baby registry

baby registry and baby gift suggestion & information

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

baby registry: Celebrations all-around

Celebrations all-around

Sunday, May 28, 2006
By Melissa Flores

Shelter volunteer celebrates 80th birthday by giving to others

Along Monterey Road, on the outskirts of Gilroy, the first batch of tenants have made themselves at home in a newly constructed transitional living center. The peach-colored buildings, home to 56 families, look like any other apartment complex in town with dark green grass surrounding a brightly colored children's playground and a basketball court.

But when Maria Skoczylas looks around the spic-and-span landscape she sees much more than apartments.

"How many people can say they have had a dream come true?" she asked. "I can truly say that."

Skoczylas, who turned 80 this week, has been an outspoken advocate for the homeless in Gilroy and a transitional living center for years. She got involved with a homeless taskforce at least eight years ago to promote the idea of a facility that would offer more than a place to get out of the cold.

With the help of the Gilroy City Council, Supervisor Don Gage, South County Housing, a non-profit affordable housing developer, and EHC Lifebuilders, a non-profit that offers social services, Skoczylas' dream is a reality at last.

The first phase of the project included 13 single-family homes that sold at market rate to help raise some of the needed funds. The second phase is the recently completed apartments that opened to residents in April. The last phase is an emergency shelter with 140 beds, which should be completed next fall.

Though things seem close to completion, Skoczylas still has another plan afoot to make the lives of residents even better. To celebrate her 80th birthday, she has asked friends and family members to buy gifts that can be used by the families at Sobrato.

"Instead of giving me presents, people can bring something for the families," Skoczylas said.

The families are still in need of many minor and major household items. Many of the residents are without bed frames or with mismatched bed sets. Bunk beds are desired for children's rooms. The families are also short on pots and pans, kitchen tables and chairs, along with other items.

Skoczylas' daughter registered her on a baby gift registry with some of the most needed items for the residents. A search for Maria Skoczylas under the baby registry online at or at a local store will bring up the list of gifts. While the 80th birthday party was celebrated May 27, donations of new or slightly used goods will be accepted at the shelter office during the coming weeks.

"Most people moved in with no furniture," said Jaime Martinez, the program manager with EHC Lifebuilders. "We had funds to furnish eight apartments, but we have 59 to furnish."

One single mother, Marina Melendez, one of the first residents to move in, has no bed frame for her 12-year-old daughter. The girl sleeps on a mattress that is smaller than the box spring. Her 7-year-old son has a bed frame, but without a box frame, his mattress lies below the frame on the floor beneath a faded Spiderman blanket.

The family had been living in San Martin, in another property run by South County Housing, but with Melendez on disability with arthritis, she needed some more time to get back to work.

"It's very nice. It's larger than the old apartment," she said of Sobrato.

Martinez is one of two case managers who works with the families like Melendez'.

"Once we get everyone settled in, we will provide training," he said. "We'll get her trained in another job or refer her to an employment center."

The goal of the transitional living center is that families can live there for two years, paying a small amount of rent, while gaining job skills and savings to move out on their own. Caseworkers, such as Martinez, will work with the residents on issues from managing their personal finances to applying for jobs. Volunteers, such as Skoczylas, can help along the way and will be needed when the emergency shelter opens later in the year.

Despite Skoczylas' graying hair, she remains vibrant when she talks about the transitional living center and her latest plan to help the residents.

She has been involved with helping the homeless in Gilroy for 19 years and her passion has grown over the years.

"I heard in church at St. Mary that they needed blankets because they were going to open a homeless shelter," Skoczylas said, in an interview in December.

The National Guard Armory had opened to serve as an emergency shelter to the homeless during winter months. Her daughter persuaded her to bring blankets to the Wren Avenue shelter on Christmas Eve.

"We saw the people. We met them," she said. "It's something I got hooked on."

Over the years, she has organized cookie donations around the holidays, served food to the guests, as they are called by volunteers, and talked to those who needed a friend.

"The reality is that they are just people down on their luck who need a helping hand," Skoczylas said.

Gifts for the residents of the Sobrato Apartments will be accepted during office hours at 9369 Monterey Road, Mon.-Thu. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon. For more information on what items are needed, or donating money, gifts or time, call Jaime Martinez at 408-842-4072 or Josefa Nava at 408-848-6400.

baby registry: Life Around The Bay

Diaper cakes

De Anna SheffieldSt.

Petersburg, Florida — I've been to a few baby showers in my day. And it's pretty much the same. You head straight to the baby registry, find what's left to buy, have it gift-wrapped, or in my case, select an appropriately beautiful gift bag, that will likely be recycled, if not thrown away.

For St. Petersburg mom Deanne Wilson, who's seen her share of things that..well, she didn't/couldn't use at her own shower, she cooked up an idea, called 'Diaper Cakes'. No sugar added in these treats, but Wilson hopes the recipient will likely have something sweet to say, after looking at the ingredients. Each one is made up of..diapers, and a lot of other stuff.

Deanne Wilson, Dee's Diaper Deesigns
“Last month I probably used 2,000 diapers. I've done (a diaper cake) with 400 baby wipes, hooded towels, blankets, ear thermometer, bottles, bibs. I can get the items off the registry (to make one). ”
The cakes, some round, some square are made up of several tiers. It's a bakers secret how Wilson gets the tiny diapers to stay rolled up and perfectly stacked. Each one is decorated just so, depending on the theme or gender of baby. And the cake 'topper' is often a stuffed animal or toy. They look pretty, but Wilson says, they're practical too,

Deanne Wilson, Dee's Diaper Designs
“I remember when I was in the hospital, people spent so much money on flowers, I got so many flowers, I didn't enjoy them at all, I was so involved in taking care of her. (With the Diaper Cakes)..when you're desperate for a diaper you'll tear it apart. ”
For more information on pricing and delivery, visit

Thursday, May 25, 2006

baby registry: Adoption's dark past: Author follows women forced to give up babies

By Jackie Burrell

IT WAS AN EXCHANGE in an art gallery that first forced adoptee Ann Fessler to consider adoption from a different perspective.

A stranger approached her and stated, "You could be my long-lost daughter."

It was a powerful moment, Fessler said, and one that got her thinking about what it must have been like to give up a child from a young mother's point of view.

Although Fessler was not this woman's child -- and it would be another 15 years before she began looking for her own mother -- that gallery conversation launched a journey that would result in "The Girls Who Went Away."

It was only a generation or two ago, in the 30 years between World War II and Watergate, when an estimated 1.5 million pregnant girls were spirited away to homes for unwed mothers. There, alone and frightened, they gave birth and surrendered their babies for adoption.

Many of those women, now 50 to 70 years old, are still here today. And their children -- the babies they relinquished under duress -- are out there, somewhere.

It was a different era, noted Fessler, whose myth-shattering book combines scholarly research with interviews with 100 women.

The birth-control pill was unavailable. Sex education barely existed, and abortion was not only a dirty word but a dangerous back alley operation. And while men's reputations were polished by sexual escapades, young women who became pregnant were shunned and tossed out of school.

"The big myth was that (these mothers) had weighed all the options and that her decision was based on her not wanting the child," Fessler said during a recent interview in San Francisco. "The second myth was that these women were promiscuous. And the third myth was that they got over it."

Most of these young women became pregnant with their first love, some the very first time they had intercourse. They weren't promiscuous, Fessler said. They were naive and powerless.

According to U.S. Census Bureau, in the 1940s and 1950s, when young women had no legal access to birth control, teen pregnancy rates began to skyrocket. Between 1945 and 1957, rates rose 78 percent, with one out of every 100 teenage girls pregnant.

Many of the women Fessler interviewed -- identified only by first name in her book -- were like Nancy, who became pregnant at 16. All Nancy knew about sex was what was written on the school restroom walls.

"I just didn't know ... I mean, the whole biology of it," she recalls in Fessler's book. "He kept saying, 'It's OK. It's OK. It's really hard to get pregnant.' What did I know? I didn't see a lot of pregnant people, so I figured, I guess it really is hard."

Nine months later a very pregnant Nancy finally worked up the nerve to ask her mother how babies are born.

"I mean it's borderline child abuse not to share this kind of information," Nancy says in the book. "How can anyone think that we will just absorb it naturally or that it's our responsibility as children to figure it out?"

Families packed pregnant daughters off to maternity homes run by religious or charitable organizations. There, they waited out their time, delivered and, Fessler said, were coerced into relinquishing their babies to social workers.

"The stigma was incredible," Fessler said. "The options were so little and the pressure so great."

Those post-war years were a unique time in the nation's history, Fessler said. A prosperous middle class arose almost overnight, and status became everything. An unwed pregnant daughter was beyond socially disastrous -- it was "low class."

Some pregnant teens rushed into marriage. A few tried single motherhood. But most were threatened with social and family ostracism if they came home with a baby. Some social workers -- who played the uneasy role of go-between, with unwed mothers on the one hand and 10 eager-to-adopt families for every available baby on the other -- told girls they were unfit to be mothers, that no man would ever want them, and that their children would be labeled "bastards" on the playground. No mention was made of support services or options.

At maternity homes, 80 percent of the babies born were given up for adoption. And their mothers took the "unfit mother" message to heart. Thirty percent never had another child -- some felt it would be unfair to the child they lost, others from fear of any further loss. Four of the 100 women Fessler interviewed had tubal ligations before they were 30.

"The worst part was they were told not to talk about it," Fessler said.

Then society changed. The Pill arrived. Abortion was legalized. And when celebrities began having children out of wedlock, it wasn't just OK, it was trendy.

