30 November 2007

Start a new family tradition...

I just saw these in a catalog, I love them! I'm not going to get them this year because we are saving our butts off to get Paisley home! However I think they are the best idea for starting a new holiday tradition! These 12 Days of Christmas ornaments from The Land of Nod are super cute! I can just imagine counting down the days until Christmas future with two excited little Sprites at my heels!

29 November 2007

Fundraising Ideas?

As you know, our family has been fundraising from the time we started the adoption process for Paisley. We really love being able to help our favorite Charities like Love Without Boundaries, Our Chinese Daughters Foundation, CCAI's charity projects, Project(RED) among others. We are extremely grateful for the wonderful support we get from the adoption community and fellow bloggers as well and friends and relatives. Now that we have our referral we need to get cracking on


This is why we are turning to you to give us new and fresh ideas. I love to see how other families in this process are reaching out to their community to bring their children home, and I am amazed at not only the generosity, but the generosity of spirit that so many people have.

After three years of submitting an Adoption Benefit proposal to Mike's Employer they finally implemented a $5000 benefit starting in 2008! This is outstanding! We are so grateful, we spent three long years building a comprehensive proposal and we are proud that it will help many families in the future, not just our own. These funds will not be available until Paisley's adoption is finalized, so we hope to use them towards medical care.

We are also in awe of the support we get when raising money through our iPod fundraisers, we like knowing that a portion of the proceeds goes to project(RED).

Now that we have more questions about Paisleys condition and health, we are trying to prepare for the amount of medical care she will need once she gets home, we fully expect to meet all the out of pocket deductibles our medical insurance requires, heck, we'll probably meet them in the first month home! What matters most is that we get to bring our daughter to Minnesota, to one of the finest areas in the country for medical care. We are lucky to live in the suburbs of Minneapolis, our network of hospitals and care providers is outstanding!

So,...where do we go from here? We need new and fresh ideas! We are ready & willing to do as much as it takes to get our little girl home! If there are adoption bloggers out there that have had success with a particular event or fundraiser please feel free to leave a comment with your ideas!

We are also hoping that anyone who has leftover odds and ends of NWA frequent flier miles consider donating them to our travel fund. If we can just get the domestic portion covered with frequent flier miles, we can better spend the money we raise on the remaining adoption expenses.

For anyone who is interested in the iPod fundraiser, we still have many tickets available. We'd love to sell all of them before the December 18 deadline. Thanks to everyone who have already purchased tickets!

We are also an affiliate for Ergo...if you are interested in purchasing one for your child please click on the actual ERGO picture on the right hand sidebar...it will take you directly to Ergo!

We also ask that if you have the means, please donate something to one of the fine charities listed on our links section. We raised $250 (plus another $250 matching from Mikes Employer) for the coal for children fund in China's poorest rural orphanages. This year, since we wont have Paisley home for Christmas our gift to her is to donate a flock of geese to two families in China through Heifer International. Gifts that give back rock!

Thanks ~ The Hoppe's

Well, whaddya know!

Today I entered the big blue box...a chain I rarely go to, but I was in search of nesting cups for our trip to China...a great developmental toy for little fingers and imaginations! I probably go into that store once a year and only if absolutely desperate, and since the big red T didn't have any in stock I went to the big blue W. instead.

Look what I found! Reusable shopping bags!! I purchased a bunch of Baggu bags for relatives as stocking stuffers this year but at $5 each they are a little pricey, these bags from W. are $1...I grabbed a handful and headed to the checkout lane. I thought it was a little ironic that the cashier tried to put them in a plastic bag for me, but once I explained that the reason I got the bags was to avoid using plastic bags she put all my goods into one of these! I'm impressed...I probably wont go back to the store for another year, but I thought I'd pass the information on. These make great stocking stuffers and at one dollar each buy ten and never use plastic shopping bags again!

28 November 2007

A friend for Paisley & 'Name that Pup!'

The other day I came across this little chap. He is perfectly scruffy and will be Paisley's new cribmate. Piper has 'Ollie' a stuffed miniature version of our real life Standard Schnauzer Olive. I wanted Paisley to have a special puppy too, so I looked and looked and I found this wee lad. For some reason I think he is Scottish...I think Olive looks Scottish too, even though the breed is German, and her late brother 'Angus' looked like a grumpy old Scotsman and he acted like one too! So,...my question is. What is his name?

