Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Comfort for Connecticut

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Project Sweet Peas is embarking on a new project, bringing comfort to the child victims families from the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Our Bereavement Division, Forever My Sweet Pea, will be putting together 20 Memory Bags that will contain treasured keepsake items. The Memory Bags will be similar in nature to the memory boxes that are provided to families enduring a pregnancy and infant loss.

We are looking for crafters, vendors or companies that are interested in donating items that can be used in remembrance of their child. Some businesses have donated angel figurines, personalized candles, and angel bears to name a few.

We are also in need of monetary donations to help buy items to add in the packages, shipping and the bags themselves. The total we need to raise for those is: $500

We will be compiling a list of donors that will be listed in a letter that will be given to each family. If you wish to remain anonymous, please clarify that upon donating.

The projected completion date is 1/14/2013. We will be working with a Newtown organization to distribute these packages directly to the families.

If you are interested in donating, monetary or in kind, please contact Project Sweet Peas President, Kate Crawford at: kate@projectsweetpeas.com with the subject line "Comfort for Connecticut".

Project Sweet Peas will not be accepting donations for this project past our goal needed.  We would also like to make it clear that we are not collecting monies for the families, we are simply taking our mission and out reaching to these families whose children were taken too soon. 
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Essence of Love 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

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Essence of Love 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

This giveaway is especially for our forever sweet pea families. This gorgeous figurine shows an angel embracing a little one.



To start off the Twelve days of Christmas we are giving away this piece. The contest ends December 18th and the winner has 24 hours to claim their prize.

Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Snoedel Giveaway!

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We are partnering with Snoedel for a Christmas Giveaway! 

From now until December 14th, you can enter our giveaway for one original Snoedel! 





A Snoedel is the PERFECT gift for any family that will be in the ICU during the holidays!

Enter today!



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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Project Sweet Peas' 3rd annual "Plunge For Preemies"

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We are excited to announce our 3rd annual Plunge For Preemies on March 2, 2013 at Narragansett Beach in Rhode Island. Whether you are brave enough to take The Plunge, or just want to come out and watch, it's promised to be an event you won't want to miss.


Plungers can register online at www.pspplunge.com

Prizes are awarded to top fundraisers (see website for details) so register early to begin the fundraising! All plungers will receive a ticket to our post plunge party, raffle tickets, an event t-shirt, and a $25 gift certificate to Verizon Wireless of Wakefield. Plunge in costume for additional raffle tickets and prizes!

Spectators can purchase tickets to our Post Plunge Part at The Village Inn on our website (www.pspplunge.com)

 We are also currently seeking business sponsors, and donations for our silent auction and raffle. If you, or someone you know is interested in making a donation contact the event coordinator, Corin, at Corin@projectsweetpeas.com or 401-212-0210

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Mason's Monarchs Personalized Glass Ornaments Fundraiser

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Mason's Monarchs with Project Sweet Peas
Personalized Glass Ornament Fundraiser
 
Mason's Monarchs with Project Sweet Peas is selling personalized glass ornaments just in time for Christmas. You have your choice of etching design and vinyl wording. You can choose a date, name, initials or phrases. We are offering a nice variety of vinyl colors and coordinating ribbon.

Ornaments sold locally are $7.50 and we will arrange for delivery/pick-up. Ornaments that need to be shipped will be $12.00.

Follow this link for ordering: http://projectsweetpeas.com/index.php/sweet-events/details/23-per sonalized-glass-ornaments This is a perfect way to get or gift a treasured keepsake while helping provide support to families who need a lift this time of year.

Mason's Monarchs with Project Sweet Peas provides care packages to families with babies in the NICU as well as keepsakes for those families who have had a recent pregnancy or infant loss.
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Volunteers Needed for NICU Parent Match Program

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We are excited to announce the launch of our newest service, the Parent Match Program! Our Parent Match Program is designed to connect parents with a baby currently in the NICU with parents that have experienced a NICU stay in the past. Through this program it is our hope that parents can empower one another with strength, support, and knowledge.

To get things started, we are now looking for volunteers to join our Parent Match Team! If you have experienced a NICU stay and would like to reach out to other NICU families, we would love for you to join us!

Find more information here: http://www.projectsweetpeas.com/index.php/resources/parent-match
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Kit's Muse Pounds for Preemies

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It's that time again! Time to be thinking about a healthy you in the new year. There is not a better way to kick start reaching this goal than taking part in division Kit's Muse Pounds for Preemies!

For an entry fee of just $25.00 you will not only get an awesome support group but have the option to create your own team, join a team OR just take part as an individual. You will also be in the running for the grand prize of a $100.00 Visa gift card. There will also be 2nd and 3rd place prizes and lots of fun to be had as we lose our pounds for the preemies that need them. Last year our Pounds for Preemies group collectively lost over 200 pounds!

All the details can be found on the pounds for preemies page at www.kitsmuse.com where you can also see examples of what a team page will look like. Check out the facebook group . All proceeds support our care package, angel gown and memory box programs.
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Welcome, Multiple Miracles!

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Project Sweet Peas would like to officially welcome new project division, Multiple Miracles! Project Coordinator Diane Hrenko started this division in honor of her sweet peas, Justin and Collin. Multiple Miracles delivers care packages to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
 
 
For more information on Multiple Miracles please email Diane at Diane@projectsweetpeas.com.
 
  
Justin and Collin's story:
 
 

"Let me start with this… this story has a very happy ending.

After dealing with infertility issues, my husband and I were ecstatic to find out that twins were on the way!! I was fortunate to have a fantastic pregnancy, and enjoyed every minute of it. At a routine checkup at 33 weeks, an ultrasound revealed that the fluid was low around baby A and I was having contractions. They admitted me to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and I delivered our two little miracles via C-section at 33 weeks and 3 days. On December 11, 2008, our lives were changed forever -- Justin Keith and Collin Matthew were born at a little over 4 lbs each and admitted to the Beth Israel NICU.

While it is overwhelming enough for any first time parent, learning your babies cannot come home with you and need to stay in the hospital for several weeks is almost unbearable. Fortunately, our babies were relatively healthy and the majority of time spent in the NICU was just to grow and mature. We spent six long weeks travelling back and forth to the NICU and spending every waking minute with our boys. We would spend early morning to late evening sitting by the incubators and then bassinets. Luckily, my husband works at Beth Israel so he was able to sneak across and get a little work done during the day. We felt like we became experts in all the NICU terminology: learning about the feeding tubes, suck/swallow reflex, calorie counting, and the “spells” of heart rate dips which all became a way of life while they were there.

