Monday, July 28, 2014

My angel's prayers

Every night since Hannah was born, we have included prayers in our bedtime routine. Either Jason & I will say them and at first - before she could talk, naturally - Hannah would just listen. Now she likes them so much she requests her prayers, and in particular at this point in time she wants daddy to do them (she is in a phase where she wants daddy to do everything!). But, tonight, we mixed it up, and daddy asked her if she wanted to say her prayers. Here's what she said:

"Thank you, God, for the day..."
(This is how the prayers always start.)
And then she continued:
"Thank you for turtles. Thank you for monkeys. Thank you for zebras. Thank you for Grandma. Thank you for daddy-mommy."
(She often refers to us as "daddy-mommy" collectively.)

Isn't that cute? I'd say.

Thank you, God, for our Hannah girl.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Follow your instinct

"It's a sad thing to live your life without this deep-rooted sense of connection to your purpose. Like a lightbulb without a lamp, this kind of disconnect fosters dark and foreboding feelings in the soul. Whether you are the manager or the employee, the homemaker or the home builder, what matters most is that you have been awakened to your purpose and enlightened to the inner fulfillment that it affords."
-Bishop T. D. Jakes

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Events Around Saint Louis

My coworker, Anna Brown, did an amazing job putting together a schedule of summer activities in St. Louis. Way to be awesome, Anna!

There is no excuse to being bored in St. Louis over the summer.

What else do we need to add? Let me know and I'll put it on the list!

Art Hill Film Series           
9 p.m .Showtime, party starts at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, July 5th - Casablanca
  • Friday, July 12th - West Side Story
  • Friday, July 19th - The Princess Bride
  • Friday, July 26th - Roman Holiday

Boathouse Forest Park 

7 p.m.
Friday & Saturday Live Music
Boat Rental 4 person $15/per hour

Brewery Tours         
  • Mon-Sat: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m
  • Sun: 11:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Biergarten Now Open
  • Mon-Sat: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Sun: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

A Celebration of Food & Beer Featuring:
  • 17 Beers
  • Beer Flights
  • Brewmaster Tastings
  • Delicious food
  • Clydesdale Appearances (3 p.m.)

Bierfest – April 19th 12-3 p.m. $25/person

Children’s Garden Club

9 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month (except July & September)

  • May 3rd, 2014 Annual & Vegetables – Compliments Wiethop’s Greenhouses @ Jefferson Barracks part of the Home Front Exhibit Ordinance Bldg. – Victory Garden
  • June 7th, 2014 Plant colorful annual combo – Sherwood Forest Nursery & Garden Center, 2651 Barrett Station Road
  • July 12th, 2014 Fun in the Garden – Chesterfield Valley Nursery -16825 N. Outer Rd
  • August 2nd, 2014 Butterfly Gardening – Faust park, 15185 Olive Blvd, Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House & Faust Historical Village Herbs & Heirloom plants
  • September 12th, 2014 Plant fall color – Sherwood Forest Nursery & Garden Center, 2651 Barrett Station Road
  • October 4th, 2014 Topic to be decided – For the Garden by Haefner’s, 6704 Telegraph Road.
  • November 4th, 2014 Open
  • December 6th, 2014 Holiday Decorations – Sherwood Forest Nursery & Garden Center, 2651 Barrett Station Road

Skyview Drive In Movie

Prices: Adults $10 each, Children (12 and under) 2 Free* per each paying adult, Each additional child $3, Cash Only

Fair St. Louis

4th of July Weekend

Summer Parks & Rec guide for St. Louis:

Faust Park – Summer Series

June 3rd – August 12th
Opens at 5:15 p.m. Concerts are from 7-9 p.m.

