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!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Having a Ball

Hello there-
There were no Mardi Gras balls for us over the weekend, but we did enjoy some family time in Mobile. We caught enough beads to share with friends at school and enough moon pies to make the moon pie bread pudding recipe that I spied when planning Frank's office party.
It is always nice to be with my mom and to see Aunt Anna, Uncle Bill, and Sarah. My pictures aren't great. In fact, they are quite bad, but they at least prove that we got to see Vernadean. The children had a ball and Walker keeps telling everyone we went to a "rade" - gotta love the way a barely three year old speaks.

I don't know about you, but where we live ball season is gearing up. This is our first experience with a child playing ball. We didn't play last year... With a new baby and being displaced from our home, this mama just couldn't do it and have NO regrets on delaying our entry into the world of the ballpark. Lots of people will tell you that children need to play a team sport in order to learn how to work together. I hear them, and I agree that being on a team sport promotes working together, but so do lots of other opportunities. I tend to agree with John Rosemond when he says that the best way to learn how to act as team is in a family. Besides we are only 6!

I have all kinds of hesitations and reservations about Mary Frances playing softball. Mainly, 7:00 is WAY too late to begin practice! But I think it is time. For lots of reasons, I think this is a good thing, and I'm willing to load everyone up after bathing and eating in order to take Mary Frances to practice at the high school. After all, it will only be a couple of times during the season. Surely! Also, we live in a neighborhood full of children so there will be others to share the drive. It takes a village!

We have been struggling with Mary Frances whining and turning on this exaggerated {obnoxious and annoying} voice when she talks to adults. In my mind there is nothing more unbecoming than a child who whines. Particularly a six year old who is your own! Most of this is just a bad habit that we have allowed to form. Some of this stems from a lack of confidence. I hope it will be good for Mary Frances to be around a group of other girls. Older girls. The first grade league includes second and third graders, and I think we have a sweet team. Hopefully they will be good role models. The best part is that we know and love the coach, and Frank is going to help out. That should ease the sting of those 7:00 practices.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cool Concept

Yesterday Mary Frances participated in the Mercedes Kids Marathon. If you aren't familiar with the concept of a kids' marathon, I will briefly explain. The runner in me thinks this is a really cool concept. The mom in me was excited that Mary Frances was interested in participating.

Several months in advance, the children are registered in the event. Leading up to race day, the children run on their own and with their parents. We chose to run one mile at a time because their is a good "mile loop" around our neighborhood. Mary Frances also ran at school. She ran 25.2 miles leading up to yesterday's event. Mary Frances ran the final mile of the marathon on the streets of downtown Birmingham.

I'm sure these kids' marathons take place all over the world, yet I feel blessed that we were able to take part in this event.
Frank was the chosen one to complete the final mile with Mary Frances. Thank goodness, because I was already slated to be downtown for the event promoting something else that is near and dear to my heart ~ healthy eating habits in children. For those of you who don't know, my Junior League placement this year is Kids in the Kitchen. As one of the other chairs put it, I spent the morning juggling kiddos, bananas, and 30 miles per hour winds.

My hands are still trying to thaw...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oh Me, Oh My

I'm not going to lie. Our life is full!

It was another full week. One of my "new year resolutions" was to take a picture everyday ~ not that I needed an incentive to take more pictures. My children provide ample opportunities to document their day to day lives.

On Tuesday before retiring for the evening, I went upstairs to make sure that everyone was tucked and covered. This is what I found...
On Wednesday, Walker was pooped ~ school, the tot lot, choir practice... What's a boy to do?
Betsy was showing some love...
On Thursday, we skipped Bible study because Betsy hadn't been fever free for 24 hours...
Betsy thought he was hilarious yet I can't even remember what they were laughing about. I just remember that their infectious belly laughs sent me running for my camera to document the moment.
Mary Frances has a new hairdo, and she thinks it looks like a big girl!
On Friday, we all made it to school before 7:30 for Mary Frances to say the Pledge of Allegiance on the morning broadcast. I pondered when this becomes not a big deal.
Because let me tell you they were an excited bunch of first graders ~
And Mary Frances got to wear her Kids Marathon shirt to school. Some more sibling love!
Yesterday, I commented to someone that 99% of the time my brain doesn't work. Her response was that she didn't believe me. Well that got me thinking, and I realized it isn't that my brain doesn't work. It is that 99% of the time my brain is on overdrive. Now for all of you intellectual types out there my brain doesn't work like yours ever. But my brain is always working! It's work usually involves how are we going to get that done!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

