February’s Mail Call

25 Feb

Before we dive into February’s Mail Call, I have two more January dates to share with you. I suppose this is the downside of doing these posts in the mornings of the 30th, or in today’s case, the morning of the 25th.

January 30th: While the pizza keychain from Sonnia, a fellow LEPeep, was and is amazing, it would have been nice to get some letters to respond to. Fortunately, I still had a handful of these postcards to sent out:

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January 31st: The letter from Erika may have been written back in December, but at least I still got it in January ;-)

Now that we addressed that old business, let’s move on to the new! In January I acquired a Day-Timer planner that I adore, and by February it became the perfect vessel to not only log my incoming mail, but write what I want to say in these mail calls:

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So without further ado…

February 2nd: While I didn’t get any letters, I still had a happy mail day as I received Ashley and Brett’s save-the-date and some new address labels via vistaprint.

February 3rd: I was able to put two of my new labels to use as I got letters from Justine and Annie.

February 5th: Between both mailboxes I received Mystique, a new rubber stamp, three letters (from Jody, Stephanie, and Leslie), and a thank you note.

February 6th: I was happy to get Sarah’s letter as well as the beginning of our writing project.

February 7th: A much anticipated letter from Kyleigh came today.

February 8th: Pablo didn’t let me down as he had some pretty extraordinary mail for me– letters from Jenn, Jessica, and Laura.

February 9th: In addition to letters from each of them, Ashley also sent along postcards for me and the Loganator, and Kära enclosed a few souvenirs from Disney.

February 11th: The letter from Kari alone would have made me happy, but the stuff in my P.O. Box– three letters and a box from my dad– had me over the moon.

February 12th: This week started to feel like one where everyone decided to write at once. Jody, Kayla, and Kristy’s letters all came today.

February 13th: It was actually a relief to only receive Valentines from Emily today.

February 14th: If the 14th wasn’t already lovely enough, I heard from Justine.

February 15th: Gabe saw Pablo and came home with some extraordinary things like letters from Charmaine and Rose.

February 17th: I received some of my orders from Etsy as well as the USPS. The latter came in handy when I responded to the letter from Krista I also received.

February 18th: Manolo had nothing for me so Gabe paid Pablo– who had a Valentine from Jenn for me– a visit.

February 19th: Manolo still didn’t have any letters for me, but thanks to my dad there was summer sausage via Figi’s.

February 20th: Jody’s letter came along with some washi tape. I used said washi to decorate my letter’s envelope.

February 21st: The last of my Etsy and USPS orders came, as did a letter from Leslie, the inmate I’ve been writing.

February 24th: I received a birthday card… from our insurance company. Like a good stalker, State Farm is there.

I know it’s only the 25th, but without a February 30th I had to improvise. Like I shared my mail from January 30th and 31st above, you’ll see my mail from February 25th- 28th in March’s Mail Call. And you’ll be hearing from me again even sooner! All the best!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Books and Crannies

20 Feb

Welcome to my bi-monthly series! Anyone who knows me rather well can tell you that when it comes to me and my hobbies, I will always choose writing letters over reading for fun. Though that’s not to say I never read! These blog posts will be the occasional chance for me to tell you about the books I’ve read– the nooks and crannies between all of the pen pal-friendly stuff you usually find on here.

For some, the thought of this year’s resolutions are already long gone, but I have done something I set out to do since early December: reading at least one chapter each day Logan went to his grandparents’. Although there were some days I was a bit lax about this, I’m happy to report that I’ve read three books. Four if you count the book I would have finished already if it wasn’t for making this blog post (Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern). Fun fact: the three below were all sent to me by pen pals!

The Thirteenth Tale- Diane Setterfield. It is solely because of this book I made it a point to start reading on the days I was Logan-free. I think so highly of Othella that I knew she wouldn’t send me a book “just because” unless she thought it was better than good. It was such a relief when she agreed with me about the book taking a while to set up because, though it sucked that it took me so long, I feel like I was justified in not being enthralled until I reached the “Middles” part. The even bigger relief was telling Othella that the book exceeded my expectations. I was expecting Margaret to somehow be related to the Angelfields in a WTF kind-of-way since they really drilled the twin thing into our heads and that’s something that runs in families. Fortunately that wasn’t the case! I think there are things that could have been done differently and things that could have been left out completely, but overall I’m pleased with the book; so much so I passed it on to my friend Krista. Hopefully she’ll like that Aurelius found his family after all and that Margaret seemed to find something too.