Festival of the Little Hills

August 15-17th Historic Main Street & Frontier Park, St. Charles

Festival of Nations

August 23-24th, Tower Grove Park

Fox Theatre Backstage Tours     

10:30 a.m. 1.5 hours long
$8 Adults, Seniors/Students/Children $6

Missouri Botanical Garden

Nature Connects, Art with LEGO Bricks
May 24th Sept. 7th
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Event Hours:
·         Friday, May 9: 6-10pm
·         Saturday, May 10: 10am-8pm
·         Sunday, May 11: 10am-5pm
$10 adults and ages 12 and up
$5 for children ages 6-11
Members and children under 6 are free

Taste of Clayton

Sunday June 1
Downtown Clayton

Taste of St. Louis

September 19-21st
Moved to Chesterfield Amphitheater

Whitaker Music Festival

Wednesdays, June 4 to August 6
Music begins at 7:30 p.m.
Last entry at 9 p.m.

Free admission after 5 p.m.
The Children’s Garden remains open with free admission from 5 to 7 p.m.

·         June 4                   Peter Martin Quartet
·         June 11                 Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band
·         June 18                 Marsha Evans & the Coalition
·         June 25                 Javier Mendoza
·         July 2                     Old Salt Union
·         July 9                     Big Brother Thunder & the Master Balsters
·         July 16                   Nigel Mooney
·         July 23                   Augusta Bottoms Consort
·         July 30                   Melissa Neels Band
·         Aug 6                     Gene Dobbs Bradford Blues Experience

Harvest Festival

Sept 19 begins at 5 p.m.

Chesterfield Amphitheater

·         May 10th               St. Louis Civic Orchestra                6-8 p.m.
·         June 7th                Wayman’s Revelation                    8-10 p.m.
·         May 30th               Planes                                                   8-10 p.m.
·         June 13th              Frozen                                                  8-10 p.m.
·         July 25th                Despicable Me 2                               8-10 p.m.

Summer Concert Series at Soldiers Memorial TBA

Jungle Boogie at the Zoo 

5 p.m.
·         Friday May 23rd
·         Friday May 30th
·         Friday June 6th
·         Friday June 13th
·         Friday June 27th
·         Friday July 4th
·         Friday July 11th
·         Friday July 18th
·         Wednesday July 23rd Jammin at the Zoo 6 p.m.
·         Friday July 25th
·         Friday Aug 1st
·         Friday Aug 8th
·         Friday Aug 15th
·         Friday Aug 22nd
·         Wednesday Aug 27th Jammin’ at the Zoo 6 p.m.
·         Friday Aug 29th

Purina Farms 

·         April 26th              StL Disc Dogs Spring Friendly Flying disc Competition 10 a.m.
·         June 14-15          Countrytime Bluegrass Festival & Kids Country Carnival
·         July 12-13            Disc Dog Hot Jam Flying Disc Competition
·         August 24            Petapalooza 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Wehrenberg Summer Series 

Now $1 each 
Wednesday & Thursday 10 a.m.

Town Square Schedule
·         June 4/5               Turbo
·         June 11/12          The Lego Movie
·         June 18/19          The Croods
·         June 25/26          Epic
·         July 2/3                 Despicable Me 2
·         July 9/10              The Smurfs 2
·         July 16/17            Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
·         July 23/24            Rio 2
·         July 30/31            The Nut Job
·         Aug 6/7                Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Chesterfield Galaxy/St. Charles/O’Fallon 15
·         June 4/5               The Smurfs 2
·         June 11/12          Despicable Me 2
·         June 18/19          Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
·         June 25/26          Turbo
·         July 2/3                 The Lego Movie
·         July 9/10              The Croods
·         July 16/17            Epic
·         July 23/24            The Nut Job
·         July 30/31            Mr. Peabody & Sherman
·         Aug 6/7                Rio 2

Mid Rivers/Des Peres
·         June 4/5               Epic
·         June 11/12          The Croods
·         June 18/19          Despicable Me 2
·         June 25/26          The Lego Movie
·         July 2/3                 Turbo
·         July 9/10              Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
·         July 16/17            The Smurfs 2
·         July 23/24            Mr. Peabody & Sherman
·         July 30/31            Rio 2     
·         Aug 6/7                The Nut Job