'Tis the Season

that is 'tis the season for love, of course...

What you may ask are my children doing?

Well, the first picture is of my girls. It does not do justice to their newest favorite past time. When Mary Frances isn't reading or playing school or bossing her brothers around she can be found entertaining Betsy. They play Where's Mae Mae? and cackles ensue from both of them. I guess I need to take a video to fill you in on how much they both enjoy this time.

And for the boys...they are watching the crayons they are making for their classmates melt. Hopefully I can give you more details in the days to come...

My children are in a good place with each other {most of the time} and they truly love each other. For that I am thankful...

In fact, today at the park, I wondered what Walker is going to do without Stephen next year. I know he will be fine. He will have school three days and Betsy the others, but he is going to miss his big brother.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

With or Without Them

Tonight we, like the 100 million + other folks, watched the Super Bowl. Unlike the majority of those watching, we dined on relatively healthy food. We had grilled chicken with two sides of root vegetables. Frank made what has become my favorite grilled {or maybe it should be considered smoked} chicken. We have affectionately named it after our neighbors who shared the recipe with us though they call it Auburn Chicken. There is nothing really special about the ingredients {oil, apple cider vinegar, kosher salt, and poultry seasoning}, but it takes a long time, and it creates more smoke than anything else we cook. Frank is kind to make it for me! Thank you, honey. In fact it may replace "fried chicken" as my favorite food. Sorry mom! But then again he does love to hang out by the grill. It is certainly a crowd pleaser by the young and old alike. This is a rare recipe when I typically use thighs and drumsticks. Stephen keeps asking me if he can have a "rib" {aka ~ a drumstick}.

As you probably know, I always have a weekly menu plan. I might not follow it to a "t" but I need a plan to get me to the grocery store, attempt to stay within a budget, and especially to get our meals to the table in a timely manner. I am desperately trying to incorporate a wider variety of vegetables {and whole grains} into our dinner menus. I've made a list for each and am trying to attempt a new recipe each week in order to add one of these new ingredients. For a couple of weeks now, I've had a rutabaga in my produce drawer. After reading the February issue of Martha Stewart's Living,I was inspired to see if my family would like rutabaga. I don't think I had ever had a rutabaga and I know for certain that I had never bought a rutabaga. Tonight, I {finally} made the Maple Syrup Roasted Rutabaga and Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts that was on my menu plan several weeks ago. Don't worry the original brussels sprouts were roasted weeks ago in my go to ordinary way and the rutabaga had not spoiled. I make roasted brussels sprouts at least once a month ~ anything to break up the broccoli monotony! But this recipe was different and a fast favorite with {most} everyone. I put the hazelnuts in the dish because I happened to have some that needed to be used. It was good with them, but it would have been equally delicious without them. I will certainly incorporate this recipe into my rotation. I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for a good side!

And now for a photo shoot with my sweet one year old. She accompanied me to the grocery store this afternoon. When we arrived home most everyone was napping, so we grabbed the camera and headed outside. We are enjoying amazingly mild temperatures and look for every opportunity to be outside!

Bear in mind her dress is too short and who knows what happened to her barrette. Oh, but those bare feet and squeezable cheeks, and thighs...

Only when I see that hair in pictures, do I realize how truly unruly her hair can be. Sweet girl, let's keep that barrette in, okay?
To know what is going on in that head!
She sure is precious to us...