OCEANSIDE: Couple wins $1.1 million in raffle

NCTimes.com Californian.com

Last modified Tuesday, July 15, 2008 9:09 PM PDT

Guy and Michelle Zavodny with 3-week old daughter Layla at their Oceanside home Tuesday. (Photo by Bill Wechter – Staff Photographer)

OCEANSIDE: Couple wins $1.1 million in raffle

By PAUL SISSON – Staff Writer

OCEANSIDE —- A husband and wife walked on the beach Saturday afternoon in Oceanside, discussing ways to cut back so that mom could stay home with a baby. Later in the day, a phone call made that discussion irrelevant.
Guy and Michelle Zavodny received a call Saturday evening from Ronald McDonald House Charities notifying them that they had won $1.1 million, the grand prize in the "Dream House Raffle."
Suddenly, Michelle’s decision to stay home with newborn Layla looked much less daunting financially.
"It was great timing," Michelle said with a grin.
Sitting in the living room of their two-bedroom beach bungalow, the Zavodnys are not quite sure what to make of their good fortune. They say they have no plans to move from the laid-back beach community where they have lived since 1999.
"I can ride my skateboard to the beach," Guy said. "That’s good enough for me."
"We just love our little house," Michelle added.
A remodeled kitchen is in the future, as is a college fund for Layla, the couple’s 3-week-old daughter. Support for Guy’s mother, who is in a local retirement home, is also on the list.
"I always thought I was pretty lucky beforehand, but this kind of validates it," Guy Zavodny said.
The luck went beyond merely winning the raffle. The new father said he bought two $150 raffle tickets and both were winners. The second ticket won a $300 consolation prize, a check the couple does not intend to use.
"I just told them they could keep it," he said.
This year’s event was the fourth annual Dream House Raffle for the San Diego Ronald McDonald House. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward building a second house in San Diego County. Ronald McDonald House provides free lodging near Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, where the families of children being treated for life-threatening illnesses can stay.
The grand prize for the fundraiser is listed as either a 4,800-square-foot mansion in Encinitas valued at $1.7 million or $1.4 million in cash. But there is a catch that kept the Zavodnys from getting the full amount.
The full grand prize was contingent on the raffle selling at least 26,000 tickets. Zavodny said the person who called him Saturday said the raffle sold 23,500 tickets, so a different set of rules took over.
Those rules specify that charity organizers will pay for the cost of holding the raffle, including promotions, then Zavodny and Ronald McDonald House will split the remaining profits 50-50.
The couple said it is not concerned about the $300,000 difference.
Contact staff writer Paul Sisson at (760) 901-4087 or psisson@nctimes.com.

So here is the good news we were talking about on Saturday


Bottom line is $1.1million before taxes. They didn’t sell enough tickets for the choice of the house or $1.4million (we would have taken the $ regardless, it may be small but we love our house in the ‘hood), so they spilt the proceeds after expenses with the grand prize winner… us! Wow. Still hasn’t totally sunk in, but needless to say Layla’s college fund is off to a great start. No we are not moving and yes Guy is still working, but there is no question now that Layla’s mommy will be a mommy full time!

Crazy how things work. I had bought 2 tickets months ago for $150 a piece. There is a number of early bird drawings … we didn’t win anything. Saturday was the Grand Prize drawing, but there was also a number of other smaller prizes awarded. When I checked the website mid day I had won one of the $300 prizes. Nice at least we were at break even. I kept checking back on the website, but the hadn’t posted the Grand Prize winner. About 5:30 we get a call and the caller ID says “Ronald McDonald House”. Hmmm guess they are calling to tell me about the $300. ” Hello is this Guy Zavodny” “Yeap” ” This is the Ronald McDonald House calling to tell you about a raffle prize you won” great they are calling to tell me about the $300 “cool” “would you like to know which prize?” hmmmm “uh yeah” ” well you have won $1.1 million!”. It all kinda blurs after that just…. WOW! Give good get good!

Guy Goes back to Work Tomorrow

 July 5th, 6th, and 7th 039 July 5th, 6th, and 7th 049

The last couple days have been a blast!  Layla is such a good baby.  She rarely cries, and if she does it is for one of 3 reasons, hunger, dirty diaper, or she wants to be held or moved a different way so that she can fall asleep.  She continues to sleep four to six hour stretches at night, which is wonderful for us! 

 July 5th, 6th, and 7th 010 July 5th, 6th, and 7th 012

Yesterday, July 6th, she lost her umbilical cord stump.  So today we were able to give her her first real bath.  At first she was a little unsure but about 30 seconds into it she seemed to really relax and enjoy it, memories of the nice warm water in the womb, I’m sure.  July 5th, 6th, and 7th 030




We have been taking some great walks with the stroller and the dogs and just enjoying this special time.  She is so fun and we are so happy.  Guy goes back to work tomorrow, Tuesday, but is taking Friday off so we can have a nice long weekend as a family!  It is so fun to say that word, family!

