52 Weeks of Mail :: Weeks Nine & Ten

Week 9 – I mailed another batch of Christmas cards and DVDs this week – bringing the total to well over 150.  Sadly, I know I won’t receive more a 20% of that number .. but I will continue to send them out each year.  The kiddos each wrote a letter to Santa.

Week 10 – I mailed the final batch of Christmas cards and DVDs.  Buddy wrote to a cousin who lives in Utah.  They’ve actually only met a couple of times and though he doesn’t remember him, I felt it was a good idea to maintain and/or build familial bonds.  Sweetie wrote to a cousin in Georgia whom we have actually never met in person.  Our migrations home have just never coincided, sadly.  We are hoping to change that in 2013 … we have plans to be in both states in the next few months and we will try very hard to link up schedules.

On the flip side, Buddy received a reply from my friend Josh.  It was a delight to read his responses to Buddy’s questions about his career.  His career path was significantly different than that of my husband and I and our circle of friends that we see regularly (most of whom are engineers).  This provided us with a wonderful opportunity to talk about career options and choices.  I am confidant that we’ll be able to return to the topic many times in the future.  I appreciate very much the time Josh took to sit down with pen and paper to reply to my little guy.  His words and influence have indeed made a difference in our lives and I am certain that the relationship will continue to blossom.

52 Weeks of Mail :: Weeks Seven & Eight

As the holidays are approaching, I am finding it a little more difficult to stay on task with this challenge.  So many things are pulling me off in other directions.  I have been able to keep the kids engaged but DH has fallen off these past two weeks and I missed week 7.

Week 7
Buddy wrote to Josh – the friend of mine who mailed us postcards from the United Arab Emirates and previously Curacao.  Sweetie wrote a followup letter to her new pen pal in Canada. I failed to mail a letter myself this week – but to my credit, I have been burning our annual family DVD that I enclose with our Christmas cards that I will mail out next week.

Week 8
Buddy wrote to Papa Jens and Sweetie wrote to a friend back home in Bend.  I mailed approximately one-third of our Christmas cards and will need to mail out another one-third next week.  I actually ran out of DVDs and cards both so I will spend the weekend burning more.

1/3 of the cards I have mailed – each requiring 65 cents postage due to the DVD

On a very happy note, we received letters from Arvid & Marit in Norway.  It is so exciting to see real, physical mail.  The postage stamp, the cancellation mark, and especially the handwriting!  I love this challenge!  To Buddy, he wrote, “First, so funny that you sent me a letter in handwriting.  Thank you, and you get me to do the same!”  To me (and the family) he wrote, “Thank you so much for the lovely letter!  And now I’m sitting with my pen and doing a handwritten letter myself, the first one for years (I guess you can observe how unusual it is!!”)

I absolutely love this! Earlier this week I was also talking with another parent at swim team and coincidentally discovered that one of his closest friends happened to work with DH some years ago at Bay Area.  He stated, “Wow!  I can’t believe it.  I haven’t actually talked with him in some time.  It has been too long.”  I suggested he sit down that night and write a letter to his friend – describing in some detail the 52 Weeks of Mail challenge we are doing as a family.  He seemed intrigued and perplexed at the same time, “A handwritten letter?!”  I’ll have to check in with him when I see him again to see if he followed through.

52 Weeks of Mail :: Weeks Five & Six

Another two weeks have nearly passed us by and I am pleased to say we have been keeping up with the challenge of writing letters to friends.  In fact our leader, Old Bull, has even been keeping up.  I think our success so far is partly due to the fact that I am only expecting one letter each.    
In week #3 the kids selected a friend in another country.  Sweetie was overjoyed to receive a reply from her friend (the postage stamp from her letter is shown below) .. who is coincidentally also doing the 52 WOM challenge.  I think this will be a great incentive to them both.  

My kiddos have written to other friends back home – and have yet to receive replies.  It is so frustrating that people today have lost the conviction to write.  We hope with our continued efforts to reach out in this way, others will follow suit in time. 


In week #4 the kids had written to Jan Brett.  They were excited to receive a response from her last week in which she encouraged them to ask their teachers to write her as well so she could send them each classroom pack.  They hadn’t mentioned that they homeschool.  I guess I know who I’ll be writing to this week!  Delightfully, we also received a couple of postcards recently from the United Arab Emirates

Last week, Sweetie wrote to Papa Jens while Buddy and I wrote a letter to family in Norway . This week, Sweetie wrote her new pen pal a letter in response while Buddy wrote to the cast of Myth Busters, his favorite television show.  This challenge has turned out to be a great opportunity to learn not only about writing and communication but also about geography, careers, and the postage system. Love it! 

