Angel Gowns for Angel Babies Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Last week I met up with a lady  in the parking lot of a bank.  She opened the trunk of her SUV to reveal baskets of beautiful tiny silk and satin treasures — baby outfits.  Whoah, they were GORGEOUS , with lace and pearls, and elaborate embellishments, even tiny bow-ties . . . and the BONNETS!  Oh Swoon!

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Angel Gowns by Diane donated a supply of handmade gowns to photographers who volunteer with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. From left: Emily Crump, Affiliated Photographer; Renae Carr, Area Coordinator; Pamela Schwarz, Community Volunteer; Pamela Contreras, Area Coordinator; and Shelly Chetty, Area Coordinator

I hope and pray that nobody reading this post EVER becomes the recipient of one of these gowns, because they were sewn for babies who don’t get to go home with their families and grow up.  But if you should ever go through an infant loss,  and see one of these gowns or use the services of a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographer, please know that your baby will be wrapped in LOVE!

You see, these aren’t just beautiful baby dresses. They have been lovingly crafted from wedding dresses by a newly-formed group of volunteers in the Katy area, Angel Gowns by Diane .   Their concept is to use memento from a happy and joyful day to help ease the sting of sadness and grief when a baby dies.  This specific supply of gowns in preemie to newborn sizes is going to the local professional photographers who serve with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a worldwide nonprofit organization that provides bereavement photography at no charge to families The Angel Gowns group also contributes their gowns directly to hospitals in the area.

Want to get involved?  Want to help?

First – NILMDTS is in DESPERATE need of more qualified professional photographers, both in the Houston area and throughout the United States.  In Houston we ask our photographers to be on call and  available to go  to the Texas Medical Center just one day a month, and to help with suburban cases near their homes or studios on an as-needed basis. If you know a photographer or if you are one, I  (or one of the other two local NILMDTS Area Coordinators) will help get you through the application process.  You will receive training, and one of us will actually accompany you on your first shoot  and walk you through the process so that it’s not as intimidating  the next time around.

It’s just SO STINKIN’ SAD when a hospital calls us, and we do not have a photographer available to create beautiful images for the grieving family. There are SO MANY TALENTED photographers in this city, and I believe that just about anyone who wants to can find a way to schedule one non-appointment day a month to  be available provide this gift of healing.  Please check out the NILMDTS Web Site to learn more about our organization.

If you’re not  a photographer,

you CAN still talk to photographers you know and encourage them to get involved.

Also, I know that NILMDTS operates on a shoestring.  Tax Deductible financial contributions will help keep the organization’s website and resources up to date and to provide training and support for volunteers.  

And if you’d like to  to get involved with Angel Gowns by Diane.  They need

  • wedding dress donations
  • people to dismantle the dresses, cut patterns and/or sew the gowns
  • people to help coordinate with area NICU’s and with NILMDTS.
  • People to pick up and deliver donated dresses

Just check out their facebook page (I understand that a full website is in the works) for more details.

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A Long Weekend in L A

My favorite boyfriend, (the one that I married) and I just got back from an exhausting but wonderful long weekend in Los Angeles.  This is purely a vacation snapshot blog post, so if that’s not your cup o tea, just come back later.  If you want to travel along with us . . come on!

I traveled with only one camera and one lens — my 16-35 2.8.  It provides a  wide and different, sometimes warped, perspective on things.  Oh yeah …. and we also threw in a few phone pictures as well.

We started out at the airport after driving through POURING rain to get there.

After a good breakfast at home, we launched into vacation mode with airport french fries (don’t tell our trainers) and by turning our electronic media into RELAXATION mode.  It was also Mike’s birthday, and things just fell  into place for us all day long — like being seated in the first row with nobody in front of us.  GET A LOAD of that legroom.  Miracles do happen. 20140918_154446

We wanted to stay someplace close to our kids, so Hotel Amarano Burbank was to be our home for the next four nights.

I’m always a fan of smaller boutique hotels and this one did not disappoint — EXCEPT we don’t understand why hotels have quit putting at least one comfortable chair in the rooms.

