With our Riley's Rainbows 4th Annual Christmas Toy Drive getting ready to kick off I wanted to go ahead and post the Donation Wish List for everyone in case they are out shopping this coming weekend and would like to go ahead and pick up a toy to drop off.
We have tried to make it as easy as possible for everyone to shop for a toy donation by separating the Wish List into age categories. You can also download and print this list to keep with you so you will have it when you are shopping or even snap a photo of it on your phone so that it will be handy and easy to find!
We are trying to beat our numbers from last year and would love for you to spread the word via this website, our Facebook page @RileyRainbows or our Instagram page @rileys_rainbows. We hope to see you in our participating Bad Daddy's Burger Bar locations soon!
The Donation List is below and will also be posted on Facebook and Instagram as well. Thanks so much for your support for this very worthy cause!
Can you believe that the holiday season is upon us already?
We can and we are super excited!
Can you guess why?
Here are a couple of hints:
Toys & Children.
Got it yet? No?
It's almost time to kick off our ...
4th Annual Riley's Rainbows Christmas Toy Drive
This is our very favorite time of the year so please make sure to mark your calendars for Monday, November 18th as this will be our official Riley's Rainbows Christmas Toy Drive Kick-Off Day! If you aren't familiar with this #RileysRainbows event, we are happy to provide you with some details.
In partnership with Bad Daddy's Burger Bar restaurants, we have the privilege of bringing Christmas cheer and joyous smiles to so many deserving children and their families that are forced to spend their Christmas Holiday in the hospital. Before Santa arrives, our own "Jolly Elves" will be delivering all of the toy donations that have been collected and received at the Bad Daddy's Burger Bar locations listed below.
This is a such heartwarming and memorable time of the year for Rob and I as well. The #RileysRainbowsAnnualChristmasToyDrive in 2016 was the very first event held after founding Riley's Rainbows in May of 2016. The first toy drive was started at the Seaboard Station Bad Daddy's Burger Bar location in Downtown Raleigh and, with God's grace, has continued to grow each year.
We would love to surpass the number of toys we were able to donate last year so we truly hope you all will participate by bringing in your unwrapped toy(s) to any of the following Bad Daddy Burger Bar locations:
Raleigh - Olive Park
9402 Falls of Neuse Road #103
Raleigh, NC 27615
Raleigh - Seaboard Station
111 Seaboard Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27604
Raleigh - Brier Creek
4213 Corners Parkway, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27617
Cary - Park West Village
3300 Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC 27560
279 Williamson Road
Mooresville, NC 28117
If you are out of our immediate area and would like to make a monetary donation, we will happily accept these on our website. The donation link is located at the bottom right of our website page.
Thank you so much for your continued support of Riley's Rainbows Foundation and we hope to see you soon at one of our participating #BadDaddysBurgerBar locations this Christmas season!
Our next Riley's Rainbows Kindness project revolves around helping us to not only raise awareness for Saving Grace Animals for Adoption , but also to raise funds and/or supplies to go to this loving and charitable organization. Saving Grace Animals for Adoption is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization in North Carolina dedicated to helping homeless animals in our community find permanent, loving homes where they will be treated as family members for the rest of their lives.
Riley's Rainbows would like to help Saving Grace to raise the donations they need, either monetary donations or supplies needed in the list below, as our next Riley's Rainbows Kindness Project. We will be holding an Animal Needs Supply Drive not only here on our website but also via any of our social media pages. This supply drive holds so much meaning to us.
We adopted our sweet Yorkie/Scottie mix, Ty, at Saving Grace through an amazing story of faith, one of the countless ways that God can get you through one of the most difficult times in your lives. For us that was losing our ten year old son, Riley, suddenly and unexpectedly, on April 19, 2016. The truly amazing story of how Ty came to us can be read in our blog located here http://www.rileysrainbows.org/our-blog/archives/12-2017 . You won't believe the string of events that led us to our sweet furry family member! The only explanation was that Riley, through our Lord, brought us straight to "Scottie", now named Ty Fighter Coenen for Riley's love of all things Star Wars, who just happened to be an animal for adoption we found at Saving Grace. Once you visit the blog post link above you will see how the name "Saving Grace" is so very fitting.
So, as you can see, this Riley's Rainbows project has great meaning for us and we hope that you will help us raise donations and supplies for Saving Grace, or any animal rescue center in your community. This is just one way that you will help these animals in need find their own beautiful and loving, forever homes and to keep them happy and healthy during the interim time that they spend at Saving Grace.
Here is a list of items that Saving Grace needs daily:
Thank you for your support in joining us for our Riley's Rainbows Kindness Project benefiting Saving Grace Animals for Adoption!
Rob and I are so overwhelmed and grateful for the generosity and kindness that was given to Riley's Rainbows on this previous Giving Tuesday. Our hearts are so full as we think of the love and kindness shown in the name of our sweet angel, Riley, and the thought that he is looking down from heaven over everyone with that big, beautiful smile of his that we miss so much.
