Do you see that cute little baby floating around on the right over there? Do you see that it says ONE DAY left? How is this possible?!?! I can't believe we are due TO-freaking-MORROW!
I don't think she's coming anytime in the next day but it's fun to actually be AT our due date!
In general, I'm crabby. I'm tired from my many trips to the bathroom and not being able to find a comfortable position. I'm READY for her to be here. There's always that little nagging sense of nervousness that something could still go wrong. I want her here in my arms safe and sound.
Now, onto the 12 days.
I have begun my 2nd annual 12 Days of Giving campaign. Last year it was cut a bit short because of my miscarriage, but it was really fulfilling to do. This year, knowing that I'll have the bambina, I decided to get started a little early.
It all started last year in November when I was just so overwhelmed with a thankful heart. So overwhelmed with joy that I was finally pregnant and though we always "give back" throughout the year and especially during the holidays, but last year I wanted to do something really special. So I came up with my 12 Days of Giving. I researched and chose 12 local organizations that I decided I'd give back to. It didn't have to be financial, I just wanted to do something to help each of them. For example, I donated to a friend's Leukemia and Lymphoma Society walk, I got a ton of animal goodies for the no kill shelter in town, I organized a silent auction for my young professionals group and raised over $3,000 (that took a lot longer than a month, but I still counted it!), I gathered old hats and scarves for a women's shelter, I cleaned out the pantry and donated to the food bank, etc.
This year, I was telling a friend about it and she asked if she could join me. So we came up with our list of 12 and I have been hard at work planning things. I thought I'd share, given that we have entered November, the month focused on Thanksgiving, and for me that means giving thanks AND giving BACK.
The fun thing is that it also allows me to "clean house" a little bit. For example, did you know that dog shelters are always in need of towels? This is something that I never really thought about, but if you think of the number of baths they give, you can imagine the need. I'm taking this as an opportunity to go through my linen closet and get RID of lots of old towels that I don't use anymore or that are just not up to par with the rest. We never ever make it through all of our towels, and I even have some from when I started in the college dorm. They're still in fine condition, but I really just don't have a need for them. So they're part of my giving.
So I thought I'd share my list and some of my plans for giving back. I know that most of the people who read my blog are either currently struggling or have struggled with infertility. It is such an easy thing to get so wrapped up in the misery that is infertility and loss, but I can't tell you how rewarding it is to do something completely selfless and for the good of others. I would love to hear your stories about how you plan to give back and what you're thankful for this season. Please share your thoughts and maybe it will help me to expand my horizons on giving, too!
Here's my list:
1. Big Brothers Big Sisters--I'm on the Board of Directors for our local BBBS and am passionate about helping at risk youth.
2. Local No-Kill Shelter--I've been collecting inexpensive toys, treats, etc. and will be giving those, along with towels. I also got some cat pan liners for free from Menards. Finally, I'll use this as an opportunity to go through my dogs' toy basket and get rid of some of the things they don't use.
3. Hanna--This is a local community resource center for youth and seniors. My Young Professionals organization supports them so we'll likely be doing a holiday party of some sort for them.
4. Habitat for Humanity—I've been collecting several things and still have some leftover that I didn't get to before the miscarriage last year. I've got lots of tools and paint brushes and work gloves, etc., most of which I've gotten for free from Menards. FYI, you can get a lot of free stuff from Menards. They have several things every 2 weeks that are free after mail in rebate. I did this last year and now just use the rebate checks to go in and buy new stuff. This is a blog that I read that has a good Menards tutorial… http://www.mummydeals.org/2008/09/menards-411.html
5. It’s My Closet—this is a place where you can take clothes/shoes/etc. and they allow underpriveliged middle and high school students to "shop" for free. Great excuse to get rid of some unwanted/unneeded clothes from both J and my closets!
6. Local Transitional Housing—With our recent move, we have several household things that aren't needed any longer or don't fit with the decor of the new house. I'll donate these and they'll go to people who are very low income or those who have lost items to fire, divorce, domestic violence, etc. Love the chance to declutter while helping a good cause!
7. Local Food Bank--I take advantage of good deals on soup/non-perishables, and also take the opportunity to clean out the pantry.
8. Local Teen Pregnancy Organization--I've got a ton of "extra" stuff from baby showers and duplicates of things or clothes that won't be in season for the baby. Instead of trying to return them or selling them in a garage sale, I've been collecting them and am going to donate them.
9. Soup Kitchen--My friend and I are going to volunteer at her church soup kitchen
10. Church Christmas Jubilee—Every year, J and I sponsor one or more families and I help during the jubilee to wrap gifts and help the families "shop" in the extra toy room. It's such a fun day! J and I also take advantage of his working for a large department store that has fabulous clearance sales..and we get his discount on top of all of the other discounts they offer. So we get tons of great toys for really really cheap.
11. ?--I left the last two slots empty for something that might come up. Last year, I even used one of my days to bring cranberry bliss bars and Starbucks hot chocolate to my office. No, they're not necessarily "needy" people, but it sure did brighten everyone's day! So I like to keep a few slots open for something that I happen to hear about and want to take part in.
SOOO, what are you planning (if anything)? I'd love to hear!! I'll be sure to document our season of giving. We won't do 12 days in a row. Instead, we'll probably spread it out from mid-November through Christmas. Looking forward to hearing other ideas and even some tips if you think of something that would really go well with any of my plans!!