lotsa helping hands

Sometimes you find something so wonderful, you HAVE to share it. So here it is:

www.lotsahelpinghands.com

Are you in a crisis situation? Do you know someone who is? Someone who is fighting cancer? Suffering from a chronic condition? Recovering from an accident or injury? Someone who’s just had a baby?

Do you want to help, but don’t know what the needs are? Do you want to deliver meals, but don’t know what foods they like (or don’t), what day to cook or when to deliver the meal? Do you want to offer to pick up kids, but don’t know when or where to show up? Do you want to help with cleaning or laundry, but don’t know when your presence in their house would be convenient for the person who needs help? Do you want to shop for groceries, but don’t know what to buy or when to deliver them? Do you want to offer to pick up prescriptions, babysit or take someone to the doctor – but you just don’t know what the exact needs are?

Do you just wish there was an easy way to organize all the volunteers?

That’s where lotsahelpinghands comes in.

Let’s say you have a friend who’s on bed rest due to an injury. We’ll call her Grace. You go to www.lotsahelpinghands.com and create an online community for your friend, Grace. You decide to designate yourself as a Coordinator and you recruit others to be Coordinators as well, because many hands make light work. So there’s a Coordinator from Grace’s son’s 3rd grade class and another for her daughter’s 1st grade class. There’s a Coordinator for her Bible study group, and two people have volunteered to be Coordinators from her church. There’s even someone from her husband’s office who wants to serve as a Coordinator. Grace wants to be a Coordinator as well!

After Grace’s online community is created, the names and email addresses of friends and family are entered into LHH and a notification email is sent to each one of them. These “invitees” simply click on a link in the notification email and confirm their email address to become active members in Grace’s community.

Now they can log into Grace’s online community any time they want. They can check out the master calendar and see that meals are needed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They can see that Grace’s kids need to be picked up from school on Wednesday and taken to play rehearsal. They can see that Grace would love to have someone come over and do her laundry on Monday morning. They can see that she needs someone to go to the grocery store on Thursday and they can even see her grocery list! Members sign up for any activity they want!

The really cool part is that all members can see when needs are filled or “taken” and when they are still “open” so there’s no confusion. All members can see who’s signed up for an activity and activities can even be “assigned” by any coordinator. LHH even sends out reminder emails when someone signs up for a task. What if a community member signs up for something and then gets sick? They simply contact any Coordinator and that Coordinator can remove their name from an activity, freeing it up for another volunteer.

If friends and family haven’t been “invited” to join, they can go to www.lotsahelpinghands.com and request membership in Grace’s community. Any coordinator can approve membership and send the notification email. Any coordinator can enter the needs, called “activities” onto the calendar.

LHH communities have pages for announcements, well wishes and even a secure blog so Grace can let everyone know how she’s doing! There’s also a “people” page which lists all the members while allowing members to determine their level of privacy.

But the really best part? It’s FREE.

Is this cool or what!?!

UPDATE: I’ve written an ehow article on www.lotsahelpinghands.com Check it out!

ella, aqua & ralph

PinkGirl caught my germ. And she was NOT happy about it. She caught it on Wednesday. Wednesday is play rehearsal day. Wednesday is the day she and two of her friends (sisters) play and sing in the car all the way to rehearsal – and back. Wednesday is usually a REALLY fun day.

Except this week PinkGirl had a fever of 101.2 and a really bad headache. She went to the school office at 2:00 p.m. and they called me on my cell to tell me. I was in the car pool line to pick up one of the play rehearsal friends who goes to another school. I had to call the friend’s dad and tell him, which threw a major monkey wrench in his afternoon because he then had to drop everything and come to school to pick up his girls and take them to play rehearsal because I couldn’t. I had to take care of PinkGirl (and try to keep the friends from catching the germ).

When I got to PinkGirl’s school, she immediately began crying when she saw me. She knew.

“Can you just give me medicine and let me go anyway?”
“I don’t get to ride and play with FRIEND1 and FRIEND2!”
“But my head is only hurting, I can still sing and dance!”
“I’m going to miss EVERYTHING!”
“Please! Mom!”

and many more tearful pleas as I continued to wipe her tears and say, “I’m sorry honey.” over and over again.

