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

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Coming up for air

The last month has been a blur. I knew it would be. But man, had I forgotten how it was. For some reason, I thought it would be different this year. That I would have it more together. That I would be less busy. That I would be more organized. That I would get more done.

I don't know what in the world I was thinking. I wasn't thinking that I'd lose a driver and have to once again be responsible for getting everyone everywhere. I wasn't thinking that Daryl would start working 14-16 hour days and I would have to be responsible for doing everything. Or that I would have a wonderful group of children at school that while wonderful, are challenging with challenging parents. Or that I would still be tutoring and having help class 3 days a week. Or that I had to make time for exercise. Or fit in trips to the chiropractor. OK, OK, I just wasn't thinking.

Don't get me wrong. I am thankful that Daryl is able and willing to work as much as he is. I am very appreciative and adore him for doing this for us. I am thankful that God provided. I am thankful that Josh was able to go to college. That I have a job. But good golly molly, I am tired. And still not getting everything done. Weekends still tend to be just time to play catch up. The house remains a mess. The laundry remains in baskets.

The one thing that I have yet to figure out, though, is how to make time for exercise. This summer, I exercised every single day. I looked forward to it. I worked my days around it. It was therapeutic, physically and mentally and emotionally and spiritually. And I had good intentions. Leave school at 3:30. Home by 4:30. Start dinner and then go out for a jog (or wog, as is the case). But then came cheer practice til 5:15. And Spivey. And then the kids go to church. And have you ever tried to exercise with a four year old and a one year old in tow? So I did the smart thing and joined the gym at school. For $25 I can workout whenever I want. Which I thought would be every day after tutoring. But then I have to worry about being late to pick up Charlotte. And getting the kids where they need to go. and so my every day exercise has turned into 2-3 times a week max. Plus my body has decided to rebel. I have to exercise to keep myself healthy, yet exercising hurts my body. My chiropractor(who happens to be a young, Chris Allen look alike) tells me that I am not old (bless his sweet young heart) and I should not just accept it. My mind tells me (when I'm not forgetting it) that I shouldn't accept it...I am not that old. but it's really starting to tick me off.

OK....all this ranting and raving to apologize and explain for the lack of posting lately. I'm just now able to come up for air. I'm hoping to settle into some sort of routine, or survive on less sleep, and get back to taking pictures and documenting our family's year.

A girl can dream, can't she? Until then...enjoy the next three posts!


Hannah loves every single part of school, now that we've gotten over the fear of the computer room. Tonight, she was really, she shouted it to everyone in the do homework. We were given a Student of the Week poster to fill out for her at the beginning of the year. In true Stone fashion, we waited until the last moment to fill it out. OK, OK, OK, we had to get a reminder note from the teacher. But in our defense, she is not student of the week until November 15, so I thought we had some time.

So tonight we broke out the markers, because of course, the cobbler's children are always barefoot, or however that old saying goes...and we had no crayons. She got right to work, thrilled to be having homework like her big sisters.
Working hard...

"This is how you hold your pencil crectly!"

And this is the final product. Can you tell that I let her do it all by herself??? I thought it was sweet when she said that she colored the book brown because that was the color of all the Bibles at church, and that she is happiest when "her sisters played with her."

And...a little odd that if she had one wish it would be that "someone would come and help you reach the apple." Huh???

The teacher in me had to bite my tongue so that I wouldn't teach her how to color in the lines and let her rejoice in the "beautiful job I'm doing!" I will admit that I have questioned her teacher endlessly (oh, yes, I think I am becoming "that" parent) and looked up developmental milestones on Google because I am just a little aghast at her coloring. I know all kids are different. That she is extremely verbal. That she is smart, so smart. That she never liked to color so I didn't make her and so this is really her first exposure. But can I admit that I'm a little worried?
And can I also admit that I used to be worried that she wasn't talking enough?
Enough said.
And then just because she was sitting at the table across from me looking pretty...

Goooooooo Chargers!!!

Football is upon us, at least in ELCA Charger territory, and you know what that means. Lots of sitting in the hot sun after school, too much money spent at the concession stand, late nights, and grumpy mornings. AND...this year, it meant the indoctrination of Hannah and Charlotte to "the hill"-the field next to the bleachers where every younger sibling of an ELCA football player or cheerleader has spent countless, usually shoeless, always dirty hours each fall.

Hannah, our cheerleader wannabe, taking in the action

Charlotte, in the stroller, which I imagined she would sit nicely--HA!

Maddy, mid-back handspring


Every Thursday evening from now until November, you can find us at the football field!

Happy Birthday, Charlotte!!!!

We woke her up with a Stone rendition of Happy Birthday...I think she would have rather slept in, don't you?

She was a little bit more bright eyed by the time I picked her up at Kay Kay's

So many presents!!!
It was so much fun once Hannah and Sarah taught her how to open them!

Josh came over from school, and Daryl stayed home from working electrical, just so we could be together on this special day

Charlotte helping Daryl put together the storage bench from Grandma and Grandpa. She loved it...still does...especially climbing up and down on it!

Her little bitty cake

Not so sure what to make of it....

