Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Seattle 2013

Initially we were not going to make the Seattle trip with our church this year, but the big boys begged to go.  After praying about it for several days Fred and I felt like I should take the big boys and he and Andrew should stay home.  So, the big boys and I headed out last Saturday from Nashville.  Can you tell they were excited?!?

We also took our friend D.  He is Clayton's best friend and practically one of mine.  He had never flown before.  Here he is giving me a thumbs up.  All was well.
After a long flight to Seattle we arrived around supper time.  We ate supper and then headed to a beach.  The boys quickly found a playground to burn off some steam.  
We slept hard and then woke up to head to church.  Have I mentioned that the weather was just dreamy?!?  Absolutely beautiful.  We had a fiesta lunch and then rested a little.  Before dinner we stopped at the LEGO store for an emergency visit, because we knew the rest of the week would be jam packed.  
Monday morning we got to church and packed door hangers to be distributed.  In my group were my boys, my friend's kiddos, one young girl, two teenage girls and one other adult.  We hung about 400 (no lie) door hangers advertising activities for the rest of the week.  The other team did about the same.  I had some tired fellas that evening. 

After a full day we went back to the LEGO store for Chima races and then headed to eat.  
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were pretty much the same.  We hosted a rec camp at a local park before lunch and then each night we hosted a BBQ.  A BBQ in Seattle is what we call a weenie roast in the South.  We hosted these in three different areas of the city.  I was so proud of the the boys at these.  Jack worked at the snow cone station almost all night.  He got so good at serving them.  My fella would even walk around and ask people if he could get them a snow cone when no one was at his station.  

I talked with the boys about looking out for others while we were there.  When Clayton was in line for his snow cone he asked for grape.  He noticed that there was only a little left and that a visitor was behind him.  As soon as he saw these two things he asked the boy behind him if he wanted grape.  It was really a sweet moment for me as a mom to watch.  I pray my boys continue to develop a servant heart and eyes to see others around them.  Below is our crew after one of the rec camps...

 We had the privilege of staying with our friends this year, who also have three boys.  Yes, there were 6 boys from 10 to 3 plus 3 adults in an 1100 square foot apartment for a week.  Were they not just saints for hosting us?!?  On the plane I had a little anxiety about this situation, but God really took care of every detail.  It was a blast.  In fact, it's been a week almost, but I still tear up thinking about leaving all of them.
On Friday our flight didn't leave until that afternoon.  Before we flew out we spent a few hours at Pikes Place Market.  The boys and I rode the Great Wheel.  Normally I don't splurge on such shenanigans, but seriously...a ferris wheel over the Sound with my boys!?!  It was amazing and a memory I will not soon forget.

 Here we are before leaving with my three boys for the week.
Before we were leaving I questioned why we were going.  It's not cheap.  I was leaving part of my family.  There's ministry to be done here at home.  Why go across the country??  As always when I go on trips like this though I come back with more that I asked for.  God really worked in my heart and renewed my resolve to make each day count.  Everyday, no matter our location, we are to be on mission. We are to love as Jesus loves.  The task is overwhelming and there are so many distractions.  So many things vie for my attention each day.  These boy with me are building a foundation.  I want it to be built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.  He never fails.  Never.  We get distracted and lose our focus on the main thing.  He is always constant.  If we don't proclaim it His word tells us that the rocks will cry out.  As long as I'm alive I don't want rocks to cry out in my place.  I am only one imperfect person.  I can't change the world, but through Him I can change this corner. And Lord willing, these three boys living under my roof will one day change their corner and then their children will change their corner and so on and so on.  Who knows, maybe part of that began stirring in their heart while we were in Seattle?!? Love these boys of mine.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fusion Camp

Fred and Clayton headed out for camp Wednesday afternoon.  The fourth and fifth graders get to go a day early and do things like the low ropes course, paint ball and archery.  Good times.
Fred's bed for the week...on which he "slept like a log." What?!?!?
 Sweet group of 4th and 5th grade boys...

Jack headed out Thursday afternoon while Andrew and I stayed here. All in all 20 kids and about 10 chaperones went to camp. A good time was had by everyone!
The boys are here after playing a riveting game of cupcake kickball.  First base was a kiddie pool of chocolate syrup, second base was flour and third base was sprinkles.  You had to have both feet in the kiddie pool to be on base.  Chocolate syrup+98 degree temperatures=a slippery mess and pure joy for Jack!! 
Please note that Jack only took one shower while he was away.  That shower happened because Fred took him by the hand to the shower and watched him until he used soap and shampoo.  That shower, or any shower, did not occur after this incident of cupcake kickball.  Nice.

