Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Welcome Bags

On December 20th, Ryan and I went to Children's Hospital in St. Paul and donated our first round of welcome bags for families who are admitted into the NICU.  This has been an idea of Ella's Halo for a long time.  Back this fall I meet with the parent committee called STEPs and they provided feeback and ideas about our welcome bags.  We decided that this was something we could do and started working on getting prices and vendors to help support our Ella's Halo Welcome Bags.


We dropped off 150 bags which included a reusable bag, reusable water bottle, camera, notebooks, pens, and a toiletry kit with Kleenex, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and a comb.  These are items we wished we had or needed during those first few days we spent in the NICU with Ella. We still have 150 more bags to bring to them. Our hope is to be able to provide bags for the 2011 year to each new admit in Children's St. Paul's NICU. 



We even got to present a bag to a new mother whose baby was just admitted into the NICU.  I saw in her eyes the same feelings I remember all too well.  The shock of what just happened, the excitement about a new baby and also feeling terrified of the unknown NICU world.  I hope that this family will have a few comforts from our welcome bag to help make their stay a little easier.  We hope these bags bring a little peace of mind to these families who are starting their journeys on the NICU rollercoaster.

 

Thank you to Mike and Annie for helping us get these bags to families in the NICU.  We are lucky to have met some members from the hospital who are supportive of Ella's Halo.  We know that working with them will help us be able to accomplish our mission of providing comforts of home to families in the NICU.  Even if it was in a middle of a snow storm!


It was an amazing afternoon and perfect timing with the holidays.  We donated in memory of a little angel and are looking forward to an exciting new year in 2011 with everything that Ella's Halo will do to help families.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays



                                   

                                                                                                                                                                             

Thursday, December 16, 2010

'Tis the Season

Well, the holidays are fast approaching. We have been busy rushing around to get everything done before next week.  No matter how hard I try, I just never really ever feel ready for it to be Christmas so soon...especially these last two years.  I am scrambling to get cookies made for cookie exchanges, finding the perfect gifts for family and friends, getting my Christmas cards sent out (which I just ordered last night), holiday parties with friends, wrapping all of our presents to put under the tree, picking the perfect ornament for an ornament exchange and making sure I have my three stockings hung for Santa.  Sometimes it is easy to get lost in all of the tinsel, sprinkles and wrapping paper.  'Tis the Season!

However, amidst the holiday rush, we do take time to remember others who might not be as lucky.  We remember those who might not be rushing around with holiday cheer, but in a hospital with their sick child or grieving the loss of their little baby. We know all too well that gifts, cookies and Santa are not even on some people's minds these next two weeks.  In between our trips to the mall and holiday parties with friends, we have been working on putting together our welcome bags for families entering the NICU this next year. On Monday, we will be donating bags to Children's in St. Paul and also blankets and books for gifts.   'Tis the season...'Tis the season to give back. 

We are also going to take part in Faith's Lodge Holiday Tribute this Sunday for children who are not here to spend the holidays with us.  This time of year always breaks my heart a little.  I know my little girl is missing and for whatever reason Christmas makes it a little more painful that Ella is not here in my arms.  But, she is always on our minds and in our hearts no matter what time of year it is but she will be even more so on the 25th.  'Tis the season to remember our loved ones who are not here and to be thankful they were in our lives.

Christmas isn't always about cookies, gifts and jingle bells.  Sometimes it is reflecting on how you can help others.  Sometimes it is remembering those who aren't here.  Sometimes it is just being blessed to have so much to be grateful for in your life.  I just need to be sometimes reminded that the Christmas spirit is more than putting up my tree and singing Frosty the Snowman.  I need to slow down and enjoy this time of year a little more.  So 'tis the season for all that Christmas can offer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

It is lightly snowing outside, the air is chill and our house is a glow with Christmas lights.  It is hard to believe that Christmas will be here in 2 weeks.  This time of year always makes my heart a little heavier.  Missing my little girl and wondering what she would have wanted for Christmas in her stocking or wondering if she would burst in to tears on Santa's lap because she is scared of Jolly St. Nick. 
Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Let your heart be light,
From now on our troubles
Will be out of sight.

However, there are wonderful programs for bereaved families to remember little ones that remind us that Ella is here with us. There are also kind friends and family that remember with us so that we know Ella's life won't be forgotten and that she is missed in all of the holiday cheer.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on our troubles
Will be miles away.

Just this past weekend a friend of ours got married.  For their dollar dance they donated all of the money to Ella's Halo.  It brought tears to my eyes and still does that we are blessed to have good friends who will always remember a little girl that was only here for a brief time, even a year and half later. 
Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore,
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

We also got to do a few of our "new" family Christmas traditions.  Our parents and Ryan and I went out to the cemetery and brought Ella a Christmas tree with pink ribbons.  The Grandmas spoiled her and put the ribbons on her freshly cut tree. I know she was smiling down on us that afternoon.  We also attended the Angel of Hope ceremony on December 6th in Perham.  Ella's stone is there and it is a beautiful way to gather with other families who are missing their angels.  I said Ella's name and placed a white flower next to the angel statue as did Ella's Grandmas and Great Aunt Diane.  We sang Silent Night in candle light together as a group of bereaved families.  Faith's Lodge is also having a Holiday Tribute for our little angels on December 19th at the Woman's Club in Minneapolis from 3-5pm.  We are looking forward to another new tradition of remember Ella this holiday season.
 
Through the years
We all will be together
If the Fates allow,
Hang a shining star
On the highest bough,
And have yourself
A merry little Christmas now.

