Tender Sapling

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Sunshine Award – Not Just a Chain Letter (?)



We’re delighted (and frankly quite surprised) to accept our first blog award – the Sunshine Award – from the inspiring Leanna at All Done Monkey! Thanks so much, Leanna!

The Sunshine Award is given to those who write positive and inspiring articles and bring some sunshine into the life of others. It’s an honor to be included in this group!

Like any blogging award this one has its own rules and requirements.

But before we get to those, here’s a little behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Tender Sapling blog team’s discussions about this award in the spirit of keeping it real:

May 22 (In car bursting with three boys, two tired parents, snacks to get us through a 14-hour car trip, and lots of stowaway stuffed animals nestled between bags packed for a crazy wonderful trip to Chicago, Emily glances at Facebook.)

Emily: “Wow! Honey, did you see this? Leanna nominated the blog for the Sunshine Award!”

Scott: “What’s that?”

Emily: “It’s one of those blogger awards. It’s for being uplifting and positive! Wow, how sweet is that? Leanna knows like a million bloggers and she included our blog on her list. That’s amazing!”

Scott: “That Sunshine thing still doesn’t mean anything to me.”

(Lightening flashes and thunder interrupts our conversation as we enter a massive thunderstorm in silence, all attention on road safety.)

IMG_1513_2May 26 (while driving around Chicago)

Emily: “Slow down! Look. It’s the Sunshine Restaurant! It’s a sign. We’re supposed to accept the award.”

Scott: “For real? It just sounds like a chain letter to me.”

Emily: “Oh.”

Scott: “And you know how you bothered to send recipes to all those friends that time and were promised to receive 36 if you just kept the letter going?”

Emily: “Uh huh.”

Scott: “How many did you get?”

Emily: “Five.”

Scott: “Five.”

Emily: “But five good ones. I mean, we wouldn’t have penne bake on our rotation if it weren’t for Kristen’s response.”

Scott: “Oh.”

June 5 (On the way home from dropping off both our cars at the auto body shop for random accident repairs.)

Emily: “You know how the Sunshine Award is different from a chain letter?”

Scott: “You don’t get any recipes from it?”

Emily: “It’s not about sending it to anyone you know and then hoping to get something back. It’s about acknowledging a compliment and then sharing it with other bloggers that inspire you. Plus, you introduce your readers to some awesome blogs out there.”

Scott: “Still sounds like a chain letter to me. And you don’t get any recipes.”

June 10 (After an hour of Emily lying down with the two-year-old who is going through a phase where he won’t fall asleep unless he’s holding her hair rolled up in a bun.)

Emily: (yawn) “While I was lying down, I gave it some thought and maybe you’re right.”

Scott: “About what?”

Emily: “The Sunshine Award.”

Scott: “Knew you’d get it.”

Emily: “No, I think it’s still a lovely gesture, but I don’t think we can accept it.”

Scott: “Why?”

Emily: “Because I can’t list five blogs I regularly read. It’s too embarrassing. I can barely carve out time to exercise every other week, let alone blog. Reading other blogs is a luxury that my life can’t afford right now.” (yawn)

Scott: “Ok.”

Emily: “No, don’t give up so easily. Help me. Come on. List some blogs you read that deserve the Sunshine Award.”

Scott: “I don’t read any blogs regularly. Except maybe the New York Times blogs.”

June 20 (After not having a working laptop for several days.)

Emily: “Ok, if we accept it, there is another hurdle. We have to list seven facts about ourselves.”

Scott: “I thought we weren’t going to accept it.”

Emily: “Yeah, but it’d be rude not to, don’t you think?”

Scott: “I don’t think anyone would ever notice.”

Emily: “So what would your seven facts be? Or maybe we could each have three and a half facts.”

Scott: “How about you accept it on behalf of us? Why include me?”

Emily: “We’re a team and were awarded this together! We are accepting this as a team!”

Scott: “And still not getting any recipes out of this?”

June 23 (While camping with dear friends, Emily explains the lameness of her not being able to list many blogs she regularly reads that meet the goals of the award and haven’t already received it.)

BF: “So just explain that when you accept it.”

Emily: “Really?”

BF: “Yeah. So many blogs read like some fairy land. That’s not real. Keep it real.”

Later on June 23 (Driving home from camping trip, Scott fights heavy eyelids, while Emily breaks the small business bureau’s rule that we keep work to work hours and approaches it one more time.)

Emily: “So, [best friend] says to keep it real and just admit I don’t read a lot of blogs.”

Scott: “To who?”

Emily: “Our readers.”

Scott: “Ok. I doubt any of them will be disappointed.”

Clearly the sage advice of our advisory council carried the day.

So there you have it. The truth.

I wish I had more time to read blogs, as there are so many awesome ones out there.

So many that I’ve stumbled upon here and there when googling things like “homemade remedies for burned skin” and “how far past an expiration date is barbeque sauce still safe to eat?” Or even deeper things like “how to deal with a child who is not obeying you” and “do mothers of boys really die younger than mothers of girls?” So many that I’d like to stop and add my email address into their inviting boxes so I’d get their latest posts in my email inbox. So many that I like on Facebook, but since I’m barely on Facebook for personal reading time, I don’t see all their inspiring posts to know how awesome they are all the time.

But, none of that is a problem, really, unless one is trying to list at least five inspiring blogs. I almost emailed a few bloggers to ask for their help with this. But instead I’ve made my peace.

