spend Earth Day?  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as I did 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Up

“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up.”

~Les Brown~

Here’s a pic taken when Julia turned 13. She’s using the pulley’s at the Magic House in St. Louis, to pull up the construction buckets. She’s with her friends Shelby and Leah.

Eden Isle Chicken

In the midst of Skyping with my new Scottish friend Shaun and his sweet wife Dawn, baking cookies for the girls bake sale for charity and getting ready for Easter…. dinner still had to be made.  Here’s another easy chicken recipe and OMG, so tasty!  Anything with bacon, chicken, cream cheese and sour cream HAS to be good, right?

Eden Isle Chicken

Ingredients:

6 chicken breasts, fat trimmed

1 lb package of smoked bacon

1 jar of dried beef

1 1/2 ups sour cream

3 oz cream cheese

2 cans cream of chicken soup

black pepper

2 tsp dried thyme

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Wash and dry the chicken breasts.  Sprinkle top and bottom of each breast with pepper (NO salt).  Wrap each breast in bacon.  Place the dried beef in the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Arrange the bacon wrapped chicken on top of dried beef.  Meanwhile, mix sour cream, softened cream cheese, soup, black pepper and thyme.  Pour mixture evenly over chicken.  Cover dish tightly with foil.  Bake for 2 hours.  Now warm oven to 400 degrees.  Uncover dish and bake until slightly browned on top (approximately 10 minutes).  Serve with rice.

*Some people serve over a bed of mashed potatoes or pasta.

Sunday Dinner… Norman Rockwell, roast turkey with all the trimmings AND, featuring, Maque Choux

When I think of Sunday dinner, I think of a Norman Rockwell painting, where a large, extended family is seated around a large table laughing, sharing a story and passing the bowl of mashed potatoes.  Everyone’s happy and there’s NO family drama.  The biggest problem discussed would probably be the price of dairy going up.  lol

Okay, so this ISN’T my family but I still wanted to make Sunday dinner today 🙂  My daughter was coming home from spending the night with my brother and his family and I just wanted to do something nice for her, my husband and my friend (who’s staying with us) and her son.  I got up early and put the turkey in the oven.  It turned out SO tender, it fell off the bone!  Yum.  I made mashed potatoes, turkey gravy and Maque Choux (a corn dish).  So okay, there was NO sitting around the table.  lol  That’s almost funny to think about at my house.  I took SO much time preparing this meal and when it was done, everyone grabbed a paper plate and filled up.  It was downed in 2.2 minutes and now everyone is about to fall asleep in front of the TV.  Classic American family, right?  Oh and NOBODY is jumping up volunteering to do the dishes or clean the mess I left behind, as usual.  Another success and probably no memories made here but hey!  The food was good!  lol

So back to the Maque Choux (pronounced mock shoe).  It’s something I’ve not made before but it sounded good and healthy.  You need SOMETHING healthy when you have food like roast turkey, drenched in herb butter with mashed potatoes and gravy, right? Anyway, Maque Choux is another dish that originated in Louisiana.  Oh and it will be my new “go to” side dish recipe.  It’s PACKED with flavor and so easy to make!  Give it a try 🙂

Maque Choux   

3 TBSP butter

1 med to large Vidalia onion, chopped

1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 cups corn (either off the cob or canned)

3 scallions (green peppers), chopped, dark green tops saved fro garnish

1 large tomato

1 TBSP dried thyme leaves

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:

1.  In a large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat.  Add theonion, bell pepper and celery.  Cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in corn and chopped scallions.  Reduce heat and cover.  Cook for 5 minutes.

2.  Uncover the skillet and stir in tomato, thyme and cayenne pepper.  Cook until the tomato is soft about 3 minutes.  Stir in the cream and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with reserved green scallions.

*This is a really good summer time dish and you can make it a meal by adding shrimp or chicken.