Twilight Tuesdays 

6-8 p.m. @ Missouri History Museum 

·         Michael Fitzgerald Jazz-Tribute to Miles Davis and David Sanborn
Tuesday, April 22 2014 at 6:00 pm
·         FatPocket
Tuesday, April 29 2014 at 6:00 pm
·         Soulard Blues Band
Tuesday, May 6 2014 at 6:00 pm
·         Dogs of Society-A Tribute to Elton John
Tuesday, May 13 2014 at 6:00 pm
·         Groovethang-A Tribute to the Doobie Brothers and 70’s Music
Tuesday, May 20 2014 at 6:00 pm
·         The James Family-A Tribute to Ike and Tina Turner
Tuesday, May 27 2014 at 6:00 pm

The Muny 2014 Season 

·         Billy Elliot                                             June 16-22
·         Tarzan                                                   June 25-July 2
·         The Gershwins Porgy and Bess  July 7-13
·         The Addams Family                         July 14-20
·         Seussical                                              July 22-28
·         Grease                                                 July 31-Aug 8
·         Hello Dolly                                           Aug 11-17

Kimmswick Strawberry Festival 

June 7-8 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
In Forest Park May 17-June 15, every night except Tuesday 

Union Station

·         National Train Day, Union Station, May 10th
·         Live Music Thursday Nights

And of course the traditional list of things to do in St. Louis that doesn’t involve Schedules (minus the baseball)

·         St. Louis Cardinals
·         River City Rascals
·         City Museum
·         Forest Park
o   Missouri History Museum
§  Note: Tuesday special exhibits are free
o   Saint Louis Art Museum
§  Note: Friday special exhibits are free
o   Saint Louis Science Center & Planetarium
§  Note: check website for Star Party, free at the planetarium, dates vary weather permitting
o   Saint Louis Zoo
·         World Bird Sanctuary
o   Note: Keeper Talks – every Sat. & Sun. Free
·         Gateway Arch 
·         Six Flags
·         Magic House
·         St. Louis Museum of Transportation  
·         Contemporary Art Museum


Small steps and the art of allowing

I've been extra emotional over the past few days but I am forging through and feeling optimistic.

It may seem that I spend quite a bit of time on Facebook. For one, it's part of my job as a digital content strategist. For two, I love seeing where people are in their lives - their evolutions, who they surround themselves with nowadays, what parts of their faces they passed along to their children, what they do for work, what they do for fun, where they've traveled, what stirs their emotions - as a people watcher, it's like an online and far more personal version of sitting in the airport. For three, I see it as a bit of a personal archive. I love going back through the pictures and comments I have posted, reminiscing on where I was in life and how things have changed. And, finally, I love reading posts and articles and perspectives and learning new things and uncovering new ways of viewing the world from people. On that, I came across two things that really spoke to me today.
One was this:

I like being subscribed to this "Begin with Yes" page - it's like a daily dose of hope. This particular post spoke to me because I am struggling with my sense if purpose - what's this life about? Is this as good as it gets? Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? Etc. The good news is that I am learning how to live in the present and to not underestimate the day of small things, as I recently posted. I like, as this image above mentions, the idea that today's small step may be the one that I look back on as a giant leap forward. You just never know, right?

The second bit of brilliance I read today was an article called "The Art of Allowing." I can't even summarize it or do it any sort of justice by providing highlights. If you're at all curious about what it means to deliberately allow people and things to be as they are, I encourage you to read it.

Be blessed today, friends!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

From special to snubbed

Man, two year olds can really be hot and cold.

Last night Hannah and I shared a moment that felt very special to me. I was sitting on the floor and she got behind me, put her arms around me, and started rocking me. Then, she broke out into song: "Rock-a-bye, mommy, on the treetop..." She doesn't know all the words so she improvised. It was incredible. I sat there with her little arms around my neck, cherishing the sweetness, feeling like the luckiest.

