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!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Triple Stitched and Mass Produced

All fall and winter I have cringed when I look at my eldest son's clothes {that includes what he is wearing, what is in his closet, and what is in the laundry}, but I haven't had the time, energy, or money to do anything about it. Well I probably could have the money but my cheap {or as a sweet friend says, "frugal"} spirit won't let me.

Well, I am determined that this spring and summer are going to be different. Stephen has 10 pair of shorts stitched, labeled, washed, and ironed in his drawer. Not to mention two more pair that are made out of a thinner fabric and therefore lined that he can wear to church. Okay, I know 10 sounds a bit excessive, and I agree, but it is not uncommon for us to wear three pair in a day. He does great with his potty training on the two days he goes to school, but together we aren't great at it when he is at home or running errands with me. Fortunately, many of them were made with left-over scraps from previously created projects.

That's that for the mass produced portion of the post. If I could only get my monogram machine out to create some matching t-shirts he would be set for summer. Oh yeah, there are also a few smocked shirts I want to make. I'll let you know when I get those done.

Here is the one picture I would think with as many pictures as I take and as many pair of shorts as there are I could have found a better one than that.

Now for triple stitched ~ There are few things more frustrating than spotting a hole in a garment you have painstakingly put together particularly when it is a lined garment. Well, I now triple stitch my crotch seams to try to prevent this from occurring. First, I stitch the seam with a normal seam. Then I go over the area that endures the most stress with the triple stitch on my machine. This is the #2 stitch in the picture below. Those are the first two stitches that I complete. The third is a zigzag over the edge to attempt to prevent fraying. I don't own a serger nor do I want one! For those of you out there who love your, I know I may eat those words one day, but there is no room in this 1700 square foot house filled with two adults and three children and all that comes with them.

Check your manual ~ I'm sure your machine has a comparable stitch. {It is also good for a simple decorative stitch on for example the edge of a baby blanket.}

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Details of Life

I did it again...I do it all of the time and typically get completely stressed and have no one to blame but myself. I try oh I try to blame my husband and my children, but when it comes down to it it's just one of my many inadequacies. I try to do too much! Well this time was different ~ I didn't get stressed or place blame!
But first some pictures from the week...

New pajamas for all, and boy do we love them. The little things truly can provide such joy! The picture of Mary Frances does not show the butterfly, but she wore her "butterfly" 3 nights last week {and probably asked to wear them two more times}, and they were clean each time. If you ever wonder how much laundry a family of five makes, that comment alone answers the question.

A playdate for Mary Frances ~ This was Wednesday and there was a method to my madness. First of all we need to be better about having playdates to work on sharing and serving. Secondly Frank was out of town, and I hoped to have everyone in bed by 7:00 so I could sit down at my sewing machine. My master plan was to have Stephen fall asleep in the car waiting for carpool so that I could transfer him to his bed {it is the easiest way to get a nap these days} while letting Mary Frances and friend play during nap time so they could all go to bed around 7:00. It worked, the girls played beautifully {inside and out} so I was able to do some chores and make some phone calls. Stephen took a much needed nap and woke up refreshed and ready to join them. We went on with our afternoon/evening routine and I was sitting at my sewing machine with a clean kitchen and folded laundry by 7:30.

Look at me ~ When Frank saw this picture he asked if we had Popsicles! And the answer is no just sidewalk chalk. Don't worry, I checked, it is nontoxic.

All tuckered out ~ No nap for my two {almost three year old} and a visit from Granddaddy and YaYa means bedtime comes early and what could be better than in the arms of Granddaddy while reading library books.

Okay now for the title... First grab a cup of coffee or maybe your pilllow because I might get long-winded and ramble.

I'm notorious for committing to something without thinking through all of the details of the getting it done. I do it all of the time ~in fact, in some way {some big, some small} I probably do it everyday. My biggest problem is that I want to be able to do it all, but the reality is that it "all" takes time and time is a precious commodity especially with three little ones running around.

Well yesterday was one of those days. Sundays are always a bit harried with the getting to church routine. And then to add to the chaos we try to go to the grocery store after church. The details of getting to the store after church mean I have to have my menu and grocery list planned prior to the children waking up Sunday morning.

