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, October 28, 2011

Just Another Day

Yesterday we started our day at the Birmingham Surgery center. We were there getting tubes for our baby girl. She did fine, and we are glad to have this little procedure behind us. Maybe it will help her to be at least a little bit better of a sleeper and eater. If not it will at least help her feel better. Yesterday we already saw more smiles and more talking than we had heard in a while. Today she has been crawling all over the place and has even pulled up a couple of times. That makes this speech-language pathologist mommy happy and confident that it was the right thing to do even if it doesn't help her to sleep through the night.

From the looks of my calendar of events for the day, you could certainly tell that Betsy is the fourth child. We were home by 8:00 a.m., and I put Betsy down for a nap while the boys and I got ready for Halloween parties. {Yes, I know that Halloween isn't until Monday, but they don't go to school on Mondays.}

The boys iced these precious ghost cookies for Walker's class, and I cut fruit for Stephen's class.

I then packaged two sausage chicken casseroles for the bake sale at the Fall Festival at Mary Frances' school.
No more pictures, but I took Stephen to school and Betsy, Walker, and I were off to Patty Cake at the library. From there we went downtown to the church for my Thursday Bible Study. Obviously, we didn't have to go to the library or the church, but Betsy seemed okay so we treated it like any other day. My children love the library, and they look forward to story time. Walker gets more excited than Betsy that it is time for Patty Cake. I am loving my Bible Study, and selfishly, I really didn't want to miss it. I'm so glad that we went. It is always thought-provoking and nice to take pause in the middle of an otherwise full life, and study God's word and its implications on my life. I'll have to tell you more about this study another time...

From the church I took the babies home for a nap. I feel so blessed to have a few of Norval's friends who I can call to help me out. I've put in one too many calls to sweet Mimi over the last two weeks, and I am so grateful that I can call her. I know that she will tell me no if it isn't a good time, and that eases the guilt each time I call. After Mimi arrived, I met Stephen in the driveway to go to the elementary school for the fall festival.

We missed this event last year because of my cousin's wedding. Let's just say it was organized chaos. Half of the time I was there I had no idea where my children were. I was working the class booth {Ring the Coke Bottle}. They knew where I was and I knew they were with one of Mary Frances' friends and her parents. I have no pictures because I walked out the door without my camera, but I can assure you that a good time was had by all and all proceeds will benefit my children in the classroom.

We ended the day at home with one of Frank's favorite meals, a decent bottle of wine, and conversation around the dinner table.

It might not rank up there as a good day in Patterson's book, but it did in mine.

While I was living my life, the workmen were hard at work at my house. On the outside of the house, the arches and all of the stone are complete on the front porch. All that is left is the area over the bay window, and the wall on the side of the house. Can I hear a hip hip hooray {X3 please}! Not only are they nearing completion of the stone, but they are cleaning up the site, and I can see where the grass may one day reside. On the inside of the house the floors have been stained and one coat of polyurethane has been applied. Hopefully all of the doors can be locked by the time I publish this post.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Like a Man

So it turns out that Walker was the culprit of the missing keys. We should have guessed! The thing is they were all in the room where my computer "lives" so I wasn't quite sure.

Let me tell you he rose to the occasion and took it like a man. First, he readily admitted that he had done it. The others were admonished for letting it happen, and everyone lost their computer privileges until after Christmas. {Yes, you read right - that means no thirty minutes of Starfall for the next 2 1/2 months.} Walker lost his blanket for a week. Frank gave them their consequences and asked Walker to go get his blanket. The sweet boy went and handed it over with NO backtalk - there were no complaints, no excuses, no tears. There was not even a whimper or a whine. That isn't how he often comes across so I was quite proud of the way he handled himself.

To everyone we saw on Tuesday, Walker said, "I broke mama's computer. Daddy took my blanket." I said either he was proud of what had happened or he was remorseful. I think my dad is right in saying it was at least weighing heavily on his mind.

Enough about that. And so you don't lose sleep wondering how I can type, I was able to get most of the keys back on the keyboard. For that I was grateful!

Here is a picture of the front of the house for Frank who is out of town until this evening.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Bumpy Ride

I can't remember if I've written about this before...

Over the course of the last year and some months, Frank and I have used the phrase "Are you enjoying the ride?" to help put things in perspective. Let me tell you there have been many bumps along the ride. Due to my own selfishness, I usually feel like I am getting the brunt of those bumps. This evening was no different.

Frank and I missed small group because our timing was just off. I thought I had it all together but just as we were finishing dinner and getting ready to walk out the door when the conversation at the table got a little too loud. Imagine that! We woke up Betsy, and she needed to eat. So we took her and a glass of wine and had a date. We walked down to our house. Ordinarily, we couldn't have done that, but the electrician was able to turn on what seemed to be about 75% of our lights today. We walked through the house and turned on all of the lights that we could, and then I sat upstairs and nursed Betsy. Afterwards we spent about forty-five minutes walking around the house talking and dreaming. Frank was admiring the finishes, and I was dreaming of unpacking boxes and hanging clothes in closets and pictures on walls.