July 5th, 6th, and 7th 002

Happy Fourth of July!!

Happy fourth of July!  We are going to grill and enjoy life near the beach today!  Fireworks tonight from the backyard, but this year, now that I am a mom, I will not be climbing onto the garage roof to watch them.  Happy Independence Day, have fun, and be safe!

July 3rd & 4th!

Today we walked down to the beach with the dogs!  Layla loves cruising in the stroller!  She falls asleep as soon as she is in her infant seat!  The dogs are happy July 3rd and 4th 009because they are getting more walks than at the end of my pregnancy!  They are so good with the stroller and gentle when I hold their leashes!

David and Val came over last night and made us an incredible dinner.  Ahi burritos, rice, and beans.  Everyone has been so generous, bringing us wonderful homemade meals.  The Thomas’ brought over a beautiful quiche, salad, and chocolate chip cookies.  The Caltigerone family made delicious shrimp enchiliadas and My dad and Donna came over the night we came home from the hospital and prepared linguini with sea scallops and a beautiful salad!  Thank you all for your generous and delicious contributions!  We are so lucky to have such wonderful support.

Yesterday we went to the Oceanside Farmers market.  We checked out all of the colorful fruit, veggies, and flowers.  We even got to introduce Layla to Jesus (a friend of ours who’s family owns an organic farm.  He sells beautiful fruit and July 3rd and 4th 010veggies at the farmer’s markets) while we were gathering zucchini flowers to fry!

Then we were off to see Dr. Woerpel, the pediatrician for a weight check.  Layla gained 4 ounces and is now up to 6 lbs and 6 oz.  Dr. Woerpel is impressed with her weight gain and says we do not have to wake her up to feed her, just feed her on demand.  We will see the pediatrician again for her one month check up at the end of July.  As we were leaving  the appointment he said, “Great job Guys!”

The breast feeding is going really well!  She has taken to it like a pro and most of the pain on my side is gone.  It so cool to know that I am able to provide all of the nourishment my baby needs!  Layla is a great sleeper, at night she is already sleeping 5 and 6 hour stretches.  I guess we are very lucky!  All of the pain and fear of labor has faded and I now understand how people can have more than one child!

Update on Labor, Delivery, Layla’s First Week

Wow!  What a journey!  The last week has been amazing.  Our daughter is precious, beautiful, and so much fun.   

As most of you know my Layla Grace's first few days 076pregnancy was tough.  I was one of the few lucky ones who threw up for pretty much nine months.  Toward the end I had lots of swelling in my feet, (fat cankles), and high blood pressure.  The last few days of my pregnancy I was having some pretty gnarly contractions, usually at night, and sometimes all night long.  In the early morning hours of July 24th, Layla’s due date, I had contractions from 12:30 am until about 7am.  At one point they were 1 minute long and about 5 minutes apart, but never lasted for an hour, which is when you are supposed to go to the hospital.  We really thought that was it, but no such luck.  Guy went to work the morning of the 24th and contractions continued sporadically, but nothing worth a trip to the hospital.   Of course I was exhausted from being up all night having contractions so I just laid around all morning.  Sometime around 11ish I got up and felt a warm gush, hmmmm, weird.  I called Guy, he told me to go to the hospital, but I wasn’t sure it was my water breaking.  I had nothing to compare it to "I’ve never done this before!"  I told Guy I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf.  I decided to just lay down and hang out and see what happened.  The next time I got up it happened again. I called Guy and said, I think I am going to go to Layla Grace's first few days 020the hospital.  I drove myself to the hospital and Guy left work right away.  I knew I was safe to drive because I wasn’t having any major contractions. I got to the hospital around 12 noon and got checked in by 12:30pm.  




Guy was there as we were taken to a labor and delivery room.  The nurse checked and sure enough my water had broken, but I wasn’t having any contractions.  I was started on pitocin, an intraLayla Grace's first few days 005venous medication to start labor.  The contractions came on quickly and with a vengeance!   OUCH, after about 7 to 8 hours of gnarly contractions I finally asked for the epidural. 



Wow, what a difference!   Thank goodness I got it too becLayla Grace's first few days 022ause the story of my labor gets even more intense!  It took me until about 2am to dilate to a very small 3cm!  I began to run a high fever, which is scary because the doctors worry about infection since my water had broken so many hours before, so I was started on intravenous antibiotics. During the night I also developed high blood pressure and had to also start wearing oxygen!   Layla Grace's first few days 028Crazy, but it gets crazier!   Then of coarse I had to start throwing up, I know right, didn’t I do that enough during the pregnancy!  I threw up 6 to 8 times, fun!  I labored all night and was checked at around 7:30am for my dilation.  Dr Langley told Guy that he wasn’t sure I was going to have progressed enough and was thinking that if I hadn’t dilated a significant amount more he would have to do a C-section.  They want to get the baby out within 24 hours of the water breaking because of the risk of infection.  We were all pleasantly surprised when he said I was just about 10cm and ready to push!!  Thankfully, we wouldn’t have to have a C-section.  Guy called Nicole, his sister and my parents to come to the hospital to wait.  I began pushing at about 8:15.  I pushed with just Guy and the nurse for about an hour.  Layla Grace's first few days 033