Done! Now feed and dress everyone. Off to church, Sunday school, and the store. Well make that two stores, because the Piggly Wiggly had some great buys, but I can't do all of my shopping there yet I needed things from both stores for the rest of the day. Come home, grab a child and the bags that I can from the car, run in the door, change clothes, throw peanut butter on a piece of bread to eat in the car and I'm off to complete my shift work for Bargain Carousel {more on that in another post, hopefully}. Worked for three hours, back in the car and returned home to a filthy yet empty house {the children and Frank were down at his dad's house ~ napping and cleaning out Tootsie's closet}.
Yikes ~ we have company coming in one hour!

It is amazing what our family can do to a house in 24 hours! There were breakfast and lunch dishes on the table and little scraps of paper all over the floor {my children love to cut} among other clutter and mayhem! The sad part is that our house was not only clean, but also picked up when the day began on Saturday.
And that was clean to the standards of having house guests. Another aside... I guess I have three standards of clean 1) clean for small group and really close friends or family 2) clean for house guests 3) clean for parties, church luncheons, etc...
I begin tidying while finishing a conversation on my cell phone to a friend who I hadn't talked to in several weeks. Then I raced to the kitchen to throw together dinner ~ appetizer, entree, side, dessert. Frank arrived home and did the bulk of the tidying and vacuuming, and we were prepared for our guests. Please overlook the pile of dirty dishes in the sink!

Okay, for our evening. We spent a delightful evening outside with some friends. The kids played and the adults visited. Well the two Carolines visited and the men played as hard as the children.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Camping We will Go

Mary Frances and I went to Camp McDowell for a Mother/Daughter Weekend Camp. We did this with one of my dear friends from high school and beyond. Margaret Day and I are a grade apart, and our friendship developed through track, SGA, and Young Life. We have both always been "campers". We both grew up going to summer camp and think that it was instrumental in our development. We also both have girls who are about 2 1/2 months apart though will be a grade apart in school because of the way their birthdays fall. We do not live in the same city but try to keep in touch as well as possible with young busy families. Margaret Day ran accross the information for this weekend last year, but we could not participate for a variety of reasons mainly our girls were too young. The brouchure says the activiities are intended for children 5 and older but I would say our 4 1/2 year olds did quite well.

The girls were fast friends. Margaret Day and I reflected afterward that they were well matched ~ one did not dominate the other.

We canoed, hiked, napped, played on the playground and ate snacks. We walked across the swinging bridge and the girls watched their mommies do the trust swing which is a part of the high ropes course.
In general, it was a low key relaxing weekend with the girls.

Camp was fun for all!

Monday, April 12, 2010

I wish...

I wish Tootsie was here to see this!

Those words were first spoken three weeks ago by Mary Frances as I was bathing them before going down the street for dinner so that Frank and I could go to our small group Bible Study. I snapped a picture in anticipation of this post. As the words came out of her mouth, tears came to my eyes as I thought of how many times we will utter that sentiment. I know the answer is countless...for us and for many in the community.

Well today was one of those days ~ a pink crayon arrived on our mailbox with the invitation for Kindergarten Orientation.

Look at this face and the picture does not do it justice. We were caught in the early morning school traffic taking Walker to his 15 month check-up when we noticed the first crayon. I wish I had a picture of the excitement on Mary Frances' face as we looked for crayons and pointed them out to each other. She excitedly asked if I thought Allen B had a crayon on his mailbox. We still need to call or drive by to check.

Stephen was even excited for her. My poor sleep deprived son fell asleep coming home from the pediatrician's office. Since it was before 10:00 when we returned home, I let him sleep in the car while I got a snack for Walker {who had been whisked from his bed to the car seat to get to the doctor} and took pictures of Mary Frances. When I went to wake him up, I asked him to guess what was on our mailbox. His eyes widened and with shear delight said Mary Frances' crayon. He bounded out of the car to join her admiring her pink crayon on the mailbox.

