Monday, February 28, 2011

Love for Yana & Family...The Winners!

We have winners (drawn by and I am excited to announce them!

**Thank you to everyone who donated, blogged or posted about this giveaway on facebook.**

And thank you, so much, to everyone who already follows our blog or is newly following (6 out of the 8 winners donated and left comments about following...which is important because it helps me to advocate more broadly)!  

I am happy to announce the following prize winners (please send me an email your mailing address!)...Congratulations to:
Xbox 360 Kinect:  250 GB Kinect Bundle
Comment #68 Faith said...following your blog

8gb iPod Nano (blue) plus a $25 iTunes gift card
Comment #3 Rhonda said...Donated to a great cause...Hope to see the fund grow!

$25 Starbucks gift card...because everything is better with coffee :)
Comment #36 cathy said...not sure...have been following you, Lisa & just donated again...this time from my mom;) xoxo cathy

One Pair of Skatezz...because it is good to get up and move :)!
Comment #17 Bambi said...Already a long time follower!

Bumble Bags Hannah and Haley Snack Bags in Blue Latte  
from The Polkadot Platypus

Comment #39 Laurie said...Thanks for all that you do, Lisa : )  Donated to sweet Yana and am now following YOU : )!! xoxo

You Are Loved Necklace from Helen Winnemore Craft
Comment #64 said...Donated. Once again, I'm reminded of all the good in this world by your actions!

Special Needs Book Bundle, Signed Copies:  
Schuyler's Monster and Road Map to Holland 

Comment #38 Helene Ready said...Hello just wanted to let you know that I have donated for this beautiful little girl and to please enter me in the draw :) thanks

Stampin' Up! Stamp Set and Set of Homemade Cards
Comment #12 To Love Endlessly I'm following you too. :-)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

For Alina

I've posted this before, but it has new meaning now...since we have our blonde, blue-eyed girl.  

Our Fragile Emissary
by Nancy Tupper Ling

With modern screening and such
they wonder why
you're here, on this earth
in our home
and in our arms,
after all, anyone
with any sense would have resolved
this problem of you
pre-birth, pre pain.

Blonde Beauty,
tiny as you are,
you catch their stares,
strangers' second glances
into tender baby blues.
And your young
sweet ears hear whisperings
("Down's," "defects")
words dropped loosely
at extra-chromosomed girls.

With such stinging receptions
how we long to shelter you,
surround you; keep your
gentle smiles to ourselves.
Instead, we hold you
up, for others to see;
let you, our fragile emissary
speak to an imperfect world.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Love for Yana & Family...A Giveaway!

**The Giveaway Has Now Ended**
THANK YOU, so much, to everyone who participated!
Winners will be announced shortly :).

Dear Friends, 

It's February, the perfect month to spread a little love and kindness. I know a family who could really use a little (or a lot!) of both right now.  This family has been working incredibly hard to adopt a little girl with Down syndrome from Eastern Europe, and hopes to travel soon to meet her.  But, saving their daughter comes with a high price tag (they'll need $30,000 total)--and despite very deliberate, concerted fundraising efforts, they are still in need of a good chunk of money in order to reach their goal.  

I would love to help remove their financial barrier and see them make their way overseas to get that beautiful little girl and take her out of the orphanage forever.  

And, due to some good luck and some wonderful friends, I have a handful of amazing items to give away in order to give Yana's fund a boost:).  

Please read on to learn how you can win a brand new Xbox 360 250GB Console with Kinect, or a new iPod nano (or one of the other great prizes listed below), AND bless this family with much needed funds for their adoption :)!

How this all came about:

I recently won a giveaway on Patti's blog, which is a funny thing...because Patti and I are both passionate advocates for people with Down syndrome and for orphans, and because I had no intention of keeping the prize I won. 

So we put our heads together and have figured out how to turn one item into giveaways for two families. (Thank you so much to all of the kind people who quickly and graciously offered to donate additional items for this giveaway!)

*I should say that we don't need the item I won on Patti's blog.  No one should feel badly about keeping giveaway prizes!  They are meant as a way to give back to people who are doing good things.  So if you win something you would really enjoy or use in a giveaway, keep it!*

The story behind this particular giveaway

The day we discovered Reece's Rainbow, we decided to pick a few children and donate to their adoption funds.  One of those children was our Alina, and another was Yana, an adorable little girl with big, blue eyes.  Yana pulled at our heartstrings, but we could only commit to one child, and Alina appeared to be in great need of a family.  Just a few months after we committed to adopt Alina, a family also came forward for Yana.  I was so happy!  And, as it turns out, that family--the Smith family--lives less than an hour away from us :).   

