Thursday, December 24, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Saturday morning we woke up and these guys expected breakfast.  Can you believe that?!?  They chose to eat leftover hibachi for breakfast.  The struggle is real around the Shackelford house this week.

Saturday afternoon we had Renee's family's Christmas party.  We played games and dirty Santa.  By this point in December I am done.  We have been going for 15 straight days with little to no breaks.  And then, in the rare breaks I am cooking, doing laundry, shopping, etc.  I really can't believe that regular chores continue in December.  It's quite cruel.  Anyway, this photo sums up my feelings at this point in the month.
Saturday evening we had two parties to attend.  One was for a friend who turned 50.  We partied with them for a while

and then headed to church to party with a fun Sunday school class at our church.  They always have a lively ornament exchange and it's a lot of fun to watch.

Sunday morning we had church and then grabbed lunch with a much needed visit with some precious friends.  We got home just in time to unload our car and then head out again for a building dedication of a new church.  Our church partners with a church in Frayser called Kingdom Fellowship.  They are doing great things in our city.  Because of our partnership Pastor Darryl asked Fred to preach and our choir to sing.  It was a blessing to all who attended.  We cannot wait to see all that God is going to continue to do in and through this church.  Fred is here with Darryl Roberts (the pastor of Kingdom Fellowship) and Robert Wes (the pastor of Kingdom Center Ministries).
After this was over we came in with just enough time to change our clothes and head out for two more parties.  Clayton had the youth Christmas party.  We stopped by for me to set up the chocolate fountain and drop him off.  While I was setting it up we had just a little time to visit before we headed out for the next party.
Fred, Jack, Andrew and I left Clayton there and headed to our young adult Christmas party.  We had a traditional Christmas meal.  Those young adults are so much fun.  We stuck around for the dirty Santa game and then left when they started playing more games.  We had to pick up Clayton, plus it was past my bedtime.  You know what young adults like to do?  Stay up late.  Mercy.  It was like 8:00 pm when they started playing Guesstures.  I did hear that the girls won, so there's that.  I wouldn't know though.  I was tucked in my bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.
Monday morning we had a pretty restful morning.  I ran a few errands with Jack and got back safely to the comfort of my home.  We live about 7 minutes from a major mall/shopping area and boy is it crazy.  I vowed on Monday to stay away until January.

Monday evening some of our friends came over for crew Christmas.  We had pizza and all sorts of other foods.  We had cookies to decorate.

After we ate each family headed out for some Random Acts of Christmas Kindness.  Each family was responsible for $5 per family member.  When we finished we came back to our house to report what we had done.  God has given us multiple support systems here in Bartlett, but I sure am thankful for this village right here that surrounds us. After we all reported on what we had done things took a turn for fun.  I'm not really sure how we got here, but there was talk of hidden talents and one thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was showing off my mad head stand skills.  Everybody has one random thing that they are really good at, mine just happens to be head stands. don't be jealous.

Tuesday morning Renee sent me a message and asked if the boys would like to go look at Christmas lights and spend the night.  Absolutely they would love to do that!  I took them to her house and came back to clean out the playroom.  Merry Christmas to me!  Fred and I grabbed a delicious dinner before I had a practice at church.
Wednesday morning we woke up to a quiet house.  We actually woke up at 4:45 am, because Fred, who was awake, knocked over a picture frame.  Whoops.  Since I was up I decided to go with him to boot camp.  I'm glad I did.  We had a really good time together.
Wednesday we grabbed dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.  The boys love it and we had a gift card.  We usually picnic in the car, but not this year.
Then we headed to Shelby Farms to see Starry Nights.

 After Shelby Farms we drove around town to see big light shows.  One house had a big huge display and then their next door neighbor had this in their yard pointing to the display.  We deemed it the best one of the night!
 Thursday morning we woke up for breakfast at Cracker Barrel for our Christmas Eve tradition.
This boy looks forward to this day every year.  He loves breakfast food.  

There is always an intense game of checkers played.  Clayton has never beaten Fred,  (We do not ever let our kids win unless they earn it.)  but this year he beat him for the first time.  To say he was excited would be a huge understatement.  
 We didn't get a family photo inside, but we got one in the parking lot.

After breakfast we ran a few errands with the boys to allow them to pick out gifts for each other.  We then came back home to wrap them and prepare for our family to get here.  Oh, and I ran to Kroger with 15,000 of my closest friends.

Monday, December 21, 2015

It's getting close to Christmas

 Saturday monring we woke up and headed to brunch at some friend's house.  While we were there Jack had basketball practice.  Once we figured all of that out we surprised the boys by taking them downtown to see The Newsies at the Orpheum. We told them we had an errand to run downtown.  They were not too happy, but didn't act too upset.  When we pulled up by the Orpheum Clayton figured out what we were doing.  The look of surprise on their faces was priceless.