Throughout the day we have made several trips to the mailbox to see the crayon, touch the crayon, read the invitation. I've decided the crayons are for the parents as much as for the children. It helps makes it real that my baby girl is starting "big school" next year. I am so excited for her ~ she is ready and I hope she loves it as much as she has loved preschool, but each time I have walked through our den and gotten a glimpse of the inflatable crayon I smile but with a bittersweet feeling ~ a chapter in our lives is about to close. Have a made the most of it?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Double Duty

We've spent a lot of time outside the last week. The weather has been gorgeous despite the layer of yellow dust all over everything, and my children have been great ~ they have either entertained themselves or been very helpful. It is amazing what a shovel, something to shake, and water can do for one's imagination! Not to mention a playhouse under construction with lots of scraps of wood that make great blocks. {To those who had no idea the size of the structure...Have you ever known my husband to do something on a small scale ~ especially a building project?

I told Frank that this year, thus far, has been the easiest our garden has ever come together ~ granted I'm only about half of the way finished, and I'm already dreaming of tackling all of the overgrowth around the perimeter of the yard and creating a butterfly garden with Mary Frances. We'll see how much actually happens...

Thank you again to Uncle Bill and Aunt Anna who gave Stephen the water table for his 2nd birthday. It has served double duty ~ a place for all three children to play and a source of water for our newly planted garden. Thank heavens for warmer weather!
I'm also dreaming of fresh pesto, tomato pie, maybe some lemons and limes {more on that in a minute} and if the slugs don't get them bunches of zinnias mixed with Shasta daisies. My slug population seems to have diminished greatly from last year, but I'm taking no chances. I'm being proactive and have given each newly planted transplant a generous dose of slug bait. Last year, the slugs ruined all of my zinnias among other things, and I was quite devastated.

Okay, now for the lemons and limes. Since Frank and I have been married, I have talked about wanting a citrus tree. I've looked, albeit not hard, for ones to plant but never been successful. Well, this year I saw both at Lowes and on impulse bought one of each. I plan on putting them in lightweight containers that can be moved indoors for the winter. I'll let you know if I am squeezing fresh lemons into my iced tea.

What's This?

What do you get when you find drill bits, screws, roofing tacks, and nails all over my counters and loads of lumber, extension cords, and tarps all over our yard?

Frank working on a project.

A playhouse for our children.

Hours of entertainment {already}.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Welcome Happy Morning

We have experienced the highs and lows of life over the last month. It has truly been a blur and I have barely grazed the surface in my posting. As time passes and as I have time I will share more of what I want to say about Tootsie's life and death, but today is not the day. Nor is it the day to recap the trivial events between then and now as we search for what Steve calls a new kind of normal. I do however want to share some of the events of our Easter weekend.

Easter has always been my favorite holiday! I love the freshness of spring, the newness of life, the hope of the resurrection. I have wonderful childhood memories of attending church and hunting real eggs at my grandparents' house. Looking back I marvel that my grandparents went to that effort when it was normally just my brother and me. I want to create those same types of memories for my children.

We began our Easter weekend with a phone call from my brother around 9:00 on Good Friday saying they were being admitted to Labor and Deliver. I called Frank to see what our plan of attack was going to be. I know that sounds silly ~ we've known for sometime this baby was coming, and I was leaving for Mobile as soon as I got the word. The exact details were unknown and dependent on the date, the time of day, what to do with our children etc... My sweet husband had just logged onto his computer at work, and he immediately shut down to accompany us south. Just south of Montgomery, we received word from my brother that Sarah Adaline was born. How wonderful to be there just hours after her delivery. What a joyous Good Friday!

On Saturday, we made it home to attend an Easter egg hunt and begin to prepare the house for the dinner guests we were anticipating after church.
Many things were left undone ~ we didn't dye eggs, another year came and went and I was unable to squeeze in making the Resurrection Cookies, the house was dusty and the bathrooms could have used a scrubbin', but the table was set, the meal was prepared, and the children were dressed.

We attended a glorious Easter service and spent time playing in God's creation while dinner was cooking.
We ate a delicious yet simple meal and enjoyed the company of each other. After dinner, the children {and I} napped and Frank sawed, drilled, and hammered.

Stay tuned for more...