Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Wrap Up

Christmas Eve we woke up and headed to Cracker Barrel.  Fred and I started this tradition when we were dating and we attended 7 (Yes, literally 7.) Christmas celebrations.  We figured that no matter where our Christmas celebration found us we could always locate a Cracker Barrel.  The boys are very thankful for this tradition.  Since a little stomach virus seemed to plague our house appetites were a little suppressed.  It didn't matter.  We still had a blast as a family.

After breakfast we came home to get ready for Christmas.  Mimi and Tee came in some time that afternoon and the celebrations began!  We attended Christmas Eve services at church and it was a beautiful time of celebration.  Before we left for that service we noticed Jack had fever.  Throughout Christmas (only at night) he would randomly run fever.  Weird.
We came home and got in bed at a pretty good hour.  We told the boys they couldn't get up before 5:30 am.  I think the picture below was taken at 5:37 am.  Each year we play some kind of game before we open presents.  The boys love it...not really, but Fred and I get a good laugh.  Each boy has their own wrapping paper, but the kicker is that they don't know whose is whose.  That's where the game comes in.  Last year they went on a scavenger hunt.  This year we played a game where they rolled two die to get a seven.  When they got a seven (6 and 1, 5 and 2, 3 and 4) they had to put on a scarf, hat and Fred's jacket.  If they could do that before the next brother rolled a seven they could open the present.  What they didn't know was it was a present, inside a present, inside a present, inside a present.  Jack was the first one to open the present.  He stood up (at 5:42 am) ,pointed at his brothers and shouted, "Suckers!"  Feel the Christmas love.  Then he quickly realized it just lead to another present.  They had to play again and again until they got to the last box that contained envelopes with a sample of their wrapping paper.  Good times.  For the rest of the day they would ask if we had to roll dice to do this.  Ha!
 My mom always takes the boys shopping to buy gifts for their brothers and us.  They all have a really good time together.  While she was shopping with Jack he had picked out everything, but then he asked if he could get a card.  She didn't know why, but below is what he did with it.  He took his own money and put it in the card.  How sweet is that?  I think it might be the sweetest, most thoughtful thing he's ever done.
We laid around most of the day and then headed to Fred and Renee's house for Christmas.  Friday morning we headed to Jackson to celebrate with my brother and our parents and then my mother's family.  It was really a good time!  Fred celebrated with my grandmother's boiled custard.
My brother didn't come in until Saturday morning so mom encouraged Fred and I to go out on a date.  She really twisted my arm.  Not really.  We were out the door before she got the words out of her mouth!!  We had a funeral visitation to go to and then headed to dinner at Outback since we had a gift card.  I do love an Outback special with macaroni and cheese and a chopped salad.  Honestly, it's perfection for a chain restaurant.  While we were out the boys enjoyed a little time at Sky Zone.  Win win for everyone involved!
Our cousins finally arrived!  Yeah!!
 Later Saturday we headed to Mun and Janice's house.  Here's Mun, my 89 year old grandmother, with all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren...minus two.  Is that not a sweet picture?!?
Here's my family with Mun and her boiled custard.  I think it's one of Fred's favorite traditions.
 Here's the entire crew...minus a few.  It's a really big group.  Goodness it's a wild time!!
 After the celebration was over Fred and I headed back to Bartlett while the boys stayed to visit a little longer.  We went to church that morning (I was late.  Maybe it's not the boys that always make me late?!?), but that night I played hookie...shhhhh.  When my Christmas decorations go up I start anticipating taking them down.  I look forward to it.  I clean out every box.  I organize it all and it really brings me great joy.  This is what my living room looked like mid take down.  Yes, the tree is gone.  Yes, I drug the 9 foot tree out of the house by myself.  Whew.
 And after...
It's all put up and organized neatly in a closet.  It really is the best feeling.
 Monday morning we loaded up and headed to Paris for a sweet friend's retirement reception.  We visited a few friends while we were there.  It was really a sweet time.  The boys told me it was better than Christmas (I'm still trying to decide if I should be offended or not!).
Andrew is here with his partner in crime.  They are two peas in a pod.  I love these guys.  Every time I look at these pictures I get a lump in my throat.
 The look on Jack's face...he could not contain his excitement.  Ahhh, Dairy Delight how we love/miss you!
 Sweet friends...
We were blessed with a great Christmas.  We made many memories and spent lots of time together.  I love this family God has given me.  With all the running around and all the craziness there really is nothing better than Emmanuel being born.  Emmanuel...God with there any better reason to celebrate December 25th and all year long?!?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Plague

