Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Two Milestones

Today's a great day!

First, it's my dad's birthday.  Happy Birthday, Dad!  We can always count on you for a good laugh and an adventure.  We love you!


Second,  Levi rolled over for the first time!  We are so proud of our little man and can't believe how fast he is growing.  He's such a sweet and happy baby.
We are so blessed and thankful for our wonderful family.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

This year's Halloween was a very special one.  It was the first Halloween for both of my kids!  It's pretty neat that, despite a ten-year age difference, they experience a lot of firsts at the same time.

When Mark and I were in Ukraine and saw Ruslana's photo on her file, besides instantly knowing that she was our daughter, I said that she looked like a little Snow White.  So after she saw the movie and loved it, we decided that it would be a great costume for her! Here's her original file photo, the first time we ever saw her:
And here she is, our beautiful Snow White: 
Mark told her that she was so beautiful that Snow White dresses up as Ruslana on Halloween :)

Levi dressed up as a Lion. His baby talk makes for a mean roar. And that mane? Stop it. Too. Darn. Cute. 

 We went trick-or-treating down our street with some friends and had a great time.

Ruslana loved celebrating Halloween and told me that she loved having a family to protect her. When we asked her what her favorite part of the night was she said "CANDY!!!" Of course...what a silly question.  Her favorite candy (and food in general) is a Snickers bar, so when she was presented with this gigantic Snickers, she was over-the-moon!!! This thing is a monster...you cut it in slices to eat it! WOW! It's seriously awesome.  I guess I'll have to rethink my strategy of telling her she can have one candy bar at a time! 

We had a wonderful time having some Halloween fun! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

And the winner is...

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the raffle! We raised $1,010!

Out of 221 entries, the winner is...

ASHLEY BROCKHAUS SAUNDERS! Congratulations, Ashley! 

Christine and Neil, "Marjorie's" soon-to-be mom and dad, have a message for those who donated:

 "A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the raffle! We are so grateful to you -- our friends, family, and some who we have never met. You are all part of our journey to bring our daughter home! We are amazed and humbled by the Lord's provision through you. And we eagerly await the day she is home with us forever. May the Lord bless you for your kindness to our family and to Marjorie. 
With Love, Christine & Neil"

Saturday, October 19, 2013

9.5 hours and counting!

There's about 9 and a half hours remaining until the fundraising raffle (listed below) closes.  We are only $75 short from reaching our goal.  Can you help us by donating just $5?  You could walk away with over $200 worth of cool stuff and help a sweet child be reunited to her forever family!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fundraiser for "Marjorie"

Ruslana's best friend, known as "Marjorie" on Reece's Rainbow, was hosted over the summer by a wonderful family (check out their blog here).  They fell in love with her and are now pursuing her adoption.  Look at how cute she is:

"Marjorie" and Ruslana during the hosting trip
Mark and I know personally how overwhelming the financial aspect of an international adoption can be.  But we also know that we have incredibly generous readers who have a heart for orphans.  So, let's rally together and help bring this girl home to California where she belongs! 

I'm hosting a gift basket raffle similar to the one we did during our fundraising. The winner of the raffle will take home ALL of the items listed below--valued at over $200! These would make great Christmas gifts! 
$50 Target Giftcard
$25 Starbucks Giftcard

"Weave Around" Handbag
"Silver Lining" Watch
"Flower Power" Wallet
"Fighting Snakes" iPhone 4/4s Case
"Shrinking Violet" Earrings

How does the raffle work? Make a donation by clicking on the donate button here:
For every $5, you receive an entry.  So, $10 will be two entries, $20 will be four entries, and so on. There is no limit to how many entries you can have. 

After you have made your initial entry by donating, you can get another entry just by sharing this raffle on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog! Just comment at the end of this page with a link to your post (or email me at JJackson6@gmail.com). 

Raffle entries will be sold until Saturday, October 19 at 7pm pacific time. Then the winner will be announced! 

Let the raffle begin!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Swim Party

To continue Ruslana's 11th birthday celebration, we had a swim party at our house last Saturday.  She invited some of her friends from school to join in on the family fun.  I think everyone had a great time eating cake, swimming, opening gifts, and enjoying the candy bar.  Check out some photos from the day:

Thanks to my mom for making the cake so beautiful!
And look, Kim Pell├ęt, your Hello Kitty showed up for the party!
Having fun on her friends shoulders
Ruslana told her friend that she wanted chips and chocolate for her birthday. haha!!
Ruslana's friend brought her guitar to play Happy Birthday to her. So sweet!!!
Ruslana with her great grandparents
Enjoying the candy bar
What a blessing it was to celebrate our daughter's very first birthday in America! We hope this year is her very best yet. We look forward to seeing her continued growth.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

11 year old in the house!

Ruslana's 11th birthday was on Saturday!  Because it was her first birthday celebration ever, we tried to make it extra special.

Her festivities began at school on Friday. I made cupcakes (or as Ruslana calls them "little cakes") and brought them, along with juice, to her classroom.  The children gathered around her and sang Happy Birthday.  This was a pretty epic moment because it was the first time anyone had ever sung Happy Birthday to her.
 After they sang and ate their cupcakes, she took off to play handball, her new favorite thing.
Her teachers gave her cards and candy.  She was so excited to receive them.  I'm so thankful for her sweet teachers.
When she woke up on her Birthday, I had the dining room decorated.  Mark was at Bible Study, so I told her she could only open one gift before he was home.  Her one gift was a Minnie Mouse tee shirt with a card that told her to put it on because we were going to Disneyland for the day!

Birthday donut and Capri Sun in a "fancy" glass
We picked Mark and the grandparents up on the way and off we went to the happiest place on earth.
Ruslana and Grandmother Jill
Mama and Ruslana--ready for a day of fun!
Our first ride--she loved it! My hair, on the other hand, didn't. Ha! 
11 year old beauty
Toy Story with papa
Autopia with Grandmother Jill
(The thought of her driving for real is absolutely frightening!)
Waiting in line with Grandmother & Grandfather
Papa and Ruslana
Mama and Ruslana
Grandfather, Ruslana, Grandmother, Levi, and Papa
Stop to the baby room with Levi
Eating at Pizza Port
First family trip to Disneyland
Ruslana had a wonderful time and smiled all day!  Now that we are pass holders we can't wait to go back.   When we got home we let her open up her other gift...a pink scooter! Here she is trying it out the next morning:
For the record...she loves wearing a helmet and wanted to wear her rollerblade pads on the scooter.
Sure, kid...safety first!
And since birthdays should last all week, we're looking forward to her swim party this weekend. Stay tuned for more birthday fun!