Thursday, March 29, 2012

Knit Washcloth Fundrasier - COMING MONDAY!

As a "CF Mom" my wheels are always spinning and I'm always trying to come up with new ideas to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I figure this drive is natural and there would actually be something wrong with me if I wasn't constantly trying to raise vital funds for the foundation that provides my daughter with the means to live each day with Cystic Fibrosis and the same foundation that I hope and pray will ultimately be responsible for her cure.

So over the course of the past 3 months, in what little amount of spare time I have, I've been busy knitting, during Olivia's treatments while she watches tv, during naps and after the kids' bedtime into the wee hours of the mornings, making washcloths to sell with all donations going to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of my daughter Olivia. After seeing firsthand what an undertaking I took on, my sister Darci has pitched in and has graciously helped me by knitting some washcloths as well. All of these washcloths are handmade and each one took on average 2 hours. I myself knitted over 60 of these washcloths.

For anyone who knows me, you know that time is something I deem invaluable. It’s a very precious gift; we never have enough of it and you never know when yours is up, so I strive to live each day to its fullest and never put off until tomorrow what I can do today. So you see, this is one of the best "gifts" I can give back to you through a fundraising event - you get a chunk of my precious time with each washcloth you buy. So with that, I present to you . .

Knitting for the Love of Olivia - A CF Fundraiser

All the washcloths that I've knitted so far.

The items for sale in this fundraiser are cotton washcloths, perfect for use in the kitchen or bath. Beings everyone has to wash dishes and bathe, they are useful for everyone! There are many different colors to choose from, a variety for all! We've even made some fun washcloths for babies, toddlers and kids to use to make bath time that much more fun! 

I'll be selling these for a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for $15 per 2-pack. Larger donations can be made as all donations will go directly to the CFF. Further details to come on Monday, April 2, 2012.

The inspiration behind this fundraiser stems from many years ago. During college, my aunt Ilene whom is an avid knitter, knitted my sisters and I these cool funky scarves. Over the years she was always knitting us things from blankets to scarfs and slippers and the best thing about the knitted things she made is that they lasted so long and were all unique. After falling in love with the scarves she made us, I wanted to learn how to knit and make more scarves for myself - 1 for each outfit right! So after a quick crash course from my aunt, I somewhat learned how to knit. She gave me some of her old knitting needles and supplies and a few balls of cotton yarn and told me to try to knit some washcloths first, before I went on to the funky/chunky scarf yarn. So about 6 years ago now, I set out to knit my first washcloth and here it is:

Nothing grand and about what you would expect for my first knit, but I was half impressed with it and proud that it was something I made myself with my own two hands. What still impresses me to this day, is although it's badly faded and bleached out, (it used to be a blue speckled color) now 6 years later, it's still usable and has held up thorough numerous washes with bleach. That's what I've come to love about knitted washcloths, the durability and longevity of each one and that's why I decided that this would be a good item for a fundraiser. 

So back to the present day, after knitting numerous items from my son's baby blanket, to scarves, washcloths and other various items, I'm a bit better at knitting. The internet has been a great teaching tool as well! So here is a glimpse of the washcloths that will be for sale in honor of Olivia come Monday. Be sure to check back, for the selection and variety to choose from. 

* washcloths are all knitted using Cotton Yarn
* washcloths are mostly square (I'm not perfect) and measure anywhere from 8 - 10 inches.    
   (Infant/Toddler washcloths measure 6 inches & Kids washcloths measure 7 inches)
* washcloths are hand knitted, Availability is Limited, Items will be sold on a  
   "first-come-first-serve" basis, once an item is sold out, I will post a "sold update" as soon 
    as possible.
*washcloths are not washed, therefore some shrinkage is likely to occur after washing
* washcloths are "Brioche" stitched or "Knit" stitched:
Brioche Stitch
Knit Stitch
*Purchasing details will be available Monday, April 2, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Great Strides 2012 - Join Us!

As the weather is feeling more like spring and summer lately, which we are absolutely loving, I'm reminded that the Great Strides walk is quickly approaching! It doesn't seem all that long ago that we finished up the Climb for a Cure event really, but none-the-less, here we go with our final big CF Fundraiser Event of 2012 - the Great Strides national walk event.

This year, Team Olivia Oltmans, will be participating in the Great Strides walk in St. Paul, MN on Sunday, May 20th at 12:00 pm. Jeff and I are looking forward to the new walk site this year and hoping for nice weather for the event. Thanks to those of you whom have already joined our team and will be walking with us - we appreciate all you do to help us find a cure for Olivia and all those that live with this disease.

To join our team, or make a donation, follow the links on the right-hand side of my blog or CLICK HERE.

As talk and hope of a cure for CF is becoming more realistic, it's more important now than ever to continue our support of the CFF on their mission to get to that cure. To do that we need to raise money for research. Money buys research and research will result in a cure. The CFF receives no government funding, therefore it's up to me and it's up to you to help fund that research to cure CF and save my daughter. Continuing to ask for donations is something I find difficult, but as I've said before and will continue to say, I do it for Olivia, I have to; her life depends on it. With each event I am more humbled and more touched by all the continued support we receive and I thank each and every one of you whom continues to support us.

So this year, there are a few different ways you can support Olivia through this event.

