Life with the Shirley Family

Life with the Shirley Family

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Advent traditions

We have several Advent traditions at our house. One is a tree calendar that I recreated from one my mom had when we were growing up. You get to put an ornament on the tree every day and read the verse that is on the back of the ornament. It is a lot of fun and Camden has a cute way of saying Advent that I can't really reproduce!

But we have also added two other Advent type items to our December. First is the story of Jotham, Jotham's Journey. It is an Advent storybook by Arnold Ytreeide, and you read a chapter every day until Christmas Eve. It is designed to go with an Advent ring, but I don't know much about Advent candles, so we just read the story. Nathan absolutely loves the story. This is our 2nd year reading it, but it is still captivating. Each day is a cliff hanger and he begs for more! It is not for little kids, however, because it focuses strongly on the consequences of sin, but for some 2nd graders and older kids, it is great! There are 3 stories that this author has written and my hope is that the 3rd will be re-published next year. Last year I could only find Jotham, but this year they had Bartholemew also. I bought his story in mid-December, so he will be read in January! Last year I looked on line for the 2nd and 3rd books, but the only copies I could find were around $90! They are a lot less when re-published and at the bookstore!

Our 3rd Advent item is really only a seven day story and it is great for younger kids. It is published by Family Life and is called What God wants for Christmas. Each day you read about a character that you then put on the nativity scene. And each day it teases you about not peeking at day 7 box to see what God wants for Christmas. Won't spoil it for you, but you may can guess what is in Day 7! Nathan still enjoys this activity and Camden likes it as well. He enjoys holding the box until I tell him to open it and then putting the item on the nativity-then Nathan fixes it after he looks away!

I can say that we need no more Advent activities at this point in our life! Most days involves catching up ! But they are fun and help us stay a little more focused on the true meaning of Christmas!


I have been very busy this month (as everyone else I know), and have been negligent in writing! But what is really frustrating to me is that I had something to write about today, but then I sit down tonight and have forgotten! And I thought it was pretty interesting too! Oh well! Tomorrow consists of being home all day! If I think of something, then I can get right to my computer!?!?!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Matching sweaters!

So I have to ask, since Nathan is 9 and Camden is 3, how much longer will I be able to dress them in matching sweaters? I also have matching PJ's! Do you thing Nathan will let me do it at least until he grows out of Children's Place clothes!?!?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So much to be thankful for!

I got to spend my Thankgiving in Memphis this year, and although I am not thankful that it is a 12+ hour drive, I was grateful to have the ability to get there!

We started out Thanksgiving morning by participating in a relay race-pass the turkey leg baton-and I mean a literal turkey leg! We had to run for 2 miles with that leg! It got very heavy!

But then on to my sister's home where we got to eat turkey! Thanksgiving day is always fun with lots of running around getting things ready; finally sitting down and eating (well at least the people without kids got to sit down for the whole meal!); and then relaxing while we ignore the dishes!

And the rest of the weekend? Shopping!! And some fun excursions like The Big Backyard exhibit (I have big plans for my own now!), Gibson's donuts, and lots of picture taking opporunities!
Reading on the porch!
I want a swing like this!
Playing on wormhill!

Flower beds!

And what I am thankful for this year? Top of the list is my family. I am truly blessed!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Younger skin

I am like most women my age and want to stay young looking as long as possible. So I invest too much of Dave's hard earned (and my coupon saved!) money on skin care products. Well all I can say is that they seem to be working! I may not have baby smooth skin, but it certainly looks younger with all the zits that are popping out!?!? Seriously! When will I get over having to deal with this "teenage" problem! I remember back when I was in somewhere between 2nd and 4th grade and how my mom and her friend used to complain about zits! Nathan is in 3rd grade now and I am still complaining! Will it ever end!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Girls, ugh!

Well, today Nathan educated me on the phases of a boy's life: first they don't like girls at all; then they like girls a little; then they like girls a lot; then they date girls; then they get married. He then told me that he has entered the 2nd phase and likes 2 different girls a little! Great!! So I now have a son who likes girls a little; has been asked by 3 different girls to be their boyfriend; and has younger girls giggling that he looks cute in his glasses! What kind of mess am I in?!?! Then he tells me that he is going to date in middle school! My reply to that was no you are not! I am not ready for this!

And then there is Camden! After chasing a cute little redhead girl around the church tonight, I am told that he kisses her! On the altar of all places! And in the car he not only points to his lips when he thinks I ask him where he kissed, but when I ask who he kissed, he says in his sweet voice, "Ella Kate".

