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, June 28, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Things I've Heard From My Kids This Week

1.  "Mom...Mom....Mom...Your butt is on my foot."  About once a week, Hannah climbs in our bed in the middle of the night after a. having a bad dream   b. wetting the bed  or c. deciding she missed us.  Now, she is 5, and fairly small, so you would think she would just wedge herself between us and go right to sleep. would be wrong.  She takes up most of my side of the bed, so I surrender my pillow and give her my side of thebed altogether, grab a towel from the eternal unfolded laundry pile at the end of our bed, make a pillow out of it and sleep with my head at the end of the bed, my legs strategically placed between her and Daryl.  Guess my strategy was a bit off, huh?

2.  "I got sand in my phone and I really really need a new one!"  Frantic phone call from Maddy from St. Simon's Island last Sunday morning.  And I mean frantic.  As in, crying, woe is me, what am I going to do, I can't text my friends frantic. (Why do you need to text your friends when you are at the beach with your friends?)  I calmly told her what to do, suggested taking everything out and blowing on it, turning it off and then on again, while she insisted that we had to go and get her a new phone as soon as she got home.  How long had it not worked?  That's right.  A whopping 20 minutes.  Twenty minutes without text capability and she was panic stricken.  By the can take her off the prayer list.  It worked five minutes later.

3.  "Mom, does this thermometer work?  I just puked my brains out."  This from Josh, at what seemed to be the middle of the night (but which was probably about 11:30).  You would think the child would learn from the last time he was puking his brains out--when he was in 5th grade and he came to tell me that he was sick.  About seven times.  And each of these seven times, I told him to go back to bed and he'd be fine.  I found him the next morning laying next to the toilet, asleep.  Not one of my finer mommy moments, for sure.  This time, I did manage to at least think about getting up and checking on him at 2:30.  I didn't get up, but I thought about it.  (And he was fine, by the way...I did get up at 6:00 and wake him from a sound slumber to ask if he was OK)  Life lesson?  Momma is no good when she's asleep!

4.  "I have to have these clothes.  You know nothing about love!"  And then picture Hannah stomping from the room with a Publix reusable shopping bag full of various, random pieces of clothing to take to Grandma's.  In five days.

5.  "owineoincjksdnavj guppies! a;lskdjojivbion e bubob!"  Charlotte, in a conversation with me, holding the remote control in her hand.  For the record, guppies=Bubble Guppies and bubob=Spongebob.  She can't say much, but the girl knows her TV shows.  Ahhh, yes, she is a Stone.

6.  "Fefies!" Again, Charlotte, as we pull into the parking lot of Wendy's.  I am choosing to believe that she is brilliant and not just so familiar with fast food restaurants that she can recognize the signs already.

7.  "But I just can't help it!  They're so good!  Sorta warm and salty!"  I won't gross you out with the particulars of this one, but let's just say that my daughter has a serious nose picking problem.

8.  "Somone was talking about something that happened in 2000, and I mean, that was over ten years ago.  I feel so old." Sarah, age 16.  In 2000, she was what? 6?  Just you wait until you are telling your children about your childhood and you find that most of your childhood memories involve items that are obsolete.  Record player anyone?  Typewriter? Atari?  A TV you had to get up and change the channel?

9.  "So do you worship doves?"  I'm tutoring at our church and one of my former first graders asked me this question after noticing pictures of doves on some banners in the hallway.  I really made an impression on him during Bible time, huh?

10.  "It's hard to keep a secret, so I won't tell you.   But do I have to clean with Sarah tomorrow?"  Think they're planning something for our anniversary tomorrow?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Super Swimmer!

Last week, Hannah had her very first swim lessons.  Every day, for a week, we went to my friend Valerie's house and met with Ms. Peggy  for her swim lessons.  Then on Friday, she had a show off session to show everyone what she had learned.

Here's Hannah on her way to Macey's with her too cool "Minute to Win It" toy from her Wendy's kid's meal.  I especially like the way it coordinates so well with her suit.
 Blowing bubbles.
 Jumping in the deep end.  I really thought I would never see her do this.  The first time she had to jump in (in the shallow end where she could touch) she stood there for five minutes saying "But I don't waaaaannnt to." To get the full effect, you must say that in your best whiney voice.
 Floating--her arms are out like that because if she didn't, she had a death grip on Ms. Peggy.
 Charlotte sat around being cute...
 and cuddling with Daddy.
 After they were done showing off, Ms. Peggy had a surprise for them.

 Swimming was such a big hit that Daryl decided that we needed a pool in our backyard.  But until he gets to that part of  "the list," we made do with this.

