As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him--you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2: 4-5

Friday, July 31, 2009

First Day of School!!!

Today was the first day of school, so here are a few pictures of the kids as they "joyfully" got up and ready!!!!

Maddy was the only one excited to go to school this morning!

Here's Hannah, saying goodbye to her beloved Speedo, our class hamster, that had the privelege of living at our house this summer!

Don't let Sarah fool you...she was really glad to be there, glad to see her friends!

And then there's Josh. See, the thing about having a child that can drive is that everyone is not up at the same time, so I had to get his picture once he got to school. I told him to come to my room when he got there...not telling him why! Ha! was a good day for everyone, I think, though Sarah did come home with homework on the very first day. My first graders were just precious, but this year, I have 13 boys and 5 girls. I usually have a girl heavy class...I think it's because of my love for integrating art into just about every area of the this is a huge departure...and learning experience for me. Thirteen little boys make for a noisy active classroom! Sweet sweet kids, but my goodness!

Other good news....Finally, after nearly three months and thousands of dollars...Josh is getting his car back tomorrow!!!! Yay! I know millions of people survive on only one car for the entire family...and that some have no car at all, but what a relief and convenience it will be to have Josh be able to drive AND leave me something to drive as well. And I"m sure PawPaw will be happy to get his truck back! Thank you, Nanny and PawPaw for letting Josh borrow the truck so often!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waiting....can actually be sweet

I love this song. Absolutely love it. I first heard it when we were watching "Fireproof: The Movie." If you haven't seen it, you should. The acting's not great, but I loved the story, loved how it was all about how God worked in a marriage. But I loved loved loved the song the very first time I heard it and still do.

And it holds special significance (gosh, that just doesn't look like it is spelled right!) right now as I wait for this birth of this baby. Wait for my life to return to some semblance of normal as I get my body back. About a month ago, when things got really bad with the anxiety and the sleep problems, I held on to the premise of this song and decided to do just what the song talks about--wait patiently, but while I'm waiting, serve Him, worship Him, praise Him, follow Him in obedience. And it has really been a sweet sweet time in my spiritual walk.

Because I don't sleep a whole lot (but a lot better than I used to!)I spend those dark early hours of the morning in study of God's word, reading, meditating, praying. I spend that last hour before I fall asleep the same way. I've made it a point not to wait for the message each Sunday morning to touch me, to excite me, but to purposely choose to listen to the message and what God has to say to me through it.

And sweeter still is the sweet, tiny little voice from the carseat in the back as she sings along when this song comes on the radio. It just warms my heart to hear my little girl singing about the Lord. I know that she doesn't totally understand about God, but she has in the last few months began asking questions and offering insight about God that only a three year old can (for example, did you know that it makes God mad when your sandals hurt your feet?). The big kids came to their knowledge of and relationship with God much older than Hannah, so this is all new to me, and really...what a blessing to experience your child growing up in the Lord!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

eh...ankles are overrated anyways....

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back to School Tradition

It has become a for 12 years! go back to school, school supply shopping with Grandma. We met them in Conyers, went to Staples (oh so much better than Walmart!), got almost everything on the list, and then went for a yummy dinner at Red Lobster. I admit it...I'm a nerd...and school supply shopping just makes me happy. And don't let the faces of these children below fool you...they like it too. As soon as we got home, they dumped everything on the floor and started getting folders and notebooks ready. Two of them (ahem...Josh and Sarah) tried to pretend that they weren't excited about going back to school, but I think they secretly are. Maddy, on the other hand, didn't even try to hide her excitement, and her packed bookbag is already in the car to take on Tuesday!
What school supply list would be complete without a 3D stretchy book cover?

And what would school supplies be without a little chocolate ice cream? Hannah was a bit disappointed that she didn't have a bookbag to Daddy got her some chocolate ice cream. Hard to believe that next year, we'll be filling up her book bag to go to pre-K!!! (Maybe then I'll get to buy some crayons...not one crayon, pair of scissors, or glue stick in the bunch this year!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Back to Work I go...