What am I going to do?!?!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Camden!

Well, it has been a week since Camden's birthday, but today was his party!!! My season of birthdays is over!! (Of course Dave reminded me that his is coming up soon, to which I replied that he is not getting a party!!)

So my baby turned 3! We had a Thomas party of course since he has declared he is Gordan! It was such a fun day with kids painting, playing, stickering, tattooing, and going on a "train" ride! Three is such a cute age and his friends just added to the cuteness, esp the little girls who came! I heard, however, that one of the little girls has a crush on Nathan! Got to watch that situation!

But what can I say about my Camden? He is a joy that I prayed for for a long time. My blue eyed son who is short on hugs to most, but mommy's little cuddly boy! He is definitely growing up and asserting his independence, but will ask me to hold him at a moment's notice. Glad he is still small enough to pick up. He has a fun personality and is developing his friendships with kids his own age now. I think he may be the life of the party when he grows up! He will be the one who likes to run, that is for sure! And I think he will also be one I need to watch where the girls are concerned!

So happy birthday to you, Camden! Our family would not be complete without you! You had a great party and a wonderful birthday. I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for you!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The fun in fundraising!

Today was the celebration day of Nathan's school's fundraiser! Yeah! Double yeah because I was in charge of it and am now finished!

Last spring I volunteered to be in charge of the fall fundraiser-there were many times I either wanted to quit or have my head examined for taking the job! These really came more in the beginning when I was dealing with an outside agency that was there to help, but was stressing me out! Once we branched out on our own, it was much better!

We decided to do a serve-a-thon where we had the students send out letters asking for friends and family to support them for serving in their community. I had a great time setting up service projects for each class in the school and every one has reported that they had a great time serving and the recipients were blessed! That was my mission-to find projects that truly helped others! we were able to go to 2 nursing homes, take lunch to a school for underprivileged children, clean up a local park, help at the Ronald McDonald House, work at the Bread of Life food bank, help sort clothes at Lowcountry Orphan Relief, and make salvation bracelets for Water Missions International.

I had the privilege to go with Nathan's class to their project at a local nursing home. Their teacher did not want them to just sing songs and perform, but for the students to interact and talk with the residents. We did have two students and their teacher play the piano, but it was more for background entertainment while the students passed out pumpkins and talked with the residents. It was hard for the children to know what to say, and some were more shy than others, but as the hour progressed, it was a transformation for many of the kids! There was one boy who was very timid and hiding behind others, but then he got the idea to get the autographs of the residents. After that, he was talking to all of them; not in long conversations, but at least reaching out and not hanging back. I saw another boy have a pretty long conversation with an older gentleman about baseball after asking him if he used to play any sports! It was really neat to see! I saw lots of hugs and some discouragement when they encountered grumpy people, but mostly just smiles! I got to have a lengthy conversation with one lady about how she used to outdrink anyone with her drink of choice-straight vodka! Very interesting! And today I received a phone call from the activities director at the nursing home who said the residents could not stop talking about how wonderful the children were and how much they enjoyed their visit and to please come again! The kids also want to go back! It was a great match!

So today, we all came together as a school and went out to a beautiful property named Peaceful Way! We had lunch, played games, climbed the climbing wall, and generally had a great time! We even had great weather when the morning was a little drizzly. God inspired the idea to serve and blessed us throughout the whole journey! To date, we raised $14,600 and only around $900 will have gone out to cover expenses! Triple yeah!!!

I can truly say that I am glad that I stuck with the fundraiser when I wanted to quit! I can also say that I am glad it is over! But I hope that we can do a service day again in the future! It was awesome!

Titus 3:14
Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The ups and downs of couponing

Well, I have been doing good with this couponing thing (at least in my mind, can't compare to the queens of coupons out there!), but I went over $100 this week! It is amazing that not too long ago I was spending 100+ dollars every week and not thinking a thing about it, but now I am $8 over and am mad at myself!! Why? Well, triple couponing got me some deals, but too many deals do add up! And then I did want that hummus! Got to have a late night snack! And the twinkies! It is Nathan's fault! I had my Publix stuff lined up with my 25 cent chocolate chips, my 60 cent cookie dough, my 50 cent sour cream, and my free tylenol! But then Nathan finds the twinkies and tells me they are on sale and I have a coupon, but they ended up costing 2.99 after coupon! That blew my total way up there! Ok, I think I am becoming obsessive! Too much consumed chocolate chip cookie dough! Don't have time to bake it when I am clipping coupons!

Oh well, I will do better next week!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Apple picking time in NC!

