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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

There are so many reasons why I love being a mommy blogger; from being able to try out new products before the hit the shelves (that part is SO awesome), being able to connect with other parents and share the knowledge I’ve gained by being a Mommy for the past 12 years, and being able to give to others!  It’s that last one that’s the most gratifying and no time is it more awesome than during the holidays!image

I remember sitting down on the living room floor with my husband wrapping Christmas presents a few weeks ago and him asking me, “Do you think we bought the kids enough this year?”, and then I remembered the four hours the previous night I spent wrapping presents (and barely made a dent in my wrapping list) and immediately answered, “Definitely, I have no idea where we’re going to put half of this stuff!”. 

My husband and I both grew up in single parent (for the most part) homes, neither of us ever had a lot, so we were always thankful for what we did have.  We also both promised ourselves that when we had kids of our own,  we were going to do whatever we had to do to make sure that they grew up with more than we did—and we do!  It’s not always easy for us, or even financially sane sometimes, to give our kids as much as we do, but it’s important to us that our children never feel like they have less than anyone else like we sometimes did growing up.  Of course, making sure that our kids don’t go without sometimes comes at a price and sometimes that price can be creating spoiled brats and though our children are definitely a lot more spoiled than some kids I know, we always try to make then see things from every perspective so that they never take what they do have for granted!

Some of you may remember last year when I participated in the Random Acts of Zhu program sponsored by Cepia (the makers of the popular ZhuZhu Pets), I was honored to be a part of the RAZ program!  Well, this year we were chosen again to take part in Random Acts of Zhu and I couldn’t have been more excited!

A little more about the RAZ program!

"Random Acts of Zhu" (RAZ) program is a charitable initiative, this program at its core seeks to bring joy to children. Last year, Cepia, LLC partnered with 100 bloggers and donated 10,000 toys to kids in need in our 2010 RAZ program.

I cannot tell you how amazing it felt to take part in the RAZ program last year and I was so thankful to have been chosen again this year!  Last year I donated 100 ZhuZhu pets to our town’s Hometown Christmas, a completely FREE program that the town puts together for members of the community; there’s free food and drinks, caroling, and even a visit from Santa with lots of toys for the kiddos!  It’s an amazing thing that our town does and I was honored to be able to donate the ZhuZhu pets on behalf of Cepia to the town! 

This year, I had planned on donating the shipment of ZhuZhu pets and accessories to our Hometown Christmas, but it was held a little earlier than it had been the year before so I had to rethink my giving strategy!  In a way, I’m glad that I wasn’t able to donate to our Hometown Christmas this year, because it opened my options up and I was able to make a few smaller donations instead of one big one! 

The day that I received the shipment of ZhuZhu pets to donate my oldest daughter came home from school and mentioned something about her class taking donations for a Christmas Angel, I glanced at my daughter and then to the massive wall of ZhuZhu Pet boxes that I had stacked against my living room wall and I knew immediately where my first donation would be!  The next day I contacted Taylor’s homeroom teacher, explained the RAZ program to her and set up a time to make the donation—she was more than thankful for the donation and so very glad that Cepia is doing what they are to help others!

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When I posted on my Facebook wall about receiving a massive shipment of ZhuZhu Pets to donate locally, several of my friends commented and liked the post and praised Cepia for the RAZ program.  And then I received a few messages from people, in my town, with suggestions for families to donate some of the ZhuZhu pets to.  While it was definitely not how I had intended to donate some of the ZhuZhu pets, I couldn’t ignore the fact that the point of choosing 100 bloggers to participate in the RAZ is so that those bloggers can make a difference locally, so I chose three families (that I knew of and knew of their financial situations) and with the help of my brother-in-law Travis, I played Santa to several very deserving kids!

Travis

Sorry about the poor picture quality, it was dark (obviously) and we were trying to be covert so I snapped the picture quickly without checking to see if it came out.  Just in case you can’t see, this is my BIL Travis (in his Santa attire) getting ready to deliver the car full of ZhuZhu Pets!  It felt amazing to be able to give some very deserving kids a little bit of Christmas cheer and I can’t thank Cepia enough for making it possible!

Last, but most certainly not least, I decided to contact Kay Marshall (the organizer of our town’s Hometown Christmas) and talk to her about donating the remaining ZhuZhu Pets to her church’s local Toys for Tots toy drive.  Every year (since I can remember) the church Kay is a member of, has collected food and toys and then in turn, delivered baskets of food and toys to needy families in our town for Christmas; I even mentioned my mother, my sister and I being the recipients of one of those baskets one year.  I knew instantly that it was the perfect choice!  Kay was as excited as I was about the donation so I couldn’t wait to drop the ZhuZhu Pets off with her and I took the drop off as a great opportunity to teach my two youngest children about the power and importance of giving!

RAZ Collage

With my brother-in-law, Lil’ Man and Lil’ Diva in tow I set off to deliver the remaining ZhuZhu Pets!  Since I really wanted to show Lil’ Man and Lil’ Diva how important giving is, I decided to let them help Travis and I deliver the boxes, Lil’ Man even insisted on getting a picture of him handing Kay one of the boxes!  I have to admit, it was awesome to be able to give such a large shipment of ZhuZhu Pets to so many needy families for Christmas, but it was just as awesome to see my son and youngest daughter be so excited about helping other kids—for me that was an amazing thing to witness and truthfully, it made this Mommy extremely proud!

Here’s hoping that many. many more companies follow Cepia’s lead and donate in such a huge way next holiday season—it would make this world a whole lot better place!

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