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, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010--in pictures

Pumpkin Patch 2010

Last year was our first year going to the pumpkin patch as a family. We went one day after church and had a nice relaxing stroll around the pumpkin patch before picking out our pumpkins. This year, we found ourselves pumpkinless on the day before Halloween, so on the way to a wedding, we detoured to the pumpkin patch to get our pumpkins.
Love this picture.

Hannah and her pumpkin.
Maddy and her prize.

Josh chose a bigger one, since he and Maranda would both be carving it.

Still Josh, but I liked this picture of my big boy.

I tried for a cute "sitting among the pumpkins" pictures, but Charlotte didn't want to sit still and there were swarms of bugs all around.

Sarah, standing among the pumpkins...but notice Charlotte in the background...she did a lot of that.


Does this pose look familiar?

Our annual Pumpkin Patch picture.

And you're thinking...quit bad mouthin' that baby. Look how nicely she is sitting there. Um, yeah. The picture below was about 3 seconds after this was taken.

Homecoming, ELCA style

As if the full moon, dress as Romanians Friday wasn't "fun" enough, we had a fun-filled week the next week with Homecoming at Eagle's Landing Christian Academy...the week before Halloween. Now, I know that children at public school wear all sorts of different clothing to school and manage just fine. But take an ELCA student out of their uniform, and chaos ensues. I don't know about my own personal children and how they behaved (or didn't) in school this week, but I do know that I had absolutely no expectations for my first graders and boy, they did not disappoint! I don't have any pictures of them, but I do have some of my loves.

Decade Day
The elementary school did 50's, the middle school did 70's, and sophomores had 50's too.
Wednesday was senior citizen day for the elementary and middle school, and it was little kid day for the high school. Hannah didn't dress as anything, simply because I had no idea how to dress a 4 year old without spending money, time, and energy---all of which I was running low on.
Thursday was Career Day. Sarah was a photographer. She borrowned some wardrobe items and camera from our youth pastor's wife and photographer extraordinaire, Kelly Lewis, and then took pictures of people throughout her day. Maddy, having to become innovative after I refused to take them to Party City this year, was a rapper. (Lest you think me a mean mom, every year during homecoming, the girls beg for costumes and so we go to Party City which is a zoo, where they find the perfect costume and promise that they will wear it for Halloween. Then Halloween comes and it is either lost, broken, not cool enough, etc.) Hannah was a ballet dancer, but those pictures came out fuzzy.

And Friday, lovely Friday, was blue and gold day. I thought that finally my classroom would return to some sort of normal, since the students can wear blue jeans and ELCA t-shirts every Friday, but I didn't account for yellow wigs, blue spray painted hair, and faces painted blue and gold. Here's my Charger.

Praise the Lord that Homecoming Week is over! Now on to Monday and dealing with the Halloween sugar high!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My original goal...

was a post a day for a year. But then life, and lost camera cords, got in the way and I fell just a bit (or a hundred or so). Had I stuck to it like I had originally planned, this would be my six hundred and somethingth post. As it is, we are likely to hit 365 by the time 2011 rolls around. Did I happen to mention I have a slight problem with stick-to-it-ness?

Anyways, this week, as with most weeks these days, seems to have gotten away from me. So here is our week in a nutshell:

A trip to the orthodontist for rubber bands. Before Maddy got her braces, she couldn't wait to get them. After about 2 days, she really didn't like them that much. For about a month, she has been anticipating her rubber bands. It took about fifteen minutes this time to realize that they weren't all they were cracked up to be!
We welcomed our new "pet" to our family. Remember that girl in grade school who was always playing pony and galloping around the playground? Yep. That one. Hannah turned into that girl this week, except she wasn't a pony. She was a dog. See that look on Charlotte's face? She's thinking the same thing that you were thinking back in grade school as that girl galloped by you, neighing in the wind.

Parade of Nations
It's mission month at ELCA, and each class studied a country and then dressed up as the native people and paraded around the school. (And in case you were wondering, yes, it is a lovely way to start a full moon Friday) Ever since we went on our mission trip to Romania, we have studied the country of Romania and the Romanian gypsies.
We had the mail order catalog gypsies--so cute.

And the make do with what you got gypsies--just as cute.

And then we had our more innovative gypsies. This sweet boy saw videos, pictures, and books about gypsies, and his impression? What stuck with them? That they were dirty. Which pretty much is true. The first time someone's ever done this though!

The preschool classes dressed up as community helpers. The kiddos in Hannah's class were doctors. (Note the children sitting along the walls holding our their hands--yep, while we were walking down the halls in our Romanian costumes, kids of all ages were screaming and cheering for us, and slapping our hands in high fives. Did I mention it was a lovely way to start a full moon Friday?)

