Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's true....

They told us you'd learn lots of life skills on this adventure to be "Miss Iowa 2013" at the National American Miss Pageant. And it's true...you are! 

Recently we've learned you will get lots of practice on your handwriting! And I can see a difference in it already. So much better than when we started to write Thank-You notes.


And without a whimper or complaint. You happily do it.
And tell me every time you write one, "they could win Mommy!" 


You even wrote all the entry tickets yourself. And your writing skills are getting a work-out. We are so proud of you--and your teacher will be so impressed when you return after spring break. 

And again--you do it without complaint.



As the tickets began to sell--you said, "Mom, can you believe how many people believe in me? Even people I have never met! Isn't that great!? I sure hope I win!" Yes it is my sweet girl. 


Once we finished--you wanted to do a video to let folks know--there is still time to WIN. Anyone can win the Kindle Fire Tablet! 


And you're right--giving it away to someone is the perfect way to use the prize! 

What did we do without you in our lives? Clearly we were lost...and didn't even know it.


There aren't many entries--so there's a great chance to win! You can still enter: 
Just click this button--to purchase your ticket and support Izabella on her wish to become "Miss Iowa". She'll have so much fun writing you a thank-you note--and YOUR tickets for the drawing!







THANK YOU to all the sweet friends and family that have supported her so far. You all blow my mind with your generosity and kindness. I am forever grateful.

Remember you can get an entry just by sharing it on Facebook or your blog. Be sure to let us know you shared it--by leaving a comment on this post--so we can put your name in the drawing.
Love and God Bless!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A long way from your Pink Castle Orphanage Days....

Izabella:

We are so proud of you. As we were preparing for your big run for the National American Miss Pagaent--we asked you to introduce yourself--in your own words. I didn't video it--I wish I had--but you brought us to tears with your story. You are such a brave and beautiful girl.

I wish I could wash away the past--make your world all perfect and right--but we all know that's not possible--all we can do is HOPE. Something you give us all--when we watch you today.

video

Watching you on this video...is bittersweet--it reminds me of the trauma of your early years--yet gives me such JOY and PRIDE to see how strong and resilient you are! So pround of you my sweet girl.

You'll rock it!

If anyone wants to support Izabella--she's selling (no not GIRL SCOUT cookies) RAFFLE TICKETS to win a KINDLE FIRE! We'd be blessed with your donation of any amount, however, if you donate the following amounts, you will be entered accordingly: 
--Sponsors donating $50 + (made before March 10th--that's tomorrow!!!) will additionally recieve recognition in the pagaent program that's this FRIDAY. The program book sponsors are due to the National American Miss office by March 17th. So we need to mail it in this weekend.

--$10/entry or
--2 entries for $15 or
--3 entries $25 

Click here to buy Raffle Tickets and take her to the State Pageant in Waterloo next month. 





Monday, March 4, 2013

Izabella Needs Your Help...

The pageant journey to become Miss National American Miss Iowa continues and we're in full swing. Daddy (yes Daddy) was working with her on her evening gown walk and "pretty feet" this weekend. It's precious to see him so committed to this.  

Izabella wants to tell you about her journey. Here's a little presentation she did for you. She's working hard and learning so much.  So proud of her. 


But now comes the hardest part—she must to raise the money for the pageant fees. This is where she needs your support.

If you'll support her in your effort to win the National American Miss Iowa Title--she wants to give YOU a chance to win an Amazon Kindle Fire - 8 G? Izabella loves to read, so we thought it is perfect item to give-away and make this a whole lot more fun.

The Kindle Fire Raffle Give-Away Details: 
We'd be blessed with your donation of any amount, however, if you donate the following amounts, you will be entered accordingly: 
--$10/entry or
--2 entries for $15 or
--3 entries $25 
--Sponsors donating $50 + (made before March 10th) will recieve recognition in the pagaent program that's this FRIDAY. The program book sponsors are due to the National American Miss office by March 17th. So we need to mail it in this weekend.







You can also enter without donating, just share this give-away on your facebook page with your friends or on your blog--encouraging them to help Izabella, then leave the link to the "sharing" post in a comment on this post. Be sure to leave your name and email address so if you win we know where to send the Kindle to. Please note, if you choose to donate, you do not have to leave your address in a comment, we will have that information with your donation.