The doctors and nurses that we worked with at the Beth Israel NICU were amazing. Simply amazing! To say we have the utmost gratitude towards these people is an understatement. They are everything to us. They reassured us that our babies were going to go home and be healthy and strong children – they just needed to grow more. The doctors and nurses taught us day in and day out everything we needed to know… how to understand the machines the boys were attached to, what all of the beeping meant, bathing, feeding, pumping, nursing, etc. They were so patient with us when we called each night before we went to bed and every morning when we woke up to make sure the boys were still OK. They took pictures for us when we weren’t there and made signs for the incubators/bassinets.

Our life was very different for those six weeks and truthfully very lonely. Our stay was over the holidays so my husband and I spent Christmas with our babies, only sneaking off for dinner at a hotel restaurant across the street, while our families were all celebrating together. Our friends and family were extremely supportive during our stay in the NICU, always calling to check in on us. They tried so hard to be positive for us. One family that had been through the NICU before left handmade knit caps for the boys with a note saying something to the effect of “we understand what you are going through”. How nice was that! It touched us very much that someone made such a thoughtful gesture.

After six weeks, Justin and Collin were both home and all of a sudden life was… perfect! Every uneasy feeling, worry, and stress would not be a factor anymore. As long as the boys were home with us, life would be OK. This experience changed us because we learned that life is fragile and doesn’t always go exactly as planned. The care and support we received at the Beth Israel NICU is something that we cherish and will never forget. To express our gratitude, on the boys 1st birthday we donated 60 blankets to the babies in the NICU as a way to “pay it forward”. You never know how it feels to be a NICU parent until you have gone through it, and we felt the need to give back to others that are going through what we went through. We have continued this tradition each year around their birthday. In 2012, we joined Project Sweet Peas, and will continue to “pay it forward” by delivering care packages to the Beth Israel NICU under the very fitting name of Multiple Miracles.

Justin and Collin are healthy little boys and have an adorable new sister: Ashlyn. Life is good! "
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A Welcome to With Love, Juliahna

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Project Sweet Peas would like to officially welcome new project division, With Love, Juliahna! Project Coordinator Jessica Shell started this division in honor of her sweet pea, Juliahna. With Love, Juliahna delivers to Peyton Manning Children's Hospital's PICU and Riley Children's Hospital's NICU in Indianapolis, IN.

For more information on With Love, Juliahna please email Jessica at jessicashell@projectsweetpeas.com.

Juliahna's story:


Juliahna Elise entered the world on September 13th, 2011 at only 25.2 weeks gestation. Weighing in a mere 14 ounces and being only 9.5 inches long, Juliahna put up a heck of a fight. After 143 days in the NICU and seven surgeries later we brought our Juliahna home from the hospital for the first time. After only 29 days home, Juliahna ended up being rushed to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital with more complications. We spent 38 days and had two more surgeries while in the PICU and pediatric floor at PMCH.

For the first seven months of Juliahna’s life, things were tough and we had to learn what seemed like a completely different life style. Times were trying and it was the longest roller coaster we have had to endure. God’s devotion and Juliahna’s strength continues to bless us daily. With Juliahna we love. With Juliahna we have learned to be thankful for every day. With Juliahna we give back as a constant reminder of how precious life is, how amazing our God is, and how beautiful miracles are.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shelby's Sunshine 3rd Annual Polar Plunge

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NOVEMBER 25TH,
2012 MOOSE LODGE
ROCHESTER, IN
2-4 Raffles
PLUNGE AT 4:15

WILL YOU TAKE SHELBY’S SUNSHINE POLAR PLUNGE?

Come out and brave the cold for a great cause! Help families by providing care packages and other services that offer comfort while furthering the bond between parent and child.

INTERESTED IN TAKING THE PLUNGE?

For $20 you can take the plunge and receive a Shelby’s Sunshine t-shirt for your support. To “officially” plunge you only have to get in the water up to your waist. Children are welcome to participate to any water level they are comfortable with.

WHAT IS SHELBY’S SUNSHINE WITH PROJECT SWEET PEAS?

Shelby’s Sunshine is an INDIANA division of Project Sweet Peas. Helping families in Indiana. Trying to make a difference. For more information: please contact Stephanie at steph@projectsweetpeas.com
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Holiday Hope

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Project Sweet Peas’ is excited to launch our newest initiative program, ‘Holiday Hope’, in which we encourage families nationwide to give back to their local hospitals, medical care home or housing facility. December 17th through the 21st. Thousands of families will celebrate the holidays in the intensive care unit this year, and it is our hope that if enough families join in, together we can bring a touch of comfort to them all.

So how do YOU become involved? It’s easy; join our Facebook event ‘Holiday Hope’ where we will offer advice, ideas, and tips on how to donate and get involved with your local ICU in time for the holidays.

After you donate, post your photo and story to our Facebook page! Join in the largest group effort to bring hope to the ICU’s for the holidays!


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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Precious Moments Figurine Giveaway!

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Our Bereavement division, Forever My Sweet Pea, is the first to give away a very special Precious Moments figurine!

When our littlest ones journey to heaven, we search for even the smallest amount of comfort and hope. Originally suspended in 2007, this touching figurine has been brought back due to customer requests. While there are some subtle differences from the original - a change in the halo design and minor adjustments to the clothes of the mother and angel - the loving message is the same. It is our hope that it brings a bit of peace to hearts that hurt beyond words.


The give away starts November 2nd and it's easy to enter! Log in below for a chance to earn up to 11 entries! The give away winner will be announced on November 17th. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Celebrating 5,000 Care Packages

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We never imagined shortly after celebrating our 3rd birthday here at Project Sweet Peas that we would have helped bring comfort to over 5,000 families! We recently donated our 5,000th care package!

Our wonderful Project Coordinators spend countless hours on running their project divisions. They all have had children in the ICU or have had a child pass away, and it is because of their own experiences that they dedicate themselves to giving back. They work with wonderful supporters who donate money, items and their own time to accomplish their project’s goals. If it wasn’t for our Project Coordinators, Project Volunteers, and our supporters, we would never be where we are today!

5,000 care packages to us means the thousands of smiles we brought to a family’s face when they realized they were not alone. It means the thousands of babies bonding with their mommies and daddies through our packages. It means the tens of thousands of items we offered families to build beautiful memories with their critically ill child. And it means the thousands of grieving parent’s hearts we helped heal through offering treasured keepsakes to remember their lost child.

