Saturday, August 8, 2015

Fundraiser #3 - Pampered Chef!

Here's our last fundraiser for the week...Pampered Chef! My friend Rinele is hosting a fundraising party for us until the night of Friday, August 14th.  I love to bake and have a few Pampered Chef products that I use almost every time. Here are a couple of my faves:

1)  Adjustable Measuring Spoons:  Love that I can use these multiple times in the same recipe and throw them in the dishwasher when I'm done!  Find them here
2) Mini Serving Spatula:  This is a staple for any cookie making!  Plus it's dishwasher safe!  (Are you sensing a theme here?!?)  Find them here.

Go check out Rinele's page and see all the great deals Pampered Chef has to offer!  Thank you for your support! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fundraiser #2 - Noonday!

Our 2nd fundraiser kicking off this week is through Noonday Collection.  If you've never heard of Noonday, it was started by an adoptive mama who met talented jewelry artisans in Uganda who wished to create dignified jobs in their community.  She brought some of their jewelry home to share with her friends and Noonday Collective was born.  They partner with 30 artisan businesses in 13 countries - impacting 2,000 artisans and their 8,800 family members.  If you like businesses that support empowering women around the world, then Noonday is for you! 

The fundraiser is starting today but their new line launches tomorrow!  Check out everything Noonday has to offer HERE and thanks in advance for your support! (This is the link you need to use so that we get credit for your order!)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Our profile book...or why I've been staying up until midnight for the past 3 weeks

Jenny here...I finished our profile book this past weekend (insert HUGE sign of relief!).  I was sure it would be the death of me.  This 15 page Shutterfly book is what birth mothers and fathers will be looking at to decide who will parent their babies.  Just picture trying to encapsulate all your values, what you stand for, your parenting style, and your vision for your children in pictures and words in 15 pages.  Oh and there’s a strict guideline from our agency as to what needs to be on each page.   

To say that I overanalyzed this would be putting it mildly….do I include the picture of Penny dressed up in her Halloween costume (why did I pick the French maid outfit for her first Halloween?!?)?  What if a birthmom thinks it’s weird to dress up your pet?  Does Bailey’s hair look okay in this picture?  What if a birthmom doesn’t like the super cute font I picked because she doesn’t like cursive writing?  Can I use a chevron background on two back-to-back pages or does that look lazy?  In the end, I had to keep reminding myself that God will send us the child that is meant for our family, regardless if I chose the herringbone background or the chevron one.

I do like the way it turned out.  I would’ve loved to be more creative with the format but it is what it is.  As I was working on each page, I prayed over each of them and what they would convey to those reading it.  Once our agency approves our book, I will be able to upload it to Shutterfly, order copies and send them to our agency to begin showing them to birth families!!  I’m going to order a copy for us in addition to the 5 our agency needs so I’ll be showing it off in person soon!

The completion of this next step means that we’ve also been busy applying for adoption grants and continuing to sell our garage sale leftovers on the Facebook buy/sell/trade pages to fundraise.  I had to cancel the fundraising party I was hosting at our house because I picked a Sunday that hardly any people could attend.  In place of that, we’re launching 3 online fundraisers this week – today is Jamberry nails, Wednesday will be Noonday and Friday will be Pampered Chef.  Each one will go for a week or so and I’ll post on FB when the links are ready.  I’m also working on our t-shirts which I’m very excited about!

Here is the info for today’s fundraising launch: My friend Megan Allwein has offered to donate her commission from the sale of Jamberry nails to our adoption fund.  I gave myself a Jamberry pedicure in the spring and I had them on 6 weeks before I decided to take them off but they could’ve stayed on much longer!  They’re easy to take off and even safe for little girls’ fingers and toes!  No drying time, no harsh chemicals and here are TONS of patterns and colors to choose from.  You can even upload your own designs into their Design Studio. 

Megan set up a Jamberry Facebook “party” for me but apparently you can only invite 500 people and I reached the limit!  I did the invite list alphabetically so if I missed you, you can still order at and be sure to select “Jenny Cramer’s Fundraiser” at checkout.  Once you place your order, you can expect your wraps to arrive within 7-10 days. 

