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, April 27, 2013

Sharing Yesterday Today

Yesterday my babies and I spent a wonderful couple of hours at the Botanical Gardens.  Truth be told we were meeting our favorite photographer there.  But after she finished taking pictures we stuck around.  I took some pictures with my camera ~ until the battery died.  We played some more.  We threw sour gum balls over a bridge.  We investigated a well.  We laughed.  We rode a rabbit.  We talked to some bumble bees.  We swung on a gate.  We went to the library.  We looked around the gift shop and even bought a birthday present. 

If you are local, I highly recommend this as a free outing  We definitely need to take advantage of it more often.

And now for a sampling of my pictures:

Okay, now I need to get some of them printed!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Saints, A Sitter, Steve, and A Softball Game

Frank has been travelling some this week.  We always miss him when he is gone, but we also try to make the most of our life and have fun in his absence.  Life goes on...
 Yes, of course ShuShu's cheese straws make a wonderful afternoon snack!  At least they are additive and preservative free.
Late this afternoon, Mary Frances was invited to spend the night out.  Just as she drove off, the ice cream truck turned onto our street.  I have never been the one to initiate a trip to that truck.  In fact I can count on probably one hand the amount of ice cream we have bought from that man, but I thought what the heck the little ones should have a little fun too. 
More asides, we also still LOVE our dress up clothes an that spend the night invitation means neither of us have to leave to get her to the high school at 7:25 tomorrow morning.
Okay, none of that has anything to do with all the /s/ sounds in my title.  Then again, maybe they could and I should add another word - snacks.
Just kidding!  The reason for the post is last night...It was full of /s/ fun!
Before I knew Frank was going to be away, I had engaged a sitter to watch the three little ones so Frank and I could tag-team 6:00 batting practice and a 6:00 St. Paul's "On the Road" Reunion.  Those 7:00 games are tough on everyone, and I can tell the school year is winding down.  We are all tired, and I knew they needed the chance at a good nights sleep. 
It was such a treat to pick up a young neighbor at 5:30 and take her back to my house with my little ones who were already bathed and fed.  My plan was to then take Mary Frances to the high school for batting practice before attending the SPS event for a bit before making my way back to the game.  My plan would have worked out fine, but Frank's sweet father called yesterday morning to see if there was anything he could do to help.  I can be stubborn and am quite awful at asking for help.  I am forever making my life more complicated than it has to be and am often even guilty of refusing help when it is offered, however, I took him up on his offer and let him take Mary Frances to batting practice.  Remind me that I want to be that person who makes offers like that to others...Remind me to let others help me...Remind me that it truly does take a village...
The St.Paul's event was fun and it was so nice to walk up to the softball game just as it was beginning and be completely present.  Typically, I feel like I am half there.  I am half watching the Rangers play softball while half attempting to keep three other children under tabs.

If you stuck with me through all of that rambling then you are a trooper...
I'm saving "today" for "tomorrow" and will share some fun pictures of my babies at the Botanical Gardens.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"I see you me"

These days, it seems most of my posts seem to be about my baby girl.  Maybe it is because she is the one who is with me the most.  Maybe it is because she is at a fun age.  Maybe it is because she is my baby.  Maybe it is because I want to remember...
For the last several months, her favorite thing to say is, "I see you me".  Have you ever seen so many pronouns in one utterance?  Even if I put my speech pathologist hat on, I'm not sure that I have.

So what does "I see you me" mean~ It means pick me up and hold me close.  Not on your hip, but close to your body.  That closeness can move to the hip, but when she is first picked up she wants to be held close and hugged.

I keep reminding myself she isn't always going to want to be held!

She is gaining independence by the day and beginning to sew her own oats and be away from me more and more.  More and more often she wants to be just like the big kids.  Thursday night at the ballpark she had a ball {no pun intended} playing in a small pile of sand with her brothers and some big girls.

