Monday, October 31, 2011

Announcing a new fundraiser: American Girl Doll Raffle!

UPDATE: This raffle is now closed and the winners have been announced here.  Thanks for participating!

First off, I feel like a total jerk that I haven't mentioned this before, but our t-shirts were designed by the guys over at Factory 43.  They have some other awesome tees and prints for sale there so check them out!

So as I mentioned last Thursday, Eric and I have been brainstorming several ideas of how to reach our next fundraising goal.  We decided we needed one more fun idea to hopefully bring in the last $2000 we need for our dossier fee (which we hope to turn in by the end of the year).  

So I set about researching ideas and I found a link to this post from Julie Gumm's blog.  I originally read about the idea in Julie's book, Adopt Without Debt.  It had stood out to me when I first read it, because as a first grade teacher, I overhear a LOT of talk about American Girl Dolls.  I, myself still have my beloved Kirsten doll from when I was little.  I plan on passing her on to Lila some day.  And I'll admit that I've had a daydream or two about giving an Addy doll to my Ethiopian daughter (no, we don't know if we'll be adopting a boy or a girl yet - I just have a daughter so it's easier to daydream about what I know).  

Anyway, that's the backstory to our latest fundraiser.  Here are the details (totally stole much of this from that post I mentioned since they did such a great job of explaining it):

  • We will be giving away one* American Girl Doll of YOUR CHOICE to one* lucky winner! *If we sell more than 150 virtual tickets, we'll add a 2nd doll so there will be TWO lucky winners! 
  • The giveaway is open for the month of November (November 1st - November 30th).  The winner(s) will be announced Thursday December 1st - perfect timing for a Christmas gift for your favorite little girl in your life.
Here's how it works:
  • Purchase a virtual raffle ticket by clicking on the PayPal button on the right that says "American Girl Raffle."  Important: Please indicate your contact information in the notes section so we can find you when you win.
  • Each donation of $10 buys you 1 virtual raffle ticket.  A donation of $25 buys you 3 virtual raffle tickets.
  • Once your donation posts via PayPal, you will receive an email with your virtual raffle ticket number.  It will look like this: 
  • The winner will be selected using and announced here on this blog.
  • If you are the lucky winner, I will contact you via email to find out which doll you would like.  I will order and ship her to you through the American Girl online store (dolls can only be shipped within the 50 states - see their shipping policies here).
**We reserve the right to refund your donation and cancel the giveaway if we do not sell at least enough entries to cover the cost of the doll.**
UPDATE: It's on! We have enough entries to cover the cost of the doll!  Every subsequent entry will go directly into our adoption fund!  Thank you and keep 'em coming!

We are so excited about this giveaway!  Well, I'm excited.  Eric doesn't quite get what all the fuss is about.  He was all, "$100 for a doll?" and I was all, "Yeah! Cuz they're awesome."  But he has a point.  $100 is pricey...BUT $10 or $25 is a steal of a deal!  Plus, of course, you're helping us MAKE WAY for our Ethiopian Small One.  And for that, we are so grateful!

P.S. You can see all of your doll options here.

P.P.S. Please blog, email, link, tweet, facebook this giveaway!  Help us spread the word! We appreciate it!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New fundraiser coming...

We are still about $2000 away from our next fundraising goal to cover the cost of our dossier fee, so Eric and I have been brainstorming ideas.  As luck  fate  coincidence would have it, an email popped up in our inbox the other day:

What!? How exciting is that!  True to her word, she blogged about us today!  I never thought that mentioning her book in this post would get us mentioned on her blog!  Hopefully it will open us up to a wider market and keep our t-shirt sales moving!  In fact we already had another sale this morning!  What an unexpected gift!

Her email got me blog-rusing (that's perusing blogs for those of you who can't interpret my made-up words) her blog again which eventually led me to our next fundraiser.  We'll announce details early next week so stay tuned! 

In the meantime, we're still cleaning up toddler puke.  Poor Baby Girl.  And poor me, too.  Let's just say that milk is best if you only see it on the way in.  Yucka.