Can you tell by the recent lack of posts that I've returned to work? Pre-planning doesn't officially begin until Monday, but I know from experience and the memo we were sent that most of our time will be spent in meetings and not in our classrooms, so I went in for a few hours this week to get things ready. My classroom is student ready--except for things I can't do without having my class list--and I have planned and prepared for the first day (Friday) and the first week. Impressively efficient, huh? NOT! As usual, I can't seem to be on the ball at school and at home, and the house has returned to usual "pit-like" state--laundry undone, floors unclean, toys everywhere, and too much reminder of dog. Someday, somehow, I will find balance between work and home. I realistically do not expect this to happen for a few years at least--I remember all too well the people who have had to come in and help me get it together after the births of all of my girls!

There haven't been many picture opportunities this week, pretty much because I've hit the ground running (or waddling, that is) every morning with the alarm (and the ONE day I could stay in bed, Hannah joined us at 6, asking if the sun was up and it was time to play yet...sigh) and not gotten home until dinner time. And then...I was so incredibly worn out. I sure do hope it gets easier as I get used to it!

Not even sure when this picture was taken...seems as if Sarah and Hannah were playing with my camera. Thought it was a super cute picture though! seem to be playing with the camera quite a bit these days!

Really not a good picture of Hannah, eyes closed and all, but I was trying to capture the cuteness of the situation...In her hands is a little purse with two dollars in it. She was going to Dollar Tree with the baby sitter and brought her own money to spend. She is also demonstrating her latest skill...opening the automatic window with her toe!
This morning, before we left for the sitter's house/school, Hannah said good-bye to the big kids. Sarah and Josh were off to the lake to spend some fun in the sun with my parents, and Maddy would be going straight from helping me at school to a cheerleading lock-in. So Hannah had big "huggy wuggies" for every one!

She loves her brother and sisters so much...and as much as they hate to admit it, and as much as she annoys them sometimes, they adore her too. It makes me a little sad that Josh won't really be around for this little one's early childhood like he has been for Hannah. Josh told me the other day it made him a little sad too. What a great big brother!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reflective Sunday....

No pictures today, even though I could have taken some of something that my kiddos have done. I just have been amazed at the way that God has spoken to me in the last few weeks, and how this has affected (effected? I always get these mixed up!) my mood, my spirit, my day to day living.

When Sarah and I went to Tanger earlier this week, I picked up a devotional book by Beth Moore. It was on sale...big sale...and I like Beth Moore, so I thought I would give it a try. I will admit that this is an area in which I fail many days...finding the time, the quiet, the aloneness to spend time with God. My children, all three of the big ones, each spend time in devotion and quiet time with God, and this just blows me away and humbles me that they do a better job at this than I manage to. I praise the Lord for ELCA and our church, who have instilled in them the importance of this, when I have not been able to lead by example.

I have ended up doing my devotion twice a day--once before even getting out of bed, and then the other, by flashlight, as I am going to sleep. I figured that this was a perfect way to begin and end my day... in God's word,...and get my heart and mind in the right place to begin the night/day. After my devotion on Friday, a verse just kept coming to me...a verse that wasn't even in my lesson for that day: Jeremiah 29:11. So I looked it up to read it again, and then read on. I have heard this verse so many times, but never heard what comes after:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will come to me, and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

The italicized part is the part that really spoke to me. How many times do I seek God's presence with every fiber of my being? When is the last time that I gave up my own desires, my own worries, my own need for control, and just sought God's will, God's presence, God's peace?

Then this morning, as I was getting ready for church, a song kept going through my head--it's a contemporary song called "Going Through The Motions," about someone just going through the motions of worship. I hadn't heard it on the radio that morning, nor do I particularly like it. Yet it kept running through my head. A nudge maybe to really lose myself in the study of God's word, the singing, the message, the worship?

Finally, during the special this morning, the song was all about giving up your burdens to the Lord. Leaving them at His feet. And while I feel I have done it...and have gone through the motions of doing it over and over...especially in the last two weeks, have I really?

Isn't it amazing how God will speak to you when you make it a priority to listen? Had I not been through the last 20 days of anxiety, sleeping issues, depression, worry, doubt, would I be in the position to listen to Him? Indeed, He knows the plans He has for me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Arrrr, Matey

Tonight's "You wanna play with me?" turned into a dress up session. She doesn't have any real dress up clothes, so she collected all of my e-bay castoffs--the things that didn't sell--and brought them into the living room and instructed us how to put them on. A long sleeved onesie ended up as my "eyepatch" and Josh's eyepatch was a bib. The beautiful ruffled Christmas dress was my pirate dress....
And I know that the quality of this picture is horrible...but couldn't resist. With a pair of leggings and a long sleeved shirt on her head, she was so happy with her pirate costume!