But she soon got the hang of it!

And even enjoyed it!

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl!!!! We thank God every day for you!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had taken Friday off from work to take Daryl to go and get his kidney stones removed. I had opted to leave all my school work at school, certain I would be back on Monday and I would be able to pull something together. Daryl was understandably a little grumpy and we needed to get a chatty Hannah out of the house for a while. We went to the park that day and it was so hot. I sat in the shade while Sarah and Maddy took pictures of Hannah playing in the sand, Hannah sliding on the slide, Hannah being afraid of the teeter totter. Then, hot and hungry, and at the request of Hannah, we went through the drive-thru of Wendy's and got Frosty's. Took more pictures. Later that day, we all piled in the car again and drove down to Locust Grove to watch Josh run in a cross country meet. Took tons and tons of pictures. I think we took more pictures August 22 last year than any other day ever.

I remember remarking to Daryl that I'd noticed some contractions. Pretty regular contractions. Sorta painful contractions. But they went away when I walked, and boy had I walked. "Are we going to have a baby tonight?" he asked. "Nah" I told him, confidently. "Good," he said, because he was miserable, in pain, having been sent home with a catheter. In fact, he slept in the recliner that night, claiming it was more comfortable

I went to bed around ten. I was tired. And I slept. Sleep had eluded me for months, but that night, I slept. It was as if God was letting me rest, knowing what lay ahead, knowing I would need my strength. I woke up at 4:00 on the dot. Struggled to sit up, heard a pop, and felt my water break. Waddled downstairs and as soon as I walked in the room, called Daryl's name, and he just knew.

The rest is sort of a blur. The waking up the kids and letting them know we were leaving, the ride to the hospital, the check in. The three hours of seering pain while they let me "get uncomfortable" before they gave me the pitocin and epidural. My dad coming in to see me, taking one look at me moaning and writhing in pain and walking back out the door.

Then the one push and she was here. So sweet, so cute, so tiny. Crying and laughing at the same time. My sweet sweet Charlotte. I can't believe that it has been a year already. Tomorrow she will eat cake and open presents and she will officially no longer be my baby.

My sweet baby, you have been an absolute joy and blessing. I love you more than I thought possible. Happy Day Before Your Birthday!

Sunday, August 15, 2010 last!

On Daryl's side of the family we have lots of cousins. So many, in fact, that Hannah has a hard time keeping up with the little ones, and Josh still doesn't know who is who with the big kids. On my side of the family, however, there were none. Until 2 weeks ago, when my sister Kathleen and brother in law Jason welcomed twins Clare and Cole! This weekend, the girls and I drove up to Chattanooga for a quick visit.

Introducing Coleman Wohlers. Cole for short. Named for my father's family.

And Clare, named for a county in Ireland that Kath and Jason loved when they went there on their honeymoon.
Charlotte didn't really pay much attention to the babies, but loved all the baby stuff, and their cats and dogs. She didn't love the tables, under which she kept walking, sitting down, then standing up and hitting her head!


My baby sister with her baby boy.
So hard for me to believe she is a mommy!

Sarah shows Cole some cousin love

Clare "talks" to Maddy

Char char, after giving Kath and Jason a break from the chaos that is us, and an afternoon nap and swimming. She is showing us what a big girl she is with her sippy cup!

Look mom....this isn't that hard!

Hannah paid little attention to the babies, but loved playing with Grandma on the computer. She loved swimming in the pool, too, and just the whole hotel experience. Her favorite thing to do, by far, though, was this!

The next morning, we enjoyed the continental breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa before heading out. Charlotte had been up eeearrrrlly, so I was just sure that she would go to sleep as soon as she got in the car. I was just so wrong! She fussed and fussed and fussed. Threw her bottle, her sippy cup, and anything she could put her chubby little hands on. Finally, I pulled over, dug her blanket from her bed and her glow-worm seahorse. As soon as I covered her up and turned on her seahorse, her eyes got heavy and within a minute, she was fast asleep. That is one routine I have been able to keep throughout her whole life, and I am so glad I did, if for no other reason than this!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Officially a College Student

Today was the day I had been dreading for weeks, and that Josh had been anticipating for much longer than that. The day Josh went off to college.

We woke him up at 6:30 so the girls could tell him good-bye.

Daryl took the whole day off, so that he could get some work done. I took half a day and left after lunch. We were home about an hour together, and then it was time to load the cars.
We drove the 1.3 miles to Clayton State to wait in this line to unload. We waited for about ten minutes before we decided just to park and carry it all in. I seriously don't remember having a check-in time or vying for a parking place to unload at the dorm--but I must have since Clemson is a much bigger college.

After waiting in line to fill out papers, and waiting in line for the elevator, we finally got to his dorm room--339. They had this cute welcome sign on it for the freshmen.

I was a bit sad by this time, watching all of these kids carry their stuff up the stairs, realizing that all these big kids were going to be living with my baby boy. I felt sooooo much better to find this waiting for him in his room (note the sarcasm)

Josh is living in a suite with three others. This is his "living area."