52 Weeks of Mail :: Weeks Three & Four

It is amazing how quickly the weeks go by … already we are into week four and I realize I haven’t written my post for the previous week.  We have been trying to develop a routine so that we stick with this challenge all year.  Presently, we have Mandarin lessons on Monday.  The kids take turns working one-on-one with Shawn (their Mandarin teacher).  Thus, while one is with him, the other completes a math lesson and composes a letter to someone of their choosing.  

Last week, they both chose to write to a friend in another country in hopes of developing a pen pal friendship.  Sweetie chose to write to a friend in Canada. Her mother and I met (virtually) through our homeschool blogs ~ Hi Alex!  Buddy chose a boy in England who has the same interests … Legos, trains, and believe it or not, Maersk!  I had corresponded with his mother as part of the Worldwide Culture Swap we are also taking part in this fall.  I wrote a letter but opted not to actually mail it.  It was cathartic but to be honest I feel this didn’t exactly meet the challenge requirements so I wrote a thank you note a few days later.

This week, the kids opted to write to an author.  Coincidentally, they both chose Jan Brett as we recently had the chance to meet her while she was on her book tour for Mossy.  To keep with the spirit, I also followed suit.

As we continue on this challenge, I hope to begin integrating more art.  We love the cachet art we have seen through our philatelic interests.  I  have even started a Pinterest board for inspiration, 52 Weeks of Mail.     

How are you all coming along with this challenge?

52 Weeks of Mail :: Weeks One & Two

We started the 52 Weeks of Mail Project this week – a week behind because we were on a family vacation and sadly we forgot.  We thereby made certain to mail two letters each this week in an effort to make up for my absent mindedness.  The project, going on its second year, is organized by the Etsy Greetings Team and begins this time of year to commemorate World Post Day

The idea is very simple. Every week, write and send a letter to whomever you want, family and friends. A regular “old fashioned” letter, handwritten is such a nice surprise in the mailbox!  I think it’s a great opportunity to stay connected with friends and relatives particularly since we moved to another state a year ago.  I also hope to encourage the kids to make new friends by setting up a pen pal or two.  Interested?

I love writing and receiving letters.  As a child, I had pen pals all over the world (Germany, England, and the Philippines).  Sadly, we’ve lost touch.  I’ve tried to locate them via Facebook but haven’t yet had any success.  

Some of the many cards and letters I have saved over the years

I have been wanting to resume old-fashioned letter writing for some time.  In fact, I have been meaning to write my relatives in Norway for over a year!!  Yet, I never seem to do more than think about writing.  Life can be busy and often I don’t take the time to write – email makes it so much quicker but I find it much less personal and heartfelt. [Does anyone even save old emails?]  I figured this project will be a great reminder to keep writing.  

If you are interested, you can do your own project. There is no formal sign up and you don’t have to let anyone know if you are writing or not. It’s personal. I am choosing to blog about it to keep myself accountable.   If you wish, you can visit the Facebook page for the project and interact with others that are participating. Here is the link: 52 Weeks of Mail Project

52 Weeks of Mail :: Getting Started

As avid philatelists, I was excited when I learned about the 52 Weeks of Mail Challenge on the USPS Stamp of Approval blog.  I have been wanting to incorporate letter writing as a more regular part of our writing curriculum for some time now, and while the kids have been doing a fair amount, I needed a little motivation.  This is the perfect challenge! 

 Each week, our goal is to write a letter, postcard, small package, or greeting card to a friend, family member, or perhaps even a business letter.  We’ll then use an actual postage stamp – rather than a metered sticker – and drop them in the mailbox.  It will be fun to see who writes us back … to see the stamps and learn geography with the postmark. 

 The 2012-13 challenge kicks off the week of October 8th because October 9th is International Post Day. I would like to encourage everyone to share this with all of their friends by way of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, your blog, or by mail. You may even want to send a card to Grandma (or whomever), enclosing a second card with a stamped envelope, so that she can send a card to someone else! 

We would LOVE to see another THOUSAND people join us!!!  Are you in???