Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Time for Change

What a year it's been.

It really is hard to believe we are approaching the holidays... it seems like we just had Christmas. I know I am long overdue on writing a post, but it's been a crazy few months. I had the chance a few weeks ago, to speak with Rachel, Nina's mom, about doing the book drive again this year.

If you have followed this blog, you know that the reason why we started this was in memory of our friend Nina and getting the support from her family has been always my number one priority. The focus on FARF and finding a cure for this disease really does take a higher priority and we felt that our efforts would be bettered served there.

This is not to say that the need for books at Doernbecher is no longer necessary, so if you are wanting to donate books to Doernbecher Children's Hospital... please do so! You can go directly to the hospital... don't feel that since we aren't collecting, that you can't!

The holidays are a season of giving and the opportunity for change. Our country and our children need to know that anything is possible... what can you give?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summertime Update

I can't believe it's been six months since we completed the first annual book drive. I have been so busy this summer that I completely forgot to give an update of what's been going on with our books... I have been really enjoying the summer with my boys. We have had many days of outdoor play, trips to the park, movies, playdates and our camp weeks....

I recently went to lunch with my friend Rachel (Nina's mom) and she told me that a friend of hers heard about our book drive on a conference website...wow, I had no idea... hopefully I can post about that soon...

We talked about moving forward for 2009 and how she and her family felt about doing it again this year... stay tuned for an update. It's really important to me that they are on board and wanting to move forward too.

Here are a few things that have come up in the last few months...

1. I saw Cindy sometime in mid May, early June to drop off a few straggling books at the hospital. She shared with me some touching stories of how our books have been helping children in some really difficult situations. The distraction from medications and treatments have really made a difference.

2. Books are already starting to come in for our 2009 drive! I have about 25 so far and I have gotten emails and calls about knowing when they can drop them off... please stay tuned!

I expect to have more updates and information as school starts in September. My goals this year haven't yet been determined but I wanted to make sure that you know I haven't forgot.

I don't think I ever will. Have a great summer and watch for updates in September!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day - Book Drop Off Day

I would have to say that Thursday was one of those bitter sweet days that I will remember for a long time. It was the day that I loaded up all 27+ boxes of books in my car to take down to Doernbecher.

The final total (so far) is ONE THOUSAND, SIX HUNDRED and NINETY-TWO BOOKS! I can't even believe it. We still have one more drop box that will be collected and taken down to the hospital next week, so this total is not a final number!

So many books! We actually did have more books than that, but those that were "overly-loved" had to go elsewhere. I didn't feel right taking them to Goodwill, so I ended up taking them down to the Clackamas County Women's Services Center. If you are not familiar, the CCWS supports many shelters for women and children in Clackamas county. Needless to say, they were completely thrilled to get the three jam packed full boxes of books.

So what does 1,692 books look like?

We planned on meeting at the front lobby at the hospital Thursday (Valentine's Day) at about 9:30 in the morning. Cindy (staff member of the Child Life Department), Rachel (Nina's Mom) and Tanya (fellow mom friend of ours along with her youngest daughter Lucy) all met at the front door to drop off the books.

We stood around for a bit discussing this journey of book collecting and how it has been such a great experience for us all. People have asked me how can I possibly do it all? Between the book drive, trying to sell our house, raise two active boys, run a small business all while my husband is commuting over 3 hours every day. How do I do it?

That is an easy question to answer. It really was all there waiting for me to just facilitate it. When I look back at this experience, I can't believe how every details just fell right into place all by itself. The book donation boxes were donated by my dear uncle John, the flyer's were donated by Tanya's husband, and most of the other supplies really didn't cost that much money. Most of the boxes were put into place because of all the other mom's in our playgroup came together to help, and the books, well, they just came all on their own.

Most of the books are going directly into the waiting rooms at the hospital, and because we had so many, they were able to spread the wealth out to some of the clinics waiting rooms as well.

Rachel's mom, who recently traveled to Kenya Africa, brought back a few bilingual, as well as English books about Africa for kids. The really neat thing is we were able to bring some of those books to a patient currently at the hospital for her to enjoy. It was so cool to see her little smiling face when she saw books about people who looked just like her.

I have to really thank (again) the Oregonian and Goshia (the reporter), for helping us share our story and get the word out about the need for books. Did you know that Child Life Department at Doernbecher has very little funding for books and toys for the patients and their families? It's amazing. They have (what I would consider) one of the most challenging jobs at the hospital. Their job is to make the patients stay comfortable as well as their families.

So many other thank yous that I don't think listing them will be enough. Let me just say....


I really don't feel like I have done anything more than what someone else would think of doing, I don't feel extraordinary or even special. I really feel a sense of joy and satisfaction knowing that if Nina was here today, she would have helped us and it would have made her really smile to do something nice. She really did have the greatest most infectious smile.

Will I do this again, also has been a common question. My answer to that is HECK YES! My feeling is that not only is this something that to me, is so personal and so rewarding! So please stay tuned for updates on when we will be doing our 2nd Annual Nina's Books of Love Book Drive.

Here are some more pictures from our drop off day! The first picture is Lucy, Tanya, Rachel and Cindy and the second one has me there on the end.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Feb 1st Book Totals...

Only one more week left to collect books and I am already thinking about next years drive. I spent the last few days taking inventory and boxing up the books so they are ready to go to Doerenbecher on the 14th... Are you ready for the total?



Can you believe it? It's amazing. I can not put into words how awesome this has been. I am looking back now not realizing how important this really was (is) to me. Each time we have stopped to pick up books, or boxed up books in my kitchen, the kids ask me to "have a turn" looking at them. I tell them that these books are for the boys and girls that are in the hospital.

