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  Dec24

Somewhere Over the Rainbow…

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We have this change jar in our kitchen. Everyone contributes to it and for the past year we kept telling the kids that we’d empty it after Christmas and do something fun with it. Well, a few weeks ago, my daughter asked me if we could take all of the change in the jar and buy it for sick children. Now my daughter, I would expect something awesome like this from her because she’s a very thoughtful person. Our son, he’s another story! Color me completely surprised when we told him our plan and he ran up to his room and started gathering toys to give to the kids. I swear to God I almost started sobbing right in the middle of the kitchen. I expected a reaction more like “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS SHIT?!”

I explained to him that he could keep his toys because we would just buy new ones while I hugged and squeezed him for not being an asshole for once.

So, I put my PR rep, Donna, to work and asked her to contact local hospitals for me. My goal was pediatric cancer wards. Surprisingly, no one was getting back to her! I believe her exact text to me was “Seriously? We’re giving away free presents here!!!”

Finally, about a week ago, she got a response. It was from University Hospital of Cleveland’s Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. My heart skipped a beat. University Hospital is where my mom spent so much of her time when she had Leukemia. I can’t even tell you how many times I made that hour drive down to Cleveland to be with her. I told Donna to immediately get their information: Number of children, ages, what day we could drop off the presents, etc. etc.

The social worker, Janna, was so sweet and excited about the whole thing. She told us that everyone buys for the little kids. Everyone showers the babies and the toddlers with gifts every year, but people rarely remember the older ones. They not only treat young children at UH, but they also treat some adults who have a better response to pediatric cancer treatments.

DONE! SOLD! Janna got back to us and said they had around 30 patients ranging in ages from 14 – 31, and that four of them would be staying in the hospital through the holidays. She of course told us she didn’t want to take advantage of us and never expected us to bring gifts for everyone. She even said she would whittle her list down so it didn’t include so many. Nope, that’s not going to work for me!  There will be no whittling!

With the help of Donna and the ever amazing Tiffany King and their wonderful donations, hubs and I went on a shopping spree.

Look how happy he is to be standing in line at Bath and Body Works?! Unsaved Preview Document

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we got home, I spread everything out on the living room floor and just stared at it. Isn’t it such a pretty pile?! DSCN0219

 

 

 

 

 

Then I realized I needed to wrap everything. Normally, I love wrapping. But that’s because I start Christmas shopping in like July and I wrap as I buy, one gift at a time. Let me tell you, I realized I am way too old to sit on the floor wrapping a million presents at once. I was walking hunched over for the rest of the day. 

But I got them all done while hubs just sat there and stared at me. I made him hold my bag at Bath & Body Works while I walked around filling it so I couldn’t ask for much more. DSCN0225

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course the staff couldn’t be left out. On the drive to the hospital, I signed a pile of books for them. IMG_0750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course walking into the hospital provided the usual for the Sivec family: the kids shoved each other into the revolving door, my son called my daughter a ‘stupid face’ at the top of his lungs as we got into the lobby and she  retaliated by shoving him into a Christmas tree by the registration desk and I’m yelling at them through clenched teeth saying “WE ARE IN A HOSPITAL WITH SICK PEOPLE AND YOU TWO ARE ACTING LIKE IDIOTS! CUT IT OUT BEFORE I DROP YOU OFF ON THE EAST SIDE OF CLEVELAND AND LET YOU WALK HOME.”

Son: I don’t walk, I run and I will beat you home, fool!

Daughter: Can we still leave him in Cleveland even if we stop acting like idiots?

With another threat to lock them in the trunk, Janna came downstairs with a few helpers and loaded up their carts with all of the presents. I let daughter take the picture which of course ticked my son off. The whole time we were posting he kept yelling “I WANT TO PHOTOBOMB THE PICTURE! COME ON, LET ME PHOTOBOMB JUST ONE!” IMG_0753

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily, the one picture where he managed to stick his face in didn’t turn out. Or maybe that’s unlucky? It was probably a great picture. We celebrated by going to the mall and waiting in line for an hour and a half to see santa. That was fun – said no one ever. But we did manage to get this beautiful photo for our Christmas card. 1149709_10202767376650742_2086338505_o

 

 

 

 

 

This year has been beyond amazing for me. I never thought in a million years I would be able to do something like this. I am blessed beyond belief and I thank God every day for each and every one of you for coming into my life and making it possible for me to give back to those who need it. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! If anyone is interested in contacting University Hospital of Cleveland’s Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital/Pediatric Hematology/Oncology to see how you can help, you can contact Janna Shelby at (216)844-7428 or Janna.Shelby@UHhospitals.org

 

  Dec9

Tara’s Favorite Things Week 6!

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Favorite Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a little late posting this week’s favorite things giveaway. In case you missed it, PukeFest 2013 was alive and well at our house last week. You’ll be happy to know my house no longer smells like death and puke. I’ve bathed everyone in Lysol and soaked the furniture in bleach.

Soooo, Week 5 included some of my favorite books ever. The winner of my #1 favorite book, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Jennifer Kreitz-Bernardi!  Congratulations Jennifer!

 

And now, on to Week 6. There a few little gadgets  I’ve come across in my travels that are total lifesavers when I’m on the go so much. The first one is this:

 

travel-gadgetsIs this not the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen???  I don’t have a child small enough for one of this babies, but I suddenly wish I did. I would take my kids to every single book signing if I could strap them to my suitcase so they look like they’re in the electric chair ready for execution. And I’m assuming since this luggage is carry-on size, you can just shove the bag and your kid into the overhead compartment and not have to listen to them ask you if we’re there yet nine-thousand times and give them the stare of death every time they kick the seat in front of them.  I’ll have to double check with TSA. It can be found here: http://www.rideoncarryon.com/        

 

 

31UpuJGKvXL._AA160_The next item is something I always carry with me. My iPhone/iPad are always attached to my hand. The battery goes down faster than a hooker at a gang bang. This is the Anker and it’s a portable mini charger the size of a tube of lipstick. It has a USB port and comes with several different attachments to charge whatever device you have. GENIUS! It can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Anker-Ultra-Compact-Lipstick-Sized-Smartphones-USB-charged/dp/B005NF5NTK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386614020&sr=8-1&keywords=anker+mini    

 

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 1.30.20 PMAnd last but not least, I’m a tiny bit of a jewelry whore. I have bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings that match pretty much everything. And of course, I have no clue how to pack light so I pack every single piece of jewelry I own when travel. I’ve tried everything to keep that shit organized and this is the only thing that works. It’s a velvet bag thing that perfectly keeps everything separate so you don’t have to spend six hours untangling all of your necklaces in a hotel room two minutes before you need to leave. It can be found here: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Portable-Jewelry-Storage-Case-Jewelry-Roll-Bag-for-Travel-Velvet-Jewelry-Organizer-for-Multi-Item-Necklace/759470811.html      

 

 

So, if you’d like to win one of these fabulous prizes, here’s where you enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway