Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving, a Birthday, a Christmas Tree and a Tailgating Party

Before school got out for Thanksgiving break Jack had Barter Day at school.  Each student set up their own shop and they "bartered" for goods that other students provided.  He had a really good time.  I think he's the cutest shop owner I've ever seen!
We are typically up with the or out of school.  So, our first day out of school for Thanksgiving was no exception.  By 8:00 am I had made dressing, sweet potato casserole and breakfast.  The boys were outside playing.  Yep, that's how we roll.
Thanksgiving was a little weird for use this year.  Not weird bad, but weird good.  For the first time in 18 years Fred and I did not travel.  It was amazing.  It was truly a holiday.  We enjoyed every moment.  My mom, dad, aunt and grandmother came in to town Wednesday morning and we feasted at lunch.

 Aunt Janice is not is the picture above because she was taking the picture.
After lunch my family helped me decorate my house for Christmas.  Mun and Janice left around 4:30 pm and mom and dad stayed the night.  Fred headed out for a Turkey Trot with his sister while the rest of us just enjoyed a day of leisure.  Later that evening they headed home and we went to the Shackelford's house for Thanksgiving, Part 2.
The boys (and Dash) decided to stay the night at Fred and Renee's.  Fred and I returned to an empty/quiet house.  We woke up Friday morning and hit a few Black Friday sales.  It was surprisingly calm.  We just walked in and out of stores.  We even enjoyed a quick breakfast out together.  Then we hit the sale of all sales.  When we pulled up to Kroger we realized we had a 40 cent discount on our Kroger plus card.  (Yes, we buy a lot of groceries!) What do you do?!?  You go back home and get the other car and line them up in such a way that you can fill up both cars!  Black Friday savings at their finest!  Score!
After this I headed over to get the boys and then headed to Jackson to celebrate my sister in laws birthday.  We ate at a new restaurant called Say Grace and then enjoyed a cake from Shirley's Bakery.  Yummers.
Jack asked Paige how old she was going to be and she said 40.  Jack said, "Oh.  You need to schedule your colonoscopy."  Ha!  Nothing says welcome to 40 like an 8 year old telling you to schedule your colonoscopy.

As soon as we got home we headed to the Christmas Tree Farm to cut down our tree.  I think before people get married they should have to cut down a tree together...and take three kids with them.  If they survive this task they will be ready.  Goodness.  I laid in bed that night and wondered what we will remember from these days.  I hope they are good memories because honestly some things just aren't as "sweet" as they appear.  It seems all good times and hot chocolate when really it's:  this is too tall,  I don't like this one, over here guys, please stop fighting, help us get in the door, are you really just sitting there watching tv, get up and help, how much longer, those lights don't look good, etc and etc.
I sure hope all involved will have good memories.  After trying unsuccessfully for about an hour, we just went to bed without decorating the tree.  By 6:30 am the next morning we were back at it and having a good time.  (We all really like sleep!)  By 7:15 am (I told you we roll out early!) it was finished.  It may not be magazine worthy, but we picked it out, cut it down and decorated it.  It's ours and it makes me smile.  (Just as a point of reference the cute boy in the picture is almost 5 feet tall.)
 Don't think for one minute Fred and I were not quoting Christmas Vacation the entire time we were on this quest.  I'll leave you will one quote that runs through my head every time I walk past this tree...Little full, lot of sap....You're welcome.
Saturday we had a tailgate party at the Memphis game with several of our friends.  I chose to take hot chocolate and this was my only thermos...

 Ha!  Several people offered suggestions on ways to fix my thermos, but I think it's just fine!  My granddaddy took coffee in this thermos to UT games in Knoxville.  It will work at a Memphis game.
Memphis won their game and became league champions for the first time in 43 years. Our good friends even came to their first game of the season and enjoyed the game with us. Good times!
Dash the dog has had a difficult Thanksgiving...not really.  This is how he's spent most of his time--

Silly dog.  He better rest up.  We are entering December and he has no idea what's in store for him. All Shackelfords better hang on because it's about to get crazy around here!

Monday, November 24, 2014

This week...

 In 2004 we moved to Paris, Tennessee to begin working at Springhill Baptist Church.  The O'Neals were our instant friends.  Clayton and their oldest daughter S were more like siblings than friends.  They were co-conspirators, partners in crime, best buds.  They moved away in 2010 for J to pursue his education in Texas.  It was a dark day for the Shackelford family.  They spent a year in Texas, but then moved back to Tennessee for J to begin working in a church full time.  Since his career path was in education he was never ordained in the ministry.  His church offered to do this for him and then they asked Fred to preach for his service.  It was a great moment for both of our families.  Look at this crew below.  They sure have grown since the nursery at Springhill.  If I stop for too long I'll get emotional.  Mostly though, it just makes me smile to think that a church in Paris, Tennessee brought our two families together and 10 years later that bond is still strong.  Love these people.
 We got in the car one day this week and Jack said, "Wait mom!  My backpack?"  I just looked at him and then he gave me this grin.  I think he quickly realized it was on his shoulders.  I love that kid.
 If you follow NBA basketball you know that the Grizzlies are good this year.  Yes, they are.  We got to go to our first game as a family last weekend.  It did not disappoint.  We always have the best time!
 Of course the boys had to have a snow cone.  They had to spend their own money.  Clayton did not want to use his money so Jack said, "No big deal Clayton.  I'll buy yours."  Goodness.