This last week has been super long and happily now in the past. We started the week off with my youngest sons three year check up. He had to get a shot (or as we call it "a poke"), which always creates a bit of drama and tears. We also had a ton of snow, which in turn allows the entire living world to shut down in the Pacific Northwest.

This morning, my youngest asked me to look at one of the books, and in my usual response I told him that we were going to take these books to the boys and girls that are sick at the hospital. He asked me if the boys and girls have to get "a poke" when they are in the hospital? I had to chuckle to myself because that poke really stuck with him... I told him that yes, they do have to get a poke, and some of them have to have a lot of pokes. I continued with "it's going to be nice for them to have some good books to read while they have to get their pokes." My oldest then piped in with "I wish I would have had a good book to read when I had to get my pokes!"

How cute is that? You have to love the thought process of small children. I am really looking forward to the 14th (our delivery day). I promise to continue to share our progress through the week, and photos from our delivery day.

I told Rachel (Nina's mom), that we had a ton of books... literally, I bet we have a whole ton.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Book Update...

It has been almost a week since I posted my last update and I am sorry but it's been a really busy week. We had birthdays (one of which was my sons) and clients and well... life to deal with so I am glad to be back to some sort of calm pace.

I am really happy that things with the drive are going so well. I know we have over 500 books and most of that (well all really) is due to all the wonderful donors we have received from the article in the paper.

Jazzy Bagels has been so awesome. They have just been collecting and calling and collecting and calling to let me know that "my cup runneth over." It's amazing to see how people come together to support out little cause. I am looking forward to next years drive and I think I might have to up the ante to 1,000 books (just to keep things interesting).

I am getting ready to send a note over to Cindy at the hospital to tell her how many boxes we have collected so far. I think she is going to be really surprised and pleased to see what we will have for them.

We added a box today... really the box will be in place on the 11th of February. PLEASE CHECK OUT THE BOX DROP LOCATIONS FOR DETAILS... One of our Mom's from the playgroup is helping up put a box at her daughters school during the book fair week. Yet another opportunity to tell more people about our cause.

Many thank yous to all that have helped us. OUR success is YOUR success!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Book Totals.... You'll Never Guess

I can't believe it. We are about 1 month from the end of the drive and our total right now is at... are you ready.... 415 books. I am so excited I can hardly stand it.

I have had the pleasure of talking to so many people about this drive, and share their story with me about why they want to donate it really warms my heart.

Many thanks to all that have contributed thus far.

Rachel shared something with me about giving that I want to share with you... save it for the next post!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Surpise Donation @ Jazzy Bagels!

Today is a wet rainy day in the Pacific Northwest. It's one of those days that you keep the curtains drawn and the lights dim. My kids were at school today and I spent the morning working on blog posts and catching up on my Google Reader (I love my reader). I love quite mornings at home!

After picking up the kids and having lunch we settled into playing with some hot wheels (two boys, what can I say) and the phone rang. When I picked up I was really surprised to hear Stacey @ Jazzy Bagels on the other end. She told me "..a women came in today and dropped off a box of books for the book drive".

I was thrilled to hear that someone could be so generous (a whole box of books WOO-HOO!!!!) . With the weather being so icky we decided a trip into town might do us some good! So I packed up the boys and we headed out.

Mason is of course excited for a car ride in any kind of weather!

Maxwell too is always up for any kind of adventure (as long as we are properly dressed).

When we got to Jazzy Bagels, I was so surprised to see not only a huge box of books but all brand new books! Even the boys were surprised to see all the brand new books...

Maxwell asked if the books were for him, and when I reminded him we were collecting books for the kids at the hospital he said (and I quote...) "oh mom... that is so nice!"

I would like to personally thank the donor who is helping us achieve our goals! Your contribution will mean so much to each and every child that touches these books! You must know that!

Mason and Maxwell thank you too! Happy Days!

Article In Paper Today!

The article came out today. I was pleased with the reporting and am glad that there is an interest out there for our story! I am hopeful that this will generate some additional interest to get more books and reach our goal! Not to mention that some super cute pictures of the kids you have to see the paper to see the photos (... a classic one of the two girls jumping and playing around...).

A huge thank you to Gosia Wozniacka the reporter from the Oregonian (and her photographer). Without her interest I don't know as our story would have been picked up.

Here is a link to the article if you haven't seen it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

55 More Books!!!

I am pleased to report our totals... we have 257 books donated so far! We are 51% toward our goal! Thank you to all that have donated thus far.

Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life. -Les Brown -----------------------------------------------------------

Q: What type of books are you accepting?

A: New or gently used board books, no chapter books please.

To give a little more clarification, we accept all children's books that are NEW or gently used condition.

Q: What does "gently used" mean?
A: Any book that is intact with no torn, (or books that are gnawed on if you are in my family) ripped, scribbled on pages... you get the drift.

The important thing to think about is that we would like our focus to be on young children's books which fits the board book category. Of course if you have a few standard story books they will be gladly accepted.

Chapter books can be difficult due to topic and well... length. Most books are there to fill short gaps of time for the children and their families while in the waiting room or recovery. If you have a few young teen chapter books... they will not be turned away, we just don't want our focus to be about chapter books.

Pictures are always more entertaining for kids! Do you have any questions you would like to see posted?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Project takes off...

I am so thrilled to see the progress we are making on our project! Last week a reporter came out to a playgroup event and talked to us about doing a piece in the Oregonian next week.

On top of that we dropped a drop box at Jazzy Bagel's in downtown Gresham, Oregon. The neat thing about the bagel shop is they were helpful to our cause back in 2005 when we did the Walk for Nina. That walk was focused on raising funds for FARF and getting the word out about this disease.

I hope to have some new totals for the thermometer in the next week! Stay tuned to see our article be published next week!