My little doctor. Love love love her.
The Hannah of old (of before school) would have been terrified and refused to walk. So proud of how far she has come!

Saturday came, and after a sweet two week break, we hopped in the car for a cheer competition. We drove to Houston County to watch Sarah's last cheer competition before Regions.
And this is the only picture I got. It's Hannah and Charlotte making a "tent" with the blanket.

Why, you may ask, did I not take pictures of the actual competition? Of Sarah and her team doing incredibly difficult stunts with ease? Of the awards ceremony? Of Hannah cheering on her big sister? Why do I only have a picture of my two sweet girls hidden under a blanket?
Because a cheer competition with an active toddler?
It must be the closest thing to Hell on earth.
First you climb up the bleachers and squeeze in to the 2 foot empty spot with your baby, folded astroller, diaper bag, toy bag, snack bag, four year old, and squirmy toddler. Then, you settle said toddler and start offering her snacks to keep her busy. You focus your attention for just a moment on the competition, only to look up to see fruit snacks stuck in the beautiful curly hair of the woman in front of you, your toddlers sticky wet hand reaching perilously close to said hair to pull them out. You are also fielding phone calls and texts from the only member of your family not to get sick yet, two hours away, who has now become sick and wants her momma. You manage to stick it out for twenty minutes, so that you can see your first born daughter cheer, and then make it down the bleachers, your four year old screaming "Don't leave me!" and crying hysterically behind you. You decide to hit the restroom for a pit stop before heading out to "play" and while you are taking care of your business, the toddler climbs under the bathroom stall door and runs out of the bathroom. Among glares and stares from toddlerless parents, you leave the gym and go into the commons area to "play" for two hours. Playing consists of running after the toddler as she tries to eat bark, trash, dirt, sticks, and decides that the trash can and the parking lot are the desired places to play. All the while, your poor neglected four year old does her cheers, begs you to pay attention to her, and sticks her hand in an ant hill.
In a stuff.
Also this week, we've been doing a lot of this, giving Charlotte breathing treatments.
What a good daddy. My heart just melts when I see how sweet he is with her.

Our week ended with a cathartic church service this morning. My friend, Jim, was able to come to church this morning. Patient transport had to bring him, but he was there to be deacon of the week, in his words, "one last time." We sang his favorite songs, got to tell him we loved him, got to meet his family who had all flown in. And there were tears. Lots of tears. I wonder how I'll feel when he is gone, after mourning him so long and so hard right now. I do know that I've learned/relearned/realized during all of this that each day is a gift.
Even the cheer competition days.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What do you title a blog post about a friend dying? I've read enough, I've experienced enough, I've watched enough TV that usually, I have some clever title, a play on words, a pun even (my personal favorite). But this. There are simply no words.

I've sat here on the couch, laptop in my lap, tears in my eyes, lump in my throat and written...and deleted. And written some more...and deleted.

What must it feel like to know that you are dying? Not some day. Soon. To know that your child will grow up without you. That your time on this earth is over, that God's plan for your life is coming to a close. What must that feel like? Is it as sad as it makes me just thinking about it, just thinking about how he must feel?

And still I write and delete. Write and delete. About my own mortality. About my faith. About the unpredictability of life and God's sovereignty and love and loss. Write and delete.

There are simply no words.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why Lovely Fall Decorations will never be....

After my last post a few weeks ago, I was determined (once again) to get my life together, get the house in order, and while my house would never be Better Homes and Gardens ready, I could decorate in a way that reflected my life. So when Hannah brought home this cute stuffed owl from school, I thought...why not? I can decorate using homemade things. Hannah made things. I envisioned a homemade leaf garland, pine cones.
And 5 minutes later. So much for that.

Enough said.

With Charlotte being so sick, someone (ahem...Hannah) has been just a bit jealous of all the attention her little sister is getting. "Mama, look at me!" "Mama, take a picture of me!" "Mama, look how cute I am!"

Two days later, Char was back at the sitter, I was home, and Hannah had me all to herself!

She DOES take after me!

My sweet girl LOVES books--just like her mama!

We spent a lot of time reading last weekend, because my sweet baby girl was sick.
My sweet, smiley Charlotte was not so smiley, but still so sweet. ( Except for the giving it to everyone else part!)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

long blog

Every day, I compose about three blog posts in my head. Not surprisingly, and very obviously, they never make it to fruition. I could say that I have been incredibly incredibly busy. Because I have been. Incredibly. Very incredibly even. I could say that I lost the camera, because there for a while, I had. As it turns out, it wasn't really lost but hanging on the hook under the diaper bag. Had I not been afraid to admit it, someone would have probably pointed it out to me, but as it was, I really didn't want to admit it on a blog my husband reads and I knew it would show up eventually. But really, beside the fact that I was just really really tired, the reason I haven't blogged is that I was following my momma's advice: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Since coming back from Chattanooga, I've been in a bit of a funk. I've had a hard time balancing everything in my life, and so nothing is really going the way that I would like it to. I was spending so much time and energy on my health and exercising that the house suffered--and more than usual. I spent my time after school working out, so I didn't have my usual planning time, and it showed in my classroom. I made me a priority each and every day, and it showed. And as I so often do when I'm in a funk, I started comparing myself to others. I don't go looking for opportunities to do this....they just seem to materialize.