Today, many of those girls --women in their 50s, 60s and 70s -- question why they let themselves be forced into a decision they didn't want. Fessler said that guilt is undeserved.

"Adoptees now don't understand," she said, "how difficult and complex the situation was then."

Meanwhile, loss and grief continue to haunt them. They peer into every face they pass, or apologetically approach strangers in art galleries. Some leave notes with their adoption agency or join the Soundex Reunion Registry.

Or they stay quiet and keep the secret deep inside.

Reach Jackie Burrell at 925-977-8568 or


"The father of my son was my first love. I met him in junior high, and I figured out I was pregnant early on in the ninth grade. ... Being 14, we decided that we were going to get married. We got jobs and started saving our money. He worked two paper routes. ... We were just going to show everybody how grown-up we were because we intended to raise our child. ...

"My mom was just destroyed. ... My father had the kind of look on his face -- I mean, it would have been easier to have someone just take a gun and shoot me. I never got to open my mouth. The decision was made. It was so surreal to have people talking about you like you're not even in the room, like your life doesn't matter, like the baby was a mistake. He didn't feel like a mistake to me. ...

"And it's funny. While I was locked up, I would call the father, and he was going on with his life. He was having his summer and was, you know, worried about whether he would get a new tape or album. People had gossiped about him, but they were still allowed to hang out with him. Before I left home, nobody was allowed to be around me. ...

"I've spent 34 years thinking, 'If I had a choice, would I have done it differently?' I wanted college for him, I wanted him to have a mother and a father, I wanted him to have all the things that normal kids have, and it was very clear to me that society and the people around me would make that impossible. As an adult, you find out you did have a choice: You could have kept that baby. ... I'm sure there are women who suppress the experience, but I don't think it ever goes away. There isn't a day since I was 15 years old that I haven't thought about him."


"I was in beauty school in Florida, and my mom picks me up and takes me back to Alabama and takes me to the doctor. The next recollection I have is being dumped at the Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers in Birmingham. It was an old, old, old house with big rooms. I was just put in a situation in which I had no control. ... Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to keep the baby, or explained the options. I went to the maternity home, I was going to have the baby, they were going to take it, and I was going to go home. I was not allowed to keep the baby. I would have been disowned. I don't even know if they had programs to help women and children back then. I don't know what was available. I was made to feel very ashamed of the situation that 'I had created for myself' and for my mother and for my family and friends, so I felt all those avenues were closed. I guess maybe I had to convince myself that I didn't give him away; I gave him a way to have two parents, a way to have a home. Maybe that's a cop-out on my part. I don't know, but that's the only way I can live with it."


"I realized (decades later) that I had been used. I wasn't recognized as a human being. I was a mother. I was not a breeder or an incubator for somebody else. I was a young expectant mother and I was treated like I was this thing used to produce a child for somebody else. ... It makes everybody real uncomfortable to think that they took a mother's baby away, that she didn't give it up happily and voluntarily and as a gift. Nobody wants to face the fact that this is very traumatic. Even back in the '60s, it was a matter of finding a child for a family, instead of finding a family for the child. It leaves a lot of emotional wreckage, and it usually goes unaddressed because it's not even seen as a problem. It always comes to mind whenever I see somebody on the news who, God forbid, has their child kidnapped. Or you see in a magazine that a child anywhere in the world has been killed, and the mother is just grieving inconsolably, hysterically. We have all the same feelings, but the public doesn't know that. They don't want to acknowledge it because it is so unpleasant. It makes everybody so uncomfortable to think that in this civilized society, anybody could actually take a baby away from a young woman and expect her to not cry or be sad, or not want that to happen."

baby registry: Fee-based birth registry skews statistics: doctor

Updated Tue. May. 23 2006 5:34 PM ET

Canadian Press

TORONTO -- Babies born in Ontario to teenaged, poor or foreign mothers are getting caught in a "discriminatory'' fee-based birth registration process that's skewing national statistics, Health Canada's public health division warns.

The fees, which can be as high as $35 depending on where a baby is born, are a deterrent that discourage "disadvantaged'' mothers from registering their new child, the Public Health Agency of Canada says.

That new child is more likely to be stillborn or have a congenital anomaly than infants born to other parents, leading to poor data, said Dr. Arne Ohlsson, a member of the agency's Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System.

That makes it difficult for policy makers to decide what prenatal programs and policies are needed to prevent early deaths or sick babies, he said.

"It's a huge problem; it's appalling,'' Ohlsson said in an interview Tuesday. "If you don't have the baseline data you cannot really compare and see what happened after we introduced a new intervention.''

The difficulty stems from Ontario's practice of charging fees to register a birth, a necessary first step en route to getting a birth certificate and establishing a legal identity for any new baby.

Fees, which are collected by municipalities, vary from city to city. Ottawa charges $33 per child while Hamilton asks for $28.50 and North Bay just $15. In Toronto, the fee is currently $27.50; it goes up to $35 on July 1.

The cost becomes an issue for certain, more disadvantaged citizens, Ohlsson said, pointing to mothers who are in their teens, poor, homeless, illiterate or don't speak English.

Those women are statistically more likely to give birth to stillborns or babies with a host of postnatal conditions, such as low birth weight or severe congenital anomolies.

"They have a very high mortality in that group; therefore, it will affect the statistics of Canada,'' said Ohlsson, who is also a neonatologist in the department of paediatrics at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital.

"This is totally discriminatory.''

As the country's most populated province, Ontario has the highest number of newborns in the country. Statistics Canada figures indicate 35 per cent of Canadian babies were born in Ontario in 2003.

It's not the first time the Canadian Prenatal Surveillance System has sounded the alarm.

The system has been pushing various government agencies, including Ontario's Ministry of Health and the registrar general, which issues birth certificates in the province, for almost a decade in hopes of rectifying the problem.

The problem originated in the late-1990s, when then-premier Mike Harris downloaded certain services to municipalities, said Dr. Alexender Allen, chairman of the system's fetal infant study group.

"The municipalities couldn't afford to take it on so they started charging fees,'' he said from his Halifax office.

"The fees are a problem to the disadvantaged part of the population, and it's the disadvantaged part of the population that has more difficulty with infant mortality.''

The provincial government said Tuesday it is aware of the problem, and is looking for ways to improve birth registration rates.

"We agree that fees are a hindrance to registration of births,'' said Paul de Zara, a spokesman for Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips.

"The province is currently exploring ways to fix that problem.''

The intention, de Zara said, is to transfer the responsibility for registration back to the province.

"When the province handles the registration, the fees would not be charged,'' he said.

The sooner the better, said Allen, since one dead baby for every healthy thousand can have a "tremendous effect'' on national statistics.

Said Allen: "Every other province has very good birth registration, not 100 per cent, but very close to it. Ontario is a very serious problem.''

Friday, May 19, 2006

baby registry: Emergency campaign brings sense of identity for hundreds of Colombians forced to flee violence

SANCHEZ, Colombia, May 15 (UNHCR) – In a crowded church hall in the small village of Sanchez, Jose* waits in line with his three young children and recalls the day when a bullet slammed through the tin roof of his farmhouse and lodged in the kitchen wall just inches from his daughter. It was time to leave.

Until three weeks ago, Jose and his family lived in El Alto, a tiny community about an hour's walk uphill from Sanchez. Then his small farm, nestled in the hollow between two disputed hills, got caught in the crossfire and Jose's family became displaced within their own country.

Today, Jose and his children wait patiently in line on the first day of an emergency documentation campaign organised jointly by UNHCR and the Colombian Registry Office.

"It's the only good thing that will come out of this," Jose says. "We have nothing to go back to and we don't know how we are going to live now, but at least the children will have documents. They will not be like us, going through life like animals without anyone even knowing that we exist."

In all, more than 1,400 people from 19 communities took refuge in Sanchez on March 17-18 to escape heavy air-to-ground fighting between army helicopters and members of an irregular armed group. The vast majority of the displaced are of Afro-Colombian descent. Some came by foot, others by boat up the Patia River. There are no roads worthy of the name in this remote part of the Western Cordillera of the Andes.

The communities in this part of south-western Colombia are so isolated that many people, including Jose and his family, have never had access to any state services. They don't even hold a birth certificate to officially acknowledge their existence. This state of limbo can prove fatal, particularly in a part of the country where conflict between irregular armed groups rages and being unable to prove your identity can be a matter of life and death. When the violence forces people to flee their communities, lack of documentation only adds to the huge problems of displacement.

"Many displaced people miss out on the help they are entitled to from the government because they cannot even prove who they are," says Roberto Meier, UNHCR's representative in Colombia. "Proper documentation is the right of any citizen and in the case of displaced people, it is crucial that this right is respected. It is not only a question of access to services, but also of protection. People whose existence is not even known are terribly vulnerable to exploitation and all forms of violence."

In order to ensure that as many displaced people as possible are properly documented, UNHCR has been working with the Unit for Attention to Vulnerable Populations of the Colombian Registry Office since 2004. Since then, more than a quarter million people have been registered in cities, villages and remote communities with large populations of displaced people.

To reach out to these communities, the three mobile units available for the project have travelled thousands of miles to the most isolated parts of Colombia. They come equipped with computers, fingerprint materials, cameras and a satellite antenna to connect the unit with the national database in Bogotá. In cases of mass displacement like in Sanchez, an emergency campaign can be organised in the space of only a few days.