Doogal - from 'The Magic Roundabout - UK'
Izzy - it's just cute
Porridge - cause I like it lumpy
Ziggy - my nickname for the last 25 years - thanks sis!
Fergus - well, who doesn't like that one!
Muffin - Muffy for short
Womble - oooh I like it, loved The Wombles as a kid
Shansi - the Chinese Womble


Today I went to our local mall...(for you movie buffs, it's where 'Mallrats' was filmed!) Piper has school photos tomorrow and I needed to find her a barette to go with the dress she is going to wear. As I passed by Gap kids...I saw this. It is the first real thing I have purchased for Paisley, and it is perfect. It was over 50% off and part of the proceeds from (RED) products go towards eliminating AIDS in Africa. I usually feel guilty if I shop, but today, for $9.99 I found the perfect present for Paisley. No guilt.

27 November 2007

As some of you know, we got THE CALL last Wednesday afternoon. The staff at CCAI were getting ready to leave for the Thanksgiving holiday, and while I would never begrudge anyone a long weekend under normal circumstances, on this particular weekend I was hoping that the hours would pass like minutes. As it was late in the afternoon by the time I got off the phone with the Waiting Child Department, and by the time I had scoured the preliminary paperwork we didn't have time for them to send the FEDEX package containing all the instructions for accepting this referral,(although I did squeak in an email saying YES YES YES! to which I had a quick "you just made my Thanksgiving" reply).

So I sat...and I waited...and I waited...and waited until Monday morning when I got up at the crack of dawn and emailed a resounding YES to the WC department. Within the hour I had a call from CCAI explaining what happens next. Firstly...Mr Fedex would be coming with a package containing a PLETHORA of papers for us to fill out, notarize and return, along with instructions for our Social Worker to have a home study addendum prepared and notarized stating our desire to adopt Paisley.

Well, this afternoon the Fedex guy arrived...I heard the truck idling to a stop in the cul de sac and grabbed the camera and hoofed it down the stairs so I could get a photo of the guy who delivered our baby! When I told him he could add that to his resume, he was genuinely shocked (possibly hoping he wasn't transporting sperm I bet)...but when I explained that he held in his hands the information for our new daughter he blushed and said he was honored.

Dr...pass me the baby!

26 November 2007

Poll winner

The winner from the poll questions I had running is Jenny from Massachusetts. She guessed the most answers right. This little ditty is on it's way to you! Enjoy!

My wonderful blog friend Katie guessed ALL the sections correctly (because she is brilliant AND a good guesser!) and she will be getting this...

Just in case you didn't get enough of it the first time!

I was scolded for adding more posts before everyone got to see Miss Paisley!

doing what we can to bring Paisley home!

Mike and I really enjoyed the iPod fundraiser we had last time, we were able to raise over $400 after expenses (which doesn't sound like a lot but every penny helps). So in light of the Holiday season and the fact that (RED) is a wonderful cause we are having another go! This time...we will sell only 100 tickets for $10 each. We will donate $2 from each ticket to (RED). This iPod Nano is the new generation and is valued at $200!

One lucky runner up will get this beautiful book of portraits. Mei Mei ~aptly named 'little sister'

To buy tickets please click on the Paisley's Hope Chipin in the side bar and pay through paypal. We are going to try to sell 100 tickets this time so your chances are good!!. I will email you with your numbers and draw the winner on December 18th. The iPod will ship directly to the lucky person!

Mike and I are overjoyed to tell you all about Paisley, her special need has some possible long term implications and we will need as much support not only to bring her home, but long after. We are dedicated to fundraising not only to bring our beautiful daughter home, but to raise money in the future for those who were left behind. Please follow us on our journey.

from Shoaey & Dot, a book about adoption

"There's a cry that's the saddest of all.
In fact it's unlike any other.
It comes from a deep, empty place in your heart
That can only be filled by a mother
And after today, I will never again
Hear that sad song coming from you
You're getting adopted, you're getting a mother,
And you're getting a family too!"

Paisley we are coming!

