Friday, July 27, 2012

Fast-Forward

This child right here...

 

I took her school supply shopping last night. For kindergarten. How/what/why/WHEN did that happen? Seems like only yesterday, this was the girl I knew...







Not ready at all for kindergarten, but still my little Lou. Man, it tugs at those heartstrings I didn't know I had until just recently. Goodness gracious.

But, in typical Louisa fashion, school supply shopping was oh so colorful and dramatic. Can you even imagine? Thank goodness Mead, Five Star and those other school supply companies have recently added the likes of pink, purple, hearts and sparkles to their lines. We sat on one aisle for 15 minutes while Lou chose from a sparkly purple folder and a shiny pink one. NOT kidding. But, the apple didn't fall far from the tree since her momma can spend hours in the school supply section. :) I had to calm my inner dork about all the new highlighters, pens and markers out on the market. Ooohhh...and did I mention the Trapper Keepers? I almost tripped over my buggy and fell down. Note to self, I must find a reason that I need a trapper keeper. And maybe a few new pens. Okay, okay...and highlighters while I am at it. :)

And just to entertain you with another one of Lou's signature moments...

The other night Byron and I were going to a meet and greet event and dinner. Well, I actually had rollers in my hair and was putting on make-up and wearing high heels (did you happen to see the pigs flying that night?) and as Lou was helping me with my make-up (thankfully I don't have any colored eyeshadows or crazy blushes or anything wild, because I feel certain those would have been her picks, she sighed at one point and referred to my make-up collection, which mind you some pieces have been around since high school...wow, as "boring and dumb") she said to me, "You know mommy, you should really actually DO something with yourself more often. You look so much better."

Ouch. Thanks Louisa!

Hehe, but seriously...moms of babes, don't blink. Don't ever blink!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Down around Biloxi...

Pretty girls are dancing in the sea...

Now are you singing the old Buffett tune too? If not, you should…might drop your blood pressure a bit. JB has that effect on me. Always has, always will. :)

Anyways, back to catching up on the Norris family summer of crazy amounts of driving. I left Jackson May 15th with about 94,000 miles on my car (which is only 6 years old mind you), and will break 100,000 probably this next week. And let me just tell you how much I loooooove to drive with screaming kids in the car. It’s like my fave past-time.

In the month and a half that Byron was still living in Jackson and me and the kiddos were already in Georgia (which was way worse than I ever imagined, all of you ladies married to men in the military, you are my heroes. I don't know how you do it, but you do and I am forever grateful for their service!), we took a week long trip to Biloxi where we stayed at the sweetest little cottage/beach house. Now, I had been warned by many people while living in Mississippi about going to the MS gulf coast. I had been told the water was brown, the beaches were dirty, there was nothing to do, etc. and to not waste my time and instead go to Alabama or Florida. Well, we decided to give it a try – and since Byron was doing a rotation close by, the price was right (which there are few vacations that the price is right with a resident’s salary) and they let us bring the dogs – which you know I don’t like to go anywhere without these sweet faces.
 

So, after a week there, let me go ahead and defend the MS gulf coast. I didn’t think it was bad at all, but then again…I am the type of person that when I go to the beach, I go TO THE BEACH and not much else. I grew up on the sleepy island of Tybee where everything is on Tybee time, the sand is brown, the water is brown and there are 6’ tides. I heart Tybee with everything I have. So, being used to brown sand and brown water, that fact didn’t bother me. I think the thing I loved the most about the beach in Biloxi was that we almost always had it all to ourselves. That was fabulous. Everyone was friendly, and that makes me smile. I also loved that you could walk out many, many feet and the water was still only to your mid-calf (which is ankle deep for most people). It was a fine beach for the Norris circus. I will say there was some trash in the sand and floating in the water, but that isn’t the beach’s fault…instead the result of ignorance and laziness of people that cannot pick up after themselves and unfortunately those people are found all over this world, not just in MS. Boo on them. So, don’t discount the MS gulf coast peeps. Now, I cannot account for things to do since we didn’t do much of that (other than bumper cars and putt putt) – but if you are on a budget, like to sit on a quiet beach and don’t mind the murky water, go for it. And I have a cute little cottage to recommend if you are interested!