It hits us every.single.year.  I don't even know why I'm surprised.  Tuesday morning (12/22) Andrew woke up saying his belly was hurting.  I didn't brush him off, but I just figured it was the incredible diet we've been partaking of over the holidays.  We settled in to watch the Memphis football game and Andrew woke from his nap.

He was pretty lethargic, but we've been staying up late so again I just figured it was the time of year.  Right before I left to run with a friend (which never happened since the bottom fell out!) he started throwing up and running a fever.  Great.  Seriously, this should be my Christmas card picture...
 Since Andrew was sick the big boys and Fred headed out to look at some Christmas lights.  They came in sooner than I thought they would.  Jack's stomach was now hurting.  We decided to turn in for the night.  Jack slept on the living room couch.  Andrew slept in our room on the couch.  And Clayton slept in the guest room (downstairs, right next to our room).  It was a regular slumber party.  The fun started around 12:30 am.  I heard Jack up and he was sick, sick, sick.  This woke Clayton up whose stomach was now hurting. I laid in bed trying to go back to sleep, but knowing things were about to get interesting I stayed awake.  Around 2:00 am Clayton woke me up throwing up.  Then Jack at 2:30, 4:15, 5:45 (this woke Andrew and Dash up...I'm now up for the day) and 6:45.  Whew, I felt like I was at a lock in.  I loathe lock ins.  Despise.
Now Clayton and Jack both have a fever.

 But this guy...he's good.
 There's hope for the two above.  Jack is always the hardest hit.  He'll bounce back soon.  Plus, there's always a silver lining to being sick at Christmas.  I get to spend a little extra time with the boys.  There's no running around in crazy traffic with crazy people.  Everything gets pretty simple.  I refuse to see this as a negative.  God has a plan in all of this and even if it's just for us to slow down then we'll take it.  These boys are only going to be little once.  We'll keep smiling and praising Him for all He does all the time.  And we'll wash everything in color safe bleach and Lysol anything we can!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Open House

We hosted an Open House for our church last Sunday.  Fred and Renee came to help  (My family's church had a Christmas program that night so they weren't able to make it.  Boo.) and the wives of our staff members.  I really don't know what we would have done without them.  Tommy (on staff at the church) and another man drove a shuttle for 3 hours from the church to my house (takes about 5 minutes) every quarter hour to alleviate parking problems in my neighborhood.  Again, a life saver.  I divided up every one by Sunday School classes in 45 minute time slots.  We served cake, mints, nuts, punch and coffee punch.  I had tons of cake left, but Mr. Fred had to make a run to the store to get more ingredients for coffee punch.  It was a huge hit!  We had so much fun.  Thanks to our friend Denise for snapping these pictures from the day.  We are so blessed to have such a loving church family.  It was a joy to share our home with them.

 We met everyone at the door and told them to make themselves at home.  These two guys are too funny.  They caught me at church later and told me I should probably change our sheets because they took Fred literally.  They told me they watched the game.  I laughed out loud when I scrolled through the pictures and saw this!
 Clayton was so sweet.  He, without being asked, held the door and helped people off the bus.  It was precious to watch him just jump in.  He's growing into a man right before my eyes.

