Life with the Shirley Family

Life with the Shirley Family

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

It has been fun for me to blog about my twelve days of Christmas!

But now Christmas is over.  It has been a great day celebrating the birth of Jesus.  From opening some gifts in the morning; going to church; finishing the gift exchange; and then getting dinner ready!  We ate and played and talked and laughed; especially while playing a game together.  We even cried some.  But the best part of all was spending time with family.  We aren't always together on Christmas day, but today we were.  Except for one.  And while we all miss Dad terribly, we can't be sad for him.  He is celebrating Christmas with the reason for the season Himself. I love and will always miss you Daddy, but I know I will see you again one day and we can celebrate Christmas together. Until then, we will continue to honor our Lord whom you served faithfully.  Thanks for your example and for always reading the Christmas story to us.  Your memory will not be forgotten.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

On the twelfth day of Christmas...

we visited Santa Claus!

For our Christmas Eve fun, we went downtown and ate Italian food.  Then we headed to the Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid.  It was our last chance to see Santa, and Nathan was a good sport about it. Camden had been telling me he was 10 now and too old to see Santa, but I think he was happy to see him too...even if Santa didn't ask them what they wanted!

Ashton and I spotted a bear!

Rainy, foggy day for a picture in front of the Pyramid

Home and dinner and the rest of Christmas Eve fun including reading the Christmas story and The Night Before Christmas.  Of course the kids all got their new PJ's. The funniest part was Lincoln being super excited to open up one gift and then not being happy about getting PJ's!

Now to get the kids to bed!!  It will be a busy night!  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!

On the eleventh day of Christmas...

I went to my first Christmas Eve Eve service!

Usually we go to our church's Christmas Eve service, but Jennifer's church has a service on the Eve of Christmas Eve.  It was a very good Christ focused Christmas service and I am glad we were able to attend.

We also were able to go to Uncle Lou's today and get some sweet spicy love on our fried chicken!  Dave had said he was fine with going, but didn't have to go, but after tasting Uncle Lou's chicken, he said it is the best fried chicken he had ever had!  They fry it and then put it in a sauce they call sweet spicy love.  The place has been on two Food Network shows and was definitely worth the trip over there for lunch!

Amy and Jennifer with Uncle Lou

Friday, December 23, 2016

On the tenth day of Christmas...

I took a 12 hour road trip to Memphis!
It was a long day and I am ready to crash, but am very thankful to be able to visit family.  They live just close enough to drive, but too far to get there quickly.  The cord to the DVD player broke, so we spent the day listening to Adventures in Odyssey, playing the letter game, playing games Camden made up, and eating snacks.  Along with some Christmas music (and non-Christmas music when Dave took over the radio).  We were even able to change the color of my radio to red, to keep in the festive mood!  Most people who have all of their family close by think this is a crazy amount of time to drive, but as a good friend said, this is just what you do at Christmas!  You drive to get to your family, and have fun once you arrive...after a shower and a good night's sleep that is!  Good night!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

On the ninth day of Christmas....

I did my last long run before the marathon!
It was a long and slow run!  But I made it 21 miles in order to prepare for the 26.2 on January 14!  I have listened to every Christmas book I could find on the library website during my training.  It is funny how I will be running in a spot and think of one of the books I have listened to while running there at an earlier date.  I do enjoy the training, but am making the statement now that this is my last marathon except the  NY marathon when I get picked through the lottery.  (I will never qualify...remember I said it was a SLOW run!)  Or if I have the opportunity to run the LA marathon again.  Or maybe the Disney marathon; well I will probably opt for the half on that one!  I think the half distance is the better one for me!   But I am thankful for the ability to run.  And that I don't have to run that far again in 2016!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

On the eighth day of Christmas...

I had eight of Camden's friends over for the 2nd night of Christmas parties this week!

The boys had fun.  The house is still standing.  And I sent home 7 of them full of sugar!  

