Saturday, October 15, 2016

Since the last post

A lot has happened around our house since I last posted.  Let's catch up, shall we?!?

Memphis had a football game on a Thursday night, which is a school night.  I was done by Thursday night.  Fred, Jack and Clayton went to the game and Andrew and I stayed home.  I think they had a blast.  I know I did.

Saturday morning we had the usual football and soccer games.  Then, that afternoon I met several friends for our first ever freezer cooking party.  We worked for about an hour and a half and then we all left with 6 meals.  It was so much fun.  We are making preparations for the next party.

Later that evening we celebrated my birthday at Fred and Renee's house with Mexican chicken and cheesecake.  I have no picture.  I was too busy eating cheesecake. 

Monday morning I cleaned a house and then Aunt Janice came to take us all to lunch for my birthday.  She then took the boys home with her.  They played dominoes, ate whatever they wanted, and helped at tutoring. Before they left Andrew told me the kindergarten students could just call him Mr. Shackelford.  Too sweet. 
 Mr. Shackelford even took a little bit of his homework to work on while he was there. 
The idea was that Fred and I could stay home and go out for dinner/a nice evening, but my stomach had a different idea.  Instead we stayed at home, watched Netflix, and ate chicken noodle soup.  Good times.  
Tuesday morning we headed out for our fall break trip at Fall Creek Falls. We stopped halfway at a bookstore and then headed straight to our cabin. 
Wednesday morning we woke up and headed out to hike at Fall Creek Falls.  Since it hasn't rained much this summer, I've renamed it Fall Creek Trickle.  FCF is typically a roaring waterfall, but not this time.  It was a little disappointing, but the hiking was still fun. 
 There are cable bridges at Fall Creek Falls and it is so fun to explore. 

 You can see the falls over my shoulder.  Again, this is usually roaring.  Not this time, but we still had fun.
 This picture does not capture the colors of fall, but it could not have been more beautiful.  The colors grew more red and orange and yellow each day that we were there.

Thursday we headed to Rock Island State Park.  The waterfall there was breathtaking.  Again, the pictures don't really show the massive expanse of the falls. It's about 200 feet wide and 75 feet tall.  This waterfall, unlike the one at FCF, is fed by an unknown source coming from a cave, so it's not dependent on rainfall. 

 We then hiked to a second waterfall.  It was really a nice hike with more beautiful views. 

We didn't hike as many miles on the second day as we did on the first day, so we headed back to FCF for one last trail...after a quick trip to Sonic, of course.  The trail we wanted to hike was one we had never done before.  It was a cable trail that descended 120 feet into a gorge.  When we looked at reviews online it was labeled as difficult and for the "extreme adventurer" and only for "experienced hikers".  It certainly wasn't recommended for children.  We decided to hike to it and then make our decision.  Before we could decide Jack and Clayton headed down.  Again, pictures do not do this hike justice.  My thighs are still screaming from this one. 

 There were drop offs and rocks that had to be climbed over and around and at times we just had the cable to hold on to.  The views at the bottom were totally worth it though.  I'm so proud of Andrew.  My other two never would have attempted this at his age. 
Finally made it to the bottom of the gorge.  The water level was so low, that a tree branch was sticking out of the water. 
Friday morning it was time to leave.  Fred and Jack went on a walk/run before we loaded up.  Look at those two walking and talking.  Is that not the sweetest?
On the way home we had to drive through some pretty curvy roads.  Some of us deal better with curvy roads than others...
Before heading home we stopped at Cumberland Caverns for a little tour.  A cave tour never ceases to amaze me.  From there we went to Linden Valley for me to drop the boys off at RA Camporee.  They were thrilled!  Almost as excited as me as I headed home to be by myself.  I waited at camporee until they got the tent set up.  Since it was raining, Fred wanted to wait to unload all of their things.  I didn't get a picture before I left.  They were excited.  I was excited.  It was a win-win situation for us all!  I heart fall break.  Until next time fall were wonderful, as always!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

