Friday, May 16, 2014

Lesson 301: Sweet Sixteen!

It's a special weekend here at the Lamp Post, Readers!
It is Natalie's birthday!
It marks my sixteenth year of motherhood.

Speaking of motherhood,
I had a fantastic Mother's Day last weekend.
My husband and three children--
(he's into foreign language right now).
spoiled me.

I started off the Sunday with a nice lesson from the kindly Pastor Keith
at South Harborcreek United Methodist Church.

We then spent most of the day with my favorite of females,
Mother Nature.

The family went fishing while I made a trot around Bull's Dam.

I also spent some time with my own mother,
AKA Grandma.

Kenyan, my crazy sister got us these cool t-shirts.

Although it was a nice gesture, 
it just reminded me that Mom likes her best.

Afterall, Grandma joined Kenyan's Beast team and not mine.

Heck, pictures tell the story best,
don't they?

The adoring looks.

The tender embraces.

I'm an adult. 
I'm fine with it.
You can't help who you love best.

It was all well and good until they started heckling me.

I insisted that I get a chance to be in on a picture, too.

You can tell Grandma wasn't too happy about it.

So I did what any daughter scorned would do,

I gave Grandma a right hook.

I also crushed their heads,

and tried to snuff the life out of my sister.

But it WAS Mother's Day.
I'd hate to commit murder on a national holiday.

So I coped the only way I know how to.
I went home and had a beer around the first campfire of the season.

The moon was extraordinary on Mother's Day night.

The Sunday night moon bid the weekend adieu.  

Monday came and another busy week began.

It was filled with little league games under fabulous skies,

and surprise mail,
(censored especially for Bill).

The school year is coming to a close but it isn't over yet.
We still have homework to fit in between 
little league games,
dance recital rehearsals,
piano lessons,
and golf league.

Ellen was under a bit of stress with her latest assignment:

Create a Brochure for STD Information.

Mother Eloise is in hope that the health teacher has a decent sense of humor.

My busy May schedule left Eloise having to pass on some weekend fun.
My team is doing a Tough Mudder in Ohio.

I'll catch them on another one some other time.

If you always were curious about an adventure race like Tough Mudder, the perfect one to try is the Barber Beast on the Bay on September 6th.  As of this date, you have exactly 3 months and 21 days to train for it.  In Eloise's mind, that translates to 3 months and 3 weeks---33!  If that isn't a divine enough message for you, I don't know what would be.

Join my team, the Krauza's Krazies
Kenyan and Grandma's team, Beauties and the Beasts.

Here is the link for more information:

In spirit, I went on a Zombie Run tonight in the Mudders' honor tonight,
trying to scare myself while running in the 
woods through slop and mud.

If you aren't familiar with Zombies Run, 
it is a purchasable ap for your iPhone, iPod, or Droid.

It is a story about the Zombie apocalypse that plays between songs 
on your playlist.

It is perfect for the runner with a creative imagination.
Each time you run, you hear a chapter of a story.
The more you run, the more supplies you collect to build your base in Abel Township.

This is my base.

Over one and a half seasons I have earned enough to
fortify my armory,

rebuild my safe house
(it got destroyed at the end of Season 1),

create two farms,
a vegetable patch,
and build a library.

I've installed a water treatment facility,
a communications tower,
and a playground for the kids.

Finally on Wednesday, I earned enough supplies to build a much needed hospital.
If you find yourself bitten by a zombie, stop by,
Eloise has an antidote.

Everyone thinks I'm nuts---but how far off base am I?

It seems the US Government has a contingency plan as well.

 Zombies stumble across the East Plaza of the U.S. Capitol to promote 'The Warehouse: Project 4.1' urban haunted house in Rockville, Maryland, on Wednesday, October 3, 2012.

Check out this link to find out more about CONOPP 8888.

It's for realz.

If zombies don't scare the heck out of you,
jumping into freezing cold water might!

I took the Cold Water Challenge for Cancer this week.

