Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tower Tri

We were all up bright and early this morning for the Paris Tower Triathlon.  This was Clayton's second year and Jack's first year.  Everyone was excited!!  Having two participating proved to be a challenge when it came to cheering and capturing each moment. 

Clayton is exiting the pool.  When he exited the pool I had to wait on Jack to start the swim so I couldn't get Clayton in the bike transition area. 

 Jack is exiting the pool here.  He did great in the swim.  I couldn't help but smile watching him.
 I didn't get to see Jack on his bike at all, because I would have missed Clayton finishing.  Can you tell I was torn the entire race?!? 
 I don't have pictures of Jack crossing the finish line because I waited for what I thought was an appropriate amount of time and then I did what any other self-respecting mother would do...I ran the course backwards to find him.  Once I found him he was walking, but still smiling I encouraged him to run with me and we finished the run together. 
 Here is the entire crew after the race.  It was hot.  Once we got home I declared that I was sitting inside the rest of the day under a fan.

 We have a great crew of kiddos that participates in these races and below is a picture of them all, complete with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Camp Mimi and Tee

While Fred had revival in Alamo last week we loaded up the boys for a few days of fun at Mimi's house.  The cousins even came in town!  They ate donuts, swam, played video games, shopped, played at Chuck E. Cheese, went to Jump Zone and pretty much did whatever Mimi and Tee would let them do...which is a lot more than is allowed at my house. ;-)  It was a great week!  Can you tell we are trying to squeeze in everything we can before school starts again and ties us down?!?

Before our arrival my mom did a search on pinterest.  She put the word "grandsons" in the search line and this sprinkler came up.  It was a huge hit!!  I took a video of it on my phone, but I'm having trouble getting it to load.  If you would like to see it just click here.


Five on Monday

Five on Monday doesn't have the same ring as Five on Friday, but in the summer I just can't seem to get myself together.  I mean seriously, these boys are hungry all the time.  All.the.time.  I feel like all I do is go from one meal/snack to the next.  What will life be like when they are 16, 13 and 10.  It kind of makes me shudder.  I'm thinking two refrigerators.

Here goes...
1.  Fred is tall.  You may not know this, but his clothes are NEVER on a sale rack.  Never.  We were at a yard sale the other day and I saw a sport coat that looked long.  I picked it up and couldn't believe my eyes.  It was Fred's size.  Then it just kept getting better.  It was $3!  Yes, $3!!!  We bought that jacket and took it to the cleaners and it's as good as new.  Our total investment was $8.  Not to bad, huh?!?  Just to satisfy my curiosity I googled the brand and found the exact same coat online for $250.  I know, what a deal.  I still smile when I think about it.
2.  Fred's parents take the boys for a week each summer.  It's lovely.  It's like a vacation right here in my house.  In fact, it's so quite as I'm writing this that my ears are almost ringing.  I have a to-do list for the week, which for me is nothing new.  I think my heart would quit beating if I didn't have a plan.  One thing I'm looking forward to is going to dinner with my husband at Jasmine tonight.  Oh, I do love Jasmine.  I bet I don't have to ask anybody to SIT DOWN one single time while we are eating.  Nice. 
3.  Clayton made brownies for all our company by himself.  They were delicious.  But seriously, what could go wrong with a Symphony bar inside a brownie??!  He proudly announced to the crowd that "he made the brownies and they were not healthy!" 
4.  Jack really still needs a nap.  He just gets tired and grumpy.  He gets really mad though when I ask him to rest.  Really mad.  He crosses his arms, pouts, stomps, kicks, talks ugly, etc.  It's not pretty, especially for a kiddo that is usually pretty easy going and happy-go-lucky.  The other day during one of his fits he said, "I'm not tired!  I'm just worn out!"  Right on, son, right on. 
5.  Andrew is into everything.  I don't remember my other boys being this busy.  (I'm sure over time the memories have just faded.)  For example, I walked in to the playroom the other day and he was standing on the dresser.  Standing.  Fred and I looked over the situation and still cannot figure out how he did it.  Maybe he's Spider Man?!?  Well, one of his favorite past times is to empty out a drawer from the activity table we have and sit in it.  He doesn't just empty it though.  He dumps each organized tubs I have in the drawer.  The drawer he likes has two tubs, one with 1 million matchbox cars and one with 100 monster trucks.  He completely dumps them on the floor, dumps everything in the closet and then sits in the drawer.  It drives me crazy, but who could resist that smile?!?  What a mess...the room and Andrew!! 

