Friday, November 28, 2008

Do Good, Look Cool

If you don't know, you don't know. I didn't know, but I'm starting to find out.

That people are still dying from poverty. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. The day after tomorrow.

The good news is that you can help!

You don't have to fly to Africa with a granola bar in your pocket, you don't have to give a million dollars to set up an agricultural support system, you don't have bag up leftovers from your kids' plates and ship them across the world. You don't really even have to deviate from your normal routine.

If you're a parent, you buy clothes for your kids/grandkids. Even if you're not a parent, we all go to children's birthday parties and baby showers (sorry for the painful reminder).

Why not choose to give a shirt from TinyRockStar instead of from the Gap? Don't get me wrong, I love Gap, but for the same price as a Gap T-shirt, I can get my kids a rockin' T-shirt from TinyRockStar and at the same time, feed an orphan for a month. A MONTH. Sweet, huh?

So this week, Amaya got two t-shirts in the mail. The quality is great (I'm certain that she'll outgrow it before it breaks down). The designs rock (my favs: "Babies are for Lovers", or "I got skills"). Shipping was fast and affordable.

Here's Maya modeling the bird flight design. (My kids require long sleeves under their t-shirts because once November hits, my kitchen rarely gets above 61 degrees - unless I cook in there - which is very rare). I dedicate this photo to all the people who have said, "your kids should be models". This is your dream come true. This is your moment! Embrace it. Love it. Know that everything I do, I do for you.

What's this? An uncooperative model? Fired!

Anyway, in honor of black Friday, I urge you to consider purchasing a t-shirt or onsie from this holiday season. I'm sure you can think of someone on your list who deserves a cool little t-shirt. (I should mention that they run small - Maya is wearing a 4)

TinyRockstar  Buy a Shirt Feed an Orphan for a month

...And when they find out that you fed an orphan for a month, they'll think that you are the coolest person on the planet. Well, maybe the kid won't, but the parents definitely will, they'll be like, "Wow, she's so globally aware". That's exactly how Dirt felt about me when I got these little numbers in the mail last week. Yeah, he did. Well, he didn't actually say that, but I know he was thinking it. I can pretty much read his thoughts at this stage in our marriage, and I'm pretty sure he was thinking that I was very, very cool. It was either that or, "More clothes for the kids??? I'm cutting off her debit card".

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from t5m

I hope your heart is filled with gratitude today and all year through.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Someone recently pointed out

that this child owns me

I'm not sure how that happened, but I think it might be true.

The problem is...

...she's not a kind and gracious owner.
I'm on a quest to regain power.
Victory shall be mine! [queue evil cackle]

Monday, November 24, 2008

Date Night

Last week, Dirt and I declared that Friday night would be “date night”. We arranged for my mom to come by and watch the kids so we could catch an early dinner and a movie.

As Friday transpired, it became obvious that dinner and a movie was going to be reduced to dinner or a movie. I didn’t get home until 6:15. The movie was scheduled to start at 7:05.

Dirt, being the gentleman that he is, offered me the choice of deciding if I wanted to have a nice dinner somewhere or go see a movie. I opted for the movie (I stink at making decisions).

As we headed out the door, my mom suggested that we stop at Boston Market to pick up a quick bite to eat before the movie. “They have vegetarian options”, she cheerfully offered.

We were off. Footloose and kid-free! On the way, I found myself checking the Entertainment book to see if there were any coupons for Boston Market. We are so married. There is nothing “date-like” about checking for coupons. The mere fact that we even own an Entertainment coupon book is sort of sad. In some states, joint ownership of an Entertainment coupon book is as binding as a marriage certificate.

When we arrived at Boston Market, I realized that I had never before eaten there. Boston Market is a funny place on a Friday night; it’s like the lonely guy club. I mean, where else can single guys go to get an almost-genuinely home cooked meal, complete with a protein, two starches and a vegetable (apparently they're not up to speed on the Food Pyramid yet). Boston Market is like Thanksgiving every day of the year. They even have that strange sweet potato dish with the marshmallows on top! Seriously.

Dirt and I scoffed down our meal in 15 minutes flat and hightailed it over to the movie theatre. Dirt dropped me off so that I could run in and procure tickets while he parked (another married couple move). As I made my way through crowds of tweeners, tight pants, Ugg boots and black eyeliner came at me from every direction. I inched up to the counter, only to have my coupon scornfully appraised by the ticket boy and then rejected because my movie was sold out.

