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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ten Things To Smile About

Who am I kidding?  I'm never going to get it together this summer.  You know what they say about the "best laid plans of mice and men?"  I had a very productive Sunday and was geared up to knock it all out on Monday.  Then I took the girls shopping and they bought Just Dance 2.  So. much. fun. and, yes, just as embarrassing as you think it would be.  I seriously have NO rhythm, and when I do get my arms going the right way, my feet...well, let's just say I can't move them at the same time.  Then about the time that I got done entertaining my girls with my less than groovy dance skills, Charlotte woke up from her nap and started throwing up.  Nothing like a bit of barf to get the summer rolling.

So instead of at work this morning, getting everything finished so I can close the door on that chapter, I am at home, exhausted from a sleepless night, praying the rest of them don't get it, and trying to figure out how to get the big girls to the dr. for their sports physicals so they can participate in cheer camp tomorrow.

So instead of reveling in my exhaustion fueled blah-ness (for lack of a better word), I'm linking up with Emmy from One Day At A Time.

1.  Hannah's imagination.  I love to watch her play, especially with her Barbies.  I get such an insight into her little mind, her beliefs about herself and others, and her moral compass.  Here are just some of her Barbies getting ready to watch her new Barbie movie.

2.  My big girls getting along...and actually bonding!
 3.  Pretty pictures of my girls.

 4.  Hitting 16.6 pounds gone and getting to "celebrate" with my WW buds.

5.  Hannah and her friends.
 6.  Sweet baby cousins--Cole and Clare.

7.  Hannah being a "big girl" and reading to the babies.  Oh, how I love that they both love books! 
 8.  My dad teaching Hannah how to fish.

9.  My wonderful husband for getting up at 4:00 am this morning and letting me go to sleep for a couple of hours while he held, rocked, and held the bucket for a puking Charlotte.  And bless his heart, he got her to sleep!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gone, but hopefully not forgotten

Because I'll be back...I promise!  Just feeling a little overwhelmed right now and am giving myself until Friday to get my life in order so I can start enjoying summertime.  I've got at least 15 loads of laundry (not kidding here, either), plus 5 baskets plus a sock basket to fold and put away.  I've got a house to clean from top to bottom so we can maintain it over the summer.  I've got a year's worth of papers to file, last year's writing samples to score and file and pass on, and two semesters of curriculum maps to complete.  Thank you notes to write, coupons to file.  A closet or 3 to clean out and a goodwill trip to make.  And this is all after I pack up my room and move it all into a storage unit.  Do you see why I might be just a little overwhelmed?  It's like Hannah, who doesn't know where to start cleaning her room, and so she doesn't and the mess just grows and grows until she's a puddle on the floor, crying that her "legs hurt" and she can't possibly get it done all by herself.  Except.  (don'tcha hate those?)  In Hannah's case, I sweep in and do it with her, and it gets done.  Unfortunately, no one will sweep in here and do it for me.  In fact, many little ones (and a few big ones) will probably sweep in and make it just a little bit harder.

When I do get my life together, I have lots of things to blog about...Hannah's last day of preschool (sniff), a trip to the lake to see the twins, and the top ten things I learned from being without power for 12 hours.

Until Friday......

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When it's the last week of school....

And you're a person who craves order and structure and routine (and kids who obey, or actually just listen), the last week of school is exhausting.  It drains every ounce of energy, patience, and creative juice from your body.  You want to be super teacher.

But you find yourself more of a referee (and...yeah right, but a girl can dream, can't she?)
You find yourself  saying things like, "You are making me grumpy when I'm talking about Jesus!"  and  counting backwards from 10 entirely too much and resorting to putting a movie on the smartboard and playing movie theater.

You also find yourself doing a lot of this
and this...

 and this....
(but because your specials are cancelled for the last week, picture 21 six year olds crowded around asking you silly questions and tattling)
All of your foolish ideas that you were going to spend the last week of school enjoying each other
quickly deteriorate as you realize on Monday at 8:03 that your children would much rather do this.
And by the time you get home, you have no energy left to do anything but sit at the dinner table wishing you weren't on a diet and having "my day was worse than your day" competitions with your husband.