While camp is always fun, it's a great time to add to an already started foundation of faith.  My heart's desire is to see my boys follow after Christ with a whole hearted devotion that never turns to the left or the right.  Clayton's best friend accepted Christ as his Savior while at camp and another girl did the same thing.  That makes 6 baptisms this summer of children.  Six.  My heart is just overflowing at all God is doing around us.  What a privilege to see Him at work. 

The big boys and I leave for Seattle this week to serve at/with a church there.  I'm praying for a great trip this week as well.  This has been the best summer for us as a family.  God is at work in all of us.  As a mom, it is just simply amazing to watch it. 

Holiday World

We headed out to Holiday World early Monday morning.  We drove and drove.  Shortly before we got there we passed this...
Andrew piped up from the back seat and said, "Hey, wook it's where the clouds come from."  Too sweet. 
We arrived at Holiday World, had a little picnic and then headed in.  It was amazing.  I cannot brag on Holiday World enough.  It was the cleanest park I've ever been to.  All the workers were top notch.  Simply amazing.  
We actually rode the tram in from the parking lot.  Upon exiting the tram Andrew said, "That was a fun ride, mom."  Ha! Maybe we should have just let him ride the tram all day since it was so much fun instead of buying him a ticket...just kidding. :-)

We rode all kind of rides.  Andrew found the kiddie area and he was set.  He climbed up and slid down with the biggest grin on his face for hours. 

We would take turns riding water slides with the big boys and staying with Andrew.  Then
we headed over to the amusement park side.  Andrew wanted to ride the log ride.  I was more nervous than him, but he loved it.  Jack's favorite ride was the swings (The pic below is of swings that went 20 feet in the air and then went round and round.  Jack really preferred the old school swings).  Andrew liked the antique cars.  Clayton liked the log ride. 

One day Clayton and I waited in line for about 45 minutes.  I was worried that Fred might be missing us and that it was taking too long.  Right as we got the front Clayton looked up and me and said, "Mom, I'm glad we waited in this line together.  This is going to be so much fun!"  Worth.every.minute.of.wait. 
When we got home Tuesday night around midnight Fred lifted a sleeping Andrew out of the car.  He looked at Fred and said in a half asleep voice, "Can we ride that again, dad?"
Jack rode the bumper cars.  He grinned from ear to ear and giggled.  He kept getting turned around and then he would get tickled.  It still makes me smile just remembering his face.  I hope I never forget it. 
The hotel we stayed in had a free breakfast:  waffles, eggs, sausage, muffins, etc.  We walked in Tuesday morning and Jack said, "Mom, you know I'll eat ALL of this, right?!?"  Loves a breakfast!  Dream come true for the big boy.

Lessons learned at Holiday World:
1.  Fred is still the only one in our family that likes a roller coaster.  He rode them alone. 
2.  Rides that go round and round make me and Fred sick.  We are too old for a scrambler.  I rode the swings with Jack and was green.  Green. 
3.  The pavement is super hot and rough.  You must wear some kind of shoes.  Even with shoes though you still get blisters, lots of blisters.  (By you, I mean the adults, not the kids.)
4.  Being at an amusement park is exhausting on adults.  Exhausting.  I just wanted to lay around when we got back.  The boys were ready to go.  In fact, Clayton asked if we could go to the pool.  I politely said, "No."  Seriously, my legs are still tired and it's been 3 days since we got back. 
5.  One of our big boys does not like waiting in a line to ride a ride.  He gets extremely irritable.  After waiting for 20 minutes or so he might even punch the other brother in the head that is annoying him.  Then you have to leave that line, go find his dad and explain the situation.  All the while adding more blisters to your feet.  Whew, the feet. 

We are hoping to head back next year.  Mental notes are being made and I'm sure a good time will be had by all!!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Five on Friday

1.  Fred is at children's camp this week.  He even got to go a day early with the 4th and 5th grade boys.  I may or may not be a little jealous that he gets to go and I don't.  I sent him a text after the first night to see how he slept.  His response, "Like a log".  Only 6'5' Fred could sleep like a log on a wooden bunk bed that's 6 feet long with a 2 inch plastic covered foam mattress.  Mercy.
2.  This was a big week around here.  I conned convinced the boys to help me mow the yard.  I would mow a big square and then tell them to mow in between it.  They did it.  It looks awesome. With all three of us working we weeded the flower beds, hoed the garden, mowed every bit of grass and used the blower on the patio, driveway and about 2 hours.  Since the words, "It's a boy!"  I've dreamed of this day.  It's here and it's everything I thought it would be!  Bless my soul, is that not a beautiful sight?!?  My, I love those boys...not just because they can mow though.

