Tuesday, March 18, 2014

So much to be thankful for....

I have been wanting to post for sometime.  I had a few things that I thought were post worthy, but must have not been since I never sat down to actually type them up.  So here I am now.

Now all I really want to say is thank you. THANK YOU. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have donated time, money, talent, support and whatever you could to this project.  My heart continues to be touched and I know that without all of you this would never be possible.  I could never make as many or as beautiful items as have donated to Blankets for Brianna.  In fact, I can barely make anything.  I have taken on the administrative roll of contacting hospitals and delivering blankets.  On a side note, I can still help anyone who is interested in doing that in their own area.  

I am so thankful for the people that I meet.  I have never met anyone who isn't just the most kind hearted person.  I meet lifelong friends from people who donated 2 blankets to people who continue to contact me with multiple items.  Blankets for Brianna even came up in conversation yesterday to the service writer as I was getting my oil changed.  I don't know what impact this little organization is making, but my heart is touched.  My heart is softened.  And for that I thank all of you. 

I do wish that we would hear more about how these blankets and other baby items are received.  Here at Blankets for Brianna we donate directly to hospitals and from there they are given to families.  Most of the time the families do not contact us.  But, I am not sure why they would.  Remembering back to my own child loss, I don't think I would have contacted an organization.  So I don't hear really anything about families who receive our items, but I did get a glimpse into one family.

Blankets for Brianna has been delivered to Dixie Medical Center in St George, Utah a couple times.  That is where my parents live.  My dad recently had a friend pass away.  My dad went down to the mortuary to make sure that this friend would be getting Veterans honors during his service and such.  I am not sure how it came about, but my dad saw a small blue gown on the counter.  He asked about it to the man at the mortuary.  It belonged to a sweet angel baby who was going to be dressed in it to be buried. My dad checked the gown and it had a Blanket for Brianna tag.  My dad never met the family of course, but to relay that story to me was so special.  I don't know if that is all the boy had to be dressed in or that it was special and dear to their heart, but either way it was what he was going to be buried in and that warmed my heart.  I wanted to share with all of you to know the impact your small blankets and gowns and beanies or whatever is donated brings to these precious families. 

So all in all, THANK YOU!!! Thank you to everyone who makes up this wonderful organization.  THANK YOU!!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy Birthday to my Angel

One of my favorite quotes that has to deal with infant loss... "Some people only dream of angels, but I got to hold one."  Happy Birthday Baby Girl...


Last year we did something a little different for Brianna's birthday. Something we couldn't do this year. I had been trying to think of a way, a perfect way, to celebrate or remember Bree, but I was kinda at a loss.  I finally decided I would order those specialty cupcakes and take them to the Doctor's office and the Hospital where Bree was born along with some blankets from Blankets for Brianna. I got a couple quotes... For what I wanted it was going to be $80. EIGHTY Dollars.  I was thinking $40, so was a bit surprised when I found out the true cost.

I thought that was extremely ridiculous.  I decided then to use the money instead to get a pedicure or to do something for myself to make myself happy on this special day.

I started to think that was ridiculous.

Then I realized the perfect solution.

I have a dear friend who helps run a charity called Faithful Servants.  Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/faith.servants?fref=ts&ref=br_tf.  They are seriously the most amazing organization I have ever heard of.  They do anything and everything they can for everyone, person, animal.... you name it.

Faithful Servants feeds about 30 homeless people every single Saturday.  I decided that's how I would use the money I was going to buy cupcakes with.  I am sure cooking and serving the homeless would make Brianna way more happy than just taking cupcakes to nurses who don't need it. 

I don't cook much. I am still learning.  I was thinking it would be a cold day so I decided to make Taco Soup (kinda like chili) and cornbread.  I also made birthday funfetti cupcakes. 

 
 
Well the day came... January in California.. turns out its not so cold.  It was hot, I was sweating.  But the Soup was still a hit.  It was the best experience.  I didn't say why I was there, but had Bree on my mind the whole time.  The all time best part of the afternoon was taking the cupcakes around to everyone for seconds since there were so many and getting to say hi and chat a little with these humble, grateful people. 



 
 
A huge SHOUTOUT to Kendra for gathering up about 6-7 young women to come help serve. You ladies are lifesavers and was so nice to have familiar faces around.  Thanks for keeping me organized too. 
 
I wish I could afford to do this every weekend, but for now I will just hope to serve again and maybe even cook again.  For those of you in the Perris area, contact Faithful Servants at their Facebook page.  They are always in need of donations of any sort.
 
 
 
Bree's birthday was the following Monday.  We, of course, stopped by to visit her and drop off flowers.  Visiting a cemetery is pretty much the worst! Especially when it is for a child of your own.  I really hate it! Spending the day with my family was the best though, with Brianna in all my thoughts.
 