Christmas might be a little easier this year, but it will never be the same without Ella.  I know that she may not be here to hang her stocking or help us decorate the Christmas tree, but I do know she is with us and always will be.  We know that our sadness will never go away but being able to remember her and having others remember her too eases that pain. 
 
This holiday season we know the pain that other families are facing, a first holiday without their child. Our troubles might not always be far away or even out of sight, but just like the song says, "through the years we will be together", and that is all we have to hold on to.  The hope that our angels are always with us. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nonprofits

With the passing of Thanksgiving, I realized how thankful I am for many things in my life.  One thing that is new to my list is that I am thankful for the work of nonprofits.  I never knew how much time, giving of talents, and love was put into making a successful nonprofit.  Here are a few nonprofits that have touched me this year and I am so thankful they are helping others in our area.

  • The Ronald McDonald House-  The Ronald McDonald House creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children.  They help families stay together during times of need.  They provide a warm home environment for families to stay while a child is in the hospital or needing health care at a local hospital.  This past fall we helped serve food at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis.  It was such a wonderful way for us to give back.  Many of our friends in the NICU spend time at the Ronald McDonald House too.  Click here to learn more.
  • CaringBridge-CaringBridge provides free websites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends, making each health journey easier.  I never had an experience with CaringBridge until Ella was born.  It made it easier for us to share her story without having to repeat it over and over. Now I realize how important it is for family and friends on the outside as well.  We have friends who currently are sharing their journeys on CaringBridge and I love how we can know what is going on with our loved one without having to keep bugging the family with phone calls, texts and emails.  We still can feel connected whether it be reading the journey or sharing the story.  We know how important connection is in the hospital and so we continue to spread the word about CaringBridge to other NICU families.  Click here to learn more.
  • Faith's Lodge- Faith's Lodge provides a place where parents and families facing the serious illness or death of a child can retreat to reflect on the past, renew strength for the present, and build hope for the future. If you have read my blog in the past, you know how much we love Faith's Lodge.  As a bereaved parents, to us it was the place that wrapped its arms around us and helps us start the long healing process.  We continue to give back to Faith's Lodge either by attending their events, taking part in their parent outreach committee, or donating money in memory of Ella.  Ella has a beautiful stone placed on the pathway up at Faith's Lodge.  A little piece of us will always be there.  Click here to learn more.
  • March of Dimes-March of Dimes' mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.  Their website provides lots of information to NICU families.  I remember sitting in the family lounge at the hospital searching information about prematurity and NICU terms so that we could be advocates for Ella.  This year we walked in their March of Babies as Team Krumwiede. It was inspiring to be there walking alongside other preemies who started out at 24 weeks like our little Ella.  The March of Dimes provides education and research so that other babies have the chance to come home some day.  Click here learn more.
  • Ella's Halo- (of course)-  Ella's Halo is helping to bring small comforts of home to NICU families.  This past year has been amazing!  We have had two successful events, have started working with all 3 Level III hospitals in the Twin Cities, and have started to raise awareness to others about what Ella's Halo is all about.  I am looking forward to the new year and all of the exciting things Ella's Halo will continue to do for families.  I know now that it doesn't have to be much to touch some one's life and that is exactly what we hope Ella's Halo does for NICUs.  Bringing comfort to help babies and families and making their journeys easier. 
All of these nonprofits have touched my heart in the last 20 months.  And now that we have officially hit Black Friday and Cyber Monday it gets me thinking about how I can give back to these organizations.  What can we donate to help them?  How can I help them help others?  Because without them families would have a harder journey.  These nonprofits are helping families and I am thankful to help be a part of them now too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Because

This commercial stars one of Ella's doctors from the NICU. Every time I see it air on TV, it brings a smile to my face. University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital - Because Commercial shows the compassion of their doctors in the NICU. We remember firsthand the dedication of Dr. George and his colleagues. The doctors in the NICU cared for Ella but also cared about us, her parents. Not because they had to, but just because! Our memories with our daughter also include memories with the doctors and nurses at Amplatz because they became part of our NICU family.

So during this holiday season, I am so grateful for the team of doctors and nurses that take care of many little babies in the NICU. Not only at Amplatz, but also at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis and Children's Hospital in St. Paul. Thank you for your service to families and especially to our precious little miracles each and every day.  Not because you have to, but just because you do!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Odds and Ends

  • November is National Prematurity Awareness Month.  Prematurity is the leading cause of death among newborn babies. Our own little girl was born 16 weeks premature and ultimately ended up passing away after 83 days of fighting.  November 17th, 2010 is National Prematurity Awareness Day and we are wearing purple to support all babies who are born too soon.  The March of Dimes has done wonderful research to help bring awareness to this very special cause.
  • Ryan and I are having a NICU tour at Children's Hospital-Minneapolis.  We are excited to meet another new contact in the NICU and spreading our help to some new families.  We know we will enjoy visiting this unit since it is newly remodeled.  Can't wait to share some of our fun ideas to help babies and families.  We are also putting together care packages for Children's-St. Paul for newly admitted families and babies.  Can't wait to share with them in December!
  • As the holidays are approaching we have many people looking for ways to give back to NICUs. Ella's Halo set up a Target Wish List here.  You can click on the link and see what items you can purchase for us to donate to area hospitals.  Also we are always collecting blankets and books so email info@ellashalo.com for more information.
  • Also this week, the Star Tribune is doing the Full Page Project. They will donate a full page of advertising space to be used by the local non-profit organization selected by readers in an online poll. Please go and vote for Ella's Halo.  You may vote once per hour until 5 pm, Sunday, Nov. 21.  A full page ad in the Star Tribune would be so beneficial for us in helping us spread our mission to others and get the word out about bringing comfort to NICUs.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Give to the Max

Give to the Max Day is November 16th!

