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!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Snaggle Tooth

When I came in from running this morning I found everyone in the laundry room and Mary Frances had a smile on her face that was a mile wide. Why the smile? Her loose tooth was hanging by a thread. What you say ~ a loose tooth, she's not old enough to lose a tooth, how old are you when you first loose a tooth anyway! Me too so let me me back track to our time in Mobile... Last Saturday after enjoying a delightful pancake breakfast with friends, Mary Frances came to me and said her tooth hurt. I could look at it and tell something was different so I reached up to touch it. Well imagine my surprise when I realized that it was loose, and I don't mean just a little loose. It was so loose I thought it could easily come out that day! For some reason, these has been a more momentous milestone than I would have thought. C'mon you say, it's just a tooth...I know, I know! Fast forward to breakfast today... First off, I e-mailed her teacher to one let her know that she was going home with a friend, two that her dress was on backwards {it took a lot for this control freak to let that go} and she might decide she wanted to change it, and three her tooth was hanging by a thread and I hoped it wouldn't be a distraction.

Her sweet teacher e-mailed back to say Mary Frances had asked her to pull the tooth, but the teacher wanted to make sure it was okay with us. Of course it was okay ~ I figured Mary Frances would like loosing it in front of her friends and it would make her feel special. That it did!

The following pictures are courtesy of Frank's phone ~

Betsy and the boys are already with me at the lake for the weekend so Frank got to do the honors! What do you think? I think she is excited ~ I look forward to giving her a hug tomorrow and hearing what the tooth fairy left under her pillow!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Road Trip Confessions

{Warning:No pictures} Last night I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with girl friends!! When I first moved back to Birmingham after spending some time in Tuscaloosa for graduate school, my roommate and I were invited to have dinner with a group of girls. When I first went, I knew a handful of these girls because they were from Mobile though a year younger than me. Ten years later I am still invited to enjoy dinner with this group monthly, and I have come to know many of these women quite well. It is a group of amazing women who I am blessed to call friends! When I think of how the group was formed there is no clear explanation though the one unifying element is that we all love the Lord and for those of us who are mothers want to raise Godly children. Truly, we are blessed to have each other and our monthly Girls Supper Club. We have been there for each other through thick and thin, the highs and lows, the joys and tribulations of life, and I don't see that changing. We've seen dates gone awry, weddings, an indoctrination to motherhood ~ babies {babies born and babies wanted}, job changes, new addresses, etc... Last night was a treat in so many ways ~ 1. I needed a night out of the house 2. All but two of the group were there 3. Rachael fixed an amazing shrimp dish ~ a recipe that I can't wait to get my hands on Now for the meat of the post: Road Trip Confessions As I told you, the children and I went to Mobile last weekend. Many people wonder how I travelled with four young children alone. Well, first of all my children are good travelers. {For that we are blessed because we seem to be on the road a lot~} We do not have a DVD player nor do I want one in the car. Instead we talk. We listen to music and sometimes books on tape. The children play games and interact as we drive. Yes, sometimes that interaction turns to screams but for the most part it is a sweet time. When the screaming gets to be too loud I interject and we do something together. This particular trip we counted trucks heading northbound on I-65. Simple yet satisfying...Sometimes I let them pack a backpack of activities, but not always because it is just one more thing that has to be put away upon returning home. Best of all, my children sleep in the car. As hard as I try, my children don't always get as much sleep as they need so they catch up on some much needed zzzz's. I much prefer rest stops to fast food restaurants and gas stations, and I typically pack a picnic for us to enjoy as we get out some energy, take a break from sitting, and of course potty. For some reason I didn't do that on Sunday. I think my reason was wishful thinking that I could make it all the way home without stopping. What was I thinking! Well, we stopped at what is about the half-way point to grab lunch, feed a baby, and of course potty. I wasn't about to take all four children into the tiny restroom by myself so we {the confession is that the "we" included me} used our trusty bucket. I have a bucket in my car! Yes, a bucket ~ nothing fancy, just a bucket you could use in the sand. We say that it serves double duty ~ trash can and potty.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Just Words