In Sanchez's church hall, 73-year old Olga looks slightly bewildered when she is asked to stand up and swear that she is who she says she is. She has lived all her life in a small river settlement some three hours away, and neither she nor her 15 children were ever registered with the state. Her case presents the registration team with a problem. The law requires the presence of two witnesses who have an identity card and have known the person from birth. A simple enough requirement, but it proves impossible to meet in Olga's case since the only person from her settlement with an identity card is 30 years younger than her. In the end, he and the local priest act as witnesses.

"We try to be as flexible as the law allows us to be when dealing with such cases," says Zandra Muñoz, the project's coordinator. "Our aim is to bring fast-track documentation to extremely vulnerable populations in emergency situations and we are doing everything we can to make sure everyone who needs it gets registered."

The job is not an easy one. Word has gone round that the mobile registration unit is in Sanchez, and hundreds of people are queuing patiently in and outside the church, determined not to miss out on the chance of finally getting an identity card. The heat is overwhelming and the team of seven government officials works without a break to get through as many people as possible so as not to disappoint anyone.

Tiny Elena is one of the lucky ones. Born in Sanchez two days earlier, she is one of the few babies in this region to be registered in her first week of life. She is named on the spot because her mother, Adriana, had not yet decided what she would call her but is now told she must make up her mind in order to register the baby. The young mother looks embarrassed – she would have named her daughter earlier, she says, but too much has been going on for her in the past few weeks.

"I was inside the house when the helicopter came," she says. "I didn't think much of it at first, but then I heard gunfire and what sounded like bombs falling on the roof of the house. I was so scared it took me maybe half an hour before I found the courage to run to my mother's house to get my little boy. Everyone was running but we did not know which way to go – down the river or by foot, we didn't know which was more dangerous."

She stares in wonder at her new identity card and her children's registration papers. With these, she says, she might be able to send them to school, one day. But the hope is short-lived. Sitting under a wooden statue of Christ – an import from Ecuador and a source of much pride among the local community – Adriana soon falls into despair again.

"I do not know what we will go back to," she says. "Everything has gone now and I do not know how we will feed the children. I do not see any solution for us. Sometimes, it is so hard that I think it would be easier to die."

* All names have been changed for security reasons.

Marie-Helene Verney
in Sanchez, Colombia

baby registry: Canada in brief

Gun registry changes getting a lot of support

The federal Tories got a lot of support on the Prairies to their announcement Wednesday of changes to the federal firearms registry, including the effective elimination of the long-guns registry.

Manitoba NDP Premier Gary Doer welcomed the move, saying the money would be better spent beefing up border patrols to keep illegal guns out of Canada, training and hiring more police officers and building community clubs.

''Those are three better reasons to use taxpayer money than the gun registry,'' said Doer. ''Spending $1 billion on this boondoggle is indefensible.''

Garry Breitkreuz, the Conservative from Yorkton-Melville who has long fought the gun registry, said from his Ottawa office that he feels vindicated.

''After 12 years of working on an issue, finally it's been payday,'' he said. ''I think that we can see now that the final nail in the coffin to the gun registry could be put in soon.''

He said the changes will keep many law-abiding citizens - such as farmers who own and use rifles for little other reason than shooting at gophers - from being branded criminals.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced the government is waiving the fees for long-gun owners who renew their firearms licences. And it won't prosecute those who fail to register weapons for the next year.

- The Canadian Press

Midwife sentenced to 1 year of house arrest

VICTORIA (CP) - An unregistered midwife has been sentenced to one year of house arrest after a baby she was helping to deliver died of suffocation in the mother's birth canal.

Amy Marie Labadie, 32, was convicted of a charge of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, stemming from the home birth in Sooke, B.C., two years ago.

Labadie, then a Sooke, B.C., resident and now living in Victoria, offered to help a Sooke woman have a birth at home even though circumstances suggested that the birth happen in hospital.

Labadie is not a registered midwife, citing "philosophical differences" with the College of Midwifes of B.C., a regulatory body that ensures its members are qualified and competent.

The labour went on too long and the baby girl died of asphyxia, or suffocation, in the birth canal, court heard. The infant's parents, Glyse Phillips and Paul Clarkson, were not in court Wednesday.

Crown prosecutor Christine Lowe said they were too overwrought to write a victim impact statement.

Labadie will serve her jail sentence at home under a conditional sentence order, ruled provincial court judge Michael Hubbard.

That order includes a curfew of 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the first six months of the sentence and an order to stay away from pregnant women.

baby registry: A bond that spans 20 years

Louise Dickson, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, May 18, 2006
Glen O'Keefe wrapped Adriana Jessica Kelly in his arms, hugging her as if he'd never let her go.

Twenty years ago, those arms pulled a shivering newborn from a pink Adidas bag in a cold stream on Triangle Mountain. Twenty years ago, those arms held the fragile infant with her umbilical cord still attached, warming her so she would live.

On Wednesday, the girl once known as Baby Jessica stood hand-in-hand with O'Keefe and Ray Wightman by the ditch on Walfred Road in Colwood.

"That hug just felt like I was holding her as a baby 20 years ago," O'Keefe said. "I just lost it."

Kelly's eyes filled with tears as she looked at the ditch and thought about the person who left her there.

"I'm just wondering why ... this ditch," she whispered. "It hurts a little."

Every year for the last two decades, O'Keefe and Wightman have got together to celebrate the birthday of the baby they saved -- and whose fate became a mystery after she was adopted. This year on her 20th birthday, April 14, they told the Times Colonist about how much they would love to meet her, how much they hoped she had a good life.

Meanwhile, in northern B.C., unaware of the newspaper article, Kelly contacted the provincial adoption registry. A week ago, her caseworker told her about the newspaper articles written about Baby Jessica.

Kelly phoned the Times Colonist. "I'm Baby Jessica," she said.

On Wednesday, Kelly flew to Victoria with her fiance, Dave Pow, to meet O'Keefe and Wightman.

"I'm so glad you're here," said an emotional Wightman.

Her rescuers, now 35, married, and with children of their own, talked about the day they found her, the day that changed their lives. They talked about their friend Chris Johnson, who helped save Baby Jessica. Johnson, an assistant professor at the University of Northern B.C., lives in Prince George and couldn't make the trip to Victoria to meet her.

"I talked to Chris this morning," O'Keefe said. "He wanted to be here so badly."

O'Keefe reached out his right hand to her. Wightman took Kelly's other hand. Together, they showed Kelly where they crossed the road to talk to a group of younger kids who were playing near the ditch on the afternoon of April 14, 1986.

"The creek was rocky and there were little ponds forming everywhere and there was water running down here and you were just there," Wightman said. He started to cry.

"But it all worked out for good," said O'Keefe, his voice breaking.

"When we came here last month, we relived it, but it's harder with you here," Wightman said. "I feel bad and overwhelmed right now.

"It's a lot to take in," O'Keefe said.

"All these memories that the mother could have had with this child, raising her ... it was all thrown away," Wightman said.

Kelly sank into Pow's arms.

"She's dealing with the idea that someone left her here to die. She was fine with it until we got to the bottom of the hill and it started to sink in, this is what she's here for," Wightman said.

"You know, we could be driving by a roadside grave. There could be a cross on that telephone pole. But for us to be able to come back here with her and relive this right now, instead of driving by a cross ..."

Turning away from the ditch, Kelly said she still wants to meet her birth mother, that she forgives her.

What will her life be like now with friends like O'Keefe and Wightman?

"It's great to have them," she said. A big smile broke across her face.

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006

Thursday, May 18, 2006

baby registry: Smallest Surviving Baby May Go Home On Wednesday

CBS) WEST HILLS, Calif. The smallest surviving baby ever born at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center can now go home because her prognosis is "excellent," according to a doctor.

At the time of her birth in January, Alexandra Freeman weighed 360 grams, or 12 ounces -- the size of a soda can.

The baby girl, the first child born to Julie and Peter Freeman of Chatsworth, now weighs slightly more than 4 pounds and no longer requires supplemental oxygen.

She is scheduled to go home today, although doctors are still monitoring her condition.

Alexandra was born at 26 weeks by Caesarean section, according to the hospital. Her mother was suffering from a severe case of toxemia.

According to a registry, Alexandra is the smallest baby born in Los Angeles County and the third smallest born in California in the past six years.

According to Dr. Bahman Mehdizadeh, Alexandra’s doctor, "She does not have any neurological deficits, and she passed her hearing test. I am hopeful she will be off all her medicines by the time she leaves and only be taking vitamins. I believe her outcome will be excellent."

Julie Freeman said the experience has been "a roller coaster -- but well worth it in the end."

(© 2006 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

baby registry: Baby Born Weight Of Soda Can Goes Home

LOS ANGELES -- A baby born the weight of a soda can at a Los Angeles hospital went home Wednesday, tipping the scales at more than 4 pounds.

Baby Alexandra was the smallest surviving baby ever born at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center.

Alexandra, whose prognosis was said to be excellent, weighed only 12 ounces, or 360 grams -- the size of a soda can -- when she was born in January, said the hospital's Jill Dolan.

After a roughly four-month hospital stay, the girl plumped up to more than 4 pounds and was released Wednesday to her parents, Julie and Peter Freeman, of Chatsworth. The baby was the first for the couple, who said they wanted to have more children.

"But both of my (doctors) have threatened to take vacations and not treat me," the mother joked Wednesday.

Dr. Bahman Mehdizadeh, who has cared for Alexandra since her birth, said the baby's prognosis was excellent.

"She does not have any neurological deficits, and she passed her hearing test," he said. "I am hopeful she will be off all her medicines by the time she leaves and only be taking vitamins. I believe her outcome will be excellent."