So anyways, after the 9 hour drive from Athens to Biloxi (half of which I spent febrile with another lovely case of tonsillitis, but I won’t go into that…I will just say that I am not quite convinced yet that we didn’t move into a petri dish instead of a house. We haven’t been this sick, this much in a looooong time) we got there.

Here are just a few things we learned on the Biloxi trip:

  • Nash can throw a paci like it is his job. Whether he is in the car, in his stroller, in his crib, walking around, etc., he chunks it. And he likes a paci that bounces (I’ve told yall about these before) and that I have to jerry-rig a clip for since they don’t make them for this particular paci. While traveling, I had 7 pacis in my console of the car, and after an hour of traveling…I had to pull over to retrieve and find all 7 again to start anew. Just to give you an idea of how fun he is in the car…
  • Nash has absolutely NO fear of the ocean. Actually, Nash has absolutely NO fear of anything. Louisa is quite the opposite. Precocious as the day is long, but that girl has her reservations. I am not quite sure why beach chairs were even packed since there was no sitting involved. And, he is a quick one…close your eyes for one second, and the child is trying to swim with the dolphins. It’s funny how the beach can be the most relaxing place in the world for me, until I have my children with me. And then, I am the one in need of a nap when we get home.
 

 
  • Hermit crabs are a great source of entertainment, not only for the little ones – but the adults as well. We spent hours searching for them, creating them homes in the sand and then trying to avert their escape attempts. Cheap fun. 
 
  • There is an event in Biloxi along the “strip” called Scraping the Coast. Now, for all of you that think like me…you think that maybe it is a clean-up effort to get the trash, extra sand, etc. off the beach, beach walkways, what have you. But my friends, this is so wrong. It is actually an event that many, many people camp out on the side of Hwy 90 for. It is a parade-like collection of jerry-rigged low-riding cars that in actuality “scrape” the coast. Cue: All my friends know the Low Rider...Wow. Do I even need to go into an explanation of how bad we stuck out like sore thumbs while driving in our SUV loaded with car seats, screaming babes throwing pacis and a large piece of black Tupperware attached to the top to hold our luggage that says Sears on the side? Well, it was humorous to say the least. 
 
  • Byron and I had our first interaction with a Murphy bed. You know, those fancy beds that fold down out of the wall. Well, in lieu of our family’s history with Murphy, I almost wanted to call it, “the He who shall not be named bed.” Hehe. 
 
  • Nash (aka Tonya Harding) is quite a threat with his plastic golf clubs. No shin, knee, dog, cat, sister, etc. is safe when this one is around… And then, he met putt putt.
 

 
  • Louisa is a bumper car pro. See, there are some benefits to driving like your momma…check out the pure JOY on her sweet face!
 
 
 
  • And what is a beach trip without a 3 legged frog, triangle fingers and some baby booty? Right, so that is how we wrap up our Biloxi trip.
 

And just a few more scragglers of the hooligans, this first one is my FAVE!






And now, my dearys...I will bring you back to Georgia for the few weeks in which I was homeless. Me, the kiddos, the labradors and the striped kitty were lucky enough to be able to stay with Patsy (Byron's mom) for a few weeks, and then spend the other time in Savannah with my parents before we closed on West Clover. The kiddos had the BEST time those few weeks. Yeah, it was crazy since we weren't home, but it was kinda nice being gypsies. :) I will have to admit. I had a great time. I missed Byron like crazy, but me and the kiddos made the most of it and you cannot beat the amount of time the cousins all got to hang out!




Here, Jacob is teaching Louisa how to hold your mouth JUST right when fishing in the pool to avoid falling in. :)



But, what Jacob doesn't know is that Louisa possesses her Momma's fine motor skills and amazing coordination and grace as exemplified below. Haaaaaaaaaaaaa.


And this my dears...is trouble. With a capital B-R-O-W-N dog. Nothing drives Mallard crazier than kids in a swimming pool. Wait, maybe that isn't right...everything drives Mallard crazy. :) And mind you, yes...he can swim. In fact, once he is in the water - good luck getting him out but I put him in a life jacket (against his will) because he has seizures and I swanny I would never forgive myself if something happened to him when he was swimming.