A Certain Slant of Light- Laura Whitcomb. I wasn’t expecting this book to be an easy read, but I read it over three days and Logan was home on two of them. At first I thought Helen was going to be a bit of a stick in the mud as she referred to the people she haunted as “her knight” and “her poet,” and didn’t seem to mind spending her days reading over the shoulders of those who can actually turn pages. However, as soon as she talked to Billy James I wanted them together, and the more they were together the more I liked her as an individual. I don’t think I would have handled her “Jenny situation” as well as she did, so she definitely grew on me. I was left wanting to see what happened to both Helen and Jenny so I was so excited when Justine, the pen pal who sent me A Certain Slant of Light, said there was a sequel. I was also excited to read these two lines.

“This was becoming as curious as Wonderland.”

“I felt, just then, like the elder sister of Alice, sitting under a tree, watching her little sister lest she tumble down a hole.”

I’d definitely recommend this book and am pleased to announce that I’ll be getting my hands on Under the Light within the next few days.

Juliet Immortal– Stacey Joy. It was Kristiina, the person responsible for Letters, Postcards and a Cup of Tea, that sent me Juliet Immortal in exchange for my copy of The Last Little Blue Envelope. I had no idea “Juliet” was the Juliet Capulet when I made the trade, but of course that only intrigued me more. I feel like had this book been around my freshman year of high school, I would have appreciated Romeo and Juliet more knowing this “sequel” of sorts was to follow– perhaps it can still do that for 14 and 15-year-olds. In my opinion, Stacey Joy did an excellent job at creating a whole new story without doing any harm to the original. It’s because of that that I may look into her sequel, Romeo Redeemed, but at the moment I have no interest in learning what became of those who weren’t granted a happy ending in the first book.

I’d like to thank Othella, Justine, and Kristiina for sending these books to me– as you can see, they didn’t send them in vain! I’m always up for hearing book recommendations, though I do have a handful of books already waiting for me and a few more on the way, hehe. I’ll tell you about some, if not all, of them come April! Take care, bleaders!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Love Notes

15 Feb

Originally I had high hopes for today’s post… just look at what my blog draft initially had:

There are no greater loves in my life than my husband, Gabe, and our son, Logan. However, there are other loves in my life as someone who has enjoyed pen palling for nearly 10 years. These are the loves that keep me company when the boys are away. The loves that are always ready and waiting for me whenever I’m ready for them.

Despite these great loves of mine, that was the most I wrote about them before thanks to a bunch of incoming mail this past week. I would have liked to give these things the justice they deserve, but that’s just not in the cards today. Instead, you’ll find them among the things below– I thought with Valentine’s Day yesterday I’d share 14 factoids about me and what I love.

1. Had I been born on my due date, today would have been my birthday.

2. I was two weeks late– sorry, mom!

3. For my birthday this year, I’m hoping Gabe and I will do what we have done on several of the March 1sts that came before it: go pottery painting and grab something to eat.

4. I already got my presents… Well, at least the two things I really had my heart set on. The first was this Day-Timer planner:

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5. The Day-Timer seems to be replacing my OCD book. Not only does it have a section for addresses, the calendar pages (1 week on 2 pages) have become where I log my incoming mail.

6. The second present I already received was this custom mail monster, made for me by Meredith over at MoreToesThanNose. (There will be a more thorough post on Mystique sometime ;-) )

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7. It was on Valentine’s Day, though, that I/we got something much better than flowers and candy:

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8. There is a hamster in there. It took much deliberation, but we all seem to have settled on the name Buddy.

9. There are two other names I have come to love: Manolo and Pablo.

10. Manolo, my regular mailbox, is there for me practically seven days a week, and tries to make my day whenever I see him, though sometimes it’s out of his control.

