Operation Christmas Child

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The kids and I have really enjoyed participating in Operation Christmas Child for the second year in a row.  For those of you who don’t know about this mission, I recommend you visit the Samaritan’s Purse website and learn all about it.  The kids have watched so many of the videos (I get teary with all of them). They love to watch the children’s faces when they receive their boxes.  Their favorite is this video (click here) and now want to watch Duck Dynasty.

Operation Christmas Child has delivered over 100,000,000 shoe boxes to children all over the world.  For many this is the only gift that they will ever receive.  Shoe boxes include small toys, hygiene products, candy, art supplies and lots of love. There are some items you can not include (chocolate, toys related to war, liquids etc.).

Last year I helped to create two boxes with my MOPS group.  This year our family helped to make 4 boxes.  The kids in our co-op made 7 boxes, my sister and mom did another box and our small MOPS group did 12 boxes.  The church where our MOPS group meets is a collection site for Operation Christmas child and this week is the week for collection.  They are expecting over 1,000 boxes at their site and it is just one collection site of 4,000 across the country.

It is not too late to pack a shoe box and change the life of a child.  You have until Monday to pack it and drop it off at a collection site (click here to find one) or you can pack a virtual box online.

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3 Generation Road Trip

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This weekend Z and I went with my dad down to NJ/NY to visit with family.  We only see them about once a year and so it was nice to get down there to be with all of them.  It was a jam packed weekend and Z was a trooper as we spent a TON of time in the car.

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About an hour in to the journey….

Early Saturday morning, my dad, Z and I all got in the car and headed south.  Our first stop on the family road trip was to see my aunt in NY.  My cousin’s fiance Sandy was there as well and we enjoyed a nice lunch with both of them.  It was great to catch up with my Aunt Lucia and get to know Sandy better.  The food was great and my aunt bent over backwards to accommodate all of our food needs.  It was a great way to start our trip (Thanks Aunt Lucia!!).

Our second stop was my great aunt’s house on the NYC/NJ border.  We had visited she and my cousin Mary Lou on our road trip over the summer and it was nice to see them again so soon.  Two of my dad’s siblings and two of my cousins rounded out the gathering.  I hadn’t seen my cousin Chris in about 10 years and it was great to see him.

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We visited for a bit and then headed out for an early dinner.  My great aunt is 93 years young and so spry and fun to chat with.  She wasn’t going to join us at the restaurant because she wasn’t feeling well but after visiting for a bit, “jumped” up and said, “I’m going and I am going to have a beer!”.   I am glad she rallied because it was fun to hear the family stories around the table at dinner.

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A picture of my great Aunt, taken by Z

After that visit, we headed to the hotel.  Z was MOST excited about this and couldn’t wait to see the room and check out the pool.  We got to relax for a bit and Z took a quick swim before we headed to our next destination.

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Lake Friends!!

Good friends from the lake live only 25 minutes from where we were staying and so we couldn’t pass up the chance to see them.  We enjoyed a short but fun visit with them.  Z was getting punchy by this time and really just wanted to go back to the hotel to relax.  You can’t really blame him, it was 8pm and he had had a long day of driving and listening to adults chat.

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Such a fun day!

Sunday morning brought an adventure just for Z!  After breakfast we headed to Legoland Discovery Center in NY.  We had been there before a year and a half ago but that didn’t hinder Z’s excitement.  He was bouncing off the walls and soooo excited to share this adventure with Chi Chi.

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NYC in LEGOs

We had a great time at Legoland and hit everything.  On the way home we hit my favorite deli, Reins.  I got a bucket o pickles and we had lunch.  It was a great way to end our weekend.

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LEGO race track, Z won

We had a really great weekend.  It was fun to spend time with my dad and see so many people.  It was our first 3 generation road trip and I hope it was the first of many more to come!

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Oh What a Night….

This episode of Friends, season 7 was top of mind for me last night.  I was alone, as Scott is traveling and I was exhausted when I tumbled into bed at 10:30PM.  Here is how the night went down…..

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10:30PM–Go to bed and fall asleep about 30 minutes later.

1:30AM–I am awoken abruptly but unsure why.  Get up to look around and find nothing.

2:30AM–I am awoken abruptly again, this time I hear a beep.  I groggily remember the last time this happened it was the CO meter needing a new battery.  I work to disengage it (such a noisy process and Z wakes up) and take the battery out.  I head back to bed.

