Teaching My Boys Gratitude


I remember the first time I ever helped put together packages for families in need. I was about 9 or 10 years old and our church was hosting a holiday food and supplies drive. The gym at our church building was brimming with people, canned goods and non-perishable foods, personal care items and boxes. I was plopped into the canned goods and boxed food section of the assembly line. There were hundreds of cans of green beans and piles of stuffing and cake mix, among various other foods.

There are this many families who would be going without a holiday dinner if it weren't for us, I thought to myself, somewhat alarmed and awestruck. Being the youngest of eight, our resources were somewhat limited at times, but I never went without food and the basic necessities to maintain a happy life. I had no clue what it was like to go without, and a part of my little soul ached for these people. It ached for the other 10-year old girls like me who lived with uncertainty every morning as they awoke if they were going to have food to eat that day. I was very young and that experience brought a whole new perspective to my small, sheltered world.

Gratitude is often said to be the key to to happiness in life. Practiced daily, it can transform life from a cold and resentful place to one of light and joy, even in the most dire of circumstances. Matt and I have experienced our own shifts in our outlooks on life when we have cultivated a grateful attitude. And it truly is life-changing.

Our goal as parents is to teach our boys gratitude. Starting now at this phase in their lives. We are diligent in teaching them to say "thank you" and try to help them understand exactly what it means. Luke is starting to understand. We are also mindfully seeking for opportunities to pair that gratitude with service and have a holiday tradition of helping out families in need.

As we went to hand out fliers for a neighborhood food drive a few days ago, I explained to Luke what we were doing. "You know how your tummy feels when you are hungry? Well, some little boys and girls don't have food to eat, so we are going to find food to give to them so their tummies don't hurt."

I could tell he was trying to process what I was saying as he scooted alongside me. After we finished handing out all the fliers, Luke looked up to me and said, "We find food for boys and guhls, so der tummies feel bettah." I was filled with so much warmth at the sweetness and concern in his eyes. I am not sure if he really understood, but that moment was charged with love.

Gratitude, coupled with service, is the ultimate form of love and charity, and that is what I aim to teach our boys. There will be plenty of faltering and failing as a parent, but I know that if I set those basic, yet profound principles for them, few other things will matter. All of their goodness and kindness will stem from that foundation.

Count all your blessings, tell the people in your life you love them, and enjoy your time with your family and friends this weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!
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Cute Holiday Card Ideas

Have you ordered your Christmas cards yet? I always feel like I am pushing the envelope (ha!) on getting our cards out by an acceptable time. (Which means at least by Christmas Day.) In fact, this last year we didn't even get a real one out! It was an e-card, but it's the thought that counts right? I blamed it on having a newborn. (Always an excellent excuse for pretty much anything, so if you have a newborn, you better take advantage before your time runs out! I suggest adding nightly foot massages to your list.)

Well, this year I am acting like a bonafide adult and getting our cards done professionally AND out on time! I have always loved the designs from Minted, and I am absolutely thrilled we get to team up with them to order our cards this year. Their charm and colors are right up my alley and I love all of the hand lettered details and illustrations. They don't miss out on the details — even the envelopes are cute!

Above I've selected my favorites. Now the problem is choosing one! What is your vote? I think I have it narrowed down to middle left, bottom left, and bottom right. But I can't be too sure. I really like bottom middle, top right, and top middle as well... so, basically all of them ;) Help!

Be sure to check out Minted if you are looking to order cute holiday cards this year, too! They have some great Cyber Monday sales coming up. Also, I'll be back in a couple weeks to reveal the Christmas card we selected. Happy holiday card shopping!

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A Random Thing Or Two-sday


The Quaintrelle Tee c/o Corilynn & Co
LOFT Ruffled Collar Trench Coat (similar)
H&M Imitation Leather Pants (similar)
Merona Bow Cloche Hat (updated style)
Mossimo Gail Ankle Strap Open Pump
Bella France Lip Pencil in Red

1. Let's talk about this tee. It's one you end up wearing with everything. It's comfy like a shirt I would sleep in, but chic enough to pair with some pumps and red lips, or dress it down with some jeans, flats and a baseball cap. (The latter is what I wear 95% of the time.) I am sure you have heard of Corilynn & Co from their beautiful skirts and dresses, yes? If no, you have to go look at them, stat. Also, they just launched a tee line and I am obsessed. FYI, "quaintrelle" means "a woman who emphasizes a life of passion, expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life's pleasures." Ummm, yeeeesssss to all of that! I will happily make that my life's motto. Also, let's talk about cloche hats for a quick sec! I have had this cute hat for almost two years and this is the first time I have worn it! Either my hair was too long or too short, so I have decided that the perfect length of hair for cloche hats is shoulder length. In case you have a problem wearing your cloche hat too. :)

2. Fact: Approximately 270 million turkeys are sold annually every Thanksgiving. That is about 7 billion pounds of turkey, which is about $3 billion in sales (source). That's A LOT of tryptophan pumping through people's bodies. No wonder everyone is so crazy on Black Friday! We are all just a bunch of tired chumps still trying to digest our billions of dollars of turkey.

3. So there is this girl at the local Old Navy who looks like me. Well, I guess I should say from the eyes up we look identical, although her eyebrows are shaped differently than mine, but they are the same color and texture and whatever. Anyway, the first time I saw her I was like, "Whoa! That girl looks like me! But her teeth and mouth are different... and her nose is a little more pointed... and her face shape is a little more square than mine." The next time I went in she was working at the register again, when another girl said to me, "You look a lot like our employee over there! Like, you guys could be sisters!" K, so now here is the kicker. I told Matt about this girl, so on Saturday we went in specifically to see if this look-alike was working. Within 10 seconds of entering the store, the greeter stares at me with a quizzical brow and says, "Wow, you look REALLY familiar. Wait a minute — you look like a girl who works here!" At this point I am absolutely gobsmacked and Matt starts laughing at loud. I tried to politely ask the girl, "No way! Where is she?!" so I could see her, but I already KNEW who she was and it was terribly awkward exchange between us after that. Neither of us knew what to say and she stealthily backed away into a rack of clothes within five seconds. Matt finally saw the girl and he was like, "Hmmm, I don't know. I could see how maybe she could be your little sister?" All I know is that every time I see her, I have what I would imagine a Parent Trap moment to feel like. What if?! (Could you imagine finding out you had a lost twin or a half sister?) Anyway, have you seen your own look-alike in person before? It's a bizarre feeling.

4. Look at what these dogs do when they are placed in a photo booth! So flippin' cute.

5. Would you rather eat your weight in fruit snacks or marshmallows?