Someone told us we have two doorsteps and a cliff, and there are days it feels like that for sure! Before Perry came along, although we were busy, we had a routine with our older boys. There were seasons of practices and games or performances, but there was also downtime between their activities. I drove back and forth to town quite a lot, but while waiting until time to pick them up, I could pick up groceries, go to the gym, or even catch up on some reading!
People always ask me what it’s like having a baby at my age or with such a big difference in my boys’ ages. Just to remind you, Chris and I are 40, Seth is 15, Caleb is 12, and Perry is 11 months. Chris says this year we’re learning how to drive and learning how to walk! Throw in navigating middle school, and life is a bit chaotic right now, to say the least!
The boys and their activities haven’t stopped (nor do we want them to), but now I’m also hauling Perry back and forth with us. He’s quite a trooper, enduring long car rides, or just multiple short ones. He seems to enjoy sitting through concerts and football games to hear his brothers play in the band. He especially loves riding in his little red wagon at tennis and soccer matches to see his brothers play, or at baseball games we’ve attended to support our high school team!
Having a baby at my age in our super busy family continues to be quite an adjustment for all of us. My brain is in a consistently foggy state. With so much more to keep up with, I’m constantly looking for something, usually a pacifier for Perry or a form for one of the big boys. I have had a hard time knowing who needs to be where and at what time. I am grateful that we all have the same calendar on our phones so that the boys and Chris can add to it, and I will know what’s going on (and vice versa)!
Not only is my brain having a hard time keeping up, so is my body! I’ve never been super fit or enjoyed exercise, but over the last few years, I had made a pretty good habit of going to the gym 2-3 times a week. Perry usually sleeps through the night now, but if I start thinking maybe I can get back in the habit of going to the gym early in the mornings, he will wake up at least once wanting a bottle in the middle of the night.
As a matter of fact, every time I start to think I have a handle on things, something always happens to throw off our schedule. Somebody gets sick, or Perry doesn’t sleep through the night, or Chris has an out of town trip, or I have to take my Daddy to the doctor. Wherever I go, I’m always late, which has always been a problem, but is even worse now; it just takes so much time and preparation to get out the door with a baby!
Throw in the normal worries and frustrations of any mother of a baby - Am I feeding him enough, or is he eating too much? Are we reading to him enough, or is the TV on too much? Does he get enough interaction with other kids, but what germs am I exposing him to when he's around other kids? - it’s enough to drive anybody crazy!
Strangely enough, in some ways my age is actually a benefit. Things that may have sent me into a tailspin when Seth and Caleb were little, now just make me laugh. I know that spinning the toilet paper off the roll, and pulling everything out of the kitchen cabinets is just a phase. So many things I’ve learned to say, “This, too, shall pass.”
As crazy, hectic, and overwhelming as my life is right now, though, I just have to make myself stop and take a breath. Sometimes, I just sit and hold Perry when he's tired or sleeping and smell his hair and take in all that sweet baby smell. I kiss his soft cheeks and nose and just enjoy the time that I have with him. Unfortunately, I know that "this, too, shall pass." I remember when my big boys would fit in my lap, and I could do the same thing with them. Of course, every now and then, they’ll pile up in my lap too, and we laugh hysterically, but they just don’t smell the same.
I know how quickly this time is passing by. I only have three more years of having Seth at home, and only six more with Caleb. I’m not always good at it, but I really try to spend time with each of them individually, because I want them to feel loved and never left out. We also do some crazy things to try to build memories all together, like dressing up for Halloween or the Paulk Christmas party every year! I even managed to find matching pajamas for last Christmas, which Seth didn't think I could do!
Perry obviously takes up a lot of my time and energy right now, and sometimes I have to remind them that I did the same for them when they were his age. But, more than anything, I want all my boys to know how much they mean to me, and I want them to want to come back home to Mama when the time comes.
We are fresh off of a trip to Atlanta for Vintage Market Days of Greater Atlanta and boy, did we have fun! We got to stay with a good friend from home, visit with show friends that we only see once or twice a year, and we got to chat with so many of you! It was three days of excitement, creative inspiration and a touch of exhaustion! This has become a great show for us and a must-stop on the travel schedule for spring!
I was so pleased with this booth set up; it may have been my most favorite so far! I hope some of you caught my Instagram stories on set up day as I tried to give you the process from start to finish. It is always so amazing to me that we start with such a mess and end up with something so inviting! If you don't already follow us on Instagram, you can find us at @thesouthernmerc. The beautiful garden arbor that dad helped me build got to make another appearance and served as a lovely welcome to our space. The shelves were stocked with cute kitchen items, garden decor, and plenty of fun vintage finds!
My mom and I have such a good time junkin' and finding unique and fun vintage items. I love the personality and sense of nostalgia that vintage items give to your home and work space. Mixing old with new is such a great way to make a space feel warm and inviting. These vintage shows are so much fun for me, and also too tempting on my wallet! I have a hard time resisting the cool and unusual things the other vendors bring.
It is always a good day at work when you get to be with a good friend! My friend, Melissa, from Greener Grass Handmade and I love it when we can make our paths cross. We don't meet up for every show, but when we do, it is so much more fun!
As always, Matt and I had a great time meeting new people and getting to spread the Southern love of The Southern Mercantile! Thanks to all who signed up to receive our emails - we promise you will be happy you did! We are giving away one $50 gift certificate to one of our new subscribers, and that lucky winner is Jaime Watson! Be checking your inbox Jaime for your happy shopping coupon!
If you saw some things you liked in the pictures above, be sure to check out our online store. It is stocked with fun finds for your home and garden!
While we truly do enjoy our time on the road, it can be exhausting. Not only is the physical work so tiring, but the mental strain can be taxing. There is so much to think of and plan for when you are running a brick and mortar store, while traveling to promote your online business. The list of things to remember is endless, and you must always be friendly and helpful, even when you are tired! There is the constant mental battle of: Did I pack enough? Did I pack too much? Did I pack the right things? Am I making enough money? Is this worth it? It can all become very overwhelming! By the end of a travel season, I am usually feeling pretty exhausted and overwhelmed. On the last day of this show, I was feeling pretty defeated and worn out. I stepped outside, just to take a little break and regroup. I have been to this facility several times before, but never noticed the inscription on this bench that is placed at the front entrance.
I was moved to tears and had to take an extra minute to compose myself before going back in. It was a beautiful reminder to me that the Lord is with me every step of the way, ready and willing to give me all the strength I need if I will only ask. The prayer reads:
O GREAT SPIRIT Whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me! I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom.
LET ME WALK IN BEAUTY, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
MAKE MY HANDS respect the things you have made & my ears sharp to hear your voice.
MAKE ME WISE so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.
LET ME LEARN the lessons You have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I SEEK STRENGTH, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy - myself.
MAKE ME ALWAYS READY to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
SO WHEN LIFE FADES, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.
I had never heard of Paul Eddy, but he must have been truly loved and respected to have received such a beautiful memorial. He founded the American Indian Festival, which was hosted at The Gwinnett County Fair Grounds and you can read a little more about him here.
This little moment outside the facility gave me just the boost I needed to pack up and make my way home with a renewed spirit. Now, I am busy unpacking and getting the shop put back together as we roll into the ease of summer in the south.
If you find yourself on the road this summer, we'd love for you to stop in for a visit! Visit our flagship store in Ocilla, have lunch in our Cafe, and ramble around our sweet little town. If you can't make it in person you can always keep up with us on the website! Join our email list to stay connected and keep up with new products and our travel schedule. We can't wait to get to know you!
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