Yana is in a region in Eastern Europe that is quite a bit more expensive than Alina's, and the process to get to her has been much longer.  The Smith's have worked so hard to get to their little girl.  They have held garage sales and a puzzle-piece fundraiser.  They've raffled off Pampered Chef items and books, and have even sold t-shirts, coffee, and DutchMill flower bulbs to help raise money for their adoption.  They have applied for every grant to help with their adoption costs that they can find.  The Smith's will be receiving a $5,000 grant from Gift of Adoption just before they travel.  But Yana's adoption will cost around $30,000 total.  With just weeks before their first trip (and meeting their new daughter), they are still about $12,000 short.  

They hope to have Yana home for good sometime this summer.

The Smith's have five beautiful children (two biological and three adopted), and the two youngest have Ds.  They have supported and raised awareness about the fundraisers of other adoptive families, while they continue to work on gathering funds of their own.  They have watched countless families successfully raise the money necessary to travel and then also watched as those families brought their children home.  The Smith's are always happy for everyone else, but it is their turn.  It is Yana's turn.  She needs to come home to her family.

So, let's show the Smith family some love!  Let's get them even closer to their dream of holding their little girl and taking her out of the orphanage forever.

HOW TO ENTER: Use the button on the top of the right-hand sidebar to donate (whatever amount you can, via PayPal or with your credit card) to the fund for Yana and her family.  If you make a donation of any amount, please leave a comment saying that you donated.  Your comment is your entry for the drawing

After donating, you can also leave a comment (1 entry) for each of the following if you:

*blog about this giveaway (include the link to your post in the comment)

*post on facebook about this giveaway

*already follow this blog or become a new follower

So there are four ways to enter, but only if you donate to Yana's adoption fund first :). 

And now, for the fun stuff, some things to help you get your groove on...and also to help you get your give on :)...


The BIG ONE...
Xbox 360 Kinect:  250 GB Kinect Bundle

The Special Edition Xbox 360 250GB Console with Kinect. Kinect brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways-no controller required. Easy to use and instantly fun, Kinect gets everyone off the couch moving, laughing, and cheering. See a ball? Kick it. Control an HD movie with the wave of a hand. Want to join a friend in the fun? Simply jump in. Wi-Fi is built-in for easier connection to the world of entertainment on Xbox LIVE, where HD movies and TV stream in an instant. Xbox 360 is more games, entertainment, and fun.

  • Jump, dodge, and kick your way through exciting adventures set in a variety of exotic locations with Kinect Adventures
  • Xbox 360 console includes built-in Wi-Fi for easy connection to Xbox LIVE, and comes with matching black controller and headset
  • Get off the couch and into the game by using your body as the controller with Kinect
  • Control your Xbox 360 with a single gesture or wave of the hand
  • Connect with friends and family with easy and interactive gameplay, video chat, and more
8gb iPod Nano (blue) plus a $25 iTunes gift card

  • 8 GB capacity for about 2,000 songs
  • Up to 24 hours of audio playback on a single charge

$25 Starbucks gift card...because everything is better with coffee :)

One Pair of Skatezz...because it is good to get up and move :)!
Skatezz is a 2-piece in-line skateboard set that uses a new style of self-propelled fusion riding, combining skateboarding, snowboarding and in-line skating.  These are so cool!  (Click the link to learn more)

Our son Brian's personal endorsement of Skatezz:  "They are AMAZING and fun.  Easy to learn to use, and you will never get bored of them."

Bumble Bags Hannah and Haley Snack Bags in Blue Latte 

This is a set of Bumble Bags Hannah and Haley Snack Bags *one of each*.  These versatile, completely insulated snack bags are designed to keep items warm or cold, and feature fully removable compartments to hold snacks and containers of different sizes, as well as a top mesh pocket. Includes a velcro adjustable strap allowing attachment to any stroller. Water/stain resistant and dishwasher safe {top rack only}. *These would also make an adorable lunch bag or addition to your beach/pool tote for food, or even make-up :)!

You Are Loved Necklace 
from Helen Winnemore Craft

"What a wonderful gift for anyone you want to tell that you love them in the biggest way. Beyond measure...sounds great to us. Sterling Silver. Handmade with care in California."