3.  We have tried to squeeze every little bit out of summer that we can.  This week we went to Incredible Pizza in Memphis with some friends.  Each week day at lunch they have some kind of special.  For a flat fee you get two hours of unlimited attractions.  Unlimited, for two hours: laser tag, putt putt golf, go carts, bowling!!  (All inside!)  The boys were pumped.  Our friends had not been there.  Upon arriving Clayton pulled out a hand drawn map of Incredible Pizza from his pocket. He wanted to make sure he and his friends made the most of every moment.  Precious.

4.  Jack asked me if they would get paid for mowing the yard.  I replied with a hearty, "Yes...I will feed you!"
5.  Andrew and I dropped off the last camper yesterday.  When we were leaving the parking lot he said pitifully, "Mom, I'm going to miss Dad, Jack and Clayton."  Me too, buddy.
On a side note...Andrew talks a lot.  All three of my boys do.  I become acutely aware of how much they talk when I am alone with one of them.  They don't have a brother/friend to talk to. Andrew and I have covered a lot of conversational ground since the boys left.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Past couple of weeks...

A friend told me last night that she was missing my blog updates, honestly, I haven't even thought about it.  It just so happened that the boys were away for almost two weeks visiting with grandparents.  Fred and I were just really enjoying our time together.  It is amazing to me that after all these years we are still friends.  I tried to enjoy my "vacation" to the max.  While Fred still went to work during the day, we both viewed it as a HUGE blessing to have this time together and actually finish a sentence.  It was epic.

-Fred participated in a 100K bike ride on July 4th with a good friend.  A 100K ride is 65 miles.  That's a long time to pedal.  Who am I kidding?!?  That's a long time to ride in a car.  I asked him if he had a picture of himself.  I just got "the look" that communicated that he did not have a picture...bummer.
-While the kiddos were in Memphis a young couple at church got married.  The mother of the bride asked me if I would be willing to coordinate the food at the reception.  In the end I planned out the food and purchased it.  It was a blast!  I am not going to say how little I spent, but I'm thinking I might go in to business.  It was a great day of working some friends, my mom and hopefully, a blessing to this sweet couple.
 -My Aunt Janice organizes/orchestrates a swim weekend each year around July 4th for our family.  It is a weekend filled with food, family, swimming and fun and did I mention food?!?  I ate dessert two times a day.  It.was.awesome.  One day during the weekend a storm started blowing in.  I snapped a picture when everyone ran inside to capture the tranquility of the literal "calm before the storm".  It was a great weekend!
-I also had the opportunity to go a a long walk each morning with my Uncle.  I cannot begin to tell you how much fun this was.  
-As an update to Clayton's Lego Robotics camp...I asked him if he had the opportunity to make any friends and his reply was, "Mom, there wasn't really much time for socializing."  
-Fred's granddad got married a couple of weeks ago.  Fred performed the ceremony.  It was really sweet.  We are so excited to welcome Francis into the family!  Here are a few pictures from the day.  I had an outfit similar to Jack's laid out for Clayton to wear.  At the last minute he asked to wear a suit.  I was pulling stuff together at the last minute, but I'm glad it worked out!
 Here we are with Fred's siblings, minus Dan and Tami.  We'll be getting a picture with everyone before we know it!
 Here's the whole crew in the church.  That is quite the crew right there.
And now just the Shackelford crew...minus Dan and Tami, of course.
-I served the boys homemade cinnamon rolls this morning.  Homemade.  You know they've been at Mawmaw and Mimi's house too long when the replies were, "I really like Mimi's cinnamon rolls out of a can better" or "Your icing is not as good as Mimi's."  Feel the love.  Feel it.  
-I cannot believe July is here.  The boys have children's camp this week, we are going to Holiday World for a few days next week and then the big boys and I go to Seattle the last week of July.  Where has summer gone?!?  We have loved every minute of it, well, minus the boys complaining about homemade cinnamon rolls.  Homemade people!!