To us, 5,000 is more than just the number of packages we delivered, it is the gift from our heart to inspire those families with the hope of tomorrow.
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Sunday, September 30, 2012

the Sweet Pea Exchange: A preemie and newborn clothing exchange

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We are pleased to announce the launch of our new program, the Sweet Pea exchange! To get things started we need your help! We are actively seeking donations of new and gently used preemie and newborn clothing.



 All donations can be mailed to:

 Sweet Pea Exchange
86 Hanover Avenue
Pawtucket RI 02861

 Thank you!
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sweetfully Yours Cookbook Sale

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Sweetfully Yours is full of recipes from NICU moms, Angel moms, family and friends and presented in a cute little book perfect for resting on your kitchen counter. Get one for yourself and one for each of your closest friends. It's not just a means of new ways to cook your food but also a way to help NICU and bereaved families throughout this country.

 Purchase yours today: http://projectsweetpeas.com/index.php/sweet-events/details/19-cookbook-sale

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Pregnancy and Infant Loss Candle Vigil

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October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) awareness month. Forever My Sweet Pea (Project Sweet Peas' National Bereavement Division) will be hosting our third annual candle vigil. All around the world events will be taking place to honor the sweet babies who are no longer with us. Let us honor your angel!

Please complete the signup sheet to have your angel's name added to the list of those that will be honored through a Project Sweet Pea division. This year PSP leaders across the country will be hosting remembrance events and lighting luminaries for each name that is submitted. Parents will be tagged, via Facebook, with the images of the luminary representing their angel. Add your angels name to the list today.

 Submit your angel's name(s) here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dF9BZkFqS0dXWU4zRjZkV2IxS2dPZkE6MQ#gid=0

 Deadline for name(s) submission is October 6th.

 Pictures will be uploaded by October 22nd, 2012.

 Also, be sure to enter our Pregnancy and Infant Loss Giveaway for a chance to win some beautiful prizes!
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.372780052790225.82759.341312845936946&type=1 


E-mail kate@projectsweetpeas.com for any additional information.
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Luca's NICU HALLOWBOO

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Come join is for a ghoulish volunteer day!


Our 3rd Annual NICU Hallowboo is in memory of ‘Super Luca’ who lived his short life at Magee-Women’s Hospital NICU. In memory of his 2nd birthday volunteers come and help us make costumes just like Luca had in the NICU! Our goal this year is to make enough costumes to give EVERY NICU baby in Pittsburgh one! Don’t worry, we only cut and glue no sewing skills required.

 Here’s the haunting details:

October 6, 2012 at 12pm
Rostraver Volunteer Fire Department
A monster lunch is provided
For a $10 donation you will get 5 raffle tickets for our spooktacular raffle

If you bring goodies for our Parents Trick-or-Treat Bags, you will get 3 extra raffle tickets!
Goodies could be:
Candy
Gum
Hand Sanitizer
Lip Balm
Travel Toiletries
Stress Ball
Halloween socks

 If you can’t join us, consider making a donation to help us make the costumes!
With a $6 donation we can make 5 costumes
With a $12 donation we can make 10 costumes
With a $24 donation we can make 15 costumes 

http://projectsweetpeas.com/index.php/sweet-events/details/17-lucas-nicu-hallowboo
Contact Kate@projectsweetpeas.com for more information
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September Sweet Pea Spotlight: Erin & Ember

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September Sweet Pea Spotlight
Erin and Ember

My name is Jeanne Tucker, I am the founder of Erin's Mercy. To tell you a little about me and how my organization came about, I must tell you part of my story. I conceived mono-mono triplets in September of 2010. My husband and I lost one at 11 weeks of gestation. After losing one of our babies we found out that I was carrying a rare form of twins, known as Mono-Mono (Monoamniotic-Monochorionic) which in means they were growing in the same placenta and sac. They shared everything. The whole pregnancy had been up in the air, because it was a 50/50 chance that one or both of them would survive, due to cord entanglement.