Good for what ails you...

Yesterday, when we went shopping, I thought I was scoring a great deal by finding a pair of "crocs" for Hannah for $3.99. They weren't real crocs, but she loved them, and she could put them on by herself. An hour later, after wearing them for most of the time, she ended up with horrendous blisters, and being the good momma that I am....I had NO bandaids. (What kind of mom has no bandaids???? Especially with Daryl, who impales himself on construction equipment nearly every day???) So today, when I was out, I picked up three boxes of bandaids...Barbie, Elmo, and Dora. She loved them and surprised me by being able to open them and put them on all by herself!

And yes...she did have two on each foot, poor baby!!!

tThen what better to mend a momma's heart than to have all her children home where they belong. Here is Maddy, my brown little bug, just home from Tybee with Olivia where she kayaked (sp?), swam, and stalked Miley Cyrus!

I wasn't the only one glad to see her. Hannah and Maddy were so happy to see each other that they were dancing!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Joy amidst the darkness

I won't lie. These have been some dark days for me this last week. When this anxiety grips my heart, my mind, my body, it is all encompassing, threatening to break me at any minute. I struggle daily to calm my mind and spirit, but find that sitting and doing nothing makes it worse. So I have been trying to keep as busy as I can. I know that this so does not follow the "fifteen minutes up for every 45 minutes down" rule. But I do know that I have 4 other children to take care of...and I can not function when the fear, the panic, the anxiety grips me. I haven't been able to eat all week--and that is a first for me. NOTHING, and I mean nothing, has ever taken my appetite, but I have found myself gagging at even trying to put food in my mouth, and have lost 7 pounds. I know this is not good for the baby, as well as the lack of sleep, and so I choose to be up a little bit more and involved a whole lot more than I have been this summer. To get my myself out of my own head. To think about and be involved in something else than my own suffering.

So a little bit of fun, a little bit of joy from today...
"walking" Little Phil (or you could say Little Phil was walking Sarah!)

Finding "venture" in the yard, but no rolie polies :( Here is Sarah watching Hannah as she explored the front yard!

A tea party with real tea...
Trying on Sarah's new shoes!
Sarah has been such a dear this last week. She knows how I have not been sleeping, and has made a pallet on the floor for Hannah in her room. She has been sleeping with her and taking care of her during the night for me...such a big help. So today, we headed for Tanger and got her a little something just for her...for giving so much of herself this week. The shoes were compliments of her sweet Nanny, and while her dad didn't exactly approve of them(too high, he says), the purchase of 2 new shoes (on sale for $17 total) made Sarah positively giddy. Her words--Happiness is Jesus, cheerleading, and new shoes!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hannah, the entertainer

Usually, about dinnertime, Hannah decides that she is going to entertain us. Tonight, we were waiting for Maranda to get here to have dinner, and I guess her inner clock went off...and she was ready for her show. She stood on the coffee table (I know, bad mom) and gave us quite the show--singing, dancing, and cheering. Her latest cheer? "D-O-G, D-O-G, D-O-G! GoooooooDawgs! Sic em!" Somehow...Maddy's spelling lesson + overexposure to UGA football= her favorite (and only) cheer!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It is 3:30 Tuesday morning. I have not been asleep since 6:45 Sunday morning.

Can I just say again....Insomnia stinks.

It's not even that I am that uncomfortable--sure there's the need to get up and go to the bathroom every hour, the heartburn, the baby constantly rolling. But mostly, it's just the inability to go to sleep. I will just about be there, and jerk awake. Time after time after time.

And then I will sit there and watch the am I going to do this? I have to be up at 7:45. Why God???

