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Friday, March 30, 2007

My Sidekick is Down!

You never realize how much you appreciate someone's help until you don't have it.

Chris was sick yesterday. I mean REALLY sick! I've never seen him like this. He had some kind of stomach virus. Chris is one of those people who NEVER misses work, so when he got up yesterday morning and told me, 'I've got to go back to bed', I knew he was sick.

Chris and I truly do split the work down the middle. If I'm feeding Ann Catherine, he feeds Lily. If I'm giving Lily a bath, he gives Ann Catherine one. When you have 2 children under the age or 2, you HAVE to do that. Neither are able to help themselves much, so you have to be there to help.

Usually if Chris has to work late, or he's not going to be home in the evening, my mom and dad come over to help. But they went out of town yesterday for my niece's birthday.

So, last night I had them all to myself. Chris felt so bad he couldn't move. To Ann Catherine's credit, she was so good! It was as if she understood that daddy didn't feel well, and mommy needed her to cooperate. She played in her playroom and was an angel. But Lily didn't feel well. Her tummy was bothering her so I had to hold her all night.

The kicker came at bathtime! I had to try and put Lily down so I could bath Ann Catherine. I took her bouncy seat into the bathroom and put her in it, but she screamed bloody murder! I'm thinking, 'Oh, this is going to be a pleasant bath for Ann Catherine.' I'm trying to figure out what to do, when it hits me! Lily LOVES the sound of the hair dryer! So, I plug the hair dryer in and put it on the counter. All of a sudden she stops crying. It was like magic.

Once I got Ann Catherine down, it was time to feed Lily and put her to bed. And believe me, she was hungry and letting me know about it - screaming at the top of her lungs! I popped that bottle in - and all was well with the world.

Once I got her down at 8:30, it was time to wash bottles and get their clothes laid out and bags packed for the next day. Once I finally finished, it was 10:15 pm. I went to bed exhausted and praying for strength because my alarm goes off at 5am - and we start all over again.

So to all you single moms and military wives, you have my undying admiration. I CANNOT imagine how you do it everyday. I only had all of the responsibility for one night and it was one of the hardest things I've done in a while. The only thing that kept me going was knowing Chris would be up and at 'em by the next day.

So if you have a friend who is a single mom or whose husband is serving away from home, give her the greatest gift she could ask for. Go over one night and offer to take care of the kids. Or let her go to the mall while you watch the children.

Because everybody needs a break sometimes.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Big Jersey, Bigger Heart

Mandi Woosley emailed this picture to me and I just had to share it!

As many of you know, in January the Huntsville Havoc held a jersey auction and raised $54,400 for the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund. They auctioned off all of the players' jerseys, plus my husband Chris' jersey. Chris retired from hockey in 2002 but since he played the majority of his career for the Huntsville Channelcats, the Havoc auctioned off a "George 17" jersey each time they held a jersey auction after the game. 100% of the money raised from the auction of Chris' jersey goes directly into Melissa's fund.

March 17th was the final jersey auction. In honor of St. Patrick's Day, the jerseys were green.

Mandi emailed me to tell me her husband bought Chris' jersey for her girls and she sent me this adorable picture. That's Maura on the left and Sarah Kate on the right.

I met Mandi and the girls at the hockey game Saturday. They are absolutely precious!

Mandi has two healthy girls and another little angel on the way. She understands how important Melissa's Fund is and how important it is to help those precious babies in NICU.

And what can we say about the Huntsville Havoc? They probably raised close to $60,000 for Melissa's fund this year through the jersey auctions. Because of them, premature infants in the NICU will have a better chance of surviving. We'll be able to use that money to buy more state of the art equipment to help those babies.

Thanks hockey fans! Your hearts are big - and ours are full - thanks to you :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Going Through a Phase

If there is one thing I have learned as a mother, it's that your child's life is full of phases.

One day they love a certain food. The next day they hate it.

One day they giggle when they see the neighbor next door. The next day they are scared to death of him.

One day they love Barney. The next day they are completely bored by the big purple dinosaur and want to watch Elmo instead.

It's all about phases. And we are going through one.

Ann Catherine has decided she hates going to the nursery at church.

The workers are wonderful. The room is full of great toys. They even keep a TV in there that plays videos.

We're great the whole way to church. But the minute we step into the room, she starts screaming.

Now keep in mind, my child goes to daycare. So it's not like she isn't used to being dropped off somewhere and playing with other children.

I think it's all about continuity. She goes to daycare everyday so she's familiar with her teachers and friends.

But we only go to church once a week. And when you consider all that happens to a 21 month old in a week's time, there's no way their little brain can remember 'oh, I'm at church. I'm supposed to play and have fun.'