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Other than the missing chair, the hotel was lovely,  with waffle-weave robes and very courteous service.  Our favorite person of the week though just had to be Harvey the Bartender.  He’s everything you expect in a bartender.  Funny and friendly, he mixed us up a couple of good stiff and very refreshing drinks then served up a delectable Ahi Tuna Poke appetizer.  Before long we were  ready to roll . The kids were off work and meeting us for dinner.

Another thing about Harvey …. he even remembered our names the next day! Call me impressed! — oh, no …. he called me Shelly!

On Friday we were on our own to play tourist, so we headed out to the Gene Autrey Museum of the West where we thoroughly enjoyed their Route 66 exhibit.

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Arriving shortly before the exhibits opened, we met clusters of school children in matching t-shirts as well as seniors with sensible walking shoes waiting for their tours.  Those ladies with wheeled

walkers can make TRACKS!  Still, the groups all spread out nicely, and we never felt over-run or crowded. IMG_1232

So, the Route 66 Exhibit had plenty in store for both of us. Mike enjoyed the mapping and road construction portions — especially the collection of  asphalt pavement pieces from different areas. He  promptly analyzed  them all to explain why they had failed.  (That’s road construction talk for why the road fell apart) And  I got a big charge out of all the advertising and signage.  BRING ON the KITCH and COLOR!

The entire museum was very well planned and entertaining, covering all things western — especially Hollywood Western!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you are in the area.

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After the Autrey, I could hardly contain my excitement as we went in search of the old abandoned Los Angeles Zoo.

VERY COOL!

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I was wearing a sundress and flats, so was hardly equipped to crawl around on the ground or climb into some of the hidden areas like I wanted to, but exploring the old exhibition facilities was fascinating — and a little bit creepy.

I couldn’t help but stay on the alert for a forgotten lion or gorilla to creep around the corner.  They didn’t; but we did see a deer, several squirrels, a BIG honkin’ lizard and a couple of photographer/model sessions.

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SOMEBODY was on the wrong side of the fence….. Hmmmmm. Wonder who?

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Lots of fun monkeyin’ around . . . but don’t GOOSE me when we’re taking a selfie!

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Always the tourist, I fell in love with the hot pink building and signage ot Milt & Edie’s Laundry and Dry Cleaner near our hotel.

From their lighthearted approach to warnings — offenders will be forced to wash clothes — to the public acknowledgement of their entire staff with years of tenure and country of origin flags — these people must  be brilliant!

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Just a little more local color!

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And a stop for Pie!  Mmmmmmm Coconut Cream!

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The REAL reason for our trip, though, was that we are about to welcome a new daughter in love to our family, and there was no way we wanted to wait until the wedding before we could meet her parents.    On Saturday morning we all drove down to Orange County where she grew up.

A day of driving and eating and drinking and walking and eating and drinking and driving ……Oops….. that didn’t quite come out right — but you know what I mean.

This is our Sarah with the lucky duck that she got from her grandmother’s estate.  How can you NOT love a girl who carries a brass duck in her bag?  She’ll fit RIGHT in!

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We also had a chance to visit the Newport Harbor (in the midst of the Big Boat Show) to see  the boat where the nuptials will take place next spring.

It just happened to be at the dock and in between events so we even got to take a little tour.

That’s the galley, the reception area, and of course, the front (or maybe it’s the back) of the boat.  This thing isn’t just a boat!  It’s a  blinkin’ 3-story floating building with glass walls. STUNNING!

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We also walked out to an area  of beach called The Wedge . I can only imagine growing up in such a lovely place.

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Capping off our trip on Sunday we headed out to the  Getty Museum.

Oh my!

 First…. I didn’t even take my camera on this outing because I know that I would have been obnoxious.  The following are all just phone pictures — mostly by Mike because I can hardly figure out how to work my phone camera.

 This place is not to be missed. We WILL be back!

Aside from  a parking fee, the entire attraction is free.  After a tram ride up the mountain, the building, the gardens, the exhibits, and the views are all beyond outstanding.

We took the architecture tour with a delightful docent who has been involved with the museum for 17 years,  and we learned not only about the structure itself, but also about  Getty’s philosophy in establishing, building, and running the museum.  Surprisingly, and maybe it’s because we went early in the day, we  were the  only four people on the tour. Can’t beat that!

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So after a big lunch and an afternoon of hanging out and playing board games with the kids, it was time to return to our hotel and rest up for the trip back home.

What a wonderful trip!

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