flu friends

So each year, Tim's family gets a place at the beach and invites us and his bro's family to gather for the holiday. A wonderful, spendid, fabulous gift. But this year, the flu bombed our house. It started with Henry-boy (who did not receive a flu shot). Then it got me (who did get a flu shot), then Max (who did not receive a flu shot). Please note: A dose of Mom guilt piled on top of my flu.
We were set to depart the Tuesday prior but we kept trying to wait out the flu. But on Wednesday night, my pragmatic husband says-we should consider splitting up for Thanksgiving, half going to the beach and half staying home. I wanted him to clarify which half I was in, but realized he meant the flu people stay home and the well people go to the beach. At that point, Henry, Ruthie & Tim were healthy & Max & I were getting left behind. I am being dramatic, but along with the majority of the universe-the beach is my happy place. To make it more sad, I had my bag packed 5 days before and the night before Tim had not yet packed his bag.

Last night when Tim tucked the kids in, he told them Max & I were staying home. About an hour later, Ruthie came into my room crying. Saying she didn't want Max & me to stay home. What were we going to do all alone? I kinda wanted to cry with her. But singing a different tune this morning when we were hugging goodbye-as she declared it the best day ever!
One other sad/happy point is that Tim's birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year. I like making his birthday special, & this is as special as it got this year- we did manage some flu-infused chocolate chip pound birthday cake before they hit the road. I made it while trying not to cough in the batter. I figure all the germs would be cooked out anyway. I know I should be devoting this post to my better half, but this one is about my atypical Thanksgiving. Tim will get his own post, after I get this one out about me.

My Thanksgiving day lunch. Actually, I was thankful that mom sent me some tamales the day before for the feast. My dad did call and promises to bring me a Thanksgiving plate this afternoon.
Entertainment for us, Max kept wanting to light & blow out Tim's candles. We did this over and over until we set off the smoke alarm.
 My thanksgiving turkey.
The dog show. I never have sat and watched this thing-it is not for me. Have you noticed that it looks like the dog trainer puts the dog treat in his/her mouth before they give it to their dog? Not cool. But Max let me snuggle him and we watched almost the whole thing-barking and woofing.
Then it was my turn to watch a 20 month old appropriate show-Something's Gotta Give. And since Max is still cleared for inappropriate TV, we watched it together. This is one of my favorites-room for crying and laughing. The best type of movie.

Well, I guess this day should have kinda depressed me, but actually-it was nice. I am from a large familiy-3 sisters & there are 22 plus some when we get together. There is busyness, cousin squabbles, cousin memories, shopping, start/stop conversations, kitchen tension, lots of apple devices & LOVE when we gather. But this year, Max and I just chilled out and my brain got quiet. I really stopped and thanked God for what He has given me.

ADDITION//////PLEASE NOTE: This day got depressing around supper time when my dad was sweet enough to bring by Thanksgiving leftovers. Max was so excited to see him. We had not been out of the house in 4 days. He was screaming doo-doo, doo-doo (short for Dewey). Hee hee. Anyway, dad unloaded the food and we chatted. DAD: Well, couldn't get anyone to come with me-they seem to think you 2 have the flu. ME: We do. DAD: Oh, hell-we'll I guess I better get going then.

So, we proceeded to dig in after our visitor ran for the hills. All contentment dissipated when Max gagged on his turkey and threw up on the carpet. Thanksgiving without my family together was no longer nice/quiet/serene. 


Thanksgiving Blessing Mix

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix
I needed to take a snack to Henry's school and found this. Very simple. And there are variations here and there for this mix. Here is what I used:
Bugles Shaped like a cornucopia, a symbol of our nations’ abundance.
Pretzels Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.
Popcorn The sacrifices of the Pilgrims’ 1st winter. Food was so scarce that settles survived on a few corn kernels a day.
Pumpkin seeds Promise of a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.
M&Ms Memories of those who came before us to lead us into a blessed future.

One trick is to put the big items all in a bowl: popcorn, pretzels, bugels & then add the pumpkins seeds and MMs to the bags individually, so that each bag gets a bit of each component. And love the cup tip I saw somewhere, it makes it easier to fill the bags.

You can grab this template below. But there are others around the web-this is one i did up right quick.

 Smart tip for filling ziploc bags with goodies like this.

 Also, I read to Henry's class and found this book, really cute if you want to share it with your kiddos.


missions mishaps & happenings

Mission Mamas. A mama and I were talking and had the idea of getting mom/kids together once a month and do a service project all together. Actually, my friend got the idea from reading about something Jen Hatmaker does with her kids. We were so proud of ourselves for this wonderful new mission focus. This is going to be fantastic, the kids will be shaped and molded to be mission-minded individuals. Let's do this.