Good news, though!  Only 2 1/2 more days and then it is blissfully, thankfully, OVER.  And while you still have to come to school for the one day of post planning they give you, an almost impossible task considering you have to file every single paper from the school year (I swore to myself I wasn't going to do that this year, but why break an almost 20 year streak?) and remove the entire contents of your classroom into a storage unit for 6 weeks, at least you are that much closer to that time that all teachers look forward to from about February on:


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm sick and I'm tired, and quite honestly, I'm sick and tired of the daily grind that is the last two weeks of school.  So I'm uninspired.  And I haven't taken any cute pictures.  So I'm joining in the Wednesday Hodgepodge with Joyce from This Side of the Pond.

1. What reveals more about a woman-her refrigerator or her purse?
There probably is a right answer to this, but I don't have it.  If all women are anything like me, her purse and her refrigerator reveal the same thing.  In my purse is my wallet, my Kroger plus card and my debit card floating conspicuously around (NOT in the wallet).  I've got used tissues (not mine), a stray sucker or two (again, not mine), my weight watcher calculator and tracker, old receipts and expired coupons.  Somewhere, under all that, are my keys.    In my refrigerator are three half gallons of milk, two of them half full.  A nice selection of food and then the diet variety of the same food.  Three cartons of eggs, two of them expired.  A pizza box from Sunday with exactly one small piece of supreme pizza that no one will ever eat.  So both of these things say shout, "Here is a fat (but trying), unorganized, Kroger shopper!"

2. When was the last time you went to the zoo? Where? What's your favorite zoo animal?
How sad it is that I have no idea?  I know we went when Hannah was two-ish (and I know this only because I remember what she was wearing and it is currently hanging in Charlotte's closet), but for some reason, I think we have gone since then too.  We did go to the Aquarium in Chattanooga last September.  My favorite animal?  I like the otters.

3. What social issue fires you up?
Right now, immigration issues (this may be politically incorrect, but I can't read any of the signs in the Payless down the street and it ticks me off.  We're in America, people!)  and people spongeing off of the government.  I pay my taxes like anyone else, and when I was suddenly left a single mother with three small children, I got a low paying preschool teacher job.  And even though it wasn't enough to support us, it was too much to receive any assistance.  I know this for a fact because I stood in the "welfare line" for three hours with three children, hanging my head in shame, in tears, only to be told I made too much money.  (and btw, this was the same day I filed for bankruptcy and divorce...a banner day, I tell you)  People who don't work because they choose not to, yet happily receive government assistance?  Yeah...grrrr.

4. Are you a coupon clipper? If so, are you extreme?
Nope.  Used to be, but not anymore.  I find I can do just as well at Kroger with our Kroger card, generic brands, and the occasional sale.  I don't have time to clip coupons, and when I do and I put them in that nifty little coupon sorter thingy, I always leave it at home.  And while the idea of a stockpile secretly fascinates me, we have no more room for ANYTHING in this house, much less 48 tubes of toothpaste.

5. What is one of your favorite souvenirs brought back from your travels?
I bought a dress in Hawaii that I loved.  My favorite color, a gorgeous print, and it reminded me of my honeymoon.  Then I washed and dried it.  And now it would fit Maddy.

6. Lemon meringue or key lime?
Neither.  Both break the "if it is fruit it is not dessert" rule.

7. What is the most beautiful word you know in any language?
I know I should have some deep, meaningful answer to this.  Love.  Mercy.  Grace.  Jesus.  But really?  gli elletrodomestici  Just say it once.  I dare you.  It's a beautiful Italian word. (and it means household appliance--how ironic)

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Please hand me the "Mother of the Year" award.  Last week, I totally missed the middle school awards ceremony where Maddy got her A-B honor roll certificate.  This week, determined to do better, I wrote the highschool awards ceremony time on my calendar.  Calendars, however, only work when you look at them periodically.  Yep.  Sarah texted me from the ceremony to tell me it had started.  I quickly left my classroom and got there in time to see Sarah receive the 10th grade English award. camera.  So...see that little speck on the right in this horribly taken picture?  yep....that's my girl!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten

Top Ten Things I Would Blog About If I Had Time to Blog

1.  Why I could never have a nanny. Or, in other words, our babysitter had surgery today and Josh's girlfriend is watching Charlotte every day.  On one hand, we are very grateful to have Maranda, someone who loves Charlotte and who Charlotte loves, come to our rescue.  On the other hand, she is coming into our home every day.  Which means our usual (read: my usual) housekeeping skills had to be stepped up.  And this time of year?  Just too hard.  On the plus side, I did get a good sweat going on mopping the floors until the water ran clear.