The Dr. came in and I was pushing ineffectively due to the epidural and exhaustion.  I could not feel what I was doing and once again, "I’ve never done this before!" , so I didn’t know what I was doing!  Dr. Langley was concerned I may tire myself out and not be able complete the process of giving birth. He was thinking he would again have to possibly do a section or use a vacuum.  I got a second wind when he said her head was right there and I only needed a few more really good pushes.  After that it was about 3 more contractions and our daughter was born! Layla Grace's first few days 031 Guy was right there, he held my leg and was able to see his little girl enter the world.  He was filled with amazement!  Layla was set on my chest and Guy cut the cord.  Due to my high fever & high blood pressure  there were two extra nursery nurses on hand.  All I wanted after giving birth was to hear her first cry.  They would not let her cry because she had meconium and had to have her mouth and nose cleaned out really well.  I was freaking out, all I wanted was to hear that cry.  One of the nursery nursed explained that they did not want her to cry until they cleaned her up.  Once she was cleaned up she cried the softest, sweetest, most petite cry, it was a beautiful sound.  Layla received an 8 on her 1 minute APGAR and a 9 on her 5 minute APGAR, basically perfect!  She weighed 5 pounds 15 ounces and was born at 10:11 am, about 23 hours of labor and well worth every frightening second.  Dr. Langley collected the cord blood and about 20 minutes after she was born I was finally able to hold my daughter!  Guy had been holding her and bonding with her for a while and the look of pure joy, pride, amazement, and elation on his face will for ever be etched into my memory. Layla Grace's first few days 061 We bonded with our daughter and invited my parents,Guy’s sister, Nicole, and my brother, Dustin into the room about an hour or so after Layla was born.  The room swelled with pride, happiness, and pure joy!

Guy not only gave me the gift of our beautiful daughter he also presented my with a blue bag!!!  My thoughtful, wonderful husband gave me a push presLayla Grace's first few days 050ent, a beautiful Tiffany and Co. bracelet.  I am to wear it on the wrist of the side I finished feeding our daughter on.  The bracelet is a reminder of what and amazing day it was as well as what side to begin feeding her on at the next feeding.  Thank you Guy!  You are amazing and you are always spoiling me with your love, generosity, and beautiful gifts.


Layla’s visitors began pouring in!  My dad, Donna, my mom, Nicole,  Greg, David and Valerie, Great Nanny Lucy, Great Grandpa Eugene…And that was only on the first day!  I was in the hospital in Labor on Tuesday June 24th, Wednesday June 25th giving birth, Thursday, and Friday I was discharged.  I was kept an extra day because I continued on the intravenous antibiotics.  Layla passed every test with flying colors, was called perfect by every pediatrician, and beautiful by every nurse we had! More Layla 134 (68)



We came home on Friday and were welcomed by our dogs.  Shasta continues to be clueless, she is still unaware that there is even another being in our home.  Will on the other hand has taken so well to the baby.  He is very concerned, curious, and protective.  He seems to know to be very gentle but is always there with a loLayla June 30 009ok of concern when Layla cries.  He checks the baby carrier every time we come home and makes sure she is there and is okay. 

The visitors continue to poor in.  Sometimes I feel like she is the heir to the thrown and royalty.  The list of people who have come to see Layla Grace is endless!  Thank you all for your love, support, well wishes, and happiness for us.

We went to Dr. Woerpel Layla’s pediatrician on Monday.  When we left the hospital she had lost weight, which is normal, and was down to 5lbs 9oz.  At the pediatrician she weighed 6lbs 2oz.  The doctor was very impressed with her weight gain.  The breast feeding is going very well!  Of coarse it is painful but she has taken to it very well, and I am determined to make sure it works. 

Layla Grace has been out and about in safe crowd free settings a few times so far!  Everyone said life would change, never be the same, you’ll never leave the house etc.  Today we were out and about and took her down to the beach.  Layla July 2nd 008

Guy and I talked about how it feels like nothing has changed.  Our lifestyle is the same, we even barbequed for friends on Sunday.  The only thing that has changed is that it takes us a little longer to get out of the house!  There has Layla June 30 004already been a ton of "firsts" like her first sponge bath,


and we know there are so many more to come. We are so happy.  Our daughter is precious, tiny, and fills our hearts with love, our faces are covered with with smiles, and we are both so proud.

  More Layla 134 (130) From our amazing love we created a little addition to our family that will only continue to add love to our lives.   Layla June 30 032

Today Layla Grace was one week old and of course we had to celebrate! 

Layla July 2nd 041


We will continue to update the blog and look forward to your comments !