11. As for Pablo, the P.O. Box, he is the one on the side. I only see him twice a week, but he knows how to make those two visits worth my while.

12. Speaking of mail… sort of, I recently enclosed Olaf Valentines with each of the letters I’ve sent over the past few weeks.

13. For four years now, two boys have been my Valentine. Though this year I kind of feel like I’ve had five: Gabe, Logan, Buddy, Manolo, and Pablo, haha.

14. I’m a fruit loop among cheerios.

Have a good week!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~

 

Pen Pal of the Month- February

10 Feb

I decided to bring Pen Pal of the Month back this year to give my new pen pals the opportunity to be featured here. Sure, those who have been my pen pals for years still deserve to be acknowledged, so here’s how everyone will get a fair shake! Whether they’re an old reliable or someone I’ve met in the League of Extraordinary Pen Pals over the past year, I put their names into a raffle if I heard from them last month. (Next month’s will be someone I heard from in February and so on.)

10966954_894854688605_534177961_nI had the first of these raffles on the 1st. Each person, minus Jody, I got a letter from in January was in there once (even if they sent more than one letter), and I was excited to pull out Jenn’s name. I love that the first person from the LEP to be featured here is the first person in that group to ever get an intro letter from me. Meet Jenn! A crafty maven from Brentwood, California.

SK: How do you feel about being Pen Pal of the Month?

Jenn: Yay! I’m excited! This was a very welcome surprise because I am rarely picked when it comes to raffles.

SK: What has been your favorite thing about pen palling?

Jenn: My favorite thing about pen palling has been writing in multiple ways to people all over the world. Some pals I send just postcards, others we just exchange a page each. I like that I never know what to expect from other pals. Getting happy mail is like receiving little surprise gifts every day. You never know what you’re gonna get!

What she likes her desk to look like!

What she likes her desk to look like!

SK: What, if anything, is your least favorite thing about it?

Jenn: Swaps are both fun and frustrating sometimes. However, I always try to remember it’s better to give than receive.

SK: Why do you like writing me?

Jenn: I enjoy writing to you because you’re always very direct and honest. You’re funny and make me crack up with every letter. And anyone that loves Chipotle like I do is cool in my book.

SK: And what do you like about February?

Jenn: I love February because of Valentine’s Day. Hearts and all things pink and red are everywhere. Celebrating love is always a good thing. Plus, it’s another excuse for more snail mail! Sending Valentines is the highlight of the month for me.

I may have enclosed a valentine in the letter I just finished for Jenn. I also sent her this magnet since she chose a homemade one as her prize:

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I didn’t know what to expect when I first started writing Jenn last year. I have found that many of the LEPeeps love writing so many other LEPeeps that their letters can be very sporadic, making it hard for someone like me to make much of a connection. Jenn, however, has never made me feel like I’m one of countless others, and so even though there’s the occasional wait for her response, I know that the more time that passes, the more details the following letter is going to entail. I love her letters and the stories about her daughter she tells. I think Logan would get along with Rene as much as I have gotten along with her mom, and I can tell that with time we’re only going to become closer.

Think ou want to become close to a pen pal of your own? The Happsters will gladly find a match for you!

Take care and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Another One Bites the Dust

5 Feb

When I’ve written intro letters in the past, I would tell my potential pen pals that I lived in Fairgrove with my husband Gabe, our son Logan, and two cats who were both named Snickers– the one Gabe had since his college days and the one I begged my mom for when I was 11 years old.

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Unfortunately Gabe’s Snickers died in November, and now mine is gone too.

As sad as it is to lose a pet, I couldn’t be happier about the way Snickers, AKA Tuna, passed away. He was with me for almost 17 years and only started showing his age around this time last month. There was a rapid decline from there; it was long enough for us to come to terms with what was about to happen, but short enough that he never seemed to suffer. Sure, he wasn’t eating, barely used his litter box, and slept solely on the floor, but he never cried out or just flopped over the way the other cat did. He seemed to die peacefully and I have taken comfort in that.

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I miss having a pet. On the days Gabe’s working and Logan’s at his grandparents’, I am constantly reminded that I am all alone. There will be the occasional noise in the house, and without an animal in it too they’ve become more noticeable, mainly because I don’t have that peace of mind that comes with assuming the pet made said noise. My lazy housecat wouldn’t have protected us from a mouse let alone an intruder, but it’s still unnerving that he’s gone. There has been part of me that has been tempted to get a hamster to nip that feeling in the bud, but before long– in May probably– the boys and I are hoping to welcome a lab puppy into our family. Gabe and I have talked about the new addition for a while, ultimately deciding to wait until the cats were gone to avoid any cat vs. dog drama. But I digress.

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Logan definitely seemed more sad this time around. I think when Gabe’s Snickers died a few months ago, Logan more or less thought he ran away and could come back. Since that last part never happened, Logan now knows that this death thing is permanent. Every so often he’ll say he misses Tuna and each time he does it makes me want to get that hamster that much more. It’s all just so bittersweet. We’re excited for our potential furry family members, but at the same time my cat’s death has felt like the end of an era.

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Sure, that “era” has included a lot of moments where he was an absolute jerk. He fought with every cat he has lived with, tried marking his territory when they were boys despite being fixed, humped my stuffed animals, ATE my first hamster, and peed on some of Logan’s toys back when the little guy first started walking. In spite of all those things though, he was my cat and I’m always going to remember him fondly.

Tuna

In the words of my FB status on January 28th, “RIP, Snickers AKA Tuna. You were a douche, but you were our douche.”

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

January’s Mail Call

30 Jan

Not going to lie, the absence of Miscellaneous Mondays this year has felt like a weight off my shoulders. I did, however, very much enjoy the 14 “Hail the Snail” posts where I showcased some awesome mail from 2014, so at the end near the end of each month this year you can see/ hear about the awesomeness yet again. Like now, for example.

January 2nd: The first piece of mail I received was this postcard from Russia:

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January 5th: My first letter of the year came from Jody which is why she was the first Pen Pal of the Month!

January 6th: This day has always been significant as it’s my dad’s birthday, but this year it was significant because I got my first pieces of mail via the P.O. Box– three postcards via postcrossing. I was especially excited to see this one considering the whole sheepish thing:

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January 8th: Logan and I both got letters. His was from his little pen friend in New Jersey, and mine was from a pen friend I’ve had since 2005! Fun fact: When Allison and I first started writing, she lived in New Jersey.

January 9th: Gabe not only checked the regular mailbox for me (which had Sarah S.’s letter inside), but escorted me to the post office to check the one there (which had one from a LEP named Stephanie).

January 10th: I received a letter from the one person from high school I still talk to, at least outside of Facebook. Will she become an official pen pal? I don’t know. What I do know is I’ll keep responding to Krista’s letters for as long as she sends them.

January 12th: As of this day I have received six letters in 2015, and Jody was responsible for a third of them.

January 13th: Though I think it is awesome Logan gets books monthly from Imagination Library, I thought my husband was even more awesome as he picked this stuff up from the P.O. Box for me:

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January 15th: While three pieces of mail were quite “extraordinary,” it was the Chipotle gift card from my brother Erik and his wife Mindy that really excited me.

January 16th: In addition to an awesome letter from Justine, I also received this awesome postcard:

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January 17th: I love that the first of Logan’s birthday cards came on his due date. I also love that between both boxes I received three letters (from Ashley, Kristy, and Charmaigne) and more blank postcards from my dad.

January 20th: After two days without any mail I was pleased as punch to get two letters. One was from Jody and the other from Amethyst.

January 21st: Nothing but a package for Logan came to our regular address, so I had Gabe check the P.O. Box after work and his trip wasn’t in vain thanks to a letter and an ATC :-)

January 22nd: Two more birthday cards came for the Loganator.

January 23rd: And another two birthday cards came for him as well as a bit of other fun mail. I also got a postcard from Emily over at Nerd in the Brain.

January 24th: The regular box had both a letter (from Kayla) and a postcard (from Kära) in it for me, and the P.O. Box had a letter (from Eileen) in it, too.

