March Inn

Why"March Inn?" March Inn was the name of that magic place where I spent my summers growing up. I have alluded to this place before, and I probably will again. March Inn is no longer standing. The waters of Katrina rendered it unlivable so my children will never know that "March Inn." That makes me sad. In fact it brings me to tears whenever I think about it. I want my children to have their own "March Inn," and I want to capture our lives as they are growing and changing. I invite you to "march inn" to our lives. My hope is that you will catch glimpses of the real world. You will see our creations. You will see our chaos. You will see our affection. You will also see our frustrations, fears, and disappointments. Enjoy your march!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Baby

My baby is growing up ~ well at least he is getting older in months and bigger in size. He has become quite the "mama's boy" and likes to be held, cuddled, and carried.

After putting away the Christmas decorations and picking up the living areas {kitchen, dining room, den ~ don't look at the rest} of the house, we prepared for Walker's first birthday. I can't believe my baby is one. I can't think about it too much so I just enjoy the moments.

What do you do for a one year old whose birthday falls so quickly after Christmas? For months, we have discussed what kind of birthday cake Walker should have. Mary Frances announced it should be a clown. I went with that because it seemed colorful and fun. Well, Walker had other plans. As December drew closer it became evident that doors are his favorite thing. Yes, you read correctly~ DOORS! He loves to swing any door open and closed so Frank came up with the creative idea to have a "door birthday." And so we did...

silly yes ~ dorky probably ~ creative definitely ~ memorable for sure

The day began with pancakes - Walker's favorite breakfast.

Our goal in celebrating birthdays is to show our little ones that they are special and to hopefully convey that we love them very much. We try not to do this with presents but with the other things we do throughout the day.So there are balloons and lots of them, pictures of their year, a slide show of their joys, triumphs, frustrations, fears, friends, a menu that they love, a celebration with family, an activity of choice.

We enjoyed dinner with family ~ the five of us, Tootsie, Pops and Aunt Kydie. Walker loves lasagna ~ who doesn't?

Not so sure about the cake at first, but then he discovered the icing. There were a few presents...

Happy first birthday, Walker! We love you.

Now onto the next thing ~ the lake with dear old friends for New Years. We can't wait!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Christmas Whirlwind

Once the shopping, baking, wrapping, and packing were completed, the car was loaded and off the five of us went to Shu Shu's. We decided to begin our trip differently this time. Typically when we head south together the children and I will load the car and pick Frank up from work only to get stuck in traffic and stop about an hour down the road to eat supper at a fast food restaurant which is not really our style. For this trip, Frank came home loaded the car and we ate left-overs out of the refrigerator before getting on the road. We did this in hopes that we would not get stuck in traffic or have to stop so that we could arrive around the same time. It worked! The children slept, I finished Walker's slide show for his first birthday, and Frank drove. We actually made it the entire way without stopping - I can't recall ever doing that with the children.

First stop, Christmas Eve Eve at YaYa and Granddaddy's house. Sweet Uncle Bill and Aunt Anna look ready to host the masses on Christmas Eve.The next generation, minus one.
Here is the newest member of the clan, Baylis with her Aunt Leah.The rain broke for just a few minutes and everyone headed outside to make s'mores using Uncle Bill's new fire pit. He and Anna have worked tirelessly to prepare their house for this celebration but more important the arrival of their little one. There house looks fabulous, and the fire pit is just one example of their endeavors.I missed it but apparently, my eldest son roasted a marshmallow like a pro. Bill was quite impressed with his technique.Shu Shu doing what she loves best - holding the baby!The word on the street was that Santa was nearby. The cousins looking on Dillon's phone to see where he might be.Santa arrived and Stephen was overjoyed. Mary Frances and Stephen set out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots and parsley for Rudolph.Christmas morning! After snuggling in bed and talking about why we celebrate Christmas and why we give gifts we made our way to see if Santa had come. And he did!
A Merry Christmas for all!

Christmas Comes Early

We typically travel for Christmas so we celebrate early with the in town family. This year it was the five of us and Frank's parents.
This is Walker's first Christmas experience, and this mommy is so curious what he is thinking.
"What's this? A present?"

"I think it's for me. What is it?" The package was opened and Mary Frances and Stephen both stopped what they were doing to come over and inspect. Mary Frances was overheard saying, "Oh, Walker it's a turtle to hold bath toys. You are going to have so much fun with it."

And now back to business...

It's the little things.

And now for Mommy's gift...
which is an enormous bulletin board to hang in the office {turned playroom} to house all of the wonderful artwork that comes into this house. I can't wait for it to be hung! Check back later to see.
And one last picture from the evening...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friends of the Library

From this...

