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 30, 2010

Back to School Day at ELCA

Thursday was Back to School Day at ELCA. It started with a myriad of meetings for the staff, and then lunch for new families. After lunch I snuck to Hannah's classroom and took a few pictures.

Here's her desk. Sigh.
And her coat hook.

Later, after the new students had a time to look around, I was able to sneak away and take Hannah to meet her teacher.
She was a little shy to start with. Here she is standing at her desk.

I had told Mrs. Allison how anxious she was about washing her hands. Over and over again, she had expressed concern that she would not be able to turn the water off after she washed her hands. Mrs. Allison was kind enough to let her come and practice.

She let Mrs. Allison get close....but made sure that she had a little distance...

Later, we could not pass Mrs. Allison without giving her a hug, but Maddy took that picture and it was blurry.
After Meet the Teacher, we had a school wide worship. Mark Hall led the music.

Hannah fell fast asleep during, but woke up in time for Picnic in the Plaza.
And then we headed to the stadium for a "sneak peak" of the football teams, the cheerleaders, and the band. Hannah managed to eat her way through the evening. Two slices of pizza, two snow cones, a pack of m&m's, and some french fries.
While Hannah and I sat in the bleachers, Maddy and Sarah hung out with their friends in true ELCA fashion. I do believe Maddy has spent more time at football games on "the hill" than in the bleachers or on the sidelines!

Our night ended with a demonstration from the competition cheerleaders before heading home to see Daryl and Charlotte.

It was truly a great day at ELCA. (Our headmaster ends the morning announcements each day with the saying "Have a great E..L..C..A.) It made me proud to teach at the school. Made me excited for the year to start. Also made the sacrifices so worth it. I could easily make more money at a public school, but I couldn't get this kind of school family, partners in worship, and a place where my children can grow in the Lord while they learn.
Monday is the first day of school. We can't wait!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It started out so simply...

I got home from work and Daryl told me that Charlotte had been taking a few steps. I knew it was coming, and since I totally did not take any pictures of her bear crawl, I wanted to capture her first (or sorta first) steps.

Innocent really. I wanted to take pictures of my baby reaching a milestone.
However, Hannah chose this exact time to have a meltdown.

A meltdown that lasted approximately 45 minutes. Forty five minutes of crying, rolling on the floor, and simultaneously sobbing and informing us of the injustice of it all...having a little sister who everyone wants to take a picture of. Of no one wanting to pay attention to her.
Finally, even though she wasn't crying anymore, but "still had tears," she calmed down.

But by this time, this guy below had decided he had had enough and was leaving, declaring how much he couldn't wait to get to college where it would be peaceful.

Just another day in the Stone household.
And I love it. Honestly, truly, I do.
And within the next two weeks it will all change.
Josh will move out and into the dorm, leaving a Josh shaped hole in our family. And Daryl amidst a whole lot of estrogen.
Hannah will start school.
And Charlotte will soon forgo the bear crawl for toddling.
Too many changes. Too many of my babies growing up. Wish I could stop time and just appreciate the noise, the chaos, the constant drama just a little longer.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Daryl, upon finding a pile of baby powder on the hutch: Hannah, did you do this?

Hannah: No

Daryl: Hannah, did you do this?

Hannah: Curassa

Daryl: What?

Hannah: That's Spanish. It means a little bit.

Heaven help her teacher!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

RIP Blahteen

It's a bittersweet day. Josh is off at college orientation. It's the end of the summer. Hannah is starting school. And today...the ultimate dagger to the heart. On the way home from school today, Hannah told me, "You know what, Mommy? Blahteen is not a real number. It was just an idea in my 'magination." You remember blahteen? That magical number that appeared when Hannah got past the numbers she knew how to count to? "15, 16, blahteen." Sigh.

My baby is growing up. What will be the next to go? The twelve hugs before I leave the house? The "tickle my back like a spider?" Her shouting "I love you God!" to the sky when I answer her questions about Him? Will she be calling me Mom instead of Mommy? Please, Hannah Banana....Stay little! Stay just like this!

Speaking of growing up...Charlotte is starting to talk! So far, she has said these words:

thank you "day doo"
uh-oh "uh oh"
banana "nana"
amen "a-nen"

(We think she says mama and dada too, of course, but then again, Kay's husband thinks she says Papa too!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer Well Spent