Alexandra was delivered by Caesarean section after 26 weeks of gestation, Dolan said. Her mother was suffering from toxemia, a condition in which poisonous substances are spread throughout the body in the bloodstream.

According to a registry produced by University of Iowa's Department of Pediatrics, Alexandra is the smallest baby born in Los Angeles County and the third smallest born in California over the past six years.
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baby registry: Breaking up proves too easy to do

Friday, May 12, 2006

Villagers saw divorce as their loophole to a better life. Then the authorities said not so fast, writes Ching-Ching Ni
Farmer Yan Shihai was happily married for more than 30 years. Then late last year, seemingly out of the blue, the 57-year-old grandfather and his loving wife got a divorce.

Within months, all three of his adult children and their spouses also split up. So did almost every other married couple in Yan's village of 4,000, an astounding 98 percent of Renhe's married couples officially parted, according to the local government.

It was as if a spell had been cast over this once-quiet rural community in the Chinese heartland. Everybody suddenly seemed to have fallen out of love. The oldest among them were in their 90s and barely able to move. The youngest had just tied the knot. Some had babies.

But instead of tension or tears, the couples waiting in line at the local registry to end their marriages were practically jolly. They believed they were taking advantage of a legal loophole that allowed them to get an extra apartment.

In a country where the government has seized farm after farm to feed a building boom, the villagers figured that if they were going to lose the land that had supported them for generations, they should at least try to get a better deal.

"Basically, it's the government that forced us into this mess," said Yu Changle, a 70-year-old grandfather, whose three children are also divorced. "They are not paying us enough to leave the land behind."

As they understood the compensation deal, each married couple would receive a small two-bedroom apartment in return for their land and farmhouse. Those divorced would get a one- bedroom apartment each. The villagers figured that would be a better deal, that they could live in one apartment and make a little extra income from selling or renting out the extra one.

So, whereas farmers elsewhere took to the streets with their picks and plows demanding higher compensation in protests seen across the countryside, the folks in Renhe took a gamble with their marriages.

"Divorced? How could I not be divorced? It's now a local custom!" Yan said as he sat on the stoop outside his new apartment building with a handful of neighbors - all divorced, of course. "Even if we hate it, we have to do it. Divorce gives us a chance to sit on a longer bench. Don't get divorced, and you sit on a small stool or in the dirt."

But if what happened in Renhe is any guide, breaking up is hard to do, even if you don't mean it.

Most of the villagers eagerly parted ways based on the assumption that after the new apartments came through, they would remarry and return to their old life. But authorities found out about the mass divorces, and changed the compensation package early this year.

If farmers who divorced after the rules changed still wanted an extra apartment, the government said, they had to pay close to market price for it. Of course, none of the farmers could afford to do that.

And for most of those who split up earlier, it's a long wait before they will see the new apartments, if at all - the government didn't build enough one- bedroom apartments to accommodate the unexpected demand from a village where nearly all the couples are divorced.

Meanwhile, most of the former marriages are in tatters. Considering the prospect of a future without financial security, remarrying now simply seems too much of a hassle. Promises are souring. Stunned villagers are watching their life partners drift off. Some have found new love. Others are deciding to try out freedom from a marriage they never thought they wanted to leave.

Although the marriage registrar reported that a few couples have remarried, most in the village seem to be waiting for their new apartments to come through.

The blocks of apartments that have been built so far, in a kind of prefab urban ghetto, are packed with uprooted villagers, and as more and more residents arrive, the unhappiness only seems to worsen.

"We are miserable! There are broken families everywhere," said Wang Fen, a 58-year-old grandmother, who lost her husband of 40 years to what she considered a fake divorce.

"We were very happy before. But he had a change of heart and married a younger woman."

As Wang spoke in the stairwell of her new apartment building, 30-year- old Zhou Qin started climbing the stairs to her brand-new eighth-floor flat, a kitchen cabinet strapped to her back.

"Look at her," Wang said. "Married only one year and divorced. Now she has no husband, no baby and no money to even hire a mover."

Liu Chunlan, 60, is still living with her ex-husband. He is sick and needs her care. That's not all she has to worry about: Her son got a supposedly fake divorce when her grandson was just three months old, and she's been taking care of the baby ever since because neither newly single parent wants the responsibility. Her daughter's husband also took his divorce seriously, and Liu is looking after their toddler too.

"I got up at the crack of dawn and stood in line for three hours," Liu said, recalling the day of her divorce last year and the long queues that made it seem like a festive occasion. "I had no idea I'd end up like this."

Local officials don't exactly know what to do about the situation except to point out that everything the villagers did is perfectly legal.

"In the face of the law, there is no such thing as a fake divorce," said Xue Xiang, an officer at the local marriage registry who oversaw the wave of divorces. At its height late last year, up to a hundred couples showed up at the office every day. "Every citizen has the right to marry and divorce. As long as it's voluntary, we have to follow the rules and grant them their wish. We can't help it if some people have ulterior motives."

Until a few years ago, divorce in the mainland was a long and embarrassing process that required employers' permission and sometimes years of counseling from neighborhood committee members trying to talk estranged couples out of ending the marriage.

Now that the country is in the midst of great change, the state has been retreating from the bedroom. Although it still tells couples how many babies they can have, it now permits divorces that take only minutes.

When divorce fever hit Renhe, life changed utterly. Mahjong games and family meals were interrupted by couples running off to break up or meet up with new mates. Conversations centered on one topic.

Even greetings were to the point. The typical Chinese phrase chi le ma? or "Have you eaten?" was replaced in Renhe with li le ma? or "Have you divorced?"

Now, months after the fever struck, many of the divorced couples are wishing it were all a bad dream.

"I just want to go back to my farm," said Li Xin, 31, whose wife went off with someone else after the divorce, leaving him with their three-year-old daughter, plus living expenses he can't afford. "At least there I can grow my own food. Here I have to pay for everything - food, water and electricity. Where do I get the money?"

But the farmhouses they gave up have been demolished and the land is off limits.

Nearby Chongqing, once a transportation hub on the Yangtze River that was part of Sichuan province, is now a municipality on the scale of Beijing and Shanghai. Its mandate is to remake itself as the gateway to the mainland interior.

As a suburb of Chongqing, the area around Renhe is becoming a new industrial development zone that locals say will one day rival the east bank of Shanghai, which was transformed a decade ago from rice paddies into a financial center with glittering skyscrapers and high-tech parks.

To realize that goal, authorities have intensified the rural land appropriation, moving about 18,000 of the estimated 21,000 rural residents off their farms.

Already, Renhe looks nothing like it did before, its once-lush farmland having sprouted expensive apartments, with many more luxury high-rises under construction. Billboards along newly paved boulevards beckon a new kind of resident: Palm Springs. Lakeside Paradise. A Spanish Housing Dream.

Meanwhile, the farmers, with few prospects for new jobs, have plenty of time to reflect on what happened.

"It's definitely strange that so many of us are divorced," mused grandpa Yan, still officially separated from his wife as they wait in their corner of Renhe for the extra one-bedroom apartment. "If it weren't for the extra room, why would we want to divorce? At our age, what's the point? If it turns out they won't give us the new apartments, there isn't a darn thing we can do about it." LOS ANGELES TIMES

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

baby registry: Nurse Shortage

It's no secret that the United States has a nursing shortage, one that promises to grow to alarming proportions. Too many nurses are retiring, and too few are entering the profession. To compound the problem, within the next 5 to 10 years, over 76 million Baby Boomers are scheduled to retire from the workforce, with only about 44 million Generation X'ers available to pick up the slack. This will soon place unprecedented demands for services on a health system that is already stretched thin.

This shortage of allied healthcare professionals, especially nurses have a created a new boom to the nursing agency, nurse registry business, supplemental staffing agency for medical professionals, permanent placement medical recruiter, or starting a business in homecare and staffing pool. The medical staffing industry will continue to grow because of the upcoming baby boomers, and the current supply of nurses are dwindling. The average age for nurses are in the forties, and they are not being replaced by the new generations. Entrepreneurs have made lucrative business in nursing agency, nursing registry, homecare business, medical recruiter recruiting, or as independent nurse contractor in their own field.

The time is now for entrepreneurs to start a nursing agency,nursing registry business, operate a homecare business, or as a medical recruiter or just become an independent healthcare contractor. By being an independent healthcare contractor, you are bypassing the agency and are self employed. Healthcare facilities are the clients. Homecare are regulated by all levels of goverment from local to fedeal level. Homecare levels of regulations depends on the category of service provided to clients. Homecare services ranges from providing just companions or the more medically needed clients such as terminally ill clients. Homecare services can be in the form of social service, non-medical, and medical services.

More info at:

baby registry: Birth Certificates

A birth certificate is one of the most important documents a person must keep a copy of. Almost all major and official transactions - application for visas, passports, driver's license, opening a bank account, among others, require birth certificates to authenticate a person's identity. One has to present a birth certificate to acquire marriage license or get into college, even.

Hospitals have forms that have to be filled out with the assistance of the parents upon the birth of their child. It will contain details like the names of the baby and the parents, complete present address of the family, name of the hospital, and the baby's biological information - birth weight, height and gender, as well as the exact date and time of delivery. The attending physician will authenticate the information. The parents will have to submit a copy to the city hall's registry where a birth certificate will be prepared. An authenticated copy of the original is given to the parents, and the city hall keeps the original document.