Thank you in advance for your support!  We so appreciate your generosity and helping us to add to our family!  

PS Just got word as I was typing this that our profile book has been APPROVED!!! Yahooooooo!!!  Off to go order on Shutterfly…

Friday, July 24, 2015

Uh-huh, yeah

P-Diddy wannabe
I've realized over the last few weeks that I am Jenny's "parenting P-Diddy".  Not the "I'm going to attack my son's college conditioning coach" P-Diddy, but the late 1990's Puff Daddy who weaseled his way into every good Notorious B.I.G. song and later, in "It's All about the Benjamins". When Jenny's explaining stuff to Bailey, answering her many questions, or just talking to her, I evidently feel the need to communicate my support and agreement with what she's saying, typically in the form of an "uh-huh", "yeah", "yep" or a "that's right".  Here's a sample:

Jenny: Bailey, we need you to be a good listener.
Travis: Uh-huh...
Bailey: ...
J: And make good choices.
T: Yep...
B: ...
J: Good choices have good consequences!!
T: That's right...
B: So I can go to Lollipop Park???
J: Yes, going to Lollipop Park is a special place we can go when you make good choices.
T: Uh-huh, that's right.
B: ...

And on and on we go. On one such occurrence, Jenny just stopped talking and looked at me, wondering when I had adapted this style of support, and hoping that I'd stop ASAP.  Sadly for her, it's just gotten worse. 

Anatomy Lessons
Nothing prepares you for that first time you hear your 3-year-old daughter inform you of what body parts she has. It just gets worse when she follows that up by taking an inventory of what parts your closest friends and family have. And just like that, the dread sweeps over you, wondering when she'll decide to bring this up again. With my luck it'll be at church or the library, or some other crowded place. Oh, kids...

4th of July Fun!

Head, Shoulders, Beads and Nose
Speaking of body parts, Bailey recently got her first object stuck in a nostril...a star-shaped bead from her hair.  We had just completed her bedtime routine when she began calling for us and informing us that her nose really hurt. I went into her room and she explained that a bead had made its way into her nostril.  Instantly terrified, I looked at her nose hoping that it hadn't moved too far up. I brought her in to Dr. Mom, knowing my sausage fingers would likely do more harm than good. We slowly began the process of working the bead out of her nose.  I was so afraid she was going to sniff, sending it further north.  After some nose blowing and handy tweezer work by my better half, we freed the bead, reminded Bailey that beads don't belong in noses, and sent her back to bed. 

Profile Book
For Bailey's adoption, much of our time was spent on paperwork - forms, forms, and more forms.  For #2, being a domestic adoption, we're learning firsthand how the processes are different. Instead of forms, we're now working on our profile book - telling our story and presenting who we are in a strict, pre-defined template that will become the tool agencies use to present us to birth moms. This thing is proving to be quite the task, and I'm already so grateful for the hours Jenny is pouring into it to make it communicate "us" to birth moms.  After we get this completed (and of course, some more paperwork), our profile book will be available for birth moms to consider us for placement of their babies! The waiting is well under way!

Monday, June 15, 2015


We've made some progress since our "big announcement" in late May.

  • We applied to, and were accepted by, an adoption consulting agency to facilitate our match. Their average timeline to be matched is 7-9 months, so things could move pretty quickly!
  • Our home study has been completed and submitted. 
  • We received our first donations for anticipated adoption costs. Thank you for your generosity!
  • We made our first (of many) fee payments. 
  • We had a garage sale this weekend and made some money towards the adoption costs!  Thank you to our friends and family that donated stuff to sell as well as our family and friends that came to help.  We had A TON of stuff - check out the photo evidence below. Rain and flash flooding on Friday disrupted our sale, but Saturday was glorious.  Even with a successful sale, we received so much stuff to sell that we're going to have a second sale next weekend!