47 days of eating healthy
47 days of consecutive exercise
27 pounds gone
Learning to listen to my body
Learning to not listen to my will
Learning to love myself, my kids, my health, more than food
Learning to feel, not eat
Learning to eat to live, not live to eat
Learning to get out and do something even though I hate doing it
Learning that even though I hated doing it, it was good for me
Learning not to hate it so much
Learning to actually like it
Believe it or not, the food has been the easy part this summer. Despite my griping and complaining about Daryl's long hours of working, it did give us the flexibility at the grocery store. I stocked up on good healthy food, lots of fruits and veggies and whole grains, and organic fare. This made it easier to make good choices, and those good choices satisfied me. The exercise, however, was a different story. I started this summer hating to exercise. And not just a little. A lot. I don't like to sweat, and in the warmest summer on record, I sweated a lot. I don't like to breathe hard and hurt. I don't like to take time out of things that I want and need to do to go out and sweat and breathe hard and turn red and hurt. But I did it. Every single day. In the beginning, I aimed for 20 minutes a day. And after that 20 minutes, I would come in, drink two glasses of ice water, turn on the ceiling fans and lay on the floor, thinking I was going to die. Twenty minutes turned into 45 minutes to an hour. This week, it turned into Couch to 5K, and today, 15 minutes of walking and 10 minutes of jogging. I still hate to sweat--HATE IT. I still hurt, but a little less every day. But I LOVE what it has done for me. More energy, better sleep, and lower blood pressure. Weight gone and a feeling of accomplishment.
It's been good quality time with my girls. My big girls and my little girls. My little girls growing and maturing, my big girls becoming friends. And not enough time with my men--too much work, too much time away. It's been tutoring 10 kids twice a week, every week. Seeing great improvements in some; in others not so much. Still waiting to see the $$$.
It's all over starting tomorrow. It's back to work, back to getting up early and coming home late. Rushing to get out the door, rushing to get back home. I'm ready. Excited for Hannah. Excited for Josh. But just a little bit sad about both. I'm ready for a new group of kids, a new year, new possibilities. A class that's mine all year with no maternity leave and no distractions of being pregnant.
It doesn't seem possible that it's already time to go back to school. I'm thankful for the summer. Thankful for the gains and the losses, the victories, the time with my family. The time to recoup and refresh. Time to cook. Time to read. Time to cuddle with my girls, watch TV, and play on the computer.
Summer is over, but it's definitely been time well spent.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Back to School Shopping....Already?

Where has this summer gone? It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the end of another school year and putting away the backpacks and school supplies. And yesterday, we made our annual trip to Conyers to meet Grandma and Grandpa to buy school supplies. Josh wasn't with us--he is at the beach with Maranda and her family. But Hannah was there for her first ever school supply shopping trip! I don't know who was more excited, me or her!

I should have brought my camera to the restaurant where we ate dinner and into Staples to take pictures. I could have documented Grandma and Grandpa trying to figure out their new phones, Charlotte waiting so very impatiently for our food to arrive, and Hannah announcing to the entire store that she got some pencils, while skipping down the aisle!

As it is, of course....the camera was in the car the entire time. But I did get some shots when we got home!
Sarah giving a big thumbs up for school supplies. She says that she isn't excited for school to start, just the school supplies....right....

Maddy with her brand new spiffy calculator (that she has already figured out how to play games on!)

And Hannah, modeling her new backpack. It's a fuzzy picture because I was trying to catch Hannah mid pout/whine. She wanted to take all of her supplies out and "play" with them instead of pack them away and put them up. My girl comes by it honestly....she hates to wait!
I can guarantee that there will be many pictures to be taken on her first day of school (sniff sniff) and that I will be careful to set the auto focus first!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Eat Mor Chiken

Friday was National Dress Like a Cow for Free Chicken Day at Chick Fil A. Last year, we all (except Daryl) dressed like cows, masks and all. This year, it sorta caught us by surprise. But we are not the type to turn down free food, especially when it's one of our favorites. Josh was working at his Chick Fil A, but the girls quickly made due with what we had.

We had sweet girl with a new haircut cow...
And sister cows.
Speaking of sisters, this is what I found this morning when I came up to get Charlotte out of bed. I love how much Hannah loves her baby sister, and love how excited Charlotte gets to see her big sister. I wonder how long it will be until Hannah figures out that she can get in there with her?

