Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Story - Part Two

We'll confess something. About eight days into this Experiment, when Kate was buried in work and Lydia was buried in pre-Christmas events and her work and Guru was wondering just what in the name of Maude she had gotten herself into, we hit a wall. The wall comprised of "I've spent twelve hours today hooking [heh heh heh] and somehow there are MORE names in the inbox than when I started..." and "I've ignored my kids and my husband and I'm not going to get anything done in time for Christmas..." and "This isn't even my blog, bitches..." [Editor's Note: Nah, she didn't say that...right, Guru? -Kate] And -- as you all know -- our ratio started to change, and we weren't sure if we could help everyone and that is just an icky feeling to be all, "LET US HELP!" and then be like, "ooooohhhh yeah...right...so, we're stupid..."
But, as fate would have it, right as that wall was giving us lovely flat faces, the letters from you guys started popping in our inbox. Letters that we didn't expect...and they said the most amazing things about each other, and the magical gifts that you were sending across the country. And we told you how we might not have enough hookers and you guys COWBOYED UP -- "Send me more!" and "I'll take TEN!" and "Hook me up again, hookers!" And, just like that, the wall vanished. And we read stories about moms who had next to nothing, but still wanted to send ten dollars to another mom. [Editor's Note: Kelly, I'm totally looking at you, girl. -Kate] and showed us this incredible display of generosity and hooker-attitude. And, it. was. awesome.
Every letter we've read had one thing in common. They all said thank you in some way to Lydia and Guru and me. But, really, we need to thank you. We had a goofy idea. An idea that was only going to be as good as you all made it. And, after some *very careful* math, over our three-week long experiment, you guys sent out nearly a hundred thousand freakin' dollars in gift cards. Are you kidding us? That's ah-may-zing.
We're waaaaay beyond the Julia Roberts hooking...we're like in the Heidi Fleiss, Elliott Spitzer hooking levels. And that's just crazy. And gross. BUT AWESOME!
So, thankyouthankyouthankyou...every single one of you hookers made this project a roaring success. We couldn't be more proud if we were riding around in a purple lowrider and wearing a felt fedora.
xoxo, Kate, Lydia and Louise
Now, on to your stories...

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As I sit here, I try to think of the words to express my appreciation for all that has been done in the past week or so for me and my family, not by friends or extended family but by complete strangers. People who didn't know me or my kids. People who had no idea if they were sending these cards out to a person who was truly in need or someone who was deceiving them and taking advantage of their kindness. As I sit here thinking over the past month the tears are flowing down my face, a month ago these would be tears of sadness, that I couldn't provide for my children any Christmas, but today they are tears of pure happiness because a bunch of moms got together and made a difference in a lot of other moms lives.

I have always believed in miracles as I have three gorgeous miracles of my own. But to be completely honest with you my faith in humanity has long been strained to say the least. After what I have experianced this past week I see that humanity is still alive and well. Onto My Story:
I emailed the Helping Hookers campaign thinking that maybe just maybe there would be someone who would actually send a $20 gift card and I would be able to get my kids one gift each, all the while thinking this is never going to work. Then last Friday Dec. 16th we got hit hard, I was driving my hubs to work with two of my darling children in the van when all of the sudden it starts dying. I was about to lose my Schmidt. I got a jump and got it home but it was clear my alternator needed to be replaced. So now what little bit I had scraped up to try to get Christmas for my kids was going to have to buy an alternator. I went to my mailbox the next morning and found a red envelope...from someone in Alexandria, VA....
Me: Hun, you know anyone in Alexandria, VA
Hubs: No...but its addressed to you even though they spelled your name wrong....you should open it.
So I did....inside I found a card with a note, "Hope this makes the Holiday brighter! xoxo Your Hooker! Heather......"
OH MY SCHMIDT!!!!! Is this really happening?!?!?!
Heather, yes it made my Holidays much much Brighter!
And had this story ended there it would have been still so great but it didn't...
Over the next few days, I continued to check my mailbox, mostly because I was making sure none of my pictures I had sent out to my family had been sent back. They didn't but what I found in my mailbox in the next few days was so shocking and amazing it has had me in tears for a week.
I received three more cards in the mail over the next few days, Natalie Mason and Her Boss Goose (at least I think that's what it says), Kristi Walker in Tacoma, WA, Jennifer Prout in Broken Arrow, OK....All of you are very very Helpful Hookers.
At this point I thought wow this is amazing, and I went Christmas Shopping....
But when I got home after ugly crying all the way through Target and Walmart and getting the gifts hid in the closet, I hear a knock on my door.
It's the UPS man....WHUCK!!!I have a delivery from Target he says.
I'm not expecting any deliveries I say.
You are Tiffiny Stewart aren't you?
Yes...I am.
Then its you I am looking for...Sign here.
I go back inside and open this envelope...Ellen Bolotin in Brooklyn, NY had sent me a gift card as well.
I came into this not believing thinking if it worked that maybe one person would send something to me, I am coming out of this with a whole new look on humanity, gifts for my children, and eight new people in my life to love because they really deserve it. Kate, Lydia, Heather, Natalie, Goose, Kristi, Jennifer and Ellen you all made a huge difference in my life and I will never forget this. All the other Hookers and hooked up know that many lives were touched by what was done here. With that said, Yes there is a Santa, sometimes its a mom, sometimes its a dad, sometimes its complete strangers, but yes there is a Santa.
The Stewart Family
P.S. A kind man fixed my van for half of what I thought it was going to cost us, He's a helping Hooker and didn't even know it *giggle fit*
Be Brave,
Be Strong,
Be There,
Wherever it may take you!!!!


