Puzzle 3.0

     Yes, that's right, Puzzle 3.0!

     A week ago yesterday I posted a tell-all piece about lessons we've learned during the first two weeks of our puzzle fundraiser.  If you missed it, the main take away is that we launched a puzzle fundraiser a few weeks ago.  We have a 1,000-piece puzzle.  For every five dollars donated to our adoption fund, through Pay Pal or by cash or check, we add one piece to the puzzle, with the donor's name on the back.  In the end, our daughter will have a super cool keepsake to hang in her room with a picture on the front, and the names of all the people who helped bring her home on the back.  We'll frame it with glass on both sides so we can enjoy either side.

     Someone asked me if we were going to suspend it in the middle of her room so that both sides would be visible at once.  I replied that I was fairly certain our middle son would find a way to turn that into a backboard and hang a rim off it and totally ruin the look!  There shall be no slam dunking on the puzzle!
Back to our story...

     So we learned a few things in the first two weeks, the biggest of which is that our adorable yellow lab, Penney, is not to be trusted anywhere near the puzzle.  Thanks to her, Puzzle 1.0 had to be replaced as seventeen assembled pieces went missing, never to be seen again. So we went back to Amazon and ordered Puzzle 2.0.  I wrote a blog post explaining what had happened, and promised myself we would get caught up on posting pictures of the sponsored pieces the next night.  The second puzzle was just like the first; we would just start again.

     Twenty-four hours later, that plan came to a halt!  No, I'm not kidding! There is a reason this blog is titled "Shelton Shenanigans."  Despite our best efforts, nothing ever seems to go quite as planned with the Sheltons.  Normal and predictable are just not our style.  While other people have nice smooth adoption stories without any hiccups (surely that actually happens for somebody) we have stories - and lots of them - as things go slightly off-course.  And this fundraising campaign is definitely falling into that category.  The puzzle is going to be more than sentimental and sweet - it's going to have 1,000 stories to go with it, and some of them are quite comical!

     So here's what happened the day after I admitted we were on Puzzle 2.0.
Last Saturday evening, all five of us were working on Puzzle 2.0.  I'm not a lot of help on puzzles for obvious reasons, but I can identify an edge piece or a corner, so I was in on the action with the Shelton men, and things were going well.  Edges were in a pile, and Steve had some joined together.  The boys were sorting colors and bactually cooperating without a fuss.  We were getting on-track.

     It was at this peaceful moment that Steve picked up the box and took a closer look at it than he had before.  (Remember, we ordered this from Amazon.  The picture was very small online.) The puzzle we ordered had a picture of Noah's ark on it.  (We actually have a Haitian metal art rendering of Noah's ark, and thought it would be cool to have a puzzle along the same theme.)  There was a lovely blue sky and clouds at the top as you would expect.  The ark was below that, with some whimsical animals on it.  Beneath that was water teaming with lots of interesting sea animals.  It was bright and colorful and I imagined myself going over the animals with her at bedtime just the way we had done with our boys when they were little and learning fun words like "lion" and "zebra."  

     When Puzzle 1.0 arrived, our pre-schooler noticed that there were people fishing off of the ark.  This probably isn't biblically accurate, but I could live with it. When Steve picked up the box for Puzzle 2.0 last week, he said to the fourth grader, "What is that right there?"  Fourth Grader responded, "It's a lobster."  Steve told him that actually, it was a crab, but to look beside it.  There, next to a friendly looking crab, were some weeds, out of which was sticking a skeleton human arm!  The fourth grader then took a closer look at the box and yelled, "Dad!  There's a human skull hidden in the weeds!" And then Steve noticed some chunks of apparently flooded-over city.  None of these things were visible on Amazon!  And I have no idea how no one noticed them when we sorted the pieces for the first puzzle, but there they were. It was at that point that I officially lost my mind.  I could not envision hanging this puzzle in my daughte'r's room!  I could just imagine her sitting bolt upright in bed because somehow she spotted the skull amidst of all the friendly fish, and from then on, being terrified of the puzzle and unable to sleep in her room.(Think I'm overreacting?  One of our children was traumatized by a cartoon puma on Diego and refused to sleep alone in his room for ages!  So imagine the reaction this could cause!)  And furthermore, whose name could we write on the scary pieces?



     I announced to my children that we were done with this puzzle and demanded that Steve take me immediately to Barns & Noble, where we could much more carefully choose Puzzle 3.0 - which better be the last rendition of this project!  Fortunately, we never posted a picture of Puzzle 1.0/2.0 on Facebook, so if I wasn't so stinking honest, no one would have ever even known about the switch. (Although the blue sky pieces had been tagged to people's pages, who might have noticed a complete lack of blue sky eventually.)  LOL!

     We went to Barns & Noble at 8:00 on a Saturday night, sorted through the limited selection of immediately available 1,000-piece puzzles, and found something completely different. "Butterfly Migration" is the new puzzle.  It's a world map with pictures of all kinds of colorful butterflies on it.  They are identified with the names of cities or countries where they can be found, and there's even one for Haiti.

     We sorted out the pieces last night and started framing it out.  I am happy to report there are no severed body parts anywhere to be found on this puzzle.  I am also happy to report these pieces are a bit bigger, which makes it easier to put names on them.  The sorted pieces are safely stored in bowls where Penney cannot get to them, and the ones that have been put together are carefully placed and covered with painter's tape.  Nosey labs will have to look elsewhere for a quick boost of fiber!
Much more importantly, thank you to those of you who have already donated!  As of now, 104 pieces have been claimed.  We'll have pictures up for you soon.
In the meantime, if you really, really like working on puzzles and want to come and help, we might be open to that!  Apparently, we need all the help we can get!
If the old addage is true that the third time's a charm, we should be good to go now!  Yay for butterflies!  And yay for people who believe in us despite the craziness of our story!  We are so glad to record your names in our daughter's story!  God bless you all!

"Give thanks to the Lord.  His love endures forever."  

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