Monday, June 28, 2010

371 Family, Friends, Happiness

We spent Saturday in Oxford, MS. My great niece is turning two, and we took the time to visit with our friends the Bergerons. We were supposed to start out early and meet Julie out at the Taylor Market, but the Jackson's are not known for early starts or punctuality. Luckily we could meet for dinner, but poor MollyB apparently had her heart set on seeing us early in the day :( I will try harder next time Molls! For some reason my kids have decided to sleep later in the mornings, not that I am complaining because I love sleeping late, but it means I will have to start setting an alarm if I want to get out early.
We did make it to Oxford early, which is good because we hadn't bought a birthday present yet. Sure, some people buy presents before they are about to go to a party, but we are not those people. We tend to swing in a store and get a really fresh present (which sometimes causes us to be late ... but hey, FRESH PRESENT). When truly late we have to buy presents later .... I still owe a present or two ;) But that is beside the point. Oxford has changed drastically since I was in college. Lucky for me it wasn't this commercial when I was in school. I ended up in debt enough with just a Walmart and a few rinky dink stores. As usual when shopping for birthday presents, my kids all the sudden get very needy and very whiney. They get so jealous! Well, Katie gets jealous, Connor just sees the way Katie is acting and joins in on the fun. So yeah, remind me next time to be one of those people that buys a gift in advance so I can go shopping without the kids. (yeah, I laughed too at the idea of shopping by myself)
Presley had a bubble party. All the decorations were adorable. My SiL Lauren painted the banners and a friend made the cake (there was a problem with the transfer of the cake. heat=melting cake, but it was so darn cute) And you can't beat the doordog. Chiefer is the best dog ever! He is as big as a miniature pony, and I am pretty sure that Connor wanted to ride him, but he made do with following him around and loving on him. Cutest little birthday party! We had a great time hanging out with the family. I met my niece's boyfriend, Parker, for the first time and we all adored him. He was wonderful with the kids. And by wonderful I mean he let them beat him up. Connor and Presley even managed to play together without bloodshed, thanks to my niece Tara convincing them to share. Yummy food, family time, and bubbles. It was wonderful. To top off a wonderful day we headed over to our friends' house. I say friends, though they are really more like family. We are so lucky to have a group of friends from college that fall into the category of family. Every moment with them is completely comfortable. Full of laughter and smiles. The kids act like idiots, and it is completely normal. Even better, the adults sometimes act like idiots. Thank you Bergerons for letting us keep you up a couple hours past your bedtime. I really needed the adult conversation and hugs!And I had to take pics of this perfect little apple the Bs had sitting on their table. They also gave me my Love Thursday contribution for the week, but obviously you will have to wait for that :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

370 Camp Katie's House

Somehow I managed to volunteer myself to teach Katie and Mia to sew. I am not a seamstress. I can sew straight lines, and I have been known to knock together some quilt blocks on occasion. My mom taught me to sew when I was in Girl Scouts. I remember my first project. I sewed a pair of simple shorts. The fabric was yellow and had comic strips on it. Dagwood if I remember correctly. In college I started making quilt blocks. Sewing by hand at first until my mom bought me my first sewing machine (yes, that is the one the girls are learning on as well, although I have since bought another). I have tried to sew clothing ... it never goes very well. I have sewn stuffed animals and a doll, and that is a little better but only because it is not an exact type thing. In other words, I am not the best person to teach ANYONE to sew. Much less an eight year old and a seven year old. But here we are, "camp" started Thursday.

