Reaching Her Goal

Anna in our van with all the cookies

Photo: Julia Ozab

Anna’s first cookie season with Girl Scouts is drawing to a close. We had no idea how well she would do or how tiring it would be for all of us, but it is almost over.

At the start of pre-orders in January, she set a goal of 400 boxes. We weren’t sure if she would make it, but we were determined to help her in any way we could. Anna made cookie pre-order posters for Julia to take into her office, and I reached out to friends, family, and colleagues online. She sold more than 100 boxes before the end of the first pre-order period, and then hit 200 the day booth sales were set to begin.

She was already half-way there. Then came the first weekend. This is the hot time for Girl Scout cookies. People are seeing booths outside stores for the first time in a year, and the sales are huge.

By Sunday afternoon, she broke the 300 mark. But it was wearing on her, and us, and the rest of the troop.

Still we were so close, and we had four booths the following weekend. We knew her goal was within reach.

She sold her 400th box at her second booth on Saturday afternoon and after Sunday she’s closing on on 450. We have two more booth scheduled–one tonight and the other on Saturday. She has a great shot of hitting 500 and being the top seller in her troop.

For her first sale, it’s a great accomplishment. And a reminder to me and to all of us. You never know what you can do until you try, but if you don’t try you’ll never find out.

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord,” and through him “all things are possible.

Cheerleaders of Faith

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Another Badge Update

Brownies can do anything

Anna’s Brownie badge progress has slowed up a bit since the start of school. We had to switch troops once again in October, but now we’re settled into an excellent troop with a great leader who also happens to be a very good friend. So it’s time to start ironing and sewing again …

Making Games (January 22).

Making Games (1/21/15).

Anna began this badge at a Girl Scout Halloween/Juliette Low Birthday Party last October. She created a party game called Pin the Hat on the Brownie Elf, a mystery touch-box game, and a find-the-differences picture game.

Then at our troop party in December, she taught everyone a variation of Four Corners called “Trefoil.” Instead of separating into four groups, the girls split into three. And instead of the number called being “out,” the other two are. The goal of the girl who’s it (Anna) is to eliminate everyone. The goal of the other girls is to be the last one left.

Finally, at our meeting last night, Anna introduced a brand-new sport she invented called “Cookie Relay.” The nine girls split into three teams and ran a relay. The first girl in each team had to pick out a cookie based on a description, the second girl had to make correct change from a collection of play money, and the third girl had to find an appropriate hello, thank you, or cookie description. The first team to finish (without making a mistake) wins. Everyone enjoyed the game and learned important cookie-selling skills too.

Computer Expert (1/22/15)

Computer Expert (1/22/15)

Anna started this one at the beginning of January and is all set to finish it tonight. The first step in this badge is by far the most important—reading and signing an Internet Safety Pledge. After that, she created a picture in a paint app on her iPad, looked up a bird she saw in our backyard and correctly identified it, and researched Brazil to prepare for World Thinking Day next month.

This evening, she’ll write  “thank you” emails for her birthday presents and assemble a five-song playlist to share at her next Brownie meeting. And that will complete her Computer Expert badge.

 

Brownie Quest badges

Brownie Quest (in progress).

Finally, there’s our current journey, Brownie Quest. The Brownies in Anna’s troop are working on this set of badges together. Last month, we completed the requirements for the first two keys—Discover and Connect—and last night we brainstormed ideas for a community service project to complete the third key. The plan is to pick a project next week and try to complete it before booth sales start.

Brownie Cookie Badges

Wait! I almost forgot about Cookie Badges!

Bloggerhood Etc. 12/29/14

Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Xavier Romero-Frias (CC BY-SA 3.0)

And the Twelve Blogs of Christmas (aka the best Christmas posts of the week).

1.SB Nation’s 12 Days of GIFsmas” by Bill Hanstock at SB Nation. 

2.Have a Merry, Messy Christmas” by Kelly Langston at Support for Special Needs.

3. “The Town With Three Christmases” by Yolande Knell at BBC News Magazine.

4. “By His Light” by Ashley Larkin, guest posting at Christine Purifoy’s blog, There is a River.

5.House of Bread” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

6.Things I’ll Be Doing This Christmas Vacation” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

7.An Unexpected Revolution” by Elizabeth Stoker-Bruenig at Democratic Socialists of America.

8.Books on Monday: Charlie and the Christmas Kitty” by Leslie Lindsay at Speaking of Apraxia.

9. “A Nation in Dire Need of Christmas” by Christopher J. Hale at Time.

10.Cool Gifts Christians Can Give Baby Jesus for His Birthday” by John Pavolitz.

11.Pope Calls for Peace, says: ‘Truly There Are Too Many Tears This Christmas!’” by Gerard O’Connell at America.

12.The Glove and Boots Holiday Playlist” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

Dear Blogosphere …

19th c gentleman at 21st c laptop

Image: The Art of Manliness

You inspire me every day to be a better writer. Some of you lay your hearts out on the page two or three times a week. I am awed by your honesty, your bravery, and your skill. Many of the best writers I know are fellow bloggers and you awe me regularly. That’s why I set aside a day each week—Monday—to highlight some of the best writing I’ve found. The funny, the sad, the thought-provoking, the beautiful, and the harrowing. I can only take a bottleful out of the ocean each week but I try my best to make it a great one. Thank you for inspiring me and pushing me.

