Thursday, November 20, 2014

Flower sale

I don't remember when we came up with the idea, but sometime late last summer Ella and Nora decided they wanted to have a flower sale. I thought it sounded like a fun idea. So we got some seeds, planted them, miraculously guided them through their development into plants we could put in the ground, and then were finally able to harvest some really pretty flowers! We saved jelly and jam jars for the purpose, tied ribbons from our scrap ribbon box around them, and made some really pretty little arrangements. The girls also made and colored a sign, and we set up shop on the driveway. They were quite the little salesladies, as one would imagine, yelling at all passersby until they got their attention. Everyone was happy to at least see the sale, though some were in too much of a hurry to stop and browse. They wound up selling almost all their inventory! It was a great success.

The flowers ready to be arranged

 The first customer


 I mean, really, how could you resist?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Goodbye Stay & Play

 It's been a month now since the last operating day of Stay & Play. With that change and the arrival of Susanna, which went hand in hand, the McCalls have really entered a new chapter of life. It feels so good to be single minded in approaching my work with the kids and at home, even though that has meant the loss of the cafe for us and for the community. It was clear to us that our family was not able to give any more when our third child arrived, and so there has been minimal sadness about losing the workload it put on us. But at the same time, I feel sad for our community because I do still wholeheartedly believe that parents need a place like Stay & Play, and I wish it were there for them. Definitely the best part of the job was helping to connect the parenting community in our town. Wherever we went with our kids for a while, we knew the other families from the cafe, and I know a lot of other people felt the same. I am thankful that we were able to get this thing running for a while--Stay & Play was a great chapter for us even though at times the priority conflicts, time crunches, and financial strains it caused were intense. Another sad note was the actual unfolding of the end of the business. Although it is so exciting to watch the energy build around downtown Durham, the cafe's ultimate demise was due to a rent increase from our landlords who themselves were an indie business, one of the pioneers in operating downtown. I had a teacher in middle school whose words I return to often the older I get and the more of life I experience, "If you want to understand history, follow the bouncing dollar." That certainly explains the final chapter in Stay & Play's story.

Here is a little photo tribute to the last days of Stay & Play . . .

Susanna did get to visit while we were still open--photo evidence!

Nora's last visit while open

 Ella's last visit while open

If you needed more evidence that running a cafe is too much for a Stay at Home Mother of 3, here is a photo of the minimum equipment it takes to dash out of the house. I do not travel light these days!

We came in after the closing one day to take care of some things, and Ella decided to give a final tour:

We will miss you Stay & Play Snack Cafe!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

More fun in Merry-land!

In late September, we spent another weekend in Merry-Land. This time it was with both sets of our parents. It was Susanna's first trip, and she was almost the exact same age Nora was the first time she went. It was a shorter visit, but we still had time to jetski, watch Frozen a few times, walk the boardwalk, visit the ponies, and eat LOTS of Dumsers.

Since it was my Dad's (60TH!) birthday, we decided to celebrate by soaking up some great bluegrass at the festival going on that weekend. A good time was had by all! My parents really enjoyed the music, the older girls had a great time dancing and running around, Paul and I got to go on a date to hear the late evening session (woo!), and Susanna got to practice her smiles while the music played. She did some of her very first best intentional smiles on this trip. What a treat!

I had a hard time capturing the really cute ones, but I still love these photos and the way a new baby learns to smile. Even though she doesn't quite know how to control it, she goes all the way with these huge open-mouth smiles. Love them!

So blessed to spend time in this lovely place with family we love.