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, September 21, 2012

Boosterthon ~ Take III

Like it or lump it, it's likely here to stay {at least for a while longer}.  This is the 6th year my children's elementary school has chosen to use the Boosterethon Fun Run as its primary fundraising effort.  Fundraising is a must in most school settings, and the reality is the Boosterthon gives you a pretty high return for your efforts.  Plus there isn't any door to door selling. It was a glorious fall morning ~ the kind when I might call my dad and say it's a good day for a cross-country meet.  

Stephen had fun running his laps... 
Being a sweet friend...
Loving his brother...
Betsy and I stayed for the next group ~ 2nd grade...They're off.
Mary Frances giving a boosterthon worker five
Approaching the check in station ~ so funny the older kids spent more time waiting in line to be marked off than they did running their lap.

If you aren't familiar with the Boosterthon, you can go here or here to learn more.  This year the character theme is Highway USA.  The students were challenged to make good choices:
Choose Leadership
Choose Fitness
Choose Learning
Choose Character
Choose a Good Attitude
We can all benifit from reminding ourselves to make those good choices.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Once, a very long time ago, I taught school.  My very first, first day of school as a teacher was wonderfully rewarding yet extremely difficult.  Well that could be said of everyday of that entire school year.  You see, I was an early childhood special education teacher in a class with twelve children with twelve different sets of extreme special needs.  One bit daily.  One had seizures.  One was prone to pull the fire alarm.  One was born with Down's Syndrome and had leukemia.  I could go on and on, but I won't.   

What I remember most about that day is what we did for a reading activity.  We read the book Today is Monday by Eric Carle.  We started school on a Wednesday so we made zoop.  Now my friends to this day I have no idea what "zoop" is.  In fact I have pondered this recently as I was reading to my kidos.  On this particular Wednesday many moons ago, "zoop" was what I would now call gorp ~ a mixture of granola, raisins, peanuts and m&ms.
I still smile when I say the word zoop.  So what's the point.  Well mainly that it's Wednesday and Wednesday makes me think of zoop.  Come on how can you not smile when you say Wednesday...zoop!  Say it again and exagerate the syllables.  It'll make you smile.

But I digress ~

Leaping forward to this has been a glorious fall day here in our neck of the woods.  Mary Frances started choir, and the rest of us got to play at the park ~ one we haven't been to in years.  Frank has a meeting and dinner for work.  Everyone was being really good and sweet and helpful and kind and well all of those other adjectives that you wish your children were all of the time.  I decided we should have some dessert.

So here's what I did...I knew there was some ice cream in the freezer.  And then I recalled that I had stashed some unused sugar cookie dough in there somewhere.  Oh yeah, there was also some leftover homemade magic shell chocolate sauce in the refrigerator.

Hmm...what did I do?  I ran through my head full of idea files.  Sometime during the summer I saw in a magazine where someone had formed cookie dough on the backside of a muffin pan to make a bowl for ice cream.  So that my friends is what we tried. 

I took out the dough to defrost.  We played for a few minutes.  We took baths.  We ate supper. 
Then, I rolled out my dough.  I cut circles.  I placed the circles of cookie dough on the backside of a mini muffin pan. 

I baked them at 350 degrees for about ten minutes.  While they were cooking I put Betsy to bed.  In my eyes she didn't need dessert.  She probably sees it differently. 

I took the cookie bowls off of the pan and placed them on individual plates.  I let them cool and therefore harden while I cleaned the kitchen and the magic shell chocolate sauce heated in a pot of boiling water.  Remember we have no microwave.  Oh wait, I might not have told you that before.  I'll save that for another day.

I gave each of us one scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate sauce.  Perfect portions! 

The kids thought it was super cool that the chocolate sauce hardened on the cold ice cream.  Actually I think it's really cool too.
I loved the portion size and the cookie bowls were really neat.  Truth be told chocolate chip cookie dough would have been tastier.

I think I'll begin calling Wednesday dessert ZOOP.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Boredom Buster Bonanza

In our house, we typically aren't bored.  There is always something to do, something to read, something to play with, something to build, or something to cook.  We also have a greater than average number of people to play with who reside within this house.  If none of those options are suitable at the given moment there is always a neighbor who can come over to help with issues of boredom.  Sometimes fresh eyes make the same toys and same activities look so much more fun! 