She continues to be quite sensitive and unsure of herself, but she is definitely gaining in confidence and security.  Most of the time she is obedient and rather helpful {yes, she loves to help put the silverware away} though she certainly is strong willed.  Remember this!  Hmmm, I wonder where she gets it!

And I'll leave you with these ~ Check out that eye black!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Ordinary

These days, our life is marked by the ordinary and ordinary is good.  Often in our culture, it seems we can get caught up in being extraordinary.  However, it is in these ordinary moments that I find fulfillment.  Truly, changing the sheets, finishing the laundry, and putting it all away is an accomplishment in this house, and I am okay with that.  It isn't glamorous yet it makes our life run more smoothly.
Our ordinary is full.  Our ordinary can be complicated.  Our ordinary is certainly messy.  Our ordinary is fun.
Now don't get me wrong, I love the idea of extraordinary, but I have to believe that in these ordinary moments I am making a difference ~ at least in the lives of this family.  And most weeks getting the laundry completed and put away is an extraordinary task.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Caps for a Cure

Last Friday, my big children both took $1.00 out of the "spending money" their great-grandmother gave them at Christmas in order to wear a cap to school.  The school was raising money for the American Cancer Society.
Over the last couple of months you have noticed I have spent very little time posting on March Inn.  It wasn't really because of lent but instead, at least is in part, because I have spent more time on blogs of close friends and acquaintances who are battling cancer.  That has left me wanting to spend more time in prayer and more time fostering the relationships that matter the most.

My children have certainly noticed that the word cancer has become a part of our everyday vocabulary as some of these people were a part of their world.  They have real, solid connections to these people, and they understand that they are sick.

Their sweet innocence has shone brightly during this moment of sadness.  When told about who I consider to be their third grandmother's diagnosis of cancer, Walker immediately said, "Let's pray for her right now."  Upon coming home from school that same week without any prompting, Stephen said, "I prayed for Mimi before lunch today."  He typically prays that God take the cancer away.  I know there are lots of people in this world who echo that exact prayer daily for their own family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc...

My heart warms that my children wanted to give a little of what they have been given to help in this cause.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Another Weekend, Another Adventure

If you know my husband, you know that he is always plotting and scheming.  You never know that the context might entail...  Therefore, we often end up on some really fun family adventures.  The venue of the latest venture is the Birmingham Barons.  If you are from Birmingham, you probably know that they have built a new stadium downtown.
We went to our first game on Saturday.  It was awesome!  The kids had fun.  Frank had fun.  I had fun.  That is like a triple lutz!  Walker and Betsy are a bit young, but even they hung in there for almost three hours.  If you don't have a two and four year old, let me tell you that is a long time.
We got there early and enjoyed a stadium meal.  It turns out that our seats are across from people we know which made it even more fun - at least for Mary Frances and me.
As you know, all good things must come to an end.  This is Betsy upon returning home and being told to put her sweater in her locker.
Thank goodness we are splitting the seats with a handful of other people so we don't have to go to every game.

If you are local come out and support the Barons next Sunday at 3:00, and watch the children's choir from our church perform the National Anthem.  Mary Frances is psyched! 

Trust me, you will see some of your favorite people from around town and your children will have a ball and they might even catch a ball.  As a bonus, the weather report looks great - but you know how that can change!

It was encouraging to see how full the stands were and it truly isn't even finished yet.  I find it amazing that they were able to play the opener on the field.  A month ago this is what the field looked like when we went for an open house.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

You Are My Sunshine

 After wearing this dress a few times now,
Betsy has acquired a new nickname...
You gotta love an apron dress from behind!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"I pretty"

Do you have a favorite thing to wear?
If I'm honest, I do.  It is gym shorts and a t-shirt, but that isn't appropriate or acceptable for me to wear that all day, everyday.
Betsy has a few favorite thing to wear.
For many months now her favorite has consistently been a beloved Orient Expressed hand me down dress with colorful balloons smocked across the front.
Earlier this week, as we were preparing to leave the house to get to school, I slipped her "balloons" over her head and she nonchalantly said, "I pretty,"
 So sweet.  So innocent.  So fun.
Yes, sweet girl you are pretty inside and out and I hope you keep just enough of that confidence to serve you well throughout your life.

