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Holiday Greetings, Day 7 (on the late schedule)...

It's a good thing we are only 4 sleeps away from Christmas, because keeping up with this little task is proving to be more a challenge that I had expected. Yesterday we got a bit more snow...and lots of wind. And because I'm a moron and have this whole love-hate, procrastination relationship with Christmas shopping, I decided to brave a trip to Des Moines to DO my holiday shopping. Notice I didn't say FINISH, I said DO...because I hadn't DONE any before yesterday. In addition to the stress of the dicey drive, shopping itself the Saturday before the holiday is MAJORLY overwhelming. Especially when you go with only a partial list of what you specifically want to look for, plus a mental note of what spaces in your gift giving needs you haven't yet assigned items.

Each year for the past couple of years this task has gotten less fun and more challenging for me. Partially because mostly we just shop for our girls as we tend to do little homemade or craft inspired gifts for friends and relatives. Our girls have a closet full of clothes and a room FULL, FULL, FULL of toys. So it's hard to think about how/what to add to that mix. Personally, I've really tried over the past couple of years to step back from the commercialism that has become the center of the holiday season (one of the big reasons I don't participate in Black Friday regardless how good the deals) with the intent towards more conscious consumerism. These days I can more fully appreciate the simplicity of the gifts my brother and I received growing up. I hope to instill that same value in our girls, helping them to understand that giving/getting doesn't need to mean having in excess. I'd like them to come to appreciate how small thoughtful gifts and time together with family and friends are what the holidays are about. There's a bit of a disconnect between that wish, and how Scott's family approaches Christmas. So it's been an interesting balance to try to find over the years.

And Partially because as someone who doesn't necessarily have "traditional" religious views, I struggle to make sure my girls grow up understanding "the reason for the season." That regardless of what you believe you can use this time of the year to celebrate life and the gifts we each are given through the year, to share what we are able with those in this world who are in need of our love and compassion, and acknowledge the blessings that bring value, joy, and love to our lives.

But I digress...on to yesterday's recap of July 2008!

July for me can be summed up in one word, RAGBRAI. And if this holiday greeting thing was only about me, I'd be done for the night. But it's I'm not.

July is a warmer version of June for us. We still maintain a lazier schedule that is just sooooooo much fun. This July Scott started his new job in a new career field with a new vision of what his professional future holds. July also brought my brother to Iowa for a 10 day stay before we departed for RAGBRAI with the crew. You can be assured there were 2 VERY happy little girlies in our house for those 10 days as Uncle Jason may just be their favorite person in the whole world. My absence on RAGBRAI means that the girls get spoiled silly by Aunt Pammy and Grandma Peg, which is like having their own little summer vacation experience. The last week in July may become a week they to look forward each year just as much as I do.

This July I was fortunate to have my first photography gig. An event that helped give me the confidence to think about taking on a new adventure in 2009. I'll let you know when I have some details in place to share!

My goal for tomorrow is to get back on track here. Lexi will (hopefully) head off to school, Scott will head to work, Brea and I will go off to our morning commitments and then with the coming of afternoon nap time I plan to catch up...although the pull of the craft room may over power the urge to write. I do have 2 gifts for 2 very cute little girls to finish up before we count our way down through those last 4 sleeps. They may be shortened sleeps for this Santa's helper!



My Most Read Thoughts


Today while I sat in a classroom supervising students as they worked on their math assignments, I watched Lexi through the window enjoying time with her friends during recess. My heart smiled.

Those moments, moments of learning and carefree fun, those are the moments that SHOULD make up a school day. As a Mom, and an elementary school employee, my heart is breaking over the news and images coming out of Connecticut today. 
I send my kids off to school everyday without a second thought that they will return safely come day's end, just as I'm sure each one of those parents in Newtown did this morning.
Every day I walk into my school for work without a second thought to my personal safety, just as I'm sure each of those teachers, paras, custodians, sectretaries, etc in Newtown did this morning. 
Theories will be published. Evidence will be presented. Words will be exchanged about gun control and the need for change in our current culture of violence. I don't suspec…

DIY: Reusable Produce Bags

With Earth Day festivities gearing up for tomorrow, I thought I'd take a moment to post a short DIY tutorial on making your own reusable cloth produce bags. (Tutorial inspired by my favorite crafty mom blog, Crazy Mom Quilts. Produce bags inspired by running into my friend Laura at the grocery store while she was stuffing her produce into these.) This is my next step in the fight against the excessive use of plastic bags.

Our family has been making small environmentally minded changes in our daily lives over the past few years. We use reusable shopping bags. We've stopped buying/using Ziploc bags and plastic wrap. I'm trying to commute around town via bike more. I'm being more mindful about where the food we buy comes from and how it was produced. We more often hang our laundry on the line to dry in the spring and summer instead of just throwing it in the dryer. (Which is convenient at the moment since our dryer has decided to quit drying.) As we use up chemically clean…

Sunday Morning Silly...

Once in a while Dando's curiosity urges him to venture off the bookshelf so he check out other toys in the house.

I think he thinks Froggy is missing a few marbles.