Friday, March 27, 2015

This week

With spring break as a distant memory we have just jumped right back in to life.  Boo.  Although, this week has been exciting with a banquet and the beginning of soccer and baseball season.
Remember the banquet Clayton was invited to for the paper on youth violence that he wrote?  That happened Thursday night.  (Please disregard my bathroom, unless you are from HGTV and want to start a show about redoing bathrooms seen on selfies.  Call me.  I'm willing) I was a little unsure of my outfit so I stood on the edge of my tub to take my picture to send to my friend to get her opinion.  Doesn't everyone do this?!? Ha!
 I pulled up traffic on my phone before we left.  Red indicates traffic.  Yikes.  Apparently everyone in Memphis was headed to the banquet. 
 Here's C all dressed up.  Does he not look adorable?  My heart skipped a beat.  How in the world did we get here?!?
 Here we all are...
 And here's Clayton receiving is award from the DA of Shelby County.  They are BFF's now.  Not really, but she did shake his hand.  Again, he was too cute. 
As we sat at the banquet I did not even have a chance to stop all day and think about what was going on.  At one point the moment swept over me with everything that was happening.  I looked at Fred and said, "Aren't you glad we survived 2 to 4 1/2?"  I really had my doubts on some days.  I am overwhelmed at all God is doing in his life.  I also told Fred if at some point during the banquet he looked over in a corner and saw me in the midst of the "ugly" cry to just leave me there.  You see, a lot happened on Thursday before I went to the banquet.  I registered Jack for the fourth grade...what?!?  AND...wait for it...wait for it...I registered the baby for kindergarten.  Kindergarten.  I can't talk about it.  I wasn't too emotional during the process, but I have a feeling the ugly cry will break out at some point in August.  I don't cry much, but when I do I make it worth the price of admission.  Yes, I do.  The baby is starting kindergarten.  Look out world.

Speaking of growing up...Jack started baseball this week.  I had to buy him cleats.  Guess what size my 8 year old son wears??  He wears a men's size 8.  Yes, he does.  I went to Academy Sports and bought two pairs of tennis shoes, 2 pairs of cleats, and 1 pair of sandals.  That's a lot of shoes. 

I carried my high school backpack to the gym this week.  If you know me you know that I do not hold on to anything.  This backpack is probably 20 years least.  The fact that I've kept it is nothing short of a miracle.  For crying out loud, I tried to throw away my high school diploma.  I'm just glad it can't talk. Wink.
While at the gym I ran 3 miles and then swam a little over 1/2 a mile. I was pretty proud.  Then I got notification of Fred's workout.  (our phones are synched and I get his workout information...yes, we are nerds.)  He ran 8 miles before work and then swam a mile at lunch.  The next day he rode his bike for 25 or so miles.  Clearly he is the beast in the family. 

My friend is getting married in April.  My sweet intake is out of control.  So, I decided to do without sweets until her wedding.  (Not my coffee creamer.  That's crazy talk.  I'm just talking about desserts: cake, cookies, ice cream, pie...all things delicious.)  I'm not going to be legalistic about it.  If someone has us over for dinner and they offer me dessert I won't refuse it.  I don't want to be rude. I'm just putting this out there.  In case anyone reading this (my mother and grandmother) wants to have us over for dinner and offer dessert.  For crying out loud I don't want to be rude.  Monday night the boys ate peanut butter pie after dinner while I munched on grapes.  Grapes?!?  They are just as good as peanut butter pie, right?  Wrong!  They are not. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Break

Spring Break was last week.  We went to Arkansas to zip line, hike, relax, rock climb (indoors) and just basically have a good time being together.  This trip did not disappoint.  We left Bartlett around 8 am for Hot Springs, Arkansas Adventure Works Zipline. (Click on the link to access the place.  Ask for Garth and Corey.  They were wonderful guides.) It was a blast!  We climbed and sailed through the air.  The youngest in the family was a champ.  He just went with it.  There were times that my legs were shaking, but he just kept going.  There were two launches where we were 90 feet off the ground.  Yes, legs were shaking. 