I would have preferred to have Connor down for a nap, but it didn't happen this time. The girls were very excited. AND SILLY ....And of course Connor could not be outdone by the girls stickng their tongues out.Mama Carrie's Tips for a Successful Sewing Camp

1. Let them pick out their own fabric.
(1a. steer them toward the sale tables)
Katie and I dropped into Hancock fabric. I couldn't resist the Siren's call of 50% banners all across the front of the store. Katie could not resist all the color. Apparently I am raising a hippie chick ... albeit a very materialistic hippie (one day I will explain the irony of this to her).
2. DO NOT LET THEM USE THE NEWLY PURCHASED FABRIC! Break out the old stuff that you bought off the dollar table when Walmart had a real craft section.
3. Start small. A pillow seems like a simple enough project.
4. If at all possible, pre-cut squares of fabric (even better if you pre-cut them 3 years ago for another project that you never got around to actually doing, so that you did not have to really do anything)
5. Helpful Hint, do not have a fire in your house. This does not seem related, but trust me, the cleaning people will put your stuff where you CANNOT find it!! That tomato pin cushion that has been on a shelf in your "craft room" for eons is now no where to be found. Cleaning people have no respect for your organizational skills.
6. After finally rounding up enough pins, teach the kids to pin together their two squares of fabric.
7. You will give up and end up pinning the squares yourself. Otherwise there will be a pin every inch.
8. Do NOT use the squares you have pinned together. Grab two more for them to practice sewing speed.
9. Carefully explain the importance of keeping your fingers clear of the needle.
10. Remember to lock your stitches, they will not get it or remember it, but do it anyway.11. After sewing around three sides, STOP.
12. Turn the fabric right side out and say "look, its a little bag". They will now discuss how it looks like an American Girl "sack race" bag ... This will get them off on a tangent where they will talk about their American Girl dolls. (try not to bang your head on the table, this too shall pass)
13. EUREKA! You can turn these "bags" into "purses" Grab another piece of fabric, cut in half. Fold in half and sew along the edge. Repeat. Turn over the raw edge, pin on the handles ... Sew it yourself because the girls have lost interest by now.
14. Try not to laugh uncontrollably when they start talking about selling purses ... and making hundreds of dollars. Use your Mom voice to explain to them that maybe when they get better at sewing they could do that. (do not crush their dreams ... do not crush their dreams ... do not crush their dreams)
15. Be thankful that the girls are only 7 and 8 because they really love the purse you just made. They are incredibly proud of their accomplishment. You are an AWESOME mom (for now)! Take a few pics to commemorate the occasion. They will never be this happy over a crappy purse again.

16. Put up their pinned squares. Maybe next week we will make pillows. There is a whole summer ahead of us, and I am in no hurry.

17. Oh, and don't forget that the two year old wants his own bag. Do not put handles on it because Dad would not appreciate you making his son a purse.

18. Rub your temples. Take some Tylenol.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

369 Zooin' it at 100 degrees

You might think we would stay clear of the Memphis Zoo when it is so hot, but then you must not have ever had kids or lived in the South. We would have to steer clear of the zoo all summer long if that were the case, and with so much time to kill before school starts back up it is one of the most obvious places to go. The kids are thoroughly sunscreened up (me too, don't worry) and spend most of their time being pulled around in a wagon. I am the only one ready to drop by the time we leave. Next time I might have to wear my bikini top at least and cool off in the geyser at Northwest Passage. Its that or I am going to end up diving into the polar bear enclosure. It was that hot that fighting off a bear might have actually been worth it. Luckily, the Memphis Zoo actually has air conditioned areas scattered around. And of course, snack carts with ice creams and cold drinks. All in all it wasn't the worst way to spend the afternoon. It was hot, but completely worth it. The kids had a blast and that is the most important part.

These are a few pics taken on my phone while we were at the zoo on my phone. Yeah ... I take too many pics. I know.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

368 Love Thursday, Beach Style

Last Thursday we were in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I wasn't looking for hearts. I was enjoying time with the kiddos and my Mom. We went inside for lunch, leftover Subway sandwiches and chips. I looked over at my daughters plate and I saw this chip. I snapped a few pics, my Mom must have thought I was losing my mind (even more than usual), and I sat and stared at it. It took a while until I decided to eat it. My friend Kathleen talked some sense into me ... wel, she tweeted it, but it worked. A picture lasts forever, and chips are delicious. It was rather yummy :) After lunch we hit the beach for a little while. I had the kids to myself, so I didn't take too many pics. We s[ent most of our time picking up shells. I mostly sat in a small pool of water and dug my hand through the sand around me. One scoop contained this rock .... PERFECTION!

