Friday, March 28, 2014


"Hippity, hoppity, Easter's on it's way..."

I'm joining Mamabyrd in her weekly impressions post.  Feel free to add your own either here, or there...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Garbage Day

A few days after settling into our new house I was on a morning run.  You have to get up early here in the Summer if you want to beat the heat.  I crossed over into the neighboring subdivision and I saw a BEAUTIFUL dresser being thrown into the back of a big dump truck.  I remember chasing down the driver and asking what they were doing, and why, and more importantly, could I have it?  

Upon inspection the dresser was deemed too broken to remove from the truck (I think they just didn't want to get it down after putting it in), but the memory of seeing that beautiful wood trashed has haunted me ever since. Turns out, you can pretty much put anything on the side of the road and someone will pick it up for you.  And so, I find myself getting out of bed on Thursday mornings before children have awakened to take a quick glance at the neighbors trash piles. 

My findings so far have included....

a cassete player
a lovely metal bird feeder
a working Power Wheel that made a handy Christmas gift
fence sections that have since built our treehouse, pretend boat, and will be useful in making the garden boxes
and today, this wooden ladder

It's the thrill of the hunt that keeps me going.  The neighbors think I'm a bit odd, sorting through their trash before sunrise, but we're already the weird ones on the block so it doesn't matter.   When I miss a week I'm always left wondering what I missed.  For now, this ladder will make a great addition to the potting nook I have planned...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Treehouse 2.0

    We think it was a weed that someone just let grow.  It's ugly and growing right next to the garage.  It was scheduled to come down this week during some outdoor Spring cleaning. But, it also happens to be the only tree in our  yard.
      A few weeks ago I heard Ben and Alan making plans to put their self-constructed clubhouse up in it.  A few days later, the afore-mentioned clubhouse was pretty much destroyed during some high winds we had.  We knew the boys were upset and there were lots of grumblings about a certain treehouse we all loved and left.
     Then, one night as I was about to accuse him of "stalking" on Facebook.  I caught Dean searching plans for "one tree treehouses" on Pinterest.  I knew my plans for getting rid of it had been scratched when Dean hauled the boys out of bed before 7:00 a.m. on Saturday for a run into town for doughnuts and wood.



     It took the whole day.  We celebrated with s'mores and that order. There's no railing, but as Dean says.."If it wasn't a little bit dangerous it wouldn't be fun..."  Treehouse 2.0, smaller, but just as good for making secret plans and spying and tossing little plastic parachute men and inevitably,  jumping out of.

     I think Dean left the railing off just so he wouldn't have to sleep in this one...

Friday, March 21, 2014


     The registration form said T-ball, but we rarely see the tee.  Coach says they have to learn to really hit. Next year there will be try outs. They keep score and the kids know who wins.  No random batting order, no rotating through fielding positions.  Baseball in the South is frustrating, but he's still smiling. That's what's important, right?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Words and Weaning

     As I've mentioned before, there's definitely been a learning curve with Sadie.  Ben was almost 7 when she came to us at only 4weeks old and we didn't realize just how much we would need to re-learn.  I realized yesterday that she is now saying quite a few words, and she has officially been off her binky for more than two weeks.  It's kind of a big deal, considering her binky got her through some pretty sketchy situations during her first four weeks of life.  Let's just say she was pretty attached.
      I think I have a handful of journal entries detailing Ben's first words in detail, but I hadn't documented any of Sadie's words. I know that's the trouble with being the third child, fewer photos, fewer journal entries, less precaution and worrying on the part of mom and dad, and lets face it, a little more spoiling.

     So, here it is. A list of her words in order of appearance...

"all done"
"thank you"
and we think we heard "drink" just the other day.

