Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Panther Patch is complete!

Since the end of last October, The Panther Patch has dominated so many parts of my brain...not to mention my to-do list! Today it officially opened. All the projects are finished. No more building. It feels SO good to be able to say that! It was a sweet morning...even the weather cooperated! Click over to The Green Panther if you want to see pictures.

I bet I took 200 pictures of the P-patch today! Here are my favorites!
The first is just fun, not even posed. It just happened.

Though I am fully aware it might not work out, I truly hope and pray that someday Ella Kate gets to go outside with her class at SVE and think, "My mom helped build this place!"

And lastly of all the hundreds and HUNDREDS of pictures I have taken over the last few months out in The Panther Patch, this is my favorite. As I was packing up today, a second grade class came outside to do their social studies lesson. When I looked over and saw them, it hit me. The Panther Patch is really complete.

After all the hours of freezing and then sweating, all of the PTA drama, the late nights searching and shopping on-line, all the e-mails and phone calls, after all the shoveling, and raking, and planting... The Panther Patch has finally become what we dreamed it would be, an incredible outdoor facility where teachers teach and kids learn.
What a great day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Garden party

Tonight I have too many thoughts for Facebook so for the second time in 4 days I am blogging. (No. It is not 2005. AMAZING huh? )

Today I had a little afternoon party in the garden. We had cucumber sandwiches, thumb print cookies (Yes. The old recipe from Mac Eplin's in Abilene!) sparkling lemonade, pinwheels, iced sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, chocolate chips, sweet tea... Now that you are drooling, I have to say it wasn't quite as glam as it all sounds. Yes there were pretty flowers and lots of people came, but it was hot. Before anyone arrived I was sweating and hauling umbrellas and coolers full of ice. My make-up had completely sweated off by the time the party started. And I was worn out. It takes a lot to throw a garden party. But aside from the heat and my lack of makeup it was good. I was struck by all the memories of my grandmothers that flooded my mind as I hurried through my busy day.

My Nana Ruth was the first person to ever make cucumber sandwiches for me. Well they were really for her bridge club, but she let me have a few. Yes. She had a bridge club and when it was her week to host she cut fresh flowers and made little sandwiches and cookies. The ladies drank tea, and then sometimes coffee as the afternoon wore on. They laughed and spoke quietly as they discussed the news of the day and the plight of poor Mr or Mrs so and so down the street, bless their heart! And they played bridge. For the life of me I don't know how one plays bridge. Bridge club always looked fun, not really the bridge part, but the friends and little cookie part. I think I want a bridge club.

And then my Nana Naomi... (Had to call them by their first names since I called them both Nana. And yes I always loved that my grandmothers were named Naomi and Ruth!) Well Nana Naomi was a Garden Clubber. I think she played bridge on occasion too, but she was big into the Garden Club. I can remember her trying to teach me to make tiny arrangements at the tender age of three and four. Back then I was not interested. To this day, as much as I love plants, I am not good with them. But my Nana could grow anything. She always had beds and gardens and a ton of plants on plant stands all over her house. Today as I was buying bougainvilleas at the nursery to use as center pieces, I thought of Nana Naomi and how she would make tons arrangements for her Garden Club meetings. (You know I think they ate little sandwiches and cookies at the Garden Club too!) I remember that I was fascinated by how Nana always buried her banana peels and leftover fruit and veggies parts in her garden to "make the soil." I guess that is what we call composting now. Yeah I should have paid better attention.

Remembering my Nanas makes my heart smile. (Just realized I don't ever remember their make-up sweating off! In fact I don't remember them ever sweating...) I wish they were still here to teach me how to play Bridge and make flower arrangements. I wish they were here to love my kids and make them pudding from scratch when they don't feel well.

I wonder what they would think of me? Nana Ruth died when Rhett was three, but she hadn't been the Nana of my youth for quite a while at that point. Nana Naomi died a year and a half before I met Rob. Both Nanas were in their 90's and needed to go when they died. It's not that I feel they were taken too soon. It's just that I wanted them to be the age they were when I was a little girl forever. I want my spunky Nana Ruth here to play the piano and laugh as Ella Kate dances. I want my Nana Naomi to paint watercolors with Kolby. And Rhett...well they would have just eaten him up! Boys were so rare in our family. I want them to wear their housecoats in the morning, and go to town for a coke in the afternoon. I want to fall asleep with them watching "the story" and have a big night out on the town eating a steak finger baskets at the DQ at 5:30pm. Later we would play Skip-Bo or dominoes with Lawrence Welk, Love Boat or later Walker Texas Ranger in the back ground.