I was not looking for hearts, but they bombarded me at every turn. Love is everywhere. Find it, and let it find you. Happy Love Thursday! Head over to Chookooloonks to check out her Love Thursday and all the others.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

367 Homeward Bound

The time had finally come for The Great Kitchen Renovation of 2010 (those pics will come when it is totally complete) and I decided it would be best to take the kids as far away as possible ... or at least to Atlanta. So two Saturdays ago we loaded the van up and headed East. Thank goodness for in-car DVD players. I know we would survive a trip without it, but it would be three times as painful ... at the very least. I usually am making the trip alone so I need all the help I can get to insure harmony and my sanity. They watched Alice in Wonderland, which I have still only heard from the front seat (27 times). They watched My Fair Lady, Katie loves it and sings along. And some Barbie fairy movie. After a quick hug from Grammy, Katie took off and almost never came down from the old swing. Shedid periodically stop long enough to make me feel her muscles from all the "extracize". Connor never slept much when we were in Atlanta, but when he did sleep he slept soundly... and he was so CUTE! Dontcha just wanna kiss him until he wakes up! But don't! I would have serious problems with you and might cause you physical pain if you woke him up. And by "might" I mean I would .. and you would require medical attention or a morgue. But he sure is cute, huh?!On Sunday my brothers and their families came over for dinner. I just love watching the kids play with their cousins. Austin had foot surgery recently and he is stuck in his wheelchair for now, but I have a feeling he didn't miss having to try to keep up with our little hooligans. It was much cooler in the house (and no vampire mosquitoes to contend with). And as usual it is impossible to get kids to sit ad ALL smile at the same time. I am obviously planing to torture them later from the expressions on their faces.Mom does have some of the prettiest hydrangeas. I won't bore you with too many pics, but I had to share a few. These flowers remind me of my gradparents like no other.And you know I had to find a dandelion. It just wouldn't be complete without a few wishes.Monday I headed off to the art heaven known as Blick Art. I have only shopped online with them, but I just love their store. Looking for reasonably priced fine art supplies then you have to check them out! I should have gone alone though. I spent most of my time beating my head against a wall and trying to keep the kids from destroying the store. I couldn't look at what I wanted to look at because they would not stand still long enough. I gave up and decided to give myself a small online shopping spree soon. Katie got her first set of real watercolors, watercolor papers, and a few other little things. Connor got a 99 cent eraser and he was perfectly happy. We headed for the car, Katie running ahead. She jumped in and hit the button to roll the doors shut. One problem, Connor was right behind her and trying to get in. His little fingers got caught in the door. Luckily, there is a slight gap when the doors are shut and his fingers weren't broken. Of course in the first instant he was screaming and I was screaming. The language was quite colorful. If you were outside of Blick at that time I apologize. The sweet people of Blick brought a bag of ice for us to put on his fingers. He just needed some love and cuddling, and he was right as rain. I had forgotten to buy paintbrushes, which I hear are quite important for, you know ... painting, so we stopped into Hobby Lobby. Katie also got a paint box that she had to, you ... paint. It was a good little project though. Tuesday we managed to meet up with some friends. We usually meet at a Mexican restaurant so the kids can make as much noise as they want, but Julie suggested a little place called Stevie B'sthat has a pizza buffet and a blessedly small game area. It also has the much coveted prize counter. And even better than that there was a guy behind the counter who was ready to deal. Kyle got a big stuffed dragon for 400 tickets. The 12 inch Batmans were 1300, so I am just guessing the dragon would have been at least 2000. Katie chose the actually stick close to her 300 tickets and got a few little things. It all ends up in the trash within a few weeks, so I was fine with that. We also got to meet Kyle's little brother Kody for the first time. He is absolutely adorable!!As we were leaving dinner that night we had decided to have more of a staycation. To hit the cool places around Atlanta. Maybe head out to Lake Lanier for some water and sand. So, it was a bit of a surprise when Mom woke me up on Wednesday saying "if we want to go to the beach we need to load up and leave soon." Katie had talked her ear off the night before about the beach, and about collecting shells. Mom did not want to disappoint her. We planned on heading to South Carolina to visit my grandfather's family anyway, so we just combined them. About six hours later we cecking into our room at the Avista Resort. We had no reservations, but the lady at the rest stop had suggested this hotel/condo. Our room was on the 17th floor. Mom is terrified of heights! Everytime Connor went near a door or window Mom had a mini-heart attack. Especially because Connor had a penchant for playing against the window. I am sure the windows are built for hurricane force winds, but Mom did not think they could stand up to Captain Destructo.