At 21 weeks of pregnancy we found out that the my babies cords were intertwined but that they couldn't do nothing till I was 24 weeks gestation, due to the fact that there are too many risks and it’s not fair saving a babies that's earlier than that. So after making it to 24 weeks I was immediately put on hospital bed rest.
After about a week of the nurses poking, prodding, adjusting, the beeping, screaming, etc. I told my doctor that I was not happy in the hospital I needed to be in the comfort of my own home. I said "if I am not happy how are my babies supposed to be, I keep getting told you want me to make it as long as possible." So based on that I was allowed to leave!
About 2 weeks later I started having contractions. Went to the hospital, NOTHING. So they sent me on my way said that I had a slight bladder infection that was probably causing my contracting. Home on meds. When I got home I continued to have contracting for 2 days, one morning at 430am I woke up and thought that I had pee'd! and just kept peeing! About 730 rolls around and I finally call my Dr.
He said get in here now! So I dropped my husband off at work and on I went to the hospital to find out I was already dilated to a 6! I was terrified of what was going on, everyone was rushing around me, my mother in law was getting my husband from work (all I could think is "is he going to make it").
Shaking in fear awaiting surgery I hear that "HE MADE IT"!!
On March 18, 2011 two of the most beautiful little girls were born. I was so greatful to make it to 27 and ½ along with all the other Dr.’s and nurses as well! Mono-mono is where they share the same sac and placenta, they share everything it only happens one percent out of all twins. Everyone told me that they were luck to be alive; there cords were entangled so bad that if they stayed inside any longer that they wouldn't have made it. They were ready to be here they both did great pretty much breathing on their own the whole time; they started them on feedings after 24 hours of being in the hospital. Ember (baby A) weighed 2lb. 3oz. and was 14 ½ in. Erin (baby B) weighed 2lb. 1oz. and was 14in.
They were so small; the whole hospital talked them up all the time, they called them the Twisted Sisters of the NICY. They were going to be in an article in the N.W. Med magazine. The pregnancy was hard enough; there was nothing normal about it. They had a 50% chance that one or both would make it. Every day was up in the air they could have died any moment and I would have never known till the next ultra sound. I had a Dr. Visit every week until I got bed rested.
Then one day Ember (baby A) had started to get sickly on I was scared to death, I didn’t want anything to happen to one of my girls. So they stopped her feedings, put her on the C-PAP and put her on antibiotics instantly. They performed x-rays on both girls just to be safe they noticed that Embers bowls were sick but they caught it before anything bad happened, they also noticed Erin (baby B ) had sick bowls too. They lowered her feedings but kept feeding her.
The next day Erin wasn't breathing rite so they put her on the C-PAP and did the same thing like her sister. I get a call at 12:40 in the morning from the doctor telling me Erin wasn't able to breathe on her own so they put her on the ventilator, he also said he talked to the surgeon and they were going to evaluate her to see about surgery but they chose not to till the morning. Well in the morning when the surgeon evaluated her they moved for surgery at noon that way they had enough time to try and make her a little stronger. It was so hard to look at her paralyzed from all the medicine. When she went back for surgery, we were told an hour and they would call as soon as she was done. So we went up to see his mom and inform her of everything that was going on.
It seemed like it took hours for them to call and I just had a bad feeling so we started back to the hospital, a few blocks down the road we get a call from the hospital I was scared to death. Surgeon said she did really well they barely had to take any of her small intestine, in gave her a bag for her bowls. We rushed down there to tell her what a brave girl she was and that we were very proud of her.
After leaving the hospital we went for dinner, when we were getting ready to get on the freeway we got another call, nurse said to hurry up and get back she wasn't doing well. After all the hope we were given if I knew this was going to happen I never would have left. When we got there they were giving her CPR, they said they had been doing that since we pretty much left. Doctor said the best thing was to take her of the breathing machine and hold her so I said okay, I held her in my arms for her last few breaths it’s been the hardest thing ever, now I have one.
But even though I lost one I have the exact replica of her sister. Erin was my smile girl and until the day after Erin passed away Ember never smiled, so no matter how bad I just want to scream the only thing I can do it think that GOD may have taken her soul but he left her spirit behind with her sister. I started with natural occurring triplets, lost one at 11 weeks and lost another to an awful disease. Erin Rene Womack was born on March 18, 20011 and past way 04-01-2011, life didn't even give her a shot. She and her sister are the greatest gift life has to offer.
Ember was in the hospital for 90days. She weighed just a little over 6lbs when getting out; she had to come home on oxygen though. She remained on the oxygen for about 1 month. We have occasional check-ups at the lung Drs., but their saying that if she does well by the time she is 1yr 1/2; they’ll tell us that she is free to go. That’s so exciting! Her Dr. even says that she is doing as well as the babies her age and they’re not premature.
When Ember was a year old, she weighed 17 1/2lb. We had a Developmental appointment and she did excelled at it. The nurse said she is ahead for where she is at, and that it had been a long time since, she had seen a baby come in as good as her that, had been through everything she had been through in a long time.
Now at 16months old Ember is 19 1/2lb. She loves to run around, jump in the air, outdoors, there is nothing she won’t try. She just pushes me to the max with all the love she has given me. I feel so blessed every day to be here with her, and to guide her on her journey.
And I chose not to hold a grudge onto the past and rather try to look at the joy I had meeting my Angel. My life has been so sweet, I would never change anything. It just wouldn’t be the same and I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today. I still have both my girls with me; their life is just one now.
I chose to do this because I wanted to give back to our community and to continue to allow Erin to leave her imprints on others hearts as well as our own. The NICU is a very scary place, and it’s just good to know that someone has you in their prayers.

-Jeanne (Erin and Ember's Mommy)
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Vote for Project Sweet Peas

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Having a baby in the NICU is life-changing for families. Project Sweet Peas understands the emotional, physical, and financial strain that families endure during their stay and seeks to support their wellness. Project Sweet Peas also seeks to support families who are faced with the unimaginable pain of saying goodbye to their beloved child. By providing bereaved families with memory boxes filled with keepsakes and other resources, we help them to create cherished memories of their child.

This week we are asking our supporters to help us continue our mission by voting for us in the Chase Community Giving Contest. With this very important funding we have the potential to support thousands of NICU and bereaved families across the country. Voting will take you only a minute of your time and will help make a BIG IMPACT in the lives of these families. Thank you so much for your support.

VOTE FOR PROJECT SWEET PEAS here!
http://apps.facebook.com/​chasecommunitygiving/​charity/view/ein/27-3679594
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Monday, August 13, 2012

August Sweet Pea Spotlight: Gavin

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 August Sweet Pea Spotlight



Gavin
 This month our Sweet Pea is Gavin. Gavin graced this world for a precious 60 1/2 hours but will forever live on in the hearts of loved ones. This week on August 16th will be Gavin's 1st heavenly birthday. Please send warm thoughts and prayers to Gavin's family.

His name is Gavin Michael and he was beautiful. He had his mom's hands, skin tone and hair color and his dad's everything else. He came into this world weighing 1 pound 7.34 ounces, without a doubt, the tiniest baby we had ever seen, but also the most perfect. He had a iron will and the heart of lion. He was pure and gentle and only knew love and kindness. When he was born last August 16th, despite his 23 weeks 6 days gestation, he cried and opened one of his eyes immediately. Like every baby with a birth as early as his, he had his fair share of medical struggles. His lungs were underdeveloped, he had trouble controlling his blood sugar and his body temperature, just to name a few things. But he was a fighter. He took everything in stride and managed to give his parents 60 1/2 beautiful hours filled with nothing but love, joy, hope and inspiration. We were able to have Gavin hold onto our fingers, watched him wiggle his feet when they were tickled and on the morning of the day he died, he opened both of his eyes and stared into his mom's. They were so dark brown, almost black, exactly like his dad's. This sweet boy, a miracle in every way, gave us the most beautiful 60 1/2 hours on this planet. We will spend a lifetime being grateful to have been blessed with him.


Though the past almost year has been a difficult journey to say the least, my husband and I are eternally grateful to be Gavin's parents, to love him and to be loved by him. This August 16th, his first birthday, I encourage each and every one of you reading this story to hug your children and family members a little tighter, to go above and beyond what others expect of you. Let love and hope be your guide to greatness in this world. And Gavin, you are our first born, our son, the love of our life and we can't begin to thank you enough for allowing us to take this beautiful journey with you. We love you all the days of our lives.

-Ashley and Jesse Ortiz (Gavin's Mommy and Daddy)


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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thank You Thursday: Ronald McDonald House Charities

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Today is Thank You Thursday! Every Thursday we take the opportunity to show our appreciation to organizations and individuals making a difference in the lives of ICU families.

This Thursday we send our sincerest thanks to the Ronald McDonald House Charities! Their program provides a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost.  Their Houses are built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on healing their child – not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night to rest.

