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, January 31, 2012

Exhausted, In a Funk, and No Allergies Here

Hey Friends,

I'm tired! Real tired! And I don't feel all that great either. I just put my little ones down for a nap, and I would love to crawl into my bed too.

Yes they are both thumb suckers - how sweet are they?

I would take my own nap except that I'm not sure I would wake up for my afternoon full of responsibilities. I promised Stephen I would come to chapel with his class today. He has been asking me to come for months. I finally remembered to ask the director of the preschool if it was okay. Since I am not going to take the nap I am going to consciously waste this time on the computer. I'm going to create a blog post and filter through some materials that I want to introduce to my children during lent.
Do you ever look around your house at the little messes and just wish that someone else would come take care of it? To be honest, I do. The sad truth is that even if someone would come pick up the stickers that didn't quite make it into the box when the boys were cleaning up this morning or wipe up the splatters of juice from the apple Stephen munched for a morning snack...

or put away the empty grocery bags...
or even do the laundry or the dishes there would always be more to do. And the job probably wouldn't be done completely or to my satisfaction so I would possibly have to come finish it anyway. I may as well do it myself and do it with a grateful heart.

And be thankful for small favors - Without being asked, Walker put the groceries in the pantry and Stephen picked up all of the legos they played with this morning.

Earlier, I left my babies in the kitchen {safely contained} eating their lunch while I ran to the computer to send a quick e-mail to the moms of Stephen's classmates looking for carpool volunteers for this afternoon. When I came back, the remains of Walker's peanut butter and honey sandwich were on Betsy's tray. While she has turned one, I have not introduced her to peanuts. She is happy eating other things so I was just going to wait a while longer - probably closer to 18 or 24 months like I did with my other three. Oh well, she enjoyed it and had no adverse side effects so hopefully we will remain free from peanut allergies.

Okay, I'm off to peruse that material I alluded to. However, while I was snapping some pictures, I took care of all the little things that needed to be done. Don't worry there is still more to do! Isn't there always? But at least I will feel better when I walk back in the door at 5:00 after carpool, banking, ballet, and they zoo.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Survived, Again

Over and over again in my life I'm sure there will be moments where I utter the sentiments, "I survived!" Today, I am happy to report that I survived our dinner gathering for thirty of Frank's colleagues. I had fun! Frank had fun! And I hope everyone else had fun! We ate well, drank plenty, and stayed up way too late. A big thank you to Steve for keeping the kiddos.

In my opinion, it is no small feat to have dinner prepared and my home relatively picked-up for my own family much less a group of people I barely know. This is particularly true since I still have a few boxes to unpack, piles to organize, and projects to complete. And I'm not talking about the one day I'd like to type of projects. I'm talking about the things that should be done in the immediate future. For example, our silverware is still sitting in plastic storage containers on a bookshelf. I'm just thankful to have the bookshelf...

As I always say, when you come to my house you will typically get a decent meal but don't look too closely because there might be dust on the baseboards or in last night's case toothpaste on the counters.

A bit embarrassing but I'm just keeping things real...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Real Construction

Apparently my oldest son aspires to be real construction worker, and according to him real construction workers take off their shirts. Today was one of those magical, unseasonably warm and sunny days. I relish days like this... It lightens the mood and refreshes the spirit. I got the housework I set out to accomplish completed, and my boys lived outside. To be exact they lived outside in the mud. Walker might have ruined yet another white turtleneck. Stephen probably would have ruined his as well had he not decided he was hot and taken it off like a real construction worker. In my eyes, it is completely worth it for my boys to get to play outside in the dead of winter.

We had a picnic...

They played some more...
Betsy loved swinging...

The babies napped. I saw my two clients. We walked to the elementary school to pick big sister up from Bible Club. We played on the playground there. I completed a few more chores, helped gather 100 items for the 100th Day of School celebration, threw supper together, and listened to MFS read. Frank and I went to our first small group of the New Year. I continued to wrap my head around having 30 people for dinner on Friday. I toted boxes to the street ~ attempted to organize my sewing and fabric. I made a vow to buy NO new fabric until I have used what I just put away. Maybe I can get to my machine on Saturday!