I like when little things in my life remind me of my grandparents. I wonder if it is any coincidence that on this, the busiest of days, my mind kept wandering back to my Nanas and a time in my life when things seemed simpler. When my biggest worry was whether I would have to take a nap in the afternoon or be put to bed too early. Maybe God wanted me to remember my Nanas today for a reason? Maybe. Or maybe He just wants me to learn to play bridge and join a Garden Club? :)

Either way I am loving the memories of my two sweet Nanas while thanking God that these two ladies were such a big part of my life. All these years later just the memory of them makes my day. Thanks Nana! (Both of you!)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Oh my

How long has it been since I blogged? OH. MY.
Since I never blog and no one really reads this anymore I feel pretty safe just thinking "on blog" tonight. Here are a few thoughts... (well, 8 to be exact)

1. The Panther Patch is almost finished. I love working on it. I am thrilled to see it all come together, love having kids out there planting, love organizing it and imagining all that can be done out there. Really love it. But I also feel like it is killing me. I feel like I have no energy, no brain, and no time left for anything else. As a wife and mom of 3, that is bad. Very bad. But I can not quit now. I'm almost done! (I've been telling myself that for two months) Please remind me never to work this hard on a project unless A. I am getting paid really well or B. It is for my own yard/house/kids.

2. I want to move. I really do. I just want to move. Across town or across the state.(OK, just across town!) I have moving fever. I am addicted to realtor.com and the tax appraisal district web site. We have been in this house 7 years. Is it possible to have the 7 year itch with a house? I love my house, but I still want to move it, add on to it, get a totally different yard and remodel 70% of it. Moving would be easier than all that. So I want to move. AND I WANT TO MOVE NOW!

3. Reality check. We are no where close to being ready to move. Moving will be hard. We have so much to do to get this house market ready... but honestly, it is not anything that we should not be doing anyway just for us to live here. I'm ready to try. What do we have to loose? It's not like we have to move, so we don't have to sell unless the price is right. I think I have almost talked Rob into getting serious about this. So as soon as the Panther Patch is finished, getting the house "market ready" begins. No rest for the weary!

4. I am a terrible blogger. I just don't want to blog. I don't know why. (Actually I have been blogging...you guessed it.. for THE PANTHER PATCH! Yeah. Just go over there if you need a Steph fix. That is usually where I am.) I don't know if it is facebook or what, but I can not seem to get in the blogging groove anymore. Remember the days when we blogged everyday or every other day? WOW. That was a long time ago! :)

5. During all this crazy busy life, my kids are growing so fast and changing so much every day that I can't stand it. It makes my head spin. Ella Kate, Rhett and Kolby have all 3 changed so much this school year! I have not been good at documenting it either. Sometimes I wonder who these big kids are and what have they done with my babies? I mean there are these little people who live here and say and do the funniest things. They think the biggest thoughts. They can bring out the strongest of every emotion in me and I love them so much that it hurts. It blows me away. EVERY DAY! And it goes so fast in retrospect! How do these LONG days add up so quickly into fleeting months and years? How do I slow it down? Do you ever think these things? This seems to be a constant theme in my life the last few years. I am beginning to sound like an old woman aren't I? ACK!!!

6. I miss people. I miss the friends I never see anymore because our circles don't cross. I miss my out of town friends. I miss my San Angelo, ACU and Fort Worth friends. I feel like an awful friend for not keeping up with anyone better. My calendar and mind are both so full that there is never time to see anyone for long. But my heart really longs to sit and visit, to linger, to laugh until I snort, to have so much to talk about that my body denies the need for sleep because my mind and heart are so full. I want to play games and and laugh so loud that the kids can't sleep in the next room and strangers would swear we were drunk from the sweet tea we are drinking. I MISS THAT!

7. I would love to sit here and blog about me longer :) but I actually need to do a few things before I crash for a few hours and start another crazy day tomorrow. The house looks like it threw up on itself. Should I really try to put everything away or should I just walk around with a trash bag and take it all to Goodwill in the morning. ALL OF IT! Would we really miss all this stuff so much?

OK off the computer I go. 1 2 3 and I'm off...

8. Happy Mothers Day!