For 38 years Ronald McDonald House Charities has been making a difference in the lives of ICU families.  Please take a moment to visit their website to see all of the ways they are making a difference!
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Forever My Sweet Pea: National Bereavement Program

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Project Sweet Peas has always sought to provide comfort to bereaved families experiencing the loss of their baby. We have done so by providing memorial boxes and other resources to local hospitals all across the country as well as through an online request service. As an extension of those efforts, we are very proud to announce that today we are launching our National Bereavement Program Page: Forever My Sweet Pea. Through this program we are offering memory boxes and affordable keepsake kits, along with support and other services for those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. Be sure to visit our Forever My Sweet Pea Facebook to learn more about Forever My Sweet Pea, and to enter a couple of SWEET giveaways!



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Monday, July 23, 2012

Walk for Preemie Peas

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Project Sweet Peas' 2nd Annual
Walk for Preemie Peas

A Walk for Preemie Peas is a walk-a-thon in which participants collect pledges to walk as little or as much as they would like for a great cause! Each participant (12 years of age or older) must raise a minimum of $25 in pledges to participate. All Walk-a-thon Participants will receive 5 free raffle tickets, food, water, and those who pre-register will receive a free event T-Shirt!

Registration opens at 1:00 at the Visitor Center
Walk-a-thon to begin at 2:00
Bring a new or used Children’s DVD and receive a FREE Project Sweet Peas Water bottle!
The top three participants to raise the most money will receive a cash prize!

Pre-Register to walk at on our website.
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Now accepting writing volunteer applications

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We are actively seeking 2 motivated Writing Volunteers to assist Project Sweet Peas! Volunteers will be actively involved in the creation and development of informational brochures, booklets, articles, and a monthly newsletter. If you are interested in becoming a writing volunteer, please submit an application through the link below:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDVhSGYzTzlMd3IwcUVFalRhdnB4WlE6MQ#gid=0
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thank You Thursday: Molly Bears

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Today is Thank You Thursday! Every Thursday we take the opportunity to show our appreciation to organizations and individuals making a difference in the lives of ICU families.

This week we send our sincerest appreciation to Molly Bears. Molly Bears is a non-profit organization that creates weighted teddy bears for families coping with infant loss. MollyBears.com is also an online community of support for families that have suffered a death of an infant.

This amazing organization was created in memory of a sweet angel named Molly. After Molly's death, Molly's mother Bridget found great comfort in a bear she had tailored to be Molly's weight. She then started creating them for other bereaved families. Since then Molly Bears has created hundreds of bears for families experiencing the unimaginable loss of their baby.

Please take a moment to visit their website and their Facebook to show your appreciation for all that they do!
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dollar Days $5,000 Non-Profit Give-a-way

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Dollar Days $5,000 Non-Profit Give-a-way

This past month we asked our supporters to nominate Project Sweet Peas for the Dollar Days $5,000 Non-Profit Give-a-way. We wanted to take the opportunity to thank Dollar Days and everyone that nominated us for this give-a-away. Thanks to your nominations we came in 4th place and received a $100 gift card! With this money we will be able to purchase 1,000 items (500 shampoos and conditioners and 500 shower caps!

http://blog.dollardays.com/5000-non-profit-give-a-way-winners-june-2012/
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thank You Thursday: Papas of Preemies

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Today is Thank You Thursday! Every Thursday we would like to take the opportunity to show our appreciation to organizations and individuals making a difference in the lives of ICU families.


Today we send our sincerest thanks to Papas of Preemies! If you are a papa (or a mama) of a preemie be sure to check out this amazing group started by Joel (papa to Jayden born 7 weeks early.) Joel created this group as a forum for preemie parents to share insight, experiences and support. As a dad, he was eager to break the notion that fathers are not emotional beings.

Papas of Preemies offers a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to the preemie parent. They are a forum for parents with a premature baby to share their stories and communicate with other parents. Their contributors provide insight to other parents based on their own experiences. They are all around a wonderful resource for parents, particularly for dads and we commend them for all that they do! Please take a moment to stop by their Facebook and website!
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Monday, July 9, 2012

July Sweet Pea Spotlight: Nadia

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July Sweet Pea Spotlight

Nadia

I looked at the 18 week old baby on the ultrasound in disbelief. After 4 years of studying ultrasounds, I knew what I was seeing. The tears came and would not stop. Her intestines were in her chest cavity; the heart, dislocated; the left lung obstructed; the stomach above her diaphragm: my baby had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

It was like getting struck with lightning, twice...my first baby had also had CDH. The condition has a 50% survival rate with no known cause, and he had survived and was now 3 1/2. My second child had been born healthy and was coming into his own at a year and a half. Now I looked at my little girl's image on the screen and thought....can I beat the odds twice?

My son had been out of the NICU in 3 weeks and only had a scar to show for his trials. What did fate have in store for my daughter?

Nadia Marilyn was born at 39 weeks by scheduled c-section in the NICU of Denver Children's Hospital--an exception they make only for the most dire patients. She was immediately intubated as she could not breathe. She would not be able to nurse at this time, nor could we hold her. Within 12 hours of her birth she was slipping away; her heart was struggling to work properly with the pressure of the outside world. We had her baptized in the middle of the night and she went on a heart-lung bypass machine called ECMO. It required surgery to place her on it and tubes from her neck carried her blood into the machine that cleaned and oxygenated her blood and put it back in. To see my tiny infant amid all that machinery that was keeping her alive was both frightening and surreal.


She made it through that night, and the next. One day at a time I watched her progress, and I prayed.

As the weeks went by, Nadia had surgery to remove her from the ECMO machine, a surgery to repair her hernia in her diaphragm and put her organs back to their proper locations, and one more surgery to repair an issue with the pyloric valve in her stomach. By four weeks of age, she had had four surgeries.

Finally she was starting to eat via a feeding tube--I had pumped gallons of milk for her and up until this point, she had been on a nutritional supplement that was broken down to the cellular level. Basically she had not eaten for weeks but her body got the nutrition it needed. She was off the oscillating vent and on a conventional vent. Then she was off the conventional vent and on oxygen and nitric oxide.

After 16 days of waiting, I got to hold her in my arms. And she smiled up at me. And my heart melted.

More days passed, and she still had her feeding tube and oxygen but no more nitric oxide. She was progressing very well.

As the seven week mark approached, I was told she could soon come home.

No more nights spent on a cot in her hospital room.

No more splitting my time between my boys and my daughter.

Soon, we would all be together, and my children would meet for the first time.

As this eve closes I am packing up my daughter's hospital room. I have learned how to operate her oxygen and feeding tube and change out her medical supplies and administer her medication. Her room at home is now finally clean and ready as I dared not set it up early only to have to take it all down should the worst have happened.

And tomorrow my daughter will be in my arms as I walk through my front door, and my sons will happily shout out "Mommy!!" as I bend down and introduce them to our latest living miracle.

