Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
-Beautiful bows were hard to open.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
But my control freak ways paid off this time! I love it.
Monday, December 20, 2010
We've had a mixed bag of news and information lately regarding our funding of this adoption. FYI, we have an $11,500 payment due at the referral of our child, we have been told to anticipate about $10,000 in travel expenses, and then another couple grand for legal fees once our child is home.
We have applied for adoption grant assistance from three different non-profit ministries, and we have plans for 2 more actual fundraisers. About a month ago, we found out that we received a "promised grant" from one of the smaller organizations. YEAH! Upon the referral of our child (hopefully in June) we will receive that grant. The money can go straight towards our agency to make a dent in the referral payment, or it can be used towards travel expenses. We are overwhelmed with gratitude!
Last week we got some bad news. We found out that there was not enough funds for our family to receive a "matching grant" from Lifesong for Orphans. To be honest, this was extremely disappointing. It has been our intention all along to send out fundraising letters in January, and we know from experience how motivating it is for friends and family to give, knowing that every dollar they give will be matched! I was hoping that would add another couple thousand dollars, but it was not meant to be.
However, Lifesong for Orphans (a name you will see often over the next couple of months on this blog!) is committed to helping families pursue God's will of caring for orphans through adoption, and although they cannot match funds, they are coming alongside of us as our fundraising partners. They have set up a fund in our name and our friends and family can make TAX DEDUCTABLE donations to their ministry in our name, starting right now. 100% of the monies donated goes directly to our family's fund--none is taken out for administrative costs. That fund can be used to cover any adoption related expenses (with proper documentation!) and also can be used to make payments directly to our agency.
Today I received some more disappointing news. Our local Applebee's restaurant has provided the venue for a pancake breakfast fundraiser for some other families in our church. They were to raise money for large medical payments or health crises. I inquired about doing one for our adoption fund, and the request was denied. The manager checked with the regional authorities and this cause did not fit their community outreach goals. :(
But we do plan to do another garage sale in June. I can't imagine it will be as lucrative as the last garage sale, but we're going to give it a shot.
Also, this week President Obama extended the adoption tax credit through 2012, so that was great news for us! We highly anticipate having to take out a loan to pay for some of this, and then hopefully we can use the tax credit to pay most or all of it back.
Overall, we continue to stand encouraged. We have one more grant to hear about, from Show Hope. The Lord has guided and watched over and blessed our journey so far, we are determined to keep our eye on the finish line (which is really the STARTING line!) and continue towards bringing our baby home.
We're not officially starting our push, but we do know that if anyone is needing a bit of extra write-offs before year end, you can make those tax-deductable gifts through paypal at http://www.lifesongfororphans.org/donation.html and be sure to include that the purpose is Tompkins Adoption fund, #1664.
Thanks to all of you who are still walking this path with us, asking questions, praying, buying Christmas cards, giving encouragement and so many other ways you show your support. Thanks in advance for your patience when we do another big fundraising bonanza next month! :)
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Sometimes, pictures just don't do justice to a moment. This is one of those times. For all of you who never see Sydney doing anything other than being coy and shy, I present to you her debut musical number: "I Gotta Sing." The first act is part duet, and is rather mellow:
Then Carson wanted to get in the picture with his own piece, as he is an aspiring singer/songwriter. It really was quite sweet, as the first words you missed were: "It's not about the presents..."
But then the Diva took it to the next level as big Bro decided to work some magic behind the camera. He's working in directing her music video.
And the finale is, like many finales, more screaming and less singing. It was explosive and brought the audience to their feet.
Be looking for her on Broadway in approximately 19 years.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I'm bummed that this one is a little blurry. You can see Carson was determined that people know he was wearing a tie. He brought it OUTSIDE of his shepherd costume. Maybe it's the issues of GQ I've been getting him.
And not to be left out, the next day I heard Sydney singing away, sitting on a box that had come in the mail. She sings around the house way more than Carson ever has. Somewhere in there I'm pretty sure she's singing about "My Daddy and Baby Kaitlyn," but mostly it's just Ooooooh and eeeeeeee.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
She finally loosened up as our hour came to a close. This was one of the last pictures taken.
Friday, December 03, 2010
Then I saw some great family shots of some friends of ours. I went to their photographer's web site and she was having a special that included 15 jpgs with print permission as part of the package. That was the one! She admitted it was a one-time deal and she would probably never be offering it again. But that's what I had been waiting for, so we made arrangements.
