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Sunday, April 27, 2008

March for Babies: The Team Ohlhoff Recap

We are thrilled to report we had an extremely successful March for Babies today!

First, we have to thank everyone who walked with us and donated to the cause. The walkers include Aunt Linda and Uncle John; cousin Katy, her husband Patrick and their four-month-old son Liam; Ali's sister Libby; our friends Pedro and Wendy and their daughter, one-year-old (and former 34-weeker) Isabel; and lastly, our dear friend Olivia. We had an incredible team effort and our team raised over $6,100 -- yay!!! We couldn't have done it without all of your help -- the generosity of our friends, family, and readers. For that, we are eternally grateful.

Secondly, we have to thank Mother Nature for holding off on any precipitation. The forecast all week was for 40 degrees and rain, but the reality was much more pleasant. The rain missed us, and though it was a cool day, it ended up being perfect for the six-mile walk. By the time we crossed the finish line, it had warmed up and the sun came out.

Third, we want to thank the Borders bookstore at the corner of Chicago and Michigan Avenues, which turned out to be a very nice place to feed a hungry and fussy baby, as well as a warm place for the adults to recharge their batteries with lattes and hot cocoas. And, it was also a welcome oasis for changing the extremely dirty diaper of a certain baby after his meal. We offer this virtual apology to the cleaning crew who will be taking out the trash tonight, which includes said baby's stained onesie that was simply beyond saving.

And last but not least, thanks to our old friends from Northwestern Memorial Hospital -- many of whom we saw today during the walk -- and the walkers from all the area NICUs. Were it not for your Herculean efforts with our little guy (and countless other little girls and boys), today's walk wouldn't have felt nearly as victorious and triumphant. We could never thank you enough, but we look forward to showing our solidarity and walking with you again next year.

As you all know, prematurity has hit our family twice in the past couple years, bringing pain and helplessness we'd never known before. Today, we finally got to fight back. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for this.

Team Ohlhoff

P.S. Though the walk is over, you can certainly still donate to the cause. Just click the link on the right or visit the March of Dimes website.

Team Henry Jay & the Ohlhoffs! From left to right: Olivia, Pedro, Wendy, Libby, Baby Mama, Baby Daddy, Patrick, Katy, Uncle John and Aunt Linda. The babies in the front row are Isabel, Henry Jay and Liam.

Henry was sporting a very serious "game face" throughout the walk.

Here you get an idea of how many walkers there were. We got to walk down the middle of city streets, which was very exciting!

Our team was all smiles, in spite of the chilly temperature.

Our mascot caught a little shut-eye en route.

Post walk, the babies had a great time playing with one another on our living room floor as the adults toasted our awesome fund-raising effort.

***** for some non-walk-related photos of Mr. H.J.:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Marchin' this Sunday!

Friends and family,

Whew! It's been a big week here in Henryland. Sleep has been MUCH better, and we started Henry on some rice cereal and bananas! We have loads of cute pictures and video of this -- but first, we wanted to plug the March of Dimes one last time before our walk on Sunday. We are *this* close to our goal and proud to have raised this much money for a cause that's so important to us. If you'd like to make a pledge, you can do so at the link below.

Meanwhile, here's a video about the March of Dimes and the crucial work they do on behalf of pregnant women and babies:

Like Jane says in the video, we know our beloved son would not be here today were it not for the neonatal care he received. If you haven't already, please donate today and help us further the work of this wonderful organization.

Henry Jay & the Ohlhoffs

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Seven Months Young

First and foremost, we're thrilled and touched by your response to our March of Dimes fundraising. As you'll notice on the right-hand side of this page, we're rapidly approaching our goal of raising $2,500 for pregnancy and infant health. We so appreciate your donations and can't wait to do our walk! If you'd like to add to our total, just click the badge on the right. A HUGE thank you to all those supporting us in this endeavor.

Now, on with the Henry show.

Henry turns seven months old tomorrow. Same as it is every month on the 11th, I can't figure out where the time has gone. He's now been on the outside as long as he was on the inside. Remarkable, isn't it?

I think this month will go down as the time when Henry started to look less like a baby and more like a little boy. It must be all the sitting up and standing he's been doing. He suddenly looks a lot longer and leaner to us -- there's even a neck emerging!