Some of our friends joined us.  We paused for an "after" photo.  Jack really was happy.  He was trying to be funny in this photo.  I explained to him that this was not funny.  Silly boy.
After we zip lined we jumped in the car for the longest drive ever to Magazine, Arkansas.  (It was really about 2 hours, but took forever.) We booked a cabin there for several days.  It had a pond, hot tub, basketball goal and anything else you can think of that will make a little boy happy!  The next morning we headed to Mount Magazine, the tallest peak in Arkansas.  We hiked to the top of the mountain.  Don't think that we are hard core.  There was a path.
The drive up the mountain was the foggiest fog I've ever seen.  When we got to the lodge (close to the top) Andrew said, "Hey mom, we are on top of the clouds."  The pictures below are actually looking down in the valley below the mountain, but you'll notice all you can see are clouds. 

 Here we all are at the top.  Andrew had to have a stick.  It was supposed to rain the entire time we were there, but it seemed like every time we went outside the rain cleared. 
We hiked and hung around Mount Magazine for that day and then returned to the cabin for dinner and just hung out.  The next day we headed to Petit Jean State Park.  We did three different hikes: a waterfall, a bear cave (vacant) and a large cave.  These little guys hiked and hiked.  Jack never quit grinning.  He did not hike.  He ran....everywhere we went.  It was his love language.  Every part of it.  He was outside with people that he loves.  It just doesn't get much better for him!

 The particular day this little boy hiked over 5 miles.  He never complained.  At one point during our last hike of the day I said, "Whew Andrew, I wish there was a bathroom up here."  Then he said, "I wish there was a car!" Ha!

We hiked to this waterfall and it did not disappoint.  I would take this hike every day if I could. 

 The second day at Petit Jean we found a picnic spot and there was a little waterfall.  It was really beautiful. 
 You know, when you are looking at something with your eyes it looks so beautiful, but when you get the pictures back they never quite capture the beauty.  I think God has colors in his palette that we just don't have access to.  I cannot describe the beauty of what we saw.  The fact that we saw it in Arkansas,,,in Arkansas!...was an added bonus.  Pure beauty. 

 The waterfall was huge.  Again, the pictures don't do it justice.  To show you how incredible the waterfall was I included a photo below. 
I took this of Clayton as he was trying to walk around the basin of the waterfall.  See him?  Isn't he tiny?  Yes, it was huge.
 This little feature was on our way to the bear cave.  Again, who knew this was in Arkansas?!?

Our friend wanted this picture taken so it would look like he was hanging from the cliff.  I think he nailed it.  We probably should have gone over facial expressions when climbing a cliff.  I don't think you would be smiling.  Or at least I wouldn't be smiling...maybe that's just me.

Andrew with stick #2.  He loves a stick.
Reluctantly we loaded up and headed out Saturday morning. 

 We made our way to an Indoor Climbing facility in Little Rock.  All the boys loved it.  I'm going back some day by myself so I can climb without, "Hey mom, look at me!  Hey mom, can you help me? Hey mom.  Hey mom.  Hey mom.  Hey mom..."  Yep, one day I'll go back...alone.  Grin.  Just kidding.

Here's the after laundry.  It was worth it. 

We really did have a blast!  If I had it to do over again we would spend a little more time and stay a little closer to Petit Jean State Park, but the cabin in Magazine was perfect for this trip.  It really was one of my favorite vacations that we've taken together.  Monday morning Andrew and I were headed to East Memphis and I said "Andrew, I wish we were hiking today."  He responded, "I wish I was in the hot tub."  Yep, it was a good vacation.  I love these guys and the time we spend together.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Back in to the groove

