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Sunday, July 29, 2007

See You on the Other Side

That was the title of the sermon at church today.

We concluded a four-part series called "The Perfect Storm." The premise was that all of us will have storms in our life. And the point our associate minister was trying to make was this: God is more interested in perfecting us through storms than protecting us from storms.

That's pretty interesting when you think about it.

There was a reason why Bruce entitled it "See You on the Other Side." When we are going through something tragic, it's nearly impossible to see the good. We don't understand why God is making us go through such pain. But sometimes, once we are "on the other side" and can look back, we can understand why God brought us here.

Sharing our story in both services was emotionally draining. Even two years later, it is still so hard to talk about Melissa's death. But Chris and I also know that Melissa was created for such a greater purpose than either of us could have realized at the time. When I walk into the NICU and see the pieces of equipment we have been able to purchase through Melissa's Fund, I'm reminded of that purpose. When I hold the hand of a mom whose baby is in NICU, and talk to, and cry, and comfort that mom, I'm reminded of that purpose. When I'm able to share with a mom who also lost a child, I'm reminded of that purpose.

This is not the path that Chris and I would have ever chosen. But it's the path that God chose for us.

That doesn't mean the "storm" is over. There are still days that are incredibly hard. But two years later, we can look back and better understand why God allowed this to happen.

"See You on the Other Side" also holds another meaning for me. I know I will see Melissa again on the other side. I know my baby girl is in Heaven and I know I will see her again.

What a comfort that is.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Getting Ready!

Forgive me that I haven't blogged in a week. It has been CRAZY at work!

But, it's a good crazy! I've been working on Swim for Melissa.

If you need more information on the event, click here. My friend Claire Aiello, the Internet Content Manager at Channel 19, put together a fabulous page with information.

I blogged about this site the other day, but if you haven't been to the official Swim for Melissa site, please go there. Just click here! This site is so cool! The kids who are swimming have set up their own web pages, complete with pictures, their own personal stories, etc.

We check the site about a gazillion times a day in our office because every time we check, the total has gone up. It's completely addictive!

Please consider supporting the 2nd Annual Swim for Melissa. If your kids are too young to swim, bring the family out to the Hampton Cove pool on Saturday, August 11th. We'll have games on the grounds of the Hampton House and Publix has again graciously agreed to grill burgers and hotdogs and provide the food to us. It will be a free event, but donations will be appreciated!

It's going to be an amazing day! But more importantly, it's for such an incredible cause. We hope you'll make plans to join us!

Also, I encourage you to listen to Lite 96.9 this week. They are our radio partners for Swim for Melissa. Chris and I taped some segments with John Malone that aired this past Friday morning. Then, each morning this week they are airing segments called "Miracle of the Day." Each segment will highlight the story of a local mom who had a child in NICU, with one exception. One of the segments was voiced by a sweet little 8-year-old girl with an amazing story to tell. She is a triplet born 14 weeks early, and both of her brothers passed away. She told her personal story in one of these segments and did such a good job. She is just an incredible little girl and I am so glad I have gotten to know her and her mother.

That's one of the amazing parts about Melissa's Fund. Chris and I have gotten to know so many people who went through a similar experience. And so many of them are coming together to make Swim for Melissa another awesome event. I can't wait!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Going to the Grocery Store

There used to be a time where going to the grocery store meant Chris and I walked into the store, grabbed what we needed, paid for it and left.

Not anymore.

Have you ever been to the grocery store with a toddler? It is a production. Seriously.

It's not enough for your child to just sit in the front part of the shopping cart facing you. Oh no. They now have these carts with a giant - and I mean GIANT - front end that is shaped like a car.

The premise is your child can sit there and steer the cart and play, while you shop in peace.

But have you ever tried to steer one of those things?

It is nuts. I mean, I almost took out an elderly woman last week and a display full of Cheerios. I have never been so embarrassed in my life. You seriously need a license to drive one.

