We kept things quite simple this year and I think we were still very successful. I am continually overwhelmed by the generosity of others who support us in this project. It would absolutely not be possible without all of you!
Now that we are trying to wrangle two kids and a busy house, we decided to simplify the list for storing and organizing purposes. My friend Angie came up with the idea to put the care packages in reusable bags, which I thought was brilliant. She donated all of the bags, tissues, notebooks, and pens for the care packages. Amazing! We also had a group of local moms that donated many tiny, perfect knitted and crocheted hats. And of course all of our wonderful family and friends!
Each care package includes a blanket, hat, small notebook, pen, tissues, Emergen-C, chocolate, granola bar/trail mix, hand sanitizer, chapstick, lotion, and a small children's book.
Every year I get nervous about whether we will be able to gather everything we need and whether we will have the finances to fill in the gaps. In the last 3 years, we have never been lacking in any of the things we need. It's incredible. We have a lot of family, friends, and even strangers that are willing to help out NICU families and babies.
I had grand plans to take the care packages down to UW as a family, but it just wasn't working out. We had to cancel two trips because of sicknesses and finally we were running out of time. Since it's a 2 hour drive each way, it isn't exactly a quick trip, especially with two kids. In the end, we decided we would have our little elf (Danny) drop off the care packages during a trip he was already making.
Unfortunately that means there are no pictures of the actual delivery. BUT, it doesn't take away how exciting it is to be able to drop off 45 care packages, sleep sacks, and extra handmade hats and blankets!
We will never be able to fully express our gratitude to everyone who continually contributes to this project. The packages outside the door, the growing pile of donations, the love and care we feel behind each person that asks how they can help. While the time we spent in the NICU was not during the holidays, it was long and it was hard. I can't imagine how hard it must be to have a baby in the NICU during the holidays and not being able to be home as a family. My hope is always that these care packages can be a bright spot in a long, tiring journey.
If you would like to read our story and how we got involved in this, click here. And also, our past years of NICU Care Packages 2011 and 2012.