Later that week, I mailed blankets and such to Parkview Hospital where Brianna was born.  No one got fancy cupcakes though.  Next year I hope to celebrate her birthday in a similar way.  Hopefully, I can make it a tradition. 
 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Walk Walk Walk .... RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!


October has become my favorite month.  It welcomes the holiday season, which everyone loves, and it is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (P.A.I.L.).  Its strange to think that I love it, but I can't change that I am part of that community so I might as well participate in it so I am not alone in my grief.

This year I did something different than last and attended ALL the local Walk to Remembers.  At first I was a little apprehensive thinking it was going to be too much emotionally, but as each weekend passed with another Walk to Remember I realized it was the best idea and hope to be able to do it again next year.

The first Walk to Remember was in Orange County.  I can't say which was my favorite since they were all so wonderful in their own way.  I loved Orange County (minus the Santa Ana winds... YIKES).  Carly Marie was there!!! Might have been the best part.  I am not one to care about celebrities, but I guess she isn't like a movie star.  Someone at her booth suggested I wait for her to come back and I am so glad I did.
I instantly got teary eyed... She was just wonderful to meet.  To find out more about Carly Marie check out http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/ 
 
Something else I loved about this Walk was the book Special Delivery.  It is a free children's book to help children understand infant loss... Get your free copy at http://www.specialdeliverybook.org/    



The next Walk to Remember was at Loma Linda Children's Hospital.  Many of my friends from my local support group was there which made for a nice Sunday Afternoon.  I think my favorite part of this one was the Dove Release. I am not sure why... I just really liked it.

 
 


The last Walk to Remember was one near and dear to my heart. Some really good friends came along to make the day extra special... and of course my brother to help with the booth (Thanks Crockett for giving up a Saturday morning for me).
 
Unfortunately, my camera died so the other pics are on my phone and others phones and all over.  Next year I will charge my battery between each Walks just to be sure : )
 
Last the RUN part... The first three weekends were full of Walks and the last was a Half Marathon in Boulder City, Nevada.  I trained for this race, but I have come to a conclusion I am not a runner... But then again who is.  I still want to thank my team and especially Dan and Dennis for coming to run with me the last half mile.  I ran with wings and a halo to stick with the P.A.I.L. theme.

 
 


In some ways I am glad the month is over and the rush is done, but in other ways I am a little sad since its done... but lets hope next year is similar... except if I run that half I better do better!!!!




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Making Memories of our Angels

I recently was given the opportunity to speak at the Loma Linda Always in My Heart support group about Making Memories of our Angels. I was so honored to even be asked. 

I met one of the nurses who runs the support group and she noticed that I have pieces of my own angel all over my house, which gave her the idea.  Not until I sat down to brainstorm what to take and talk about did I realize that Brianna is sprinkled all over my house.  There is a little bit of memories of her in 7 of the rooms in our house, which include all the common areas except the loft. (Now I gotta put something in there).

 
 
Here is the little table that was set up with the ideas. 
 
Blankets for Brianna recently published a new brochure for bereaved parents along these same lines that gives them idea of making memories of theirown angels.  It is something I think is really exciting... yet sad at the same time thinking about the parents that actually need to make memories of their babies.
 
If anyone would like a brochure email me (Laurel@blanketsforbrianna.com) and I will get one or as many as you need in the mail to you.  I, also, plan to make a page on the www.blanketsforbrianna.com webpage spelling out each idea for making memories of our angels.
 
Some of the ideas in the brochure and featured on the table are ideas such as baby books that are specific for parents with a loss, photobooks like on Mixbook or My Publisher where you write your own story and include your own pictures*which usually have deals on Groupon or Living Social, DIY ideas like the pillow and picture on the black block, items you can buy like Origami Owl or Willow Tree figurines, things for bereaved parents from other bereaved parents like blocks from Maura's Mission or Molly Bears.... the list goes on and on. 
 
Here at Blankets for Brianna we just hope that people who have suffered a loss feel free to remember their angel as much or as little as they want.
 
My experience with the group was touching.  I thought I would just go and talk about stuff... literally the stuff on the table isn't hard to talk about; however, they went around the circle and had everyone tell their story and then I told mine. Listening to these mothers grieve for their babies and then talk about Brianna was NOT EASY.  I talk about her lots, but wasn't expecting to that day even though that's why I went.  I think it threw me off.  Brianna is such a huge part of my life. I miss her every day.  I think the hardest part is not knowing what type of person she is... is she funny? friendly? compassionate? loving... a little bratty : ) Is she loud like her momma or quiet and reserved like her dad.... Hopefully I will know someday.
 