Clayton's Baptism

Clayton is an analytical child.  He thinks through a lot of things before he reacts.  Unless he's tired, and like his mother he just can't seem to control his tongue...I digress.  He has been making little comments over the past year about becoming a Christian.  Just little questions here and there.  Nothing earth shattering, but I could tell his wheels were turning.  Last week while we were at children's camp we had an evening worship service and the camp pastor asked those in attendance if anyone was interested in talking to someone about making Jesus their Savior to just stick around and talk to a grown up.  I sat in my chair for a while and no one came to me.  I looked to my right and Clayton was just sitting by himself.  I went over to him because I thought he was waiting on me.  I asked him why he as still sitting there and he looked up at me in a matter of fact way and said, "Mr. Robin said if we wanted to make Jesus our Savior to stick around and talk to an adult.  I was just waiting on you to come over.  I'm ready to do that."  I couldn't believe it.  I talked to him that night and told him we would talk to Fred when we got home.  Sunday morning came and Clayton and Fred sat in the dining room.  Fred talked a little while and then Clayton prayed a silent prayer asking Jesus to be his Savior.  Whew...nine years of answered prayer.  We all rejoiced over his decision and then called family to meet for his baptism. 
This picture is kind of fuzzy, but in my mind it is clear.  The sight of my husband with my oldest child following in baptism will bring me to tears for years to come.  I pray that he will never turn from the left or the right as he follows after the one who died on the cross for him.   
 We took a quick picture of the group that came to celebrate this day with us.  You can only imagine that getting this group picture was a major undertaking.  In true Shackelford style, right after we took this picture and were heading for the house Grandma Beulah walked in from the side door.  She should be standing between Papa Ray and Fred.  Too funny!  Maybe someday I'll photo shop her in. 
I do not take the people in this picture for granted.  They are our family, but they are also our family legacy.  They blazed the trail for us and showed us what it meant and still means to serve and love Jesus with everything inside of us.  They have all been around during different parts of our journey and I know they will be with us as we enter this new journey to disciple the next generation for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. 

Swim Weekend

Swim weekend is the creation of my Aunt Janice.  Basically, it is a weekend around July 4th where my mother's side of the family meets and swims...all weekend.  Did I say swim??  I meant to say eat as well.  Aunt Janice has it all planned out, every last detail.  You can come and go as you please, but food is always available around meal times and the pool never closes.  

I do not have words for the hat that is upon my head.  All I can say it that I forgot my trusty visor and this beauty was in the pool house.  When one reaches her thirties she must protect her face from the sun at all costs!  Also in this picture Andrew obviously has a mouth full of something!?!
 Andrew is eating banana pudding here from my brother.  This is a huge deal because up until this point Andrew has been afraid of my brother.  Terrified.  Why?!?  My brother has a boat and he has had the audacity of taking us out on the lake in it.  Oh the horrors.  Andrew was terrified of him (and his boat) until Jeffery showed up with this bowl of pudding.  It was a real turning point in their relationship.   
 The big boys and cousins are here with my mother brother, Mike.  They played and played together.  
 Good times hanging out in a diaper...Andrew, not Fred.
 This is my mother's brother, Jim.  My boys just love him.  One of my favorite highlights of swim weekend is that Jim and I get to walk together each morning.  I love those walks with him, always learning so much and cherishing each moment. 
We had a great time this year and cherish all the memories that we made.  We are grateful to Aunt Janice and all her hard work to bring this weekend, and all of us, together!  Until next year...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Seattle Reach Week

