Thursday, December 19, 2013

52 Acts of Random Kindness, Weeks 13 and 14

A different kind of Piper the remote!
It's been awhile since I've posted under this heading, and believe me when I say there is very good reason for that.  When I first decided to take on the random act of kindness a week, I set some pretty lofty goals for myself.  Goals which I had full intention to follow, but life got hectic, time got short, and taking care of Piper always comes first ahead of all other things right now and forever.  So, why the break in acts of kindness?

It has a flavor!
First off, I didn't altogether just stop being nice to people, lol.  I'm pretty good at niceties on a regular basis, but I don't always go out of my way to do something extra special for complete strangers.  Mostly my niceties revolve around family, friends, and coworkers.  So that's that.  I did however have to slow down on the every week extra special nicety for a few reasons: (but first some random pics!)

Traded remote for water bottle!
Which was fine at first...
But then she got lazy...
And more lazy...
I'm talking serious lazy here!
What was in that bottle?
Okay, now back to the point...

1) The holiday times are extremely hectic and very expensive.  While it may seem a perfect time of year to perform my acts of kindness, truth is they are not usually free and I give a lot to family and friends this time of year.  I, along with my parents, have the very lofty expense of providing all the Thanksgiving grub for the clan.  I love to cook with the best ingredients this time of year so my recipes tend to get pricey...but they are oh so delicious and worth the expense!  Also, I'm known as the most awesome gift giver in the family.  I am very much a giver rather than a receiver, and love to see people light up with joy upon opening presents.  I have a very talented knack for picking out the most unique and/or perfect items for those I know, and I oftentimes spend a little more than I should if the gift speaks to me and has to be gotten.  I budget very well, so I never put myself in a bind, however this time of year I tend to put my loved ones first because it's a special time for me, especially after the Christmas I tried to die on everyone via a brain infection.  Add on the additional expense of Piper's first Christmas, and well you don't even want to know how ridiculous that's become!

2)  Time was passing to fast!  Since may sound a bit odd, but trying to come up with something new and exciting every week for my random act of kindness was making life fly by way too quickly.  I had begun to feel I was missing out on enjoying Piper's first year by throwing so much time and effort into the kindnesses. It began to feel like every week was revolving around these acts rather than focusing on this little miracle of mine.  Sure, she gets more attention than probably most kids.  And she gets to stay with me all day at work. But I began to feel like I was just trying to put too much into to little time.  I hope that makes since, because it is a genuine feeling I was toying with.

3)  I began to feel like my blog was starting to center around the acts rather than Piper.  I began the blog to document her life, not to document the acts of kindness, those were just supposed to be a bonus and to give back to the universe what I felt I was given through her.  However, I noticed I was beginning to post weekly about the acts of kindness and not about her.  I don't always have the time to post every week, although I desperately try to do so, and I was forcing myself to get the kindness post written ahead of Piper posts.  In other words, when time only allowed for one post, she wasn't becoming the priority, and she is the reason I do all of this.  This also relates to number two above.  Trying to get the act and the post done every week was making time feel like it was passing way too quickly!

Those three things are the main reason I had to take a small break and get myself refocused.  During this time I did some rethinking, and have come up with a way to solve the time constraints at hand and still accomplish my original goal of 52 acts of random kindness.

First off, I'm not going to force one a week on myself.  They will happen as they happen, but I will at accomplish at least one a month.  I will still perform 52 of them, they just won't have to be done so quickly. This lengthening of the timeframe will also keep me from feeling pressured about time and help me maintain my sanity without guilt of falling short.

Secondly, I'm not going to limit myself to whom these acts can be performed.  Sometimes I go out of my way to do something quite spectacular for people I know/acquaintances, and these should count as they do take a lot of thought, time, effort, sometimes expense, energy, etc.  They are random, but they are also special and should be recognized as so.  I see no reason why to not write about these, too.

Lastly, I am not going to force myself to come up with something new all the time.  I can repeat acts as long as they are for different individuals...and this brings me to yesterday...(but first some more random pics)

Piper discovering the fireplace wood...

She loves the fireplace and the fire even more!

Not sure why the rings on the bucket had her so fascinated.
Okay, back to the acts of kindness..

Monday was actually my random act number 14, but I will discuss it first.  As of Monday, I finally felt back on track and free of holiday stress, and so I decided to show my appreciation to the universe by buying lunch for the two cars behind me at the McDonald's drive through.  Just as I started these by buying lunch for someone at Wendy's, I restarted by doing the same at McDonald's. (Yes, I eat fast food sometimes!) Buying someone lunch is a very simple way to give back, and it being a Monday, which pretty much always suck, I thought it would be the best day for a nice gesture.  It felt really good to finally get things back rolling again, and I look forward to continuing on.

As for week 13, I actually performed that one back towards the end of October and it just actually ended this week.  This year I signed up my family's business to be drop locations for Toys for Tots.  We have eight locations, so I thought it would be good to use those to help out those children less fortunate than others.  I wish I could report that we received hundreds of toys and it was a major success, but unfortunately that is not the case.  With the economy being so horrible right now, and toy prices being ridiculously high, the amount of giving was below par.  After speaking with the local Marine Corps representative yesterday about the toy pick-up, it was the same story at all the local toy drops.  We did receive some, and of course I donated, but overall I so wish we could have done more.  I think next year I will get a better game plan in action, and see if we can offer our customers and other people incentives for donating.  Or maybe we will pick a local charity organization that accepts gently used toys, too.  I think the response may have been better if new toys were not a requirement.  I know a lot of people who have toys around their houses that have hardly even been touched by their kids and they are looking to get rid of them, so maybe this avenue would be better next season.  Or maybe both.  Either way, I do want to try again next year as I think it's a wonderful cause and one we should support even if we can only do a little.

