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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Mornings

This has become my favorite time of the week.

Saturday morning is the only morning where we aren't rushed. Even on Sundays, we go to the early service, so we have to get up and get dressed for church.

But on Saturdays (for the most part) we don't have to be anywhere.

I've started cooking pancakes on Saturday mornings. We all sit down and eat breakfast at the table together. As you can see, Lily wasn't cooperating and sat in Chris' lap instead (which is usually a big no-no at our house, but some days you just go with what works).

Chris bought a griddle that I can put over our stovetop to cook pancakes. I love it! I was able to cook 3-4 pancakes at a time this morning. It was fabulous.

I also wanted to share these pictures of the girls. I just love that my girls are so close in age, and enjoy playing with each other so much. We snapped these while they played on Ann Catherine's bed and sat in their chair in the playroom together this morning. I truly love how close they are!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welcome to the World, Ella Grace!

Ann Catherine and Lily Baker have a new cousin!

Ella Grace was born Saturday night. And if you saw her, you would know - she's a George!

Lily is certainly a George and while she looks like her daddy, I really think she looks like her Uncle Geoff's baby picture. Well, Ella looks like him even more! When Ann Catherine saw the first picture of her, she said, "She looks like Lily!"

Tonight when Ann Catherine prayed she said, "God bless Mommy, Daddy, Lily, Mimi, Poppy, Gammy, Gramps and Ella Grace. Watch over her and send your angels to protect her." After she said amen, she said, "Mommy, I prayed for my new cousin!"

We can't wait to meet you, Ella! In the meantime, let your mommy and daddy get some rest :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Are You Ready for Some Football?!

We had a fun evening. We went to the Kickoff Party of the Madison County Alabama Alumni Chapter.

We took the kids because Big Al was going to be there. Ann Catherine was so excited! She kept telling me today, "We're going to see Big Al, mommy!"

Well, apparently she likes Big Al from afar. As soon as he started walking through the crowd, she grabbed a hold of my dad and starting saying, "I don't want my picture made with Big Al!" It's the same with Chaos at the Huntsville Havoc games. She loves him as long as he's across the arena. As soon as he comes near, she's crawling in my lap.

Chris held Lily and they got their picture made with Big Al. As you can see, Lily was so intrigued by him, she just stared at him instead of looking at the camera.

The party was at the Davidson Center at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. If you haven't been there, you need to go. It's absolutely amazing! It houses an actual Saturn V rocket, along with other space memorabilia. Apollo 13 is one of my favorite movies, so I got a kick out of seeing materials from that flight.

Roger Schultz, the former Alabama player who was also on NBC's "The Biggest Loser," was the guest speaker. He is a hoot! He had some great stories.

About thirty minutes into the night, Chris and Ann Catherine went to walk around. The next thing I know, she's running towards me in a white jersey with a pink 14 on it (for John Parker Wilson). She was so proud of her jersey. Then a few minutes later, he and Lily went for a walk and she came back with one too. They looked adorable.

I enjoy football, and I love Alabama, but I'm not one of those people who lets a football game ruin their weekend. Even so, I hope this football season is better than the last few. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Rough Week

So much for "mommy immunity."

You know that stomach virus that went through our house earlier this week? I finally got it Thursday afternoon. I went to bed at 4:15 p.m. and didn't get up until 11 the next morning. Even when I got up, I just laid on the sofa. I told Chris this weekend I don't think be able to eat Saltine crackers for another year.

I finally started feeling better Saturday and was dying to hang out with my kids. I sent them to my mom's house Thursday afternoon and they didn't come home until Saturday morning. I just miss them so much while they are away.

I wanted to share some cute pix I snapped Saturday. The first photos I posted above are of the girls painting outside on our patio (yes, it's washable!). They had such a good time! I put old t-shirts on them, and I just let them paint away. It was so much fun for them.

The next photo is of them at their table. I snapped this while they were coloring and watching one of their favorite DVDs. I just love seeing them together.

The last picture is of Ann Catherine "feeding" her baby. Ann Catherine LOVES to play with baby dolls and she loves to mother them. When we got home from church Sunday, she put her baby doll in Lily's booster seat and gave her a bottle. I thought it was just too cute.

I think our household is finally on the mend. I hear this stomach virus is going around, so I hope it doesn't make it's way to your house!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What a Weekend!

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis are probably wondering why I haven't blogged about Swim for Melissa (which was Saturday).

It's because Ann Catherine came down with a horrible stomach virus exactly twelve hours after the event ended.

How's that for timing?

That little girl has been so sick. In fact, it's the sickest I've ever seen her. She threw up for 36 hours and was so sick and pitiful. She was so pale and couldn't barely move. All day Monday, she laid on the sofa or on my lap and slept.

It's so hard when your child is sick at this age. She would just beg me for something to eat, and then would get sick. She couldn't understand why she couldn't eat. All she knew was she was hungry. The doctor called in Zofran Monday afternoon (which was my wonder drug while I was pregnant) and once she got some medicine in her, she finally stopped throwing up. Today she was much better, and was actually able to eat. Unfortunately, Chris got it. I sent Lily to my mom's house while Ann Catherine was so sick, and so far, so good. As for me, "mommy immunity" kicked in and although I was the one who was with her 24/7, I didn't get it (thank goodness!).

