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 29, 2010

Birthday Boy and Bonfires

Today was my baby's second birthday! It is hard to believe that it has been two years since he came into our family. I am very thankful that for today he is still the baby in our family. As I drove to the hospital in Birmingham on Sunday evening, I wasn't sure if that was going to be the case.

{Check out the pajamas ~ more on those in another post!}

Thankfully ShuShu brought a "birthday bag" to the lake because all of my birthday stuff is in storage ~ as ShuShu says, she's just glad I didn't put my children in storage. She had everything we needed to decorate ~ a birthday banner, balloons, blowers, birthday plates/napkins, and even a number 2 candle plus this singing birthday turtle that my children adore! In her wonderful fashion, she thought of everything.

It was a good day ~ simple but good. I am truly off of my game ~ no pictures, no slideshow, not even a cake. I feel guilty, very guilty, but I just couldn't make a cake that we didn't need. I have the supplies. Mom brought her cake decorating tips, but I just couldn't do it. We still have the remnants of our Happy Birthday Jesus cake, pecan pie, and red velvet cake from Anna's parents plus sugar cookies and gingerbread men. Instead, we celebrated at breakfast with the #2 candle in a stack of blueberry pancakes. I'm thinking we will do our "monkeys" as cupcakes and send them to school on Tuesday.

Thank you to Aunt Anna, Uncle Bill and Sarah for the front end loader. It completes our set of construction vehicles and gave each child something to push. Construction has definitely been the theme of Christmas and beyond and why shouldn't it be given our life.
Daddy was in charge of lunch!

We had a bonfire for the birthday boy ~ this may become a tradition!

Walker loved us singing "Happy Birthday" to him. He would clap and then say/sign more. We must have sung 15 times before going inside for supper.

Happy Birthday Walker! I'm so thankful for you and your life ~ I love that your personality emerges daily. You certainly know what you want, but you are learning to use your words to express those wants and needs more clearly everyday. For that your daddy and I are thankful! I love that you love music and dancing and crawling up in my lap to read stories.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Wheels are Off

I want to learn how to put comments on a picture with arrows to the objects of note, but since I can only do it in word and not transfer it to my blog post you will have to use your imagination.

First, I will let you take a gander at the scene around the house as we were leaving for Birmingham last night. What do you see that you find disturbing?

Now for the objects that we have noted as comical ~ hey we've got to keep laughing or we are not going to enjoy the ride...

* doggie vomit ~ Norval was notorious practical jokes ~ vomit being one of the favorites ~ Frank walks by the hearth and says "that's some pretty good fake throw up" to which Steve replied "that's not fake"
* bag of Christmas trash that had no yet made it to the dump~
* house plans ~ Frank wanted to make sure we had the house plans, ruler, and paper at the hospital so we could work on drawing cabinet elevations
* random assortment of children's toys and discarded clothes

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Full Christmas

My heart is so full of joy.
My head is so full of memories.
My tummy is so full of food.

I'm not sure where to begin or for that matter to end ~ it was a good day, and I think {hope} fun was had by all.

Because I don't think I can give adequate words to the day {nor do I want to try because it might taint the memories}, I am simply going to give you pictures:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Joy to the World

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing!

What a way to usher in the day that we celebrate the birth of our savior.

I hope you and yours have all had a Merry Christmas filled with family, fun, and food.

I will be back with a full report of our Christmas but for now I'll leave you with a sneak peak of us waiting on Walker to rise...Blessings!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Making Memories and Keeping Traditions

When I think of Christmas as I child, my first memory is of my cousins and spending infinite time with family going here, there, and yonder day after day and night after night for the entirety of my cousins stay in Mobile. My second memory is of attending church at All Saints on Christmas Eve and as an extended family taking up the better part of two pews.

Yes, I remember some of the presents I received over the years, and I have vague recollections of the excitement I had over Santa, but my main memories involve my family {particularly my cousins, but also my great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc} and the preparations for Christmas {the gifts we created, the recipes we used, the tables we set}. These are the same double first cousins I have alluded to as I reminisce about our summers over the bay. Mind you my cousins lived in New York and Tampa and yet I spent every Christmas with them in Mobile. Now as an adult with a young family of my own, I admire that my aunts travelled each and every Christmas for their entire lives.

As for church, there were two parts of that Christmas Eve service that I loved ~ the first was watching all of the excitement in the young children as they tried to sit and be quiet during the service. The second was the way the service concluded ~ the lights were dimmed, the candles lit and the congregation sang Silent Night. To me that was a very powerful way to bring Advent to a close and usher in the birth of our Savior.

As our family as grown and changed, many of our traditions have evolved, but family and hopefully Christ's birth remain central to all.

This year, we have a glaring absence in our family and in our lives. Norval, Frank's mom, was the epitome of all things Christmas. She loved doing for others, and the season of Christmas offered her the opportunity to do and to give so much more than she already did on a daily basis throughout the year. It was special! It was a unique! It was the way she showed her love! And she did it with expertise.

While none of us can emulate the things she did, Frank and I have tried to keep alive some of her traditions. Her pecan pie recipe was found, checked, and double checked though none of that can account for the changes she knew to make in her head. All we can do is give it a try!

