Thanksgiving is...

...getting a breakfast date with Daniel Isaac.
...gathering for Andrus family meal, everyone talking and laughing at once.
...Pops' select readings to the family about Thanksgiving.
...Nana's table setting so beautiful and getting to use the turkey plates.
...DI and ND getting to sit at the little kid table together.
...eating the delicious meal made special by Dad and Mom.
...Hannah being home.
...Baby Jake being here for Thanksgiving this year!
...getting to spend time with Daniel's family.
...DI and Madeleine playing so well together running and giggling together for hours.
...Adin being here for Thanksgiving this year!
...Miles being here for Thanksgiving this year!
...wonderfully sweet family and conversations and more yummy food.
...Daniel's strong warm hand slipping it's way over to mine on the car ride home.
...coming home to our colorful, warm comfortable home.
...two sleeping boys who are so beautiful and full of light and joy.
...living life full of gratitude and recognizing that Ephesians 5:20 is a fabulous theme verse, "giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Eyes tired, belly full, heart bursting with joy and gratitude.  

Happy happy Thanksgiving.  

My Star!

I love the excitement, anticipation and utter glee I have looking forward to and then watching my little star in his preschool Thanksgiving celebration.  He's in the 3 year old class this year, so he got to be an Indian (graduated from the turkey he was last year in the 2 year old class).  

Daniel Isaac waving ever so enthusiastically all throughout the program.  Precious.
I arrived 30 minutes early to the program to save seats for all of Daniel Isaac's fans only to discover that the sanctuary was almost full.  But that's okay because I knew as soon as the program began I would scuttle my way all the way up as close as I could get to take pictures and video and lock eye contact as much as possible with my little man.  Oh my heart burst with joy and excitement watching him sing his heart out and wave his heart out and giggle and smile and clap and give it 150%!  I also love the parent paparazzi that breaks forth the minute the program starts (me included).  We all stand and wave and rush with cameras flashing, gasping and giggling and all beaming with pride over our littles up there performing and looking extremely cute.  

My little ham.
The only picture with my boys we got that day...clearly they weren't very interested.  
The yummy feast afterwards!

Chocolate cupcake = smile on DI's face.

Sweet DI let Noah David borrow his Indian head wear.  Very proud.

This is the introduction to Thanksgiving Day for me.  It gets me all enthusiastiac and in-the-spirit.  I mean, gratitude is something that dominates my heart most of the time...I swim in it and it keeps me bobbin' and afloat, but the SonShine Preschool Thanksgiving Celebration is the red carpet to the holiday season for me.

Happy Thanksgiving!


143 million...

...have never eskimo-kissed their mama on a cool fall day.

(photo by sarahmariephotos.com)

...have never felt their mama's lips kissing their cheek.

...have never run giggling into the arms of their daddy.

(photo by sarahmariephotos.com)

...have never had a daddy to want to dress up like.

...don't know what it's like to sit in Daddy's lap and be silly.

...have never held tightly to mama's hands and danced.

...have never felt the warm, gentle, safe touch of Daddy's hand.

...don't know what it's like to peacefully sleep next to mama.

...children are living as orphans, and that's just not o.k.

What can we do?
What must we do?

visit www.lifelineadoption.org to discover how you can make a difference in the life of a child without a mommy and daddy.


A Few Things...

1.  So, we went to the Syrup Soppin' in Loachapoka this weekend.  It was a first for me, and I do hope to return.  However, I learned a very important thing...'Poka doesn't have ATMs or even a place to cash a check, and if you don't bring ciz-ash to the Syrup Soppin' there's not a ton to do.  Do not fear, though!  The Taylors + our super friend/neighbor Dex found some brief entertainment...fo free.  

REAL train comin' through for us to watch!
Forcing my DI to stop his play atop the "rock wall" to take a picture with his mama...threats of not being allowed to continue to kill the imaginary alligators below were involved.  But hey, I got my picture.  :)
Sweet boy determined to climb the "rock wall" like his big brother and Dex.
Yes!  He escaped the alligators!  Thank goodness for those spears Mommy gave him!

Watching the mule go 'round and 'round causing the syrup to be squeezed out of the sugar cane...and yes, the boys asking repeatedly why they couldn't ride the mule...um, er uh...'cause 'Poka don't got no ATM that's why.
Noah David, Daniel Isaac and Dex...happy boys, taking turns riding the stroller! We had fun...we didn't need cashola!  We had eachother!
2.  Daniel and I got a last-minute date to the Atlanta Ballet to see Moulin Rouge Saturday night...thanks to Heather and Race for the tickets AND keeping and lovin' on our boys.  Not only did we get a 3 hour uninterrupted car ride together, but we got to see a lovely, vibrant beautifully done ballet.  What a gift.  Photography not allowed or else I'd have some pics to post of the amazing ballerinas.  I may try to mimic some of the moves and tape myself and then post that.  Or not.  Hmmm.

3.  Andrus Family Dinner night is a standing Wednesday night family night where Pops takes us to dinner.  Tonight DI picked the Brick Oven.  ND decided that his high chair is way overrated VERY early in our invasion, I mean visit to the restaurant.  After watching the fire in the kitchen cooking the pizza for a while, the sympatheic server brought the boys pizza dough to play with, which was a big hit! My favorite part of the whole evening was the argument that took place at the end of dinner.  Yep, that's right, the argument.  Pops said to Daniel Isaac, "You can't hug my daughter!  She's my little girl!"  To which DI enthusiastically replied, "Oh yes I can 'cause she's MY mommy!"  And then he wrapped those precious strong arms around my neck.  Then Pops banters back, "No more hugging her 'cause she's MY daughter, my little girl, you can't hug her!"  Then the twinkle eyed wonder giggles, "She's MY mommy and I can hug her if I want 'cause I love her!"  Then Noah David squawks in on the argument and tackles my other side.  So there I am smothered by my delightful boys, all arguing their love for me...other by-standers and families in booths starting to notice with smiles...and I'm in heaven.  The only thing missing was my Daniel who didn't make it home from work in time.  But still, my dad who has done such an amazing job loving me and patiently guiding me, and my boys lovin' on me...seeing it and feeling it come full circle.  And now my dad getting to help and contribute to lovin' and guiding and teaching my boys.  What a gift.  What a blessing.  I think so often, "Lord, you certainly didn't have to give me these boys and let me be their mama and Daniel's wife and Dad's daughter, but you did and for that I am so deeply and forever thankful."  It's from Him...all of it, and I'm soakin' it up....like rollin' around in it and happily flailing in it.  Joy.  

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."  James 1:17