     As for the pacifier, well, let's just say our afternoon naps are a work in progress.  We tried substituting a favorite blanket, a baby doll, stuffed animals....but it seems the empty sippy cup, and mom are the only substitutes she's willing to accept.  The whining/crying has increased to less than acceptable levels and I admit it's crossed my mind several times that a binky would be such a quick fix, but it's caused us to slow down and really figure out how to meet her needs rather than just plug up the whiney hole. There's more snuggles as we rock, and rock, and rock, and rock, and rock...but she's learning to self soothe and we're learning to just walk away and shut the door.  I saw a four year old with a pacifier at Sam's club last week.  She pulled it out of her mouth, grunted loudly and pointed at the hot-dog stand, and then put the binky back in.  I knew instantly we had done the right thing in weaning Miss Sadie.  Hopefully we'll feel just as good about future parenting decisions as we settle in to parenting three.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Blessings

    It happens to be one of my favorite holidays.  My mom always celebrated her Irish heritage in creative ways and it's something I wanted to continue, but St. Patrick's Day snuck up on me this year. The boys were getting ready for bed last night and Ben suddenly says, "oh yeah, we get to wear our special St Patrick's Day clothes tomorrow". "Umm, what special St. Patrick's Day clothes?", I thought to myself.
 When you have to wear a uniform everyday any "special clothes" days are embraced.  Too bad there weren't any St. Patrick's Day clothes in their closet.  Because of the whole uniform thing, I've gotten out of the habit of buying anything other than polo's and khaki's, and so I found myself digging out the freezer paper and craft paint at a late-ish hour of the night when I should have been knitting.  A Leprechaun mustache and a shamrock...

     A leprechaun photo bomb..

     Alan loved his gold.  He snuck it in his lunch box. 

     "Who is worth more to you than gold?"  Alan's answer...."Mom".  This from the kid who has yet to spontaneously say "I love you." He added "Ben, Dad, me, Sadie and Bailey" when he got home.  It warms my heart to know he does love me, us, our family, and that he thinks about us during school.  

     After reading about the Hungry Leprechaun that brought potatoes to Ireland, we tucked into our Irish Stew.  It was beef, not lamb, but a good substitute for corned beef and cabbage.  Especially because the kids will actually eat it.

      Dean looks a little like a leprechaun Hulk Hogan.  He wasn't wearing green and so he slapped on the 'stache' for fear of being pinched.

Shamrock shakes for dessert...

     Maybe it's not an authentic celebration.  My Cork ancestors would wonder at the shamrock shakes and the Lucky Charms, but we did talk about where we came from and what that means to us.  We created memories and traditions.
     I'll leave you with our Alabama version of an Irish blessing ... May your road to the beach be short, your A/C never broken, and your rain barrel full, and may your mustaches never be crooked (or upside down).

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sandbar Farm

     This weekend I went with the Young Women in our church to a farmhouse in Georgia owned by one of the leaders.  It reminded me so much of my Grandpa's farmhouse in Utah.  It smelled like soap and old wood and books and you could hear cows and the far distant train whistle, just like you can at his homestead in Hoytsville, Ut. I was a little nostalgic.  It was such a good chance to get to know the girls and the leaders better.

        There was laughing, and bonding, and fishing, and eating, and bonfires, and s'mores, and a moonlight hike, and a morning run through the woods.  Not a bad start to a weekend, if you ask me. I unofficially became the event photographer because I had the only camera not attached to a phone. (Thanks Jess for catching me in action.  Now everyone will know who to blame for blurry shots.)  Dean held down the fort so I could go.  Love him!

     After a beautiful devotional organized by two Miamaids, and some impromptu testimonies,  the girls lit lanterns, a la Tangled.  They symbolically let go of their sins, troubles, sorrows, or made a wish or hope as they let it go.  The Spirit was strong, the weather was gorgeous, and the food was delicious.  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Sandbar Farm.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Free with purchase... 
     "Kermit" tried to hitch a ride home with us from the garden center.  He startled me, I screamed, Dean laughed, and then gently returned him to the azalea display.  #onlyinalabama

Joining Mamabyrd in her Friday "Impressions" post.  Feel free to add your own, either here, or there.