 When some of the kids came they were over the house.  I'm pretty sure this exceeds the limit on the trampoline.  Yep, it does.
We celebrated a year at EBC in December.  In some ways it's hard to believe we've been gone from Paris a year, but it other ways it feels like we've been here forever.  Stepping out on faith and leaving the only home our boys knew was difficult, but I firmly believe God called us to it.  He has been faithful and I can't wait to see all he will continue to do.

Programs and Programs

 Jack had his Christmas program a few days before school got out.  Fred, Renee, Dale and I headed to Oak to see the program.  Security is VERY tight at Jack's school.  We didn't get to get a picture with him before or after the program.  The teachers formed a barricade and escorted the students in.  When the program was over the principal got up and complimented the kiddos and then said to the audience, "Okay, this is what's about to happen:  You are going to keep your seat and the students are going to file out of here (Que teacher barricade and students filing out.).  Thank you for coming and Merry Christmas.  Please exit out the front doors."  She did not play.  Did not.  I've never seen a group of grown ups "obey" any better.  Wow, we live in a world where the safety of children is so at risk that they have to be filed in and out of a room under the protection of teachers.  I sure am grateful for Jack's and all.

 Andrew had his program Thursday night at our church.  Security was not quite as tight here. Grin.  He was a wise man...that had to wear purple.  It was touch and go for a little while, but he prevailed.  Fred, Renee, Mun and Janice all got to come.  It was really sweet.

 Friday morning Clayton had a school assembly/program where several groups preformed.  Since we did not get to see his Christmas concert I quickly emailed his chorus teacher to see if it would be okay if we joined in on the school thing.  He said it would be fine so I told Clayton Fred and I would come and sit by him.  I wish I had gotten a photo of the look of terror on his face.  Pure terror.  It was classic.  I don't think it will ever get old evoking this response!!
Fred and I were at the program, along with about 4 other parents.  I really know how to pick a seat.  Can you find my child in the above photo?  Yeah, my neither.  His teacher is blocking him.  I'm awesome.
 His teacher moved over...just for me, right?!?  It really was a great program.  We did not sit by Clayton.  One of the teachers there played the piano (like a rock star) and sang, "Oh Holy Night".  As he was singing I couldn't help but be prompted to pray that the kids in the room were able to know what was so divine about the night.  Hopefully, they will "fall on their knees" over the greatness of God this Christmas season.  He is the only thing that will transform our schools and city.  What a great testimony.
 During Christmas it is perfectly acceptable to snack on homemade Chex mix to carb up for a run, right?!?  Delicious.
 Some friends at church called us Friday night to see if we wanted their tickets to the University of Memphis basketball game.  Why yes, yes we do!  Impromptu date on a Saturday afternoon, yes please.  Our Tigers are not that good this year, but thankfully they won the game.  Yahoo!!
This week promises to hold all kinds of excitement!  I can't believe we are wrapping up 2014.  Goodness, where did this year go?!?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A day in the life

It's 4:44 am.  Dash the Dog is scratching on our door.  Fred was up (and I did it yesterday) so he took him outside.  Shortly after he came back in with Dash Fred left for the gym.  I laid in bed and dozed on and off until 5:30 am.  I turned on my light and read my Bible until my alarm went off at 5:45 am.  I stumbled through the dark house, put biscuits on a pan and in the oven.  I have 20 minutes until they are ready and Clayton needs to eat.  I returned to my bedroom to finish up my Bible study and memorizing some scripture that some friends and I are working on.  When the timer went off on the oven I got out of bed.  I turned on the tv to check the Grizzlies score because I fell asleep at the beginning of the third over time last night.  (For crying out loud it was 10:30 pm!!) They won...yeah!  I made my bed, put on my slippers and headed to the kitchen to meet Clayton.  I pulled the biscuits out of the oven and heated up his sausage.  His breakfast needs to be ready by 6:20 am.  We only have 20 minutes until we leave for school.  When the boys come downstairs (on a perfect morning) they are dressed and have made their own bed.  When Jack smelled the biscuits and sausage he followed his nose to the kitchen.  Now I have two boys to get ready for school.  I talked to them while they ate.  Reminding Jack to be self-controlled with his Christmas party.  Clayton needed to be reminded that today was the last day he could order a yearbook and that he needs to take chips to his school party.  Oh, Jack needs chips and dip too.  Oh, and those cups I sent yesterday?  He forgot to give them to his teacher.  Clayton needs to take gift cards to his teachers because he won't see them all tomorrow.  Science test?  Maybe you'll have time to study during the day.  Both big boys finish their breakfast and put their dishes in the dishwasher.  Now it's time to brush teeth and head out the door with Clayton.  Fred is home from the gym so Clayton and I can leave.

