“What’s the date today?” I ask to no one in particular.
“Mo-om!” my 11-year-old rolls her eyes in my direction. “It’s the 13th of January. It’s my half birthday. You didn’t remember.”
Half birthday? We barely celebrated poor Baby Leone’s first whole birthday. We just couldn’t decide whom to invite or when to have a party. So we ended up celebrating quietly, just us. In contrast, we had an over-the-top birthday party for the very same 11-year-old when she turned one: presents galore (she liked the ribbons on the boxes and the wrapping paper better than the gifts inside), loads of friends, and a ducky banana cake with mango webbed feet and blueberry water. But over the years I’ve come to realize that the first birthday party is mostly for the grown-ups. We grown-ups totally deserve to be noticed and patted on the back for surviving the first year of parenthood. But since this is the fourth go around and no one else throws your child a first birthday party, we decided (mostly by not deciding) to save our energy for a birthday party when the baby’s old enough to care.
I also didn’t celebrate the first anniversary of this blog, which passed unnoticed and unmentioned on October 26, 2010.
But I love parties.
And I love it when bloggers celebrate blog dates with something special to mark the occasion (especially since when Words to Eat By celebrated the five year blogaversary mark, I won some ultra delish cookies.)
So now that it’s the new year and the days are getting longer and there’s hope that spring might come again, I’ve decided it’s time to do something special.
That special something is a giveaway. I have mixed feelings about giveaways and I suspect this will be the only one I do on this blog. But giveaways are fun. Plus I’m hoping this is a good way to say thank you to all you wonderful readers who have shared your wisdom in the comment section or simply did me the favor of loaning me your eyeballs to read my words. Plus, I really want your feedback. (You didn’t think you were going to get a chance to win one of the goodies below with no strings attached, did you?) Since I ignore all those surveys in my in-box (even the ones with frequent flyer miles attached to them), I figured you might ignore my plea for input without some incentive. And finally, Candace Walsh gets like 700,000 hits when she gives away all the amazing stuff she gives away on her blog (I often enter though I have yet to win anything. Not sure if I’m even eligible…).
Here’s what you can win:
A hardcover copy of the New Doubleday Cookbook (sells for $49 on-line):
A Loveybums pull-up wool cover, size small, color: sunflower ($30):
A copy of an amazing new memoir, If A Tree Falls: A Family’s Quest to Hear and Be Heard ($16.95):
A gently used Bric’s drawstring backpack, bright red (retails for something like $69.99):
A super soft, super gorgeous hand knit wool newborn hat, orange (priceless. Knit by my friend Shana but too small for baby’s big head). No photo available but it’s adorable.
Regular readers, occasional visitors, lurkers, and activists unite! I mean, please show yourselves!
To win one of these prizes, all you have to do is tell me what you want to read more about and which posts or category of posts you find most compelling. (If you’re only here for the booty and never coming back, that’s okay too. In that case, you can just tell me what a favorite blog that you read regularly is and provide a URL so I can click over and learn from what that blog is doing right.)
Here are some questions to get you started (feel free to ignore them though):
I often write about vaccine controversies. I’m working on a feature right now for the print magazine about pregnancy and the flu vaccine. Here’s a post about how 12-year-olds in Britain can be vaccinated without parental consent and another about why the flu vaccine may not be safe for pregnant women. Are you interested in vaccine debates?
I tie posts to the news and add original reporting. Like this one about the infant taken from the NICU and circumcised against his parents’ will or this one about a breastfeeding mom who was ushered off a plane by armed police. These are tough. They take a lot of time and they have a tight turn-around. I love working on them but I’m wondering if they are worth all the time they take. Do you love the news reports or do your eyes glaze over?
Then there are the personal posts, which include updates about the baby (should I keep doing updates or is it time to stop navel gazing?), honest stories about tough issues that I grapple with in parenting, and more.
I’ve done one reader response post on this blog and I’ve been thinking of doing more. Love it or hate it?
And what do you think of book reviews? Like this one about No Impact Man (I liked this book so much I bought five copies) or this one about Project Happily Ever After: Saving your marriage when the fairy tale falters?
To enter simply leave a comment telling me what you want to read and which of the giveaway items you want to win.
If that feels like too much trouble, there’s another way. Follow me on Twitter (I’m @JenniferMarguli) and leave a comment that you’ve done so, and you’re in.
Hesperus’s sister made her a huge HAPPY HALF BIRTHDAY sign in rainbow letters. I baked an elaborate and delicious homemade flourless chocolate cake with lemon curd frosting. She’s doing her homework at the dining room table as I type this. I ask her if she was pleased with her half birthday. “It wasn’t a celebration. We just had a cake,” she says, stretching and grinning at me. “But the cake was amazing.”
Contest open only to those with an address in the United States (overseas readers, forgive my empty pockets). Contest closes one week from today, Friday January 27 at midnight Pacific Coast Time.