Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cow Toddler Bedding Give Away - For A Great Cause! More To Come!

*Click the images to make them larger.

The Skink has been a big fan of Cows for a long time now. Back when she was still in her crib, I looked high and low for some Cow Bedding for her, but couldn't find anything that was truly cow-centric.

I found "Cow Girl" bedding and "Cow Boy" bedding, but nothing that was girly yet totally bovine... so I made some.

I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not the best seamstress in the world. It's not "perfect" but it's a one-of-a-kind set, it was made with tons of love, and it will fit any standard-size crib. The sheets are soft flannel - multi-colored stripes with a stripe of cow print every so often. It comes with a fitted bottom sheet, the top sheet is fitted on the "foot" side of the bed to make it easy to use and keep it in place. The pillow case is extra long so the end can be folded back into the inside to hold it on securely on the pillow.

The comforter and the ruffle are made from the same cow-print fabric. The dust ruffle is extra-long so it will brush the ground even if the mattress is on a higher setting for young babies.

Honestly, I had never planned of selling or giving away this set. The Skink only used it for a few months before switching to a "big girl" bed (and no - I haven't yet located cow bedding for her new bed).

So why am I giving this adorable set away?

We are not a wealthy family. We don't have a lot to give, but there is a little girl in an Eastern European orphanage who will be headed to a dismal mental institution very soon unless we can find her a family and help raise funds so that family can bring her home. See This Blog Entry for more information. I can't let This happen to her!

For sweet Josephine, I am willing to try to move mountains. I need your help to do that!

1. To be considered for this Cow Bedding Set, you must *FIRST* make a donation to Josephine's fund HERE. Leave me your first comment which will be considered your first entry. (Just think how far we'd get if everyone could put just $10 towards this little girl's life and future. That's the equivalent of less than 2 meals at a fast food restaurant. Every little bit adds up!)

For additional entries you may leave a separate comment for each of the following:

2. Share this blog on FaceBook, then leave me a comment to tell me.
3. Blog about Josephine and encourage your readers to make a donation. Leave me a comment with the link.
4. Tweet about this blog entry to raise more awareness for Josephine and leave me a comment with the info.
5. "Follow" my blog and then leave me a comment to let me know.
6. Share this with any of your friends who might be interested in the bedding and get them to visit my blog!

You will have one entry for the give away for each of the above mentioned comments. You will also know that you have done something today to help someone who needs help badly.

As of March 31, 2011, Josephine's fund is at $60.00. This will be the first in a series of giveaways to help raise that number. I'm also proud to announce that Darya's mommy, Marianne is partnering with me to help raise funds for Josephine too!

Lets see how high we can get this fund by the end of April, and God willing, we'll find Josephine a family also! The winner of the bedding will be announced on April 30. Tell a friend!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

What If?

Today The Skink learned how to use Iraq's old princess CD player. (No - there aren't a bunch of old princesses on it... it's a toy CD player that is a few years old and features images of some of the Disney princesses.) When we got the player for Iraq, it took her a while to figure out what each of the buttons did, and she often came to us for help when she couldn't get it to play music.

Today, Iraq taught The Skink to use it. It took The Skink about 60 seconds to catch on, and she has been playing music on it all day. Well, that may be a toy, but I should also mention that The Skink also knows how to find and start her games on my iPhone.


What if The Skink had been born to a family in Eastern Europe?
We can feel pretty certain she would not be playing with a toy CD player OR an iPhone today. No - in Eastern Europe, children like The Skink are considered ineducable and... well...

For starters, her family would be advised to put her into an orphanage because in Russia, the Ukraine and other Eastern European countries the socialized health care will not cover people who are "defective."

In the orphanage, The Skink would not be held, comforted or sung to. She would have no possessions of her own. She would not be given any education and she would not know what it felt like to be loved. If she was lucky, she might become an orphanage favorite because of her personality. At worst, she might be assigned to a lying-down room as a result of her slow motor development. If that happened, she would never leave her crib except, perhaps to be changed. If she cried, nobody would come to see if she was OK. The underpaid caretakers would just go about their business hoping the annoying sound will stop soon. All too often, it does.

The children who are not in the lying-down rooms at the orphanages learn to rely on each other for comfort and friendship. She might have a few close friends in her "groupa" that she would spend most of her time with when she was not in her crib.

Between age 4 and age 6, The Skink would be taken away from the only friends she has ever known. It might be her first real car ride... maybe even the first time she has been off the orphanage property since she arrived as a baby. Perhaps she would think it was a lovely adventure.

It's not.

She would be taken into an adult mental institution where her head would be shaved and she would be placed in a crib. She would not know anybody around her. If she tries to climb out to investigate her new surroundings, she will be taken back to her crib and tied in.