P.S. You know how much we love the Jesus Storybook Bible.  And Haiti holds a special place in our heart as well because our sweet friend Melissa is a medical missionary there and our friends the Moldrups are adopting two kiddos from Haiti as well.  Well there's a quick campaign going over at World Orphans to raise money to send 500 French translation copies to Haiti where they will be used in schools, churches and homes caring for orphans.  The Bibles are usually $10-$20 dollars, but they have a deal with the publisher to sell them for just $4 each so your money goes a long way.  If you want to help, check it out here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No no no no no....

At 3:30 this morning an all too familiar alarm went off in our house. It wasn't my phone barking at me to get up for work three hours early by mistake. It was a sad and desperate cough, followed by an even sadder and more desperate retch over the monitor and a cry from Lila's room. Kelsey, being a far lighter sleeper than I, made the first leap out of bed and it wasn't until she was holding Lila over the toilet that I offered my first dazed and completely unhelpful response, "did she throw up?" Some times I'm sharper than others.

So after Kelsey cleaned her up and I changed her sheets, and we had reluctantly hoped that it was all caused by an isolated and particularly tenacious cough, we put Lila back to bed only to be back up every fifteen minutes over the next three hours doing the same thing. Since Kelsey teaches Wednesdays (which seems to be the day Lila's body decides to not like itself) I took the day off and she eventually made the wise decision to sleep on the couch while I alternated between cuddling Lila on our bed and running to the bathroom every time she made a gurgling sound. Finally by 7:30 baby girl had slowed the pace down to only erupting once an hour, and seemed to be happy in between episodes. She even slept for about fifty minutes until her usual wake up time of 8:30. And true to form she wanted a pancake when she woke up.

So my morning looked like this- Lila sitting on my lap eating her pancake, then lying in the middle of the floor, then on my lap, then off, while we watched the following celebrity guests on The Muppet Show: Helen Reddy, Raquel Welch, Jean Stapleton, Leslie Ann Warren, Liberace, Pearl Bailey, Gilda Radner and Sylvester Stallone. Yeah, that's a lot of Muppet Show, but routine changes when kids throw up all morning. While Lila was into a marathon of her favorite show, I answered work emails and tried to keep things at the office relatively under control in my absence. Then I saw a blur of pink pajamas and blonde hair run out of our room and heard the familiar pat pat pat of tiny feet on hardwoods. And, "Daddy! Freezer!" I followed my sweet on-the-mend daughter into her play room and to the little wooden kitchen that my dad built. Again she said, "freezer!" It's worth noting that Lila's context for the purpose of a freezer is to quickly cool her pancakes enough to eat when they're right out of the pan. Naturally, I took her cue and opened up the toy refrigerator. And found this:

She was cooling the remaining uneaten half of her pancake, as well as a pot and her left Chuck Taylor. I guess they were all too hot.

After a lunch of crackers and applesauce and peaches (and it's a miracle she conceded to eat any of it) I changed her diaper and asked her if she wanted to rock before her nap. She said definitively, "No. Bed." And she hasn't made a sound since I put her in it. I know I'm prone to jinxing myself in these matters, but let's hope it was just a quick attack on her little tummy and we're in the clear. Because who wants a sad little girl when you can have this:


Monday, October 24, 2011

no, I not

Lila has this phrase she says when I ask her a question and her answer is a "no" of some sort.  "No, I not." It doesn't always make sense in the context:

Lila, are you picking your nose?  No, I not.
Me: Lila, did you poop?
Lila: No, I not.

Me: Lila, do you want some strawberries?
Lila: No, I not.

Me: Lila, did you eat another crayon?
Lila: No, I not.

Me: Lila, should we get ready for your nap?
Lila: No, I not.

See what I mean?

Speaking of that last example, we've been having nap time battles reminiscent of our little games from last fall.  I really hope this doesn't mean that the Age of Naps has come and gone for the Baby Girl because that would pretty much ruin my life.  I've kind of been living in fear of her dropping her last nap at a young age since she dropped all of her other naps early and, my friends, all the signs are there.

Yesterday was the perfect example.  We started our routine around 1:00 as usual and Lila was in bed by 1:15 or so.  Her usual M.O. is to talk to herself for anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes (no joke) until she falls asleep.  Conversations are usually about a song she likes or something about her Lambie.  Sometimes she is recounting a conversation she had with a friend ("No, Josie. No Yi-ya's.") or sometimes it's just incoherent babble.