But, less than half a day later, I woke up to hear her telling daddy that she didn't want much of anything to do with me.

"Let's go wake up mommy," Jason said to Hannah.

"No mommy," she said sternly.

"Well, let's have mommy come get you dressed," Jason told her.

"NO!" She said. "I NO WANT MOMMY!"


Yes, I realize she's two. But it still doesn't feel good to be snubbed! She continued to tell him that she didn't want to see me, didn't want me to change her pants (which is normally fine by me), didn't want me to help her brush her teeth or do her hair or pick out her clothes or do anything.

"Daddy do it!" she said repeatedly.

How can we go from special "rock-a-bye mommy" time to this? I'm sure she will be excited to see me later today when I pick her up from daycare, but it still hurt my feelings. Sometimes I feel like no matter what I do, she will always prefer her father. I know she loves me and needs me and everything, but I wish she would light up for me the way she lights up for him. I am grateful she loves him so much and he definitely deserves her affection. I just have a hard time sometimes when I feel like I'm on the junior varsity team. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

So many of us choose our path based on fear disguised as practicality

This is a minute-long snippet of Jim Carrey's commencement speech to Maharishi University of Management’s class of 2014 that spoke to my heart today:

"You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."

Monday, June 9, 2014

Out of retirement and onto the green.

It was kinda like this.
Maybe this what Brett Favre feels like every time he signs another football contract. Or perhaps what Jay-Z felt like when he released his Last One, Guys - I Swear album. Either way, coming out of retirement is not only trendy, but necessary to remain relevant, so that's what today is all about.

I'm breaking out my clubs, and ending my golf retirement. Whoa.

The last time I golfed was a special time. I was pregnant with Hannah, and I was really freaking hungry. A group of us had gone to play a round at the local par 3. I couldn't have cared less about how I was performing - it had been a long day and mama was ready for a burrito.

We approached the 18th hole and I muttered something about - this better be fast. And it was. It was as fast as a hole could go.

I hit the ball - very poorly, I might add - and it shot down and diagonally across the green. It hit the edge of a bunker. It rolled up and a little northeastern toward the hole. I hear Jason say, "Holy crap, that's gonna be close!"

No, no, no, sir. Not close. IN.


I threw my club in the air and everyone jumped and yelled. Someone hi-fived me. I think it may have been Jesus because this was a freaking miracle.

We yelled and screamed and I hurried up into the clubhouse because I was seriously starving by now. They took my picture for their "hole in one" wall. Some sucker at the bar made a comment about how I am supposed to buy everyone a round (look, dude, if mama can't drink, ain't nobody drinking). Then I went to Chevy's Fresh Mexican and had myself a burrito. Dang good!

So, that was well over two years ago, and I have been busy managing my procreation and haven't hit the greens since. But, today, my dear sister-in-law invited me to participate in a fundraising golf tournament, and I obliged. Since the last time I played I have put on 30 lbs, made a human, and herniated a disc in my spine, so here's hoping this is mostly painless. I'm not shooting for any holes-in-one, but in the rare case it does happen, I will head out for another celebratory burrito and definitely hang up the clubs for good. It doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Do not despise these small beginnings

I have a condition called "perfectionistic paralysis." It means that I have trouble doing certain things unless I think I can do them perfectly. The condition is particularly prevalent when it comes to things in which I am emotionally invested.

I used to paint a lot when I was growing up. I haven't really painted in awhile.

I have written a lot of poems and songs that have never seen another human's eyes or ears. I finally picked up a guitar the other day for the first time in over 2 years.

My head is filled with "shoulds." I should just do these things anyway. I should be better at them than I am. I should be invested. I should carve out the time to do them. I should want to be passionate. I should feel differently about it.

I've tried. I don't yet. I am in the process of changing my mind, and it is hard. I have to come to terms with the fact that I may not be perfect at these passions in order to alleviate my paralysis. I have to take simple steps and accept my own resistance in order to surrender.