Heya Hookers!

I'm sure you've heard this once or twice over the past few weeks, but you ladies rock. First you go and make me laugh on a regular basis (even on days when I think I'm too tired to even smile) and then you go and come up with the most amazing human experiment ever.

I signed up to be a Helping Hooker because I believed in what you were doing. I also had been feeling a bit underwhelmed about the holidays this year. There's just so much to do and it all felt like an obligation, rather than something fun and happy and wonderful. So when I read your post I saw it as a reminder of what this season is all about. I emailed you immediately and got a zing of giddiness when I received my match. I felt like I could make a difference in someone's Christmas, even just a tiny bit.

The moment I dropped that card in the mail was the best moment. I felt like I was sending Good out into the universe. Unfettered, Helping Hooker Good. There's no better holiday joy than that!

I really thought that mailing a gift card was as good as it would get (and, that was pretty darn good). I never expected to hear anything more about the card I mailed and I was okay with that. But, when I got home from work tonight there was a hand-addressed letter in the mail pile from an address I didn't recognize. I was totally curious. Juggling my toddler and our bags, I bent over to pick up the letter. It was from my Hooker match! And the envelope was thick. Before I even opened it I had chills. Slowly, I unfolded the pages and from the top of the first page an adorable young face looked up at me. The letter began, "See that adorable smiling face above? He is going to have a great Christmas now because of you." Cue the tears.

(Actually, I'm still a bit weepy typing this. Thankfully I don't have to see anyone other than family because the weepy look is not my best.)

My match and I have a lot in common: we both have toddlers, we both graduated college, we both work full-time in similar industries. I could be her if things were slightly different; if Hurricane Irene had hit a few miles east, if my husband or I lost our job, if our daughter needed major medical care. I've always been a big believer in offering help when you can, because you never know when you'll be the one needing help. This experiment has hammered that truth home.

Thank you for giving me the chance to make a difference. And thank you for reminding me that there are a lot of good people in the world.