My precious daughter, Sarah, even took Hannah in her own room for the night...on a pallet on the floor, so that I could go all night without a visitor. And yet here I sit, 3:30...awake. Wanting to cry, not understanding how my mind can fight my body so fiercely, knowing that it is not good for me or the baby. Here I sit at 3:30, wondering how I am going to go back to work and actually function. Praying that this baby comes sooner than the 6 weeks and 3 days expected. And how sad is it that I know I will get more sleep once I am up every two hours with a newborn than I am as a hugely pregnant woman?

I wish there were a disconnect for my brain. A way to just turn it off. A way to let my body do what God intended it to do at

I have quoted scripture in my head, prayed, meditated, taken a warm bath, had some milk,cried, lay on the other end of the bed, read the Bible, read my trashy novel, counted backwards from 1000, and gone to the bathroom 14 times.

Laying next to someone who doesn't get it. Whose head hits the pillow and soon after, his breathing tells me he is asleep. Someone who doesn't deal with the issues in his head--perhaps he doesn't have them, or perhaps he is better at just giving them up. Getting up to grouchy teenagers because they were up til midnight and awakened at 11. Greeting the morning and an energetic 3 year old who wants to play.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

This is what I came home to Saturday morning after helping with the prayer breakfast at church. My very own superhero....cape and all. Sarah had taken an old piece of material for the cape and Hannah had found an old Georgia pom pom. All you have to do is fall on the floor, or pretend to be hurt or dead (morbid, I know...but she thought of it!), and she goes and stands on a chair, raises her right hand, and says, "Da da da da da! Superman! I will go and save someone!" Then swoop down and kiss you on the cheek, and poof...of course, you will be all better. I mean, how could you not when being kissed by a superhero as cute as this???

And how often these days I need my very own superhero to swoop down and rescue me from my anxiety, my weariness, my sadness, my hopelessness, my total and complete self involvement during times as these. Luckily, gratefully, and mercifully, I Jesus. It's just remembering this, focusing on this, and celebrating in this in the tough times that I need to work on. For He is watching me, allowing me to suffer in order to build me up, and waiting for me to realize that He is greater than this season, greater than my anxiety, and able to leap tall buildings (or my own walls that I have built) in a single bound!

Friday, July 10, 2009


At the beginning of the summer, Hannah had a hard time learning to play by herself. She always wanted to be playing a game or to be read to or to be played with outside. As the summer has progressed, her imagination has blossomed. She is constantly playing "baby bop," "baby doll house," "mousies," "bears," "little red hood," or her latest, "puppet show." Puppet show is what kept her busy for a good portion of the afternoon. Here she is sitting among her "baby dolls" so they all can watch the puppet show. I love this picture. She looks so sweet and so grown up!

Even Maranda got in on the fun when she got here this evening. Hannah adores Maranda and latches on, to quote Josh, "like a tick" once she arrived.
Sarah was the first to be the puppet show....

but soon Hannah got Maranda in on that fun too!
I am so glad to see her imagination bloom. I remember when I was a little girl pretending like she does, and it has really cut down on the time that she wants to watch TV. My baby is growing up to be a little girl!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Some Rainy Day Fun

It rained most of the day today, but we had fun anyways!
It started with Hannah inviting some of her "friends" for lunch!
Then we went to Nanny and PawPaw's house to see Donna and Stephanie and new little baby Noah, and Darlene and Kristin and her beautiful boys, Josiah, Benjamin, and William. Hannah was outnumbered by the boys (a first, I think, for a Stone get together), but she made a new "best friend," in Benji!
Maddy and Hannah playing with William--the happiest baby I have ever met!

Hannah sharing her Paw Paw with Josiah. They were both engrossed in Tom and Jerry--cartoons that I used to watch when I was a little girl!
Maddy with baby Noah. She rocked him to sleep and then held him for about 30 minutes. So sweet and so tiny...I don't think Hannah was ever that small!
Benji and Hannah, best buddies, after Aunt Donna told them to hug each other for a picture. I'm thinking they didn't get the concept!
Cousins (minus Noah). Hannah had such a good time having other kids to play with and getting to know her cousins in a somewhat smaller setting than usual. The girls had a good time getting to know their cousins and holding the baby. And momma had a good time just being with family and people who actually have little kids! Not one person said to me, "I'm so glad it's you, not me!" or recoil in horror when thinking of adding to their family.
And just a little funny picture from the ride home. Hannah had originally brought her "scary teeth" to scare her cousins, but left them in the car. Here is a very tired, but very scary don'tcha think, Hannah on the way home!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fourth of July Fun!