Sweet Sweet Baby

25 November 2007


After much consideration we are thinking of changing our blog name...we have so many readers now that we want a title that is more creative and isnt screaming our last name!.

Please hit me with all your best shots...as you know this is a blog about our family, our lives, adoption, Piper & Paisley, stuff, fundraising, and lots of other jumbled thoughts.

I loved how Stefanie had a contest over at Ni Hao Y'all, her new blog title is the best one yet! I'd like to do a contest too! The winning title submission will get a very cute little gift from moi! Get those creative juices going...Mumma needs a new blog title!

the gift of Love is the gift of sight

If anyone is interested in helping us with collecting new sunglasses for the orphanage in Tibet (they need these to protect their eyes against the harsh UV light of the high altitudes which can cause blindness in toddlers and small children if not protected) we are collecting toddler, children & teen glasses, they must be 100% UV protection. Target has many great pairs for sale, ranging from $5.99-$19.99. We have started the shoe box that we will send to OCDF we are hoping to send it before December 18, as a team is going to the orphanage on December 24.

Please contact me or send a pair to OCDF at PO Box 1243, Bloomington, IL 61702-1243

24 November 2007

Two movies...

Today we took Piper to a Matinee to see Mr Magorian's Magic Emporium...I love Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman and especially Jason Bateman, but I did not like the movie...both Mike & I were sorely disappointed and Piper lost interest pretty quickly. Bad editing, bad writing...not cool...idea was great, execution poor.

After Piper went to bed we popped 'Evan Almighty' into the DVD player...I wasn't expecting too much, I mean really, how many movies can Steve Carell be in that will exceed the 40 year old Virgin?? While this wasn't quite on the same lines as the afore mentioned film, it was funny & sweet and I loved the cast, almost all of the Daily Show cast was in the movie..and you know how much we love the Daily Show!

It was a lovely family movie, I think Piper would like it. Pity we didn't watch it with her. Wanda Sykes was great, as was John Goodman. So thumbs down for the Magic Emporium, and thumbs up for Evan Almighty. Who can resist Morgan Freeman as GOD himself!

23 November 2007

getting ready for Thanksgiving...

a very special pink bath for a very special girl! it's nice to get fancy once in a while!

Checking out the duds for twirl-factor...

seems in order...

coat on! and off we go!

A jolly good time was had by all!

We had such a wonderful time yesterday at our neighbors home...the most delicious Thanksgiving meal you could have imagined (a large Italian American contingent as well as a Nordic twist makes for a delectable dinner). I wish I had a photo of the wild pheasant wild rice soup (Brady bagged those pheasants for the occasion), but I was too worried that Piper, sitting to my right would swipe my bowl...she kept saying "oh, I like this, this is very yummy"...I think I have a kid with exotic tastes!

Following the soup of all soups was a BANQUET fit for royalty! I can barely begin to describe what we had to eat, but it was traditional with a gourmet twist...twice baked mini potatoes, steamed green beans with bacon & pecans, dressing with chestnuts, a fabulous moist turkey with REAL gravy, sweet potato au gratin (my contribution) among other wondrous treats. Can anyone say YUMMO!

Desert was sinful, a trifle made with pumpkin & ginger with lashings and lashings of whipped cream, homemade apple pie, and my favorite thing of the entire night, a pumpkin spice cheesecake with a sweet glazed topping of nuts and currants. Whoa!

Of course Kristine is the host of all hosts, she is Giada, Nigella and Paula Dean wrapped up into one! Not only did she whip this meal together, but she managed to look coiffed the entire time...how do some people pull that off?? Just don't cross her while she's cooking or else you'll get whapped with this!

Kristine a great cook, she also knows how to 'make house', she is my French flea market, antique finding friend with the warmest, coziest home in the State of Minnesota! We are so lucky to have them as our neighbors, we always feel welcome and loved.

Well, of course there was fun as well, Piper was completely entertained by the under 12's and we barely saw her for most of the evening. She had a wonderful time and the girls are great with her! When we went around the table to share what we were thankful for, Dillon gave thanks for her 'Lord & Savior', Piper was next in line and gave thanks for 'toys & frogs' and once it reached the end of the table, Bryce, Dillon and Avery's 14 year old cousin stated "I am thankful for my AWESOME ninja skills"...truly a mixed bag of thanks, touching and hilarious all at the same time.