I fell to the floor and began sobbing. No I didn’t. I called Dirt and broke the news to him and he began sobbing. After I consoled him I learned that even though I had been in line for 12 minutes, he still hadn’t located a parking spot. Unbeknownst to us, our date night coincided with the Twilight opener. Who knew?

At 7:10 we decided to go to Popovers in Portsmouth for coffee and dessert in hopes of salvaging the night. Popovers was fine except that Dirt’s coffee was undrinkably strong and I was preoccupied with trying to figure out if the two guys at the corner table were gay or just "artsy". They were wearing scarves and had their legs tightly crossed. I ponder such things.

At 7:45 it felt like it was time to go home. “Let’s just hang out a few more minutes so that the kids will be in bed when we get home”, I plotted.

When we arrived home at 8:30, the kids were all still awake and fully clothed. According to my mother, the kids claimed that they didn’t have any pajamas. I’m not sure why this seemed believable to her, but it did.

I had to laugh about how different the night would’ve been if it had been our first date.
But I'm sure glad it wasn't.
Oh, the pictures: Avery and Amelle enjoying their favorite treat (Rootbeer floats) at Flatbread Pizza Company in Portland in August. ...which, btw, is much better than Boston Market.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a lot like....

A few weeks ago I called my sister-in-lawlessness, Wendy to ask her if I should toss my pumpkins (not to be confused with cookies). With Jack Frost nipping at my nose (and hanging around on my windshield in the morning), I thought it might be time to chuck the 10 or so pumpkins that were adorning my house. Wendy told me that I could hang on to the pumpkins until Thanksgiving.

I'm glad to have such a savvy SIL who can make snap decisions about my home decor. Making decisions tires me out. Maybe it's my line of work, where decisions can be heavy, or maybe it's just being a mother of three, but some days I feel like I have way too many decisions to make, so when given the opportunity to pass one off to a trusted family member, like Wendy (or the kids), I'll gladly do so.
Plus, I'm all about "one holiday at a time". Despite what retail marketing would have us believe, I'm stubbornly convinced that the Christmas season doesn't officially start until the day after Thanksgiving.

But this week, something strange happened. Christmas snuck into my life. Dirt started asking me about shopping for the kids and wanted to know what was on my wish list this year. I passed five houses (I counted) adorned with with Christmas lights on way home from work. A local radio station switched it's programming to Christmas music only.

By Sunday I was seeing signs around my own house. The Christmas cactus was blooming, the kids were requesting Christmas music, and the school sent home fliers soliciting wreath orders and asking for candy cane donations.

Despite my best attempt at warding Christmas off until after Thanksgiving, it has imposed itself on me. Today I gave in. I played the music, chucked the pumpkins, put out the magazines. Clearly Christmas is a force too strong to be reckoned with.
So tell me, have you started the Christmas season yet?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dirt's Rental Wheels

Last week Dirt went to North Carolina for work.

When he arrived at the car rental facility, they handed him the keys to a Chevy.

Dirt secretly hoped that he'd get another Hyundai (he had rented one last month from the same place and called me almost immediately to tell me how surprisingly nice it was. He boasted of the wood grain console, leather interior, and ultra-smooth ride. Then we discussed the unfortunate stigma of the Hyundai that prevents us, and many others, from owning what appears to be a sound vehicle with a lifetime powertrain warranty - whatever that is.)

Anyway, Dirt grabbed his Chevy keys and headed out to the lot, only to find that his keys turned the door lock of this beauty:

The feeling Dirt had as he turned the key, could only be likened to what the Prince would've felt if the glass slipper had fit onto the ugly step-sister's foot.

Dirt, who is generally a "non-complainer", turned around and went back to the agent, handed her the keys and stated, "this vehicle is not appropriate for business travel".

Um, what kind of vehicle is this? I don't think I've actually ever seen one before, like in real life. It's like a PT Cruiser gone bad. Very bad.

Seriously, is it a car or an old fashioned milk truck?

Okay, I'm done hatin' on cars. Don't scold me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Me and PT

Let me first start of by saying that I know I have a problem. My mother has shared with me that she wasn’t sure I was going to make it out of Kindergarten.

This morning I was behind a PT Cruiser. This particular PTC had a sticker on it, indicating that they were headed to the same place I was headed, the kids' school. I could see the back of the driver’s head and another little head bobbing in the back seat; a mother and a kid about the age of my kids, I deduced. We were at a stop sign waiting for traffic to pass, which gave me far too much time to think. This is never a good thing for me.