He has now mastered rolling from back to tummy -- with all the grace of an 18-wheeler, says Daddy. It's quite jarring to leave him in one position only to find him in another. He hasn't gone tummy to back yet and is seemingly not the least bit interested in doing so.

In addition to rolling, he's somehow managing to move himself around a bit, too -- though I couldn't tell you how, since he doesn't do it in front of me. All I know is that several times now I've left him lying lengthwise in his crib only to return to him lying horizontally. He's also doing a new push-up-like move that's very impressive.

Oh, and remember the mobile? Well, he can reach up and grab it now. And I assure you, he still goes for the red bunny every time.

We're still working on sleep. It would seem he's just too fascinated with the world to be away from it for long periods of time. He's a decent napper -- three times a day at 9, 12:30 and 3 -- but nighttime is still a crap shoot. A slightly crazy woman who was admiring him at Starbucks commented that he would likely continue to wake through the night until I cut him off from nursing. "Them babies LOVE to nurse," she said, and then proceeded to smack her lips loudly. You know, at least in Henry's case, I think she's dead on. (Though I have to disagree with her next comment, which was that Henry looks half Chinese. Ooooookay!)

Size-wise, he's now around 20 pounds and 27.5 inches. No one can believe this kid was a preemie. As we made the rounds in Minnesota and New Jersey over the past two weeks, the most frequent remark was, "He's so sturdy!"

Here are some pictures from the last week. Enjoy!

Hanging out with his best buddy Jackson. You can see how much the sitting has improved from last month! (How did I get them to sit still for this picture? Cartoons, naturally!)

Reaching for the red bunny.

Hugging his new monkey George during a car ride in Jersey. (Thanks again, Rhoda and Michael!)

All smiles with Aunt Jessie and Daddy at the baptism of his cousins.

First taste of solid food! We don't plan to start in earnest until next month, but Chris gave him a little bit of ripe banana while we were at PopPop's house. (Buddy, I feel the same way about bananas. Trust me -- there's better stuff to come!)

The trip to New Jersey was special in that it was the first time all seven of Hank and Pat's grandkids have been together. Along with Henry, there were two other babies born this fall. Here are the three babies (Cambrie, Henry and Kaitlin) with "big girl" Lily.

Henry was particularly obsessed with cutie-pie Cambrie. When we laid him down next to her, he immediately tried to hold her hand. And then he tried to roll over her.

Here's Henry playing with two-year-old Caden, who was the baby of the family prior to this fall. Caden is a darling little guy and was very accommodating to Henry chewing on his fingers. Perhaps he's already sensed he's going to need Henry as an ally amid all the little girls in the family.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

An Important Message From Us

Dear friends and family,

We normally try to be funny (emphasis on "try") here on our little corner of the Internet. Today we want to broach a more serious subject.

Team Ohlhoff has signed up to participate in the March of Dimes' March for Babies event in Chicago at the end of April. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. They, together with their world partners, work to improve the health of babies by fighting birth defects and premature birth worldwide. This is a cause for which we are passionate, and we'd like to ask for your help.

Most of you already know that Henry was born two months early and had to spend the first six weeks of his life struggling to make it out of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Henry has gone on to become a thriving little boy, but his early start was a frightening and difficult time for us. When we join the March for Babies on the 27th, we will walk for our fighter Henry Jay, remembering the long days we spent with him, praying for him, encouraging him and cheering for him to one day leave that NICU.

Sadly, not every baby born prematurely experiences such triumph. We don't talk about it much these days, but Henry is not our first baby. Before Henry, we lost a little girl. She was also born prematurely -- much more so than Henry -- and she did not survive. We think of our angel all the time and know she'd be just as beautiful and precious as her brother if she had lived. So it is also in her memory, and in her honor, that we will undertake the March for Babies.

There are lots of wonderful nonprofit organizations out there, and plenty that deserve your money. We'd like to think the March of Dimes could be one of them. Our team goal is to raise $2,500. If everyone who reads this blog were to chip in even just a little, we'll easily make our goal -- and the money we raise will help to give every baby a healthy start.

You can donate to our team online and read a little more of our story at (Or, just let us know if you'd prefer to write a check and we'll tell you where to send it.)

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your support.

Ali, Chris & Henry

An ultrasound photo of our first little angel