Saturday, December 20, 2008

December 18, Adopt-a-Class Day!

I've tried to get a variety of pics so that all you who donated might glimpse your toy, your clothes in some grateful little hands...

All ready to go! No tote undone. We needed two cars to take everything - this photo is missing 5 bags still. I thought how glad I was to have the bigger vehicle that we bought the day we had Jackson. At first it seemed cruel to have this reminder of what happened that day, but it's a blessing to use it to help others. I know - sounds cheesy, but it's true for me.
Here's one tote unpacked - new toy, used toy, new clothes, used clothes, shoes, pjs, socks. Some kids also got tooth brushes and/or undies (the undies the kids hid in the bottom of their totes so no one would see them!)I LOVED that Ami just jumped in and helped pass out lunch.What a doll baby. She got what she wanted - a light haired Barbie. If you look closely you'll see that she has nothing but black stubs for top teeth. This shook me - it showed a total lack of dental care/hygiene. Poor thing, to have lost them all at only 5 years old.

The saying goes, you have to give to receive. Amaris learned this through this project on a 5 year old level. Remember I said she tried to give her toys? Well, it was hard for her! Here is a precious girl that received some of Ami's toys -- she wanted dress up clothes so we gave her a tote filled with Ami's dress up clothes. The yellow pom poms were included in the bunch. Ami didn't want me to give them away. Never mind that she doesn't play with them. Ever. But look what she got the very next day ---

New red ones from a friend from school! I had to include this pic when Barbara emailed me the yellow pom pom one and I had this one on my camera to match it.

Look at these sweet girls. The doll was a used donation from a cousin. Isn't her smile so worth it?
Barbara - like me, had a hard time not crying a lot during the party. We STUFFED it and tried to help everyone have a memorable Christmas party. She really bonded with the blond in the back. The girl with the red Rudolph nose -- she stands out to me. Her hair was so greasy - her corduroys were filthy. She also got a tote of Ami's dress up clothes. She LOVED them! She loved the pink stuff best, but I could tell she had this giant need for more. More everything. She popped into all the pics. She tried on all the clothes. She asked other kids for their toys. She followed me around. When I called for Martha to come help me identify her clothes (they got mixed in with 2 other tote bags worth) she bounded over saying she was Martha. I pray for this little Rebecca, that she will get that hole filled and make it in this world.

This sweet Melanie was quiet and gentle. The teacher told me she just got out of surgery for a hernia.

I'm so glad my kids were there. They passed out lunches in the beginning. They passed out totes when it was time. Ami giggled with the girls and Caidgen showed the boys how to use their remote control cars.

Class pic right after lunch and before the totes were passed out.

Some of the girls were quite taken with Blue! He was so great that day. He says this is just what he wanted for Christmas. Guess that means I don't have to get him anything else for Christmas! Here what it looked like when we walked in. Literally there was an eruption of cheers. The class was so polite towards us with their please and thank yous.

Here's me and mama-to-be Jeni just before we walked into the class. She's the brains that got the totes donated and kept the class party running smoothly. Don't let the pic fool you - Barbara made the cupcakes, not me. I stayed up coughing all the night before while I wrapped the final gifts, and showed up to the party without a voice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

As at Hogwarts, "let the sorting begin..."

Anyone else's blog posting pics all backwards lately? I'm about ready to quit on the whole thing. I'm not going to take time to redo these pics so here's the little tale told backwards.
Jeni and Barbara came over today for several hours. Jeni got 20 tote bags donated so each child gets one. :) Inside we put a few nice used outfits, and a used toy, as well as shoes and socks. We then wrapped new toys and added those. We tied ribbons around PJs and added those. Also we wrapped new outfits and - you guessed it, added those. It's amazing what can be stuffed in those totes! These are the 7 students that are completely done -- well, except that we are tying a hair bow to each girl tote and a hot wheels toy to each boy tote.
These are the bags that are partially done but still need some new stuff. Ah, the order a few tote bags can add to a room!

This was a sampling of the piles I had going all last week in my room while I sorted through donations for the kids.

