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!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh My!

My poor boys spent their last day of summer running errands {grocery store, daily box hunt, and new shoes for Walker} with their mommy in the rain, playing in a box fort while their mommy and daddy met with contractors {for two hours} during lunch, and foregoing the "little pizza" dinner Stephen requested for Chef Boyardee with Pops while mommy and daddy again met with contractors during the dinner hour.

Thank goodness, they didn't seem to notice or care! What a lesson to all of us... If they were disappointed that we couldn't go to the pool due to the rain it was never mentioned. If Stephen was upset that he didn't get his requested dinner or help me make peanut butter cookies, he didn't drop even the slightest hint through words, attitude, or actions.

Since Mary Frances started school three weeks ago, I have said {though feeling guilty} it was going to be a great birthday present to send the boys to school. I was looking forward to a day of being able to clean my big children's closet as well as a myriad of other mundane tasks while not being interrupted. Now that it is here , I'm not sure I'm ready. As I tucked Stephen into bed last night, I actually got teary eyed because I am going to miss them.

Don't get me wrong, it will be nice to have some quiet for a couple of hours ~ to go visit the daycare center where I am doing my Junior League placement, to meet with another set of contractors with Frank, to cook dinner for friends who just had a baby, and to hopefully clean that closet and pack a few boxes.

Though I can assure you I will be among the first in the parking lot at dismissal time because I won't be able to stay away from these precious faces.

Friday, August 20, 2010

No Regrets

Throughout the week I have been asked over and over in many different ways if it was hard sending Mary Frances to Kindergarten. The short answer is no ~

I truly have no regrets! Her infant, toddler, and preschool years were full, and I will always hold many of these memories close to my heart. I only hope I feel the same as I send each of my children to Kindergarten.

I feel like I spent the first five years of her life being her mother and doing all of those things mothers do ~ we went to the library and the zoo, we took mommy and me swimming lessons, we've baked cookies and other scrumptious itmes, we've painted and colored and completed countless other projects, we've run errands and sorted and folded clothes. Now it is time for me to begin sending her off into the world where I am not there to help her make decisions or control her actions.

One of my philosophies on parenting is that they {my children} are a gift. I have been entrusted with the care of these precious little ones, and it is my job to raise them to be God-loving, independent, self-sufficient adults. My prayer is that over time, they want to be with me, but my job is to send them off into the world.

Do I miss her? Yes! I miss her constant chatter, her precious smile that lights up the world, her thought-provoking comments, and her constant love of learning, but I know she is in a good, safe, and happy place that is nurturing those attributes and others in ways that I cannot.
Yes, I am also very glad when the clock reaches two o'clock, and I know she will be back under my wings within the hour.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A New Beginning

I've always loved the beginning of school ~ I love all things "school!" and nothing sets the stage more than the anticipation of back to school. I love school supplies, lunchboxes, new shoes and clothes, and as a teacher I loved setting up and preparing the classroom. {My Junior League project is satisfying that need this year ~ more on that another day.} I even love that my baby is entering that world only because I think we are ready to begin this new chapter in our lives ~ though I think I will miss her terribly.
We've come a long way from our first day of St. Lukes ~ unfortunately the pictures to show you are stuck on my old computer {hopefully to be retrieved soon}, but I have a memory of a sweet, shy, not so sure of herself 13 month old sitting on our front steps wearing a pink floral pique Frannie Baby.

But back to today... We walked as a family and arrived in plenty of time. As we got closer to the school, she walked slower and repeatedly needed to stop and scratch an "itch" in her shoe. She was hesitant to get a picture inside the door of school, but after accomplishing that for me she walked straight to her classroom and completed her morning tasks with a huge smile on her face.

Well, this year my oldest embarks on the world of BIG school ~ and big it is. There are seven kindergarten classes! I get lost on the kindergarten hall much less throughout the school. I can make it from the office to her classroom and in getting there pass the auditorium and library as well as see the lunchroom, but if you have me go through a different door I'm lost! It is hard to believe she will be able to navigate those hallways in a short time. I think I am the one who has a lot to learn!
I think Stephen might be the one to miss her the most, but selfishly I am looking forward to some time with just my boys!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Simple Things

We arrived home from dinner Wednesday evening to find Mary Frances asleep like this...
I think she likes her new backpack! Kindergarten is going to be a wonderful adventure for all of us.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

These are the days

Wednesday, we enjoyed one of those blissful days where I seriously contemplated the idea of homeschooling my children ~ not really but we just enjoyed each other's company, accomplished tasks, and had fun together. Don't get me wrong, we do each of those things each and every day, but some days are just easier and more memorable than others. Fortunately, those easier days are the ones etched in my memory and not the more trying ones.