And his kitchenette. (In which he put NONE of his food/kitchen stuff for fear someone would take it!)

the bathroom

And the vanity area of the bathroom (and contrary to everyone's belief, I am not posing for a picture of myself!)

And his dorm room. It's tiny. But it's all his. We got all his stuff in, made his bed, helped him put his stuff away (along with Maranda, of course!) Then it was time to go get the girls from school and since he had some friends stop by, it was the perfect time to say good-bye. (OK, there is no perfect time to say good-bye to your baby boy, but good as time as any.)

I was a little sad walking out. I got a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. But I needn't worry. By the time we got home with dinner, he was already home picking up his car...and he says he'll be back later on.

Big big big day in the Stone household, but in the wasn't too bad after all.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Of Pre-school and College...

How many of us are lucky enough to experience both at the same time??? It's wonderful, and stressful, and most certainly this week, emotional.

Hannah LOVES pre-school and adores her teacher. She is up and going in the morning and actually cries when I come to get her in the afternoons. I love peeking in on her when she doesn't know it and watch her delighting in learning while she sits on her carpet square or as she plays with her little friends. I love hearing the little nuggets of wisdom that she passes on to us each night. "Do you know why I love Jesus, Mommy? Because He first loved me!" "The bell means that we stand and put our hands on our heart and look at the flag with the stars on it." "It is not good manners to chew when people can see in your mouth." I Love opening her folder and seeing her sweet papers that she has worked so hard on. What I do not love is going to pick up my children from music, and as I pass the computer lab, peeking in to see Hannah crying hysterically, refusing to play on the computer.

Yes, that's right. My child is scared of the computer lab. I don't know why this surprises me, since she is scared of the credits of movies, but it did. I don't know if it is the headphones or the fact she didn't know how to use the mouse (so I feel like a geezer, but I would have never thought she would have been the ONLY person in her K4 class that didn't know how to do so!), but she is terrified of it and cries the entire time. This morning she woke up, tired from not enough sleep, and one of the first things she mentioned was how she didn't want to go to computer. I thought she would get over it, but she didn't and eventually the teacher took her into her room by herself and showed her how to use the mouse and Hannah was as happy as a proverbial clam. The teacher believes that this will lead to Hannah loving the computer lab next week. Hannah believes that she will be able to spend every computer time in her classroom with her beloved teacher. She doesn't care if she ever gets a Polly Pocket again, she is never going back to the computer lab again. Sigh. I have that kid.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Josh. Who just a blink of an eye ago was in K4, dressing up in a paper bag vest as an Indian in the Thanksgiving play. Tracing his name in sand. Painting and playing with play-doh. Setting up bug exhibitions in the garage. And tonight, for the first time in a long time, we gathered around the table for our last family dinner before he leaves on Thursday for college. OK, so it's just Clayton State. And I can walk there. In less than 10 minutes. And he will be home again. But it just isn't going to be the same. I'll only have four kids to wake up on Sunday mornings. Only four kids to grocery shop for. One less "hamburger plain, large fry, and large coke" at the drive through at McDonald's. am I being dramatic? yeah...I am. Where do you think Hannah and Maddy got it from???? But man...this is hitting me hard. So hard, that in the midst of a great family dinner, I just burst into tears that went on for nearly an hour. I pulled myself together only to find a sweet card with an even sweeter message inside from my sweet boy.

I will be a blubbering, blithering fool by Thursday!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

First Day of School

Monday was the first day of school, and in true Stone fashion, it was met with a photographic catastrophe. I had been waiting for this all summer. Dreamed about her first day of school, dressed up in her first uniform, carrying her backpack. She woke up joyously with a hearty "It's time for school!" She willingly got dressed and got her hair done. She walked around with her backpack on for at least ten minutes before we left. And I got such cute pictures of it all. And then....and then....the camera battery died. And the second $5o charger that we bought? No where to be found. When I realized this, it almost brought me to tears, only to be compounded by Daryl's exclamation as he cleaned out under the couches to look for it: "We have got to start living differently." Sigh. I know. What do you think the "One Year to Becoming Organized" campaign was for????

So with heavy heart, I took pictures with my phone, consoling myself with the fact that even though they would be stuck there forever (lost that cord too), I could look at them and show people. Then Daryl became Super Dad and arrived to walk Hannah to her classroom camera in hand. New, cheap camera from Walmart, but still a camera nonetheless. Have I mentioned lately how much I love that man?????

So, this is what we got. Not great pictures, but downloadable, blog-worthy pictures!

My three girls on their first day of school in my room.

Hannah in her classroom, in the "kitchen with the windows!"
Showing Daddy the cookie jar.

Even Char Char was happy school started!

And lastly, a picture of Maddy. My guess is that she took a self portrait, as this is one of about thirteen on my camera. Pretty though :)

First week of school is over and it was a success. Hannah LOVES school and loves her teacher, which makes me extremely happy. If nothing else, it was my wish that Hannah come away from this year with a love of learning and loving school. Sarah and Maddy seem to like their classes, and my class is precious. Big and loud and done after lunch, but so precious.
Next week, we move Josh into his dorm at Clayton State. I wonder if he will let me take pictures?