During the garage sale, one of the shoppers was asking Jenny about our adoptions (since we had advertised the garage sale as an adoption fundraiser) and decided to ask her if we'd "ever thought of having kids of our own." Don't get me wrong, we're not surprised by questions like this. In fact, we expect them. Jenny does a great job of using these interactions as a way to gently and respectfully educate those that ask the questions.  In this instance, Jenny responded by saying that Bailey is our own, which prompted the lady to uncomfortably try and clarify what she meant, only to land on "well, it's a lot of work anyways. I gained 75 pounds when I was pregnant." Asking us why we don't have biological children would be like us asking how many times they had to try before they successfully conceived.  Do you want to be asked that question by a stranger?? I didn't think so.

What's perhaps most interesting to us is the phenomenon that around adoption, strangers feel free to ask us the most invasive, inappropriate questions. Social norms seem to be thrown out the window.  It reminded me of this video that made its way around social media last year:

We don't get offended or hurt by the questions. After all, we've made a pretty conscious decision to be very open about our story.  Not just the good and flowery stuff, but the hard and sometimes painful realities as well. We know that people are curious and often times just don't know how to communicate their curiosity.  It can be difficult to always respond in an understanding and loving way.  But, ultimately we hope that we help people understand our hearts behind our adoption journey, understand a little more about adoption and perhaps contribute to others deciding to adopt. I'm sure every adoptive family has experienced these awkward moments. Perhaps our response will be different when Bailey's old enough to understand the conversation and hears a stranger referring to her as "not our own."

For those of you that are curious about adoption or an adoptive family's story, just be thoughtful and respectful about what you ask.  Admit your naiveté and your desire to learn and understand.  Or don't say anything at all ;)

Now, onto something a little lighter...

We've been trying to explain to Bailey that we're adopting again. It's fun helping her process that she'll soon have a baby sister or brother, and I think it gives her some context as she begins to process the reality of adoption in her own story. She's changing the words to songs to be about her baby brother/sister. We've got to get it on video...

I went in to wake Bailey up from her nap the other day. After briefly looking at me, her response was:

After a few minutes, she finally rolled over, only to hit me with this look:

Her snoozing habits are starting to really resemble her mama's. :-)

A couple weeks ago, Bailey was "clogged up"...needless to say, none of us was excited about the suggestion from the pediatrician.  I think the only thing worse than administering it is being the recipient.  Needless to say, Bailey wasn't even a little cooperative. After trying to bribe her with watching Frozen, eating a lollipop, and basically doing whatever she wanted, she still wouldn't go for willingly having a squirter shoved up her backside - could I blame her?!?  Before we knew it, Jenny's got Bailey over her legs and I was left with the unpleasant role of "administrator".  Well, it all happened so fast, but Bailey resisted with the full force of her little 33-lb body. "Enema juice" was flying all over the place.  I don't know how she deflected it, but she did. Somehow, the attempt ended as quickly as it began, and I was left with spray all over my glasses and in my mouth. Yay me. Jenny couldn't look at me without laughing and decided to refrain from kissing me until I had thoroughly cleansed my face and mouth.  It was gross. Thankfully, the following morning Bailey did her business and all was right in our world. 

I'm looking forward to the days that I don't have so many poop stories... You're welcome. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Let's cut to the chase...

We're adopting...AGAIN!!!

After months of praying, thinking, waiting for DRC to reopen, more praying and thinking, we've decided to adopt domestically for #2. We're working with an agency that will network on our behalf  to maximize our chances of being matched with a birth mom. We could be matched in just 7 months or so!

For close to 18 months we waited, hoping that DRC would lift their suspension on exit letters and resume "normal" adoption processes. We researched and considered other international programs but never felt the nudge to move on any of them. As we prayed and considered domestic adoption, we both felt that it was the way to go.  This was clearly God working on our hearts as we were dead set on international adoption since we started the process the first time.  We still hope to adopt from DRC in the future...maybe for #3! :-)

We had a visit from our social worker last week for a home study update and expect our home study  to be finalized in the next week or so.  We're submitting our application to the agency we're working with this week. Assuming that it is accepted, we'll be off and running through the steps to be ready for a match with a birth mom.