The Face of Autism (for me)…

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This is Alex.  If you ask him who he is, he’ll say “Alex, A-L-E-X spells Alex”.  He can’t communicate like you or I but his mind is so beautiful.  When he’s happy, he flaps his hands like he’s going to fly away.  Or he’ll spin in circles.  Right now, he’s happy because he’s had his “Cookie Crisp cereal” without milk and his apple juice.  He has to have a routine in order to have his world make sense to him.  He’s happy because we gave him his books.  His WORD books with pictures of animals.  The words never change in these books and the pictures stay the same.  He lives for equations and order.

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(me and AlLex at the park)

Alex is 7 years old now.  He’s not mine but he calls me “Auntie Shewell” (it sounds like Antie Shoowoool).  I’ve been in his life since before he was born.  My friends, who were married at the time but aren’t any longer, decided to have a baby later in life.  Alex’s mom and dad were almost 40.  They were SO happy the day they found out their new baby would be a boy.  Jerry only had girls and he wanted a boy to be rough and tough like he is.  Dianna just wanted a healthy baby. Alex WAS healthy.  In fact, the day he was born, we were amazed at how calm and alert he was.  He was SO pretty.  Prettier than a girl and too pretty to be a new born.

As time went on, I felt like something was different.  I’ve always been able to bond with babies but I couldn’t bond with A-L-E-X.  He didn’t respond to me and it was hard for me to connect.  He’d cry or become agitated.  His mom had a group called “Parents as Teachers” come in every so often.  She did this because she was a good mom and wanted to see how well he was developing.  It wasn’t because she felt something was wrong with him.  She knew he was different because he wouldn’t nurse like her other babies nursed.  He would hurt her and she couldn’t make him do it the right way, sometimes.  Other than that, he was just a little different.  Parents as Teachers immediately discovered that A-L-E-X was more than different.  There was something developmentally wrong.  They weren’t sure WHAT it was.  They suspected Autism but when they’d ask Dianna to have him be seen by a neurosurgeon, or a specialist, she’d STRONGLY reject.  She didn’t want something to be wrong with her baby.  Jerry had a different approach.  He always had the attitude that if something was wrong with his son, they’d get help and deal with it the best way they could.  In Dianna’s defense, she’d already had a son with Asperger’s Syndrome.  She’d already been through so much with Alex’s older brother.  She only wanted a perfect son and for the world to accept Alex as a normal, beautiful boy.  I felt so sad for her.  NOT because I felt like Alex was a problem.  But because I could see that she was struggling.  Eventually, Dianna didn’t want Parents as teachers to come into her home anymore because she felt like they were trying to force their opinion on her and that they were trying to label her son unjustly.  I think Denial is normal.

When Alex was 18 months, it couldn’t be denied anymore.  We ALL saw it.  Dianna was still in denial.  As he grew to be a toddler, he couldn’t speak.  She’d try SO hard to teach him but he just couldn’t.  He ran around the house and flapped his arms like a bird.  Sometimes, it looked as if his little arms would break right off his shoulders!  It became embarrassing for her when she’d bring him out in public.  She felt like she needed to explain his behavior to strangers, when they’d stare at him.  She tried to make him stop but she couldn’t.  He didn’t play like normal kids played.  He remained in his own little world and there’d be no room for other people in that world.  He’d become EXTREMELY agitated when noise happened.  Certain sounds made him scared or mad.  He especially didn’t like some little boys who made noise.  He’d put his hands over his ears and throw himself on the ground and scream when he was around his nephew (who was born the same year as Alex).  The activity that Alex enjoyed most was reading phone books or manuals.  He didn’t want us to touch his books either.  It was like Rainman, where words and numbers comforted him.