Some transactions like applications for credit cards may not require an authenticated copy of your birth certificate - a photocopy of the authenticated copy may suffice. Sometimes, institutions may only require seeing your passport or driver's license - and you wouldn't get those without a birth certificate.

To avoid unnecessary trouble and inconveniences, always have an authenticated copy of your birth certificate at the ready. You wouldn't know when you need to submit one. Also, keep it in a secure place. You wouldn't want it landing in the hands of people with malicious intent who could steal your identity.

If you have lost your copy, you may obtain another from the city hall where you were registered. Remember that you can only get an authentic copy from the city hall. Forging your birth certificate is a criminal offense, because it is, after all, an official government document honored in major transactions.

Birth Certificates provides detailed information on Birth Certificates, Copy Of Birth Certificates, Birth And Death Certificates, Obtaining Birth Certificates and more. Birth Certificates is affliated with Twin Birth Announcement.

baby registry: Baby Gift Registries

If you're having a baby and would like to register for baby gifts, all you have to do is go to the Internet to a website that has baby gift registries, sign up and select the gifts that like or need. There are many websites online that host these registries. They are convenient, easy to use and a big help for those families and friends who are looking for the perfect gift to give your new arrival.

Registering online is easy. There is usually a form to fill out asking name, address, phone number, etc. When that is completed, you will be prompted to select from among hundreds of baby items. As you choose, your items will be stored in the registry. When someone logs on to the registry, they select from the items you listed. The item they choose is then listed as purchased.

A baby gift registry is truly a nice way to spread the word about the arrival of one's bundle of joy. It offers all the items that parents need to care for their baby. Most products offered are quality baby goods and are priced reasonably.

Baby registries make shopping easy and saves time and money. There is no running from store to store, hoping you select the right gift -- one that someone else hasn't already purchased. Purchases online are usually made with a credit card, but one can also usually mail a check. Once payment is processed, the gift is immediately mailed. Most websites are secure, so there is no need to worry about stolen information.

Registries are set up with the idea of knowing what expecting or new parents need and giving family and friends the opportunity to purchase baby gifts the parents would like to receive.

Baby Gifts provides detailed information on Baby Gifts, Baby Gift Baskets, Baby Shower Gifts, Personalized Baby Gifts and more. Baby Gifts is affliated with Baby Boy Gift Baskets.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

home stereo speakers

Are the speakers you are using car or home stereo speakers? If they are home stereo speakers they are probably 8 ohm speakers and you could damage the head unit if you drive them hard. If they are car speakers how are they installed in the shelves? Are they just flush mounted in the cabinet or does each one installed in a sealed "box" in the cabinet? Every speaker is designed for a certain type of installation. Deviating from that optimal installation can degrade the sound quality or lead to speaker damage. Also depending on the design and size of the speakers, you may want some type of low pass crossover so the speakers do not play the lowest bass which can lead to large amounts of distortion, especially with car speakers installed out of a car.

Lastly you should think about the heat the head unit generates during use when you figure out where you're going to install it. Don't install it in a cavity just big enough with no possible air flow. You should try to leave some air space on all sides and the back of the unit and some type of vents to the room air would be a good idea also. Depending on how hard you drive the amp in the head unit, it can create quite a bit of heat. High heat can be damaging and will definately reduce the life of the head unit.

While installing a car stereo in a house is possible, I wanted to make sure you know there is some planning and research that should be done before installation. Car stereos are designed to be played in a small enclosed space at close proximity. Change that to a larger space and moving farther away from the speakers, you have to take some time in choosing the components and designing the install to make sure nothing is damaged and to achieve quality sound.

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Monday, May 15, 2006


Pioneer Press

Pat Sukhum has invited 225 people to his "Jobless, Weddingless, Babyless Shower" tonight. He's been best man in plenty of weddings and attended his share of wedding and baby showers. Now, it's his turn.

"I've got a great life," he says. "Just because I haven't gone through the life-changing events most people go through doesn't mean I don't have reason to celebrate."

His shower is an unserious idea the 32-year-old is taking seriously.

He's registered for gifts at Target, items single guys need — like Speedstick deodorant, pepperoni pizza rolls, Cocoa Puffs and Corn Pops cereal, SpaghettiOs, sour neon worm candies, a kite, tennis balls, Tide Liquid detergent, toilet paper and white undershirts.

Everything on the list costs $10 or less, except one item: a $5,000, 61-inch, flat-screen TV.

"You have to have one minor extravagance," he explains.

While Sukhum's party is a cheeky idea, personal celebrations are gaining ground.

"It's becoming a little bit of a trend, I think, because people are getting married later in life, and they are thinking that they've been the bridesmaid or groomsman for a lot of weddings," says Geri Wolf, whose company, The Style Laboratory, specializes in event design and planning. "They've been giving gifts for a lot of showers and they're thinking, 'Now, it's my turn.' They're doing the whole registry thing and throwing a party."

"It takes a different person to do this," she said. "They're usually people in their mid-30s to mid-40s, so he's a little young."

Because Target doesn't have a "Jobless, Weddingless, Babyless" category, Sukhum signed up for the baby registry, which allows users to include the name of the child. He's calling his baby "Wonton."

Some people may be put off by the idea of poking fun at traditional baby and wedding showers, but "most of the guests take it in fun — not very seriously," Wolf said. "The ones who take it seriously usually don't show up. It's not really their kind of party."

Sukhum did worry he might offend some of his friends with the invitation. Most of them are married and employed, after all.

"It's not about me," he says.

Well, maybe a little. …

"If you knew Pat, you would realize he's exactly where he wants to be," says longtime friend Craig Schlichting, 31, of Ham Lake, who is babyless but married and employed. "What we're celebrating is the fact that … he loves life."

He adds, "When you throw a party, Pat is the one guy you plan it around."

But Sukhum is more than just a party boy. He's a Carleton College graduate with an economics degree, an entrepreneur, a volunteer, an athlete and an actor.

"He is a master of self-deprecating humor, but at the same time, you can tell he is full of confidence and comfortable with himself," says friend Bill Nielsen, 32, of St. Paul.

Sukhum expects about 100 people at tonight's party. They include friends from Definity Health, the now-defunct company he and five friends founded as 20-somethings and later sold. Other invitees include teammates from the football, softball, soccer and volleyball city leagues he has participated in, along with childhood, college and theater friends from shows like "Awesome '80s Prom," in which Sukhum played a stereotypical Asian foreign exchange student at Hennepin Stages theater.

One of the guests of honor will be Derrick Pam, 17, Sukhum's Little Brother from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities program, which named Sukhum "Big Brother of the Year" last year.

Sukhum's sister, Pam Sukhum, will provide the party venue — her art gallery and studio near Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. Sukhum, who was born in St. Paul and grew up in northern Minnesota, also enjoys a close relationship with his parents, a cardiologist and a lawyer from Bangkok, Thailand.

Sukhum and a core group of friends have held other theme parties. There was the "Nerd Alert" party. It's a phrase Sukhum and some of his buddies shout out when one of them obsesses over figuring a restaurant tip to the penny, organizes photos alphabetically or boasts he's "MapQuested" his entire vacation ahead of time. Lots of people wore taped eyeglasses to that party, which ended with synchronized dance moves from the movie "Napoleon Dynamite."

They've also held an "Abercrombie" party that poked fun at the trendy clothing giant Abercrombie & Fitch. For that one, a white brick wall of his sister's art studio was decorated with a blown-up black-and-white picture of Sukhum and friends taken at a beach.

He has bought lollipop rings to give out and plans to serve at least some cocktails in baby bottles. He may print up a list of tips for job interviews and hand out business cards with his name and a fancy title for remaining unemployed. Friends have suggested songs related to weddings, babies and jobs: "Nine to Five," "Take This Job and Shove It," "The Chapel of Love" and "Baby, It's You."

"This party kind of sums him up," Nielsen says.

So does the outfit Sukhum plans to wear.

Envision him looking at you very directly through large, dark-framed spectacles that are geeky and chic. He's got on a finely woven, light blue cotton business shirt with a dark, well-tailored suit jacket and a silk tie in a spare, muted pattern.

He grins.

He's also wearing pajama pants in a pink-flamingo print with black, red and white fuzzy slippers.

Ellen Tomson can be reached at or 651-228-5455.

"Due Maternity" A Leading Online Maternity Clothes Provider Announces The Launch of Their New Community Site

Due Maternity has always prided itself in bringing expectant mothers the best in maternity fashion. Now they have gone even further to make expectant women feel as special as possible and provide them with fun tips and information. The launch of new community pages is an exciting new feature and addition to the Due Maternity website.

Santa Barbara, CA (PRWEB) May 14, 2006 -- Due Maternity ( has always prided itself in bringing expectant mothers the best in maternity fashion. Now they have gone even further to make expectant women feel as special as possible and provide them with fun tips and information. The launch of new community pages is an exciting new feature and addition to the Due Maternity website.

Some of the information that you will find on Due Maternity’s community pages include:

• 16,000 baby names
• baby astrology
• due date calculators
• podcasts

Expectant mothers are encouraged to sign up for a personal page. This will provide them with a count down clock, a pregnancy calendar filled with daily facts, and a baby gift registry with a wish list.

Recently, Apple Computer ( was very impressed with the Podcast featured on Due Maternity’s community pages ( Apple has chosen to use Due Maternity in their example of “how-to product Podcasts in 100 Apple Retail Stores.”

Summer is on its way. This is a great time for expectant mothers to find the latest in summer fashions, as well as visit Due Maternity’s community pages to find new and exciting information about being pregnant.