Well since it is the day after Camden's birthday, I should be writing to him, but that will have to wait until after his party so I can put his pictures in! I will say that he wanted a red cake, so I bought a red velvet cake that was stale! He and Nathan enjoyed their piece and then I took it back and got my money back! How's that for saving money!

The weekend before his birthday, however, and 2 weekends after Nathan's, we took an overnight getaway to NC to pick apples-well at least to pick them out of the bins! We need to go earlier next year! But the apples were tasty and the apple cider donuts were to die for! Did I mention the apple cider was delicious!

We got to walk through the orchards and the boys had fun looking for good apples underneath the trees. They found a few! And the view from the top of the mountain was spectacular! We made it in time to see the fall leaves! Camden liked watching the goat and sheep eat pumpkins-he thought it was funny!

I love weekend getaways! My family did them when I was growing up and Dave and I used to do them when we were first married. We do them some now with the boys (like seeing Thomas!) and they are just a little bit of vacation in the midst of 2 weeks! This time Dave had taken a weekend trip to CA (not just a getaway at the cost of a plane ticket!) so I drove through Columbia, picked up my mom, and headed to the mountains! What fun!

After apple picking, we spent the night in Chimney Rock. It was an adventure finding new restaurants, finding a motel, exploring the waterfall behind the motel, and panning for gold! Nathan was interested in finding gems, but Camden just wanted to throw the gems down the trough! It was a quick, fun filled trip! Good memories!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Liberty football

Well today we did something that we have not done in a long time-went to a Liberty football game! They played CSU today and we have been hounded by the alumni association to attend the game, so we thought we would go and let the boys experience a live football game! Well, all I can say is it was a lot different than going to a game as a single in college!

Memories of football at LU are actually not many; in fact I would usually skip them! Basketball I went to, but football was not as big of an interest for me. LU had a much better basketball team anyway than football back then! But I do remember that most of the games were much cooler than today! And the stadium did not have portajohn's for the visiting team!

Today's memories were much different. First we were late because we wanted to see the Disney train first. Then we had a SLOW walk from the parking lot because Camden did not want to hold my hand. After hiking to the top of the bleachers, we sat down and started watching the game. Well, I actually started helping Camden color! Then Nathan started complaining about being hot and thirsty. I persuaded him to wait until Dave arrived to get a drink (did I mention that Dave was late due to work and it was just me with the boys!). Then Camden dropped a marker through the bleachers; I was going to wait to get it, but Nathan leaned over to look for it and dropped his glasses! (we were 2nd from the top!) So we went down to get the glasses and the marker. Since we were down, we got the drinks and headed back up. After sitting down for maybe 5 minutes, Camden informs me that he needs to go potty. We get situated in the portajohn and I had to hold him up over the hole since everything was slightly nasty! He didn't like dangling, so I have him stand on the seat and aim. No luck that way either, and after visions of dropping him in the blue yuck, I give up and hope he doesn't have an accident (which he didn't!).

Things get better after Dave arrives. Camden started cheering between coloring and laying on my lap! And Liberty wins!! Yeah! In two years we may go to the LU vs CSU game again! Need to make more memories! And it has to get easier!

Happy Birthday Nathan!

Well, I have been meaning to say it in my blog since last weekend, so here it is now!

Happy Birthday Nathan!

Nathan is my oldest and first son-he is the one who made me a mommy and I will be forever grateful for that. He is also one of the best kids I know! (yes, a little biased!) Seriously, though, I love the way he acts toward others and the way he challenges me to be a better Christian. He is generous to a fault (except with Tech Decks and his brother!) and has a very tender heart. He wants to give to others, even his brother, and bought Camden a mouse from the AWANA store with some of his hard earned shares (after of course he bought himself the Tech Deck!). He found my Avon book and decided he wanted to buy me some things out of it for Christmas!

Along with his tender heart comes a tendency to cry easily. We will be watching a movie and I will look over at him and he is bawling! The other night, though, his crying was very special. Camden (whom I don't think will cry easily about sensitive things, although that remains to be seen) is stingy with his hugs and "I love yous". He will say it, but not often. The night before Nathan's birthday and the night he bought Camden his mousie, Camden gave what Nathan said was his best birthday present. They were walking in the house after AWANA and Nathan said "I love you Camden" and Camden clear as could be said "I love you too Nathan!" I looked at Nathan and saw that he was tearing up. It was truly a special moment!