Now - in the full interest of disclosure - we took a break from church when Lily was born. For one, she was born in November in the middle of winter and I didn't want her to catch something from another child (or adult) at church. Plus, as the mother of a preemie, I know how important it is for your baby to stay healthy. So, we stayed home until just a few weeks ago. That means Ann Catherine had to learn about the church nursery all over again.

The first Sunday back, they came and got me out of church. The nursery coordinator said, 'Ann Catherine won't stop crying.' I went back there and she was bawling her eyes out. I picked her up and loved her, but I didn't take her out. (It was almost the end of the service anyway). A friend at church told me I did the right thing. She said that told Ann Catherine that mommy would come get her if she needed me, but that she also needed to learn to stay in the nursery.

The next Sunday was a little better. The nursery workers put her in a stroller and basically strolled her around the room for an hour (God bless them!)

So this past Sunday I thought maybe she would do better if Chris took her to the nursery instead of me. She's going through a major "mommy phase" and doesn't do as well when I leave her.

No such luck. She cried again. But this Sunday they took her to the "play pit" (our church's indoor playground) and they said once she started playing, she was fine.

I realize this is just a phase. And I realize we'll get to a point when she doesn't cry when we drop her off at the church nursery.

And when this phase ends, we'll move onto the next one.

I hope it's soon. But probably not as much as the nursery workers :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Favorite Thing

The simple act of reading my child a book.

There is nothing in the world I would rather do.

All I have to say is, "Ann Catherine, do you want mommy to read you a book?" And her face lights up like it's Christmas. She crawls in my lap and listens as if I am telling her all the world's secrets.

This is what life is all about.

And this is why I wanted to be home at night.

I loved being a news anchor. And I loved sitting on the anchor desk next to Jerry every night.

But I love sitting in the floor with my child on my lap even more.

Don't get me wrong. My child loves watching Elmo and Barney. And she loves going outside to play.

But there is nothing like the connection between a parent and child as you share the magic of a good book.

I thank God for these small miracles.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

It Adds Up Quickly!

Melissa's Fund has only been in existence for a year. I recently checked the numbers and so far we have raised more than $230,000. I think that's pretty amazing! And it just keeps growing. In just a couple of weeks, we received more than $5000 for the fund.

First, WHNT donated $1000 to the fund shortly before my last day on air. Then, a viewer (I won't mention his name because he may not want the publicity) stopped by the station before I left and gave me a $1000 check for the fund. He said he has a heart for children and wanted to help the premature babies in the NICU. On that very same day, I got a phone call that the Walmart in Hampton Cove was donating $1000 to the fund.

Then Friday night, we went to the Huntsville Havoc game. Now keep in mind, thanks to the Huntsville Havoc hockey fans, we already raised a record-setting $54,000 through the jersey auction in January. Friday night during the first intermission, the Havoc booster club presented us with a check for $2,269! They raised the money last month in a Texas Hold 'Em Tournament.

And just like that - we raised more than $5,000! We're probably going to try and make a purchase soon. First we have to talk with the neonatologists in the NICU and determine what the unit needs.

As always, thanks to those of you who have given to Melissa's Fund. Through your donations, you are helping save the tiniest babies. As the mother of two premature babies, I can tell you there is no greater gift!

The pictures above are of Lily and Ann Catherine at the hockey game Friday night. They had the best time! Ann Catherine absolutely LOVES going to the games (as you can see from the picture, nothing goes better with hockey than Dippin' Dots). On the way to daycare Friday, Chris told her we were going to a hockey game that night. When I picked her up that afternoon, the first thing she said was 'hockey' and she proceeded to say it the entire way home.

Like father, like daughter :)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Best Laid Plans....

...of mice and men often go awry.

OK, John Steinbeck actually said that but it applied to me last week.

Wednesday, February 28th, was my last day at NewsChannel 19. I planned to blog about it. But by the time I got home I was both physically and mentally exhausted. So I went to bed and thought, 'I'll do that tomorrow.'

Well, tomorrow came and Ann Catherine woke up with a high fever. We couldn't take her to the doctor because they were closing early because of the bad weather. I gave her Tylenol every four hours, but she was still miserable. She didn't want to eat, didn't want to play - she just wanted her mommy to hold her. Of course, that meant no blogging.

Friday rolled around and we took her to the doctor. Turned out, she had strep throat! That is very rare in a child as young as Ann Catherine, but the doctor said it happens. He put her on an antibiotic, but she didn't really start feeling better until Monday. Of course, by then, I had started my job and I was crazy busy just trying to learn the ropes.

That's the long way of saying, sorry it's been so long since I have posted. Someone at the station is going to email me pictures today from my last day there, and as soon as I have them, I'll post them.

By the way, I just checked out the Working Wonders forum and there are some great discussions going on there for parents! I encourage you to visit WHNT.COM and get involved too!