Thursday, March 29, 2012

95 Years Young

This pretty lady is my MeMama. She is celebrating her 95th birthday today! Can you imagine?! I know I can't! When she turned 90, I remember telling her that we would soon be celebrating her 100th birthday, to which she responded, "I hope I don't have to live that long!" And when I tell her that I hope I live as long as she has, she says, "Oh, no you don't!" She's a hoot.

MeMama was born in 1917. She grew up in south Georgia. Her parents were tobacco farmers. She has lots of stories to tell about growing up during the Great Depression. As a matter of fact, I wrote a paper about her for my American History class when I was in college. She may be 95 years old, but I'm amazed at the stuff she remembers and the stories she can tell. She can even tell you right now how much my mama weighed when she was born! I have trouble remembering how much Mason weighed when he was born, and that was a mere six years ago.

MeMama's first husband died in their late 20s. He had a heart attack, if I remember correctly. My Aunt Gail was very young at the time, three years old, I think. MeMama then married my Granddaddy, and my Mama was born.

As fun as naming the new baby is naming the grandparents when the first grandchild is born. Kerry was the firstborn grandchild. My Aunt Gail would always refer to MeMama as "my mama." So that's what Kerry thought her name was, and his first pronunciation of "my mama" was actually "MeMama." So that's how we came to call her MeMama.

Now. About five years ago, I was informed that MeMama's name was, in fact, not MeMama (ME-mama) at all but MaMama (MAY-mama) and that I was the only one who called her MeMama. So nearly 30 years later, she's not MeMama but MaMama? Obviously, there has been a mistake. But I started listening. And, sure enough, it seems like everyone else calls her MaMama, although the ay is rather subtle. All I can say is that everyone else is mistaken. Because she is ME Mama. And that's what she'll always be to me!

MeMama has always loved to fish. Not a day would go by (unless it was raining) that she would grab her pole and walk through the pasture to the pond to catch a few fish. Granddaddy didn't care a thing about fishing. But he'd fry those babies up. Those fish fries are one of my favorite memories growing up. We'd all sit outside around the picnic table and grab a fish or two out of the brown paper bag he'd dropped them into to drain the grease. And we'd have all the fixin's, too. This would also be a good time to mention that we'd eat syrup on our hushpuppies! There's nothing like it. I thought everyone did it. Until recently.

I used to love spending the night at MeMama's house. If I was lucky, I'd get to spend not just one night but two nights. I always loved how she had stacks of Ramen noodles in her pantry. That wasn't something we had at home. And she'd let me "cook" the Ramen noodles. I loved dressing up in her high heel shoes ('cause goodness knows she had at least three closets full of them) and costume jewelry. She's always loved bright, big jewelry, especially "ear bobs," as she still calls them. And she always had every color of the rainbow in eyeshadow. We'd go for walks in the woods. And my favorite was sitting in the driveway and making mud pies with the old tin measuring cups and pie pans.

I wish I could tell you how many blankets and things MeMama has crocheted over her years. But I can't. All I know is I have several. My favorite is the one she made for Mason. Well, she didn't exactly make it for Mason. She made it for my first child. Seth and I had been married for a couple of years or so. I'd gone home for some reason, I can't remember why, and she gave me a beautiful, multi-colored crocheted baby blanket. When I asked her what it was for, she told me it was for my baby (which I didn't have yet!) and that she wanted to go ahead and give it to me because she'd probably "flop out" by the time I decided to have a baby! She hasn't flopped out yet, and not only did she get to meet Mason three years later and then Hannah Kate, but she has four grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren!

I'm convinced that in five years, we'll be celebrating her 100th!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Favorites: Things I Don't Want to Forget

I was not looking forward to the task at hand this morning.

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled out the totes containing my old maternity clothes. I thought I remembered having some "cute" clothes for pregnancy, but I was obviously wrong. So I pulled a few things out and left most in the totes. I really can't wear my regular pants anymore, but I can still wear most of my tops and even dresses. So it isn't a big deal. I'd already decided I wasn't going to invest in any new maternity clothes this time unless it became absolutely necessary. And I really don't think it will. But I did have my mind set on a new dress to wear for Easter. We also have two other very special occasions coming up during the next month that I need to "dress" for so my plan was to buy one dress and wear it for all three. I was under the impression that "cute" maternity clothes, dresses in particular, do exist. A trip to my local maternity clothing store a couple of weeks ago proved me wrong. I walked out disgusted and discouraged.