The tree is laden with candy canes and her boot is filled.

The reindeer poops... let me tell you this was a bit hard for me. I am fairly straight laced ~ some might even say a prude so buying brown jelly beans to represent reindeer poop was a big deal and not something I would ordinarily condone. Of course my number two child has loved the reindeer!

The children have been busy...

They have created a gumdrop tree ~

and made a gingerbread house ~

and so much more, but no time to report here...
I hope for my children's sakes that we are creating memories that last a lifetime and they center around the time we spend together and not the presents that we receive.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Apologies...

I just haven't gotten many of those things I always do for and around Christmas done and I apologize. It isn't for a lack of trying or a lack of doing, but I have just run out of time. Between trying to keep this baby from coming too early and being displaced from my home, I am even more scattered than ever this year. Not too mention we are enjoying family time!

To all of you who typically receive a Christmas card, they are in the mail or will be shortly. I was waiting for our house demolition to try to take a picture so they will be late. Such is my life these days. Many were mailed from Birmingham, but the rest will be coming your way from Alexander City. I just want to keep you guessing on who it may be from.

To all of you who normally receive a little bag of cheesestraws in your mailbox, some of them just didn't get delivered and for that I apologize.

To all of you who receive a handmade ornament from my children, don't fret you just might have to wait until next year to hang them on your tree.

To all of you who receive a calendar with the family birthdays and pictures from throughout the year, they just might not happen. The pictures are ordered and sitting at the WalMart in Birmingham. I just didn't get there before we left town ~ maybe when I head in on Tuesday for a doctor's appointment.

With all of that said, my children and their cousin all have coordinating Christmas outfits, and I do have all of our presents wrapped and under the tree at the lake. {That doesn't mean a single present has been mailed.} Frank and I have planned menus filled with what we hope will be delicious food and lots of family time in the kitchen for the time we are hoping to be at the lake. Most of the ingredients are stored between two refrigerators, the pantry, and random other cabinets in the kitchen and even in the laundry room ~ truly you would think we were expecting a house party of 20 people for a fortnight. {Thank you to Steve who is bringing the dressing ingredients and turkey tomorrow.} Last night Frank was happy to see us begin consuming some of the many pounds of food that have come through the door.

Our time has been just what I had hoped for... no I haven't accomplished all that I would have liked, but isn't that always true in life. Though, I think we have accomplished some of the things that are important in life ~ we have spent lots of time together as a family making memories and keeping traditions alive. The t.v. hasn't come on and we've spent lots of time in the kitchen preparing food, sitting in front of a fire talking and reading to our children. We are just enjoying each other's company and being a family! That in and of itself is an accomplishment...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Day Late...

and a dollar short...

What seems to be the story of my life these days ~

Monday I woke up with a list of errands I wanted to accomplish to help get some last minute things completed and some food in the house for our time at the lake.

Instead, I woke up to this:

a puny, feverish child*. Just a reminder that we are not in control but our Lord and Savior is and he has a plan that is infinitely better than what mine could ever be.

So instead, I caught up in the kitchen and wrapped the remainder of our gifts.

Therefore, today I have dragged my three children all over town. First, to the doctor to make sure quatro was holding on. Then to the grocery store ~ not just one but two plus Sam's. Not only that we delivered some gifts and packed our bags to load the cars.

* note the Annapolis hoody which prominently displays the words "Beat Army" on the sleeve ~ her gift from Granddaddy and YaYa

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Creekside

After two weeks of Christmas parties and Christmas programs we escaped and headed south!

I have a confession...I didn't point blank ask Dr. Brown if it was okay if I travelled so far. I only asked if it was okay if we went to the lake for Christmas and I got the go ahead assuming all was status quo. I took that as a "yes" for our plans prior to Christmas also.

We spent the weekend at "the creek" with grandaddy and YaYa. They were very accommodating and let us change our annual Christmas Eve Eve celebration to the weekend before Christmas. Bill and Anna were also kind to accommodate us and our crazy life. We all decided that it isn't the date that we gather but the gathering that matters. Personally, Frank and I thought it was better because we could actually spend time with them instead of just showing up to visit for a bit, eat supper, and then do stockings and Christmas tree.
Does anyone else celebrate "Christmas Eve Eve"? For us it is just one of our many Christmas traditions. Since I was in high school, my brother and I have celebrated Christmas Eve Eve with my dad and his wife. It was {and still is} a nice way to get to spend time with them and not compete with other family.

It was a wonderful relaxing weekend filled with family and fun memories.

Aunt Anna, Uncle Bill and Sarah joined us with Great Mama Eddins for the evening.
I got some pictures of the girls in their matching dresses.
I really wanted a picture of all three of mine on YaYa's steps in their Christmas outfits. To no avail...
My dad graduated from the Navel Academy and went back for a reunion this fall. Grandaddy and YaYa like to do their Christmas shopping on their travels and they know my children {at least the big two} are very into dressing up so they picked up their Christmas gifts when they were in Annapolis.
Stephen's gift was a hit ~ a flight jacket to match Grandaddy's!
And I'll leave you with this... a simple yet fun way to add some color and holiday decor to your garden.