Come On. Get Happy.

Well hello! It's Giving Tuesday! This is my first one as a mom, and I gotta say, I'm a little conflicted. I feel a slight temptation to spend all of this year's money on Christmas gifts for our baby because he's so dang special, but I think the detrimental effects over the long term might not be worth it. Plus I want him to grow up knowing what it means to be generous and especially to be the kind of guy who pays attention to what's going on around him and steps up to help when he sees someone in need. Hopefully you know by now that I'm a big fan of giving, so here's an updated list of organizations I've either worked with or supported myself. No doubt they would all benefit from your donations today. Come on! Get happy!     

Denver Rescue Mission: These guys provide meals, shelter, emergency care, rehabilitation services, and family services to folks all over Colorado.

Denver Writes: Their mission is to provide young writers in the Denver area with a supportive community and creative opportunities to express themselves through writing.

Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives: These folks have been around a long time, doing some of the most important work there is to be done in America.

*Next Tuesday is Colorado Gives Day, but you can schedule your donation ahead of time if you're planning to give to a Colorado nonprofit. You know, #givewhereyoulive

826 National: Just maybe one of my favorite non-profit organizations of all time.  

International Justice Mission: These people are doing some of the most difficult and important work on the planet, in my opinion. Why not give a gift of rescue this Christmas and help free innocent prisoners from jail or help a widow start a small business

Compassion International: I've been sponsoring a girl named Rosi through Compassion since I was a college student. Big believer in the work these folks are doing over here.

Some Favorite Podcasts

   Click an image to visit the pod's URL!


Click an image to visit the pod's URL!

Since I currently get to stay home with baby Abe and he's not supposed to have screen time in the same room until he's two years old, we do a lot of listening during the day. Lots of music (this is a particular favorite at the moment), but also lots of podcasts. Do you have any idea how many podcast options there are these days? Truly there's something for everyone!

I'm still listening to This American Life and Nerdist regularly, but the other pods pictured above are some newer discoveries. Rachel tipped me off about The Writer's Almanac, which I love. Each episode is only about five minutes long, so it's not too much of a commitment even though it's intended for daily listening. I downloaded this episode of On Being based on Molly Wizenberg's recommendation, and I found at least ten others I'm excited to listen to as I scrolled through the archives. I think Chelsea Peretti's pod is the only one I've heard every episode of, and I'm not ashamed to tell you I've tried calling in a handful of times. She's hilarious and insightful and just fantastically entertaining.

I started listening to The Longest Shortest Time while I was pregnant, and it continues to be a source of encouragement and solidarity in the day-to-day newness of motherhood. The Nerdist Writer's Panel is interesting because of all the insider information it allows the listener to glean, and OMG, if you listen to no other podcast for the rest of 2015, please God give Another Round a chance. I promise you won't be disappointed.

What about you? Got any favorite podcasts? 

Teachers Pay Teachers

I once told Dann that I’d always equated the term “business owner” with pantsuits and briefcases. I recall saying something along the lines of “I always thought that if I wanted to own a business it meant I had to become a stock broker” and him cracking up because, for as long as I’ve known him, he’s been a business owner as 1/3 of an indie band.


Have you heard of Teachers Pay Teachers? I first discovered it in 2012 when I was searching online for curricular materials to use in my classroom while teaching Catching Fire as a whole class novel. I came across a comprehensive packet of materials, ready to use, and paid $10 for the entire thing. It saved me hours I would otherwise have spent creating vocabulary lists, writing questions, and dreaming up other ways of getting my students to engage with the text and/or assess their understanding of it. At the time, it was $10 incredibly well spent.

After we moved to Seattle (and I was jobless and pregnant), I started to look into creating my own Teachers Pay Teachers store. I always enjoyed the process of figuring out how to teach a thing, how to get at what a student really understood. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more satisfied than I did when a lesson I created worked, when I could hear my students talking about the things I wanted them to talk about, asking the questions I hoped they would ask, then doing the work they were responsible for doing. I figured I might be able to create something useful for the TpT marketplace, and I started by finding a customer who was in need of questions for something called Battle of the Books. Since March, I’ve written questions for the eight books pictured above, and I’ve made almost $40. I’m literally reading books, writing questions about them, uploading the questions to my store, and getting paid.

When I checked my email for the first time after baby Abe was born, I had a notification from TpT that I had sold a product. We were still in the hospital and Dann said “You just made money while giving birth.” It was the first time it happened, and it sort of blew my mind. Now every time I get one of those emails I tell myself “You just made money while sleeping.” or “You just made money while going for a walk." I think I might be a business owner, and I don't even own a briefcase.

I'm still pretty new and inexperienced in the TpT world, but I'm excited to see where it leads. So far, if nothing else, I've read some great new books (Rain Reign was a particular favorite - written by Ann M. Martin of Babysitters Club fame!) and made a few dollars. Go check out my store, tell your teacher friends about it, and shoot me an email if you're interested in hiring me!

Little Buddy In Boulder

We took a little trip to Boulder yesterday, so Abe could meet the ladies I used to work with before his first tooth comes in. I always forget how much I love Boulder until I'm on my way there. It's hard to believe it's been more than ten years since I finished college, but it was pretty apparent yesterday as we bopped around the campus with his stroller (and sort of accidentally wound up having lunch in a dining hall - oops). 


It was so much fun to walk around with my little buddy and tell him things like "This is where your mama once slipped on some ice and fell flat on her back with her backpack on. And because her backpack was so heavy, she couldn't get up without extracting her arms and rolling over first. It was pretty embarrassing." Have I ever told you that story? Well there you go.

We had to make a stop at the campus book store because, as I sadly did not realize until the day of the annual CU vs CSU game, Abe didn't have any CU gear! We remedied that situation yesterday. And now homeboy's going to be wearing CU onesies every day until he outgrows them because those suckers were not cheap, let me tell you.

Since we were making the trek and knew we wouldn't want to drive home during rush hour, we took this goober to dinner at Oak

Abe was pooped, but not too pooped to party. He ate his oatmeal and green beans and squealed with delight the whole time we were there. I promised him we'd take him back once he's big enough to eat pork belly.

It was way past his bedtime when we got home, but I'm pretty sure he had a good time.