Christmas parties have been a tradition at our house since Nathan was Camden's age!  Usually we have one party for both groups of friends, but since Nathan's party evolved into a SS class party, we opted for two nights.  Although it was two nights of fun and the messy aftermath, it worked out much better to have them apart.  I don't know if I could have handled that much fun in one night!!


Monday, December 19, 2016

On the seventh day of Christmas...

I got a memory of my dad.

Every year I put my NOEL letters on top of the curio cabinet where they are high enough for most people to not be able to reach.  But dad was tall enough and would always change my letters.  Usually he spelled LEON.  Now Nathan is tall enough to reach them and has decided to take up the tradition!  He had spelled NO  L; but then felt bad for the L, so he changed it to ONE  L.  Oh the fun and the memories!  Thanks Nathan!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

On the sixth day of Christmas...

I was blessed with being able to be in the Christmas drama at church.

 Since this is the sixth day, I want to note that there were 6 of us involved in the drama :)  Five actors in the picture and one great director who avoided the picture!  Thanks Tammy for your hard work!

The play centered around a young boy and his babysitter and a nativity set.  I was the mom of the boy who is my real life boy, Camden.  The boy, along with the handy man and myself were able to tell the story of Christmas to his babysitter by using the nativity set her grandfather left her in his will.  What made it even more special to me is that the nativity set used is one that my grandparents made.  It is a beautiful old set that they cast in ceramic and painted themselves.  It is truly a treasure!  And although the girl hearing the story today already knows the meaning of Christmas, I pray that this set was able to show God's love to someone who was listening today.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

On the fifth day of Christmas...

I was blessed to be able to hear Camden play in his Christmas piano recital.  He played a song I had not heard of..."Fum, fum, fum,"  He also played "We three Kings" as a duet with his piano teacher.  He practiced hard and did his best.  And he sounded good!  It is a special time when you get to see your child using his talents.  He even asked his piano teacher to play the duet with him at his school chapel.  She agreed and the school said yes, and according to all who heard him, he did good in chapel too!  Who knows what opportunities will come from being able to play the piano.

On the fourth day of Christmas...

school is out for the break!!

 A feeling of relief and happiness is over the house as we head into the last week before Christmas.  Not that it is free from busyness, but it is more fun and less homework!!!  Today I have been blessed with being able to go to two live nativity scenes and take a lights scavenger hunt!  Being reminded that Jesus came as a baby to be the light of the world is important at Christmas.  He was the first gift of Christmas!  And to enjoy looking for that elusive elf while two boys sing "No elf, no elf" in the back of the car (to the tune of "Noel") makes for great memories!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

On the third day of Christmas...

God blessed me with my second son, Camden.

After 6 years of praying for another child, God gave us our second bundle of joy.  And he is just that...a joyful little boy!  He is full of life and likes to laugh and make people laugh.  He is my selfie pro and my adventure partner.

We love to go exploring and take road trips together.  Although he is full of life, he also can be very serious about life.  He is truly a child for which we prayed...and are very grateful that God gave him to us!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

On the second day of Christmas...

God blessed me with a son named Nathan.

Nathan is now 16 years old and has been our training wheels for parenting!  We have learned together through these years.  Things that I have learned about him is that he is a sweet and sensitive boy who likes to play sports and video games, make bodily noises, and try to act like a punk sometimes.  But he will also sit and watch a movie with me; and even cry during the moving parts.  He likes to hang out with his friends, but will also let his little brother tag along...even during his birthday party.  Although he didn't want to get up in the morning, he went with me to volunteer at a camp for kids with disabilities this summer.  Most of what he did was be a friend to disabled teens, but that was much for them.  He is growing up rapidly (especially in height!) and has much to give as he becomes a young man.  I look forward to seeing what God has in store for him!  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On the first day of Christmas....

goes the song.  But I am going to change it a little.  My God gave to true love.