This is the true sign of someone who is Thankful.

22 November 2007


Mike flew back from Iowa this morning...we are heading across the cul de sac to our friends for the day. Lots of delicious yummy foods and much laughter and love await us! Have a great turkey day!

21 November 2007

To Muzzy or not to Muzzy?

I know that the Muzzy learning tools are great, I've heard awesome things from a lot of people regarding their Spanish, French & Italian programs...but I wonder if I should invest in the Mandarin Chinese one?? It's not cheap but if it helps Piper get an 'ear' for the language it might be worth it's weight in gold. We'd love to find a pre-school or elementary school that has a Mandarin program, so far the only one I know of is in St Paul, although from what I understand Minnesota has a directive to include Mandarin in it's public school system as an elective in the coming years. Do I wait or do I Muzzy?

Learning Chinese is easy and Fun with MUZZY!

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Children love learning a second language!

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Order and receive the powerful, NEW MUZZY Level I MANDARIN CHINESE on DVD.

Set includes:

5 DVDs
2 Story DVDs in Mandarin
2 Story DVDs in English
1 Vocabulary Builder (in Mandarin and English only)
Audio CD
Colorful Script Book (in Mandarin and English)
Parents' Guides
Storage Case
Subtitles in Pinyin (English transliteration), traditional Chinese characters, modern Chinese characters and English.

No Call = shopping online!

This isn't for Christmas, but because Piper's birthday is only two weeks later I am trying to think of gifts. Since I had her ears pierced I think she needs a nice jewelry box...I've found these two. Which do you like better? The white is timeless, but the pink one is all fairies...I can't decide?

I also hear this vtech kids camera is pretty good, the fisher price one gets horrible reviews, and I wanted to get Piper a camera for the trip to China...she loves turning anything into a 'clicky clicky camera'...I just wont let her touch mine for obvious reasons!

20 November 2007

This is how I feel....

I think Bret does it better than Kevin Bacon though! Kudos to my boys from Flight of the Conchords...you can always bring a smile to my face.

No Call

just in case you are wondering.

19 November 2007

Paisley are you in there?

I just heard from the lady at CCAI, this is part of the email she wrote...

It is still in the stack but not yet done. I will only be here on Tuesday
and not Wednesday. I will see where it is on Tuesday and if there is anything we can do.

So, no news today, I can exhale...but knowing that the file is in 'the stack' is still freakin me out!!!!!


You will not regret this! I saw it on another blog and it spoke volumes to me today.

Guessing Game

I have created a little poll section to the right...just for fun! Post your votes, then leave a comment to this post with your answers if you want to be in the running for a little guessing game prize, whoever gets the most answers right will get a little 'mini prize' from Moi...after all, we'll be the 'real' winners once we know the answers! hehe!

Somewhere out there....

In a country of 1.3 Billion (although the non-official count says 2 billion) is a little girl who has no idea that a family in the United States is anxious to see her face. I wonder what province she will be from? Will she be from the South like Piper, who is Cantonese and comes from Guangdong Province?

Wherever she is, she is probably not expecting three strangers that don't speak her language or look like her (okay, one might look like her!), to come and scoop her up and spirit her off to an unkown land, filled with sights, sounds and smells that she does not know or understand. She will be scared and will without doubt grieve the loss of the life she knows. When I talk to parents about adoption, I often get a 'look' when I start to talk about attachment..it's like people either dont want to believe or understand the implications, they just want to see the 'Happily ever after's'. If the people have children of their own I often turn it around by asking how old their child is...imagine this scenario

"how old is your child?"

"20 months next Friday"

"oh he is a handsome little boy,...how do you thing little Johnny would react if you bought him to a big office building, handed him to a couple with a different skin color that didn't speak English and they took him away to their home to raise? Do you think he'd remember you? Do you think he'd grieve for his family, his surroundings, all that he has grown to understand as permanent or would he just hit the ground running??"

most people are appauled at the suggestion but, quite often I get a wide eyed look of sudden understanding...I'm no 'shock jock' but seriously people...THINK!

