19 July 2012

Packing A Sunday Tote Bag

Dear Liss,

I nearly dislocate my wrists every Sunday trying to carry in all my stuff into church -- if I don't forget it at home!   On top of all my flotsam and jetsam, Dad used to be a defacto sherpa to handle the additional diaper bags, busy bags, and bucket seats that accompany young children.  We teased that our van looked like we were invading Cuba, not just heading out for a couple of hours.

I'm loving this $5 pattern with handles and a strap from
I'm determined to get everything into one tote bag like our friend, Mrs. W.  She helped me get each of you trained to carry Sunday bags of your own so that our pew didn't look like a FEMA disaster area after church.  Thankfully, the old New England tradition of the Pastor's family pew facing the congregation had been discontinued by the time Daddy took his first church, but we still felt a responsibility to keep our spot tidy.

Looking at what I want to bring...
  • Purse 
  • 911 kit in a repurposed fanny wipe box with Advil/Tylenol, Bandaids, wet wipes, mints, tissues, earrings (why do I ALWAYS forget earrings on Sunday???), cough drops, sewing kit, hair ties and clips, hand sanitizer, and stain wipes.  
  • Bible and notebook  
  • Music books/binders
  • Junior church Flash-A-Cards, story props, and craft supplies
  • Junior church snack
  • Additional space for items to lend/return
  • Snacks for the ride home from church (cheese sticks, chewy granola bars, etc.)
Maybe I should just give up the tote idea and buy a grocery cart!

If I had children under 5, I'd also include. . .
  • A quiet interactive activity for before and after the service and during the offertory or special music.  Something as simple as a magnetic tic-tac-toe or similar game they can play WITH a parent or sibling helps to keep them quiet and still.  We've always been a part of small churches where parents were responsible for their children before, between, and after services.  It is oh-so-hard to give up that precious fellowship time to train your children to be thoughtful of others.  I was blessed to have a few brothers and sisters in Christ who made a point to come over and fellowship where we were sitting or even walk around outside with me so I could keep an eye on you.  Obviously I wasn't perfect, which explains the scar on your forehead and everybody's favorite story about 2 year old Matt gleefully sitting in a drainage swale up to his armpits in murky runoff from the parking lot.  In a suit. Not my best parenting moment.
  • A couple of quiet independent activities for the message.  Your favorites were always a little water game that involved pushing a button to get tiny plastic rings to float into goals and a magnet set.  You had a paper doll set, a farm set, and a circus set that we rotated. Unless you have an unusual toddler, they rarely spend more than a few minutes coloring or drawing on any one page and the rustling papers can be distracting.  
  • A quiet snack like gummy bears or yogurt dots.  Remember your Sours addiction as a toddler? 
For children between 5 and 8ish. . .
Stacy Vaughn's DVD case tutorial is the Bombdiggety!

Keep a notebook and pen or pencil and perhaps a plastic egg with a marble sized blob of sticky tack for a wiggly soul like your brother, Matt.  We had you pack your own bag with a Bible, notebook, pen, tissues, and a Fun Pad at this age, so I really only needed an emergency backup plan.

I'm hoping that condensing my kit down to one tote bag will ease the stress of getting out the door in the morning. . .we shall see!

Much love,

Linked up at Women Living Wisely and Raising Homemakers

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