So then I began searching the internet. I some some "cute" maternity dresses all right . . . if you think spending $185 or more for one dress is cute. I don't even spend that much on regular clothes, much less maternity clothes. I was lamenting my position to my bestie, and she even spent part of my birthday day searching online and texting me pics of options she thought I might like. All of the ones I liked were either sold out or not available in my size. Go figure.

So since we've been cooped up inside the past three days because of the rainy weather, I decided it was time for us to head out today, thinking it may perk me up a bit. Besides, I thought perhaps I'd been a little harsh during my first trip to the maternity clothing store. So I decided to give it another chance.

As soon as I got there, the very chipper store manager greeted me and asked what I was looking for. I usually prefer to browse on my own, but I decided I would give her a chance. So I told her I was looking for a dress to wear on Easter and two other occasions, and I gave her my list of "requirements." The first dress she pulled for me broke the first two rules. It was $167 (oh, just divide that by the number of times you wear it she gushed). No, thank you. It's $167 no matter how many times I wear it. And not only that, it was the exact style I told her I did not want. Problem solved anyway when they only had a medium in stock, which was too big for me. I tried on three other dresses, none of which I liked and all of which were hideous. Or, maybe it wasn't the dresses themselves that were hideous, but me! By this time, the store manager isn't quite as chipper anymore (although she insists she'll call me when they get a small in the dress she really thinks I should buy, even when I tell her I'm still not going to buy it) and offers me bottled water as a consolation, I guess. By this time, I just want to leave the store and go buy a tent to wear.

As I'm pushing Connor's stroller to the front of the store, he starts yelling, "Baby! Baby!" I don't hear any babies. I look around, and I don't see any babies. I even begin to look for products with pictures of babies on them because by this time he's very insistent that I, too, see the "baby." And then I realize . . . just in front of us is another expectant mother. A VERY expectant mother. And Connor is still yelling, "Baby!" all the while pointing to her belly! I couldn't help it. I laughed. And that would be right about the time she realized what Connor was talking about. I think the look in my eyes gave her an apology, but she just laughed, too.

So I realize that I now have three options for said dress. I can, like I mentioned earlier, wear a tent. I could probably sew my own dress. How hard could it be? I just need a lot of fabric. Pretty fabric. Or I could find a non-maternity dress that I could make work for now and then be able to wear it once I'm not pregnant. Somehow that sounds like the best option to me.

I DO want to forget the whole experience of shopping for maternity clothes.

Today was a big day for Mason. He'd been invited to spend the night with a friend. This will be the very first time he's spent the night away from home with someone other than his MawMaw or Aunt Ashley. When I told him about it earlier in the week, he thought about it for a minute and then asked if Hannah Kate was going, too. I explained that his friend had invited him over because Mason is his friend, not Hannah Kate. So he was pretty excited about it. But I think he was a little nervous, too. After he got home from school, I took him to his friend's house. Later, I got this picture:
I'm fairly certain he's having a good time! And, just in case you can't tell, Mason is the muddy boy on the right. I'm not sure what it is with the hand signals though. Lately I can't take a picture of him without making him drop the hand signals.

My friend told me that Mason came to her at 7:40 and told her he thought he should go to bed. When she asked him why, he explained that 7:30 is his bedtime, and he didn't want me getting upset that it was past his bedtime, and he wasn't in bed yet. So Samantha told him that it was okay because it wasn't a school night, which meant he could stay up later than 7:30. A little bit later they settled in to watch a movie, and Samantha told the kids they could have ice cream. Mason told her he didn't think he should have any because it was really late, and I might not let him. So she explained to him that since he was at a sleepover, it was okay to eat ice cream late and that I wouldn't mind at all. I think it's so sweet that he thinks of his Mama and how I might feel about the decisions he makes. I hope he'll always be that way! I don't want to forget how sweet and thoughtful Mason is to me.

In the meantime, I had to take a picture of this little princess and her new bow. Think it's big enough?
This girl is something else! This conversation didn't happen today, but it's so funny to me, and I don't want to forget it.

We were browsing the latest American Girl catalog. She turned to the page with the pets, about 5 or 6 little doggies of different breeds and colors that you can purchase for your American Girl. Each dog has a name. Hannah Kate told me that she couldn't remember their names so I was going to remind her of each one. Before I could do that, she pointed to one in particular and was about to say the name, but before she could say it, I did. Praline. She gave me a really funny look. "Praline," I said again. And then I realized where this was going. Let me give you a quick lesson in phonics.

Praline (PRAY - leen)

Now, that would be how I've always pronounced the word. And I'll bet you've always pronounced it that way too. Unless you're from Louisiana. In that case, it's praline (PRAW - leen). I know what you're thinking, but let's not go there. Just take my word for it.