2.  Speaking of sweat....I still hate to exercise.  I really really really want to be one of those people who loves it.  Really.  But I don't.  It makes me sweat buckets.  It makes me super hungry.  And I spend the whole time thinking about all of the other things I should or wished I was doing.  Talking myself out of the mommy guilt.

3.  Arnold Schwarzeneggar is scum.  So is the lady who faked her own kidnapping by pretending to call from the trunk of a car.  And the lady who smothered her baby so she could go out west to meet a man she met online.  What is wrong with people?

4.  Choices.  I've made choices with what to do with my evenings lately.  And what has it gotten me?  Hours and hours of schoolwork that has to be completed and turned in by next Friday at noon.  I've made choices with my footwear lately.  Chosen cute over comfortable.  Too high or too low.  And what has it gotten me?  A flare up of my plantar's fascitis and a month long regimen of anti-imflammatories.
I've finally chosen ME and my health over sleeping late(r) on Saturday mornings and doing housework/meeting the needs of my children after dinner.  I've started going to Weight Watcher meetings and exercising regularly.  And what has it gotten me?  It hasn't gotten me anything, but it has taken something...12.2 pounds, baby!

5.  "I can't believe you are going to leave me here!  I want to go with you!  My butt officially looks like a failure!"  and other funny Hannah sayings.

6.  Administrators that ask for your input and then ignore it, especially when their decisions don't affect anyone else but me.  Enough said.  Harumph.

7.  Why having four dogs and no grass in your back yard is a bad idea.  Why said four dogs think it is a must to get into any and all trash cans, even though they have just been fed.  And the proof that when you lose one sense the others go into overdrive, or how our old blind cocker can find a dirty diaper or used sanitary napkin, even though she pees inside on the carpet because she thinks it is grass and routinely runs into walls.

8.  Sisters. love love them.

10.  I really don't have time to blog!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blogger MIA

Have you seen this blogger?
Height:  5'9                
Weight:  too much, but slowly and surely shrinking
Hair Color:  Miss Clairol "Golden Brown" with roots visible
Eye Color:  Dark brown and bloodshot with heavy bags
Distinguishing Characteistics:  bags under eyes, water bottle in hand
If found, please return to home, school, church, car, with cold diet coke, preferably with crushed ice.

Friends, it has been at least three days since my last post.  I can blame Blogger for part of it (and can I tell you that finding it was down was sort of a relief?), but the other part I can blame on just being, and excuse my southern colloquialism, "slap worn out."  The end of the school year is fast approaching (9 1/2 days,...but who's counting?), and as usual at this time of year, everything else seems to kick it up a notch.  The children at school are wild and wooly.  The children at home and grumpy and fighting (plus none of them seem to be doing any of their chores...hmmmm).  It's the end of the year banquet for that, end of the year dinner for this, end of year paperwork for that, end of year committee meeting for this.  Practice here, party there, concert close to home, but party pick up duty across town.  End of year paperwork due yesterday, and "if you've been keeping up all year, it shouldn't be difficult."  IF.  Painful parent conferences to have.  New students to test.  And while you're at it, get ready for your son's girlfriend to come into your home for 10 hours a day, every day, next week to watch Charlotte because the babysitter is having surgery. (clean like a madwoman).  And while you are doing this, don't give in to the urges to eat mass quantities of ice cream/pizza/french fries/or any of the treats in the veritable treasure trove of carbohydrates that is our pantry snack shelf.  Eat only lean proteins, whole wheats, and tons and tons of veggies.  And love it.  And do so with a happy heart even though, as predicted, your husband lost in 5 days almost as much as it has taken you a month of hard work to lose.

My body is weary, my brain is weary, and my spirit is oh so weary.  I'm doing countless different things and none of them well...including sleep.  The good news?  9 1/2 days and it will be summer vacation.  Less than ten days to hold on to my sanity and my smile, and then I can have the whole summer (all seven weeks of it) to catch up.  Catch up on sleep, catch up on exercise, catch up on quality time with my kids. Read lots of books.  LOTS of books.   Get back to blogging and reading blogs daily, because really, I love it.

