Monday, December 30, 2013

Dylan made a difference in 2013!

As 2013 comes to an end, I can't help but think about everything Dylan did this year. Reading for Wildlife, adopting animals, volunteering his time at the Safari Park Half Marathon, hosting his own summer camp, raising almost $1,000 for the Snow leopards and Amur leopards, and most importantly ... creating awareness for all endangered species.

The year was filled with philanthropy, conservation, and making a difference. Thank you for letting us share our journey with you. We hope you come along for the ride again in 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A glimpse of our Christmas 2013

A quick glimpse of our Christmas holiday ...
                  in other words, a glimpse through my iPhone camera lens.

We hung ornaments and sent out Christmas cards ...

We spent time at the San Diego Zoo celebrating Jungle Bells and getting in the holiday spirit

We patiently awaited Santa's arrival ... 

and were excited to see what he left under our tree on Christmas morning ... 

Santa was good to us this year and we thanked him.

Then Mom went shopping with her Christmas money ... 

Considering that I am almost a year behind on edited my pictures, I thought it only right to use Instagram pictures for this post. However, now that I have a new camera I may be posting a lot more pictures in 2014!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday and were able to spend time with the ones you love.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Wish message from Dylan

Just 3 short weeks ago Dylan shared his Christmas Wish for the Leopards at the San Diego Zoo. His goal was to raise $500 by Christmas and as of today he has raised $475! 

Thank you to everyone who has donated, shared his wish, and supported his dreams to save endangered animals.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

We're Sending Out Recycled Christmas Cards This Year!

I decided not to do a Christmas card this year. To be perfectly honest, the main reason is I just don't have the time.  I should have started planning months ago and I didn't. Why? Because I have been so busy over the past few months cleaning out closets and cupboards and purging like crazy every weekend, that Christmas cards just were not a priority!

While doing this I came across a ton of Christmas cards from the past. Some full boxes and some only a few of each design. Either way, they are perfectly good cards!

So I got an idea to recycle my cards this year. Rather than worry about creating the perfect card to send out, I decided to use the cards I already have.

One year I ordered a few too many, another year I bought one box too many, and one year I just bought a box because it was 80% off at an after Christmas sale.

Either way, these miscellaneous cards have just been sitting on a shelf. Serving no purpose except to take up room that I could use for something else. I now have an empty shelf and plenty of Christmas cards to send out.

I may add a Christmas letter (which I haven't done in years) to some of the cards, or a school picture of Dylan for family far away ... who knows, either way I feel good about recycling old things to make them new again.

No, I did not buy cards that were made from recycled paper ... Nor did I make cards from recycled items. I recycled things that I already had in my home. You see friends, there are many ways to recycle. You just have to give it a little thought.

What can you recycle this holiday season?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dylan's Christmas Wish for the Leopards

This was the first year that Dylan participated in Giving Tuesday and as you can imagine he dove right in. He proudly wore his San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy Giving Tuesday sticker all day and told many of his friends at school what giving back was all about.

Dylan and I had discussed ahead of time who we would be supporting on Giving Tuesday and even watched a National Geographic Google+ hangout about Causing an UpROAR for Big Cats together that evening. I watched the hangout live, but knew it was something Dylan would really enjoy too.

After watching the Google+ hangout and listening to Steve Winter talk about saving the tigers and other big cats, Dylan was inspired to continue his journey of helping big cats.

What started out as a dream to teach other kids about endangered animals and conservation became a reality with Dylan's Animal Adventure Camp last July. Dylan raised $300 from camp registration, which was a great start, but no where near his $1,000 goal. We have a few things in the works to continue the message of Dylan's Animal Adventure Camp and of course we will host another camp next summer, but why wait to reach his goal?

Why not start now?

After we gave $5 and $10 donations to various non-profits that we support on Giving Tuesday, Dylan had an idea.

"If everyone who follows Life with Dylan on Facebook and everyone who reads this post gave just $5 to my fundraiser, then I could reach my goal of $1,000 this year instead of waiting for the next Dylan's Animal Adventure Camp in 2014."

He wants to help build this new home for the leopards!

Building a new home for the endangered Snow Leopard and critically endangered Amur Leopards at the San Diego Zoo is very important to Dylan. (Just as important as helping to build a new home for the tigers at the Safari Park.) Knowing how rare it is for anyone to see these animals in the wild, Dylan believes a new and improved habitat at the San Diego Zoo will help create more awareness and educate more people about these beautiful big cats.

So Dylan is asking for your help to make his Christmas wish for the Leopards come true by donating $5 or $10 to his fundraiser. 

If you would like to help Dylan reach his fundraising goal by Christmas Day, please make a donation here

Thank you for supporting a child's dream to save endangered animals all around the globe.

Update as of December 25, 2013 ... 
Dylan has raised $500 for the leopards. Thank you so much for helping to make his Christmas Wish come true! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Celebrating the Beauty of the Cheetah

Did you know that today is International Cheetah Day? 
A day to celebrate these amazing big cats and create awareness for cheetah conservation.

This cheetah was keeping a watchful eye on the animals across the hill. The habitats at the San Diego Zoo Safari park are designed to encourage this type of natural behavior. Cheetahs are amazing sprinters ... Just look at those hind legs, they are built for speed!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What happened to the Season of Giving?

Over the past few days my email account has been taken over by companies begging me to buy Christmas gifts from them. Some I have ordered from once (two years ago) and others I didn't even know I subscribed to their emails. The Black Friday emails started early last week and today the Cyber Monday emails are coming just as fast. As I sat with my laptop scrolling through the emails I began to get depressed. Feeling bad that I didn't have the extra money to buy some of these wonderful things that were on sale - Feeling that I was missing out on part of the Christmas season.

Then it hit me, why was I the one feeling bad? I don't need any of these things that companies are trying to sell me. I began unsubscribing from emails and deleting all the junk that was filling up my email account. This is not what Christmas is about.

Then a certain email caught my attention. The subject was Celebrate Gifts that Give Back and I was quickly reminded of a letter I received last week from my friend Marla at the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy. Giving Tuesday was just around the corner and this was something that I could get excited about. Giving is what Christmas is all about. Giving from the heart - Giving to something that you believe in.

This Tuesday, December 3rd, marks the second year of Giving Tuesday. A day for giving to non-profit organizations. A day for giving of yourself to those that help so many others around the world.

I am a Wildlife Conservancy Hero and give monthly to help bring endangered species back from the brink of extinction around the world. Giving Tuesday is the perfect day for you to start giving back by joining the Wildlife Conservancy.

Whatever your passion is, whatever organization you believe in, give back to them on Giving Tuesday. I don't know about you, but I would much rather give to a non-profit than spend money on things that will end up on the closet floor or worse yet, in a landfill.

Let's bring the Season of Giving back to Christmas.