Monday, August 22, 2011

Drumroll Please!

For weeks I had been driving around Sioux Falls with a little over 100 books neatly boxed in the back of my car. It seemed like A LOT of books, and I couldn’t even fathom what TEN TIMES that many would look like! Lucky for me, I got to see first-hand this past Thursday morning when we made our first official ‘Books for Charley’ drop-off at Omaha Children’s Hospital.

I headed back to Omaha bright and early on Thursday morning. I thought I would have to drag myself out of bed when my alarm sounded at 5 AM, but my excitement for the day’s activities made it easier than I imagined. The three hour drive passed quickly and was filled with conversations with my Bear.  I talked to Charlotte a lot and told her about what was going to happen later that morning.  I told her it was just the first of MANY things that we are planning to do in her name and that her story was going to make a difference. As if she was responding back to me, just as I was pulling into town a string of “Charlotte songs” came on my iPod…all back-to-back…just a little reminder that she was along for the ride!

Tara, her adorable little girls and I headed to the hospital where we met my mom, my sister Jill, sister Lindsey and her kids and my mother-in-law, Mary. I was a huge mess of emotions as I pulled up to that building. I had been so excited for this very moment but was equally terrified at the same time. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as I wondered how I was going to hold it together and walk through those doors. Life is bittersweet. I hated that we were making this donation in MEMORY of my baby girl…but at the same time I felt honored to know that so many people rallied behind us and helped make this tribute an amazing one. And an AMAZING one it was.

Are you ready for this?!?!?

Thursday morning we donated ONE THOUSAND THIRTY NINE books to Children’s Hospital (I think that spelling the number out makes it seem even more impressive!) Can you believe it!?  ONE THOUSAND THIRTY NINE BOOKS!!!!  The 100 books in the back of my car were totally dwarfed in comparison to the 900 occupying the back of Tara’s van.

Here’s a picture of us unloading the last few boxes…

And another of the boxes loaded onto a double-decker cart…the bottom bin was stacked two high!

I mean, really….HOW INCREDIBLE IS THAT!? I wanted to open up all of the boxes and spread the books all over the floor for everyone to see, but I’m guessing that the people who actually needed to walk in the lobby wouldn’t have appreciated that!

Here is a picture of Tara, the kiddos, my mom and myself with our 'Books for Charley' donation...ignore my squinty eyes...I'm pretty sure that they were a little swollen from tears!

And another of my cousin Tara and I...  P.S....Tara is a pretty incredible!!

While at the hospital I also got to see some of my FAVORITE familiar faces.  First up was one of Charlotte's heart buddies, Talia and her mom.  It was a very special day for Talia as she was celebrating being SURGERY-FREE for a whole year!  WOOHOO!!  I also got to see my favorite ladies from the cath lab and a few VERY special nurses.  They spent A LOT of time with our little girl and always took the very best care of her.  Thank you ladies for not only taking care of Charlotte, but also for taking care of ME! You could always make me smile when I thought smiles were impossible to come by and I love you all to pieces.

All in all it was a good day...a hard day, but definitely a good one.  The hospital was SO appreciative of the donation and I think that they got a pretty good idea of the amount of love that surrounded Charlotte during her short time here on Earth.  

Many of you have sent messages letting us know that you still have books that you would like to donate.  Please know that its NEVER too late to get them to us (though I might have you send them to me so that Tara can have her dining room back for awhile!)  Sometime in the next few weeks I will be taking another load of books (yes, we still have LOTS more) to Charlotte's cardiologist's office here in Sioux Falls and will continue to make donations as long as books are rolling in. 

Thank you all for your support of 'Books for Charley.' Keep an eye out for this event to resurface next Spring as we continue to celebrate Charlotte.
You heard me right...We're doing it again! 


  1. I was at Children's Hospital today with my children and I picked out an Elmo book for them that had a Charley sticker and your blog's address on the cover. Thank you so much for the book, and precious Charley was in our thoughts tonight. love, The Hansen family

  2. Kristen, that is absolutely amazing!!! Madison went through her books again this weekend and had even more she wants to donate to baby Charley, I am so glad you are going to continue this!! Let me know where I can send this next batch of books to so they go to the right place.

  3. guess I should have put my name on that last post. Kylie can email the address if you would like

  4. I had a huge smile and tears the whole time I read you said, COMPLETELY bittersweet. And then I saw the first comment. So incredibly awesome. LOVE YOU.

  5. Wow, absolutely fantastic!!! There are just no words that come to me that can tell you what an amazing feat this is and beautiful dedication for your "little angel".

  6. HUGE HUGE HUGE smile reading this and a heavy heart. Such a bittersweet thing to read. It is amazing to hear the outpouring of love for sweet Charley and the large amount of books that were donated in her memory! Amazing!!

  7. I love this post!
    -Jessica (Fitzpatrick) Anderson