They both had sick looking eyes this morning, so I was sure that before the day was over, I'd have two sick girlies. Josh had been sick all week, and I knew that we wouldn't be so lucky as to have him keep it to himself.
Well, I was 1/2 right. It only took picking her up to realize that Charlotte was not well. Sure enough, she had a 102.3 fever. And of course, our pediatrician just recently stopped seeing patients on Saturdays. So off to the urgent care center, where we waited for 2 1/2 hours to be told that she looked perfect. Of course, the fever, by that time, had gone down due to the motrin. So while I was glad to hear that she was so healthy otherwise, I was a bit disappointed that we weren't sent home with a prescription for something to make her feel better.
We spent the rest of the day sleeping (yay!) or crying, being basically miserable except for the hour or so after the motrin or tylenol kicked in.
Isn't this the most pitiful thing you've ever seen?
Her sisters, though, were a bit more productive.
Maddy did her best impression of the Energizer Bunny, as she cleaned the downstairs and did...count them...10 loads of laundry. Did, as in washed and dried and folded and put away, TEN LOADS OF LAUNDRY. I even heard her say, at one point, under her breath, "Why in the world must they put their clothes on the floor?" HA! Welcome to my world!
Here she is, worn out after her 12 hours of being a laundress. (Hey, I've always wanted one of those!)
And here is Sarah, who didn't want to get her picture taken, but nonetheless, deserved a kudos for her hard work today as well. She spent lots of time with a fussy fussy Charlotte, and even took a nice long walk with me this afternoon.
And Hannah. My sweet sweet Hannah. My "never stop talking" girl. Who is used to being the center of attention, used to having someone to play with her, used to having someone entertain her. Who, today, had to take a big backseat (like waaaaaaay at the back of the bus) to her little sister. She did well, though, and I was so so proud of her.
Tomorrow is officially my last week of summer. I'll tutor this week and be done with it. Next Monday, I'll move all of my junk back into my room and get ready to do it all again.
Would I be too much of a geek to admit that I am ready and excited?
On second thought, don't answer that!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July

We spent the 4th of July holiday at Lake Oconee with my parents. We were unable to go to St. George Island this year for our annual beach trip because Josh was in Hungary on a mission trip, so this was our vacation of sorts. All of us were excited to get away from home, spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa, and hit the sun and water. It was, as most vacations, filled with highs and lows. Good days and not so good. More good than bad, more high than low, but let me tell you...the low...was just about as low as it gets.

Maranda came with us this weekend. I made sure that my mom knew about her peanut allergy, and she was careful not to plan anything peanut related for meals or desserts. We routinely eat peanut butter at our house, and she is over at our house often, and not once has she had a bit of trouble. One night at dinner, Charlotte had a peanut butter cracker. I made sure that the table was washed down afterwards, and I was careful to wash her hands. After I washed her hands, she pulled at the straw in Maranda's drink, and I thought nothing of it. Until hours later when we had to call 911 as Maranda started having an allergic reaction. She carries an epi-pen, so we got that out, and the only one brave enough to administer it was my dad. He is usually cool under pressure, and has actually saved two people. By administering the Heimlich maneuver,though, and NOT an epi-pen. As obviously displayed when he administered it to his thumb and not to a wheezing, swelling Maranda. One ambulance ride and a two hour wait in the most pleasant emergency room I have ever been in, and she was fine. She went home with her mom for the night and came back the next day. We can laugh about it now, but at the time it was scary! More lows included a power outage and a septic tank incident that forced anyone who wanted a shower to go to the Lake Club to take one, but I have no pictures of that and quite honestly, do not want to remember those as the highlights of our trip!

So....on to the good parts....

Josh caught a huge fish off the dock.
(sorry for the poor picture quality...still trying to get a handle on this manual focus!)

Fireworks at the Ritz
We went by boat and were able to view the fireworks from the water. It was a gorgeous night and they were beautiful!
Josh and Maranda (post peanut trauma!)

Maddy and Sarah
Dad/Grandpa driving the boat (Grandma most graciously volunteered to stay home with Charlotte--thanks Mom!)
Daryl and Hannah. We were so glad that Daryl was able to take a break from work and join us for a while. And we were so glad that Hannah decided she was brave enough to come with us!

The first year we took her to fireworks, she spent the show with her head buried in Daryl's neck. The next year, we didn't see a big show, but set off some fireworks with some friends at church, and she spent the evening cowering in the church nursery tearfully refusing to go outside. This year, she watched and "liked the colors, but the sound was too loud."
Big improvement!
This was obviously her trip to be brave and show us how grown up she has become, because she actually went tubing too! Josh talked Grandma and Grandpa into buying a double innertube, so that two people could ride at a time. She decided all by herself that she wanted to join the fun!
Sarah, getting ready to go out on the boat
And Maddy

And Hannah, all ready to go!
The whole crew, waiting for Grandpa

Hannah, getting on the innertube with Maranda

and off she goes!

Char Char showed her patriotic spirit with a cute outfit and officially declared her independence from baby food this weekend. She went the whole weekend without one bite of baby food!

Hannah with a sparkler--my how far she has come! She only would take this one from me and then hid in the corner, afraid, but steps!

And finally, a picture that Hannah requested that I put in here. She thought it was "cute" and we should "really take a picture of this cute thing." She even went to get the camera and everything.
The girls stayed at the lake for the rest of the week, so it's just Josh, the little girls and Daryl and me for the week. Hoping to get a lot of cleaning and organizing done this week before we head into the final week before I'm back to work.
Summer has flown by!