Operation Christmas Child 2009 Brought to you by Baxter Helping Hands

Giving Rocks!

After weeks of preparation and planning the Baxter Helping Hands Volunteer Organization opened the doors at the Baxter Village Hall for what has become an annual neighborhood tradition:  Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Stuffing.  The short story on the cause:  Fill a shoe box with toiletries, school supplies, toys, candy, artwork and maybe a nice note.  Put a lid on it.  Label it. Box it with other shoeboxes in a shipping crate and have it shipped to children in 3rd world countries to provide basic needs, caring as well as a little joy for the holidays.  Do this 344 times and you now know what went on yesterday from 1-3pm in Baxter Village.  Remarkable.  Inspiring.  Thoughtful.  Hopeful.  Best of all – kind.

Enjoy the slideshow of this year’s event below and if you are one for comparisons, check out the growth in the event from last year.  Can’t wait until next year!!

Click here for the slideshow of this year’s Baxter Helping Hands Operation Christmas Child Event.

Click here for the slideshow from last year’s event.

Don’t forget to thank Sweet Peppers the next time you are there – they provided good food and snacks for those hard at work!  Thanks Sweet Peppers!

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More camping, More Charlie, and Scavenger Hunting – Nov 2009

Unrelated to the events/pictures above but allow me to start this entry  by introducing you to our family’s newest cover model:  Will.  He landed the highly coveted November cover of Island Events Magazine (apparently “The Original Visitor’s Guide to Hilton Head Island & The Lowcountry Since 1974”).  It’s a long story but the short version is people really do look at the pictures you post to Flickr.  The magazine liked a shot I took of us Kayaking this summer in Hilton Head and the rest is history.  We are trying not to let this go to our heads.  Just one quick trip to Madison Avenue to test the modeling waters and then back to reality, we promise.  😉

Throughout November we participated in kid-bouncy festivals for the school PTO, Cindy and I made a kid-free weekend happen in Blowing Rock, NC, Will finished up a very successful soccer season (multiple hat tricks), Stewart re-upped for the “Big Dippers” Gymnastics Class, Stewart, Will and I went on another camping trip to our favorite campsite (#7) at the Anne Springs Close Greenway here in Fort Mill and Cindy and I participated in a foot-based scavenger hunt about Baxter (this was a blast!).  We even had a few dinners with friends we have not seen in a good while.  Good month.  Pictures at the links below for your viewing enjoyment.

Click here for the slideshow of our November Camping Trip with the Sullivans

Click here for the slideshow of Charlie at 9 months

Click here for the slideshow of pictures of the Baxter Scavenger Hunt

Click here for the slideshow of Stewart’s solo trip to Camp Grammy and Poppy’s

Click here for Charlie’s Video Playlist

Click here to see all of our pictures a la flickr.

Camping, Halloween and Life – October 2009 Edition

Hello again. Here’s the latest installment of our life.  About 1 month’s worth.  The highlights:  Camping, Charlie on the move, hanging out, dressing up for multiple Halloween events.  Last night we met the neighbors in the park across the street for about 15 pizzas worth of fun, beverages, kids running around and the like.  Fun times…maybe even a rival of Christmas in the eyes of some kids.  Namely Stewart – more on this later.  Fun was had by all, about 10 pizzas worth in less than 30 minutes, until mother nature said “be glad you have a tent” (actually she said, “thank your neighbor Jason for his genius move of setting up the tent”).  About 20 folks found themselves huddled under the tent trying to stay dry.  Kids were protecting their costumes.  Parents scurried to protect paper plates, napkins, their beverages, etc. Cindy and catch eyes with the non-verbal question of each other, “did our kids have enough sense to get in out of the rain because clearly neither one of us asked them to get in out of the rain.”  We find Will.  Then Stewart.  Yes!  both under the tent – good kids!  Except something’s wrong with Stewart.  She’s starting to cry.  She grabs her mom and says “Mom, does this mean Halloween is canceled?”  Letting her know that it wasn’t had the same relieving effect that you get when the kids find out Santa made it to our house.  Good stuff.  Enjoy the pictures – 2 sets:  camping and Halloween stuff.

Click here for the slideshow of our Halloween Pictures

Click here for the slideshow of the Cub Scout Camping Trip and General Life Pictures

Click here for Charlie’s Video Playlist

Click here to see all of our pictures a la flickr.

What Were You Thinking??

A slight twist on this common phrase.  Someone at our rainy pre-Halloween extravaganza with our neighbor friends in the park across the street asked me a question I haven’t spent a great deal of time thinking about.  They asked, “What do you think about when you go for these runs?”  I didn’t have a good answer so on my run today I thought about what I think about.  Truth be told, I am a pretty simple thinker.  Early in nearly every run I spend time thinking about how I feel and almost invariably remind myself to go out easy.  Today I wondered if really fast runners tell themselves to not go out too hard.  Probably not.

Next my mind wandered to the fun discussion we had yesterday in the rain at the pre-Halloween festivities:  The “Fan-brella”!  This idea has teeth.  It could be the next Slanket or Snuggie!  It is an umbrella that pumps up and down when open to help keep you cool when out in the rain.  Also different than the umbrella/fan that you can read about here as this one will go up and down not rotate, which for a personal umbrella would be quite dangerous.  We of course, would market it with NCAA, NFL, NBA, any any other worthy sporting team’s logo.  No action will be taken on my end here but if anyone does take this idea and subsequently makes millions off of the idea if you would kindly remember me.

Many of my runs about the more rural areas of Fort Mill and/or Charlotte remind me of my desire to own a good bit of tree-filled land.  Today’s run was no different until I got a small bit angry at the tracts of land that developers had mowed down and then seemingly took a side trip to bankruptcy court.  They should have to personally replant what they destroyed.  We would call them GDA or Greedy Developer Appleseed.

Last topic of my run had to do with my moodiness.  It might also be a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder that cropped up around the twice-yearly time change.  I think we are back to Eastern Standard Time from Daylight Savings Time (DST) but I might have this backwards (yep, just confirmed my prior statement via Wikipedia entry).  Tangent warning: check out the map on the countries that use, no longer use and never used Daylight Savings Time.  Interesting that most countries don’t practice it.  Even odder is that some countries (like the U.S., Australia, Canada) have certain portions that don’t practice with their country).  Allow me to get back on topic.  The change of the clock gets me grumpy.  Likely related to dark mornings, of which I am not particularly fond of, my ability to arise early takes a hit the further into DST we get.  This seemingly culminates with a period of high grumpiness on the day of the time change.  Cindy thinks it is the natural tendency of the males species to get grumpy every 16 days (“16-day cycle”).  I don’t have knowledge of such a cycle (although I might track it just to check) but I do know that typically mild grumpiness that sets into my day is easily removed with a run.  Today, the run provided a temporary boost but not the normal permanent fix.  The beauty is that the sun coming up early tomorrow will make it all right again.  Might even bring on some of those late fall coffee-as-the-sun-rises moments on my porch.  Ah, that thought is a good one.  I’ll end there.