Drawing: "The Izabella Kindle Fire Giveaway" will end at 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, March 31st, 2013. The winner will be chosen at random and announced shortly thereafter, on this blog with a video of Izabella drawing the winning name. Her State Pageant is On April 13 & 14, 2012 in Waterloo, IA. She will be selling tickets to the Pageant-email me if you're interested in attending with us.

Know that she will be working! In addition to raising the money for the pagaent fees. She will need to put together a 30 second personal introduction (about herself) speech to give on stage at the pageant--30% of her score (her dry run for this on Sunday had me in tears it was so precious). She will need to pass another judges interview--30% of her score. She will purchase school supplies for a donation for 10% of her score. And finally take part in the evening gown competition--which is about how she presents herself--not about the dress--and Daddy will have the honor of escorting her on stage!

A few details on Fill Their Stockings…
- An Orphan’s Wish will be blessed by any amount you would like to give. We do ask that you consider a minimum donation of $5 – additional entries will be given for multiples of $5. You can also enter without donating, just leave your name, email and mailing address in a comment on this post. Please note, if you choose to donate, you do not have to leave your address in a comment, we will have that information with your donation.
- To donate, simply use the button below and you’ll be directed to AOW’s PayPal page. All donations go directly to An Orphan’s Wish.
- You must have a shipping address in the US to win.
- The Flights, Camera, Action giveaway will end at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, December 14th. The winner will be chosen at random and announced shortly thereafter.
- See more at: http://nihaoyall.com/2012/12/fill-their-stockings-the-big-finale-flights-camera-action.html#sthash.yHmELnOw.dpuf
A few details on Fill Their Stockings…
- An Orphan’s Wish will be blessed by any amount you would like to give. We do ask that you consider a minimum donation of $5 – additional entries will be given for multiples of $5. You can also enter without donating, just leave your name, email and mailing address in a comment on this post. Please note, if you choose to donate, you do not have to leave your address in a comment, we will have that information with your donation.
- To donate, simply use the button below and you’ll be directed to AOW’s PayPal page. All donations go directly to An Orphan’s Wish.
- You must have a shipping address in the US to win.
- The Flights, Camera, Action giveaway will end at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, December 14th. The winner will be chosen at random and announced shortly thereafter.
- See more at: http://nihaoyall.com/2012/12/fill-their-stockings-the-big-finale-flights-camera-action.html#sthash.yHmELnOw.dpuf
You must have a shipping address in the US to win.
Win or lose the title--she will gain so much from this experience.  It is not about money! It is not even about beauty. It's about learning life skills she will use in all aspects of her life. In fact, as I was video-taping her for her presentation video here--I was shocked at how well she handled herself. She's a natural at this and like all parents, we want to support her. (For all the details about how this all came about-read my previous post-"Your first interview and you rocked it".)

Thank you so much for your support. This is a new adventure for our family! And we so appreciate your support! 

Watch for more fun updates on this journey! It's going to be a wild one--that we hope ends in a win. :) 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Your first interview, and you Rocked it!


2.3.2013: We rec'd an invitation to an "Open Call" for the National American Miss Pagent! My immediate reaction was "Oh we have to check into this for sure." 

As we all know--Izabella loves to Dance, to Sing, to Perfrom, clothes (especially shoes) and she is very creative and smart too. She would love this. But...maybe not. So, we asked her if she'd like to go to the event and see. After we explained it to her, best we could, we signed her up, put it on our calendar and attended the interview event. 

As we headed into the building--extra pair of shoes hanging out of my purse and Izabella riding in the arms of her Daddy--so not to get her shoes all ice, snow and yuck--my thought was, "Oh my, what have we gotten into--a pagent mom? Never.


As we looked around, there were very nervous parents and daughters of all ages. Izabella was not nervous at all. At the registration table--Izabella was instructed to fill out the application. Yes--they spoke to her and handed HER the application and pen--not us. As I began completing it--there were questions I had to ask her. Awards and Activities: Ahhhh...yeah...she's 5! But hey--Izbella what are your activities. Ice Skating, Dancing, Singing, Reading...etc. OK...well, that will work. 

Then, we settled into a 5th row seat--out came the director of the program--we got more information, where we learn the application is like a RESUME' and the interview she will have is a real interview. Then they asked all the older girls to sit on one side of the room--without their parents. The our age group could stay with their parents. "whew!". 

