Life in the Fishbowl

Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live."

Life in the Fishbowl - Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live."

A brief Yard Sale update


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Well, we might have been a little too ambitious when we planed on having the Yard Sale this past weekend. A ton of stuff has been donated to our fundraising efforts  (including a Foosball table, a dishwasher, and a drum set) and we just plum ran out of time to get everything ready. In reality, this is a good problem to have. Right?

So we decided to postpone the Yard Sale by one week. It’s a good thing, too. Saturday’s weather was not conducive to having any type of yard sale at all.

So now we get to have the same bat sale at the same bat location at the same bat time, only one week later. So here are the details:

Todd Family Yard Sale

Saturday, May 23
7 a.m. until noon(ish)
On Chase Boulevard in Hunting Creek in Greenwood. Simply follow the signs and you can’t miss it! You can email me if you need more specific directions.

But wait…

there’s more!

We’ll also be selling items the following Monday! If you couldn’t make it out on Saturday and you happen to be out and about Memorial Day morning, why not stop by and check out what’s left?

Obviously, the goal is to raise as much money as possible. Maybe we’ll even be able to cover a plane ticket to Ethiopia with these funds.

If you can’t make it to the Sale, that’s OK. It would be great it you’d share it with anyone you know who might be able to make it. Just click here and share away.

We’d be ever so grateful.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Thank you for partnering with us as we take this adoption journey.

The YARD SALE is almost here!

Update (5/15/2015):

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we’re delaying the Yard Sale by ONE WEEK!! We’ll see everyone on Saturday, May 23!

Thank you for understanding.

Yard SaleRemember how I mentioned that we were going to have a yard sale in the very near future? Well, that day is almost here! Lord willing and if the creek don’t rise, we’re going to have our yard sale on Saturday, May 16We’ve arranged to host it on Chase Boulevard in Greenwood, Indiana. There will be plenty of signs to point you in the right direction.

All money raised will help fund efforts to complete the adoption process. Several families have donated some great items for this Sale. And now we need your help to spread the word! Please help us in letting everyone know about this coming Yard Sale in the Indianapolis area. You can share this link on Facebook, Tweet about it, or you can share the Event page via FacebookFamily of SixThank you again for your continued support of our adoption efforts. We cannot wait to bring “W” home to be with our family forever!

If you have any question about this Sale, please shoot me an email and I’ll get back with you as soon as possible.

 

Our family is ready for The Avengers! How about yours?

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AvengersUnite #CollectiveBias

My family of Super Heroes #AvengersUnite

Have you heard? Of course you’ve heard! The Internet has practically exploded with each movie trailer release over the past few months. A huge impact has already been made on the international box office.

MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron is almost here!

Super Heroes Assemble Screenshot #AvengersAssemble

Check out the Super Heroes Assemble app for exclusive MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron content!

I’ve done my best to turn my family into a gaggle of geeks, and I think it’s starting to pay off. We are super excited about this super hero movie. To help us get ready for the coming blockbuster, I downloaded the Super Heroes Assemble app (available via Google Play and iTunes) and discovered tons of great stuff about MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

With this app, you can unlock all kinds of cool features like character bios, featurettes, special behind-the-scenes features, a tour of the Hulkbuster facility, and other great content by heading over to Walmart or Walmart.com and scanning specially marked displays.

Walmart Collage #AvengersUnite

You can also unlock content on the app by scanning specially marked packages. And starting today, you can unlock a special digital comic book thanks to Dr. Pepper. All you have to do is scan a Dr. Pepper sign at Walmart. Or you could scan any Dr. Pepper 12-pack that has The Avengers on its package. It’s a pretty cool feature and it’s the perfect tool to help you and your family to get ready for MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Product Shot #AvengersUnite

There’s even an opportunity to use the app to “suit up.” Our family, however, decided to take that whole suiting up thing one step further. It’s really only the next logical step – especially for a gaggle of geeks like mine. Right?

My family the Avengers
So watch out, world! I grabbed these masks and other accessories from The Avengers at our local Walmart. So now our family has suited up and is ready to take on any foe that may come our way. You might find us walking the halls of an upcoming convention. Or you might even find us roaming downtown dressed as these heroes. Just for the fun of it.

We didn’t choose these heroes in a willy-nilly fashion. Each of these characters from MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron has a connection with each of our family members. That’s right, friends. There was a method to our madness. Here’s how characters from The Avengers universe connect with my family:

Christy as Captain America #AvengersUnite

Christy as Captain America

Captain America has a strong moral compass. He stands up for what is right with little concern for any personal gain or profit.