 After the game we went to the Cheesecake Corner and shared a piece of high dollar deliciousness five ways.  We have no pictures of this because it was inhaled.

On November 22, 1996 Fred and I went on our first date.  For someone who never saves anything this picture has made it 18 years.  I love this picture...almost as much as I love the guy in the picture.  I cannot believe it's been 18 years since this night.
 Saturday afternoon we went to the Memphis Tigers game.  It was perfect football weather.  I wish I could have bottled it up.  Food at the games is always an issue.  As soon as we walk in the boys are hungry/thirsty.  All season long I've held them off except for a few things here and there.  Before we walked in the stadium I told Fred this game would be a "yes" game.  It was too funny to see their faces when they asked for something and Fred and I just said Yes.  They kind of stood there in disbelief.  It was great.  Drinks for everyone...yes.  Nachos...yes.  BBQ nachos...sure.  Whatever.

The Tigers have had a great season this year and we love being in the stadium to cheer them on!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Friends, Family and More

We had a special service one Sunday night where the adult, youth and children's choir all sang together.  Look who got to sit by me...

Made my night.  He may not have been as thrilled as me, but I think he had a good time.  (I took these pictures during our rehearsal time just in case someone might think I was doing anything but listening while my sweet husband was preaching.)

That morning at church we did a tribute to our Veterans.  Some of the boys of our church carried the flag of the five branches of service.  Clayton held one flag.  With each flag all the veterans in attendance stood around their branch of service flag.  It was precious..both my child participating and the veterans walking proudly to their branch of service.  I didn't see much of it b/c tears were blocking my view.

The weekend before Veteran's Day we had several of the boys friends from Paris here at the house.  My friend has a video of Jack and B seeing each other for the first time.  To view it, click here.  They were pretty excited to see each other to say the least.  I think it's been four months...or at least that's what Jack calculated.
While those sweet boys were here I didn't get many pictures.  They played outside and upstairs.  I called them three times a day for meals, but for the most part they just played and played and played.  I did make these homemade pumpkin spice donuts.  Yummers.  For the recipe click here.  They really aren't that bad for you...unless you eat five.  I'm not saying I did that...I'm just saying that 5 would not be a good idea.
Speaking of five donuts...several of our Sunday morning classes have donuts each morning.  When they have leftovers they bring them to a certain spot in the church so they can share with others.  Guess who found this place?!?  Yes, one young Jack Shackelford.  This particular Sunday it was reported to me that he ate three donuts.  Three.  After a long conversation with him where I explained total calorie consumption and the effects of that much sugar on your body (he was taking notes...ha!!) it was decided that he is not allowed to partake in the donut excess that church any more.  Bummer.
 Here's the only picture I got.  Taking a picture of five boys and a dog that likes to photo bomb is difficult to say the least.  We did finally get a good one though.

Jack's teacher sent me this sweet picture of him reading to his class.  Is that not the sweetest thing?!?
Mimi came to town to be the mystery reader in Jack's class.  She really enjoyed her time with him.  His teacher sent him to the door and he said, "Hey, my grandmother is at the door!"  I think his sweet teacher told him to let her in...ha!  She even took lunch for Jack.  He was thrilled with lunch and the mystery reader!

After reading to Jack's class Mimi went with us to the mall.  No trip to the mall is complete without a train ride, right?!?  Mimi was more than happy to ride along.  
 Then miracle of all miracles Santa was at the mall and Andrew wanted to talk to him.  Have mercy.  They asked if I wanted to buy a picture package.  I asked what the cheapest "package" was.  When they told me $19.95 I politely declined.  $20 for some Santa pictures?!?  No thanks.  Someone in our party took this picture without reading the sign that pictures on cell phones were not allowed.  Whoops.

When we picked up the boys Friday afternoon they went to Mimi and Tee's house for a fun weekend!  I think her kitchen counter tops were lined with junk food.  I got a text that Jack ate cinnamon toast crunch cereal with chocolate milk over it for breakfast.  Gross.  Clayton went to a Lego Robotics camp and Jack and Andrew went to Fun Zone.  They ate pizza, watched ball games and had a blast!  Mimi even sent them home with clean laundry.  Bonus for the laundry keeper at this house.
They stayed in Jackson because I had a sweet friend from college getting married in Nashville on Saturday.  I've looked forward to this weekend.  Guess who got some kind of cold/sinus/cough thing almost as soon as the boys left the house?!?  This girl.  Miserable.  The wedding was so beautiful.  My friend was stunning.  All I could do was stifle "ugly" coughs so as to not ruin the wedding for everyone in attendance.  The man sitting beside me looked at Fred when the wedding was over and said, "Get that girl some bourbon and send her to bed."  Too funny!  Nothing says romantic weekend like coughing until you vomit.  Yuck.  Thank goodness Fred loves me.  That's all I can say.