We'll be documenting the process and the progress we make towards being matched. As was the case for Bailey's adoption, we need your support! It takes a village and we're so immensely thankful to have you all as part of ours! Here are a few ways you can help us, if you're interested:

  • Prayer - Please pray - pray for God to go before us in all of the details and to be preparing us and our birth mom for our match. Pray that it happens in His timing.  Pray for our relationship with the agency and for us to respond with grace when things don't go our way (which will happen). Pray for us as we explain to and prepare Bailey for life as a big sister! Most importantly, pray for our little one who may be growing in a birth mom's belly right now.  
  • Finances - While this adoption may be faster, it's not any cheaper! Domestic adoption is marginally less expensive than international adoption. We're trusting the Lord to provide the funding needed (expected to be ~$35,000) to bring our baby home. 
    • If you're interested in contributing financially, please use the "Donate" button in the right sidebar to donate through PayPal. We were going to setup a GoFundMe page but their fees are a bit too steep for our liking. 
    • If you'd prefer to send a check please email us at for mailing details. 
    • We're doing a garage sale on Friday and Saturday, June 12th and 13th so let us know if you have any junk unwanted stuff we can take off your hands to sell!  
    • We'll also be selling shirts, applying for grants, and whatever other creative fundraisers we can do. Stay tuned for more details!
  • Spread the word - Once we have these fundraisers going, please consider sharing on your favorite social media platform(s)! 
More information coming soon.  For now, enjoy these pictures!

Pi Day!

 Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Easter Fun!

Adoption #2 "Photoshoot"

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Oh look at that, it's been 5 months since our last post. The new year has come and gone, Bailey's THREE, and spring is right around the corner. 

A few days after Bailey's birthday, I broke my ankle playing rec-league soccer...the same day I decided to brag to Jenny that we had made it through January without meeting our health insurance deductible. The break required surgery and I've been on one leg for the last month. I'm now second-guessing why I decided to take up a new sport at 33, one as grueling as soccer. But I loved it! Up until my legs got swept out from under me, flipping me into the air, landing on my foot bent the wrong way. And so my soccer career ends as quickly as it began...

This is my first major foot or leg injury and honestly, it's made me feel old. I've gone from running around with reckless abandon to counting down the days until I can just walk again. The damage could take the better part of the year to heal, so I don't know when I'll be able to resume playing sports. 

This injury has had its way with me. After the surgery, pain meds were my new companion. Those thinks are blessing and a curse. Numb my pain, sure.  Screw with my psyche, you bet. I'm so thankful to have Jenny pushing me to recovery, to take care of me, but to also not feel sorry for myself. When you go from being really active to not being able to walk, it's easy to wallow in self-pity or slip into some level of depression. I'm lucky to have the family and friends around me to support and encourage me. I'm praying for patience as I take baby steps toward recovery. 

One of the most difficult aspects to my current reality is how it has changed how I can (or can't) interact with Bailey. I can't pick her up, I can't dance with her, even sitting on the ground takes work. I can't run to her when she gets hurt. I hate telling her I can't do something and that is now my answer more often then it ever should be. I can't wait until this reality is behind us. 

What's been precious has been Bailey's concern for me and her desire to help make me all better. She helps my put my walking boot on and take it off. One day with my foot elevated, she came up and gently kissed it.  It was so precious. 

Last weekend, I had Bailey to myself for the weekend while Jenny was away at an adoptive mom's retreat. I wasn't sure how well it would go, me being one-legged and all. Bailey was so good for me and we were able to have a lot of fun together! That kind of prolonged time together, while exhausting, was a nice change of pace from the brief time I usually get after work each day. We had so much fun laughing, playing, singing, reading, cooking, cleaning, eating, and so on.  Not to brag too much, but our little girl is so smart, so funny, and generally so well-behaved. I love her little personality and her little spirit. 

We'll be posting again soon with an update on our plans for adoption #2! Until then, enjoy these pictures!

Happy Halloween from the Wiggles!

1st Starbucks (hot chocolate!) while driving to see Christmas lights

Fun at the North Pole!

Merry Christmas!

So cute in her little workout suits. Future mall walker in 60-some years??
1st time ice skating!

Baking with Mama!
Celebrating No More Waiting Day 2015!
Not sure why Penny isn't smiling too...

Fun in the snow!