That’s my wife. She has an inner strength and compassion that compels her to act on the behalf of others, giving a voice to the voiceless and remembering the forgotten. She is always helping others and trying to make the world around her a better place.

Aly as Thor #AvengersUnite

 Aly as Thor

Thor, a visitor from another realm, has a strong connection with the natural world. Thor can control the weather and has the ability to call down lightning from the heavens. He alone is worthy to carry his hammer, which focuses his power.

Aly can’t call down lightning from the sky, but she has a deep connection with the world around us. When she was little, she said the animals would talk to her. I don’t know how, but there were times where it sure felt that way. She is in tune with the nature around us. It’s almost superhuman.

Aiden as Hulk #AvengersUnite

 Aiden as the Hulk

Bruce Banner is smart. He’s super-smart. His alter-ego, the Hulk, is a giant mass of muscle and is misunderstood by most people. The Hulk possesses superhuman strength and can smash just about anything.

Aiden is smart. And as a teenager, he’s often misunderstood. And much like the Hulk, Aiden is a man of few words. He has been working out with the high school football team for the past six months. He’s become a lean, mean, muscular machine. Because of his strength, he has been called upon several times to help move furniture.

Aiden SMASH #AvengersUnite

Mihret as Iron Man #AvengersUnite

Mihret as Iron Man

With the help of sophisticated technology, Tony Stark can suit up in a powerful set of armor to become Iron Man. Much like Dr. Banner, Mr. Stark is very smart. And his creativity knows no bounds. He’s a determined person whose Iron Man suit helps him accomplish his dream of protecting the world.

Mihret’s nickname at school is “Miss Determination.” Much like Mr. Stark, she won’t take “no” for an answer. Although she requires the use of mobility aids in order to walk and get around, she is always using her creativity to find new ways to achieve what doctors have suggested she wouldn’t be able to do. She always has on her “armor,” ankle and foot orthotics that help her walk. She is able to use the assistive technology available to her to help her achieve her goals and accomplish her dreams.

Our family is united

When you watch the trailers for MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s apparent that, once again, the world needs these heroes to unite together in order to defeat a powerful foe. Working together as a team isn’t always easy. It requires sacrifice, humility, honesty, and teamwork. It can be messy. But when they work together, they can accomplish much.

That’s not unlike our family. Sure there are personality clashes at times. And we a little rough around the edges. Life together can be messy – both physically and emotionally. But we’re united. And when we work together, we can accomplish much. Who knows? We just might end up changing the world.

I know what you’re asking. What about me? Which members of The Avengers am I? Well, he’s really not an Avenger, but I think I might relate the most closely with Nick Fury, who gets things done in the background and does his best to help the rest of his team succeed.

How about your family?

Why not check out the MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron section at Walmart.com and find the perfect snacks and equipment for the super heroes in your life? I’d love to hear which members of The Avengers are most like your family members.

Feel free to share those connections in the comments!

When hunger bites at you, bite hunger back!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BiteHungerBack #CollectiveBias

Bite Hunger Back #BiteHungerBack #ad

I had forgotten how much growing teenagers eat in one day. We have two teens in our house right now. One of them (who shall remain nameless) is pretty much a bottomless pit. This kid would still complain about being hungry after eating a seven-course meal.

I get it, though. They are teenagers. So I understand the change in eating habits. School takes a lot out of you. Athletics takes a lot out of you. Following your favorite Boy Band’s every move takes a lot out of you. So you’ve got to eat. It’s part of being a growing teenager. I get that. I really do. But – holy cow – they can eat. A lot.

Hungry teens with forks #BiteHungerBack #ad

And this has me worried.

We are in the process of adopting a boy from halfway around the world. If everything goes the way we hope, hell be home with us by the end of this year.

He’s a teenager, too.

So that’s going to make the challenge of keeping our family’s bellies full without breaking the bank even more difficult. Don’t get me wrong. He’s totally worth it. And he’s going to make our family complete. But if he has half the appetite our other teens have, we could be in a heap of trouble.

Fortunately, there’s HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites and HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites.

HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites and Breakfast Bites

Made with high quality ingredients, HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites and Breakfast Bites can help fulfill your kids’ seemingly never-ending hunger. The Snack Bites are available in a variety of flavors, including Hickory Ham and Cheddar, Pepperoni Pizza, and Cheesy Beef Nacho. The Breakfast Bites flavors include Bacon, Egg, and Cheese, Sausage, Egg, and Cheese, and Ham, Egg, and Cheese. Once you try them, you’ll discover that they’re a satisfying snack with some serious staying power.

HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites and Breakfast Bites at Walmart #BiteHungerBack #ad

You can find HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites and Breakfast Bites in the frozen snacks section of your local Walmart. And during the month of April, you can save $1 off HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites with this coupon!

HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites are great any time!

Pepperoni Pizza HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites

When my teenager with the bottomless pit as a stomach complains about hunger pains a half an hour after dinner, HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites can help tackle that appetite. It’s great. My kids can pop them in the microwave without supervision and in almost no time at all, they can have tasty, cheesy goodness for a hearty snack. HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites are made with quality ingredients, including 100% real cheese. With the snack that bites hunger back, you can satisfy the hungriest of appetites.

Kick-start your day with HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites

HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites Close Up #BiteHungerBack #ad

I’ll be honest. Nobody in our house is a morning person. So breakfast before school is usually a pretty big chore and it’s also kind of miserable. With HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites, however, we can make the most of our morning with bites full of breakfast awesomeness. Much like the Snack Bites, these Breakfast Bites are stuffed with quality ingredients like 100% real cheese. They are a great way to bite through your morning hunger and start the day off on the right foot.

Thanks to HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites and HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites, I feel a little bit better about our family’s future with three teenage mouths to feed under one roof. I know their hunger will be satisfied with these hearty snacks. Now I can worry about other things: like how to get three teenagers to share a bathroom. Or share the remote control. Or put their dirty dishes in the sink. I hope I’m not biting off more than I can chew.

Be sure to check out HOT POCKETS® online by following them on Twitter, liking them on Facebook, and following them on Instagram for more great ways to bite hunger back when hunger tries to bite you.

 

F is for Final Four Fan Fest

 

F is for Final Four Fan Fest

“Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.”James Naismith

Rumor has it that Indianapolis received some rave reviews about this year’s Final Four. And why not? Basketball rules the roost in Indiana. And Men’s Final Four weekend is a great celebration of all things basketball. Combining the two? Well, it just makes sense. Kind of like peanut butter and jelly. It’s the perfect combination.

So we spent Sunday afternoon/evening in Indy. It was not your typical Easter Sunday for us, but at least we managed to have some ham sandwiches on the way to the festivities.

We joined 3,500 other kids in a giant basketball parade, dribbling through the streets of downtown Indy. There were a few organizational speedbumps in getting the whole thing started, but that’s probably to be expected. Once we were on the road, there was nothing to stop us.

We also got to play around in the Fan Experience inside the Convention Center. Then we got to ride a Ferris Wheel and hear some live music. For the whole day, we spent a grand total of five bucks. And that was to park. I’m not sure you can beat that deal!

Final Four Fan Fest

Final Four Fan Fest

Final Four Fan Fest

 

It was a great day full of fun, family, and music. And walking. Lots of walking.

Not a bad way to spend your Sunday afternoon, though. We can’t wait for the Final Four to return in five years!

The paper chase: A big adoption update

This whole adoption process has definitely been a marathon and it is not for the faint of heart. There have been days, weeks, and even months where it has felt like nothing was happening. That’s part of the reason I haven’t given much of an update on this blog recently. There really wasn’t much to report, other than the fact that we were still caught in the grueling process that is known in adoption circles as the paper chase. Now, we aren’t new to the paper chase. We’ve done it before. But I guess I’d forgotten how long the process actually takes. Or maybe I thought it would be quicker this time around. After all, we had all the documents from before.

Nope.

Almost everything had to be redone. And sometimes they had to be redone again because people had trouble following directions the first time (let’s not talk about how difficult it was to get the form for my physical filled out properly by the doctor’s office). I’m pretty sure it took twice as long as Mihret’s paper chase. And the stress of getting other offices to correctly do what they’re supposed to do just might’ve taken a few months off my life.

But it’s all OK now. Because it’s out of our hands.
Adoption Paper Chase Complete
That’s right. We have finished the paper chase! Our dossier is complete! After months of feeling like we’re marking time, there’s finally some movement. We’re starting to see some momentum in the adoption process. Things are starting to move a little bit quicker. Hopefully, momentum keeps going the right direction.