So now my Nathan (who is trying to be called Nate) is 9 years old. I can see changes as he gets older, but so far, the best characteristics are still there! He is now into skateboards and his ipod. I pray that he doesn't get a punkish skateboarder attitude! He continues to like all things sports, but will get into a good book. I love my son and trust that his faith in God will keep him safe and innocent throughout the growing up years!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Our new house project!

Well, we have finally started a new house project-or should I say Dave has started one and I am taking pictures! He tore out the tub and toilet part of the master bath (years ago he redid the vanity/sink part and that is staying the same!). The last project he finished was our guest/boys bathroom. This took a little less than a year to complete and I finally was able to get him to finish it because Camden was about to be born! The worst part of having the guest bath unusable was that all our company (and there was a lot!) had to use the bathroom in our room! This was especially annoying in the middle of the night when people had to go to the potty! Woke up this pregnant girl everytime it happened!

I also remember Dave vowing in frustration that next time we had a remodel job, he was going to hire someone to do it, no matter what it cost!

Almost 3 years later we have forgotten the headaches and are ready to begin again! At least this time noone will be traipsing through our room in the middle of the night-I just have to remember to go next door and not into the empty potty room if I get up in the night! Camden had liked using our potty instead of his, and now he keeps saying "no potty in there?" Soon, son, soon, I hope!

Duirng the demolition, Dave unearthed an interesting artifact.

The Grand Old Drink of the South! I thought that was sweet tea!

My grandaddy used to say that all painters drank because painting will drive a person to drink. Well putting in tubs must do the same because Dave found an empty bottle of Southern Comfort whiskey under the tub! I really hope this project does not drive him to drink!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm on my way!

Well, I have saved $47 for our trip to Disney next year! Or sooner if I get it saved in time! That was spending only $63 in groceries for the week and getting a $10 rebate check in the mail! How far will $47 go at Disney? It should at least replace Dave's grumpy shirt! Who isn't so grumpy about me saving money! He is even going to start tearing out the master bath this Friday!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Time to return to disney!

This is Dave's Grumpy shirt that we got at Disney in 2005. It really needs to be replaced! And here is my plan!

I started couponing about 2 months ago and am learning all sorts of new things all the time! And I am saving between 40-50% most times I go to the grocery store now. In my mind, I am just counting how much my total goes down after I give them the coupons. Well I have more cereal and fruit snacks than I think we will ever need (although I'm sure I will buy more when I get cereal for 25-50 cents a box!) and my laundry room now looks like a grocery store! Tonight I went to Publix and my total went from $25 to $12! I was happy! And I started doing the RiteAid rebate thing. I really hope this will be the last time I buy diapers for Camden! (For overnite only!)

I got to thinking about how I need to really save the money I am saving and not just have it flow out of our checlking account into whatever I want to spend it on! So this is my plan. In the past, I usually spent $125-$150/wk on groceries. I usually tried to stick to $100, but it never worked. But in using the $100 goal, I am now putting into savings whatever money I don't spend up to $100. Also, all my rebates will go into savings. So if I only save save $25/wk (spend $75), then in one year, I will have saved $1300! So in one year, we are going to Disney world! Will keep you posted as to how I am doing. I need to be accountable!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Delighting in glasses!?!

Well, the next point in my diary of delighting is that "to make room for delight, we have to commit". I remember the definition of commit from college days and it means to roll something over upon. I like that picture of me rolling over to God-giving myself and my burdens and desires to Him and just laying there-letting Him have control.

Psalm 37:5-6 says to "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun."

If righteousness comes from God and it is goodness, I think I would like that to shine in my life. I would like people to see Christ in me. As a mom, one way I think of showing Christ is through my children. This may be a little scary since they do tend to show off in the wrong way a lot of times! But I do think our children's behavior is often, but not always, a reflection of how we act at home. I see how many of Nathan's bad behavior is an imitation of me. That's real nice! But I hope his good behavior is at least in part due to something Dave and I are trying to teach him!

Right now we have to teach him to delight in glasses! Although I have yet to see any indication of his needing them, the doctor's exam said she is able to trick kids who may not do their best for whatever reason has gotten into their head about needing glasses. But now that he has them, he doesn't want to wear them, of course! But he does look cute in them and hopefully he really does need them.

And Camden is delighting in going to preschool! Although he has been going to preschool for the past 2 years (and learned his letters last year), it doesn't really seem like real preschool until he is in 2-K and potty trained! So now he is in preschool! And since we waited until the day before to buy his backpack, he has the ugliest one they make! Oh well! Maybe he will wear it out this year and I have an excuse to buy a new one!!
Not so delighted at this point!

Dave picked out this backpack!