It's 6:40 am.  I leave to take Clayton in my pajamas and slippers. (I know. I pray I never have a wreck or run out of gas.  I know.)  I have Clayton to myself for 15 minutes.  I feel like this time is very important.  We are rarely alone.  For some reason during this time I feel a sense of urgency to tell him everything he needs to know about life.  We talk about things that he needs to remember (Where is that check for your yearbook? Did you get your chips?  Cards to give your teachers?)  We also talk about all sorts of other "life" things.  I pray over him during this time...not a "have a good day" kind of prayer.  I mean, I have my quiet time prayer over him.  I pray honestly and freely and out loud.  It may be more than he wants to hear, but I don't care.  If he leaves this house knowing nothing but he has a mother that loves him enough to pray over him then I'll count that a success.

It's 7:00 am.  Andrew is now awake and he wants breakfast.  After checking the menu I realize I need to get ingredients in the crock pot to cook supper. (Click here for recipe.)  I had to chop an onion and cut up and heat turkey sausage to put in the crock pot, plus the other ingredients.  All the while this is going on I'm trying to fix breakfast for me, Fred and Andrew.  Fred and I typically don't eat white biscuits so I fixed us something different.  Oh, and Jack is telling me the entire time I'm in the kitchen that he's still hungry.  I got Andrew his breakfast and made this and this for the grown ups.  I got Andrew settled and the grown ups sat down to eat.  Jack likes to go to school early.  So while we're eating (about 7:20 am) Jack has his back pack on and is standing over us asking (no fewer than 10 times) when he and Fred can leave.  Oh, I forgot to mention Dash.  I've let him outside and then had to bring him right back in because he was barking.  Now he's digging in the trash can.  I've told him no at least 15 times, but he continues.  Back to breakfast...Fred and I go over all that needs to happen that day.  We profess our undying love to each other and wonder how we would ever do this alone.  (PS-Jack is still standing over us saying he's ready to go AND Dash is in the trash AGAIN!)  At 7:35 am I remind Jack to brush his teeth, put on a coat and get the chips that I've reminded him about three times.  They walk out the door for school and the office.

