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Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

How are you this morning? I am fried. I managed to fill out and send out approximately 80 holiday cards, buy, wrap and mail out gifts this week. On the flipside, we did not put up lights or a Christmas tree this year as we will be out of the country, visiting my mother-in-law and husband's family.

Where are you in the Christmas and new year countdown? Not surprisingly, we had a lot of holiday stories this week on MotherTalkers.

Sue in Queens wrote a fun diary asking us what our favorite Christmas decorations were. Also, we exchanged butternut squash recipes for the holiday. Plus, Katy over at Non-Toxic Kids listed five ways to teach children how to give.

We discussed a Washington Post story on the death of the office holiday party. Did your company have one this year? Was it any different from previous years? The Washington Post also ran a financial story on when it is time to cut the pursestrings of dependent adult children.

We had a fascinating discussion on how much academic freedom a middle school should have. A Virginia principal canceled a mock UN debate after some parents complained that it was "inappropriate" for their children to represent the views of the Taliban.

We had a discussion on merit pay for teachers. There is a bill moving through Congress that would award the highest performing teachers in the country, according to the Washington Post. (As you can tell, I read the Post a lot!)

In medical news, here is a story in the New York Times about postpartum depression in fathers. Do you know of men who suffered from the baby blues?

The life of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar's 19th baby hangs in the balance, according to CNN. Baby Josie Brooklyn was born three months early on December 10, weighing only 1 lb., 6 oz.. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.

A group of us got together for an informal MotherTalkers meet-up in San Francisco. Here is a pic!

My husband will be on Meet the Press tomorrow morning to discuss healthcare reform. I believe it airs 9 a.m. ET.

Sorry for the monstrous column today, but it will be on short hiatus. I will be out of the country for almost two weeks and will resume Saturday Morning Parenting Diary on Saturday, January 9, 2010. Happy new year everybody and I wish you safe travels!

Originally posted to Elisa on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 07:42 AM PST.

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