So there you go, random acts of kindness are officially back in swing!  I apologize to my readers for not explaining the lull in things sooner, but Piper has been all-consuming and she is my top priority.  I'm sure you all understand, because you are all awesome.  I do still want to get one more act in for the holidays, as I feel like Christmas is a time when there are so many out there that just don't get to have the type of Christmas I've always been blessed with.  I'm a very lucky gal, and I recognize that wholly.  So hopefully I will get the time to do something special for someone outside my family, besides the Toys for Tots gift donation.  I may not get to write about it right away, as it's so close to crunch time, but it will happen, I have faith.

And here is a random pic of Piper eating studle innards :)
And now is your time for an act of kindness.  Please vote for me and Piper over on Top Mommy and Top Baby Blogs.  It's a simple couple of clicks and you're done.  Then come join us on our other sites, especially Facebook, where all the daily action happens.  Most of all, have a fantastic holiday season, whatever holiday or non-holiday you celebrate or don't celebrate.  I'm actually a Pagan witch who celebrates Yule, so there you go!  Blessed be!

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How You Like Them Apples?

Get ready for a bunch of apple-eating pics!
I have recently introduced Piper to finger foods so that she can take part in feeding herself, which she loves to do. First we started out with the simple stuff, such as freeze dried yogurt bites and baby cheesy poofs, at least that's what I call them. Basically, snack items she could eat while enjoying juice and an episode of a Baby Einstein.  Last week I upped the ante and introduced more advanced items, such as Gerber Graduates carrots and apples for crawlers.  Wouldn't you know my little foodie took right to them without a second thought.

See, it makes her happy to feed herself! 
The apples were a bit sour to her. 
It gets worse, just wait!

Working on the pinching grasp!

Always so polite with the extended pinky.
Piper is very much working on her pinching grasp as well as her independence.  She loves to be in control of her world at times, and is constantly pushing the limits as to what that means....such as deciding whether or not she wants to wear a hair bow as well as taking part in helping shovel food into her piehole.  I am quite pleasantly surprised and pleased with her fine motor skills and enjoy letting her take the reigns during meal times...I could say less for the hair bow control issues, but that's a whole other blog entry.

Things just got more sour!
And sourer...
And still even sourer...
Oh god, it's getting worse!
Can I have an amen on the sour factor!?!?!

So, let's get back to these apples.  Although Piper adores applesauce, actual apple chunks are going to take some getting used to.  At first she was all about them, but then they seemed to turn a little more sour than she was accustomed to.  Also, as her little fingers learned to grasp and put food in her mouth, her mouth all of a sudden decided to not always cooperate on being where it needed to be to receive the food offerings.  In other words, girl needs to work on her concentration, aim, and hand-eye coordination.  While most of the apples did eventually reach their destination, some of them had to be retrieved by Mama and offered up a second time.  All in all, she did well for a beginner self-feeder.  She's been a whiz with the dry-goods food snacks, but the apples are a bit squishy and harder to hold onto...slippery little suckers!

Yep, still sour!
This sour is on a whole new level!
Besides all the pics I took documenting her apple adventure, I also took a brief video.  Well, in all honesty it's just a little over five minutes long, but totally worth the watch.  Within it's frames are mouth-misses, sour apple faces, table banging, bye-bye waving, and a myriad of other fun baby-isms that I am glad I caught on video.  I will definitely cherish this video as she gets older, and hopefully she will appreciate later in life, too.

Apples are Awesome!

I hope she stays as enthusiastic about food as she is now when she gets a bit older.  I know a couple of mommies whose kids stopped eating once they reached somewhere around the 2-year-old mark.  I enjoy that she enjoys food.  I like to cook and discover new flavors, and food is a huge highlight of any travels I adventure on, so I hope she maintains her love of good eats so that I may teach her all about cooking, tasting, and cultural variations and differences via the well developed palate.  Of course, I don't want her to be too much of a foodie to the point the just becomes piggy and slovenly, just the right amount of enjoyment that warrants appreciation without can sometimes be a fine and dangerous line.

Loves this pic for the cheeks!
And this for the squinch! 
Damn sour apples!
More scrunch!
And more sourness!
Okay, that's about all I had for this entry, just some pics and that adorable video.  I imagine Piper's forays into self feeding will provide an abundance of other capturable moments, so get ready because it's just beginning.  I'm sort of looking forward to the day when she learns to throw spaghetti!  For now though, until she finally cuts those upper teeth, this is as exotic as the food vids and pics may very well get.  I'm loving them!

I can do it all by myself! 
The eyes say it all!

Stop with the sour already, mom!
Please take a moment, if you would, and go vote for us over at Top Mommy and Top Baby blogs.  Just a couple of clicks and you're done, it's easy-peasy.  After that, check us out on our other social sites, Facebook being the daily action go-to page.  Until next time, enjoy your apples!

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

  Top Baby, Daddy & Mommy Blogs on TopBabyBlogs.Com

And here's some last shots to make your day brighter!

My very happy girl!

Now that's a face!
Love my goofy girl!

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