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3:30AM–Just as I am falling asleep the horrid beep is heard AGAIN!?!?!  This time I realize it was not the CO meter but the smoke alarm.  I head downstairs to search for batteries and find nothing.  I then take the battery out and I am greeted with a series of beeps (this wakes up Z again).  I run downstairs and grab the battery from the CO meter and place it in the smoke alarm.  All is quiet……

4:30AM–I toss and turn while waiting for that piercing beep to go off again.  Snow is falling outside my window, why is snow falling in November?!?!  I then fall asleep, realizing that I have ended it for now.

5:30AM–”Mommy I’m scared!”  It is not the horrid beep but a wee child who says she is scared of the dark.  I tell her it is night and she runs back to bed.  On her way she turns on EVERY light in her path.  I am forced to get up and shut off some lights and shut doors so that Z and I are not disturbed.

7:11 AM–Z and C run in to wake me up and let me know there is snow on the ground.  I roll over EXHAUSTED and let them know that we need to go and get batteries today.  From now on, I am following the Change Your Batteries in your Smoke/CO Alarms Day on Day Light Savings Day.

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A Great Weekend

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The weekend was a busy one but full of adventure for all.  It started off with Lil’C and I babysitting the twins for the first time while Scott and Z went out to breakfast, worked on the bathroom and did yard work.

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Lii’C and I were excellent babysitters and we kept those sweet babies quiet and happy (for the most part).  They were awake for most of the time and we enjoyed snuggling, singing and playing with them.

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Saturday night Z went to the UNH hockey game with ChiChi, his cousin G and Uncle Marc.  They went out to dinner, played pool and had a GREAT time at the game.

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Lil’C had a sleepover with her cousin Jiggy and Scott and I headed off to Maine for a 40th birthday party for my dear friend Sarah.  On the way to the party, we stopped off at a little Mexican restaurant for a quick date night of appetizers and drinks.  Scott and I haven’t had a date since the summer, so it was nice to get away for a bit.

The party was great and it was so nice to celebrate this special birthday with Sarah.  I couldn’t believe how perfectly the stars aligned so that were were able to make the two hour trip up and back to see her.

Sunday morning Scott and I headed to church alone as the kids were still with my parents.  We were blessed with another date and went out to breakfast and picked out tile for the downstairs.  It was nice to have so much one on one time with Scott over the weekend.

Sunday afternoon, Scott headed down to work and the kids and I snuggled in front of the fire and watched a few episodes of the Brady Bunch.  We were all sooooo exhausted from our late nights and crazy weekend that a little downtime was just what we needed.  I hope you had a good weekend!

A few more pictures….

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Lil’C’s thankful turkey with “accessories”.  She added a crown and gown.  We add a feather each night.

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We are studying the Vikings

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We made Viking ships and hats

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A Flurry of Activity

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The Halloween Crew!

I wish there was more time in my life for blogging right now.  The season I am in right now has me whirling around from place to place and project to project and thus there is little time left for this space.  I am hoping come winter, time will slow down a bit and there will be more time to share all of the fun and wonderful things going on in our lives.  For now, I will use pictures  to share a few things happening in our neck of the woods.  Happy November to all!

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Mommy and son penguins!

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The Princess Coach on Halloween Night! Ariel and Elsa

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Good-bye closet in our Bathroom!!

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C found Mikey

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Z doing his Narragansett Indian Presentation

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Can you guess what we are studying now??

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Yes, Vikings! We just finished Food Chains and have moved on to the Vikings :)

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Working hard on his 4th newspaper

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We LOVE Fall!!

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The Tale of Two Elsa Dresses

IMG_4213Once upon a time there were 8 million little girls was a little girl who wanted to be Elsa for Halloween. Despite her mother suggesting she dress as Anna or Olaf, she wanted to dress as her beloved Elsa.  They searched the land in September for a dress that would be suitable for the little girl but had great difficulty.  It turns out that affordable size 6 dresses with a train that look like a “real” Elsa dress were hard to come by.

Then they entered a magical kingdom called Etsy.  An affordable dress just like the little girl wanted could be handmade in the Philippines and sent to the little girl in America by the middle of the September!  The mother placed her order and the little girl jumped up and down with glee.

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About a week before the dress was supposed to arrive, the mother checked in on the order and the shop had DISAPPEARED! What type of magic was this?  No more shop….No more money!  The kingdoms of Etsy and Paypal would do nothing until the ship date and so another week went by.  After this week the shop was still missing and the kingdoms of Etsy and Paypal said there was NOTHING they could do!  The shop had disappeared in both kingdoms!!! So with no money and no dress….what was this mother to do??

