Saturday, November 28, 2015

Our First Thanksgiving (first time hosting)

I love my family, which includes Steven's side. When we were dating, we would go to his house for lunch then my house for dinner. Steven made his sweet potato casserole with the secret recipe from his ex-girlfriend. He still makes it and still uses the same typed out recipe. It magically has not gotten lost.
My mom went to California for Thanksgiving so we hosted. We used the chargers from Bonnie Szasz and the china from my Grandma Gille. We put two church tables together for the dining room table and disassembled our table to get it out of the way.
 Steven had everything with the oven timed perfectly. Until the power went out. It was a pretty day, what the heck? No storms. So Steven showered and I got the food packaged and ready to take to the church so we could use those ovens. After our planning and prepping for our Plan B, the power came back on, after about 40 minutes. So we were 30 minutes behind schedule, but that's Okay. Steven was really calm and handled the near-crisis well. He's amazing.

 Steven did the turkey from Publix. It was cooked, but we still had to cook it. I know, doesn't make sense. Glad Steven took care of it. It was perfect.
 It was still light when our guests arrived.

 Sweets!!! It seems like that's what everybody ended up bringing as a side :)

 The next day, we had left overs outside. That's the best part about hosting, you know. We didn't even send anybody home with left overs. B/c we have big eaters here!

Oh, in the morning on Thanksgiving, we went to Lake Seminole Park with the Crews and the other Fegers. I took Clara, Everett, and Barbie's photos that they ended up using for their holiday card. It was windy, but I love the pictures. It was good timing since it seems her poor kids are always have appointments if I happen to be free. Andre brought his cool kite. It frustrated the dads and fascinated the kids. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cardboard Box City

Last year I heard about an interfaith organization that helps homeless families get back into homes. They have a high turn over rate, meaning that the families do not stay homeless for long. I learned more about it and wanted to see how I could help. We donated some hygiene items, I believe, from my work since my boss was friends with one of the organization's leaders. They have many different host congregations who open their doors in the evening every night, each for a week, so that families can have a safe place to sleep. The church members provide pot luck dinners that week as well. I like how it involves the community and families and uses resources we already have. I was not about to be the chair person for my congregation to do that but asked how else I could personally help. My new friend, Debi, told me about the upcoming Cardboard Box City and told me that many families and youth groups go and sleep in cardboard boxes to raise money and awareness to the problem right here in Pinellas County. I had a 5 month old baby girl, so was not interested in camping myself, but I sponsored a box for my boss who camped with her husband and three small children. They decorated the box I sponsored with my Fishy Face Photography logo, so cute!
This year, I decided to do it myself. My kids love sleeping in odd places and camping, so why not! I called around and got boxes from Shawn and Shawn moving company for free, they delivered them right to my home! They were doing the cardboard box city as a family too.
So I needed to get sponsors. Instead of asking for sponsors for the full $50, I asked friends and business owners to co-sponsor boxes for $25 if they wanted. I raised a lot of money! I co-sponsored one box too. The day before I drew the logos on the boxes then the day of, at nap time, I painted most of them. Then we were on our way! No time for a nap after car line, Tyler.
I also said I'd be the photographer but then realized it was Dylan and Isaac's last soccer game, where Steven and Darren would be passing out awards. So, we went, set up, left to go win the soccer game, then came back, took photos of the boxes, ate a soup kitchen dinner of soup and a brown paper bag w/ a sandwich, watched the homeless movie with Will Smith, The Pursuit Of Happiness on a big blow up screen, and tried to sleep. 
Here we are with our boxes, right before the soccer win (they were undefeated.) 
I raised over $300, thanks to my sponsors, 
Eirit with Iris Jewels
Darren and Corrie Crew with Planks

Myself with Fishy Face Photography, 
Sarah Tryban with It Works!,

My boss with Creating Smiles Dental,

Kathy Goodner with Bay Area Gear Repair, 
My friend Shannon McNeil, who actually didn't want to be mentioned and her husband's office didn't officially want to be named, but I put their name on anyway, Bayview OB/GYN,
My friend Jill Petty with Lu La Roe clothing also came through, 
and my parents also donated as did my friend Marina! Isn't that cool! The sponsors didn't even fit on one side of our 4 boxes. Each box was supposed to be $50 but ours were more :)

The view from the walk back from the bathrooms, they had activities while we were at soccer.

Lights weren't out until like 10:30, after the movie. We were tired.
We set up our boxes like spokes on a tire or in a star formation. We didn't use any tape, just folded a flap in to hold them open. We placed a big cardboard over the middle section and Tyler slept in there once we scooted the boxes in a little more. We propped other boxes on top too so the dew wouldn't ruin our homes.

Julia and I shared a box. It was tight quarters! At one point I woke up realizing my pain in my dream was just my hip bone jabbing into the cardboard box under me, not soft!

I tried taking a selfie but my camera was on square. So squished.
In the morning, we woke up before the sunshine. Steven was ready to go home b/c of all of the ants. The ants were in and on everything/one! We packed up everything then dumped/slid Tyler out then Julia.

She woke up happy, bright eyed and bushy haired. We had donuts for breakfast.
Thanks to our sponsors and to other sponsors too!!!

This guy was set up so perfectly and sat right here the whole evening, watching the movie from afar.
Others decorated boxes in various ways.
I liked this set up the girl scouts had.
All packed up and ready to go!