(written on July 8, 2012. Nadia will be going home today! Please send thoughts and prayers to Nadia's family!)
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thank You Thursday: Global Hydranencephaly Foundation

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Today is Thank You Thursday! Every Thursday we would like to take the opportunity to show our appreciation to organizations and individuals making a difference in the lives of ICU families.


This week we send our sincerest thanks to the Global Hydranencephaly Foundation! The Global Hydranencephaly Foundation offers support, information, guidance, and resources to families with a child diagnosed with Hydranencephaly. Hydranencephaly is a rare neurological condition, knowingly occurring in fewer than 1 in 10,000 births across the globe, in which the brain's cerebral hemispheres are absent and replaced with sacs of cerebrospinal fluid.

Their future efforts have the potential to change the lives of thousands of families across the globe; many already involved with the cause. Grants will be awarded for assistance with therapeutic services, equipment, medical costs, and other financial responsibilities of caring for these children. Information for adoption and designated care to insure families are not overwhelmed by the amount of involvement required in caring for these children will also be shared. Awareness campaigns and merchandise to create recognition of the cause and what this condition is will be made available. The ultimate goal of this foundation is not to cure, but to simply insure these little lives are allowed to shine!

Please take a moment to thank this wonderful foundation for making a difference in the lives of families facing a Hydranencephaly diagnosis!

www.hydranencephalyfoundation.org
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thank You Thursday: Laken's Bears

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Today is Thank You Thursday! Every Thursday we would like to take the opportunity to show our appreciation to organizations and individuals making a difference in the lives of ICU families.


Today we send our sincerest thanks to Laken's Bears! Laken's Bears was created on February 28, 2011 in honor of Laken Taylor Johnson. This wonderful foundation works with other organizations, including Project Sweet Peas, to provide teddy bears and Angel Pennies to grieving families.

Please take a moment to send your appreciation to Laken’s Bears for all that they do for bereaved families!
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

MJ's Memories in the News

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Project Division MJ's Memories was featured in the Topeka Capital Journal!

You can check out the story here:

http://cjonline.com/news/2012-06-11/project-helps-ease-pain-losing-baby
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Walk for Preemie Peas

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 Project Sweet Peas' 2nd Annual
Walk for Preemie Peas

A Walk for Preemie Peas is a walk-a-thon in which participants collect pledges to walk as little or as much as they would like for a great cause! Each participant (12 years of age or older) must raise a minimum of $25 in pledges to participate. All Walk-a-thon Participants will receive 5 free raffle tickets, food, water, and those who pre-register will receive a free event T-Shirt! 

 Registration opens at 1:00 at the Visitor Center 
Walk-a-thon to begin at 2:00 

Bring a new or used Children’s DVD and receive a FREE Project Sweet Peas Water bottle! 

The top three participants to raise the most money will receive a cash prize! 

Pre-Register to walk at on our website.
________________________________________________ 

Project Sweet Peas’ Walk for Preemie Peas is currently has many Sponsorship and Contribution 
opportunities visit our website for more information on how to donate monetary or raffle and auction items! _________________________________________________

We are also searching for the Walk for Preemie Peas 2012 Honorary Sweet Peas! 

Two Sweet Peas will be chosen: 
NICU Sweet Pea – This Sweet Pea is currently fighting in the NICU or is a NICU graduate 
Angel Sweet Pea – This Sweet Pea was born too soon, passed away in the NICU, or passed away after being released home. 

 The Sweet Peas will have a poster telling their story, their name on all event T-Shirts and materials, themselves and 2 adults will join our festivities for free and will kick off our walk-a-thon by starting the walk! 


Sweet Peas and/or their parents must be able to join us August 18th, 2012. Winners will be contacted July 23rd, 2012 and will have 48 hours to respond or another Sweet Pea will be chosen. 

Contact Kate for more information: 
Kate@projectsweetpeas.com 
724-268-0791
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Monday, June 11, 2012

June Sweet Pea Spotlight: Cohen

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 June Sweet Pea Spotlight

Cohen

My son Cohen just celebrated his first birthday this week. We are so, incredibly proud of how far he has come. Cohen and his twin brother, Carter, were born at 25 weeks due to complications with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. His brother Carter gave this world his best fight but died shortly after birth. Cohen was born weighing 1 lb 8 oz and was 13 inches long. He was born in kidney failure. He spent 130 days in the NICU fighting his battle against premature lungs, kidney failure, a horrible skin infection, a PDA (which couldn't be ligated because of his infection), lung bleeds, Grade I IVH, and an enlarged heart. 


Today he is a happy, energetic one year old. He is an extremely busy boy full of life. We often think that all his energy is because he is living this life for both himself and his brother. Cohen is an amazing eater and we are so thankful that he has never had any feeding problems. We continue to be amazed at all the things he has overcome and that at a year old he is sitting, crawling, and pulling up to stand. We are so proud of him and we don't take his health or any of his accomplishments for granted.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thank You Thursday: Peek-A-Boo ICU

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Thank You Thursday: Peek-A-Boo ICU


Today is our first Thank You Thursday! Every Thursday we would like to take the opportunity to show our appreciation to organizations and individuals making a difference in the lives of ICU families.

Today we send our sincerest thanks to registered neonatal nurse, Jodi. Jodi not only makes a difference in the lives of her patients but in the lives of NICU families all across the world through her page, Peek-A-Boo ICU. Peek-A-Boo ICU offers a wealth of knowledge to the NICU parent as they travel on the uncertain journey of parenting a critically ill child. The Peek-A-Boo ICU website gives a comprehensive view into the perspective of a parent with a child in the NICU by providing an outlet for parents to share their journey and to communicate with other NICU families.

Peek-A-Boo ICU also has a wonderful online boutique where parents can purchase jewelry to commemorate their stay in the NICU. With the proceeds from the shop, Jodi makes amazing contributions to organizations and individuals that support the wellness of NICU families, including Project Sweet Peas. This past Mother’s Day, with Jodi’s support and the support of bracelet sponsors, we delivered 500 Peek-A-Boo ICU journey bracelets to NICU moms across the country. Each mother along with her bracelet received a code which will allow them to personalize their journey bracelet with journey beads at a discount. Each handcrafted bead they buy signifies a triumph, trial, or milestone while in the NICU.

The exciting news is that Peek-A-Boo ICU is extending this discount code to all Project Sweet Peas supporters! Visit the Peek-A-Boo ICU shop at www.peekabooicu.org and use the code PSP2012 when checking out to receive 15% your order. Also, don't forget to send your appreciation to Jodi. Jodi is an amazing support to the NICU community and we once again send her a big thank you for all that she does!