I’m at peace with my blog reading limitations and priorities. I’d rather be in the moment with my children and be the best mother I can be. The nights I’ve stayed up reading Simple Homeschool and other blogs, I get to bed so late I’m short on patience the next day with my kids and that relaxing, late night reading time has backfired on me.

So as a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother whose youngest little one has been in a fiercely attached phase lately (thus rarely going out with my father for long, so I can get some precious moments of quiet to tend to various family, personal, and business needs), serious blog reading is for another chapter or season in my life. Maybe I’ll pick up a few each year or season, or maybe not.

And that’s all ok.

Because this is the time for me to focus on the family that needs me.

Oh, but this was supposed to be about accepting and spreading Sunshine, so let’s get back to that!

These are the four requirements of the Sunshine Award:

* Link back the blog who nominated you: Leanna at All Done Monkey is really special! She’s so generous in spirit in all that she does – from running an inspiring Random Acts of Kindness series on her blog to creating community amongst like-minded bloggers. Please visit her blog!

* Post the award images in your blog: See above.

* Tell seven facts about yourself:

Scott: “I like baked penne, I don’t like chain letters, um…”

Emily: “For real?”

Scott: “Yeah, I’m keeping it real.”

Emily: “Ok. I’ll write both of our lists then.”

Scott: “For real?”

Facts about Scott:

1)    I was born on an island in East Asia.

2)    I didn’t always have curly hair. It was pin straight as a child. I’m not sure why it turned curly.

3)    I am in the final stages of writing a juvenile novel. Juvenile like it’s written for 8-12 year olds, not juvenile like I’m, an 8-12 year old.

4)    I really do like penne bake.

5)    I have a day job in a World Heritage Site.

6)    My kids love that I pick out really great library books for them to read.

7)    My wife loves everything about me, including that I agreed to accept the Sunshine Award.

Facts about Emily:

1)    I was born in a desert in Western Asia. Although my passport has collected dust since I became a mother, I love sharing my love of the world with my kids and others.

2)    I didn’t always have gray hairs. Three pregnancies later (five including partials), I have a lot of them. They are strangely curly.

3)    I am in the final stages of giving Scott feedback on his juvenile novel. See his clarifying note above.

4)    I love cooking. I also love it when the kids get involved in cooking and create their own masterpieces. I also love gardening and digging in the dirt with the kids, singing, painting, and so much more.

5)    I love my day job, even though it truly is the hardest and most exhausting job I have ever had. Mothering is truly awesome.

6)    My kids love that I homeschool them, check their bottoms, and have hair they can play with. I’d like to think that their adult selves will thank me for taking the off-ramp from working full-time for a spell to care for my tender saplings first-hand, everyday, in our own little homegrown school.

7)    I’ve been married 19 years to my best friend.

In order to make it another 19, we hearby declare that this blog has a new policy starting tomorrow: We do not accept blog awards, but thank you for considering us. Unless, of course, if the award carries considerable fame or prize money. Or recipes. This policy is subject to change at any time.

* Nominate 5 to 10 blogs and let them know about it. We’re going with five here (see above). It’s a real treat to recognize these Sunshine-filled blogs, which have inspired me as a mother, a blogger, and more. We hope you will enjoy discovering them:

Growing Up Global

Kid World Citizen

Moments a Day

One Part Sunshine

(did you notice? we only listed four in the end. 🙂

Readers, please check these out and also send us your favorite recipe link! 🙂 After all Scott has been through over this, it’d be nice to try some new recipes (ideally nothing that requires constant stirring please). And if you have any sunshiney blogs you’d recommend we check out, please share those too.

And again, thanks to Leanna at All Done Monkey for the excuse to share some honest behind the scenes discussions from the Tender Sapling conference room car. Now, back to the car so we can consult on our new products in development and take bets on how many more diaper days our youngest has in him.


Author: Emily

Emily is homeschooling mama to three amazing boys, whose alarming growth and appetites keep her running laps to the grocery store. She writes about loving life amidst the piles of laundry and legos. When life is just too much, she binges on chocolate and plans a dream trip around the world.

6 thoughts on “Sunshine Award – Not Just a Chain Letter (?)

  1. This was hilarious 🙂 And thanks for nominating me he he he 🙂 Your kids (and husband) are lucky to have you!

  2. You two are so funny! See why I nominated you?? Tell Scott I will be happy to send him some recipes if he’d like 😉 And I totally get about not being able to follow blogs! I find it really frustrating that I am not able to keep up with even a few blogs, but then I remind myself that I will have more time for that when the boys are older… if blogs are still around by then!

    • You are too sweet, southern girl! Love that I know random facts about you now – thank you Sunshine! 🙂 We are always interested in trying new recipes and would love one from you. You know we’d have to rename the dish “Leanna’s Sunshine …” and it’d be famous in our home. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that blog following is harder than you might like too. Do enjoy those precious boys of yours! It’s so true that the years are short!

  3. Love the venus / mars shtick. You guys need to do more media. How about posting that video that Liam and you starred in when he was like 2?

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Mehrtash! We’d like to get to more as time allows. As for the video, we’ve been thinking that would work well on the blog given our “have fun” mission. Thanks for the request! We’ll see about posting it sometime soon. Actually, we shot a sequel a couple years ago, too. Now if I can only finish post-production… : )

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