The first one was to stuff our Operation Shoe Boxes
A few highlights of the first go:
-Each child coming to grips that we were not keeping the toys, but they were being sent away to other kids
-Max clinging to my hip & screaming like a deranged spider monkey who was drunk on bad bananas
-We brought a globe from home to show the kids where the boxes were going. New Guinea was a possible location, but no one knew where New Guinea was???
-At one point, someone asked me if I was okay. I said no, I think I need a drink. I don't know what my expression was doing, I thought I was keep pretty calm for a baby screaming in my face, all while instructing the kids to lay their itty bitty hands on their boxes so that we can pray for the precious child who shall receive his/her box.
-Afterwards, Henry stated Wish I was poor and lived in another country, so I could get a shoebox full of toys.
The night after our first go, I kept laughing, laughing at the whole shoebox scene & laughing at how I keep forgetting to keep my expectations LOW with kids and ideas like these. But God reminded me that you gotta keep at it. It is your job to teach them they are not the center of this universe & they need to be in tune with hurt of others. And reminded me that mission mamas is not about the mamas (it needs a new name).

So we went for #2.

The second one was to make Blessing Bags.
I was familiar with this one, actually my friend Jennifer got this project together a couple of years ago. Essentially, you stuff bags up with goodies, keep them in your car & hand them to someone who may need it out on the streets. And after I met Anthony at the Jackson Starbucks, I knew this was the project we needed to do. I go to area wifi spots on my days kid-free and do my graphic design work. So I was enjoying my
few hours in the zone when I noticed a little guy come sit next to me. I didn't automatically know he was homeless when I saw him, but when he sat 2 feet from me-I could not ignore his smell and thus realized he had to be without a home. Goodness. I got fidgety. There I was working on a Christian newsletter for one of my clients and here was a guy 2 feet from me that I needed to acknowledge in a natural, somewhat normal way. I wanted to add something good to his day. So I decided to go get him a coffee. I quietly slid it his way and told him I got this for him. He smiled and went and got 6 splendas and fixed it up right. I introduced myself and that was it. Then my kid-free time was over and went. I can't quit thinking about Anthony and how he needs so much for than just a cup of coffee. Tonight temps are freezing, we brought our plants in. I keep thinking about Anthony. He is cold somewhere-freezing. Tonight,  I went into my closet & closed the door (when I was supposed to be helping with bathtime) and cried thinking of him and so many who are cold to the bone tonight. I found this prayer and said out loud. It was nice to have this beautiful prayer when I was at such a loss. But my addition to this prayer was to let me see the hurting, bring them into my world. Let me not ignore them. I'm praying for another encounter with Anthony. I can get stuck in the sad place-"the why is there so much hurt in the world, Jesus-just come on back NOW" place. I don't want to be stuck, I want to be used by Him. These bags will not make a dent in the hunger/homeless crisis in Jackson, MS. But I pray it will let this person know they are not forgotten or ignored. And I pray it will help my kids look out for the hurting & not be scared to reach out.

 We got our supples: gatorade, nabs, granola bars, snack mix & brown sacks.
 I made these cards for the kids to color and sign their names to, which would be placed in the bags (template below).

 Sweet Ella Kate, stuffing it up.

I swiped the post from Ella Kate's mom. Too much going on for me to document it.

recent invites

THANK-YOUS ($1) & INVITES ($1.25) & return labels included for quantities of 30+
Sizes: 5x7, 4x9, 4x6
bah-humbug, NO Christmas cards though

 JUMP ZONE party.
  HORSE party highlighting artwork from the bday girl!
 Painting party
Painting party #2



Halloween is a crowd favorite over here. Stirs up so much fun! Love it. The candy, the excuse to wear a custom, the fall air, pumpkin patches, etc. Keep me away from the haunted houses and those scary movies-not cool. Even the scary movie previews-geez.

Here is here/there/everywhere of Halloween.

^^^ A painted pumpkin request from my friend Brooke for her daughter's pumpkin painting party. Above is the invite.
And most likely a form of baby abuse, but Max is wearing a crab costume intended for a x-large dog. Got it at Petco. Ruthie & Henry were disturbed by this. We did not tell Max.

 ^^^^^^ Oh, heavens. This was a Hween bday party we went to. I attempted to get the 3 in the shot and this is the result. Ariel looks like she is about to eat a crab with her fork (or dinglehopper). BTW, my love language is that Tim will dress in a costume because I asked him to...and we were supposed to both be a bag of jelly bellies. But my dollar tree bag of balloons only had brown balloons-so was prompted to become a box of Milk Duds instead.
Caroline Reed and Ruthie.
Ruthie and a bestie both wanted to be Ariel, complete with out of control red wigs.
Above are from Ruthie's Weekday Preschool party. These are the girls that make her happiest (included the preschool director-dressed as big bird).

 Henry boy with this Hween self-portrait.
 Hween party fun.
 Another hween party. Henry said that ninjas do not like mermaids and would not stand next to her for a pic.
 Cousins: Elizabeth & Ruthie.
 Wednesday night at church, teaching kids with pink noses.

 These girls are still Ruthie's friend even though she doesn't wear bows.
Pumpking patchin' it.