Life in the Fishbowl

Living by the Todd Family Motto: "It behooves us to live." I want to change the world.

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

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?

Our daughter’s princess makeover

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

Hear ye! Hear ye! We are in the Presence of Royalty!

We celebrated Mihret’s birthday over the weekend and it looks like we have a little princess on our hands. I don’t think that should really come as a surprise to anyone, though. From Princess Sophia to Princess Merida, she loves all the Disney Princesses. Her favorite, however, is Ariel. She could watch The Little Mermaid all day, every day if we would let her. I don’t know if it’s her stunning red hair or her amazing swimming ability or her beautiful voice or her creativity or her curiosity or some combination of these characteristics, but Mihret is a full-blown Ariel fan. So we just had to give her this little gift before her birthday party. It was like she had her own little princess makeover this weekend.

Mihret the Mermaid #DisneyBeauties

She was in heaven as she wore this costume around the house all day. With Halloween just around the corner, she’s going to have a lot of opportunities to dress up as Ariel all month long! There is a wide assortment of Disney Princess Halloween costumes available, but I know which princess will be gracing our presence this year.

An event fit for a princess.

In addition to her birthday and Halloween, I’m pretty excited about another event where Ariel-Mihret will be making an appearance. As a special way to celebrate the release of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty DVD and Sleeping Beauty Blu-Ray, Walmart is hosting a special Disney Princess event this coming Saturday.

Sleeping Beauty DVD at Walmart #DisneyBeauties

Grab your favorite princess (or prince), dress them up in their royal best as you party with the princesses this Saturday. Here are the details:

When?

Saturday, October 11
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where?

Your friendly neighborhood Walmart store
(click here for a list of participating stores)

Why?

Here’s just some of the fun that will be happening:

  • Disney Princess coloring and activity sheets
  • Photo opportunities with a cardboard Sleeping Beauty
  • Disney Princess cupcakes samples
  • Disney Princess character balloons (available for purchase)

A royal deal awaits.

In addition to the fun activities, there will be a special in-store coupon available from American Greetings at participating locations. It’s good for $3 off of any $10 purchase of Disney Princess themed party supplies. You don’t want to miss out on this royal deal, do you?

Join the fun!

I’ll be there with my mermaid princess. Will you? It should be an event that dreams are made of. You can join in the fun all week long by following the #DisneyBeauties hashtag on Twitter and Instagram!

 

It’s National Coffee Day. Buy some coffee. Help our adoption

The powers that be have declared today to be National Coffee Day. If you’re a coffee drinker, I’m not sure why you need a specific date for you to celebrate coffee. I mean, every day is coffee day for many of you. Right?

So it’s National Coffee Day. And you love coffee. You also want to do good with your purchase. I’ve got a proposal for YOU!

Just Love Coffee adoption fundraiser

You can support our adoption by buying coffee from Just Love Coffee, a portion of the proceeds will go directly towards our efforts to bring our boy home.

I don’t drink much coffee, but I know this is some high qualityquality stuff. A former co-worker of mine is a self-proclaimed coffee snob. She had this to say about her purchase:

“It’s yummy.”

It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

Happy National Coffee Day, y’all! Thanks for your ongoing support! Now buy some coffee!

(please)

Our lives changed after we took this picture 5 years ago

We took this picture five years ago today. It was the last time we were together as a family of four.

Outside Indianapolis International Airport before flying to Ethiopia.

A few minutes after this, the kids drove off with their Papaw. Soon after that, Christy and I boarded a plane. Our ultimate destination was a Little Girl in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Flying over Egypt

Five years ago today, we were ending one leg of our family’s journey.

Five years ago today, we were starting another leg of our family’s journey.

Five years ago…

Wow.

How has it already been five years since we went from being a family of four to a family of five?

Our first picture as a family of five. Taken at the Indianapolis International Airport

It couldn’t have happened without the prayer and support of some pretty amazing friends and family who were with us throughout the process. And it certainly couldn’t have happened without family members taking care of Aiden and Alyson, trying to do whatever possible to keep their lives as close to normal as possible while their mom and dad were half a world away. To anyone and everyone who had some part in our journey to bring Mihret into our family, I want to say “Thank you” again. Thank you for allowing God to use you and to weave your story into our family’s story.

Because we can’t imagine our family without Mihret.

Family picture at the 2013 Show Hope Celebration in Franklin Tennessee

I bet you can’t, either.

The kids holding a sign that says

These cheap(est) wireless plans help keep our family connected

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

walmart Best plans

The problem

Having three kids in school means you have to juggle calendars – a lot. When you add extracurricular activities like football, volleyball, student council, and other after school events into the mix, things can get a little chaotic. Throw in some doctor’s appointments and there are weeks where it feels like our family calendar teeters dangerously close to the realm of insanity. Since the majority of the school week involves rushing children from one place to another, it’s easy to lose track of who is going where. We need to be able to contact each other easily. We decided to purchase cheap wireless plans for our two oldest kids. That way they don’t have to borrow someone else’s phone if their after-school meetings end early or if we happen to forget to pick them up.