Here there are no toys. There is no outdoor playground. There are many, many other children, most of whom spend their days rocking or banging their heads against the crib bars, desperately seeking stimulation of any kind.

Once transferred to the mental institution, The Skink's average life expectancy? Nine (9) months.

In this depressing setting, some children stop eating and simply waste away.

 Some have pre-existing medical conditions that are left untreated and ultimately become a death sentence. There have been cases recently where the cause of death was simply dehydration and malnourishment. Perhaps some of these children die, unloved, unwanted, of a broken heart.

Those that don't die, "live" like this:

It's hard to look at. It's heartbreaking, but it's the reality thousands of "imperfect" children face in Eastern European countries. Their countries do not know or understand how much potential these children have.

Can you imagine The Skink being treated like that? Living like that? Dying like that?

What about this little girl?

This is Josephine. Look what a precious doll she is! Look at the love she is showering on that little stuffed animal. This child is JUST as capable of love and of learning as The Skink! But... she lives in Eastern Europe and she is already 5 years old. That institution I told you about? She'll be headed there very soon. All that beautiful hair will be shaved off. There will be no stuffed animal to cling to. Nobody will ever take her picture again.

I am on a mission to find this beautiful, loving little girl a family! This precious pumpkin has so much potential and so much personality to share with someone. All she needs is a chance.

Please help me give her that chance! If we can get enough donations into Josephine's adoption fund, when her family finds her, it will help them bring her home sooner. It will help keep her out of the institution. It will help her realize her potential as a beautiful human being, worthy of love.

No donation is too small. If you can't donate, help Josephine by spreading the word! Share the link to this blog, or share the link to Josephine's page. Every dollar is one dollar closer to bringing this child home.

Thank you for doing this for Josephine!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

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No Reading Necessary

I have a new Photo Blog. Sure - I love taking tons of pictures of my kids, but when it comes down to it, I just love taking pictures of everything... so this is the blog for the "everything" part.



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wordless Weekend

Spring time makes walks to the park even more fun. Everything is starting to bloom here in VA!
("Wordless" Fail)

No - that's not a rotten tooth in front. It's loose. VERY loose. So loose, in fact, that it probably should have come out a few weeks ago. Have I mentioned Iraq has a hard time with transitions? Yup... even when it comes to losing a tooth!

Confucius say, "She who lay down in road get tired!"

Confucius say, "She who have regular Physical Therapy at school take big steps at park!"
Ok... maybe Confucius not say that. (But I'm sure he would have if he had the chance to meet The Skink.)

Confucius say, "She who pray to loose tooth get holy smile."
(insert groan here)

These two pictures were actually taken on Broadway's birthday (March 17th) but I figured I'd just slip them in to my weekend blog in hopes nobody will notice. As a side note, Broadway was in the newspaper on his birthday. Click here to see the article.

*Art by Danika

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Caught Somewhere Between Boy and Man

Thursday, March 17th marks Broadway's 16th birthday. Really, I can hardly believe it. I'm very proud of just how far my oldest has come.

As far as driving... we're not really sure if we're ready for that. Don't get me wrong... Broadway is a great kid! I just worry because we still have days where he forgets to take his ADHD medication. When he's on his medication, he's a smart, easy-going and popular guy.

When he's not on his medication he turns into the Tasmanian Devil - a whirling dervish unlike anything most people have ever seen. He is impulsive, temperamental, excitable and can't hold still even for a second. If he must hold still, he will drum his fingers... all his fingers... swing his legs and bounce up and down.

Now imagine that behind the wheel of a car.

And wasn't it just yesterday he was a 4 lb. 12 oz. baby coming home from the hospital wearing "Newborn" size clothing? His little legs didn't even reach the leg holes in the sleeper! (It was before the time that "Preemie" clothes were sold at WalMart.)

When did this:

turn into this?:

(No... don't worry. He can't be duplicated!)

And for all he's grown up and matured, he still has those sweet moments (don't tell him I posted this!) like the one I caught this last weekend:

Yes. That's my just-about-to-be-16-year-old-boy-man playing some sort of war game on our Wii with a real Kevlar Army helmet on his head and a happy kitty in his lap. (Perhaps the helmet is just in case he falls off the couch from distraction?)

No... When he says he wants to go get his driving permit, we won't say "no," but that doesn't mean I'm fully ready to unleash him upon the unsuspecting public in a 1,500 lb. gas-powered missile. (Although I suppose he could wear his Kevlar helmet... just in case... )

I guess that part of being a mother is knowing that no-matter how old your child is, when it comes to letting them get behind the wheel for the first time, you can't help but to see them like this:

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