As soon as the show was over we headed back to Bartlett for a wedding.  Fred did not perform the wedding.  We just got to attend.  Then, we dropped the kids off with Fred and Renee and hit the reception.  It was really fun because we ran in to Elizabeth while she was shooting the wedding.  Rarely do our worlds collide, but they did last Saturday.  We stayed at the reception WAY past our bedtime.  I think it was close to 9:00 pm when we left.  Whew.  Late night for this crew.  
Sunday morning we had church as usual and then that afternoon we had our annual open house.  The weather was a little questionable, but we still had a good crowd.  Unfortunately, I don't have many pictures.  I was a bit busy.  Ha!
Sunday night we had our Christmas play at church.  The boys were Newsies in the play. (Thus the reason we took them to see The Newsies at The Orpheum.)  It was great.  They will be involved in this Sunday night, Monday night and Wednesday night.  Mawmaw and Pawpaw came every time.  Mimi and Tee came Monday.  Mun and Janice came Wednesday.  Our village loves us and shows up at special events.  
Tuesday, my friend, Amy, and I decided to surprise our friend Cam at work by taking her lunch.  When we arrived they were studying Christmas celebrations around the world.  Cam was representing Africa.
Speaking of our village...they were all back on Tuesday for Clayton's chorus concert.  The concert was great!  I can't believe how much they have improved.  It was a joy watching him do what he loves.  He sings with the 7th grade choir, honor choir, and pop choir and loves every minute of it.

This was my lunch on Wednesday:  Chick Fil A sandwich, chex mix, and Jingle Jangle.  It was a delight.  Calories do not count in December.  
Wednesday the boys both had parties at school.  Jack's class was only allowed a certain number of parents.  Since I was at a party earlier in the year I told his teacher to please select someone else to help.  His friend's mom snapped this picture for me though,
I was able to help in Andrew's class though.  He had the best time.  They made reindeer food, ate donuts, played some games and exchanged gifts.  He is pictured here playing Santa Says. (Simon Says, but with the name Santa.)
 Thursday night we had the staff Christmas party here at the house.  We ate OEC and played three fun games.  I wish I had pictures or videos, but unfortunately, I do not.  Boo,

Friday morning I headed to Clayton's school for their annual Christmas program.  There are only about 9 parents that show up for it, but it's really entertaining and I get to see him perform with his choir again.  I can't say enough positive things about Clayton's middle school, Appling Middle School.  There is such a supportive environment nourished and encouraged there.  I love the way they support each other and cheer each other on.
Mercifully, we had an afternoon at home.  We ate pizza and watched Elf together.  My favorite newborn came over for a little snuggle time as well.  Does stress not just melt when you hold a newborn?!?  I could eat him up.

Later that evening we had our Sunday School class Christmas party.  We play dirty Santa every year and things always get exciting.  There was a bathroom theme this year and Fred brought home this jewel.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Merry Thanksgiving

My crew (Christie, Mimi, Tee, Jeffrey, Paige, Blake and Adam) rolled in Friday night for Merry Thanksgiving.  We all visited a while and then headed to bed.  Saturday morning Fred, Clayton, Jack, Paige, and I headed out early for the St. Jude Marathon in downtown Memphis.  Fred ran the half marathon and the rest of us were part of a relay team.  Jack and Clayton ran a 3.1 mile leg and Paige and I both ran a 6.55 leg.
Paige and I were on Team Wilkes.  I ran with my three sister-in-laws and my good friend LeAnn.
 Here is Fred at about the halfway point in the half marathon.  I was tracking him on my phone, but we just happened to be waiting here for a relay check point.  The relay had a few sanfus, but all in all it was a great day!

 Paige ran the last leg.  Here she is running our last leg into Auto Zone park.
 And then across the finish line.
When we got home from the race it became very evident that I was sick.  Boo.  They all partied without me.  Boo again.  I spent the night in my bedroom and promptly fell asleep by 6:45 pm.  Before I fell asleep I did hear these sweet cousins playing outside my window.

This week is the week of programs. All three boys had a program at church Sunday night and then Jack and Andrew both had programs at school.  Andrew told me before the church program that he was not going to smile because he did not know the words.  He delivered on that promise.

Monday morning Andrew had his school program.  It was really sweet and as an added bonus, he smiled a little. (He is wearing a gray shirt.)
After Andrew's program I went over to the middle school to help wrap presents with the PTO.  While I was walking through the school I happened to see my child.  He smiled at me and kept walking.  I asked him if we could take a selfie.  He said, "No.".  So I got the back of his head.  Good enough.  Secretly, I know he loved me being there.
Monday night Eli had his fourth birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.  Andrew and Fred were the only ones that were able to go, but Andrew had a great time!  He even got his picture made with Chucky.  This is a really big deal.  We used to hide in the bathroom at the Fed Ex Forum from the Grizz.  Because, you know, the Grizz frequently visits the top row of the Fed Ex Forum.
The big boys could not go because they had play practice.  Our church is having a play this year at Christmas and the big boys are newsies.  It really is an awesome play and as an added bonus there are two (actually 10 or so) really cute newsies.  They are worth the price of admission...if there was a price of admission.  The play is free.  So, if you live in the Memphis area you will want to make your plans to attend this Sunday, Monday, and/or Wednesday.   (Clayton is not pictured here because he was at basketball practice. Can you believe we still have practice and meetings and homework and random errands in the month of December?!?  I'm appalled.)
Wednesday morning Jack had his program at school.  He even played a musical instrument, which he did not tell us beforehand.  We were so proud.  He also led the 4th grade in the gym, because apparently they line up tallest to shortest.  Sweet, big ol' boy.