This was just the beginning - wish lists laying on my floor waiting to be bombarded with some lovin'!

Is this not a little chaotic looking? I put a list down where ever I could make a spot for it and Blue and I went to work going through donations.
A HUGE thanks to the people that have come out of the woodwork to help out. Julie in Tucson with her new baby boy - you're so sweet to take a child! And Tracy - it will be so neat to catch up with you because of this project. :)
This has been a wonderful, powerful way to serve this Christmas and keep my kids remembering others. Little Caidgen donated almost all his remote controlled cars and many other toys. Ami - well, she tried! It's made me focus on something positive every day. I think that my son watches his little family down here with a smile because those in heaven know how important it is to be connected to humanity.
I've loved getting to know people better because of this. What would I do without you, Jeni and Barb? I would be a flop (doing things like giving a boy a girl's sweater!)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Since I've Been Gone

It's been a long time since i posted. Here, in random order is what I've been up to --

We took the training wheels off Ami's bigger bike. She learned to ride on the small one but it was hard to pedal fast enough not to fall. Now she's flyin' down the street on her big bike!

I painted my nasty garage with the kids. Their "help" was a little scary! But I LOVE the 2 solid walls. (That's right, only 2 - ran out of paint!)

Happy Thanksgiving, from my little pilgrims!

I nursed my half paralized dog for a week...she was bit by a black widow and wasn't doing so hot. It's so great to have her back to normal!

I FINALLY took Caidgen's oversized, tattered douvet cover and sewed it into a twin size.

My straight line is getting straighter!

Blue and I celebrated his friend Paul's birthday with fresh lobster flown in from Maine. I was a little bit freaking out with they put the live little guys in the boiling water.

I'm so glad for the experience. It was really fun. And Paul is the greatest guy - so unique and funny.
I never could have done that on my own-- I'm glad he orchestrated the evening.

We went to the zoo for Blue's work picnic. No one told me it was Pregnant Lady Day...
In consolation, we "pet" sting rays - so cool!!!
And my favorite little guys - the otters were showing off for us.
And of course the spider monkeys are SOOO sweet--

--or not!

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Family Give Away" Donations

These pictures really don't do justice to our donation last Friday to the Tempe School for homeless kids. My car was FILLED with really nice used clothes, donated by me, Janyce Harris, Jamie Lucas and Krista Breinholt. Kari Stock pitched in quite a few diapers to top it all off. My HUGE hugs and thanks to you, ladies! I was in awe of your generosity. It was neat to see your unique personalities as I sorted through the donations. Like when I came across the new Converse shoes in Jamie's bags: I can just see your kids running around at the Haught's in their cute Tilly's style clothing and Converse shoes! Those shoes are going to make great gifts for the Kindergartners, BTW. And the hair bows - how cute will it be to tie them to the outside of the wrapped Christmas gifts? Boys will get a hot wheels car tied to their gift so no one is left out. :)
Back to the pics - I made the mistake of not photographing all the donations until I got there. It was a challenge to get some snap shots to show you all without making a fool of myself. I didn't want to come across as some self righteous Scottsdale looking girl photographing her good works! Or worse, exploiting the kids. So when the amazing, sweet, tiny little figure of a lady, Sylvia, was out of sight I'd grab the camera and take a quick shot! What a dork.
She was so grateful. Really excited about everything. When I made sure diapers were appropriate she nodded emphatically and told me they have "lots of mammas," at the school.
I took everything around the side of the school to a designated spot for donations. Sylvia and I took the 20 something bags into a relatively small room - her room. She's got everything in there organized - boys and girls clothes ranging in size for Kindergartners all the way to adults. I was very impressed with the wall of sliding shelves that are photographed above.
I dropped off the stuff on Friday afternoon. Saturday morning Sylvia told me she would lay it all out on tables just outside her door. Families would bring their own bags and "shop" for whatever they needed. She estimated that we gave at least $600.00 worth of stuff.
So thank you!
The Christmas Donations for the Kindergarten class will be even better. :)