Please support one of your favorite Minnesota charities, Ella's Halo,  by donating on GiveMN. Every donation you make gives Ella's Halo the chance to win even more money.  Your gift makes an even bigger difference on November 16. So, please plan to give tomorrow and tell your friends and family to give. Give to the Max Day is about all of us coming together to support nonprofits who work tirelessly to improve the quality of life in Minnesota.


Visit the Ella's Halo page on GiveMN.org: http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Ellas-Halo.  GiveMN.org is an easy way to discover, support and engage with charities online.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This I Believe

I believe that Ella's little life touched my soul so deeply that I have forever been changed.  I sometimes forget that her life may have also touched our family and friends too. I forget that even though others may not know her, they are being changed by the help we are providing in her memory. 

Sometimes I get worried that others will soon forget Ella and my heart aches. But almost like someone from above knew I needed a little reminder, we receive a sweet email.  Ryan's cousin's daughter Katie was asked to write an essay for a class assignment.  She is 13 years old and decided to write a beautiful paper on Ella.  

This I Believe - By Katie

I believe that when something goes terribly wrong you should make some good out of it. For Ryan and Taryn Krumwiede they did exactly that. Two years ago in late March, Ella Jo Krumwiede was born. About two and half months later she got sick. The hospital treated her hoping it would help but, unfortunately, she didn’t respond and died.

Ella Jo Krumwiede’s story from birth to death. On March 25th my dad’s whole side of the family was full of joy because we now had a new addition to our big family. But we all were concerned because she was sixteen weeks premature and only weighed one pound one ounce. We all knew that there was going to be problems that we would have to go through. There would be times we would just cry from being happy or sad, and that things would happen that we never expected. Because of her being premature we were all worried about what could happen. We wondered if she would have trouble breathing because her lungs might not have been fully developed. We worried she might be deaf or blind or even have cerebral palsy. We hoped and hoped that she didn’t and that she would survive all of this. But 83 days after she was born she was gone. She had gotten a disease and shortly after that she died.

Most people would try and forget about the death or hope that, in time, the pain would pass. Instead of forgetting or waiting, Ryan and Taryn started an organization called Ella’s Halo. The organization is for babies and their families. They try to give them a more homey place in the hospital while their baby is in there. They make blankets for the hospital beds and also for the babies. They also give books, music and movies for the parents and sibling or siblings to have something to do. Just last year they had gotten over 7,000 dollars in donations.

How does Taryn feel about the death of her daughter and the organization that her and her husband started? Taryn feels that Ella’s fight was over and that it was her time to go. She now knows that Ella is now in a better place. But she knew that she couldn’t just let her go, so she found a way to hold onto Ella. She and her husband started Ella’s Halo. Not just to hold on to Ella, but to also help other babies that were like Ella Jo.

How do I feel about Ella Jo’s death? Because she was my cousin I’ve always felt really sad that she had died. Every time I see a picture or video that she’s in I cry. I wish that I would `have seen her in person not just in pictures. But even though I never really saw or met my baby cousin, I know that she is important to me and I will never forget her.

Since Ella Jo’s death. Ryan and Taryn are doing positive things. They found a way to overcome Ella’s death by helping out other babies. Even though they might think back to that situation and just cry, they know that good things have come out of it and that they’re helping out many babies and families all around Minnesota.

Thank you Katie for remembering Ella and for sharing her story so beautifully.  Your essay shows the love of family no matter what and this I believe is what Ella's story is all about!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

LaunchHer

Ella's Halo was recently featured on LaunchHer's website.  This wonderful website provides the boost that women-owned brands need by featuring new and fresh companies as well as being a support of PR and development to women-owned companies.  However, LaunchHer did a special series on their blog.  Ella's Halo was featured at what LaunchHer was loving.  How fun is that! 

Check out their blog here to read our story and check out their website at http://www.launchher.com/.  See how so many other amazing women are creating businesses they love.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October 30th

Saturday brought beautiful blue skies...


a group of eager 5K racers...


many wonderful families to walk...


and two loving parents of Ella.


Thank you to everyone who came out and joined us for our Strides for NICUs.  It was a beautiful day, we had 100 particpants for the run/walk and raised over $3,000. October 30th was simply a beautiful day.

Thank you to our sponsors:
Judd and Soleil Palubicki
Nadine's
Sewer Service Inc.
Wilson Family

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Strides to Saturday

There are only a few more days until Strides for NICUs 5K and Family Walk in Perham, Minnesota.   We are working on last minute details, finishing up goodie bags and gathering our volunteers.  We are excited, nervous and anxious.  Just a few more days until our second event!  Even the sun sounds like it is going to make an appearance.

Please join us this Saturday at Arvig Park located on Highway 51 in Perham, Minnesota.  Registration starts at 8:00 AM.  The 5K race will start at 10:30 AM and the family walk will follow.  This event is open to participants of all ages.  There will be two age groups for both Men's and Women's 5K divisions, under 35 and over 25.  The family walk is open to everyone and is a great way to get your family out walking to support a great cause. 

The cost of the race and walk is $20 for all particpants.  Kids 12 and under are free!

