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!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baking Bonanza

In preparation for Fridays bake sale, we made lots of cookies, bars, cakes, and other sweet treats this week. Frank's mom always made some of the best cookies so I planned to use some of her recipes along with my own favorites for this baking endeavor. In the end it turned out that I really just made hers! I knew it had the potential of being a scorcher of a day so we tried to steer clear of chocolate.

We made snickerdoodle cookies, heath bar cookies, two recipes of Norval's whipping cream pound cake, boxed brownies, and a batch of white chocolate peanut butter bites. If it sounds like a lot it was. The children had fun preparing cookie batter and packaging the cookies. They were probably the most helpful and entertained when they put labels on the bags. That is of course until the actual sale but more on that later.

As you can tell we've spent a lot of time in the kitchen ~ baking, packaging, and labelling baked goods.

In other news, it's been another busy week though the camera didn't come out too much.

Some park playing:

Some sewing but sadly not enough for pictures.

Snacks for Mary Frances' class ~ I made these homemade granola bars. I have issues with Norval's oven so I cooked them a tad too long but they were still tasty. I can't wait to try them again.

Summer Goody Baskets for my Kiddos ~ new crocs, beach towels, swim diapers, skills practice workbooks.

First Field Day ~

Planning for some Lake Living ~
I even got to escape on Tuesday evening for Girl's Supper Club!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do we have to?

I'm not sure if I ever uttered those words as a child or adolescent. I don't recall doing so, but I feel certain you don't get to adulthood without expressing that desire {or lack thereof} to your parents at one time or another.

Well, Sunday evening after the children were in bed it was me not them who spoke them aloud to Frank. After a fun, full weekend, mostly spent outside with friends and family, I was asking "do we have to?" about taking Mary Frances to school this week. I was ready for summer to be in full swing.

One more week and we will all be done!

Changing gears ~ As most of you know, I am a huge proponent of the public library. Over the years there are few story times that I have missed. Mrs. Cat, one of the favorite librarians, has even teased me for being such a good patron. Each year there is a kick-off celebration for the local library's summer reading program. It involves a fun run and a carnival. We have never participated because we have always had napping children. This year was different. We have two children who don't nap and two children who need to nap so we decided we would put the nappers in the double stroller and each of us would run with the big two.

Mary Frances and Stephen ran the entire mile for the fun run! I think that is pretty awesome! There aren't too many almost 4 and almost 6 year olds whose parents think it is okay for them to run that far.

Treats after the race and festivities.

They really do love each other!
The last rides of the day ~ the choo choo!
and the race cars!
Homeward bound...
After dinner in the village with friends ~ a visit to the house and ice cream sandwiches.
We would all say that Walker had a good day!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Brotherly Love and Neighborly Fun

Yesterday my boys were up just after 6:00 which was just fine. I was up and starting to make breakfast and lunch. They were sweet and content to help, but then they started to get loud. If you have a good way to get an almost four year old and a two year old to be relatively quiet when you are otherwise engaged in a project please let me know. Typically I sit down and read our pile of library books during this time of day or Frank and his dad are out walking so I'm not concerned about waking anyone up with the noise. Today they were still sleeping, and I was making something new for breakfast so I was very worried about the noise level. Finally about 6:20 it was obvious they could not be quiet so I sent them outside. {Thank goodness for pretty weather!}

From the kitchen window this is what I spied.

You know I had to go grab my camera... My boys love each other and every day are able to play better and better together. Stephen and Mary Frances are thick as thieves when she is around so all too often Walker gets left out, but times they are a changin'
Later this is how I found my boys ~
And this is how Frank found them this evening just prior to bath time ~
Which brings me to my next serious of pictures...

We love Steve's next door neighbors. They have three wonderful, precious, well-mannered children who our children love, and we think are fabulous role models. We have built in play dates, and it is awesome. When we move back down the street we are going to miss calling over the fence to see if they can come play and standing by the fence sharing an evening cocktail. My children had been begging all day for the neighbors to come over. I kept telling them that they had company, but as soon as we got the backyard back in order we could see if it was okay with their parents. Finally all remnants of the tree that fell during the bad weather a few weeks ago was on the street, and the patio was blown and put back together. Here is the fun they had.

You know I can't turn in without a house update. Yes, it is Saturday, but this fine man who has my oldest son in the "bobcat digger" is a super hard worker and also our contractors "go to" sub. Not only is he the head mason but apparently he {and his crew} perform a myriad of other odd jobs. Today he had a group laying stone on the house, but he was burying the utility lines and covering them up so they can get the machinery off of the construction site. {Shh don't tell Stephen.} This gentelman is also extremely tolerent of my courious son who does not often enter the job site without his hard hat and tools. He made my Stephen's day ~

And now for more stilts. This time it is Stephen who is mesmerized. If you have ever hung and applied mud to sheetrock you know it is a messy, time-consuming ordeal for the average do-it- yourselfer. Frank and I have done it in a couple of projects, and we actually hired someone to do it in the last project we did in the house we tore down. Frank decided it was worth the money and his time not to do it himself. Amen sister! I was there when the guy did the work in the sewing closet that we created. Let me tell you it was worth it to hire him and he didn't even have any of the fancy gadgets that these guys have.

