Sunday, August 30, 2015

This week

Everything has been pretty calm around here.  Right now we are in the sweet spot. Summer is not officially ended, but school has started.  Homework is minimal and sport seasons have not begun.  All of that changes next week.  Flag football practice we kick off (Get it??  Kick off!  I'm so punny.)  We'll see how things go...

When we moved from Paris I was sad on several different levels.  One of the reasons I was sad was because we were leaving a sweet, sweet family.  Clayton was friends with the brother.  And Andrew thought he was going to marry Ms. Liz.  When we left Paris Liz was in the 11th grade.  I held on to hope that she would come to college at the University of Memphis.  Low and behold she ended up at Memphis...and she showed up at Ellendale.  Yes, she did.  We took her to lunch and Andrew talked to her the entire time.  I really saw God come full circle and turn my sorrow into dancing.  We, as a family, can not adequately express our joy at having sweet Liz in town!

For several health reasons I've decided to try living gluten free.  I'm giving it two weeks.  But these coconut muffins.  Oh, these coconut muffins.  They will make anyone think gluten free a possibility.  You can find the recipe here.

Fred helped me with a little backpack storage this week.  I'm so excited about it.  I've been trying to find a spot for them and I FINALLY found one.  Yahoo!

A man came to our house to clean out our dryer vent.  (We have to do this once a year or so b/c we are on a slab.) Dash was beside himself.  I had to put him outside.  Even after I put him outside he still stood at the window like this...

It has been absolutely beautiful in Memphis this week.  The big boys wanted to ride bikes to the park.  Andrew's bike does not have training wheels on it anymore, but he can't quite ride it yet.  So, he had to ride his Rip Rider.  He talked the entire 3 mile trip.  I was up high on the bike and he was down low so he would stop and look up at me like this.  Other than almost running over him several times it was just about the sweetest thing ever. 

Friday I went to Paris for a little time with my running partner/BFF.  We hiked at Brittan Ford park and had the best time. This girl knows me and gets me.  I can not express what a refreshing renewal it is each time I get to be with her.  
 Is that not beautiful?  I could not believe it was in Paris, Tennessee.  I also could not believe I lived there for almost 10 years and did not know about this hidden treasure.
 Ace, Christy's dog, also got to come along with us.  I was going to take Dash, but then decided he's not really a good dog so this would not have been a good idea.  Ace is a trained duck hunter.  Perhaps he could have taught Dash a thing or two...
We cleaned up quickly and then headed to lunch to meet up with another BFF, Stacy.  Stacy also brought sweet Genevieve.  I am a little disappointed that I did not get a picture of us at lunch.  

I headed back in time for us to have dinner at a friend's house.  We really enjoyed ourselves.  BUT...before we met for dinner I ate a cupcake on the way home.  You see, I'm doing a little experiment with eating gluten free to see if it will affect my energy levels.  Before I jumped into this, though, I had to make sure I wasn't giving up cupcakes forever.  So I did was anyone would do.  I googled, "Who is Memphis sells gluten free cupcakes?"  Yes I did.  This is serious business.  I'm happy to report that Gigi's Cupcakes carries gluten free cupcakes.  I'm also happy to report that Aunt Janice had one waiting for me when I got to Jackson.  I was only going to eat a bite, but the next thing I knew the cupcake was gone and I was left with a empty.  That was the BEST cupcake I've ever had.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it a 12.  Amazing!  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Another week

Right after I pushed publish last week my brother called and wanted to know what I was doing for lunch.  (My brother lives 3.5 hours away from me.)  He was in town and we actually got to meet up for lunch.  It was such a joy to be able to enjoy lunch with him before he hit the road.  Living right off of I-40 has its perks for sure.  We had to take a picture together and he had to give me bunny ears.  Some things never change. 
Saturday my childhood friends and I met up at my parents house to meet our newest family member.  Melody and Corey adopted a precious girl from Honduras.  She had to meet all of her aunts, of course.  It was great meeting her and all getting to be together.  It was a  5 adults (1 more via facetime) and 11 children makes for a really good time!
On Sunday nights we always ask our kiddos what they learned in Sunday School.  Andrew looked at us and said this exactly, complete with hand motions, "Jesus went to Mary and Martha's house to visit.  Mary listened to everything Jesus said and sat at his feet.  Martha was busy doing things around the house.  Who would you rather be?"  Fred and I didn't answer right away and Andrew looked at us seriously and said, "Well?!?"  The hand motions really made the story.  I wish you could have seen him turn up his palms when he asked us the final question.  It was too sweet. Kudos to his sweet Sunday School teachers, Missy and Tina.  I can only imagine that he is repeating exactly what they taught him.  
Monday marked Andrew's first official full week of school.  I walked him in and got him situated without tears.  It was a good morning.  We did take a quick picture before I left. 