Signed,
A Helping Hooker in MA

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The Grand Hooker Experiment was published on December 2nd. I wrote to you (Kate and Lydia) on December 6th. It is nearly three weeks later and my life has changed so much since then… My faith in humanity has been restored. And it was lacking in a major way.
But let’s back up for just a second…
RFML is my rock. I read you every day, finding something new to make me smile. Or cry, but in a good way ;) You inspired me to write my own blog, which as of today only has 2 entries… the first post I wrote was published on December 1st, the next day I read The Grand Hooker Experiment.... (what a fabulous title!) …It all seemed rather serendipitous!! Here it is:
“I need a miracle...
I remember the first time I said those words. I was 19 and it was at a Grateful Dead concert somewhere in Ohio or Michigan. I was standing barefoot in the parking lot - dirty, sweaty, surely on drugs, and hoping beyond all hope that someone had a ticket to the show for me. That's what a miracle used to be. I suppose my miracles morphed into the things that people who don't have a God pray for. Things like a new job, a car, a house. To not get pulled over by that cop you just sped by.
So does that mean that I am one of those non-spiritual people? Because I'm finding myself praying for things. Not patience. Not tolerance. Not kindness. I'm praying for a false miracle. So far the only miracles that have happened in my life are my two children and me getting sober. And staying sober.
I suppose I need to refresh myself on my situation. I am a sucker for the 'bad boy'. I have spent my life in one tumultuous relationship after another. One of those relationships granted me those first two miracles. My boys (I'll call my nearly 8 year-old 'Pie' and and my nearly 6 year-old 'Booby') have brought me more pain and pleasure than I thought humanly possible. I would die without them. But, man, did they change everything. I am no longer the 'free spirit' that I used to be. I am a mother. Motherhood = Responsibility. I have no regrets. I like the responsible me much better than the free-spirit me. Regardless, I'm different now. My priorities are my boys. Period. Full-stop. I have learned how to not need so many things for myself. I have learned how to wear hats on bad hair days. I have learned that shaving my legs once a month is OK. I have learned that peeing in private is a thing of the past - at least for the next 12 years. I have learned that the pure love I have for these children has turned me into a creature of protection. I want to shield them from everything uncomfortable, painful, bad and ugly.
Which very indirectly leads me to my needed miracle......
My life has taken so many twists and turns and I have tried to remain the strongest woman I can be through sheer will-power. Over the past 4 years I have also learned, not through my children, that will-power will get me nowhere. Fast. I can't will my rent to get paid. Nor can I will for a better a life. So, by that third miracle, I have found my higher power. I call it/he/she God. It makes it easy, although I suppose if I were to name my God, it's/his/her name might be something like "Ahhhhhhhhhh?". So I'll go with God. And in order to get the things that my boys and I need, not want, I actually have to work for them. That means no miracles. Just work. Work work work work work.
Being a single-mom in a foreign country, my opportunities are somewhat limited. My first, and biggest limitation, is language. I speak English. And only English. I can't have a 'normal' job like everyone else (people who live in their Mother tongue country). Even if I spoke the language of this country, it would not allow me to help my 2nd grader with his home-work. Or have a relationship with a speaker of that language.
Which very indirectly leads me to my needed miracle......”
When I wrote to you, I had no idea what to expect. And you said that giving information about me was not necessary. But I felt compelled. I’m not a somethin’ for nothin’ kinda gal. I’m also a Leo which means two things: 1 – I had to try to prove myself and 2 – I don’t have much humility. That has made all of this extremely difficult, painful, eye-opening and rewarding all at the same time… Here are a few excerpts from my letter… “I realize that I am probably not an ideal candidate for your Grand Hooker Experiment - I live in Prague, Czech Republic... But I am a desperate single mom. I have lived here for 11 years and have been raising my two boys alone since 2007... …my Slovak ex-husband is all wrapped up in his new life with his new, young, childless girlfriend… and only pays $225 a month for the boys and I have lost every appeal to increase my support. I can no longer afford to live here on my own... it's all just too much.
Most people think that I must live such an exotic, glamorous life because I live in Europe.... If y'all only knew ;) It's pretty much the same, just different :) I don't have a car, we use public transport… …On a typical day, I'm up at 6:00, get the boys and myself ready for the day - dressed, fed, pack lunches, teeth brushed, shoes, coats, backpacks, door – it’s our normal routine between 6-7:30. Get Pie to 2nd grade, get Booby to the kindergarten one block over, and head to work. Work all day, go directly to pick up the boys at their latch-key clubs before they close at 5:00, stop at the small market on the corner to pick up something for dinner, head home, get the boys fed, homework done, baths, books and bed. And that is my day most days. I can't complain, we are healthy, but I'm tired.
This holiday season has me panicking. I have never been so broke in all my life. In addition to Christmas coming, Pie turns 8 on December 20th and Booby turns 6 on January 31st. I have a pit in my stomach that keeps me from smiles and sleep.”
Then along came my Helping Hookers. You know who you are. You became my Angels. I received the Christmas miracle that I had been praying for. I couldn’t even believe it. I had Christmas for my boys. Santa (Hookers) came and left gifts under the tree. Even a box of goodies from my Italian Hooker (thank you again!!).
I can’t wait until next year, or the year after, or the year after that, when I get to be a Helping Hooker. I want to wear one of those booby grabbing tees :) I want to be the Angel, like the ones that helped me give the Christmas I had prayed for, that gives a Needy Hooker some help. Because if giving felt anything as good as receiving, sign me up for the Lifetime Hooker Program. [Editor's Note: *Snort.* Lifetime Hooker Program. Awesome. - Kate]
Thank you to my Helping Hookers. Thank you Kate and Lydia, for being there for me. Everyday. 24/7. Y'all have helped me more than you could ever know....
Much love,
Your Needy Hooker that got Helped.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

