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

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Prom 2010

Where does the time go? It just seems like we were just doing this for Josh's junior prom and here we are 3 weeks away from graduation. This year, Josh and his friends--a different group than last year--met at Luke Cathy's house for pictures and to be picked up by their limo. Luke Cathy is the grandson of Truett Cathy--who is, as any true Southerner knows--the founder and owner of Chick Fil A. So needless to say, great house, great yard, great backdrop for before prom pictures! The rain took a little respite and we were able to take pictures outside.

This fountain is in the middle of the circular driveway in front of their house and sorta spurts up like the fountains at Centennial Park...didn't quite catch it at the right time with this picture, but too cute nonetheless.

Josh and his best friend, Daniel. Daniel was the first friend that Josh made when we moved to Clayton County after Daryl and I got married. I can still see them sitting on the first row of the church together at Vacation Bible School! What happened to those little boys?

Here's Josh trying to pull off regulation hair. One of Josh's friend's father is Coach Campbell, a part of the administration at ELCA and the official uniform/hair "nazi." (NOT my words, by the way, thus the quotation marks!) Anyway, Coach Campbell was there taking pictures of his son, so Josh had to keep his hair off his ears and collar and out of his eyes!

The Cathy's living room. This room was big and had tons of couches, chairs, combinations of both in little groups. It had the biggest couch/lounging chair I had ever seen (I would have taken a picture, but didn't want to seem like too much of a hick!)

Down by the lake

The guys being silly

The Cathy's personal limo.

And all the couples.

Josh and Maranda--love this picture

Inside, ready to go!
They headed for dinner at Maggiano's and then the Prom at the W Hotel downtown. After the prom, they'll head back to the Cathy house for fun and food. There is plenty to do there--pool (though I think it is too cold) sand volleyball, theater room, basketball courts (inside), and get this...they have a wardrobe (you know, from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe) that opens up and then you walk through a little door in the back and it leads to a secret staircase which opens up into a winter wonderland playroom type thing. Guess the Cathy's are big C.S. Lewis fans!

And to prove that despite their millions, their fabulous house, their four boats, their multiple cars and limos, and the biggest couch I've ever seen, Daryl took a picture of this:

Yes, leave it to my husband to be the only one taking pictures of a water bottle in the yard. Now of course, ours would have fallen out of our car and sitting right next to the broken down SUV in our driveway. In the weeddirt we like to pass off for grass. For weeks. Not right between
the outside amphitheater and the pool on the stone path leading down to the sand volleyball court and the dock. But really...we're no different!

NOT how I wanted to spend my weekend.....or any other day, for that matter.
But as always, she was a trooper, even smiley at times.
(except for the first time, when I did it right after she rolled off of the couch onto the floor, hitting the coffee table with her head on the way down...hand the bad mom award please!)

The Twenty-Third Psalm as interpreted by first graders

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You annoint my head with oil; My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do you know how hard it is to think of a creative, pithy title each day?

And it's not because I've spent all my energy on cleaning the house, as so very obviously displayed in this picture below. (How embarassing! If only we hadn't erased Photo shop when the computer crashed last time, I would have cropped the mess out.) But anyways...the point of this picture is not to show the pristine condition of our humble abode, but to show the newly hired Chick Fil A drive thru cashier.
And doesn't he look nice and tired? Welcome to the working world! But I am proud of him. He did such a good job that they put him by himself on drive thru and scheduled him for another day. He loved it, loved the people, had fun. It makes my heart smile to see him happy, and to see him go into a totally new situation and be so calm and self-assured. He didn't get the momma gene on that one, and for that, I am thankful!
Speaking of photoshopping...I would have cropped me and my chins out of this one too...sigh. This was taken at dinner as I was getting Charlotte all ready for her bath. She seemed to enjoy the onesie getting stuck on her head and playing peek-a-boo with us. I am looking happy because for the first time in about a month, the whole entire family was home for dinner. Josh's soccer game got cancelled, so I had all my kids and my hubby around the table. Pure bliss, I tell you!
Wow...two posts in one week. Will wonders never cease?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Strep Throat...

(or how to get more pictures taken to post to your blog)

I've been neglecting the blog lately. For a while there, I felt I had a lot to say, a lot to show, a lot to share. Maybe it's the spring fever, maybe it's the crazy end of the year schedule, maybe it's that my laptop bit the dust. It's probably the latter to be honest. It's hard to be inspired when you are fighting three other people for the computer.