Hmmm…could I ever be friends with someone who drives a PT cruiser? Boy, that sounds shallow. It’s not that the car isn’t good enough for me, or that it indicates a lack of social stature, 'cause Lord knows, I’m nothing fancy, but it’s the judgment piece. I mean what kind of judgment does the person who buys one of these things have? Could I let my kids ride with a driver who has such judgment? What if this same lack of discernment caused them to…oh I don’t know…ride the wrong way on a one-way street? That would be bad.”

PT Cruiser drives off, I follow behind.

But then something interesting happens. The PT Cruiser turns off onto another road. Now I know they’re headed to the same destination as me, so I assume that they're taking a short cut. Then my pride jumps in.

“How can someone who drives a PT Cruiser know a quicker, shorter way to get to school?”

I was livid.

…until, I passed her further down on my trip; she was waiting to pull out onto the street I was driving on. I had the opportunity to let her go in front of me, but there was no way I was going to do that (some good Christian grace at work here, I’m not proud). What’s worse is that I received great satisfaction from passing her (noted by the tremendous pompous grin on my face). Then I checked the rear view mirror and saw that she didn’t turn onto the street behind me, she went straight across to another street!

Blasted! This woman was full of short cuts!

As I passed a myriad of side streets, I looked down each one to see if I could spot her riding parallel to me. I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel with impatience at every traffic light, I was determined to get there before her.

As we got closer to the school I passed her again, this time she was waiting at a red light, while I was under a green light passing through in front of her. I could taste sweet victory on my lips. I looked for her in my rear view mirror but didn’t see her behind me before I made my next turn, ever getting closer to the school.
Then disaster struck.


I was backed up in a long line of cars just two streets away from the school. Unfortunately, I knew that there were other ways to get to the school, and being stuck in a long line of construction traffic was killing me. The school is nestled inside a maze of side streets, and a shrewd parent who knew about the ongoing construction, could’ve easily planned a route to avoid delays. Could she have outsmarted me in the eleventh hour of the race? (well, I suppose it wasn’t “technically” a race since she had no idea that I even exist). I hopefully watched the cars pile up in the line behind me, but none were the PT Cruiser.

I took a deep breath and proceeded, checking every side street I passed. I turned into the home stretch with uncertainty. As I proceeded down the long driveway of the school campus, I watched each car that passed me on their way out to ensure that she had not already made the drop off. None were the PT Cruiser. I made my way to the circle, dropped off the kids and hoped that I’d see the PT Cruiser pulling in as I was exiting.

And I did. She was 8 cars behind me. Yes, I counted. Twice (precision is very important). Hey, I warned you about me. I’m disturbed.

As I passed this woman (who was paying absolutely no attention to me), I looked at her, smiled, and thought “you poor woman”. I am 100% serious.

What is wrong with me?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Rule

Lately I've heard a lot of talk about "the second rule". You know what I'm talking about, it's the rule that is applied to how long an item can stay on the ground before it becomes inedible.


Two weeks ago I was riding in the elevator with a co-worker when my afternoon treat (a small brownie I ferreted from the meeting I had just attended) plummeted to the ground from where it was precariously perched (the space between the keyboard and the screen on a partially closed laptop). I looked down and saw the 1x1 chocolate square by my feet, outlined in confectioner's sugar, like the chalk drawing of a dead man. I tried to play off my disappointment as I picked it up. My colleague (a VP) shrugged her shoulders and said, "twenty second rule".

As I exited the elevator I actually contemplated how many of the 20 allotted seconds my precious afternoon treat had been on the floor, probably no more than 3, I decided. The next thought I had was how much foot traffic that elevator had seen since it's last vacuum. I chucked the brownie into the waste basket as I passed by the receptionist's desk.

Last week while I was at bible study I noticed that one of the wives was there without her husband. About 10 minutes later, the husband, a long-haired, tattooed fellow with dingy clothing strolled in and sat beside her. Upon seeing him she smiled and reached under her seat, grabbing one of those Tupperware containers that is actually made for sandwiches (what ever happened to baggies?), a granola bar, and a juice. Then disaster struck. As she lifted the lid of the Tupperware container, it's contents fell to the floor. She let out a quiet squeal and quickly picked the sandwich up. The pastor jovially offered, "hey, 10 second rule". Then another guy in the study offered, "You get at least 2 minutes in church". The husband sat down and grabbed his sandwich with noticeably dirty hands and shared, "I can guarantee you that whatever was on that floor is no dirtier than what I've been handling all day", then he bit into his sandwich (and I secretly hoped that he was a mechanic and not a sewer man, or a daycare worker, or a gastroenterologist).