Check out our article in the Perham newspaper here and our article here in the Wadena newspaper.

See you on Saturday as we Stride for NICUs.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Radio Interview

On Thursday, Ryan was interviewed by Christopher Gabriel from WDAY 970 AM radio station out of Fargo, North Dakota.  We were selected to be one of Gabriel's Angels.  Christopher Gabriel takes nominations for someone in the community who is helping others and who is worthy to be recognized on his show as one of his Gabriel's Angels.

Ryan was live on the radio and he did an awesome job.  I am so proud of my husband and so glad he got to talk about our baby, talk about our experience in the NICU and to talk about Ella's Halo.

Check out the link here and hear the entire interview. 

Thanks Christopher Gabriel for helping us spread the word about Ella's Halo.  Check out his website here at http://cgabriel.com/

Thursday, October 21, 2010

5K Fall Fun

This past fall has flown by but with tons of fun things on the agenda for Ella's Halo.

Last Saturday, October 16th, I went up to a race in Fargo, ND called the Filthy 5K.  30+ women came out wearing bright pink T-shirts and wearing Ella's Halo's logo on the front to help us spread the word about EH.  I wasn't sure what to expect as this 5K race is through the woods, in mud puddles and up hills but it was so fun watching them get their pink shirts full of mud.  It meant so much to watch these wonderful girls running in honor of my baby girl!  Ella's Halo team even won biggest group and I got to write Ella's Halo on the pig award.  Thanks to Mackenzie Blume for setting it up, organizing all of her friends and spreading the word about Ella's Halo. It is support like this that helps Ella's Halo to help babies. GO TEAM PINK!


We have been getting word out about our own 5K and family walk too.  Strides for NICUs was posted in the Fargo Forum.  Check out the link here.  And a writer from the Fargo Forum also posted a little blurb about Strides for NICUs on his blog.  We also have an interview scheduled today with Christopher Gabriel on WDAY AM radio show in Fargo to talk about Ella's Halo and Strides for NICUs. It should air on his show tomorrow.  Here is his website at http://cgabriel.com/.

Strides for NICUs is now only 9 days away.  Things are coming together.  Every time Ella's Halo hosts an event I always get really nervous.  Maybe it is the mother in me always hoping that everything we do for Ella's Halo is perfect.  We have our awesome sponsors, we have received some donations for our goodie bags and the t-shirts are getting printed. 

If you are interested in coming to our Strides for NICUs 5K and Family Walk, you can see all of the details on our website at www.ellashalo.com/Events.  Click here to download the registration form for our October 30th event.  See you in 9 days when we come together to walk, run, celebrate and support NICUs.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Flicker of Hope



Today, October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. We light a candle to remember babies who have gone too soon. We light a candle on this day to honor their short lives and remember their sweet spirits.  We light a candle to remind us of the flicker of hope that our sweet babies brought to our life.


 

We light a candle for Ella and all of her angel friends. We light a candle to shed light on the pain and darkness we have felt since our loss. We light a candle to remind us of the flicker of hope we have for our future as a family while never forgetting our past with our babies. 




Candlelight vigils are held with the Wave of Light ceremony at 7 p.m. We ask you to burn your candle for at least one hour, resulting in a continuous chain of lighted candles throughout the world on this day, October 15th. Join us by lighting a candle to remember our babies and to help us spread the flicker of hope.



Check out this website to learn more about October 15th at http://www.october15th.com/.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Little Bees

Wow, I can't believe all of the fun and exciting things happening with Ella's Halo.  We have been busy little bees.

1.  Check out our new facebook page here!  Like our page and send it to your friends.  Help us spread the word about Ella's Halo and keep up-to-date on what we are up to.

2.  Check out my Story of Hope on Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope here!  Scroll down a little to find my story about Ella's Halo and how it has been my hope and healing.

3.  Check out our website here!  We have been working to update more of Ella's story, more pictures and more about what we are doing.

4.  Check out our side bar to subscribe to get email updates each time we post a new story on our blog.  That way you won't miss anything.

5.  October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.  We remember our sweet little girl and of course all of her angel friends.  Please light a candle on October 15th  at 7:00 pm to remember all of our little angels who have gone too soon. Find out about this special month and day here and here!

6.  I got to meet with the STEP Parent Group at Children's Hospital in St. Paul this week.  That team of parents gave us lots of good feedback and ideas that they would like to see in their NICU.  We are busy taking those ideas and will hopefully have a few new projects that Ella's Halo can provide to families in the NICU.  Learn more about Children's Hospital here!

7.  We are so excited about our next Ella's Halo event.  Strides for NICUs will be on October 30th in Perham, MN.  We are so excited to host our 5K and family walk in a city that has and continues to be so supportive of our family.  See where and what Perham Minnesota is all about here! Come out and join us at this event and don't forget to invite your friends.

8.  This weekend a group of girls will be running in the Filthy 5K in Fargo raising awareness for Ella's Halo.  We will be there cheering them on and watch them run by dressed in pink.  Go to the website here to see more about this awesome event.

So as you can see we have been busy buzzing around here.  So many fun and new things that Ella's Halo is working towards and even a few more not even on the list. Check back soon for even more fun and exciting things to come.

Hopefully our little ladybug in Heaven is smiling down on her busy bees of parents.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Strides for NICUs

Ella's Halo is hosting Strides for NICUs in Perham, Minnesota on October 30th.  Come out to support us at our 5K and family walk in Arvig Park and to help us raise money for NICUs. 

