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New Branches on our Family Tree

Saturday afternoon, I took Tacy and CJ to the Family Tree of Hope in south Metro Denver to drop off a box of toys, books, educational DVDs, and baby toiletries for the families living there.

A couple months ago, my friend Whitney – one half of the dynamic Rookie Moms duo – sent me two Caring Corners Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouses . One was for Tacy and CJ to keep, and one was for us to give away.

I prefer to support local charities – less overhead, more direct impact, a personal investment in the community – and when I found Family Tree, I knew they were the group I wanted to receive the other dollhouse.

From their Web site: “The mission of Family Tree is to help people overcome child abuse, domestic violence and homelessness to become safe, strong and self-reliant.” After reading their impact stories , I’d say that Family Tree is succeeding admirably.

Tacy was not pleased that I dragged her away from the brand new Wii Fit for our outing. “Tell me again, why are we doing this?” she asked.

How to explain without scaring her or making her sad?

“Well,” I began, “we are very fortunate people. We have so much at home. Not only do we have plenty of toys and books and puzzles, but we have clothes to wear and food to eat and a warm house where we can sleep each night.”

Your Daddy and I both work very hard to have enough money to take care of you and CJ and Ollie, and we plan carefully to make sure that we all have what we need.

But sometimes, even when people work hard and plan carefully, bad things happen. They get really sick, and it costs a lot of money to help them get well. And when they’re sick, they can’t work. So they run out of money.

Or kids might have a Daddy or a Mommy who can’t take care of them. Or who hurts them. And they need help.

So these families don’t have

An Attitude of Gratitude: Don’t Just Express It, Show It This Thanksgiving!

I’ll admit it: I’m not a huge fan of Thanksgiving. Out of all the holidays, it is the one that resonates the least with me. This is probably because it has become very little about gratitude and more about spending the day slaving in the kitchen, only to be rewarded by a football game I do not care about.

At least the pumpkin pie isn’t all bad.

With recent stressful events in my family’s life, it would be easy to throw a bit of a pity party. But this year, I decided Thanksgiving would be different. Or rather, that I would make a difference. Instead of just expressing gratitude, I vowed I would show gratitude. Two great companies made it very easy for me: World Discovery Box and Caring Corners’ Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse.

[photopress:goodbee_1.jpg,full,pp_image]I am often contacted about doing reviews and giveaways on Mile High Mamas. But the folks promoting the Mrs. Goodbee Dollhouse were different. They challenged me to anonymously give their interactive dollhouse to someone in need. And I did–to a family with several boys and one little girl. A family whose trials and difficult circumstances have humbled me and whose positive attitude through it all inspires me. I heard from a friend of a friend (must not blow my cover, of course) that Mrs. Goodbee’s Dollhouse has been a ray of sunshine in their little girl’s life.

Then, the Colorado-based owner of World Discovery Box contacted me about doing a giveaway on Mile High Mamas. And I just didn’t feel right about it. Don’t get me wrong–I thought this wooden chest of drawers filled with amazing natural items like fossils, shells, geodes and insects was genius. Epic, even. How many toys are on the market that create a family lifestyle and culture around discovery?

But I just felt like I needed to do more.

That “more” came to me as I was retrieving my daughter from preschool.