As for me, I'm looking forward to a Saturday in my gym shorts and t-shirt working in the yard!

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Nature Hunt

What do three children, one double stroller, one scooter, two bags, and a list have in common?
A Scavenger Hunt
of course!
After what seems to have been a very long, very wet winter, spring is finally in full swing.  As in typical fashion in Alabama, we have gone from what we consider winter to what most of you consider summer.  As an aside I'm hoping that the rain predicted for tomorrow washes away the bulk of the pollen in the air and on the streets but if not that's okay too.
On Wednesdays, Mary Frances has choir practice from 4:00 - 4:45.  Forty-five minutes can be a hard increment of time.  It isn't worth going home.  At that time of day, it usually isn't worth running a quick errand.  Usually, we just sit in the car or in the waiting area and read or do homework.  Inevitably that ends in someone fussing, fighting, crying or screaming or me falling asleep mid-sentence.  Sometimes we walk to a nearby park, but there isn't a large variety of playground equipment so it too falls short on filling the time.  Therefore, this mama decided we needed an adventure to pass the time that can otherwise be somewhat boring and tedious for my other three children.
While Mary Frances was at choir yesterday, we embarked on a nature scavenger hunt.  We had 45 minutes and a new area to wander in order to find the following items:
1.  10 pieces of pollen that look like caterpillars
2.  1 long stick ~ 12 inches or more
3.  1 dandelion to blow ~ 3 yellow dandelion flowers to give to MaeMae
4.  1 small pebble {not a rock}
5.  1 four leaf clovers
6.  10 clover flowers to make a garland for Betsy's head
7.  5 pieces of trash
8.  3 pine cones {one small, one medium, one large}
9.  6 sour gum balls {2 for each child participating}
10. 1 acorn with a cap

We did it!
We found each and every item and even determined what our next adventure can be.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crazy Hair

It's 3 a.m.
The house was quiet.
The blahblah's gone.
The diapers soaked.
First things first - new pajamas.
Now for that blahblah.
...not in/on/under/around the pillow.
...not in/on/under/around the sleeping bag.
...not under the twin beds.
...not under the dresser.
...not under the rug.
...not in the bathroom.
...not with Betsy.
Okay really!
In my adult mind, I know that the blahblah can't really disappear but where can it be.
I sat back and thought.  I asked Walker if he went in Mary Frances' room before retiring to his sleeping bag on Stephen's floor*.  He responded with an affirmative.  I asked him to sit tight while I walked to said sister's room.  Sure enough there it was ~ sitting right on the bed.
Five minutes later, I hear a pitter patter on the steps but this time with accompanying screams or tears.  I couldn't resist snapping a photo before tucking him soundly in my bed.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Loud, Louder, Loudest

No, I'm not talking about my children.  Yes, at times they can be loud, but even they don't rival the noise we heard on Sunday afternoon.

We took a family excursion to the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motorsports Park.  Talk about loud!  And fast!

Bet you didn't know that the state of Alabama is home to one of the premier indy racing tracks.  Often when Frank travels the topic of conversation turns to this venue.  In the past Frank could offer very little to the conversation because he had never been.

Well that has officially changed!  Not only has he been but he took us all.  His office had some tickets that weren't being used so we enjoyed a fun family outing on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

It was pretty cool to be so close the the cars and actually see the pit.  The speed with which they trade tires during a pit stop is remarkable.

 And the winners are: Walker, Stephen, and Betsy!

 Pretty cool ~ who knew they took the old tires off of the rims right there at the race.

 We had some tired chickadees on the ride home...

Tired, but happy ~