This event is open to participants of all ages.  Refreshments, games and prizes will be available before the event. Packet and number pickup begins at 8:00 AM and the race starts at 10:30 AM with the family walk following.

There will be two age groups for both Men's and Women's 5K, over 25 and under 25. The first female and male finishers in each age group will receive prizes for the 5K race.

Paying participants will receive a T-shirt and bag with other Perham goodies. Cost is $20.00 for each 5K participant.  The family walk is $20.00 for each participant but kids 12 and under walk for free! More information regarding pre-registration to follow. Event proceeds will help Ella's Halo bring comforts of home to babies and families in NICUs.

Come out and join us for Strides for NICUs and help us, help babies.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Little Girls and Baseball

I will forever have a special place in my heart for baseball. My favorite memories with Ella and her daddy also have to do with baseball. 

Ella's daddy would race out of her hospital room to go check the baseball score only to race back in to tell her Joe Mauer hit a home run.

Or when he would sit by her bed and tell her that when she was a little older he would take her to the MN Twins game in the new stadium and she could bring her glove.

Or when he said he couldn't wait to teach his little girl to play catch in the back yard.

Or when her daddy stopped by a game to buy her a pink Twins bat and pink Twins ball because his little girl need to have a set of her own.

Or when he would kiss his tiniest little Twins fan after a win.

Or when he held her little hand and told her that she had to get better so that he could take her home and they could cuddle on the couch and watch baseball.

So this time of year as the Twins keep winning, I have been thinking what it would be like to have Ella here with us and going to the baseball games together as a family. And with such perfect timing a package shows up on our steps filled with blankets, Minnesota Twins blankets.



This beautiful package of donations came from two sweet little girls too (and their parents of course).  So maybe it is just something about little girls and baseball...........daddies just love them! 

Thank you to these little girls and to others who have donated blankets over the last few months.  Each and every time brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye because I know a little girl who is probably up in Heaven cheering us on that we are helping to bring comfort to other babies in the NICU. And she is probably watching the Twins.

To read more about these two little girls who donated to Ella's Halo, follow their mommy's blog at http://littletooties.blogspot.com/. If you are interested in donating blankets to Ella's Halo, please email us at info@ellashalo.com or go to our website to learn more about donating at http://www.ellashalo.com/

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Babylost Father's Day


September 26th is International Babylost Fathers Day. Today is a day to recognize babylost men all over the world as fathers. Fathers do grieve the loss of their sweet babies too.

Happy Babylost Father's Day to my wonderful husband. Your strength, love and dedication inspires me each and every day. 

http://internationalbabylostfathersday.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Friday Night

Check out our facebook page here or read our Twitter updates here!  Just in case you are bored on a Friday night.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

30 Years

Hard to believe that on Monday I turned 30 years old.  Even more hard to believe is that this last year has changed me more than all of the other 29 years.  I have to sometimes put it into perspective and realize what we have all done in just one year, to see how much our lives have changed in just one year. 

I not only became a mommy to my little girl, this past year I had to grieve losing my little girl.  That one thing has changed me more than anything else.  Losing a loved one is the hardest struggle I have had to face and have finally understood that grief will always be my challenge.  But I have also become more compassionate for other families especially children. My heart breaks every time I hear another story about a baby being born too early and living in the NICU.  My need to give back, whether it be to the NICUs, families, hospitals or other non-profits and organizations is my true passion.  Too bad it took losing Ella and 30 years to learn.

This year we also started a non-profit.  Just like any business it has been very hard.  I want Ella's Halo to be bigger, raising more money, helping more families, being able to help hospitals buy everything on their wish lists.  But I have to keep remembering that we too are a baby in the eyes of non-profit organizations.  It takes time to build relationships, to share our story and to inform others about Ella's Halo.  There is only so much you can do in only one year.  I keep telling myself.....just think what Ella's Halo will be able to accomplish in the next 30 years.

So as I turn to the next decade I know that we have accomplished two huge hurdles in life.  Even though we will still have heartache, hard work and healing ahead of us, I know that we took our pain and changed it into a promise to help others.  To me, that has been a wonderful 30 years.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Craft for a Cause

Do you like to sew or craft? Do you like to shop at Jo-Ann Fabric? 

You can win $1500 and help Ella's Halo win $50,000!

It is really easy and here's how in just 5 simple steps:

1. Buy your supplies from Jo-Ann Fabrics (save your receipts!!) - find a store near you!

2. Make your items and have fun and be creative

3. Take a few pictures of your creations and upload them to the Craft for a Cause site at http://www.joann.com/joann/common/content_noleftnav.jsp?catName=craftForaCause

4. In the -Or- Box type "Ella's Halo" and donate your items to Ella's Halo by contacting us at info@ellashalo.com

5. Wait to WIN your gift card and VOTE for one of the top 3 charities

Contest and crafting dates begin August 15, 2010 and ends October 30, 2010.  Voting for your favorite charity you have until December 4, 2010.  Help Ella's Halo become one of the top 3 so we could have a chance to win $50,000!

Using materials purchased from Jo-Ann make and donate useful crafted items to your favorite charitable organization...Ella's Halo! Not only do you get to show your creative side but you also get to give back to babies in the NICU. Submit photo of each donation — crafted items will be judged for prizes! Entries are judged on creativity, quality & functionality for the charitable organization receiving item. The makers of the top five* crafted items will each win a $1,500 Jo-Ann gift card.  You could win for giving!