All in all a GREAT day! How about you?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

But She Was Still Hungry

My sweet baby is one! Betsy, how precious you are to us. Thank you for your wonderful smile, your sweet disposition, your dear laugh, your "scrunchy face," and most of all your patient spirit. As I went through our pictures of the year to create your birthday slide show, I marvelled at all you have endured in your short little life. Endured is a strong word... There was no hardship for you or your parents, yet you have done things that I never did with your siblings ~ you slept in the hallway for the first 11 months of your life. You were toted around here and there and everywhere either in a pumpkin seat, stroller, or the Baby Bjorn. You were denied naps in your bed with much consistency. You were fed throughout the day and night. Maybe through it all you developed patience and flexibility at an early age. I know the year went a long way in helping to develop this mama's patience and flexibility.

As I've stated many times in some ways it was a very long year and in some ways it was a blink of an eye. It was mainly a year of survival! A year of waking up each day and putting one foot in front of the other to keep moving. A year of learning to ask God, what next Lord to keep moving.
Betsy, I hope there is never any doubt in your eyes, how loved you are. You are loved by many! You are loved deeply. We cannot imagine our lives without you...
In our home, we love a book! We especially love a colorful classic like The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
I like having a theme for my children's birthday celebration. It makes it easier. I know I didn't have to go to the effort for Betsy's birthday, but I think it is important for my other children to see us celebrate each other.

I planned the simple supper around the foods that the caterpillar eats in the book.

My inspiration came from here.

Everyone enjoyed your birthday slide show...

I had some help setting the table. Mary Frances made place cards for everyone. Aren't her caterpillars cute!
We love having you at the table with us.
Henri kept trying to eat your food.
You didn't like it!

You also didn't like your cake. That's okay...

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


How fun to have my house full of loved ones! Frank's sweet cousins Mary Beth and Kate spent the night with us last night. Their grandmother is in the hospital, and their Aunt Beth has been in town for the better part of the week so they made the trek to Birmingham to visit. We are blessed to have rooms where they could lay their heads, a table to provide a meal, and cousins to provide entertainment.

We made some headway on getting settled this week. More boxes made their way to the street. More papers made their way to the recycling. More pictures were hung. More shelves were lined. More progress to be made...

Friday, January 20, 2012

T.G.I.F. and a Recipe

Warning: This post contains a sprinkling of images from our week. They may or may not have anything to do with the content of the text.If you are a parent, you have at one time or another worried about the food your child is consuming. From the moment they come into this world you ask yourselves questions about their food intake. Or at least I did and still do... Are they getting enough? Are they getting too much? Do they have a food allergy or intolerance? Why do they love something one day and despise it the next? Are they eating too much sugar? Are they eating enough veggies? Are the additives and preservatives affecting their behavior? And the list goes on and on...
I am committed to having healthy, fresh food in our house, and I try to limit the amount of fake, processed foods that we have. We make a lot of things from scratch and enjoy cooking together. I have not made the switch to organic, but the more I read the more I contemplate it. I do try to ensure the milk that we consume is from cows not treated with hormones.

Each day, I attempt to provide a nutrient filled breakfast, a home-packed lunch, and a wholesome dinner though that doesn't mean my children always eat what I cook. I believe that children not only will eat when they are hungry, but also that they will gravitate towards the nutrients that their body is craving.

My husband and I encourage our children to eat what is on their plate, but we do not force them. We encourage them to be adventuresome and to try new things, but we certainly don't expect that they clean their plate. In our eyes, that is one sure way to encourage over-eating. All of that being said, what's on their plate is what's for dinner. There are no other options. If they don't eat then the next meal is breakfast. And we expect them to sit at the table and talk about their day and listen to each other.

