Alex's Coupons

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Update on Alex's Fight Against Leukemia

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Saturday February 4, 2006

Hi Everyone,

I have a small favor to ask everyone, but first it's time for our first update in three months. A lot has happened since last October including:

Nick, Alex & their babysitter Marilee1) Our old house sold! The closing is scheduled for the end of this month. It will be nice to only have to pay one mortgage again. It also means we have to find room in our new, smaller house for a lot of furniture.

2) Nick turned 3! Yes the terrible two's are history and he's almost toilet trained! All it took was bribery. Small presents for number 1, big presents for number 2. Tonight for the first time he did number 2 in the toilet and got a set of Lincoln Logs! ;-) We tried this approach with Alex when she was around Nick's age, but bribery never worked on her.

3) Alex turned 8! You can't imagine how amazing it is for me to write that sentence. I wish I could say that I never doubted for a moment that she would make it to this age, but I'd be lying. The fact that she's alive really is a miracle.

For her birthday Andrea, Alex and I flew to New York City for four days. Alex and I were actually there on business (more on that later), but the business portion of the trip only lasted a few hours. The rest of the time was spent showing Alex around New York City for the first time. I grew up just outside of the city, so I was really excited to show Alex all the places I visited as a kid. We went to the Empire State Building (looking over the edge still makes my toes tingle), Rockefeller Center (the tree was still up!), FAO Schwartz (managed to escape without spending a fortune), the American Girl Store (did NOT manage to escape without spending a fortune), the Natural History Museum (is there anything better than giant dinosaurs?) and much more. Alex's favorite thing about New York? New York cab rides. The kid has serious thrill issues! We also got to spend time with Brian (my brother from another mother), my real brother Jimmy, my sister-in-law Kris and my niece Rachel. All in all it was a great four days. The only thing missing was Nick who stayed home with some friends. I just didn't think two five hour plane rides in four days would be good for him or me!

Linkshare Advertising Campaign4) Alex and I were featured in an advertising campaign for LinkShare, one of the affiliate networks that we feature on Alex's Coupons. A couple of months ago Linkshare contacted me about being a part of their new advertising campaign - " My Story". As most of you know Alex's Coupons was started to raise money for Alex's leukemia treatments and cord blood transplants. Linkshare thought that our story was interesting enough to warrant being included in this new advertising campaign, so they flew us from Seattle to New York for a photo shoot in early January. And that's how we got to take Alex to New York for her birthday.

A couple of weeks ago at the Linkshare Conference in San Francisco the advertising campaign was unveiled on a huge screen in front of several hundred people, including Andrea and I. Now I knew it was going to be unveiled at the Conference, but I didn't know that it was going to be unveiled at lunch! I'm sitting there eating lunch and the next thing I know there's a 20 foot tall photo of me at the front of the room. Now I don't know if it effected anyone else in the room, but I started having a serious acid reflux attack and had to leave the room. If anyone else suffered this side effect as a result of viewing a 20 foot tall photo of me, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize!

Overall I'm real happy with how the ad campaign turned out, but I still think they should have had Alex holding a Polaroid of me, rather than vice versa. I mean c'mon would you rather see a 20 foot tall photo of me or a 20 foot tall photo of Alex. My only other complaint is that I'm wearing makeup, which makes me look like a silent film star. Seriously I know that I live in Seattle, which means that I'm pale, but I'm not Rudolph Valentino pale! Anyway if you're interested you can view the ad campaign on the Linkshare website.

5) Now that Alex's Coupons is doing well we've started giving back to all of the charities that helped us while Alex was sick. Over the past three months we've donated a $1000 each to National Children's Cancer Society, Children’s Cancer Lifeline and Corporate Angel Network. We also made a donation of $1000 to the Writing Program at Alex's elementary school. Our plan is to donate at least $1000 each month to charity, focusing mainly on Childhood Cancer charities. We're also looking into the possibility of starting our own charity to help families effected by Childhood Cancer.

6) Alex's Winter Break is coming up in a couple of weeks and we're going to drive up to Whistler, BC, so the kids can play in snow. Neither Andrea or I have skied in years, but we're going to enroll the kids in some beginner classes. I'm not sure how Alex will do, but I think Nick will be a natural. Hopefully my next update will have photos of Nick zooming down the bunny hill!

Now for the small favor. At the end of December, luckily AFTER Christmas, Google dropped Alex's Coupons in the rankings again. While this in no way, shape or form puts us in financial danger, it does take a significant chunk out of our monthly earnings. This has happened twice before, once in November 2004 and again in September 2005 (right after we moved into the new house). The first time it took three months to regain our rankings, the second time three weeks and this time it's six weeks and counting.  Needless to say, we have had enough roller coaster rides to last us a lifetime and would like to be less dependent on the roller coaster that is Google.

I've decided to raise the profile of Alex's Coupons by employing some viral marketing techniques (e.g. word-of-mouth, social bookmarking, etc.). This is a technique that's been used by many successful Internet sites including Hotmail. Now I'm sure everyone knows what word-of-mouth is, but many of you probably aren't familiar with social bookmarking sites. Social bookmarking sites are where people share their favorites websites with other web surfers. I've listed Alex's Coupons on the following social bookmarking websites:

If you decide to become a member of these sites, you can add us to your list of favorite sites by clicking on the respective links below:

Thanks in advance to any of you who can take a few minutes and do this for us. Feel free to email me if you have any problems using these sites.

Well it's time to wrap up this update and get back to work on Alex's Coupons. Thanks again to everyone who has supported us over these past seven years. We will always be in your debt.

Take Care,
Todd, Andrea, Alex and Nick

P.S. Andrea said I didn't post enough photos, so here are a few photos from Halloween:

Little Bo Peep & Her Sheep Someday he's going to hate us for this photo! Future Blackmail Photo!

and a bunch of photos from Christmas:


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