Until then, I hope to be back here once every couple of days with a cute picture or two, random thoughts, and mindless ramblings. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

It's Tuesday again, which top ten random thoughts/questions of the day!

1.  What is the fascination with the sock basket?  Below is our sock basket....minus socks.  Now in case you are wondering, yes...we do have that many socks that aren't folded and put away.  And no....none of them are in there right now.  Because each and every day, Charlotte makes a beeline for it and empties it, throwing them in the air.  And then she sits in it for approximately 5.6 seconds before getting out and going somewhere else to play.

2.  What would I do if I had a regular job?  You know, a job where you have to work all year, instead of getting a week off every 6-8 weeks and 8 weeks in the summer?  Because right now?  I . want. to. pull. my. hair. out for about 6 1/2 hours of the 7 hours I have my "kids."  Summer cannot get here fast enough!

3.  Speaking of my "kids,"  what is it with these shoes?

I have had these shoes for way longer than I should admit (15 years...ack).  And at least once (usually many more times) a child will come up to me and ask why I only have four toes.  In fact, it usually is a topic of great discussion before some brave soul comes up and ask me.  I guess I must have abnormally short pinkie toes, because I promise....five toes on both feet!

4.  What do you do when you want your bottle, but your mom is trying to wean you from it and won't give it to you?

And then, if that doesn't work, you do the next best thing.  You find a two liter Dr. Pepper and throw it at your mother.

And if your mom is old and tired and has been about to pull her hair out all day, she'll probably give in just to make you stop crying.

5.  Is there a way to get on "What Not to Wear" without the humiliating yourself in front of millions of people?  Because really...I seriously want $5,000 to go clothes shopping.  I mean seriously.  And I do think I own enough huge butt covering sweaters/shirts/tunics that I think I would qualify--that and my penchant for big hair and my love of my holey leggings.  Just saying.

6.  I started my husband on Weight Watchers this week (by his request).  I have been on it for a month.  I have lost 10.2 pounds.  How much you want to bet that he loses that much this week?

7.  Anyone have any idea how "ah-gee, ah-gee" translates into "pick me up please?"  Because this is what Charlotte chants with arms held up high every time she wants me to pick her up.  I know what it means.  Where did it come from though?

8.  In Hannah's lifetime, I have cooked approximately 1,225 meals for her.  Why then is cold cereal the one meal that gets this reaction?

9.  And why, even though NO cereal makes it into her mouth when she does it herself, will she not let me help her?

10.  Why is it that I am exhausted and falling asleep on the couch by 9:00, yet at 4:30 am, I am wide awake?  So annoying.

And the random photos of the day (they are going to kill me!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

A year ago, Daryl and I went to go out to eat, and Hannah was just not having it.  She wanted to go with us.  Didn't understand why she couldn't go with us.  She thought she would stop us from going by throwing herself on the floor in front of the door and sobbing hysterically.  I tried to get a picture of it, but like usual, the camera wasn't on. (Do you know how many times this happens?)  This, instead, is what I got.  Daryl picking Hannah up and her clinging to the door...still sobbing hysterically.  We ended up going out to eat, but neither of us really enjoyed it as much as we would have.  Of course, when we got home, she was fine and had been as soon as we had walked out of the door.
Flash forward to this morning.  Today, I decided to take a mental health day.  I just needed it.  It had been way too long since I had a day off, and I desperately needed some time to myself to just be and do nothing.  And even though I wasn't going in to work, I still took the girls to school.

As Hannah got out of her seatbelt, a single tear rolled down her cheek and she started to cry, begging me to take her home with me.  "Please mommy, please.  I'll be quiet. I'll miss you."  To be fair, she has never been to school without me (none of my kids have).  I teach at the Christian school they attend, and she knows that I am just a hallway and two corners away.  I pop in to see her, just for a hug or a smile, at least once a day.  She waves to me from the playground when I'm at carpool.

But as I watched her walk into the school building, holding hands with her big sister, my heart broke completely in two.  As she looked back at me, her trademark pout on her face, and her eyes pleading with me, a single tear rolled down my cheek.  I waited until they got into the school before leaving so she wouldn't have to watch me drive off, and I didn't have to see her see me drive off.  And just for a moment, I thought about going back and getting her.  Taking her home with me and enjoying a little Hannah time (which, just in case you were wondering, would entail a few Barbie movies and playing Barbies all day.)