The three charitable organizations receiving the most donated items become Craft for a Cause finalists. Then you can join other crafters and go online to vote for your favorite among these three through December 4, 2010.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Getting Involved

People are always asking us about ways they can get involved to help Ella's Halo.  So I thought I would share some ideas about how others have helped through donations and by helping to build awareness for Ella's Halo.

  • Blankets!  People love to make, buy and give us blankets.  It is such a wonderful thing and I know families and hospitals appreciate these gifts.  If you are interested in donating blankets, just email me at info@ellashalo.com and I will give more information regarding sizes and where you can send your donations.  See the story about how Anne donated blankets in 2009 here: http://littletooties.blogspot.com/2009/09/inspiration.html
  • Books!  I loved reading books to Ella in the hospital.  It was a good way for her to hear my voice too.  We take gently used or new children's books to donate to the NICUs.  You can send these to us and we will donate them to all the three Level III NICU's in the Twin Cities area.
  • Spreading the word!  A friend from high school is running in the Filthy 5K in Fargo Moorhead.  Mackenzie and friends are wearing pink shirts with an Ella's Halo logo and website to help spread the word about EH!  If you are in the area and want to go cheer on the Ella's Halo team check out the website for the Filthy 5K at http://www.gobeyondrunning.com/Filthy%205K.html.  We welcome the ideas that you may have to help us raise awareness about Ella's Halo, and to have fun doing it too.  Email us with any of your ideas! 

  • Follow Us!  Read our blog, check out our website at http://www.ellashalo.com/, and follow us on Twitter to see what we are up to.  Ella's Halo not only donates but we help volunteer our time.  We recently gave back to the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis by serving dinner to families.  We also post information about upcoming events and activities that Ella's Halo is doing. So follow our story on how we are helping our community!
  • Brochures!  If you know of anyone that would like to receive additional information about Ella"s Halo, please email us at info@ellashalo.com and request some brochures.  Helping us generate awareness is important since we rely on our family and friends to help us help other families.  If you know of another family who has spent time in the NICU, we enjoy hearing from them too, so give them our contact information so we can learn about their NICU experiences.
  • Events!  We love it when our supporters come out to our events.  It is such a wonderful way to meet you and also share more information about Ella's Halo.  We know that life is busy so if you are unable to attend one of events, still spread the word.  Or even donate an item for one of our raffles so that we can help raise more money for Ella's Halo.
  • Donations!  And as always we appreciate any and all monetary donations.  It helps us be able to provide bigger items for the NICUs.  We recently set up an Ella Jo Krumwiede NICU fund at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital. They are using those funds to buy items on their "want" list.  We wouldn't have been able to do that without the help of donations.  Check out our website if you are interested in donating online, or to find our address on where you can send your donations. 
We love that so many people want to help Ella's Halo.  We are very blessed to have so many wonderful supporters.  We are always open to any ideas that you may have too, so please get involved and help Ella's Halo!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ronald McDonald House

Tonight, Ella's Halo served dinner to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House.  It was an amazing way to give back to families who have children in the hospital.


We served dinner to over 70 guests and volunteers.  It was one way Ella's Halo could actually "do" something to be able to help families and see their smiles in appreciation.  One woman even commented as we filled up her plate with warm turkey sandwiches and beans that she had seen some of our items in the NICU and that she knew about our organization.  I just kept putting sandwiches on plates so that my tears wouldn't start. 


It was amazing to know that Ella's Halo really has an impact on families and babies in the NICU. Serving dinner was an amazing gift to give to families who are living at the Ronald McDonald House and searching for small comforts of home to make their stay easier.


Ryan and I knew many families who had to stay at the Ronald McDonald House while their babies were in the NICU.  We knew that this was one organization we needed to volunteer for and help one day.  And what a wonderful way to do it by helping through Ella's Halo.


I know that Ella would have wanted us to spread our love and have Ella's Halo help other families and other organizations too.  Thank you for a wonderful evening Ronald McDonald!

http://www.rmhtwincities.org/

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Peace

On September 5, 2009, we buried Ella out in a small country cemetery.  Now one year later, every time we go back to visit our daughter we are surrounded by peace and beauty. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fun and Friends

I really don't know where this summer has gone, especially the month of August.  We have been very busy this past month working on Ella's Halo, getting our last few days out on the lake, spending as much time outside in the sunshine and catching up with our friends. 

Our event with Reside, Cocktails for a Cause was a great success!  We raised over $1,000 in just a few short hours.  Nothing like meeting new friends over cocktails and appetizers at a fun bar and talking about Ella's Halo.  It was so much fun. Thank you to Reside for picking us for Cocktails for a Cause's nonprofit and for Ringo for being such great hosts.  And a great big thank you to all of our guests that came to meet and support Ella's Halo. 

Ella's Halo also set up an fund at Amplatz Children's Hospital.  It is called the Ella Jo Krumwiede NICU Fund and it will help the NICU at Amplatz to buy bigger items such as chairs and computers.  We are very excited to be able to put money into that fund to help the unit get items that help make the time in the hospital a little easier for families.  And I love that our board of directors wanted to name the fund after Ella since Amplatz was her home! 

We also had another board meeting this month to discuss a possible event late this winter.  We are throwing around ideas and figuring out some fun new ideas for our next event!  So be on the look out for another event this winter to help raise money for Ella's Halo.

Also Ryan and I got a tour of Children's Hospital-St. Paul's NICU.  We met with their patient care manager for the NICU unit and learned of ways Ella's Halo can help them and items they would like to have for their babies and families too.  It was a great visit and we had a good time seeing another NICU unit that we will be helping.  Can't wait to start giving them donations and working with them in the future.