What’s next?

Now that our dossier is in the hands of our agency, they’ll go over it and make sure everything is there and nothing needs correcting. Then it will be translated into Amharic. Once it’s translated, it will be sent to the Ethiopian government. That’s the next milestone – the DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) date. Once they receive the dossier, they’ll do their due diligence to make sure everything is in order. That could still take a while. After that’s completed, there will be two separate trips to Ethiopia. In the first trip, we’ll meet “W,” our son, for the first time. We’ve been communicating with each other since late last year and we’ve even been able to send some small care packages with other families who are flying to Addis, but we have yet to see each other face to face.

I have to admit, I’m having a hard time waiting for that day. I can’t wait to look into his eyes and tell him that he’s mine. I can’t wait to wrap my arms around him and welcome him to the family. I can’t wait to smile at him and tell him how loved he is. I can’t wait.

Of course, I have to wait. Because we’ll stand before the Ethiopian court the first time and they will declare “W” our son. But then we’ll have to wait some more while the US Embassy does its due diligence to make sure everything is in order. That takes several weeks. So we’re supposed to go home and wait.

That’s going to be tough. I had a hard enough time leaving Mihret at the Care Center that was adjacent to our hotel after meeting her. I can’t imagine leaving our son half a world away after meeting him. But people do it. And everyone survives. I suppose we’ll survive, too.

Actually, I know we’ll survive. Because it’s what we have to do. It’s the process we have to go through. We’ll do whatever it takes and jump through whatever hoops are necessary in order to bring “W” home to his forever family.

We’ve achieved a major milestone in our efforts to adopt “W.” But there’s much more that has to be done before he is home with us. Many of you have asked how you can help us on this journey. I’m putting together a post that answers this question. Hopefully it’ll be ready tomorrow.

In the meantime, I ask you to pray. Pray for all of the bureaucrats and diplomats involved in this process. Pray that the paperwork is correct and it is translated accurately and quickly. But most of all, please pray for “W.” Pray for his health. Pray for his spirit. Pray that he knows without a shadow of a doubt that he has a family who loves him and is working to move heaven and earth to bring him home.

Thank you for joining us on this journey.

4 signs I’m turning into a grumpy old man

Grumpy Old Man
One of my students has consistently called me Grandpa since the day I showed up in his class in October. Granted, he does occasionally call me “Daddy,” too. And there was one day a few weeks ago where he walked down the hall with me and introduced me as “Mr. Matt” to everyone he met – real or imaginary. So there are days where he’s all over the place with what he calls me. But his go-to name for me is Grandpa. Maybe I look like his super-young, super-hip (is that what the young whipper snappers call it nowadays?) grandpa. Or maybe it’s just the head of gray I mean…white hair. White hair. Yeah…that’s the ticket…Because it’s totally turning white and not gray at all. So maybe it’s the color of my hair that makes him assume I’m a grandpa. Or maybe there’s no real explanation of what’s going on in this kid’s head. He just wants to call me Grandpa.

I guess I’m technically old enough to be his grandpa. I guess that means I’m getting older.

I had another realization about my age recently. I was talking with a co-worker one night and realized that I have scars on my body that are older than he is. The scar from me jumping through an aquarium? Older than him. The scar from the time where I was teaching ax safety and wound up cutting my leg with an ax? Yup. Older than him. Wait….how is it possible that I’ve been blogging on this site for 10+ years and I’ve never talked about these scars? This is a travesty that must be corrected. I sense a series a-brewing.

But I digress…

Those scars? Totally older than him.

Dang. I really am getting older. I like to say that I agree with Bon Jovi. I’m not really getting old. Just older.

But maybe that’s not necessarily the case anymore. Maybe I’m not just getting older. Maybe I’m getting old. Here are four reasons that there’s a very good possibility that I’m starting to become a grumpy old man.

1. Catching some zzzzz…

Before I elaborate, I feel like I should make a disclaimer about my grandparents so you don’t misunderstand me. Grandmama and Grandpa were not grumpy people. They laughed. A lot. I remember them as generally, genuinely happy people.

Grandparents’ wedding picture. I think.

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on


I remember their smiles. And I definitely remember their laughs. Especially Grandpa’s. It’s been 25-ish years since I’ve heard that laugh, but I can still hear it echoing through my memories when I think about him. Boy do I miss that laugh. I wish my kids could’ve heard that laugh. I know they would’ve loved it. And he would’ve gotten a big kick out of them.