In School

I’ve started volunteering in the kid’s classrooms. I was too afraid to commit to it last year because carrying Jackson made me so sick. What if I committed to a regular schedule but on the required morning my body would just not let me out of bed? Last year I was still in Caidgen’s class a lot, but it was sporadic, when Jackson decided he didn’t need my full attention at the moment.
This year, my empty womb is all too regular. The wail less house so quiet I hear the clock ticking: I know I won’t forget my appointments. I’ve arranged to help out in Caidgen’s class Monday afternoons and Ami’s Thursday afternoons. It gets me up and dressed. It makes me forget myself in service to others. And it allows me to get to know these critical women in my children’s lives and how they run their classrooms.
Three weeks ago while I sat at Mrs. D’s desk filing some papers I had a clear view of my son as he sat for reading time. Mrs. D reads from an oversized spiral book and asks varied thoughtful questions. Last year at carpet time it was hard to spot my son. Undoubtedly his little ashy head would eventually sway into view just below Mrs. D’s feet. He was always right in front. Always watching. Always enthralled.
This Monday afternoon he was in the back of the group picking his nose.
He was so far in the back that he wasn’t even on the carpet. His lanky body was turned away from me and Mrs. D but I knew the nose picking stance. There was no fooling me.
Mrs. D asked a question. Lots of different colored hands popped up. Caidgen’s white fingers were too entrenched in his nasal canals. I wanted to reprimand him right then. “Caidgen Haught! Why is your hand not up?” Pause. “Where are your fingers?” All 25 students would turn around, gaping at him. Sure it would disrupt the flow of Mrs. D’s lesson, but not for long. It was a split second discipline that would correct his laziness for years to come. No son of mine was going to be picking his nose during important class time.
But I was there to serve Mrs. D, support her, not pick at my son (pun intended). If I had been at home nursing my one month old precious boy I would never have known about the booger/reading incident. I kept my head down and filed papers, only glancing up now and then in hopes that my attentive little student had returned. I saw only the back of his red shirt. I clenched my teeth shut as the air in the deflating balloon of pride in my children whirred out.
At home I couldn’t resist. Not wanting to be critical, I said, “So…the story your class read today – it didn’t seem to interest you.”
“What story?”
“On the carpet.” That came out harsh. “Poor thing, the carpet’s not big enough for your whole class. It’s too bad you didn’t get there earlier so you could have sat on the carpet.”
“We have another carpet too, in the back. We should put them both together and move all the desks out and then we’d have enough room.” His eyes were darting back and forth and his hands flaring about. I knew I was about to lose him to inventions.
“But the story – was it not a good one? You didn’t seem to be listening.”
“Huh? I was listening.” He looked genuine.
“You weren’t even facing the teacher!” Oh no, I could feel the lecture snapping inside, fighting to come out. I clenched my teeth.
“I was listening, mommy.”
I wanted to say, “Listen, you little punk, I better not ever catch you in the back of the class, back turned to the teacher, a dirty finger up your nose in plain view of every respectable person again or I will…”
I said, “Oh. Good. It was a good story. I liked it. Next time you need to pick your nose though, use a Kleenex, okay?”
“Okay,” he said. And he ran off to play.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Tempe Campus
1938 E Apache Blvd
Tempe Az

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who've jumped on board with my family for the Children First Academy Christmas project.

I've got the project narrowed down now. We are sponsoring a kindergarten class. I haven't been told yet how many kids there are or their sexes, but Pat, the coordinator will update me soon. Just check back here for updates. We do know that everything needs to be ready before December 15.
I'm a little nervous, overwhelmed at the responsibility for blessing a whole classroom. My mom's work does this every year -to a poor school in Queen Creek actually- and they put a lot of money into it. But I know more than half the people on this blog are bargain shoppers or super talented launderers so we can do this!!!

For those of you who have clothes and toys to donate that you feel are too big for kindergartners, there is a Family Giveaway next Saturday, November 15. We just need to get the stuff down there before then. If you can bag the clothes in similar sizes it would be SO helpful, as the donations coordinator is the ONLY WOMAN who sets it all up. Wow, props to Sylvia. I would be happy to pick up your stuff if you don't want to take it all the way to Phoenix. Just leave me your email so I can get your phone number for directions.I plan on taking the stuff down there next Thursday.