Paisley WILL have issues to deal with in the 'immediate', and I'm pretty convinced she will need a lot of time and patience and understanding to get through the loss, and to recognize that we are her 'soft place to fall', it wont be a fairy tale of her being placed in our arms and looking into our eyes and saying "oh finally, the family I always wanted" there will no doubt be kicking screaming biting or even worse, silence...a sign of shock and a coping mechanism. It will be tough, Mike & I will be pushed to the limit I'm sure...but, if we listen to our hearts and follow some well worn advice from those who came before us and read some of the great books available then the rewards are...PRICELESS!

Today I am going to post about attachment...and link to a great site for you to take a look at Attach-China is a website set up for families with adopted children from China (although the resources are applicable to any adopted child)

Please take a moment to look at the 'subtle signs' section, it is really vital that adoptive parents and for that matter anyone who is going to be in an adopted child's life to understand the basic issues that many children have to deal with in regard to loss, grief anger and healing. This is not just parents over diagnosing their children, this is getting society at large to understand that being adopted means so much more than finding a forever family and living happily ever after.

This is a list of subtle signs of attachment sensitivities, not all adopted children have RAD (reactive attachment disorder), but many of not most of them have some 'sensitivities', and it is a good thing to be proactive. Watch, listen and learn from your child...it took us a while to get in-sync with Pipers sensitivities, we deal with them as part of our daily life.

What are the subtle signs?

1. Sensitivity to rejection and to disruptions in the normally attuned connection between mother and child.

2. Avoiding comfort when the child's feelings are hurt, although the child will turn to the parent for comfort when physically hurt.

3. Difficulty discussing angry feelings or hurt feelings.

4. Over valuing looks, appearances, and clothes.

5. Sleep disturbances. Not wanting to sleep alone.

6. Precocious independence. A level of independence that is more frequently seen in slightly older children.

7. Reticence and anxiety about changes.

8. Picking at scabs and sores.

My advice is communicate, communicate, communicate...with your child, with your spouse, with your family, with your school or daycare. Awareness & communication will make this generation of adopted children healthier, happier and better adjusted...if we just talk about it!

Mike & I have also been reading and re-reading some very important books, these will help us build a healthy, healing and loving environment for our daughters. I am currently working on 'Adopting the Hurt Child' and can also highly recommend 'Parenting with Love & logic' by Foster Cline & Jim Fay.

Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families with Special-Needs Kids by Gregory C. Keck, PhD and Regina M. Kupecky, LSW

Holding Time by Martha G. Welch, MD

Building the Bonds of Attachment by Daniel A. Hughes

Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents by Deborah D. Gray

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

Raising a Happy, Unspoiled Child by Burton L. White

The Out of Sync Child, Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Integration Dysfunction by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.

I haven't read all these books, I have chosen the ones that fit our parenting style and our ideals, no fancy schmancey parenting book will help if it asks you or your family to alter it's beliefs, or change so drastically that it causes upheaval! Find the books that suit your family's dynamic, we have made small changes in the way we parent, and some of the advice is dramatically beneficial!

18 November 2007

For my friend Maia who loves all things piratey...and is calling her daughter Flynn...

If these go on sale you need to get one for next Christmas! Pirate Santa Christmas jammies! Find them at Babystyle

Oh God it's Monday tomorrow...

I am so nervous...I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

hey if Oprah can do it...

Here are a few of my favorite things that we will begin gathering for our adoption trip...some 'must haves' are the Mustela line for sensitive & excema prone skin. We used this with Piper and LOVED it! We still use the face sunblock and cold cream in the winter, but will surely take this line up for Paisley! Mustela is available on Amazon at BrU and other retailers, it's a wee bit pricey but I swear by it! The 'milky bath oil' is exceptional for flare ups of dry skin and excema and is especially good in cold weather States like Minnesota!

We also love these bibs, we didn't take any for Piper's adoption trip and we regretted it...we took disposible which was fine, but they soon ran out and Piper hated them. These are very thin almost raincoaty fabric and you can rinse them out and they dry easily in the 100% humidity of China! We have a few, so this time we'll be prepared!
This thermos from Caribou coffee was great, it held enough hot water for a bottle or two and it was slim enough to fit into my 'lands end bag easily. Well worth the investment and they are on sale right now so if anyone is looking for adoption trip paraphenalia then this is a great one! This Sigg bottle will be coming along for Piper...safe, eco-friendly and toxin free!