To learn more about Peek-A-Boo ICU please visit: www.peekabooicu.net

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Project Sweet Peas Cookbook

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We are looking for some great recipes for our Project Sweet Peas cookbook! Submit your recipes in memory or in honor of your sweet pea by June 5th for a chance to have them featured. A list of the contributors who's recipes are chosen will be posted by June 15th, and cookbooks will go on sale this summer!

To submit a recipe
Go To: http://www.typensave.com/app/#
Username: PSP2012
Password: apple921

Utilize the "Additional Contributor" lines to add who the recipe is being submitted in honor or in memory of.

If you have any questions or need assistance with submitting a recipe email Jess at JessicaShell@projectsweetpeas.com
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Hailey's Hope: Mother's Day Delivery

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Hailey's Hope is proud to share about the project's recent delivery to the NICUs at Monroe Carrell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Hailey's Hope, which was started in April 2010 in memory of project leader Kristin's daughter Hailey who passed away in January 2010, made it's second Mother's Day delivery the Saturday before Mother's Day, May 12th.

Kristin was able to deliver 25 long term NICU care packages as well as a special Mother's Day bracelet for 39 NICU moms on behalf of Hailey's Hope.


This delivery was extra special for Kristin and Hailey's Hope because Hailey's little brother, grandparents, and aunts were able to be a part of the delivery. For Kristin, donating care packages and gifts to other NICU moms was the perfect way to celebrate being Hailey's mother on Mother's Day weekend.


If you'd like to support Hailey's Hope or contact Kristin, please email her at Kristin@projectsweetpeas.com.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Bittersweet Moment

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A Bittersweet Moment
by Shannon M. Mason, Project Coordinator

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone and yet the day holds emptiness for mothers across the globes that are not able to look upon the face of their children. It is with empty hands and broken hearts that they face a world that places a certain stigma upon them. They do not receive phone calls from friends or cards from loved ones wishing them a Happy Mother’s Day. But alas, they are mothers.

They feel the same love and devotion for their children that are no longer on this earth, as all mothers do. The bereaved mother may appear to be fine with the world moving on around them but they are good at hiding their pain. As they greet other mother’s they may smile and give them best wishes but it is the lack of response the other mother brings that breaks their heart even more.

Mother’s Day was initially founded by Anna Jarvis to honor her mother who had experienced the death of seven (7) of her children. Over the years the day has become commercialized and although all mothers deserve to be recognized, it is the bereaved mothers that are somehow forgotten. The very reasoning behind the creation of Mother’s Day has been lost.

So as this holiday comes to an end it is a bittersweet moment. A moment that I hold dear in my heart. You see, for just like the mother of Anna Jarvis, I too have experienced the death of seven (7) of my children. As hard as Mother’s Day is without my sweet angels it is bittersweet because I was able to hold them in my arms for a moment… but they will be in my heart for a lifetime.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

May Sweet Pea Spotlight: Stella

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May Sweet Pea Spotlight

Stella

It took my husband and I almost three years to get pregnant. We spent a full year trying to get pregnant on our own before we finally went to the doctor frustrated, angry, and exhausted. After almost two years of medications and having surgery to open my tubes we finally got pregnant in August 2010. It sounds funny, but I was shocked. I had just been so used to the negative pregnancy tests that the positive one did not seem real. Right from the start I was terrified that I was going to lose this pregnancy.


At six weeks (we discovered I was pregnant at five weeks) I started bleeding and cramping. I was sure that I was going to lose the baby and went rushing to the doctor. The CNP did a pelvic exam. When I sat up she looked at me and said that it looks like I lost the baby. I could not breathe. But she wanted to do an ultrasound before she sent me home. We walked over to the ultrasound room and while my husband and I squeezed each others hands our little peanut’s heartbeat popped up on the monitor. Everyone was shocked! The CNP put me on bedrest until the bleeding stopped.  I went back to work on Monday, five days after I had started bleeding. By Tuesday (week 7) I was bleeding again. This time my doctor sent me to the ER. After much arguing with the ER doctor I convinced him to do an ultrasound. There I was able to see my peanut’s heartbeating once again. Again I was put back on bedrest until the bleeding stopped. This bleeding, ultrasound, bedrest cycle went on until week 11.  Not one of the doctors at my OB practice could figure out why I was bleeding, but they all assured me that things looked okay with the baby.

My husband and I were anxiously awaiting our 20 week ultrasound – it was right before Christmas and we could not wait to go home and tell our family the sex of the baby. Right away I could tell that something was wrong. As I watched the tech measure my baby the measurements seemed so small: 17w2d head, 16w5d arm, 17w3d belly, etc. The tech then asked me why I was here so early for my 20 week ultrasound. I told her that I was 20 weeks today and that I was not early. She didn’t seem overly concerned and just reported that my dates had to be wrong. I knew that my dates were not wrong, I had had an ultrasound almost every week up until week 11 and the baby had measured correct the whole time. Once my ultrasound was finished we went to talk to the doctor. He was not able to give us any information other than our baby girl was measuring four weeks behind and that her umbilical cord was a two vessel cord instead of a three vessel cord. I was told to try and gain some weight (I had only gained about 3-4 pounds thus far) and to come back in three weeks to see if she had grown. It was hard to stay optimistic over Christmas. Friends and family were telling us that things were going to be just fine, that she was just going to be a small baby, but this mama knew differently. I knew that there was something seriously wrong and I knew that I was never going to be bringing my baby home.

At 23 weeks we went back to the doctor to check the baby’s size. Almost immediately I knew something was wrong, again. The tech seemed very concerned and was not talking very much. I could see the measurements and she was now measuring almost 5 weeks behind. The tech told us that things just didn’t look right and that she was going to get the doctor. I was crying, my husband was quiet, we were scared. The doctor came in and told us that things did not look good, that he was going to get us an appointment with a specialist for the next day. That night my husband and I cried and cried. We had no idea what to expect. The next day we drove four hours to the specialist’s office where we finally got some answers. We were told that Stella had severe IUGR (Inter-uterine growth restriction). Most IUGR is caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, drinking, or drug use. I did not fit into any of these categories. Healthy women’s babies usual develop IUGR because of some sort of chromosomal abnormalities, so I had to have an amnio. My doctor recommended hospital bedrest and very close monitoring. I was admitted to the hospital and I spent the next three weeks hooked up to monitors and getting ultrasounds three times a week. A few days after my amnio, the results came back that there were no chromosomal abnormalities. This meant that my IUGR was a total fluke and the severity was even weirder.