Take last week for example. I am an avid blog reader. I love to read, and I love to have a peek into the lives of others. And in one of the blogs I read, Kelly's Korner, there is a weekly feature where the readers post pictures of their houses. One week may be dining rooms, another master bathrooms. This week was living rooms. And 223 people posted pictures of their perfect, immaculate, beautifully decorated living rooms. (And yes, mom, some of them worked, and some of them have 5 children) And even though you saw the odd toy basket or two, the floors were clean, there were no bottles of ketchup or stray glasses laying around, and there was an amazing absence of "stuff"(and writing of stray H's on the furniture). There were, though, lovely fall decorations. I want lovely fall decorations.

And when I started thinking about wanting lovely fall decorations, I thought...why? We are never home. We average being home 4 hours a day that we are awake. When we are home, no one comes over. And really? Hannah and Charlotte would have them pulled down and played with and eventually lost or ruined or the dogs would eat them. But still. I want the wherewithall to have lovely fall decorations. Fall decorations say to me that you have your life together enough to spend the time and effort to decorate more than once a year. That you have put them in a box somewhere labeled clearly (thus you were able to find them), and on the day you think you need to put them out, you actually remember and do it (and the boxes don't stay piled on the stair landing until it's time to get out your winter decorations.) That you have pride in your home and how it looks.

And I realized that I don't have a whole lot of pride in our home because it's always messy. always cluttered. Things are stained, broken, and not in their right places. And I want to get it together so I can get it together, but I am tired. So tired. And as stupid as it sounds, my house has defeated me. I raise the white flag of surrender. I cannot keep it like I want. I cannot keep it 'lovely fall decorations' ready. And this makes me crabby.

And this is the part where you say, "Look at all you have you big crybaby! Get off your ample rear and just do it. Quit whining and enjoy your five beautiful, healthy children and your wonderful husband. You have a job you love and are good at. You are healthy. You have a roof over your head and clothes on your body. You are a child of God...and what else really matters?" Because I say that to myself so very often.

So I've made a decision to work on the house, yes. But to also work on a better attitude. An attitude of acceptance and peace. That right now, I'm doing the best I can (but am I?) and the lovely fall decorations can wait. That eventually, I will have furniture that doesn't have stains, carpet that doesn't have stains, and walls with no fingerprints. Eventually, I will have time to get it all together and I won't end up on an episode of Hoarders. I'll have curtains--window treatments even, patio furniture, and matching dishes--that aren't plastic. (Did I mention in this fantasy that I am a size six, Teacher of the Year, driving a vehicle without french fries under the seats, and sleeping 8 hours a night?)

So look for more blog posts. And now that I've found the camera, more pictures. And I won't make any promises, but a maybe someday, some lovely fall decorations.

My kind of cheer competition

I love watching Sarah's cheer competitions. I do. I used to watch them on TV when I was younger (and OK, when I was older and no one was home). I always wanted to be a cheerleader. I even tried out when I was in 8th grade. They chose 12 cheerleaders and 18 drill team members. I made neither. I was that bad. Looking back, now, I see why. I seriously lack any kind of rhythm, don't like people looking at me, and had quite a hard time getting my massive backside (yes, sigh, even then) off the ground. Then, though, I was crushed, and never tried out for anything again. But I digress....

Anyways...maybe because I was not cheerleader material, I especially enjoy, revel in even, my daughters being cheerleaders. And those girls at those competitions...a-maz-ing. But those competitions? Usually LLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGG. Which would be fine, would I be able to kick back with my stadium seat, a diet coke, and observe. But a toddler who has to be walking and a four year old who is easily bored do not a good competition experience make. Until today.

Today, we drove out to Peachtree City for a competition with a 12:00 start time. And we were out of there by 1:45. We got there just in time for the ELCA team to compete, ate lunch, and by the time we found our seats again (with a nifty space in front of us for the girls to play), it was awards time. Home by 2:15.

Sarah was sporting a new accesory for this competition, courtesy of her flyer.

Maddy loves to competitions too....just not this part.

And this is how Charlotte enjoys the competitions. And yes, the picture is blurry because yes folks, she has learned to run.
And here is my cheerleader/bruiser holding her team's third first place trophy of the season!

We've got three more weeks til the next competition. An hour and a half away. With over thirty teams competing.
They all can't be like this one!