Life with the Shirley Family

Life with the Shirley Family

Friday, December 20, 2013

I see the light!!

I am happy to say that Christmas is finally coming together!  I feel like my house has been in chaos since I arrived home from Thanksgiving.  Note to self and anyone else who wants free advice...don't do a room renovation in December!!  Camden's room is almost finished, and only one room in the house needs to be picked bedroom.  But we can close the doors until that is done :)

One relief to have finished is our Christmas card.  Dave wasn't with us at Thanksgiving, so no family pic from that weekend.  So I conned a friend into taking a quick snapshot one Sunday afternoon; but it rained.  So I just took the boys pictures in front of the tree.  I let Nathan take ours, but it you have seen our card, you noticed only the boys.  It was too bad even for a picture on a card that most people will throw away!

So here are the pictures from our card photo session.

Champ didn't make the cut either :)

And if you want to read our year in review, here is the link:

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thanks for the socks!!

Dave and I did our first run together this past weekend!!  It was actually a scavenger hunt in downtown Charleston with running to each clue.  It was a lot of fun and we did it with another couple.  Originally we had planned on competing with this couple, but it turned out to be more fun to stay together.  Especially since Becky and I were running ahead of the guys most of the day :)  Out of 98 teams, we came in 7th and 8th, even though we were cut off at the last minute by half of another team.  We say we really beat them, but we compromise and say we tied for 7th.  I think that is pretty good since we weren't really trying that hard.  Maybe next year!!

Our last stop before sprinting to the finish!

Dave was a little tired and had a sore knee, but he had fun even if he doesn't look like it in this picture.

The weather was great for the race, but started to rain and get colder right after we got home.  And poor Dave had to take that time to fix my car!  He was a good sport to hang out downtown in the good weather and then come home and fix my car in the rain.  Thanks hon!

I got some crazy socks for Becky and me to wear in the race.  My friend Shannon asked if I had bought the super hero ones with the cape.  I had told her no and that I hadn't seen them.  Today, I found a package from her in my mailbox.  She had sent me 3 pairs of super hero socks!!  I hope I can keep Nathan from putting his stinky feet in them!  Next time I am in a race I will truly fly :)  Thanks so much Shannon for the are great!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas decorations

This year has been a lot of fun with Camden being VERY excited about getting out the Christmas decorations!  And it has been fun for me to let him and Nathan do a lot of the decorating!  Our tree is full of memories with all of our ornaments, and since it is no longer a tree with everything matching, I figure why not let them put the ornaments on it!  I did have to move a few around since they tended to end up on the end of the branches which were starting to droop!

I also let them put out the Christmas village.  In the past I spent lots of time figuring out how to place all the houses and how to make the snow look like there were paths in my brick colored mat.  This year, the boys put out the houses all in a row, and I threw the snow on there like there was a blizzard!

One tradition with our tree decorations that continues to grow it that we buy an ornament to represent our trips.  This year I actually bought three!!

One from Appomattox,

 one from the Capitol,

and one I couldn't resist buying at Ford's Theater.   

The first ornament that started this tradition was bought in Mystic, CT on our honeymoon.

On our 20th anniversary trip we bought our ornament from Hilton Head...and I realized this week that it is another dolphin :)

So we have a tree full of memories and they are all placed in a jumbled, random order all over the tree by my two sons.  It is far from my matching tree we had on our first Christmas, but I wouldn't have it any other way!  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Putting miles on my new shoes!

I got another early birthday gift again from my running shoes.  She bought some last year on December for my birthday in February; and again this year.  I have used them 3 times now and they are starting to feel like they fit my feet :)

I am now up to 17 miles in my training.  I figure that I have run 5 half marathons in the past 5 weeks!  I only have 3 more long runs (meaning 18 to 22 miles each) before I take it easy with shorter runs (8 or 9 miles) and then do the real thing!  It is strange to say that 8 or 9 miles is a short run !

I have started eating a good energy bar before my long runs...nuts, salt and dark chocolate.  Yum!!  And then eating gummy bricks while running.  I even run through the park for a water fountain stop or put a bottle of water on my porch to use.  I am feeling good about this marathon thing; even though as I write this, my legs are a bit tired :)

I have followed the advice of one online person who said to always get your long run in.  It is working for me.  My advice to others who want to run long distance is to do the same and also get good shoes and a great running bra!  Makes a big difference!

Monday, December 2, 2013



Thanksgiving is over and I did not do the 28 days of thankfulness challenge since I know my weakness for not finishing things like that.  But I am truly thankful for all the blessings God has given me.  Since I just returned from visiting my sister and her family in Memphis, I am focusing on the family I saw this week.  I am thankful for my husband who supports me in all my crazy plans and lets me visit family even when he can't get off work.  And who paints Camden's room while we were gone and on his birthday. 

I am thankful for my sons.  Nathan is an intelligent and caring teenager.  Although he is starting to have some teenage behaviors, he still shows love and tenderness to his brother and his cousins.  Except when he gives his baby cousin weird football player names :)  Camden is still my cuddle bug, even though he is trying to grow up.  He is fun and crazy and loves that he can now read.  I like him reading too, except when he starts reading t-shirts at Myrtle Beach. 

I am thankful for my family.  My mom who helps drive me to Memphis and who shows love to all of her kids and grand kids by always being there for us.  My dad who always takes care of us and makes sure we are well fed.  My sister who is my best friend and is going to get to hang out with me soon on a girl's day.  My brother-in-law who gets up in 26 degree weather and takes us to the turkey day run.  My beautiful niece who still is great friends with Nathan and plays basketball with him.  My two older nephews who are full of energy and fun and make visits great for Camden.  And my new nephew Lincoln who has added a new dynamic to our family.  A new, good dynamic! 