I did it in honor of two beautiful women, successfully kicking cancer in the @$$!

If you have time, here's the video with music:

If you're short on time because you are about to run through
electroshock, here's the recap.

I called out my nephews

Jack made good on his challenge today,
although he looked none too happy about it.

As with most things in life, Erik will need some extended time.
He'll do his, too.  
That boy loves water at any temperature.

So does Natalie, my SIXTEEN year old!
She loves the water, too.

Natalie has what doctors have defined as autism.
I choose to think of her as neurologically zapped.

Thankfully she has a superhero for a brother,

and a superkind sister to look out for her
(and in Ellen's case, send texts on her behalf).

Kenyan had these cool shirts printed for Natalie.

Mother Eloise likes the word hope.
I'll never give up on it, 
yet I am not sitting around hoping that things improve for my daughter.

I'm a woman of action, 
and I've made it my life's calling to make a better life for Natalie,
Ellen, and Sam.

When Natalie was two and a half, we received her diagnosis.  Shortly after that I took a leave of absence from my job for nearly three years to give full attention to her therapy.  We were able to receive 40 hours of in home behavioral analysis and subsequent treatment.  We changed her diet to eliminate all gluten and casein, and completed a full heavy metal herbal detox.  

Those were not fun years, but they were necessary.  Natalie is the happy, functioning, semi-independent teenager she is today because of that consistency and dedication.  Hard work paid off.  

Many of my readers read my children's novel, The Key, written about my then ten year old daughter Ellen, who served as the story's protagonist.  Natalie also stars in her own story, due to be published on the Lamp Post in the spring of 2015.  

The story is titled Holding onto Hope, and it centers on a missing autistic child.  It is based loosely on my hometown of Harborcreek, PA, and an urban legend of a drifter named Stanley.  I wrote the story a few years ago and have never read it back.  I will take a look at it this summer and send it out to my team of proofreaders for their honest opinions.  Revising will take me three to six months.  If we have another snowy winter as we did this year, you'll have something to curl up by the fire with.  

The biggest story of Natalie's year was the creation of her "people".

Every day she came home with different renderings of her happy people.  Up until this year, Natalie was never able to make smiley faces, consistently getting the eyes, noses, and mouths in the correct spots on the face.  This year was different.  Day after day Natalie came home with these drawings.  I frequently put them on this blog and on facebook. I quickly surmised they made others as happy as they made me.

I made 33 t-shirts with Natalie's people emblazoned on the front, and distributed them this winter for Christmas and birthday gifts mostly.  Several people have posted Natalie's shirt and where it has traveled.

Tracy Southern took the happy people to the Alamo!

 Beast teammate Angie has taken the shirt countless places.
She is a traveling nurse and send me a picture of the shirt everywhere she goes.

My friend Doc, Dr. Steven Krauza is going to wear his Natalie shirt on his 
epic bike ride from Erie to Philadelphia.
He leaves next week and I will keep you posted as to his progress.

My sweet girl is happy this weekend.
She knows it's her sixteenth birthday.

She's not applying for her driver's license, but we did get her a four wheeler.
She loves to ride!

What's in store for this girl's future?
Mother Eloise can predict big things.
Good things.

There will be more pageants and recognition for my little girl,

and of course more bowling trophies.

How about a modeling contract, too?

Do you think this looks like Natalie?

This is the girl on the bobby pin package.
Several of my students have brought this into me to see,
thinking it looks just like Natalie.
Do you see what they see?

Happy birthday to my quirky girl who loves baby bottles,

and binkys, 

all lined up on her bedroom windowsill in a perfect order.

She loves her Sponge Bob doll so much she's worn off his eyes and lost his left leg.

I hope she loves us that much.

There's no hope involved there, though.
I know so.  
I can see it in her eyes.

Have a look for yourself in this picture video in honor of Natalie's 16th birthday.

You can all hold on to the hope that Natalie is going to be just fine.
I know so.

Happy weekend, and happy sixteenth birthday, Natalie!

Mother Eloise

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