So you get the point. Grandmama and Grandpa were happy people. Joyous people. They were not grumps.

But, boy could they sleep.

Whenever we’d go stay at my grandparents’ house, the night would almost always end with Grandpa asleep on the red carpet that covered their Living Room. It didn’t really  matter what was on TV. He generally fell asleep while we were watching it.

And Grandmama? As she got older, she fell asleep almost anywhere at almost any time. I remember having conversations with her as she would sit down in the recliner. I’m not kidding: 30 seconds after sitting in her chair, she’d be asleep. Her best friend told us that she also had a knack for falling asleep in the movie theatee. I remember some other places where she fell asleep, but she’d probably be mortified if she was still alive and found out that I’d shared them in public.

The grand-apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, apparently. I fall asleep all the time while sitting on the couch. I’ve also dozed off a time or two during the occasional trip to the local dollar(+75 cents) theater. I am certainly following in Grandmama and Grandpa’s footsteps.

Does this make me grumpy? No. Not unless one of the kids rudely rouses me from my slumber upon the couch. Then I’m not very happy. But that only lasts for a little while. It isn’t a perpetual state of grumpiness.

Does it make me old? Probably. I think it’s safe to say that the all-nighters from college, the dates that Christy and I would have that would last until 5 in the morning, and the precious few hours of sleep that I got while our kids were babies have taken their toll. So now I’m playing catch-up. One cat nap at a time. Does this mean I’m ancient? Nah. But it’s pretty clear that I’m older.

Now please excuse me while I take a quick nap before I write the rest of this post.

2. Jaywalkers

Nothing makes me grumpier than a jaywalker crossing the street in front of my car while I’m driving down the road. This really didn’t bother me too much until sometime early last year when it was dark and a lady jumped out from between two stopped cars going the opposite direction. I was *this close* to hitting her. I’ve included a banana for scale:

That’s close.

Too close.

If she had jumped out any more, there’s no way I wouldn’t have hit her. All because she couldn’t walk a few hundred feet and cross at an intersection.

Now I just get grumpy when someone walks out in front of me and isn’t using a crosswalk or at an intersection. It makes me so grumpy that I’m tempted to speed up a little and blare my horn, just to scare them a bit. Of course I would never intentionally hit someone. But scaring someone enough to reconsider jaywalking might be fun. You know I’d never really speed up like that. But I may or may not have blared my horn at jaywalkers as they walked in front of me.

Because I’m grumpy like that.

Don't jay walk 1937

3. People who walk the wrong way

Speaking of pedestrians, people walking the wrong way down the street make me just as grumpy as jaywalkers do. Walking on the right side of the road, with the flow of  traffic instead of against it, you’re putting yourself in a dangerous situation. It’s unsafe for the pedestrians. It’s also unsafe for the people who are driving. Unless you want to increase the chances of being involved in a car vs. pedestrian accident, it just makes sense to walk on the left side of the road.

And because I really don’t want to be involved in any car vs. pedestrian incidents, I admit that I’ve at the occasional pedestrian (it’s usually a small group of teenagers) for walking down the right side, which is the wrong side, of the road. It isn’t safe and it just makes me grumpy.

Wrong Way

Very, very grumpy.

4. No turn signals

There are a lot of things I miss about living in the South. I’m sure it’s a blog post waiting to happen. There are a few things, however, that I don’t miss. One thing that drove me nuts about driving in Upper East Tennessee was the regular use of “courtesy signals” by the locals. Have you ever experienced this?

Let’s say a car is two spots in front of you and is turning left. That driver has the left turn signal on and is waiting for an opening in oncoming traffic to make the turn. As a “courtesy,” the car behind that car – the car between the two of you – turns on his/her left turn signal in order to let you know that the person in the front of the line is waiting to turn left. There were times where I encountered five or six cars flashing “courtesy signals” while waiting for the first person to turn. Once that person turned, all of subsequent drivers went straight.

I don’t understand the reasoning behind this. I never have. But it drives me nuts.

2005 BMW 645Ci Cabriolet - Flickr - The Car Spy (21)

That pales in comparison to how grumpy I get when someone doesn’t even bother to use a turn signal at all. I like to minimize uncertainty when I’m driving. I like to have an idea what my fellow drivers are trying to do. If you’re turning and I don’t know that ahead of time, that makes me grumpy.