Now we're ready to go back to Aunt Patricia's to swim, and definitely ready for Grandma's next week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

(Not) Wordless Wednesday

I was going to have this be my Wordless Wednesday...but then realized that I could not just post this and NOT comment.  In my relentless pursuit of cheap groceries, I went to our new neighborhood grocery store.  They carried a few amazingly priced national brands, many many extremely cheap off brands, and then there was this....
They call them Chicken Paws, like they are supposed to be all cute and cuddly.
These?  Definitely not.
In fact...I took this picture a few weeks ago and it has haunted me since. Those things are HUGE and disgusting, and I just may have thrown up a little when I saw them.  I could not even bring myself to go into the store again, even though they sell milk for 50 cents cheaper than Kroger.

Someone out there must know why someone would buy chicken feet.
Someone out there might even....gasp, them.

Enlighten me please!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday randomness

I really have to start blogging more--I end up with lots of pictures and no cohesive theme to pull them all together.  So what you get is a bunch of unrelated stuff.   I do, at least once daily and usually more than once, write a blog post in my head.  It is witty and articulate, well written and tied together nicely.  However, it is usually when I am sitting in traffic, cleaning up a mess, unloading the car, or falling into bed exhausted, and therefore have no computer with me, nor the wherewithall to write it.  Hopefully, my blog writing mojo will return soon.  Anyways...onto the stuff.

Praise the Lord!!! Maddy and Sarah are home!  After  a week in Daytona at church camp, they returned tired and tan, and I think even happy to see their little sisters.
We got the call..."Mom, we're about 45 minutes away."  So we hopped in the car and drove through rush hour traffic to get there.  So we could wait.
 The bus is here!
 Reunited....(sing it with me)
 and it feels so good!
After dinner at Steak and Shake (our children, for some reason, always ask to go to Steak and Shake after they return from a trip), and a good night's sleep, and a frantic search for her wallet, Maddy departed again for St. Simon's Island with some friends.  She is having a great time, despite one twenty minute phone crisis, but missed my birthday and Father's Day on Sunday.

We honored the amazing fathers that my dad and Daryl are and me turning...gasp...44 with my parents.
Daryl, in all of his wonderfulness, got me the possibility of turning these into a Nook Color.  And even though it is just a possibility (depending on how pricey our car repairs are) I am over the moon at this possibility! 
 Daryl's Father's Day gift was not nearly as exciting, but super cute.  I got him a picture frame with a verse of scripture on it with a picture of the kids in it.  And then, I had to complete our set of "Daddy" photos with Charlotte. (For the full effect, picture them side by side--I am too technologically inept to figure this out myself!)

 After all the excitement of our celebrations, Hannah got the opportunity to take swimming lessons this week with a friend from school.  I knew this was something that she needed to do, since my parents live on the lake and we all love the water.  Last summer, she had a scary experience while at my parents' pool, so I was a little worried how she'd do.  She was a little worried about it too, and several times declared that she was NOT going to learn to swim unless she could bring her swim ring.

Neither of us should have worried.  After a bit of hesitation at the beginning, a skinned knee and elbow running to the water, and only one brief episode of tears (during which my heart broke in a million little pieces and I had to force myself to stay in my seat and not go scoop her up in my arms), she had a blast!

So so proud of my girl!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday....The Hormonal Edition

What a week.  Long.  Hot.  Sweaty.  Exhausting.  Hormonal.  Need I say more?  But despite the fact that I'm tired, crabby, and retaining Lake Erie, I do have so very much to be thankful for.

1.  My wrinkles.  While I was leaning over helping a student decode a word during tutoring this morning, said student looked up at me meaningfully.  I thought, "She's got it!  She's finally got it!"  Until she spoke.  And she said, "Why do your eyes look so crunchy today?"  Crunchy?  Really? (and she really didn't get it...for the 54th time?)  I am thankful for these crunchy eyes because they mean I have spent summers enjoying the outdoors, and I have laughed.  I have had so much fun that I've forgotten to take off my make up as I tumbled into bed.  I've let little girls play make over with me and then gone in public.

2.  Tutoring.  I will be totally honest here.  The thought of tutoring does not make me dance with joy.  I have to get up early (setting the alarm clock in the summer is so not fair, I tell you), leave my kids, and go try and teach the kids who have struggled all year.  This year, it is 7 boys and 2 girls.  Seven wiggly, giggly, rather be playing outside or swimming boys.  BUT...tutoring is a very high paid job for the time you have to put into it, and that money has come in so handy this summer already.  Every year, I say I'm not going to do it...and every year I'm glad I did.  I get to know some of my future students, and have a nice long goodbye with my students from last year.