Did I mention snow day, part 2 was spent very much like snow day, part 1?  Good times. 
 Dash the dog is on my bad list.  Yes, that is a hole in my coverlet.  Yes, Dash ate it.  All of it.  Ate  Where is the part he ate?  I have no idea.  Also, on the list of "things he's eaten or ruined"...a computer cord, two (yes two...not counting the above mentioned coverlet) comforters, my black heels, shoelaces from two pairs of shoes for the boys, my tan heels, and the insert of Fred's shoe.  Oh, and countless pairs of underwear of the boys.  Saturday night I almost opened the door to let him run free.  If you see a black and white dog running around the streets of Bartlett that answers to the name of Dash...I know nothing about it. 
After the whole Dash debacle I put on my rain boots to wear and I noticed someone (a boy to remain nameless) broke them that morning when they put them on to take out the dog.  Shoot.  I may or may not have sent Fred a text that said, "Is everyone in this house trying to ruin everything that I have?!?"  Goodness.
 My sweet childhood friend is getting married.  Her invitation came in this week.  It made my heart so happy.  I finally found my dress for the big day.  Bring it...I'm ready.  #ShawnandBecca

 I ate lunch with this sweet boy this week when I volunteered at his school.  He ate his lunch and then part of mine.  A good time was had by all.
While I was at his school I passed this bulletin board.  The character word for the month is citizenship.  Each class votes for the person in their class that exhibits this characteristic the most.
 Take a close look at the third grade picture.  Hey, I know that fella! 
The next day I went to Clayton's school to work on this monster bulletin board.  It was huge.  I actually worked on it two days.  The second day I took Andrew.  He was a big helper.  The bulletin board is not finished, but it's close. 
 While I was in the hall, guess whose picture I saw as Student of the Month?!?  Yep, that would be Clayton..the 6th grade student of the month.  I have declared this "The Month of the Shackelfords".

 After all of our hard work at Clayton's school Andrew and I met a friend at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.  Yummers.  Worth all the hard work. 
 Remember "The month of the Shackelfords"?  When I got home this was in the mail.  Clayton wrote a paper and it was selected as the winner.  Fred and I had a moment of celebration that we survived C's toddler years.  I sent texts to grandparents, called my good friend in Paris and sent a few texts to some friends here. 
I waited to tell Clayton when he got home.  I thought it would be awesome to capture it on video.  Look at this classic Shackelford moment...

Well...whoops.  My bad. We did find out later that he wasn't the only person to enter.  One or two grandparents said, "At least he took the initiative to enter." about was extra credit for him because he was very close to a B and just wanted to ensure he made an there's that. 

I have to stop a minute to just discuss how faithful God has been.  It flooded over me this week.  About 15 months ago we moved our crew from the only home they've known.  It broke my heart.  I wondered if they would get lost in the shuffle of a bigger city.  God heard my concern and confirmed to me this week that he is faithful.  Always. 
We celebrated the "Month of the Shackelfords" by going to Overton Park to Belly Acres and then to Sweet Noshings for a sweet treat.  It was a good time. 

 Friday Jack had career day at his school.  He wanted Fred to come speak about what he does for his career.  Jack also was supposed to dress like what he wants to be when he grows up, which is a preacher.  Doesn't he look like a preacher?

You know, I hear people all the time talking about God being taken out of schools.  No, He's not.  We are His hands and feet and everywhere we go we take His name.  We may not be able to read scripture or pray publically.  We have to live it.  Live it!  So, as long as Christ followers are in the school God is there.  My family will be Jesus.  Every chance we get, everywhere we go...without apology. 
Jack had a big day.  Not only was Fred there in the morning, but Renee came to eat lunch and then be the mystery reader.  She even brought Sonic.  Good day indeed!

The boys are heading to Jackson for a second shot at their weekend with Mimi and Tee.  I do not know what Fred and I will do while they are gone.  Just kidding!!! We are going to have a blast!

Here's a shout out to a new friend, that reads my blog, Lindsay.  Praying for you and your family as you transition to Costa Rica.  May God continue to bless you and your family!