16 comments:

  1. A hundred thousand dollars from hooker to hooker??? You guys did so so good. Merry Christmas, Kate and Lydia!

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  2. This experiment has been the best part of my entire Christmas this year. Early in December I read a book called Christmas Is Not Your Birthday & I was determined to show my kids the real meaning of Christmas. We did shoeboxes at church. We sponsored an Angel Tree child. We volunteered at the food bank and Habit for Humanity. But it was this experimant that made all the difference. It helped me show them that there are people out there JUST LIKE US. That were doing just fine and then BOOM. Shcmidt happenend & they needed help. I'm SO happy we could be part of this. I hope my new friend in Keokuk, IA has a fantastic year and gets to be a Hooker next year. And I hope I get to be a part of the Lifetime Hooker Program. Thanks Kate, Lydia & Guru for pimping me out!

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  3. My hope is that next year I can help out a deserving mom! When it was announced this year, It was not only an off pay week (I get paid bi-weekly) but my Husband realized he "thought" he paid three bills that sent us late notices... oy. I need a booby grab shirt too! so nice to hear these stories of all these Hookers willing to help other Hookers in need! <3

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  4. I just wanted to say thank you to you guys for doing the awesome hooker experiment. And for giving it a kickin' name that makes me giggle. I know it was a huge time sucking pain in the rear, but what a perfect example of the true meaning of Christmas. Lydia's latest post about New Years suggests she's feeling a little down on herself, but I'll say this to you two and all the helping hookers out there: look at the example you just set for your children! Can you give them a better gift than a social conscience? They are so more likely to remember this example when they are an adult than whatever plastic toy you put under the tree that they've probably already broken.
    I was personally in that grey area where my bank account was in the red, but I had just enough left on an almost maxed out credit card to provide a modest Christmas for my kids. I wish I could have been a helping hooker, but I also was not going to take the help from someone who had it worse. But it's so nice to feel like if the alternator in my car kicked it this year too and our tenuous Christmas plan was screwed, there would have been helping hookers who cared.
    I hope that you do it again next year, and because I'm an optimist, I'm totally hoping to be the Queen Hooker of the Dirty Pirate Hookers. Most of all, remember, you guys are not only fabulous mothers, but you are fabulous people. People who make a real difference and make the world a better place to live in.
    Good job, hookers. Keep on hookin'. (that time I just wanted to say HOOKER one more time...)

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  5. This is a fantastic thing you all decided to try - and kudos to all of us who participated! Not just the Helping Hookers, but the ones who understood the toughness of their situation, swallowed their pride and said, "I need help!" That's a tough thing - and everyone deserve praise! I know that personally, I plan on paying it forward throughout the year - and if my help is no longer needed where it was originally assigned, I hope she'll pay it forward in kind!