The day after Labor Day, Ella's Halo will be serving dinner to families at the Ronald McDonald House.  We are excited to help families who have babies in the NICU or other children that are sick that are staying at the hospital.  It is such a good way to give back to another organization that helped many of our NICU friends.

Finally, Ella's Halo has another friend.  Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, is another organization that is helping women who have lost a baby to find support.  If you go to their website at http://www.facesofloss.com/ you can learn more about their mission and also see that they posted my story on their blog too.  We know it is important to support other nonprofit and organizations.

This summer has been just full of fun and friends.  And now Ella's Halo is getting ready for the fall to help even more babies and families.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day of Hope


Fourteen months ago our little girl left us.  There hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't thought about her.  It is still hard to think that people are slowly going to stop talking about her, wanting to hear about her stories or remember her short time with us.  These fears are something anyone who has lost a baby carries with them. 

However, Carly Marie, another bereaved mother has set up August 19th as a day to remember our babies.  In addition, she wants everyone to donate memory boxes to other families who share the similar pain of loss.  Check out one of her many blogs at http://august19thdayofhope.blogspot.com/.  Read the insert from her blog below:

People view the death of a baby as just a sad thing that happened. These babies that die are not sad things that happen. They are people, much loved and wanted children. They are brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandsons and granddaughters. August 19th is about openly speaking about these children and celebrating their short lives.

Every single day families all over the world leave a hospital with empty arms. Their hopes, dreams and plans for the future shattered by the death of their baby/ies. On Thursday August 19th 2010 we will be donating a memory box to the hospital.


There are days I feel sad and alone.  I hurt with pain of missing my baby girl.  But each time we do something for Ella's Halo and help other babies in the NICU I know that she is with me.  I know that Ella's spirit is with us each time a little baby in the hospital gets to snuggle in a soft cute little blanket that Ella's Halo donated. 

I think that is what today August 19th is all about, remembering our babies while helping other families get through the pain of having a baby die or be sick in the hospital.  And Ella's Halo does that every time we donate to the NICU, we remember Ella while helping babies.  August 19th is about spreading hope while remembering! 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cocktails

Just a reminder about tomorrow.  Please join us for Reside's upcoming “Cocktails for a Cause” event this Tuesday, August 17th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Ringo Restaurant in St. Louis Park with proceeds going to Ella's Halo.

There will be free appetizers, happy hour specials, wine samples courtesy of Pitatelli Wines and the chance to connect with other local business people who share a commitment to investing in the lives of local families and children.

If you plan to attend, please send your RSVP email to ahoefer@reside.biz.
Ella's Halo is looking forward to this event and to seeing you all there!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ella's Friends

Recently we made a connection with another non-profit that is near and dear to our hearts, CaringBridge.  Their link is now posted on our website http://www.ellashalo.com/Ella_s_Friends.html.  CaringBridge provides free websites that connect family and friends during a serious health event, care and recovery. They are a bridge of comfort to many families.


We started Ella's CaringBridge site when she was first born. It become a connection to the outside world, a way to keep our family and friends informed about our little girl, and for us to get supportive messages during our stay at the hospital.  But most important it was our first time that writing became an outlet for us. It was a way to help us get our emotions, fears and love all out and into words.

During Ella's hospital stay, Ryan was the one who updated our site with all of the medical and technical information about her care.  I would update pictures and read the messages from friends and family.  It was a way for others to get to know our daughter, a way for them to read about her personality and her spunky little spirit.  CaringBridge gave us a way to tell about our life in the NICU, our life with a premature baby, and our life with Ella.

If you would like to read about Ella's story from the very beginning check out her own CaringBridge site at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/ellakrumwiede.

It just makes perfect sense that CaringBridge is now a friend with Ella's Halo.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cocktails for a Cause

We are very excited for another Ella's Halo event coming up August 17th.  We were chosen as the guest non-profit for Reside's Cocktails for a Cause and are looking forward to working with them on this event. Check out the invite below and come join us for a fun night out.


Join us for Reside's upcoming “Cocktails for a Cause” event on Tuesday, August 17th from 5:30 – 7:30pm at the new Ringo Restaurant in St. Louis Park with proceeds going to Minnesota non-profit, Ella's Halo.

Attendees will enjoy free appetizers, happy hour specials, wine samples courtesy of Pitatelli Wines and the chance to connect with other local business people who share a commitment to investing in the lives of local families and children. Though this event is free, we ask that each guest make a minimum donation of $10 toward the cause. Donations of any amount, both individual and corporate, will be accepted and appreciated. Checks can be written to "Ella's Halo". All donations are tax deductible.

If you plan to attend, please send your RSVP email to ahoefer@reside.biz.  Hope to see you there! 

Also check out Reside's website at www.reside.biz to learn more about their company. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Swing For Sophia

This past year we have made friends with other parents who have lost a child.  One thing we all share is wanting to have our child's memory live on even after they are gone. 

Dan and Alli Lenmark and their families are hosting Swing For Sophia in memory of their daughter Sophia Rebecca Lenmark.  All proceeds will benefit Faith's Lodge.  This memorial golf tournament will celebrate Sophia's short life and also raise money and awareness for Faith's Lodge.  Ryan and I are looking forward to this event and giving back to another cause we believe in and doing it all in memory of Ella's angel friend Sophia.