So, after an hour of this yesterday, I was starting to get a little bit fed up.  She was all hyper and squawking and I was grumbling and growling "Go. to. sleep!" under my breath.  So Eric finally turned off the monitor.  His logic was: if she's not going to sleep, I might as well not torture myself with the not-very-sleepy-sounding-at-all sounds of her delighted chatter.  Smart husband.  And I was at peace for about 15 minutes, until I decided to turn the monitor back on and see if she had perhaps miraculously dozed off during our radio silence.

No such luck.  In fact, she was now meow-ing.  Grrrrrrrr.  And while we're on animals, to make matters worse, I turned around to see the dog (who happened to still be drying off from her bath earlier) lying on my pillow smooshing all of her wet dog smell into the place where I rest my head (with my nose attached to it, I might add).  Let's do the math, shall we?

1 Baby Girl X 1.5 hours into her nap protest + 1 smelly wet dog lying on my pillow = don't mess with me

So you can only imagine what my reaction was.

I told that dog to get her "wet ass off my pillow."

Ok, so maybe I overreacted.  But, do I feel bad for cussing?

No, I not.

(ass hardly counts as a cuss word, anyway)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

thank you, sesame street

love this:

and I just found out that it was written by an adoptive daddy for his Ethiopian princess!

Monday, October 17, 2011

costume developments, adoption updates and a *bonus* lila story for good measure

Due to the abysmal response to our Halloween costume idea post (boo to you people), we have nixed the poll for this year and have decided that Lila will be....

...a peacock!  My sweet friend Holly is making this for her peanut, Camille, and she offered to make Lila one too and I was all, "yes please!" and "screw all those blog readers and their lack of contribution to the ever so important dilemma of Lila's Halloween costume."  (But, just kidding - please keep reading my blog.  I love you!) Anyway, I couldn't resist Holly's offer so there you have it.  Plus also we did some shopping for a potential Kermit the Frog costume and had a stupidly hard time finding a green sweatsuit or matching green pants and shirt or even non-matching green pants and shirt and hat.  We were thwarted in the green toddler clothes department so we were even more excited when Holly showed us her plan.  Lila will be, as they say, "pretty as a peacock."

Well, now that that's out of the way, we've got some adoption updates for ya:

1. We're officially done with our home study and we were approved!  Whew.  That feels AWESOME.  Now we just have to wait for our HS agency to send us the actual document so we can start applying for grants and get going on dossier stuff - some of which we've already started on.

2. We have a conference call scheduled later this week with our adoption agency and we're expecting to get some updated information on wait times and some of the changes happening in Ethiopia regarding adoptions. These changes have been in the works for awhile, so it's not really news to us - it's just an update on progress being made.  We don't expect to get any shocking news or anything, but we'll let you all know what we learn.

3. We found out we do NOT have to pay our post-adoption fees up front so that $900 we had set aside for that can go toward our dossier fee! Wahoo!  So that brings us to just $2000 short of our next goal of $4100!  We can do it!  We can do it!

So that's what we've got for now.

Hmm, I feel like I should tell a Lila story in here for good measure.  So here you go, obligatory story about my cute (and slightly odd) kid:

A few weeks ago, we were at Target and Lila found a comforter in the clearance section.
She pulled it off the shelf and insisted on carrying it around for the next 15 minutes

We kept trying to talk her into putting it back, but she was adamant about her quest.

 When she finally got distracted by a singing Elmo doll, the Husband took the opportunity to carpe comforter (that's latin for seize the comforter in case you didn't know) and put it back on the shelf.  My daughter is such a weirdo.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What should Lila be for Halloween

Last year, we were at a loss for good ideas for Lila's first Halloween costume so we asked you all to help us brainstorm.  Then we narrowed down our options to our three favorites and had you all vote for your favorite of the three.  The three options were Cindy Lou Who, a Monchhichi and the Lila version of Donny and Marie (she's a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll).  And the winner was....Cindy Lou Who!

And what a cute Cindy Lou Who she was!
This year, we have a few ideas, but we're open to other ideas as well.  Once we have our top three, we'll do another poll to decide which costume to use.