Our annual 2018 Riley's Rainbows Christmas Toy Drive, partnering with the amazing and delicious restaurant, Bad Daddy's Burger Bar has now kicked off! We hope to exceed the success of our 2017 Christmas Toy Drive this year. We are so anxious to spread as much Christmas cheer as possible to the sweet and deserving children and families that will have to spend their Christmas Day in the hospital.
Our Christmas Toy Drive will benefit Duke Children's Hospital in Durham, Wake Med Children's Hospital in Raleigh, UNC Children's Hospital in Chapel Hill and James and Connie Maynard Children's Hospital in Greenville, NC.
You can donate a toy for Riley's Rainbows 2018 Christmas Toy Drive at the following Bad Daddy's Burger Bar locations:
Bad Daddy's Burger Bar in Seaboard Station:
111 Seaboard Avenue, Raleigh, NC
Bad Daddy's Burger Bar Olive Park, North Raleigh:
9402 Falls of Neuse Road #103, Raleigh, NC
Bad Daddy's Burger Bar in Park West Village:
3300 Village Market Place, Morrisville, NC
Bad Daddy's Burger Bar in Greenville, NC:
709 Greenville Blvd. SE #100, Greenville, NC
While you are there to donate a toy, make sure to enjoy one of Bad Daddy's tasty award-winning burgers and top it off with a delectable homestyle dessert!
We have posted a Christmas Toy Drive Wish List below for those that plan to donate a toy and would like to purchase one while they are currently out doing their holiday shopping.
We have also attached a donation button to this post for those that may have missed out on Giving Tuesday and would still like to donate or friends that are not local but would still like to contribute to the Toy Drive as well.
We hope you will share this post with your friends and family in an effort to make this year our most successful Riley's Rainbows Christmas Toy Drive yet! Thank you again for helping us to spread Christmas cheer to each and every one of the children and families that our 2018 Christmas Toy Drive will benefit!
Meet Ty....The precious gift our sweet angel Riley sent straight to us from heaven. This is a long story but I promise if you read it you will be amazed and probably get a few chill bumps in the process so hang in there if you can...
Riley had been wanting a dog for sometime now and we were planning on getting one once a few things were settled concerning a possible moving date, and a few other items. You never think something like this will happen to you so we thought we had plenty of time to make the decision to bring a pet home when the timing would be the best for all involved, including not bringing a new pet home only to have to move soon thereafter, etc.
Riley gained his angel wings on April 19th, one month ago today, before we were able to make his wish come true. A few weeks ago I prayed and spoke with Riley asking him to please let me know what kind of dog he wanted for us and what to name him. This was a daily discussion that changed often between us before he passed so I wanted some confirmation. Later that night Rob and I were in the kitchen and I flipped the calendar over to May for some reason, probably to write down an upcoming appointment, and saw Riley's handwriting on the calendar for the day of May 18th saying simply "get ty". One of our discussions had been to get a Teacup Yorkie and name him Ty (abbreviation for "Teacup Yorkie) and an adorable name we all agreed on).
I have been searching for a Yorkie, teacup or otherwise (Riley would never discriminate on that point!) ever since that day a few weeks ago. My sister found a picture of this adorable guy about a week ago and I immediately contacted Saving Grace Adoptions to see about making him part of our family. I filled out all of the paperwork, called and emailed. They probably thought I was a crazy person but I didn't care because I knew we had to have this dog. A few days passed and I still had not heard back and was beginning to panic. They are a super busy place and also have a big adoption event coming up this coming weekend that they are preparing for, so it was completely understandable that it took some time.
At 3.41pm on May 17th my sister and her sweet friend Kathi, who had previously adopted from Saving Grace and was helping me get in touch with them, were on the phone talking about our situation when Kathi got an email from JohnRiley@championsSG.com with the subject line simply saying, "It's almost time". John is the name of Kathi's Dad that passed away, Champions could stand for many things, the first thing I thought of was Champions for God and SG are the initials for Saving Grace. Six minutes later, at 3:47 pm I received an email from Saving Grace stating that I could come see Ty (they had him named Scottie at the time - notice the last two letters!) I immediately went to see him fully prepared to take him home with me that very night. They informed me he had to get a heartworm shot the following day so I could not pick him up until that was done - the next day on May 18th. The Lord works in mysterious ways and I truly believe God and my sweet angel sent Ty straight to us. Here is a photo of the newest member of our family - TyFighter Coenen.
Today is hard as we are missing Riley so much on our first Thanksgiving without him. It's not that he loved Thanksgiving day so much (he hated turkey!) it is the other "simple traditions" that we did on this day for so many years with him. It was a "free day" for Rob and Riley to have fun together playing video games until their hearts were content, a "No Rules" holiday in the Coenen house. It was the day that I would put up the Christmas tree and other Christmas decorations (Yes, I was one of THOSE people) and he would help me with it all, playing with his favorite ornaments and getting so excited about Jack the Elf making his arrival the next morning.