And thanks to those who post interminable lists and click-bait headlines. You’ve taught me what not to do, even if it costs me clicks. I don’t care. I know I’ll never make money off the blog and I’ve given up thinking otherwise. I’m happier and my writing will be better as a result.

Because it’s important as a writer to learn what you want to write and also what you don’t want to write. That’s why you read as much as you can—so you can learn the difference.

So I will continue to make my small contribution to our vast shared community—and the cozy FMF community as well—to continue writing about parenting and life and sharing my experiences as a dad, husband, reader, writer, Girl Scout volunteer, Catholic, and all the other words that describe me.

I know I’m not the only one who cares about these things. I know I can encourage others just as I’ve been encouraged. And I’m going to stick with it.

Thank you for reading. Please come again soon.

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

 

What Can I Give You?

19th c gentleman at 21st c laptop

Image: The Art of Manliness

I’m going through another one of my “what should I blog about?” phases. These come from time to time. I look back at what I’ve written, consider it to be self-indulgent, wonder what I could have done differently, and stop writing until I think of something better. Then after a few months of regular posting, I pause and go through it all over again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

A few things are making this latest rut harder to get out of. I’m going through a major shift in my writing. I’m also reading different books—mostly fiction—due to that shift. Anna’s getting older and more independent, making me less and less of an At-Home-Dad than I was when I started this blog. And I’m reading more and more about “the death of blogging” and wondering if I should keep plugging away at this site. What am I gaining from it?

Or maybe that’s the wrong question. Maybe my question should be “what are you gaining from it?”

I can write for myself in a notebook or a .doc file. I can be self-indulgent on Facebook like everyone else is. But if I’m going to keep this blog going, I need to provide something for those who read it.

“A stay-at-home dad’s view on parenting and life.” That’s how I describe this blog, and that’s what I’ve tried to make it. The description is intentionally broad on purpose, but now I feel the need to narrow it just a bit based on what you would like to see.

So here’s my question—”what can I give you?”

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

P.S. You can call this post a “Six-minute Saturday” if you’d like. 

Ready or Not

Anna and red boards

Photo: Julia Ozab

It’s the first day of third grade. She’s ready … I’m not.

It’s her first ride to school on the bus. She’s ready … I’m not.

It’s Monday through Friday out of the house after three months of summer. She’s ready … I’m not.

She talks about what she wants to be when she grows up. She talks about going to college and getting a job. She’s only eight and she’s in a hurry to grow up.

She’s already eight and she’s growing up too fast!

She asks when she can have …

  1. an email account,
  2. a Facebook account,
  3. a driver’s license,
  4. and a credit card.

I tell her …

  1. when she’s nine (and takes the Girl Scout Internet Safety pledge),
  2. when she’s fourteen (and shows she’s mature enough to handle it),
  3. when she’s sixteen (and takes Driver’s Ed),
  4. and when she’s eighteen (and shows she’s responsible with money).

Eighteen? That’s less than ten years!

In ten years, she’ll be an adult. In ten years, she’ll be going to college. It’s too soon for me, and it’s not soon enough for her.

But as much as she wants to hurry up and as much as I want to slow down, we’re both traveling into the future at a constant speed of sixty minutes per hour, and twenty-four hours per day.

The time is coming and it will soon be here.

Ready or not.

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

Bloggerhood Etc. 8/25/14

Football vs. Handegg

“Johnny Handegg” (via Google Image search)

A tale of two quarterbacks and a whole lot more in this week’s walk around the blogosphere …

Best Open Letter.Crash Course for Johnny Football” by Matt Tullis at SB Nation.

Best Dad Post.The Wrong Way to Support Your Wife’s Breastfeeding” by John Kinnear at Huff Post Parents.

Best Mom Post.Why Our Kids Date (and Don’t Court)” by Mary DeMuth.

Best Answer to a Bad Question.If You’re Asking ‘What’s In It for Me?’ Then You’re In the Wrong Business…” by Amanda Palmer at Digital Music News.

Best Special Needs Post.Unwanted Monsters” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best Back-to-School Rant.It’s Back-to-School for First Lieutenant Room Moms of the New Motherhood Order” by Elizabeth Esther.

Best Imagery.We All Face the Sun Together” by Tamara Lunardo at A Deeper Story.

Most Inspiring.How These Teen Transplant Recipients Thanked the Hospital That Saved Their Lives” by Cate Matthews at Huff Post Teen.

Best Sports List.Football Leagues Ranked” by Rex Crum.

Best Non-Sports List.Every State in the USA, Ranked by its Beer” by Ben Robinson, Andy Kryza, and Matt Lynch at ThrillList.

Best Epiphany.The Yellow Dream” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Greatest Epic.The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.

Most Honest Video.The Expendables” by Honest Trailers (via YouTube).

“All I really wanted to see was these guys trade one-liners … never mind.”