Once Upon A Time

On Thursday, I had a rare {possibly unheard of} moment for our house these days. It took me back in time and made me realize why I feel as if I never can complete a task. It reminded me of simpler days. It made me look forward to summer.

What was it you ask... Here's a peak.

Yes, that's right! At one point all four of my children were sleeping.

I'm not going to lie about it ~I've always loved my children's nap time and until this year made sure we were all home and settled for story time and an afternoon nap. I could always count on about two hours of quiet downtime. I was spoiled because Mary Frances was such a sleeper. She is among the rare bread who is willing to try to get the amount of sleep she {and probably all children} need. She napped right up until Kindergarten started. Because of school, I have had to get creative in getting a nap for my Walker, but we have made it work. This has probably been the hardest adjustment of the year ~ not being displaced from our home, not a new baby, but not napping.

Why do I love napping children ~ let me count the ways*~

1. They are so peaceful and angelic.

2. I could clean the house.

3. I could cook dinner.

4. I could sew.

5. I could do laundry.

6. I could accomplish a myriad of paperwork/computer tasks.

7. I could talk on the phone.

8. I could read.

9. I could even stretch out a take my own nap.

10. We all entered the witching hour refreshed.

* I realize how selfish all of these reasons are and therefore we made the transition as seamlessly as possible, but accomplishing any of the above tasks is a challenge.

Now when I have napping children I don't know what to do...

Friday, May 20, 2011

After the Show

In pictures...

Sorry, is mama is too tired to add verbiage.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On

I've seen this expression all over the internet world over the last few months. I like it ~ sometimes it is hard to keep calm and it is often even harder to carry on. Sometimes you just want to go into a room in scream! These little ones are the reason I try not to.
Keep calm and carry on was quite fitting for my day yesterday. I didn't think of this until later so instead I kept thinking about choices. I think I've told you about the devotional we read together as a family most mornings. On second thought I don't think I have...will put that on my list to blog about. Yesterdays lesson was on making the choice to be happy. The gist was: there was a child in a wheelchair who radiated happiness because he loved the Lord. During our discussion we talked about being happy despite our circumstances so throughout the day I kept that in the forefront of my mind {thank goodness}.

Keep calm and carry can probably hold true for any mother any day, but yesterday was one of those days. It started out in the ordinary way with Stephen waking up before 6 o'clock. Not big deal ~ he was snuggly and sweet and wanted to go for a run with me. When Frank arrived back in the door, he changed his mind and decided to help cook breakfast ~ even better. You know I love getting to pound the pavement unencumbered.

I'd already decided it was going to be a no shower kind of day and was okay wearing my tacky exercise clothes all over town. And don't think I have cool exercise clothes. It's mainly just plastic shorts and a t-shirt around here. Go ahead shrug your shoulders and turn up your noses but sometimes it is the only way it {i.e. life} is going to happen.

I don't know about you, but the end of the school year is always hectic. There are always extra things that need to be done. And there are always extra gestures that I would like to do that often aren't in the cards. In the past it has always been meetings and parties. Well in recent years I have added swimming lessons to the last two weeks of school. {You know the logic ~ let's do it as the school year is ending because we will be ready for the pool to open. Good logic and it works but the process is somewhat gruelling.} This year we have added ballet to the agenda and yesterday just happened to be the rehearsal. That is after dentist appointments for all three big kiddos.
Back to the choice to be happy~

* when the truck arrived with sheetrock and it was apparent we weren't making it to WalMart before school I chose to be happy and make a memory with my boys ~ heavy equipment and a forklift ~ what more could two little boys want

* when we arrived back to a kitchen that I forgot I needed to clean, I chose to be happy but also chose to scrap everything on my agenda for the day to head to the nearest Sears and pick out a dishwasher

* when I slammed my sunglasses in the back of my car and cut my finger on a sliver of glass I chose to be happy and was thankful I had no one to blame or be angry at but myself

* when Walker and Betsy screamed the entire thirty {plus} minute drive back from the Galleria I chose to be happy and knew I would be home soon enough

Just the highlights folks...I'm sure I had the opportunity to chose to be happy countless other times throughout the day.

Here are some pictures from late in the day... Now aren't those cool stilts! Walker was mesmerized.