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.