I'm struggling's not that we haven't done anything or been anywhere it's just that I am not inspired to put words together and give them any element of excitement. Here's an update... Last week I spent most of the week home with sick children. I don't love for my children to be puny, but I do love the extra snuggle time that it provides. We had many ordinary moments without the hustle and bustle of our ordinary routine. On Friday, Frank went on a men's retreat with our church and Mary Frances got out of school at noon so I took advantage of some extra hours and a husband away. I packed our bags and the children and headed to Mobile for the weekend. My mom loves to see us, and it just doesn't happen frequently enough especially now that I have a school age child. It is tough to slip away and often when we arrive in Mobile we have a laundry list of people to see and things to do. Not so this trip because we weren't going for any particular reason except that we could. Sadly, I did not take a single picture, but we had a good weekend with my mom, my brother, his wife and daughter, and friends.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


It dawned on me last week that there has been no mention of my sweet Betsy in quite some time. That is because there haven't been many sweet stories to tell. There have also been no pictures of my darling littlest one. That is because none have been taken. We have been in survival mode! Since turning 6 weeks Betsy has had a rough time. She has not been happy. She has been in pain and she has screamed to let me know. She was particularly uncomfortable on her back but sitting more upright in the bouncy seat and car seat weren't much better. Finally, a week after the screaming began I took her to the pediatrician. The diagnosis ~ an ear infection in her right her. Hey, I can handle that ~ put her on an antibiotic and hopefully it clears. No luck ~ two prescriptions later I take her back to the doctor because we just hadn't seen much improvement. A second ear infection ~ this time in her left ear. As the doctor was writing the script for yet a third antibiotic, he tells me I can give her some Tylenol at night to make her more comfortable {i.e., to help her sleep}. So I keep talking and say, "That's the thing, if I can get her to go to sleep she is okay. If she is sleeping or eating she seems fine. Otherwise she is screaming ~ that is until I get her consoled by holding her straight up with her head under my chin and her tummy next to my chest." Bear in mind, I was seeing the most elder member of our pediatric group, and I say that as a compliment. I appreciate his wisdom! He shakes his head saying "hmm, hmm" as he walks next door to his office to get a sample of a drug for GER. Believe me, I don't jump on the bandwagon of reflux. I think every baby spits up, and the reality is that I don't see her spit up much. Well the medicine helped, and I have had a prescription filled. It has given us some much needed relief. As with so many things in life, I didn't realize how hard it had been until we received that relief. She seems more comfortable and will lie on her back and play, talk, and smile. She will sit in the bouncy seat and kick playfully.

She still spends some time each day screaming in pain, and I spend that time holding her wishing I could take away that pain.I just pray she never remembers any of this and only remembers how loved she was from the moment she entered our world.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pizza for Lunch

I think I have been remiss in letting you know that this week was spring break around here. Our original plan for the week was to retreat to the lake ~ more room to roam inside and out. As March approached and the framing began it became apparent we should stick close to the home front in order to check in on the progress and be available to answer questions or help resolve issues. {Thankfully nothing major came up, but nonetheless it was nice to be here.}

We did go to the lake but only for the first weekend. Sweet Pops took the big children {Mary Frances and Stephen} on Saturday morning while Frank and I took the little two to Atlanta with us. Why did we go to Atlanta? We went to Scotts to place an order for some of the lighting fixtures in the house. We were also on a hunt for a piece of furniture to house a sink in the powder room. Mission accomplished on both fronts!!

Staying here was a wonderful decision. We have had a fabulous week as a family. It seems that the children have loved being together. They have played well together and separately. I have enjoyed being and doing things with them. I have even enjoyed a few snippets of time where I have accomplished a task or two though the "to do" list always looms large and continually grows.

We were so blessed by the weather and have spent large amounts of time outside. We've done some park hopping and I don't mean of the Disney variety. We've read books, cooked together, had a movie night, and just enjoyed each others company.

On Thursday, Frank was able to take the day off and spend time with us. He took the boys to get much needed haircuts, and then as a family we went off to do house stuff {faucets, sinks, tubs, appliances, roof shingles} before embarking on our first act of service as a family unit. We had a pizza party with the framers and masons at our house. The children made and decorated shamrock sugar cookies for them.

Psalm 127:1
Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The way to a young boys heart

I think you need a Stephen update ~

I will begin with some pictures and commentary of Stephen's adventures over the last week...

As I told you Stephen had the opportunity to accompany Frank to Dallas. I also told you he wanted to wear his flight jacket. What I didn't tell you was that on the returning leg of the trip, the pilot spotted Stephen's flight jacket and invited him to the cockpit prior to take off. Stephen spent about ten minutes "driving" the plane and investigating all of the knobs, buttons, and levers. Kudos to this pilot particularly in the security environment of our days.