Turn signals are our friends, people! Use them!

Mr. Grumpy Pants

Well fliberty-floo. Flobble-dee-flee!

I’m coming closer and closer to being a grumpy old man. I’m sure this’ll change in the future as my grumpy old manliness continues to grow, it seems that most of my grumpiness seems to be tied to driving. But it’s not because of anything I’m doing. It’s everyone else. Please show some courtesy and some common sense when you’re walking or driving down the road. If you don’t, you just might encounter a grumpy old man like me.

That’s the way it is.
And I like it.

Now get off my lawn.

Just in time for Christmas: An Auction for our Adoption.

Family of Six
Christy has been hard at work putting together an online auction to help cover some of our adoption fees. Generous friends, family, and businesses have donated some great items for this event. You should head on over to the auction’s facebook page and check it out.

Here’s how it works. Once you find something you’d like to bid on, write your bid in a comment under that specific picture. Please include your name and email address . If you would like to bid over a current bid, simply comment under the original bid with your name and email address! The highest bid at the close of the auction on November 24th wins! IF THERE IS SHIPPING LISTED, PLEASE COMMENT WITH YOUR BID IF YOU WILL NEED SHIPPING. We will gladly deliver in the Indianapolis area (if you’d like to ask about other arrangements, let me know).

Here are a few highlights from this auction. Hurry! The auction closes November 24th!

One of a kind elephant painting

Elephant painting
Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! We’re excited to present this one of a kind gift to the winning bidder: FOUR (4) tickets to the Indianapolis installment of the Ringling Bros. Circus plus a Certified Pachyderm Painting – what an awesome keepsake!
You can place your bid here.

Hand made paper necklace

Paper necklace
This paper necklace was hand made in Uganda. If you’d like to place a bid, you can do so here.

Silk scarf from Ethiopia

Ethiopian scarf
We bought this scarf from a small shop in Addis during our trip to bring Mihret home. Click here to place your bid.

Premier Designs Autism Awareness Spectrum Necklace, bracelet, and earrings

Autism necklace Autism bracelet
This beautiful necklace, bracelet, and earring set from Premier Designs can be bid on here.

Family Photo Session

Lantern Tree Photography

A one-hour photo session from Lantern Tree Photography ($150 value). Shannon took our first Family of Five portraits. It’s so cool that she’s part of our journey to become a family of six! You can bid on this session here. Please note that this photo session must take place within the Indianapolis area.

But wait! There’s more!

There’s so much more available in this auction. Please go check it out and bid to your heart’s content!

Thank you for your ongoing support!

We’re sending a Northpole gift to Ethiopia with love

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #NorthpoleFun #shop

The Christmas Spirit has come early to our house this year! Because our adoption agency has officially matched our family with an older boy in Ethiopia, we can start sending him emails, letters, pictures, and care packages. That means we are able to send him Christmas gifts this year.

Let me say that again.

We’re sending Christmas gifts to our son in Ethiopia!!

To Ethiopia with love #NorthpoleFun #shop

Of course, we’d prefer to celebrate the holidays with him here with us at home, but we’re going to make the most of this opportunity and share this Christmas with our son who happens to be halfway around the world. It’s tempting to want to go overboard. But we won’t. I promise. We won’t. That wouldn’t be fair to anyone involved in this story.

I’ve thought long and hard about what to send him. We still don’t know a whole lot about him. What makes him tick? What’s his favorite color? What size clothes fit him best? Does he believe in Santa Claus? I honestly doubt he’s even heard of Santa. What about snow and snowmen and snow angels and snowballs and snowball fights? Has he ever had a snowball fight?

Well, considering that the coldest month only has an average low of around 40 degrees, it’s highly unlikely that he’s ever seen any significant snow accumulation. So it’s even less likely that he’s been involved in a snowball fight.
Avalauncher #NorthpoleFun

There’s always a chance of a white Christmas where we live. So this young man is in for a pretty big shock when he finally experiences Christmas with his new family. Thanks to Hallmark Northpole toys , he’ll know exactly what to do with the snow (once he gets over the initial shock at how cold snow actually is).

Northpole Collection at Walmart #Northpole #shop

The Avalauncher is available only at Walmart. It is a handheld launcher that sends ping pong sized foam snowballs soaring into the air. It’s such a blast to play with that we bought two of them . It also comes with mini cardboard targets so you can work on your aim in preparation for your next epic indoor snowball battle.