Back last fall Josh (the other staff member at our church) began planning a mission trip to Seattle.  I was game from the get go, but we didn't know that four of us would end up making the trip.  After spending some time in prayer we decided we should take the two big boys.  We set out for Seattle on Sunday.  It was the boys first time to fly.  You think Jack was excited?!?
 After meeting our host home, which was an answer to prayer, and a good nights rest we reported for duty at FBC Martha Lake in Bothell, Washington.  We spent most of the first morning blowing up balloons, filling bags to hang on doors and getting ready for a school outreach.  Can you see the boys in the background working on signs?  They were a big help!  After lunch we handed out balloons to the children leaving school for the summer.  Then we hung bags on door knobs to advertise for a BBQ (grilled hot dogs) and a recreation camp. 
 Later that night we hit a Seattle Mariners game.  It was the boys first experience with a MLB game.  It has been way too long since I've eaten ballpark food.  Fred and I split a plate of nachos that was bigger than my head.  $40 later I would like to report that it was TOTALLY worth it!! 
 Jack is passing out some of the many bags that we passed out.  Within 5 minutes of the church that we were working with there are 25,000 people.  Less than 5% of them are considered "churched".  To say that FBC Martha Lake has a great task ahead of them would be a major understatement. 
 Here we are at a park in town.  We hosted recreation camps for the neighborhood.  The first day we had about thirty kids participate.  The second day the attendance was a little down, because, surprise, it was raining.
 The boys are at an apartment complex where we had a BBQ.  They were a big draw.  Where the kids in the complexes might be intimidated by us, they were eager to meet our boys.  When the children started coming out so would their parents.  FBC Martha Lake was able to meet at lot of new people.

 We worked hard to four days and then on our final day we headed into Seattle to see the city before our plane left.  We went to the famous Pike's Place Market.  There were people everywhere!  Everywhere.  It was like a giant farmer's market.  I could have stayed all day.  If I go back I will get Rainier cherries and eat them while I walk. 

Downstairs at Pike's Place there is a gum wall.  Gross.  Thankfully the boys shared my opinion.
 The boys got to go to the Space Needle.  I think they really enjoyed it.
 Here is our group before we left for the airport.  Jason, the pastor at FBC Martha Lake, is pictured on the right with his wife Melissa.  We all went to Union together...many years ago!

 We took this picture at one of our BBQ's.  We took it for the Unionite, since we are all grads of Union University.

The week went by quickly and many memories were made.  I pray that my boys have life long memories of sharing the love of Jesus with everyone we come in contact with, whether in Seattle, Paris, TN or wherever we may find ourselves.

Just a quick side story so I never forget a specific answer to prayer.  About a week before we left I began to feel very anxious about taking the boys.  You know, I was taking 2 young boys across the country to stay in someone's house...someone I had never met.  I was nervous about traveling.  I was nervous about staying a week at someone's house.  I was nervous about them acting wild and crazy.  I was nervous about them being tired.  I was just nervous.  Really nervous.  I began to pray for these specific fears instead of worry.  Boy, did the Lord answer those fears and calm my nerves.  I prayed that the host home that we stayed with would love children and understand boys specifically.  We drove to their beautiful house Sunday night, exhausted after traveling most of the day.  We walked upstairs and I will not lie, my heart was beating out of my chest.  She took us upstairs and showed us where the boys would stay.  And I quote, "We have two grandsons and I have this room set up for them.  Will this be okay?"  Will it be okay?!?  Talk about an answer to a specific request.  Believe it or not it just kept getting better from there.  God answered every request I made, plus more.  I still haven't stopped praising His name for all the great things He has done!
This is a picture of Diane.  Her husband, Mark, had already gone to work.  Precious people.  Precious.

Five on Friday

1.  Around 15 years ago Fred took his first official ministry job.  It was at a small country church, Crossroads Baptist, in Alamo, Tennessee.  Well, life is coming full circle for us because several months ago they lined up Fred to preach revival services this week.  We are all excited to go back and see everyone.  We hold some great memories from Crossroads!
2.  I am leaving with Clayton and several other kiddos from our church for camp today, thus the early post.  I love camp, especially Camp Linden.  I grew up going to Linden every summer.  I am praying that the kiddos going will build a foundation on Jesus and their lives will never be the same.  Join me, won't you?!?  Click here to see the camp. 
3.  While Fred and I were sipping coffee yesterday, our eldest child came in the kitchen from the living room making the strangest noise.  It made us laugh; however, Clayton was not laughing.  He had had the air knocked out of him.  After regaining his breath he began to explain to us through many tears what happened.  In an effort to escape his youngest brother he tried to go through the window in our bathroom.  Yes, through the window.  Well, Jack had put a rocking chair under that window and when Clayton came through feet first he landed on the top of the chair.  After he laid around all morning I decided I should take him to the doctor.  Yes, he has a cracked rib...from a game of my house.  My brother wins the quote of the day by saying, "Five seconds of stupid can really change your life."  I think this will be our new motto.
4.  Jack is not going to camp.  He would have been pretty sad, but we gave him to option of having an "all about Jack" day if he stayed home with Fred.  So far, Jack has about 15 things on his list that he would like to do tomorrow.  We'll see what all they get to accomplish.  He has been counting down the days.
5.  Andrew does not like thunder.  Fred was in the garden this week with Andrew and it thundered.  Andrew made his way, rather quickly, back to the house.  After being inside with me for  a while he looked up at me and said, "Mom, did God stop the thunder yet?"  Sweet.   

