Thursday, November 22, 2012

# 20 We are grateful for our connnection with you.

I am a firm believer that the people that are in your life are there for a reason.    If anything our experiment has helped us see ourselves in others and others in ourselves.  As a mother I can't think of a better outcome! We are so thankful for you in our lives.  I have a favorite poem, I'm not a poem girl so this is actually my only favorite poem.  As I was thinking over the last 20 days this poem comes to mind and sums us the lesson that I would like my children to most embrace.  Happy Thanksgiving!

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

# 19 We are grateful for each other!

Today we went down by Jason's work and took him out to lunch.  We are so grateful for him.  He is the one who has made charity and thankfulness a priority in our family.  I'm so thankful that he allows us to use our resources in this way, even if some of our projects put him out of his comfort zone;) We love you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

# 18 We are grateful for teachers!

We love our school and our teachers.  So today we got treats for our teachers from One Sweet Slice , who btw won Cupcake Wars.  Their cupcakes are yummy but the real kicker is that they have Macarons, not the dry icky coconutty ones (well they have those too) these are the real french almond flour kind.  The blue ones are filled with carmel and cream cheese frosting!  As much as I would like to say I am supporting small business, really I went there so I could pick up some more macarons. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

# 17 We are grateful for surprises!

Cannon stayed up REALLY late last night so this morning he did not want to get out of bed, said he had a stomach ache, I told him he could stay home from school, I think it surprised him.  He is a good student, works hard, I think he deserves a break every so often.  By lunchtime he was feeling better so we went out to lunch of his choosing. On our way out we left quarters on top of all the toy/candy machines...a fun surprise for some little person. 

Cannon and Kai helped me work on another fun project for this evening.  We stamped our trademark on 25 envelopes then stuck a note that said

Please do something nice for yourself.  Go out to dinner, buy a book, or get your nails done.  We are grateful for your place in this world, whoever you are. Remember you are special, loved and important. 

and then added some cash in each envelope.  On the outside we put a sticker than said "If you find this please open."
We surprised the kids tonight and took them to a Utah Jazz game, which they knew about, and took the train, which was the surprise part.  Gigi was especially excited!  All through the evening we stuck our envelopes in fun places to be found by strangers; on the seats on the train, taped to the window, on the ticket machine, in the bathroom stall, on a drinking fountain, on a bench, a tree, a ketchup dispenser, on a seat at the game.  We gave envelopes to panhandlers as well as four young men who gave up their seats on the train so our family could sit.  We only got to see one envelope being opened.  It was on the train on the way there.  A young man got on the train sat down, pulled his hood and headphones on and slumped down in his chair.  About 5 minutes later he noticed the envelope, looked around suspiciously then opened it.  Folded it up and put it in his backpack, then about five minutes later he opened his backpack took it out and read it again then put it in his pocket.  Took off his headphones and hood and started chatting with the people around him, giving directions, talking about the Jazz.  Awww, none of the kids said anything just watched but we were all thrilled we had brightened his day.  Of course, when we got off at our stop we looked back at the train and he was busy running through the train pulling off all the envelopes we had left...oh well, guess we REALLY brightened his day!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

# 16 We are grateful for grocery stores!

Tonight we visited another neat organization that provides livestock to communities/families in developing countries.  They have a catalog of farm animals and you can purchase them for families that need them. We had fun picking out animals and ended up donating a flock of geese, a flock of ducks, a flock of chickens, a heifer, a llama, and a goat.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

# 15 We are grateful for rainbows and silver linings!

Cash and I were in the drive through line for breakfast at McDonald's today when a man in the order lane next to us laid on his horn, apparently because the person in front of him was taking too long to order.  What do you know, our lanes merged and we ended up in front of Mr. Impatient.  Cash said we should buy his meal, so we did! Look at the gift we got in return...beautiful!

