2016 Book & Blanket Drive Update

You guys! The Book & Blanket Drive is in full swing. We have already collected 179 blankets and 118 books! Amazing! All you amazon primers, thank you! There haven't been names of buyers in most of the boxes, so I can't thank you individually, but just know that all of your donations are going to make so many families happy. Aaden + Anaias donated blankets again this year which is so wonderful. Just another reason to love their company. And to all of the etsy shop owners who have sent and continue to send blankets, we love them all and appreciate your generosity. We will start the process of getting the gift bags together soon! If you haven't donated and want to, we will continue to collect items for three more weeks. February 17th is the cut off in order to get everything packaged up in time and off to Atlanta. If more trickle in after that day, they will be saved for next year. 

Another great way to contribute is through Usborne Books! A friend of mine sells books through Usborne, and has created a fundraiser to raise money that will go toward the purchase of more books. Usborne will match 50% of your contribution (so if you donate $20, it will be a $30 contribution). You can also buy books through them and they will be shipped directly to us. Click here if you'd like to make a contribution! 

I love walking into my dining room and seeing this. 

Checking the mail each day has been so much fun. So much love is put into every box.

Every time Hazel and I read stories together, I remember my special times reading to Owen. It is such a gift to make memories with her like I did with him. Hazel is just as engaged and focused while reading as Owen was. 

Know that your contributions will be a huge blessing to parents and children during such a difficult time. It will mean so much to them just to know they are thought of and remembered. It means so much to me that you guys are so supportive in making this a huge success again this year! Thank you!

Hazel's newborn shoot

These photos. I am in love. Our incredibly talented photographer friend, Rebecca Necessary photographed our wedding six years ago, and it was a dream come true for her to capture these sweet moments of our girl when she was two weeks old. Hazel was still in a really sleepy stage, but quickly woke up and was quite alert during the shoot! These are some of my favorites. 

book & blanket drive 2016

Next month, we will celebrate Owen's second birthday. I can hardly believe he would be turning two-years-old. Last year we hosted a book & blanket drive for the babies and children in the CICU at Egleston in Atlanta, and it was a huge success. This year we plan to do the same thing. I don't expect it to be as huge as it was last year, but even if we have ten gift bags, it would be special. 

If you are new to our journey, Owen was our first baby who was born with a severe heart defect called Shone's Complex. He lived for 43 days and was the sweetest and strongest little baby. Books and blankets were two of his most favorite things. He loved being read to, and we loved reading to him. It created memories I will never forget. Having our own personal blankets in the hospital instead of the hospital blankets they provided made the unit feel more like home (which is usually the case for a lot of these families- living in the hospital every waking hour).
We invite you to join us again this year in gifting books and blankets to families in the CICU. I loved hearing updates last year when packages were delivered to families.We had enough to last several months! 

We will accept any new or gently used blankets and books. Thicker blankets are great to put under the babies as a "bottom sheet" and thinner muslin or receiving blankets are great to cover them. Larger blankets are great for older children. Everything will be washed and cleaned before packaging in gift bags for each family.

All donations need to be made by February 17th, and will be delivered to the hospital on Owen's birthday, February 23rd. Email us at brianandallisonparker[at]gmail.com if you would like to mail or ship items to our address. If you're shopping online, Amazon Prime is a really easy option! If you're local in Charlotte, I am more than happy to pick up items from you myself. Atlanta friends, I have people who are willing to collect donations. Let me know if you're interested, and I will get you in touch with them. 

As a former parent of a child in the CICU, I can honestly say that any act of kindness, especially from strangers, means the world when you are in such a state of crisis. I felt so much love from people I may never meet face to face, and it's an honor to do the same for others who are now in the same situation. Thanks for joining us!