Avalauncher targets #NorthpoleFun #shop

Based on the upcoming movie on the Hallmark Channel, the Northpole toy line is full of fun toys, decorations, and gifts for the holiday season. You’re sure to find a gift for kids and adults of all ages.

In keeping with the childlike spirit of Northpole, I can’t wait to share this little piece of holiday fun with our new son! We won’t be sending the Avalauncher itself. He’ll have to wait until he’s home with us to play with that. But we are sending snowballs and the targets so he can practice his aim and be ready for an all-out snowball battle when he finally comes home with us.

We’ve already had several skirmishes and ambushes over the past few days. I think that tend will continue throughout the holiday season – and beyond!

I can’t wait for him to receive this package. I also can’t wait to have our first video chat with him. Who knows? Maybe we’ll break out the Avalaunchers and snowballs and have an epic battle that spans halfway around the world. That would be pretty memorable. And making memories a key part of the holiday season.

 

Be a better princess with the Sleeping Beauty DVD

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #DisneyBeauties #shop

Sleeping Beauty DVD at Walmart #DisneyBeauties
With the release of the Sleeping Beauty DVD and Blu-Ray, Disney has re-introduced one of the classic Disney Princesses to a new generation. As I mentioned before Mihret is a big fan of all of the Disney Princesses. So in honor of the release of Sleeping Beauty from the Disney Vault, we dressed up in our royal best and visited our local Walmart to celebrate.

In Store #DisneyBeauties

As we were shopping for the DVD and other princess goodies, Mihret and I talked about what qualities we liked in the Disney Princesses. Sure, they’re pretty. And most of them can sing with beautiful voices. But there’s more to being a Princess than these external characteristics. To be noble requires a goodness that comes from deep within your innermost being. The beauty of the #DisneyBeauties is truly more than just skin-deep.

#DisneyBeauties shopping spree

 

We bought a few Princess related items while we walked and talked in the store. I hope these items will help reinforce the strong inner virtues that the Disney Princesses possess. They can be some pretty important role models for Mihret.

Princesses are kind-hearted.

Princess Aurora is a kind-hearted soul. She fills her parents’ lives with sunshine. That’s a pretty remarkable reputation to have, isn’t it? She lit up the room with her joy. Even in the midst of difficult circumstances (what’s more difficult than having the self-proclaimed Mistress of all Evil wanting you dead?), we can choose to live our lives in such a way hat we’re always filling other people’s lives with sunshine.

Can’t we?

Sunshine #DisneyBeauties

 

Being a Princess means you’re kind-hearted and bring cheer to others. That is certainly a Princess quality I hope my daughters display throughout their lives.

Princesses are determined problem solvers.

Do you remember when Mulan climbed that pole with those weights tied around her wrists? She was determined to solve that puzzle. She didn’t give up. She had the courage and determination to get the job done with whateveer it took.

Puzzle #DisneyBeauties

 

Mihret shows similar problem solving skills when she’s putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Much like Mulan, she is a very determined girl who refuses to listen when someone says, “You can’t do that.”

Princesses are creative.

Dinglehoppers…

Snarfblats…

Ariel’s creativity shines when she explains what all her gadgets, gizmos a-plenty, whosits, whatsits galore, and thingamabobs. Her creativity and her inquisitive nature work hand in hand, don’t they? an adventurous, curious, creative spirit is something that should be encouraged in our daughters.

I know.

Reading that might make you a little bit nervous. Free spirits like this can get into trouble pretty easily. And that makes parents like me a bit uneasy. Daughters like that can keep you on your toes. They might even make your hair turn white.

Kind of like King Triton’s hair.

Creative Coloring #DisneyBeauties

 

You know something? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love having daughters who aren’t afraid to color outside the lines a little bit. it seems like their creativity knows no bounds. And I want to do whatever I can as their Dad to keep encouraging them to be the creative and curious free spirits I know they are. It’s just a small (but important) part of what makes my daughters such beautiful Princesses. And I want to keep encouraging that spirit to grow within them throughout their lives.

It might cause some bumps along the way. But the ride is worth it. Princesses make the journey one for the storybooks. I know mine have.

Oh, and Mihret also wanted me to tell you that Ariel is pretty neat because she can swim around and around and around. So she has that going for her, too!

What’s YOUR Princess like? How do Disney Princesses inspire her?