Last Friday the boys, Betsy, and I took advantage of our zoo membership and went to get a sneak peak at one of the new elephants. We waited until the presentation was over and the crowd thinned so Stephen could go sit and watch. There is no telling how long he could have watched.

Stephen is truly loving the construction of our house. He would live down there now if we would let him. With each trip we take to the house he gathers his own tools just in case there is something he can help with.
In many ways, Stephen is probably a typical second child.
He is also all boy though he has a giving heart.
He is outgoing though reflective and extremely observant.
He is tender though has a temper that brings me to my knees.
He is adventurism and courageous though responsible in what he does.
Okay, I guess he is responsible most of the time...on Monday as I was unloading the dishwasher he noticed this hole and just couldn't resist putting his finger in it. I guess he just wanted to see what would happen or where the hole went. Well, his finger got stuck to the point we had to use soap to remove it.
I guess I should add curious to the list!

Stephen, thank you for being you! I am so thankful God blessed us with you! I love you!

Philippians 1: 3-6
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Raise the Roof

These photos were taken yesterday when they truly raised the roof and put in the center beam. Unfortunately none of us witnessed this ~ Frank was working and the rest of us were at the pediatrician's office.

Today we will celebrate {and not just St. Paddy's day}!
Stay tuned for more...
Psalm 126:3
The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Servant Heart

It has been one week since Lent began. {And what a week it's been ~ I will sprinkle some photos throughout the post.} For those of you who struggle with why one might observe the season of Lent when it is not directly prescribed in the Bible, I came across this eloquently written post on Lent. It is very informative and well written while and offering what I thought were some good reasons why everyone might want to observe Lent. Take a look if you have a moment, and I would love any feedback you might have to offer.
I for one have always enjoyed Lent and it's not because I am so good at giving something up {because that isn't the point}. I think it is because I have always loved Easter. It is hands down my favorite holiday. The reality is I am pretty bad at Lent {if that's possible}. Yes, I am quite the rule-follower and can be quite legalistic, but I have never been very consistent with my own Lenten resolve. It isn't that I don't want to or that I don't have good intentions. It is usually that I simply forget and then I do something or eat something without thinking which is precisely the point. All to often we go through our days, hours, and minutes acting without thinking of the consequences or how it might affect someone else much less how God factors into the equation. During the years I have strictly followed my own Lenten resolve, I have developed a deeper relationship with Christ and have felt significantly more blessed on that glorious Easter morning.
Okay so we are one week into Lent ~ that means we are one week into the season of preparing. As individuals, we might have our own "thing" we are trying to work on throughout this season in order to help us grow closer to Christ. As a family, we are focusing on having a servant's heart and truly putting that into practice throughout the forty days of Lent while we prepare our hearts and minds for the remembrance of what Jesus did to serve each of us as He was crucified on the cross so many years ago.

At breakfast we are continuing to read our devotional with the children and we are talking about ways we can serve others during the day. Then at dinner we are checking in with each other to try to hold one another accountable ~ children and adults alike. I would like to be sharing a Bible verse with the little ones each day, but haven't started that yet. Each week, we are going to try to do something as a family to serve others. That is easy this week because it is spring break and we don't have much on the agenda.

Ephesians 6:7-8

Serve wholeheartedly, as you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Lenten Resolve

A Lenten Resolve
Fast from criticism, and feast on praise.
Fast from self-pity, and feast on joy.
Fast from ill temper, and feast on peace.
Fast from resentment, and feast on contentment.
Fast from jealousy, and feast on love.
Fast from pride, and feast on humility.
Fast from selfishness, and feast on service.
Fast from fear, and feast on faith

Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of lent. Lent is a somber season in the church year but when observed it makes the sacrifice of Jesus' death on the cross more real and his resurrection so much more glorious and powerful.

Over the years, I typically try to give up something that I love such as chocolate and take something on such as writing a daily letter to a friend or family member. Both involve sacrifice though nothing holds a candle to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us. The small sacrifices I make when done with Jesus at the forefront of my mind take me to the cross daily, hourly, sometimes minutely and help me know and feel His love and the depth of the sacrifice He made. This year I will do some variation of those while also working with our children on having a servant heart. {An idea is brewing...}
Today also marks a year since Norval was taken home. A year in which a lot has happened and a lot has changed yet it is still does not seem real that Norval is gone and that she has not experienced the highs and lows with us. She was truly larger than life and touched so many. Her memory certainly lives on for those of us who knew her. Today in the devotional Jesus Calling, Sarah Young closes with this, "Live in the Light of My Presence, and your light will shine brightly into the lives of others." That epitomizes Norval!