Zechariah 4:10 says, "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin..."

Can just beginning be good enough for me? Is perfectionism really anything more than preoccupation with the end of something? The final product?

This is my confession and commitment to try to accept each day for what it is and realize what it's not. It's not the end. It's always the beginning, and it may feel small, and that's OK.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Say what, Hannah?

Hannah is a very conversational 26 month old girl. I didn't realize she could sing the ABC's in its entirety until she did so just last week:

Here are some of her other conversational antics that thrill us:

"Ife fream" with "frinkles" = ice cream with sprinkles

"I so silly" accompanied by a "huh-huh" laugh

"You want bite?" repeatedly as she holds food in your face and refuses to remove it so you're forced to eat.

"Just one mo ____!" or sometimes "two mo" if she is aggressively negotiating another episode of Dora or a bedtime book or whatever it may be.

"No do that!" when she doesn't want you to do something, which can include virtually anything at any time based on her mood, not excluding eating, sniffling, sneezing, laughing, etc.

Her desire to console includes asking me (or whoever) to cry if I'd like a hug, then she will say "Aww, Mommy crying!" Then she will hug me gently, sometimes give kisses, and say, "Feel better, Mommy. I take care you." Melt.

"I need ___." She thinks she needs everything. So, we tell her to ask nicely, to which she says, "Pwease, I need ___, pwease?"

We are trying to teach her to be a good listener, so sometimes when we ask her to do something she doesn't want to do and she knows she is being defiant she will holler, "I not good listener!"

Up until recent she would say "Dit up!" instead of "Get up" and "Pum on!" instead of "Come on" but unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose) she has cleared those up. much more...I will have to add to this as I recall more!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring, beautiful spring

I guess winter really wore me down because I don't remember ever loving spring so much! I always considered myself a fall girl. Hmm.

Anyway, is it me or is the grass especially green right now? And the birds are extra tweety. And the rabbits look bigger. Except for the baby bunnies - which somehow look cuter than ever.

Speaking of cute...Hannah!

I believe I have mentioned this before, but for some reason I really like the idea of her making strategic messes. You know, I don't want her to be in a disgusting mess, or a dangerous mess. But I want her to get some yogurt on her face and some grass stains on her knees. It's good for a person!

Yesterday we laid in the grass, and it was everything I had imagined. The air was just warm enough. The grass was just cool enough. The sun was just going down enough. The sky was clear and vibrant blue. The day's work was done. It was time to do lawn angels and thank God for the air.

So we did just that.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Our angel turns 2 today

Happy 2nd birthday to the sweetest little girl ever, Miss Hannah Sophia!

While it's hard to believe that it's been 2 years since she came into this world, it's also hard to remember exactly how I ever felt whole before her! She is such a darling, spunky, smart, funny little girl. I can't get enough of her. I am so honored God chose me to be her mommy!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Greetings from inside the princess tent!

Well, I may be crappy at keeping up my blog these days, but as you can see I have been doing some really important things.

I am always on a day-to-day basis with myself, but I have to say - I love my life.

Motherhood is such a trip. I haven't had this much personal growth since I switched high schools my sophomore year, or perhaps when I went away to college. In each experience I have learned more and more how to release the need to be in control; to surrender to the experience and let myself be molded.

I fight it hard. I think that's natural. You spend years building what you think is your identity, and when it suddenly feels that a new way of life is threatening to disrupt the old - regardless of how dissatisfying the old life is - the natural instinct is to defend and preserve.

The best, most inspiring and satisfying growth I have ever experienced has been when I do surrender.

So, parenthood, I have surrendered to you. I have slowly done so each day over the past few years. I gave my physical and emotional self over to pregnancy in 2011. Watching my body morph and stretch provided me with such a continuous reminder that God is the ultimate owner of my physical self. I make choices that can impact how well my physical self functions, and I should want to make good choices (and fall short, naturally). But ultimately, I am a conscious soul who has a body on loan from the Most High. Thank you, God, for using pregnancy to make me more aware. I have resisted but ultimately surrendered to my role in my physical well-being. I am currently honoring this awareness by taking the best care of my physical self possible, allowing myself a little room to forgive myself for being incredibly human and making mistakes at times.

