Sunday, May 28, 2017

School is officially out for summer!

Yahoo!  My last blog post mentioned a few things that we had standing in our way before summer break could officially begin.  I'm happy to report we have made it through:

2 awards day programs
1 field day
3 soccer games
1 soccer celebration 
5 teacher appreciation gifts
1 choir concert
1 (or 3) basketball games
1 8th grade graduation
1 8th grade formal
1 choir banquet

Needless to say, there are a few pictures.  

Jack had the opportunity to play on a semi-competitive basketball team this spring and he loved it.  He definitely grew as a player and he'll be playing for his middle school team this fall.  Good times ahead.  Although, I've told Fred I don't think I can watch after the 5th grade. The stress of the game just gets me. I'll be at home reading the twitter feed.  
His last tournament game did not go well, but in the end he was still smiling.  

Andrew and Jack had a program at church.  Jack actually sang a solo.  He did great.  You can view it here

Clayton had his final middle school choir banquet.  He received the Director's Award, which is the top award for his choir.  We just love Mr. Mack. his chorus teacher.  We are so excited about Jack being under his direction as he enters middle school. 

These are all the 8th graders. It really is a good group of kiddos. 

While we were at the choir banquet and all dressed up, I thought it would be a good time to get a family picture. I was wrong. Seven tries later, we got one decent photo.  Oh the joys of taking photos with boys...

Clayton's last day of middle school was Tuesday.  Of course we had to take a 6:45 am.  

 That afternoon, our family came in for a little graduation party.  I really don't understand 8th grade graduations, but whatever.  We partied and attended.

 The 8th graders from Clayton's choir sang and it was great.
 It just so happened that Clayton's class walked right by us. And as the alphabet would have it, two of his close friends were beside him in line.  Clayton received several awards, but I don't remember what they were.  Something about his GPA being really high and maybe science and something else, but I can't remember exactly. We could sum up his 8th grade year and just say, "He's a good student and we're proud of him."

Aunt Janice spent the night after graduation and then left for Texas the next morning.  She delivered donuts and sausage biscuits and then took the boys to school. 

Andrew and Jack had their last day of school on Thursday.  They had a half day on Friday, but we were done.  

Here's a little end of the year fun. 

As Jack's first official out of school project, he made dinner for the family. He was thrilled...well kind of. I certainly was. Grin.

We celebrated being out of school by going to a new (chain) restaurant here called Freddy's. We were going to take the boys to a movie, but they asked to go to Shelby Farms. We are always game for Shelby Farms. We played football, hide and seek, and we even rode in a kayak. It was a fun day and a great way to kick off summer!

I told the boys I would give them $5 for every book they read this summer. 

Andrew: Oh wow!
Clayton: Game on. 
Jack: I don't need any money. 

Funny boy. 

Clayton left at 4:15 am for Honduras for a week on Saturday morning.  He was really looking forward to this trip. I'm just hoping he keeps up with his passport...just kidding..I'm so excited he had this opportunity. 

Saturday morning I headed to Shelby Farms for a little yoga.  It was free and outside.  It was all things wonderful. 

Sometime Saturday afternoon, I got this picture of our goofy 13 year old.  He made it to Honduras safe and sound.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, we had some pretty rough storms in Memphis.  We really didn't know because we slept through them. However, when we woke up Sunday morning about 150,000 people in Memphis were without power, including our church. So, in a quick turn of events, we decided to have one service in the fellowship hall. (the sanctuary has no windows, so it was pitch black) It was definitely different, but fun to break from the normal routine.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We're Getting Close...

Well here we are right smack in the middle of May-hem.  This time of year is crazy for us.  But life still goes on.  The boys still fight and make up and apparently, you can't ask for forgiveness without jumping of top of your brother. Whatever works.  Just get along.  That's my motto.

Andrew and Jack have had field day.  For some reason I did not get pictures of Andrew's field day.  I did manage to get a few at Jack's field day.  Jack REALLY enjoys a field day.  In fact, he took 1st place in the football throw for the third year in a row.  He was pretty pumped.  

Having said that, Jack's class was not quite feeling field day like he was.  At Jack's school they keep up with cumulative totals and declare a winner at the end of field day.  Jack was really hoping to take home the 1st place class prize, but they came up short.  After a heart-breaking defeat in tug of war, Jack had to face the reality that his classmates were not "in it to win it" quite like he was.  He told me, "It's as if they are just out here to have fun.  Don't they know we need to win??"  Bless him.