This week

In the three years that we've been in Bartlett, God has given me some great friends.  Some of those friends meet up every day at carpool.  Every now and then we are all together, in a row.  This picture doesn't include my sweet friend that was actually snapping this photo, but it just makes me smile. I love these girls and I love that we get to do life together.
One morning this week, Jack was eating breakfast and Dash was trying to help him.  Dash does not know that Jack does not share food.
Saturday morning was an exciting day.  Jack started the day bright and early at a triathlon.  Fred and our good friend Kenny volunteered to help with the bike portion.
Jack did a swim, a bike, and then a run.  He grinned the entire time.  He got second place in his age division and smiled even bigger.  He loved every minute.

 When did this child get this tall?!?
 Jack and his friend competed together.

After the triathlon, I headed home to get Andrew for flag football.  Andrew and I headed there while Fred waited on the awards with Jack.  He then got Clayton and Jack and headed to the soccer field for Clayton's game.  Andrew actually had two games.  We weren't able to stay for both games because I had a bridal shower to attend of a precious friend that's getting married this weekend.  Since we have three children and only two parents, Andrew got to go with me to the shower.  He thoroughly enjoyed himself.  I mean, who doesn't like shower food?!?

After the shower, Andrew and I headed back to the flag football field just in time to watch Jack march the ball down the field for a touchdown.  It made my day.  He connected every pass, every run, every hand off, and he grinned the entire time.  Oh, that boy's smile.  It gets me every time.  

After our morning we headed to Fred and Renee's for lunch to celebrate Fred's grandad's birthday.  And then we headed home to await the arrival of our friends, The Cains. We were surprised to discover that Jack is now taller than Melody. 

Caleb spoke at our church Sunday morning about El Ayudante.  Before we left we grabbed a quick photo of everyone.  

It was a crazy weekend, but I wouldn't change it any bit of it!  I love these people.  I love Caleb's vision.  I'm so thankful for the generosity of our church.  Together, with other churches and organizations, we were able to scholarship many students in Honduras.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

This week

My aunt lives in Nashville, but she attended the University of Memphis for college several years ago.  She has not been to a U of M (Memphis State, as she calls it) game since she graduated.  She came in for a visit on a game weekend and we had the best time.  Go Tigers Go!

You may not know this, but my super human talent is that I can stand on my head, like forever.  My sister in law sent me a message and told me that she was working on her head stand.  (Why?  I have no idea.)  Just to mess with her, I sent a selfie of me in mid head the church nursery.  Yep, I sure did.  Sometimes you just have to stop what you're doing, go into an empty room, and rock a head stand. Good times.

Jack had a Colonial dress up day at school.  This was the best we could come up with.  Fred crafted that hat out of newspaper.  When I picked him up, that hat was in his backpack.  I asked him if he wore the hat and he told me he did not, because "all the other kids had on real hats and it was just embarrassing."  Well, without the hat he was just a kid in a blue dress shirt and some baseball pants, but whatever.  He got the extra score.  

Since the boys are back in school, Dash the dog has been living a life of leisure.  I mean, he sat like this for hours as I worked all around the house.  It's a hard knock life for Dash.  

Speaking of "hard knock life for Dash"...guess who ate Andrew's entire lunch while we were at church last week?  Dash broke the lunch bag and ate the entire contents.  I found a juice box upstairs before he finished up.  I guess he was saving the drink for last.  

Fred had a men's retreat with church on Friday night and Saturday morning so the boys and I endured three games.  It was a HOT morning.  After all the games we made our way home, headed to a wedding, and then headed to the Tigers game.  
Before we headed to the Tigers game and in between flag football and the wedding, Fred and I made Jack's 2 twin beds in to a one king bed.  Bless his heart.  The big guy has been sleeping on a twin bed.  We made several modifications to the beds and we have one very happy ten year old boy.  Now he has a bed that he can grow in to.

The Tigers had a great victory by winning 77 to 3.  Since the game started at 7:00 pm, we only stayed until half time.  We had a great crew at the game with us to cheer on the Tigers!