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  6. OHHH YEAH, MOMMYSHORTS COMMENTED. I KNOW THAT YOU ALSO HAD A HAND WITH OUR HOOKERS EXPERIMENT, SO I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I WAS A HELPING HOOKER AND WHEN WE WERE OPENING PRESENTS AND SAW HOW WE WERE ALL LAUGHING A ND JOKIG AROUND, I WAS HOPING THAT K IN NC WAS ALSO EXPERIENCING THE SAME EXACT JOY AS I WAS... (OOPS I FORGOT TO TAKE OFF CAPS LOCK, AND THEN WAS TOO LAZY TO RE-TYPE MY WHOLE MESSAGE...MY BAD)

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  7. I wrote you guys via Yahoo but by the time i had you had already stopped the project and i got my email back. So I wanted to say thank you so very much! My little boy got to open something on Christmas thanks to Kate,Lydia and my Helping Hookers Allison and Amanda. I don't know what I would have done without you Hookers! Hopefully next time you do a big project I can help! My little boy is so happy and it makes me want to cry. To go along with you guys and my Helping Hookers my man landed a job a couple days before Christmas! He starts next week. I'm going to call you guys at RFML the Harbingers of Amazingness! One good turn deserves another and when i can i will pass on your amazingness!!

    If i could i'd kiss everyone who helped with this project. Or hug because hugs are more Mommy appropriate. Cuz you know we are Mommies and (at least my son thinks this] Mommies arent allowed to give kisses to anyone but him XD

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  8. My comment disappeared.... I was a hook-up for a hooker. It was awesome, and brought tears to my eyes. Then A client gifted me something I thought you only heard about on the news. My car broke BAD. I had a client pay the bill on my car. I would LOVE to send a gift card, or something to somebody left off the Xmas Hooker list. I need/want to pay it forward. I know if you can scrape ends together & make Christmas work for the kids. Bills, rent, and groceries might be tough. Here is my email mommyowens143@gmail.com I hope you two see this & can help a Hooker, help another Hooker out

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  9. I got a card, from the hooker I helped, in the mail today. Hubby asked if I knew someone with the name (I'm not saying here) and I didn't then it dawned on me that my hooker was sending a thank you. I took on the challenge to help and not look back. I was reminded again that every little thing we do has a consequence and goof deeds do help.

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  10. Thank you all for allowing me to be a Hooker!! Sign me up for the Lifetime Hooker Club!!! I just finished reading Christmas Jars by Jason Wright (highly recommed, feel good book. Make time to read this one book!) and I'm going to start a Christmas Jar along with being a Hooker :-) Love you girls!!!!

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  11. I read yalls blog daily. Or as often as you you update. I'm a mommy of a 2 & 4 year old. I so enjoy the comic relief. You guys are so so funny. And now, since the helping hookers started all I do is cry. I sent an email the first or second night that y'all started this experiment. Not for me but for an aunt that just lost her husband of 38years to cancer in Novemeber. She had always been a stay at home wife and mommy and now keeps her grandkids. When her husband passed away I didn't know what she would do for Christmas gifts for her family. Her husband hasnt been able to work the last few months of his life. I know money is tight, if there was any at all. My husband and I have given groceries to help but just couldn't afford to help with gifts for her three kids and five grandkids. So I was so excited when I read what y'all were gonna do. I dont have her address so I sent mine and was going secretly sneak her gift to her but I never recieved a red envelope or a gift card in the mail for her. I don't know what she was able to do for gifts. I know she spent the holiday with her family and after losing their dad/grandpa I'm sure just having her with them was a gift in itself. Anyway I have been reading so many wonderful stories on here and it blesses my heart that so many were blessed On the receiving and Giving end!! Thank you to all you helping hookers! I am hoping that next year that we are in a position that I can be a Helping Hooker too!

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  12. My little fellas are still pretty young but I am trying to start early so they understand that (for us anyway, because we would be classified as Atheists, and not Christians, but we still celebrate the Christian holidays, but for different reasons...anyway...) Christmas is more about the GIVING than the RECEIVING. So we never pass a Salvation Army kettle without making a donation. We give away anything we are not using anymore (it's HARD to give away toys you haven't played with in a year, but we do), and when your very favorite bloggy ladies ask for some help Hooking, we HELP.

    Why would someone with no religion be helpful and do unto others? Because we have a moral compass as well. So I readily took on a hooker and sent her a gift card for more than I was really able to comfortably afford because, there but for the grace of some deity I don't actually believe in but IT COULD EASILY BE ME ON THE OTHER END OF THIS HOOKER THINGIE go I. So we gave. And I explained to my boys WHY we gave. And my big one said something along the lines of "I hope that they get something from Mario Brothers" (He has a friend who is Mario crazy, even though we don't have a game console, but now MY guy loves Mario too...cracks me up!), and the little one said something like, "Ahh way nohtagah" Which I think roughly translates to 'This is swell, let's do it again next year'.