Now - let's talk about this year's Swim for Melissa. It's hard for me to even put this into words. The Miracle Bash was held on Friday night. This year we moved it to The Westin after outgrowing The Ledges. When I left my office Friday afternoon, 580 people had RSVP'd. Probably around 550 showed up (around 330 came last year). We had the dueling piano players from Pat O'Briens for entertainment, and it was so much fun! Our silent auction alone pulled in $24,000, which I was especially happy about. I put a lot of work into the auction this year, and with the help of my fabulous hostesses, we more than doubled our items. It was just an amazing night.

Then came Saturday and Swim for Melissa! What can I say? We doubled our teams, and brought in $60,000 alone through the kids who raised money on the Swim for Melissa website. It was just a fabulous day. We couldn't have asked for better weather. It actually "cooled" down (I love that in the South we think the mid 80s in August are "cool") and was so nice.

People often ask me if that's an emotional weekend for me. It always is at some point, and I really never know when that moment is coming. This year, it happened during the swim. Ann Catherine and I had walked over to the other end of the pool to watch a team swim. She was sitting in between my legs and I had my arms around her.

All of a sudden it hit me why we were there. It hit me that a precious little girl - my daughter and Ann Catherine's twin sister - was the catalyst for this. I looked at a pool full of little girls and little boys and they were all here to help the premature babies in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. They were all here because Melissa paved the way.

I can't put into the words the enormity of that moment for me. It just makes me so proud of her. Her time with us was so short, but her legacy is so powerful. Through her death, God is changing lives. I think it's what I am most proud of.

Channel 19 did a great story that aired Saturday night at 10. I am linking to the page, just click here, and the video is under "Featured Videos" called "Swim for Melissa."

I guess I'm leaving out the best part: the unofficial total is more than $133,000 for the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund!! I say unofficial because more money will probably come in over the next few weeks. When we have an official total, I'll be sure and post it.

Thanks to everyone who gave to this year's Swim for Melissa, and to those of you who took part. Many of you started web pages through our website to help us raise money, and many of you let your children swim on Saturday. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Chris and I may have started Melissa's Fund, but it's not about us. It's about hundreds of parents across the Tennessee Valley who have kept it going through their generous donations.

At one point Saturday, I looked up at that clear blue sky, and I felt I could see all the way to Heaven. I believe that Melissa was looking down on us, and I believe she was so incredibly proud of what was happening at that pool. And maybe, just maybe, they had their own Swim for Melissa in Heaven. Maybe God let those precious babies jump in his big crystal blue pool and do the things they never could do on Earth.

If you think there was joy at the Hampton Cove Pool on Saturday, just imagine what it was like at that pool.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mommy's Having a Hard Time

I had a rough morning.

My girls promoted at daycare.

Ann Catherine moved into the 3-year-old class. I was okay with that. In fact, I was excited for her.

But, Lily? That's another story.

Lily moved into Ann Catherine's old classroom - the 2-year-old class. She's not two yet, but will be a few months, so she's moving on up.

I was fine until I got ready to leave her. I just looked at her and it hit me. Lily is growing up.

I've always said, it's harder for me to accept that Lily is growing up. Ann Catherine is the oldest, so I get so excited as she hits milestones. But, Lily is the baby. Each time she hits a milestone, I'm happy, but it also hurts me a little. Please understand - I'm so happy that Lily is healthy and thriving and growing. But, the thought of her sitting at a big kid table in a big kid chair is like a dagger to my heart. I'm just having a hard time dealing with it.

I left daycare, got in the car, called Chris and began to cry. He assured me that Lily was okay. "I'm not worried about her," I replied. "I'm worried about me!"

I know she's fine. It's her mommy who's not doing so well.

It really is one of the hardest things about being a mom. You watch your child grow and you realize that all of those people who told you, "enjoy it because they grow so fast," were right. It does go by so fast - too fast.

That's why I try to soak up every moment with my kids. Those moments fly by way too fast.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Leisurely Weekend

If ever I needed a relaxing weekend, this was it.

Swim for Melissa is next weekend (I can't believe it!) and I've been working hard on it. This past week was a pretty stressful one, because I've been working on all of those details that can trip you up before a big event. So, I was really ready for a relaxing weekend and I got one.

Saturday morning we didn't have to be anywhere. My kids woke up and I decided to make pancakes. I let Ann Catherine help me make the batter, then I made them for the family. We rarely get to sit down and have breakfast together so that was a real treat.

We just relaxed the rest of the morning. Ann Catherine loves to play with her baby dolls and "mother" them. She took one of her baby dolls and covered her with a blanket. The next thing I knew, she was out of dolls and taking stuffed animals and covering them too. When it was all said and done, she had eleven blankets in the middle of Lily's room, covering her dolls and animals. You could barely find a place to walk! I snapped the picture above.

She reminds me of myself when she does this. I LOVED playing with baby dolls when I was little and taking care of them. I have a picture of me when I was younger - I'm sitting on the couch under a blanket and I have several dolls on both sides of me. I can see myself so easily in Ann Catherine.

The rest of the weekend was great. Ann Catherine went with me Saturday morning to find a dress for Miracle Bash, while Lily went with Chris to Publix. This morning, we went to church and then after their nap we took them to the pool. It was just a great way to cap off a wonderful weekend.

Now, it's back to the grindstone! This week will be a pretty stressful one for me, but it will all be worth it once it's over. By the way, if you haven't visited the Swim for Melissa website lately, click here. I'm so excited about the money we are raising!