June 29, 2011

The Yard Sale

Earlier this month we shared that we are hoping to adopt, and put the request out for family & friends to donate and unused and unwanted items for a yard sale we were having to raise money to put toward this hope. We ended up realizing that we needed 2 yard sales (mostly because the notice was too short for some to be able to get items they wanted to donate to us, partly because we knew we would have things left over!). But here is the recap of the first, which we had during the community yard sale this past weekend.
I thought about selling yummy treats & drinks to earn a little extra, but ended up deciding that I wanted to give something to those who were blessing us with their purchase.

I also had a box of free items for people to take. I always like when they have those at sales. I also really like when the free box doesn't have any stipulations (like you can only take something if you buy something), and when it actually has some good things in it. So it not only held all of the things I didn't feel like I could charge a quarter for (I didn't want to deal with small change so nothing was priced less than $.25), but also a few things that were mine and I knew I could have charged for, but thought would be nice to include. To me, the free box is a picture of grace - freely given, with no payment necessary, and worth treasuring :)

Originally, to keep it low maintenance considering our time crunch (we had 2 days to get everything together after we returned home), I was going to do a "make an offer" sale. I ended up doing some research and realized those tend to be a little iffy as far as making money. So I decided to just have tables sorted by price "Everything for $1" and so on. But once I returned I did a little more research and discovered that not only do people tend to hate that, but it is often hard for you to remember what came from which table! So, at the last minute, I did what was recommended and put a price on everything! The nice thing was that it allowed me to sort by category (which is highly recommended). I ended up liking the layout much more than I think I would have. I was also grateful for all the little yellow stickers when I was overwhelmed with people ready to purchase and I needed to add things up quickly!
Even though the community yard sale was technically Saturday, traditionally there have been a lot open on Friday. So that's what we did. Unfortunately, for some reason (perhaps the rain?) there were only a handful open. The weather kept many of the buyers away, and the few hardcore people who came were generally in bad moods. Somehow, we still made over $100 that day! Saturday was MUCH better. The combination of sunshine and the MANY sales around the lake put everyone in a better mood. We were inundated with people from the second my garage door went up until around lunch time. The afternoon slowed down, and when I started having more and more people just want the free items, I decided to close up. But even then people were in great moods, and I loved the opportunity to meet neighbors and chat with the people coming through.
The most commented on setup at my sale. Almost a dozen women told me they were going to go home and do this with their jewelry! I'm convinced I sold so
much of the jewelry because of the display! And I was just looking for something inexpensive (free) and pretty!

The 2 days were full of surprises - the lady who told me she hates children (yet still bought a considerable amount to put toward the cause), the adorable old man who told his wife she needed to hurry because he still needed to catch a turtle for dinner, the 3 people who donated more than their purchase toward the cause (and yes, I cried each time), the man who only wanted my free box & free water, the wonderful woman who is a true "yard-saler" yet spent almost 45 minutes shopping and talking. I discovered that most people don't read signs (which I printed up special to communicate the cause) - and those who did had no clue where Uganda actually was, that people come to sales to haggle - and I had to be prepared to hold my ground, that I have truly no clue about what sells at a garage sale (some of the things I thought would go first I still have and some of the items I never thought would sell went the first morning!) and that people's generosity was far beyond my imagination.

Overall, it was a somewhat overwhelming experience. The donations that literally flooded in were an incredible help. We sold very little of our own things, and would never made near as much ($401 total - far more than I ever hoped for or even imagined!) if it hadn't been for the generosity of our friends and family. At this point, I have to mention my friend Catherine (who is not pictured because I promised I wouldn't). She is the one who first offered to donate items for the yard sale to help. When I texted her in distress because we found out that some money we were counting on was significantly less than we had originally been told, she started soliciting her family for additional items (and her amazing family responded in an overwhelming way). It was because of her encouraging that we even thought of asking other friends and family for donations. She helped sort & setup, and she kept me company during the sale. She was the driving force behind it all, this outcome wouldn't have happened without her, and I'm so grateful for her. I am also so grateful for everyone who responded with donations (and for those who have promised donations for the next sale). Words can never communicate my gratitude.
My favorite customers :)

With the twins, friends, family, and even strangers prayed when we were going through fertility treatments, during our pregnancy, and throughout our time in the hospital. I experienced the amazing blessing of being surrounded by love and prayers while waiting for my children, and of them being genuinely wanted & hoped for by more than just Lucas and me. It was an awesome experience and one I've always felt so blessed to have had. I often look forward to telling my children how many people prayed for them, hoped for them, and invested in them and their lives. This experience has been similar, but in an even more powerful way. Having people pour out their love for us and our future family in such a visible way was incredible. The response from people at the sale and people who have just offered donations (even just $5) truly touched my heart. I truly cannot wait to tell my someday child how many people helped bring their adoption about.
And in case you were wondering, our next sale will be August 27th. We are definitely still accepting donations, but please remember that we don't want your most prized treasures because you feel obligated to help. Every single one of the smallest items added up to contribute toward the cause! And thank you again to all those who have donated and will donate to the cause. Words can never fully communicate our gratitude.

