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Anthology Winter Gift Guide

Anthology has released a special holiday issue online, featuring winter gift guides and holiday decorating ideas. Be sure to read all the way to the end, where you will find me featured on the back cover for their regular feature: Prized Possession.

Thanks for having me, Anthology!

Sightseeing on a “Vespa” (Scooter)

Something kind of amazing starts to happen when you make a life list; You start start doing the things you’ve always wanted to. Some people attribute it to the Law of Attraction (and the like), but that’s a little too woowoo for me.

I think it’s more about making yourself think about what’s important to you, and in taking that step, you’re more likely to work toward your goals. You’re also more likely to say yes to things. I had assumed that Brandon would be the one I’d go sightseeing with (and I still want to go with him), but the opportunity came up last weekend, I was available, and I went for it.

Jules and I arrived at the Ace Hotel for Camp Mighty, and noticed the cute red scooters out front. That’s a life list item of mine, to go sightseeing on a Vespa. (I know that technically the scooters weren’t Vespas, but I’m using the name as one would say Kleenex instead of tissue.) ‘Maybe I’ll do that one while I’m here,’ I thought. I also thought that it probably wouldn’t actually happen.

The next day, we had a bit of a break from all of the mightiness in the afternoon. I mentioned that I was still thinking about the scooters to Keryn, whom I had not known before Camp Mighty, and she was in. We were trying to figure out when the best time to go would be. I could feel myself slipping away from spontaneity and trying to plan it. “There’s another break tomorrow, but it’s supposed to rain. My flight doesn’t leave until 3 on Sunday…” Then in an uncharacteristic move (for me, at least), we decided to just go do it. Right then and there. We called the scooter rental company, and 20 minutes later, we were on our way.

It was amazing! (And now we each want one.) Thank you, Keryn, for helping me check off something super fun from my life list. Thank you, Jules and Andrea for being so supportive. Thank you, Maggie, for the mighty life list inspiration, and thank you also to Laura, for being an instrumental part of making Camp Mighty happen. Thank you, Brandon, for watching the kids so that I could go to this fantastic event in the first place.

Have you made your list yet? Get on that.

The Balch Family Holiday Card, 2011

There’s a giveaway too — Keep reading for details.

It’s that time again. Time to think of a ridiculous premise for our holiday cards! You know how I do a monthly shoot for the kids in the same chair to document their growth? I thought it would be fun to do the same portrait for all of us this year, then compile the photos into a card.

Eleanor is a toddler. If you’ve experienced toddlerhood, you’ll know that’s all that needs to be said.

I put her down for a nap in hopes of a better shot later. I used the time to run out for flowers (Brandon’s idea, and a good one at that). We took the rest of our photos while E slept, but here are a few from the second attempt later in the day. We tried to bribe her with a lollipop. She let it fall out of her mouth and onto her skirt, and was then appalled.

August was happy! A happy but wiggly, rocking, and slightly out of focus baby. It was so dark in the living room, I had to bump the ISO waaaaay up, open the aperture all the way, and hope for the best.

I was the consummate professional, needing only one shot. Or perhaps I’m just saying that so I’ll only have to show you one shot. You’ll never know.

Brandon looks like a standup fellow. So dapper. So mature.

Oh, wait! We have a B-side. A Brandon B-side.

Aw yeah. Brandon’s footie pajamas made a triumphant return. Along with my necklace. And with that, here is this year’s Balch family holiday card.

We’re lookin’ good.


You are no doubt inspired to make your own holiday cards now, right? OK, you may not want to take the route we did. You can still go for the classic family photo, and for that you’ll need a nice camera. And something (or some things) to put that photo on. Well, Shutterfly is offering 50 cards, a 12×12 photo book, an 8×8 photo book, mug, 3 calendars, reusable shopping tote, and an ornament, along with a PowerShot S100 Camera.

Visit Shutterfly to select your favorite photo card template, and leave a comment here about which one you like best to enter. A winner will be randomly selected.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years or older. Ends 12/6/11. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds and prize descriptions, visit Girl’s Gone Child, The Spohrs are Multiplying, or Make and Takes. Void where prohibited.

Congratulations to the winner, Diana L!

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