It's 7:37 am.  Andrew and I are alone at home.  I look down and a gift is on the counter for tomorrow.  It now has syrup on it from breakfast.  Whoops.  The kitchen looks like a tornado hit it.  Dash is in the trash again!  I've got to take that out soon.  I made a mental note.  I cleaned up the kitchen.  By now I realize I haven't had any coffee yet.  I look around the kitchen and realize my coffee's cold.  In the microwave it goes.  I sit down to watch the news...just briefly.  Andrew is still in his underwear so I can't sit too long.  By this time it's 8:10 am.  He will get dressed by himself...with my encouragement.  We go upstairs to pick out his clothes, get his teeth brushed and make his bed together.  Oh man, Andrew needs a lunch.  He has a party today at school so he needs to take chips and dip too, plus his gift for his teacher.  Today is his last day before Christmas break.  As soon as I get upstairs I realize child #2 did not make his bed (alas..not a perfect morning).  I go to make the bed, help Andrew with his shoes and teeth brushing.  Walking to the bathroom I realize Dash has been in the playroom.  He has found a branch of magnolia and drug it upstairs...and shredded it completely.  He's also gotten in to a game with little chips.  He has taken each plastic bag (full of green, red and blue chips) and torn them to shreds.  Little game chips are all over the playroom, a midst the shredded magnolia leaves and branch.  I start crawling on the floor to pick it all up.  When I'm finally done I meet Andrew in the bathroom to brush his teeth.  The bathroom light is out and someone has missed the commode and urine is all over the wall.  (Common at my house.)  I go downstairs to get a new bulb and then come back to clean up the urine.  By now it's 9:20 and Andrew has to go to school.  I have not read him a single book or gone over a letter.  I know, mother of the year.  But, I'm still in my pj's.  I run downstairs to change clothes and remember that Andrew has to have a lunch.  Wait?  Maybe he doesn't have to have a lunch since they are having a party.  I call my friend to ask her and she is whispering.  She explains that she's at the doctor with her child who possibly has the flu.  Que mental Lysol.  We talk briefly and I make a quick lunch.  I threw on my running clothes because I had plans to get in a quick run.  It's 9:29 am and we're leaving the house...late again.  I arrive at preschool with all of Andrew's gear, plus party supplies and his sweet teacher says, "Do you have his gift for the toy exchange?"  Whoops.  Fail.  I drive back home, locate the gift, wrap it and then return it to school.  Mercy.

It's 9:49.  I'm finally heading out for a run.  If you know me well you will know that I've been on a medical hiatus from running.  I've been cleared to run now for about 3 weeks so I've been trying to slowly work back up.  This morning I got back to 3 miles.  Holla!  This is great.  The rhythmic cadence of my feet brings a sense of peace and calm to me.  I started running from church and stretched when I got back.  When I walked in the offices someone needed to talk to me before I got to Fred's office.  I relayed the good news to Fred about my run and then he said, "What are you doing for lunch?"  Ha...going with you of course!!  I head toward the house to get cleaned up, but before I get there I call my friend to check on her daughter.  It's a confirmed case of the flu.  If you know our family well you know some sort of illness always plagues us over the break.  All I can do is laugh, pray and invest in Lysol.  I get cleaned up and Fred picks me up for lunch at Elena's Taco Shop.

It's 11:35 am.  Fred and I head to lunch and have a great time together.  He needs to make a hospital visit and I agree to go with him.  We start to leave the restaurant only to find that someone has hit our car.  Fred calls the police station and we wait for an hour for Memphis PD to come fill out an incident report.  (We cannot possibly make another insurance claim.  We just totaled a car.)  It's only a minor dent so we just decide (after waiting an hour!!) to fix it ourselves.  It won't even meet our deductible.  We pull back in the driveway and something dawns on Fred.  No one hit us in the parking lot.  He hit a table in our garage.  At least this is what he suspects.  He hops out of the car to look, but left the car in neutral when he got out.  Yep, the car rolled right in to our house.  Fortunately, he hopped in before it did any damage.  The only damage really is a brick imprint on the front bumper of our car.

It's 1:37 pm.  We finally walk back in the house after the above fiasco and I sit down to type all of this before I forget it, because in 13 minutes I have to leave to get Clayton.  I left to get Clayton in plenty of time.  In fact, I carved out about 5 minutes to drop in Dollar Tree to get a surprise for tomorrow and a get well treat for the above mentioned friend.  Of course I picked the slowest line and ended up being late to pick up Clayton.  Thankfully, my friend was there waiting with him.  He had 4 boxes of Butter Braids that now need to be put in the freezer.  We headed to deliver the get well package.  I walked in to preschool at 2:31 to get (no nap) Andrew.  No worries...he is pumped full of so much sugar I don't think he'll stop for a while.  He got a toy car and candy at his party today and he is over the moon excited.  Once we are at the house I check the mail.  As I'm going through Christmas cards I notice a water bill.  I need to pay it or I'll forget about it.  Andrew is begging me to open his car.  All this trash?  It's being piled up in an already overflowing trash can.  Thankfully Dash is not in the trash this time.  He has busied himself upstairs in the playroom with a pinewood derby car.  Now there's wood all over the playroom.  Ugh.  Before I pick up Jack I sit down to pay the water bill, add a few things to the checkbook and send a facebook message to everyone who bought a Butter Braid about delivery or pick up.  I'll coordinate that the rest of the evening.  It's now 2:53 and time to pick up Jack. As I'm walking out the door Andrew is desperate for batteries for his new car.  I tell him I'll get some later today.  I pick up Jack and discuss with a friend a scheduling conflict tonight.  She and I devise a plan and Jack and I head home.  Once home Andrew greets me at the door wondering where his batteries are...whoops.  I'll get those later when I buy Lysol, right?  For the next few minutes I go through backpacks, hang up jackets, move clothes in the laundry room, and take out the trash (FINALLY!!).