About Due Maternity
Due Maternity was founded in 2003 by Shannon DiPadova out of a desire to provide moms to be with fashionable and stylish clothing and accessories. Today Due Maternity boasts five national retail stores, as well as an online store.

(press release provided by:

Contact Info:
Sonia Shah
Due Maternity
Maternity Clothes Dept.
1223 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Web Address:
Blog Site:
Phone: 866-746-7383


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'I'm Baby Jessica'

LOUISE DICKSON, CanWest News Service
Published: Sunday, May 14, 2006
Twenty years ago, Glen O'Keefe and Ray Wightman found a newborn baby, near death, crying in a sports bag abandoned in a cold creek on Victoria's Triangle Mountain.

Last week, Baby Jessica found them.

And her words - "Thank you for finding me" - were ones they never expected to hear.

"It's unbelievable," a stunned O'Keefe said.

"I told her - 'Hey, you've just repaid us by getting in touch.' It's something we've always dreamed of, but never expected to happen."

"It's pretty overwhelming," Wightman said. "I'm just sort of walking around in circles. It's really exciting. I never thought this day would come."

On April 14, 1986, the two 15-year-old boys and their friend Chris Johnson were walking up a road when they heard crying coming from a pink-striped Adidas bag in an overgrown, watery ditch.

Inside was a soaking-wet newborn.

Police thought Baby Jessica, as she became known, had been born an hour before she was left in the stream. Her mother was never found.

But the baby found a permanent home in the hearts of those boys.

Every year, O'Keefe and Wightman got together to celebrate the birthday of the baby they saved - but whose fate became a mystery after she was adopted.

This year, on her 20th birthday, they talked to the Victoria Times Colonist about how much they would love to meet her, how they hoped she had a good life and had been adopted by a great family.

Meanwhile, in northern British Columbia, completely unaware of the newspaper article, 20-year-old Adriana Jessica Kelly contacted the provincial adoption registry.

On Thursday, her case worker gave her copies of the Times Colonist articles written about Baby Jessica. Kelly, in turn, called the Times Colonist.

"I'm Baby Jessica," she said.

"It's a lot to take in. It's actually quite exciting," Kelly said, on the phone from Smithers, B.C.

Kelly said she had gone to the adoption registry because she was curious about her birth parents.

"I asked my mum what she knew and she said it wasn't a very good thing, but she didn't know exactly what had happened.

"This is really interesting. It wasn't really the answer I was looking for, but hey, it's a good thing. It's meant a lot to those guys."

Kelly was adopted by Sherry and Lorne Kelly of Smithers. She has a younger brother and an older sister.

She was 12 before she was told she was adopted, a discovery she acknowledges was "a little weird."

"Adoption hasn't affected me. I just have a lot of curiosity about where I came from and why.

"I had a wonderful childhood. When I was little, I did gymnastics from the age of 5 and competed for about six years. I graduated two years ago from Smithers Secondary. I played on the basketball team there."

Kelly is engaged to be married, works at a grocery store and is training to become a paramedic, specializing in infant transportation.

All that is music to the ears of O'Keefe and Wightman, who spent the last 20 years hoping that the shivering, fragile infant they saved was happy and healthy.

"I told her it was some weird kind of fate that we just happened to walk by there that day at that time," Wightman said after Kelly phoned both her long-ago rescuers Thursday night.

"Honestly, if she'd stopped crying for five minutes ..."

As for Kelly, being able to thank the boys who saved her life was "awesome."

Victoria Times Colonist

© The Gazette (Montreal) 2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What Is Home Theater?

Home theater is difficult to define -- it's really just a vague term for a particular approach to home entertainment. Generally speaking, a home theater system is a combination of electronic components designed to recreate the experience of watching a movie in a theater. When you watch a movie on a home theater system, you are more immersed in the experience than when you watch one on an ordinary television.
To see how home theaters do this, let's take a look at the original model -- the movie theater. When it comes to picture and sound, the theater can offer an amazing experience we just don't get at home. That's usually why people will pay to go to the movies, even though renting a movie is cheaper. There are a few main components that make watching TV and going to the movies very different.

One of the biggest differences is the sound experience. When you go to see a movie in a quality movie theater, you'll hear the music, sound effects and dialogue not just from the screen, but all around you. If you've read How Movie Sound Works, you know that a standard movie theater has three speakers behind the screen -- one to the right, one to the left and one in the center -- and several other speakers spread out in the rest of the theater.
In this surround sound system, you hear different parts of the soundtrack coming from different places. When somebody on the left side of the screen says something, you hear it more from the left speaker. And in a movie like "Star Wars," you hear a rumbling swoosh travel from the front of the theater to the rear as a spaceship flies toward the camera and off the screen. You are more involved in the experience of watching a film because the world of the movie is all around you.

The second chief component of the theater experience is the large size of the movie screen. In a theater, the screen takes up most of your field of view, which makes it very easy to lose yourself in the movie. After all, you're sitting in the dark with only one thing to look at, and everything you're looking at seems much bigger than life.

We also enjoy going to the movies because we can see everything so well. Film projectors present very large, clear pictures. The detail is much sharper than what we see on an ordinary 19-inch television, and the movement is much more fluid. We may not consciously recognize this, but it does make a significant difference in how we enjoy a movie. When we can see more detail, we are more engrossed in the world of the movie.
The basic idea of a home theater is to recreate these elements with home equipment. In the next section, we'll look at an overview of what you need to get started.

by Tom Harris and Tracy V. Wilson

Thursday, May 11, 2006

baby registry: Operation Baby a success

Spring ushers in sneezes, stuffy noses, puffy eyes and the famous yellow haze.

It also means rebirth, renewal and new life, which is appropriate because my husband and I just welcomed our new baby girl into the world.

The path to her arrival was long and arduous. We had a difficult time believing we would really bring home a healthy little one. I was afraid to “jinx” things, so I’ve spent the past nine months finding other things to write about.

But now that she’s here, I can gush about what a miracle she is and about how our lives turned into Operation Baby.

This little being began running our lives before she was even considering leaving her warm, cozy womb.

My dear husband approached preparation for her arrival like a field exercise. He had our hospital bags packed and ready to go six weeks in advance.

As a daddy-to-be, he conducted his own personal Daddy Boot Camp. He read the Boy Scout-like “Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads” cover to cover. Twice.

He prepared her sense of humor by telling her jokes — “Which branch of the military do babies join? The infantry.” — and started her on physical training, or PT, by playing whack-a-mole with her as she kicked.

Of course Operation Baby included lots of shopping, something Army guys don’t generally train for. And neither of us was prepared for the not-so-camouflaged “good parent” retail campaign.

(You know, the “you’ll-be-a-terrible-mother-if-you-don’t-use-a-wipe-warmer,” and “only-unfit-fathers-buy-the-least-expensive-diapers” messages.)

My love did enjoy waving the scanner gun around Babies “R” Us as we succumbed to the pressure and created a baby registry. But he disappeared somewhere around the stroller aisle.

He tried installing the car seat one day in my seventh month only to come in exhausted and harrumphing.

“I thought being a paratrooper prepared me to deal with belts, straps and buckles, but this thing is beyond me,” he lamented.

A few hours later he announced victory over the contraption and challenged the police inspector to, “Bring it on.” Unfortunately, the officer found the base slid more than an inch to the right and left, which required my ego-deflated hubby to try again.

After wrestling with the pack ’n play, the mobile and the bouncy seat, we overcame the bad parent feelings and decided to buy a gently used crib just so we wouldn’t have to figure out how to put it together, too.

Final preparations for Operation Baby kicked into overdrive when my water broke in the middle of the night. Having a few deadlines yet to meet, I worked for a couple of hours. (“You’ll never get any work done once she arrives!” everyone told me.)

My fabulous husband worked, too. He created a spreadsheet to time my contractions. Like any good Army brat, our beautiful girl arrived one day after her due date, ensuring that we know exactly who is in command at our house from now on.

Kelly Wright can receive messages at or 486-3585.

baby registry: Home & Garden

Lately, Tea Time has been the new talk of the town. From the moment a customer walks in, the idea is to make him or her feel s p e cial and pampered. A unique and relaxing experience awaits them.

Tea Time offers the finest high-quality gifts and exotic teas in the Gulf Breeze area. Their family owned and operated tea room and gift shop houses a unique atmosphere that makes anyone feel r i g h t a t

home. Their wonderful lunch menu includes homemade scones and chicken salad along with hearty sandwiches, salads, gourmet soups and delicious desserts to top it all off. Every Tuesday and Thursday, they offer a mouthwatering quiche as the special of the day.

Don't feel like dining in? Tea Time offers take out orders any time during business hours, with some catered event requests offered off-site.

Call or stop in at Tea Time

for more details. They also provide a delightful place for

you to hold private tea parties, business meetings, bridal and baby showers, and princess birthday parties.

Whether anyone is shopping for candles, collectibles, private label jams, English china or gourmet teas, one can count on Tea Time to have it all. Once one has found what he or she is looking for, Tea Time will happily provide them with complimentary gift-wrapping service. They also offer Gift Registry and Gift Certificates.

So, visit Tea Time today and see what all the rave is about.

baby registry: A girl for Lea Salonga

Editor's Note: Published on page A2-1 of the April 10, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

FIVE WEEKS BEFORE THE BIG DAY, the would-be first-time mom proudly relayed the news to Inquirer Entertainment via e-mail: "It's going to be a girl. We checked at least three times just to make sure."

Although famous for her reticent ways, Lea Salonga, Filipina star of "Miss Saigon" in the West End and on Broadway, enthusiastically and generously shared this and so much more.