Someone was tuckered out after our long day.  That's one sweet exhausted fella. 

Aside from my head standing, I also love to clean out and organize.  I love it. My friend and I swap cleaning each other's houses.  Sometimes when it's her turn she has me help with an organization project, which I LOVE.  Here I am, knee deep in her cabinets.  It just doesn't get much better!

Today was See You At The Pole.  Since Fred is a pastor I thought he should represent our family with 6:15 am...around the flag Clayton's school.  This is the picture he got.  I'm not sure where Clayton is, but I can see that it's dark and it looks like everyone has had a donut.

Friday, September 16, 2016

This week

Sunday night we started a program called Bible Drill.  It's a fun way for children to learn the books of the Bible and verses from the Bible.  We had around 24 show up.  Naturally we had to take a selfie.
Earlier in the week, I met a friend at Starbucks.  When I got my liquid gold I laughed when I looked down at the spelling of my name.  Too funny, right?  It's so bad I almost feel like the person did this on purpose just to be funny.
Andrew and I are reading through Charlotte's Web.  He loves listening to a book.  Each time I read it, I'm taken back to some of my favorite memories in the classroom.  We read Charlotte's Web together and then had a big county fair of our own.  It was a blast.  I will not be hosting a county fair for Andrew, but I think we'll watch the most recent movie together, which will be just as much fun.
Andrew is also really into playing board games these days.  He talks through the entire game, has to go first and always wants to play "one more time".  It's just precious.
We had a day off from school and I've been craving pumpkin, so I made pumpkin french toast.  It was delightful.  It got thumbs up from everyone.  You can get the recipe here.

Jack forgot his binder one day this week.  I really needed to get a workout in, so I decided to just run it up to his school.  Literally.  His binder may have been a little sweaty, but I got two birds with one stone.  Good times. 

The boys have been begging to go camping.  The big boys have hammocks that they really wanted to sleep in...all night.  They were out of school one Friday so we decided to take them to a local campground.  I should mention it was 95 degrees, Clayton had a soccer game that wasn't over until 7:00, the campground was 45 minutes away, and Oh, I hate to camp.  Yes I do.  This picture sums up my feelings on camping, getting 90 minutes of sleep, and it being 95 degrees. 

 See that hammock?  Don't let it fool you.  Ten minutes after everyone was settled Jack made his way into the tent with me and Andrew.  About an hour later, right as I was drifting to sleep, Clayton was standing over me asking if it would be okay for him to come in the tent.  Sure.  The more the merrier. And I'm up now after the whole stand over me incident.  

 At one point in the night, Jack looked at me and said, "I'm sorry I convinced you to come camping mom."  Sweet boy.  I told him not to worry about it.  I was having a blast (thankfully, it was dark so he couldn't see the look on my face.)

As I crawled/stumbled out of the tent Friday morning after about 90 minutes of sleep I asked the boys if they had fun.  Fred laughed out loud, because he and I both knew what I was thinking...Good, because I'm never coming again.  Ha!

One of our favorite things to do is play Would You Rather? at the dinner table.  The other night we were playing and Clayton's question was, "Would you rather win an Academy Award or win a gold medal in the Olympics?"  He response was, "Well, since everyone knows I'm smart, I'm going to go with gold medal."  Fred and I looked at each other very puzzled.  I then explained that an Academy Award was given to actors and actresses.  He laughed really big and told us he had it confused with a Nobel Peace Prize.  I told him that he would not soon live this down.  All week, we've had fun with this:
Do your homework.  It shouldn't be difficult for someone who's won an Academy Award.
Fold your laundry, please.  I know it seems like a menial take for someone who has won an Academy Award, but just give it your best.
And so on and so on.  He will be my age and we'll still be laughing about this!

In that same game, Andrew's question was "Would you rather live in the city or the country?"  We explained what it meant to live in the city and country.  He thought for a minute, looked at me over his little glasses and said, "I don't really care, as long as I'm with you."