Happy Military Monday!
This past Saturday Happy First had the privilege of being a sponsor for the Oklahoma Operation Homefront “Star Spangled Babies” baby shower for military families. As you may know, Operation Homefront is one of the charities we support with our Strong Chick sales. Operation Homefront is a leading national charity providing emergency financial and other support to families of service members and wounded heroes. Who knew the friends I would make from this Strong Chick tee idea? Carol Herrick, Executive Director of Operation Homefront Oklahoma and Arkansas, and I instantly bonded when we met. She is amazing, I am so in awe of her. She has been telling me about the Baby Showers for quite some time so I just had to get involved!
Often, military parents-to-be live far from their extended families and supports systems due to deployments and relocation. Like many new parents, they may have questions, concerns and fears. Star Spangled Babies showers connects new parents with other new military parents, provides resources and education, furnishes new baby essentials and celebrates and showers the new families with appreciation for their service and sacrifice to our country. (I got this info from their brochure-so well said!) I think almost every Field Office of Operation Homefront has these showers in their state.
The event was in Norman, OK (good excuse to run to Norman, my old college town, University of Oklahoma) and 100 ladies were invited. The tables were beautifully decorated red, white and blue. Each table had a hostess that got to know the moms and connected them with each other. It was so festive, it was a real baby shower for each and every woman. They got so many great gifts from donors (like an Oprah giveaway!) and had fun and games and prizes. It was a great way for them to have some stress relief and meet other new moms or expecting moms, all facing the same challenges of being a military family. I realized how spoiled I was when I had small children, I had a helpful extended family, many friends nearby and a husband that was home most of the time. I can’t imagine how hard they have it with husbands being deployed and being away from family.
The speakers were great-one was a lady from Verizon and talked about all the high tech apps and ways technology can help with new babies. I took notes, things were sure different when my kids were little! Now they have baby monitors that monitor everything and you can see your baby when you are in the other room. There is even an app for nursing moms to keep track of feedings! Then there is skype to talk to your spouse overseas. They also talked about an app called Mom Maps, for moms to find out about events nearby, so helpful if in a new town.
After lunch we had a speaker that talked about stress management and had us close our eyes and she walked us through how to destress. Yes, I almost fell asleep! She talked about the benefits of deep breathing, yoga, etc.
My favorite part was at the end when Carol passed around a piggy bank and everyone filled it with loose change and then one mom got to take it home. Carol had tears in her eyes when she said the first year they did this, the winner didn’t know how she was going to get home because she didn’t have the money, and then she won the piggy bank and it got her home!
We have so much to be thankful for and I am so thankful for the sacrifices these wonderful families have made in serving our country: it was such an honor to participate and meet these wonderful women.
P.S. We want to design a baby one piece with a portion going to military families. We are having a contest on our Happy First facebook page to design the next one piece-would love your ideas on cute sayings, designs, whatever!