Things I learned in November 2014:

Since these are whole month updates, I am just going to hit the highlights.  Here goes:

1. I got the pleasure of attending Concord Community Church‘s Operation Christmas Child Packing Party for the first time.  This is an annual event organized by my very dedicated Mom (with a lot of help from my Dad).  If you are unfamiliar with Operation Christmas Child (OCC), it is an organization that packs Christmas shoe boxes for children in poverty throughout the world.  The boxes contain hygiene items, school supplies, small toys, and candy.  My family has been packing boxes since I was a little kid.  My folks are now year-round volunteers with OCC and have taken their packing to a whole new level.  At the Packing Party, nearly 600 boxes were packed for boys and girls in the 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14 range.  The whole church participated in packing the boxes- young, old, and in-between.  It was really awesome to see!

Packing Party!

Packing Party!

Packing boxes

Packing boxes

My cute Mom :)

My cute Mom 🙂

2. We had our Annual Thanksgiving Program at Mother’s Day Out.  This year was special because it was the first time Sammy was old enough to participate.  He did a great job!  He walked in with his class, sat on the stage steps, and clapped his little hands to the song.  Most of the other toddlers had meltdowns.

Sammy chillin' on stage

Sammy chillin’ on stage

3. One of the kids in the three-year-old class spent the program running around the stage, sticking his butt in the air, and generally behaving terribly.  If it was my kid, I would have yanked him off the stage and headed to the car for some punishment.  His mom just sat in the audience and laughed, which probably lets you know why he is the worst-behaved kid in the whole school.

4. We journeyed to Indianapolis to spend Thanksgiving with Mike’s family.  Sammy got to show off his mad walking skills, and we got to see Kristen’s cute preggo belly.  There was delicious food and even some snow!

5. While in Indianapolis, I met up with Miriam and Stuart for a fantabulous lunch at Tom + Chee.  (Tomato soup + grilled cheese)  I had never heard of this restaurant, but it was actually part of an investment deal on “Shark Tank.”  Miriam and I both tried the BLT + Chee, which was uh-mazing.  We were very dubious about their famous Donut Grilled Cheese, but decided to try out the S’more Donut.  Super rich but so good!!

Mmmmmm.......

Mmmmmm…….

Things I learned lately- 12/27- 12/29/13

1. My Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes went to the Dominican Republic this year!

This adorable Domican Republican girl received the symbolic 100 millionth shoebox last year.

This adorable Dominican Republican girl received the symbolic 100 millionth shoebox last year.

2. The town my friend Katie has moved to in Iowa is very similar to Stars Hollow from “The Gilmore Girls,” complete with Ms. Patty’s Dancing School and Doose’s Market, albeit with different names.

3. Katie and I did some shopping at World Market on Friday, and it appeared the place had been looted.  Seriously, there was nothing on the shelves, and Katie couldn’t even find a picture frame to buy.  A picture frame?!  I feel like picture frames are generally in overabundance in most stores.  We got concerned that the store was closing, but the girl at the cash register assured us that they had just been hit really hard with Christmas shoppers.

4. I think listening to your baby cough and not being able to do anything about it might be a form of torture.  Sammy was coughing and hacking so much Friday night, I couldn’t sleep.  I finally got up and made him a steam room in the bathroom.  We sat in there for about 15-20 minutes, cough-free.  As soon as I put him back to bed, he started up again.  Poor little guy!

5. The Titans won today, ending the season with a record of 7-9.  We’ve had worse seasons, but we’ve also had much better seasons.  The last time we made it to the play-offs was in 2009.  I love the play-offs, but I miss the excitement of my team being a part of them.  A true fan supports their team in good times and bad, but I could really go for some good times right about now!

6. In kind of good news, I am in first place this week in our Pro Pick ‘Em League!  I am so far behind, it honestly doesn’t matter, but it made me feel a little better.

7. Which teams are in the play-offs, which teams have first round byes, and which teams have home-field advantage.  In the AFC, I will be rooting for the Colts and the Bengals, as they are Miriam’s two favorite teams.  In the NFC, I will be rooting for the Packers for mollybeandme, and I don’t really care about any of the other teams.

NFL_Playoffs

Things I learned lately- 11/9-11/11/13

1. Yet again, out-of-town relatives gave us a day of advance notice that they were coming to visit.  Here’s the thing, I grew up in the south, and I am all about southern hospitality.  I want to make people feel welcome in my home, but I need more than a day to make my home welcoming.  I am not Ms. Keeps a Clean House.  I’m just not, nor do I ever think I will be.  People say, “We don’t care, we just want to come see Sammy.”  Well, you may not care, but I do.  If I know company is coming, I want my house to be clean, especially if said company has never seen my house before and will probably want a tour.  I want our relatives to come visit and see Sammy as much as possible, just PLEASE let us know ahead of time.  You know, maybe check your calendar and find a weekend that looks good, and then check with us to make sure we aren’t busy.  (Yeah, we had plans this weekend, thanks for asking, surprise visitors!)  Giving Mike and I one day to get the whole house clean makes us stressed and irritable, and generally not fun to be around.

2. Sammy has had a fever and generally not been feeling well since Saturday evening.  We have been watching a lot of Cookie Monster on youtube.  When he’s sick, it’s one of the few things that he seems to enjoy.

3. My Titans lost to Jacksonville on Sunday.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  Jacksonville.  The team that had previously won 0 games.  Now their record is 1-8, thanks to the generosity of the Titans.  Not only did we lose, but Jake Locker got hurt and will be out the rest of the season.  Worst. Sunday. Ever.

4. To keep with the bad news theme, I did TERRIBLE this week in the Pro Pick ‘Em League.  Out of 14 games, I only picked 5 correctly.  It was just bad.  The only good football news of the whole weekend is that my fantasy team won (sorry Miriam!) and is now 4-6.

5. The G Clan Thanksgiving and Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing was a blast on Sunday!  We ate some really delicious food, and then packed 18 boxes for needy children all over the world.  If you have never packed a shoebox before, it is not too late!  Collection Week is November 18-25.  Check out the Operation Christmas Child website for more info.

6. I stayed home from Mother’s Day Out today to take care of the sickie Sammy.  I started to stress out about not being there, and things not getting done.  Then, I remembered that I don’t teach for Metro anymore.  I can miss a day without freaking out or making 10-page sub plans.  *sigh of relief*