3.  Sarah and Maddy.  My girls are in Daytona this week and oh do I miss them.  I hadn't realized how much they've grown from little girls into young ladies/friends.  I also hadn't realized how much I had come to rely on them to help with the little girls.  All week, as I've tutored, poor Hannah has had to watch movies on my laptop/play Barbie/color/eat snacks behind a makeshift room divider because I had no choice but to take her with me.  She's been good as gold, and I am so proud of her.  But it will be nice to tutor next week without Barbie Swan Lake playing in the background!

4.  Chick Fil A.  If you are so unfortunate as to have never eaten at a Chick Fil A, I am truly sorry.  Not only does Chick Fil A make the best chicken biscuits (of which I eat exactly once a week, after my Saturday weigh in), but they also serve Caffeine Free Diet Coke with the best crushed ice.(cue angels singing)  They also have a varied menu, so that I can eat without blowing my points allowance for the week.  Tonight, in celebration of Daryl's birthday, we took the little girls out to eat at Chick Fil A.

Look at my big girls not sitting in high chairs or booster seats.
 And Charlotte, so eager to be a "big girl."  She would take a waffle fry, tear it into pieces, dip it in ketchup, and then put it on her fork to put in her mouth.  So cute!

5.  My incredible, wonderful, husband, Daryl.  It's his birthday today, and I couldn't be more thankful for another year with him.  Not only does he make me laugh every single day, but he's an amazing father too.  I mean, who else would humor their five year old and hang the "pinata" that she had made out of a trash bag from the ceiling fan?

"You might be a redneck if...."
And my creative little girl...wherever did she get the trash bag?  Oh, by dumping the kitchen trash into the computer trash can, of course.  Oh how I love her creativity, but boy can the girl make a mess!

6.  Mother in laws that are willing to share their recipes.  In the past, I have tried cooking for Daryl on his birthday.  I tried banana pudding and peach cobbler, both favorites of his.  Emphasis on the word tried.  I thought they were ok, but seeing as neither of them is something I would choose to eat, I really didn't know.  Until.....they sat in the refrigerator and grew mold.  Yeah...not so much OK.  So this time, I asked Nanny for her pound cake recipe so I could make strawberry shortcake.  I made it last night, and despite my lack of mixing bowls, a good mixer, a loaf pan, and one of those rubber spatula thingys that you scrape the sides of the bowl with, I think it turned out OK. 

Daryl actually said, "You did a good job with it." which is as much of a compliment I ever get from him, cooking wise.  Only time will tell, though, if it grows mold!

7.  The alarm clock.  Every day this week, I've awoken to the distinctly annoying sound of the alarm clock.  Which for me, when I really think about it, can be a good thing.  A sleeper I'm not, and if I have to be roused from slumber by loud, staticy beeps, then it must mean that I'm sleeping.

8.  Hair.  I am the only person I know who has hormonal hair.  Not only do I get to enjoy all of the other perks of being a woman once a month, but during this time, my hair refuses to curl, wave, poof, or anything other than lay flat against my head.  It is during this week each month that I see the advantage of old lady hair.  It's short.  It's permed.  Someone else washes it, sets it, and styles it once a week and it stays. 

Speaking of hair......can you tell how much she likes it?

9. Our mailbox. stands!
A minor miracle, considering that I backed straight into it while backing out this morning.  In front of my husband.  Who is always dissing my driving skills.  In my defense, we have four cars.  Depending on when everyone gets home each day, I sometimes have another car parked behind me.  Now Daryl and Josh have no problem maneuvering their way out of the driveway and drive through the yard to get out ( might be a redneck if...)  Me?  Can't do it.  But still I try, thinking I am saving time by not having to get out, move the other car out of the driveway, back my car out, pull the other car in , run in to put the keys on the counter.  And I have to do it anyways.  Every single time.

10.  22 pounds gone.  So thankful for this, because it appears that I am stuck.  I have been the exact same weight for 11 days, except for yesterday morning, when I thought I had broken the plateau and lost 2 pounds, only to climb on the scale to see it wasn't so.  Doesn't matter what I do.  Eat a little?  the same  Eat a lot? the same  Eat exactly the number of points I am allowed?  the same.  This is the same weight I got stuck at last September when I threw up my hands and went into a six month period of eating debauchery that lead to a 22 pound weight gain.  Part of me wants to just quit, but the other, rational part of me knows that it will not do any good to do so.  Plus, as Daryl pointed out, I am "financially invested."  Pass the laughing cow cheese and carrot sticks please.  sigh.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Saturday--two highs and the lowest of low

Saturday morning came bright and early, as it has for the last 10 weeks since I started going to Weight Watchers meetings.  I know in my head why I chose the 8:00 am Saturday meeting--it was a time where I knew no one else in my house would be away and could watch the little girls, it would give me a weigh in time before I had the chance to eat or retain water, and I knew I would never make it to the 6:45 am meeting.  I knew I had gone over my points a few days. I knew that the pizza had proved to be too much of a temptation last night.  So I wasn't real sure what to expect at the scale.  But YES...3 pounds gone, for a total of 22 pounds in all!

