Somewhere Over the Rainbow…


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



  • Nicole Tetrev says:

    SO FREAKING AMAZING! We used to do ADOPT a FAMILY at my old job, where a family that worked at the Mirage would get gifts from one whole department (each department had their own family) it was mostly for the kids, now NOT just ANY family could get chosen it had to be a family who actually needed the help. Seeing some of these kids lists made my eyes tear up because they would ask for such practical things that my son takes for granted. I always loved taking the shopping trips for this! You and your family are amazing tara!

  • Joanne Christenson says:

    This is my most favorite post all year. You guys are THE ABSOLUTE BEST …Illove you 🙂

  • Vanessa Proehl says:

    You. Are. Amazing.

  • Lindsey Tummins says:

    This is awesome!! You are awesome! Your family is awesome!! I absolutely love this story and got teary eyed! Merry Christmas and the best to you and your family!

  • Marlena Fein says:

    This is just one of the many reasons I love you so much. This seriously brought tears to my eyes, of laughter and joy! Keep being awesome and Merry Christmas to you and your heathens!

    Merry Christmas,

  • Valerie says:

    Ugliest cry ever! This is so sweet and inspiring! Your kids have such big hearts and I know they get it from you. Merry Christmas from Val, Tim and baby Jackson!

  • Teresa Edwards says:

    Tara that was so sweet and thoughtful of you! Another reason to love you! Hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

  • Lisa Fay says:

    This is just one of the many reasons we love you Tara! That is awesome! Happy New Year!

  • Terisa says:

    My daughter turned 11 the week before Christmas. She decided that she wanted to give all her birthday presents to Nemours Children’s Hospital here in Orlando, FL. She told all of her friends what she was doing so that all of the gifts wouldn’t be just for girls her age. She ended with about 40 presents for boys and girls from babies to teenagers. She was so happy that she was able to help other children and I am so incredibly proud of her. What your family did all make a lasting impression of those that received them as well as the staff.

  • Catherine says:

    This is awesome, such a big hearts! <3

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