It's 3:42 pm.  Clayton needs to be at school by 4:00 pm...dressed in his black pants, shoes and a green shirt to carol with his honor choir.  We left the house in time to stop at Taco Bell for a quick bite to eat for Clayton.  He will be caroling until 7.  We got to school just a little late, but Clayton, Andrew and I sat in the car while he ate his food.  He jumped out of the car and Andrew and I headed back home.  Andrew was very sad on the way home because we did not stop for batteries, but I had to get home to finish up soup and meet someone with a Butter Braid.  Two Butter Braids down, fifteen more to go.  Since I got home I've gotten clothes ready for Andrew's program and we had a neighbor come over to play.  I even watched the news while I ironed.  I also took the vacuum cleaner upstairs to clean up the 12th mess of the day that the dog made.

It's 5:06 pm.  It's time for us all to eat.  Fred and Renee join us for dinner.  Jack is ready to go practice in right now.  We all ate soup and I cleaned up the kitchen.  Once the kitchen was clean it was time to head to church for ball practice and a preschool program.  The program began at 6:30.  It was precious.  One of the wise men was the cutest I've ever seen.  We stayed for refreshments and then got the big boys at the gym.  Thanks to my friend for bringing Clayton to the gym after his chorus caroling.  We headed back to the house to meet up with Mun and Janice.  We loved on them for a little while and waved good bye.  We headed upstairs to get ready for bed, brush teeth and pray.

It's 8:24 pm.  I'm back in my pajamas and in the bed.  Ahhhhh.  My eyes will stay open just long enough for me to think about what needs to happen tomorrow.  I'm mentally shifting things from today's to-do list to tomorrow's to-do list.

Tomorrow we'll get up and do it all over again.  Gladly.  I wouldn't choose any other life.  Not everyday is like this, but I chose to record this day in print so I'll never forget it.  So in the future when mine are grown and gone I'll see couples with children and I'll remember what life was like.  So that someday, if the Lord allows me to see it, I can relate to my children.  I'll have this written down to encourage them one day and I'll honestly be able to say, "You're going to make it!".

Friday, December 12, 2014

This week

-Several weeks ago Fred and were walking with Dash without a leash.  We apparently we made our neighbors very mad.  We made them so mad that the lady of the house shouted expletives out her door at us.  We got Dash and quickly headed home.  Later Fred and I were discussing this and the boys overheard us.  They of course wanted to know what the people said to us.  After realizing we were not going to tell them Andrew said, "Did they say the "C" word?"  We really didn't know what to say.  We asked Andrew what "C" word he was talking about, but he wouldn't tell us.  Finally Fred assured him it was safe to tell us.  Andrew leaned in close and whispered, "Stupid".  Ha!
-In other Dash news....I ripped a hole in my tights this week and threw them away.  Dash got in the trash and dug them out.  Here's his "maybe she won't notice" face.

