My Babies, My Life

I’ll admit it.  My blog has been quite boring lately.  I’ve been trying to squeeze out posts that are important to me, but then everything else gets left sitting around in my head, destined to be forgotten in the shuffle of life.  And reading other blogs?  Oh I’m so very, very behind.  I love reading and commenting on other blogs but I’m afraid all of that has taken a back seat to the happenings in my “real life.”

So what exactly have I been doing lately?  Well, I  have begun leading an advocacy group in my community that will work to create social change through interactions with members of congress and the media.  It’s a lot of work, but something I am deeply passionate about.  I’ll have some more exciting details to share about that soon.

But we’re also knee-deep in trauma/adoption/autism issues with Big Brother.  We are finally, however, finding the light at the end of the tunnel and are finally in a good place.  For the last couple of months, things were pretty rough.  Flashbacks, regression and constant violent outbursts dominated our days and nights. I’m not in a place right now to even begin to put my thoughts into words about all that has transpired, but I will at some point in time.

It’s just part of the job.  In fact, here’s a great post by another adoptive mother that sums up my thoughts exactly and might give you some insight into why we keep marching happily along in times of great darkness.

So what exactly am I rambling about today?  Well, I guess I just wanted to a chance to show off my babies.  After all, they are the reason I awake each morning with a smile on my face and the reason I advocate for those around the globe who have no voice.  They put the passion in my heart.  So excuse me while I do the mom thing and drown my blog with their cuteness 🙂

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Giving Tuesday: A National Day of Giving

In America,  you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t know what the words Black Friday and Cyber Monday mean.  These words are now infused into our cultural identity and  have become the official  kickoff to the holiday shopping season.  Now don’t get me wrong, giving can be nice (and if you would like to give gifts that do good–then it’s twice as nice!)  But a new campaign to urge Americans to not only give, but give back, is launching on a grand scale this year.

It’s called Giving Tuesday.  And you can be a part of it!

“The goal is to launch a day of giving at the start of the annual holiday shopping season and to show that holiday shopping can be about both giving and giving back.

People everywhere,including retailers, charities, online organizations, community centers, individuals, families and more, will come together with one common purpose ‐‐ to help others and incentivize ways to give more, give smarter, and celebrate the great American spirit of contribution.

Giving Tuesday is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.”

Sounds pretty good, huh?  So let’s spread the word and add one more day to our holiday vocabulary.  Go to http://givingtuesday.org/ to learn more.

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So how are we going to recognize Giving Tuesday around here?  I’m not really sure yet.  I’m going to call a family meeting tonight and see what we can do.  Although we have many charities and organizations that we like to support, I think we will focus on our local community this Giving Tuesday.  Here are some ideas I’m brewing in my head at the moment:

  • donate some of our children’s books to the local library
  • collect food donations to take to our local animal shelter
  • collect food and clothing donations for our local organization that helps families in need
  • donate toys to local families in need this Christmas

What ideas do you have?  Will you celebrate Giving Tuesday along with me?!  Please help by spreading the word and let’s make this a yearly tradition. I’ll report back later this week and let you know how we did!  I also want to share some holiday pictures of the family, so stay tuned….

 

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

Give Hope This Year: Buy Fair Trade Gifts

This year, skip the Black Friday crowds and stores.  Instead, shop with purpose this holiday season by purchasing handmade, fair trade gifts.  These gifts truly give twice.  You see, each purchase helps  women in developing nations obtain economic stability. Be a part of helping women out of slums, sweat shops, the sex trade and extreme poverty by buying their Fair Trade products. These are products with a purpose!

I’m so excited to be partnering with Trades of Hope to help sell these amazing, handmade items from around the globe.

 

Each artisan has a story to tell of hardship, adversity and hope:

Helping women looks good on you.  Choose to give hope this year.  To read more artisan stories and to learn more about Trades of Hope including how to shop, go to my Trades of Hope site.

Get a Job, Take a Hike: how to make sure everyone in the family enjoys the trail

Yesterday we took a leisurely hike through a nearby state park. Although the park is quiet and full of kid-friendly trails, it’s hardly the landscape that epic adventures are made of.  But it ended up being one of the best hikes we’ve ever taken together. We had no agenda and no timeline.  We just wanted to share some peaceful time together in the woods.  To ensure that everyone would have a fun, fuss-free hike, we assigned each child a “job.” As our kids are growing older, I find myself continually brainstorming new ways to make sure our hikes stay fun and upbeat. Read on to see how we did it on our last hike!

Little Man took on the role of our fearless trail leader (his most favorite job of all) and Big Brother was the keeper of the leaves (again, a job he loves.)  Little Man led the way and Big Brother collected leaves and strung them on a shoestring.  One of his favorite ways to play is to put beads on strings, so he was estactic!