You just never know what we are going to be up to at our house...

This week we have gone from packing boxes to painting to baking and all things in between.

Captured ~ A moment between siblings...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our Baby Girl

It is hard for me to believe that five years ago today we welcomed this precious baby into the world.

As we welcomed Baby Sarah into the world four months ago, I was reminded that there is nothing like that first child. That is not to say that the subsequent children are less special or less joyful because they certainly are not. They are equally as wonderfully and loved equally as much. They are just different! With your first, you are all learning so much and it is truly bliss ~

When I think back over those five years tears fill my eyes and my heart overflows with joyous memories ~ to many to recount here. Those five years have been wonderful, and I look forward to many more. We have done so much as a family, and I hold so many of those precious memories close. So much of this time I want to bottle up and remember forever! The time has certainly been filled with "the good stuff."

We celebrated Mary Frances' 5th birthday today. We began the day with "sunrise yogurt" per request of the birthday girl. Choosing the meals of the day is one of the things we do in our house to set your birthday apart from other days and to hopefully make you feel special.And then mundane chores ~ changing sheets, laundry, the grocery store.

But then the fun began ~ we attended a playgroup for mothers of preschool children. This particular playgroup is hosted by our church and began by meeting at area parks twice a month. We go when we can! As the heat index soars above 100 degrees, we have taken the group indoors for the summer. Today the group met at The Pink House. For those of you who are not local that is the location of one of the area Kindermusik classes. We took pink cupcakes with silver sprinkles to add to the snack. {They reminded me of the year we made pink cupcakes and Pinkalicious to the YWCA.} It was fun to take cupcakes to "class." Having a summer birthday means you never get to take cupcakes to school, so it was a special treat.

From Kindermusik we went to daddy's office for a picnic. We love taking picnics downtown! Though this wasn't of the homemade variety ~ It was an extra special birthday treat ~ Chick-fil-a! It was even a treat for mommy and daddy because the children had coupons from signing up for summer reading at the library. As we were eating, Frank allowed that the coupons were better than anticipated ~ Not only did the children get nuggets and fries but also lemonade and ice cream! {I'm curious...How many of those do you think get redeemed at that particular Chick-fil-a?}

Now home to prepare for the birthday dinner...

the menu ~ In her words, "Mommy, I want you to make some of the things and not make some of the things for my birthday." Here is what that translated to: mommy's chicken tenders, not mommy's mac 'n cheese {Stouffers}, and corn on the cob, and then mommy had to had some green beans for good measure

the table ~ covered with butcher paper, scattered with crayons and stickers, and adorned with zinnias from the garden ~ I found it fitting that my eldest child, who loves to learn, scattered letter stickers around every guests place and across the table.
the cake ~ an artist palette with paint brush ~ not my best effort but the children enjoyed it. {Just so you know ~ the blob of white and red is supposed to be pink. The birthday girl really wanted some pink on the cake.} The particularly enjoyed playing with the icing after I was finished with the decorating.

the gifts ~ my daughter's simple excitement over the little things brings a smile to my face over and over again ~ all she asked for were "pink shoes with "Z"s on them for kindergarten" {If you aren't in the world of young children those are the pink new balance sneakers Mary Frances has seen around the halls of her preschool for the better part of two years.} Along the theme of "back to school" she also received a new "big girl" backpack, lunch box and a hot pink headband with a bow {something else she has seen at school and asked for}. Her smile was priceless! Truly, I think she was excited over those simple, mostly necessary gifts as she was over the bicycle and helmet she received last year. There was a sprinkling of other gifts and they all brought sheer joy ~ artsy activities from Dear and Aunt Kydie, a new dress from Shu Shu and a pearl for her add-a-pearl necklace from Bill and Anna. We can all learn from this little girl!

She is a delight and a joy ~

Happy 5th Birthday Mary Frances!
I'm not sure why five seems more momentous than other numbers...maybe it is because she is starting Kindergarten. She's ready! I'm ready! We are all excited, but we sure are going to miss her next year...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Poor Pops

We spent the weekend at the lake.
Sweet Pops volunteered to take Mary Frances on Friday and the rest of us followed on Saturday morning. Poor thing got more than he bargained for...

Mary Frances came down with a stomach bug and was in need of Pops from about 2:00 until 4:00 a.m., and was then quite puny for the remainder of the weekend.

It was a double whammy because Mary Frances was having her first overnight company to the lake.
Despite being under the weather a good time was had by all.

And I just hope Beverley escaped the ill fate of the stomach bug...