Please go to http://www.swingforsophia.com/ to register and learn more about their golf event or go to Faith's Lodge at http://www.faithslodge.org/

If you would like to learn more about Dan and Alli and their sweet angel Sophia you can go to their family blog at www.lenmarkfamily.blogspot.com/.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Small Bird Studio

As you can see we have a new blog design.  Thank you to Franchesca at Small Bird Studio for designing our new blog.  Check out her amazing work at http://smallbirdstudio.blogspot.com/.

Keep checking back for updates, upcoming events, and new Ella's Halo ideas.  Lots going on in August!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Helping Hands

One thing that is really important to the board of Ella's Halo is being able to help out, especially making connections with other nonprofits that help children. While Ryan and I spent time in the hospital with Ella, we were very lucky to live so close, being only a few minutes away from the hospital when things happened. However, many families aren't as lucky to have their own beds to sleep in at night when their child is very sick or living in the hospital. Many of the people that we met during Ella's time in the NICU stayed at the Ronald McDonald House.


The Ronald McDonald House offers a way for families to be together and stay close to the hospitals, and at the same time offer comfort and care during their stays. Their mission is to find and support programs that provide a caring community for families with seriously ill children while increasing children's access to health care services.

Ella's Halo will be helping The Ronald McDonald House by serving dinner to their guests on September 7th. It is a way for us to give a little something back to the community and to help bring some comfort food to families who have sick children in the hospital or babies in the NICU.

One of the core values of the Ronald McDonald House is to keep families together and strong during health care crises, and Ella's Halo believes in that value too.

Check out their website to learn more about other volunteer opportunities and ways to help at, http://www.rmhtwincities.org/.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Journey of Grief


Over the last year I have learned that grief is a journey.  We end up traveling down this  path we never thought we would.  Sometimes we wonder down the path with heavy hearts and alone with our deep thoughts.  We look up knowing that we have a long road ahead of us.  A lifetime of missing our sweet baby while carrying a heavy load of grief within our hearts.


We meet friends along our journey that provide comfort and understanding that only babylost parents can.  We walk together offering support and love until we find a fork in the road that may lead us down other trails but always knowing we have the path in common.  The path of grief.


There are times on our journey that we will need to stop and let our grief grab us.  It is times like this that we can truly see the beauty of grief by feeling the depths of our love.  We can look back and see how far we have come and how much we have grown.


During this journey we will hit rough patches.  Sometimes grief will take us to valleys, mountains, curves, bends and bridges.  We must still keep going and continuing down the path.  Knowing that these are all part of the journey and helping us grow.


The journey will keep going whether there is blue skies, a snow storm, a down pour or a beautiful sunset.  The good times and bad times will continue as we walk on our trail but know that it is all part of the story.  All part of the reason why this path was chosen for us.



The journey will never end and the scenery will constantly change.  It will constantly make us stronger so that we can enjoy those times when we come to a clearing and enjoy the view.  Enjoy the memories of our babies.


All photos were taken at Faith's Lodge www.faithslodge.org

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fireworks


This past weekend we enjoyed the 4th of July at the lake.   It seems like with every holiday a little spark of pain comes back.  As we enjoyed the weekend with friends and family I was constantly thinking about what I would be doing if Ella was here with us.  Would she be walking now, would she be splashing in the lake or eating watermelon?  Would we be cuddling as a family under a blanket watching the fireworks?

Our grief reminds me sometimes of fireworks.  It makes a loud noise with a big flash of light but in an instant it is gone and you are left with a beautiful memory.  That is sort of how our grief comes and goes now.  Hits you when you least expect it, surprising you, but in an instant is gone and you are left with sweet memories of a little baby girl.  That spark of grief reminds me of how beautiful our love was for her.

Even though it has been a year since Ella left us; holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and celebrations still bring a sting of pain that settles in your heart for the day.  Reminding us what we are missing and who is not here with us.  It is funny how the days that should be full of fun, family and friends can sometimes have fireworks of grief in the background. 

We are so fortunate to have such wonderful friends in our life that we got to spend the 4th of July with.  They still let us talk about a little girl that we miss, let us be part of their families watching their own children grow up, and supporting us with their love and friendship as we sit around a bonfire enjoying a summer evening.  The 4th of July isn't all about BBQ, food and fireworks, it is also about friends, family and community.  We are so lucky that this July we have them all in our lives reminding us what is important.

So as we enter into the month of July we are looking forward to moving Ella's Halo forward. With the love and support of our friends and family, we can help a NICU community find comfort.  Just thinking about all that  we are going to do in the next couple of months puts fireworks of love in my heart.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Hope You Know

I hope you know how much we love you. How much we loved listening to Twinkle Twinkle with you. How much we loved holding your little fingers and kissing your little toes. I hope you know how much we loved rubbing your blond head and putting pink bows in your hair. I hope you know how much mommy loved to hold you and listen to you purr like a kitty. I hope you know how much you melted your daddy's heart when you would stare up at him as he talked to you about the Twins. I hope you know how much we loved sitting by your side just listening to the noises of the hospital together as a family. I hope you know how much we loved reading to you, taking your pictures, and just being with you. I just hope you know.

I hope you know that we are working to help your friends in the NICU so that they can have a more comfortable stay. I hope you know that everything we do, you are always in the back of our minds. I hope you know that not a day goes by that we don't think about you. I hope you know that we are forever grateful that you changed our lives. I hope you know that even though we smile today, we still have the pain of missing you like crazy. I hope you know that we will never forget you and that we will always be telling your story. I hope you know that we will always be Ella's mommy and daddy. I just hope you know how much we love you baby girl.