In the end, though, I didn't.  I went and worked out, went grocery shopping, and then returned home for what has been a totally relaxing, completely satisfying mental health day.  And I hope that when she returns from school, that she will have been fine all along. 

Today, I'm celebrating Memory Monday! Each week we post a picture, video, or other special memory, then link up with other bloggers to share our memories. Please click on the button below to find more great Memory Monday posts!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Part 2

Can I just say that I have the best family in the world?  I didn't just have Mother's Day, I had Mother's Day weekend.  It started on Friday, with Hannah's Mother's Day Tea, where I got this precious calendar.  Each  month has a different picture on it.
And October's picture just about melts my heart with it's cuteness. 
 Every year since we have been married, Daryl has made me a gift with the kids.  The Saturday night before Mother's Day, he leaves me to spend time by myself and takes them to Michael's and then out to eat.  This year, they made this cute clock to go in our new breakfast room.  Love it, love it, love it.
 At church, they placed a bouquet of flowers on the communion table in honor of me.
 They made me feel so appreciated and so loved.  But truth be told, the best Mother's Day gift I ever got was the privelege of being their mother.

My boy....who made me a mom for the first time. 
 My sweet Sarah, my mini me.
 My unpredictable, passionate, determined Madeline.
 My long awaited for Hannah.
 And my sweet surprise, Charlotte.  
And how could I forget my sweet husband?  I'm not his mother, but he makes it a point to honor me every day, and to make sure that the children do too.  I am so touched, every year, that he undertakes the yearly Mother's Day craft.  And this year, I found out (after the fact, of course) that he was suffering from kidney stone pain throughout it all.

How blessed am I?

Birthday Party Fun

Saturday was the day she had been waiting for.  After waking up every single day last week and asking, "Is today the day we have my party?"  it was finally here.  The supplies had been bought (and two days in advance...a major coup for me...usually I would be scrambling the morning of), the RSVP's in (6 in all, after a nifty e-vite reminder was sent out), and the cupcakes made.  I got up early to go to my regular Saturday morning 8:00 am Weight Watchers meeting, thinking I would be able to be out of the house before anyone woke up.  Wrong.  Both girls were up before I left, and I left them in the capable hands of their father.

I came home(-3.6 pounds/10.2 in all) to Charlotte and Hannah joyfully running around, with a few stray marks on her legs.  I found out later that Char had gotten hold of a marker and colored all over herself.  What I didn't realize is that someone (ahem...Daryl) had taken pictures of her doing it!  It wasn't until I went to download these pictures til I found them!
 After getting everyone cleaned up and fed and dressed, we headed to the park for the party.  A party at the park?  Excellent idea.  The kids had a blast.  They didn't even want to stop playing to open presents or have cake.

Hannah, Gracie, and Macey
 They also enjoyed the bouncy house, a neat addition to the party thanks to my room mother, who loaned us hers for the day.
 There were a few tears, of course.  I love this picture, as it shows Hannah's loving side.  She just could  not stand for her friend to be hurt.
 Fun on the slide
 Charlotte just walked around the playground for the most part, climbed up the rare slide or two.
Walked outside the fence and then got confused about how to get back in (I swear she walked out of the playground, came to the other side of the fence, and cried for a good ten minutes)
Josh and Maranda joined in the fun.
 And Maddy, she was such a trooper.  She was the official "princess/prince catcher" and chased them around the playground and put them in the "dungeon."
 It was finally time for the cupcakes.

 And the presents--she got 3 Rapunzel Barbies!
 Charlotte confiscated one of Hannah's gifts...a baby (of course!)
 Then it was time for the pinata.  I later found out that this was the first time that any of the kids had a pinata at a party.  We took turns for a while.
 And then my big strong boy gave it a whack
 Oh the squeals!  They loved it!

Daryl took the kids from the park to go Mother's Day shopping while I got  to go home and relax and rest.  And boy did I need it.  I don't know if it was the excitement of the week (Mother's Day in first grade...exhausting!) or standing/walking/running/supervising in the sun for three hours, but I was beat.

All in all, I would say it was a success.  I was worried because only six had RSVP'd but it turned out to be the perfect number of guests.  So glad I don't have to do it for another year though!