On previous TV interviews, she had said she was determined not to deliver by a C-section, stopping short of revealing the baby's gender.

Next month, her own little "Miss" will make a grand entrance.

Motherhood seems to have made Lea more gregarious and, as a bonus, a wee bit sentimental.

Two years ago, playing an expectant mom in Atlantis Production's staging of "Baby the Musical," Lea had sung "The Story Goes On" for the first time.

Back then, she said, the lyrics didn't resonate as powerfully with her as they do now.

Entertainment in December. "The last time I sang it was in Carnegie Hall (in November), with Liz Calloway, who starred in the original production. It's about a mom feeling her baby kick for the first time. It's hard not to cry with that song."

When are you due?

My due date is May 19, but the baby could arrive at any time two weeks before that. It's very exciting! We can't wait!

What are your thoughts?

The big questions on my mind are: Will I be able to take care of this little girl? Will I be a good mommy? What does God have in store for her? Am I doing enough for her now? There will always be something in me that asks those questions, [but I know] I can only do the best I can.

How are you preparing for the big day? Do you have a packed overnight bag on standby?

Nope, I don't have the bag ready yet. I've been checking baby websites to figure out exactly what I need to take to the hospital. I know that I'll need to bring a baby outfit to take her home in, hard candy, my own pajamas and slippers. I'm also going to bring my iPod, to help take my mind off the discomfort I will most assuredly be feeling, and my cellphone, to text my friends once she's born.

Do you conduct drills with your husband, mom and housemates? How often?

Oh no, we haven't done any of that. The hospital isn't far and my mother is constantly on standby. My husband has just been reminding me to eat healthy and eat light, as per my gynecologist's instructions. My mother has just been doing what a prospective grandma does: Brag about the baby... and she's not even here yet!

Have you decided on the color of the baby's room? What about the room dècor?

Since we're living in a rented house at the moment, we'll be keeping the room as it is. As for room dècor, we'll probably be doing more of that after she's born.

Are you having fun buying toys and shopping for baby clothes?

A lot of what I have was given as gifts from my baby registry, so we're just fine. I always visit the baby store though, to see if there's anything new.

You've said her second name would be Beverly (after your husband Rob Chien's mom); have you decided on a first name?

Yes, but because I know of people whose wonderful names were "stolen" by other people, I'm keeping our selection a secret for now.

Her second name is Beverly because we made that promise to his family when his mom died three years ago.

How much or how little weight have you gained?

As of today, I've gained close to 15 pounds. Not too bad!

What are your immediate plans after giving birth, professional and personal?

As far as my immediate plans are concerned, I would like to physically recover first before I do any concerts or shows. I want to give myself the chance to get my old body back and regain my strength for singing.

For personal plans, we'd just like to take the baby to Los Angeles, to meet family members, both on my and Rob's side. This is a very, very thrilling time!

Copyright 2006 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Baby Registry: The home team: enlist help to make those early weeks manageable

You can expect to have your hands full when your baby comes home and you juggle new responsibilities such as feedings and diaper changes, not to mention trying to find time for yourself. That's why it's so important to start organizing your support system now. Consider these options.

Family and friends: Instead of requesting items on your baby registry, ask a few close loved ones to give the gift of themselves. Create a network of people who will bring you dinner, do a load of laundry, or even watch the baby for an hour so you can take a shower or catch a nap.

Hired help: If your budget allows, you might hire a postpartum doula, whose job function is to come into the home and support the new more. "Doulas mother the mother," says Tracy Wilson Peters, executive director of the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association, a service of 2,000 doulas across the country. "We do whatever needs to be done in order to make this time easier," adds Joan Goode, president of the National Association of Postpartum Care Services in Denver. "This includes everything from light housekeeping and grocery shopping to taking the night shift so Mom can sleep. We even teach new mothers how to breastfeed." The downside: Doula services, which cost about $30 per hour, are not covered by most health-insurance plans, so you may want to save up. For more information, visit or call (888) 692-2772.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Essence Communications, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

Baby Registry: Toys 'R' Us to add learning centers, PC software, baby registry in '95; image and service highlighted in annual report

PARAMUS, N.J. -- Feeling the competitive pinch from discount department stores, Toys "R" Us will undertake some broad new initiatives in 1995 that should better position the specialty chain for growth.

This year, according to its 1994 annual report, Toys "R" Us will:

* Open 100 Learning Center store-within-a-store shops that offer a full assortment of learning-aid products and children's software;

* Debut a full selection of PC software at all U.S. stores as well as in several international markets;

* Greatly expand the space dedicated to large outdoor/ indoor play sets;

* Install a new automated Baby Registry program throughout the chain.

The toy retailer said that it is committed to improving its image through "a variety of pricing and marketing initiatives, the introduction of new in-store shops that highlight our dominant selection of merchandise and an increased emphasis on customer service," according to a letter to stockholders signed by vice chairman and ceo Michael Goldstein and Robert Nakasone, president and coo.

Toys "R" Us suffered from a downturn in video game sales in '94, the result of consumers awaiting the new generation of 32-bit and 64-bit video game systems by Sega, Sony and Nintendo. This should turn around later this year as these new technologies hit the shelves, creating excitement and sales during the fourth quarter.

Toys "R" Us' annual report stated the company's continuing efforts to improve its customer service program and the scheduled opening this year of a state-of-the art distribution center, the company's largest, in New Jersey. It also will open a DC in Germany.

Store counts will swell by another 100 units this year to about 1,100: 40 more toy stores in the United States on top of the yearend 618; about 50 internationally above the current 293; and 10 more Kids "R" Us children's apparel stores for a total of 214.

Toys "R" Us said that it will expand its franchise agreement program so that it can enter more countries in the years ahead. Toys "R" Us opened its first franchise store in January in Dubai and expects to open units in Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Overall, in 1994 Toys "R" Us recorded total corporate sales of over $8.7 billion and operating income of $844 million.

COPYRIGHT 1995 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

Baby Registry: Toys 'R' Us to add learning centers, PC software, baby registry in '95; image and service highlighted in annual report

PARAMUS, N.J. -- Feeling the competitive pinch from discount department stores, Toys "R" Us will undertake some broad new initiatives in 1995 that should better position the specialty chain for growth.

This year, according to its 1994 annual report, Toys "R" Us will:

* Open 100 Learning Center store-within-a-store shops that offer a full assortment of learning-aid products and children's software;

* Debut a full selection of PC software at all U.S. stores as well as in several international markets;

* Greatly expand the space dedicated to large outdoor/ indoor play sets;

* Install a new automated Baby Registry program throughout the chain.

The toy retailer said that it is committed to improving its image through "a variety of pricing and marketing initiatives, the introduction of new in-store shops that highlight our dominant selection of merchandise and an increased emphasis on customer service," according to a letter to stockholders signed by vice chairman and ceo Michael Goldstein and Robert Nakasone, president and coo.

Toys "R" Us suffered from a downturn in video game sales in '94, the result of consumers awaiting the new generation of 32-bit and 64-bit video game systems by Sega, Sony and Nintendo. This should turn around later this year as these new technologies hit the shelves, creating excitement and sales during the fourth quarter.

Toys "R" Us' annual report stated the company's continuing efforts to improve its customer service program and the scheduled opening this year of a state-of-the art distribution center, the company's largest, in New Jersey. It also will open a DC in Germany.

Store counts will swell by another 100 units this year to about 1,100: 40 more toy stores in the United States on top of the yearend 618; about 50 internationally above the current 293; and 10 more Kids "R" Us children's apparel stores for a total of 214.

Toys "R" Us said that it will expand its franchise agreement program so that it can enter more countries in the years ahead. Toys "R" Us opened its first franchise store in January in Dubai and expects to open units in Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Overall, in 1994 Toys "R" Us recorded total corporate sales of over $8.7 billion and operating income of $844 million.

COPYRIGHT 1995 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

Baby Registry: Baby Shower Gift Basket - The Best Basket Filler Ever

You will be surprised how much pleasure you give to a person on the receiving end of a personalized baby gift as well as claiming a sense of satisfaction knowing you donated well. To personalize an item is a fabulous way to leave your mark where your gift is lovingly treasured for years to come.

Very popular items given at baby showers are baby beakers, guilt edged photo frames, baby trinkets and silverware also woolly fleeced baby blankets embroidered with the name of baby or their initials. Names and their meaning stitched neatly in coloured cottons onto an item of clothing make an excellent personalized gift for both mother and baby.

Baby Gift baskets definitely take lead in holding top position as the most given gift at a baby shower. Below you will find a few ideas to help you organise your perfect gift basket donation.

Wicker holders can be bought in florists or craft shops and come in different shapes and sizes or better still ready made First you must take into account the size of the basket that is to be used. Warning - the bigger the basket the more to fill thus incurring more costs so consider a medium size gift basket. . To pad or line your basket use shredded tissue paper or scrunched raffia. This can be layered around the sides and at the bottom along with items that you have for the baby.

If you are adamant on having a large basket then fill it the same way only this time stuff and cram in more padding. You need not struggle to fill the basket if you add bigger items like a baby pillow or cushion - one of each if need be.

Knowing the gender of the baby will make your task a slight easier in helping you decide on what is to goe into your gift basket. Ask the pregnant mum for a baby registry list if she has one, this will also help with your content picking. Let your imagination run wild when making selections. Fillers like cloth nappies, disposable diapers, teething rings, and baby feeding bottles are gifts that are welcomed with open arms as they are all useful for mom when raising the baby.