When it comes to food, my precious number three child is the one I "worry" the most about. He typically eats a great breakfast and a fabulous lunch, but he rarely touches his dinner. Some nights he doesn't even touch his milk. Really, he will sit down take one look and say "all done." I take comfort in the fact that he is not filling up on junk, and one day he will eat supper with us. Truly, there is not one vegetable he will eat. The moments are even rare when he will taste something green. I do worry about this though his pediatrician does not.
Well this morning, I made a new recipe for zucchini muffins, and he ate them. I am always comforted when he gets something green in his body even if it is trapped in muffin form.

I have my grandmother's delicious recipe for zucchini bread. As I was making it back in the fall, I was appalled at the amount of sugar and oil in it so I vowed to try something new. I used the Happy Healthy Mama's recipe though I did substitute sugar for agave nectar. We we all loved it! Mary Frances even suggested that I make them the next time we provide "Friday Treats" {a.k.a. snacks} for her class.

And just to to keep it real ~ I made two batches... When mixing the ingredients for the second batch I was so distracted that I completely forgot any sweetener. Those are even edible but taste a bit like baking soda. I think will be really good with honey, maple syrup, or my sweet friend Anne's apple butter.

Hope you have wonderful weekend plans. We are thrilled to have our first overnight house guests coming this evening...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ice, Ice Baby

Greetings from Park City Utah,

First, I'll show you the getting there, and then I'll tell you what we are doing here.

Since 2008, Frank and I have been blessed to have an opportunity to go skiing every few years. Frank is involved with the Financial Services section of the ABA, and every two years they have their annual meeting in Park City. Four years ago, Frank invited me to go with him.

I was just thrilled to have a getaway with my hubby. I was ecstatic that his parents were willing to keep our little ones who at the time were almost 2 1/2 and 6 months. I have to admit, I was a little nervous to hit the slopes because when I sat down to count the years since I had skied it was a larger number than I would have liked. The last time I had skied was when I was a senior in high school and I had only been three times total. That hardly counts as being a skier. Frank hadn't been since college. Though skiing was something we had both enjoyed in our younger years it wasn't something we had ever been avid about, and we had resigned ourselves to being beach people ~ less risk of injury there.

That winter we had a ball. There was plenty of snow and the skiing was awesome. We realized it was something that we still enjoyed. Not only was it fun ~it was something we could do together where we could be outside and active.

So we had the opportunity to go back in January of 2010. Frank's parents again graciously volunteered to keep our now three little ones who were almost 4 1/2, 2 1/2, and barely 1. Again, though there was much more ice than snow, we had a ball and thought maybe just maybe, if we could make it work we would bring our two big children with us in two years.

Amazingly, we were able to make it work. This time my mother so kindly stepped up to the plate and is keeping Walker and Betsy so that Mary Frances, Stephen, and I could accompany Frank to Park City. Thank you ShuShu!

Here they are leaving us for ski school ~
Frank and I went on our way and went down a few runs {again there is more ice than snow} before checking back in with the kiddos to see how things were going~

The had a great teacher ~ she was perfect for them!

After a full day on the slopres we are all exhausted ~ ready for a nap and some dinner!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Room to Run

I've always felt like New Year's Eve was over-rated ~ too much hype, not enough delivery.

For many of the last several years Frank and I have spent this holiday at the lake. And let me tell you the lake delivers... It's easy! It's fun! It's comfortable ~ low-key and no stress! Sometimes we've spent the holiday alone, but mostly with friends. Good friends! {who always do a better job posting about an event than I can do} Friends who you can be COMPLETELY yourself with. Friends who you can cancel your New Years Plans with ~ not just once but twice ~ {once for Frank's cousin who was being deployed to Iraq and again for the eminent arrival of our sweet baby girl}. Friends who know you almost as well as you know yourself. Friends who also have four children ~ the same age as ours. Friends who understand the laundry, the meal-planning, the tantrums, the accidents, the laughter, the need to be outside and to have room to run, room to play, room to be children...

Without further ado... Reader beware ~ For those of you who want pictures there are a lot! I told you it was fun! It was also relaxing ~ if you can imagine that with eight {yes, you read correctly} children six an under. It was entertaining. I think I am safe to say that it was a special time for all. In my eyes, it delivered...

I hope you have friends like this!