I'm excited for this project!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I'm a very goal oriented person. It's how I survive. So of course I made a list of things I wanted to get done before we get pregnant again. I get so sick with pregnancy that I'm afraid if I get pregnant quickly I won't be physically able to do all the small things that I want to do to honor Jackson. The urge to mother him is still so strong even though he's not here. One of the things I wanted to do was get his 8X10 on our wall. Today, it's finally done. :) It feels good.

Happy Halloween

Yes, that's a deer on the corner of Ellsworth and Riggs. Blue spotted it on our way to get the kids from school! So out of place. So ironic. So the perfect analogy for our little town.
Me and Ami were witches. It was really touching that when I told her I was going to be a witch she suddenly cared nothing for Ariel and wanted to be a witch.

Caidgen was the coolest Ironman on the streets, thanks to his dad drawing the perfect goat tee on him and adding the LED lights in all the right places.

This was a holiday of requirement. Usually one of my favorites, this year I didn't want to leave bed. First I saw a baby that was in the womb with her mother when Jackson was with me. Then I was reminded that it would have been Jackson's first Halloween.
It was just a shitty day. But the kids were so excited about it all, so off we went, all over Chandler. :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Walk to Remember

Scottsdale Shea's 1st Annual Walk to Remember, honoring miscarriages, stillborns and infant deaths. Saturday, October 25, 2008. An event we wouldn't have missed.

The morning was made all the more emotional but also enriching when we saw my doctor and nurse there. It meant so much that they care about the lives of these lost babies. It takes a certain courage to face death, especially when it's from the tiny and pure and helpless.

The kids had a blast. Caidgen wanted to race. Ami wanted to be carried. And, in the mix of it they naturally found outdoor entertainment.

I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions when Blue told me about a little conversation with Amie. We told her it was a walk to remember Jackson. She wondered if everyone was there to remember him. I explained that some were, but others were walking to remember babies they knew and loved.
Later, with Blue, she pointed ahead of them and asked if that was the road to heaven... She thought we were walking to heaven to visit the babies.
How I wished it were true. How I longed for such an idea - that had never before crossed my mind - to be feasible. That all the grieving could meet together on a special day and make a trek to heaven where they might spend a few precious moments with loved ones.
Once again I was reminded that Amaris sees a different world than I do.

Thanks for coming, Mom. Even though I cried a lot, I felt like I was being filled with a cooling strength and comfort. We are not alone in our sorrows. The children are not alone in their experiences, both here and beyond.
I'm grateful for events like this that remind me our community is filled with humble, caring people who want to do something to make life easier, better for others.
Thanks to Susan Friedman, the social worker at Shea who did so much to create this event.
The morning's poem -
I walk to remember
The steps you'll never take.
I carry you with me
As I firmly plant my feet.

Our trek started long ago,
Before my belly swelled.
You were a love that grew-
Like butterfly wings that beat.
Your gentle flutters then became
Kicks upon which I would dwell.
And I would talk to you, sweet babe,
About the world you soon would meet.

The sun always shone upon us then-
When you were in my womb.
And I was eager to show you the world
That would have been your home.
How you'd have loved the sun shining-
Blue skies without a cloud.
The autumn leaves turning-
The snow falling all around.
The flowers in summer-
Would have filled your eyes with smiles.
And the rain that might have fallen
Would have caused you great surprise.

You would have travelled far with me-
Holding me by the hand,
And I'd have shown you all I could-
More than I can imagine.

You hold my HEART tightly now,
As though we're holding hands.
How far we've traveled, little one-
And my life with you has been sweet.
For I carry you in my heart,
As firmly plant my feet.

Kathie Rataj Mayo

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Grief Work

My OB told me I have a lot of Grief Work ahead. Well, Blue and I have always been project people so we are trying to keep moving with chores that have been on my to do list for a loooong time. So we restained the wooden playset. The stain repels water and UV Rays. Oh, the joys in living in AZ, where your playground, even needs sunscreen!

Now. Much better. 3 Days worth of much better.