It is to your advantage knowing the gender of the new baby on the way because you now know what colour to work with when personalizing your gift basket. A theme like the forever favourite bedtime topic is very popular - maybe this is because baby sleeps most of the time since birth. Fairy tale books, musical CDs, soft to touch blankets, puffy cushions, music mobiles and cuddly toys are common choices as fillers for this theme.

If you are of a creative nature then make your gift with a difference by filling a baby bath tub, a mummy holdall bag or even a small laundry basket. Baby wash tubs can contain bathing accessories e.g talcum powder, soaps, towels, baby shampoo, and not forgetting the rubber duck.

If you are filling a trunk in place of a Baby Gift Basket then include baby keepsakes. If the laundry basket is your choice of container then pack it with slippers, baby wipes, brush and comb set and baby clothes. What to put into your Baby Gift basket could prove to be a problem because of the endless options. You can always call in an expert for help and guidance.

If you want to be remembered for a long time to come and filling the basket is proving to be an ordeal then pad the Baby Gift Basket with BANK notes then you will never be forgotten.

A site that comes higly reccomended for all baby essentials by mothers who have had success with planning their baby showers is Introduce baby to early learning

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

baby registry: Planning A Baby Shower From Start To Finish

Planning a baby shower is one of the loveliest gifts you can provide a mother to be. But where do you start?

If you are a first time planner or an experienced planner, you can benefit by following some simple strategies to ensure your baby shower goes off without a hitch.

Here's what the experts recommend when it comes to baby shower planning:

1) Decide when the shower should be held. Most are held before the baby comes but some mom's are superstitious and would prefer a shower be held after baby's arrival. Be sure you check in first to plan accordingly.

2) Decide where the shower will be held. Usually this is a location other than the mom to be's home.

3) Decide who should be invited. If you are hosting, you should always ask the mom to be who she wants invited before you make a list. You may find she wants a co-ed party or a small family only affair. Be sure you check in with her before you get started.

4) Send out invitations and be sure to include R.S.V.P. information and baby registry information. You'll want to know exactly how many people are coming and your guests will want to know where they can buy the guest of honor some great gifts.

5) Decide on a theme. This doesn't have to be anything elaborate. It can even be as simple as 'pink' if the mom is having a girl. You might consider asking the mom to be, she might have a theme in mind. This will help you plan decorations.

6) Order a cake or decide on the type of cake you want to make. A cake is a must have for all baby showers.

7) Plan on having some appetizers for guests. You don't have to provide a full meal, but snacks are a nice touch.

8) Pick a few baby games out so you have something to do during the party. You can find hundreds of baby shower games on line.

Once you have planned all of these essential steps, the rest of the baby shower is easy! You simply need to set up house, decorate and welcome your guest of honor on their big day.

Most baby showers last about two to three hours. The first ½ hour or so guests can spend mingling and munching on goodies. You can then spend another ½ hour playing a couple of games. Then allow your guest of honor to open her gifts! Be prepared to write down who all the gifts came from so your mom can send thank you notes.

After the gifts are open, usually guests have some cake, mingle some more and then leave. You might consider having some party favors available for guests. A great idea is mini baby bottles filled with jelly beans or some other inexpensive treat!

The most important thing to remember about baby shower planning is that everyone should have a good time. Sit back, relax and don't stress about minor details. Most people are just looking for a good laugh and some time to pat mom to be's growing belly!

Adwina Jackson is a wife and mother of a young boy. She's also the editor of Inspiring Parenting, an online source of valuable parenting information. Please visit Inspiring Parenting for helpful and free parenting info.

baby registry: A 4-Step Plan For Decorating The Baby Nursery

With all the excitement that having a new baby brings, many parents fret over the decorating of baby's room. But it does not need to be a stressful event. It can be a fun task for everyone by just following a simple 4-step plan.

1. Choose the color and theme of the room. While it may sound easy, it can difficult to decide which shade of blue or pink. Do you want something really bright or a more muted shade? If painting the walls in the baby nursery is not an option, then you will need to take into account the existing wall and floor color and pick something that coordinates or blends well. A floor rug can be used to cover existing carpeting and you could put up a wall border to rev up a dull wall color. If you do not have a specific color in mind, then look at the different baby nursery themes which will then determine the room's color! Browse baby catalogs and magazines or visit a local store with baby crib bedding and furniture displays. Some very popular themes now include animals, the farm, garden, moon and stars, and of course all the character-based themes. I used a Noah's Ark theme for my baby's room with a rainbow of colors. It was bright and engaging and she just loved it!

2. Decide on which furniture is needed. Basic furniture needs include a crib, dresser, and a rocking or gliding chair. You may wish to purchase a changing table or a convertible dresser. Cribs are available that convert to a toddler bed and eventually function as a headboard for a regular sized bed.

3. Now that you have chosen the color or theme of baby's room and the furniture, you are ready to decide on the bedding elements. A 3-piece crib bedding set typically includes a quilt or comforter, crib bumper, and a sheet. You will usually need to purchase at least one other sheet set which can be either a matching or a coordinating solid sheet. Babies need a lot of sheet changes!

4. Accessories and coordinates are decor items that really put the finishing touches on the baby nursery. Choose accessories such as a nursery lamp or crib mobile, wall accessories, diaper stacker, or night light. You may want to place a few shelves on the walls. If you've chosen a theme-based room, you can find matching decor elements that make decorating baby's room a breeze.

Now that you've made your choices in color and theme, furniture, crib bedding, and accessories, be sure to register at a baby registry so that friends and family may help make your plans come true!

Dee Marie is a freelance writer who enjoys decorating. Visit Mary's Mall for products for baby's room.

baby registry: Choosing The Best Baby Shower Gifts For The Mother To Be

There is no doubt that the upcoming birth of a new baby is an exciting and thrilling time in the life of any woman, and the traditional way to mark that occasion is with a well planned baby shower.

A baby shower is a great way to show a friend, a family member or a coworker how much you care about her and her new baby.

== Buying Baby Shower Gifts ==

When it comes to buying baby shower gifts, however, many people find themselves at a loss. For instance, those who do not yet have children of their own may be unsure of just what is and is not needed for the new baby.

== Ask Her Friends And Family For Ideas She Will Like ==

Often the best way to find out what would be the perfect gifts for the expectant mother is to ask her friends and family members. The new mother's friends and family will be in the best position to know exactly what she needs for the new arrival.

This is particularly important when shopping for an expectant mother who already has one or more children. Chances, are these expectant mothers already have the basic things like clothes, strollers, baby seats and cribs.

== Baby Shower Gift Ideas ==

Even for mothers with children who have the basics taken care of, however, there are a number of baby gifts that are always needed and always appreciated.

For instance, diapers, while they may not be the most glamorous of gifts to bring to the baby shower, will always be needed and always be appreciated. Just be sure to ask around and determine the brand the expectant mother prefers.

Or if she plans to use cloth diapers, you can always purchase a gift certificate or prepay for a baby diaper service. This is another gift that is always appreciated by any new mother.

Things like toys, rattles, baby wipes and the like can be great gifts as well. Many people like to use an attractive rattle or other toy to decorate the gift box and provide an extra special gift.

== Baby Gift Registry ==

Some expectant mothers will create a baby registry their friends and family members can use to shop for gifts for the baby shower, so it is always important to check to see if such a registry exists.

A baby shower registry makes it much easier for friends and family members to shop, and helps ensure that every gift purchased is one that is needed and will be appreciated

Shaunta Pleasant is a professional writer and editor on baby shower topics. Visit my site to learn more about planning the perfect baby shower at

Monday, May 08, 2006

baby registry: Babies "R" Us to take over Union Sq. space

Toys "R" Us, Inc. announced that it will open the first Babies "R" Us store in Manhattan. The new Babies "R" Us store is expected to open by holiday 2005, replacing the Toys "R" Us store that currently occupies the space at 24-30 Union Square East in New York City.

"The growth of Babies "R" Us certainly supports the expansion in Manhattan," said Rick Markee, President of Babies "R" Us. "We're excited to open in this high traffic retail location in late 2005 and to offer parents and caregivers of the more than 100,000 babies born in New York City each year the best selection of newborn and infant merchandise for their families."

The newly furbished Babies "R" Us Union Square store will continue the tradition of the Babies "R" Us unparalleled shopping experience including the state-of-the-art Baby Registry and the largest selection of juvenile products--including furniture, strollers, car seats, infant care products and more.

"We've been looking for some time for the right home for Babies "R" Us in Manhattan," said John Eyler, CEO and Chairman of Toys "R" Us, Inc., "With the success of Toys "R" Us Times Square, we felt our shareholders and customers would be best served if we converted the Union Square location to a Babies "R" Us store.

"Plans to convert the Union Square store space are underway and Toys "R" Us is committed to maintaining an exceptional level of service throughout this holiday season and the conversion process."

Toys "R" Us, Inc. began the conversion process by initiating a clearance sale at the Union Square store on December 26.

Mr. Eyler added, "We would like to thank those who patronized the Union Square store and we hope that you will continue to show your support for Toys "R" Us by visiting us at our international flagship store in Times Square where we offer the broadest selection of toys in New York City."

Financial woes prompted Toys 'R' Us to announce last month that it expects to separate its Toys "R" Us business from the Babies R Us operations in the first half of 2005. Babies "R" Us is the largest baby product specialty store chain in the world and a fast-growing division that sells baby furniture, apparel and accessories.

The Union Square store will be closed in February or March for renovations.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Hagedorn Publication
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group