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Thursday, September 20, 2007

You Never Know

When I was pregnant with Lily I kept thinking, "If I can just carry her to term, she'll be fine."

In my mind, I thought the only problems that came with giving birth happened if you delivered prematurely. Of course, that was because of our own experience with Melissa and Ann Catherine.

And we were blessed that I carried Lily for nine months and she was born without any problems. But I now know that delivering a baby on-time doesn't guarantee there won't be problems.

Just recently, we've had a few friends who have delivered their babies on time (or just a week or so early) and the babies were born with medical problems. That's so tough when you go nine months thinking everything is just fine, and then you deliver and learn the baby is sick.

After visiting one of those friends in the hospital the other day, I called another one of our friends. I said, "You know what? If your child is breathing, talking, walking and playing - you are so blessed. All the other stuff just doesn't matter."

It's true. We can't predict the future. And we often can't understand why things happen to us.

I know what it's like to sit by your child's bedside in the hospital and silently pray - no beg - them to fight. I know what it's like to feel all alone, as if God has left you and doesn't care that you are drowning here on Earth.

But I also know how it feels to look back on that experience and realize that God was there all the time, holding your baby in the palm of his hand, even if you didn't feel him.

When your child is sick, all you have is your faith. It's the scariest, most vulnerable feeling in the world.

So if your children are healthy, wrap your arms around them and tell them how much you love them. And then pray for those babies who aren't. And their parents.

They need those prayers more than you know.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Beyond Tired

As you can see, we took the kids to Tuscaloosa this weekend. We had a blast! We put on their 'Bama cheerleader uniforms and took them to the Quad Saturday afternoon. But let me tell you - we are paying for it now.

I've heard child experts talk about when kids get "over tired" and how miserable it can be, but I had never experienced it until now.

I'm not a control freak about my kids, but there is one thing that Chris and I are sticklers about - bed time. Ann Catherine goes to bed at 8 p.m. End of story. It's good for her and it's good for us.

I've had family members and friends laugh at us. "You should let her stay up late sometimes," they say.

Now I know why you shouldn't.

In Tuscaloosa this weekend, Ann Catherine didn't get a lot of rest. We didn't take the girls to the game. My best friend lives in T-town and her sitter kept them while we went to the game.

Since it was a night game, I told Heather that Ann Catherine could stay up until we got back. I really didn't think she could go to sleep and I didn't want her to cry and wake up Lily (who did go to bed on time.)

Heather said Ann Catherine almost fell asleep watching Barney, but when she realized she was going to sleep, she popped up.

Of course, once we got back, she wanted to play with my niece and nephew who had also been to the game. Once we finally got her down, it was 3-4 hours past her bedtime.

At this point, she was beyond tired. And that is a pretty miserable feeling for a little one. She cried and cried, but finally fell asleep.

You would think going to bed so late, she would sleep in.

Oh, no.

She was up around 7:45 a.m. (She actually slept about 45 minutes later than usual.)

She was tired all morning. She slept on the way home, but car naps aren't the greatest when your little head keeps bobbing around.

Last night, she was miserable. We put her to bed at the normal time and didn't hear a peep out of her.

Tonight, she was still miserable. We gave her a bath and put her to bed early. And again, not a peep.

Moral of this story - have a strict bedtime, and who cares if people laugh at you. They aren't the ones who have to deal with a cranky two-year-old.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's All Part of Being a Mom

"Chris, I need your help."

It was 1:45 a.m. Saturday. Chris got out of bed, walked into the great room and saw quite a sight.

Ann Catherine was sick. It was all over her. And it was all over her mommy too.

Seriously - all over me.

I was standing there thinking, "What do I do now?" Chris grabbed a towel and wiped the floor. Then we got AC's pjs off and put her in the tub. I too had to jump in the shower. That's how bad it was.

Kids have truly perfected the art of projectile vomiting. It's like a geyser that just starts spewing.

I call it the part of motherhood that no one tells you about.

When you are trying to get pregnant, you dream of holding that sweet, precious baby in your arms. You dream of their sweet-smelling scent. You dream of snuggling up together and taking naps in the afternoon.

But no one tells you about all the times you'll get peed on, pooped on and thrown up on.

If you're a mom, it's part of the job.

Those with weak stomachs need not apply.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Equal Time

When you have two (or more) children, you have to come up with a way to give them "equal time."

At our home, it hasn't really been that important until now.

I have blogged about how Ann Catherine accepted Lily when we brought her home from the hospital. She was only 18-months-old when Lily was born, and of our her doctors told us she wasn't old enough to have the jealousy instinct. So from the day we brought Lily home, Ann Catherine accepted it and was fine with it. We never had any of those, "Mommy, when is she going back?" moments that I hear other mothers talk about.

I often say, I think it's more than that. I truly believe that Ann Catherine needed a sibling so badly. She knew someone was missing and Lily filled that void for her.

Ann Catherine has never cried because I was holding Lily. Never. And I know, from talking to other moms, how lucky I am. Ann Catherine shares with Lily and plays with her. In fact, if Lily takes something that Ann Catherine was playing with it, Ann Catherine doesn't get mad. Instead, she goes and gets Lily another toy and gives it to her. I truly couldn't ask for anything better.

But lately, I've noticed that Ann Catherine seems to need more attention. For instance, if I'm holding Lily, she'll ask Chris to hold her as well (or vice versa if Chris is holding Lily). Today Lily was in the floor crawling to me, and when I started clapping, Ann Catherine started crawling towards me too.

So this weekend, I went out of my way to give her some one on one time. Saturday morning I took her to get her hair cut for the very first time! We had such a great time. On the way there, I told her we were having mommy/daughter time and she answered, "just mommy and Ann Catherine." She was so cute at the hair salon. She sat there and was so still and so good and let Carmen cut her hair. It was so precious! I said, "Ann Catherine, look at you. You have bangs!" And she said, "Just like mommy."

It's such a reminder of how little girls feel about their mommy. They want to be just like us and they can't get enough of us. That's one of the things I love about having girls. I just love the relationship that mothers and daughters have.

And when you have two, it's all about finding balance. For instance, Ann Catherine and I played in the playroom today and did puzzles and read books while Lily slept. Then, while Ann Catherine took her nap, I took Lily shopping with me and we spent our own time together.

I'm trying so hard to give them both "enough of mommy." It's a challenge, but that one on one time is so worth it! And we also mix in plenty of family time. Over the long weekend, we did so many fun things. Last night, we took the kids to Brusters for ice cream. This afternoon, we took them to McDonalds for lunch (a true treat for little ones!) I so enjoyed the time the four of us spent together this weekend!

By the way, I was going to try and post a picture of Ann Catherine with her new haircut, but she's two-years-old and I can't get her to stand still for two seconds for a picture :) I'll keep trying!