Here he is when the tug of war competition full of hope and optimism.  Believe me, this was not the case when the event was over.

I've been doing yoga for the past year.  I was going to our gym, but I've found some great videos on YouTube so I've just been doing them at home.  Dash likes to participate most days.  When I get on the floor he thinks I'm there to play.  Good times. 

Sweet Andrew had to go for a eye doctor appointment last week.  In fact, everyone had got to go because we were staying out on that side of town for Renee's birthday dinner.  When we sat down in the waiting room, Andrew put his arm around my shoulder.  It was just precious.  I tried to get a picture before he noticed, but I was unsuccessful.  You can still see his sweet little hand on my shoulder though.  Melt my heart. 

Then on Friday, Andrew and I went to get his glasses.  Just the two of us went, which is rare.  He told me on the way to Costco, "Mom, this is like a Mother's Day present for you because you are getting to spend time with me.  In fact, you don't really need a present now.  This could just be your present.  Isn't that all a mother spend time with her son's?  Well, I guess really all she needs is God.  So, yeah, this time together is a great present." 
Dear Andrew, 
I like flowers and chocolate and I have an Amazon gift list.  You have a lot to learn about women and I feel like I may have failed you as your mother, but this time together is really special.  
Love, Mom

Jack and Andrew's school had a 5K.  He ran it in less than 30 minutes.  I won Mom of the Year at the 5K.  Fred was at a wedding so I had all three boys by myself.  I knew Jack was going to run it and I wanted to see him finish the race.  Clayton was volunteering in the food tent.  So, I convinced Andrew to volunteer in the food tent with me and Clayton.  He reluctantly agreed.  When we got there we discovered that Andrew could not help in the food tent because of his age.  Cue the tears.  We did not have proper shoes or clothes so we just stood around while everyone started the race.  Cue the tears.  Andrew's teacher saved the day.  Her job was to pass out medals, so she let Andrew help her.  Our tears were turned into joy and Andrew proclaimed that this 5K was "the best night ever".  Victory.

Saturday we had 17 ballgames...okay, not 17.  But all three boys had games.  That afternoon we headed down to The Greek Festival with our friends, the Moulders.  We had a blast!  
Last year, on Mother's day weekend, I went the Greek Festival with Andrew.  I bought a loaf of Greek sweet bread, only to discover the next morning that Dash ate it.  Let me rephrase that...Dash ate the entire loaf of sweet bread.  The.whole.thing.  So, this year I really wanted a loaf of bread.  When we got to the festival though, they were all out. I stood in line with the hopes that one would appear, but to no avail...until...until I pulled out my money to pay.  As I was standing there paying a sweet lady walked in from outside with a loaf of the coveted Greek sweet bread.  I asked her if that loaf was for sale and she said, "Yes, it's all yours if you want it." Do I want it?!?  I've been waiting for a YEAR to try this bread and it did not disappoint.  Mercy, it was good.  We also got some delicious Greek pastries.  

Andrew got a tattoo, because he LOVES a tattoo...always has.  

Three funny things happened while we were at the Greek Festival.

1.  Andrew had to go to the restroom, but the ladies line was too long so he went into the men's restroom by himself.  This always makes me a little nervous, but I sent him in while I waited in the ladies room.  I got nervous waiting so I just went outside to wait for him.  When I didn't see him right away I asked a man standing by the restroom door if he had seen a little boy with dark hair walk out of the restroom.  He said, "Hmmm, a boy with dark hair at the Greek Festival? That narrows things down."

2.  The Greek Orthodox Church, where the festival was held, offered tours of their sanctuary.  Being the nerd that I am, I attended one of the tours.  It was awesome.  However, our entire party joined me, including all 5 children.  While sitting on the all wood pew, Andrew passed gas.  Loudly.  It caught him and everyone sitting around him off guard.  I almost fell of said wooden pew because I was trying not to laugh out loud.  Do you know how difficult it is to stifle a laugh when you are in a quiet atmosphere and Father Michael is talking about stained glass windows?!?  It's pretty difficult.

3.  There was food everywhere at the Greek Festival, so, naturally, the boys opted for pizza.  We bought them all a piece.  Andrew only ate about a third of his slice.  I offered it to our friend, Benjamin.  Right as he was taking a bite, Jack leaned over and whispered, "Andrew doesn't wash his hands."  Speaking of almost falling off the pew...