Admit it. You’ve forgotten what time your child’s after school activity was over, too. That’s why our kids have phones now. We’ll be reminded if we do inadvertently forget what time we’re supposed to pick them up.

While shopping for phones for the kids, it became very obvious that Christy was in desperate need of a new phone. My wife never complained about the quality of her phone, but it was pretty apparent that her not-quite-smartphone really wasn’t going to cut the mustard anymore. She needed something that was lightweight, durable, and could manage all of our calendars and contact information. And a good camera would be nice. Oh yeah. It also needed to be affordable. And it needed to be part of a reliable network. Dropped calls are not acceptable.

Finding a quality phone and plan that fit our budget started to feel like a tall order.

#Phones4School Walmart location

Walmart best plans to the rescue!

Just in time for back to school shopping, Walmart has an incredible rollback deal on the Alcatel One Touch Evolve smartphone. Regularly priced at $79.88, it’s currently available for $29.88. That’s perfect for your #Phones4School shopping!

It’s really tough to beat Walmart Family Mobile as your service provider. They have recently dropped the price of their Unlimited Talk, Text & Web plan to only $34.88 a month. It’s a pretty remarkable deal. One we couldn’t pass up.

Walmart #Phones4School Collage

In addition to the great deal on the phone and the lowest priced unlimited plans around, Walmart Family Mobile has also taken to twitter to share some great tips for your phone. Oh, and they also have a sense of humor…

Why not give them a follow? It’ll be worth it.

Alcatel One Touch Evolve #Phones4School

As you can see, the phone comes with your standard equipment: a battery and a charger. It feels pretty sturdy for a smartphone. It comes with plenty of apps already loaded on it, but I went ahead and downloaded Instagram so it would be ready for Christy to start sharing her amazing photography skills. Because the camera? It’s pretty good.

Photo of a Photo

Now that we have upgraded Christy’s phone and her plan, we’ll be able to keep our family connected throughout the school year. Christy and I can sync our calendars to make sure we don’t miss any important appointments. If I’m sneaky enough, maybe I’ll be able to schedule a surprise date night or two on her calendar, too. We’ll have to wait and see about that one, though.

And if we do happen to miss an appointment for some unexpected reason? Walmart’s best plans will keep our family connected all school year long.

Flash shirt sale!

Adoption fundraiser t-shirts: "We have this hope as an anchor"

A missions team has adopted our shirt design as their official team shirt! So, we are ordering another round of adult t-shirts (sorry, we are not including any of the yellow Youth-sized t-shirts with this order) this Tuesday (July 29).

The t-shirts are available in S-XXXL and cost $20 each ($22 for XXL and XXXL). They are still available in Coral, Grey, and Cadet Blue.

We have also added sweatshirts to this batch of orders. They are $30 apiece ($32 for XXL).

As we did with the previous batch of shirts, there’s a flat $5 fee to ship your shirt(s) if you live outside of the Evansville, IN or Indianapolis, IN metropolitan areas.

If you have any other questions or would like to order a shirt (or more), please contact me and we’ll add your purchase to the order.

Don’t wait! We will be submitting our order at the end of day on Tuesday, July 29!

Please feel free to share this with anyone who might be interested. Thanks for your ongoing support in our journey to bring Little Man home!

Celebrating the Power of Dad

Life lesson Keep your eye on the ball

Dad has taught me a lot of things over the years. One of the most important things, however, comes from the years he coached me in baseball.

Keep your eye on the ball.

Me the Little League player

That’s a pretty important lesson when it comes to baseball. But it’s also pretty important when it comes to life. Keep your eye on the ball. Focus on the things that matter.

Faith. Family. Friends.

Keep them front and center. Stay focused on them. If you do, your life will be full of joy. You’ll be rich in ways that most millionaires dream.

That’s what my Dad taught me.

Oh, and if you happen to catch a few fish along the way? Well, that’s even better.

I have tried to pass this lesson along to my kids. Keep your eye on the ball.

Dad was my baseball coach. I’ve tried following in his footsteps as a coach, as a mentor, and as a friend. I’m doing my best to pass along what he has taught me – especially when it comes to priorities. That’s the power of Dad, after all.

Faith. Family. Friends.

Keep your focus on them. And don’t forget to have some fun while you’re doing it.

Oral-B understands the influence that dads can have. And I’m happy to be partnering with them this Father’s Day. In a society where the impact of involved dads is getting short shrift, it warms my heart to see companies like Oral-B creating commercials like this. They truly understand the power of Dad.

See? Oral B gets it. They understand the power of Dad. And they’re even taking it another level. Oral-B has teamed up with March of Dimes and Eli Manning to honor dads everywhere. Pretty cool, right?

It gets even better, though. Since fatherhood is full of moments that make a dad smile, Oral-B wants dads to take care of their teeth. To help ensure that dads everywhere have healthy smiles, Oral-B is offering a special $7 off coupon for their Oral-B 7000 BLACK, their most sophisticated and technologically advanced brush yet. Not only is it engineered to perform, but it’s stylish, sleek, and precision-engineered, featuring 8,800 oscillations per minute and 40,000 pulsations per minute. It’s the perfect gift for the gadget-obsessed guy in your life.