Earlier that week (this would make more sense if I had done these in order...oh well...another day) Fred and I had the privilege of attending our state denominational meeting.  It was a really good time.  Not only did we get to sit in great meetings, I got the honor of meeting this sweet friend at a luncheon.  Good times.  We even got to go to Taco Tuesday at a favorite place with the Cains in Brentwood too.

 Wednesday morning we awoke early and dined at Puffy Muffin (a sentimental favorite of mine) before attending the last sessions.  It was beyond always.   If you are ever in Brentwood don't miss out on this jewel.  It's a keeper.  Call me up.  If I'm free I'll meet you.

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is next week.  Several weeks ago I asked Fred about the possibility of making Thanksgiving a little healthier.  He looked at me like my head was attached to the ground.  So...I guess we'll be dining of the usual fare of carbs, sugar and more carbs mixed up with cream of mushroom soup and baked at 350 in a 9 by 13 casserole dish.  Not that I'm complaining...except for green bean casserole...that stuff is just gross.  Seriously gross.  Bring on Thanksgiving!  Only five more Fridays until Christmas...yikes!

Friday, November 7, 2014

This week

On Halloween my boys were ready to go!  We headed to church for a fun filled, freezing night of trunk or treating!  After trunk of treat at church we had a brief costume change and headed to the Memphis game.  It was miserably cold.  Cold.  Freezing.  Brrr...I'm still cold just remembering it.  In fact, I was so cold when I got home that I put the electric blanket on the bed as soon as I got home!

The biggest boy wore an Iron Man mask.  Clayton was Percy Jackson.  Jack was a ninja.  Andrew was Wolverine.  Next year I might get creative with our costumes, but I doubt it.
Andrew loves a costume, so he had a costume change for the game.  Is that not the cutest tiger you've ever seen?!?

On the Thursday before Halloween a precious man at church met me (and about 3 others) in the church kitchen to teach us how to make his famous "Love Cookies".  I now know why they are called "Love Cookies".  They have 3 sticks of butter and a cup and a half of shortening per recipe.  The love actually melts in your mouth.  They don't come any sweeter than Mr. Bill.  
Andrew wants this for Christmas.  I did not buy it at Kroger.  Is that stating the obvious?!?  

On Mondays Andrew and his cousin are out of school.  His mama runs a very successful/busy photography business, but on occasion we have time to meet up with the guys.  We chose to meet at the mall.  Since living here for almost a year I think this is my third time to visit this mall.  Before I lived here I came to this mall frequently.  It's funny to me that I now live less than 10 minutes from the mall, but I come here less often.

Any who...they rode the train, jumped on the trampoline, rode the carousel, ate at Chick Fil A, played in the play area and rode the escalator.  Good times.  I love their sweet friendship.

 That's enough to wear a fella out.  Worn out.
On Wednesday of this week Andrew started feeling bad.  A quick trip to the clinic revealed that he has an ear infection.  Boo.  He was pretty pitiful.  Actually the photo below was taken because I realized Fred took the keys to our second car and we weren't going to be able to get to Sonic while everyone else was at church.  Oh the horror...
A friend brought the boys home from church for me.  When I opened the door Jack came walking in with one shoe on his foot.  One shoe.  When I asked him where his shoe was he told me it was in the gym at church in the ceiling.  What?  Yep, he kicked it off and it landed in the ceiling.  Goodness, he's a mess.  My fella came in rocking one shoe...and was not the least bit concerned.

In other news...the dog, Dash...
I took him to Pet Smart to get a bath since it was cold outside.  Jack informed me that Dash smelled like "stinky cheese".  When Jack notices a smell it is time to act.  Andrew and I took him to the pet store and Dash about had a come apart when we left him.  When I went to pick him up he rode home like this in my lap.  It was a difficult drive home. (I was not driving when I snapped this.) Literally, he was in my lap.  He stayed on our heels the rest of the night.  I guess these are the problems of a dog that's rescued.
 He is not supposed to be on the furniture, most of all my bed.  Saturday morning all the boys left for men's breakfast (Oh glorious day!) and Dash was so distraught he sat on top of my legs.
 On Fridays when Fred's at home Dash and I get to walk on the green space behind our house.  He gets to run without a leash.  It's a big day.  Oh, and it's trash day.  He sniffs all the way out of our neighborhood.  We are quite the sight.
My boys have many sweet friends from Paris.  Two of them are coming for the weekend.  I'm making pumpkin donuts for breakfast.  (Click here for recipe.)  I don't know if the boys will like it or not, but I feel certain I will.  It's going to be a great morning.