Pine Straw

     They call it pine straw.  It's just pine needles from the Long Leaf Pine raked up and gathered together in a bale.  Apparently regular mulch invites too many critters and diseases in our neck of the woods, so we use this instead.  It's a new medium for me.  It's pokey and requires much more work than simply dumping out a bag of bark and smoothing it around with my foot.  One positive is that it inherently sticks together and won't wash away in the rain or blow away in the wind.  

     I kind of like that they found a way to reuse the shed needles.  It seems less wasteful than using wood chips and despite the annoyance of spreading and patting it into place, ANYTHING is better than weeding.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Marturello's Go to Birmingham

     It's a three hour trip from Dothan to Birmingham.  It sounds daunting, but we're learning that in the South, anything under 6 is totally do-able and for most natives, considered a relatively short distance.  The van was loaded with the usual road-trip items.  Pillows, goldfish crackers, and a good audio book.  The choice of our book was obvious. "The Watson's Go to Birmingham-1963".

     There's a lot to see and do in Birmingham.   It's a city I'd never thought about visiting until we moved to Alabama.  As we made our way north, Dean commented on just how much history we were driving through.  Cities like Selma, Montgomery, Cahaba, all places we'd heard about so many times in our high school  U.S. history classes, but never dreamed we'd be traveling through.

   We had an itinerary, sort of.  Kind of like the Watson's in the story, we started out and stopped when we wanted to see something or needed a potty break.  First on the list was swimming at the hotel pool.

The next morning we made time for a quick stop at the LEGO Store.  Someone's birthday money was burning a hole in their pocket...

     As we headed downtown Dean and I were trying to decide whether or not to visit the Civil Right's memorials.  The subject matter is heavy and serious, and we weren't sure whether it fit in on this trip, but the Watson's in our story had just made it to Birmingham and we knew what was coming up, so we made a quick detour at the 16th street Baptist Church.

     I'm ashamed to say I had forgotten the specifics about what happened in Birmingham in 1963.  We were frantically researching on our phones as we drove to the church so we would be able to explain things to the boys.  In the end, we chose to read the markers as we walked around the park and the church.  There's a beautiful statue of the four girls who were killed in the bombing.

The "Four Spirits" sculpture in Kelly Ingram Park is a memorial for the four little girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. Source: Melynda Sides/WBRC
     Also, a statue that forces you to walk through ferocious police dogs.  Even at 5 and 8, Ben and Alan grasped the specialness and seriousness of what had happened here.  Ben's one and only question, "why?"  It's a good question and one that has a lot of answers, unfortunately none of them are really good or easy.

     Our next stop was just around the corner.   The McWane Science Center.

An elevated weighted tight-rope bike.  The only thing keeping you from tipping was your own center of gravity and a HUGE weight at the bottom

Mom's turn...

A bed of nails

We made our own robots

"hey mom, it's very wind-ing"

     And last, but not least, a quick run by the temple.  No one believed me when I told them how tiny it was, but Dean couldn't get over the realization that the Stake Center next to it is double the size.  Tiny, but we're so blessed to have one relatively close.  Now if only we could justify a sitter for the 12 hour round trip for a session.  A very dear friend once told me they go to the temple with their little ones just to see it and walk around it so that they know it's important.  We took the extra time to cross Birmingham and see the spire and I heard Alan humming "I Love to See the Temple" as we drove away. Definitely worth the extra mileage.

     The spire all but disappeared in our selfie, but we know it's there and it started a good conversation about forever families, and sealings, and our future.

      Road trips...fighting over whose turn it is to sit where, goldfish crumbs, a van that smells like french fries, pillow fights, singing, whining, traffic, "are we there yet?", and best of all, memories.   We'll keep loading up the van, and checking out new audio books, and knock out a few more places on our Southern Bucket List.