Sarah and Maddy all ready to go shoot off some fireworks!

and Hannah too...though she refused to be a part of their picture
Ms. Lynell, Ms. Dana, and Amanda enjoying watermelon while we were waiting for it to get dark

Maddy and her sparkler

and Sarah too...though it's hard to see her, you can see her "creation."

and that folks, I'm afraid, is it for the pictures of our celebration. Why? You may ask? Well, as of the first Kaboom, Hannah was a shaking, crying mess, and we spent the rest of the night playing in the nursery. Maybe next year.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Countdown to Normal

55 Days Left
I have had such a hard time this week with sleeping issues, anxiety, panic attacks, and as a result of the first three, depression, that I am ready for this pregnancy to be over with. All of the girls came at 38 weeks, and Josh at 37 weeks, so I am hoping, praying, and keeping my fingers crossed that I have a little under 8 weeks to go....55 days, to be exact.

I realize that everyone's definition of normal is different, relative to them. For me, it is a day without a panic attack. A day without being so stuck inside my head that all I can focus on is how bad it is going to be at bedtime. A day without a racing heart and a sense of dread. A night I sleep. And I had normal, with an off day or two in there, until Sunday. I'm not sure what happened, or what triggered it, but it's here, and if the past is any indication, it is back to stay until I deliver this precious little one.

Last pregnancy, it hit me like a ton of bricks at 22 weeks. Incapacitated me. Totally interfered with my life and the ability to take care of the children. I went to my OB, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a Christian counselor, to no avail. And maybe, just maybe, that is what has me so off kilter right now...knowing that there is nothing that can be done. I just need to pull up my big girl panties (which are really really big at this point!) and deal with it. I do remember it getting better at one point...maybe when I was hospitalized and put on bedrest at 31 weeks and realized that I could lay in bed and be miserable all day--for I had no choice.

I think it will get better when I go back to work. I need to get out of my head, focus on something else, to be so intensely involved in preparation as you are at the beginning of the school year, to get back into a routine. But then again, maybe not. I do not know. I only know that I have to use this time to realize that this is a season of my life through which God uses my frailty, my weakness to build my character, to bring Him glory. I have to believe in and cling to the promise of Romans 8:28.

And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fun in the Afternoon...

Two posts in one hasn't happened in ....well...never! But I took some pictures today that will honestly not fit anywhere else, and were too cute (or strange) to not share.

Josh wondered if his jean shorts were blog-worthy...and then posed for a picture.

Here is Sarah, our dessert chef for the night. She made buster bars for dessert...which were part wonderful, and well, part chewy. Something we did (and we did follow the directions perfectly!) was not right. But delicious all the same!
Hannah and her poo poo prizes. This is her basket of goodies that she gets to pick out of when she poops in the potty. Every day, she likes to look at all of them. Up until today, they were all treasure box cast offs from my classroom, but we ran out and had to make a trip to the dollar store. I meant to do this without her, but everyone was asleep or out working, so she had to come with me. That was an experience. She walked the aisles, loading her arms with everything that she saw that she wanted. (If you are old enough, you might remember the movie, "The Jerk" with Steve Martin. It reminded me of the scene where he was leaving his house, loading his arms with "just one more thing." )

This hobby horse is one thing that she chose that was not a poo poo prize...simply because it didn't fit in the box and it was too cute to pass up for only a dollar.

WARNING: The story behind this next picture is gross and falls under the category of Too Much Information. But as this blog was created to capture our family memories, and this was one I didn't want to forget (so we could torture her in her later years), I thought I would share anyways. Last night, Daryl asked her if she wanted sprinkles on her ice cream. She said yes, of course...who doesn't love sprinkles? Then after Daryl remarked that he wasn't sure that we had sprinkles, she replied, "I have sprinkles!" When we asked her where, she replied...straight face..."In my butt!" Since then, she has been purposely trying to make us laugh with her "Yucky Butt Sprinkles" that she wants us to put on everything!

By the way: We have told her that she is not to offer her "yucky butt sprinkles" to anyone outside of the if you come over...beware!