On days like these, a sign from our angel can help comfort us so much. Well, I just found one....When Riley would say something that really touched me or that was super funny and I wanted to make sure I would remember it, I would jot it down on my phone and email it to myself so I could always remember it.... I found this quote from him today that I emailed to myself on February 29, 2016:
"I love to cuddle my mom because her face is like
tiny roses touching my heart"
Yes, our boy often had a way with words that would make my heart melt, as you can see here. I miss his heartfelt words and unabashed affection, even at 10 years old he was not afraid to show it. I miss those out-of-the-blue "I love you mama. You are the best mama a son could wish for" moments. I miss his sweet smile and his kind and giving personality. But most of all, I just miss him being by my side every day and seeing what each day would bring for us. #rememberingriley #rileysrainbows
I was waiting on a prescription at Walgreens today and as I was walking around the store I was reminded of so many memories of things Riley and I enjoyed together during the holiday season. I thought I would take photos and share them here as a form of #photogrief.
I have just started reading about this and apparently there are different forms of #photogrief and one is taking photos of things you see that the person you are grieving would have loved. So here goes.
1) We used to count the cars that had the reindeer noses and antlers, Rudolph Car Costumes, have a contest on who could find the most on each car trip. He usually won of course.
2) Riley loved, I mean LOVED, to snuggle up in soft, cozy blankets and often sported my super cushy lavender robe around the house so that he could wrap his whole body in all of the warmth and softness - I'm pretty sure this Star Wars Snuggie would have been a hit with him.
3) We used to love to drive around our neighborhood looking at Christmas lights whenever we would come home from somewhere after dark. Last year we saw a couple of houses with these "star showers" and he thought they were the coolest thing ever. He probably would be begging us this year to get these for our house.
I am obviously heartbroken when I think of all the things we will be missing out on this Christmas season without Riley, the list is long when I think of our fun traditions throughout his ten years, but I am also grateful for the memories I have to look back on.
To be sure, his view of the stars now blows away anything I could purchase in Walgreens. #hewouldhavelovedthis #rememberingriley #rileysrainbows
I have been having a tough morning. Laying in bed watching videos of Riley and crying. It is one of those days when I just can't seem to pull myself out of bed and away from this damn pity party.
When I am hurting, I read. I decided to start reading "If You Feel Too Much" by Jamie Tworkowski again. This book is my inspiration, my healing place. This time, I am skipping around a bit instead of reading it methodically, chapter by chapter, as I did the first time around.
The first chapter I chose was "Note To Self". On the second page of this chapter, I had this passage highlighted from my original reading. It's as if the words were put there for me to read this morning...
God wants me to wake up to this beautiful day. He wants me to remember that there is hope and that people need other people. That includes me. Today.
Thank you to the author, Jamie Tworkowski, for reminding me of this and for helping me to make the first and hardest step of my day...
*** Quote is from "If You Feel Too Much" by Jamie Tworkowski & twloha.com ***
Love letters. They came in all different forms, shapes and sizes from Riley. He loved to play with my label maker, so of course, some love letters were composed on it as well. Little things mean so much now. They hold memories so dear.
I miss you so very much my sweet boy and hold you in my heart until we meet again.
❤️🌈😇 #rileysrainbows #rememberingriley #loveletters
Today marks three months without our sweet boy. Throughout this difficult time we have been fortunate to have some signs from above sent down to us from our sweet angel. Here is the story of another ....
Last night I was having a particularly rough patch and went up to Riley's room to lay on his bed and talk to him, let out some tears and to pray. During this time, I asked for another sign as I knew the following day (today) would be hard and a sign from my sweet angel would bring me hope going into the next morning. After my time in his room, I walked into his playroom to find a small toy to bring with me to the cemetery today when I go to visit. I found a Pikachu toy that was perfect because it would remind me to tell him all about the new Pokemon Go craze. (Riley used to include sometime in his nightly prayers that God would make Pokemon real and also asked this in a note to Santa one year!)
Once I found the toy I decided to go to his room and find the matching Pokémon card of Pikachu. The binder of cards is in his closet and it took me a while to find it. As I was looking through his Pokémon cards I was remembering the times that we would lay them all out on the living room floor and organize them. It seemed like forever to do it, but we had so much fun bonding over his love for Pokémon and it brought back many good memories.
Once I found the card, I had a "nudge" to open up his school backpack that was sitting in the closet beside the binder. I had gone through it before and not found anything but had this feeling that I needed to go through it again. As I opened it up I got chills and had a sense that Riley was with me. There was nothing in the backpack except for his matching lunch bag. Even though I had gone through it before as well, I had another "nudge" to go through it again, so I did. In the very front pocket of the lunch bag there was a "lunchbox love note" I had written to him. I left these often and he always loved them and would even ask if I had forgotten to send one in a while. At the bottom of this particular note there was an arrow written in pencil pointing towards the back of the card. When I turned the card over there was a simple "I love you" written in pencil in Riley's handwriting. Of all of the "lunchbox love notes" that I had ever written I have never seen where he has written back to me on one. There was my sign from my beautiful angel. I cried and thanked him for my sign knowing that it would bring comfort to me going into this difficult day.
I miss Riley every single moment of every single day, but knowing that he's in Heaven watching out for me and his Dad and that his love is all around us gives me the hope to move forward into another day. I love you so very much our sweet "B"! #rileysrainbows #rememberingriley #loveneverdies #lunchboxlovenotes