We had a great Thanksgiving and I am also thankful that my family gets along so well.  Lots of turkey, shopping, games, pictures, movies, and running.  What better way to spend family time together!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

16 miles

I am insane to have signed up for this marathon!!  I had to run 16 miles today, so for 3 hours, I ran/moved 100 yards short of 16 miles.  I had reached the house and Dave started talking to me and I was tired and thirsty and tired, so I stopped.  This facility is on my run.  In fact, very close to our house.  Good thing too so that the boys can visit me often when I check myself in!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Honoring JFK

 Today the news has been all about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.  I was not around to remember where I heard the news, but I have been to Dallas to see where he was shot.  And I have been able to go to his grave in Arlington Cemetery.  It is very peaceful place and it has a great view of DC.  

 Nathan reading some of Kennedy's speeches as he looked out over the Capitol.
"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Halfway there!!

I have been training for a full marathon since September, and I have made it past the halfway point!  Since I have run a half marathon before, I am sort of used to that training.  I am now in uncharted territory!  With the marathon training I have been following, I have 3 "short" runs each week, and one long run.  The long run, according to what I have read, it the most important one to make sure I do.  I have been faithful with it and can tell that it is working.  At least so far.  I remember a month or so ago that 7 miles was very hard to run; but last week I ran over a half marathon.  I ran 14 miles on Sunday.  And I still could walk.

But what is making me nervous is what happens next.  To double that, well not quite double, may take different training.  Do I eat that gel stuff?  Not according to Shannon :)  Do I take water with me?  I will not, I repeat, will not wear a fanny pack of water bottles!!  And how far do I make my long run before the real thing?

I don't know.  But I do know that this weekend I have to run 16 miles.  So you may see me running all over West Ashley this weekend.  If you see me, just honk and don't offer me a ride :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Camden!!

Well, a little late, but I am finally writing a post for Camden's 7th birthday!!

Camden was very excited to turn 7!  He even made up a song on his birthday about this.  It is on my FB wall and Nathan's iPod, but I don't have the time to figure out how to put it on here :(

Camden's present from us was a new room.  He will have a space theme and wanted his bedspread and lamp in his room right away...even though the jungle curtains and accessories are still present.  Very eclectic right now.  Next step is painting and getting a desk.  He was excited!  Nathan got him a football; which was exciting for both of them!

The Saturday after his birthday was his party and it was a simple party for me.  I think I have run out of energy with 13 years of parties!  But a jump castle and noodle light sabers and 10 boys...well they had a great time :)

So my youngest is now 7 and he is determined to grow up.  He brushes his own teeth and closes the door for privacy!  He takes his own shower and actually gets his nails clean most of the time.   He is doing great with his reading and can add 3 numbers together.  Although he has stopped coming into our bed in the morning for cuddles (usually because he is still asleep when he needs to get up!), he still wants to be held and get hugs.  He still says the craziest things and his teacher says she has to start writing down what he tells her!  He told her once she had on her fancy face.  This would be in contrast to my morning face...when I don't have on make-up!  

So happy birthday to my awesome 7 year old!  I look forward to what is in store for you this next year!     

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Determined to zip!!

Nathan's birthday present from us was a zip line tour.  We decided to do the zip line at the Riverbanks Zoo because we had heard good things about it and Camden could go to the zoo with my parents while we zipped.  The problem was our car!  After a tire problem on Saturday, we had an alternator problem on Sunday afternoon.  After church we went home to change clothes before lunch.  Dave noticed that the battery was low, but figured he could deal with it later.  Well, we first had to deal with it after lunch when we needed a jump at the restaurant.  But the jump did not do much good because the alternator was bad and not charging the battery.  But we thought we could make it to the zoo and then deal with the problem.  Well, we made it to about a mile from the zoo!  The car totally power at all to anything.

Needless to say, Dave didn't make it to the zip line because he and dad had to stay with the car and call for help.  Mom and the boys and I hitched a ride with a nice old lady...a good thing to since the mile was mostly uphill!!  After getting into the zoo, Nathan and I sprinted to the zip line start and the fun began!!  We were very determined to get to that zip line :)

 The zip line was fun, although not as thrilling as the Hilton Head zip line.  But the last zip over the river was definitely the best!!

Camden got to ride a pony and the carousel at the zoo.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Determined to see the mountains

I love the mountains, but unfortunately we haven't been able to get up there in a long time.  Between baseball and Dave working and having already been on vacation this summer, I knew we couldn't take an overnight trip.  But I was determined to at least have our family make a day trip.  To do this we sent to Columbia for the weekend and then made a road trip to the Greenville area on Saturday. 

But first, we had to get our tire fixed because there was a nail in it and a slow leak.  So after waiting an hour to get a tire patched, we headed up to Caesars Head State Park.  With a stop in Travelers Rest in order to experience their art festival.  Their festival was very well put together and there were lots of different types of crafts and art objects for sale.  I really liked the glass bowl I bought and the ornament that mom bought me.


After finally making it to Caesars Head, we went to the overlook and also did a short, well an hour and a half short, hike.  The ranger told us there were two waterfalls on the trail.  Well, there were two areas of water, but waterfalls; not so much.  But it was fun to be in the woods and we  brought back lots of leaves :)

One of the waterfalls :)


To end our day, we stopped off in Greenville.  More walking through their awesome downtown and Reedy River Falls area.  It was even more fun because we got to meet up with my old running buddy for dinner. 

A real waterfall!!

So even though it took some planning, and our car didn't want us to get there at first, we made it!!  I love the mountains!!