At this point, even Dianna couldn’t deny there was an issue.  She tried but she couldn’t.  We ALL tiptoed around the word “Autism” because she didn’t want that word spoken around her.  I’m not sure how I did it, but I was able to talk her into having a neuro surgeon look at Alex.  I went with her.  It was sad, but within the first few minutes of our visit, Alex was diagnosed with full blown Autism.  Dianna cried as she learned that her precious baby would have to be medicated and that he’d never be a normal kid or be able to live on his own one day. He wasn’t just SLIGHTLY Autistic, like we’d hoped.  He didn’t just have Aspergers Syndrome, like his older brother Josh.  He was a severe case on the Autism spectrum.  Dianna has struggle with the need for medication ever since.  He takes medication but not as prescribed and only when she feels like he needs it.  I can’t judge this because I haven’t walked in her shoes.  I struggled when my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD.  I couldn’t imagine her needing to be on medication for the rest of her life.

That was just a brief background.  His little life, to me, is interesting enough to have a book written about him.  In the interest of time, I’ll try to wrap this up.

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(Here he is with singing with his Kindergarten class on his graduation day)

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(I gave him a shovel to help me do my planting and he really tried)

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(Alex is plugging his ears because he doesn’t like to be anywhere around his nephew Trevor)

Alex’s mom and dad have been divorced for a few years now.  Despite what people SEE, Autistic kids really DO have feelings.  He was attached to his daddy and his big yard and his big house.  When Dianna was forced to move him to a small apartment with NO yard, his little world crumbled.  Some aspects of his life are good now.  He’s able to fit in at school and has learned SO much.  He can talk and spell and he’s learned to express his emotions.  He’ll say “Happy” and then smile.  He’ll say “Sad” and then make a frowny face.  He’s learned to tell us what he wants, but we have to give him choices.  For example, I’ll say, “Do you want cereal?” and he’ll repeat the word “cereal”.  I’ll ask him, “would you like alphabet or cookie cereal?”.  He’ll tell me “cookie”.  Sometimes, he’ll spell what he wants.

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(playing my piano when he was 5 years old)

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(laying on the floor keeping time with the music)

Alex loves classical music.  His mom has been playing it for him since he was born.  He can go to my piano or a keyboard and play (in ANY key), Mozart or Beethoven.  He played “Ode to Joy” the other day and he’ll tell you what he’s playing.  He played it in all “sharps”.  He CAN play it in all flats.  I think he’ll be a musical genius.  Not just saying that.  He LOVES my house because I have a piano AND a keyboard.  It’s like heaven to him. Oh and he LOVES our little Beagle named DIxie!  She doesn’t love him, sometimes, but he’s gentle with her and loves to chase her and show her affection.

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(Alex loving on Dixie with his big brother Josh, who has Aspergers)

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(here he is playing with my tea cups.  He loves playing tea party and he never breaks the delicate china!)

He’s here now with us and has been since yesterday.  His Mommy has to work 12 hour shifts all weekend and his sister has her own baby and needs some time away from little Alex.  There would have been a day when he couldn’t have spent the night.  Separation anxiety would have been too strong for me to overcome because he didn’t like being away from his mom or dad.  NOW, Alex loves me.  He can’t stop hugging me or kissing me.  He wants me to hold him like a baby and he wants me to wrestle with him so I do.  He loves to play games, he just can’t follow rules.  He’s an absolute joy for me. I’d have him ALL the time, if my husband would allow it.  Hubby is getting to the point where he doesn’t like noise and wants peace and quiet.  Of our 5 kids, only 1 is still at home and he likes it that way.  I’m NOT there yet and miss my kids being around.  However, hubby never shows Alex that he doesn’t want him here.  In fact, right now, he’s going over to Dianna’s house to get Alex’s bicycle so we can take this boy outside and have some FUN!  He usually stays inside because there’s no place to play at his house anymore.  There’s ALL kinds of room over here and he’s flapping his arms in excitement and anticipation, just waiting for his bike to get here!

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I wish he could tell me what’s inside his mind.  What does he think?  What does he feel?  I think it would blow me away if I could see the pictures in his little brain.