Friday, November 16, 2012

# 14 We are grateful for our home!

This was Cannon's project, he actually wanted to do it last Friday but we had a huge snowstorm and I was worried about driving in it.  Cannon really wanted to take sack lunches to the homeless.  Gigi and I made lunches while the rest of the kiddos were at school.  We picked the kids up from school and headed downtown.  We weren't sure where to go but knew that there are usually several people that stand near the Catholic Charities building by The Gateway, so that is where we went.  We were sadly surprised by how many people we found in front of the building.  I would say maybe 70 to 100 people.  I had imagined us all getting out of the car and handing out lunches and wishing everyone a happy thanksgiving, happy, happy, joy.  The fact is when we drove up it was kind of scary.  I asked Cannon to help me get the meals out, the rest of the kids stayed in the car and just stared out the window and the large mob that surrounded our now measly looking pile of lunches.  19 lunches, 2 sleeping bags and one bag of doggie treats were gone in about 10 seconds.  Several people asked if we had anything else we could give.  One young man in particular who could not have been older than 17 or 18 followed me to the back of the car when I was putting my box away and pleaded for something, anything.  His eyes looked so sad.  All I could find was a box of tissues.  Now I'm kicking myself for not giving him the $5 bill I had in my pocket, I didn't even remember it until it was too late.  I could tell Cannon was a bit shaken.  I think we were both thinking it would feel a little more rewarding; instead we both left thinking we should have done more.  When we were driving away he said "Mom, next time we do this we need to think this through a little better.  We need to put the lunches in a cardboard box that we can leave there so we don't have to see the faces of the people we didn't help."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

# 13 We are grateful for awesome neighbors!

Today we ran an errand for a neighbor whom we adore,she doesn't currently have a working vehicle.  Another adored neighbor really hurt her back and was in a lot of pain so we gave her a prepaid visit to my acupuncturist/chiropractor.  We love our neighbors!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

# 12 We are grateful for adoption!

Adoption is such an awesome part our lives so today's project is near and dear to our heats.  Reece's Rainbow is the most amazing organization, it helps place Downs Syndrome and other Special Needs kids from countries like Russia and the Ukraine; where they are destined for certain institutionalization, with families in the U.S.  I can spend hours and many boxes of tissues reading the adoption blogs of families meeting their special angel for the first time.  Tonight we sat down with the kids and went through EVERY photolisting looking for kiddos that spoke to our hearts.  Each kid chose a child that they would like to give a donation.  The donations go to help with costs for the adoptive families who choose them.  Some of these adoption can cost close to 50K plus medical bills they will incur back in the states.  Here are the "angels" that stole our hearts
Vivian chose little Edna and Cannon chose Jamison, they both have Downs Syndrome. 

Cash picked out Zeke, isn't he a cutie?
Kai was adamant about Cooper, maybe because he could be Cooper's twin?  Same twinkle in his eye.  Cooper has no use of his legs.
Gigi didn't get to pick, she was already in bed so I got to make her pick.  If you are wondering - yes, we all fell in love and we all asked Jason if there is any way we could bring this angel home.  His exact words were "If we can go three weeks without a kid sleeping in our bed I will consider it."  That's a no.
Beautiful Beatrice.
11/20/12 UPDATE - Today Kai was sweetly playing (not the norm) with one of Gigi's baby dolls.  I told him how kind he was being and he said "Oh I know, I am just practicing for when I get to take care of Cooper".  Awww he thought we were picking out kiddos to live with us, and he was fine with that!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

# 11 We are grateful for books!

Today we took treats to the library.  While we were handing out cookie bags, Gigi was busy taking books of the shelf and then running through the alarms to the book return to see it go through the cool machine then screaming with delight when it emptied into the bin.  I really think the biggest gift to the librarians and library patrons was us leaving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

#10 We are grateful for protection and encouragement!

Today I did my own little project.  Last week I received the sweetest encouragement from a stranger.  I found out her work address and sent her a little surprise.

We had big plans for today but, whoops, forgot it was Veteran's Day.  We had little bags of cookies ready but the police station was locked up tight.  We did find three officers in their patrol cars in the police station parking lot.  One of them even gave us badges and rulers after we gave them our bag of cookies.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

# 9 We are grateful for the people we have yet to meet in our lives!

This is such a cool site,  its called Gift a Stranger and it gives you a random address and a google map pic of their house, then you can send them a gift.  We decided to send a Polar Express DVD to the random person who lives in Chicago.  It was so fun we had to do another so we sent a Nim's Island DVD to someone in Cincinnati.  Its addicting!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

# 8 We are grateful for our extended family!

Our Uncle Cody was with us for the morning so after breakfast we took him to Scheels for a Ferris wheel ride.  We bought a couple extra Ferris wheel token and the kids placed them around the store for other kiddos to find. (well Viv actually just accidentally lost hers somewhere, so hopefully it was found) We also taped and note and dollar on one of the shooting gallery machines.  Fun day, thanks for spending it with us Uncle Cody!