The boys had a blast and enjoyed every single moment on the trail.  We ended with a picnic and a rock-jumping competition in the creek.
Fallen trees make the best playground, don’t you agree?
Happy kiddos make for a happy mommy and daddy.
We’ll count this as a successful and fun fall hike!
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Other posts you might enjoy:

Science and Nature for Kids {Make a Bird Feeder from a Pumpkin}

Halloween has passed and winter fast approaches.  If you are looking for a way to reuse any leftover pumpkins, here’s a great way to enjoy a nature activity with your kids.  Turn your old pumpkin into a bird feeder!  It’s easy and fun for little hands.

Start with a medium-sized pumpkin:

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Cut it in half and scoop out the insides (great sensory fun for the little helpers):20121111-162533.jpg

Using a nail, punch out some holes on opposite sides of the pumpkin:
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Use string or twine to make the holder:20121111-162607.jpg

Now punch out some larger holes on each side:20121111-162627.jpg

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You can slide a twig into the larger holes to make some perches for the birds.  Then hang it in a tree and fill it with some wild bird seed:
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And wait for the birdies to find the food!20121111-162711.jpgSimple, easy and fun…and the birds will thank you.

Malala Day: Education for All

Today, November 10th, is a global day of action for Malala and the millions of girls around the globe who are denied an education because of their gender.

As you may recall, Malala is the 14-year old girl in Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban for promoting the education of girls in her nation.   She is now recovering and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education wants to make sure her message is heard loud and clear throughout the world.  On this day, we stand with Malala and fight for the right of every child to receive an education.

So can the voice of one young girl in Pakistan really change the world?  It certainly has already for millions of children around the globe:

“Today I met with the President of Pakistan one month after the terrible shooting of Malala Yousafzai to discuss Malala’s dream of education for all.

On the eve of Malala Day, I presented petitions already signed by over 1 million people in the international community in honor of Malala and her cause.

These signatures were joined with another one million signatures collected by Pakistani civil society’s One Million Signature Campaign to demand free and compulsory education and another 100,000 signatures from out-of-school Pakistani children.

The President and I agreed on a series of deadlines for finance and delivery to make ensure all of Pakistan’s five million out of school children have the opportunity to go to school.”  -Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education

The staggering statistics for children around the globe are discouraging…

  • 115 million child laborers are involved in hazardous work.
  • 61 million children are shut out of primary school.
  • 34 million adolescent girls are not in school.
  • 16 million children with disabilities not in school; 1/4 of these children are blind.

But Malala has taught us all to stand up and fight–that our voices do make a difference.  You can learn more, join the campaign and sign the petition by going here:  http://educationenvoy.org/

Let’s stand united today for all children around the globe who are denied the right to an education.  Your voice matters….won’t you join us?

 

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.

The girl in the picture…from tragedy to hope

Vietnam holds a special place in my heart as it was the birthplace of Little Man. Not only that, we completely fell in love with the nation, its culture and its people during our month long stay.  After all, Vietnam gave us the precious gift of parenthood.

For obvious but vastly different reasons, Vietnam also holds a place in the history of our nation.  I think I could write a novel about my experience in Vietnam, including the time we spent at the war museum in Ho Chi Minh City.  It was a lot to take in and process.  Sometimes I still feel like I’m processing it…

But this isn’t a pro-war/anti-war post.  Far from it, actually.  Just like in adoption, I’ve learned that beautiful things can be made from tragic situations.  I think war at any time, anywhere is a tragedy.  So when I read stories like what I’m about to share, all feels right in the world  again.

You don’t want to miss this.  Please read and see how one life that was tragically affected by war is now helping to pass along hope to others. http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/2012/06/04/on-a-road-40-years-ago/

Run for NYC

Run a virtual race for the victims of Hurricane Sandy….whether it’s a marathon, half marathon or 5K, sign up today to run and raise money for the recovery efforts during the week. 100% of the money raised goes to the Red Cross relief fund.

 

http://www.run4nyc.com/

Party for a Purpose

Are you (or someone you know) adopting? Are you looking for a way to raise funds? I just launched my direct sales business through Trades of Hope, a fair trade company that helps empower women out of poverty by selling their handcrafts. For the month of November only, I am offering to use my business for adoption fundraisers….meaning I will donate all proceeds from your online/catalog party to your adoption fund! Please feel free to share with anyone who might be interested (and please “like” my page, too!) You can learn more athttp://www.facebook.com/LaurenTradesOfHope

It’s time to party for a purpose with gifts that give twice!