Perhaps more poignantly, I have done the same with my mental health. I have become more and more aware of where I begin and end mentally. I know I have to be very conscious about my emotions because otherwise they can lead me down some rather uncomfortable paths. I am more cognitively aware than I have ever been. This has been an ongoing process over my life, but becoming a mother, experiencing severe postpartum issues, clawing my way out of a mental hole, working through the daily highs and lows of being a parent, working to preserve relationships and even allowing some to go or change, trying to pursue my own career passions as new opportunities have been presented...the whole process frightens and inspires me at once.

I was not meant to remain afraid for long periods of time. None of us are.

I was meant to flourish and grow. I was meant to learn and respect the process. I have to recalibrate constantly. It's a daily job. I have to identify feelings as just that - outside impacting inside, or inside chemical fluctuations that are always going to ebb and flow beyond my control my whole life.

I can't be afraid for long. I have a life that's going to go on whether or not I'm there to appreciate it.

So, here's my decision: I give up the need to control it all because in return I know I get my reward. The present.

I will strive to remain aware of the simple things around me. To appreciate the tiny gifts. To resist inflating my fears and to respect the process. To take the path wherever it leads me - into new adventures, new children, new relationships, new career paths. Or maybe just a pink princess tent.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Throwing rocks in the water

I had a surprisingly special day yesterday. It was shaping up to be pretty standard, despite the fact that it was finally nice enough out to go outside - a welcome break from this seemingly relentless winter.

Jason had a teaching gig last night so Hannah and I were paired up to take on the evening. I picked her up from school and we headed straight up to a nearby park.

We played on park things for a bit. Did some swinging. Crawled through some tunnels. Explored and slid. Ate a piece or two of gravel when she thought I wasn't looking.

Then we decided to check out the ducks at the nearby pond. We walked over and sat on the gravel path surrounding the water. We saw some orange and white koi fish stirring so I thought that I could get them to come closer by tossing tiny rocks into the water, leading them to believe it was food. Perhaps that's mean but I have a toddler to entertain!

But after I threw a single stone into the pond, Hannah erupted into such laughter and joy that I realized we had discovered a new nature toy. She fetched tiny rocks from the grass and we threw them in the water. Each time she counted to three as we prepared to toss them, then squealed with joy, cheering with delight.

We sat on the gravel path for a long time, throwing rocks, talking about ducks and fish and clouds. As the ripples in the water drew near to us after we threw a rock, she would warn me that the water was coming. When the ducks would quack, she would ask, "Did you hear that?" in her sweet, tiny and curious little voice.

I hugged her and kissed her and helped her throw rocks. Yesterday was one of the best days of my life.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Two Years After We Lost Anthony & Wesley

My baby nephews, Anthony and Wesley, would be two today. I want to think that it is strange that God would have allowed something like this to happen on Valentine's Day, but when I also think about how my Grandpa Tony died on Christmas a few years ago - his absolute, favorite holiday - it kind of makes sense that their birthday would fall on this holiday, I guess. My heart is full of so much love for Anthony & Wesley, and I celebrate their short but incredibly important lives on the day that so many in the world celebrate love. Sometimes the bigger the love the bigger the ache, too, though. I can't help but feel anger still that they didn't get to spend more time here with us. I'm not sure I will ever be able to let that go. I so badly want to hug and hold them, and I can't. Not on this earth. My heart will never be the same because of that. I also ache to think of how my brother and sister-in-law feel. How Nora and Hannah will feel when they are old enough to understand their loss.

I love my nephews so much. I look at this picture of their tiny feet and hold that image frozen in my mind as long as it will let me, like gripping to some tangible evidence of who they were and are. And I hold them tightly in my aching heart. So tightly.