As you know we are living in Norval's house and there are reminders of her everywhere. The little sign pictured above sits in the window sill above her kitchen sink. I love it's message and it's simplicity. God is good ~always though sometimes when you are caught in the moment when tragedy strikes, death occurs, disease is diagnosed, life gets hectic, etc it is easy to lose sight of this truth. This sign is a precious reminder oh God's goodness ~ ALWAYS!

I had hopes of making it to church this morning, but the weather is dreadful so my babies and I will be sticking close to home. Honestly, it is raining so much and so hard that I wish I could keep Mary Frances home too.

Construction Update for Frank {1}

It is killing Frank to be away. Here are the pictures I took after ballet...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hello Old Friend

Welcome back into our life!

I love my Baby B'jorn and that relationship has intensified with each of my children. I used it enough with Mary Frances that I was glad to have it, but I certainly could have done without. We primarily used it at the grocery store before she could sit in the buggy. It allowed the buggy to be filled with tasty foods instead of the pumpkin seat and allowed her to be close to me and hear everything I had to say about what we needed, the color of the fruits and veggies, the price of milk, and where we were going next.

With Stephen, I always used it when running errands. Truly, it lived in my car! It allowed for both of my hands to be free to hold Mary Frances' hand and tote any other necessary objects. We would park the car and I would suit up with the baby b'jorn and Stephen before getting Mary Frances out of her seat.

With Walker, I still used it for running errands, but it primarily lived in the bottom of the double stroller. It allowed us to easily get from point A to B on foot! We could walk to the village {bank, grocery, drugstore}, to the park, to the library, to dinner, or to school.

With Betsy, I have been without it for almost the first eight weeks of her life, but that has been okay since she started out so little and it has been pretty wet and/or cold. I tried a borrowed sling but never felt comfortable with her safety so when we have been able to be outside on foot Stephen has needed to walk. This has not been ideal so we were all thrilled to be able to use the baby b'jorn yesterday. Betsy rode on my tummy and the boys in the stroller to pick Mary Frances up from school. We then walked to the drugstore and the grocery store. Mary Frances was on foot and a huge help. She held doors and even toted {without complaining} a bag home from the store.

We are glad to have you back.

Monday, March 7, 2011

They're Leaving...

And yes that is on a jet plane!

My sweet husband has to be in Dallas to meet with some clients this week. You are possibly unaware, but we have family in Dallas. Frank's aunt {and family} and his grandmother live in Dallas so he is taking Stephen with him. Frank will work and meet with clients and Stephen will play with Kydie and Dear. I think he will have a ball.

Stephen is beyond excited! He even thought to wear his flight jacket on the plane. I just hope the flight attendants took notice and made a big deal over it!

Look at that face ~ Frank e-mailed me the picture from his phone before they took off.

I packed this surprise in their bag because he typically shares with his big sister when we travel.

There are more where that one came from if anyone is interested...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Our Krewe's Weekend

Hey Folks ~

First for some more framin' photos ~ Sorry you might get really sick and tired of this project long before we move in.

* Note the head framer {Jim} holding a level and the other two men pushing the braces to square the kitchen wall.

* Now note my head framer {Stephen} with his level. Gotta love his imagination and observance!

Okay, on with the show ~

Do you think she is excited?

Friday evening Mary Frances had the privilege of participating in the Beaux Arts Krewe Ball. We were honored that King Allen asked Mary Frances to be one of his train bearers.

With mommy and daddy ~
With her friend Allen ~
With two of her godparents {Sally and Brad}
With mommy, daddy, and Pops ~ At this point it was just after 10:00 and she just wanted to go home and crawl in bed.
And for the final act, we got up Saturday morning to drive to Mobile for the night. In case you don't know Mardi Gras is upon us. In fact, it has been for weeks. Tuesday is the big day! All but one of my cousins were there and we just don't see each other enough. My mom planned a simple, early dinner so those who wanted could make it to the parade. The weather had different plans, and the parade was cancelled which truly made for a better night in many ways. No one was trying to rush out the door to catch Vernadean so we were able to enjoy conversation with each other while listening to the youngest generation play.

And for the curtain call ~ Upon arriving home, Frank made calzones using Frank Stitt's pizza dough recipe while the children played nicely and I held Betsy and created this post. Yum! Yum! Yum!