From there, I had some time to kill, so I moved on to shopping.  Not just any shopping, mind you, but bargain hunting/coupon using shopping.  I only had time to go to one store, but this set me back a whopping $0.74!  Not too shabby for a beginner, I think.
The high was short lived, though, as I pulled out of the parking lot, heard a screech and a pop, and blew my tire out.  I pulled into the parking lot and attempted to jack up the car, in a dress, in near 95 degree heat while three men inside the Firehouse Subs and one man inside the cleaners watched.  My sweet boy came to my rescue and changed my tire so I could get where I needed to be.

I didn't want to have to be going there.  I knew it would be one of the saddest days things I've ever experienced.  But I also knew that I had to.  I needed to. 

Three days ago, a friend of mine lost her 5 year old daughter.  She was running through the house and bumped into a wall, breaking her arm.  Trying to calm her at the urgent care center, the doctors gave her some morphine which sent her into cardiac arrest.  Her mother watched as the paramedics tried to bring her back, but in the end, her sweet girl had gone to be with Jesus.

I know that she is in Heaven now.  That the life and laughter that filled her here on earth fills her in eternity.  Oh but how my heart hurts for her mother, her father, and her sister, who was in my first grade class last year.  A feeling of helplessness, for what can you say, what can you do that will make any difference?  My mama heart is just broken for her, and I wonder how I would even go on.  If I could even go on.  I've been through some rough stuff in my life, but nothing compared to how they are feeling right now.

As I write this, my little girls-up much too late-are dancing and twirling and laughing.  My big girls are downstairs together in our bed, watching TV, excited about going to camp on Monday.  My husband is watching baseball, my boy is on his way home from work, and all is right with my world.  Sure, it's messy. It's loud.  It's chaotic.  But it's complete.  And they will never be complete again.  A Kensley shaped hole in their heart and in their lives for as long as they live.

It's been a long time since I've had a grief headache--a headache from crying so much.  I think the last time was when I went through my divorce.  Both then, and now, my life and my priorities were put so sharply in perspective.  In both instances, I questioned why.  On the other side of my divorce, I can see clearly how God worked through everything that happened for my good, just as people told me I would.  I can't imagine how or why God would allow this to happen.  And maybe I'll never know.  But I do know my God.  And that He works everything for our good and His glory.  That He is unchangeable, and just as He was there for me throughout my divorce, He will be there for her family.  And until I understand, and even if I never do, I'll pray.  For that's all I know how to do.

A Day in the Country

When Daryl and I had been dating about two months, he told me, "My family wants to meet you.  We're going to the country."  Little did I know that I was heading down to meet the whole Stone clan--all 21 of them.  And the country?  I'd never been to the "country" before.   But indeed, as we traveled farther and farther away from the interstate and anything resembling a store or restaurant that I had ever heard of, we were definitely in the country.  Actually, it is Luthersville, GA, and Daryl's aunt, uncle, and two of his sisters and their kids live there, all on one road on connecting properties.  In the ten years since that first trip to the country, we've been there many times for baby showers, wedding showers, and even a wedding.  And this past Friday, we went down their just the seven of us, for some summer fun.
 We got to the pond with the fishing poles, the tackle box, the worms, the crickets, and the chicken livers, and what interested Hannah and Charlotte the most?
The bathroom.
 I would say we had been there all of ten minutes when Charlotte slipped and fell in the mud.
 They all fished, while I chased Charlotte around, trying to make sure she didn't slip and fall again.

 Josh caught the first fish...on his first cast.
(Doesn't he look handsome now that we can see his eyes?)
 Hannah chased baby frogs...and caught several.
Daryl, Maddy, and Sarah all caught the same snapping turtle. 
 Hannah got bored and left her pole on the ground to chase frogs and caught a fish.  Doesn't she look thrilled?
 Finally, I gave up the fight and took the girls up to the house so we could swim.

 We had a great time swimming and visiting with Aunt Patricia.
 It was getting close to rush hour by the time we left, so we decided to take the back roads home instead of the interstate.  We managed to get behind every slow driver and get stopped by every red light in Fayetteville, and Charlotte slept 12 minutes.  Maybe.  She grumped a bit, but not as much as Josh who was in the back seat and ready to be home.
I know it's politically uncorrect to say that I love her little sunburned cheeks, but I do.  I did put sunscreen on her--once at the pond and twice at the pool!