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Jack's Party

Does anybody else struggle explaining the difference between a birthday and a birthday party when they don't happen on the same day?!?  Just wondering. 
Once we got back from vacation we had Jack's party.  It felt like we'd been celebrating a week since his actual birthday was days before his party, but oh well, who doesn't love a few days of celebration?!?  Jack decided several weeks ago that he wanted to have a science experiment party.  I immediately began searching for ideas and found some great ones:
-when a skittle is placed in water the 'S' on top of the skittle will float off
-when water is poured over pop rocks they pop...forever.
-Mentos in a Diet Coke really do result in a geyser
-vinegar and baking soda erupt (we did several with this mixture)
We feasted on hot dogs, cheese, cheetos, fritos, watermelon and cookies.  It was a rockin' time! 
Happy Birthday Big Man!

Good Bye to Cheesecake

I love Chick Fil A cheesecake with blueberry topping.  Love it. Well, our first stop on our trip to the beach was at Chick Fil A for breakfast.  I noticed the girl behind the counter fixing a cheesecake tray.  We started discussing it and how good it was. I began telling her about CFA cheesecake and how for our first Valentine's Day I was sick and Fred brought CFA cheesecake over for dessert.  (I know, I rarely meet a stranger.)  After my story she broke the news to me that they would no longer be serving cheesecake.  Then, at 9:30 in the morning she did the unspeakable.  She gave me a piece, topped with blueberry, and told me to enjoy since that day was the last day to get CFA cheesecake.  I've never had cheesecake at 9"30 a.m. and I guess it will never happen again.  Last day for cheesecake at Chick Fil A.  Sniff, sniff...


We hit the beach a few weeks ago.  Before we went to the beach the boys spent a little time in Jackson while Fred and I toured the state for TBC meetings.  Seriously, we toured the state.  We had to be in Lexington by 9, Donelson by 2 and Crossville by 7.  Then we drove back to Knoxville for the night.  We had the best time together.  Fred left the next day while I shopped in Knoxville all day...good times!  We drove in Wednesday, packed and then loaded up for church.  Once church was over we drove to Jackson to sleep for the night and leave out bright and early.  We really have the best traveling kiddos on the planet.  We left at 6:00 a.m. and arrived in Gulf Shores by 3:00 p.m.  That's awesome, isn't it?!?  I think it might be a record.  We stopped two times...yes, two times. 
Once we got to the condo (which I would highly recommend, click here to see it...not great pictures, but a great price and easy to work with!) we dropped our bags and the boys hit the pool and beach while I went to the grocery.  Other than eating out for lunch that is pretty much what we did all day.  Below are a few pictures from our days...

While we were at the beach, Jack celebrated his 6th birthday.  Seriously, 6?!?  Where has it gone.  I may or may not have gotten a little teary as he blew out his candles on his birthday breakfast of beignets.  We celebrated all day long with all things Jack:  beignets, putt putt golf, go carts, bumper boats, an arcade, lunch at LuLu's, the tower of youth, ice cream and a roller coaster ride.  Could we have possibly squeezed anything else in that day?!?  I think not. 

As we were driving in to Gulf Shores I saw a billboard about a Hot Air Balloon Festival in Foley, Alabama (10 miles away).  We all thought it sounded like fun and it did not disappoint.  If I ever see one of those again we will stop for sure!

After five days at the beach we headed to New Orleans for the annual conference of the Southern Baptist Convention.  I don't have too many pictures from those days.  We did spend some time one day at lunch in the French Quarter...walking and walking and walking and walking...

Good times for the Shackelfords!

We rolled in late Wednesday night, just in time to get ready for Jack's party on Saturday.  And then to  roll out again for Seattle on Sunday.