At my 26 week ultrasound the neonatologist that my perinatologist asked to join my case, seemed to think that Stella had grown all she was going to grow and that by leaving her in any longer we risked her dying inside me. The ultrasound from that day showed that she was approximately 13oz and the neonatologist assured us that ultrasounds usually underestimate weight. I was scheduled for a C-Section the next morning. I was scared to death, knew that the chances of my daughter’s survival were low, and I was not ready to face this.

Stella Mae was born on February 1, 2011 at 10:27am, she was 12oz and 9in long. The doctors were surprised at her spunk and the development of her lungs. She may have only been 12oz but she had the maturity of a 26 week old, which really helped her. They intubated her, rolled her past me so I could get a peek, and took her straight to the NICU. The time that I had to spend in recovery and then in my room was agonizing. I just wanted to be with and see my little girl. Luckily my husband was able to spend time with her. When I finally got down to see her 10 hours after her birth it was the most amazing moments of my life! She was perfect… she may have had tubes and wires attached to her, but her fingers and toes were perfect, her little nose was beautiful, and she has so much dark hair for only being 26 weeks. My husband reported that right after her birth he reached in to her and she grabbed his finger. She did the exact same thing to me. I know that she knew my voice.
 

The next few days were perfect – she was doing much better than expected. Although her brain showed a slight bleed, we were assured that it didn’t look like it was going to spread and that it was normal in preemies. All of her organs were working and they even started her on pedi-lite a few days after birth. She was the miracle of the NICU – all the doctors and nurses were coming to visit her. She was funny and spunky and full of life. My husband and I were able to change her tiny diaper, take her temperature, swab out her mouth, and help the nurses. We were so excited to be able to do these things. We had yet to be able to hold her so doing things to help take care of our girl felt wonderful.
 


On February 5, 2011 I was discharged from the hospital. I just moved myself down to my girl’s room and parked myself on the recliner. I sat there all day, even refusing to leave to get lunch with my family. It was like I knew that something was going to happen. By the afternoon her nurse seemed concerned that her oxygen levels were going down and that she was having a hard time getting them back up. She called her doctor who watched her and ordered some meds. A few hours later she crashed… her heartbeat went well below 70 and the doctors and nurses crowded into her room trying to get her stable. After about an hour of her crashing, them giving her epinephrine, and chest compressions the doctors figured out that she had fluid built up around her heart. They removed the fluid and she became stable. My husband and I stepped out of the room to get some air and just cry. A few moments later we were called back into the room… she had crashed again. This time the blood vessels in her tiny lungs had burst from all the stress of her original crash. In a moment that I will never forget, her doctor looked at me and said “She is not going to survive this.” I screamed and cried and told them to stop and give her to me. My husband and I held our little girl as she took her last breaths. We held her for hours after that. The nurses took out all the tubes and cleaned her up. I sat in the recliner and rocked her and hummed to her.

Her doctor explained to us that medically she was a miracle, but it was the technical aspect of her tiny size that got her in the end. Her tiny veins were as thin as tissue paper and the fluids that she was being given leaked out of her veins. This fluid then pooled around her heart. Eventually her heart could not pump and that is when she went into distress. This distress caused the blood vessels in her lungs to burst and we were told the same probably happened in her brain. She was just so small her body could not handle that type of stress. We could not be more proud of our little girl. She fought so hard to live and never once gave up.
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kit's Muse: Excelsior Springs Hall of Trees

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Kit's Muse a division of Project Sweet Peas has been given the honor of decorating a huge mall size Christmas tree in their city this year. This tree will be seen by thousands and is also a normal feature in local papers. The theme is "through a child's eyes" She is currently offering several ways to honor your health, NICU or angel baby on this giant tree!! Please visit www.kitsmuse.com for all the info! 

Option 1: mail her an ornament you feel represents your child/children ( you can send more than one) for free! If you would like your ornament back there is a 5.00 fee to cover shipping. 

Option 2: Mail her an ornament and for $8.00 she will take a picture of it and of it on the tree and tag you on facebook for all to see!! If you would like your ornament back please send $12.00 instead of $8.00 to help cover shipping. 

Please have all option 1 or 2 ornaments post marked by Aug 15th. 

Option 3: The Bundle! Pick from any of 4 professionally handmade dough ornaments below (moon, cross, angel or carriage *see all 4 of the ornaments at www.kitmuse.com). Send her an e-mail at jennifer@projectsweetpeas.com with: blond or brown hair color and girl or boy for angel ornaments; for all ornaments pick pink, blue or red accent colors, child's name, DoB and DoD if you wish, short phrase (this will need approved to make sure it's not too long) such as "my tiny angle". When it arrives she will take a photo of it and tag you on facebook, she will then tag you with another photo with it on the actual tree AND mail it to you when the tree is taken down so you have it for years to come... all that for only 20.00 IF you order between now and June 10th. After that the price goes up to 25.00 so take advantage of the early bird special!! The cut off for bundle orders is July 31st so the person making all of them has time to make them perfect!





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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April Sweet Pea Spotlight: Elias

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April 2012 Sweet Pea: Elias

On April 24, 2009 Elias George Bethke was born at Woman and Infants Hospital in Providence at 26 weeks gestation, weighing only 980 grams (2lbs. 3oz.) and 14 inches long. No one knows for sure why Elias came so early, only that he was a fighter right from the beginning!


One day shy of Elias’ 7th month birthday, he was discharged home. Although Elias weighed 17 pounds at the time, he had numerous on-going medical conditions; Chronic Lung Disease, Tracheomalacia, Nasopharyengeal Reflux, Autonomic Dysfunction, Profound Sensorineural Hearing Loss, and status post Tracheostomy.

Elias thrived for the two years that he was home. He made many strides developmentally and physically. On September 20, 2011 Elias was taken off the ventilator full time. He was doing so well that his doctors called him a “super star.” Elias was also cleared for Choclear Implant Surgery (to improve his hearing) on November 18, 2011, his surgery date was December 1, 2011. He was a joy to everyone who met him. He was always smiling (except when he was hungry!) and loved the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Patty the Pig from Sprout. Elias also loved when people used American Sign Language to communicate with him, and when we signed The Itsy Bitsy Spider.


On November 23, 2011, on the the two year anniversary of Elias coming home, he passed away in his sleep. He is my greatest inspiration and taught me so much in the short time I was blessed to have him.
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