Thankfully, I rarely, hear the words, "I'm bored."  After Mary Frances started kindergarten she tried the expression on for size.  I heard a lot of "it's boring" and a few "I'm bored" statements, but I tried to squelch the attitude by saying "only boring people are boring."  She didn't like that, and I don't hear it very much.  Actually, come to think of it, I really don't ever hear it.

Anywho, over the last month we participated in a boredom buster bonanza.  This scavenger hunt of sorts was hosted by the place where spent our summer swimming.  It was a checklist of activities to complete as a family.  It was a fun way to transition from the lazy days of summer to the grind of the school routine.  We didn't complete all of the items, but we had fun trying.  Sometimes the hardest part of the activity was getting a photograph with at least 50% of the family members present.  For example you will see play a board game on the list of things we didn't do.  The problem was we have no pictures of us playing a board game.  I chose not to obsess and turn in our pictures giving it our best effort and not worry that we didn't do it all.

Here is a sampling of pictures from the activities we completed:
Recreate a famous work of art

Create a family time capsule to open in one year

Make homemade ice cream and eat it
Make s'mores
Donate five times to a local charity

Make cookies and deliver to a local fire station

Find large rocks and paint with the letters of your last name
Have a family movie night complete with popcorn
Read a book together as a family

Have a paper airplane contest

Have a picnic with baskets and blankets in your den

Turn your driveway into a sidewalk chalk art gallery

Have a themed dinner ~ "Magic Bean" from Jack and the Beanstalk

Run through the sprinklers

Build a fort in your den
And the things we didn't complete:
~ create a comic strip using your family members as the characters
~ draw a map from your house to the swimming pool
~ paint your hands and make prints on paper - turn them into something else
~ play a board game

The checklist and pictures were due to the swimming pool on Saturday hence our errand before Pepper Place.

Here's to family fun!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Just A Good Day

How do you go to bed?  I for one go to bed exhausted each and every evening.  Truly, I crash within minutes of my head hitting the pillow.  Last night was no exception though as I crashed there was an extra big smile of contentment on my face and in my heart.  It had been just a good day ~ nothing really out of the ordinary happened but it was just a really good day ~ a full day.
Do you ever have days like that?  I'm sure you don't really care about mine, but I'd like to document it.  It was a day that I want to remember when I'm having a not so great day. Here are some of the highlights...Be warned, you might want to grab a cup of coffee because I'm likely to ramble.
Our morning began early, but then again they always do.  Frank and Stephen had the opportunity to go to the Auburn football game with some friends.  They were picked up at 7:30. 
When they were picked up the daddy left his younger child to play with Walker and Betsy.  You see the mama of that family is expecting their third child in a few weeks, and it dawned on me that she might relish a quiet morning in her own house. 
I have no pictures of that part of our day, but Walker and this child are the same age and play well together.  We ran a quick errand {more on that later} and then went to Pepper Place for tomatoes, but we spent most of our time in the backyard swinging.  I know not all children love to swing, but these could have been pushed on the swing all day.
She left, and we ate lunch, unloaded the dishwasher {me}, played chase {them}, and played Candyland.  Sorry you get the mundane details of our life...
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you Mary Frances was away.  She spent the night with a friend.  We have definitely entered a new stage there.  She had a ball...

When Mary Frances arrived home we read so I could put the little ones down for a nap.  Mary Frances read for a bit and then asked if she could get one of our neighbors to come play.  That was fine by me because I hoped it would allow me to fold the three loads of laundry that were clean but not folded while listening to the Alabama game.