January 26th: Although I got a letter from my birthday buddy, Sarah (AKA S’Moore), this day was a much happier mail day for Logan. He got a birthday card from his Uncle Tom and Aunt Megan, a package from Emily, and his own letter from S’Moore’s little guy.

January 27th: I was excited to see yet another letter from Allison in my mailbox this month.

January 28th: There was nothing in the regular mailbox, but the P.O. box didn’t disappoint– it had a postcrossing card and a nice gesture from Mary over at Snail Mail is Still in Fashion.

January 29th: As neat as it was to get a couple of the things I ordered (like international stamps!), I love that the first person to send me a letter this month was the last person to send me one prior to this post. Thanks, Jody!

I hope you have liked this new feature here on Sincerely Kate. It only makes sense that a pen pal-friendly blog includes the letters from friends the pen pal has received on some sort of regular basis :-) . If you have any suggestions for the Mail Calls to follow, I’d be happy (almost) as happy to read them as I am the letters I receive.

Dasvidania!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Footnotes

25 Jan

Rest assured this post has nothing to do with feet. The following are just things I want to write about, but they don’t necessarily need a blog post featuring each of them. I suppose it’s a bit like “If we were having coffee,” or in my case, not-so-mad tea parties.

Logan’s Birthday

Though we originally didn’t plan to celebrate our 4-year-old’s birthday for 4 days, that is definitely that wound up happening…

Thursday: For kicks and giggles, Gabe and I took Logan to Pizza Hut on his last night of being 3. Not only did we have a gift card for the restaurant, we had one last gift we wanted to pick up for him– The Boxtrolls on BluRay. Logan might have grabbed a balloon too :-P

Friday: The Lognator was up and at’em at 6am ready to tear into his presents. His Planes toy and (replacement) doodler were immediately played with, and once he gets into the swing of things I’m sure he’ll be playing a lot more of the Disney Infinity. But that’s just his gifts from us! Between playing with presents here he went out for McDonald’s breakfast, stopped for a couple sweet treats, visited Gabe’s aunts, napped, decorated his cake, had dinner at his grandparents’, and then spent the night at their house.

Saturday: Around noon we picked Logan and his cubby tablet up from my in-laws’ then headed over to my grandparents’ house for a little pizza party. Logan was so excited to go as my youngest cousins were going to be there, so much so he didn’t eat anything but black olives because he wanted to keep playing with them and the Plasma Car they brought for him. As soon as we got home he wanted some pizza, and as we watched The Boxtrolls he played on his new wheels yet again.

Sunday: Okay, so technically we haven’t done anything yet, but we’ll be heading to the Children’s Museum this afternoon followed by some noms at Logan’s Roadhouse. It should be a fun day, though I think we’re all feeling grateful for this downtime this morning.

Sincerely Logan

In my last post I said that Logan and I would send postcards to four of my readers regardless of where they live or our relationship. Only one person has taken me up on this offer (Thanks, Julie!) so if you’d like one– even if you’re from Bulgaria and have never commented on my blog before– go to Sincerely Logan and tell me so in the comments.

The Year of the Sheep

Another previous post you can look at is my first from this year. It’s a bit of a contest, encouraging anyone and everyone to decorate an envelope or make a postcard with sheep/rams/goats and then send it to my P.O. Box. I will post everything I’ve received on the 25th of March for my readers to pick their favorite from. Go to the link at the beginning of this paragraph for more information, or to the next paragraph if you’re just in need of my address ;-)

My Monthaversary

addressAs of today I’ve had this address for exactly one month. I definitely enjoy having this extra mailbox as it has given me some peace of mind; in addition to feeling comfortable leaving it here and in the LEP’s database, I also decided to send letters to two inmates. Though I haven’t received a lot of mail at this address yet, the few letters– including a response from one of the inmates– have already made this whole endeavor worth my while. Shout out to Gabe who has mostly been the one to check it a couple times a week. He may not get why I like this hobby so much, but he’s definitely supportive of me doing it.

Well, that’s all I have for you for now. Take care, Bleaders!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

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