  -We have this service at church every Christmas called White Christmas.  I grew up participating in this service at my home church so it's pretty wonderful to do it again and have my children see it.  Everybody brings a gift (tissue, socks, soap, toothpaste, etc.) wrapped in white paper and then the gifts are divided between several homeless ministries here in Memphis.  We go by Sunday School classes and leave our gifts at the tree.  For the older people at church it is one of the few times they get to see the children.  I happened to be in the front of the church so I got to speak to just about everyone.  I even got to snap a quick picture of one of ours.
-Monday Andrew and I ran all over doing errands.  He was such a good sport that I told him we'd grab lunch at our last stop, which was Costco.  He told me he was good enough for McDonald's, not Costco.  So, guess where we went?!?
Wednesday morning we went to the mall with Liz and her kiddos.  We played on the play area, had lunch and jumped on the trampolines.  Liz also treated everyone to a Christmas cookie.  There are not many people out there that enjoy a cookie more than me, but I think this girl may win...
-I worked out with a friend Friday morning.  When we finished I decided to head to the grocery store.  It is never a good idea for me to go to the grocery store post work out/hungry.  This is the only thing I left with not on my list...
I count that a success!  Also, if you'll look closely the ice cream is sitting on kale so that evens out, right?!?

Monday, December 8, 2014

A trip with the Senior adults and LOTS of Kid activities

Fred and I headed out of town for a few days with our senior adults.  Before we left I attended the funeral of my childhood friend's grandmother.  My friend lives in Atlanta so we don't get to see her very often.  (The other friend in the picture lives in Bartlett with me.  I don't see her too often either, but at least she's right around the corner if I need her.)  Since we don't see each other often we decided to snap a picture.
 After the beautiful memorial service I headed home to meet up with my mom, Janice and Fred.  We packed up so we could head out early the next morning.

We left the church parking lot at 7:00 am.  Senior adults do not play when it comes to promptness.  We were at my house by 7:02 am because someone left their phone (Fred).  Ha! I'm sure my neighbors love us!
We spent Wednesday through Saturday going to shows, eating, shopping, eating and eating some more.  They are a fun group.  We really had the best time.  By the time we got home Saturday evening I was so tired I fell asleep at 7:45 pm...yes, I did.
When I left my house Andrew was eating a muffin the size of his head...
Apparently when Mimi and Janice are in charge you get after school treats like ice cream.  Is that smile not precious?!?
You also get lunch (Sonic!) delivered to school!  Not if you are in middle school...that is not cool...or so I've been told by a sweet middle schooler that lives with me.
Thursday night was a big night.  Clayton had his first chorus concert.  Jack served dinner at the Union Mission (a homeless ministry in Memphis) and sang with his choir and Andrew had a birthday party.  It took all hands on deck, but I think they made it!
Clayton with his grade level shirt on.  For his honor choir part (the honor choir is comprised of 26 students...only 4 sixth graders...Go Clayton!) he wore a tuxedo shirt and tie.
 You can find Jack in this picture just like you find Fred.  Just scan the top row and find the tallest kiddo.  Find him?!?  Yep...just like Fred.  At least they are easy to spot in a crowd!
Thursday night there was a changing of the guards.  Renee took over and relieved Mimi and Janice.  Friday morning Clayton was in his school spelling bee.  He made it to the fourth round spelling kiln and minuscule.  He got out on the word eschew.  Could you use that in a sentence?!? Goodness that boy can spell.
I think this was the crowd by the time he got out.
 Sunday night was another big night for the Shackelfords.  Jack had a children's choir musical in which he had a speaking part.  It was so precious.  He really did an awesome job!  Again, scan the top and you'll find Jack.
 Clayton played handbells for the first time.
 Andrew's preschool choir sang as well.  Andrew is holding up the J.  This is about all he did in the program.  After this shining moment he promptly sat down on the steps and put his head down.  When I asked him later why he didn't sing he looked at me very matter of fact and said, "I didn't want to."  Oh...that makes sense.
 This crew came to support the Von Trapp boys.  We are so blessed to have so many people in our lives that love us.  We could (and did for 10 years) do this thing without them, but it is such a blessing to have them close by!