He is doing great at school.  He seems to really love it. 
Jack and Andrew had flag football evaluations.  Andrew was grins, giggles, and bouncing the entire time.  Jack was in it to win it.  He loves a sport.  The season starts in about a month, but practice will begin in a couple of weeks.  I love flag football season. 
I sat down on the couch this week to watch TV for just a minute and somebody snuggled up beside me.  He was snoring. 
 Fred and I got to go on a date Friday while he was off and the kiddos were at school.  It was great!  I'm looking forward to many, many more of these Friday escapades. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

First Week of School

But first we have a few things to do...

Jack competed in a triathlon on Saturday morning.  He and Fred rode their bikes together to the rec center (it's just a couple of miles from our house.) 
Fred and several buddies from the gym helped on the course on the bike portion.  Fred was going to lead the pack, but decided not to do it when his buddy started giving all the directions.  Fred's good friend, Kenny, led the pack.  There was a little girl on a bike with training wheels.  Too sweet.  Once everyone reached the turn around point Kenny stayed back to be with the last rider (plus a police escort).  The little girl on the training wheels was the last rider.  Kenny was riding in beside her, barely keeping his bike up b/c he was riding so slowly, and she almost fell off.  Kenny said she looked up at him and said, "Thank goodness I didn't fall.  I just had my nails done."  bahahaha! 
Finishing up the swim.  I didn't go in the pool area.  It was crowded and hot and steamy.  I cheered outside where it was just hot and steamy. 

 Off on the bike...
 Running it in to the finish...
 Sweetest finisher I know.  In total he swam 100 yards, biked 3 miles and ran a half mile.  He was 10th overall and 4 th in his age group with a total time of 23:24. 
After the triathlon we headed to a wedding of the son of a family in our church.  It was in the middle of nowhere...Indianola, Mississippi. 
Since we had a guest with us I told him to smile so I could send a picture to his mom to let her know he was okay.  Leave it to my son to mess it up. 
Once we got all changed we loaded up, Xbox included, and headed out to a sweet little wedding ceremony and reception.
At one point during the wedding Andrew leaned over to me in nothing like a whisper and said, "When does the party start??"  Then I looked over at Clayton when the couple grabbed hands and he pretended to gag.  Never a dull moment.  Never. 

I must say, our friends, the groom's parents, throw the best parties ever!  I'm telling you they are going to be on the food committee in heaven.  I will make sure to be in their dining hall.  You should do the same. 
Sunday we went to church and then headed to bed with our clothes laid out, lunches made and alarms set for dark 30.  Monday morning went as smooth as silk.  Except for the rain.  Right as Clayton was to leave for school a monsoon came upon us.  I mean a monsoon.  In sheer love for his mother he stood outside in the rain so I could get this picture.  That's love.  He goes to a different school than Jack and Andrew and it begins at 7.  As in he has to be ready to learn, in his chair at 7.  It'
 Jack leaves the house around 7:40.  Fred usually takes him on his way in to the office.  Are they both no so grown looking?!?  Seventh and fourth grade...what???
Andrew and I were driving around one day this week and he was picking his nose.  I said, "Andrew don't pick your nose.  That's gross.  Kids at school will make fun of you."  To which he replied, "Not if they love Jesus."  Well...
Andrew has gone to school on a staggered schedule.  He went for his first full day on Thursday.  I did pretty good.  I didn't break into an ugly cry, just a few tears streaming down my face. 
He asked me if I thought he would make any new friends.  I told him I thought he would.  He said, "I hope none of them are girls.  That'd be weird."  I hope we all remember this sentiment when he's 16. 
After I took this photo Andrew said, "Let's go people!"  What I really think he meant to say was, "You have been the best mother ever.  These first five years of my life have been amazing.  I cannot imagine any of these teachers coming close to having the influence on my life that you have had.  I will love you forever and I'll never hurt your feelings, talk disrespectfully to you, or complain about anything. Now, get over here and give me a hug!"  Yeah, that's what he said in my mind. 
Is that not the sweetest picture ever? 
 While waiting in line we met our sweet friend from church.  Note the matching backpacks.  Is that not precious??
 Writing his name on his paper...too sweet. I left after this.  It was about to get ugly.  I knew if I made a quick escape I could make it out with my dignity in tack.  No one wants to see a grown woman crying in the corner.  Speaking of grown women...since this is our third child to attend kindergarten I'm pretty sure we were some of the oldest parents dropping off their child.  I told Fred this might be the case.  When we were leaving he said, "I don't think we were the oldest people dropping off.  There were some grandparents in the room."  Ha!  (You can read more about my thoughts on the first day of school by clicking here.)
I regained my composure and did not let any grass grow under my feet I came home and dug right in.  Most normal people would take a day and relax. Not me.  I came home and got to work on two projects that have been under my skin.  I've been saving them until Andrew left.  He won't let me throw away or clean out.  This really cramps my style.  I got my organization on though as soon as I got home!
Can I get a Hallelujah?!?  If you read chaos2peace you know this was not on my plan, but honestly, I couldn't help myself!!  I mean, how good does that look?!?  I mean, it's better than a day at the spa.  And I'm not even kidding.  Seriously. 