Last night, Amelle dropped a chocolate chip on the floor. Avery excited proclaimed, "three second rule!", to which Amelle confidently responded, "this was only on the floor for like two seconds, so it's okay". Then she carelessly popped the chip into her mouth.

So my question to you, what "second rule" do you live by? That is, how many seconds would it take for you to not eat something that had fallen on the floor?

Oh, and sorry the pictures don't match the post. It be like that sometimes. I took these back in October, our last night "of the season" at Fort Foster.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

1st Official Ethiopian Adoption Blog Update

A few months ago I mentioned that I was drowning in the tug again. Not the tub, the “tug”. I intimated that we were considering adopting. I also eluded that this child would come from Ethiopia.

I don’t have a definitive update on what we’re going to do. All I can say is that Dirt and I are still seriously considering this and are praying for the Lord’s clear direction. If you keep a prayer list, perhaps you can jot our names down on it with a big question mark beside it, indicating the need for His wisdom.

If you want to get into the sordid details of our dilemma, here they are:

I believe that the Lord has been clear with me about His desire for us to adopt. The tug, the nagging pull, the feeling I can’t shake, all seem to point in this direction. However, I am innately selfish and comfortable and content with my current life and would just assume carry on ignoring the 5 million orphans in Africa, as I have been doing my entire life, without any ill effects. Except for that darn tug.

I’d probably feel more confident about moving forward if the tug was also haunting Dirt. I can’t help but think that if God wants us to do this, He’d be bothering both of us with this burden. Though, having said that, I will admit that it isn’t exactly easy to get Dirt’s attention. I know God can move mountains, but moving Dirt is a whole other endeavor. Dirt has never felt God’s leading about anything. If Dirt waited for God’s prompting before taking any action, he’d still be nestled in his mother’s womb.

One bit of advice we received was that if God is leading me in this direction and not Dirt, it’s because Dirt is already “fine with it” and He only needed to soften my heart to get things rolling.

Another bit of advice we received was that we should wait for God to speak to both of us, as He did with Mary and Joseph, before Jesus was born.


We actually began filling out the home-study paperwork and attending adoption teleconferences a few months back. When our nation’s economic downturn evolved into an economic crisis, Dirt decided to put the brakes on the adoption thing, citing economic uncertainty as his major concern. He wanted to be more financially prepared for the expense of adoption, as we’ll need to come out of pocket with $25,000 in 10-12 months to complete the process. I just hate it when Dirt is all responsible-like [eyes rolling].

So, we’ve agreed to hold off until February to see how things play out with his current contract. During this timeframe we’d also like to see God drop the anvil of adoption on Dirt’s head, if at all possible.

While I was at bible study last week, I asked the group how to know if a idea/vision/leading is from God or if it’s just something you made up, and the answer I received was, “God’s desire is to conform you to be more Christ-like, if your idea/vision achieves that, it’s likely from God”. I’m meditating on that one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Identity Crisis

Lately I’ve been thinking about revamping my blog. There are a few things I would have done differently, “if only I knew then what I know now”.

The name: When I first started web logging (before blogging), I had a website called “the4moores”. Kind of catchy, huh? …until I became pregnant with #3. At that point, my options were to divorce Dirt or ditch my old web name. Soooo...just after Maya was born, my current blog, “the5moores” was also born. Since “the5moores” didn’t have the same rhyming appeal, I abbreviated it as “t5m”. The problem is that “t5m” doesn’t really make sense; it just looks like some random characters thrown together. Don’t get me wrong, I love t5m, I’ve become attached to it over the years. It’s like the Nike swoosh for our family. But the other problem with t5m is that there is no room for growth. What if we adopt? Will we change to t6m? This is getting out of hand.

My identity: I also didn’t take into consideration the fact that t5m would become my identity. I guess this is okay… [casting downward, hands in pockets, kicking sand onto sneakers], …but can’t I have my own identity? I know I’m sort of the spokesperson for our family, but t5m is really who we are, not who I am.