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The mother found a suitable dress in the Kingdom of Amazon and had the new dress within two days.  Now she had spent FAR more than she wanted on this Elsa dress and so she went to a higher authority and tried to stop the payment on her credit card for the first dress.  In time the payment was reversed, the little girl was happy with her new dress (though it didn’t have the long train) and all was right with the world.

Then three weeks later, what should arrive in the mail!?!?!?  You guessed it….the original handmade Elsa dress!  A beautiful crafted work of art with a detachable train.  The mother and little girl could not BELIEVE that the shop had reappeared!  No note, no explaination….just a beautiful dress for Halloween.

Mother called the higher authority and had the charges “reversed” once again.  She then looked down at the two Elsa dresses and wondered, “What do I do???” Just then her “fairy godmother” and good friend from down the street offered to buy the dress from the kingdom of Amazon for her little girl.  The mother was overjoyed and so grateful to her “fairy godmother” and so the dress was sold.

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The little girl LOVED her Elsa dress so much and was looking forward to freezing on Halloween night with all of the other little Elsa’s in the Northeast.  Her brother Sir Penguin would at least be warm in his costume!

The End

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The Gift of Time and Space

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This weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to attend my third Mosaic of Faith weekend retreat in the beautiful town of Duxbury. Each retreat has been so special for me and I have taken away something different with each one.

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This year’s retreat was unique in that the four women attending, each presented one of the of the four sessions over the weekend.  Usually my dear friend Claire, the founder of Mosaic of Faith, is our fearless leader and host for the entire weekend.  This year we all took turns preparing meals, we all helped to set up the space, all led sessions and all got to enjoy all of the moments of the beautiful weekend.  It was so nice to see Claire so relaxed rather than running around making sure that every detail was perfect and that all were enjoying themselves.

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You cannot help but relax and reflect when you are on these retreats.  The indoor space is cozy and the outdoor space is ABSOLUTE magic.  Between the beach along the bay, the sprawling lawn, the natural labyrinth, the wooded path down to the beach or the bridge that crosses the marsh….it is filled with wildlife and wonder.

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This years sessions were as unique as the beautiful presenters presenting them. We had such a great experience learning and growing together.  I feel so grateful to Claire for bringing us all together and to the other two women for sharing so much of themselves this weekend.  I am also VERY grateful to my in-laws for taking such great care of my children and to Scott for always making time for this weekend to happen.

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This weekend was a gift, a gift of time and space to reflect, learn and grow.  I am so grateful to all that made it happen.  Thank you!

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Friday Finds….The Race to Nowhere in Youth Sports

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An interesting read for all but especially those of us with youth playing sports.  Click Here to read the article by John Sullivan.

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My Baby is FIVE!!!

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I know they say Time Flies..but FIVE?!?!  Where did my sweet little baby go? Lil’C has been very sweet this birthday with extra hugs and encouraging words for me.  “It’s okay mama, I am five now, it’s okay.  I am still your little girl but I need to be five.”

She is right, she does need to be five but I still want permission to take a step back today and say, “WOW!  When did that little 6 pound baby that shot into this world (literally) turn into such an amazing little person?”

IMG_4444Lil’C is a person who is not afraid to show her emotions.  When she is happy, the whole world is happy along with her.  When she is upset or mad…WATCH OUT….her screams and “tears” can be hear round the globe!!  Lil’C is an enthusiastic and creative little being who brings so much joy to our family and this world.  She loves hard and we are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Happy Birthday Lil’C!!!

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Friday Finds….Non-Toy Ideas for the Holidays

IMG_3301Hello all!  It has been a long time since I have done a Friday Finds and I decided to start up again by sharing this great old blog post about Non-Toy Ideas for the holidays.

I don’t know about you but I get easily overwhelmed by all of the gifts given to my kids for the holidays.  Some of my favorite gifts are those that are practical, educational or experiences that the kids can do at a later time.  My kids have been given Theater Tix, Sporting Event Tix, money towards their music classes, coupon books for adventures, sleeping bags, magazine subscriptions and Scott and I always give them a museum membership every holiday.  These gifts don’t take up much space (if any) and create memories that last beyond the holidays.

So click here to find 100 ideas for non-toy gifts for this holiday season.

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