We got her brother out of school a little early and headed home. I had already made an appointment with her doctor for first thing Thursday morning (just a few hours before mine). We spent the rest of the evening curled up in a chair together, with breaks to take FavoriteSon to youth group and back.

Thursday morning, I scooped her up at the last minute, wrapped in a blanket and tucked her into the pre-warmed van to take her brother to school and then her to see the doctor. Everything went like clockwork until we got into the waiting room. We were the second patient to be seen and were sitting comfortably – until I looked at PinkGirl. I had just enough time to push her jacket in front of her before she ralphed. Only the jacket got it. She hadn’t eaten anything, but she did drink some water in the car. I walked her in the bathroom, and after a few minutes, she seemed stable, I washed out the jacket, and asked for a bucket on the way back to the waiting room. I ran out to the car and switched out the wet jacket with another one (it’s a minivan, there’s an entire wardrobe in there). I didn’t even have time to sit down before she lost it again. I tried to convince her:

“Honey, let’s get a room by ourselves for some privacy.”

“NO!”

“Come on, sweetie. I”ll carry you.”

“NO! I’m not going!”

She was not going to move in case she ralphed again. I ran back to the bathroom for wet paper towels and to ask for a room on the way. They were smart and called us in. She laid down on the examining table, shivering, so I spent the few minutes waiting on the doctor by wrapping her in my jacket and putting my arms around her to keep her warm. She had a pretty good fever going on.

The doctor came in and examined her while I told him what I’m just getting over. He says it’s a virus, but he wants to give her an antibiotic to prevent any secondary infection. And she should have a shot for nausea to prevent more vomiting.

Shot.

Tears. Pleading. More Tears.

This is the same girl who, twice before, when she was 4 and 5 years old – actually CHOSE the shot because she didn’t want to vomit. I try to talk to her, but she’s starting to freak out. I tell the doctor I’m going to hold off and if she vomits again, we’ll be back. PinkGirl immediately calms down.

So we left. She buckled up in the middle of the backseat and laid down with a pillow and a blanket (it’s a mini-van, there’s an entire linen closet in there). We drop off her prescription, I pick up some breakfast at McDonalds, and with a few minutes to kill before the prescription is ready, I stop at Target to buy movies. I left her in the van alone for the first time EVER. I locked her in and I actually ran into Target, grabbed 4 movies, paid for them and got back to the van in less than 8 minutes. She had fallen asleep. I picked up her prescription and drove to my doctor’s appointment.

In the parking lot at my doctor’s office, I wake her up and she immediately ralphs again. Perfectly calm, she says, “I want the shot.” I take a risk and give her the anti-biotic and a dose of ibuprofen with pseudoephedrine (it’s a mini-van, there’s an entire pharmacy in there). I dump a plastic container and hand it to her, just in case (it’s a mini-van, I had my choice of plastic containers – it’s like a dishwasher on wheels). I call my doctor from the parking lot to cancel my doctor’s appointment, drive back to HER doctor, get the shot, drive home.

I get her tucked in on the couch and put Ella Enchanted (movie #1) in the DVD player. We get to Ella’s rendition of “Somebody to Love” and I peek. Sound asleep. I pause Ella, mid performance and PinkGirl and I crash for two hours.

I have to wake her again to pick up her brother from track practice. We drive through Sonny’s BBQ for take out and, although she still has a fever, she EATS! We go home and finish watching Ella Enchanted, follow-up with a movie-long snuggle while watching Aquamarine (movie #2) and then more medicine and off to bed.

Today is Friday and PinkGirl woke up with a fever of only 99 degrees! Just in time to be better for daddy, who’s been on a business trip since Monday morning. He’ll be home tonight. I’m keeping her home today even though the medicine makes her seem completely fine. We are honoring the school rule of not brining a child to school within 24 hours of a fever.

Right now, two red blankets are on the floor (red carpet), the costumes are prepped and the fashion show is about to begin.

Fashion Show

Gotta go.