craft pack bags

Friday, April 18, 2014

Using a tote to hold the craft packs was a must. We left for the hospital with nothing but Matilda's diaper bag, not expecting to be sent so far away from home. Our family sent us clothes and toiletries, but we didn't have anything to carry them in, so one of our nurses brought us a tote bag from home. It made walking down the hall to freshen up in the bathroom less awkward and trips to the RMH a lot more manageable.

We bought these bags and chose to decorate them with a few different designs using the stencil process. Really, making stencils has never been easier with the Cricut Explore. Simply choose a design, affix the stencil material to your cutting mat, and press go. Of course, if you don't have a Cricut Explore, you could complete the same process with an x-acto knife.

Once you have your stencil, tape it down and begin painting. I like to use a sponge brush, so that the least amount of paint build up will occur. It also makes for clean edges. Remove the stencil, and you have a beautiful bag. Check out this tutorial if you want a little more instruction.

The craft packs featured in this post were fully sponsored by the kind and generous people at Provo Craft, makers of the amazing Cricut Explore.

a new crib

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Every Thursday I look back at a specific day and time that was spent with my daughter Matilda as she waited for, received, and recovered from a liver transplant. She was in the hospital for 72 days and we remained in NYC until she turned four months old.

October 25th, 2012 - a new crib

When Matilda arrived at Mount Sinai Hospital, she was 9-days-old and weighed a little less than 6lbs. She was tiny and an isolette was the perfect bed - it had a warmer that could be turned on to help keep her body temperature stable. It was where Matilda remained for the next three weeks. Until October 25th, when our nurse wanted to make Matilda a bit more comfortable.

Remember a few posts back, when I mentioned that Tyler had found a routine and was feeling really comfortable with this new normal that we were living. Tyler is the kind of person that takes some time to get to know. He is not shy, but rather a bit guarded. He is perfectly comfortable to sit in silence and only speaks when he has something to say. Once you get to know him, he always has something to say. On this night, he took our nurse a bit by surprise.

Dahlia came around the corner with a huge crib for Matilda. She was so proud of herself for finding the newest bed available and was excited to get Matilda set up in a new space. Tyler, being the type who prefers consistency and familiarity, was immediately unhappy. And, because he had become friends with Dahlia, he spoke freely with her about how ridiculously huge it was.

Neither myself nor Dahlia knew if Tyler was speaking out of seriousness or jest. I guess it was a little of both. Or, maybe I hope it was a little of both. But it did take up all of our space, which was not much to begin with. I was upset because I understood that Dahlia was doing her best, that she was excited to put Matilda in a real crib. I needed her friendship, and I was afraid that Tyler was being too honest and upfront.

The next morning, just as Tyler had ensured the entire night staff would happen, our day nurse walked in and said, "What the hell?" And, soon enough, she had commandeered Matilda a much smaller (but older) crib. I was relieved because it gave us more space, and it made Tyler so proud and happy that he got his way. As long as their was forgiveness from Dahlia, things would be okay. In reality Matilda could care less where she was, for her I can imagine, it was more about who she was with. And, I wanted Dahlia at her side.

Meanwhile, Matilda was silently sleeping. Silently shouting that something big was about to happen. Something no one would have control over.

eggs and bunnies

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

And this is what Parker will get in his basket this year. Well, most of it. You see, he walked in while I was taking these photos. So, I quickly handed him a goodie and started chasing him away with my camera in hand. He was distracted enough, I think, at least.

Also, Tyler never wants to decorate eggs, so when he sat down with the kids and pulled off the cutest little man egg I have ever seen, my heart nearly melted.

And if you are ever in NYC, you must stop by the cutest little candy shop in the world. The Sweet Shop is right across the street from the Ronald McDonald House (on E. 73rd St.), and the owner, Kelly, is an absolute dream. I got all the goodies for Matilda and Parker's baskets from him. That is actually where I was when Matilda lost her tooth.

craft packs

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

During Matilda's 72 days in the hospital, I was comforted by crafts. I was not allowed to change my daughter's diaper, but I was allowed to tape pictures to her bed. I was not allowed to feed her, but I was allowed to knit her a hat. I was not allowed to rock her to sleep, but I was allowed to craft her a Halloween costume. When my arms were empty, filling my hands soothed my soul. And, that comfort and kindness will never be forgotten.

So, with the help of Provo Craft and a few friends, I was able to assemble and provide 15 craft packs for parents in the PICU at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. Each pack included supplies for three activities and a handmade tote. 

Stacy of Kids Stuff World included foam finger puppet kits that she designed using the Cricut Explore after I told her that I used to decorate sticky notes and place them on my fingers to dance around when Matilda was awake. As a bonus, older kids could decorate the puppets themselves for hours of fun. 

Lexy of The Proper Pinwheel chose one of the countless pinwheel designs available in the Cricut Design Space. I cannot think of a better way to cheer up a hospital room than filling it with pinwheels. 

Melanie of You Are My Fave selected a classic bunting design for parents to write their child's name, an encouraging word, or to allow their youngster to decorate before hanging on the wall or the bed itself. I cut out Matilda's name on large sheets of paper and taped them to the wall across from Matilda when she was in the hospital, determined to make her first nursery feel like home. Mel also helped with packaging ideas and styling. 

Over the next few weeks, I will continue to share each project with you, including full instructions on how you can make each craft for yourself. 

It was an honor to meet up with the same Child Life Specialist who provided Matilda with mobiles, toys, and soothing music during her hospital stay. Angie was so excited to see Matilda running around, laughing, and healthy, above all else. She loved that each activity reflected a memory or experience I had with Matilda, and she already had a good idea of who she wanted to donate each pack to. 

What I went though with Matilda is unfortunately not unique in any way. Everyday there are parents sitting by their children. Everyday parents are hoping for a miracle as they watch their children suffer. Everyday parents are left feeling helpless in the hospital. I cannot take away what these parents are feeling, but I can give them something to create. Something to help them move forward. Something to make them smile, even if just for a moment. 

The craft packs featured in this post were fully sponsored by the kind and generous people at Provo Craft, makers of the amazing Cricut Explore

easter goodies

Monday, April 14, 2014

I remember the very moment my sister told me that she was playing the Easter Bunny that year. My mom must have been going out of town or something. I was devastated, but kept my cool. I will try to remember that when my kids come of age. But for now, I am really enjoying the suspense and thrill of this type of holiday. Here is what Matilda will get in her basket this year. Nothing too extravagant, but exciting all the same.

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