Then, they prep the girls with some information to calm their nerves a little. And without much adue--the first group of girls headed out for their interveiws with Resume's in hand. Then more information--and the next group is off. Then it's time for the little ones. I had been thinking we'd go with her--since she got to stay with us in the seating arrangements. But, no. She told them to line up and bring their Resume'. Izabella was off like lightning--before I could even say "good luck" or give her Mommy comforting words. She needed none of that--she was "so ready." 

And me? Well, I was not. Not prepared at all. She rarely leaves my side--and if she is not with me--she is with Dan or in school. And I always get a kiss good-bye and an I love you. Tears welled up in my eyes--as I stretched my neck to see past all the seated canidates to see my baby--with Resume in hand--not even looking our way--eyes straight ahead--fully focused and ready for her first interview. I felt a little silly. My tears were of such pride. I could not have been prouder of her. Nor could Dan--beaming in the seat beside me. 

She was back in a matter of 15 minutes--and her first words to us were: "I just did my first interview. It was easy-peezy!" Oh my! 

We then learned, if they passed the interview she would be a "State Finalist" for the Miss Iowa Princess pagent in APRIL!!! Seriously--this is all moving so fast! But, she might not make it--she's still so young. And we weren't there with her. However, she was very confident she did "Great" and I was "not to worry". 
Yesterday afternoon, we got the call. She passed her first interview with flying colors and she is a "State Finalist"! When I played the message to her--her eyes were so big--and she ran around and around the Island in our kitchen with glee! 

I think we're onto something here. 

I KNOW. I KNOW. Before you get all "oh no really?" on me. We are very impressed with this program. It is ONE STATE pageant and ONE NATIONAL pageant per year. It is not about money! It is not even about beauty. It's about learning life skills she will use in all aspects of her life--and it's something we know she will love and excel at. And gain so much self-esteem and confidence from. AND they do not allow make-up at all for ages 4-12 years of age!!! Nor a bathing suit competition.

Win or lose the title--she will gain so much from this experience. We are not allowed to give her any money for the sponsor fee to participate. She must raise that money herself. We can help her but she must do the asking and presentation. She will have to purchase school supplies for a donation for 10% of her score. She will need to put together a 30 second introduction (about herself) speech to give on stage at the pageant--30% of her score. She will need to pass another judges interview--30% of her score. And finally take part in the evening gown competition--which is about how she presents herself--not about the dress. 

AND the best part I think is--

Daddy is her escort on stage for this part of the competition! Chokes me up thinking about that moment. She is not very athletic--nor does she show much interest in sports--even of the NFL kind with Daddy. But this is his opportunity to "coach" her team--her. Be on the sidelines rooting for her. And stand with her--in all her awesome self on stage. Now that's worth it all right there! 

So...we have some work to do. And we are ready for it. We're so proud of her already!

If she wins--we all get to go to CALIFORNIA--my single days-home away from home! A place I have always wanted to visit with Dan and now Izabella. Seriously? Awesome!

"Mommy God already Baptized me."

2-6-13: Izabella you attend a christian kindergarten school. We love it--and wish you could go to school there all through elementary school, but they don't teach past kindergarten. So we will enroll you in public school next year. Granted--it's one of the best schools in the Metro, but, we are sad cause your spirit will not be nurtured there like it is everyday at SFELC.  Yes--you will get this through Sunday School, but...not the same...no more need to be said.

On the way home from School yesterday. We had our usual chat. But something remarkable--and memorable happened. You learned about baptism in school during "Apple Jacks" (that's how you say Chapel Chat), a time when you all go to the chapel and have a chat about God with the teachers and pastors at the school. You very eloquently explained what baptism is for and why we do it. Then I told you, someday you will be baptized.

This is our converstation from there:

Izabella:  No Mommy, God already Baptized me!

Mommy: Really? Where? In China?

Izabella: Yes.

Mommy: When? When you were with your China Mommy and Daddy?

Izabella:  No. Right after my surgery. He poured water over my head and took all my sins away.

Mommy: Oh. I see. Ok. That's great.

Izabella:  I: He really did Mommy!

You were very serious--not kidding around--and very insistent. I believe you. I do.

I love this girl more than life itself.

The lottery jackpot is huge--we purchased tickets hoping we'd win of course -- but we already won, when God found us you!

Love, Mommy

PS--The picture above was taken in our front yard, the end of December 2012. The sweater you are wearing is made with love by your Grammy Cota. The necklace you are wearing is the last gift your Grammy Arndt gave you and the chair you are sitting in is a gift from your Grammy Cota, to your Mommy, and will then be yours.