The Perfect A-Fair

On Tuesday night, we had the perfect a-fair ;).
We headed to the State Fair of Texas for our annual visit!
Now, if you’ve read this blog for at least a year then you know that the State Fair of Texas is a benchmark in my life.  Over the years, the Fair has represented my journey to becoming a mom.  A very long, sad, complicated, tiring, emotionally draining and precious journey to being these three kiddos’ mommy.
Back in 2007, I was standing in line ordering onion rings at the Fair when my doctor called to tell me that my 4th IUI hadn’t worked.  Awesome.  Trying to get pregnant sucks.  
That day at the Fair was probably one of the lowest days for me.  It’s so defeating to hear the doctor say over and over again…nope, not pregnant.  There was really nothing I could do about it.  It was out of my control and even though I was trusting in God…it still hurt.  It still broke my heart into a million pieces.  It still made me sad.
So, the next year, when I showed back up at the Fair with my one month old miracle baby…the Fair took on a new meaning to me.  It showed me hope.  It reminded me that God is in control and his plans are greater than ours.  And then the following year, I showed up at the Fair with my 13 month old AND I was about 7 months pregnant…God’s funny like that.  
So, over the years, the Fair has always reminded me about how God built my family.  Last year when we went, we knew who Ashby was…we had three little pictures of her…but we didn’t have her and our hearts ached.  We were worried about her, concerned for her…we wanted her.  And then this year, we had her :).  Three sweet kiddos…after a very long path to motherhood.  And I wouldn’t change the journey for the world.  
We showed up yesterday afternoon after school.  We always love going to the Fair in the late afternoon into the evening because it’s less crowded.

These two :).

Last year, my kids wanted to ride the Haunted House ride and were TERRIFIED when it was over.  Here they are in front of it joking about not going back inside.  A year later and at least they can laugh about it now :).

Our view for most of the day.  Kensington took lots of pictures!

Right after we took this picture, Smith said he likes being our favorite.  Ha!  That kid is so funny!

Howdy Big Tex!

Ashby’s pointing at Big Tex!

The onion ring stand is directly across from Big Tex.  Eight years later…and look what God gave me.  Who would have thought?  Not me.  God is so good.

 The car show is always a big hit with my kids!

I’m trying to get Ashby to look at me and smile.  Look how she’s looking sideways trying not to smile…
…so then I came around front and she’s trying so hard not to smile…

…but she just can’t help it!  She’s all smiles!

Smith says he wants a Jeep when he grows up.  He needs to start saving now :).

Dancing in the bubbles!

Love having her with us this year!

Enjoying her very first Fletcher’s Corny Dog!

We always love feeding the animals at the petting zoo!

Ashby gave up on the shovel and just let the goat stick her head right inside the cup ;).

 Playing games!
And winning awesome Fair prizes ;).

It looks like they’re all hitting each other (which is always entirely possible), but they were chasing bubbles instead.

Three Shull kids on the whale ride!

 Five Shulls at the Fair…one of which is eyeing the next game instead of the camera ;).

This year, Andrew went down the giant slide with Kensington and Smith went down by himself.  There they all go!

 Ashby had a good time at the Fair :).

I rode the carousel with them before we left and Andrew went inside the snake house with them…that’s teamwork right there! #nothankyousnakes

She made me a mama :).

Ashby’s first Fair :).
To see my previous Fair posts click below…
Dinner tonight is just what you need on a busy weeknight…
I’m telling you…dinner made simple right here!
Happy Thursday!
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  • Kimberly October 15, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Great post! It is amazing how much things can change in just a few years. Love the photo of Ashby dancing in the bubbles. Your photos bring a bit of Texas to me here in Bangkok – thank you! 🙂

    Very European

  • Haley Southey October 15, 2015 at 10:08 am

    So sweet!! Love that the fair is so full of family and memories and that you can look back and see how God had his hands on everything all along! Love this!