So, anyway .. we got all our crap (and we packed way too much for a three daytrip) up to the room and immediately changed into swimsuits for our first trip to the beach. It was slightly windy. In fact, the beach was red flagged, but since were mainly wanting to get our toes in the sand we decided to head on out anyway.This was Connor's first time to see the ocean. I ran ahead to try to capture the look on his face. I just love the excitement! Katie hasn't been to the ocean in about five years, so she was every bit as excited. The beach was wonderful. It was more crowded during the day, but not by too much. The sand was pretty, but the shells were few. Mostly just shell chips, but Katie didn't care. She managed to bring home about ten pounds of shell chips. The Avista also had indoor and outdoor pools. On the way in that first night we hit the indoor pool. Both areas had a Lazy River, and we floated around a bit. The water on the inside was WARM! Thursday morning we were up fairly bright and early. Mom and I insisted on enjoying a cup of coffee before we hit the beach again for the day.We hit the beach for a few hours before we went inside for lunch. Mom came down for the first round. We managed to secure our beach umbrella to the rolling cart by tying it with a towel. HINT: buy one of the corkscrew umbrella things and boogie boards on the first day. Connor LOVED the sand. No seriously, he loved the sand. He would roll around until he was completely covered. Quite annoying as he usually did it just as we were headed inside.Thursday night we got out, and Mom bought the kids boogie boards. We had to leave pretty early on Friday, so I took the kids to the beach while Mom got ready. Katie loved her board, Connor not so much. I put him on it and held him in place while a few waves went by, but he was competely untrustworthy of the sea without his feet in the sand. Katie would have stayed out there all day. ... but we needed to head out to spend some time with the family. We sat around gabbing and laughing. My cousin Patricia took the kids out to see the chickens. By the time I had grabbed my camera and headed out Katie was walking back to the house with a prize.And we HAD to make the trek out to the pond. I love this walk. Even in the blistering heat it is beautiful. You walk back through the years. At least six generations of my family have walked these grounds. My grandfather and his brothers and sisters were raised here. The boys dug a pond with just shovels and wheelbarrows. This land is going to be sold. My uncle passed and his will specified it was to be sold. The idea of this land not being in our family makes me so sad. The history that will be lost. Bulldozed under more than likely. So, if anyone reading this would like to give me a million or so to purchase this land, please let me know. A few hours with family and we were headed home. The kids amused themselves by harrassing each other. You would think being in separate rows of the van they would have a hard time driving each other (and us) insane, but they managed.Mom was allowed to choose two quilts made by our family to bring back from South Carolina, which put us on a quilt kick. We pulled out the old quilts around the house. I won't bore you with all of the pics, but a few of my favorites.Did I mention that Connor hates to sleep when we travel? He literally ran himself until he fell. I was in the shower, but Mom said he had bumped his arm and tried to come find me. He tripped and decided to lay his head down and sleep instead of continuing on. Mom grabbed an old sheet and covered him. Sweet little man.Sadly, I eventually had to wake him up so we could go to my brother's house for a quick visit. The kids had a blast playing with each other, as usual. It just makes me wish we lived closer. They all just play so well together!
It is practically a requirement to have a picture taken on the bench. The kids were not very cooperative, and I was ready to hit the road. It took longer than expected to load the van, and then I manged to misplace my keys. It was a very stressful departure on top of us all being sad to wave goodbye to Grammy. Hopefully we can head home again before the end of summer. I hate being away from home for so long, and the older I get the more I hate it.
Soon we will be back Atlanta, and hopefully with more time to spend with friends and family.
Promise :)