Celebrate the power of Dad in your life this Father’s Day. Smile about the little things. Marvel at the amazing things. And remember to keep your eye on the ball.

Disclosure:
I partnered with Oral-B and Life of Dad, LLC for the #PowerofDad Father’s Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement.

Sorry for the radio silence.

We moved last weekend.

We didn’t move very far away. It was just down the street, actually. But it should probably go without saying that things have been a little bit busy since Moving Day last Saturday.

OK. Things have been a lot busy. There’s a lot I’m planning on posting, but I’ve just run out of time this week. It doesn’t really help that we don’t have Internet at home yet (thanks a lot, Comcast – or Xfinity – or whatever you’re called now). So the blog itself might be in a bit of a dormant stage for the next few days. But soon this blog will be back. And better than ever. Because I have SO MUCH TO SAY!

I still have access to twitter and the Life in the Fishbowl facebook page. So if you haven’t connected with me there, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?! 

Even though things are a little crazy at the Todd House right now, it’s comforting to be able to walk up to the front door and be greeted by this every day.

welcome home sign

Thanks again to everyone who helped us during the extended Moving Day! We’ll be sure to pay it forward.

 

Today’s the t-shirt deadline!

We have this hope as an anchor t-shirt  Hebrews 6:19

Today’s the day!

We will be placing the order for the first batch of t-shirts first thing Tuesday morning. If you want to have one of these awesome shirts in time for Summer, what are you waiting for? Get your order placed TODAY before time runs out! There’s a small chance that we might be able to order another batch of shirts at the end of Summer, but you really don’t want to risk it, do you?

Just click here and get the ball rolling.

We are able to accept other forms of payment if you aren’t comfortable using PayPal. Please email us and we’ll get it worked out!

Thanks again for all of your ongoing support!

Mihret and Her Mysterious Lost Tooth

Lost Tooth

30+ years ago
The Todd House
Evansville, Indiana

There I was, sitting at the kitchen table in our small house in Evansville. I was eating the last of my Cheerios and planning out the rest of my day without a care in the world. Sesame Street. I had to make sure to watch Sesame Street. And the Death Star was probably going to be blown up. Again. And there was a good chance I was going to wind up playing with some neighbor kids.

It was going to be an epic day. But that wouldn’t have been very much of a surprise. Every day was epic.

As I chugged down the remaining milk from my cereal bowl, I was shocked at what I had discovered. I felt a funny gap in my mouth and poked around with my tongue. Then I finally realized what had happened: I had lost a tooth! The wait was finally over. The tooth was free! I couldn’t wait to put that tooth in my Tooth Pillow for the Tooth Fairy that night. I was going to be rolling in the dough the next morning.

There was one problem. I couldn’t find my tooth. I looked everywhere and it was nowhere to be found. The tooth was gone. Heartbroken, I told mom that I had lost my tooth and couldn’t find it anywhere.

“You probably swallowed it,” she explained. “But that’s OK. We’ll write a note to the Tooth Fairy and explain what happened. I’m sure she’ll understand.”

We did.

And she did.

And all was right with the world.

Easter, 2014
The Ooley Homestead
Mooresville, Indiana

Lost tooth

“Mom! Dad! Come in here!” Aly shouted from another room. I couldn’t tell if she was happy or worried. “Mihret lost her tooth!”

After weeks of asking us every five minutes (you think I’m kidding. I’m not kidding. She was relentless) when her wiggly tooth was going to come out, Mihret FINALLY lost a tooth! With all that blood on her chin, it sure looks like it was a violent event that caused her to finally lose it. I promise, it wasn’t nearly as exciting. She just kept wiggling it and wiggling it and it finally fell out. She lost her tooth.

No. Really. It was lost.

We looked all over the place for it. It was nowhere to be found. We eventually decided to call off the search and rescue mission and came to the conclusion that she probably swallowed her tooth. Much like my mom did 30+ years ago, Christy swooped in and saved the day.

“We’ll write a note to the Tooth Fairy when we get home. I’m sure she’ll understand,” she said.

And so they did. Mihret dictated the note. Christy wrote it. Mihret signed it and they put it in the Tooth Pillow that Christy used when she was giving her tooth offerings to the Tooth Fairy.

Mihret's note to the tooth fairy

Mihret's note to the tooth fairy

The Tooth Fairy more than willingly accepted this offering. And she left Mihret a $5 bill, the going rate in the Todd household for a first lost tooth. Fortunately, she remembered to make the switch this time.

Epilogue

That other tooth that she refers to in the note is pretty wiggly. It’s ready to come out. And, just like with the first one, she’s asking when it’s going to come out. But she doesn’t stop there.

“I’m gonna CATCH IT this time!”

I wonder if I should do something like this to help make sure she does catch it this time…

Of course, if I did that, I’d be able to knock out #88 and #89 on My List. I think I may be on to something here.