June 28, 2011

Visiting Poppy & Nana

Since we were already so close, and since we had the rare opportunity to be with Poppy on Father's Day, we ended the work-cation with a trip to Poppy & Nana's! The first thing we did there was hop into their pool (because the lake just wasn't enough water for us!)
Allie played peek-a-boo behind the tree.
So Ry-guy did too.
Allie like the elephants sprinkler trunk.
Ry-guy preferred swimming.
Aunt Darleen (who somehow managed to not be photographed) and Lil Grandma came for a visit, and the twins crowded into Lil G's li'l lap to watch their favorite youtube movie.
We spent a decent amount of time visiting the local parks.
Ry-guy loved the slides.
What time is it?
At the slides with Poppy.
Swinging with Nana.
At another park, the twins loved playing by the stream.
Allie played peek-a-boo on the bridge.
Ry-guy preferred the stream.
Being silly with Daddy.
Allie tries balancing.
Nana & Poppy join in the fun on the teeter-totter.
The twins tried out the merry-go-round (a different type than they've been alone on before).
And it wasn't long before everyone joined them!
Allie wrapped up the trip with a climb up the biggest climbing wall she's ever tackled.
while Ry-guy showed off his driving skills.
We had a blast with Nana & Poppy, especially celebrating Father's Day WITH Poppy! Lucas was pretty sure it was only the 2nd or 3rd time in his life he had been with his dad on Father's Day. We were sad to leave, but also ready to get home after a long time of being gone! This trip marked the first time the twins ever said, "I wanna go home!"

June 27, 2011

At the Lake House: Feeling Nostalgic

For this post, you might have to go back HERE, and read THIS POST from last year. Whether you read THIS POST before or after, or go back and forth from this to THAT POST, you have to read it, compare, and maybe be as sad as I when you see the change. And if I haven't pushed it enough, click HERE to read it!
Remember these? They were just as big of a hit this year as last.
Building towers.
Where are my hands?
We went back to the same park we loved last year. It lived up to the memory and we had a blast. We replicated some old favorites. Remember this?
And this?
Then the twins showed off their improved motor skills by effortlessly trying new things on the playground
I was trying to capture Allie effortlessly scaling this giant (taller than me or Lucas) climbing wall...
When Lucas yells and I turn just in time to catch Ryan hopping up these:
Allie found a friend and they played on the balance beam.
And just when I was about to completely break down and cry because my babies are SO big, Ryan cheered me up with this:
If they changed so much in 10 months, what will next year's pictures look like?

At the Lake House: In the Water

Are the lake house posts getting tedious? Sorry. But I told you I had a LOT of pictures to share :) Only 1 more. I promise. And then we go to Nana & Poppy's!
Since we were AT the lake, we clearly spent a lot of our time in the water. My children LOVE the water. One of their favorite things to do is throw rocks in the water. Especially Big rocks.
First you have to find the perfect big rock.
Then you hold it up high.
Then you throw!
Then have mommy and/or daddy go get it out of the water to you can do it again!
They had canoe paddles there & the first day I told them that you call whales by slapping paddles on the water (I think this is actually a big lie...but I feel confident there is SOMETHING in the ocean that is attracted by that sound...or maybe whales slap their fins on the water...). They called whales pretty much every time we were at the water after that. Ryan was especially passionate about this endeavor. I felt truly terrible that there weren't actually any whales there to come.
We went on 2 rides down the lake shore and back in the row boat. The twins loved this because Rocket (from Little Einsteins) frequently turns into a boat. We discovered on this trip that almost anything can be traced back to something they have seen on Little Einsteins. And that they remember absolutely everything they have seen on that show down to the most random detail.
They weren't big fans of wearing life jackets...

On our boat rides we would watch in the water for fish (of which we saw very few) and logs or trees (of which we saw a ton). The most exciting thing we saw was a bald eagle! It swooped down right in front of us and the soared up and circled in the sky. I was so excited because this was the first time I ever saw one in the wild. The twins were so excited because we were so excited (and they saw one on Little Einsteins one time...). They've been spotting "bald eagles" in the sky ever since!
Hi, Daddy!
The one picture that I wanted, but never seemed to have my camera ready when it occurred, was of them swimming. They started crawling on their stomachs in the water (the shallow part of course) and yelling "Mommy, I swimming!" Allie always stayed very shallow (shocking because she is usually very adventurous), but Ryan liked to go where his hands could barely touch and kick his feet in the water. Only once did he go so deep he went under, but I was right there. He learned his lesson and stayed a little more shallow after that. The closest I came to catching them "swimming" is this:
Terrible, right? He's on his way out of the water after swimming to shore. Mommy is so slow. We also like building sand castles, trying to catch the many minnows, swimming out deep with mommy and daddy (as in waist deep for us, but way deep for them), and pushing our floaty frog & dragon into the water and watching mommy and daddy run after them!

June 26, 2011

At the Lake House: Firsts

Once again, we ate most (as in all but one) of our meals on the porch. Being much earlier in the summer than last year, it was also colder. We tried to keep them in a few mornings, but the twins insisted on bundling up and eating outside. To help keep them warm, every morning I made them a cup of hot chocolate (warm milk with a spoonful of nesquik). They had never tried hot chocolate before (since they had been allergic), and LOVED it!
One of the days there was rainy. Without our usual outside diversions, we went to the nearest town and picked up play dough at the dollar store. I have always intended to try play dough with the kids, but wanted to make it instead of buy it...and then always forgot that it needed to be made ahead of time! So I gave in and bought some. They had a blast!
Allie thought the rolling pin made a better trumpet.
Ry-guy preferred to stack the cutters on top of piles of dough.
The play dough kit came with number cut-outs - making it a bonus educational activity! Score :)
They had trouble with the concept of making things, so I started making things and having them guess what they were. Apparently, my artistic ability (with clay) is near that of a 2 year old because they easily guessed every blob! Then they started taking my creations to play. Including Ry-guy's favorite (Nana DON'T LOOK!!) the "snake."
And Allie's favorite (someone tell Nana she can look again!) the turtle :)