As Thursday night went on Andrew told us more and more about his day.  His life is one continuously long sentence.  In the middle of a sentence he told us they took a "fire tour".  After several questions we discovered that they had a fire drill.  Ha.  A fire tour. 

Fred and I are participating in a relay race called Ragnar. I'm in my second week of training. This was the view on one of my runs this week.  Is that not peaceful?  I should have sat on that bench and taken it in a little bit, but oh well...maybe another day. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Last week of summer

We have soaked in every minute of this week.  This is it.  I can't even talk about it. 

Monday the boys played at Renee's while I worked with a sweet friend.  Each time they play at Renee's I'm reminded that this will be one of the last times Andrew and Zachary play together.  They are each starting kindergarten and it hurts my heart a little to think about how much things are going to change for them. 
Once Stephanie and I finished working we met up at Emilee's school to decorate her door.  Honestly, is that not the cutest door you've ever seen?!?  Could anything welcome some sweet little first graders better??  (Stephanie and I also enjoyed a delicious lunch at Las Delicias...because we worked SO hard!!)
Tuesday we woke up for Fred's birthday!  He's 38.  What?!?  When did this happen?  Fred told me it happened one day at a time.  He must have gained that wisdom through his 38 years.  We sang happy birthday at breakfast and he opened some tri shorts from us.  Happy are some tri shorts.  After a morning of registering all three of our boys for school (more on that later) we met for lunch.  Fred paused for this picture in between phone calls.  I had a lovely lunch of Pad Thai and looking at Fred. 
Before lunch I went to all two different schools to register our boys.  The big boys were already over it and chose to stay home.  Andrew went with me b/c I thought we would meet his teacher.  We did not meet his teacher though.  He will go next Thursday with a small group and then I'll have a parent meeting on Friday where I find out who his teacher is.  This really is not a big deal to me.  Being new to this town I couldn't pick a single kindergarten teacher out of a line up.  Jack's teacher is a different story though.  I saw the name and went to meet her.  As it turns out, she is one of the two teachers that I know at the school.  She actually taught in 3rd grade last year.  I would see her in the hall when I volunteered.  I just about cried when I saw her.  Clayton's teachers are fine.  I know none of them either, except his chorus teacher. 

While I was at Clayton's school his new language arts teacher asked me if Clayton would mind reading a book and then reporting it back to the class.  Apparently, his teacher from last year recommended him for this task.  I smiled and agreed to this proposition, knowing that he still has not read his second required reading book.  I used my great experience with the grin and nod move.  Good times. 

When Fred came home from work he loaded up all our bikes for a ride down the greenline at Shelby Farms. 

We rode to High Point Pizza and met up with some friends.  As you can see I took the selfie stick.  We took a picture of everyone outside of the restaurant. 
Wednesday afternoon we met some friends at Shelby Farms to ride paddle boats.  I have no pictures from this event b/c I was so sweaty. Seriously, I was so sweaty
Andrew went for an eye appointment to check the progress.  He has improved to 20/30.  We are so proud.  As a reward for wearing his patch he got to make a dog at Build-A-Bear.  He could not be happier.  He named him Snuggles. 

While Mun, Janice and Mimi were here we ate at Central BBQ to celebrate the birthday boys. 

We also gave Aunt Janice some flowers for her birthday.

That night we all scattered.  Mimi stayed at home.  Fred, Jack, Andrew, and David (a friend staying with us) headed to Union Missions.  I met two friends at Swanky's Taco Shop for a much needed girl's night.  Clayton headed with Mawmaw and Pawpaw for his "birthday date".  They went to Dyer's for a delicious burger
Then they headed to Bass Pro Shop.  They even rode the elevator to the top.  Oh, and they bought fudge.  Yes, fudge.
Then they headed to Toy 'R Us for a Lego set.  What birthday would be complete without a Lego set?!?
On his actual birthday we woke up for our traditional donut breakfast. Then 12 friends came over for pizza, cake and putt putt. 
Delicious cake made by a precious man at our church. 
 Post putt putt.  It was hot and I think they were tired. 
 I know they were hot and tired because I asked them if they wanted to take a silly picture and they all unanimously said, "No!" and started walking off.  Ha!
Tonight we will go to Fred and Renee's and wrap up the birthday festivities with Fred's favorites...lasagna, salad, bread, and chocolate cheesecake.  Oh, chocolate cheesecake how I love you!