Anywho....this weekend was supposed to be busy. Supposed to be. Then with these four little words, all of the sudden, it wasn't--"Mommy, my mouth hurts." OK, OK, that wasn't the moment it changed, because honestly, I replied, "You'll be fine. Go play." Such compassion, I know. The moment really came twelve hours later in the form of blood curdling screams and flailing three year old. And motrin being spit into my face. And then later when a hot little body was pressed up against mine...the kind of hot that you only feel when your sick baby has a fever. Twelve hours after that, the dr. held in her hand what looked like a pregnancy test (and I think I took every brand on the market with Charlotte so I would know) and said, "This is just about the most positive strep test I have ever seen."

Gone were the plans for the soccers games. The birthday party. The wedding shower and fishing trip to the country. In its place were innumerable episodes of the Berenstain Bears, grumpiness, and a bribe of a Barbie doll if only she would take the medicine without painting my face with it. Daryl, Maddy, Sarah, and Charlotte headed down to the country without us, but with a camera. Had I gone, I would have been too busy getting things ready and getting myself ready and in a rush that the camera would have remained on the counter, I guarantee it!

This was from earlier in the day. I had Char in her Bumbo seat while I made Hannah's lunch, and she got ahold of a banana. She is always finding something on the counter and putting it in her mouth, but nothing had ever come out of it before--she was delighted as the smushed banana inside made its way into her mouth. She was not happy with me when I took it away from her!
Here's my little fisherwoman. I think she caught three fish!

Sarah, Nanny, and Charlotte. Love the look on Charlotte's face--"See Mom! I can survive without you!" She looks just like her PawPaw!

Uncle Jerry and the newest great grandchild, baby Grayson, just six weeks old!

Big sister Addison and cousin Noah.

The bride and groom (and crazy Aunt Donna!) Stacy and Casey (this is one of the ways that I remembered who was who when I first joined the family!) have been together longer than Daryl and I have been married, and they will make it official on May 22 here at the pond in the country.

Addison....just helping with the presents. Don't know when it happened, but I am told that Addison got herself hooked by a fishing pole! Usually Hannah and Addison are big buddies at family functions. I know her momma is glad that we kept Hannah at home and didn't "spread the love!"

Sweet Aunt Patricia with Charlotte--in one of the cute outfits she had gotten for her.

And then last but not least...and not really from the shower at all...
Some Charlotte cuteness...

Hopefully this week will find me more inspired, with more time, to blog.
And if not blog, at least take more pictures!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Fruits of my Labor (or why I have the greatest kids ever!)

Parenthood is a hard job. It is one of those 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, forever jobs. One you never really take a break from, for even when you are absent in the body, your mind and heart are still with your kids.

Parenthood isn't always fun. There are the sick days, the grumpy days, the messy days. The days where you feel unappreciated, unloved, ineffective. The days where you wonder if you are doing a good job, if you are giving them all they need, if you are making the right choices.

There are days you want to scream. Days you want to cry. Days you want to stomp your feet and call, "No fair!" And if you are anything like me, you usually do it.

Today was not one of those days. Today was one of those days where I was totally blown away by my children. Totally proud. Totally surprised. Totally in awe of their kindness and generosity and love.

Not too long ago, Sarah and Maddy cleaned the house for me. It was right after I had hurt my back and could hardly move. My mother agreed to pay them if they would only lighten my load and clean the house one weekend. And they did. They did a great job, and this week, when we were at the lake, my mom paid them.

Tonight was date night. Daryl and I went to Carraba's for dinner, and as we were talking about our plans for Sunday, I mentioned that I was going to take the girls to spend their Grandma money. I had been so impressed that they hadn't been bugging me to take them already and had cheerfully watched the girls while I did laundry today. Those were my plans for Sunday. Sarah and Maddy had different plans though.

Those sweet girls decided, a week and a half ago, to give their grandma money to me so that I could go shopping. For myself. They knew I would never agree if they suggested it (and they were right!) so they gave it to Daryl to give to me on our date night.

My sweet sweet girls, who love to shop more than just about anything else in the world, gave up their money to me. The money that they worked so hard for so that they could go shopping. Doing something they didn't want to do. All for me. Because they thought I needed a shopping trip. Because when I had taken them Easter shopping, they had realized that I hadn't gotten myself anything.

I didn't want to take their money. Refused it at first. But Daryl convinced me to accept their gift, and as hard as it was to do so, I did. I took myself shopping for the first time in a long time, and let me tell you...they come by their shopping genes naturally. When I got home, after numerous hugs and telling them how much I loved them and how proud I was (and giving them back half of their money), I had a fashion show for them. And they were just as happy for me as if it were their own new clothes.