Friday, November 9, 2012

# 7 We are grateful for having...

Today we all stayed after school to help with Operation Christmas Child .   The kids packed boxes with toys, toiletries, candy, and homemade christmas cards to send to kids living in poverty.  I'd like to say that my kids felt so fortunate to have all the toys and clothes we could want but instead both Viv and Kai fell in love with the boxes they filled and threw a fit when I told them they were not theirs to keep.  Teaching kids about poverty is so difficult, they just can't imagine a world of not having...wish I knew better how to teach this lesson.  I guess gratitude is the key.

After that we finally got to do a project we'd been planning.  We went to the Dollar store and taped dollars with our little calling card on fun toys and games.  Hopefully some little one will find it and feel like he has won the lottery!
 UPDATE:  I added this picture of Vivian, she spent her entire evening making 15 beautiful holiday cards to give out to people she doesn't know that just need a surprise...I love her.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

# 6 We are grateful for drive throughs when we are in a hurry!

Today Viv had vision therapy after school and the big boys had appointments at the eye doctor.  Looks like reading glasses for Cash.  He was very serious about choosing his glasses so we tried all the boy glasses on a couple times and finally decided on a pair of blue thick rims, very handsome.  Afterwards we went throug the Chick Filet drive through and bought dinner for the car behind us.  Here is the picture we took of the car behind us ordering their FREE meal (say it Cafe Rio style).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

# 5 We are grateful for theater class and the confidence it has given us!

The big kids have theater class after school.  There is a about 40 minutes between school getting out and class starting.  I usually come sometime during that 40 minutes and bring my kids a snack.  There are usually a few other kiddos that ask if they could have a snack too.  Sometimes I have extra sometimes I don't but today we brought enough snacks for everyone!  Cash was our hander outer.  

We had more "Be Kind" plans for later that evening too but a friend needed us to watch her girls for a couple of hours...perfect! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

# 4 We are grateful for kind people!

Kai and Gigi and I spent the day out running errands today.  Needed to run off a little steam so we stopped by the park by the big kids' school.  After a little swinging and sliding we did a quick garbage pick-up.  Then left another diapering kit and air freshener in the women's rest room.
We picked up the big kids after the park and set out to deliver 3 beautiful pots of flowers we had picked up earlier in the day.  The first delivery went to someone we knew (but we left it anonymously).  The second pot we left on a complete stranger's door.
Our last pot of flowers went to Cannon's sweet school friend who passed away nearly a year ago from a brain tumor.  He was an amazing kid who inspired so many in his short life (including us).

Monday, November 5, 2012

# 3 We are grateful for living in the town we live in!

Ok today we got to do Cash's idea which I was so much fun.  We set up a treasure hunt, we hide little toys and bottles of bubbles all over Draper Park then put up these signs.


 Then we ran back in the car and watched kids figure out the signs and run around like crazy looking for treasures.
We also left a little kit with diapers and wipes in the women's restroom and left air fresheners in both the men's and women's stalls.  Fun times!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

# 2 We are grateful for having good food abundantly!

Daylight savings today so we gained an hour.  Which means Viv and Cash were up at 5:30 too.  So we loaded up for a sneaky breakfast out, at IHOP, our fav.  Before we went in I told them to keep their eyes open for a table they would like to do kindness on.  Just before we were leaving Viv spotted a table in the corner with a little girl, she decided that should be the table.  So we paid for our meal and then got a gift certificate for the table with the little girl.  Viv was going to set in on their table and then run back but chickened out so Cash went with her.  We also left a little gift for our waitress. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

# 1 We are grateful for our Grandparents who love us.

Cash has an awesome idea for a project next week so we had to make a few stops today to gather our supplies.  Can't wait to share his idea.  Today we also gathered up some of the kiddos recent artwork and sent it to grandma along with a bunch of rubber stamps (from the friend that gave us the stamps we are using for our calling cards).  She sent the kids Halloween cards that she had made for them and they loved them, I think they loved that they were so personalized.  Anyhow she is quite talented in card making so I think she will really put these stamps to good use. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ok we are ready for 20 days of Gratefulness, Kindness, and Happiness.  We have a list of brilliant ideas partially taken from a couple of inspirational blog posts and  also this heartfelt obituary I found in my hometown newspaper and some other amazing ideas that the kids have come up with (and a few we may not get to, like give everyone a puppy.).  Just finished up our little calling cards, which we made from stamps that a kind friend gave to us.  The fun starts tomorrow!
We are starting a new project for the month of November!  We are calling it Bee Grateful, Bee Kind, Bee Happy...Just Bee.  We are hoping to do dozens of acts of kindness and along the way learn some lessons about being grateful, kind and happy!