Thank you again to everyone who continues to support this organization, whether by making blankets, delivering blankets or sending monetary donations.  We are always accepting of anything and receipts can be provided. Thanks to you all who love Brianna and Blankets for Brianna. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Every Angel a Missionary

I believe that learning does not end here on earth.  After we pass on to our next estate, I believe there is still so much to learn and do and work for.  That is part of what I always believed about Brianna and what has always helped me.  I always looked at her as a missionary.  She is teaching the gospel to people who may not have had a chance here on earth to learn about it.  I always say "she is teaching the gospel and singing with angels."

I have the opportunity to train and run a half marathon in October. The money raised will go to pay for missionaries here on earth. I think that is a perfect charity.  I am so happy to train and run again. Its been a long time since I have been physically able to run/jog, and it feels good to be outside in the fresh air. As long as we aren't in the triple digits temps... : ) Plus, I even posted today that my best ideas come to me when I am jogging since it gives me time to think.  So I should be getting a few good ideas in the next few months.  Countdown to the half marathon is October 26th... Yah.

Its possible that Blankets for Brianna will have a booth at the expo the day before.  I am happy to promote this organization and happy to meet new people who may want to donate and work for us. 

There are always happy things going on here.  I love my job at Blankets for Brianna.  Every day I am amazed at all the people who support and love us.  Thanks to you all.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Superman??


Blankets for Brianna has brought me so much joy in this past year or so. I hope that the mothers and ladies and families who receive blankets and beanies and other baby items from this organization find comfort and peace when their babies, either in the NICU or those who are already angels, are wrapped in them. 

We are here to leave a lasting memory of these sweet babies.  That being said sometimes I feel like Superman.  Now now... I know. Superman is way more life saving than Blankets for Brianna.  But I love being that person people turn to when they have no other place to go. 

A little background, I work in emergency services, but nothing has been as personal as this.  I get late night emails or random phone calls from friends or friends of friends or referral to us.  These people know someone suffering either a loss or a sick baby.  Blankets for Brianna is able to send care packages to these mothers.  Mothers who may not have had their babies at a hospital that currently has a stock of blankets from Blankets for Brianna.

The care packages sent to these mothers include:
  • A labeled handmade blanket
  • A  beaded bracelet for the mother to wear that says their child's name in Morse Code. 
  • A journal (Once Brianna was born, I used a journal to write her letters, others may use it to journal their thoughts and feelings.)
  • and a sympathy card to the mother.
We haven't received a thank you or correspondence when these packages are received, but I am sure these mothers are grateful for the memory of their babies that they are able to keep at home. 

I know I say it all the time, but thank you again for all your donations whether monetary or blankets and other items.  You guys all make this organization run.  Thank you to everyone for your love and support. I love you all.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

A whirlwind of a year


Today marks the one year since we have received "official-hood" here at Blankets for Brianna.

Thanks to you all we have accomplished so much.  We have shared stories, experiences, tears, and laughs.  Every single item given to hospitals has been donated to this wonderful organization that is not only in memory of this precious angel Brianna, but other angels just like her.

We cannot begin to thank you all enough for the generosity and support.  We have donated blankets every single month since we started. 

Here is a quick little wrap up of all we have done in the past year. 


Brianna born
January 13, 2012
Opened Blankets for Brianna Facebook
February 23, 2012
Letter received from Secretary of State to say the name Blankets for Brianna available
March 13, 2012
Delivered first package of blankets to Parkview Community Hospital (where Brianna was born)
April 4, 2012
Articles of Incorporation endorsed/filed
April 11, 2012
IRS Employer Identification Number received
June 11, 2012
IRS Form 1040 and California Franchise Tax Board Form 3500 filed
July 30, 2012
IRS Form 1040 and California Franchise Tax Board Form 3500 accepted effective April 11, 2012
September 2012
California Registry of Charitable Trusts confirmed
October 8, 2012
 
 
Current Board of Directors
Laurel Taylor, Tiffany Hazelaar, Stefanie Muhlhauser
Total Likes on Facebook
547
Number of Hospitals donated to
43
Number of States donated to
11 (California, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Virginia, Illinois, Oregon, New York, DC)
Number of Countries donated to
4 (USA, Germany, Rome, England)
Number of Blankets donated
833
Number of Beanies donated
239
Number of other items donated
Booties- 8
Gowns- 9
Teddy Bears- 5

    To follow this charity... Please like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BlanketsforBrianna . We post updates on items that are donated to us including pictures, and updates on hospitals that these wonderful, beautiful items are donated to.  You can also message the Board of Directors with questions, comments and ideas to better the organization.
 
Thanks again and we love you all.