What amazing children I have. Their generosity and thoughtfulness touches my heart. Their selflessness touches me. Their love for me amazes me and delights me. I am proud to call them my daughters, my sisters in Christ, and my friends.

(A big huge thank you to my wonderful husband too, for kicking in some of his own money too! How did I get so lucky?)

Spring Break

Remember when Spring Break meant a road trip to Florida with your sorority sisters in a VW Rabbit, all night parties, living in your bathing suit, sleeping late, and other activities of which you are now not so proud of? There was a time, when just thinking about those days made me wistful, wishing for days gone by when I could subsist on very little sleep, could comfortably spend the day in my swimsuit, and the highlight of my day was cruising the beach. Now? It just makes me tired, and so thankful for the Spring Break I just had. Lots of rest and relaxation, just enough time in my swimsuit to get a good tan, good times with family, lots of time with my girls.

And yes...I took my camera. Yay me! (If you have a tween, you will know where that comes from!) And I did take some pictures. But of the really fun stuff the kids did? Of the supercute stuff? I took the pictures. Really, I did. Just ask Daryl. I sent them to him on my phone, on which I also took the pictures. Which would be great if I could locate the cord to get them off of my phone and on to the computer. But...oh know.

But here are the pictures I DID take with my camera...none of them too cute, nor too fun.
Except of course...Miss Charlotte in the jumperoo. We had been lamenting the fact that we had gotten rid of the jumperoo after Hannah. Then, while I was putting some of the stuffed animals in the storage room (because Hannah said the "creeped her out") there it was. I do believe I squealed in delight!

These were the "babies" that didn't creep her out. This whole box full. And every night, we would carry the entire box downstairs to the bedroom and she would arrange them around the room to sleep. And then every morning, we would carry it upstairs so she could play with them. Her favorite? A Farrah Fawcett Barbie doll. Excuse me. A naked Farrah Fawcett Barbie doll. With one arm. And fake eyelashes. Complete with the Farrah "do."
The big girls, when not going to the movies or swimming, played games and cards with Grandma and Grandpa.

And Charlotte had her first sink bath...a tradition at Grandma's house! I have a picture of each one of the kids in Grandma's sink.
I hope to find the cord to the phone soon, because really...that is where the cute pictures are!
Despite missing my sweetie (who stayed home to work), and a dead car battery (thank you Daddy!), and clouds of pollen that floated through the air, we had a great time and came home nice and rested, and with my lesson plans done!
Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for a great time! We love you!

Easter Morning

A few pictures from our Easter morning (minus Josh, sigh).
The girls, waiting patiently to go find their eggs!

Hannah absolutely loved finding her eggs. And no, you aren't seeing things. That is a Christmas tree next to her. I'd love to say we made it a Jesus tree for Easter, or an Easter egg tree, but alas...we're just slackers!

After Hannah found her eggs, Maddy found the rest. And we only lost one! (meaning the Easter bunny is getting old and couldn't remember where he hid one)
My pretty pretty girls, all dressed up, thanks to our sweet Aunt Patricia. She got each of the little girls an Easter dress and the big girls some money to go buy one.

My little Easter egg
Hannah, all ready to go find eggs at the church Easter Egg Hunt.
Ready, set,...
Charlotte had the exact same reaction Hannah did her first Easter...although this picture didn't capture it...she screamed upon touching the grass. Daryl says if it had been held among weeds and dirt and rocks, she would have loved it. Ha!

We ate lunch with Nanny for Easter afternoon and then headed for the lake!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Traditions, minus one...

Well, it's the day before Easter, so you know what that means...the Stone family rush to get ready for the big day. OK, OK, it really isn't the whole Stone family who is woefully unprepared for Easter each year. Only me. But, this year, we'll be celebrating Easter with only six of us. Sniff sniff.

Josh will not be with us this year on Easter. He'll be in church in Miami Florida before boarding a cruise ship. Here he is, modeling the latest in "walking around the ports of call" wear. When did he get so grown up????

And the traditional picture right before he gets in the car to leave.

And then Hannah, wanting in on the action, just had to show us how she was ready for her vacation too!

Later in the day, after all of the running around getting ready for Easter was over, we dyed eggs. Here are the girls, ready to start...

It's so so hard to wait while the eggs sit in the cups!

But, oh, how pretty!

Sarah's two tone egg...

And Maddy's Happy Easter egg...

My pretty girls and all their pretty eggs...except Hannah, who was pouting because...well, I can't remember why! Ha!

It wasn't long til they made up, though.