Well that neighbor playing became a revolving door.  Our next door neighbors were having friends over to watch the Alabama game.  They asked if it was okay if the little ones used our swing set.  Again fine by me...
By that time, Frank was home, and I'd moved to a new project ~ working on dinner and preparing lunch for the nursery workers at church.  Mary Frances became bored with the boys in the backyard playing football and came to me again.  She asked if she could see if another neighbor and her little brother {who happens to be Walker's age} could come over.  Again this was fine by me.  What's another child or two when your yard is sprinkled with ten you don't know.  Mary Frances had no luck there so returned to ask if there was anyone else.  My response: What about Betty?  Her eyes twinkled.  She returned with Betty and her two younger brothers.  Their appearance was magical to me.  You see I've been missing this family.  They are Steve's next door neighbors, and we became good friends when we were displaced from our house.  Now we don't see them often enough.  So what did I do?  Call the parents to ask them to eat dinner.  They came and it was such a fun night!

Okay I'm off to finish that pasta - I've still gotta chop the tomatoes, cut the basil and crumble some feta.
No surprises here...our life is full.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Growing Up

One of my philosophies on having children is that it is my job to raise them to be functional, independent, productive citizens.  This means letting go a little at a time.  This letting go occurs after {hopefully} helping them acquire the skills needed to be successful at what I am turning them loose to do.  This can be with little things or with big things.  As a mother this can be bittersweet, but it is important.  If I hold on too tightly, problems can manifest and my children can become too needy therefore derailing my goal of making them independent. 
So here's to another first in our house...

Mary Frances and Stephen are walking home from school together ~ without me. 
Remember it wasn't too long ago that Mary Frances wanted to do this by herself.  It is likely that Betsy will probably walk home day one ~ she will have three siblings there to keep her in line!  Thank goodness the kindergartners are dismissed an hour earlier the first week but we won't think about that today. 
Sure in some ways I miss walking to the crosswalk to meet them.  It is my own selfishness that makes me miss this.  I miss visiting with the other mothers as we wait for the bell to ring.  I miss seeing the kindergarten teachers and being able to check in on Stephen's day.  I miss the added steps that I take to get there and back home.  But those things are for me, not them.  I can find ways to satisfy those needs for me.  This isn't really about me.  
I relish that these two are mature, confident, and trustworthy enough to do this themselves.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Wow!  That's a big word!  You may be asking, what in the world does epenthesis mean and why Caroline, do you care.  Well in the world of speech language pathology it is a phonological process that persists after the age of 3.  You see this phonological process when your child adds a sound between two consonants.  How about that for jargon!

Now, lets take off my hat of SLP and tell you why I care.  My precious Walker is 3 1/2, and he still exhibits the phonological process of epenthesis.  I love listening to his sweet voice say "Piggaly Wiggaly" and I want to remember it.  For some reason, we've been talking about the way he says Piggly Wiggly often as of late.  Probably because I think it is so darn cute.  As we've talked I've wondered how much longer he would say it this way.  I'll be sad to see it go, and I just might always call the Pig the Piggaly Wiggaly.
Based on my most recent continuing education reading, I might get to wait until he is 8 for it to disappear entirely.  I can hardly imagine Walker as an eight year old, and I'm sure by then he won't be saying Piggaly Wiggaly.  But I might be just to remember a simpler time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Up Up and Away

Life is a whirlwind...
and leaves me feeling like this most of the time.
Last week, all week, I was on an emotional roller coaster.  I felt like I got one piece of tragic, heartbreaking news after another.  None of the events are my stories to share yet they had my stomach in knots and my heart in my throat for most of the week.  Each event left me praying a little longer and a little harder while also reaching out to hug each of my babies and my husband a little longer and a little harder.  It was a week that made the ordinary post dinner events moments to cherish and remember fondly.
Really, how can you not smile with those adorable faces in your house?  May they always love each other!
Friday was my birthday.  I took my little ones to the zoo.
We made ice cream and shared it with neighbors.
And then on Saturday we left for Mobile.  We saw family.  We saw friends.  We played with cousins.  We played with friends.  We drove a lot.  And the only pictures I took were when I was with the kiddos by myself at Pt. Clear.  I wish someone had been with me to share those precious moments but then again if someone had been with me they probably wouldn't have been so special.  Thank goodness for my camera!
While we were gallivanting around LA, and yes of course I mean of the Lower Alabama variety, Frank has been hiking/camping/backpacking in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.  Here are some of the sights he enjoyed.
Makes you want to go, doesn't it?
My love, we will be glad to welcome you home tomorrow.