Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer Mornings

If our summer afternoons can be spent in the cool of our family room, curtains drawn, a bowl of popcorn to be shared among us then our summer mornings are destined for a little more adventure.

Sometimes that means we're garbed in ladybug red and bouncing on the bed...
And other times, especially this summer, that means we're getting every last nickel and dime out of our summer membership to the new local Children's Museum.

In a lovely shade of ducky yellow, as you can see.

There are few places I can go these days where it's relatively easy to watch them all by myself. Much less a place we can shoe horses, brew a stew, wake a dragon, till the earth, shovel beans, direct a puppet play, and build a castle.

All in a soon to be gone summer's morning.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fall, Festivals, Fainting

Confession time: I bought a few sprigs of fall floral a couple of weeks ago.

I didn't mean to. I went into the Dollar Store, innocently enough, for a piece of poster board but there they stood all cute and fall and reminding me of what is to come.

Among the pick your own patches, the carving, the annual chili bash at our house, the hot cider, and the apple-cinnamon-pumpkiny scents there is something else I just love.

A good festival.

This year we didn't have to wait for October because we found a few to satisfy the craving in summer. We first joined up with dear friends to support the local crisis pregnancy center and jail ministry. There was the playing of corn hole, a small maze, pony riding, a barn full of children's games, music on a stage in a field, and plates of home cookin' and smoked ribs.

There was also 100 degree weather, even at 5 pm.

That experience certainly taught us a lesson, so we ventured next up to Nashville for the Tomato Art Fest at 10 am on a Saturday. Of course, in the heat of the day... because 1,000,000 degrees makes for a much better heat index.
Needless to say, we didn't last too long. Thankfully, though, we were able to use a frozen lemonade split between sippies and some free farmer's market fans... load up on some goodies before we called it a day and went to find lunch indoors where it was air conditioned. We may have been sticky and sweaty, but we certainly had us some fun in between.

Today, due to some big time runny noses, we had to miss the first annual "Sweet Tea Festival" at a plantation near our house. Boo. A festival centered around an abundance of sweet tea? Pretty sure it would have been some southern version of heaven.

But maybe it will be best to wait anyway. You know, until I can put out those delicious autumn colors without feeling like I'm cheating on the season. Until then, it's off for snuggles and fixing the toilet and "Horton Hears a Who" and the promise of my favorite season right around the corner... likely without a side of fainting.

That's what I call a good festival. :)


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Something About

Just something about old friends. The kind who knew you when you were wet behind the ears and purely optimistic about how you were gonna change the world, when you could stay up all night in a small dorm room eating cookie dough and laughing till you cry, when you thought you should have lost a few pounds... but you look back at the pictures and think, "I was crazy! Look how skinny I was!"

That last memory might be a direct result of Operation Baby Weight. Just sayin'. :)

Then there is something about those old friends coming to love on you, coming to love on your babies. Something about the way they look on the other side of your front door, arms outstretched. The way they can't wait to shower gifts and hear the latest and go on Hope's house tour again.

Something about the way they jump right in bathing, swaddling, brushing teeth, playing explorer and little people and whatever else, blowing bubbles, going on picnics, babysitting, wiping up messes, watching movies late into the night while passing the littlest around.

Just something about the way these friendships rooted in faith grow stronger with each little girlfriend the good Lord gives Joe and I.

It really is something.