Anonymity: I’m quite certain that I have already ruined any chance our kids might have to run for public office someday. I can’t help but think that it’ll be better for them if I remove our last name from this site, just in case.

So as we approach the new year I am thinking that a change is in order. Over the last few days I’ve been trying to think up a new “handle” or blog name for myself, but I'm really struggling with it. Maybe I don't know who I am? Yesterday I asked the kids, “if you had to give me a nickname, what would it be?”. The answers:

Amelle: Poop
Avery: Poop Momma

So, I’m definitely still open to any suggestions you might have. I'm not really set on "Poop Momma" (though without divulging TMI about my children’s gastrointestinal habits, I can say that it would actually be an appropriate title for me, at least on some days).

Poop Momma (hey, just trying it out)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Daily Grind

I recently asked Dirt if he thought that we started our day out like typical people do. I'm admittedly skeptical. Our normal morning routine goes something like this:

6a: Hear toddler footsteps running down the hall. Seconds later, Maya is climbing over Dirt's head and situating herself snugly between us. She demands juice and any one of these previously tivo'd programs: Backyardigans, Dora, Diego, Hi-5, Hip Hop Harry or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

6:45a: I reluctantly draw one of my legs out from under my cocoon of covers and let it drop to the floor. The other foot follows shortly after.

6:45a - 7:15a: A LOT goes on during this time frame, it all seems like a blur. I get in the shower, one of us hollers into the older kids to get up, Dirt irons. Then I iron and Dirt gets in the shower (sometimes), then one of us reminds the older kids to get dressed, brush hair, brush teeth, we chase Maya around, capture her and dress her, I sometimes look in the mirror and try to get a straight part, Dirt shaves, I threaten the kids that if they don't get downstairs they're going to miss breakfast. It's insanity.

7:20a: Dirt heads out the door, hits Dunkin Donuts for a large extra extra, and then the highway where he will be greeted by about a zillion other commuters. He rolls into work at around 9a.

7:20a: I pack lunches while the older kids moan about breakfast options. Avery usually gets his own cereal. Amelle wants me to give her a run down of the day's specials (Cereal, toast, bananas, yogurt, granola bars, frozen waffles, English muffins, oatmeal). Same flippin' choices every day.

While I'm packing lunches I also make oatmeal for Maya. Sometimes she wants to "help", which complicates and slows down the process. Sometimes she also pees herself (or worse) during this time.

7:30a: older kids get their snacks and a bottle of water for their backpacks and head into the car. On a good day, no one forgets anything inside and we're successfully back out of the driveway. On a not-so-good day, we can make anywhere from 1 to 3 trips back inside for various almost-forgotten items.

7:40a: drop off Maya

8:00a: drop off older kids. As I pull out of the school parking lot I call Dirt for a victory celebration chat. "We made it through another day!" I proclaim. Then he reminds me that it's only 8 in the morning. He loves to rain on my parade like that.

9:00a: roll into work.

I have this nagging suspicion that mornings are suppose to be less chaotic than this. Is this realistic? I often feel like a drill Sergeant trying to get new (retarded) recruits through an extremely difficult obstacle course. "Move it, move it, move it!" "put matching socks on!", "belt through all the belt loops", "Wipe the toothpaste off your chin!", "zip your fly!"

So I guess I'm wondering what time you wake up in the morning and what your morning routine consists of? Just looking for a slice of normalcy here, don't overwhelm me. In fact, if your morning routine involves exercising before work, please don't comment at all. I don't think I could handle that.

...Okay, you can comment, but instead of saying "work out", use a substitute term like, oh I don't "eat chocolate". Yeah, that would do just fine.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

29 & 30

I realize that this post may be a little trivial, but I can't help myself. Thirty had to happen. I put on a nice-nice face for all of our guests on Sunday and pretended like 28 was good. But inside, 28 tormented me. Twenty-eight sucks. The goal was 30 shoeboxes, people. Thirty. Not 28.
Fortunately, Wendy had a couple of shoeboxes laying around. The choices were: kiddie shoe boxes from Will's sneakers or these monsters, a wide-width size 12. I went with the monsters. I figured that once the children were done opening the gifts inside, the boxes could easily be turned up-side-down and used as living quarters for a family of four.
I'm not kidding. See, this is a regular sized explorer, er..person standing next to them. They really were huge.