Helen Winnemore Craft is my dear friend Sarah's shop in historic German Village (Columbus, Ohio).  It is considered the oldest store of its kind in the United States.  Since 1938, Helen Winnemore Craft has celebrated usable, wearable, art created by American Artisans. If you're not local, you can also visit Helen Winnemore's on-line :).
Special Needs Book Bundle, Signed Copies:  
Schuyler's Monster and Road Map to Holland 
Two must-have books for parents and advocates:  Schuyler's Monster, signed by Robert Rummel-Hudson AND Schuyler, & Road Map to Holland, signed by Jennifer Graf Groneberg.

Stampin' Up! Stamp Set and Set of Homemade Cards

Because I Care clear-mount stamp set

Because I Care Homemade card (Set of 5)

The Love for Yana & Family Giveaway begins today and ends on Monday, February 28th at noon EST. Winners will be drawn and announced in the evening on the 28th.

Each listing is a separate prize.  When you comment and enter, your name may be pulled for any one of the items listed above.

Good luck, and thank you in advance for helping to make dreams come true for Yana and her family!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Alina, Troublemaker

This is who/what Alina has doing her dirty work:

His name is Peaco, and he is an Ugly Doll (Brian and Emmy have collections, and they frequently end up scattered throughout the house).  Alina loves this one.  

I recently asked her to stop touching the baby gate which encloses our family room (she would really like to have full run of the house and loves to let us know by shaking the gate).  I had to ask her several times to step away from the baby gate, and to please not touch the gate.  She walked away.  Great, I thought.  She understood me and it worked.

I began to return to the sink to finish up the morning's dishes, when I caught her out of the corner of my eye, holding Peaco and walking back toward the gate.

I asked again, Alina...PLEASE don't touch the gate.

That little stinker, she held out Peaco's hand and had HIM touch the gate, while looking me square in the eyes with a sly grin.  How-bout-them-apples, mama?  She's such a rascal sometimes.  Pretty smart, too ;).

**I can't call her a troublemaker without also saying that she is as sweet as they come.  Proof:

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Don't spend your precious time asking "Why isn't the world a better place?" It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is "How can I make it better?" To that there is an answer.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Pretty in Pink & Pure Love

Today marks the beginning of a month we traditionally associate with love and the heart

It is a time to exchange sweet and meaningful messages, to spread goodness and to give unselfishly.

I'll be sharing in the upcoming weeks about a variety of things I love, things I am both grateful for, and passionate about.

See below for one of the things at the top of my list:  small moments of daily life over here.

Yes, some days are long and tiring.  But everywhere I look, there are reminders of grace.  

I'm so thankful for these little vignettes, expressions and happy sounds that quickly pull me back toward my center, my passion, my life's work:  my family.

A little girl has been playing here, I am sure of it

Big Sister Bridget is making sure Alina sits still for the picture :)

Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame.  
~Henry David Thoreau

My love for my children--and in particular, for my two little girls with Down syndrome--is the fuel for a light I can share with others.  I'll share my heart and my hopes for them, readily. And, I'll advocate for others with Down syndrome with as much passion and energy, because I know that, unfortunately, it is necessary.  I will hold my light high, and will hold my beautiful daughters up for others to see their worth, and our love.  

It is a pure love

"Pure Love motivates us to go beyond sympathy into compassion and then moves us to action"--that's what I read this morning on Patti's blog, A Perfect Lily.  Patti is my blogging friend who also has a beautiful daughter with Ds, Lily :).  

Peter (16)
Patti has been actively advocating for Olga and Kareen (from Reece's Rainbow--Kareen has a committed family now, and there is an announcement expected about a family for Olga as well).  She has been so successful in raising money and awareness for them, that she is now seeking a full grant (she hopes to raise $20,000) and family for Peter

Peter is a sweet boy who has been listed on Reece's Rainbow his entire life, and not a soul has inquired about him.  He has most likely been in a crib his whole life as well, and he desperately needs a family willing to give him a chance.  

Please consider opening your heart to Olga and Kareen (and the families who will be working so hard to get to them), and to Peter.  Go to the Pure Love Giveaway to learn how you can help (and be entered to win some amazing prizes, including an iPad and a Nikon D90 Digital Camera with an 18-105 VR Lens!)...

One last plea:  Time is running out (as in, almost out) for sweet, little Masha, who is living in a very poor Eastern European region. Several RR families have been to her orphanage for other children, and everyone who has met this child has fallen in love with her. Unfortunately, they are all already in the midst of their own adoptions.  There is even a family at Masha's orphanage right now (to get their two new daughters), and they were actually playing with Masha when a doctor came in to do her pre-transfer physical...pre-transfer to a mental institution. She will not make it there.  Masha has over $5,000 already in her adoption grant fund.  If you could love Masha, and be her Mama or Papa, please contact Andrea at Reece's Rainbow TODAY.