Here Lou is showing us all how to hold her mouth just right, that piece of Morgan DNA is dominant in the girls.


Here, it appears that Louisa is fast learning how to be a master gardener as her Mimi reads to her about watering. However, I overheard something about stomping a sprinkler and throwing a screen door. One would think that tempers run in the family...I seem to certainly have skipped that one. (Have you choked yet? Because I just fell out of my chair, hehe)


Oh...sweet snuggles with Jenny, who isn't allowed on the couch.



And on that note...I believe I am finally caught up. Phew, now to keep on blogging on a regular basis. Yall hold me to it, okay?

The Porcelain Gods

Well, you can give a kid a water table (that you just so happened to luck out on the clearance rack at Target)...

but he'd prefer the toilet.

Yep. We had come inside for a small break from playing with the water table and as I was fixing drinks for everyone (now I know why I had the slight urge to accidentally spill some rum in my Diet Coke) when I heard splashing. And it dawned on me, Louisa is upstairs because I can hear her stomping. Hmmmm, Nash is playing the kitchen cabinet with all the tupperware...WAIT, no he isn't. So I follow the splashing and find this.


BUSTED.


And check out the infamous accomplice chair. Lawsy.

This girn, however...melts me to my very core, no matter the reason behind it.


And now, he is just laughing at me, check out all those chompers! Oh dear sweet baby Nash, why oh why are you such a hooligan?


And now, back to that Diet Coke...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Goodbye Cowan Place...

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

Miss me?

Baby steps. That’s what it is all about here. I have been seriously so far away from my family blog that it is pitiful. Once again, many times I wondered if I should just let it go and let it be one less thing to do since there is so much to catch up that it overwhelms me. But, I can’t. I just cannot. And I have NO reason why. 

Well, maybe that isn’t completely true. Let me tell you why.

I heart this blog. I don’t necessarily heart the time that it takes to upload photos and format and all that jive (mind you, if I could let go of the control and not worry about the format or size of the photos and what it looks like it would all go way quicker, but really…I may have been gone for a while, but I am still the same ole controlling Amy) but I love it. I haven’t printed photos in over 3 years. Phew, I just admitted that. Nash doesn’t even have a baby book. But this blog is MY family. And my dear, sweet husband surprised me with another published book of the blog. Remember this one? Well, I now have book #2 and the other night I caught Byron and Louisa sitting together on the screen porch reading stories from the blog book and THAT my dears is what sealed the deal. I can’t let this blog go, 4 years from now when my mind has gone completely to the birds (yes, I did only give myself 4 more years) I will have these books to look back on and remember these crazy times when I cannot for the life of me figure which way is up or down, the times when I am most tempted to string my kids up by their toes from the ceiling fans by the end of the day, the times that I just sit and cry because I have lost my shiz, and the times that ONE day I will look back on and miss the snot out of. 

So, the Norris Family journey continues – here’s hoping I can catch back up.

We are finally back in the beautiful state of Georgia. The place Byron and I both call home. There really is NO place like home. And Athens, GA is proving to be just about the finest place I could ever image to call home. I still wonder sometimes if this is real. Like today for instance…I was in a grocery store right around the corner (NOT to be confused with the corner grocery from Jackson, laws help us that we won’t get that sort of reputation here!) I walked in and not only found fresh, clean produce, but also Wholly Salsa and strawberry Abita beer literally feet from each other in ONE place. I almost cried. I was waiting to wake up from the dream in which I could walk from my house and have my fave summertime beer and salsa in minutes. So, I did what came naturally, I grabbed a stash, headed to the register and when the check-out lady (who had tattoos all up her arm, a nose ring and dreads – have I mentioned how much I love this town?) asked me if the strawberry Abita was good, I looked at her in the eyes and said, “No way. It’s pretty awful. I wouldn’t drink it if I were you, but my husband loves it for some reason, so if yall could keep it in stock that would be fabulous.” And that my dears, is how it is done. Protecting my stash. Well played, Amy.

Anyways, I had started this goodbye blog a while back while still in Jackson, so before I get ahead of myself, let me work on finishing it.