Friday, August 20, 2010

To My Future Self

Dear Future Mama,

Why hello there... how are you old friend? Chances are pretty good that a lot has changed since you penned this post. And Lord willing, I sure hope those changes include the growing up of three young girls into vibrant and healthy young women. Young women with purpose, with strength, with grace, with joy. Young women that make you so humbly full of pride that you could burst.
That is when you're not crying because... mercy me, young women.
You used to lament about it often. How fast they were growing, how you just couldn't believe they were turning such and such an age, how it seemed like just yesterday they were being born all pink and new and tiny and full of promise.
But truth was, sometimes those days felt a little long. All that changing of the diapers, quieting of the whines, redirecting of the attitudes, sweeping of the floors, waiting of the daddy to get home from how hard he worked while away from you.
But the truth is that it was the blink of an eye, wasn't it? And you'd do just about anything right now to get it back. No "me" time, no long uninterrupted showers, no girls' nights out, no using the toilet without an audience could stop you from giving it all up again to get back one day.
Just one day back of their littleness.
How they used to laugh at the top of their lungs and talk (and talk and talk), how they used to fire questions at ninety miles an hour, how they used to request so many stories that you thought for sure you would go hoarse with laryngitis. Hope never could go without being a part of every conversation, interjecting an "excuse me" every 2.56 seconds. And Maddie wanted so badly to keep up with big sister that between the ages of two and four, I'm not sure you and Joe ever had a full conversation until well after 9 pm. I venture to guess it's too quiet now for your liking and that you two might be wishing there were interrupting little voices to drive you a bit bonkers and to make you laugh all at the same time.
Remember stumbling upon all manner of mess... small tidal waves of water by the sinks or the dog's dish, toilet paper rolls unfurled with such gusto, crackers strewn from here to there because someone just had to go and leave the pantry door cracked again? Oh the outfit changes that can happen in a home with three wee girls. Hope in her animal costumes, Maddie in all manner of accessory, Alysse sporting bib number 132 for the week. A pile of laundry to reflect all the art projects, snack making, sand box playing, and adventure there was to be had. Are you longing for a laundry date night... you, Joe, a movie, and a mound of itty bitty shirts and socks and pants and sundresses? Oh the sundresses, those were the best. Cause sundresses meant twirling.
And there still is nothing sweeter than little girls barefoot and twirling to their heart's delight.
I'm writing you today because, lucky for you, it is still just that... today. A day where you can snuggle Alysse close, soak up the purity of her smiles, and drink in the smell of her head. Rejoice when she wakes up in the middle of the night and needs what only you can give her. Savor what's left of these infant months where all she wants is to be cuddled and fed and changed and held and held and held. Because, as you already know, it only stays that uncomplicated for such a short period of time.
A day where you can laugh inside when Maddie has a two year old moment, when telling her that no she may not have popsicle before dinner drives her to make the saddest fit you've ever seen. Hope that soon after you put her to bed you hear the squeak of her bedroom door only to find that angelic voice asking, "Can we wock just for a wittle minute?" Hold her longer than you think you should. Play her favorite song over and over again just to watch her jump and giggle and twirl until she falls into a heap of blond peach fuzz. Say yes to going outside past dark and trying on the seventy fifth pair of shoes and even that popsicle from time to time.
A day where Hope doesn't want to be separated from you for more than a few minutes, and if she is then she comes back out of her room again and again while explaining, "It's just because I love you, Mom!" Laugh deeply at how excited she gets over things, play explorer in the backyard until you barely make out each other's figures from the moonlight, delight in how much she loves to hear stories. Read, while holding hands, until you lose your voice. Let her help you make whatever she wants and pay no attention when more of it spills on the floor than goes in your meal. Paint the afternoon away, camp out at the library, nap together while you have to blow the fluff of that lion's mane out of your face. Be amazed at the questions and thoughts that come from her three year old heart and mind.
Hold their little hands and drop the broom, whisper in their small ears and leave the phone unanswered, run through the yard and let the grass stains take care of themselves.

Cause today?
It's some kind of wonderful, now isn't it?


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Tonight is one of those nights. A remembering night. An "I don't want to do much but upload and look at my pictures to unwind" night. (Never mind that I cooked and fed dinner, went grocery shopping, and got a couple of children in the bed).

I'll blame the fact that I'm up late again on last night when I did the unthinkable. I went to bed at 8:15 pm. All I remember is laying down to nurse Alysse, thinking about getting up shortly to help Joe get the big girls in the bed. Next thing I knew it was like the wee hours of the morning.

I guess that's what you might call tired. And I think I needed the rest because yesterday I'm pretty sure that...

a.) I forgot that I went downstairs to get a diaper for Maddie until I heard her come running at least a full twenty minutes later and shouting, "I went poopie in the playroom!" Thankfully, it was actually an, "I'm about to go poopie in the playroom!" so I dodged an, ahem, bullet.
b.) I also forgot to put a load of laundry in the dryer so I had to wash it again and perhaps again.
c.) In desperation I finally scotch taped a baby doll's hat onto her stubborn head because I couldn't bring myself to put it on one more time.
d.) The clincher? I was pretty much still in my pajamas from the night before when I laid down anyway.

So, yes, tonight I am remembering a little something we fondly recall as our family vacation. We have to be kind of creative since this spot in the budget is often reserved for trips to visit both sides of our family. Creativity came this time in form of a ninety minute timeshare presentation. But considering the fact that we politely shared from the get go that we wouldn't be joining and that we got loads of free stuff even still... it was worth that hour and a half to spend three days and two nights at a five star resort (plus free water park admissions and kids' meals) for less than you would typically spend one night in an average hotel room!

In honor of our ten day vacation/time to visit family, here are ten snapshots with ten of the things that I'm missing tonight...

One... late night swims in 80 degree water.
Two... first time for sisters to bunk up sofa bed style.
Three... water park adventures.
Four... laughter and silliness enough to balance out any mayhem (and there's always a little bit of mayhem).
Five... lots of family time with people we love and miss.
Six... grinning little girls getting bathed by Nana.
(actually that would be the entire post below)

Seven... playgrounds that meet the mountain skies.
Eight... a bedhead birthday surprise following a party of death by lasagna and chocolate (I especially love how detailed her artwork was!)
Nine... using the fact that we saved enough to eat at a favorite place in an old mill house (Operation Baby Weight postponed for this event).
Ten... loving up a friend who is now in Africa loving on some beautiful orphans.
And honorable mentions... my Mama's cooking including some to die for homemade ice-cream.
And those corn fritters from the Old Mill 'cause when you're postponing, you might as well go all the way out, you know?

~Katrina :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bathing Beauty

So this... well, this would be one of my favorite parts of the day. :)