Mother's Day was Sunday so we celebrated by going to church.  Then after church we went to Mun and Janice's house where Janice fixed a feast.  We got to visit for a bit and then headed back to Memphis to celebrate with the Shackelfords.

Around Mother's day we were talking about all the women in the life of our family.  The conversation turned to my grandmother, Mun.  She went to Honduras for several years to serve on a medical mission team.  Now Clayton is going to Honduras and she loves to help support him.  Clayton said, "When Mun turns 100, I think we should take her back to Honduras."  Everyone was in agreement until Jack spoke up and said, "No, I think when Mun turn 100, she should go skydiving." I'll keep you posted on her decision. 

I mentioned May-hem in the beginning.  We are smack in the middle of the craziest time of year, but I can almost see the finish line.  In between us and the finish line: 

2 awards day programs
1 field day
3 soccer games
1 soccer celebration 
5 teacher appreciation gifts
1 choir concert
1 (or 3) basketball games
1 8th grade graduation
1 8th grade formal
1 choir banquet

And then just life, but I can see the finish line and we're running at it with everything we've got!! 7 1/2 days if anyone is counting and, believe me, we are!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Andrew had his final Manner's Club of the year.  They celebrated at Coletta's (a fancy Italian restaurant) with a formal dinner where they could show off all their newly acquired manners. He told me he only "failed at a couple of the manners."  Ha!  I'm not really sure what that means, but I know he had a blast!

My grandmother, Mun, flew in from Minneapolis after taking care of my aunt and uncle.  My parents drove to Memphis to pick her up.  Lucky for me, we were able to meet up for lunch before they headed home.  Best Tuesday ever!

 One morning I set out my yoga mat to get a little bit in.  When I turned around Dash was lounging on my mat. Clearly, we have two different ideas about how this was going to go down.
 Later that week, Clayton and I left for a choir trip to Atlanta.  We had to be at school at 5:30 am.  Our bus was very swanky, complete with the morning news and wifi.  I was able to sip coffee and watch the morning news.  It was glorious.  Oh, did I mention that in the first 20 minutes of the trip...before 6:00 am...some of the girls on the trip had broken out into song about 5 times.  Oh dear...Ha!
 Our first stop was for lunch.  Of course four middle school boys chose McDonald's.  It just made me remember my friends that we used to do story hour with.  I don't think I've had McDonald's since we stopped story hour.
 Our first stop in Atlanta was the Coke Museum.  It was thoroughly enjoyed by all the boys.

 Oh the joys of taking pictures with four middle school boys.  They are the best.
 Then we went to The Varsity for dinner.  Since I had McD for lunch I was not feeling a burger and fries for lunch.  So, I had a chicken salad sandwich for dinner...and it was actually REALLY good.  The fact that I couldn't eat fries twice in one day just proves to me that I'm getting old.

 Saturday morning we were up and ready for the competition by 7:30.  Look at those sweet fellas.
 Here they are with their fearless leader.  We just love Mr. Mack.
 Loaded and headed out...

 Again, silly fellas.  They were supposed to be serious.  Nope.  Not happening.
 After the competition, we headed to Six Flags.  After all the food from the day before, I decided to eat steamed vegetables for lunch at Six Flags for $11.50.  Those were some delicious mixed veggies...worth about $1.
 Clayton and another girl received the award for the choir.  They received 1st place and excellent ratings.  They were all really excited.

 Later the sweet fellas rode rides.  Here they are on the Batman.

They were hoping to ride the Dare Devil.  They waited for over an hour.  Mr. Mack, according to tradition, always rides the roller coasters with the 8th graders.  After waiting for the Dare Devil for an hour, Mr. Mack was able to ride the ride.  Clayton and his buddies sat down on the ride, pulled the safety bar down, and then were told to get off the ride. They were closing the ride because of weather.  Bless them.  They were so disappointed.  I felt so bad for them. 

Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel and then headed to the Georgia Aquarium. It was so nice. 

We even got to see a Dolphin show. The show only made me feel bad about myself as an animal.  Seriously, they can get these dolphins to do all these things, but I can't even get Dash to come when I call his name.  Oh dear...

We really had the best trip.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity to spend the weekend with these boys. Middle schoolers really get a bad reputation, but they really are a delight.  A delight.