This is goodbye. This is one final goodbye to Cowan Place. A place that we called home for 5 years. You know me, I refuse to acknowledge that I have any feelings or emotional ties to anything, so I never in my right mind (whatever that is) thought I would get emotional leaving the house. But I did. As I had my car loaded down to the brim to make the final trip from Jackson to Georgia, I pulled out of my driveway and the tears came. I was ill-prepared. They flowed, and they flowed and they flowed. I looked back at the house, and this is just a snippet of what I saw. 

  • I looked at the window to the right of the front door. That room, which was most recently Nash’s nursery, housed both of my babies. I spent many, many, many hours looking out of that window while rocking babies, nursing babies, calming babies and singing lullabies. I had each and every branch of the crape myrtle that sat outside of the window memorized. Down to a tee. I knew there was a sweet little lizard that lived in the tree. And I knew that I would never again look out that window while holding a sweet little babe.
  • Then, I thought about the hallway that led from that room. That one hallway alone was the place of BOTH of my baby’s first steps. It was also a place that I spent huddled with kids and animals far too many times to count while listening to the tornado sirens blare while the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight.
  •  Off of that hallway was a bathroom where I spent many, many hours bathing slippery kiddos and chasing away fevers in the wee hours. It is also where Nash said his first words, “Uh-oh.”
  • I left the hallway momentarily and found myself in the den and the sewing room where I spent more hours than I even care to think about starting my own business from the ground up. So much time spent on PR, so much effort into designs, many, many late nights burning the midnight oil pushing myself and my sewing machines past limits to meet deadlines and help bring in some extra income for the family.
  • Then, in my mind I walked into my favorite room of the house, the breakfast room – a room I also liked to call the rotunda. It was here that we sang happy birthday to both of my kids for the very first time celebrating oh-so-precious first birthdays.
I sat there in the driveway far too long with my car in reverse with the tears flowing, my mind racing and as Nash started to scream in the back seat I realized I needed to get moving. So, I did. I backed out and I drove off of Cowan Place for the last time ever. I looked in my rearview mirror at the cul-de-sac that I circled thousands of times with fussy babies during suicide hour and said goodbye. And then, I got on I-20 east, and I didn’t look back again.

It is sort of odd now, thinking back on life in Jackson. I actually visited one more time for Byron’s graduation and driving through the town I had no pull or draw to it. I drove down Cowan Place for good measures, but I felt like a Peeping Tom staring at someone else’s house. And well, granted it IS (and mind you I was NOT in the bushes properly peeping tom, but still in my car) but it just felt so strange. I still cannot put my finger on it, but it was strange how far removed I had become. But, the cutest couple bought our sweet house on Cowan Place, and when she texts me telling me that she loves it, it just makes my heart smile.

So, while goodbyes are said to Cowan…hellos are in store for a place I like to call West Clover. A house that literally takes my breath away. A beautiful brick cottage built in 1938 just waiting for Amy to come along 74 years later. It has my name all over it. All over the plaster walls with thick moldings, all over the arched doorways, all over the crystal doorknobs that fall off at the most in-opportune times, all over the hardwoods that my dogs couldn’t hurt more if they tried, and all over the screened porch that I have spent many, many hours on with my strawberry Abita and my Labradors. 

West Clover also presents its fair share of issues (lawsy, I think I just choked on my Abita from the understatement there). Thankfully, this house hasn’t been touched since it was built in 1938. What that means to me is that no one has come and jerry-rigged it or stripped it of its original details. What that means to you is that there will be many, many blogs down the road of me probably venting my frustrations regarding renovations, falling-off doorknobs, projects that go bad real quick-like, etc. So, sit back and enjoy the ride over the next couple of years as we transition West Clover to a home. Or, run for the hills to avoid awful renovation stories, because we all know Byron and I find some doozies. OR, better yet…sit back, read and learn how NOT to renovate your house. Hehe. 

So, now to continue the task of catching up the blog. Pictures of the new crib will come, all in good time. I promise. Trust me, you might get sick of it. :) Thanks for being patient with me, and for those that are new to the Norris Family journey...head's up - I don't spell check, proof read or any of that jive and sometimes I say bad words. 50 shades of Amy. Haha, now watch me get controversial comments on that one...

Until next time…which hopefully isn’t too far away.