    Thanks for giving us the opportunity to directly help a person who (I hope) really, really needed the help. We didn't get a thank you note, yet, but I am going on the assumption that my hookie was able to out it to good use for her family.

    So Kate, Lydia, Guru Louise, and everyone else who was a part of this: Ahh way nohtagah!

    ~Cat

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  13. I read a lot of the stories about husbands leaving the wives for younger, single women, which just plain sucks. I'll admit, I'm single have no children. (But I haven't dated anyone in close to 2 years, so rest assured they didn't come flocking to me, lol!)

    Having mentioned that I have no children, I do have 6 nieces and nephews and my goal is to be the "Awesomely cool!" Aunt... I could never in a million- jillion years imagine their faces on Christmas day without a gift to open.

    I also was not expecting to hear back from the family that I assisted, as the point of this whole thing was to give from love, not for attention. (I only added my last name on the outside for postal reasons, in case they wouldn't/couldn't deliver the mail without my "Hookers" last name since I didn't have that.)

    *So last night, I stopped by my mail box and was so excited/ecstatic/thrilled (insert more words here!) to see a card from the family I helped! I had no idea what their last name was, but I recognized the city name and I, being the wiz I am, put 2+2 together. (haha) I tore open the card and MAN! It HIT me like a ton of bricks! These are REAL people. I'm reading about the family on the other end. Their names. Their situation and story. All of it, real.

    Like some other hookers above, I hope to not have it end there. I plan on sending more as I can to this family. The SPIRIT of Christmas should be in humanity year around. And I'm going to do my part.

    God bless Y'all for taking this on-
    Beckster

    In any case, you gals did something amazing this year. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all of the time you invested into this "project".

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  14. Just wanted to say that over the last 5 years I would've been squarely in the recipient category as a single mother of 3 trying to work and finish full time school, but this year I'm remarried, hubby got promoted, I graduated and 2 weeks before x-mas got a new full time job doing what I went to school for. So I didn't ask to be on the receiving end as I have already been so blessed, but I'm not able to help either. Next year though I'm hoping you do this again because I would love the chance to be a helping Hooker to someone that was me a few short years ago. Trust me when I tell you both sides "need" this. If you've ever been the one struggling for your family it is so hard to ask for help and if you've managed to scrape your way to a better life there's nothing more heartwarming than helping someone else get through it too. You guys did great. Thank you!

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  15. Hey guys, I made the blog! I feel famous... and really wonderful that Tiffiny got my card and it helped. Gives me assurance that my other hookees received their cards, as well.

    I know I am just echoing a lot of the other props Kate, Lydia and Guru Louise are receiving, but I have loved reading the stories. I have loved that this whole crazy mess of giving and support has come from a Domestic Enemies post, which, let's face it, are pretty awesome on there own. And, mostly, I LOVE that I can participate.

    I just returned from my family for Christmas and, because of this project, I was hyper aware of the abundance that we enjoy. In fact, I was almost embarrassed by how much my nieces and nephews were getting. My own son is only 13 months, so we kept his pretty small (some big boy bath toys for his move out of the baby tub and a set of bouncy balls). I think non-verbal children are probably easier to buy for. ;) But all of these stories are really making me think about the type of holiday traditions I want to start with him, about trying to keep it small and special, and as beautiful as this whole hooker experiment has been.

    So, hopefully I was able to make a few ladies' Christmas more what it should be, and, in return, I was able to be mindful of what my OWN Christmas should be, as well. Let's hope I can stay mindful next year when the little one can demand more stuff!!!

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  16. I wanted to thank my friends down in texas for your help. I was going to send out a card for christmas but I have been a super busy crazy lady these past few days. Thank you soo much for your help I couldnt have done it with out you and it was a joy to see the Kids faces opening up the gifts from santa. =] Thank you so much! I hope we can keep in touch and I hope I can help someone else out next year! Hope your new year is happy and healthy to all!
    Love, Alyssa

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