A Fun Weekend Had by All… in pics

Follow up from yesterday’s post:

Just wanted to share with you our FABULOUS day at the St. Louis Boat Show!  What an awesome way to fight the gloom and doom of a rainy winter Sunday.  I’m SO glad we went because it gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time with the hubby, have fun with good friends AND torture my daughter!  It’s a win, win win situation, as far as I’m concerned!  lol  So here’s some of our highlights:

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Teenage munchkin posing to amuse me in the cold rain.  She’s a GOOD daughter and wants to see her mama happy 😉

ImageOk.. this one’s funny because I’d convinced her that she would be going scuba diving in the pool (just another experience I want her to have).  Anyway, I’d told her she’d be doing the scuba boogie in THIS pool… only this pool was filled with dog hair and kind of smelled really bad because it was REALLY used as the “Dock Dogs” pool.  She’s trying to decide JUST how badly I want her to scuba dive!  lol

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So this one’s where she figures out that I wasn’t REALLY serious about her swimming in the dog hair!

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And here’s me waving to my adoring fans!

ImageOne of the reasons we wanted to go to the boat show on Sunday was to do the Swamp People Meet and Greet!  (Swamp People)

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Here’s me embarrassing teenage munchkin (because she’s in LOVE with Jay Paul)… I’m explaining to them how I TOO am a famous Mississippi River Gator wrestler!  For my friends that aren’t from this country…  we don’t REALLY have gators in Missouri…  which is precisely why my daughter was praying I’d shut up.  lol  I think R J was interested in signing me to help him wrestle the REAL swamp gators!  hehehehe

ImageAfter my contract was negotiated!  lol  I think we’re all pleased with the terms and conditions!

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Not to break any young girls heart, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but did you all know that Jay Paul is married?  Not ONLY is he married to this little cutie, they’re expecting a baby.  She’s 14 weeks along.  Cause yeah, I asked!  lol  I can tell you that Julia (teenage munchkin) and her friends are very sad about this!

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Not to leave out hubby…  here he is being rewarded for taking me to the boat show.  What is his reward?  So glad you asked…  a cheeseburger.  Cause that’s ALL it takes.  lol

ImageHere’s the boat that I won’t be reciving as a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband.  However, he’s informed me that if I play my cards right, once Julia moves out, we CAN sell our home and live on the river in something LIKE this.  I think I could do that 😉

ImageHere’s me cooking a fish over an open fire on the only boat we’ll ever be able to afford…  a Tom Sawyer style floating raft.  Also pictured, my dear friend Beth and of course, Julia the teenage munchkin!

ImageThe 2 Ethiopians on the River Raft!  Hubby says we both look like we need a sandwich.  What do you think?  lol

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This is precious!  I was able to track Dora the Explorer down because Julia wouldn’t leave the place until she could have a picture and a hug from Dora!  (okay… in all actuality, Julia had had just about enough of my shenanegins!  lol  but again, sucks to be MY kid!)

ImageThis is kind of cool…. here’s me sword fighting an elderly gentleman on The Gypsy Rose Pirate Ship…..  In case you were interested, I lost.

ImageI think this is the owner of The Gypsy Rose.  He was TOTALLY macking on my friend!  He was POSITIVE he’d seen her boating on the Mississippi several times because he was POSITIVE he’d seen her before.  You know “You look SO familiar to me… have we met?”  She was POSITIVE they’d NEVER met.  lol

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Here’s me watching as my friend was getting molested by the pirate ship owner!  hehehe

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Remember the scuba boogie we talked about?  I decided to have mercy on the daughter and we compromised.  She didn’t want to get her hair wet so we decided that she’d learn to navigate a boogie board (at least that’s what I THINK they’re called)

ImageNotice anything wrong with this picture?  That’s right!  Her wet suit is on backwards.  A photo opp in a HALF, if you ask me!  There has to be some perks of being a mother to a teenager, right?  I get to share with you all the things that amuse me 😉

ImageAnd she’s UP!  She actually did a very good job with this thing.  We canoe and kayak pretty often though.

ImageMy girl, in her backwards wet suit,  dreaming of the day she’ll kill me.

So that’s our day in pictures!  Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!