Which made for an interesting trip to Rite Aid in search of things to fill them with. I was admittedly nervous about filling them, until we found the stuffed animal isle. That's where my fears turned to joy. "The kids who get these boxes are going to have the biggest stuffed animals in their country!" (I know that sounded competitive, but it was more in the spirit of "good for them"). Yeah...

See that pink wine-bottle shaped lotion? That was an unopened bottle that I stole, er..borrowed (permanently) from Amelle. She got these for Easter. It has a really strong perfume smell that I'm sure some other mother will not appreciate as much as I don't. I thought I was really clever about "re-purposing it" by slipping it into the girl box until Avery called me out on it. "Hey, isn't that Amelle's? What are you gonna do, just give her stuff away?"

"Um...Well she has two bottles and the other one is still almost full, don't you think it's a little unfair that Amelle has two bottles of lotion that she doesn't even use, when there are little girls with ashy skin on the other side of the planet?"

I never said I was a good person. I'm actually terrible.

...though I will admit that I didn't send these particular kids any atomic fire balls, so there is some decency that's way down in there somewhere. That little bit of decency is called "The Holy Spirit".

I might've been a little bit overzealous about the size of the stuffed animals. The larger of the two boxes required four rubber bands in order to stay shut. When the (un)fortunate recipient opens it, I'm quite certain that the bear will eject from the box in a jack-in-the-box-like fashion, with such velocity that it could, literally, take him out.
I mean, I'm hoping this won't happen, but it could. I'm just sayin'.

Which is why I thought it would be important to put personalized notes inside each box. These notes contained elaborate apologies for any bodily injuries that might occur by opening them. There was also a special note to the dear mother of the highly perfumed, yet supple-skinned, 5-9 year old girl who receives my daughter's unopened bottle of lotion, which simply reads, "I'm sorry".

...and, yes, it will take at least seven baths to rid your daughter of her new scent.


Monday, November 10, 2008


Each year the kids participate in Operation Christmas Child. OCC is organized by Samaritan's Purse. Essentially, kids fill shoeboxes with goodies, and Samaritan's Purse delivers them to children who live in desperate situations all over the world. It's an awesome cause and probably one of the easiest global outreach activities you can get kids involved with.

Samaritan's Purse has an incredible website, loaded with tons of information, pictures, and stories from people all over the world. Beware of the video section, there are some real tear jerkers in there, I personally cry whenever I see the video of the donkey carrying shoeboxes on his back, I don't know why, something about that scene just gets me. Samaritan's Purse gets in there and delivers them far and wide.

This year, the kids and I thought we'd expand our efforts and try to send 30 boxes, instead of our normal 3.

The first thing I did was round up some of the kids' Halloween candy. I'm always looking for options for Halloween candy. In the past I've recycled it to stuff Maya's birthday pinata with, but then the kids just bat it around, poke a hole in it, pick it up off the floor, and it ends up right back in my kitchen again. It's a vicious cycle. The only way to truly rid yourself of Halloween candy is to pack it up in shoeboxes, fly it overseas, get it on the back of a donkey and have it delivered to a remote, destitute child.
The only problem is that you must first separate and purge. You can't send chocolate, we all know that chocolate doesn't travel well. But then there are some other considerations you must take into account, like how a remote child might feel about receiving gummy body parts, eyeball candy, and atomic fireballs.
I know, atomic fireballs are fun, don't get me wrong; but can you imagine a kid who lives primarily on rice, popping one of those things into his mouth and then screaming in agony? I wouldn't want them to think that Americans are sinister. We are a kind and loving people, which is why I only included a few atomic fireballs...

and a ton of bubble gum and other assorted non-body-part-related sweets.

But you can't just send sweets without sending toothbrushes and toothpaste. I don't want to be responsible for a world dental crisis.

Then there were the toys. This year I was impressed that none of my kids said it was "no fair" that "those kids" get to have all these toys and they get nothing. They've come such a long way, I'm so proud. The kids actually had a great time organizing what seemed like a bazillion toys.

and it didn't take us long to get stuff in order and ready for the big shoebox party

With the help of 16 kids, 2 babies, 4 moms, and 2 dads (who took it upon themselves to go for a leisurely coffee run), we assembled...

labeled and packed

28 boxes.
I am truly trying to be happy about it, but being a bit goal oriented, I am lamenting over the missing two boxes. I'm quite certain that there will be two additional boxes in the mix by the time these get hauled off to the distribution center this week.
If you're the praying type, please pray for the children who will receive these boxes. We don't know who they are, but God does.