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To My Six Year Old

You had me at the first cry. Smitten from the moment I laid eyes on you.  Mesmerized and amazed by you every single day since.

Amazed by your kind heart.  You do not like to see anyone sad.  If baby brother is upset, you offer up Mr. Bear in hopes to make him smile.  Someone’s feelings hurt. You are quick to give hugs.  A strong desire to help others is present in your soul.

Amazed by your desire to learn.  You absolutely love to read, ask a number of questions (many I have to google for answers), and interested in so many different topics.  Your brain is a sponge. You absorb and retain information so very quickly.  You just get things.  You take me by surprise by how much you know. And when I ask how knew it, you reply, “I just know.”

Amazed by your role as Big Brother.  You were our only child for five years.  Much concern filled me when bringing home your little brother 11 months ago. Unwarranted concern because you rock the big brother role.  You were excited to teach him how to crawl and walk.  Love reading books with him and already trying to teach him flashcards.  You sneak in his crib to chat.

Amazed by your six year old passions.  You absolutely love your karate class. Showing off your skills, counting in Japanese and taking the responsibility of your yellow belt seriously.  Saturdays are filled with soccer games.  You hustle, kick, and defend.  

Amazed by your imagination.  Writing and illustrating stories, drawing your own towns, brainstorming how you will be a millionaire one day.  You want to buy houses, build a computer wife, and make your own toys to sell in your toy store.  You are going to be a busy man, good thing you’ll have a computer wife to help you out.

Yes, Dylan Lee you amaze us.  Happy Birthday.

Much Love, Mom 

XOXO - Brandi

Giving Tuesday

Hey Everyone :) Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I know it's a super busy time of year and everyone has been out with family, shopping, shopping, and more shopping- or maybe you aren't a shopper, in that case you've hopefully been relaxing! 

We have been getting a lot of facebook comments, messages, and e-mails asking what we are doing this year for the community for Christmas. Last year we got a bunch of people involved and bought a bunch of families gifts. It was a ton of fun and we loved delivering the gifts and it will be something we will never forget. We especially appreciate all of you helping out with it!

THIS YEAR we have a special spot in our hearts for our own local community who don't have food, shelter, or even relationships for that matter. We are striving to help those people. We have partnered up with Food for Thought, a local social justice organization dedicated to feeding the hungry and offering dignity, welcome and relationship to anyone in need. Food for Thought and local volunteers get together EVERY FRIDAY night to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and put together lunches for hundreds of people. They then deliver them Saturday morning in area's of downtown Toledo where people desperately need food. They hangout there, eat lunch with them, chat with them, listen to music- rain or snow- they are there. It's truly incredible. I've gone to make lunches with them and I took my kids who colored and decorated the brown paper bags. They loved it. 

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They also have a stationary food pantry along with several mobile food pantries. They serve over 1100 families just out of their stationary pantry every month. It's an awesome grassroots organization that has really  taken off in the last several years. Sam Melden is the Executive Director and is doing a great job. Watch him talk about Giving Tuesday HERE (I kept trying to put the video here but it keeps telling me the format is not supported so whatever, just click the link and watch it!)

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So back to Giving Tuesday! Today I have committed to donating $10 a month for Food for Thought and I am asking you to do the same. Brandi and I felt that this was an incredible cause and we spend $10 a month easily on things that are not important. This is something that is important. Food for Thought is working towards a goal today of getting 150 people to commit to just 10$ a month. If they reach that goal they will have raised $18,000 in ONE DAY! We are asking you to consider giving just $10 a month to help feed your community! and you can do it here: 

http://www.feedtoledo.org/#/donate

If you're on social media feel free to pass it along using hashtags #GivingTuesday #FeedToledo and #FoodForThought

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and Happy Giving Tuesday!

- Lisa

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Our New Thanksgiving Tradition- by Brandi

Since I have been a mom each holiday holds a more special place in my heart. I get to experience and witness each celebration through the eyes and excitement of my almost six year old and ten month old. We get to spend the day together as a family.

As a mom, it also has become incredibly important to me to focus on the “TRUE” reason for each holiday.  I want my boys to know WHY we are celebrating.   I want the reason to be more important than the day off school or big expensive gifts. I want my children to know the history and spirit of each and every holiday, but of course with our own Family W twist.

When Dylan woke up at his normal 7:00am on the dot we read Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks to set the grateful mood. And then we did a something a little silly... we mashed up the holidays to create our new Thanksgiving tradition.

Dylan loves is obsessed with Easter (even more so than Christmas).  The coloring off eggs.  The Easter egg hunt.  The jellybeans.  He just loves it all. He talks about Easter throughout the year, and often asks to color eggs.  A few days before Thanksgiving, Dylan said “I wish it was Easter instead of Thanksgiving.” I thought why not mash it up. Incorporate his favorite holidays while staying true to Thanksgiving, and so we did...

We colored eggs.

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We pulled out those cheap plastic eggs.  Dylan picked out his favorite color ones green, orange, and blue.  Leaving me with the purple, pink, and yellow ones.

And here is where the Thanksgiving part comes in. Denny (the husband) and I filled Dylan’s eggs with notes of things we are so very grateful for.  Dylan filled our eggs with the things that he is so very grateful for.  Then we each respectively hid the eggs we wrote our notes in for the other to find. 

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As we found the eggs we excitedly cracked them open to see what the other was grateful for. Dylan took a long time putting much thought into what he wrote.  And when I cracked his eggs I found that he was incredibly sweet. And gracious. I cherish every single note. One even said he was grateful for living in the USA and being free.  Come. On. Precious. 

So as I sit here the morning after Thanksgiving, the first one up and already sipping on my coffee I reflect.  Reflect how grateful I am that our family of four spent the entire day together. So happy that we’ve been able to spend more time together lately. Grateful that we got to visit two sides of our extended family.  Grateful that we got to nourish our healthy bodies with Thanksgiving deliciousness. Grateful that I get to type this from the comfort of our home in a safe neighborhood. Yes so very grateful for so many things, including the creation of our family’s special and silly new Thanksgiving tradition.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

XOXO,

Brandi

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