We arrived back at Pops' and I went to get the computer. This is what it looked like!

A definite bump in what had been an otherwise glorious day... Mary Frances was out of school, and my boys loved having her at home. We went to the library and then a pumpkin painting party. Afterwards, we returned home for the babies to nap before a late afternoon trip to the zoo.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Inside Looking Out

First, I want to say Happy 9 Months to Betsy. It is hard to believe you are 3/4 of a year old. You are mighty precious! We love you and are so thankful you joined our family. You are on the verge of being mobile. This mamas days are numbered... You love to be on your feet though you haven't quite figured out how to pull yourself up to a standing position. You love to sit and see the world, and you are able to bounce, twist and turn to get from one place to another. You haven't quite figured out how to work your arms and legs together in order to propel yourself forward, but you are getting there. I've seen you get from a seated position to your tummy and then back to a seated position. That means there are no more tears when you find yourself on your tummy ~ you just work to get back up. This evening I caught you sitting up in the cradle. It is finally time to set up the pac 'n play! I've been talking about it for months, and the time is finally here. I was hoping we could make it a few more weeks until we move into the house, but your safety is essential and you will be sleeping in the pac 'n play tonight. Tomorrow, I will take down the cradle to send it back to Mobile.
As I was putting Betsy to bed this evening, it was the first time in weeks that I put her on her back and she didn't cry. In fact, she even laughed and giggled as I talked to her and changed her diaper to put on her pajamas. Once again in this little ones life, I didn't realize how hard it had been until a saw a glimpse of change. I realize now she has felt miserable! Her ears probably among other things have hurt. We are set for tubes in two weeks. Hopefully that will help her feel better and maybe even sleep and eat better.

Okay, on to other things ~ I don't know how many of you listen to country music...I do, and I have since high school. I'm not much of a music person so I can't usually tell you who sings anything, but as with most people music provokes memories. Sometimes though memories or experiences trigger a song to play in my head. Today as I was cooking dinner, washing dishes, and cleaning the kitchen {yet again}, I could see my three oldest children from the kitchen window. The song My Front Porch Looking In immediately came to mind. Since having children the beginning lines of the chorus resonate with me ~ {There's a carrot top who can barely walk With a sippy cup of milk A little blue eyed blonde with shoes on wrong 'Cause she likes to dress herself} Hey, that's my life - sippy cups and shoes on wrong! Instead of sitting on my front porch looking in, I was standing at Norval's kitchen window looking out. These were some scenes I captured from the inside looking out ~

They are images of my children loving life and loving each other. When I stand at that kitchen window, I often think of Norval, Frank's mom. So many thoughts can go through my head about Norval and what she meant to so many. Today it was about how missed she is by us! She loved my children, and she would have loved to have watched them grow up. It is moments like this when I think how happy it would make her, that we are living in her house, with her husband, and her stuff. Okay, maybe she wouldn't love the statue being used for target practice, and there are many other times when I know she would cringe to see what goes on in her house. But all in all, I think it would make her happy. It is these moments that I hope we all remember and cherish when this time of being displaced from our own home is over.

I'm not going to lie. It's been a rough week and these images did my heart and my mind good.

On another note ~ It is going to be HARD to get a Christmas card picture of my four little ones.

Maybe we will have to take this route!

Stay tuned for a house update...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fun Fall Football Fare

I don't know about your your house, but in our house our fall social calendar revolves around college football~ SEC football in particular. Today has been no different!

We started our day around 5:00, and it wasn't the children who couldn't sleep. It was the adults! Remind me to remind Frank that he was the quitter today...

By 6:00, we had homemade BBQ sauce simmering on the stove top, pancake batter in a bowl, and one only child awake. Frank was on his way to Home Depot to get some supplies to work on the playhouse in our backyard, and I was off to the shower to prepare for the day. These is how my eldest son met me in the kitchen...

Don't you just love that bed head and sly smile!

Betsy and I left the gang to head to the YWCA for my Junior League Placement ~ Kids in the Kitchen. The rest of the family headed own the street to work on the playhouse. We met back at Pops' house to take BBQ to the workmen at the house and then back home to prepare for our own guests.

I'm always on the lookout for healthy snacks for my children. Those that can double as tailgate food are a bonus. Most game day food is high in calories and fat in addition to being highly processed. Nuts are a good pick-up food ~ easy and healthy yet high in fat and addictive so that you often eat more than you mean to. Today I found an alternative ~ roasted chickpeas! They were quite yummy ~ even Betsy liked them. That is saying A LOT since she won't eat much of anything.

Back to those guests ~
These sweet friends have three boys who fall in between each of our children. They are good boys and our children all play well together. It is always a treat to be together.