Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The NICU Christmas Project

Forty-six beds in the NICU. Forty-six holiday baskets. Two very excited former NICU parents.

A few months ago, we received a letter soliciting donations from the Children's Hospital that houses the NICU that touched our lives so profoundly. I've been plunking down a dollar at the gas station every now and again in the hopes of dedicating a wing in honor of Bryce and Chloe, but alas, those little ping pong balls that turn ordinary Joes into Powerball millionaires have been uncooperative. Thus, I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with an alternative that's within our means. Sure, we could send a modest donation to the hospital that would cover the cost of fifteen milliseconds of care for some unfortunate baby, but Christie and I were eager to do something more personal for NICU families.

About a month ago, I gave a talk on prematurity awareness to the Land O'Lakes Buttermasters, a local Toastmasters organization that I'm a member of. Part of the speech covered the many ways those sympathetic to the cause could help in the fight against prematurity, and out of this talk the idea for the NICU holiday baskets was born.

Thanks in large part to some very generous donations from the Buttermasters, we were able to put together forty-six holiday baskets for families with a plethora of goodies, including a copy of our all-time favorite children's book ("I Love You Through and Through", which we still read to all 3 kids regularly), a tiny stocking for the isolette, a create-your-own Baby's First Christmas ornament, a St. NICU bookmark and more.

Best of all, our social worker from the NICU and the medical staff graciously accompanied Christie and I as we spent half an hour hand-delivering those baskets to the bedside of each family who'll be spending their Christmas in the ICU, rather than gathered 'round a cozy fire in front of the Christmas tree.

I'm eager to see the smiles on my kids' faces when they tear into their Christmas presents on Saturday morning, but I don't know that I've ever been as excited about giving a gift as I was this afternoon. It's difficult to describe the profound joy and satisfaction I felt in being able to provide some small token of our empathy for those families who'll have much more than mall traffic and sold-out toys to contend with this holiday season. The brilliant smile on my wife's face said that she felt the same. Provided the NICU is willing, the Christmas Project is sure to be a holiday tradition for Bryce and company.

Thanks again to everyone who made this afternoon a reality and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


As of this morning, Bryce rarely stood unassisted, and the few steps he'd taken were because he'd been tricked into it. Even then, it was never more than one or two before he'd drop to all fours. As of this afternoon, well, see for yourself...

He never ceases to amaze.