  1. New this year is a fundraiser I've been working on for the past 3 months, "Knitting for the Love of Olivia". I'm very excited about this and hope it does well. For this fundraiser I along with the help of my sister Darci, have been knitting washcloths that we are going to sell with all donations going to the CFF.  We are putting the finishing touches on this - so stay tuned for further details on how you can donate to Team Olivia Oltmans through this event! 
  2. Join Team Olivia Oltmans, fundraise and walk with us on May 20th in the Great Strides walk.
  3. Make an on-line donation to our Great Strides Campaign supporting Olivia.
Watch Olivia's Great Strides Campaign video for 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Are you okay?

Are you okay? Three little words. Sometimes a simple answer like yes or no is adequate - like after you trip, bump into something, bonk your head or what have you. Someone will ask, "Are you okay?"  and it's often followed by a response of "yes" and things resume back to normal - simple.

On days when Landen has preschool and Olivia is actually napping, I sit in the pure quiet of my home, and just enjoy the peacefulness that is so very rare. This is when I find that my mind wanders, where I brainstorm, think, reflect on everything from the past, present and to the future. Most of the time I find myself thinking about something related to CF, after all it is a huge part of my life, rather it be some endeavor I want to pursue for fundraising, mentally making a note of meds or supplies that need to be reordered or doctor appts that need to be made. It's also the time I will catch up with the other CF Blogs that I follow and read what's going on for other family's battling this disease. I love following the journeys of others who live this life and fight this fight. Even though I don't know these people personally or interact with them face to face, I feel connected and I know that they too fully understand CF, what it is, how it changes a person, a family and how it's a fight every single day.

Today, that's where my mind was going, thinking about CF, the hopes for the future, the battles we face now and live with daily and all that it encompasses. I also found myself thinking about my 4-year old son Landen growing up so fast as he was off at preschool, realizing there is so much that CF steals. Realizing that there are so many things that Landen gives up and sacrifices as we fight this fight against CF as a family. Knowing that he doesn't get the special time he often deserves, it's so very sad to me as his mom. He's the sweetest and most sensitive little boy who has a heart full of love, brimming to the top with love for his sister. When asked at school "Who do you love?" his answer was Olivia - not mom, not dad, or his favorite blue pup or blankie, but Olivia, his sister and very best friend. He is a protector of her already, I know he worries about her as I can read it on his face when we are all at doctor visits. Someday he will fully understand CF, what it is and what it means for Olivia, I dread that day.

Then off to thinking about Olivia, how she grows up more each day, her vocabulary increases every moment and she is becoming so much more in-tune with things. Thinking about the fact that's she's already 2.5 and has been fighting this fight against CF for 2.5 years already. Knowing that she's doing well now but the battles are always there. Knowing that CF is progressive, it gets worse. Her weight will always be a battle and it's a struggle and fight every day to get all the meals and snacks in with the hopes that she'll gain a decent amount of weight before our next clinic visit, but knowing the possibility that she won't is always lurking. Where before she never really had a noticeable cough ever, not even during her treatments, I'll now hear it occasionally, most of the time after she's been running around and exercising those lungs, and I just cringe, knowing that the thick mucus is there and that her cough will continue to increase as time goes on - it's just another daily CF reminder. A reminder of why she does her treatments at least 2 times/day, to clear out her lungs. A reminder of why we shy away from large gatherings, busy places, sick people -  to keep her as healthy as possible, all while continuing to hope for that cure.

These are the moments that are hard, the moments where you really feel the heaviness of fighting this disease day in and day out, days when you wonder how her little lungs actually feel every time she takes a breath. So I find myself asking Olivia quite often, "Are you okay?" and usually she'll give me the cutest, "yes" and is off on her way. I love that she's so spunky and carefree right now and I'm glad that currently she is okay and doing well managing CF and that she is a fighter. So today as I walked up to her room after her nap, I opened her door and she looked at me and asked, "You okay mama?" followed by, "You sad?", and it was at that moment that she brought me to tears, her sweet little face and big blue eyes staring up at me asking ME if I'm the one who is okay when she is the one who fights to breathe, thrive and live every single day. "Are . . . you . . . okay?" Today, 3 little words that meant so much more than she'll ever know. How I wish, pray and hope that a cure is found so much sooner than later so that I know Olivia actually is "okay".

Thus we muddle through, keep on keeping on with all that life throws at us every day. The hard and dark moments are always there and will be as long as CF is present but they are quickly replaced by moments of joy, love and happiness that Landen and Olivia fill our home with constantly.

With that and on a different note, I leave you with some of her cutest phrases that I just love to show just how much of a "big girl" she is quickly becoming:

"I want to do may-doh" - "I want to play play-doh"

"I want quivered up" - "I want covered up" with her special pink blankie of course!

"I yuv ya so much" - "I love you so much"

"What noise?" - "What's that noise?"

"toot-a-loot" - what she says while laughing after she "toots"

"I don't like it" - a phrase I hear way too often while trying to get her to eat/drink. Lately she's been saying, "I don't like it water or I don't like it milk or I don't like it juice", that's a whole other battle.

"I want Dolphin Whale" - "I want to watch Dolphin Tale"

"Wanden" - "Landen"

"You will do it mommy" or "daddy" - Olivia telling us what to do!

and the sweetest one . . . "Wanden, I yuv ya so much!"