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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Recovering from Christmas!

I hope your Christmas was as good as ours.

I don't mean the "stuff" that we got. I just mean the sheer joy of being together. It truly seems like Christmas just gets better and better each year. The pictures here are a couple of my favorite: Lily with her daddy and Ann Catherine making a gingerbread house. (On a side note, have you ever tried to put one of those together? It is crazy!! Chris and I were about to pull our hair out! And then about a minute after we finished it, it collapsed. Needless to say, next year we'll make the gingerbread cookies and not the house!)

This was the first year that Ann Catherine got into Christmas. She loved opening presents! As soon as she opened one, she would say, "Mommy, I want a-nudder one." Lily, on the other hand, didn't have a clue what was going on, but had fun anyway.

I was thinking the other day about my favorite part of this Christmas, and I realized that it didn't have anything to do with any gifts. Chris and I really worked this year to teach Ann Catherine what Christmas was really about. We told her that it was the day Jesus was born. She understood that because not only did we talk about it at home, but her daycare teachers reinforced it - not to mention her Wiggles Christmas DVD which has a song about "Mother Mary, Father Joseph" that she absolutely loves!

A couple of days before Christmas, I told her that Christmas was Jesus' birthday and just as we sang "Happy Birthday" to Lily at her party, we could also sing it to Jesus on Christmas. This really resonated with her because she loved singing to Lily the week of her birthday.

On Christmas Eve, we went to church. We got there early to get a good seat and the nursery wasn't open yet, so we took them into the sanctuary to wait. There were unlit candles on our seats for the service. Ann Catherine grabbed one, went to the steps and out of the blue starting singing the "Happy Birthday" song to Jesus. Then when she finished, she said "Happy Birthday, Jesus!"

I looked at Chris with tears in my eyes and smiled. She got it, I thought! I believe with all my heart that you have to start teaching your kids what you believe when they are young. Chris and I are trying to do that. But sometimes you wonder, do they really understand what I'm telling them?

I got my answer on Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Counting Our Blessings

We're recovering from a rough week. Our little girl spent time in the hospital.

Lily was admitted to the hospital Wednesday with RSV and spent a few days there. She's home now and everything is fine, but it was a little scary at first. Even though we spent 68 days in NICU with Ann Catherine, I still cried on the way to admit Lily to the hospital. It just broke my heart that my little girl was that sick.

Lily was such a trooper. She had a wear a nasal cannula so she could get oxygen. She fought them when they first put it on, but then she wore it without any complaints. For the most part, she just wanted to be held. I spent the nights with her, and then in the morning Chris would come by so I could go home and shower. She would be cuddled in my arms, and then in true "Daddy's girl" fashion, she would almost jump out of my arms when Chris came into the room. That little girl loves her daddy!

Our stay was short and relatively easy when you consider how bad things could have been. But during our stay, I gained such a new compassion for people with sick children. I mean those children who are really sick with cancer or cystic fibrosis and who go into the hospital for weeks or months at a time. I just don't know how those parents do it. I know how tough this was for me and it only lasted a few days. I know how badly I hurt as a mother because my baby was sick and I couldn't do anything to make it better. I know how torn I felt between taking care of Lily at the hospital and spending time with Ann Catherine at home. I know how tired and weary I was from sleeping on that hard couch and being woken up every hour or so at night by Lily's cries or a nurse's visit. Your lives are absolutely uprooted when your child is in the hospital. It's tough.

On second thought, I do know how those parents of really sick children do it. They rely on God, just as we did when Ann Catherine was so critical in NICU. Because when your world is turned upside down, you really have no other choice.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Taking Care of a Sick Baby

My little Lily is a sick girl.

She started running a fever Wednesday. A visit to the Pediatrician found that she had an ear infection. In the midst of all this, she had her one-year shots - and there are FOUR of them!!

She has been completely miserable. I mean, the kind of miserable where she wants to be held constantly. Tonight at dinner I held her while Chris ate, and then once he finished he took her so I could eat.

The worst part is Lily is at that age where she can't tell you what's wrong. She can't verbalize her feelings, so all she can do is just cry. Ann Catherine is finally at an age where she can say, "Mommy, my tummy hurts" or "Mommy, my ear hurts." But Lily is still at that age, where she can't tell us. And that just makes it so hard.

Ann Catherine has been so good to Lily while she's been sick. The other morning, Lily was sitting in her chair at breakfast and was feeling pretty bad. Ann Catherine left the table and went to her room. She came back with one of her favorite dolls, handed it to Lily and said, "Here you go, Lily. You can have my baby." I almost cried.

Last night was our first full night of sleep since Lily got sick. We're keeping our fingers crossed that we can sleep through the night again tonight!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Life is Crazy!

Sorry I haven't blogged lately, but it's been pretty crazy around here! We just celebrated Chris' birthday. If Ann Catherine sang "Happy Birthday" to him once, she sang it a hundred times. She is just at such a fun age right now. Truly - she is pure entertainment. Chris and I just laugh and laugh at her all the time!

So, what's been happening at the George household lately? Well, Lily started walking this week. Like really walking - taking off and walking across the room. She is a girl on the move now! She took her few steps a couple of weeks ago, but in this past week, she really took off. It is so cute to watch.

We are also bottle-free! If you have kids, you know how huge that is. First of all, pouring milk in a sippy cup is so much easier than making a bottle, warming it, etc. And we have so much free space on our kitchen counter!! They took up so much room when they were drying. Of course, Lily being Lily, she came right off of the bottle - cold turkey! We didn't have to wean her. We just switched to a sippy cup and she caught on. Heck, she's even drinking out of straws already! I mean, Ann Catherine didn't figure out the whole straw thing until a few months ago. Lily, on the other hand, started drinking out of a straw before she turned one. She'll grab Ann Catherine's drink if she's not looking, and will just start slurping it down!

It's that whole second child thing. Lily does everything before Ann Catherine did. It's because she has a big sister to watch and she figures it out. Plus, Chris and I aren't as neurotic as we were with Ann Catherine. You are just so much more laid back with the second baby. Maybe that's why Lily is so laid back.

We shot a promo for Channel 19 today that should start airing Wednesday. It's promoting our Spirit of Hope tree lighting ceremony, Tuesday, December 11 at 6 p.m. at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. For a $20 donation, you can dedicate a light on the Hope for the Future tree to benefit the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund. Judy (19's Creative Services Director) wanted Chris, Lily and Ann Catherine to be in it, too. Let's just say, I could never work with child actors. I held Lily and Chris held Ann Catherine and after two takes, she looked at Judy and said, "I'm done." I'm not kidding. So I started doing what any good and decent mother does. I bribed her.

Oh, don't act like you don't do it, too.

All kidding aside, join us for the Spirit of Hope tree lighting Tuesday. For more information, click here or visit the Foundation's website.

We hope to see you there!