Shoeboxes for Boys Ages 2-4

We packed our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes early this year! We went shopping as a family today to pick up the final items. I'm looking forward to carrying this on as a tradition as our little boy grows. Our plan is to pack shoeboxes for boys "close" to our son's age, and at this point, that's the 2-4 year old category!

Here's what we picked and packed in each box for boys ages 2-4:

- beanie baby
- two toothbrushes
- bandaids
- toy car
- sticker book
- three plastic dinosaurs
- shirt (size XS 4/5)
- washcloth
- bandana
- 24 count pack of crayons
- sketch book

We're looking forward to getting these shoeboxes shipped out later this year, and we are praying that these simple gifts help show the love of Christ to the boys who receive them. Learn more about Operation Christmas child here.

Reverse Bucket List

I've made reverse bucket list: a compilation of some of the amazing things I've had the opportunity to experience! Making this list was a great exercise in gratitude, and maybe I'll keep adding to it as I remember more things down the road! What would you have on your list?1. Learned to make paper cranes.
2. Saw the Taj Mahal in person.
3. Observed a surgery in the Dominican Republic.
4. Got married.
5. Adopted a child.
6. Read all of Jane Austen's novels aloud with my sister.
7. Started a blog.
8. Played violin in the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony.
9. Acted in multiple plays.
10. Adopted a rescue animal.
11. Volunteered in the dementia ward at a nursing home.
12. Taught English and shared my faith in Poland when I was a teenager.
13. Trained for and kept up with everyone on a 4-day backpacking trip in Manistee Forest the summer before my senior year of high school.
14. Paid off my car and student loans.
15. Participated in writing a pilot sitcom episode with other coll…

My Little-Known Talents - Part 2!

I have some leftover "talents" that I acquired while in elementary school. Really it's just a bunch of memorization that stuck with me for decades! ;)
Do you have anything memorized from a long time ago that's still easy to recite to this day?

Reciting the alphabet backwards
Reciting the books of the Old Testament in one breath
Reciting the 50 states in alphabetical order

My Little-Known Talents - Part 1!

I have a small, random assortment of talents that just don't belong on a resume. And they're not things I generally show off to family and friends in person ... because let's face it ... that would be a little weird. Haha!

But I've decided to be brave and do a little blog series honoring these little-known talents that I possess. I'm starting off with a couple of odd things I can do with my fingers! Let me know if you can do either of these, or if you have any strange talents of your own you'd like to share.

Bending my thumb to my arm

Triple crossing my fingers

50 Things That Instantly Make My Day Better

Dairy-free chocolate (this is my fave)Weightlifting at the gymWorking out on an elliptical machineHearing my son laughSoft blanketsHearing people I love say "I love you"Reading a good novelSpending time with GodExploringGlow-in-the-dark stars and planetsShoweringBeing an encouragement to someoneSinging, especially in harmonyListening to Owl City musicWatching Ellie and JaredHugsWritingCatching up with an old friendMaking a new friendHaving a meaningful conversationThunderstormsBeing at the beachWalking, especially in the woodsVideo chatting with family/friendsJane Austen moviesEating a healthy breakfastSnuggles from our dogs, Molly and BellaWatching not-yet-trampled-on snow sparkling in the sunShoulder massage Date with my husbandSleeping in Going to bed on timeChecking things off my "to do" listThings with bright colors, polka dots, or sparkles (or all of the above!)Eating at my favorite restaurantLove's Ice Cream. The best.Dancing!Using Pilot G-2 PensAttendin…

Missing Creative Writing

Well, friends, my creative writing has fallen by the wayside for a couple of years with the busyness of the adoption process and welcoming our little guy home! It's been a joyful and busy and exhausting and exciting time. And I wouldn't trade it. Our son is an absolute treasure, and I'm finally living out my dream of being a mama.

But truthfully, I've missed expressing myself creatively through writing. Tonight, I was fondly remembering the fun and challenge it was to write a poem a day in April. I accomplished my goal two years in a row -- 2015 and 2016 -- right here on this blog. Not all of the poems are very pretty (okay, some are downright horrible!), but there are still a few gems in there that I'm pretty proud of. And it felt good to accomplish a creative goal that I set out to do.

With this in mind, I was inspired reading up on NaNoWriMo, and boy, what an incredible project that would be -- writing an entire novel in one month! But who am I kidding? I don…

Unusual Baby Names I Like

I love unusual baby names. These are my current favorites. I will definitely not be able to use all of these in my lifetime, so steal away if you see one you like! 😉  
GIRL: Athalia Constance Dolphyn Eleonora Elyna Emmalyn Florena Gwyn Hazel Joella Marietta North Olympia Penelope Prism

​BOY: Alden Camelot Echo Edwin Flynn Harvey Jet Ronan

What are some of your favorite unusual baby names?