I am not part of the group of bloggers doing the Swap a Smile Charity Auction, but  I really wanted to do a shout-out for it.  It is an effort to raise money for Operation Smile.  What a great idea!

I have mentioned this before (here), and I think it’s obvious, but in case you don’t know, I was born with a bilateral cleft lip and cleft palate (info from wikipedia HERE).

I had my mom dig up some old pictures and my dad took pictures of the pictures with his phone and sent them my way – so not the best quality, but anyways, a few baby pictures for you:

 My grandma holding me – I had arm braces so that I wouldn’t touch my lip after various surgeries:

I don’t have any pictures of me before surgery – they operated right away, maybe a day old?  I have had over a dozen operations as they tweak my lip and raise my nose.  Maybe one a year til I was 12, and then one more when I was 15ish.  That was one interesting – my plastic surgeon wanted my upper lip to be fuller, so he used part of my bottom lip – but for the graft to work, it had to be connected for a couple of weeks.  So it meant that my mouth was sewed shut except for the corners.  I lived on strawberry milkshakes and heated up V8 – anything that would go through a straw.  Crazy, right?!?

So, a few recent pictures – you can see my scars, but if I were more of a makeup wearer, I think they’d be even less visable:

I can say that growing up, I knew I was like any other kid.  I am grateful for the reconstructive surgery I was able to receive as a infant/toddler/child that gave me that opportunity.  I can’t imagine not being able to meet that need for a child. Especially now as a parent, not being able to help your own child would be devastating.  I probably should have had my mom write this post.  Anyways…..

600 wide banner

Some bloggers got together to raise money to help those who can’t afford reconstructive surgery for their children:

Operation Smile is a charity organization healing children’s smiles, one operation at a time.
Operation Smile, is more than a charity organization. They are a mobilized force of medical professionals and caring hearts who provide safe, effective reconstructive surgery for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate.  Each operation costs approximately $240.
With this is mind, we created “Swap A Smile” to raise funds through an online auction of DIY and Craft Bloggers’ past projects. 
We would love for you to join us in our efforts to give back to others who need help. It only takes a little bit to go a long way. Our goal is to be able to give at least 5 children new smiles and help them to live the life they weren’t meant to live.”

What a great effort, right??  $240, that’s it, to change a child’s life.

Tons of great items are being auctioned, with all the proceeds going to help Operation Smile – – you can bid on the items by clicking the pictures below – I hope this copy and paste works……

1. WhipperBerry Boo Trick-or-Treat Bag

2. WhipperBerry Chevro Memo Board

3. Vintage Revivals Frame

4. Make and Takes Hooded Bath Towel

5. Skip to My Lou Zippered Pouch

6. Blue Cricket Necklace

7. The Crafting Chicks Picnic Blanket

8. Less Cake More Frosting Creative Bag

9. Crap Ive Made Jack Skellington Pillow Cover

10. Ucreate Houndstooth Quilt

11. Sew Dang Cute Fat Quarter

12. Sew Dang Cute Fat Quarter

13. No Biggie Heart Speech Bubble

14. No Biggie Oval Speech Bubble

15. No Biggie Ka-Pow Speech Bubble

16. Thirty Handmade Days Cute as a Button Earrings

17. The Idea Room Monogrammed Soap Dispensers

18. The Idea Room Heart Wreath

19. How Does She Balloon Wreath

20. Infarrantly Creative Sweatshirt

21. Tatertots & Jell-o Trick-or-Treat Pillow Covers

22. House of Smiths Halloween Skull Picture

23. Snap ~ A Snap Conference Ticket Valued at $200

Thanks for checking out this post from www.SugarBeeCrafts.com – – click on over to read it in its entirety – you’ll love it!

Thanks for Reading


  1. says

    I’ll never forget driving around your old neighborhood and taking a corner too fast… Was it you or Emily that had your head out the window? I went into the ditch, hit a stick that later became a SLOW DOWN sign (that stick stayed in my room until I left for college), and you were freaking out about your teeth! I was so worried your surgery and fabulous teeth would be ruined thanks to me and my sweet 1991 Lumina. Man, that would been 16 years ago??? No, that can’t be right…

  2. says

    Hi Mandy, thanks for your post. I was born with a cleft lip & palate. I had a couple of surgeries as a child.

    I also can’t imagine children not being able to have help correcting it.

    :) Sarah

  3. says

    That would be a lot to go through for you and your mom. I had open heart surgery as a child and now that I am a mom I can’t even imagine what my mom went through.

  4. says

    Mandy – this is the most touching post. I cannot even begin to imagine with you or your Mother must have gone through all of those years. Thank you for bringing this worthy cause to my attention – I will definitely have to go bid on something!!!

  5. says

    I remember first reading your blog and never even noticing your scars until you pointed them out. I never see them when I see a picture of you. My uncle is currently the chief of surgery at Dell Children’s Hospital. He specializes in cleft correction surgeries. This cause is so special to see! :)

  6. says

    I am a little late to the game, but wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I found your blog while looking for girl’s camp crafts and then noticed your pictures and wanted to find out more. My daughter has a bilateral cleft…her baby pictures look just like yours. She is turning 12 and entering Junior High. I haven’t met many others with clefts and so I loved reading your story! Thank you for sharing.

  7. says

    You look beautiful! Your scars are hardly noticeable! I probably only noticed because I found this link in Pinterest when searching cleft palate. I just learned my baby has cleft lip/palate and would love to read a post from your mothers point of view.

  8. says

    You look great!!! I too was born with the bilateral clip lips and palate. I am hard of hearing. Like you I had my mouth sewn together for two weeks to create a upper fuller lip. I had chocolate banana milk shakes and a lots of soup lol!

  9. says

    You are beautiful! I’m so glad you mentioned the cleft lip. I clicked your about page and saw a closer picture of you. I noticed you {may} have had cleft lip, not because it’s {that} noticeable, but because my son has cleft lip. I found out he had it when I was 36 weeks along. He’s now 14. He’s had so many surgeries, and is the sweetest kid ever. I just started a blog and I was debating about whether to write much about his experiences. But, I think it’s good to share for other’s sakes. I would have loved to know some others who had gone through the same things. Thanks for sharing.
    You can find me at http://www.bigideaslittlecents.com

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