To this...
We love most books in this house and Fancy Nancy has been among our favorites for about two years now. I laugh that Fancy Nancy is one of MFS' favorites because I am more of a "Plain Jane" myself, but Mary Frances loves anything with glitter and gold, ruffles and frills. This library event was based on what I assume is Jane O'Conner's latest book Fancy Nancy: Splendiforous Christmas. Go check it out...
We love our local library. We are there often ~ we walk, we drive, we just stop in, we stay for hours, we play, we read, we take friends, we visit with friends! Sometimes leaving is torture for my children and trying for me. It's a toss up ~ I'm glad they love books and the library, but I want them to obey when I say it's time to go.
Since Thanksgiving we have been to the library for Toddler Tales {the two year old story time} twice, family night {a holiday singalong with dinner - every mother's dream}, signed Walker up for his first Mother Goose {the one year old story time - let's not talk about that}, and the Holiday Hairdo Hullabaloo {see the above pictures}, and we did not even participate in a fraction of the events that are offered.

Now for my soap box! I remember when I first moved to the area and started using the local libraries to supplement my classroom with books. I was floored! The libraries in this community were amazing! I visited many of them because either they didn't offer the service I will talk about later or I just didn't know about it. These libraries, each and every one, provide a WONDERFUL resource for the members of our greater community. I repeat these sentiments often: there is no reason for any child in our community not to have access to books. Just visit the library! If you can, support the library! If you can't support monetarily give them your time, or simply sign up for the summer reading program {they get dollars and books} based on the number of participants.
One bonus that the libraries offer: you can do an online catalog search to see if any participating library has the book, put the book on hold, and have it sent sent to a library of your choosing.
And more pictures from our local library...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Posada

I was not familiar with the term "Posada" nor the tradition of the Posada until Mary Frances graduated from the nursery and entered the world of Sunday School last year. The church has a Mary and Joseph for each Pre-K Sunday School class to pass around. We signed up for a Sunday in December, and no one signed up after us so we acted as innkeepers to Mary and Joseph for an entire week.

Mary and Joseph were loved by my children. They were well cared for. They went on strolls through the house. They slept in different special spots each evening. They even received a bath as they were quite dirty when they arrived at our home.We were happy to have them for a week during this season of Advent, and we were happy to return them to the church for other families to care for as they continue on their symbolic journey to Bethlehem. I like this tradition! It opened the door for many insightful conversations. Fortunately, my family has many more years in Pre-K Sunday School so there will no doubt be many more opportunities to act as innkeepers to Mary and Joseph as they prepare for the birth of their son, our savior.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Been Too Long

Wow! It's been a long time since I've posted. It isn't that I haven't had anything to say because I am rarely at a loss of words. It isn't that nothing has happened that I don't want to record because we have been going places and doing things. My children {and I} have had precious moments and many not so precious moments. It is simply that we have been busy! We've been sewing and monogramming. We've been cooking and baking. We've been crafting and creating. We've even been attempting to keep up with laundry, closets, bathrooms, and the paper that comes into this house. Notice there was no mention of shopping - I'm not much of a shopper and many of the things that were bought were ordered either online or via catalog which is SO much easier with 3 children four and under. Of course there are the normal errands - grocery, dry cleaning, walmart, etc, but even those have been curtailed because of the rain.

An aside... We have had lots and lots of rain. I keep teasing my dad that he might want to reconsider selling Beat Army because we might need to use it as an ark.

Christmas sneaked up on me this year, and I wasn't nearly as prepared as I would like to have been but I am close, so close to shutting down Santa's Workshop at this house. In fact I even cleared off the dining room table to have dinner guests tonight. Now that's a feat!

I always try to do way to much. I want to do for family, extended family, neighbors, friends, teachers. And then there are those who I want to do things for but it often just doesn't get done - the mailman, the garbage man, the nursery workers, the librarians. I never do anything big - just a thought, a remembrance, a happy - whatever you want to call it. I {with help} typically make what I do give. I want for those who touch my world and my children's world to know that they are special and that they are loved and appreciated. I also want my children to be involved in the process - so they paint with me,
they cut with me,
they measure with me,
they wrap with me, they listen for timers with me, they deliver with me and much, much more.
In an essence they help me!
Yes, it would be easier and faster to just do it myself, but then I would not be helping them learn about giving. As we are doing these tasks we talk ~ we talk about God's love, we talk about doing for others, we talk about thinking of others first, we talk about the reasons we celebrate Christmas, we talk about Mary and Joseph and Jesus' birth, we talk about waiting, we talk about preparing. Isn't that what Advent is all about?