I was stressed and anxious about the weather, the clothing, the hygeine, the facial expressions, the behavior--I SO wanted them to turn out after all the waiting! Bottom line? I'm a happy girl. This is my Christmas miracle:
The password is "tompkins2010"
Thursday, December 02, 2010
So we went horizontal. And to be honest, the ones that went into the fridge did hold up the longest. But, by 9pm, almost ALL the caramel had slipped right off the apples, and it was basically apple balls with skewers sitting in a pool of caramel. :( Boo! Not sure if it was that the caramel was too cheap, that we didn't refrigerate quickly enough, long enough, was the caramel too hot, too cool? Not sure.
But as with MOST family activities, the joy is in the journey! And this kid had some fun on this little journey. He didn't even notice when he woke up this morning that all 30 were in the trash!
And here's just a little bonus pic of my sweet hubby making french toast with the kids last weekend. He's SO much better at letting them help out in the kitchen than I am! Then again, french toast is about all he makes. ;) Love you, Babe!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Well, I can't find my list from last year, and our countdown starts tomorrow. I need a few more ideas. Can you help me? Here's what I have so far. They are in no particular order.
Read the story of Jesus’ birthday and draw pictures of the Nativity.
Make caramel apple balls for dessert
Make our own Thai dinner (Pad thai and wontons)
Make a special Christmas craft after dinner
Have a fancy dinner tonight, with candles and sparkling cider. Don’t forget to dress up!
Make a gingerbread house
Buy a toy for a boy or girl that might not receive many others (those things on the trees at the mall? Anyone have a good idea of where to find a specific need? Or just donate to the generic community toy drive?)
Family movie night! Don’t forget the popcorn.
Make and hang snowflakes in the house.
Have a family game night
Go see the Christmas lights
Make and decorate sugar cookies!
Paint our handprints on a canvas (we did that 2 years ago and it was fun)
Make special ornaments for the tree!
Wrap gifts for cousins and friends.
Make bracelets or keychains for grandmas out of beads.
We’re having breakfast for dinner! French toast and bacon!
Make a special Christmasy dessert! (This can be repeated, as I have a couple easy ideas.)
Open and wear NEW Christmas PJ’S! (already purchased on sale)
Open and read NEW Christmas books! (already purchased for $1 through scholastic)
Take Christmas goodies to relatives
Drive to the snow and go sledding!
So... throw me any ideas you have! I'm sure we'll have some details and photos to come. :) I'm thinking Sydney will be more involved this year, which will make it even more fun. Do you have any special holiday traditions?
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Aaaaaaand, there it was. Trent and I looked at each other quickly, trying to have a conversation with our eyes. Furrowed brows and wide open peepers and shaking of heads didn't really work, but I knew we were thinking the same thing. THIS IS IT.
I jumped in with the old classic "And what do YOU think about that?" (Our standard Santa party line thus far.)
"I don't know" says a quiet voice from the backseat.
"Do you think Santa is real?" Trent said.
Trent looked at me and muttered something, I think it was "Are we going to do this now?" And I said "Yes, let's do it."
So we told Carson that no. Santa is not real. St. Nicklaus was a real person who did give gifts to people and we would find a story and learn more about him. (Note to self--get on Amazon ASAP after blog posting and find appropriate educational tool.) But that Christmas is really about Jesus' birthday and Santa is just a fun game we play at Christmastime. JESUS is real and we will never, EVER tell Carson that He isn't. But yes--Santa is pretend. The gifts come from Mom and Dad.
I asked him if he would like to do that: go see him at the store, leave cookies for him and pretend he's coming--like a game. "Would you like to do that still?"
"Yeah. That's sounds pretty fun," said the hesitant and husky voice from the darkness.
"Okay." I said
"Okay." Daddy said.
"Okay." Carson said.
And it was over just like that. I'm feeling way more relieved than sad, which I think tells me more about my own views of the internal debate of what to do in our particular household. (For the record, neither of us felt passionately either way, so we just decided to let it ride without ever making a definitive statement until the Time Came.) We DID remind him that a lot of his friends still believe in Santa and that it's something we probably shouldn't tell them. They need to talk about it with their parents.
But really? I think I owe Jimmy a favor. A little innocence is lost, but I don't have to worry about all the Santa crap that bothered me last year, like: Does Santa have his own wrapping paper? Does Santa have unusual handwriting? How do I get around flat-out lying? Why am I letting this fictitious character get the credit for the big gift that Carson LOVES and that we hunted for all over town?
No, this is good. Not sure where it's going to lead with his two younger siblings some day, and I still support a family's right to Santa or not to Santa, but for us? Santa isn't coming to this town, and we're OK with that.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Let Christmastime begin in the T household!