So my oldest sister, Katherine, and I are pretty much twinkies! I was always called "little Katherine" growing up, and when she was home, I was always by her side. Although she is 10 years older than me, she spent countless hours bonding with me, French braiding my hair, making up dances in the car with me, and letting me use her shampoo and lotion all the time. We have a lot of the same personality traits, and we just click. We are so much in fact twinkies that my son decided to come three weeks early just so he could be delivered on Katherine's son's 5th birthday. I just think that is crazy that our boys even share a birthday! Anyhow, she is truly one of my HEROES, and I owe a lot of gratitude to her for investing so much into my life and helping me to be the person I am today.
One of my favorite things about Katherine is that she is a CELEBRATOR. If there is any sort of birthday or holiday, leave it to Katherine to make it feel like the most special day in the world. I love that! Our sons' birthdays are on August 16th, and this year we were quite devastated that we weren't able to partake in each others' celebrations because of the whopping 9 hours of distance between us. So Katherine had a fantastic idea.
She sent me this text:
"How about we play a game for their bdays? Rules... 1. Not expensive, but fun! 2. Must be sent by Monday afternoon. 3. Send most creative bday treat in the mail! 4. Catch? Can't be in envelope or box... And the gift must be under $4 so we can afford shipping."
What I did not realize was that Katherine was LITERALLY talking about placing a loose object in the mail. I opened my mailbox a week later to find a loose football for Emerson in our mailbox. HE LOVED IT!! You can apparently mail ANYTHING loose as long as you can fit a label on it. It's like the most fun, happiest surprise in your mailbox ever! I found this blog here that gives some great ideas and also some guidelines to make sure your mailing experiment is a success! Katherine also *cough cough* cheated and sent him a package full of other fun treats for his bday. And she sent me goodies too. Can you say AMAZING?
I interpreted the instructions a little differently. When I read that it couldn't be in an envelope or box, my first thought was to think of a random container that I could put a gift in to send. So I bought a can of Lays Stax, took off the wrapper, and used that for my shipping container. I placed a piece of paper around it and wrote "Bowen's Birthday Tube" on the front.
Then I had to think of what we could send for $4. My friend Melissa informed me that you could get baseball and football cards for 1 and 2 dollars a pack at Target, which I was CLUELESS about. This is great mommy advice!!! So we got him $3 worth of trading cards and a $1 pack of Big League Chew.
Then, because we all miss each other like CRAZY (since I am no longer in the let's-get- in-the-car-and-drive-9-hours-while-being-uncomfortable-and-pregnant mood), we decided to send Bowen "hugs" in his container as well. So I took a picture of each of us with our arms wide open so we could send Bowen a picture hug since we couldn't personally hug him.
We then shredded up some colored paper and filled the rest of the tube with confetti. We rolled up a cute little note to put on the top and then addressed and sealed our container.
When I got to the post office, I was pleased to discover that it only cost $1.75 to ship the birthday tube, which brought the grand total of this birthday treat to right about $7 with the Stax container included! The most rewarding thing of the entire project was that my nephew felt very very very special. And that is priceless.
When he opened his first pack of football cards, it JUST SO HAPPENED to be that the first card he pulled out was Drew Brees.... his favorite football player! I love that God worked that out just for him :) Here's a picture of his reaction:
I am so thankful that my sister challenged me to this little project, because it made me realize that even with long distance, you can make someone feel so super special. It challenged me to not let distance destroy the relationships with those people who are dearest to my heart.
I can't wait to do this again next year! Maybe I will actually follow the real rules and mail him a loose item... or maybe I will follow my rules and think of another creative container to send. I hope one of you decides to partake on a mailing adventure of your own! If you do, be sure to share it with me :)