  • Erika Slaughter October 15, 2015 at 10:14 am

    I love that sweet little fair story!! Next year…its a date!!

  • Narci October 15, 2015 at 10:31 am

    So fun!! Also, love that K took pictures with her camera too!! Just love that sweet girl!!

  • Simplychelseablog October 15, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Smith "loves being your favorite"… Haha!! That made me laugh out loud, that's hilarious. Love all the pictures and I love the meaning behind the fair for you. How special.

  • Meagan @ The Clanahan Fam October 15, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Love, love this post, Shay! So incredibly touching. What an great reminder that God is sewing an amazing tapestry, even when everything may look a little ugly and full of knots and pain on the other side. I grew up going to the fair every year, sometimes multiple times a year. It was our favorite thing to do with our dad… eat a Fletcher's, spend entirely too much money on Midway, watch Texas/OU, etc. I haven't been back since he passed away almost 9 years ago. Your post makes me want to go throw my kiddos in the car and head up there right now – ready for new memories at the fair and share everything with my family just like my dad did with me. Anyway, so sorry for the long commentary! Just brought a lot of memories to the surface for me as well! 🙂

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} October 15, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I REALLY wish I loved the fair. I tell you what I do love…that Chris's parents have taken Carter the last 2 years… he gets to go….and I don't have to! WOOHOO!!!!!! 🙂 Great pics, and I bet Ashby LOVED that corny dog!

  • Renee King October 15, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I could read your posts forever! I just bought that shirt yesterday at JCrew, same color. I was trying to figure out how it will look with my black skinny jeans or should I stick with denim. Decisions,decisions.

  • Melissa Goerlitz October 15, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Cute! I'm pretty sure you've posted about this before but where is Ashby's necklace from?!

  • Jenna October 15, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I wish they had a good state fair near me. Great pics! looks like you all had a blast!

  • Lauren & Daniel October 15, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I wish we lived closer so I could take my kiddos….what fun! I was wondering where Kensington's little purse came from? My daughter is asking for her own little purse for Christmas and that one is just darling!

  • Sarah Kuykendall October 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I have a friend who is struggling with fertility and I am going to send her to this post!

  • Melissa October 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story time and time again…for me, my State Fair is our pumpkin patch. It's funny how God brings events and places into our life to serve as reminders of His faithfulness. And the picture of Ashby letting the goat eat right out of her cup was darling!

  • Lauren Truman October 15, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I love the connection between the state fair and your precious babies! God is so good! Would you ever think about sharing the photos you received of Ashby before meeting her? Side bar — I'm currently being induced and your blog is a great distraction from the nightmare of induction!! XO

  • Cassi Jo October 15, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I wish I loved the State Fair, you make it look like so much fun! I've never enjoyed it. My parents took us kids every year growing up until we told them (in middle school) that we really didn't care for it… at all. Then we all rejoiced because we never had to go back! But I do love your State Fair story of God's faithfulness. And I love the photos from your State Fair experience… it almost makes me want to go back (almost).

  • Laura October 15, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    We were visiting Dallas this past weekend and literally drove around for 45 minutes to find a parking place! And I'm not talking about just the gated areas, either. I'm talking like up to 2 miles away! So, unfortunately, we missed the Texas State Fair and headed home to Louisiana. I couldn't get over the people! Wow!

  • Kjlb37 October 15, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Good times:)

  • Emily @ Ember Grey October 15, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your heart at the beginning of this post, Shay – SO amazing to look back at the middle once you've reached the other side… and that definitely gives me hope, as I am still in the middle! 😉 God is good, all. the. time. !