Lucky for me, I don't have to do it often. Our Sunday ritual is to go to the grocery store right after church to stock up on items for the week.

So, Chris steers the giant barge and I walk beside it.

And getting the right one is very important. There are two different trucks and apparently (according to Chris) Ann Catherine enjoys riding in one more than the other. So today, we're pulling into the lot and Chris says, "There's the truck! I have to get it!"

I had no idea what he meant. He parks the car and breaks into a near-sprint across the parking lot to get the "truck-cart" before someone else does.

I just sat in the car and laughed as I watched him bringing it back, with a look of satisfaction on his face.

It's funny what we'll do for our kids.

In the meantime, if you see me on aisle 9, get out of the way!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Swim for Up, Running & Raising Money!

This is so exciting! is online and it is so cool! Kids who have signed up to swim are creating their own web pages with their pictures and stories of why they are taking part in Swim for Melissa. Then, they're emailing the link to their family and friends, who are making donations.

We're already up to more than $3400 and the site has only been up for less than a week!

Go online and check it out. Just click here. On the left side of the page, you'll see a link that says "Make a Donation." Click there and help us make life better for premature infants and their families. 100% of what you give will go directly to the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund to buy a state-of-the-art Giraffe OmniBed for the Neonatal ICU at Huntsville Hospital Foundation.

Thanks for helping us make a big splash for tiny babies!

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Family Vacation

We just returned from our first family vacation. The first one since Lily was born, that is.

We had an absolute blast!

Of course, it didn't start that way. Ann Catherine had a terrible cough on the way down and felt pretty crummy. Then, we got stuck in a bad traffic jam on I-65 and sat still for almost an hour. When you are in the car with two children stuck in car seats, that's pretty miserable.

Then, an hour before we got there, Lily got a fever. She ran that fever for 36 hours. She felt so bad! I was thisclose to taking her to the doctor when the fever finally broke Thursday morning. But once it did, she started feeling better.

Once we got all the sickness behind us, we had an awesome time! Lily and Ann Catherine both LOVED the water. Ann Catherine just wanted to jump off the side of the pool into Chris' arms. If she jumped once, I bet she jumped a hundred times. Lily, on the other hand, loved floating. In fact, as soon as her feet hit the water, they did that Fred Flintstone thing, where they went into motion.

One of the highlights of the vacation was a trip to the amusement park. We went to one that had rides specifically for little kids, like Ann Catherine. She was beside herself. She rode with her cousins Will & Ally. They rode the ferris wheel (which was caged in so they couldn't fall out), a train, swings, carousel and a tilt o'whirl type of ride. She had so much fun! In fact, one of the pictures posted above is of her on that ride. You can tell from the smile on her face that she was having a blast.

This was truly the best trip I've ever been on - and I've been on a lot of them. Chris and I had so much fun with the girls and enjoyed getting away with them. And since my parents were also there, they would sit in the room while the girls napped so Chris and I could also relax at the pool. It was a great trip.

One evening the four of us went for a walk on the beach. Chris was holding Ann Catherine and I was holding Lily. At that moment, I closed my eyes and tried to breathe it all in. I wanted to take a mental snapshot and remember that picture forever. I know there will be a time soon that we won't be able to hold them as we walk on the beach. In fact, they'll probably walk a few feet behind us so people don't think they are with their parents :) I want to enjoy these moments as they come.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Happy Canada Day!

We snapped this today after Chris hung the Canadian flag in Ann Catherine's room.

It's Canada Day! Or as Ann Catherine says, "Can-da Day."

While most of you spent this lazy Sunday just hanging out, the Georges were celebrating the birthday of Chris' country. And we did so by having a true Canadian meal - steak, potatoes and corn. Seriously, you don't get much more Canadian than that.

So Happy Canada Day to all of you Canucks out there. And on Wednesday we'll celebrate America's independence.

We tell our girls that's one of the perks of having parents from two different countries. They get twice the celebrations!