Here are the ideas we have so far:

1. Go Chiefs!
We found a cutie pie Chiefs Cheerleader dress in a bin of hand-me-downs and since Lila loves to say, "Go Chiefs!" whenever any football game is on (it actually kinda sounds like she's saying "Go Cheese!" but it's cute either way) we thought it would be a fun Halloween idea.  Plus, I'm loving Lila's ponytails these days.

2. Kermit the Frog
Lila loves the Muppet Show.  With a passion.  Which is why we watched it non-stop when she was sick.  I realized (through a little internet snooping) that I could easily make a Kermit costume with a green sweat suit, a felt neck piece and a foam ball cut in half.

3. Some sort of animal
An owl?  A chick? A cow? A dog?  A turtle?

That's all we've got.  Any other ideas?  Leave a comment and we'll come up with our top three and get a poll going in the next week or so.

P.S. Sorry we've been quiet on the adoption front.  We're still waiting for my fingerprints to come back so that our home study can be finalized.  Eric's been working on grant applications and I've started the paperwork for our dossier.  Please pray that my fingerprints come back soon without any hitches!  We'll keep you updated!

In the words of Lila, "Three, six, ready, go!"

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lila's latest accomplishment

After a week straight of spending 10-20 minutes a day trying to put her shoes on by herself, this morning I heard Lila exclaim from the other room, "Good job, Yi-ya!"

Soon after I hear the telltale tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump of a toddler wearing only one shoe.  And she emerged around the corner with a proud grin on her face.

"Did you put your shoe on all by yourself?!" I asked, making sure she could hear my excitement for her in my voice.

"Yeah!" she said proudly.

"Lila!  Good job!  I'm so proud of you!"


It's so fun to get to celebrate those little accomplishments of independence with her.
(sorry about the bad iphone photo)
on the correct foot and everything!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Every day I come home and Lila is another year older. She'll be wearing a new jacket (or a new hand me down, anyway) that adds a generation and walking around like a two and half foot tall grown up. Today she ran to me, arms open in anticipation of embrace, and jumped onto my shoulders to deliver a hug. Now dads out there know that this welcome home hug is no ordinary hug. It is a coup de hug. An alpha and omega hug. A hug that transcends its own metahugness and implodes upon itself only to explode into a hug supernova to end all and create new hug universes. Am I laying it on a little thick? Too bad, it's the greatest feeling in the world, so let me hyperbolize. But still, when I picked her up again not ten minutes later, she'd already put on another five pounds and I swear was about to ask for my advice on selecting a grad school.

The thing that I do love about this rapid development is seeing the new things she's saying and doing and ways she's communicating all the time. In fact, I have a new favorite that gets me every time. Anytime she sees another kid she pauses what she's doing and says, gleefully, "Hi, friend." On Sunday we were swinging at the park and another dad brought his son around in a wagon. From across the wood chips Lila, mid-swing said, "Hi friend. Hi friend's daddy." And even if she can't see the new friend who is the subject of her greeting, she extends the courtesy of salutation anyway. Like on our walk tonight she heard some kids playing in a tire swing a block behind us and at the sound of one sneezing she stopped to offer, "bless, friend."

Sure, I think it's cute, but I'm a dad and a sucker. Kelsey has made more than one "hilarious" observation about me being wrapped around Lila's tiny perfect finger this week. But I can deal, because Lila's current habit has me thinking about her character and how the future miss Lila Jo will relate to people. I love that she considers herself a friend to all, and everyone a friend at first contact. Now as an introvert, I'm aware of the inherent challenges of having a daughter who is like her Aunt Jess or Uncle Scotty who isn't thriving unless she's surrounded by maximum occupancy. And I don't care one way or the other if she's a popular kid or not, but I love the glimpse of a life of hospitality that comes with calling people friends. I hope that proves accurate. Because who doesn't want to be greeted with an enthusiastic "Hi, friend" and have it be the truth, whether or not you've met her before? Exactly. Nobody.

And, just for some sad-but-cuteness, here's a picture of sick Lila when I stayed home with her last week. We watched a lot of Elmo. A. Lot. I took this picture roughly ten minutes after she threw up all over herself, which was one minute before she hoarsely squeaked, "paaancake." So, yeah. Puke, then pancake. I'm a great dad.

Monday, October 3, 2011