  • The Nelson Happenings October 15, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Love all the photos ! The fair looks like a HUGE hit 🙂

  • Lindsay at Lindsay'sSweetWorld October 15, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    I love this story! And I actually have a similar story, although mine involves our high school's alumni social and homecoming football game instead of the fair… the first year we went I had just suffered a miscarriage, and I was feeling empty and sad. I even heard one person whisper to another person to ask why my belly wasn't very big and that about killed me. It was such a rough time for me, but I made it through…

    And the next year when we went back, we had our four month old miracle baby in tow, and boy, was that a fantastic feeling! A couple of years later we attended with our TWO babies, and that was even more special.

    So, even though I'm always reminded of my darkest point in my life when we attend that event, it also makes me happy because it shows me how far we've come and just how good to us that God has been over the years. Now I look forward to the event every year!

    And it sure is funny that you mention this today because my blog post this morning was about just that – coping with miscarriage and all of the things that I learned from it since today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It was tough for me to get so personal, but it also feels great to get it all out in the open. And if it helps even one person who is suffering, then it has served its purpose.

    I'm glad that you guys had such a wonderful time at the fair! Those babies of yours are all darling!

    <3 Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World

  • sherly October 15, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you for reaffirming to me that God is SO good. Your three miracles truly are a constant reminder that His ways are far better than our ways.

  • Kelli @ A Deeper Joy October 15, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    We went last weekend! 🙂 My favorite part is the random fried food. Glad y'all had a blast!

  • Farryn October 15, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I love this post! Makes me want to just shout praises to The Lord! We indeed serve such an awesome and powerful God! We had fertility issues as well and this time last year were praying for a sweet and healthy baby! This year… We have a beautiful three month old baby girl! I look back at years past at pictures and love to compare to the joy we are feeling now that Annabelle is here! Thank you, Jesus! He is so good and his timing is so perfect!

  • Nina Newswanger October 15, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Love your sweet family!! Where is Smith's campfire shirt from? My son would love it!!

  • Angela October 15, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Great post!!! It took me eight years, fertility treatments and lots of tears to finally because a mother. It's a long journey but definitely worth it. God bless your beautiful family.
    I am dying to know where Kensington's dress is from…..I love it!!!

  • Angela October 15, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    Great post!!! It took me eight years, fertility treatments and lots of tears to finally become a mommy. It's a long road but definitely worth it. God bless your beautiful family!
    I am dying to know where Kensington's dress is from….I love it!!!

  • Jeanie October 15, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    I used to love going to our State Fair way back in the day. Am I the only one who thought for sure you were going to tell us you're pregnant?

  • KelliB October 16, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Love the pink Wellies!

  • Eman S October 16, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Your family is so precious!!! Love my rain boots!!! I would love another pair of gray ones! ? Happy Weekend!!

  • Kim in RI October 16, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I look forward to your posts so much every day! Love seeing all of the pictures! You have a beautiful family. And tell Kensington I love her purse! Was also wondering – any updates on Ashby's arm? I haven't seen any posts about it lately. Praying for healing!

  • Stacy October 16, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    I love my Wellies and my girls would love to have their own pair!

  • Vanessa Durham October 16, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Ashby is so adorbale! I love reading your blog.

  • Vanessa Durham October 16, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Ashby is so adorable! I love reading your blog.

  • Michelle Mills October 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Love that Kensington is carrying a crossover. Such a little lady. Where is it from? Looking for something like that for my almost 8 year old for her birthday.

  • Unknown October 16, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Love our state fair (MN)! So much fun. Your family is so beautiful 🙂
    Love those Wellies and would love to buy my son a pair.

  • rrmaddoux October 17, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Definitely Wellies!

  • Megan October 17, 2015 at 2:40 am

    this is my favorite line you've ever written —-Awesome. Trying to get pregnant sucks. It sure does!
    I love your fair story. What an amazing story of God's will!!

  • Katy October 17, 2015 at 3:38 am

    Makeup and leather boots!

  • Jamie Ramels October 16, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Love my Wellies!!!

  • Viviana Guzman October 18, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Would buy the boots for my little one, and those pjs for me.

  • E @ Oh! Apostrophe October 18, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Love those fair isle toms