I have been blessed with a true love that I have been in love with for 23+ years!  Longer with him than without him.  And although he may drive me crazy at times, the fact that I get upset about problems with him and don't ignore them tells me that I still love him.  He is a loving husband and father who cares about providing for his family and works hard to do so.    In his "manly" way of not wanting to talk about feelings, he still will listen and understand and keep working with me for both of us to do better in our marriage.  I love you Dave and am glad that I married my college friend and sweetheart!

Friday, April 1, 2016

It's all about Lincoln

I have never been to Springfield, IL before, but having gone there today, I can tell you that everything there is about Abraham Lincoln!  We went there to see the Lincoln Museum, and while we were there, we also went to his house and tomb.  Throughout the town there are many references to places where Lincoln had worked and lived, etc.  And there are many things with the Lincoln name such as the Lincoln Public Library (not to be confused with the Lincoln Presidential Library!).  We even were able to look out of our hotel room at night and see a glowing Lincoln!
Almost like a moon!

Thursday morning we went to the Lincoln Museum. I had read a book titled Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, and this inspired our trip.  It was interesting to see how many facts about Lincoln and his wife were in this historical fiction book.  The museum was top notch in quality...almost Disney-like.  But not many pictures were allowed.

Camden Lincoln

Camden Frederick Douglas

We fit right in!

Sites in downtown Springfield

After the museum, we headed to lunch at Charlie Parker's diner.  When we first starting planning our trip, Camden saw this restaurant on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.  So of course we had to go there!

Camden got a plate size pancake!

After lunch we headed back downtown and went to his house.  We were able to tour the family's original house and see items that Lincoln himself has used.  I realized that we were in the same rooms he had occupied and we were looking at actual items that Lincoln himself had used and it was very cool.
The most photographed view of Lincoln's house
The neighborhood he lived in

We finished our tour of Springfield at the tomb of Lincoln.  We were able to go inside the mausoleum and see several sculptures and the tombstones of Lincoln and his family.

I am not sure why, but everyone ahead of us was touching the nose of Lincoln as they walked by, so we did it too.

We headed back to Memphis after out Springfield day, and we decided to take a different route and a little detour through Metropolis. Camden had read about Metropolis, so we finished our adventure there!

The final picture from our day was the rainbow that we saw while driving through the rain.
God keeps his promises!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

St. Louis Road Trip

Camden and I took a road trip to St. Louis for his Spring Break.  Before you think we left Nathan behind, don't worry.  We sent him to California to visit family and he got to go skiing on a good ski mountain for two days!

We did leave Dave, but someone has to work! (and he also had his Spring Break earlier this year!)  Our trip started out with our Easter Memphis visit, but since the cousins are all in school this week, we decided to take a road trip.  So off to Missouri we went.

The visitor center for the Arch is in the Old Courthouse.

Then on to the Arch!

It really is tall!

View of the Mississippi River and Illinois

The Cardinal's stadium

St. Louis

At the top.  Camden wanted to be able to stand on top; I am very glad we were inside!

Enjoying the view!

Inside the capsule we took to the top.

The opening to the tram...not very big!

Gotta take a selfie!

And of course we got caught in the rain!

We were planning on going to the City Museum next because we have heard how fun it is, but with the rain (which turned into a downpour!), I was told they close the outside, and that is the best part. I only knew of two other options; the zoo and another National Park.  Not wanting to go to the zoo in the rain, we headed to the Grant National Historic Site.  We got some northern education for our southern roots :)  
At least we had an umbrella his time

Camden being a rebellious rebel!

Now just being silly!

We had fun exploring the site using the Junior Ranger puzzles and activities.

Of course, every road trip has to involve good food!

Very yummy donuts!!

We found a great restaurant in The Hill section of St. Louis.  There are Italian restaurants on most every corner in this Italian neighborhood.  We lucked out and found a good one!

Camden really liked the food!  Even the stuffed mushrooms!

We ended the evening in Springfield, IL, where we will have more adventures tomorrow.  A dip in the pool was a must for the night too!