This post was prompted by Mike asking me this morning "what do we need to get for Paisley?"....my answer..."uh, I'm not sure yet...we need to find out how old she is and what her needs are..."

Carseats are our next quest...we have two Britax Marathons, they are great, but we certainly cannot afford two more! At $250 a pop they are very pricey, but extremely safe....and at a ripe old age of 'almost three' Piper is still not yet 30lbs or 38" (she's not even close) so a booster seat is out of the question! I think we'll just end up switching the Britax from Daddy's car into my car and getting two 'spares' for his car..truth is Daddy wont be dropping her at pre-school once Paisley comes home, so I'll be doing most of the driving around. Any suggestions from BTDT crowd?

Hello my name is Hayley, I'm a Charlie&Lolaaholic

I just found out that they have released a whole lot of C & L stuff for Christmas...is it here in the States?? Of course not! They even have Charlie & Lola dinner plates and bowls, but Piper already has lovely dinnerware...but I thought this biscuits and hot chocolate set was too adorable to miss!

I am going to call my friend Tracey in England to see if I can get her to pick one up for me! The owie soother is also a must...especially in light of how many bumps & bruises she can accumulate in a single day...they have 'plasters' too, but since we found out Piper has a latex reaction we have switched from regular bandaids to latex free ones.

I want to get two of the snack sets so Piper & Paisley can have fluffy's and biscuits at snack time!

How to waste a Sunday

Today Mike Piper & I headed to the big blue & yellow...yep, IKEA...we need mucho plastico containers for all our office junk and IKEA is just too cheap to resist! Plus they have some kickass yummies in their food shop and lunch is el cheapo! Who can say no to 10 little meatballs and two boiled potatoes with a giant spoonful of lingonberries??

Anyway, before we went to IKEA we hit the MOA over the road...the collosal Mall of America! How is it I can avoid the place for two full years and then frequent it twice in one week?? Who knows, but we needed to go to pick up a Harry & David gift basket for Mike to take down to Iowa...and I had a $10 in store coupon so 'why not'! Mike cleaned out the car this morning and I told him specifically "do not take out the stroller' at least three times, but all he heard was "blah blah blah take out the stroller blah blah blah" So we arrived without said survival gear (she has only used it at THIS mall and the Zoo, otherwise she has not used a stroller since she was 20 months old!)and had to pay ELEVEN dollars to rent one! Okay, we got $5 back when we returned it, but ELEVEN dollars? It didn't even have any storage room so we had to haul our bags and baskets halfway accross the mall!

I also ran into Macy's to their newly opened 'Lush' store...I LOVE LUSH!!! I used to buy their bath bombs at their store on the Kings Road in Chelsea when I lived there...they are exquisite! At Christmas each year I always go online, fill up my shopping basket then balk and cancel my order because shipping was so expensive from Canada...but NOW they have one nearby and I couldn't resist buying one for Piper, and two for me...I got 'waving not drowning' and 'sex bomb' and Piper got one called 'butterfly' that apparently has a butterfly in it!! ..no, not a real one! Bathtime is special for us...we love bubbles & fizzies!

17 November 2007

Window Shopping

It's always fun to look at 'stuff', and I love browsing on the internet for offbeat and unusual things.

I found these blankies on Etsy, they are adorable, and not so 'baby' I love them! Now I just need to find out where she buys her chocolate brown minky so I can make one big enough for ME! So if you are in the market for a snug-a-bug blanket for your little ladybug look no further!

Mike lost his Uncle this week, he will be travelling to Iowa for the service on Tuesday and returning on Thursday morning. We are sending our love and support to Mike's Aunt and his cousins. This Thanksgiving will be very difficult for their family...but if you had ever met Mike's uncle you would know that the family had a lot to be Thankful for, he was a lovely man that Mike remembers fondly.

He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Flashback to 1987!

I was sixteen...I'm in black. This was my Junior year and my last formal dance. In 1988 I started College. My best friend Tara is in the lovely burgundy number and my other buddy Trish is in the blue dress in the middle...weren't we saucey back then...Madonna would be proud!

I wonder what other gems we'll find as we clean out the office?