So, needless to say, most people do not know what I'm talking about when I say praline, and then they usually end up laughing at me. That's fine. So back to this little American Girl doggie named Praline. I knew Hannah Kate and her MawMaw had looked the catalog over days earlier, and I pretty much figured out that her MawMaw had already told her the names of the doggies, including "praw-leen."

Hannah Kate looks at me and says, "No, Mama. It's puh-puh-puh . . . raw . . . AW AW AW AW . . . leen. You know, the aaawwwwww sound, Mama."

After weeks and weeks of working on phonics with Mason, long vowels and short vowels and letter sounds . . . that sometimes I might take a little too far when coaxing Mason to recognize different letter sounds and blends . . . she is obviously picking up on it, too, and giving me my own lesson.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring has sprung!

Look what bloomed today!
On one of my trips to Georgia last summer, Mama and I dug some of Grandmother's lilies up out of her old flower garden. I aways admired them because they're so pretty and resilient, and they remind me of Grandmother. I had planted some at our first house and definitely wanted some in my garden at this house. They didn't bloom last summer since I had just transplanted them. They almost didn't make it this year because someone got a little trigger happy with the Round-Up a few weeks back. Seth was "weeding" my flower beds, which I prefer to do the old-fashioned way down on my hands and knees. He didn't realize he was spraying the lilies that were just poking their heads above the pine straw. I'll bet that won't happen again. I was so excited this morning to find that the first bloom finally smiled at me. How appropriate for the first day of spring!

But it seems like spring arrived already. We've been enjoying spring-like weather since mid-January. At least a few weeks of cold weather would've been nice, but I have to admit I've really enjoyed the weather. Our azaleas bloomed a few weeks ago and were so pretty. Everything is coming back to life . . . the grass is green again, the trees are sprouting new green. I'm really anxious to get out in my flower beds and pots and plant for spring and summer. I'm also anxious to plant my vegetable garden. But I remember several years back when Mason had to wear a sweatshirt and sweatpants while Easter egg hunting because of an unusual cold snap in April. So I'm trying to wait a little longer before doing any new planting.

In the meantime, we've spent the past several weeks trying to survive 1st grade, croup and the crud. Hannah Kate is better now, but I think this last round of croup did my humidifier in so I need to purchase another one before she gets it again. Seth is better, too, but he continued to get sick even when taking antibiotics. And as for me, I started a round of antibiotics this past Monday. After four weeks of ear aches, sore throats, coughing and congestion, I just couldn't take it anymore. I'm feeling better, but I do fear some of this yucky stuff has settled in my chest. I have a doctor's appointment next Tuesday.

And as for 1st grade . . . well . . . I think we're doing pretty good there, too. We were so very proud of Mason last week when he brought home A's and B's on his report card. It's been a very challenging semester, and he had some low grades at mid-term, but he brought all of them up! He works so hard at school, and homework takes us at least an hour each afternoon. I think 1st grade is the new 4th grade. There's no more "see Jane run." He's reading some serious stuff, words that I had no idea he would read in the 1st grade. We wanted to reward him for all of his hard work so he got this Nerf disc blaster thing. It's the first Nerf gun he's had that is automatic instead of pumping each time you want to shoot. And this Friday he's going to his first ever sleep over at a friend's house.
And as for Miss Hannah Kate . . . last Friday she dressed up in her crushed black "velvet" dress, complete with the gold locket that was mine when I was little and a rhinestone crown. She dressed Emily in her matching outfit (compliments of Cindy!). And we had a tea party and played Go Fish. Because I'm sure you wear your crushed velvet dress when you want to play Go Fish, too.
And here's the diva playing outside the other day. Everything is a pose now. This seems to be her signature pose.
And as for the little guy in the middle . . . well, he'll be 2 years old in about three weeks. It's so hard to believe he's been with us for nearly 2 years. And in a few short days, his time with us will come to an end. With the approaching arrival of the new baby, Connor will begin "preschool" on April 2.
And . . . not only is today the first day of spring . . . but it's my birthday! Actually, it's OUR birthday. Happy Birthday, Cindy (and Scott, too). In the midst of washing, folding and putting away laundry, preparing meals, reading books, singing songs, homework, playtime and everything else in between, I felt like a rock star today!

I think Mason and Hannah Kate were more excited than I was to open my present from Daddy and Mama. So open it they did.
I didn't take a picture, but it's a lamp I'd been eyeing at Pottery Barn for quite some time. Love it!

Happy Spring!